Spinning Jenny Debut Music Video “Outside The Lines”

After many exciting and fun-filled months of filming, my band’s debut music video for our original song, “Outside The Lines” is live!!!!! Thanks so much to Shooters Productions, who filmed, edited and directed the entire thing, on top of being awesome people.  ENJOY!

 

Summer Excitement in Breaking Bad GIFs

SUMMAH IS HERE.  I’m just as excited as you are.  But do movies and TV give us unrealistic expectations of magical summers? As they say in France, le duh.  But guess what? You can still have an awesome summer.  Here’s how, according to the characters of Breaking Bad.  SPOILER ALERT.

1. Catch up on sleep

2. Go swimming

I feel dirty for laughing at this.

3. Get a summer job.

* maybe not this job

4. Pick up a new hobby

Jesus Christ Marie! They're Minerals!. .

5. Connect with friends and family

6. Take a summer vacation

7. Learn something you always wanted to

* take your time

8. Play some video games

9. Work through your backlog of movies and TV

10. Get rid of the negatives in your life

11. And add some positives

* P.S. I LOVE whoever made this

12. Do some soul-searching.

13. Maybe you’ll discover a new talent!

14. Remember not to take yourself too seriously this summer.

15. And don’t get into trouble.

16. Expand your culinary palette.

17. Read.  Read.  Read.

18. Plan a really great prank.

19.  Learn a new language.

20. Relax this summer.

21. You’ll thank yourself for all you’ve done come next fall.

 

22. Have a great summer, everyone!

– Julia

My Poetry: #9

Today I’m sharing a poem with you that’s the 9th in a collection I’m currently working on (hence the title).  As usual, this poem is pretty open to interpretation, so feel free to reflect and come to your own conclusions.  I would love to hear them in the comments! Enjoy.

9

I am a dark child

Wolves teeth, steel heart, black eyes, lightning breath, hair that hangs

like weeping willow tears –

all wrapped up in paper skin

not porcelain (like those other girls who live in mirrors)

but paper.  All the words lay waiting on my skin.

Some have been beaten in.

All the words are breathing on my skin.

Some have been beaten in.

And me – dark child, child of night, child of the lights that burn

when they sky has closed its eyes –

me – with words that breathe and wait, that paint my body with

vowels and consonants, nouns and pronouns, verbs, and all their

commanding action –

most often can find nothing to say.

 

Thanks for reading.

– Julia

 

Anxiety Wars Episode II: Attack of the Nerves

Let’s start with a simple fact that our culture is desperately afraid of.  Ready? Sometimes, life makes you uncomfortable.  It’s okay to pause here and collect yourself for a few seconds.  Breathe in.  Breathe out.  Alright, though, in all seriousness uncomfortable and nerve-wracking situations are just a part of life and sooner or later, we all go through them.  Take me, for example.  My band Spinning Jenny just played our first show last night in three months.  On top of that, I’ve been battling a cold and my voice wasn’t at its strongest.  Nervous much? I was shaking in my boots.  I must have gone through our songs in my head a million times over.  I – well, let’s just look at a GIF for an example.

Not too pretty, right? RIP chubby Josh Peck.

No matter if your nerves come from a band, sports, your job, social pressure, school, or whatever’s going on in your life, they are going to come.  Now before you start googling “how to suppress nerves” wait a second! Maybe, just maybe, nerves can be healthy.  How? Let’s take a look.

I like to think of my pre-show nerves as my brain looking out for me.  Granted, it’s in a very uncomfortable way (and it’s tough on my poor fingernails) but the thing about nerves is that they keep you sharp.  I was nervous before the show, so I made sure I knew our songs inside and out.  I was nervous about changing settings on my guitar, so those nerves made sure I didn’t forget what I had to do on stage.  As a result, we had an awesome show! Now I’m not saying “Oh, let your nerves run wild! Terror and anxiety builds character!” I am saying, however, that a little nervousness can be turned into something positive and go a long way.  I would much rather be a little nervous and a little more aware of what I’m doing than just waltz on stage without checking over what I need to do.  Everyone is different, and I know that I tend to be a little more anxious than others, but the truth is that no matter your personality you will have to deal with nerves.  And though you can’t do much to control them, you don’t have to let them control you.  Let them make you sharper, let them make you put more work into what you need to do, let them keep you humble.  And just remember, at the heart of everything, you know you got this.  And no amount of nerves can change that.

 

– God bless,

Julia

On Lent

Lent is nearly upon us! I know what you’re thinking because I used to think the same way.  “Ugh, Lent is so dreary and now I have to give something up that I like.  Boo.”

Maybe we forget that Lent is not about moping around.  Lent is not just about making sure that we make our obligatory thanks and sacrifice to Jesus for what He did for us.  Lent is our reminder of how truly, deeply, passionately, and eternally we are loved.  Let’s take a look.

Do you remember a time when someone did something really nice for you? It could have been your mom, sibling, friend, anyone.  Maybe you appreciated it even more because you felt as if you didn’t deserve what they did for you.  Made you feel really good, didn’t it? And now when you think about what the person did for you it makes you smile.  It inspires you to be a little kinder to someone in turn.  You are grateful to have that person in your life! So what does this have to do with Lent? Well, it’s the same with Jesus.  No one will ever make the most perfect sacrifice for you in your entire life.  And guess what? He would do it all over again even if you were the only person on the planet.  Now we come to my second point.  I said that when you think of that nice thing someone did for you, it lights you up.  Receiving that unconditional love made you feel really, really good.  So I wonder why some people, including myself, seem to neglect that joy that we should feel when we think of Jesus’ sacrifice.  Of course, we need to be respectfully solemn about something so serious as our Lord’s passion and death.  Ignoring that aspect, ignoring the Cross, is a terribly wrong thing to do.  However, we need to join the sad part of Lent to our joyful gratefulness for what Jesus did for us.  To say “us” though, isn’t really proper.  As the ultimate Common Good of the Universe, Jesus made his sacrifice for everyone and each one.  In other words, for you.  Looking at the Cross shouldn’t fill us with sadness.  It should be a reminder of Jesus’ unfathomable love! And yes, even though you may be thinking “I barely talk with Jesus,” or “I haven’t been to Church in forever.  I don’t count,” I’m going to politely ask you to shut up.  Because you count more than you could ever know and Jesus is insanely, insanely in love with you.  Lent is the perfect opportunity to rekindle or even begin your relationship with God.  And if you’re feeling unworthy or wondering if you’re doing the right thing, look at the Cross.  Our Lord’s burden is the ultimate reminder of His love.  So take up your personal cross and follow Jesus on his road to Calvary.  As you follow him through him the darkness, He will lead you to the light of Easter.  And be joyful! Lent is for us.  Lent if for you.

God bless and have a wonderful Lent,

– Julia

My Poetry: Dreams Piled On Dreams

Valentine’s Day is tomorrow? Hmm.  I’m writing poetry instead! Please enjoy and let me know what you think in the comments!

“Dreams Piled On Dreams”

Dreams pile on dreams

all silver and grey

like stars in the night

a lifetime away

Some burn and die

while others hold on

they cling to the vine

and forget to be gone

But people remember

They stop raising their eyes

They only look down

They abandon their skies

But when time’s at its end

The silvery beams

Will still last undying

Dreams piled on dreams

The Stages of Staying Up All Night In GIFs

Hi! I’ve only been up for two hours! Why? Because I was up all night, baby!

Nope, that’s not how it happened.  But if getting sucked into the swirling black hole of procrastination that is the internet is partying, then yeah I partied HARDCORE.  You’ve been there before.  Enjoy this handy-dandy presentation in GIFs!

“Just one…more…level…” you say to yourself as you force yourself to stay awake.  The world ain’t gonna save itself!

Ah, there we go.  Mission accomplished.  You reward your heroics by going to bed.  “Sleep is great!” you think foolishly.

You snuggle in the sheets all comfy….BUT WAIT

There’s that super important internet thing that you forgot to check! It can’t wait, obviously.  Phase 1 complete.

Man, that music video by that artist you kind of like was awesome! Ooh, suggestions column? Better watch all of their videos just to see if they’re worth listening to.  Somehow you go from this…

(Awesome)

To this…

(BLECK)

To this…

(Better…)

TO THIS

(THE BEST MUSIC VIDEO OF ALL TIME)

Add ten points if you’ve avoided Wrecking Ball so far! So you’ve gotten your fill of music.  Time to see what your friends (and frenemies) have been up to.  To Facebook!

It’s all fun and games until you see somebody’s status that makes you all like…

So you make sure to type “pinterest.com” in the most annoyed way possible JUST SO THEY KNOW THAT YOU KNOW.  Of course Pinterest is the event horizon of the internet, and once you’re there you can forget sleep.

The next few hours are a blur as you become into a raging, pinning, maniac and honestly it’s best that you won’t remember this part the next day.

^ accurate picture of you.

Eventually, something draws your eyes to the clock.  You react appropriately.

Now is the moment of truth.  You must ask yourself a question.  Are you going to sleep tonight?

ARE YOU????

You take a deep breath.  You crack your knuckles.  You look that computer right in the eye and whisper:

FREEDOM

Triumphant over the powers of basic human needs, you enter the final and most fearsome pit of the internet…Netflix.

Of course the next day you wake up like…

But:

– Julia

Funny/Wacky Moments During My Adventures In Skyrim

In an open world game as huge and in-depth as Skyrim, there are an infinite amount of crazy situations that the Dragonborn can get her(him)self into.  Even though I myself was late on the Skyrim train and thus missed some of its infamous glitches, I can still remember lots of times where I sat laughing or shaking my head at the screen because of whatever crazy thing was happening.  Having completed the main campaign and nearly all of the sidequests, I have a lot of experience in the world of Skyrim.  Here are my personal favorite stories/moments! After you’re done reading, share your own wacky Skyrim adventures in the comments! What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened to your mighty Dragonborn?

1. Chicken Murderer

This was my very first crazy situation from the game and also one of my fondest.  After escaping from Helgen, I entered Riverwood and wandered around the small village.  Mind you, this was the very first time I had played the game and wasn’t especially comfortable with the controls yet.  That’s where the chicken comes in.  Dumb thing.  It came up to me, clucking its head off while I stood there, sword in hand.  By some accidentally-on-purpose mistake, I brought my sword down upon the doomed creature.  “Oh my gosh, I can kill chickens in this game!” I laughed to myself.  That didn’t last long.  I turned around to find the enormous blacksmith approaching me with a huge axe.  I quickly ran away as he and the entire population of Riverwood pursued me, enraged at the death of their chicken.  With no idea what was happening and not powerful enough to take them all on, I reloaded my save, effectively clearing my name as a chicken murderer for good. 

2. I Hate Mountains

Okay, so if you play Skyrim you know that everyone does the weird jumping thing to cheat their way up the mountains.  Finding the real path just takes too long! Anyway, I was on my own, attempting to get to the top of a mountain in order to get a Word of Power.  It was early in the game and I had only killed a few dragons so far, so when I heard that tell-tale roaring and the beating of wings, I got a little nervous.  But, dangit, I had to get that Word of Power! After defying physics for long enough, I managed to jump my way up the mountain but ended up in a weird spot.  Then the dragon attacked.  But not just any dragon.  A freakin’ Ice Dragon.  I realized that my usual ice magic wasn’t going to work and switched over to flames in order to slay the monster.  By having just enough health potions and determination, the dragon’s health began to dwindle, and I finally landed the killing blow.  Yes! The Word of Power was mine.  I took a step forward — AND FELL OFF THE MOUNTAIN.  I lost my save and my temper, and only my last bit of good sense prevented me from hurling the controller.  The next time, I just followed the stupid path up the stupid mountain. 

3. No, Please, I’m Only A Level 2!

The very first time I played Skyrim I felt completely overwhelmed.  Without really knowing what I was doing and not understanding that leveling up a bit at the beginning before you go off exploring is a very good idea, me and my follower skipped off into the woods looking for adventure.  That’s what you’re supposed to do in this game, right? Hmm.  We hadn’t gotten very far before I saw a little cottage in the distance.  It literally could have belonged to Snow White, it was so cute.  But Snow White wasn’t home that day.  As I approached the house this crazy Dark Elf in black robes came out, screaming at me for trespassing.  Confused, I stood there for a second and then he took advantage of my hesitation and threw a fire ball at me! What the heck, dude?! The fire ball had diminished my health so I took cover behind a rock and took a potion, standing up every few seconds to throw a spell right back at that jerk.  After literally like six or seven minutes of fighting, I was able to take him out.  Praise the Lord! I had used up all of my potions but I made it! Then a flapping sound echoed in the distance, followed by a terrifying roar.  “You’ve got to be kidding me,” I thought.  Nope.  A huge dragon landed right in front of the cottage, and immediately attacked me and my companion.  So I did what any noble Dragonborn would do.  I took off, panicking.  I hoped that I could run far away enough to escape it, but that thing chased me for miles.  I dodged its fire breath and ran into a few wolves along the way but I kept running.  I finally fell off of a cliff and died.  I didn’t play Skyrim for a while after that.  But don’t worry.  I got revenge and I raided that Elf’s cottage.  So there!

So what’s your wackiest Skyrim stories? Sound off in the comments and happy adventuring in the world of Skyrim! I used to be an adventurer like you, but then I took an arrow to the knee and started a blog. 

– Julia

My Favorite Horror Movie Scenes

Horror is one of my favorite genres of film, and among the many thrills and chills they deliver, some scenes stand out above the rest as that moment where you either jumped out of your seat or covered your eyes in fear.  Ranging from some conventional classic thrillers to the more unexpected, today I present to you (in no particular order) my list of favorite horror movie moments! Spoilers ahead!

*Warning: some of the clips contain scary images and/or strong language.  Minors may want to skip this one!

*You may notice some of your favorites left out.  If so, it’s probably because I couldn’t find a high quality clip to share! Sorry!

1. The Blair Witch Project – Apology Scene

In perhaps the best found footage horror movie of all time, The Blair Witch Project is one of the few scary movies that I’ve seen that still scares the crap out of me.  Chronicling an unfortunate trio of students lost in the woods and terrified by unexplained events, this scene stands out as the most iconic and one of the best.  Heather’s monologue is one of someone who’s completely lost hope and her terror bleeds off the screen.  A true testament to the power of the imagination, this scene lets the audience share Heather’s fear of the alleged witch…whose unseen presence makes her truly terrifying.

2. The Shining – Are You Concerned About Me?

It’s unfair to call this scene my favorite because in a film as incredible as The Shining, it’s impossible to choose a favorite.  Today, however, this scene stuck out to me in particular.  Why? It’s horrible to watch poor Wendy terrorized by her crazy-as-@^#$*& husband, Jack and it’s not even the creepiest part of the film.  However, I chose this one because of it’s hidden meaning and questions.  So Jack starts freaking out on Wendy about his “moral and ethical principles,” AKA his responsibilities as the the caretaker of the hotel.  Big deal, right? He’s just nuts.  Okay.  Well, who exactly are the referred employers he’s signed a contract with, and what does the contract oblige him to? Are they the hotel owners and is he supposed to keep the hotel from getting dusty? In my mind, I can only imagine that Mr. Torrance is alluding to something much more sinister…

3. The Thing (1982) – Tainted Blood

John Carpenter’s super-violent The Thing is tense above all else.  By brilliantly only letting the audience know as much as the film’s characters do, we become as fearful and untrustworthy as the unlucky cast.  This scene demonstrates the peak of The Thing‘s suspense – MacReady (Kurt Russell) is testing the men’s blood samples in order to find the tainted one, which will tell them who is the monster in disguise.  In a scene already this tense, as the characters watch MacReady eliminate the suspects, it’s jump scare is one of the most unexpected and effective I’ve ever seen.  It just gets gross from there, an interesting contrast of red blood and flesh against the cold, steel environment.

4. Psycho – Arbogast On The Stairs

There’s a lot of scenes in Psycho that have been examined over and over, revealing the twisted inner psyche of Norman Bates or highlighting a particularly brilliant technique of Hitchcock’s.  I love all of those, but I decided to pick the one that scared the living daylights out of me and made me wary of climbing stairs.  The anticipation eats away at the audience and when the big scare comes – it’s time to change your shorts.  The fear on the doomed detective’s face as he plummets down the stairs is unforgettable and moments like this make Psycho thrilling.

5. Halloween – Walk Home

The infamous Michael Myers only makes two brief appearances in this clip, but the effect is felt throughout the entire scene.  It only takes one glimpse to put us on edge, and we spend a lot of the clip filled with the feeling of being watched.  After all, Michael Myers doesn’t lurk in the shadows.  He lives right next door.

6. The Possession – Opening Scene

I went into this one blind, and the first scene absolutely sells this movie as terrifying.  We’ve seen the setup before in the horror genre with the villain killing off some poor soul in a spectacular fashion at the movie’s beginning, but somehow The Possession takes the same direction without coming off as familiar.  The rest of the movie’s scares are just as spooky, and as a bonus it’s on instant streaming on Netflix! What are you waiting for?

7. Jaws – A Bigger Boat

The classic “You’re gonna need a bigger boat” scene from the first summer blockbuster is a classic for two reasons.  Firstly, it contains one of the most famous movie lines of all time, and secondly because of the brilliant way it handles the shark’s (visible) entrance to the film.  What makes Jaws so scary is, much like The Blair Witch Project, what is not seen, but what we know is there.  Spielberg tricks the audience into security with Captain Brody’s humorous line, making the audience chuckle one moment before we freak out as the shark bursts from the water.  Genius.

8. Alien – Chestburster

http://www.tcm.com/mediaroom/video/298086/Alien-Movie-Clip-Food-Ain-t-That-Bad.html

The scene that’s been parodied a thousand times is still one of Alien‘s best.  Here, we get a clue that the xenomorph isn’t any normal horror movie bad guy.  It is first and foremost a predator, and a predator’s main goal is to hunt down its prey.  Unfortunately for John Hurt, the alien is lethal even as a newborn.  In one of the greatest movie monster reveals of all time, we meet the xenomorph as it eats its way out of Hurt’s chest and zips away, leaving the horrified crew speechless.  It only goes downhill from here for the Nostromo.

So that’s it for now! Hope you had fun checking out or revisiting some of the best scary movie moments of all time.  Let me know what gave you the chills in the comments!

Happy Birthday, Pop!

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Pictured with my sister above is my grandfather, John Dino DiCarlo, or Pop.  He passed away on June 10th, 2013 and today would have been his 82nd birthday.  In honor of such an amazing man who lived his life so well, I’ve put together a kind of virtual scrapbook — a collection of memories, wise words, smiling faces, and things of meaning.  There’s so many titles that could describe Pop: Catholic, business man, Italian, son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, friend – but somehow, Pop, the name that all his grandchildren called him, seems to sum it all up.  Please enjoy getting to know one of the greatest men I have ever known.  Please press play on the audio track above to hear a song while you read.  The song is by my band, Spinning Jenny, and was written about Pop towards the end of his life.  I think of him every time I play it.

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Here’s Pop and my grandma on their wedding day back in 1952! Their marriage would eventually produce six children, twenty-two grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren!

Pop-ism #1: “Eat that, it’s good for you! It’ll make hair grow on your chest!

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Here he is in his backyard with my cousin! The love he showed to all of us grandkids was incredible.  When Pop talked to you, you felt that love in every word.

Pop-ism #2: “I love you a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck!”

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Pop taught me that you’re never too old to be silly.  When I was younger he drove me to karate or dancing and we played games the entire way.  Who Wants To Be A Millionaire was one of our favorites, and he made the occasions when I would hit a million bucks in the final question feel as triumphant as the real thing.

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“Today would have been my Dad’s 82nd birthday. Not a day goes by that we don’t think of him and talk about his favorite things especially his love for his family. We ask him to please pray for us as he looks down from heaven. He was a wonderful father and I’ll keep his memory in my heart forever.” – Today’s facebook status from my aunt.

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Pop, you were one of the biggest role models in my life and I miss you so much, but I know that I’ll see you again.  Love every day, forever,

– Julia

“You are my sunshine

My only sunshine

You make me happy

When skies are grey

You’ll never know, dear

How much I love you

Please don’t take my sunshine away”

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