I saw “Hamilton” and here are my thoughts…

You can read my official review here.

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How “Hamilton” Turned My World Upside Down (And Made Me Care About History Again)

How does a (usually) plastered, poor one, former Peace Corps one, living in Boston get dropped in the middle of the hottest plot?

That’s right, my fellow countrymen. I’m talkin’ about “Hamilton.” Lin-Manuel Miranda’s instant classic debuted in early 2015, and I have no qualms with admitting it took me until last month to discover it for myself. It also took me until 2009 to fall in love with “Wicked,” to put things in perspective.

But I digress. You all came here to read a love story. And as everyone knows, a good love story begins with a “Meet Cute.” Ham and I met at work, of all places. I run the in-house studio for a marketing firm, and one of our presenters is big in the East Coast theater community.  One afternoon, in between shooting video blogs for our clients, my thespian friend asked, “Have you listened to ‘Hamilton’ yet?”

My eloquent response can be found below.

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In short, no. Not only hadn’t I listened to this so-called masterpiece, I didn’t even know what she was talking about. With a patience level I could never have achieved, she pulled up the show’s opening number, the aptly named “Alexander Hamilton,” on YouTube . Nothing would be more accurate than to describe what I felt as love at first listen.

As any self-respecting Millennial would do, I immersed myself in the world of “Hamilton” via social media and music streaming platforms. The original Broadway cast recording became the soundtrack to my life. Honestly, I could probably log a marathon with the numbers of miles I’ve run to “My Shot,” and don’t get my started on the countless shower solos of “Wait for It.”

But more than making me feel culturally relevant and giving me disillusions about my rapping abilities, “Hamilton” reignited my passion for history. I even read “The Reynolds Pamphlet” and enjoyed it! I was inspired to listen closer to the songs, and I found something new to research each time. For example, the line “God, you’re a fox!” in “Blow Us All Away” sent me on a purely academic investigation of Philip Hamilton’s attractiveness. Let me just say that my journalistic curiosity paid off. He was indeed a fox. See below:

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Still, one of the best things about “Hamilton” is that it lends a fresh voice to those long dead. Moreover, that voice can be appreciated for generations to come. Amidst the addicting beats and clever lyrics, we are shown that, while our Founding Fathers wore powdered wigs and puffy breeches, they won this country with cunning and courage, battles and brains, words and war.

This Pulitzer-winning musical reminds us that those same men were human. Men who fell in love and learned to hate. Men who felt desire and pain. Above all else, they were just men (and women, of course).

In between the rap battle-styled songs and the Beyoncé-esque numbers, we’re taught that history was written by people just like you and me.  It gives one that notion that history does, in fact, have its eyes on you.

For a musical to achieve what “Hamilton” has achieved is phenomenal, and I wish it much continued success. If you need me, I’ll be listening to the soundtrack on repeat and praying for the day when I can get my hands on tickets. (Lin-Manuel, if you’re reading this, hint hint.)

 

 

An Adventurous Update

I realize it’s been quite awhile since my last post. A lot has happened in that time, compadres. For starters, I moved to Massachusetts last June for a writing/video production job.

As you can imagine, the adventures have been non-stop. In my tenure here in New England, I’ve hit just about every historical hot spot you can think of.

Today was an especially great day. After my first New England weather (an experience I’ll have to outline in another post), we had a bought of sunny, warm weather. I decided to trek down to Plymouth to see the notorious Plymouth Rock.

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I stood alone, facing the harbor and letting the chilly breeze whip my hair around. I tried to imagine what it must have been like for the souls that left everything familiar and safe to start a new life in the completely uncharted New World. Too often I think we set aside the fact that these were real people who made the decision to seize life for all that it was worth.

Today, folks, I was inspired to live deliberately.

Toying with Taglines

In honor of the Smith Magazine’s Six Word Memoir movement, I have decided to play around with popular brand’s taglines. The game: I will write a new tagline for each brand using only six words. Some may be parodistic but most should be brand relevant. Will I triumph or will words fail me? Let the games begin.

Nike: Sports are tough. Nike is tougher.

Netflix: Your library of cinematic adventure awaits.

Apple Inc.: We are better than Microsoft. Period.

Subway: Your size. Your style. Your sandwich. (I didn’t like this one at first because it sounded like a tagline for a clothing line, but I could see the artwork  playing out the whole “finally fitting into those jeans thanks to Subway” angle.)

Carnival Cruises: Trust us with your vacation memories.

Sam Adams Beer: Has patriotism ever tasted so good?

Trident Chewing Gum: First date? Job interview? Trident’s there.

That was fun, but I’d like to do it again in the future so I’ll need to leave some brands.

A blog post I wrote for The Golf Warehouse

One day a week. Your time. Between long days at the office and lectures from your doctor, the links have become your sanctum sanctorum. It is a place where your youngest son won’t ask for money, saying his student loans are due and the job market is bad. A place where your wife won’t spend the evening begging you for another dog. A place where you can drive away the stresses and fall under the sedation of freshly mowed grass. This is your blood pressure medication.

You are part of the silent fraternity of Eagle and Birdie. Your best friend’s name is Mulligan.This is the year that your handicap will reach its all-time low, and you will finally win that long-standing bet with your brother-in-law. It would have been last year, but after that crucial missed putt on the 16th you last Christmas are finally broken in. Your drives are soaring down the fairway. Nothing can stop you this year, but summer is winding down. Time is running out. Soon the greens will die and the tee boxes will be buried in snow. The pressure is on to best yourself. You are willing to do whatever it takes, even if it means sacrificing several Sundays of football or playing 18 holes in a chilly rain.

Nothing should keep you from your hallowed holes, especially not the weather. Science tells you that when that the colder it gets, the shorter your drives will be. Cold golf balls and dense air become your biggest competitors. Yet when the temperature goes down, golfers like you don’t give up. They gear up. The Men’s ArmourStorm® Jacket is the perfect way to combat all sorts of weather and never miss a tee time. Every hole- every shot- requires specific adaptations, and this jacket is perfect for golf’s unpredictability. Its 4-way stretch fabric allows for unimpeded movement so your swing will never suffer, and its 2-way front zipper allows extra adjustment for those difficult chip shots. With the ArmourStorm®’s Durable Water Repellent finish, you’re ready for both the rain and the poorly-timed course sprinklers. This is your year. Look your best while shooting your best.

Choose a company that is as dedicated to you as you are to the sport. The Golf Warehouse has the Men’s ArmourStorm Jacket and more to keep you at the top of you game. No matter what your golf needs, we offer everything from top of the line equipment to expert advice. Like us you threw your clubs into the pond. Speaking of clubs, the set your wife bought today on Facebook to stay up on the latest gear and golf news or visit http://www.tgw.com to view our catalog.

#EndEbola

Tonight, I was watching the CNN Headline News. In between stories of the ISIS crisis and NFL scandals, the media managed to find time to revisit the West African Ebola outbreak. The news team was in Liberia at one of the country’s overwhelmed and overcrowded Ebola hospitals. Several patients had been left, half-naked, in the back of ambulances. Too weak to walk into the hospital on their own and with not enough staff to escort them in, they were left for dead.

The camera panned to a small boy- perhaps ten years old- rolling off the back of the ambulance and tottering through the gates of the hospital grounds before collapsing from sheer exhaustion in the dirt. The news crew continued to film as hospital staff and guards somehow found the time to yell at the boy to get up and bring himself inside. They said things like, “If you don’t get up, you don’t get fed,” and “If you want treatment, you will walk.” While the camera continued to roll, I found myself surprised at the unplanned tears that had pooled in my eyes and begun to cloud my vision.

I am not a crier. I come from a stoic Midwestern Irish family who chooses to deflect most emotion through humor. Yet, I found my throat burning from repressed emotion at the sight of that little boy, so desperate for survival, crawling through the dirt towards the doors of a hospital that was most likely too busy to treat him. I thought of my host family in Bo, Sierra Leone and how my host mother didn’t believe Ebola was real until I told her the Peace Corps was pulling us out.

To me, the little boy crawling for his life could just as easily have been my little host brother. His quiet voice telling ME to be safe as I loaded a bus to the airport with my fellow Peace Corps Volunteers, leaving him and everyone we had grown to love in that country behind in the middle of the Ebola outbreak. I am not a particularly religious person, but I do have faith. I find myself uttering prayers now and then for the safety of my host brother, the rest of my host family, and all the people who touched my life while I was there.

We, as Americans, take for granted the safety and comforts of our country. We should be proud of them, yes, but we should also remember that not everyone has been as fortunate as we.

An Informal Introduction

Well, hello there! As the honorary first post of this blog, I suppose it should serve the purpose of introducing me to you. Born to the Giddens clan in the heart of America, otherwise known as Kansas, I was christened Jordyn. A love of books and great writing was ingrained in me by my parents, both of whom were English teachers. An education at the charming University of Oklahoma only furthered this passion, and since then I have published several e-books.

Travel and good beer are also a big part of my life. I’m fairly convinced that if I found the perfect book to read while drinking the perfect beer in an airport pub while awaiting the flight to my perfect trip I would just pass out from sheer Nirvana. So, as far as introductions go, I think this will do for now. We’ll get to know each other better along the way.