#WTF: About last week ... Hank Moody, Oklahoma, Geronimo's head, and what the guys from 'West Texas Investors Club' are like "IRL!"
So, my last two mornings have been pretty eventful. It started Monday night when I went over to a cute boy's house (late) to make out and cuddle.
Just make out ...
and cuddle ...
Guess what the Friel did ...
I tried "casually" sneaking back into my place (we have guards, and managers, and everyone knows everyone), but that didn't go over so well:
Come to find out, they are filming the TV show Aquarius in my building. I got a notice on it when I came home the other day, but obviously I wasn't paying attention.
Here's the trailer:
Upon realizing that Hank motherfucking Moody was going to be in my actual home, I did what any normal girl would do, and texted my gfs that work from home asking if they want to come over to part-ay:
25 year old Jen totally would have boned Hank Moody.
31 year old Jen thinks he needs therapy.
Then, this morning, I set my eyes on the prize.
Goal: Invite David Duchovny into my apartment where we will awkwardly stare at each other until someone either 1) dies or 2) passes out.
Plan: Be present in lobby (where they were/are filming) as many times as humanly possible. Walk dog, loiter, strike up conversation with building manager - ANYTHING.
THEN, casually slip Double D a note (so middle school) with my apartment number on it.
See, that sends him the BIG HINT that I'm DTF. Down To Freak (see also: DTFF- Down to Freak his Freak)
No such thing happened.
Instead, I saw him, freaked out, turned about face, and bolted out of the building.
Am now hiding out at my client's office until they wrap (sometime this evening).
I did however send out this tweet ...
More on this developing story later.
Back to the rest of my trip ...
This is part 2 of 2 in a week that spanned three states, and includes various celebrities/ random run-ins. Click here to read part 1
<tangent>When I wrote part 1, I was in a hotel room in Oklahoma jacking my data from my phone (because the hotel wifi went out). I didn't actually "view" the video I posted - but fortunately, it wound up making sense.
The line I was referencing is here, in terms of how the Greeks viewed death:
Back in October, my brother joined the military. He’s been talking about it since he was 18, but at 34 he finally took the leap. He has worked on capital hill, for various governors and congressmen, 5.5 years at the pentagon, but something was always itching in him as far as service is concerned. “I want to serve my country,” he said to us. Yeah yeah yeah, we all thought. Ye who likes his big screen TV, cushy condo, nice car, high paying job - you … YOU want to go into the army? I’ll believe it when I see it.
Holy shit, you’re actually doing this, I said to him while he picked me up at the airport (in the wrong state) at a god awful hour early in the morning. Who knew Baltimore wasn’t close to Arlington, VA?! (I accidentally selected on Kayak “nearby airports.” My b.)
We had a great time at his going away party, and he was happy I was there. On my last night we watched the movie Stripes, and my episode of the West Texas Investors Club (which he still had on his DVR).
Is this really what you’re going to experience? I asked genuinely not knowing a single thing about the military.
Not sure, I guess I am going to find out, he said.
We then watched my episode (106) of WTIC (on CNBC), and my brother said at the end of the episode how proud he was. I never understood what you did with your website (to this day he’s still never read it, or even knows half of what I actually accomplished), but I have to admit, you know what you’re doing kid.
I used to think so, I think with youth comes blind ignorance. Am glad I leveraged what I had when I had it. I can say, that I trust my gut now more than ever, but I’m even more methodical.
He smiled knowing he’s the exact same way.
The only hard part was hearing how lonely you were growing up. I'm sorry, he said.
If I had fit in, I said, I'm not sure I'd be such a go-getter. I've had to work hard for friends, business, respect. Not sure if I had that if I would be where I am today. I would have expected it vs being grateful for having it.
Good point, he said.
Plus, it’s annoying having a little sister wanting to follow you and your friends around all the time. Totally get it. Don’t feel sorry. I’m not.
Good, he said, and I’m glad you’re finally in with the right people; you can see it on your face when you talk about them.
I laughed saying, yeah, I love watching this episode because I have this moment locked in time where I met family that I hadn’t met yet. It’s really special.
You’re finding your way, he said, and now it’s time for me to find mine. "I am the only one in this family that hasn’t had to struggle.”
I didn’t argue with him, rather I smiled because it was the truth. My brother is so fucking smart. Drove me CRAZY in school that I had to hustle and work my ass off, and he would sleep all afternoon, not study, take a test and ace it. (That was when he actually tried.) He was so smart growing up that he didn’t want to alienate himself from his friends so he purposefully “dumb-ed” himself down to fit in. Being two years behind him in school meant I took the brunt of it. His teachers KNEW how smart he was and how all he needed to do was apply himself, but it fell on deaf ears.
I remember in 6th grade science class on the Orange team at Chippens Hill Middle School, Mr. Nocera looked at the roster and said Friel, Jennifer.
He looked up from his paper, and said, “oh god, not another Friel.”
I smiled, and eventually got an A in his class.
My parents told me over Christmas that I had to book my flight to Oklahoma (where my brother was stationed in boot camp) to see him graduate.
I promised him I will be there and my word is my honor, but OKLAHOMA!?!?! Really?!?!
I booked my flight, and thought about the distance between Midland, Texas (where the West Texas Investors Club is based and filmed) and where his boot camp was located in Oklahoma.
Not far at all, I thought. Done! as I added another leg of my trip in booking making a pit stop in Midland.
Gil (one of the stars of the show and lifetime friend to the investors) has been asking me for months to come out. Was planning on it for my birthday, but between the holidays and work - I wasn’t able to.
<tangent> Working for yourself is both awesome and amazing. I love being my own boss, but anytime I take time off (even to travel) I still have a full plate upon return. I’m in the process of fixing that. </tangent>
Butch happened to message me the morning I booked my trip asking for some help with a connection, (I know a lot of random people in a whole lotta random places.) I did, and he followed up with asking how I was, and what I was up to:
<tangent> I was genuinely shocked he asked me to stay at his house-completely floored in fact. Rooster and I message in bursts. He’ll have an idea, or send me something via text, and I call/ message when I specifically need something from him.
Butch and I talk weekly, also via text (phone if it’s important), and I call Gil every week just to shoot the shit and check in on him and the goat. (Animal lover, line one.)
I’ve had a lot of passive relationships in my life, but now (thanks to actually having “real" relationships) I value not only who someone is in business, but who they are as a person. I have SO much to learn from these guys, and want to be a fly on the wall as much as possible.
Before coming back to LA, I was going to move to Midland (even picked out a house), but then not only did Talk Nerdy sell to CBS but this startup that I had been working on remotely started to gain some traction. I am a very “hands on” person, and wanted to be there to one, make sure the job got done, and two, get my hands dirty in the process. </tangent>
Monday initiated the beginning of my trip, and after a full day of work, I arrived in Midland around 11pm. I had received a text earlier in the day from Butch’s wife asking for my flight info (they had wanted to send me a car). You don’t have to, I texted back assuming I’d either 1) cab it, or 2) take LYFT (if available).
<tangent> Car shares are so ingrained in my brain now that it never even occurs to me to ask someone to “pick me up from the airport.” I ask for an address, and I give an approximate time of arrival and go. Easy like Lionel ...
Their generosity is not only incredible, but speaks volumes of their character. Even though I “could” pay for a cab, as their now guest, they wanted to pick me up. It was a small gesture that meant a lot.
When I landed I called the driver (she had sent the contact info) to confirm the pick up and ask where exactly he was going to be stationed. (I don’t like variables late at night. I want to go where I want to go and as fast as possible.)
He gave me the info I needed and I smiled walking through the Midland airport. It’s so small, but brought me right back to my experience on WTIC. I had a specific playlist that I listened to over and over to “get in the zone;” I couldn’t stop smiling walking those same steps I took last May.
I fucking love this place.
A half hour later I arrived at Butch's place and to my surprise, both Butch and Rooster were still awake. (From what they have told me they go to bed around 10.)
I was greeted with a BIG hug, and they invited the driver to come in and hang out. We then cracked open beers (I stopped and got two 12 packs of Miller Lite) in their helicopter hangar, and picked power ball numbers (as we all know the jackpot was at a record of $1.5 billion).
We talked for over an hour, then as Butch declared it was time for bed, we went into the house where Rooster's kids were sleeping on the couch, and I finally met Butch's wife.
It's so great to see you, she said, exhausted but excited.
I don't think we've ever met, I said, but I've heard so much about you I feel like I already know you!!
Are you sure we haven't met? she asked.
Nope, I said. No way since all the entrepreneurs were sequestered. The guys have told me stories, and I've seen all of your photos in social that I feel like I already know you.
She then made us all a bowl of beans, and brisket (as I was told a true cowboy meal), and I chowed down after a long day of traveling.
Once we were done eating, Butch followed his lovely bride to bed, while Rooster and I sat up chatting.
You doin' okay, he asked?
Yeah, I said. Honestly, couldn't be better. I then mentioned the CBS show and how the process is full steam ahead.
Those things normally take forever, said Rooster (also Matthew McConaughey's older brother).
You obviously know this world way more than I do, but I find out about the final script sometime in the next week or so, then after the studio has to approve it, and sometime after (pending approval) the network decides re: pilot production (Talk Nerdy To Me is a put pilot) and in the next month, I'll no matter what get two big checks but I'll know more about whether or not the show is going to make air. It's a series of steps and at any moment can go in either direction. It's one part exhilarating, another part scary as shit. I'm just focused on what is next.
We're really proud of you, said Rooster. We never doubted you, and as long as we'll always be your partners and friends we're happy.
I laughed saying, there's no one else I'd rather be with.
Good, he said.
We stayed up for three more hours (until 3 am) chatting about business, life, and all things Rooster.
(He is undeniably charismatic, but also hilarious when he goes off on tangents. You might have thought the conversation was going to go in one direction (much like the band, which Rooster is admittedly a fan of) but then he has an idea or lesson to share and you wind up with SO much more.)
These are my people, I thought.
The next morning, Rooster drove the kids to school as I slept in one of Butch's back bedroom.
<tangent> It was a little creepy, and a "this is your life moment." The wall was the same bright green color as my apartment a few apartments ago (back in 2011) ...
The sheets and pillow cases were bright pink and zebra (both the same exact shades that I had in my second apartment in LA), and the comforter is the same down comforter that I have now from The Company Store. On the wall? A picture frame with the exact same pattern that is on my bathroom shower curtain. Together, this all sounds nutty (I don't take photos of people's homes without permission), but trust me - it not only worked, it freaked me out how similar we were. </tangent>
I opened up iTunes and watched Straight Outta Compton, as I had recently purchased it. I minimized my screen for a moment, and realized how meta this was.
Look at my desktop screen ...
Everything really is coming together, I thought as I smiled.
The next day, Butch was able to play hookey from work. We ran errands, went out for lunch, and on the way back, stopped off to pick up Gil.
We arrived at Gil's house, and I wandered around looking for the goat.
He laughed and said get over here girl!
Sometime later, we piled back into the car to head over to the WTIC Clubhouse (featured on the negotiation part of the show). They were in the middle of renovating it for season 2, and so we tried to stay out of the way of the carpenters.
It was SO fantastic to be back to see the podium which once made me very nervous ...
and the milk carton that was SO annoying to sit on ...
I was snapping some photos (for my private collection, as I did not want to spoil anything for the new season) as I was approached by a familiar face ...
It was my buddy Manuel who worked on season 1.
SO GOOD TO SEE YOU, he said with a hug. I love your writing!! Please keep it up!!
Thank you, I said smiling.
I'm serious, he said directed to Butch's wife, her writing is insane. Not only the things she does, but how it's marketed in social. I have so many girl friends that do the same thing that you do, but no one talks about it. Jen puts everything out there!
Oh it's out there I thought turning to Butch's wife explaining that some of my content is uh, more on the "adult" side of things.
I love it, he said. I love reading what you get into, and even though your posts are long I find myself devouring every word. I feel like I am right there with you on these adventures!
Wow, I said, thank you. Really appreciate the honesty, and the "vicarious" feeling is intentional. Glad to hear it works!
Whatever you do, just keep writing, he said as we snapped a photo on the way out the door.
Done, I said laughing.
Butch's wife then invited Manuel over to their house later for the BBQ, as we rallied the guys to head back to the house.
I sat next to Gil in the helicopter hangar (where they party), and said how much I missed him.
I don't regret not moving here, I said, but the timing isn't right for right now. I've worked too hard "to get where I am" to not be in LA to push more projects along.
You have to do what you have to do, baby doll, he said in the most "Gil" way ever.
More people started to arrive, as I looked around at the smiles on everyone's faces. Yes these men have more money than the majority of us will see in a lifetime, but that's not at all what matters. It's about family, faith, and being together - truly. No one was on their phone either texting, taking photos, or filming god only knows what only to post it and say "look how cool I am." We were all "there," and it was a beautiful thing.
Sometime way past my bedtime, Gil retired to the upstairs (where he sleeps when he visits), and I went into my room continuing to watch movies before I fell asleep.
I say now that "I don't know what I'm doing," but that's a lie. I do know what I'm doing, I just don't know what any of it means yet, or where it is going to take me. Am open to every opportunity, and love that everyday life "rewards" that openness with experiences like this.
I can't remember a time in my life I have ever been this happy, I thought closing my eyes.
The next morning, I packed my bag and joined Gil upstairs to have a cup of coffee.
I'll take you to the airport this morning, he said. What time is your flight?
You don't have to, I admitted.
It would be my pleasure, he said with a smile.
My flight was at noon, so around 11 (after Butch and his wife also joined us), we took off heading to the airport after I said my good byes.
You need to come and join us on this trip in a couple of weeks, said Butch.
Done and done! I said. You give me a time, and place & I will be there with bells and whistles on.
I got to the airport, and as I checked in I heard a woman behind me laughing. Like hysterically laughing level hyena (see below):
She was in fact so loud, it interrupted the service attendant.
I turned around.
Wow, your outfit, she said.
I looked down and saw my skeleton leggings and food chain sweater (as seen in the photos from the Seinfeld apartment):
I realize this might not be "normal" for Texas, but it's who I am and I live to be weird and make people as uncomfortable as possible in public.
Well, the attendant admitted, at least she can pull it off.
Damn straight, I said with a smile and the satisfaction of an accomplished mission.
I arrived in Oklahoma a handful of hours (and two small planes) later and received another text from Butch:
They're such good fucking people, I thought. Not only has the success of the show not changed them, but they're SO down to Earth and SO easy to talk to. Am not sure how I got so lucky, I thought but I'm going to run with it!!
I then headed to my hotel, and tweeted out to see if I knew anyone in Oklahoma ...
I talk up this big game of being able to be dropped anywhere in the country and find someone I knew, but to my surprise I found a black hole.
I knew no one.
No tweets, Facebook messages, nada.
Weird, and thank GOD I never got stranded in Oklahoma. It's one thing to find out when you can (finally) provide and take care of yourself, another when you're (for some sick torturous reason) refusing to use money like a normal person.
My parental units arrived a handful of hours later, as I sat in my hotel room working.
The next morning, we woke up early to drive an hour and some change to the actual base. They made us all line up early, and get cleared to be on base (they do a background check).
After we all got the thumbs up, we went to the "family day ceremony" where I saw all the uniforms my brother had been trained to perform in, in addition to a "roll call" for the group.
His graduating class had approximately 200 so this was by no means a "small crowd."
It was the first time in my life I couldn't recognize my own flesh and blood. I kept thinking it was him, but would get closer and see it was someone else.
Totally freaked me out.
After the ceremony, we were able to hang out with my brother and explore the base. We all agreed on wanting to see Geronimo's grave, so away we went.
My dad then told us that legend has it, that Geronimo's head was stolen (and resides to this day on the Yale campus).
No shit, I said. I'm googling ...
I can't believe that, I said reading the article to my family. So twisted!!
The estate then sued, and unfortunately the case was thrown out a few years ago.
We then headed out to grab dinner, as we then bid my brother adieu for one last time, and we all headed back to our hotel rooms.
The next morning, I woke up to a barrage of text messages. Every week, I have one day that is completely screwy. For the most part, I am able to balance all of my projects, responsibilities out (86,400 seconds in the day), but one day each week I want to pull my hair out. Everyone wants everything done, and my full attention is commanded. I love what I do, but I hate that I can never predict when it is going to happen.
By the time my parents arrived to take me to graduation, I was pulling my hair out.
Knowing we were going to have to wait for at least an hour before the ceremony began, I asked my parents if it was rude to bring my laptop.
"Just to get work done while we're in line. Promise."
They (appropriately) looked at me like I had six heads.
After all, this is what we were all here for - to support my brother.
Family first, I thought slowly closing my laptop.
I still responded to emails for the next hour (I am stubborn), as the ceremony finally began.
They had a handful of speakers before they announced the graduates; one of whom caught my attention.
"Here you all are with the support of your friends and family. (The room was packed.) This is just the beginning of your journey. Remember the people around you today, and hope that they're still supporting you when you retire. There is nothing worse than working so hard that you alienate those around you; it's lonesome at the top. Keep your priorities in check."
My dad looked over at my (shocked) face, and asked if I was okay.
Yeah, I said, I heard just what I needed to hear today.
I smiled quietly as I put my phone on airplane mode.
A half hour later the graduates began to walk, and we were asked to hold all applause until the very end.
My brother was in the second (out of four) groups, and as his name was called to the stage my father SHOUTED hoorah. (Which is actually for the Marines not Army.)
We were both standing at that point (my father to take video, and myself to take pictures), and I was so shocked that he cheered that it messed up my photo taking and subsequently the majority of photos came out blurry.
I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU DID THAT, I said loudly whispering as we sat down.
What, he said? Where do you think you get it from?
I laughed knowing he was right.
He inadvertently started a trend, as others began cheering for their loved ones.
It was a great moment of pride in our family seeing my brother finally realize his potential and go after what he wanted.
We took him out to dinner after to celebrate, and I kept staring at him wondering if he was different. He walked taller, in a more confident manner, yet somehow the arrogant bastard (not to be confused with the beer) actually became MORE arrogant.
Wait, I said stopping him. Wasn't boot camp supposed to break you?! Who comes OUT of boot camp more confident?!?!
I do, he said. I know what I want, and that is to serve my country.
I was wholly proud, but also scratching my head at his experience. NOTHING broke this guy?!?! NOTHING?!!?!? Where's a drill sergeant when you need one?!?
He continued, boot camp isn't that hard as long as you shut up, and do what you're told. The problem is, most of the people in here are kids, and want to rebel. I'm different because I'm disciplined.
Yeah, no shit sherlock, talk about the understatement of the century.
The next morning we all said our goodbyes as my brother reminded us that we would also be required to attend his "officer training" graduation, and all subsequent promotions.
OOOHHH, I said, you don't want to go there Friel.
Knowing how much he hates LA, I toyed with how far I could take all the "milestones" with Talk Nerdy.
Do you want to go down this road, I asked already knowing the answer?
He laughed as we all made a pact to attend the "important" ceremonies.
The next morning, we bid our farewells and arrived at the airport.
As I boarded the plane, I recognized a familiar song ...
I am definitely "in the flow" for lack of a better way of describing it. Not only are tasks/ manifestations/ goals effortless now, but the stars are aligning!!
No seriously, for the next month the planets are literally aligned.
I keep telling people that, and everyone asks what "it means." I have no idea, I admit. I believe in good juju, and I believe in hard work. Am hoping the combination works positively, but who knows.
So, there you have it. Oklahoma isn't the place I want to be ever again. The guys from WTIC are (now) like family - I couldn't be happier, and finally things are starting to come together.
I can't see the whole puzzle, but bit by bit the pieces are coming together.
Alrite, time to put on my big girl pants and get my butt back home.
Let's do this David Duchovny ...
The truth is out there.
I'll live tweet if anything interesting happens.