Episode 4- Sad Person Flex

Two Cents Plus Tax


Transcript has been lightly edited for readability.

(theme song plays)

K: I’m Krystal.

C: I’m Caitlin.

K: And this is …

K & C: Two Cents Plus Tax!

C: Welcome back guys! It’s a new episode of Two Cents Plus Tax.

K: Yay!

That wasn’t energetic enough. (laughs) I need to get my pep up!

C (imitating Krystal): Yay.

K: I know. (laughing) That’s my normal like … I need to work on that during the episode.

C: So how is everyone doing today?

K: I mean, you know, it’s the weekend, so … 

C: It is.

K: No work. That’s a bonus. (laughs) Um, feeling a little bit better than last week.

C: Great.

K: What about you?

C: I’m feeling pretty good. Tomorrow is—or I guess today is—daylight savings.

K: Ugh. Oh, gosh, I know.

C: (sighs)

K: Every time I remember that that’s happening, I get mad about it.

C: Yeah. 

K: I don’t know. I’m torn because I do like when it stays light out for a long time. Like I love the fact that days are only getting longer, like that’s amazing but I also hate not having an hour to sleep.

C: Yeah.

K: Like don’t take away my sleep, like I need that. I can’t do with one less hour. It’s not gonna be good.

C: I agree.

K: But I think it’s better anyway when … I mean, I don’t know. This is only the second time this has happened, but since we’ve been working from home, I feel like the time changes don’t affect me as intensely because I’m not like, on the same kinda schedule I was when I was like, having to get up and go catch public transit and get to an office and whatever. So

I’m gonna be probably cranky tomorrow, but it’s gonna be fine because I don’t have to see anyone or go anywhere. (laughs)

C: Right. I actually have a meeting tomorrow, so I’m not super excited, but … 

K: Ew, on a Sunday?!

C: Oh wait! No, today’s Saturday!

K: Yeah, I’m like, come on, Caitlin.

C: (laughs) Whatever.

K: I’d be very upset if you had a meeting tomorrow.

C: Yeah. Time is an illusion. Don’t listen to me. I would like to say, I do have a concern that I wanted to air, especially now that our producer is back. After, you know, he and I had a bit of a fight, and he did not appreciate my ego on this podcast, and my demands, and I can’t help it that we’re becoming successful. We’ve been on … we’ve had a few episodes, you know, 

we’re already number one on Google podcasts. I can’t help it. I guess the success went to my head. So, anyway, I’m trying to make amends. However, lemme just say I have been thinking. I’ve been doing a little soul-searching, and … you know, Kesha

K: I do not know where this is going.

C: —who I love, Kesha—

Toshio: Agree.

C: Yeah, he knows. Kesha has her animals. Lady Gaga has her monsters. Ariana Grande probably has something. Mariah has lambs.

K: Um, isn’t that what Gwen Stefani has?

C: No, no. That’s Mimi. 

K: I swear I thought her like brand—her company—is called Lamb.

C: Oh yeah, she does have a company. Maybe she just stole it from Mariah. Okay, so all of this is to say that I feel like we’re doing a disservice to our fans by not having a name for them.

K: (laughing) Oh no. We did not talk about this.

C: (laughs) I thought I’d spring it on you without any preparation. So I think we need a name for our rabid fan base for Two Cents Plus Tax. I think it’s only fair.

K: I don’t … Did you have a suggestion?

C: I did not have any suggestions.

K: Okay. I don’t have any either, because I did not know this was happening.

C: Two Cents Plus Tax. Because it’s really hard to make something kind of cute—

K: We should let people come up with their own.

C: Toshio says The IRS.

K: (laughs) Oh my gosh, that’s hilarious.

C: Tax-ies. 

K: Tax—Tax … yeah, we gotta … The Auditors. Uhhhh … 

C: Oooooh, The Auditors! Sexy name.

K: (laughs) It’s not.

C: No it isn’t.

K: We can definitely do that. I do like the idea of that though. That’s very funny to me.

C: I do too! I think maybe we need to have the fans sound off in the comments. 

K: Yeah, just say whatever you wanna be called. Don’t say something that’s not funny, though. (laughs) Make it interesting.

C: So we can officially say so this is a Two Cents Plus Tax exclusive. We are accepting applications for names for our fan base. So you can send those to us via Twitter; you can send them to us via Instagram, and our email, and all that’s of course in the show notes. You know that by now. 

K: (laughs) Yeah. Come up with something good—

C: Come up with something good. Yeah.

K: I’m interested in what people come up with, cuz I have zero ideas right now.

C: As do I. But I feel like this is on our fans. This is on them.

K: Our fans. I love this bit, I just have to say. (laughs) I love the idea that we’re just like so popular and everyone is just clamoring to be in our fanbase. 

C: You know, you manifest something, and there it is.

K: I was gonna say, fake it til you make it, yeah. We’re gonna do it.

C: Okay, so what do we talk about today? Other than our fans.

K: (laughs) I mean, which we’ll always talk about every episode, I’m sure.

C: We do it for the fans.

K: That’s why we lace ’em up every day? That’s not a good analogy. Um (laughs) …  formative culture. I think that’s what we’re talking about today.

C: So what do you mean by that, huh?

K: So you know, the pop culture that kind of shaped us into what we are today. It could be … I  mean, from my perspective, I’m thinking of the pop culture that sort of shaped the things I like. So like my sense of humor, you know, but also the pop culture that shaped maybe our views; how we view the world; the lens through which we view the world. That’s sort of how I was thinking about it. Did you have another take on it?

C: No I think that’s perfect. I made a list. Of course it’s gonna be incomplete, because I can never— 

K: (laughs) It’s never—yeah, no none of these podcasts are ever like exhaustive. It’s always the things that we thought about in the moment or when we, you know, thought about the topic.

C: It’s true. No, a woman’s work is never done.

K: I’m sure there’s always gonna be more to add. So if you have a list, should you just go ahead and start?

C: I could. Most of my list is—actually, what I ended up concentrating on is music.

K: Okay, that’s good.

C: Because that is the first thing that came into my brain, was how much music was such a huge part of my life, especially growing up in Arkansas as like a little alien person.

K & C: (laughing)

C: And I did come up with a few things that were sort of odd for a human being to get into.

K: (laughs) Okay.

C: Maybe not. (laughs) I wanted to see what other people thought, cuz some of them are a little embarrassing and strange, which is fine.

K: Well, I’m interested in that, because I—one thing I was worried about was that because we’re so close to the same age, I was worried that we would have like a lot of overlap, so the fact that you were like, oh I focused on like music and these other weird things, I’m like, okay, that’s good. That means we’ll have like—

C: Divergence?

K: —different things to talk about, yeah.

C: So I guarantee you probably no one else on earth has this on their list, 

K: Oh my gosh. I am so excited.

C: Like it got—(laughs) lemme just say, before I say what it is … my family was concerned about me—and that is not a lie—by this thing that I was doing.

K: Oh my gosh. I just got so excited.

C: Okay. So I grew up [in] central Arkansas. So this is the 90s. Very different time. We’re talking pre-internet. No Youtube, VHS. We had a Betamax, so we used the Betamax. We did have a TV. So I was about … I must have been like ten, eleven, and Soul Asylum got really big, okay?

K: Okay, yeah. Did they do Runaway Train? Is that them?

C: Hell yes they did.

K: Okay. I always mix them up with like Ugly Kid Joe.

C: Oh my god, Krystal. That makes me so sad. 

K: (laughs) I’m sorry.

C: No. Ugly Kid Joe did I Hate Everything About You.

K: I know but like the look of the band, I think, is what made me like … you know. You get it.

C: Okay. Okay, forgiven. 

K: (laughs) Okay.

C: I was so in love with the singer, Dave Koerner, who had the most disgusting white guy dreadlocked hair. Unforgivable. 

K: (laughs) 

C: I loved it, though. I loved it. And I loved Soul Asylum. I saw Soul Asylum and The Spin Doctors and Screaming Trees perform live at the riverfront.

K: (laughing) Oh my god, wow. That is a lineup for sure.

C: Uh-huh. Yeah. So that’s a little context for this. So you know, young girl, growing up in the south, feelin alienated already. Ten years old. There was—do you remember MTV Unplugged?

K: Yeah. Mm-hmm. (laughing) Do I remember?!

C: Okay, so MTV Unplugged … right. Who am I even asking?

K: We’re literally the same age. You know we were both—

C: I’m older than you!

K: (laughing) Yeah, but by like a number of months, not like years.

C: True. So I became obsessed with the Soul Asylum unplugged performance. But not the whole performance. One song that featured British icon Lulu, famous for the song To Sir With Love. Soul Asylum covered this with Lulu. I recorded it. I listened and watched this literally every day. I would rewind it and play it, rewind it and play it, rewind it and play it. 

K: (laughs) 

C: My family got worried about me because I was so obsessed with this one song. I loved it so much. And keep in mind that this was back in the day, so like, I had no other access to it. They did not release a CD of the performance. So the only way I could listen to the song was—I think they may have now. But at the time they didn’t, like literally—

K: Yeah, they only put out the most popular ones so yeah. Yeah.

C: Yeah, and there was one person in the world obsessed with Soul Asylum performing To Sir With Love with Lulu, and it was me, a little ten year old girl in Arkansas. 

K: (laughs)

C: To the chagrin of my family, who was like, “I think maybe like there’s something going on with her,” and they were probably right. So that for me was like this weirdly influential—and I mean that sincerely, so to the point where, in college, when I was in a … (sighs) god. And this is a whole other thing—

K: This is going so many places!

C: This is going—you don’t even know where this is going. When I was in this performance rap group, which Toshio knows about—

K: (laughs) Oh my god.

C: —and this is very sexually explicit—I took on the persona of a girl named Lulu. And it was in homage to this obsession that I had from like … you know, fifteen, twenty years ago.

K: (laughing) Oh my god.

C: So, yeah.

K: (laughs) You were not joking when you were like, “No one else in the world had this as their formative moment!” 

C: I know.

K: That is wild, Caitlin. (laughs)

C: It truly was this hugely important song.

K: Oh my gosh.

C: And I don’t really love the original Lulu song. I’m sorry. And I have not seen the movie To Sir With Love with Sidney—

K & C: Poitier.

C: But yeah, I would say that was weirdly one of the most important musical experiences to me as a young girl.

K: Wow. That is definitely something. (laughing) Wow, Caitlin. I don’t even know how to follow that, like what am I supposed to … mine seems so boring in comparison. Well, my first one, anyway. It’s not unique to me, obviously, because we’re millennials. It’s interesting because when we were talking about our comfort episode a couple weeks ago, you were like, oh you’re probably gonna pick The Simpsons or Futurama because you know, you talk about those all the time. And I was like no, I’m gonna swerve and pick Bob’s Burgers. But if we’re talking about formative culture for me, I mean, there’s almost nothing bigger than The Simpsons. And it’s not interesting because literally everyone our age is like, yes, of course, we love The Simpsons. But it truly did shape, you know, my sense of humor. I mean probably couple The Simpsons with Conan [O’Brien], who wrote for The Simpsons, and you know, then had his own show, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, like those two things … if I had never seen them, or if i was just not that interested, I think I would be a completely different person today. Because they completely shaped what my sense of humor was like; how I made jokes; the kinds of things I thought were funny. Particularly with Conan, being someone who is incredibly um … I don’t know. The thing with late-night shows is that I feel like a lot of the hosts are always waiting to like make a joke, which, obviously that’s the point, they’re all comedians, but he is never trying to make the guests the butt of the joke, like he’s always the butt of the joke.

C: Right.

K: Like he’s always self-deprecating. And that was the first time I’d ever seen anyone with that level of like … with that platform be like, oh yeah, no I’m actually not that cool, or you know, not that good-looking, and I know that about myself and I’m fine with it, like it was very refreshing to see. 

C: He’s so goofy and wacky too, which is fun.

K: Yeah, and that’s what I liked about him, which I felt like … you know, there are so many messages of like well, you can’t be like this when you’re an adult, because being an adult is to be serious or whatever. But then you have these writers for The Simpsons, who are adults, and they’re making one of the funniests like weirdest cartoons or shows in the world. And then you have Conan, who like came from that world who got to be on his own show and under his own name and is like, no, I’m actually like this all the time, like this is what I’m like as an adult person. Which was, I don’t know. I just—I love that show. I love Conan as a person. I think he’s really … he must have been really great at it, because he’s been around for so long and you haven’t seen him really change. That sort of is evidence that he really was the person that he always was on the show, which is to say a guy who’s interested in talking to other people and having fun with it. Yeah, I mean The Simpsons obviously, like I—

C: Right.

K: You probably won’t be surprised to learn that I listen to a number of [The] Simpsons podcasts.

K & C: (laughing)

K: Even though the show … I have not watched it regularly in like fifteen years or something, but yeah, it’s just such a … I can’t divorce it from my childhood. We didn’t have cable either at my house, like we had a VHS. We didn’t have Betamax, unfortunately. But we did have local channels, and at a certain point in the 90s everybody had this, but when The Simpsons went into syndication, it was like, that’s what you watched. Like however many times it was on during the day, like you watched it every single time.

C: Yeah.

K: Like it didn’t matter how many times you’d seen those episodes, and so there’s a whole generation of us that can communicate with like [The] Simpsons quotes and memes and … it’s just such an interesting thing, because I don’t think that exists anymore. Actually, that’s that’s not technically true. I think the last thing that exists for is probably Spongebob. But I was way too old for that when it came out, so that’s like a different generation that has that as its touchstone. But for me it’s The Simpsons and Conan. Like they’re just … I love em. I mean, they’re not good anymore … I mean, Conan is still good. The Simpsons … it’s still going. 

C: Right.

K: That’s about as good as I can say for it, but I just have so much love for what it was and how it shaped my sense of humor.

C: Me too, yeah. Those early episodes.

K: They’re amazing!

C: And the ones that Conan wrote—Conan wrote the Monorail episode, which is still—

K: He wrote the Wacking Day episode—

C: Yes, yes.

K: —which has Barry White, and I love it so much. Ugh. God, he’s incredible.

C: Yeah. And Conan’s late-night show was also something that I watched as a teenager and totally loved. It was just so goofy, which I loved.

K: It’s great. Yeah I mean the thing I like about him, I think, is that he really does seem interested in people, and you get that from his remotes that he does, like when he goes out into the world to do stuff. Like he always is just so funny because he’s just interacting with people and letting them respond to his goofiness and it just doesn’t matter where he goes or who he’s talking to; it’s just always the same and it’s so much fun. I can’t wait to see what his HBOMax show is gonna be like. I think that starts this year, maybe? Next year? I don’t know. I’m psyched about it though. Yeah, I wanna hear about what your other music things are.

C: Oh, okay.

K: Nothing’s gonna beat the Soul Asylum thing, and I’m never gonna forget that, so just FYI, it’s gonna be in my brain forever.

C: Speaking of you know, with the Conan and The Simpsons, totally share that. Kids in the Hall was also a thing for me, like sitting home watching just like old Kids in the Hall and Simpsons. But in terms of music, I tended to go through these different huge phases where I would get really really obsessed with certain genres or musical cultures. So I would say the gateway to getting me into indie rock, or getting me into stuff that wasn’t on, you know, MTV Unplugged was The Pixies’ Doolittle album, and—got into that. but the next kinda huge phase for me: I got super into the Olympia, Washington scene. So like K Records

K: Mmm, K Records!

C: Kill Rock Stars. Then I got really into riot grrrl. Got very much into riot grrrl. 

K: Not surprising.

C: Not actually—I know. I’m predictable. So weirdly, I got into Team Dresch first. Then I got into Bikini Kill. Bikini Kill, hugely influential to me. I was penpals with Kathleen [Hanna] in high school. And can I just say, I was very manipulative in getting her to write me.

K: (laughs)

C: Because, you know, Kathleen was getting tons and tons of fan mail. She was very important, and I was like, how can I get this icon who I worship, this beautiful … I mean, talk about obsessed. Yeah, I was kind of obsessed, and I thought she was just brilliant and, you know, I had all the fan zines so I was like, how can I get this woman to write me back? I was like (gasps) I’m gonna tell her I’m disabled—

K: (laughs) 

C: —and totally play that card. So I wrote to her and I was probably like fourteen, and I was like, I’ve got this disability and it’s really hard—and these are not lies, like I was being very sincere in this letter—

K: I mean, you do have a disability. It’s not like you were—

C: I wasn’t faking. I’m faking now, but at that time, I was not.

K: (laughs)

So I was like, I’m disabled, it’s really hard; I was like, “But it’s not fatal! I’m not gonna die.”

K: (laughs)

C: And so she (laughs) … bless her heart. She wrote me back and she was like … I don’t know what she said, something. And she was like, “… and I’m so glad it’s not fatal! Phew!” (laughs)

K: (laughing) Wow. Oh my gosh.

C: But that was so sweet of her to write me back, and we did write and correspond a few times, and I interviewed her for like three different fan zines that I made. She was gracious enough to do that, so that was huge for me. It was really important to have that kind of feminist outlet and just with … the environment that I was growing up in was certainly not conducive to that. It’s a miracle I got into colleges, and somehow I did, and met our producer Toshio in college. Shoutout to college.

K: (laughing) Shoutout to college …  don’t shoutout to college!

C: Shoutout to colleges and education.

K: Oh my gosh.

C: So I ended up going to … this school. I don’t know if I’ll say it. I’ll keep that a secret. I decided—number one was like, Olympia was like, mecca. I got into Evergreen and then I went to visit Olympia and I was like, I don’t wanna go to school in Olympia. No shade to Olympia. I just decided that I liked the city of Portland a lot more. I was like, oh, Bikini Kill played a show at this school. I’m gonna go there!

K: (laughs) This is the school … that’s so funny.

C: So that was a big factor in where I ended up going to college. I knew Bikini Kill had played a show there.

K: (laughs) It’s so funny the things that like—whenever I think about this, I’m like, why was this my decision? Because I made a similar decision about college based on something super minor when I was like eleven years old. I was in … not to brag, but you shouted out education, so I’m gonna say it. I was in the gifted and talented program when i was in school and um—

C: Woop woop! 

K: (laughs) It was nothing. It was honestly nothing. When I was in elementary school, it really was nothing, like it was barely even a program. We got out of class once a week or twice a week or something to like go do logic puzzles. There was nothing sort of programmatic about it. But once I got to middle school, it was actually … there were like regimented activities, and all this other stuff that they offered outside of regular classes and stuff, and one of the big activities was every semester, there was like a college visit. You didn’t have to pay for it; it was free. And so you would just like get on a bus with a bunch of other kids from—we called it GATE—from Gifted And Talented Education, and we’d go to a college in California and like get a tour and be there all day or whatever. When I was in seventh grade, when I was eleven,

we went to Berkeley—UC Berkeley—

C: Mm-hmm. Heard of it.

K: —and it completely blew my mind. I mean, I knew kids in school that had disabilities, but I didn’t know any like teens or adults who had disabilities who were just like, living their lives. That was the first place I ever saw that, was on our class trip, our GATE trip, to Berkeley. And I remember making up my mind like right then, like oh, that’s where I’m going to college, not knowing anything about how difficult it is to get in or whatever. Coming home and telling my mom like, “Yeah, I think I’m gonna go to Berkeley,” and her being like, (laughing) “Okay.” Like, “Yeah, sure you are.” And I’m like, “No I mean it,” and she’s like, “Okay, well you know it’s really difficult. You gotta work really hard,” and I’m like, “Okay, I can do that.” And she was like, “Okay.” Um, but yeah, I was like, “Why did I … ?” But I never had any backups. I was never like, well if I don’t get into Berkeley, this is what I’m gonna do instead. I was just like, no, I’m definitely gonna get in and then it’s gonna … you know, everything’s gonna be fine. And someone let me make that choice, which was not smart at all. If my mom had been more like … you know, more practical, she would have been like, no, you’re gonna also apply to these other schools and do this other stuff to make sure that you have something to fall back on if Berkeley doesn’t work out. But it did, luckily, so I never had to think about it. But every time, I’m just like, that was not a good idea, like nobody should have let me make that choice at whatever, eleven years old, and then again at sixteen when I was applying to college. It was not—

C: You’re like Doogie Howser. Applying to college at sixteen—

K: (laughs) No I’m not! I was just a year younger than everyone, that’s all.

C: You were! Didn’t you skip a grade?

K: I did. That’s why I was like eleven in seventh grade and like thirteen when I started high school.

C: You’re like little Ronan Farrow, going to college at twelve years old.

K: (laughs) I was actually seventeen when I went to college, so basically an adult, you know? 

C: Well, I just have to say, I love that story about you going to school—or, to Berkeley—and seeing disabled people and being like, this is the place for me.

K: I didn’t even know that the world could be like that! LI didn’t know that there could be like, curb cuts everywhere, and like, elevator … like I had no conception of that as like a possible reality for me.

C: Yeah!

K: And so it was just like … I didn’t know any other places in the world that were like that, so as far as I was concerned, I was like, that’s the only place, so that’s where I’m gonna go.

C: Absolutely. When I visited Portland, they had public transportation. 

K: Mm-hmm! Exactly, yeah.

C: So, you know, we didn’t have that. I was stuck in my house all the time. Not unlike now.

K: Same. (laughs)

C: But at the time … so you know, seeing that, and going to a city, and … public transportation is accessible; sidewalks are accessible; there’s other crips around here; it’s like, oh my god.

K: Yes. Yes.

C: But I mean, to be honest, it was like, I’m here for the music. I’m here for the music. It’s got a good scene.

K: (laughs) I don’t even … yeah, I mean, I also knew that as I got older and I started to be more into music and wanted to go to shows—even though I couldn’t, cuz no bands ever came to my part of Central California—I knew, I was like, oh, well it’s close to San Francisco, so that means I can just go to concerts all the time. Which I ended up doing, but like, when I was eleven I had no conception of that. But as I got older, I was like yeah, yes. It’s a city, and there’s a train system, buses, like I’m gonna be doing so much stuff. But yeah, I just thought that was funny, that you were like, (laughing) I’m going to college because of Bikini Kill. And I was like, I’m going to college here because they have curb cuts! Like we just made these choices, like yeah, and people were just like, that’s fine. It’s like … okay! I guess!

C: God, and look at us now. Number one on the charts. 

K: Look at us now! Everything that we did led to this moment. (laughs)

C: Congratulations to us.

K: To us! (laughing) And to our parents for letting us make those choices. 

Yeah, so I mean I kinda wanted to talk about a music thing. But I’m trying to decide if I should talk about like one that like you mentioned with Bikini Kill, like you got into via a series of other bands.

C: Mm-hmm.

K: And for me … I mean, I’m just gonna go there. So basically, if we’re talking formative … and a lot of people would probably be surprised to know this, but like … I had a huge, very intense boy band phase. 

C: Ooh.

K: And when I say boy band, I don’t mean all the boy bands. I mean one boy band in particular. The only good boy band, as far as I’m concerned. And that’s Backstreet Boys.

C: Ooh! Okay.

K: That’s Backstreet Boys! We’re not gonna argue about it. (laughs) There’s no … N’Sync exists. I will acknowledge that they are a thing. But as far as I’m concerned, the only good boy band is Backstreet Boys. But yeah, I got into them—I don’t even remember how. I know I heard Quit Playing Games With My Heart on the radio and I was like … this is fine. You know, whatever, I didn’t feel any particular way about it. And then I saw the video, which if you recall, is just them like looking into the camera and singing the lyrics. And then at one point after the bridge, they’re like … (laughing) all getting rained on and they’re just like, wet, just soaking wet, and just … (laughs) let’s just say it made an impression on me, at like thirteen years old or whatever.

C: (laughs)

K: And so I was like, yes, I’m in. Whatever they’re selling, I am buying it. 

C: Mm-hmm.

K: And like, literally, honestly. Like I got the CD, the self-titled, whenever it came out. ‘95? ‘96? And then I just like bought every magazine that I could afford to get. Any time they were on MTV; any time they were on any awards show, I was watching it. Even if I didn’t have cable, I’d tell my mom like, you need to bring me to granny’s, my grandma’s house, so I can watch this tonight, because I’m not gonna miss it, or whatever. I just—I was so obsessed with them for, I don’t know, a good four years or so, and … ugh, man. They were so good! I loved them so much!

C: That is surprising to me.

K: I know! People are like, what?! And they think I’m doing a bit or something, cuz, you know, that’s kinda my personality. But I’m like, no, I really did like them, and I still do like them. If I put on those albums, I’m like, no, they’re still good to me. I mean, obviously some of the songs don’t age well in terms of the sound; it sounds very 90’s. But ultimately, I just think that they were really talented and good and, I just—I don’t know, I thought they were incredible. And for awhile that was kind of what I was into. I had other musical interests, but like, as I was getting older and kinda separating away from my family—because you know, when you’re young, you just listen to the music that is around you. You’re not necessarily choosing stuff. But then you sort of start to develop your own tastes and that was one of the first bands where I was like, no no, I like this—

C: Mm-hmm.

K: —like this is for me only, and I got really into it. I got my sister into it a little bit, and one of my cousins was super into it. My very first concert was seeing Backstreet Boys, which was like—

C: Nice!

K: —in 1999, too. Like not, oh, whatever, like five years later. At the height height height of Backstreet Boys. It was an incredible moment, like it was so much fun.

C: Oh, was it the Mandy Moore tour?

K: It was the Mandy Moore tour! Okay, so it was wild the way that this happened. So, like I said, lived in Central California, from a poor working class family, like even if I had loved them for my entire life, I probably wouldn’t have gotten to see them live cuz we wouldn’t have had the money to afford tickets to see them. ‘99, Millennium had come out; it’s the biggest album in the world; they’re going on tour; and again, I didn’t think about it cuz I’m like, I not—I can’t afford tickets, so it never even crossed my mind to be upset about that. And then one of the radio stations in my area was giving away tickets, and again—I didn’t even bother, cuz I’m like what are the odds that we would win? And so it’s October, I think? And you know, I’m a junior in high school, and basically my whole life is band. Like, that’s the only thing that I care about—

C: Trumpet. Krystal’s a trumpet player.

K: Yeah. Playing trumpet, with my best friend who also played trumpet. 

C: So, fellow musician.

K: Yeah. My best—we were the only two girls, and obviously we were very good, cuz duh.

C: Duh.

K: But yeah, so I was just focused on that, not really thinking about anything else, and one night—it’s like a Wednesday or something and I’m winding down for the night, gettin in the shower, and then I’m just in the shower and my mom is just is like, banging on the bathroom door. And I’m like—at the time, we lived in an apartment with two bathrooms, and I’m like, she couldn’t possibly need the bathroom there’s another one. I know there is! So I’m like, “I’m in here!” and she’s like, “No, I wanna tell you something!” and I’m like, “Uh, what? Can’t you just wait until I get out?” And she’s like, “No, I can’t!” So she just like bursts in and she’s like, “Phil won tickets to the Backstreet Boys and he said you and Keisha (my cousin) can have them!” And I’m like … she’s saying words, and I’m watching her say words, but I’m not processing what she’s saying, and I had to repeat it back to her. I’m like … Phil won tickets? (laughs) Like I’m saying it out loud so I can understand what’s happening, and I’m like what? And she’s like yeah, “Phil, he called, and he won on the radio, and … “ Phil was one of my aunts’ boyfriends at the time, and he was like, “Yeah, you guys can have them. What am I gonna do—I don’t have kids.” (laughs) “I definitely don’t have kids that like Backstreet Boys, so here you go, like you guys can have em.”

C: Man, shoutout to Phil!

K: Yeah, shoutout to Phil! He’s like a UPS guy and so he occasionally will like, have deliveries to my grandma’s house, and that’s how he keeps in touch with the family. But yeah, so he gave them to us and I was like, “Okay so when is the show?” And my mom’s like, “It’s on Friday,” and my like band brain was like, I have to be at the football game on Friday, like I can’t miss band! And my mom—

C: Guess what?

K: I know. My mom was like, “Krystal, you’ve never missed anything ever, like you can miss one band … one band—one football game,” and she was like, “You’re gonna do it. You’re gonna miss it.” And I was like, “Okay, fine. So what do I tell people?” She was like, “You don’t have to tell people anything. Just be like, ‘I don’t know, I didn’t feel well or something,’ like you could just come up with whatever.” I get to school the next day and I have to tell my best friend Victoria, I’m like, “Oh my god, I’m going to see Backstreet Boys tomorrow. It’s gonna be wild.” And she was like, “Oh my gosh, but what about band?” But what about the game?” (laughs) Again, we had the same brain at the time. So I was like, “I know, my mom’s like, ‘Just miss it’ or whatever.” So yeah, so the next day she picked me up early, so I left at like noon or whatever and went home and you know, got ready, got some food. We jumped in the car, my mom and her best friend and me and my cousin Keisha, and we drove up to Sacramento to—I think it was Arco Arena at the time, and went to the show. And every time I think about it, I’m like, I can’t believe they let us do this, but like I was fifteen; my cousin Keisha was twelve. And she was just like, “Okay, here you go, by yourself into this concert for four hours” or whatever, and yeah, we just went in and we were in a really nice seating area. [It] was like …  they kept giving us drinks and like snacks and stuff, and I was like, this is pretty cool.

C: Damn!

K: I know! (laughs) I did not know what to expect, but I didn’t expect that.

C: VIP treatment!

K: It really kind of was. I don’t remember who else opened the show, though. I know there was like one other boy band. I think they were the first band, and I cannot remember. I know there were three of them?

C: Someone forgettable.

K: Definitely.

C: You weren’t there for them anyway.

K: No. But then the middle opener was Mandy Moore, and I remember being like, okay. This is fine. 

C: Apparently—I’m sorry. Apparently though, Mandy Moore went on to be sponsored by Gain Detergent and then headlined the Gain “Love at First [Scent]” tour.

K: (laughs) Ohh, Mandy. Ugh, Mandy. Oh, man. She had a rough patch.

C: I say justice for Mandy Moore.

K: Yeah. She had a rough patch. I will say, this is before any of that, obviously. This is when she was still like trying to be a pop star. And I just didn’t love her song. I thought it was not that good … um, I think it was—was it Candy?

C: Candy

K: Yeah. And I was just like, this is fine. Like I’m not upset by it, but I’m like, this doesn’t do anything for me. But yeah, and then they came out and it was just like, two hours of just spectacle. It was so incredible. I wish that … I’ve looked in the past to try to find that particular concert like on YouTube to see if someone recorded it or something, but I haven’t found it. But the ones that are on that same tour basically are the same of what I saw that night. It was just … (laughs) it was so much fun. Like it was one of the best moments of my life, and I’m glad I got to do it. But I never expected it.

C: That’s a great story! That’s a great story.

K: (laughs) It was so … every time I think of that, I’m like, I can’t believe that really happened. (laughs) But it did. And it was before like cell phones and video, so I don’t have any … I’m sure I do somewhere at my mom’s, cuz I remember I had like one of those disposable cameras, but I don’t know what I took pictures of, and I probably haven’t looked at them since I got them developed in like 1999. But yeah, it was just … I wish I had something to show from that night, but I don’t have anything except my memories. It was … yeah. What a time. What a time, the 90’s. It was wild.

C: I would say another formative thing for me growing up was after school specials and Lifetime movies.

K: Mm-hmm.

C: And really sad movies, like I was really into like Steel Magnolias and Beaches.

K: Mm-hmm. Oh, man. Beaches.

C: (sighs) So sad.

K: (laughs) It’s so good! But why were we so obsessed with Bette Midler at like, ten? Every ten-year-old loves that movie. I don’t know why. Or loved, at the time.

C: I know! Also at that time, I was watching all these TV shows with middle-aged women, like I loved the TV show Sisters. Sisters, with Swoosie Kurtz.

K: (laughing) I knew you were gonna say that. I knew you were gonna say that!

C: Everything I watched was like … middle-aged women goin’ through it.

K: Not to play the race card, but I’m gonna play the race card. I think there are like, white movies that are like that and then there are like, Black movies that are like that, and whenever I think of Steel Magnolias and Terms of Endearment, I always think of The Color Purple also, which is like—

C: Oh, god, another super depressing—

K: Yeah. But it’s like one of those formative movies where you’re like, I can’t ever remember the first time I saw it. I just know that like I have always known it and everyone else I know also knows it, and I don’t remember how it became so ubiquitous, but it like is, and it’s … it’s a good movie, I mean honestly. It’s an incredible movie.

C: It is a good movie. It’s a good book, too. I mean, I think just cuz Oprah was in it, maybe that’s why we all saw it.

K: But she wasn’t Oprah yet, though. That was like 1985, so she wasn’t like really really Oprah.

C: She was getting there!

K: I mean, she was definitely—no, I think probably like Danny Glover was the most famous person in the movie, if you had to say.

C: And Whoopi [Goldberg]!

K: But she was like famous for not being an actor though, you know what I mean?

C: Right.

K: So like everybody was like, is this gonna be good, or is it gonna be not good? And it was incredible, so yeah. I don’t know. That movie—every time I think about like Steel Magnolias and Beaches and like those kinds of like tearjerkers, I’m like, oh man. [The] Color Purple. It’s up there for me, for sure.

C: It’s also a far better movie than Steel Magnolias and—

K: Every time I think about it I get mad about it, though. It didn’t win, like it didn’t win [at] The Oscars, like how did it not win an Oscar for anyone that was involved? It’s so wild.

C: Racism.

K: (laughs) I mean, obviously. We know why.

C: Let’s just call it what it is. That’s racism.

Okay, so this brings us to Two Cents, No Tax. Krystal, I have prepared a list for you. I hope you’re ready.

K: I think so? We’ll see. We’ll see. (laughs) 

C: So I’m gonna pick some of the spicier ones, I think, this week. 

K Oh my goodness. Okay. Nervous. 

C: Some of these I really wanna know. So with Two Cents, No Tax, we’re gonna get your … not the whole spiel, but a little TLDR version of a hot take what you think of this.

K: Yeah, yeah!

C: So the first subject that I have for you: Hilaria Baldwin.

K: (laughs) Okay. I know why you asked this, and I remember the whole scandal about her and the fact that she apparently for a long time had been claiming to be Latinx? And—

C: No, she … so for those of you who don’t know this is the wife of Alec Baldwin, who is from Boston, MA and has claimed that she is from spain—

K: (laughs) Spain. That’s it. Hispanic, yes.

C: —and she has … what’s the word I’m looking for perpetrated fraud for decades, pretending to be this Spanish woman, pretending not to know English, pretending not to remember English words—

K: Like the word cucumber, yeah. (laughs)

C: Like the word cucumber. I personally find it hilarious, I guess pun intended. But um, yeah. I would love to know what our opinion is on Hilaria Baldwin, who also has … I think at this point it’s like a thousand kids? I don’t know if it’s like a PR thing for her or what—

K: I was gonna say, they have so many kids … 

Yeah, no. I mean … I don’t know, it’s one of those things that I’m like, fascinated by from afar, but I’m also like grossed out by it, and also like equally don’t really care. I’m just like … I don’t know, I feel like rich people are always doing that like embellishing their backgrounds to make themselves seem more interesting, and I’m like, you can just be a white girl from Massachusetts, that’s fine. Like you can just do that, so maybe you should just do that. Your husband’s already super wealthy and like famous. You don’t need anything else, you know?

C: For our fans, there is a really great podcast, Scam Goddess podcast, and they do a great takedown of Hilaria Baldwin kind of explaining what they think the theory is behind why she did this scam for so long, so I suggest that. So anyway, good answer.

K: (laughs) Okay.

C: Thumbs up on that. So the next Two Cents No Tax we have is the phrase “sliding into your DMs.”

K: (laughs) I like it. It makes me laugh; it makes me think of baseball. Like someone sliding into home, (laughing) like they’re really going for it, you know? Like putting their body on the line. Yeah, I think it’s funny. I use it more ironically than, you know, actually genuinely, earnestly. I don’t think anyone uses it earnestly. Do people use it earnestly? I only see people kind of making fun of it, or you know, deploying it in a way that’s like jokey. But yeah, I think it’s funny, and I think people should say it.

C: Okay.

K: Until too many people start saying it, and then they should stop saying it. 

C: How do we know when there’s too many people saying it?

K: Um, I don’t know. I feel like we’ve kind of … that if it was gonna happen with that, it would have happened already. I feel like it’s one of those things that fortunately didn’t get overused. But yeah. (laughs) Toshio put when Hilary Clinton said rockstar, that was a thing. Yeah, I definitely think—

C: When did she say that? What was … when did she say … that she was a rockstar?

K: I think probably—I think the word rockstar has been … what’s the word? Appropriated is not the—but like, co-opted in a very strange way. As somebody who almost became a librarian, was in the library and archives world, librarians love to call themselves and other librarians rockstars. It’s just… it’s so ubiquitous, and I’m like, why? What is the thing? You can just be a librarian. You don’t have to be a rockstar librarian, like it puts too much pressure on people. And it also makes it into like more than just a job. Like if you wanted to be a librarian cuz you’re like, I think this will be a job that I don’t hate, that’s almost kinda looked down upon. You have to be a librarian who pours all of your energy and time and creativity into being a rockstar, or else you don’t like love it enough, and it’s like, yeah maybe I don’t. It’s just my job, you know. (laughs) So, yeah.

C: I love that, actually. I love that you’re illuminating the underbelly of being a librarian and calling it— 

K: Oh, it’s kind of come to the forefront in the last couple years, a lot of people have pushed back against that like … the way that librarians have sort of made librarianship into this like identity, rather than just like a career field, and sort of the pressure that puts on people. Especially, you know, librarians who happen to come from marginalized backgrounds. It’s a whole conversation that’s happening that I’m only on the tangents of, fringes of, cuz I’m not in that world anymore. But whenever I see it pop up, I’m like oh, that’s interesting.

C: The next one I have is—and this is special for you.

K: Oh my gosh. Okay.

C: Because, you know, it’s only been a few episodes that we’ve done, but I really feel like I’m just soaking up your energy. 

K: (laughs)

C: I am a sponge, and it’s like, I don’t know if it’s just like the power that you exude—

K: Oh my gosh.

C: —but it’s like, I need more. I need to be more like you.

K: (laughs) No you don’t!

C: So like some of my hobbies and my interests, you’re expanding them, and I just wanna say that on record. Thank you.

K: Oh! 

C: So this comes for you. This is for you because this is something that popped up in the last week for me where… I think I knew it exists, and I hadn’t really thought of it in a long time, and then it showed up in my world, and I was taken aback. Two Cents No Tax on: the fact that there is a basketball team named Jazz from Utah.

K: (laughing) Okay! I can explain that.

C: I am flabbergasted, because when you think of jazz, you do not think Salt Lake City.

K: No, that’s a really good one. Okay so basically the NBA, right now it has thirty teams, but in the past, it had fewer. So teams would either move around to different cities, or the NBA would say like oh, you know, it’s becoming really popular in this area; we should start a franchise. And so what happened, I think with the Jazz, is that the New Orleans team used to be the Utah team—

C: (laughs) Ohh. Okay.

K: The team that is now the Jazz used to be in New Orleans, I believe. I think that’s what happened. So they’re like, well we’ll move it here, but we’ll just keep the name. And it’s like, wait a minute, this does not make sense at all—

C: No, it doesn’t.

K: —but they’re just like, we’re just goin with it. We’re goin with it. So yeah, that’s really funny. But it’s completely incongruous. Especially because in the 80’s and 90’s, the Jazz’s best player was a guy named John Stockton, who is like, the whitest, dad-dest player you could ever imagine (laughing) and you’re like, no, you fit on this team, but why is the name what it is? Like, it does not make sense at all. But yeah, no. That’s a really good question. They’re actually very good this year. They have the best record in the NBA right now, so they’re doing great, the Jazz.

C: Well, shoutout to the Jazz.

K: Shoutout to Utah Jazz. Shoutout to you, Donovan Mitchell, and not Rudy Gobert. He sucks. But that’s a really fun question. I’m glad you brought that up.

C: Well, thank you. So this brings us to the last segment of the show, so what we’re reading; listening to; watching … I have some recommendations. As I’ve mentioned before in past episodes, sometimes I’m not so up-to-date with new music, and I don’t have any new music to share with you.

K: (laughs)

C: However, I do tend to be more up-to-date in the world of literature.

K: Mm-hmm.

C: So I just finished a new book. It came out on March 9th—

K: Whoa.

C: —and I finished it. I read it and I finished it!

K: (laughs) That’s like three days ago.

C: I know. (laughs) Well, I don’t have much to do. 

K: Ohh.

C: It’s called Last Call: A True Story of Love, Lust and Murder in New York, and it was very good. I really enjoyed it. If you’re into true crime, especially true crime about marginalized people who—their cases have been completely minimized and disregarded because of where they come from. It’s a really interesting book about queer New York and the surrounding areas in the 80s and the 90s and discrimination agains the queer community, and what was going on politically with HIV, and how that affected the investigations of these men who were targeted. And really well-researched. So if you’re into true crime, it was really good. I also have been watching—thanks to you, Krystal—I’ve been watching The Last Dance on Netflix— 

K: (laughs) Oh yeah. Incredible stuff.

C: —which is the Michael Jordan documentary that has been out for … (sighs) obviously, once again, you know I’m—

K: Yeah, you definitely missed the zeitgeist on that one.

C: I’m so late. I did. And I saw all of the memes and people talking about it and then … I guess I have the time this week. So now I’m watching it, and it is as good as literally every other person has said it is, so, you know, I don’t need to go into it. But even as someone who is not typically a sports person, I do love documentaries, and this one has been so compelling. And … the drama!

K: Oh my gosh, so much drama. So much drama!

C: The drama is … if someone had just told me, “Watch this. So dramatic!” I would have been like … okay. Also, the music in there? Fantastic.

K: Oh yeah, it’s really good. The bops, yeah.

C: Like 90’s and 80’s hip-hop, which is my jam. So, anyway, I think I’m probably like the last person who hasn’t actually watched the documentary.

K: (laughs)

C: But anyway, it’s good! So, tip of the hat to you, Krystal, for rubbing off on me.

K: Thank you. Thank you.

C: Okay. So what are you into this week?

K: I mean, first I wanted to say, obviously it’s good, and I just wanna say, you’re like, “Oh, the drama! If I had known” … the drama is like ninety percent of why I like sports. There’s so much goin on all the time and they try to act like they’re above it, but it’s like, no, they’re just people.

C: Oh my gosh, I mean—

K: There’s a lot. There’s a lot going on.

C: —I might be getting into sports now.

(laughs) Toshio’s face! His eyes just … (laughing)

K: He’s like, no thanks. (laughs) I mean, no, when there were players like Michael Jordan, I think it would have been more interesting. There’s not that many like that anymore. I think probably the only closest that people sort of … like, he’s like a polarizing figure, is Draymond Green from the Warriors, but they’re not that good anymore, so … 

C: What about like LeBron?

K: But I don’t think he’s polarizing, because—

C: Oh, no.

K: —everyone knows he’s good, and he doesn’t have that chip on his shoulder in the same Michael Jordan did, which is like really part of the thing that fueled him, right, is he was always looking for some slight that someone had done against him, to use that as fuel to just crush them, you know? Whereas like LeBron, I don’t think he does that. He’s like, I know I’m really good and I don’t need anyone else’s … I don’t need to power myself, fuel myself, off of other people’s doubt. So yeah, I think it’s just a different kind of personality. Plus it seems like LeBron is actually friends with a lot of people in the NBA and I don’t feel like Michael Jordan is friends with a lotta people in the NBA. 

C: No.

K: And obviously, if you’re watching the documentary, you can know why. 

C: Yes. 

K: He’s kind of unpleasant. But yes, so I’m glad you’re watching that. That’s great. How far along are you? Are you like done?

C: No. I think I’m six episodes in. 

K: Oh, okay.

C: The next episode—and like this is not a spoiler, cuz it happened—

K: Is real life?

C: —a million years ago, is about his dad getting murdered.

K: Oh, okay, yeah you’re getting into the real meat of it then.

C: Yeah, and I just didn’t have it in me to watch that episode last night.

K: It’s pretty intense, yeah.

C: But after this fun, that’s what I’m lookin forward to.

K: Oh, good. Good.

C: Not really. That sounds awful, but … (laughs)

K: (laughs)

K: No, It’s a really good documentary. And obviously, good stuff happened to him after that.

C: He did fine.

K: (laughs)  Yes. He’s doing well, Michael Jordan, if you’re concerned. So I really haven’t been watching or reading or listening to that much new stuff. The only thing that I can think of is I finally started season two of Shrill.

C: Ooh that’s a good one, Shrill.

K: Yeah, and it took me this long … I know it came out like last year or whatever, but it took me this long cuz I was kind of—not kind of. I was very underwhelmed by the first season. People really seemed to love the first season and I was very confused, because I didn’t really feel like it was a show (laughs), which is like … not fair. But I feel like—you know, the show Shrill is based on the writings and the life of Lindy West, like a feminist writer from the Pacific Northwest, I think in Seattle. 

C: Yeah. 

K: Is it Seattle or Portland? 

C: In Seattle. Yeah.

K: Yeah, okay. So I’m not trying to like defame her or whatever. I just thought the show … it had a lot of capital-T things to say about like being fat and being feminist and being a woman, and I feel like it did that at the expense of like a cohesive character development, or like a plot that was anything. It just felt like things were being strung together and it didn’t really make sense or sort of wasn’t really fulfilling for me to watch. Like we got to the end and I was like, that’s it? So when season two came out, I was like, I don’t know, man, I’m not that psyched about it, so I’ll get to it when I get to it. And I finally was like, well I have nothing else to do (laughs), so I think I’ll like jump in. And I’m only like—I’ve only watched the first two episodes, and I think there’s only six. So it’s not a lot. But yeah, I definitely am liking it more. I feel like one of the things I didn’t like about the first season was I felt like they had some really interesting characters from marginalized backgrounds, like her best friend, who’s Black, and one of the employees at the sort of weekly where she worked is Patti Harrison, who if you guys—

C: Who is my favorite person!

K: (laughs) She’s incredible. She’s so funny!

C: I have tweets of hers—hold on.

K: She’s so good. And she’s so funny in that show because she’s kind of playing against her like type or her comedy or her comedic persona, so anytime she does get to let that out a little bit it’s always amazing. Ugh, I love her so much.

C: So yeah, Patti Harrison who is on that show, has I think one of the best Twitter and Instagram accounts that I’ve ever seen—

K: Yeah, her presence. Yeah.

C: —she is so wild and out of control. I love her. She’s hilarious. So, not too long ago she got on Twitter and changed her picture to vanilla wafers—

K: (laughs) Oh yeah.

C: Nilla Wafers, and—lemme just—I’m gonna … I may or may not put these on our Instagram.

K: We should definitely put them in the show notes, for sure.

C: Yeah. So she tweeted a couple things, and it says … so her pictures shows vanilla wafers and then it says Nilla Wafers by Nabisco (laughs), and some of her tweets are— 

K: (laughs)

C: —“Hello. I am Sia (the singer) doing a social media takeover for Nilla Wafers today. There are only two genders.”

K: (laughs) She’s just an incredible weirdo, and I love her. She’s so funny. But yeah, I think the thing I like about it; they’re doing more with their surrounding cast, and it’s good because most of the main characters are white people—

C: Right.

K: —so it’s kind of cool to be like, okay we’ve got some … (claps) some non-whites in here; we’ve got some queer people in here; this is good. We’re good. Something’s happening.

C: Well, thank you for sharing those. I think those are good choices.

K: That’s good. What was I gonna say about yours? I think you talked about .. you talked about Shrill, and then you talked about The Last Dance, and—oh, Last Call, yes.

C: Last Call.

K: My friend Lisa … I think I have a lot of mutual friends with Elon Green, for some reason, and apparently that book is—

C: Flex!

K: (laughs) Nah. They’re not my … I’m not friends with them, so that’s not really a flex. It’s like a sad person flex. Yeah, apparently that book is like humongous, and I didn’t realize it until I started seeing him on Instagram everywhere, so I’m glad to hear you think it’s good, and not just like people who know him, you know? (laughs)

C: I don’t know him. He’s asked me to say that. I do not know him.

K: (laughs) Yeah, so, shall we? Did we do it? Did we do another episode?

C: (laughs) I think we did.

K: Okay! Awesome. 

C: Any final thoughts?

K: Um, no. I’m just really happy to know that I’m like rubbing off on you with (laughs) the NBA stuff and also I’m .. the Utah Jazz question. I’m never gonna stop laughing about that. 

C: (laughs)

K: It’s so funny, cuz of course (laughing) you’d be very confused if you’re like, what? Aren’t the teams supposed to be named after things that are relevant to that area? Yeah. Not a lot of Utah jazz bands.

C: Not Utah, no.

K: Nuh-uh.

C: Alright, well until next time!

(theme song plays)