Two Cents Plus Tax
Episode 1: “Guilty Pleasures”
Transcript has been lightly edited for readability.
(opening song plays)
Krystal: I’m Krystal.
Caitlin: I’m Caitlin.
K: and this is …
K & C: Two Cents Plus Tax!
C: Hi and welcome to the first episode of Two Cents Plus Tax! Krystal, how’s your day been going?
K: I think this day went by really quickly, like I feel like I woke up and then immediately it was noon. I was like, what happened to my morning? I didn’t get to do anything, really. What about you?
C: I have been hyped up since about … since I woke up. I have been on like, Anne-Hathaway-hosting-the-Oscars energy.
C: Because I am so excited—
K: Justice for her.
C: —to be doing this podcast. True, true. Justice for Anne Hathaway, sure. And fuck James Franco. I’ll just say that right off the bat. He’s so terrible.
K: I mean … the worst. The worst. Terrible.
C: Well, I think these first few sentences kinda describe what we’re gonna be doing with this podcast, right?
K: Yeah! Basically just us talking about pop cultureçç
C: And shit-talking!
K: —and takes, and yeah. We have a lot of opinions, so they’re definitely … this is the place for them to come out. For sure.
C. Absolutely. This is a safe space.
K: (laughs) I didn’t mean to laugh at that. That’s true. It is.
C: It is. It’s a safe space for shit-talking and opinions. I would call you a connoisseur of pop culture. You are the queen of hot takes. You are part of the Twitterati.
K: No I’m not! Like I said, I have a lot of opinions. I don’t know if I—
C: You have a lot of opinions, yes.
K: —Yes. but I—
C: They’re really—they’re interesting, and I love a hot take from Krystal.
K: —I suppose. I definitely am at the age, though, where I feel like I’m less knowledgeable about what people are talking about. Like all of these takes and I’m just like, I don’t even know what that show is; I haven’t seen it yet; I don’t know that actor … but you know. I’m trying to keep up as best I can.
C: And how old are you? You’re thirty … ?
K: Oh yeah, I’m thirty-seven. I’m I’m older than you—
C: Well, I’m the elder in this relationship.
C: I’m thirty eight, going on thirty-nine, so …
K: Wow. Nice.
C: So you can listen to my advice and wisdom.
K: (laughing) Okay.
C: But I do say that you have a lot of good hot takes, so I’m excited to hear them.
C: And today we have—I think it’s an interesting topic. You and I even have opinions on the title of the topic.
C: So today we’re gonna be talking about guilty pleasures.
K: Yeah! And I mean, I think—when you mention that we have opinions about the title, like I don’t necessarily super believe in the idea of guilty pleasures, like I think—
C: Nor do I.
K: —Yeah. I think if you like something and you enjoy it, you should enjoy it like wholeheartedly, and you shouldn’t feel like you have to—
C: Feel bad about it? Yeah.
K: —apologize for liking it! I mean, for me there are some—I have two of them specifically, and they’re definitely—I do feel bad about liking them, but they’re not related to the actual … what it is. It’s just there are reasons to feel super proud to like these things.
C: Yes, me too. Me too.
K: But, generally speaking, I think if you’re talking about, like, pop culture consumption, you should just like what you like and own it, and that’s fine.
C: Right. Okay, I’m a hundred percent in agreement with that. But for the sake of ease and to have a title, like …
K: (laughing) Right.
C: We’re just gonna go with it, right?
K: Right. And we know that other people think of pop culture consumption in this way. So when we say guilty pleasures we’re not necessarily talking about like how we think of them but, you know, how generally people who consume pop culture think of guilty pleasures.
(audio cuts out for nine seconds)
C: —guilty about, and we talked before recording this, and you’ve mentioned some of mine already, not on the air yet. But okay, so you go first, miss Krystal.
K: Okay, so I guess I can start with the ones that are … let’s just say a little more serious. So my guilty pleasures—the first one that I’m gonna talk about are sports. Generally it’s not bad to like sports. Billions of people like sports, and I’m not unique in that, but I particularly enjoy basketball and football, and both of those sports have reasons to sort of feel guilty as a fan. I mean in terms of football, for sure, right? Like we know that the history of CTE [Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy] and, you know, damage that it does to the players’ health, and the fact that the NFL pretty much denied any damage for decades before actually coming clean about it, like—not super great, right? And for a long time actually, probably the last five years, I’ve watched less football than I have ever because of that reason.
C: What is CTE?
K: Oh! It’s like a head injury. I’m gonna look it up right now.
C: Oh, okay!
K: Well it’s basically like a condition that you get from—
C: My bad.
K: —Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.
C: Oh, yes yes yes.
K: Yeah. It’s basically like, a lot of football players, particularly ones that played in the 70’s and 80’s, before safety concerns were becoming more routine in the league, have suffered from this, and it causes mood swings and depression, and some players have … you know, taken their own lives, and it’s been really, really dark. And especially the league’s response to it has been not the best over the last decade or so. They’ve actually finally come out and said, actually it’s a real thing—
C: Right. Right.
K: —and yes, we should be paying the players who are like suffering from it now, but yeah. For a long time, I did not watch football because of that, and then all of the … let’s just say the response to how—you know, the anti-racism efforts that have happened in the last couple of years as well … not super great.
C: Not great! Not great.
K: No. no. Especially living here in like the Bay Area, you know, and seeing what happened with Colin Kaepernick … it was very, uh—disappointing, you know? To see the way he was essentially drummed out of the league for being like, I believe that Black people—
C: For taking a knee, yeah.
K: —have the right to not get killed by, you know, police, and … people did not like him to say that.
C: No. And I’m gonna—can I take a controversial stance on behalf of our podcast? For both of us?
K: Yeah, go ahead.
C: Neither of us believe that people should be killed by police violence.
K: (laughs) Yeah, you know what? That is—I’m gonna say that’s a cold take, because that’s a take that everybody should have.
C: (laughing) I agree.
K: Not controversial on this podcast for sure. But yeah, I—it was very, you know, depressing to me to see that happen, and the league has been marginally better in the last couple of years, but still really terrible on issues of race. And also on issues of violence against women, you know? I am a Steelers fan—have been since I was like ten years old—and the Steelers’ quarterback is Ben Roethlisburger, who has been credibly accused of sexual assault like multiple times and he’s been the quarterback of that team for like two decades.
K: So, yeah, it’s not great. (laughs) So that’s—I do feel like sort of like … ugh about liking sports. I do wish I just like … I said this on Twitter the other day, but I wish I did not have the sports gene, like so that it did not affect me, because … I just do. I just have it. My sister and I, we both have it. It’s a bummer sometimes, for sure. But yeah, that’s the NFL. The NBA? Much better, at least, in terms of race and sort of being the more “woke” league, but obviously I think they’ve been really terrible in their handling of COVID.
C: Oh, yeah.
K: Like today, they’ve cancelled a ton of games because one team—the Raptors, I think it is? They have like five coaches or something who are out wth COVID, and it’s just like … just cancel the games. Cancel the season. Let people go home.
C: Right. We don’t need to die over sports.
K: Exactly. Like the thing is, I like sports. But if, you know, both the NFL and the NBA and any other league were like, we are not gonna play until people can safely get the vaccine and come and play without worrying about damaging their health in the long term, I’m just like … I would be fine if it went away tomorrow, you know? But yeah, I just think they’ve been really terrible with how they’ve handled it, especially because like a bunch of players get it and then they come back and they’re just like, “Okay, well we’re just expected to play fifty more games,” and we don’t even know what kind of effects this disease has on people long-term. And you hear these players talk about how, like, “Yeah, I’m feeling good, but I like can’t get my wind,” and I’m like … because you’re not feeling good, right? Like you feel like you have to come out and play because you won’t get paid otherwise, but like, if you’re damaging your health, you’re not gonna be able to play for very long and you’re still not gonna get paid, right? So it’s just a whole thing. So that’s my guilty pleasure, sports! I love it. I wish I didn’t, but (laughs) I kind of do, so.
C: Well, I kinda feel like the way you feel about sports is the way I feel about my—and I feel even weird saying this but—true crime.
C: In that it is a morbid interest. And it’s not that I enjoy violence, or, you know, people suffering—
K: (laughs) Again, another cold take, yeah.
C: I don’t enjoy that, uh …for the record—I will have that on the record—I don’t enjoy violence and murder.
K: (laughs) Lemme write that down.
C: But I think—yes, please do!—I am interested in psychology.
C: I am interested in what conditions create horrible things happening.
C: I guess is a way to describe it.
K: Because a lot of times, like, we always want to ascribe people doing bad things as to, oh, well they’re just like you know … I don’t like to use this word, but like, oh, they’re crazy; they have some sort of mental illness, and that’s the only explanation for why people commit crime, but that’s not really the only explanation.
K: And so these shows do, like sort of … you know, you do get a glimpse into what are the other reasons that stuff like this happens?
K: Exactly. And I think also what it comes down to is, I also love mysteries and detective work. I like solving things, puzzles, so I think that is the aspect that I enjoy. But I would … I feel weird telling people that, oh yes, I enjoy true crime, because then I feel sort of ghoulish.
K: It can be, yeah. And, you know, you don’t have to feel weird, because I grew up as the child of someone who really loves what we used to call murder shows, like euphemistically, to make fun, and so I’ve watched a lot. I still watch a lot. It sounds horrible to put it this way, but like … they’re an easy watch, because at the beginning something happens, and at the end you know you’re gonna get some sort of resolution. It’s like watching an episode of Law & Order, right? Like it’s the same kinda structure every time. A crime happens; there’s some investigation; maybe they have a lead and then it turns out it’s not the right one. And then they end up with the actual perpetrator and then something happens. They either get found guilty in court or they don’t, right? So it’s kind of, you know, self-contained. You get that one hour and you’re in and out, and you know what’s gonna happen.
K: But you’re right. It is kind of morbid to sort of think of it as entertainment when there are real people involved with this stuff, rather than Law & Order, where it’s just … you know, it’s made up.
K: Yeah. I read Billy Jensen, who does a podcast with Paul Holes, who is the dreamiest. Paul Holes is a detective who worked on the Golden State Killer case and essentially helped catch Joseph DeAngelo. I was obsessed with the Golden State Killer case and Michele McNamara’s book I’ll Be Gone in the Dark. But Billy Jensen wrote a really great book called Chase Darkness With Me that I read, and he essentially stated what you just said, in that one of the reasons people enjoy true crime is that they do want that resolution. They want order. So something is—something happens; something horrible has happened that, you know, creates chaos or disorder, and at the end you do get that resolution. That’s one reason why people enjoy it, because then, you know, homeostasis has returned.
K: (laughs) Yeah. It’s definitely … I mean again, like I said, I watch them too, and I didn’t even think to include them as my own personal guilty pleasure, but they definitely are. Like I certainly feel differently about consuming them now than I did, you know, five or ten years ago. It’s weird to think that there’s been an explosion in true crime cuz it’s always been around
K: But like in terms of like podcasting and sort of, you know, the explosion in documentaries and stuff, like prestige documentaries on HBO and Showtime and, you know, Netflix and stuff, like i just feel like it’s been … it’s so much more a part of mainstream culture, whereas before, when I was growing up in the 90’s, you know, really the only people who watched like Dateline and 48 hours were, like I said, people like my mom who were, you know—
C: And me!
K: —I mean, and me too, you know, as whatever a ten year old kid, like—
K: —definitely it was not like, this sort of cottage industry that had sprung up yet, you know. So it’s really interesting to see that change now, where it’s like, oh, no this is a thing that everyone likes. It’s like, really? Cuz it didn’t used to be that way.
K: But yeah, it’s interesting to notice.
C: Unsolved mysteries was a big one for me as a kid
K: Yeah, I never got into that one and you know what, I think because like—there was like a lot more paranormal stuff on that stuff and I just—
C: (singsongy) Love it. Love it!
K: (laughs) I don’t care—I was not interested in that stuff I was like, no I don’t wanna care about aliens. I wanna know about that … you know, strangling or something that happened … (laughing) this sounds horrible. We can get off this topic! But yeah, I just was not an unsolved mystery person. I think it was too creepy for me, for sure.
C: I’m very much the Mulder in this relationship, and you’re very much the Scully.
C: I love the paranormal! I love the paranormal. Um … the theme song is scary.
K: Yes. It’s creepy for sure.
C: The theme song still scares me.
K: Yes, yes.
C: And Robert Stack—
K: I think even people who love the show—yeah, no, it’s super creepy. Yeah, Robert Stack—great! Great.
C: Yeah. Steppin’ out in that long coat in the fog—
K: (laughing) The trench coat!
C: You know something’s goin’ on.
K: Yeah, everybody our age has a thing with that show. I don’t know what it is. I think it’s just cuz back when it was the monoculture of, like, that’s just what everyone watched. It was on and it was easy to consume (laughs).
C: So … what else? What are your other guilty pleasures?
K: You know, one of them actually … when we first started recording and you did that thing when you talked—spoke closely to the mic—
C: (gets close to microphone) You mean like this?
K: Yeah! Exactly. (laughs) So, it pretty much reminded me of my other guilty pleasure, which is ASMR videos.
C: Whoa! Okay
K: Yeah! I don’t know even how I came across them, but probably like in the last … I don’t know … five or six years, like I really have gotten into them. And it’s not like an all-the-time thing; I mostly listen to them when I’m falling asleep. Cuz I find them very soothing, and it’s a way to listen to something without having to like, have my TV on, you know? The light from TV or whatever. I usually listen on YouTube. YouTube has like a treasure trove of different ASMR videos, and there’s so many types to enjoy. Like there are ones that are people role-playing; people reading to you; people telling you facts about different things … there are like … there’s just so much, and it’s such a weird thing to try to explain to people, so I usually don’t (laughs). I don’t talk about it at all.
C: (laughs) What are your favorites?
K: So I mostly like the ones that are—okay, so when liking ASMR, there’s like a lot of different things about it that people enjoy. Some people like the (whispers) whispering ones. I don’t like those ones. They make me feel—they make my skin crawl. I hate them.
K: I don’t like the ones that are like, eating and mouth sounds—
K: I don’t really like those either; it makes me very uncomfortable. Um, so I mostly just like the ones where people are speaking in a normal volume, and like, doing some kind of role-play where they’re like teaching you about a thing. Like so those ones I find the most comforting and soothing, and I can put one of those on and fall asleep in like ten minutes or something.
C: So when you say role play …
K: (laughs) Mmmm. No—
C: What does that mean?
K: I don’t mean that. So it means like people creating a scenario and then being a character in that scenario. So you’ll see a lot of ones of people being like a teacher and they’re teaching you a lesson in French or something. Or they’ll be a doctor, and they’re like, oh, I’m gonna give you a checkup or whatever, and it’s like—it’s hard to explain. Or like a hairdresser and they have some kind of like … mannequin wig (laughs), and they sort of do a style on this person. Like it’s not role-playing in the sexual way, but there are ones that are like … kind of veer towards that, and those are not my thing either. But it’s very strange, because you can sort of see the difference. Like there are ones where it’s just people and they’re talking, but then there are other ones where they’re women and there’s lots of cleavage, and they’re made up a certain way, and so it’s always funny when people talk about … a lot of people feel very defensive about their interest in ASMR, and so they’re always like, well, it’s not sexual! And I’m like, well, some of them are. Like, let’s not pretend like there isn’t that aspect to it.
C: Right. And if—because if there is, like who cares?
K: Yeah, exactly, like it’s fine. No one’s hurting anyone, like, people are all—it’s all voluntary; everyone’s consenting to do this. But then also too, there is that aspect because most of the ASMR people like the popular ones are all women; they’re all young women; they’re all like conventionally attractive women … there is something there to it, and I would like to read some kind of research or some kind of intensive article about ASMR, the community of it, and sort of … not just the creators, but like the people who consume it. I don’t know, it’s a weird little pocket of the internet. And I don’t necessarily consider myself like a big consumer. I basically have like, the twenty videos that I like and those are the ones I cycle through when I’m trying to fall asleep. But yeah, there’s like a lotta stuff out there, and yeah, that’s my other guilty pleasure, for sure. I think this is probably the first time I’ve talked about it other than, like, random tweets.
C: So is this like a Two Cents Plus Tax exclusive?!
K: (laughs) it’s definitely exclusive to podcasts, for sure. The first time, yeah.
C: Love it! That is fascinating.
K: Yeah. What about you?
C: I really don’t know anything about ASMR, so that was interesting.
K: It’s definitely … yeah. I feel like it’s becoming more popular, and the reason I know that is because like random people on podcasts that I listen to are starting to talk about it. People who are not very young, and they’re not women, and I’m just like, how are they finding these things? But I think it’s just because it’s becoming much more of a mainstream—not mainstream, but it’s definitely sort of starting to bubble up and become popular, for sure.
C: I would say one of my guilty pleasures is Real Housewives.
K: Oh, yes (laughs).
C: And uh, that … that’s definitely a thing. Although, again, it’s like do I feel guilty about liking it? Not really. No. I don’t. Should I? Maybe.
K: I mean a lot of people like it, so I don’t know why you would. Millions of people like it!
C: Right. Well … it is kind of terrible. The drama, the fights. I get into it.
K: I mean, the way that I think of those kinds of shows—reality TV in general—is like … it’s super popular. Like it’s way more popular than I ever thought it would be. But the way I always think of it is like, oh, soap operas don’t exist anymore. These are what people watch now instead of soap operas. It’s like … the same thing. They’re going on and on; they’ve been … you know, like Real Housewives has been on for what, like twenty years or something? Fifteen, something like that? So yeah, it’s just kind of the thing that people do now instead of watching soap operas. People watch reality TV, and it’s the same thing, except they’re real people and not like characters that are made up.
C: I don’t know though. I don’t know how real they are.
K: Yeah um, they’re definitely like writing and producing and for sure, like it’s not Real World, Season 1, like it’s not they just took random people and put them in a house. Although that’s coming back too, and I’m definitely gonna watch that.
C: I just saw that, yeah, that they’re having the reunion of Real World [Season] 1, which I definitely did watch, so. You did too?
K: Mm-hmm. I’m so gonna watch, yes. I was obsessed with Real World.
C: I was too.
K: I was gonna say, so we talked about this a little bit off-mic before, when we were sort of trying to come up with ideas, and reality TV sort of came up as your guilty pleasure, and I was gonna say, yeah I’m not really … but that’s not true. As a teen, you know, when reality TV was in its infancy and there was only like Real World and Road Rules and whatever, like I was obsessed with those, like—
C: I was too.
K: —like I watched them every season, every iteration, like I was just … I was really into them for quite a time, actually. I think the last one I watched was like Real World: San Diego, which was 2004 or … 5, maybe? I don’t know. I remember I watched it cuz my sister was a teen at the time too, and so it was like (laughing), oh, finally we can enjoy some television together.
K: We didn’t have that much overlap in our tastes, but that was one of the things we were squarely both into.
C: It looks like Real World: New York aired in 1992. So I was ten, you were nine.
K: (laughing) I was nine!
C: It’s interesting too, that was a very formative show. Who was your favorite from Season 1 New York? I’m trying to remember all … there was Heather—
K: I was gonna say, that was the one—I loved Heather B. I thought she was so cool and like good at rapping. I was like, she’s so great. She’s gonna be famous! Yeah. She was amazing.
C: Heather B. Eric Nies, who we all know later went on to host The Grind.
K: The Grind! Yes. The best.
C: There was Julie from Alabama, who was really irritating.
C: Oh, Andre! I did love Andre. (gasps) Norman! I liked Norman.
C: Let’s see. There was Kevin, and then, um—oh, Becky. Remember? Becky got thrown off.
C: Because she had an affair with the producer, remember?
K: I was gonna say, she was like the first one to have drama. I mean, it was like the first season (laughs), but like she was the first person to get, you know, kicked off the show, which would become a recurring thing across all the seasons.
C: Right. Coming in hot! So now we’re gonna come to fan favorite part of the podcast—
K: (laughing) You can’t say that if it’s the first episode!
C: I just did!
K: Well, fan future favorite, for sure.
C: Well, we get a lot of fan mail about this recurring segment that we do, so I think it’s fair to say.
K: Okay (laughs).
C: So this segment that we do is called Two Cents, No Tax. So I did write a little jazzy jingle for you. I don’t have to sing it …
K: No, you have to now. (laughing) You mentioned it, so obviously you have to!
C: I was waiting! I was waiting for that. Okay! [vocalizing] mi mi mi mi mi mi mi! Okay, so the premise is, uh, Two Cents, No Tax … you know, I’m gonna just spit out some topics, and you’re gonna give me just a short and sweet hot take on them. (singing) I want an opinion, maybe some facts. Gimme your two cents, no tax! Dinngg!
C: There’s a little ding. Yeah.
K: We need some applause to be—like, drop in some applause right there.
K: (laughing) There we go.
C: Oh yay! Thank you [Two Cents Plus Tax] producer Toshio!
C: Okay, so Two Cents, No Tax. Here we go. Okay, ready Krystal?
C: Okay: Twitter!
K: My genuine general opinion of Twitter? It’s bad, but I like it.
C: (laughs) Yeah, I’ll agree with you. You’re also really good at it, so …
K: I feel very conflicted when people say that. Because I just tweet stuff that I think is funny, so I’m only trying to amuse myself, so it’s always weird when other people are like, you’re good at Twitter, cuz I’m like, why do you think that? It’s not for you! But I—I’m … yeah. I mean maybe I am. I don’t know.
C: That is a good time for us to remind our fans that we do have a Twitter account. It is Two Cents Plus Tax, and that’s two with T-W-O.
C: Okay, Krystal, the next one is grunge.
K: Oh, I’m a fan! I will say though, my favorite grunge bands are not the ones that were the most popular, so like, you know, I like Pearl Jam. I like Nirvana. But if I have to choose two grunge bands, it would be Soundgarden—
K: —and Stone Temple Pilots.
C: I have been listening to Soundgarden’s Superunknown obsessively this week.
K: (gasps) Awww!
C: I don’t know why—and it is very on-brand for me to start getting into an album like forty years after it has been released.
K: (laughing) Yeah.
C: I have been obsessively listening to Superunknown the past few days.
K: So good. They’re so good!
C: It is! It’s really good!
K: Like Chris Cornell, he’s such a good singer!
C: Four-octave range. Four-octave range!
K: Like, incr—when people are like, oh he’s a good singer, I’m like, no, he’s a great singer. He could sing literally anything, like his voice was incredible. So good. So good.
C: I have to agree. I only have like a three-octave range, so I appreciate him having four octaves.
K: Yeah exactly, his talent. No, for sure. And I actually was, Stone Temple Pilots—I was thinking about this week because someone on Twitter was saying something about like, oh, we need to reevaluate certain albums or certain bands, and I was like, I think Stone Temple Pilots deserves a reevaluation. Because I think at the time, people were like, oh they’re just like a … they’re knockoffs of the good grunge bands, and I was like, I mean, kind of, but they could also do a lotta different styles, and they evolved in a way other bands didn’t, and … you know. Kind of a bummer that both Chris Cornell and Scott Weiland are no longer with us, so we’ll never get to see what else they were capable of. But yeah. Grunge, I’m for it.
C: Ok. Fun stuff on that one. Astrology.
K: (laughs) Okay, so I know why you put this one on, for sure.
C: (laughs) Why is that?
K: This is your thing and you’re into it! No, I’m … I don’t have any … I feel like people are very, like, antagonistic about people who like astrology—
C: I agree.
K: —and I’m just like, it’s fine! If they like it, it’s fine. It’s not hurting anyone, like it’s an interest that they have; it’s no different than being super into sports stats or whatever, like it’s not … I don’t understand the sort of like … well I mean I do. It’s because women like it—
C: Yes! Yes.
K: —and people like to make fun of anything women enjoy mostly is derided, so I get that. But yeah I’m like, it’s fine! I know my sign. I don’t know all of the stuff, like I don’t know my birth chart or anything. I’m a Sagittarius, if anybody cares, or if that matters.
C: I care.
K: (laughs) But I feel like—so, I have been paying a little more attention to it because in the last two years or so, when I finally got on Instagram, like it’s very popular on Instagram, and so I see a lot of stuff about Sagittariuses, and I’ve learned over time that I’m not a good Sagittarius. Like I’m not any of the things that Sagittariuses—Sagittarians? I don’t know what the plural of that is—I think I’m not any of those things. I’m not impulsive and I don’t travel a lot … like I just am kind of not a good Sagittarius, so.
C: Well, I will just say this and then we’ll move on, because I have a lot more Two Cents, No Tax for you. But as my favorite astrologer Jessica Lanyadoo, who does Ghost of a Podcast—shoutout to friend of the podcast Jessica Lanyadoo—she does not know she’s a friend of the podcast—
K: (laughing) I was gonna say, you can’t just designate people “friends of the podcast.”
C: Oh I’m going to, yes. She’s a close personal friend; she just does not know that yet. But she says that sun sign astrology—like, your sun sign is Sagittarius—is lazy astrology. And I agree with her, because there is much, much more to it than that. Moving on—
K: Someone actually told me that before, and I had never looked into it.
C: Well, they’re correct.
K: So I was like, I should look up what my moon sign is.
C: I’ll do your chart for ya!
K: Oh okay, cool.
C: I’ll tumble for ya. So, next one: emojis.
K: Ummm … they’re fine. I don’t use them very much, and I think it’s just an age thing. I felt like they became a thing before—you know, after I was already practiced in texting and I’m just not good at applying them. I have like the twenty that I use, and those are the ones that I use, so … I think they’re fine, though. How do you feel about emojis?
C: Well, I’m older than you, remember? So I like them.
K: (laughing) but barely! Okay, this is a good thing. I like it.
C: Yeah, as your elder, I do enjoy an emoji. And I just saw that one of the emojis that’s like the crying-with-laughter emoji, is supposed to signify that you’re old?
K: It’s supposed to be—ugh. Oh, because only older people use it? Yeah, yeah. I do do that as well.
C: Yeah and I was like, hmm. I do use that emoji.
K: (laughing) I do too!
C: So … accurate. Okay. Uh … actor Steven Yeun. Am I mispronouncing that? Yeun?
K: I think that’s right. I think he says … I think Yeun is right, the way you said it.
C: Yeun. (dreamily) Actor Steven Yeun.
K: Um. He’s, like … impossibly attractive.
C: Dreamy! Yes.
K: He’s so hot! Like …
C: Yes, I know. I brought this up just as an excuse to talk about how hot he is. (laughs)
K: Okay good, cuz I was gonna go there. No, he’s very handsome. And I’m so pleased that he …. because a lot of times when actors get really popular off of a genre show, they get kind of typecast and they’re not able to do other things. And weirdly, I think him actually being Asian American and having that as like a physical characteristic I think made him able to do other things that maybe other actors on those shows didn’t get the opportunities to do. He was able to break out of that typecasting much better than people have historically been able to, and I’m really, really happy to see him getting so much love for like Minari, which I just watched like last week, and it was amazing.
C: And I have not seen that, even though it takes place literally where I live in the Ozarks.
K: It does! It takes place in Arkansas, yeah! They moved from—
C: Yeah, I have not even watched it yet.
K: You can watch it now. It’s streaming.
C: Is it? i didn’t think it was!
K: Yeah, I think it just started streaming this weekend.
C: Okay, well I definitely will watch that. Okay: Megan Thee Stallion.
K: Oh I like her! (laughs) so I think she’s like … also, this is an excuse to say someone’s incredibly hot. She’s incredibly hot, like she’s very beautiful.
C: Yes. Yes she is.
K: It’s really funny though; I remember like when she was first starting to bubble up, maybe like two years ago, there was a lot of like oh yeah, body positivity, Megan Thee Stallion, and I was like, what? As someone who came from like … more familiar with that term from the fat acceptance movement, [I’m] just like, what about Megan …
C: Right. They were using Megan as if she was not a conventionally just hottie with a body.
K: Right, right. The implication being that this is a new type of body that we should be appreciating. Like … what? And I think the meaning was cuz she’s like, kind of tall? She’s like 5’10” or something? And I’m like … I guess!
C: Right, right. I remember that.
K: I don’t wanna take anything away from her! I’m not implying that she’s not attractive, like I just said. But I think, you know … body positivity, maybe that’s a thing to talk about in a future episode or something. Yeah, just the way that term gets thrown around is very … it’s a whole thing. But yeah, she’s great. Her songs are great.
K: My niece really likes, or did when it was popular, Savage. Like she really … (laughing) she likes that song. She can’t do the dance; she’s terrible at it. She’s four, so she shouldn’t know how to do it. But it’s very cute to see her try.
C: Uhhh … emo.
K: (laughing) Oh, man. You also put this in for me, cuz you know what I’m gonna say. I love emo. Again, I almost put this as one of my guilty pleasures, but then I was like, I’m not gonna say that cuz I do love it wholeheartedly. It’s a genre that gets a lot of flak for reasons. Again, I don’t understand why. But I kind of fell off it for, like … I don’t know, maybe a decade or so, and in the last maybe five-ish years have sort of been back on the wagon, and I’m just like, yeah, it’s great. I wish more people liked it. I like that it’s becoming more diverse, which is a thing it was not when I started listening to it in like, whatever, late 90’s / early 2000’s. Check it out. It’s great.
C: Beautiful. And that concludes Two Cents, No Tax. Ding!
So Krystal, what are you listening to or reading or watching this week?
K: So I’m reading Passing by Nella Larson, and I don’t wanna go into too much detail, but it’s basically about two women. It’s set in the 1930’s in America. Two African American women—Black women—and their different experiences sort of moving through life. I’ll just leave it at that, and it’s really good. I highly recommend it. Nella Larson has kind of been overlooked, but in the last decade or so, I think people are reading her a lot more, which is really cool. I think there’s a movie about Passing that’s either coming out or is already out with Ruth Negga and Tessa Thompson, so I’m really looking forward to that whenever we can watch it. In terms of what I’m listening to, I just started listening to this album—ugh, the artist is Cassandra Jenkins. I’m gonna Google what the album is called. It just came out, I think this week, and I saw like a tweet about it on Pitchfork. It got like Best New Music, which—again, I have not paid attention to Pitchfork in a very long time.
(K & C both laugh)
K: But I follow them on Twitter, and I saw the tweet one night before I was going to bed and it’s kind of like a folkish kind of album, and I thought, oh this’ll be interesting to kind of dip into before I fall asleep, and it’s so incredible. The album is called An Overview on Phenomenal Nature, and it’s really, really, really great. I think the standout song is a song called … oh, what is it called? “Hard Drive.” So if you wanna check out just one song, I would suggest that one. She has a very gentle voice, a very gentle singing style, but it’s not sort of that like … I don’t know. There’s this style of singing that’s popular now with like very exaggerated pronunciations, and she doesn’t really do any of that. It’s just very soft, very gentle. I’ve been really listening to it like a lot this week, so … highly recommend that if you want something to like chill out to. Um, watching … weirdly, I’m not usually a movie person. I don’t watch that many movies. I find them like a big lift for some reason, even though I will totally like … I’ll just sit down and watch like six episodes of The Simpsons in a row (laughs), but I can’t for some reason put on a movie. I don’t know what it is.
C: I’m the same.
K: Yeah! It’s a weird thing. But I watched a lot of movies this weekend. I watched Judas and the Black Messiah, finally.
C: And? What’d you think?
K: I thought it was fine. (laughs)
K: I didn’t love it. I think some of the performances are good, but I also think some of the performances are not enough. Like, I think some of the characterizations are pretty thin. But I thought it was a well-made movie, like I thought LaKeith Stanfield was actually quite, quite good at the role that he’s playing.
C: He’s good in everything. He’s always good in everything. He just is.
K: Yeah! That character, too … the character he’s playing is obviously a real person, and the way that he plays him is so slippery, like in a way that is absolutely necessary for the character and the position that he’s in. So he was very good, and so was Daniel Kaluuya as Fred Hampton. But yeah, it’s … it’s fine. I think it’s probably gonna do well in the awards stuff, but I didn’t love it, and I wanted to like it a lot more. I watched, also, Nomadland, and that was very good. I had some like embarrassing tweets about it (laughs), but I liked it a lot. Frances McDormand, she’s like … she’s never done anything terrible, like she’s such a good actress. She’s very good at playing prickly characters who seem hard on the outside but, you know, have their own internal ways of showing emotion that don’t really make sense to other people. She’s really good at that. I also watched Barb and Star go to Vista Del Mar, which was—
C: Ugh, I really wanted to see that!
K: Oh my gosh, please!
C: But I can’t pay twenty dollars.
K: I know! Again, like I was telling you, a friend of mine—I was able to stream it via his … Plex, I think it’s called? I don’t know what it is. It’s some kind of thing where people can share streamable content that they’ve purchased or rented. I don’t know how it works. But I watched it there and it’s … it’s so silly. Like you’re just like, I want something—
C: Oh, that is … that’s what I need. I need that.
K: Exactly. I was like, okay these movies are intense. Let’s do Barb and Star because it’s like not that and I know it’s gonna be very like … it’s really, really funny. I laughed out loud a lot, which I did not expect to do. Highly, highly recommend Barb and Star go to Vista Del Mar. It’s really funny. But yeah, what about you? What are you watching, listening to, reading, etc.?
C: Well, as I mentioned, I just heard about this band Soundgarden and … they’re really good, you guys!
K: New. Check ‘em out!
C: So yeah, I have been listening to Superunknown a lot. It’s been speaking to me. And, weirdly, I did see “Spoonman” performed in college.
K: (laughing) What?!
C: Yeah. I saw “Spoonman” which I gotta say … the song “Spoonman”: unnecessary.
K: (laughs) No. Disagree. Disagree
C: Strange and kinda … kinda … what’s the point?
K: I’m sorry. It’s so good.
C: A guy who plays the spoons? Anyway, I did see “Spoonman” in college and I don’t remember … the song, I’ll say the song is a lot more exciting than watching him perform with spoons and doing his own original material. No shade to him, but the only thing I really remember about him is he had written a song about George W., cuz this was back circa 2000—
K: Early 90’s, yeah.
C: —when I was in college, and uh, not a good song. Not a good song that he wrote.
C: So, yeah. Okay, so I’ve been listening to that band Soundgarden. RIP Chris Cornell. Four-octave range.
C: I have been reading Shuggie Bain—
K: Oh, yeah.
C: —the book, which … I’m not quite halfway done, but it is really good, but it is so bleak. It is so bleak. Last night I stopped at a point where my jaw literally dropped. (laughs) I was by myself in my bed. I got to the end of a chapter and my jaw dropped at something that happened. I will obviously not be, you know, doing any spoilers for anyone, but highly recommend. Shuggie Bain takes place in 80’s Glasgow, which … you know, not the cheeriest time and place, I have to say.
C: And then watching … oh! One thing I have been watching—and this is current, which is not on-brand for me, to watch something that is actually out right now and new—
C: —I have been watching that Woody Allen documentary Allen vs Farrow. Which, I’ll just say, fuck Woody Allen.
K: I mean yeah, all day.
C: I did not need—I didn’t need a documentary to convince me of his guilt. I think anyone who’s been paying attention knows he’s guilty. But one thing I do like about this is Dylan Farrow is finally getting a chance to speak and tell her own story, and from what I understand or at least from my memory, I don’t remember her actually doing that or getting a chance to do that, so … I’ve only seen the first episode. I think the second episode is coming out tonight so I’ve been watching that and that was really good and interesting, and you know, horrible. It’s not like … cheery.
K: (laughs) Right.
C: But I’ve been watching that and some … usually murder. I like my British murder and my Scandinavian noirs, so that’s what I’ve been up to.
K: Yeah, have you watched that show Dark on Netflix? It’s like … I don’t know if it’s like German or something.
C: No! It is German. I’ve heard it’s good. I haven’t watched it.
K: Yeah, someone recommended that to me over the holidays and I was like, oh I have break—you know, off of work or whatever—so i was like, oh I can check in on it, and I never did so I didn’t know if it was gonna be something you had already seen. But there’s like three or four seasons or something.
C: I’ll watch it in like twenty years.
K: Yeah, exactly. That’s why I was like, if i’m not gonna watch it now, I’ll just definitely watch it in the future, like, you know … ten years or so.
C: I’ll circle back. (laughs)
K: Yeah for sure. Is that Woody Allen documentary—
C: It’s on HBO.
K: Yeah, I guess I didn’t realize it was episodic. I thought it was like a film or something.
C: I think it’s four episodes.
K: Ooooh. Yeah.
C: It’s …
K: A tough watch. For sure.
C: Yeah. I’m really ingesting a lot of bleak media.
K: (laughs) Yeah. You mentioned that when you talked about Shuggie Bain, yeah.
C: Yeah, just Shuggie Bain and Woody Allen (laughs) … I’m glad we’re doing a comedy podcast.
K: It’s funny cuz you said, like you were telling me, you know, via text, like … yeah it’s really bleak, so just FYI. I was like, oh no, that’s like my jam, in terms of like fiction reading.
C: I know that’s your thing.
K: Like, oh is it depressing? Then yeah, Krystal wants to read it, 100%.
C: You’ll love it. You’ll love it!
K: It was funny, my manager at work, just as a tangent—yesterday or Friday was my one-year anniversary at my newish job—
C: (singsongy) Congratulations!
K: Yeah, thank you. I don’t—it feels weird, like I said, I don’t wanna be like a capitalism-lover in being like yay, work. But, you know, I like this job better than my last one, so. But I guess there was gonna be like this presentation at our staff meeting and he was like, yeah, I wanted to say some stuff about you like, you know, what are you reading? if there’s a book that you like would you recommend? And I was like, oh yeah, A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara.
C: The most depressing book of all time!
K: Yeah. And I said that and I got so many like messages afterwards from co-workers being like, uhh, I read that book. It was really intense. And I’m like, yeah I know. That’s what I liked about it.
C: This is what I like to chill out to. A Little Life.
K: Something about that book just really captured me, and I’m just obsessed with it. I read it straight through like probably in a day and I just … I just really love it.
C: Oh my god.
K: No, actually, when I say a day, I mean like I read it all night and then I woke up the next day and read it all the next day, you know? So in like twenty-four hours. Yeah, it was … it’s a great book. I love her writing. I can’t wait until she does something new. She’s incredible.
C: Well, thank you so much for joining this first episode of Two Cents Plus Tax! You can follow us on Instagram and Twitter @TwoCentsPlusTax. We also have a website, twocentsplustaxpodcast.com. And Krystal, would you like them to follow you on your personal personals?
K: Sure, sure. You can follow me on Twitter. @humblecore on Twitter.
C: For me, I do not tweet much. You can follow the @criptiques account if you want. I don’t make the rules.
K: (laughs) Yeah, we can’t tell you what to do! But all of these things will be in the show notes, so links to all of our accounts, all of the websites, the email—everything you need to contact us or find out more about the podcast will be in the show notes. Yeah! Do we wanna sign off?
C: See ya next time!
K: See you guys next episode!
(theme song plays)
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