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She’s The One

“She’s The One” written by Karl Wallinger of World Party. One of the first times I played the song was for my mom’s wedding. Now I dedicate it to my wife, Lyndsey Sena that puts up with all my late nights being a musician and doing what I love. Thank you babe.
Tom Sena: vocals, keyboard, drums
Terry Olson: guitars, bass
Video and audio editing by Tom Sena
Every video clip is the actual take of each audio track recorded. No overdubs or fake playing or lip-sync. Mixed with Audition and Premiere by Adobe. Terry and I have played off and on together for many years. We have similar taste in music and this project is something that we hope will be ongoing which allows us to play the songs we love together, but not really together.

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I Made Cheese

Homemade vegan cheese

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The Church We Chose

There’s a lot a beautiful ways to get married… all special in their own ways.  Obviously, it’s the marriage that counts more than the wedding.  Lyndsey and I decided to go away and get married, just the two of us, for several reasons. Mainly, because we felt it would be just for us. We had some crazy ideas but with no real way of knowing if or how it could happen. I now know it wouldn’t have happened without the invaluable help of our photographers, Marlene Rivera Montesino and Alfredo Riverllano and our officiant, Joel Lopez and very trusting bride. Mother Nature had her hand in this as well and we didn’t mind being upstaged by her beauty.  We thank you all.  Our dream wedding came together and transpired around us, beyond our imaginable hopes and dreams and will never be forgotten.  I love you so much Lyndsey and I’m over the moon that we did this and you got your dream wedding.

This is the wedding of Thomas Sena and Lyndsey Victoria Sena.  The song is “The Falls” by Ennio Morricone, which it seems was written for this moment.  Photos and Video by Marlene Rivera Montesino and Alfredo Riverllano.  Movie edited by Thomas Sena.

 

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Vlogs and Podcasts

I’ve been inspired from my friend,¬†Molly Thompsen Wootton¬†who is always interested in getting recommendations for Movie, Books and TV Shows. I love peeking over her shoulder to see those lists. I’m going to expand the categories and recommend a couple Podcasts and Vlogs that I love. I’ll give short descriptions in case you haven’t heard about them.

IMG_2492(2)Podcasts:¬†Here’s The Thing¬†with Alec Baldwin. This is an interview podcast he does in NYC. Regardless of your personal feelings about Alec, he’s a really good interviewer, informed, curious and yes, has that great voice. He has great guests and is truly a great raconteur. I haven’t listened to a boring one yet. The second one is¬†Radiolab Podcast. Now, I like this cuz I can geek out on odd stuff so I don’t know how into this you will be or not. I know you’d love some of them because they have a wide breadth of subject matter. Everything from science and technology to extremely personal and touching stories. I love their production and no matter how mundane the subject matter seems like it will be, it isn’t.¬†¬†This American Life¬†is the third. Duh, right? I assume you’ve all heard of this and already know how great it is. Someday I’ll hang out with¬†Ira Glass¬†(I get them from iTunes free, I think)

IMG_2493OK Vlogs: I dip in and out of these usually for short binge sessions. The beauty of both Podcasts and Vlogs are that I can often multitask during or listen in the car (podcast more so). For anyone in business startups or really any kind of business (who isn’t?) especially social media or online stuff, I recommend¬†Gary Vaynerchuk‘s DailyVee and/or his AskGary show. Great biz nuggets and day-in-the life stuff. The other is¬†Casey Neistat‘s vlog. It’s all day-in-the-life stuff and it’s hard not to get sucked in. He’s been around for a long time and is hugely popular. His life unfolds before your very screens for the last 10 years. Very New York, very candid and honest without an agenda. Pure voyeurism. I get both these on Youtube and/or Facebook. I have others I look in on here and there but these should be pretty widely appreciated. Feel free to let me know if you any recommendations I can’t live without but please don’t give me a list of 20 that I’ll never get to. Happy consuming.

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Oh Donald, you ol silly racist you. On the record.

I try very hard not to be publicly political. ¬†I do try hard to live by my politics instead. ¬†But I also live and work in a state that does not align politically with me. ¬†I know and respect many people on the other side of the isle. ¬†But this is not about politics or policies. ¬†It’s gotten too personal and has gone on too long for me to stay silent. ¬†Shame on me for waiting so long.

I guess if there was ever a chance, which there wasn’t, I would say Donald lost me when he first made his racist remarks about Mexicans. I’d like to think he’d have lost me by being racist about anyone. But full disclosure: I’m Mexican. ¬†Yep, I’m one of those. No wait let me say it like full on say it. ¬†I’m a Mexican. ¬†Ya, there it is. ¬†I’m not just of Mexican decent. ¬†No, no, let¬†me¬†say it like I mean it…. “I’m a Mexican”. ¬†Ya baby let that sink in. ¬†Yes, I know you thought I was Italian or just tanned easily but no, I’m a Mexican. ¬†As some white people have pointed out with a tone of encouragement, “You’re Mexican? ¬†Hmm, you don’t really look it….I mean….”. ¬†Oh, thank you. ¬†Now,¬†let me be clear from the start…. most white people that know I’m Mexican are just fine with it. ¬†No biggie. ¬†My mom is white as the new driven snow. Irish/anglo. ¬†She gave me green eyes and a slight bump on the “exposure photo filter” if you know what I mean. ¬†Though not 100% Irish, she identifies as Irish. ¬†Not unlike the way I feel I’m Mexican. ¬†I’m more Mexican than anything else. ¬†But my mom, the¬†lassie fell for some South O Mexican back in the day and there you have it. My Dad was full blooded Mexican as in yes, he even looked Mexican. He worked hard to lose his accent by the time he was an adult. Very hard. ¬†He was a loving, attentive father for the most part. ¬†Oh sure he was a little old school and beat my ass a few times too much¬†for¬†my liking but by the standards of those days nothing to report. ¬†He worked hard at everything. Not your “typical lazy free loading Mexican” thank god! ¬†No, he wanted very much to be as American as I am. ¬†No accent, no past, just another west Omaha suburbanite. ¬†And that’s what he became. ¬†Kind of. ¬†No one would ever hear him speak Spanish except at gramma and grampa’s house. ¬†On occasion if we ran across a Mexican waiter for instance, he would speak Spanish to him or her to make them feel comfortable but it was rare. ¬†He never spoke it to us kids even though he knew we thought it was cool. ¬†I never really realized what that was all about until I grew up and saw how the world worked and how a lot of Americans looked at Mexicans. ¬†I experienced¬†a few racial incidents growing up that slapped me cold in my¬†Mexican face, but it was such a rare occurrence, it seemed more of a novelty. ¬†I just shrugged it off or even laughed at how silly it seemed. ¬†“You’re acting racist to me? ¬†Have you seen my mom? ¬†Hell, I lived on 128th,¬†I went to St Roberts!” ¬†But eventually you do learn. ¬†And here’s another thing I’ve realized. ¬†The older I get, the more Mexican I feel. ¬†I’ve talked to other people of various ethnicities that feel the same way. ¬†I guess a lot of parents that busted their ass to get here usually tried to get their kids to be as “American” or white acting as possible. ¬†Some do a good balance of continuing their cultures¬†but others are happy to leave that all behind. ¬†I’m sure they just wanted the best for their kids. ¬†I regret not learning Spanish. ¬†I’ve always wanted to speak it fluently. ¬†I love going to Mexico and being surrounded by Spanish speaking Mexicans. ¬†I can fake it a little but it’s embarrassingly bad. ¬†And yet I love it. ¬†There is something that pulls on me. ¬†It always has. ¬†I didn’t get¬†it until years later.

My dad had always told us a bogus story about how he was born in Kansas shortly after he, his parents¬†and little sister had moved here. ¬†He stuck to this story¬†till the day he died. ¬†But I always felt there was something off. ¬†I don’t know how I knew but I swear I always did. ¬†His story was told to us¬†as the gospel truth. ¬†Even mom was in on it. ¬†We didn’t learn the truth until he was practically on his death bed. ¬†Too late for chats to edify the story. ¬†Unfortunately,¬†most of the truth died with him. ¬†We don’t know much about it. ¬†Just some patchy details mom can recall my gramma telling her years ago. ¬†As little as we know, the story we can imagine was horrific and harrowing at best. ¬†As secretive and horrible as the story of their crossing was, we always knew¬†they had moved around the midwest as migrant farmers for some years before settling here in Omaha. ¬†Extremely poor and fighting for their existence, you can guess the rest. ¬†Not pretty. ¬†But it’s amazing how very little we ever heard about any of this. ¬†Dad never complained or talked about it except occasionally letting us know that he came from nothing but love. ¬†His mother so loved him and he loved and respected her with everything that he was. ¬†His biological father, Pedro Sena died not long after they got to the US. ¬†My dad was very young. ¬†My gramma remarried George Hernandez Negrete, who was no better off but¬†did a wonderful job helping to raise the kids and serving as the only grampa we ever knew on Dad’s side. ¬†He was strong, quiet and spoke virtually no English but seemed to understand us just fine. ¬†Of course, gramma rarely let him get a word in anyway. ¬†She spoke Spanglish well and would translate for him whether he wanted or not. ¬†We loved and respected them to no end. ¬† A typically ethnic gramma’s house. ¬†They stayed in south O and lived very meager lives. ¬†She worked at the Campbell Soup plant and he worked¬†in the UP rail yard until retirement. ¬†But you couldn’t get out of her house without getting fed, nor would you ever want to. ¬†The smell of cumin will forever send me straight back there. ¬†My mouth still waters at the thought. ¬†“Ohhh hijo!” she would say. ¬†Just sit down.” ¬†She would roll out tortillas with an old metal pipe and flip them back and forth on an iron plate over gas flame with her bare hands. ¬†I can cry thinking about how perfect her tortillas¬†were. ¬†Don’t get me started about her food. ¬†She would love on you like she’d never see you again. ¬†Then in junior high came the day I would never see her again. ¬†She died just¬†days¬†before she and grampa Negrete were going to be sworn in as¬†US citizens. ¬†They had done all the work, come so far for so long and against their biggest fears had studied hard to finally become legal citizens. ¬†Grampa, with everyone’s encouragement went ahead and became a US citizen without her. ¬†The family petitioned to grant her citizenship posthumously but was denied. ¬†For my grampa’s¬†lonely effort, the Omaha World Herald did a piece on their bittersweet story. ¬†George Hernandez Negrete would die a US citizen not long after. ¬† Years later when I had my own daughter I would use my gramma’s name as her middle name. ¬†Claire Bacilia Sena. ¬†Oh god there goes the water works.

It’s funny, I actually try to get my kids to feel they are Mexican. ¬†I want that. ¬†Just the opposite of my dad’s experience. ¬†I don’t have to fear they will be looked at as inferior because the sad truth is they don’t really look that Mexican. ¬†They’re even lighter than me. ¬†That’s hard for me to say. ¬†Not about how they look but about how it works. ¬†It cuts right to the heart of racism. ¬†It is the sad reality we live in. ¬†There is a spectrum of racism based on an actual spectrum of color. ¬†It’s that simple and ridiculous. ¬†For all of our¬†advancements we still can’t quite figure that out.

Donald and his supporters will try to tell you he was just talking about criminals, drug dealers, rapists and murders that are also illegal immigrants from Mexico. ¬†But that’s not what he said is it? ¬†No it isn’t. ¬†He referred to illegal Mexicans as criminals, drug dealers, rapists and murders. ¬†That’s what he said. ¬†Do you get that’s an entirely different and RACIST thing? ¬†Not just semantics, not just that one speech and not an accidental slip of the tongue. ¬†This isn’t about political correctness. ¬†He’s racist and he’s doubling down on Muslims.

My dad was an illegal Mexican. ¬†Get it? ¬†He served overseas in the US Navy and paid US taxes his whole life. ¬†FUCK YOU DONALD! ¬†He was more “American” than Donald will¬†ever be. ¬†If you are going to vote for Donald, you are either making a grave mistake or you’re a RACIST. ¬† There, I’ve said it. ¬† As a fellow American I respect your right to disagree with me politically but as a human I do not respect your support of this racist fuck or his behavior. ¬†It’s like you can’t kind of be pregnant. ¬†It’s not kind of racist. ¬†It’s racism. ¬†There is so much more I’d like to say about all of this but you’ll have to wait for the book. ¬†We can argue all night about policies and motivations but at the end of the day, words mean shit and actions mean even more. ¬†WORDS¬†like¬†Donald said, and ACTIONS like VOTING¬†for the guy that said those WORDS.

WORDS=RACISM=RACIST=DONALD=VOTING=VOTER=YOU=RACIST

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Paying my respects where respect is due.

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There was this guy. He just looked like a hair dresser. No, not a crazy hair colored, pierced or tattooed type of hairstylist you can peg a mile away but a real classic hair dresser. He was tall and thin and could wear about anything and look good but his style was more conservatively casual than you would guess but tastefully fashion forward. His hair was usually a sandy blonde and cut with texture but not crazy or outlandish. He was nice and more quiet than most the stylists whirling around him. After all, this was The Factory. For the uninitiated, The Factory was the first and maybe last salon of it’s kind in Omaha, Ne. It was a big,…no, huge high end salon filled with the most flamboyant to the most serious business minded stylists in town at the time. That time was the 70s through the 90s. It was an Omaha hair fashion institution. People went there to see and be seen. Sex, drugs, crime, transexuals, hard working, hustling, ass kicking, high drama, great hair…. The Factory had it all. It was Reality TV before Reality TV existed and that’s half the reason people went there. The other half was some pretty amazing hair stylists. But I digress. My reflections of The Factory will have to wait for it’s own story. But this story is about this guy named Rick Jones. By the time I started at The Factory, Rick had already been there a long time and was embedded into it’s lore. Like I said, he was quiet and calm yet always seemed up for anything and was always part of the action. His clients loved him. Ya, I know everyone’s clients love their hair stylists but no, really… Rick’s clients LOVED him. He styled a lot of the wealthier mature clients of the time. Names you would recognize, but the name that they all knew was Rick’s. He was their son, their confidant, their …. he was their gay hair stylist and everything that should mean. I looked up to him not only because he was so welcoming even to this straight new stylist at The Factory, but because he had everyone else’s respect and because he could dress some beautiful hair. My Dad taught me early to watch other good hairstylists and I watched Rick. He was the go-to stylist for brides. Out of this whole big salon, he was the one you sent your daughter to for her wedding style. I conceded the bridal business to Rick (what choice did I have?) but made my mind up to learn everything I could from him and apply it to prom and homecoming updo styling. I did just that and before I left to go out on my own I had built a decent reputation for prom and homecoming styles. Today, I have the honor of styling upwards of 100 brides a year. I can honestly say I took that cue by watching Rick Jones to build that niche. I sadly admit I’m not sure if I ever told him that directly. If I had, he would have modestly shook it. At the end of the day, Rick’s day, the thing that rings out the loudest about this man is not the great hair he did, or the crazy scene he played a part in, it’s his kindness. He will be remembered by all who knew him for his sweet, sweet kindness. Thanks Ricky.
Rick Jones passed away Feb 22nd from complications with a long running illness.

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Old School

Old School

Oh heck ya, it’s back to school time. yay. Sorry I was never too excited to go back to school. Actually, I couldn’t stand it and the mere mention of that phrase “back to school” still gives me the heebee geebees, the creepy crawlies, the dry heaves, the booloo mooloos. Yes, I made that last one up but you kinda like it don’t you? Come on, you do. I’m so gonna start using it.
So OK, school time wasn’t for me but I do appreciate the hugeness of it. It’s a heady time. Think about your school years. There will never be another time in your life when you are so tightly associated with the same group of people for that long. Some of these associations with classmates are for 12 straight years. Then you graduate, hopefully, and poof. You are off into the big world and never again are you in that kind of a social institution again. Work buddies are different. There just isn’t that same connection. Good or bad it’s just not the same. People have lives outside of work. But when you’re in school you really don’t. Except for the summers.
Ahh the summer. I loved it. I lived for it. But sadly it was fleeting. It’s so much more than the weather too. It was ….freedom. Like real freedom. At least for me it was.
The end of May would come, the bell would ring and it was like, “See ya later teachers and parents and responsibility until Sept!” Ya, May to September. Remember that? Now what is it, like a few weeks in July? Geez! Mine seemed like entire lifetimes would come and go in comparison. Bell to bell I was off the grid. Of course there was no grid back then and no cell phones and no way to keep track of me. The pool all day, a pick-up game of ball in the afternoon and then shenanigans and tomfoolery all night. Next day, rinse and repeat. I am not kidding. It was like that all summer long. We never did camps or clinics or any of that stuff. I was the youngest of 6. My folks were over it by then. I get it. Actually, I loved it. I had it good. The street was my teacher. She could be cruel but she was honest. Oh who am I kidding. We moved out to the west O suburbs by the time I was 3. Leawood West wasn’t exactly the mean streets. We had one weirdo in the whole neighborhood and everyone knew to stay away from that house. Besides that it couldn’t have been safer. The salad days. The wonder years.
Then came Labor Day. It loomed like a giant dark cloud creeping over my sunny summer. Relentless with no regard to freedom, to summer love, to bare feet, to running from the cops, to kick the can, to homemade pyrotechnics, to amateur aviation, to “Kill The Man with the Ball” (actual name of a game we made up. I don’t think I need to explain the rules here. Its pretty self explanatory). If not for my birthday at the end of August I don’t know how I would have made it. That and the Jerry Lewis telethon. A legit excuse to literally stay up all night. “Hey it’s for charity Mom!” We once jumped on a neighbor’s trampoline all night to raise money. “Jump for Jerry’s Kids.” I recall we raised a total of $36 bucks.
I’ve tried hard to give my kids some sort of taste of my summers. I don’t schedule them a lot to do but I do try to keep an eye on things. Times have changed but some things never change. The cloud is rolling in.
Alas, “Back to School.” Oh my gosh I just got the booloo mooloos.

Thomas Sena
thomassena.com
T’eez