It’s Here!

Hey guys,

Like I mentioned in my last post, this week I’ll be transitioning into my new blog, which I’m very nervous/excited about. The first post goes up today and I would really appreciate you checking it out. I’ve been actively building this new space for about a month now (though the idea has been on my mind for over a year) and I’m excited to start showing it off.

Along with the blog I’m also in the process of moving all my old video content to a new YouTube channel and will be posting new videos there every Sunday. Over the course of this month I’ll be transitioning my social media and other online personas to match my new blog URL, www.juniebird.com.

This month is the soft launch and I plan on still posting a few things here for the rest of the month, but starting in October I’ll be posting only on Juniebird. My old posts will still be here, but by the end of the month I won’t be adding any new content to this site.

I hope you’ll join me this month over at juniebird.com!

In Transistion

I’ve been away from this space for more time than I’d like, but for once I feel like I actually have a good reason. For the past few weeks I’ve been working on building up a new blog, and new space, with my own domain name and a logo and everything. It’s been quiet here because I’ve been working and building something new.

All this building and working is very exciting, as well as more than a little nerve-wracking. My new blog will be much of the same type of content in a sleeker package and with more unified social media outputs. I’m very excited for all the work I’ve put into it, but quite nervous for the response. Obviously, whenever you migrate to a new blog space you loose some followers, so I’m worried that the small amount of people I do have wont make this transition with me.

I love this blog. I love all the things it’s taught me about how to write and create online content. What’s here wont be going away. In fact, over time I hope to bring some of my favorite pieces over to my new online home. It’ll take time though.

Next week will be the soft launch of the new site, and I’ll make a more official announcement then, but guys, this is starting to be real and I’m excited about where it’s going.

4 Books to Read Before the Movie

As much as I know and understand the movie adaptions are their own entity and they don’t always follow the books they’re based on, I enjoy reading and like to come up with my own ideas of what characters are like before seeing the movie versions of them. I also find that knowing the story beforehand helps me to get excited about a movie.

It will come as no surprise that I am, and have always been, a read-the-book-before-seeing-the-movie girl. Probably always will be. There’s a reason I haven’t gotten into Game of Thrones yet. So here are 4 books (and a bonus) that I want to read before the movie comes out.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Book HERE | Trailer HERE
I’ve wanted to read this book for a long time, and with the movie coming out soon, it feels less like and eventuality and more like a high-pressure need. I love adventure stories. I love the feeling of being on my own. I love stories about other women who have gone on adventures alone. I know I’m going to like this book.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Book HERE | Trailer HERE
I saw the trailer for this movie when I went to see The Fault in Our Stars on opening weekend. I cried my way through the trailer, as I cry my way through many things. I seem to like things that will make me cry, so this should be a good exercise.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Book HERE | Trailer HERE
Another instance of seeing the trailer and wanting to read the book first. Also, since a friend of mine found out I haven’t read this, she’s been telling to. Highly recommended. Admittedly, this one isn’t as high on the priority list as the other two, but I want to give it a shot.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Book HERE | Trailer HERE
This book has been critically acclaimed and has been on my radar for a little while, but it wasn’t until I saw the trailer that it moved onto my to-read list. Mystery, suspense, you’ve got me hooked. Besides, it’s about time I start reading “grown-up” books. I guess.

Bonus:
The Giver by Lois Lowrey
Book HERE | Trailer HERE
Okay, so this one is more of a re-read than a to-read. I read this book as assigned reading in middle school and loved it. In many ways, this book is the precursor to many, many YA dystopian novels. The Giver is a book that I imagine changes and grows with you and I’m looking forward to reading it again with new eyes. In regards to the movie: I’m nervous, but curious.

I wish I could understand. I am a perpetually positive person. I wind up looking on the bright side of everything, and I wouldn’t want to change my attitude for the world. This outlook is a good fit for me and I am a good fit for it. But even so, I wish I could understand the sadness and emptiness that comes with depression.

Because when someone I know confesses to me their own emptiness I never know what to say or where to even begin. I just sit there and wind up saying the only thing I can think of over and over. I’m sorry. I’m sorry you are having to go through this. I’m sorry that I can’t do anything. I’m just so sorry.

My own cock-eyed optimism pushes away any depression I may have. My faith laughs in the face of doubting Thomas questions. I’ve broken bones and friendships and habits and promises, but I never seem to break myself.

Perhaps admitting this is folly. Hoping for understanding and empathy could wind me in a predicament from which I can draw empathy for the rest of my life. But I don’t think the world works like that. The world just works. And it continues on regardless.

I’m sorry Mr. Williams. I’m sorry that this was the way you went. I’m sorry that I have no other words to offer. I’m so sorry.

Call someone: 1-800-273-TALK
Chat online: www.imalive.com

Talk to someone. I may not have the words, but talking helps. Tell someone you trust. Talk to a professional. Ask a friend to come with if it helps. Don’t give in. You can pull through. I believe in you.

Bittersweet Memories

I’m terrible at taking pictures when I’m with people. This weekend I went driving with a friend, no pictures. My parents were visiting for the weekend and I have no proof that they were here. I talked with my sister on the phone and got ready for dinner and discussed the merits of air conditioning in Southern California. We went to eat at a restaurant and I didn’t even take a picture of the dessert. I’m a terrible instagramer. Breakfast, church, and a softball game and the only pictures I posed for live in other people’s phones.

The world of technology and social media demands photographic evidence. Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest (which I’m not even on), and Facebook all want me to upload pictures of my day, my night, my weekend for my friends to see and provide commentary on.

Honestly, I just forget.

I leave my phone at home or forget that my DSLR is in my bag. My battery dies. I’m just plain bad at taking pictures.

And I don’t care.

Instead of pictures I have memories. This weekend I combed through a box of things to see what I wanted and what to send back to San Francisco with my mom. I remember reading the New York Times while my dad made his way through the Wall Street Journal. I remember a delicious dinner and a beautiful breakfast. Introducing my parents to the world that I live in now and some of the people in it.

It’s so strange to me to be emotional about seeing them. They live a short 6 hours away. I spent 2 and a half years going back and forth to Chicago and almost never feeling homesick. I guess now it’s real. I live here now. My job is here, my church is here, my everything is here. And I wont be going back.

Talk about bittersweet.

Comic Con 2014 PowWow

When I was a camp counselor we would gather with our cabins at the end of the day and go around the circle doing a powwow. The “pow” would be the low point in the day, something that was frustrating or disappointing, and the “wow” would be the best part of the day.

This year I managed to snag a badge for Comic Con. I was there for Saturday and Sunday and probably could have planned things out a little more in advance. Like I did with VidCon, I’m going to PowWow each day I was at the convention.

DAY 1
POW: Meeting so many new people at once. Another friend of mine who goes every year introduced me to her rather large group of friends. It was great to have some people to hang out with, but it was also a bit much for my introverted side. I kind of crashed from too much social interaction while we were waiting in line for dinner. Whoops.
WOW: Feeling like I finally got a sense for how the expo hall was set up. Last year I was only there for one day and I mostly walked around in a daze because I was so overwhelmed by it all. This year I managed to find a bit of order in the madness, which was quite calming.

DAY 2
POW: The realization (even though I knew it going in) that I wasn’t going to get to do some of the things I was really excited about. The lines were too long. The crowds were too much. And I was too tired. I definitely git a brick wall of tired on day two around 2:30. I was about to go into another panel when I realized that I should probably start my mini road trip before I got tired enough to fall asleep whist driving.
WOW: The Women of Marvel panel was definitely a highlight. I loved hearing about the female driven titles that Marvel has and the women who write/draw/color/manage/produce them. I’m so excited for the future of women in comics both as creators and creatives as well as the female characters that we see and will be seeing in the future.

All told it was an exhausting weekend, but I’m very glad I went. I am honored to be even a small part in the industry that puts these things out into the world. I’m excited that Comic Con is a thing I go to now, and will continue to be going forward. Every year I learn more and I’m excited to be learning and growing into this industry.

If you’re interested in seeing some of these thoughts in video form, let me direct you to this week’s YouTube video. And while you’re over there maybe subscribe to see more of my videos? I’ve very much appreciate it.

Consumer/Creator

Lately I’ve been struggling to find a balance as both a consumer and a creator. This is a balance that I’ve been struggling with a lot, especially in recent years, but seems especially stark of a contrast since I’ve recently committed to making more.

I watch tons of TV, subscribe to nearly 100 YouTube channels, and go to the occasional movie; read novels, non-fiction, and comics; take part in events like VidCon and Comic Con, but don’t feel like I’m making nearly enough. I’ve been told at panels and events that creators need to be consumers too. If I’m going to make something I need to know what’s out there. While that’s true, I think for me I need to start focusing on the opposite.

Instead of watching, I need to write, shoot, and edit video to put up on YouTube. I need to be writing scripts that are never going to see the light of day in the hopes that one day I’ll come up with something I’m proud enough to share. I need to practice and do, not just in response to all the things I consume, but from my own thoughts and ideas outside of the mainstays of culture.

In a lot of ways I have no idea how to do this. I’ve spent so long trying to determine what I think of the world around me that to shift into my own thought process is an astounding transition. But absolutely necessary. I’m starting to journal more. I’m starting to write here. I’m starting with my YouTube channel. I’m not disillusioned to think this will be easy, but starting is half the battle.

A “Fake Geek Girl”s Comic Book Fears

While I don’t pretend to be a comics girl (I’m not cool enough for that), I have fallen quite hard for the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. I’ve seen nearly every movie since Iron Man, and continue to be excited about upcoming films. Joss Whedon heading up the franchise was the icing on the cake for me as a long time Whedonite (check out my series’ on Buffy and Angel).

I’m also using the films as a starting point to get into the overwhelming world of comics. That’s not to say that I’m even close to know what to do yet, but I’m slowly figuring out what to be looking for. Comics is a huge scary world to get into though, especially as a girl.

Part of my fear of getting into comics is that I will be shunned as a “fake geek girl” for joining in now when there is so much hype around the Marvel Universe. I’m tentatively treading into the territory of the Marvel subreddit, but I keep waiting for someone to call me out. I know that I’m not supposed to let that stop me, but I also wouldn’t know how to respond.

All this to say that I’m very excited (and still quite scared) after hearing the news about a female character taking over for Thor. While I am loving the Marvel Universe, Thor has always been the least relatable Avenger for me. He’s a ‘god’ from another realm who has unmatched strength who is all good and has these highly idealistic hopes for the human race. Of course I know I’m simplifying, and if I were to read the comics I’m sure there would be more to it, but… meh.

A female Thor on the other hand? A woman who is just as strong and capable as Thor himself, who’s armor wont be parodied on The Hawkeye Initiative is intriguing to me. What happened to Thor that he’s no longer worthy to wield Mijolnir? Who is this chick? And from the realist in me: How long will this last?

With Age of Ultron coming up on the horizon I don’t doubt that Thor will be back to the man we know by next summer. The majority of the movie-going audience will not be following along with the comics, so for continuity’s sake I’m sure Mijolnir will be safely back in his hands by then. But I’m beyond curious as to how this whole thing shakes out.

Hello, My Name is Rachel and I’m a Crier

Guys, I’m a crier. Always have been, always will be. It’s a trait I got from my mother who cries over The Wizard of Oz (and now I do too). I cry for good things, I cry for bad things, I cry out of frustration, and I cry over TV shows a LOT. Not even always sad moments in TV shows either. There’s an episode in Fringe where Walter’s love for Peter is just so overwhelming I’m sobbing every time I watch it.

I cry when characters get together and when people die and when they live miraculously. Basically when there is an excess of emotion – no matter the feeling – I’ll probably shed a tear or two. I’ve come to peace with the fact that I will be a blubbery mess even when no one else understands why I’m having such a strong response.

I’ve gotten used to it, as have many of my close friends. I choose carefully who I went to see The Fault in Our Stars with for this very reason. While there are very few people who can hold a dry eye through that movie, I knew I needed someone I would be about to ugly cry in front of because that was a real possibly (that turned into an actual reality).

On the TV side, the show I’ve been crying over recently is Call the Midwife. It’s a BBC show that has just finished it’s third season (series if we’re being British), and is scheduled to return for a fourth next year. The show centers around nurses who work out of a convent in London’s East End in the late 1950′s. Every episode is filled with a strange, but wonderful combination of beauty and decay as the nurses tend to both births and deaths in the community, along with dealing with their own personal lives and dramas.

This show is gorgeous, poignant, and soulful as it quickly shows both the similarities and differences of the times. One minute the universality of human nature is surprising and wonderful, reminding you that even though these characters are in a time very far removed from us, they are still very much like us. The next minute the changes of the times are starkly clear. A character has an asthma attack and halfway into the thought “Get her inhaler”, you realize that there isn’t one to get.

This show has turned me into an absolute WRECK and I’m loving every minute of it. I’ve still got a season and a half to power through and I couldn’t be more excited to cry.

VidCon PowWow

When I was a camp counselor we would gather with our cabins at the end of the day and go around the circle doing a powwow. The “pow” would be the low point in the day, something that was frustrating or disappointing, and the “wow” would be the best part of the day.

In an effort to organize my thoughts from VidCon in a way that tries to show that I had a fantastic time, but also recognize some of the “pow”s of the event, I’m going to go back to my roots and powwow my VidCon experiene.

DAY 1
POW: I was really frustrated with the availability on Thursday. It was “Industry Day”, which is a great thing to focus on, but as someone who was mostly attending VidCon for the panels it was annoying that there wasn’t much to do on the first day.
WOW: Since I had so much time on my hands, I signed up to get a free manicure from the HLN booth. While I waited for it I met some pretty fun girls, one of whom is an LA local and I’m hoping will become a friend.
I also had a great time wandering the expo hall and meeting a few of my favorite YouTubers by happenstance which was lovely.

DAY 2
POW: This was the beginning of #linecon. While I was able to get into all the panels I wanted, I know that was not the case for everyone. I think that if they learn from this year and have a better system in place next year a lot of nerves and frustrations could be saved. Having tickets for signings and knowing about where in the line to at least tell people that they probably wont make it in would go a long way.
WOW: I went to so many panels on Friday and took lots of notes. I love the feel of learning that I got from being surrounded by other people who are also interested in creating online video. Such an inspirational feeling.

DAY 3
POW: More lines today. Specifically getting into the convention center was a nightmare on Saturday morning. Security people were contradicting each other and I saw one threaten to take people’s badges away. Both sides need to come in with an understanding that this is going to take some time. Clear communication would have been a huge step in the right direction on this one.
WOW: Saturday I got to meet one of my favorite YouTubers, and wound up meeting a bunch of people whilst waiting for a party that I never did manage to get into. It was great to connect with some new people, especially since I had come by myself.
I’ll also say that a favorite part about Saturday was that I finally mustered up the courage to bring my long board after debating it all weekend. It was fun to have that transportation, it sparked a few conversations, and was just generally useful.

Overall, I had a great weekend and am definitely interested in going again next year. Maybe with an industry badge? That my employer pays for? #wishfulthinking