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

4th of July Television

Guys, I watch a lot of TV. And since I live in the US, a handful of those shows happen to revolve around United States government and policies. I figured that with the 4th of July tomorrow, it would be good to round up a few US themed TV shows that would make for good marathoning this weekend.

THE WEST WING
Topping the list is a favorite of mine, The West Wing. The show last seven seasons and focused on the senior staff of fictional president Jed Bartlet. While, it’s somewhat dated now, if you ignore the bulky computers and reliance on pagers, I think it holds up surprisingly well.

HOUSE OF CARDS
It would be impossible to make this list without including House of Cards, the Netflix show that just put up their second season. This show focuses on the twisted plotting that happens in Washington and features Kevin Spacey. I actually haven’t seen season two yet (though I’ve been spoiled a bit), so this will be my weekend watching material.

JAG & NCIS
NCIS has been going for so long (they start season 13 this fall) that it’s almost hard to remember that it started off as a spin off of JAG. NCIS investigates crimes in the navy and marines, and JAG prosecutes. Either one would be fantastic watching for this weekend, and without even looking I can pretty solidly say that USA network will have an NCIS marathon going.

PARKS AND REC
With all this drama, it would be good to remember that sometimes government can be lighthearted too. Parks & Rec follows the idealistic Leslie Knope and her team at the Parks and Recreation department in small town Indiana. The show will be coming back for a final season in the fall, so nows a good time to catch up!

SLEEPY HOLLOW
This one’s for the lit geeks. In this adaption of the classic short story, Ichabod Crane wakes up in 2014 and partners with a local police lieutenant to investigate strange happenings in Sleepy Hollow. Part history lesson, part supernatural serial, Sleepy Hollow was my favorite new show last season and I’m PUMPED for season 2 to start up.

HOMELAND
I was hesitant to put this show on the list because it’s the only one I haven’t watched, but it fits so well with this theme I have to include it. From what I hear it’s set in the CIA with agents trying to prevent a terrorist attack. I’m sure it is a lot more complicated than that, especially since it’s won a multitude of awards for the series as a whole as well as acting, writing, and directing.

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I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend no matter their country of origin. To those of you in the US, enjoy your day off and stay safe this weekend.

So We Begin Again

As I’m beginning to come back to this space I look at the most recent posts and am stunned by how much my life has changed in the past few months. So before I start posting regularly again, I thought it would be good to do a bit of an update on where I’m at right now.

APRIL:
I found a job in the middle of April, leading to me not having the time to devote to blogging. I convinced some friends to go rock climbing with me on Saturdays, and spent some time adjusting to working full time. My job is far enough away that it required me to get a car, s

MAY:
In May I took a weekend off to go to Chicago and officially collect a diploma. It was nice to graduate, see old friends, and say goodbye to a city that had given me so many opportunities. Back in LA I had a small party to celebrate and spent lots of time with friends.

JUNE:
Last month was filled with spending time with friends, seeing movies (The Fault in Our Stars), and continuing to get used to being a real adult. I’m still not sure about all this, but I suspect that no one is. I went on church retreat mid-month that got me excited about the future — whatever that may be — and left me with only two days to get ready for VidCon. VidCon was a fantastic experience that gave me a lot to think about.

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I could (and probably will) write a whole post about VidCon, but for now all I’ll say is that I’ve decided to spend some time developing my own online space as a result of it. Going forward I want to focus here as well as over on YouTube at my channel. If you’re interested go ahead and check it out.

Ch-Ch-Changes

I’ve been struggling to blog lately. There are many reasons for this, the main one being that I finally got a job. I’m a receptionist at a small production/distribution company and I’m excited about it and what it could become. I’m glad to be employed, but I know that a job taking up my time isn’t the reason I’ve been quiet around here lately. Even before I got the “You’re hired” phone call I had been having troubles putting my thoughts into posts.

It’s frustrating to me that I can’t seem to express myself in the same way that I used to. For the past month or so I’ve written multiple blog posts that have never seen the light of day. I kept trying to be timely and failing. I wrote posts about the How I Met Your Mother finale, the Divergent movie, and Captain America: The Winter Solider. I have so many thoughts on these things, but I can’t seem to articulate them well enough to feel confident in hitting publish.

I want to talk at length about how much I adore Shailene Woodley’s hippie-ness. I want to have deep discussions about the Marvel cinematic universe. What the last few films will mean for the next ones. How they are tying the movies into Agent’s of SHIELD. How SHIELD is finally starting to pull on my heartstrings. But I can’t seem to come up with the words.

Even beyond media I never got around to writing up a post about my writing goals for this quarter. I’m sure if/how they change in balance with working full time, but I can’t even seem to outline it for myself. Using my phone alarms to be on time, a new planner, how I’m dealing with buying a car; all things I’ve written on our thought about writing on, but haven’t gotten out the way I want to.

My frustrations are because I know that I’m not where I want to be. I know I could be doing better. But I’ve lost track of how to do it. So I want to say that I’m not putting any pressure on myself to write, but I’m starting to see that route is going to get me NOWHERE, so it’s time to rethink.

It’s time to plan and organize and figure out what’s reasonable within my new schedule and current commitments. I don’t know the answer yet, but this post it a declaration that I’m going to try. I love my job, but I know that I want to do more with myself than just get by, it’s not going to be easy, but I know I’ll be better for it.

One Little Word: Planning Freedom Wrap Up

At the beginning of the year I decided to split my goals for the year into three quarters, each of which would focus on one phrase that includes my word for the year: Free. The first quarter was about Planning Freedom. During the first three months of the year I worked on three goals to set myself up for the rest of the year to varying degrees of effectiveness.

Find a job. NO. I didn’t complete this within the time, but I dare-say I made a decent sized dent in trying once I put my mind to it. I had trouble at first getting into the mindset of applying for jobs, but once I started forcing myself to just do it, applying became easier. I’ve applied to about 50 jobs so far and gone on a few interviews.

While I had hoped to have found something by now, I’m comforted by statistics. An average job hunt takes three to six months – a parameter I am well within – and includes 100 applications. Not only am I halfway there on both counts, I’ve spent some time figuring out a system of applying that will serve me well if/when I am ever job hunting again. (Hint: it involves spreadsheets because I’m a NERD)

Re-launch and re-design the blog. NOT DONE.

This one I’m a little upset about, but I have no one to blame but myself. While I set this as a goal for three months I didn’t make an actual plan to complete it which meant that I wound up scrambling to attempt to start in the middle of March.

In slightly better news I did start, so I am still hoping to make some progress on this one. My focus will be on the above unfinished task, but I’m hoping to make some progress on blogging even if it is mostly focusing on content, something I’m planning on tacking in the second quarter.

Create good habits. YES?

There is a question mark there because this is a task that will likely never actually be complete. No matter how many goals and spreadsheets and habits I manage, creating rituals out of everyday tasks will always be an evolving job.

I’m glad to say that I’ve been working on this one the whole three months and have been taking notes of both what has and has not been working from when I’m the most productive to how best to complete daily and weekly tasks like doing dishes and laundry. Whatever my schedule is in the next days, weeks, and months, I’ll be able to take what I learned in these past few months and apply it to whatever my life winds up looking like in the future. If that’s not a win I don’t know what is.

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While this first quarter wasn’t quite all I had hoped for I am still excited about these goals individually. I still plan on working with these goals in the coming months and hope to complete them soon. I’m also excited for my goals for the next quarter which I’ll be sharing later this week.

Next quarter: Free Write

This Will Be: April 2014

April is the launch of a new quarter and a new set of goals. More on the specifics of that next week, but I’m excited to jump into this month. My focus this month is absolutely on job hunting. I’ve been using a spreadsheet to track what jobs I’ve applied to and… I’m getting ahead of myself. Here’s some of my goals and plans for April.

Career

Of course, the continued job hunt. I have a list of companies I’m going to be looking into that I’m sure will continue to grow as the month goes on and I come into contact with people who can help me along. Every time I start to panic (which isn’t too often yet), I remind myself that the average job hunt takes 3-6 months and includes ~100 applications.

April is the start of a new quarter and a new focus (which again, I’ll talk about next week more), but one of the goals for the quarter is to write a short film. I have an idea to work with, and this month I’d like to start to beat out the story and outline the film.

Similar to above, I’ll be working on writing and putting out more consistent content on the blog. This month my goal is to get up to three posts a week. I don’t have any visitors planned this month, so hopefully it’ll be a little easier to stay on track for April.

Education

A friend of mine offered to teach me how to longboard a few weeks ago and I’m hoping to take her up on it this month. I’ve surfed and snowboarded before, so I’m excited and a little scared to be trying this out. While it will be a great way to connect to the city, falling on concrete will hurt more than into water or on snow.

Relationships

I want to get back into serving at my church and investing in the relationships I have there. I’ve served on the production team for a few months, but haven’t been scheduled as often as I’d like to be. This month I’m going to sit down with my planner and request a few days to plug back into this community.

Seeing as this month is also Easter, I am going to try and get some friends together to celebrate Easter. I don’t really know who’s going to be in town or what’s going to be happening, but I know I want to do something more this year than I did last year (I didn’t really celebrate last year besides going to church).

Health

Somehow I feel like this month will be great for hiking. It’s something I’m excited to be getting back into and will hopefully be able to work into my schedule a little more often.

See also: Education. If longboarding isn’t exercise than what’s the point?

What are your plans for April?