This Has Been: August Edition

I started this month half a world away, if you’ll excuse the bad pun (I’ve cashed in way to many airline miles this month).  The month began with the end of What Moves You? which I’ve explained too many times to go on about it again here.  Read my reflection on the program.

The end of What Moves You brought the begining of my travels with Allason.  We galavanted.  I rock climbed.  We watched movies and ate Haribo.  We took pictures on bikes and in front of gazeboes.  We wandered, got lost, and forgot our map.  We accidentally paid five euros for Fanta.  We ate too much pizza.  I lost my hat and gained a parasol.  We took six trains and a bus down to Rome, where we found a way to an airport and waited in two unnessesary lines before spending 24 hours making our way home.

Even though it may have been a bit too much to have been going for what clocked in as seven weeks straight, I’m glad I got the chance to travel after What Moves You.  If I had just gone to Berlin and come straight home I probably would have felt a little jipted.

I was only home for two days at a time this month and sandwiched in between the four days total of San Francisco time was a few days spent in DisneyLand with the fam.  I’ll spare you a second list of things that were done by saying we had a good time, got to see some new things along with the old favorites, and we probably spent too much money.  All a part of the program.

When we got home I had lunch with a few friends (wasn’t able to get in touch with others) and did a buch of errands.  One of these was staring at my three suitcases and willing them to pack themselves.  Honestly though, how did I manage to fill three suitcases to begin with?  I only barely managed this time around.

This last week has been full of moving into my new apartment and getting settled in Chicago.  I’ve moved into a little apartment that I’ll be at for this semester, and am starting to get in the rythem of a new place.  As much as unpacking a ton of boxes can be a rythem.

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Production Magic

Somthing that is both daunting and thrilling about anticipating joining the world of television is the whole aspect of production.  While my major is writing and producing, I am definatly more on the writing side of things (if you couldn’t tell).  That being said production is quite a bit magical to me.

It’s not that I don’t know how it works.  I’ve taken the classes.  I know how much work goes into it, but there’s something so amazing to me about how it actually does work.  I find that something magical takes place when producers, directors, camerapeople, actors, lighting directors, and every other little job under the sun comes together to create a story.

Everyone in the mix is reliant on the others to help make their part shine.  Actors need make-up and wardrobe people to accentuate their abilities.  Camera work would all be for naught without lighting to make it visable.  It’s likely that no one would be able to do much without caterring and craft services.  If one member drops the ball, then the whole can quickly unravel and fall to pieces.

The paperwork and pre-production work that can be so tedious to me, shows its worth once I’m on set.  As a student director the shot I wanted for the next take was ready to go because I had draw out the storyboards.  My exclamation of “Magic!” was met with a quick rebuttle from my proffessor.  Not magic, just work done right.

Having a headset is the best experience on a set.  Being plugged in to the chatter lets you in on all of the secret drama that pulses under the surface.  Cruise between chanels to hear what the cameras are saying and to figure out what’s going on with the lighting team.  Evesdrop on the private line to hear when people are frustrated or annoyed at each other.  A request over the com can put an entire set in motion.

A production is always in motion to some extent.  In a studio production the floor director mediates between the talent and the control room.  On location a new shot needs to be arranged and agreed on between the director and art director before hitting record.  Even is no one is moving discutions are being had and decisions are being made.  When the director makes the call, all the players jump to their positions. 

My favorite moment on set (and I’ve experienced it on both student and professional productions) is the moment of quiet before things start happening.  The little moments between takes when the director calls action; right before the actors start talking.  The stretch in the morning when cast and crew is still arriving and all is quiet on the headsets save for the occational “mic check”.  The minutes during takes where the only sound is what the audience will hear, weather they hear it at a five second delay that passes as live, later that day, later that week, or later that year; remembering it from my angle instead of the camera angle makes watching it again that much sweeter.

A Guide to Parasol Ownership

Congratulations on the purchase of your tourist-sanctioned new parasol.  We understand that the cool factor doesn’t really exist at the moment because nearly every other girl on the street has one.  Hold on, because I can promise you one thing: It get’s better.  Bear with us and with will explain where to go from here.

Why did you purchase a parasol to begin with?  Well, every parasol owner must answer that question for themselves as it can be deeply personal.  In my case I needed to be convinced of my parasol need by Allason.  It turned out to be for the better because I needed a way to shade myself from the sun while walking around an unfamiliar city.  Now I enjoy embodying my inner Kaylee Frye.  Perhaps you wish to be a geisha, a roman emperor, or another member of royalty.  We are glad for whatever reason for your parasol acquisition.

Now we will cover parasol etiquette.  To begin, open your parasol to it’s widest point.  There will be a button to hold it in position while you are using it. Then, aim your parasol so that it is between you and the sun in order to provide shade to your face and upper body.  Be aware that sometimes in order to provide adequate shade, your parasol will be in front of your face.  At all times, but especially when your parasol is blocking your line of sight, be careful to avoid collisions with those around you.

Since we are on the subject of people around you, you must be especially cautious when utilizing your parasol on social outings.  Be curtious to your companions by being sure not to hit them with your wider-than-normal wingspan.  I find the best way to avoid mishaps is to walk alongside the person you are with so that the parasol is facing away from you both.

Now that you are well versed in parasol etiquette, you are free to move about the country.  But where will you take your new accessory?  Personally my favorite places to showcase my parasol is on adventures.  This can be something as exciting as visiting a foreign country, or as “mundane” as a trip to the farmer’s market.

Other acceptable locations for parasols include (but are not limited to): Carnivals, Amusement Parks, State Fairs, beach boardwalks, rock climbing trips (for use when not actively climbing), lunch dates, exploring the grounds of castles or ancient ruins,  and walking through large parks.  In short, any activity that takes place largely outside in the sun is a game opportunity for parasol usage.

Now, go on out there are shade yourself from the sun in style*.  Just be careful of your fellow humans and don’t forget to have fun.

*Disclaimer: Style is an approximate term, and may vary due to differing locals and tastes.  Use discretion when describing yourself, your parasol, or others in this way.

Writing About Writing (week of August 20th)

Monday: blog – postcards
2 postcards
Tuesday: blog – Parasol draft
Wednesday: blog – Parasol polish
journaling
Thursday: blog – Internet TV
Friday: blog – 21 Before 21 Review and 22 Before 22 list
Saturday: to do lists
blog – Production Magic draft
Sunday: blog – Red-heads draft
3 postcards

Success!!  I was able to write something in for every day this week.  Considering that I’m going into my third year of studying writing, this should not be a big deal, but somehow it kind of is.  I’m sure there have been other times when my streak of writting every day was much longer than this, but this is the first time since starting the Writting About Writting series.

The bonus success that comes with this is that I also have blog posts planned and partly written for basically the next two to three weeks.  What’s not written verbatim is planned in my head or outlined in a notepad or sticky note app in my phone (because sometimes digital office supplies have to suffice).

All this writing being done or outlined is helpful in the coming week as well.  This is my first week back in Chicago and I’m going to be swamped with busy.  I move into my new apartment on Tuesday giving me only a week to unpack and organize myself before school starts.  Throw a few work and InterVarsity meetings in there and it’s going to be a wild week, but a fun one.  Plus, at the end of it there are Labor Day barbeques to be had!  Okay, well I don’t have any actual plans yet, but I’m sure something will materialize.

Quality and Quantity, Goals for a New Year (School Year That Is)

I’m sure I’m not the only one to often be torn between the two equal, but opposing idols of quality and quantity in my blogging.  Quality: I want create content that is meaningful to myself and to those reading.  I want to be proud of the work I am putting forward.  Quantity: I want to be consistent in putting work out and having things to show off to people.  Some part of me is saying that if I don’t have fresh content every day, there’s no point to blogging at all.

Logically I know that there is a happy medium between the two that brings forth consistent quality in regular quantities, but the battle is finding that balance.  The balance between the two is something I’ve been striving for since I began this blog, nearly a year and a half ago.

I began blogging because I thought I had something to share, though I didn’t know at the time (and sometimes still don’t know) what that was.  Since then I have changed platforms and blog names willy-nilly, trying to guess as to what was working and what wasn’t.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not claiming to have figured it out, but I am slowly figuring out how blogging fits into my life, and with that figuring out comes a few changes.

To start with, as of now I am committing to publishing four blog posts a week.  These will be published Monday to Thursday right in a row.  The thought being that:

  • One day (Monday) I will post about writing.  Lately this has come as a part of my Writing About Writing posts which I am hoping to continue though the school year.  I feel that these posts have been helpful to me in keeping a discipline of sorts, and will help me to find a balance between school work, blogging, and for fun writing now that school is starting.
  • One day (Wednesday) I will post about Television or other media in some form or another.  This may take the form of reviews, questions, critical thinking and the like.  In the coming weeks this will likely be discussion of new shows and new seasons of existing shows.
  • The other two days (Tuesday and Thursday) will be more ambiguous.  Right now I have travel related posts in the works in regards to my recent seven week stint abroad.  I am also planning to share pictures, cooking adventures, monthly reviews, and 21 Before 21 (soon to be 22 Before 22) successes and failures.

This is my plan as of right now, which — I’m guessing — will bend and change as my needs and blogging goals shift.  For now I will not be compiling links posts at the end of the week.  While I enjoy pointing out blog posts and articles that I have been reading throughout the week, many of the sites the links I cultivate are from are on a different level than I am, and it feels slightly strange to give nods to them when they are so far out of my league.

Something else I will be changing soon is the name of this here blog.  Since I made the switch to WordPress I simply put my name as the title, knowing even then that I would want to change it, but not knowing what to change it to.  I have finally decided on a name, and will be making the official switch soon as well as changing the custom banner at the top of the page (while keeping the layout I have currently as I like it’s simplicity).

Whedon Wednesday: Eulogy for William the Bloody

Whedon Wednesday is a tribute to the many Joss Whedon characters who have died over the years.  A combined effort with Laura, Megg, and Elspeth, Whedon Wednesday is a series of Eulogies morning the loss of these characters who died in fiction, but will never die in our hearts.  Archive.  Introduction.

It sometimes feels that Spike has been around for an eternity.  In some ways he has been.  William the Bloody, the vampire we now know as Spike, was born in 1860, but he entered our lives comparability recently.  Despite his vampire demenor and his brash manner he was embraced immediately.  Metephrically speaking that is.  Anyone who would have tried to come near him at the time likely would have been bitten.  At first glance, an interesting villain, but no more than the next big bad.  Over time, Spike turned into so much more than a nemesis; becoming an ally, a friend, and a lover.

From this love and respect that was shared, Spike grew more than some would have ever thought possible.  From this simple villain emerged, slowly but surely, what could arguably be called a man, and a kind one at that.  What always amazes me about Spike is how he gradually became a rock that all the Scoobies relied on, weather they were willing to admit it or not.

William the Bloody has been known for many things; poetry, violence and bloodlust the most.  Around here, Spike has come to be known for his courage and caring.

His courage is what brings us here today, in the wake of the Battle of Sunnydale, to this space; to these words.  Spike had the courage of a champion and he died as one.  A death that gave those of us alive today the chance to be here.

Postcards

It’s been decided.  Allason and I are bringing postcards back (them e-cards don’t know how t’… maybe not).  When we were galivanting Allason sent probably around ten postcards from our travels to various places in Europe and the US.  We mailed them from the Vatican City post office in Rome like the good little tourists that we are.

While she was writing, I sat there feeling like a bum.  I knew I had people to send cards to, but the act of actually buying postcards and going through the motions of sending them was stunningly odd to me, so I sat there doing nothing.  Well, except for the time I chased after the German couple writing cards to consult them on the phrasing of a thank you postcard.

Now, I’ve decided to be a bit more proactive in the game.  I’m sitting in Disneyland with a small stack of postcards next to me.  I have a list of recipients.  I have a stack of postcards.  I have words (clearly, you’re reading them).  I may even attempt to write a few of them in German (they’ll be very short).

I always scoffed at the postcard racks in souvenir shops.  Partly because they’re in souvenir shops, but also because it was crazy to me.  Who sends postcards?  Why bother?  Postage costs money, and no one gets mail anymore anyway.  That’s the great bit though.  No one gets mail anymore, so postcards a special.  They have reached the status of legend.

A legend I hope will continue as a tradition while traveling and in school.  All this to ask: Would you like a postcard?

On a related note, I want a roledex.  Because I think they are awesome and I want one.  Okay, done.  For real this time.

Writing About Writing (Week of August 13)

Monday: Dream journal
Emails
Tuesday: Emails
Wednesday: Nothing
Thursday: blog – Whedon Wednesday drafting
blog – travel post draft
Friday: Nothing
Saturday: blog – Whedon Wednesday polishing
blog – Quality/Quantity post
Sunday: Journaling (a bit)

I am a little disappointed with this week.  I was wanting to get a little more journaling or other creative writing in and it didn’t wind up happening.  To be fair, the beginning of the week was the last few days traveling, so I was pretty exhausted, but still a bit disappointing.

Granted, as much as I may want to be writing more, my schedule this week may continue to prevent it to some extent.  As much as I hate how spoiled it makes me sound, I am going to be in Disneyland for the next few days, then I will be packing up to head back to Chicago at the end of the week.

As far as solid goals for this week go, I would like to get at least one pomodoro’s worth of creative writting in and some journaling done while in Disney.  Blog posts for this week are basically set, but next week may be a bit of a challenge.  Ideally, I would like to be able to write next week’s WAW post without having to input “nothing” on any of the days.

Home

Out of the over 400 pictues I’ve taken on this trip (which has landed to be just a day over 7 weeks door to door), this one was the first. I took it at the San Francisco airport as a way of starting the pictures that would be taken on the memory card. To be honest, this card is so huge, I don’t think I’ve come close to finishing it, but I couldn’t be happier with the pictures I have taken.

As you likely know this trip has been split into two parts. The first part being What Moves You?, the Eurythmy conference that I spent four weeks attending, and the second part being a trip with my friend Allason down to Rome. I’ve talked about WMY a bit here, and have mentioned my travels in my month preview, but God knows you haven’t heard the last of either.

I feel so blessed to have been able to attend WMY and for being able to travel afterward, but now I am so excited to be heading home. Our flight is today and I am returning to the land of In N Out, burrittos, and barbeque where my phone works no questions asked. I didn’t think I would be, but I’m glad to heading home.

After so long away from home it will be strange to be back. Everyone (within reason) will speak English. No more guessing what’s going on! Constant reliable internet access! I will understand the amount of money I am spending every single time! Most importantly, I will have a long list of memories to look back on of this summer, and for that I am so grateful.

Pray for safe travels and patience as Al and I take on this very last leg of traveling. If you feel like it, pray that there is a good movie playing on the plane (always a worry of mine).

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The End

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It took me six years to finish Buffy the Vampire Slayer, nearly a decade after it has been on the air, and now that I’m finally through it all I can’t shut up about it.  Friends, acquaintances, and strangers have all fallen victim to my renditions of “Once More With Feeling” (among other related topics).  Slowly, I am publishing my thoughts on the series.  Other topics covered so far include: The Beginning, Fun vs. Serious, ‘Ships, Character Growth, and Foreshadowing.

And so, as I return home, our exploration of Buffy comes to an end.  If anyone is reading this who hasn’t watched the show yet, I hope I’ve convinced you to at least give it a shot (watch it in order, or I can give you an alternate order to watch it in that will mess with your brain. Email me).  Buffy the Vampire Slayer has by far been some of my favorite television to watch.  The series easily ranks in my top 5 favorite shows.

Every part of the creative team for this show was at the top of their game.  Year after year, season after season, the show kept outdoing itself.  And I can’t wait to see what these people do next.

Of course, the big question is: What Next?  What do I watch now that there is no more Buffy?  What will I talk about in this space now that I’ve run out of Buffy to talk about?  To answer the last question first, I will never run out of things to talk about with this show.

There are so many things I still have to say about Buffy.  Some of them I want to talk about within regards to other Joss Whedon series.  Similarities between the Buffy‘verse, Dollhouse, and Firefly anyone?  And let’s throw Dr. Horrible in there for good measure.  Granted, I have to finish Dollhouse and Angel first.  So I guess that’s my starting point.  Angel, Dollhouse, then the Buffy comics.

I’m going to end this fangirl style with a list of my favorites.  Episodes, parings, characters, what have you.

Love: High School speak, “The Puppet Show”, High School Willow, Giles and Jenny, the fact that Kendra exists, Spike, “I Only Have Eyes for You”  Faith, “Band Candy”, “The Wish”, Spike’s friendship with Joyce, “Doppelgangland”, how well the show grows up with the characters, Spike being a regular, Anya’s bluntness, “Something Blue”, “Hush”, Willow and Tara, Dawn, Spuffy, “The Body”, the Magic Box, “Once More With Feeling”, the three have a freeze-ray, the return to high school, Andrew is their hostage, Faith’s return, “Lies My Parent’s Told Me”, the Potentials, “Touched”, and the School Bus (of all things).

What are your favorite parts of Buffy?  If you haven’t seen it, what’s been keeping you from trying?  Is there anything glaringly obvious that I missed?  Help me correct my mistake.

This week in Whedon Wednesday: Eulogy for Anya Jenkins.