Writing About Writing (week of December 24)

Monday: journal (5.5)
Tuesday: journal (2)
Wednesday: journal (1)
blog – this has been
blog – fearless
blog (?) – how to have a good vacation
travel writing exercise #1
accidental essay
Thursday: journal (3)
travel writing exercise #3
Friday: journal (4)
Saturday: blog – public television
Sunday: nothing

The verdict?  Not bad for a holiday week.  My goal last week was thinking/brainstorming/planning/praying.  While not accounted for here I did also work on my editorial calendar for January as well as some brainstorming for some more regular features that I plan to have on the blog.  Most of my writing seems pretty blog focused at the moment, and I’m pretty okay with that.  Except for the travel bit.

I purchased a book on travel writing and and reading and writing my way through it.  The book includes I think over a dozen exercises to try and hone your skills.  You may have noticed I didn’t do exercise #2.  It’s because it was stupid.  I’m exaggerating   Sort of.  The book I have is much more focused towards people who want to write travel articles or travel guides, whereas I am more interested in creative non-fiction based on my travel experiences.  With that in mind, not all of the exercises really pertain to me.

Anyway, next week.  Next week is another holiday week, so I don’t know how much will get done.  Granted, I don’t exactly have plans, but still.  I am hoping to get a feel for how life will be once everything becomes more routine, but with to house guests returning and me possibly not having a room for a few days, that’s probably a slim chance.

I would like to, either next week or the week after figure out approximately how long it takes me to write a week’s worth of blog posts so that I can have that information.  I’m hoping to collect this info over time and average it out to give me a good estimate.  I’m also excited to continue travel writing exercises and hopefully hear back from a few people who I sent my script to hear what they think.

On the not-quite-writing front I’d like to find a real live person who can work with me on my writing here in San Francisco, and in general get plugged in to some sort of community here.  Wish me luck!

Speaking of luck (sort of), as it is today New Year’s Eve, I hope you all have a great night and a happy New Tomorrow.

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This Has Been: December Edition

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December has been a month of endings, as it usually is.  The end of the year, but also the end of the semester, the end of my time in the Uptown apartment, and the end of my time in Chicago, at least for a little while.

The month started with Renegade, the moved through the last weeks of the semester and a full scale photo shoot.  Along with the end of school can saying goodbye to good friends, classmates, and co-workers.  Some of these people I’ll see in LA in a few months, but others were hugs to last for a long time away.  I will miss them all terribly.  Yes, the internet helps, but chance meetings are rather infrequent on facebook (we should all switch to Twitter and Google+).

Meanwhile, I packed up my apartment to the tune of Annie and cleaned the place like I don’t think it’s ever been cleaned before — with mom’s help of course.  A whilrwind of family and boxes has followed me to San Francisco where I am uncertain of where to settle in to.  My time here so far has been saturated with good friends, lots of tea lattes, and a healthy dose of rain.

Christmas was tons of fun and has left me now working on projects and watching lots of TV (and not all that I’m in control of either).  I’m now wrestling between trying to come up with a schedule for myself for the new year and wanting to leave my time more open.  So many decisions, so little time.

My Year in Television

I considered a summary of just the season so far (starting in August/September/October), but realized that since I’ve been going on about the new format that television has taken of not having a strict season, I figured it would be more with the times to do an overview of the whole year.  This one may be a bit long, so I apologize in advance.

I started the year in a downtown apartment with glorious cable access including BBC America, and all the cable channels a girl could ever dream of.  My roommate and I would record everything on out DVR and then watch shows together.  Comedies like Modern Family, and The Middle; New Girl and Psych.

Watching things together made sure that I was caught up with everything that was going on in the world of sitcoms and dramadies.  We also watched all the BBC shows we could manage to record.  Doctor Who and The Hour being two of my favorites.  I would also watch anything with Chef Gordon Ramsey (and still will) which for the winter slump mostly includes Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares.

When my shows started up again I watched Once Upon A Time, Fringe, and Chuck, which I had caught up with again for it’s final season.  A bit into the semester I watched Downton Abbey as it premiered as PBS’s masterpiece series, loving every minute of it.

In fact, I loved it so much that I incorporated it into a ten page paper about how historical fiction is more a reflection of our times than the times it portrays  using Downton Abbey as a case study.  In another class I worked on a Once Upon A Time spec script that will likely never see more than my parent’s living room.  I got an A, and my mom displays it proudly, but the material was outdated as soon as I was finished with the outline.

Through school I was introduced to Husbands the Series, season one of which I gobbled up in a few hours.  As Chuck ended I turned to web series such as Husbands and The Lizzie Bennet Diaries to keep me afloat before finals season struck.

When it did I was awash in emotion.  Saddness over Sherlock, questions for Fringe and Once, shock over NCIS which i had only watched a handful of episodes of all season.

Once the shock wore off I dove into summer television with a vengeance.  The full arsenal of Ramsey shows were family entertainment.  MasterChef, Hell’s Kitchen, Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares, and the new Hotel Hell.  I also powered through the final season of Buffy the Vamipre Slayer, finishing what wound up being a nearly ten year watching in progress.  I had a lot to say about it.  Yeah.

Meanwhile, a friend gave me a call asking me if I was free to be somebody’s coffee bitch in LA.  Let me check m–YES.  The experience not only gave me a chance to talk with some awesome people, it also gave me a whole list of things to watch as the summer continued.

But there was no time for that as I began a period of travel induced, television watching stasis.  While I watched no TV for nearly seven weeks I did manage to catch the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics in Berlin, and then the closing two weeks later in Rome.  The trip also included breaking into Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog and Once More, With Feeling songs often, which was quite amusing to Germans who only understood half the words I sang.

Upon my return I set myself up with very basic cable (without recording!) and settled in for premiere season.  In the process I accidentally watched the summer finale for Leverage while waiting for the premieres of Fringe and Once Upon A Time.  I tried a handful of new shows including 666 Park Avenue, Revolution, Last Resort, and Elementary, but Elementary was the only one that stuck.  I haven’t missed an episode.

I trooped over to a friends building to watch Doctor Who and try out Copper (didn’t stick, but I plan to try again).  I waited patiently for Community to return (still waiting).  I worked through Angel quickly with minimal emotional breakdown and sat down loyally to watch my three loyal shows (Once, Elementary, and Fringe) live due to lack of recording.  Awesome.

As the year ends I am beginning a regemene of British shows and random mini series.  I watched Neverland in a weekend, and have Luther, Copper, The Hour, Downton, and a few others on my list (any suggestions?).  Granted I seem to be ignoring the list for a borrowed copy of Band of Brothers and Lost Girl on Netflix.  Hmm.  This year has been filled with wonderful television and I couldn’t be more excited to see what 2013 has to bring.

Writing About Writing (week of December 17)

Monday: journal (half page)
blog – edit Gun Control
blog – Penny
Tuesday: journal (two and a half pages)
blog – ideas
Wednesday: journal (one page)
blog – Traditions
Thursday: journal (one page)
Friday: journal (four pages)
blog – Fearless draft
Saturday: nothing
Sunday: nothing

As I’ve just moved out of my apartment, my record keeping system (the kitchen window with a dry erase marker) was unavailable   This week brought to you by my memory folks.  Methinks I will start using the mirror in my room at home.  Next week I suppose.

I had planned for this week to be more a calm week.  I had hoped to get in my write up for work, but alas, it was not to be.  It is now horribly late, but I don’t think anyone is expecting it or eagerly awaiting it’s arrival, so likely it will wait until late next week.

Next week I am planning on taking Monday and Tuesday “off”.  For me this means allowing myself to read in the middle of the day and not putting a limit on how many episodes of a TV show I can watch (the usual limit is 3).  I will likely spend some time journaling, but I am specifically no pressuring my life.

As stated, later in the week I want to do some work-related writing.  I also want to start a large list of things I can/want to/might do over my long break.  Taking suggestions, but not giving any promises.  Have a good week y’all.

Tradition

Today I will get up early despite how late I was up flying in to San Francisco.  It is my first full day home and, for the past three years this has involved me going to see the Shepard’s Play, a nativity play that my high school puts on every year.

I was convinced that this year I would miss the play because my timing is different, but somehow, so is theirs.  I am ecstatic to get to see old friends and participate in a tradition that has been going on for longer than I’ve been alive and will continue on for years to come.

Traditions come from all sorts of places and usually have entertaining origin stories.  My family does Chinese food on Christmas Eve ever since the year we were in the midst of a renovation over Christmas.  After a performance we go for ice cream.  The first weekend after I come home we go to the farmers market for breakfast.

Whatever your traditions are, I wish you the best of all seasons in the coming week and we prepare for the last of the years holidays and gear up for a new year.  I’ll be back next week with the obligatory Christmas post, and a few more before the new year, but allow me to be one of the first to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Whedon Wednesday: Eulogy for Penny

So, whatever happened to Whedon Wednesday?  Well, in short it sort of got away from us.  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.  See also: ArchiveIntroduction.

In light of last week’s tragedy (and yesterday’s post) it seems fitting to end this series today.  A goodbye to a series of goodbyes.  They will always be alive in our hearts.

The only way out is up.  But Penny never wanted out.  Penny’s death was a tragedy in two parts.  Part one being her unseen impact on the city and the work that Caring Hands was doing here.  Part two being the loss of a beautiful, heartfelt soul.

Penny kept to herself.  Very few got to know her well, and in light of recent knowledge I am sad to know that she was taken out by a friend.  I don’t know why her friend Billy decided to kill Penny.  I don’t know what happened for him to become Dr. Horrible, but this knowledge only adds to the questions that we cannot answer.

I don’t know what happened leading up to that day.  What I do know is what I’m going to do now.  The world is not ending   Not yet.  And though it may come to be even darker yet, I am proud to say that I will continue to open my hands and my heart to all those who are still in need.  She would have wanted it that way.

Gun Control

I know next to nothing of gun violence. Nothing of that seering pain of loss. I was not aware enough to remember Columbine or plugged in enough to understand the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007. This is, in effect, the disclaimer for what I’m going to talk about here; my opinions, not on school shootings, but on gun control and culture.

Because even little old me, living under my rock, has seen the news of the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting.  Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook have been flooded with condolences for the families affected.  It is small change to say that I am sorry for their loss.  From a stranger on the internet it may mean nothing.  Or everything.  But that is not my goal in writing today.

Today’s post is what would be easily filed under an editorial opinion.  I am in no way claiming to have expertise in any of the above mentioned topics, but everyone has an opinion, even if it is based on fictional television politics.  Yes, I’ll admit, my knowledge of gun control policies comes from The West Wing. My limited knowledge of gun culture comes from a few years as a camper taking riflery, and articles I’ve read.

In the United States gun ownership is thought to be a right. Its at the beginning of our constitution. That right — weather real or imagining — is never going to go away. There will always be a debate in this country about how best to handle guns, and if there’s one thing I am very certain of it’s this: there is no right answer. There just isn’t.

If we are to continue as we are more things like this will happen. The key is not solely in changing the rules (while that should happen), but lies also in changing the way the rules are being taught. This is something that only exists on a individual, human level. If people are taught — no matter at what level — to treat guns as what they are, then and only then will our positive statistics rise.

Guns can be dangerous. They can be terrible, deadly things. They can also be a tradition shared between a father and son. Or a sense of pride when the targets are hit and a new level is reached. There is no shame in weaponry itself, only in what ends it achieves.

My thoughts and prayers to the families of Newton, Connecticut.  Prayers for the future as we move toward positive change, however that change will manifest.

Writing About Writing (week of December 10)

Monday: journal
school – finish science paper
Tuesday: blog – editorial calendar
school – Anthropology Paper #3
Wednesday: journal
Thursday: blog – this space
blog – Penny
Friday: journal
Saturday: blog – My Year in TV
blog – control
Sunday: journal

Last week was very much a success.  I finished out my last week of school strong and managed to hand in everything on time.  In fact, I think this is one of the first times in my academic career that I have handed everything in on time for the semester (used to be a huge problem for me).  After Tuesday I was able to focus on the blog a bit as it had taken the back burner for the past few weeks.

This week is going to be taking it easy.  I have to do a write up for work, but other than that there are no “have-to”s.  There are a lot of boxes to be packed, and plenty of last minute to dos having to do with moving out of my apartment, that takes priority this week.

By the end of this week I will be home in San Francisco, and I could not be more excited.  I want to, at some point, take a long, hard look at what I want to be working on over the long break, but I this week moving and settling take priority.

The End and The Beginning

1-DSC_0001As of 3:30 this afternoon I am done with this semester.  As much as I am glad to be through with it there are some things I’ll miss from this set of classes.  This semester taught me a lot both in classes as it was supposed to and how to deal with classes and assignment that I don’t like or understand.

I finished a show bible (description and set up) and pilot for an original series.  It’s a thing that I really want to work on more and I don’t quite know where to go from here.  Anyone know a a writing group in SF?  Any writers want to give me some feedback?

I did have mostly gen eds this semester, which turned out to be a fun thing.  I met a lot of people outside my department, some of whom I’m sure I will keep in touch with in the coming year as I continue to develop my ideas and career goals.  I am so blessed to know people going into so many different fields, growing my network to include people I can call for all kinds of questions.  In fact, a few weeks ago I needed to have a realistic-sounding measurement of energy for my pilot and I asked it as a question on Facebook.  I had three answers within five minutes.  My network of friends is awesome.

Sadly, this was my last semester with my German class.  Most of us had been in German 1 last semester and the smaller class size this semester meant that twice a week we would hang out and try to speak German together.  I mean, we learned stuff too, but it was absolutely my favorite group this semester because it was such fun to hang out with these people.

I have been surprised with how well finals have gone this week.  I’ve gotten to sleep in twice.  Last night I even go t a chance to go to a preview showing of The Hobbit.  So much awesome, guys, absolutely go see that movie with Christmas.  It’s been a really calm week in what can sometimes be a hurricane of stuff to be done.

While this is the end of my semester and the end of my time in Chicago (at least for a little while), this day also marks the beginning of a lot of other things including the Christmas season, time spent at home with family and friends, and my time as a semi-professional working towards my Semester in LA next spring.  I don’t know what these next few months are going to bring, but I’m excited for the outcome.

Cancelled

As I’ve said before, television these days is a much different world than it used to be.  We are now in a time when there would never have been new episodes airing of any show, meanwhile Leverage just started up again, and the majority of CBS shows will be airing new episodes for at lest another week or so.

Another thing that’s changed is how quickly the turn over has become.  While networks used to give struggling shows a chance to find their feet, now it’s a bit more of a sink or swim mentality.  While that can be okay, it’s also very wasteful and a bit sad.

So far a good handful of show shave been announced as cancelled.  I’ve seen some of them enough to have an opinion, but not all.  I just wanted to give a shout out to the shows so far this season that have already been announced as cancelled.  This includes Last Resort, 666 Park Avenue, Made in Jersey, The Mob Doctor, and Partners.

I’ve seen bits and pieces of all but Made in Jersey, and some I’m sadder to see go than others.  Last Resort and 666 Park Avenue are the saddest to me as I think both of them had good premises and had been doing well for their genre/style.  I’m disappointed that The Mob Doctor hasn’t made it further almost solely on the fact that it was a Chicago based production providing creative, industry jobs to one of my favorite cities.

On a similar Chicago production note, Boss was also canceled.  The same disappointment, with a different situation (Boss was on Starz! and has been running for a few seasons already).

There are also a handful of shows that I don’t understand how they’ve made it this far, but for now I’ll keep those opinions to myself.