This Has Been May 2013 Edition

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Just as I suspected, this month was very much a rehashing of the beginning of this year. Time spent at home alternating between blogging, watching Netflix, reading books from the library, and not quite knowing what to do with myself. Okay, there was a little more happening overall, but in general that’s what it felt like.

Probably the most exciting thing this month was a short trip to Seattle to visit my friend Allason. We hung out at sculpture gardens, went to the massive REI while on our way to a fancy film festival party (because we’re classy like that), and got to spend some time with another friend of ours. Of course this trip also included late night life decision discussions, accidentally weeding our friend’s backyard garden for two hours, and a very delayed flight. Overall a highly successful weekend.

I also got a chance to hang out with a bunch of old high school friends. Some I went for lunch or rock climbing with, others I met up with for a beach bonfire… which turned into hanging out in the mission after the wind started to get to us. It’s been great to see old friends and catch up on what’s happening with everyone. Some I’ve been keeping up with, others I was surprised by in the best sense. It’s weird to be in a group and slowly discover that I’m the only single gal in the group. How’d that happen? Craziness.

I did manage to get myself together enough to get a motorcycle permit and then to sign up for and take a motorcycle safety course, which I completed last weekend. I will be getting a certificate in the mail withing a week or so and then I can take it to the DMV and they will send me a motorcycle license in the mail. Magic.

For the moment I’ve abandoned my original script projects. I need to find a way to habituate writing and especially writing on stories and ideas. I’ve gotten blogging for the most part, but I need to find a way to consistently work on original stories. For now I’m trying not to beat myself up over it. I am still interested in the ideas and may return to them, but right now they’re not working. (Perhaps I need to find a writing mentor?)

While my story-writing fell through, I’ve been happy with my blog writing. I’m working on some bigger ideas and coming up with some concepts for what I want a redesign to look like. I also posted my first vlog. You can check out my channel here and if you like it subscribe! I’m not sure yet what my initial posting schedule is going to be, but down the line I’d like to put up one video a week.

On the entertainment front I finished The Good Guys and hemmed and hawed for a while deciding to watch Fringe next (other options included Chuck, JAG, and a West Wing re-watch). I finally got around to watching The Cabin in the Woods (review to come), and I’m so glad I did. I’ve also been reading a lot. I just finished Eat Pray Love and am working my way through a few others at once. I’ve made myself an account on Goodreads to keep track of my reading habits. I think I may have accidentally invited my entire Facebook friend list. Sorry guys!  If you’re a member we should be friends.

What have you guys been up to this month?

May Sweeps Review 2013

As the season and series finales are coming to an end and summer reality shows begin to roll in, I wanted to take a moment to share my thoughts.  Overall I can’t think of any finales I watched that were disappointing.  Confusing, yes; disappointing, no.  In fact, it was a great showing of plot and character.

In general, the finales that I watched or heard about fell into one of two categories: “Where do they go from here?” or “I see what you did there.”  Neither is better or worse, and both versions make me eager for September to come.

On the “Where do they go from here?” side fall Community, NCIS, Elementary, The Middle, and Bones.  All have been renewed, and Community only just.  I’m not sure what’s going to happen now, I almost feel like the show has written itself into a corner, but at the same time I know that they’ll find a way back.

But honestly, now that Jeff is graduated what happens to the study group?  How are they going to top Sherlock naming a bee after Watson?  The whole Moriarty plot in fact, was so stunningly brilliant that I’m at a loss for what happens next.  The entire NCIS team just quit.  Seriously, how does the show continue from here? (this is also what I said after Gibbs ‘retired’ in season five-ish)  What will The Middle look like without Axel?

Conversely on the “I see what you did there.” side are Once Upon a Time, The Good Wife, The Mentalist, and Modern Family.  For these I can see pretty well what they’ve set up to continue, and while I like that I have an idea of what’s coming, I know it will all turn itself on it’s head and I can’t wait.

Because that twist at the end of The Good Wife: killer.  I’m so excited to see how that works.  And I like the new goal they’ve set for Once Upon A Time, the show works much better when they have a clear goal.  They’re not going to all get back home until the series finale, but that’s okay.  Oh Henry!

What finales did you see?  Do they fall into one of the categories I saw?

From My Lens: Seattle in Pictures

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I wanted to share a few pictures from my weekend in Seattle… you know, about a week late.  I went to visit my friend Allason and we got a chance to hang out with another friend from our high school and see some of the city.  Al has also been an intern for the Seattle International Film Festival, so we got to go to one of the SIFF parties so I could meet some of her co-workers.

These pictures are mostly from the Ballard Locks, and from the Olympic Sculpture Garden.  Allason also took a bunch of portraits of me in the Sculpture Garden, one of which is my new profile picture.

I’ve noticed that I tend to be drawn to geometric shapes that appear in everyday life in my photography.  I like the order that they allude to, while at the same time, there is usually some amount of randomness in the frame as well.  I don’t know what that means for my photography (if anything), but I like the affect.

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Writing About Writing (week of May 20)

Monday: journal (2)
blog – WAW
blog – Would be Good At
Tuesday: journal (2)
Wednesday: journal (3)
Thursday: journal (1)
Friday: journal (1)
Saturday: nothing
Sunday: nothing

Honestly, I’m not sure I want to be disappointed over how little writing I got done this week when I was so busy DOING things.  I went to yoga, met up with friends and completed a motorcycle safety course.  My room is a mess–a sure sign of a busy schedule.  I love being busy!

This week is not looking quite as busy on the onset, but I want to fill up my editorial calendar for June this week and get a head start on some blog posts.  Part of me has sort of given up on my original spec.  I want to talk about it with people! I want my impromptu writers room!  Maybe when I’m back in LA?

Power

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People think that there is just good and bad, but there are so many variants between them.  To regulate something as large as a government or a corporation as “Bad” negates any good they may have done.  In order to gain power, a group has to have had enough good for people to think it was the best option.  Weather they can continue to do good depends on an endless number of factors.

One potential problem with this is that no one should be completely dependent solely on one other person or organization for everything we need or want.  Sometimes it happens though, that we find ourselves depending anyway.  Not because of meaning to, simply because it’s easy.

Easy isn’t always bad, mind you, but often it’s not as good as it could be.  Easy is paying someone to do what you know you could do.  Easy is sitting on the couch instead of going for a run.  Easy is complaining about something even though you have the power to change it.  Easy is maxing out your credit card while online shopping.  Not on purpose, but just because you don’t realize how much you’re spending.

Money matters, politics matter, they matter because we let them matter, but we let them matter because we as humans want things to make sense.  We want order and organization to make sense of the chaos, and economics and governments give us something to look at for that order.  Or perhaps more accurately they give us something or someone to blame.  And isn’t that what we want most of all?

We want change and radicalism.  But we also want easy.  And I can’t think of a moment in history when change has been easy.  Surprising, yet inevitable?  Always, but never easy.  In all that order it’s so easy to let the chaos sneak back in.

The Good Guys

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I vaguely remember watching The Good Guys when it was on in 2010, so that’s a win even if I didn’t get a chance to finish it until much more recently.  The Good Guys stars Bradley Whitford and Colin Hanks and lasted only a season which is both sad and something I’m okay with at the same time.  It’s a complicated… emotion.

The show follows Dan Stark and Jack Bailey (Whitford and Hanks) as property crimes detectives whose investigations tend to end up bigger than they started.  This of course runs them into some trouble with their Lieutenant, Ana Ruiz, and the Assistant DA, Liz Traynor (who is also Jack ex-girlfriend, naturally).  Later in the season they bring in Samantha Evans, a lab tech who helps out on cases, usually illegally.

I have very mixed feelings on this show.  On the one hand, what’s not to love?  The show is filled with busting punks, driving fast cars, and all sorts of buddy cop antics.  There’s the will-they-wont-they of Jack and Liz, Dan’s constant womanizing (it’s surprisingly endearing), and at least one car chase in every episode.

The relationships on this show are fantastic.  Dan and Jack are partners and later friends, Jack and Liz’s relationship is one of my all time favorite pairings, Dan and the Lt. have a sort of thing which is hysterical, and then there’s the ‘ship between Dan and his trailer.  And Dan and booze.  And Dan and the punks he busts.  And Dan and his Trans-Am.  And Dan and his gun.  And did I mention that Bradley Whitford is fantastic in this show*?

I’m also a huge fan of the fact that the show is set and was filmed in Dallas.  They use lots of footage of the Dallas skyline an I think it really grounds the series with a sense of place.  Paired with Dan’s love of Foghat and 80’s fashion, alongside the cars and dive bars, the feel of the show is completely unique.  It transports you to the world of the show in a way that I’ve never experienced before, and it’s absolutely fantastic.

But on the other hand… when it was bad it was horrid.  Liz’s boyfriend, an unseen entity up to this point, is suddenly a suspect in an investigation.  In one episode he goes from boyfriend to suspect to dirty lying cheat, all as an effort to break them up and allow for Liz and Jack to get back together.

Around the same time they bring in Samantha.  I love the character and I see her uses in later episodes, there was no immediate need for another character in the show.  It seems to me that they were told to bring in more characters (Julius a sometimes informant also starts to play a bigger role around this time), and I didn’t see the need for it.  I loved the show from the beginning, but the complications made it tedious to me.

Thankfully they managed to finish on a strong note with Dan and Jack bringing down a dirty cop and Dan’s old partner Frank coming in to help out for one final showdown.  But overall, what executives did with the show left a sour taste in my mouth (yeah, I’m blaming the network on this one).

Bottom line: If you’re looking for a fun, episodic buddy cop show, The Good Guys is going to be your jam.  The vast majority of The Good Guys is just good clean fun.  If you’re looking for more intellectualism and a continuous story, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

Have you seen The Good Guys?  What did you like or dislike about it?

*If you’re noticing a Bradley Whitford theme between this and Cabin in the Woods, you should know that it’s entirely unintentional.  Though I may do a West Wing re-watch.  Than would be intentional.

6 Things I Think I Would Be Good At

Have you ever seen something and thought to yourself “I could do that… and I bet I’d be pretty good at it too.”  I think that sometimes.  For a while I was reading a ton of blogs and thinking to myself exactly that.  So I did it.  Am I good at it?  Well, I’m certainly not terrible.  They haven’t laughed me off the internet yet.

I was thinking about this more recently and thought up some other things I think I would be good at.

  1. Scrapbooking.  Taking pictures and putting them in an album plus making it look pretty?  Yeah, I think I could manage that.  I’ve been watching a few bloggers work on Project Life and I think it would be fun.  Someday I’ll get to it.
  2. Travel Writing.  Go to far off places and write about it?  That’s been a part of a plan B for a while now.  Travel writing, as in making money from it?  That might be a little bit harder, but I could probably do that.
  3. Parkour.  I already climb on everything, I could probably take it a step further and try my hand at Parkour.  It would be really hard, and it would take a lot of effort, but I could probably learn a few tricks if I had someone to teach me.
  4. Teaching.  I’ve taught Sunday school before and I’ve taught friends how to do things, so I could maybe be a teacher.  I realize that there’s a lot more to teaching than that, and it takes a lot of time and effort to be good at teaching.  I think I would be a good teacher though, at least in theory.  I’m a pretty patient person and I like kids.
  5. Crocheting.  I love making things with my hands.  I already knit and sew, clearly crocheting is next in the handmade department.
  6. Vlogging.  I follow a lot of video bloggers on YouTube.  I could totally do that!  I know how to edit, and I learned a bit about how online video gets popular in school.  I even have a camera that I could shoot video with.  I guess we’ll see how it goes.

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All this in part to announce that I’ve started a YouTube channel and will be trying my hand at vlogging.  I have an idea of what I’m doing, but probably don’t really know what I’m getting myself into.  You can check out my first video already, and be sure to subscribe if you have a YouTube account.

I don’t know that I will have a schedule for vlogging quite as strictly as I do for blogging.  Down the line I’d like to upload once a week, but for now I’m trying not to put to much pressure on myself.

What do you think you would be good at if you ever gave it a shot?  Do you vlog?  Let me know what your channel is and I’ll check it out.

Writing About Writing (week of May 13)

Monday: journal (4)
original spec – treatment
blog – upfronts
Tuesday: nothing
Wednesday: journal (2)
Thursday: journal (1)
blog – update
Friday: journal (1)
blog – power
Saturday: journal (2)
Sunday: journal (2)

Last week was all about small victories.  I worked on original stuff a very little bit.  I watched a documentary that was super inspiring.  I made a new recipe that was delicious.  And I got a lot of chores done.  The weekend was spent in Seattle and I worked a bit on the blog while I was there including taking new pictures to be profile pictures and cover photos for all my social media platforms.  I also wound up helping to weed significant portions of a friends garden.  Awesome.

This week I hope to continue the small victories and add some more substantial ones as well.  Next weekend is my motorcycle safety course which is going to be awesome, but other than that I don’t have any specific plans.  Time to go out and make some then I suppose.

The One With the Mid-Month Update

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I leave for Seattle in less than an hour and I’m not even dressed yet.  I suppose you could call this weekend a celebration of the end of the semester.  As of today I am officially a senior in college.

As I mentioned on Monday, this semester has been a bit wonky.  Between living at home, Semester in LA, apartment hunting, and moving back home, I’m glad to be officially and solidly DONE with this semester.  While I’ve been unofficially done with classes since early April, this week marks the end of the semester in Chicago and Saturday will be my school’s arts festival.  Not that I’m going to be there.

Along with that goes a huge congratulations to my friends who are graduating.  I know a handful of people really well in the class of 2013 and I adore them all.  Congrats to Sarah, Veronica, Ray, Lauren, Ryan, Liz, Jeff, Courtney, and many others who are gleefully done with classes for the foreseeable future.  It’s been wonderful to know you for years or even just months, and I can’t wait to join you.

On a semi-related note, my mom is leaving the country on my sister’s birthday.  My baby sister turns 19 this weekend!  Whut?  She’s taking summer classes in Boston, so I wont get to see her this year, and we just keep missing each other.  She comes home the day I start summer school in LA.

What are you guys doing this weekend?

Upfronts

There is lots of things happening in the television world this week.  Besides being the middle of May sweeps (I’ve watched about half a dozen season finales so far), it’s also the week of Upfronts, the party presentations where the major networks announce their new and returning programming for the fall.

Networks make money through advertising revenue (as we talked about last week) and they use Upfronts presentations to persuade companies to buy ad time for their shows. Along with programming announcements everyone is trying to brand themselves.  Weather through showing numbers that prove they are still popular with the young-ins (Fox on Monday) or announcing plans for a live stream service (ABC on Tuesday).  Everyone wants a piece of the action.

For fans, Upfronts means that we finally get a chance to see bits of the shows we’ve been craving.  Once Upon A Time in Wonderland?  Don’t mind if I do.  Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.?  Don’t touch Lola, I’ll handle it.  There is also finally definitive word on continuing shows, Community for season 5?  Yes!

While upfronts have traditionally been a celebration, in recent years they’ve had to dial down the party.  Between the recession and competition from cable, online streaming, and web content, what is traditional is slowly dying out.  And then comes Aereo.

Aereo is a new online service that picks up network TV signal from the airwaves and then puts it online, also allowing for recording for later on.  Right now it’s still being tested, but the website claims that it will be available in select cities this summer.  Networks are furious claiming that the service violates their rights, but so far courts have been siding with Aereo.

It’s not that what Aereo is doing is illegal, it just making the networks mad.  They haven’t quite figured out how to count online viewers thought Hulu, Netflix, and their own video players, and they certainly wont be able to track viewers that watch through Aereo.  And if they can’t count them, they can’t make money off of them.

As Upfronts wind down today (CBS is the last presentation slated for later today), I can’t help but wonder how many of the shows we see presented this week will make it through the whole season to next year.  Which ones will we fall in love with?  Which ones will break our hearts?  I don’t know yet (though I may have some guesses), but I do know that I can’t wait to find out.

What new fall shows are you excited about?  Any guesses as to which ones will do well and which will fail?