This Has Been: August 2013

I can’t remember the last time I was so productive during the month of August. Really. It’s been a long time. Usually August is just a throwaway month, but this year it’s been fantastic. And hot, but like I said the other day, I’m dealing with it. A few favorites from this month:

The beginning of the apartment tour
I got and lost a kitten
I talked about how second screening is awesome
A summary of summer
My TV list for the summer

Now, to tackle my crazy long to do list for August. I’m glad to say that I did pretty much all get everything done, and then some. Besides the planned things, I also got a fantastic new haircut, hosted my sister and one of my best friends, and started to keep much better track of my finances then I ever have before.

The big two, the ones that really needed doing were getting myself a mode of transportation and an internship, both of which I now have. I got a scooter mid-way through the month, and as of Monday this week it’s registered in my name. I’m going to hold off on information about my internship, but I do have one and will be starting next week when the school semester officially begins. I also have a lead on a second, but I’m still waiting to see how that pans out.

I got started on all the things I wanted to this month, some of them wont fully pan out until next month. For example, the writers group I started is full of people who went out of town for the last week or so. We met a few times, but we’ll kick off once everyone gets back with a writer’s lock-in. I set up a facebook group for a camping trip and in talking to people who want to go we decided to wait until it’s a bit cooler in September. I also attended all the sessions to become a member of the church I’ve been attending, but wont be confirmed until next month.

I’m going to call both networking and yoga studio finding a draw. I went to a few networking events, but not a ton. I mostly networked and grew friendships that already exist. I kept my eyes peeled for yoga studios and found a few that I wanted to try, but didn’t get the chance to actually try them. Not a complete failure, but not quite what I had in mind.

Overall I’m really happy with how things went this month, and I’m even more excited to get started on next month, but that’s a post I’ll leave till next week.

How was your August?  Anything exciting happen?

What I’ve Been Watching (Summer 2013 Recap)

I love TV. I love a lot of different kinds of TV and even the TV that I don’t love I understand the existence of. Even in the dead of summer, there’s still a lot more TV around than people sometimes realize. This summer was a pretty good year for some of my favorite summer shows, and will continue to be for another couple of weeks while these shows, and others, finish out their run.

Of course I’m happy to see that’s it’s once again New Series advertising season (every bus in town is plastered with a new Fall show), I’ll be sad to see some of these shows go. Without further ado, a brief rundown of my summer favorites.

King and Maxwell
I love TNT shows. They tend to have great, slightly quirky, but always respectable procedural in the works that I’d be happy to watch till the cows came home. This one is no exception. King and Maxwell (one of whom is Rebecca Romijn!) are two former Secret Service Agents turned private investigators after an incident in the service. It’s set in DC, which makes me smile even when they don’t get it quite right.
They’ve also got Dichen Lachman who’s fantastic! It’s procedural, with a little bit of serial in there, with a few out there characters, and a bit of a will-they-wont-they thing going on between the two leads. A bunch of my favorite things all mushed together to make sure I tune in every week (Or every other week and a few days late on my DVR, but nonetheless).

Major Crimes
King and Maxwell‘s constant companion, I can’t watch K&M without a side helping of Major Crimes. A friend of mine thinks I’m a middle-aged woman for liking this show, but I don’t even care. It’s corny at times and pretty clearly not aimed towards my age bracket, but I kind of love it. I like seeing a show set in LA, filmed in LA, and referencing the obvious fact that we’re in LA and we’re going to run into some industry people. Maybe not as many as are on the show, but still, it’s fun.
Especially fun for me since my school’s classes were on the same studio lot that this show filmed. We would see cast members and crew in passing and one of my classes managed to get a tour of the set.

Risoli and Isles
I’ll admit that most of the summer season of this show is still hanging out on my DVR, but I needed to give it a shout out. I’ve been a fan of Sasha Alexandra since her NCIS days, and love seeing her on my screen again. As a lesbian medical examiner from Boston? Why not?
Like all the other ME shows (Quincy, Body of Proof), there’s a bit of suspension of disbelief that this exists, but it’s a leap I’ll take. The show is cheeky and fun while still being procedural drama-y. That’s a technical term right there.

The Newsroom
By far the most intellectual of my summer viewing habits, The Newsroom in continuing it’s increasing levels of awesome. This is the show I’m probably most loyal to. I watch new episodes every week the night they air.
At first I was wary of the framing device that Sorkin is using for this season, but after a few episodes I’m really okay with the way this is going. There’s a much stronger season arc this year and I’m absolutely in love. I’m also a little terrified that my free trial of HBO is going to cut out before the end of the season, but we’ll deal with that when we get there.

MasterChef
One of my best friends from high school thinks that my love of this show is strange. I am a self-proclaimed drama girl, why am I so gung-ho about a reality show? Well, there are a few reasons. I love food and I love cooking. I love watching people cook and my dad likes all these things too. My dad and I watch this one together, but I’d probably watch it even without him.
Following cast members on Twitter makes the show that much more exciting. It’s strange to see them all friends on the internet and in real life, when it’s so clear that at the time of filming they hated each other’s guts. A little disarming actually. And I do wish that they would be more understanding of each other on film, because not everyone knows they’re all good now.
The challenges they put on to these contestants through are hard. Going from near-zero to running a five-star restaurant is crazy, but they all handle it so well. It’s a crazy show (and the only one I’ve ever for a minute considered auditioning for), and I love it to bits. Still going on too, so if you’re interested I would be happy to recap who’s who for you so you can watch the last few weeks. Let me know!

Hell’s Kitchen
I’ll level with you, really, I’ll watch anything where we get to see Gordon Ramsey on camera (not even kidding). Something about his brash style and abruptness is mesmerizing to me. It doesn’t hurt that I love cooking. Love it. Add competition and varying degrees of incompetence in there and I’m with you 100%.
This season was a staggering production. As always there were divas and a-holes and a few that I rooted for. While I was kind of rooting for Mary to win it, I would have been fine with any of the top four taking it. Also, since I’m in LA now I keep watching the show and thinking, “Hey, I should go there.” Except for, you know, money.

Camp
I feel like every summer there’s a new scripted show that takes place at a camp. I’ve seen tons of variations from fat camp to drama camp, and they usually don’t manage to stick around for very long. My personal theory why this one’s doing well? They’re focusing on the counselors and staff of the camp instead of the campers.
While this show is NOTHING like the camp that I went to growing up (I went to a christian girls camp), it still manages to bring back memories. I love this show. It’s campy and a little bit awful, but in the best way possibleThere are so many characters, anyone is bound to find someone they can connect with. And with sdo many love triangles it might get hard to keep up with later. I don’t know if they’ve been renewed to come back next summer, but I for one would absolutely tune in again.

*

What have you been watching this summer?

Good-bye Summer!

summers end 1

I’m excited for summer to be over. Fall has pretty much always been my favorite season. It comes with pretty colors, cooler temperatures, and the ability to wear lots of layers.

Now that I’m in the land of perpetual summer, I’ll just have to settle for slightly cooler temperatures. It’s no secret that I’ve been hating the heat here in Los Angeles. I don’t have air conditioning, so I’m dealing with open windows and a few fans. I’m dealing with it by eating lots of homemade popsicles, hiding in air conditioned places, and trying my best not to move.

summers end 2

Heat isn’t the only reason I’m excited for summer to be over though. This summer in particular has had more than it’s fair share of craziness, and I’m excited that all that crazy seems to be winding down. I started the season in Los Angeles, went back to San Francisco, and then returned to LA again. I’m done moving for a while, and I’m so glad to be staying in one place for a whole year.

summers end 3

summers end 4

This summer has included some pretty awesome things. I got to reconnect with old friends. I got to spend time climbing, yogaing, and photographing. I got a chance to learn from some truly fantastic people, and get to know some people who I’m certain will become some of my dearest friends.

This summer gave me a taste of what the future could be. Conversations with smart, creative people and growing into my own work and experience. And while I’m excited for all of those things, right now I’m just glad that fall is on the horizon. My last semester or remote learning will give some structure to my life, and (hopefully) the change in season will give me a bit of a break from this heat.

summers end 5

The best thing I did to help, was actually coincidental. I cut my hair to go along with the #hairforhazel and #itgrows back campaign, and wound up with a cute (slightly uneven) bob. Not only is this fantastic for wearing in general, but this style also fits neatly under my helmet so now I don’t have to worry about my hair getting caught in my helmet or jacket. I donated 12 inches of hair, sent it off last week. I hadn’t been expecting to go short again, but it seems to have worked out to be perfect timing.

summers end 6

What was the best thing that happened to you this summer? Are you sad summer is ending, or excited about fall?

Writing About Writing (week of August 19)

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They say if you want to be good at something you need to practice every day.  I started Writing About Writing as a way of keeping myself accountable for how much I was writing outside of my school work.  Everything counts.  Emails, journals, scripts, blogging, even excessive tweeting.
Over time this space has become a way of keeping track of weekly goals in other areas of my life as well as writing.  A statement of what I’ve done, and what I want to do.  A weekly record of my successes and failures, for better or for worse.

Monday: coverage
blog – food, no cook
Tuesday:journal (2)
blog – 2nd screen edit
Wednesday: journal (1)
Thursday: blog – right now
statement
Friday: nothing
Saturday: blog – this post
Sunday:

As I suspected, last week was full of random, but fun stuff done with my friend Allason and not much writing.  That was really okay though since I had kind of planned on it.  In other news, I did manage to actually read an old script that I want to re-work.  So that’s progress.

This week I want to further deconstruct the script I want to re-work.  I also want to get ready for the school year by planning some blog posts.  I feel like I’ve been saying that for weeks now.  I don’t know what’s stopping me or why I’m so hung up on it.

Right Now…

Santa Monica

Shifting my life around to fit better in LA. A little nudge in that direction, a little tug here, trying to find the best way that my life fits here.

Planning out my schedule. This fall will be at least one, possibly two internships and 9 credit hours of online course work.

Organizing my finances. Because apparently I’m almost an adult now. Whatever that means.

Trying to get back into the groove of blogging, but I keep running into chronic lateness.

Spending days at a time without leaving the apartment, writing, tooling around on social media, and watching Fringe. A few other summer shows, but mostly Fringe.

Hanging out with one of my best friends who is visiting on her way back to Seattle.  Which involves…

Swimming in the ocean.  Not something I would have done on my own, but a lot of fun all the same.

Printing pictures for the first time on the photo printer I’ve had for over a year. Including some underwater pictures we took at the beach.

Yearning to get back into yoga, and getting excited whenever I see a studio relatively near me.

Wearing shorts and tank tops around the apartment, because it’s too damn hot for anything else.

Hating the heat. My body does not respond well to heat (sunburn, heat rash). I know I chose this, and I’m dealing with it, but I was clearly made for temperate zones.

Eating simple foods to keep the burners and oven off.

Loving my new shorty haircut.  I cut it all off to donate to Children with Hair Loss, following along in the #hairfohazel and #itgrowsback campaign that is happening around the new The Fault in Our Stars movie.

Riding my scooter new around town when I leave the apartment.

Going to fancy LA premiere parties. Like you do.

Describing delicious food as a “good life decision”. In and Out. Watermelon.

Spending less by eating in as much as possible and going to free things. Like sitcom tapings and parties with friends.

4 “Pro” Tips on 2nd Screening

Twitter + Fringe

For a long time I’ve thought that I couldn’t get behind the second screen experience. I’m very invested in my TV shows, so the idea of looking away even for a minute to be distracted from what could potentially be critical information was horrifying to me. Lately though, I’m starting to come around.

Second screen has sort of become a verb, but can also be refered to as Social TV. What it means is that while you’re watching TV (preferably live), you as a viewer have a second device open – usually a tablet or smart phone, sometimes a laptop or desktop – through which you’re following along on social media.

For me, this means I’m tweeting my way through Fringe as I watch it on Netflix and letting my favorite MasterChef contestants know that I’m rooting for them, but the phrase refers to much more than that. Using Get Glue to check in to TV shows (live or rewatching), tweeting at people involved in the show or movie you’re watching, and checking out the other, live-feed cameras on the Oscar’s red carpet are all second screen experiences.

I’d hardly consider myself a professional, but I’ve learned a lot in the past few weeks of second screening.

Use Hashtags! Some shows use episode specific hashtags for people watching live (watch along the bottom of the screen for #___), but if there’s not one then you can just hashtag the show. Fringe is #fringe or #fringeonFOX. Masterchef is #masterchef. It’s usually just the name of the show with a # sign in front of it. Sometimes there will be hashtags for things within the show, like rooting for a specific contestant or plotline, you’ll learn more about the show you’re watching by following the hashtags.  By including these tags in your tweets, other people can find your opinions and tweet back at you.

Respond to others. If you’re following the hashtags you’re using (search them in the search bar), then you’ll see other people also talking about what’s happening. This is usually the most prevalent when watching live. Interacting with other fans while watching the show is one of the most rewarding parts of the second screen experience.

Be nice. It’s simply unnecessary to be rude to people on Social Media. Don’t say anything about the actors, plot lines, or contestants that you wouldn’t say to them in real life. Because fact is, nearly everyone and their mother is on twitter these days so you might be saying it to them indirectly.

Have fun! Social Media is used for lots of serious things like spreading news and starting revolutions. Which is all well and good, but it can also be a fun way to be more actively engaged in what you’re watching, and maybe even make a few friends along the way.

Do you second screen? What shows do you engage with?

And the Kitchen Sink: No-Cook Tuna Salad on Toast

Lately I’ve been eating terribly. Not that I’ve been eating junk food per se (though I did get a box of dairy-free, mini ice cream sandwiches that I’ve been eating a bit quickly), more that I haven’t been eating enough or at the “right” times.

Since getting out of school I’ve been eating haphazardly, when and if I feel like it. Some days I’ll sleep in later than I’ve slept in in my life, leading to tacos and yogurt being consumed at noon. Some days I get so wrapped up in Fringe that I don’t eat anything resembling dinner until nearly eleven and even then it’s just a PB&J (side note: PB&J kind of a miracle food, if you’re in a hurry and need to make a quick decision, make it a PB&J).

Part of the response to this is making meals as simply as possible. And in this heat, there’s super points for not turning on any heating implements at all (this is a bit hard without a microwave or toaster oven).

The solution (of course) is no-cook meals.  Everything on toast.  Cold soup.  Simple sandwiches.  And every once and a while a take away meal.  (though I’m trying not to do that too often).  Today is Tuna Salad on toast.

tuna salad

Ingredients:
canned tuna
2 T. mayonnaise
1 T. mustard
1 chopped celery stalk
1 chopped carrot (not pictured)
3 T. grated cheese
salt and pepper to taste
slice of bread

This is pretty much the simplest thing ever. Just mix all the ingredients together with a fork, toast the bread, and put the whole caboodle on toast. Sometimes I skip the cheese in the salad and then grill it into a tuna melt sandwich, but it is just too hot for that lately. Toast sandwich is it.

I’ve been making a variant of this since I was about twelve, and the ingredients pretty much depend on what in the fridge. Leftover onion? Yup. Try it with Goat cheese? Provolone? Be my guest. You can also do the same thing with chicken which is equally as delicious.

Serve with Iced Tea and the knowledge that there’s probably enough nutrients in this to hold you over for about half a day.  Possibly an apple.

What’s your favorite no-cook meal?

Writing About Writing (week of August 12)

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They say if you want to be good at something you need to practice every day.  I started Writing About Writing as a way of keeping myself accountable for how much I was writing outside of my school work.  Everything counts.  Emails, journals, scripts, blogging, even excessive tweeting.
Over time this space has become a way of keeping track of weekly goals in other areas of my life as well as writing.  A statement of what I’ve done, and what I want to do.  A weekly record of my successes and failures, for better or for worse.

Monday: journal (2)
Tuesday:journal (1)
blog – nerves
blog – 2nd screen
Wednesday: emails
Thursday: journal (2)
blog – food idea
Friday: free write
blog – not cooking
blog – summer TV
blog – 2nd screen
Saturday: journal (3)
Sunday: journal (1)
blog – this post

I’m pretty happy with what I got last week.  Not only did I write every day, but I also got a lot of other little things that were on my monthly goals list done.  I finished the process of joining the church I’ve been going to (I’ll be confirmed in September).  The writers group I wanted to help start up is under way.  And on Saturday I picked up my scooter from the shop.

Oh, and bonus, I got a pretty major haircut to join the movement that has become the #hairforhazel and #itgrowsback campaign.  It started when Shailene Woodly decided to donate her hair to Children with Hair Loss as she got it cut to play Hazel in the upcoming The Fault in Our Stars movie.  My hair was long enough, so I figured why not.  I think it will be good for a while to not have to worry about it.  Not that I spent that much of my time before worrying about my hair, but now it will be even less.  And I’ve got plenty to worry about.

There is a lot of stuff going on this week from interviews to organizational stuff for the new semester.  There also needs to be a trip to the DMV in there and hopefully some fun stuff too because my friend Allason just got here last night.  We want to go surfing, and possibly rock climbing.  Not to mention the multitude of groups I’m in that are meeting up this week.  Oy vey.

As far as writing goals, I’m afraid that a few other things take precedence this week.  All I’m hoping for is some journal writing and to get all my ducks in a row for internships starting in a few weeks.  Not exactly writing, but somewhat related.

Writing About Writing (week of August 5)

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They say if you want to be good at something you need to practice every day.  I started Writing About Writing as a way of keeping myself accountable for how much I was writing outside of my school work.  Everything counts.  Emails, journals, scripts, blogging, even excessive tweeting.
Over time this space has become a way of keeping track of weekly goals in other areas of my life as well as writing.  A statement of what I’ve done, and what I want to do.  A weekly record of my successes and failures, for better or for worse.

Monday: nothing
Tuesday: journal (2)
research notes
Wednesday: blog – I did what I could
Thursday: blog – Fall TV
Friday: emails
Saturday: journal (3)
Sunday: sermon notes
blog – this post

What were my goals for last week?  Did I have any specifics?  I think I just wanted to get my life in order and spend time with kitty.  Well, if that was the case I think I failed on both counts.  While I set up a few things, I also messed some stuff up.  I missed a deadline and had to put the kitten down (whole story here).

In the meantime, my sister came to visit, so I spent most of the weekend days hanging with her.  Whenever we’re together all I can see is how hipster we seem.  We made quinoa burgers and she went with me to look at scooters.  I put down a deposit for a scooter you guys, I’m super pumped.

This week I’ll be pretty much on my own all week which I am pretty excited about.  I have two interviews, but besides that I am able to set my own schedule.  It’s going to include lots of friends, picking up a new-to-me scooter, and some writing time.

My only solid goal for this week is to write every day.  As to what I’d like to write, I want to get some blog posts scheduled up.  I’m working day-to-day lately, which is the blogging equivalent to eating hand to mouth.  I want to stop that.  I’d also like to pick a scripty project to work on and get started with an outline.

I Did What I Could

kitten

 

I found you last week Monday and wanted to keep you immediately. The time wasn’t right. The time would never be right, but it was the beginning of pitch week and I didn’t have time to think of a new kitten. A classmate and I took you to the shelter where I claimed first rights before I even knew if you were a he or a she.

By the next day I had decided on a name. Patrick Jane*, and I would be allowed to pick you up on Saturday morning assuming no one had come to claim you. And who would come to claim a pretty clearly stray kitten who was only 8 weeks old. No one, that’s who. Well. Me.

Never mind the permission discussion for now, since in the end… well just never mind it. You were scared of me at first. Skiddish. You would run away every time I came near. You spent most of Saturday hiding behind the toilet where you would stare at me whenever I went in there. There was hissing.

Things were pretty calm for the beginning of the week.  You slowly warmed up to me and allowed me near you sometimes.  Sunday was calmer. We hung out most of the day and when I went to church in the evening I came back with cat milk. Please eat something, I begged you.

On Tuesday morning we went to the vet. He said you were healthy. He said you were fine. He said what I knew and what everyone else had been saying which was that you needed to gain weight. You needed to eat. The doctor showed me how to force feed you, and I left.

After dropping you off I went to a meeting. I came back to finish some research, having my mini-crisis of the day partly because I had forgotten to eat. Everything is more dramatic and heightened when there hasn’t been food in a too many hours. I can’t imagine a better example of this fact than Tuesday night.

Before I went to bed I found you. It was nearly eleven when I reached behind the toilet where you had been holed up since I left. You were like a dead weight in my hand. I could feel each rib and it felt like I was going to crack them just from holding you. I could hear you trying to breathe. I knew immediately that something was horribly wrong.

Three phone calls later and we were on our way to the animal hospital. You had never let me hold onto you for so long without putting up a fight. You stared at me with eyes glazed over as I prayed. Baby, baby, don’t leave me already. Please don’t leave me. Everything will be okay. I was lying to myself.

When we got to the hospital they took you directly. I was shuffled into a side room where I tried desperately to control my gasping sobs. I remember everything. Forgetting my phone in the car and discovering that my lights were still on. The doctor waiting for me when I came back inside. $700-1000. I knew what the answer would be, but I had to call anyway. There was nothing else I could have done.

After I said my good-byes I was left to myself. I don’t know how long I was there, but by the time I left I had heard two other groups come in with their pets. As I was leaving a got a message from a friend I had texted. “Yeah, I’m awake, what’s going on?” I drove directly to her apartment.

When I got home with a plate of cupcakes and a tension headache all the spaces left were 8am street cleaning spaces. I crawled into bed and set four alarms. Tomorrow would be better. Tomorrow would be better, because it couldn’t possibly get any worse.

And it did. Tomorrow was better. Tomorrow was emptier, but also busy. And even with seeing so many friends I still felt the loss in the small spaces. Waiting for people to arrive. Coming home to an empty apartment that smelled equal parts kitten and dirty dishes.  While watching TV I though I heard you kneading the rug.

I still don’t know what it means. How this will work. What will happen next. I don’t want another kitten. This was it. I did what I could and I just have to hope that it was enough. I will never forget him. My Patrick Jane. Thank you for being a part of my life. Dear baby, I will meet you again someday. Someday. Someday.

*A friend of mine names kittens after TV characters, and I simply had to follow suit. Patrick Jane is from The Mentalist. Both the character and the kitten are/were blonde loners.