This Has Been: November 2013

November has been a strange month. It was filled with internship days and get togethers, just as I expected, but also with less writing and goal getting than I had hoped. I know that my time has been full in these past few weeks, but as I sit down to write this I’m hard-pressed to figure out what it has been so full with. Though I suppose reading has been a big part of it. I think I’ve read more books in the past month than I did in all of 2012.

On the blog this month I discussed my thoughts on CSI, the books I’ve finished recently, and all the things I want to write about. While I’m glad I’ve been making the slow return to blogging, I am still very much lacking the consistency I had last year. I was on a roll there for a while, but it seems to be gone for now.

National Novel Writing Month. Well, to put it lightly I didn’t finish. I don’t even want to say by how much. Even though I didn’t complete a story, I did learn from the days that I did write. The actual act of writing is not as difficult as I always make it up to be. I just need to force myself to put in the time and then go from there. In fact, the more I wrote, the easier it was to write.

What frustrates me about NaNoWriMo, and writing in general, is that I can’t seem to motivate myself to write. I want to be blogging, NaNoing, and script-writing, but I can’t seem to get myself together to finish anything. Everything else seems to be more interesting than writing. Reading, Tumblr, YouTube, BuzzFeed, everything. Maybe I need to install one of those leachblock apps and block all the unproductive things until I provide proof that I am done writing? I feel like that program exists, but I don’t know what it is or where to find it.

Another big goal was to start a job search. While I had hoped to be a bit further along in the process than I am, I’m happy with the progress I’ve made.  Not really anything else to say about this one, but I’m glad to have gotten a start.

While to say that I have “caught up” on my school work might be a bit of a stretch in some places, I have make enough progress that I am no longer worried. It will be a big push to finish, but it always is. My semester ends December 14, which I’m continually surprised to find out is only two weeks away!

I think what I’m most pleasantly surprised by is the amount of socializing that I managed this month. I attended or hosted a party or get together every weekend. A Halloween Party, an Industry Party, a Housewarming Party, a Doctor Who themed Brunch for the 50th Anniversary special, and of course Thanksgiving.  All told, much more than usual, and definitely good for me.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

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Thanksgiving has probably always been my favorite holiday. There are no gifts to worry about, no huge amount of decoration, and depending on your location, a lot of the really crazy weather hasn’t quite settled in yet. Thanksgiving is the most relaxing holiday, where the only thing to worry about is food. And I love worrying about food. My personal tradition of over analyzing the Macy’s Parade is going to be starting as soon as it’s on TV (time-delayed because I’m on the West Coast), and I can’t wait.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday filled with delicious food and good company. I know I will.

I Want to Write…

Lately I keep trying to come up with topics to write about here, but stopping myself from even beginning. How can I write about this new phase of life when I so clearly don’t know the rules yet?

I want to write about my internships about how the executives and partners might know my name. About how actors I recognize will wander in while I’m assembling a chair in the bullpen and I see internet stars on my lunch break.

I want to write about riding a scooter in LA. About how I’ve learned to lane split while the long line of cars is waiting for the light to turn green. How I can park ANYWHERE and it only takes $3 to fill up my gas tank.

I want to write about going to swanky parties where fancy cocktails are a part of the gig and I can squint and see the back of Mel Gibson’s head. About getting a little bit tipsy and stopping for tacos at 1am on the way home.

I want to write about whirlwind trips to San Francisco. About Japantown kareokee and bad turkey burgers and not having to look up directions because I remember exactly where the bus lines lead. About waking up in my own bed to fancy french toast and surprising old youth group leaders with my presence.

I want to write about how buying a Kindle has probably tripled the amount of reading I’ve been doing. About how I am devouring a steady diet of YA books finished in single days.

I want to write about the experience of writing a NaNoWriMo novel amist all of this chaos.

But… (and there is always a but)

…what is the statute of limitations on writing about virtual strangers who are in the realm of well know? How do I write about the day to day lives of people who have an IMDb page? I don’t need or want to name names, but what if I write about someone and they then find it and don’t like what I say about them?

…I don’t know that three months of riding is enough experience to write about and even as I make plans to never get a car I can’t help but wonder how that will sustain though the years. Then I think about traffic and start an internal hate-rant.

…what is the policy on publishing things on the internet on famous people? I’m not sure. I don’t want to offend. I mean no harm.

…what is there to say about San Francisco that I haven’t already expressed? How do I convey both a trip with friends and a visit to see family in one sentiment when there were two different halves to it.

…this dependence is a shade embarrassing for a 22-year-old. Why am I up until 2am reading books meant for 13-year-olds?

…I’m not even sure I’m writing a NaNo novel anymore I’m so far behind.

This new life has new constrictions, a lot of which I haven’t quite figured out yet. I’m not sure where to draw the lines and what those lines are made up of. When I started blogging there was no fear of backlash, no worry of my words coming back to haunt me, but now… what if someone finds this and uses it against me? What defense do I have?

I guess the question becomes: How do I move forward with this blog and share my experiences without accidentally rubbing someone the wrong way?  Perhaps the question I should be asking is: Who do I value more, my blog readers who I want to be honest with or the people I meet in real life who judge me based on that vulnerability?

What I’m Reading: July to November

Since one of my goals for the year is to read 26 books (that’s one book every two weeks for those of you playing along at home), I thought it might be fun to share some of the books I’m reading and liking with the internet.

I think this is round four.  I’ve lost count.  I finally got myself an Amazon account and I subsequently feel like a much more grown up human.  One of my first purchases was a Kindle which I’ve been LOVING.  I’m devouring books at a crazy rate with this thing.  I can’t quite put my finger on why, but I think there something to do with not quite comprehending how much I’ve read on the electronic format.  Not knowing how far I’ve gone makes it easier for me to plow ahead.

Out of Oz by Gregory McGuire
The fantastical conclusion to the Wicked series, follows the journey of Rain, the granddaughter of Elphaba, more commonly known as the Wicked Witch of the West. Since we last saw the Land of Oz, the conflict with Munchkinland has grown into the beginnings of a full blown war. Rain joins the not-so-merry band of The Clock of the Time Dragon, and begins growing up on the road. Along the way we run into familiar characters such as Brr, more commonly known as the Cowardly Lion; Candle and Liir, Rain’s parents; Dorthy, the strange girl from Kan-sis; and eventually, Tip, a character new to the Wicked series, but recognizable to fans of the Oz-verse.
Just like the others in the series, Out of Oz is a complex book full of unexpected turns and a new way of looking at the traditional Oz-ian legend. It recalls on your knowledge of the three former books in the series as well as testing your memory of the Oz books you read as a child. As always, the Land of Oz is filled with strong characters and gorgeous settings. As the final book in the series, it does not disappoint.

The Shack by William Young
This book was heavy. There were a lot of good thoughts and a lot of hard ideas to think on wrapped in a narrative that was both supernatural and a little bit loopy. A lot of people think this book is the be all end all of explaining a lot of spiritual things (or at least, that was what I was thinking heading into it), but I wasn’t overwhelmed by it as much as I was expecting to be. It was good. It’s not a desert island book though.

Uglies by Scott Westerfield
I read this entire book in a day. Insane. To be honest though, I’m not surprised by that one bit. I’ve been meaning to pick this up for years, and it was the first book purchased on my Kindle. I loved pretty much everything about his book. Adventure, Utopian society, and YA romance. Pretty much perfection. My only qualm with it being that it took this long for me to pick it up. I feel like it would have been much more impactful when I was 16. I’m not sure that it was published when I was 16 precisely, but even a few years closer to Tally’s age it would have hit closer.

Daisy and the Pirates by JT Allen
This is more of a short story that I read for one of my internships, but I’m including it because it’s fantastic and it can be bought on Amazon.  It’s a Kindle-only book, but absolutely worth it if you have a Kindle.
It’s a little bit Swiss Family Robinson, where Daisy and her family are on a boat that gets taken over by pirates and wind up shipwrecked on an island, find pirate gold, and have to somehow take said pirates down.  Of course Daisy manages most of it on her own because YA and adults are stupid, but that aside, it was a really quick, really fun read.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
I love this book. So much. I was drawn to it at first by it’s title alone. I am a fangirl, but the idea of fangirls and specifically of fandom and fanfiction isn’t really acknowledged in media. Which is fine with me, but it was striking to see something acknowledging it at all. Secondly, I found out recently that it started as a NaNoWriMo novel. Can anyone say awesome? Because I can.
Besides the clear love of fandom, this is also a very real story. It follows a freshmen in college as she works through college, relationships, life, and fandom. She’s a famous fanfic author which I love. Not gonna lie, I kind of want to be Cather.

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A little bit slimmer on the reviews this round because a lot of what I’ve been reading is scripts that I’m not allowed to talk about.  Or maybe I am.  Honestly, I’m not sure, but to be on the safe side I’ll not.  Besides, I would rather save this space for prose books that everyone can buy as opposed to insider movies that wont be out to the general public for years if they ever make it past the production phase at all.  Have you read any of these?  What did you think?  Any recommendations for me?

NaNoWriMo 2013

This month I am participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). The collective goal: 50,000 words of a novel in the 30 days of November. That’s 1667 words a day. Part wild goose chase, part life-style change. The hope here is definitely quantity over quality.

Personally, I’m more in this for the habit creation than anything else. I am terrible at making writing a part of my daily or weekly routine, and I think that a minimum-per-day system will help me to turn it into a habit. Since I know my schedule and the way that my weeks tend to work, I’ve re-arranged the word-count a bit so that I write 1924 words a day six days a week.

With that in mind, I’m happy to say that I finally have an idea to hack away at. This isn’t to say I have an outline or a fully realized plot or even more than one character, but you’ve gotta start somewhere, don’t you? I didn’t really have the idea to be participating in this shindig until two weeks ago, and I only come up with this idea last week. I even had to enlist some help to come up with a start.

Okay, okay, I’ll tell you.

My protagonist is a teenage girl living in San Francisco who witnesses a murder by someone she knows on the Golden Gate Bridge.  She hides, but her curiosity has gotten to her and she has to figure out what’s going on.  I’m going for a YA/noir feel, but we’ll sort of see how it goes.

Would you ever attempt 50,000 words in a month?  Any other participants want to be friends?  (I’m morethanexist, find me here!)

CSI 300

CSI was the first show that I fell in love with. It was my introduction to fandom and my entry point into scripted dramas. I don’t think I would even be exaggerating to say that my relationship with this show has been life-changing. Over the years I distanced myself with the show. My favorite character left and I was watching so many other shows that I decided to drop it.

Last spring I started watching again while I was home on breaks. I grew to know and tolerate the new characters, and was glad to see Sara, Greg, and Nick again. Not only was it nice to see familiar faces, I was thrilled to find that the show hadn’t missed a beat. In fact, the cases and character development are stronger than ever and even 14 seasons in CSI is still a fantastic show.

And at 14 seasons, they just recently passed their milestone 300th episode. 300 is a crazy number for scripted drama, and I was excited to see what would be done to celebrate the achievement. I read that Marg Helgenberger was to return for the episode and I got excited, this was going to be good. And it was… but unfortunately it was also somewhat disappointing.

To get the biggest disappointment out of the way first, I was truly disappointed that while they brought Marg back, she only appeared in flashbacks. The reason I love to see characters return is to see their character development over time, and only having past-Catherine there eliminates that option. I wanted her to interact with the new characters. To reference old jokes with Nick or Sara. Instead we were sent back to the past. I’ll admit that it may have been difficult narratively to justify Catherine being back with the team, but it didn’t make sense to me to only have her in flashbacks either.

With milestones like 300 it’s always best to look forward as well as back. To show that while there is a rich history, there’s also a bright future; and an episode half in flashbacks didn’t really show either of those things.

The flashback set up also made it hard to define the narrative. The case they were investigating included a man they had suspected of murder 14 years ago, around the time of the show’s start. As far as I can tell it wasn’t a case that had been done on the show in season 1, so there was a lot of narrative to catch up on which was done solely in flashbacks.

The heavy explanation also made the dialogue clunky and expository. The time spent here would have been better spent with Sara explaining to the newer characters what the case had been and how it had fallen apart.  Not only would this have brought in the more recent turnover of characters and giving fresh eyes on the case, but it would have brought the full cast and displayed the current team dynamic. It would have given a reason for the dialogue to be as expository as it was and would keep in tune with the current style of the series.

Now that I’ve dumped all over the episode, I have to clarify that it wasn’t all bad. The case was interesting. The idea of bringing back an old case from the early days of the show was a great one. I also appreciated the more subtle references to the series past from reminders of Greg being a lab tech to the miniture-esque opening sequence.

The focus on Sara as a strong investigator and her character growth was a great way to pay tribute to the series history of balancing cases with relationships, and Sara’s relationship with Russell brought out how awesome the show still is. Outside of the flashbacks the character growth was clear, brought home by the final scene of Sara and Greg in the evidence storage room. The final scene to the montage through the end credits was an inspiring piece of television. Then again, I might be biased.

Overall, while the 300th episode was a tad underwhelming, CSI is still a solid show that I happily tune into every week. Season 14 so far has been consistently on the mark, it’s only in tribute that they’ve wavered.

This Will Be: November 2013

And so begins some semblance of actual weather in Southern California. Huzzah! I am a Mid-Westerner to the core and I genuinely enjoy winter, so I’m glad to be able to add a few layers on finally. But enough of my weather woes, surely there are other exciting things to be thinking of in the month of November. Indeed.

My biggest goal for the month is a little project called National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo in which participants attempt 50,000 words of a novel in the month of November. I made a feeble stab at this once in high school, but only got a few hundred words in before deciding to call it quits. Since then I’ve gotten a few full-length TV pilot scripts under my belt and a greater incentive to finish. I want to establish a habit of writing every day. Also, a friend of mine is holding my newly delivered disk of Final Draft hostage until I reach 50K.

Besides that Mega Culpa, this month I’m going to start putting some feelers out to try and find a job for after I graduate. This is much more of a long term goal, and I don’t imagine actually having a proper job by the end of the month, but I want to get a bit of a start on it since I’m going to be graduating in December.

Speaking of graduating, I need to recommit to my school work and play a little bit of catch up. The problem with catch-up, of course, is that while I’m busy with work from before, new work is also due. It’s a loosing game, but I’m hoping I can rally my way to an acceptable finish.

That’s it for November. One big goal and two smaller ones. I have no clue what to expect from this month, but I’m excited to be getting started.