That time of year again

Every Fall I get excited. Yeah, the leaves are falling and winter is coming. Yes, the Pumpkin Spice Latte is back at Starbucks or your local coffee shop. But better yet, television is back!

My friends have gotten accustomed with me planning my life around certain tv shows. For example, this conversation most likely happened during high school:

Friend: Hey do you want to study?

Me: I can’t. The Lost finale is on and I can’t miss it.

Friend: It’s a tv show.

Me: Excuse me but I have been waiting since forever to find out what happened.

I actively watch at least 30 shows at one time. Most of the shows I watch end up airing at the same time (which is why we must all thank our beautiful DVRs for putting up with us) making me juggle which show is deem “live television” worthy or “watch it tomorrow” worthy. Am I a television addict? Oh yes I am. I have been all my life.

Behold, my television schedule for this fall. Shows in Bold are new shows for the season that I am watching.

Sunday:

  1. Downton Abbey
  2. Madam Secretary
  3. Brooklyn Nine-Nine
  4. Mulaney

Monday:

  1. Gotham
  2. Sleepy Hollow
  3. State of Affairs

Tuesday:

  1. The Flash
  2. Selfie
  3. Shield 
  4. New Girl
  5. The Mindy Project

Wednesday:

  1. Arrow
  2. The 100
  3. Red Band Society
  4. black-ish 
  5. Nashville

Thursday (or Shonda Night):

  1. Grey’s Anatomy 
  2. Scandal
  3. Reign
  4. Gracepoint
  5. A to Z
  6. How to Get Away with Murder

Friday:

  1. The Amazing Race
  2. Shark Tank
  3. 20/20

Saturday:

  1. Doctor Who
  2. SNL

 

 

Night One: August 13, 2014, Before Sunrise

My mind was a mess. I had just finished reading Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins (post about that coming soon) and I was not happy. Earlier in the week I started writing a new story but the words were not coming. I was only 3,000 or so words into it when I decided I had to throw it away. For me, the first 10,000 words are the most important. If they can come within a matter of days, there is a story forming. If they are not forming within the first thousand, the story is beyond repair.

Like I said, my mind was a mess. I needed to clear my mind. I decided that a nice 30 minute bike ride was in order. As I rode my bike and listened to the Guardians of the Galaxy score, I kept thinking to myself What am I doing wrong? Why am I not able to write?

Flashback to middle school and high school: I wrote constantly. I wrote during class, after school, at night, and whenever I could get a few sentences out. I was constantly being creative. But why at age 22 was I struggling so hard?

The Epiphany: I needed to watch Linklater.

I got home and put in Before Sunrise. Instantly, my mind was put at ease. As I watched two young and complete strangers, Jesse and Céline, fall in love during one night in Vienna I realized that I had to keep watching these films. I had seen the first two films years before but not the final film. I had to spend a few nights with Linklater to open up my mind again.

When I put myself to bed, two characters showed up in my mind and they would not stop talking. By the time I fell asleep I knew I had something.

Night Two: August 14, 2014, Before Sunset

I woke up in the morning itching to write. Clearly this Linklater experiment was working. When I got back from work, I put in Before Sunset. Nine years after Jesse and Céline first met on a train, they meet again in Paris. This time they only have little over an hour before Jesse has to leave to go back to the states.

After the movie finished, I started writing again. Once again, the words came naturally. This was a feeling I knew a long time ago. Hello old friend. So nice to see you again.

Night Three: August 15, 2014, Before Midnight

My original plan was to come back from work (at 8:30 pm) and watch the final film in the trilogy but my brain stopped me. No. You don’t want to say good bye to Jesse and Céline just yet. It felt unfair to have their story end so soon.

Instead, I looked at my new story, put on music, and wrote for a few hours. During the work day I realized that this story, if it ever gets finished and published, would be compared to classic 1990s movies and television shows. I decided that I was okay with that. I grew up in that time. That is what I know. It is easy to transport the past into the present.

I also realized that my first draft would focus mostly on the dialogue. For me, the dialogue is the most important part of a novel. Yes, I do find description to be boring. Dialogue makes the novel. If the characters have no voice then what is the point? My second draft would be when I put more description in.

Night Four: August 16, 2014, Boyhood

Earlier in the week I found out that Boyhood was finally coming to theaters in my area. My two-job work day ended at 6 and the movie started at 6:50. The plan was set. I would go see a movie I have waited for since I head about it years ago digging online for new Linklater movie news.

The movie was nearly 3 hours long but worth every moment. The nostalgia hit me watching Mason grow up. I could recall my high school graduation easily. There were moments when I laughed, felt sad, and felt uncomfortable. But that right there is the beauty of life. I cannot express the appropriate amount of words or feelings for Boyhood. It broke me.

I got home a little after 10 pm and opened up my computer to write. I finally called it quits when I hit the near 6,000 mark. My four nights with Linklater let me have my creativity return. But it cannot stop there. There are several movies that I have turned to when I am feeling down or suffering a lack of creativity. I must find it in myself to watch them and to make sure I write every day.

Maybe that is why my creativity left me. My life and surroundings changed and with that my creativity. But now I have it back and I want it to stay forever.

To quote the late, great Nora Ephron (who is also a personal hero of mine):

“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.”

Good night, good luck, and find the creativity that lives inside you.

It’s only the start of something hopefully bigger.

Four Nights (but really three) with Linklater

I am not an athletic person at all. I refer to myself as an active klutz. But I am a sports fan. As a girl who just happens to be a born and bred Wisconsinite, I know sports. The Packers are a religion. The Bucks and Brewers are Milwaukee’s teams who either have really good seasons or really bad seasons. The Badgers are the best when it comes to college sports. High school sports give some towns a reason to live. I can back up my knowledge for sports easily. But on the internet it’s different.

Unless you state your identity, people automatically assume you are male on a lot of websites. The moment you state you are female, everything shifts. A few days ago I was told on a website that I frequent that I “don’t know what you’re talking about” in regards to Wisconsin and hockey. Wisconsin is a football state and will always be a football state. The headline story a few days ago was #4 and his jersey finally being retired plus being inducted to the Packers Hall of Fame. You can’t tell me otherwise bruv.

In order to prove that I know what I am talking about, I have to study the game. I have to study it more than a male does because it is automatically assumed that a girl doesn’t know sports. And when I give out all of the information about the sport/team/whatever I am then told that I’m still “not a real fan.” Please.

It is assumed that a girl who wears makeup at a sporting event just wants a guy to notice them. I want to point this out right now: society makes men think they are entitled to look at a girl with a pretty face thanks to makeup. But if a girl is not wearing makeup, men get angry because they “should look pretty.” Double edge sword here fellas.

I want to get one main point across right now. If you are female, do not apologize for being a sports fan. You should be proud to be a sports fan. Your response should be “Oh yeah I’m a sports fan!” And if you play, even better! Don’t let the males bring you down. Channel your inner Mia Hamm or Hilary Knight or Lisa Leslie or Danica Patrick and show them what you are made of. Play your sport with your head held high.

I have been meaning to write a series of posts about females and sports since it is a very important subject and one very close to my heart. Those posts will be much more detailed and have actual facts linked to them so expect them sometime in the next few months. I also made a video about being a female sports fan on the internet which you can watch below at the end of this post.

Also, this post and the video are happening during a great period for women and sports. Yesterday, the Spurs hired Becky Hammon as their new assistant coach. Next year the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup will be hosted in Canada showcasing the national soccer teams from several countries. The United States is considered one of the best teams in the world.

I want to see this current generation of females as the generation that finally shuts down the men for being sexist when it comes to sports. There are several females who are already shutting them down. Now we have to make more noise. Don’t be ashamed for what you love.

“But girls can’t like sports.” Oh please.

The land I call my own

The other day I made a spur of the moment decision to leave my house earlier than planned to go down to Milwaukee for the weekend. I was already going to be down there for the weekend to attend my friend’s wedding and to see Fall Out Boy and Paramore at Summerfest and I knew I was going down Thursday after I finished a few hours of training at my second job, I just didn’t know when.

One of my dearest and best friends, Sara, asked if I would be down there in time for the fireworks. At first, I had no idea. I didn’t know if I would be able to drive down there. Plus, I didn’t want to drive into Milwaukee. I’m not familiar with the city at all and that is not the wisest option for me. Plus, social situations can be very awkward for me. I usually spent my July 3 and July 4 alone on campus due to a summer job. This year, I had no excuse. As I drove home from the coffee shop where I work, I realized that I could do it. I could be down there before 2. So I went home, packed the van, ate, and filled up the van before heading off. After a quick stop at my sister’s place (who has kindly offered me a place to stay this weekend, and by kindly I mean it as “expected to let me stay here since we are blood” kind of way) and drove to Sara’s. From there, Sara, her boyfriend/future fiance/future husband Ben, and I left to go to the lakefront which of course was packed.

America likes to party, and Wisconsin especially loves to party.  As we walked from our car to the park (miles from each other) I started to people watch as I struggled to carry a rather heavy container of lemonade because I was wearing flip flops. There were hundreds of people along the lake to watch the fireworks. I heard several languages thrown around. There were thousands of personal histories along that stretch of land. It made me wonder (of course it made me wonder). Do they consider America their only home or one of their homes?

My family came to America generations ago. We were immigrants. We were German, Irish, French, English, and Dutch citizens who left their homeland for better opportunities, religious freedom, and maybe love. Over time, we became Americans with European ancestry.* We embraced this country and so are others who are relatively new to America. Some were forced to come to America through the Slave Trade and never made it back to their homeland. Their ancestors stayed here because that was the world they knew.

America becomes your country. It becomes part of you. It is the land you can call your own. Don’t let anyone take that from you. There are politicians that do not know what it is like to come to a new country and start a new life. That is what people did when they first started coming to the New World. They wanted to escape their past by starting again. Immigration is not dead and it will never be dead.

Happy Fourth of July everyone. Here’s a picture of the fireworks from last night.

fireworks

*I for one still embrace my cultural roots. One of my plans is to go to each homeland. England and France have been completed already. However, I still consider myself more Irish than German.

 

O Canada

As an American, I love my neighbors to the North. I have several Canadian friends and I plan on Canada being my graduate school location. Canada is known for its beauty, maple syrup, and as the birthplace of hockey (thank you so much for this really. I mean it. Also, I miss the Nordiques. I really do. I miss the Battle of Quebec. Come on Bettman, give Quebec a team. The times have changed). However, I know Canada for its television shows.

I love watching tv shows from all over the world. I watch shows from Britain, South Korea, Japan, Australia, and other countries.  There have been a lot of shows here in the States that are from Canada. We can all thank the Disney Channel and The N/TeenNick. There are also several shows that film in Canada that air in both countries (looking at you Arrow).

In honor of Canada Day today, here is my list of note-worthy Canadian television shows (with commentary).

  • Hockey Night in Canada. Basically this has been running forever and will run forever. This is Canada in a nutshell and it’s hockey.
  • Anne of Green Gables (1985) and Anne of Avonlea (1987). Save yourself the trouble and do not watch the other two movies. These two movies happen to be the movies that helped define me as a child. I was also introduced to Gilbert Blythe. I haven’t looked back.
  • Lance et Compte (1986-1989, 2001, 2004-present). This series airs in Quebec. It’s about hockey. Quebec loves hockey. The show began when the Nordiques were still in Quebec City but didn’t feature them. Instead, you have the National. They look like the Nordiques but they are not the Nordiques (and they can’t been the Nordiques because they don’t exist anymore unless you refuse to call them the Colorado Avalanche).
  • Braceface (2001-2004). Classic crazy cartoon that aired on two stations in the US.
  • Degrassi Junior High (1987-1989) and Degrassi (2001-present). I have asked my Canadian friends if they watch Degrassi. They do not. Americans love Degrassi. Pro tip: do not ask a Degrassi fan on their opinion about JT Yorke because they will sob. This show helped Aubrey Graham Drake, Nina Doberv,  Shenae Grimes and others get their start in the world.
  • Falcon Beach (2006-2007). I watched this show and I’m embarrassed to admit it. It tried to be Canada’s answer to The OC. Didn’t work.
  • Heartland (2007-present). I started watching this show on Friday and I’m hooked. It’s a show about horses, family, and makes me yell at my computer in regards to the sexual tension between Amy, the lead character, and Ty, the boy who ends up living at her family’s ranch. Also, a lot of great Canadian actors show up in this show such as Tatiana Maslany and Stephen Amell. Actually, it’s strange seeing Stephen Amell on this show because he looks so tiny.
  • Instant Star (2004-2008). This show is about music and following your dreams, even if you have to sacrifice love. Also Tatiana Maslany has a role in the final season.
  • Naturally, Sadie (2005-2007). This show is about a girl who loves animals and views the world in an animal behavioral lens. I personally started liking the show during the second season because of a love interest given to Sadie. Thank you writers.
  • Life with Derek (2005-2009). Living life with Derek. Living life with Derek!
  • Orphan Black (2013-present). We all know how much I love this show. All hail Tatiana Maslany, Queen of All.
  • Strange Days at Blake Holsey High (2002-2006). This probably is the nerdiest show I have ever watched but it was the best show. Do yourself a favor and just watch and become captivated.
  • When Calls the Heart (2014-present).  The show takes place in the Canadian West but airs on the Hallmark Channel here in the States. My family loves it. There’s a Mountie in the show.

If you have a Canadian friend, go celebrate with them today. If not, celebrate this country’s formation into one of the nicest countries ever with free healthcare.

Joy

Last night after I got home from a 12 hour work day, I settled down with my computer and participated in my favorite ritual after a long day. I went online. Most of my real life friends do not understand why I am always on my computer. They cannot comprehend that I find joy in the internet.

Joy is a funny idea. It is a concept really and it is concept that is different for everyone. I find joy in sitting at home watching tv, a movie, reading a book, strolling the internet, listening to music, and other related options. Most of the time when I do this, I am alone.

My idea of joy is off-putting. When I was studying in London, I spent most of my time in my room doing the things I love to do. My flatmates were usually out and about. I liked my along time. When I felt like it, I would explore London by myself. I liked being alone and it was hard for others to accept that. Yes, I was in a this big city, but I needed me time. I do regret not being more open to exploring with others but I was 20.

I have seen people make fun of other people do to what brings them joy. I get sad when I see that. Who are we to judge another person for what they enjoy?

One of my missions in life is to live a life without regret and have a joyful spirit when doing it. It took me until I was older to really see that this was a life I wanted to live. Everyone has something they find joy in. They should be able to do it without regret. As we get older, it gets harder to live without regret.

Let’s try something new. Instead of automatically judging, let’s ask question. Ask a person why they find joy in what they do for fun. Everyone is different and no one is exactly the same. Remember this.

I’m going to be exploring this topic again later in a video I think when I have a bit more time. I will leave you all with this: Live your life without regret but make sure everything your doing is legal. I don’t want you to end up in trouble with the law.

(Please note: if you find joy is harassing someone or stalking a celebrity, please stop. One, that is not nice. Two, that is against the law. Use your common sense and ask yourself if Mr. Rodgers would approve. You know he would not approve of that. He would be very disappointed in you.)

Every four years I get very excited. My voice grows hoarse over the course of a month. My heart suffers several heart-racing moments. I start yelling in German, Spanish, French, and even English at random portions of a match. From June until July this is my life.

I have always been a fan of soccer (or football as the rest of the world calls it which is what I will be calling it for the rest of this post). I played it as a child on rec leagues. Of course I was no Mia Hamm. I was fortunate to be born in the Golden Age of US Women’s Soccer. Yes, the team is still good and still winning most of the international competitions but this era was different. This was when girls wanted to play sports. I learned whatever I could about Mia Hamm, I watched Gracie several times over, I memorized Bend it Like Beckham, and I even watched Just for Kicks which was very underrated when it aired on Nick.

The FIFA World Cup is the pinnacle of international football. A good majority of the world watches it because football is accessible. You’ve seen the pictures of kids playing the game with a ball made out of plastic bags. You’ve seen those ESPN ads about people watching the matches from obscure locations. It’s World Cup season.

The current World Cup is being played right now in Brazil (which will also host the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. I’m not bitter. Yes I am.) amid controversy. The FIFA is a corrupt federation. Everyone knows it. They do not want to admit it but it is true. Will the 2022 Games still be played in Qatar when it is summer and basically 100+ outside every day? No idea. The report into the allegations of bribery will be released next month.

Brazil is battling their own demons. in 1950 they hosted the World Cup and lost. This has been talked about on ESPN for days now. For Brazil, losing the World Cup would mean death. It would mean disaster. Spain, also known as the team filled with beautiful men, would love to repeat. Their performance on Friday however…the Netherlands got their revenge.  Several other teams are going in with the attitude of “we will win this thing” to upset the host country.

Now, the United States on the other hand has work to do. Being placed in “the group of death” which features Germany (basically unstoppable), Portugal (or the team that features Ronaldo and other players), and Ghana (the team that has eliminated the US in the past) the US are not expected to make it out of the group stage at all, according to manager Jurgen Klinsmann. Klinsmann is an interesting fellow. His position with the team is not expected to change regardless of what happens in the group stage (he’s with the team for the next World Cup). Instead, this could be a taste of what America will become.

The US has only been in the top 3 once and that was the very first World Cup. The 1994 World Cup was the last time they made it out of the group stage. The US need to just play one game at a time. Beat Ghana and get three points. Try to get points against Germany and Portugal. Most importantly, try to show the world what life without Landon Donovan looks like.

Landon Donovan not making the squad has been the main conversation about the team. What is Klinsmann thinking? I believe that he has a reason why he isn’t on the team. There are younger players on the squad that are ready to prove something to the world. England doesn’t have Beckham anymore and they’re still fine. Wait, I shouldn’t compare England and Beckham. Beckham is better than England. We can, however, imagine a team without Landon Donovan.

The next month will be brutal. It will be nerve racking.  This only comes once every four years but international games happen year round. There are several professional leagues around the world. A lot of these players play on those teams. There will be giants falling and Cinderella stories.

Enjoy it. Live it. It’s World Cup time.

La coupe de monde