Two Days!

Pretty soon, I’ll be off on my adventure and I hope to share with you all as I go through it. I’m now two days out from my big adventure and there’s a million different feelings and thoughts circling my head. Change is big and scary and necessary, and not in the least easy. These past few months have been a whirlwind of preparations intermingled with the usual workdays and summer happenings. Especially in these past few days, I’ve spent a lot of time with family and friends, not exactly saying ‘goodbye’, but more ‘see you at Christmas,’ but it’s still weird.

Many people have asked me if this move is “it,” meaning I’m not coming back. I understand the sentiment, but I don’t think there’s ever a way of knowing if anything is  “it.” What I’m telling people is that I’m going on an adventure. It’s as temporary as it is permanent, which sums up everything we do in life. I’m going for a multitude of reasons, number one being that I want to write for TV. I will never feel settled in anything that I do professionally until I give this a shot. It’s my dream.

As my mom said, when I mentioned it was hard that my dreams were taking me far away: “That’s the point of dreams, you have to chase them.” People may think I have a glamorous view of moving to Hollywood and pursuing my dreams. They’re not wrong because it’s hard not to envision this complete change of life, with a lot of fear, but much more hope, thinking that things might just fall into place, but I also have no delusions that this journey will be easy. That’s what makes up a journey, struggles and triumphs. The whole “blood, sweat, and tears” trope is very real. I don’t know if I will succeed as a writer in a place where there are thousands of people doing the same exact thing, but I have to believe in myself and my talent, and give it my all. At the very worst, I will have tried, learned invaluable lessons, and lived.

I’m entirely fortunate to have the very best family and friends to support me through it.

Big News

As I hinted in my Monday post, I have some exciting news to share! In September, I’m heading across the country to LA.

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I’m excited and terrified and a bunch of other emotions I’m struggling to recognize, but there is an instinct bubbling in my stomach telling me this is the right decision. At 26, I feel up to an adventure and I think it’s time I give my first passion, writing, a true chance.

I love telling stories, whether it’s in person or on the page. If I look a little dazed and far away, then I’m most likely daydreaming, concocting all of these strange and fun scenarios in my head. Most of my writing experience stems from this blog and short stories, but my dream is to write for television, and that’s exactly what I’m going to LA to do.

Over these past four years since graduating college, I’ve been talking about moving to LA or New York City and though I love New York more than I love to breathe, LA is the right choice for right now. I’ve also learned a lot about myself over these years, as one does as they live, and I’m in as perfect a situation as I possibly could to make this venture. I’ve studied to be a teacher and quickly retired, I learned I’m not made for a standard desk job (or the standard desk job is not made for me), and I found such reward as a personal trainer, helping others find their healthy and happy place. Personal training is something I am going to continue doing in LA, and tackling that endeavor makes my move all the easier, as I’ll have something to get me started out in California. But I’ve never quite given the chance to writing as I should. And so we begin.

I am going to miss my family, friends, and New York more than I can imagine. I have no false pretenses that this move will be easy, glamorous, or successful. I’m expecting to struggle, to cry, to fail, but I also know that it will make my life fuller, more rewarding, and more experienced. I have no qualms about admitting that I might be back in a year or so, but I’m also going to give myself enough credit to say that I could make a go at this writing thing. If I didn’t believe in myself and my writing, then in less than two months’ time, I wouldn’t be able to leave my house, say goodbye to my loved ones, and get on that plane.

Risks are scary. This move is taking me away from my safe place, my safe people, and everything that I know. But I think that’s sort of the point.

So, if you continue to read and follow me on my journey, then I think there are truly exciting things on the horizon, as there already have been since I started this blog four years ago. Let’s have some fun!

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End of An Era; I Think I’ve Used That Joke Before…

Hello, my name is Caitlin and I am a binge watcher.

It’s not a joke actually. Like I really just watched a whole lot of episodes in three days. A season full, okay? That’s twenty two episodes that run 42-43 minutes apiece that I watched in three days. Netflix is wonderful, bizarre, and dangerous. Having the ability to just push play on the next episode (OR NOT HAVE TO TOUCH ANYTHING AT ALL) is too easy and convenient. Albeit, I did not complain. And one can argue that I simply don’t have to have Netflix anymore. I’m just saying, it’s dangerous for someone who likes to watch television to have access to so much television.

That being said, I am very sad to be done with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Yes, I could have slowed down, but I was hooked. I will say that while it took me three days to watch the final season (I’m on a staycation technically), it took me about three weeks to watch the previous season because it was emotionally challenging. I feel comfortable and secure in admitting to you my obsession with TV only because I can claim it’s for research purposes. Hello?! I want to write for TV, so I have to watch TV. It’s not my fault, it’s a requirement.

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Too soon Netflix! Too soon!

There is a clear reason as to why I don’t watch too many shows on Netflix and that is because I become invested. It can be hard for me to get into a show, but once I’m in, I’m hooked. Just fry me up. That was a lame statement, but I’m keeping it just so I can talk about how lame it was. After much deliberation, obsession, and dedication, I am ready to make another claim. Friends, after years and years and years, has been dethroned for the highly esteemed number one favorite show of all-time in my heart. While I still love Friends, it will have to make-do with number two (rhyming, ugh). This is important to no one else, besides me, but I think it’s a pretty momentous occasion. As it stands, my favorites are now: Buffy, Friends, Lost, The Golden Girls, and Gilmore Girls.

What you can take from this is that I am one eclectic girl. Look at that diversity in my choice of shows! Actually, there’s probably not that much diversity at all except that some of them are different genres. It’s funny because I only ever watched one and a half of those shows at the time live. Buffy was on when I was younger and should not have been watching at that age because I could not comprehend or appreciate the depth of emotions and torment that it shows. I just liked the action and the romantics and Sarah Michelle Gellar was my favorite because she married Freddie Prinze Jr., which is still impressive, but also, she’s damn good in this show! I also only watched about two and a half seasons and didn’t remember a whole lot of it once I went and rewatched all of it. (Note: rewatched keeps autocorrecting to rewetted and I don’t know that I understand what that means).

I’ve seen episodes of Gilmore Girls when it was on live, but I never got into it until after it came on Netflix and I decided to give it a whirl. I’m so glad I did too (except for that last season, ugh). The first and only episode I’ve seen of Lost while it aired was the finale. There was so much hype and I don’t need too much mystery or context to be able to appreciate an ending, so I wanted to watch it. If I liked how it ended, I figured I could watch it. In the end, I’m not sure how I felt about that ending, but I went back and watched it anyways and it was epic.

I wasn’t or was barely alive when The Golden Girls aired, but thanks to Lifetime and syndication, I started to watch it in high school and became obsessed. It’s just such a fun and lovable and funny show that makes me feel nostalgic, which I am a huge sucker for. With Friends, I did watch much of it when it was running, but probably not all- I was four when it started?- but because of syndication and to all the DVDs I spent uber loads of money on that are now five bucks apiece, I was caught up by the time it ended. I distinctly remember watching the finale, surrounding myself with tissues, and sobbing. I will not go as far as to say it was a tragic moment in my life- I still remember the Brad/Jennifer break up- but it was an end of an era.

And now here again we have reached an end of another era. I say most of this in jest, though I do find these shows to be important to me. It’s like coming to an end of a really good book, especially a series (HARRY POTTER) and having to say goodbye to those characters and those places that made you fall in love. This is what makes television stand out farther to me than movies. If you’re lucky, with a show, there are so many seasons and episodes to spend with the characters. It’s part of what inspires me to be a writer- to bring to life people whose emotions, actions, and thoughts can be so different and so similar to yours at the same time. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it over and over again: if you have a set of solid characters played by actors who bring them to life (in the case of novels, the author’s voice is the said-actor in my opinion), then you can do anything with them.

All of this leads to a big question I am sure all of you are dying to know! What show will be next? Actually, none. Not for now. One, I need time to mourn Buffy. Seven seasons, um no matter how fast you watch them, is no small feat and I need time to process. I waited about a year after finishing Gilmore Girls before getting into another show because clearly I am obsessive and cannot be stopped. Now is the time to enjoy some me time, in the sun, maybe reading a book and definitely studying.

This whole rant started by my wanting to make a joke about being a binge watching addict. My apologies, continue with your day. Except actually, finish reading before you do.

Yesterday’s workout was strength heavy. I ran through the usual barbell exercises, performing six sets of eight reps for power moves like bench presses, deadlifts, and squat presses and four sets of twelve reps for additional exercises such as bicep curls and tricep extensions. I can feel myself growing stronger, which (opinion) probably means I am going to one day become a vampire slayer. (Fact) I ran away screaming from my cat when he tried to bite me.

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I followed a strength workout with a core one that left me wanting to stay down on the mat for a little while, but instead got me in the direction of the bike, which I rode for a few minutes.

Last night’s dinner was a big old salad with grilled chicken, which I paired with a piece of corn and a slice of toast. Simple, yet effective. I enjoyed this while sitting poolside as the sun started to fall asleep, the bugs started to crawl, and I didn’t notice much of anything else because I was watching Netflix. I said it was fun, not healthy.

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At breakfast time, I was very Maid of Honorly and Sisterly and did a favor for my sister and her husband and decided it was worth just powering through the last three episodes of Buffy. I grilled myself some eggs and served it with peanut butter on toast, half a banana, and some blueberries. It was a delightful breakfast sprinkled with occasional tears. I can almost feel your judgment through our virtual screens, but remember, this is partly satirical. (A very small part, but shh).

IMG_3374Now that I’ve finished, it’s time to go out into the world again! Except that it’s ninety degrees and the sun is too bright.

Just kidding, it’s hot as balls. (I don’t use that feature to my advantage enough).

Hello, Have You Seen My Pool?

The snow banks are officially taller than I am. This is startling in how fast and furious it came. People were actually complaining about the lack of snow mid-January and then BOOM a snow cloud exploded. I’m just about 5’3 and though that isn’t a lot of a person, it’s a lot of snow. This particular bank is way over my head, like three of me, but look at that gorgeous sunset! photoMac was intimidated by the huge snow banks and stayed out of the picture.

As I glance outside sipping on my cup of tea and enjoying a homemade chocolate chip cookie, I’m reminded of the days of summer where the sun was shining, the ground was clear, and I had a pool. It’s still there, kind of, but it’s been eaten by snow. If cold, slushy water is your thing, then good for you, but personally, I find it difficult to jump in when the temperature is 80 degrees. Don’t judge me! I’m sensitive.photo

In other news, I’m not too thrilled with my new WordPress app. It’s not posting when I schedule it and all of the text is showing segmented together instead of the paragraphs I write them in! I guess I’ll just have to play around with it a bit more. Is it too much to ask for things to be intuitive?!

Some of you may be wondering where yesterday’s Rave Review Tuesday was and for that, I apologize, because you didn’t miss it. I just didn’t write one. In my”free” time, I’ve been devoting my energies to writing. It’s a positive thing that I’ve been so consistent with my writing, but I need to learn how to balance. I’m in the middle of two different books right now, so hopefully I can finish those up soon. I also haven’t seen a movie in a long time. For me, watching a new television show is a commitment, especially on Netflix, so I’m staying away from the for awhile. I already miss Veep and can’t wait until April! Long story short, I’ll resume Rave Reviews once I consume something to write about!

Though I’m trying to complain less about the snow, it can’t be ignored because it affects so much of daily life. This morning, thanks to my neighbor, I was able to fit in a quality at-home workout. After a body strength routine with the usual squats/lunges/push ups/etc, I jumped on the treadmill and got through a 45-minute run/walk type thing. My legs are sore, even after the rest day yesterday, due to the increase in running. It felt good to work up a sweat and to start my day with a workout!

Breakfast today was pumpkin French toast, topped of course with peanut butter, jelly, and shredded coconut. The pumpkin, vanilla, and cinnamon work together to make this breakfast delectable, but it still borders on healthy with whole wheat bread, eggy batter, and peanut butter for protein! Such a combination keeps me full throughout the morning.

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Lunch came together quickly thanks to an assortment of leftovers. I was disappointed that I wasn’t able to find any Brussels sprouts in the fridge, but the roasted cauliflower and butternut squash combination sufficed. Along with my veggie fix, I ate a piece of blackened salmon and dove into the rest of the macaroni and cheese. Seriously, it’s so good.

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With the roads finally clearing, my sister Lauren and her fiancee Nick came over for a Chinese food dinner. To go along with this indulgent dinner, I chopped and steamed a variety of vegetables- spinach, peppers, zucchini, and carrots- and enjoyed some brown rice. The good thing about me and Chinese food is that when I overeat it, I feel shaky, so I am apt to pay more attention to my body’s signals.

If you would allow me one last note on the snow, I must say, it’s amazing that I haven’t fallen yet. That being said, I totally just jinxed myself. The walking is terrible out! I went from my house to my neighbor’s house and I was walking so slow. Not just because it’s slippery but because it’s hard to walk in snow and slop. I’ve seen a few brave runners trekking it in the snow, but I do not have the coordination for that. I would definitely slip, fall, and get run over by a car.

To end on a positive note, we are already a good chunk into February, which means once we are halfway into March, the weather should improve, BASEBALL will be on its way back- I know for a fact that the Red Sox are looking to make up for last year’s dismal season to me personally in the form of the handsome new pitcher Rick Porcello–Lester who?- and I have a couple of exciting things coming that we’ll have to talk about when they happen.

Keep the good mood grooving!

All Hail the Chief!

My only complaint about Veep is that the seasons simply are not long enough. It took me far too long to start watching because I didn’t have access to HBO, but now it’s taking me no time at all to fly through the show thus far.

From the start, the characters have defined characteristics and dynamics with one another, without getting overly sentimental with providing too much backstory. A quality show builds backstory as it continuously moves forward, careful to establish moments that an audience will find endearing.

We want to grow with characters, not be caught up in things that were supposed to happen before we “met” them.

The show reminds me of a cross between Parks and Rec and The Office, with the quirky characters, underdog storyline plots, and quick, smart humor. It almost seems that a camera crew is following them, which is not the set up of the show, but in some ways might be considered because of how it’s a political show. The media could be perceived as that camera crew because it’s always around and shows different perspectives.

I’m obsessed with the dialogue of this show and how real it seems. It flows and moves quickly, incorporating enough political jargon without being over pretentious. If I could write for a show, I would want it to be this one.

Also, something has to be said about the talent of Julia Louis Dreyfuss. People always talk about Amy and Tina-rightfully so- but look at how much Julia has done for women in comedy. She was the single female in one of the funniest, greatest shows of all time, Seinfeld. Elaine is incredibly defined in pop culture, and yet, I have no trouble in believing Julia as Selina. She is hilarious and genius as a woman in power struggling through politics and the dynamics of Washington. Sometimes she bumble and is silly, sometimes she’s mean and ruthless, but mostly she has a good heart that is prevented from doing much of anything because she’s only Veep.

I also really like all of the other characters who I can just imagine being in these positions. It almost makes me wish I could get into this line of work, which is a mark of a great show because I would be horrid in politics. I am far too dramatic, sassy, and sensitive.

Even though it took me awhile to finally get to watch it, I’m already dreading finishing this up. I’m going to need to check when it comes back because a few half hour showings of this creative genius is not enough.

All hail the Veep, or Pissface, which is one of her nicknames. Watch the show!

In Memoriam: Binge Watching Cease and Desist

It was a long journey, but I’ve finished Gilmore Girls. It was with mixed emotions because though I very much enjoyed it, as it grew towards the end of the series, it felt like it was time.

It’s funny because I started watching the show near the end of the summer and would play episode after episode while I worked in the background, applying for jobs and whatnot. It obviously slowed once I started working, so I think it took me longer to watch the final season than the other six combined.

For now, I won’t be jumping onto a new show anytime soon. I want to get on a reading kick, considering all the books I placed on hold are coming in at the same time. It’s overwhelming! There is nothing better, however, than sitting by the tree, curled up on the couch, with a fire going in the fireplace. I have a ton of books I want to read, so it’s time I got to it!

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In the coming weeks, there will be a lot of reviews to cover, but for now let’s focus on Gilmore Girls. Over the years, I watched an episode here or there, but it never captured my complete attention. It took me a few episodes to really get into it, but once I did, it turned into full blown binge mode.

The best part of the show is the relationship between Lorelei and Rory, mother and daughter for those who haven’t seen the show. Lorelei had Rory when she was 16 and raised her on her own, away from her wealthy, overbearing parents. For Lorelei and Rory, it’s the close friendship before parental relationship that is fun and works for 1% of the population. Rory happens to be this straight A, innocent 16 year old who is a breeze to raise and whose only real issues are boy troubles. It’s the whole, tv fantasy thing that allows it to be slightly believable and enjoyable.

Gilmore Girls contains all the aspects a successful tv show needs- relatable characters who you care about for better or worse, good traits and faults; familiar, comforting settings, such as Luke’s Diner, where the characters can return in order to break up momentous, show-altering events in order to alleviate stress for the audience; and quirky consistencies, characters, settings, and behaviors that an audience latches onto in order to remember and care about the show, for example the town where the majority of scenes takes place, Stars Hollow.

More so than with movies and theater, television allows an audience to grow and understand characters. It’s like Orange Is The New Black in that people have more sympathy for these characters in prison than they probably would for people in real life in these situations. We have a view of the minds of the characters, who they are, what their actions say about them, and we sympathize, whether or not we love or hate them. As long as the characters are fleshed out and an audience is invested in them, you can take them almost anywhere, with the thought that at least part of the core of that character remains.

Gilmore Girls was good in this sense because both the main characters, as well as the supporting ones who are just as loveable, undergo transitions from the first to last episode, yet by the end of the show, you still see similarities within them. The ending was not major, life-altering (for me or them), or overly significant, but I did have some teary moments. Listen, watching a season from start to finish is an investment. It’s sad that there’s no longer a journey to go on with these characters, but at least it didn’t end with a blank screen or everyone dead. You’re also left with a binge watching hangover that leaves you sleepy, fuzzy,and wondering why the hell you do things like this to yourself.

Many people talk about how unrealistic the show is with the premise and how seemingly perfect the characters are, even with their flaws, but I think it’s part of the quirkiness of the show. It wasn’t trying to be meaningful, and though it still had its moments of poignancy, it remained true to its cute qualities it flourished using. Another topic of contention was the dialogue because seemingly no one speaks so quickly or wittily within conversation. Again, I think you could say that about almost any show. Stumbling over words or thinking of the perfect thing to say after a conversation, are things that happen to me regularly, but it wouldn’t work in a show all the time. Dialogue has an opportunity to be perfect and smart on tv and it should be. So often, quality dialogue does not exist.

I say this for television, movies, and theater. It would not matter what a writer does to his/her characters, so long as the consumer cares about the characters and the dialogue is fluid and NOT cheesy. The most poignant and effective moments on television are inspired by subtlety. There are so many shows out there that I love the idea of, but cannot watch because the dialogue doesn’t make it feel real. Glee is a good example of this from where it was in season one to how it is now. When it first started, it was super effective because it was showing something that hadn’t been done before and was a great source of influence on a younger audience. The writers saw what they were capable of and completely messed it up by magnifying the subtlety and turning the show into a parody of itself. No offense to fans of Glee though…

I’m not saying Gilmore Girls was perfect or the best written show on television. There were definitely some moments through the show that made me cringe or roll my eyes, but that is the nature of a tv show made for a young female audience- and I’m not saying that’s right or wrong. It was an enjoyable show that was too easy to binge watch, and though I probably wasted an embarrassing amount of time streaming it, I’m glad I went back and watched it.

However silly it seems, I am sad to say goodbye to those characters and the cute town of Stars Hollow. It’s time I tap into my creative and intellectual side now and dive into all the books I have to read!

I Don’t Normally Do Orange, But….

I realize that it’s Rave Review Tuesday, but I find myself in quite a predicament because I haven’t exactly read anything new this week. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been reading quite a bit, but as I am in the thick of my annual re-read of Harry Potter, I don’t have any new information in which to report.

And I know you will all groan and roll your eyes if I repeatedly talk about my love for Harry Potter. In fact, I am going to an all Potterverse trivia game on Saturday and I plan to dominate. I almost feel bad for the competition…

Knowing this, I tried to think back on any films I have seen recently, but the truth is I haven’t seen a movie in awhile. The horror! I know, but since it’s summer, I try to spend as much time possible outside. I’ve also been traveling a bit and haven’t had time.

As I’m writing this, I’m reminded of the one thing I was obsessively watching for two weeks and can’t believe I forgot! Orange is the New Black. Which by the way deserves all of the Emmy nominations they received.

To be honest, I sometimes prefer television over film because it gives off a more relaxing vibe when watching. There isn’t as much time you have to dedicate to viewing it, even though somehow, miraculously, you end up watching an entire season in two days and didn’t even realize. Happens way too often. I still love movies, especially going to the theater, but there’s something that has always driven me to TV.

It’s strange because over the past year, I haven’t had as much time to watch TV, and therefore haven’t gotten into Breaking Bad or House of Cards even though everyone keeps telling me I have to. Eventually, I think I will watch those shows, but Orange is the New Black was most recommended, so I chose wisely.

The biggest observation about OITNB for me was that the writing on the show is phenomenal. I’m always intrigued by dialogue because it really is the largest factor that drives the show. Obviously the acting is phenomenal and will make or break a show, but as a writer, I am more apt to analyze how the show is written.

I can tell you one thing about that show, I would never survive in prison.

Not knowing much about actual prison, I couldn’t tell you how much of it is accurate, but it certainly is like its own little world and I have enjoyed getting to know the characters. In any media forum, I always love how writers and actors can transform the characters, all of the good and bad about them, and make you care. This show is a prime example of that because from a general standpoint, all of these women are criminals, having done something to some degree that was corrupt, and yet, they are human, sometimes frustrating, sometimes loveable. Just like all of us.

Without giving too much, okay anything, away I will say I enjoy the setup of having recurring characters pop up throughout the hour, while focusing on a new individual each episode, learning their background. You start to realize the factors that led to them ending up where they are and there is something so fascinating about it. You think you have a general idea of how they function, but then the backstory throws you a curveball and you end up screaming at the screen. Especially- okay I won’t say it- but OH MY GOD.

Ack. I have to control myself as I do not have a reputation for remaining inconspicuous when it comes to spoilers.

I know that the person the show is based on wrote a book and eventually I do want to read it because it would be interesting to know how much of this is real.

Being on Netflix, I think it allows a lot more freedom to depict the messiness of life, including cursing and sex. There have been a few instances where my brother is watching a show on network TV and the characters are enraged and all they can yell is “What the hell!?” I’m sorry, but that is not the grittiest statement you can scream when you are so frustrated. It’s not realistic.

Regardless of the realism of the scenarios, I think what gets me most about OITNB and the characters are that they just seem real. I’ve mentioned before how I gravitate to more character-driven media. Maybe it’s because I feel as though I can relate to them. Maybe it’s the writer in me wondering how to create those people while relying mainly on dialogue. Or maybe I should have been a psychologist.

No matter what circumstances you throw them in, no matter what ridiculous, otherworldly, mystical things that surround them, if you have a strong core of characters who live, breathe, and bleed as quintessential humans, I will follow along with the story with bated breath.

Orange is the New Black is an absolute must-see. It’s sometimes silly and sometimes anxiety-ridden. I’ve laughed, cried, and wanted to throw the screen across the room while screaming and covering my eyes. That is the mark of quality television.

And it has a killer theme song that, albeit, runs a little too long.

When is season 3?!