well, hello again.



Dear You,

Seems the only time I ever update this blog is when the new year rolls around, huh? Well, it’s better than nothing, I suppose.

2015 was good. And bad. And good. And weird and strange and surreal. But mostly good.

This was the year I really got my start in the Portland film industry. I learned so much about directing and producing, about writing and filmmaking and creativity in general. I had to make some difficult decisions and came to realize how hard it is to be a leader. I met so many amazing people—literally some of my favorite people now, and it’s so weird to think that I didn’t know them (or barely knew them) this time last year—who I’ve worked on so many amazing projects with. I’m proud of them, and of myself, and of everything we’ve accomplished together.

2015: A Year in Review

Milestones and Accomplishments

  • Produced and released all of The Misselthwaite Archives, which, with 40 episodes, ended up being longer than a feature-length film.
    • People wrote fan fiction about my characters, which has literally been one of my life goals since I was like twelve.
    • We also ran a successful $8K crowdfunding campaign for the project.
    • Our lead actress, Sophie Giberson, was nominated for a friggin’ Oregon Actor’s Award.
    • One of my favorite directors and biggest inspirations, Yulin Kuang, followed us on Twitter and subscribed to us on YouTube. It’s been like a year now and I’m still freaking out about it.
  • Was hired to produce another director’s project for the first time, a comedy web series called One Bird at a Time. This one will also be feature-length once it’s all released.
  • Produced and directed my first musical short, “Off-Key,” for the 48 Hour Film Project. (Also somehow managed to make it to a Fall Out Boy concert during that 48 hour period??)
  • Went through the long and arduous process of buying a house with Doug. Finally wrangled one and moved in October!
  • Got off food stamps after a year and was able to start paying rent again. Yay responsible adulting!

Important Moments and Firsts

  • After three and a half years of engagement, Doug and I decided to call off the wedding (which we hadn’t even started planning yet). We’re still together in a long-term partner sense, but the fiancé/e label just wasn’t working for us.
  • Got in my first car crash in April (a pretty bad one) and had to say goodbye to my first car. RIP, Veranda :( This was a huge setback in feeling like an adult because I couldn’t afford a new car for a while. Found one eventually, though, and learned how to drive a manual!
  • My grandmother died this summer. I had a lot of complicated feelings about this, especially at the funeral, but it was nice to see my dad’s side of the family for the first time in many years.
  • I got re-hired by Steve and Kate’s Camp as the Filmmaker-in-Residence, and this time the camp didn’t close before it opened. Met some great co-workers and some crazy kids, and made a lot of bizarre but hilarious videos.
  • Taught a filmmaking workshop in October with I Was There, an organization the empowers veterans to tell their stories about their experiences in the military by teaching them how to make films. Definitely a life-changing experience.
  • Does Star Wars count as an important moment? I feel like Star Wars counts.

Realizations and Epiphanies (and a few Reminders)

  • Everything is a choice. Not choosing is a choice. The things you don’t make time for are a choice. Letting life “just happen” is a choice. Being in a place you don’t want to be in is a choice. You can always choose differently.
  • Social pressure matters. Labels matter. What people think matters, even if you don’t want it to. Sometimes changing the label you use to identify yourself with is the simplest and best solution.
  • Don’t give up. Sometimes that one person, or that one opportunity, or that one moment is all you need to remember what’s good about a relationship or a community or a project. You’ll find that one thing when you least expect it.
  • Don’t settle for people who let you be comfortable with your mistakes. Be with people who make you want to be a better person.
  • Related: It sucks, but you have to hold the people you love accountable for their actions. It doesn’t matter if it’s your friends, your family, or the school that made you who you are—if they’re supporting injustice and inequality, you have to tell them it’s not okay.
  • The key to listening is asking questions.
  • When people start asking you for advice, or hiring you to do things, or taking you out to coffee to “pick your brain,” you are legitimately good at things. Remember those moments when imposter syndrome kicks in.
  • But also, NO ONE ACTUALLY KNOWS WHAT THEY’RE DOING. LITERALLY NO ONE. The people you admire are faking it. The people making money are faking it. The people who are good and talented and successful are faking it. We’re all just doing the best we can in our given circumstances.

2016: Looking Ahead

Hopes and Wishes

  • I finally feel like I know what I want to do with my life for the first time since I graduated college, so I want to take advantage of that. I feel like big things are coming professionally. I already have so many projects lined up that I’m excited about:
    • “Your Poison,” a sexy horror succubus music video.
    • “The Music of Erich Zann,” an experimental artsy Lovecraft short film.
    • “As Promised,” a super personal short I wrote several years ago that I finally feel ready to direct.
    • Pencil Ink’s second literary web series based on The Mystery of Edwin Drood. I want it to be even better than Misselthwaite—to accomplish more of my plans and let less slip through the cracks.
  • I feel like I might actually make enough money this year that I can start saving again and have an emergency fund.
  • I want to take the a bunch of the Misselthwaite team down to VidCon this year so we can meet some of our wonderful fans.
  • And maybe this will finally be the year I can go on my solo road trip?

Fears and Worries

  • Sophomore slump, etc. People have expectations of me and my work now, and I’m not sure I can keep living up to them (if I ever did).
  • I’m probably going to burn the fuck out after every major project. I am an incapable adult at work/life balance.
  • I’m worried I’ll get stuck working on other people’s projects because it’s so much easier than leading my own.
  • Health insurance?? (I’m turning 26 this year.)

Resolutions and Goals

  1. Reconnect with old friends. Make an effort to say “happy birthday.” Don’t forget to tell people how much they matter and how much I miss them. I don’t need an excuse to talk to someone who was once important to me.
  2. Take better care of myself. Make time to do things I love. Cook, read, play music, play games. NOT WORK ALL THE TIME (or use work as an excuse not to do things). Also eat on a regular basis and maybe exercise?
  3. Read, watch, play, listen to at least five things on each of my media lists. (It doesn’t sound that hard, but Goodreads tells me I only finished two books this year. That’s unacceptable.)
  4. Thorough clean of the new house, get everything settled and organized (preferably early in the year.) Throw out old shit (especially clothes and paperwork).
  5. Finish writing my feature screenplay, sitcom pilot, and podcast/radio play.
  6. More personal writing. Freewrite or journal at least once a week, even if it’s just about small things. Use this blog, my writing blog, even my Tumblr. I’m afraid I’m starting to forget things because I haven’t written them down.
  7. Perform at the Portland Poetry Slam open mic again at least once.
  8. Remember photography. Take more selfies.
  9. Finally get that tattoo.
  10. Also finally start learning Irish.

Happy New Year, and I’ll see you in the morning!


out with the old, in with the new.



Dear You,

2014 has been a tumultuous year. Probably more ups and downs in a single year than ever before. Lots of crying and meltdowns, but also lots of laughter, joy, and excitement.

2014: A Year in Review

Milestones and Accomplishments

  • Started a production company, Pencil Ink Productions, with one of my best friends. Made a book trailer, acting reels, and filmed live St. Patrick’s day dancing.
  • Led two teams for the 48 Hour Film Project: one that made a short sex comedy, “Something New,” and one that made a Portland-themed poetry video, “Always Choose the Prior,” for the New Amsterdam It’s Your Town competition. We beat four other teams and won $1,000 for the New Amsterdam video!
  • Started creation, development, and pre-production for The Misselthwaite Archives, a web series based on The Secret Garden.

Memorable Moments and Firsts

  • Started freelancing full-time in addition to Pencil Ink work. Did a variety of things, including: delivering newspapers, assisting a photographer, and working as a set PA.
  • Took my first roadtrip with Amanda to VidCon in Anaheim. Met CJ in person after being internet friends for over 10 years!
  • Went back to Hong Kong for the first time in ten years. Also went to Taiwan for the first time.
  • Was hired to be a filmmaker at Steve and Kate’s Camp over the summer, but the camp was shut down before it could open due to low enrollment.
  • Doug and I took our first non-family trip together, to Florida with several of his friends.

Realizations and Epiphanies (and a few Reminders)

  • Just do things. They don’t have to be perfect.
  • The people you trust/love are the ones who can let you down the most.
  • Managing people is hard. Making decisions is harder.
  • There are always people who are willing to help. You just have to find them and ask.

2015: Looking Ahead

Hopes and Wishes

  • The Misselthwaite Archives is already turning out so much better than I had originally imagined. I hope it’s going to be awesome.
  • I want to grow Pencil Ink Productions, to establish myself creatively and professionally. My two main goals are to keep finding new, talented people to work with, and to figure out how to make money.

Fears and Worries

  • I’m so scared about The Misselthwaite Archives. I don’t want to let anyone down, particularly my creative teams and audience.
  • I’m worried I’m going to realize I don’t want to do video (the way I realized I had made a mistake by going into software) and then I’ll be sad again.
  • I don’t want to let work take over my life.

Resolutions and Goals:

  1. Get a tattoo.
  2. Use DuoLingo to learn Irish.
  3. Keep up with my chiropractic exercises to fix my posture.
  4. Clean up my social media accounts and get active again.
  5. Wear everything in my closet/dresser at least once.

Happy New Year, and I’ll see you in the morning!


three things that happened.


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The first draft of this post was much more apologetic, and I’m not even sure why. I haven’t lied, and I don’t think I’ve unfairly vilified anyone, and, in any case, I haven’t mentioned anyone by name. These are my feelings and experiences, and I have the right to share them. There is really nothing for me to be sorry for.

And yet that doesn’t change the fact that I found myself trying to justify why I even need to write these things down. It says something about our culture, I think, that I’ve second-guessed these words more than any others I can remember writing.

It would be untrue to say that I’m not sad and angry and scared, but more than that, I’m just plain tired—tired of pretending these things didn’t happen the way they did, or that they didn’t happen at all, or that they weren’t a big deal when I do talk about them.

So here are three things that happened my last semester of college:

1) A guy came to a party I threw and harassed me, and several other girls, to the point where I ended the party early so my friends could kick him out.

It wasn’t like he was some random stranger. We had a few mutual friends and I vaguely remembered hanging out with him once or twice freshman year, so when we got to talking after one of the school plays, it didn’t seem weird or unsafe to invite him to the like-totally-awesome ’80s-themed party I was having that weekend.

On the night of the party, he showed up early in the evening, got pretty drunk pretty quick, and promptly started invading the personal space of every girl he talked to. He would get too close to their faces, touch their hair and shoulders while they talked, and try to put his arm around them at every opportune moment. I wish I had been paying more attention because, if I had, I would have noticed that something was up even though none of my friends directly asked me to make him leave. As girls, we’re trained to smile uncomfortably and move away when possible and brush off subsequent questions of concern with oh no, it’s a little awkward but it’s fine, instead of outright saying, “Yes, actually, this guy is bothering me and it would be great if you could tell him to get out.”

But nobody said that, and I was a little too drunk and a little too focused on myself to really register what was happening, even though it was happening right in front of me. As the host of the party, it was my responsibility to make sure my friends were safe and having a good time, and I take a good portion of the blame for any discomfort he caused to the other girls at the party. It’s been two years and I’m still mad at myself for not doing anything earlier.

After a while, he turned his attention on me. He started following me everywhere—to the porch, to the kitchen, to the living room, even waiting outside the bathroom for me. I was getting another drink when everyone else who had been in the kitchen moved back to the living room, leaving me alone with this guy. As soon as I closed the fridge, he backed me against it and started kissing me, trying to touch me through my dress. I pushed him away and practically ran back to the living room, where the number of people made it easy to avoid him.

Later, I walked a group of my friends outside to say goodbye, and after they had gone, I turned around to find him standing behind me, blocking my way back up the stairs. He kissed me again. And I remember being really, truly scared for the first time that night. I didn’t really know this guy and I didn’t have anywhere to go and I didn’t know what to do. I had never experienced anything like this before—and in that regard, I am actually relatively lucky. It’s a sad fact that most girls don’t make it to twenty-two without being kissed by someone they don’t want to be kissing them.

I managed to get him off me without anything worse happening. And thankfully, when I returned to my apartment, several of my friends could tell I was freaked out. They asked me what was wrong, and I told them. They promised not to leave him alone with me. They pushed him out of our conversations. They moved in next to me every time I sat down on the couch so he couldn’t. But eventually it reached the point where it seemed that this guy wasn’t going to leave me alone without a direct confrontation. So we decided the best option at that point was to end the party and ask everyone to leave, in an attempt to get him out too. It was getting late and there were maybe only fifteen people left, but even still, it almost didn’t work. Two of my friends had to forcibly tell him to leave, and one of them gave him a stern talking-to out in the hallway. Now, I am admittedly the sappy emotional type who frequently professes how much she loves her friends, but I have never in my life felt as grateful for my friends as I did that night.

Looking back, it’s almost strange that none of us knew exactly how to react to this guy. At first, he seemed relatively harmless, and asking him to leave seemed like an overreaction every time it crossed my mind.  I didn’t want to cause any drama, I didn’t want to make a scene, because I didn’t want to be “that girl.” And then, even after my friends got involved, it’s true that we were all worried he might get violent. But it still pisses me off that we went to so much trouble to avoid making this guy feel bad about what he was doing, when he damn well should have felt bad. It would have been so much easier to call him out on his shit and be done with it, but nobody—not one of the ten or so of us who were actively aware of the situation—had the guts to do it to do it, so we ended up ruining the night for ourselves, rather than risking hurting the feelings of an obnoxious asshole.

2) A man twice my age, with whom I had a professional relationship, tried to take me on a date under the guise of a business meeting.

He was an actor who had played a role in one of my short films, and after the project was over, he asked if he could take me out to dinner, both to thank me for casting him and to talk about several other projects he was involved in that I might be interested in working on. I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to work with him again, since I was moving across the country in several weeks, but he had a decent amount of experience in the film industry, and he also wrote and produced his own work, so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to hear about what he was up to, learn a few filmmaking tips, and strengthen my network of working contacts. Plus, I was a broke college student, so a free meal at an actual restaurant was not something I was tempted to turn down.

We went to dinner. We ate and talked and had a few drinks and it was interesting, and I felt like I was gaining a lot of helpful insight. So when he suggested that we hit up a bar with supposedly-awesome drinks to keep talking, I said sure. (Spoiler alert: the drinks weren’t actually all that special.) He drove me home afterwards, then asked if he could come up and try some of the weird flavors of alcohol I had mentioned buying for the ’80s party. I figured it was the least I could do, since he had paid for everything so far, and even though he said it was to thank me for casting him, I felt like I really should’ve been the one thanking him for a) sharing his knowledge with me, and b) putting up with my shitty student directing skills for c) no pay.

Here’s the thing: I’m not a naive person. I’m actually kind of a cynical, manipulative asshole sometimes, so I see through other people’s bullshit pretty easily. There was a part of me that realized what was happening pretty early on, when we first got to the restaurant. But I didn’t want to believe it. I didn’t want to believe that a guy who was old enough to be my father would try to sleep with someone half his age, in such a classically sleazy way. (Especially considering that he knew I was engaged. I wore my ring and talked openly about my fiancé while we were out—just as I had done for the whole month we had been working together.) “Things like this don’t happen in real life,” I told myself. “You’re jumping to conclusions because you’ve watched too many drama movies. You’re being silly, and maybe a little narcissistic, to assume that this is anything more than professional.”

But I wasn’t being silly, and he was being sleazy, and not ten minutes later, he asked if he could kiss me. I mean, at least he asked instead of just going for it, I guess, but it was still completely weird and inappropriate. I asked him to leave, but apparently that wasn’t enough of a hint; he texted me the next day, asking if I wanted to go out again. I politely turned him down because I was “too busy moving,” because once again, I couldn’t figure out how to tell a total asshole to fuck off without the possibility of retribution—namely, the accidental loss of a professional relationship.

The two fields I’ve worked in, film and tech, are both primarily male-dominated. I was extremely lucky to find a programming job with a healthy office environment, so for almost a year, I didn’t experience any of the workplace-based sexism that I know many women deal with on a daily basis. But in the comparatively short time I’ve worked in film, I’ve already had many experiences with men in the industry (or “industry,” as the case may be—several of them participate in filmmaking as more of a hobby than a career) who have treated me as less than a person. I’ve put up with far too many sexual jokes, I’ve had crewmembers completely ignore me despite being their director, and I’ve generally been condescended to and treated like my opinion didn’t matter. I’ve already cut ties with several people I’ve worked with because they made me too uncomfortable to continue even being Facebook friends—and there are more I would ditch if given the choice, but overall, I can’t afford to burn bridges in an industry where networking is everything, especially for a young, relatively inexperienced woman.

3) After months of repeatedly calling me a slut, a guy who lived downstairs from me told his roommate that he “sometimes fantasized about killing [me].”

I had never dated this guy and, in fact, I barely knew him. So I’m still not sure why my sexual history mattered to him in the slightest. His verbal abuse had already led to me banning him from my apartment earlier in the semester and avoiding the downstairs apartment when possible—which kind of sucked, since all his roommates were my friends. I didn’t like him and he didn’t like me and the whole situation was a bit of an annoyance, but I had more important things to worry about (e.g. graduating, moving, trying to find a job), so I just figured I’d deal with it until I left.

But when my friend told me what he had said, I wasn’t sure if I could “just deal with it” anymore. This guy was known to have serious anger management issues, to the point where he had been forced to take a semester off of school to deal with them, and because he lived downstairs, he had access to my front porch, which had two large windows into my kitchen and no lock. If he really wanted to get into my apartment, there was no way I could stop him.

I actually considered getting a restraining order, but with two weeks until I moved home, I was pretty sure the all the legal bullshit and paperwork wouldn’t go through fast enough to be useful, if it even went through at all. It was a terrifying threat, but he hadn’t said it directly to me and he had never tried to physically hurt me, and I didn’t know if his words alone would be enough to get anyone to take action. (Sometimes I wonder if I might have felt better if he had threatened me directly; the fact that he mentioned it so casually to another person, like he wouldn’t give it a second thought if he killed me and everyone knew, made it that much more terrifying.)

At the time, I didn’t want it to seem like I was making a big deal out of nothing, so I only told one other person about it. But the more I think about it, the more I realize how absolutely fucked up that is. A guy with violent tendencies and a history of hating me literally said he fantasized about killing me, and I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want anyone to think I was overreacting. That’s not okay. It should never be okay. Nobody should ever feel like they’re overreacting for being concerned about their safety.

So this is my point, guys:

Every girl has stories like this, whether or not she’s shared them with you. These are things that happen all the time to the women you know and the women you don’t.

The men in these stories were average men. They had their flaws, but they also had their virtues. They were not obviously or purely evil. They were not “mentally ill.” They were probably not going to gun me down in the street. But what they did was still wrong.

It’s not enough anymore to say “not all men are like that.” I know that. But the fact remains that some men are like that, and those men aren’t going to listen to what women have to say. Don’t just tell me you’re different. Prove you’re different by actually listening and speaking out. Misogynists won’t listen to women, but there is a small chance that they might listen to you.

hey there, 2014.



Dear You,

I’ve seen a lot of my friends posting about how 2013 was a great year for them, and that’s awesome. I’m really happy that my friends are happy and healthy and fulfilling their dreams.

But, for me, 2013 was actually pretty shitty. There were a lot of things that were difficult and a lot of things I wish I had done differently, or had done period. Most of the year was unmemorable, and I’d probably do better to forget many of the parts I do remember.

That said, there were some highlights that helped me make it through the year:

2013: A Year in Review

Milestones and Accomplishments

  • Actually accomplished a few of my New Year’s resolutions (9, 14, 15). Related: won NaNoWriMo again for the first time since 2008.
  • Bought my car, a 2001 Ford Escort ZX2 named Veranda, and paid for it in full.
  • Led my own team for the 48 Hour Film Project. Met great people, had a fun time. Was proud, rather than embarrassed, of the result: a short film called “Out of Step.”
  • Quit a job I hated and became the video producer for Late Night Library, which started me vlogging weekly.

Memorable Moments and Firsts

  • Ran away to NYC for a weekend to see a couple Broadway shows.
  • Took a writing class at the Attic Institute.
  • Learned a new song on piano for the first time in years.
  • Went to LeakyCon with one of my oldest friends.
  • Joined a screenwriting workshop group that’s inspiring me to finish some of my old work.

Realizations and Epiphanies

  • Just because you have loved someone doesn’t mean you were ever really friends with them.
  • You’re in charge of your own fucking life. If shit sucks, it’s probably your fault. On the plus side, that means you can also fix it.
  • I suck at living with people. I also really suck at responding to emails.
  • Being published/produced/whatever doesn’t necessarily mean you actually know what you’re doing.
  • The people that drive me nuts are also the people who are the most important to keep in my life.

2013: Looking Ahead

Hopes and Wishes

  • I want to get better at vlogging and web video. It really seems like a format I want to explore, and I’d love to experiment with it more.
  • I think this year I’ll have a lot more opportunities to do the things I love. I’m not tied to a full-time job anymore, so my time is really what I make of it.

Fears and Worries

  • My savings are running out, and I worry that I’m not going to be able to find a way to make money doing something I love. I’m scared I might end up having to take another job I hate just for the money.
  • I don’t want to let myself get lazy about creating, but it’s happened over and over again in the past. I need to make a schedule that works for me, so that this can become a legit job.
  • I still don’t know what I’m doing with my life? This is a very stressful thing for me.

Resolutions and Goals:

  1. Make A Thing five days a week. It can be A Writing Thing, A Video Thing, A Music Thing, A Photography Thing, or A Graphic Thing, A Small Thing or A Bad Thing, but it just needs to be A (Tangible) Thing.
  2. Get a tattoo.
  3. Talk. Be open and honest about my feelings. I’m done with the silence, and I’m done feeling alone.
  4. Volunteer at a library, animal shelter, and/or radio station.
  5. Organize everything in my office—old papers and notebooks, photos, computer files, emails.
  6. Keep the house clean consistently.
  7. Actually finish projects, and submit them to contests, journals, magazines, etc.
  8. Edit my NaNoWriMo novel, “Shelter.”
  9. Revive Fanhaven Magazine.
  10. Exercise, preferably in a way that involves leaving the house. Also eat. General health shit that’s gone down the drain lately.
  11. Start learning or refreshing my knowledge of the following languages: Spanish, French, Latin, Irish.
  12. Entertain/hang out with my friends more often. Throw fabulous parties.

But in light of this past year, my main resolution is this: live the life I want, and let nothing stand in my way—not even myself.

Happy New Year, and I’ll see you in the morning!




Dear You,

I’m sorry I said I’d write more and then didn’t follow through. I have so many posts drafted and half-heartedly cobbled together, but ultimately sitting unfinished, because I don’t feel like they’re worth anyone’s time, including mine.

It’s just that lately I’ve been feeling so much like a fraud, like everything I have going for me and everything that I’m successful at is only the result of luck and deception, like the few awards that I’ve won and the little applause that I’ve garnered only fell into my lap because I was up against weak competition or judges biased in my favor, and that if I actually had the balls to try for anything real, anything important, anything that means anything at all, I would fail so much more than I have in the past.

Sometimes I wish it was easier to step back and remind myself:

I am legitimately good at things.
I am legitimately good at things.
I am legitimately good at things.


happy new year!



Dear You,

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. That pretty much sums up my 2012. In the past year, I have lived, loved, laughed, pushed myself to new limits, been peacefully content in the midst of chaos, and experienced more perfect drunken college nights than I can remember; I have also cried, lied, lashed out, let myself be violated, regretted too many decisions, and spent days, nights, weeks feeling terrifyingly dead inside. I have been forced to face harsh truths about myself and others, but I have also found unexpected beauty in the complicated intricacies of life that wrought those truths. I honestly don’t think I’ve been more conflicted during a single year than I have in this one.

So, naturally, it is with mixed feelings that I say goodbye to 2012 and greet 2013, but whether this year turns out to be more or less confusing than the last, there’s one thing I’ve learned: no matter which parts are good and which parts are bad, I’ll get through it all, because that’s what I do. That’s what I always do.

2012: A Year in Review

Milestones and Accomplishments

  • Finally got my driver’s license and have been driving regularly for five months without hitting anyone or anything.
  • Won 1st Place in the McKinney Contest again for my kinetic typography slam poem video, “Dream Man.”
  • Wrote and directed a short sci-fi film called “Refurbished” for my Electronic Media, Arts, and Communications thesis.
  • Graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute magna cum laude.
  • Started working as a software QA engineer at Harmonic.

Memorable Moments and Firsts

  • Broke my record of never having puked due to alcohol. Huzzah Mardi Gras! (And also that one night right before I moved home from Troy.)
  • Visited a strip club with a group of 10+ friends on my 22nd birthday. Once returning to Portland, also visited a combination steak house/strip club for the first time.
  • Participated in the 48 Hour Film Project, directing a horror short called “Guidance.” (For the love of everything, please don’t actually watch this. It’s terrible and I’m embarrassed. I couldn’t even remember what it was called just now when I was looking it up on YouTube; that’s how much I’ve blocked this experience from my mind.)
  • Discovered what a real panic attack feels like. Won’t go into that one too much, but it’s related to how much the 48 Hour Film Project sucked.
  • Lived with one of my high school friends; it was the 24/7 sleepover I always imagined it would be, though with more drinking than I anticipated in high school.
  • On the subject of high school, began mentoring a current St. Mary’s sophomore. Makes me miss being a teenager.
  • Adopted my very own sweetheart of a kitty and am learning what maternal instincts feel like. It’s very strange.

Realizations and Epiphanies

  • There are so many different kinds of love that can’t be encompassed in the one English word we have. I love you never means the same thing twice.
  • I love film and video, but it’s exhausting. Creating movies is an extrovert’s game, and the introvert I am can’t sustain it for long. I need to take breaks and recharge between projects.
  • Writing is still my one true love, and writers are still the people who truly understand me best. Words have always been there for me and will always continue to be there, even when I can’t stand anything else about the world.
  • I need alone time and privacy every day, or else I become grumpy and resentful. My own space—both physically and mentally—is more important to me than I ever realized before.
  • I am so incredibly lucky to have friends, family, and a fiancé that put up with me being crazy. There have been many days this year when I’ve been depressing at best and volatile at worst, and they’ve stuck by me through it all. I honestly don’t know what I’ve done to deserve their continued support. <3

2013: Looking Ahead

Hopes and Wishes

  • Now that I’m finally out of school and making money, with a predictable job and regular schedule, I want to use my newfound free time to pursue my hobbies. In particular, I feel like this year is going to be good for writing. I’m hoping to revive my fan fiction magazine, Fanhaven, as well as take a few classes at the Attic Institute to keep myself motivated. I’m also thinking about volunteering at my local public library and a community radio station in my spare time. (Gotta make sure not to lose my radio voice!)
  • I hope this is also the year that I get to go on a road trip. Lately, I’ve been dreaming incessantly about taking off for a couple weeks with only a vague idea of where I’m going, following the wind and highways where they lead me, stopping where I want to, staying as long as there’s something to stay for, and then continuing on to somewhere new and exciting. I should have a car and the funds by this summer, but it all depends on whether I can get the vacation time at work and if I end up having too many other plans to make it feasible this year.
  • Hopefully this year I’ll also start to figure my shit out, at least somewhat. Lack of direction has always been really hard on me and that, combined with my inability to handle life transitions in a functional manner, was what led to a lot of my Top 10 Worst Moments of 2012. If there’s one single thing I want out of 2013, it’s a path to be traveling down. It doesn’t have to be the right path, necessarily, or even a clear path, but some sort of temporary life purpose would sure be nice to have.

Fears and Worries

  • I worry that my job will make me miserable all year. Coupled with attempting too many side projects, this will lead to me burning out early, hating all people ever, and moving to a cabin in the woods to become a hermit.
  • I’m also afraid that I’m continue to lose touch with my friends. I’ve always been bad at maintaining long-distance relationships, and now that I don’t see my college friends every day, I don’t talk to many of them anymore. I don’t even spend a lot of time with my high school friends these days, even though most of us now live in the same city again.
  • Sometimes I feel like the internet is eating my soul and, especially on days when I already feel exhausted from work (read: most days), it’s so easy to lose myself in the wonderful world of silly fandom GIFs and cat videos. If I don’t figure out how to balance my time better, I’m afraid I’ll never get anything done and I’ll look back at the end of the year to see that my only accomplishment was absorbing a lot of useless trivia facts from my friends’ Facebook posts.

Resolutions and Goals:

  1. Be less of a grumpy bitch. Think before snapping. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. (Maybe. Not sure if that’s actually the best philosophy. It’ll be an experiment.)
  2. Cook dinner on weekends, rather than being lazy and eating frozen Trader Joe’s meals.
  3. Exercise for at least half an hour every weekday.
  4. Consistently brush/floss twice a day. Falling asleep in front of the TV is not an excuse, nor is drunkenly passing out.
  5. Read more, at least two books per month.
  6. Write a blog post, either here or in The Girl Who Waited, at least once a week, even if it’s short or dumb or a stolen quotation.
  7. Publish one piece in a literary magazine or journal.
  8. Finish the first draft of my latest novel, “Next Train to Somewhere.”
  9. Complete NaNoWriMo for the first time in five years.
  10. Suck less at taking a photo every day.
  11. Also suck less at practicing piano once a week. Learning guitar may be an acceptable substitute.
  12. Finish re-editing some of my older videos and submit them to contests and festivals.
  13. Become more proficient with After Effects, particularly in the areas of textual animation and motion graphics.
  14. Start using (or at least figuring out) all the social networks I’m actively avoiding, like Twitter and Tumblr. This may lead to getting sucked deeper into the internet, but it also seems like a necessary career move if I want to self-publish or freelance at anything in this day and age.
  15. Get with the times and pick up a smart phone.

Ambitious, perhaps, but I think that if I accomplish even one or two of these things by the end of this year, my life will be much improved. Shoot for the moon, land among the stars, right?

Happy New Year, and I’ll see you in the morning.


top 10 less ridiculous holiday albums.



Dear You,

Yeah, so I’m a little late with this post. But some of these albums have songs for the new year and, technically, we’re still within the twelve days of Christmas. So I’m going to take this little bit of leeway while I can still rationalize it, and here I present you with ten of my favorite not-quite-as-ridiculous-as-those-in-the-last-post holiday albums!

Honorable mention: Love Actually Soundtrack – Various Artists

Love Actually is probably my favorite Christmas movie of all time, as well as one of my favorite romantic comedies in general. Who doesn’t enjoy great acting and well-told stories, all intertwined with British humor? I just wish the soundtrack had more actual Christmas songs on it, but “Christmas Is All Around” almost makes up for that all on its own.


10) A Very She & Him Christmas – She & Him

She & Him have a pretty sweet Christmas album here, if you’re into the indie acoustic meets oldies pop style. I, for one, am definitely into it, and I love Zooey Deschanel’s voice, how it’s dreamy, meandering and a bit reminiscent of the 1950s all at once. The songs on this album seem to be pretty hit-or-miss, though—some of them are absolutely fantastic, but others, not so much. Here’s a hit:


9) A Lovely Way to Spend Christmas – Kristin Chenoweth

I know some people have mixed feelings about Kristin Chenoweth, and I do too, on occasion. But I think her voice works really well in this album, and she has such a dynamic range that she can pull off both the hymnal songs and the more contemporary ones. “Sleigh Ride” is my favorite Christmas song of all time, and her version really encompasses all the fun and excitement of the song.


8) Snowed In – Hanson

To be honest, it was a hard choice between this Hanson album and ‘N Sync’s Home for Christmas. (Because what’s one of my music blog posts without at least one reference to a boy band?) But in the end, I went with Hanson because they are, in general, a lot more rock-ish and upbeat, whereas ‘N Sync tends towards croony and poppy, though they do have that lovely harmonizing thing going on in some of the songs. Snowed In is really just a great album to put on and have fun dancing to while decorating the tree.


7) Christmas Island – Jimmy Buffett

I love me some Jimmy Buffett, and sometimes I want nothing more than a tropical Christmas album when it’s cold, rainy, and grey outside. (Sadly, we don’t get much snow in Portland, even around the holidays.) This album is great at making me forget I’m not somewhere warm and cheering me up when I start to get gloomy about the state of the weather.


6) A Charlie Brown Christmas – Vince Guaraldi

Definitely a classic, definitely fantastic. I never really watched any of the Charlie Brown holiday specials as a kid, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love the jazzy piano of this soundtrack. I even used “Linus and Lucy” in a stop motion video I made for class a couple years ago!


5) Holiday Music: Unplugged – Spirit

This gorgeous album by the vocal nonette Spirit makes me remember the power and diversity of the human voice every time I listen to it. Some of the songs are sung a capella, and some of them have simple accompaniments, but they’re all gorgeous. This has to be one of my favorite renditions of “Mary, Did You Know?”


Another a capella album that I really like is An Acapella Christmas by Glad, which features another of my favorite songs, “In the First Light”:


4) An Irish Christmas – Moya Brennan

Moya Brennan (Máire Brennan on some of her other albums) is Enya’s sister, and you can definitely hear the family resemblance in their voices. They share a beautiful, haunting, at times almost ethereal vocal style, which lends itself well to the more traditional Christmas carols. If Peter Jackson ever decided to make a Lord of the Rings holiday special (hopefully less cheesy than the Star Wars one), I imagine the soundtrack would sound something like this album.


Another Celtic album that’s worth mentioning is Winter Carols by Blackmore’s Night, which has a great folk-rock sound to it:


3) The Best of Christmas – Various Artists

There are many, many Christmas compilations out there, but this four-volume set is one of the most comprehensive collections of classic holiday songs that I’ve come across. (It also happens to be the one I grew up with.) Featuring the most famous versions of my favorite songs, like “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Jingle Bell Rock.”


2) Noël – Josh Groban

It’s no secret that I think Josh Groban has one of the best voices of any man ever. In my opinion, this album is pretty much perfect—the selection of songs complements Josh’s voice and style, he outdoes himself on the vocals, and the accompanying orchestrations and chorus parts are beautiful.


1) Joy to the World – Pink Martini

Pink Martini’s album gets the top spot for including various world cultures and their holiday songs, rather than simply focusing on traditional Western celebrations. China Forbes has a fantastic voice that can easily adapt to any song in any language, and I think it really says something that her version of “Santa Baby” is the only I can stand. Here’s one of my favorites off the album, a Chinese New Year song in Mandarin:



So there you are. If I’m feeling ambitious later, I might do another post recapping my personal 2012 and my goals for 2013, but if not, it’ll come later this week. Hope you’re having a fabulous beginning to the new year, and I’ll see you soon!


you can’t take the sky from me.



Dear You,

Well, as usual, I’m late to the party.

It’s Hobbit’s Eve and while I’m excited to see my friends, eat a huge hobbitty dinner, and nerd out at the midnight premiere, I’m nowhere near as excited as I feel I should be, especially considering how long Middle-Earth has been a part of my life. The Hobbit was one of the very first chapter books my dad read to me as a kid. My friends and I tried to recreate the Lord of the Rings films when we were in middle school, and we all wrote our fair share of Mary Sue fan fiction set in The Shire. I even have have one of those ridiculously overpriced One Ring replicas, for Christ’s sake.

But am I bouncing off the walls, like I was when the Lord of the Rings films first came out? Have I watched any interviews or production videos? Did I put any effort into constructing something that I could at least pretend was a costume for tonight?

No. And why?

Because I discovered Firefly last weekend, and I haven’t been able to think of anything else since.

‘Discovered’ perhaps isn’t the right word to use here. I’ve known about Firefly since high school, when I first saw the pilot at a birthday party sleepover. And I actually remember when Serenity came out in theaters because I debated going to see it, since several of my friends couldn’t shut up about it, but I eventually decided to wait until I’d seen the show.

And it took me a very, very long time to see the show. In fact, I don’t think there’s a single fandom that I’ve been subconsciously avoiding for as long as I avoided Firefly. (I was embarrassingly late to the Doctor Who party, too, but even that made it into my fangirl repertoire a couple years ago.)

The whole time I was watching Mal and his crew have heartbreaking, heartwarming, hilarious, and terrifying adventures, I was asking myself why it took me so long. Was it because I was afraid that I wouldn’t like the show? I do have a history of mixed feelings towards Joss Whedon’s work. (Never could get into Buffy, and you don’t want to know how many times I had to be forced to watch Dr. Horrible before I actually started enjoying it.)

Maybe I feared disliking a show that all my friends loved—or, more likely, feeling only a half-hearted meh towards it, which, in fandom, is generally just as bad as straight-up hating something. Maybe I was worried that my expectations about the show were so high that I would be disappointed, which has happened on numerous occasions. Or maybe I was just plain skeptical about the whole idea of a Western in space.

And then it was 2 AM on Monday morning and I had just finished Serenity even though I had to work in a few hours, and I finally realized why it had taken me so long:

I wasn’t afraid of hating the show. I was afraid of loving it.

It’s funny how sometimes I feel like my relationships with fictional characters are stronger than my relationships with real people. I’m an introvert; I’m shy and awkward and it’s hard for me to talk to new people. (Sometimes I like to blame this social inability on the two years I was homeschooled, but I doubt that’s the entire cause.)

But from a young age—even during the times when I had no friends, or felt like the few friends I did have were too busy for me, or when I fell in silly unrequited teenage love with boys I never had the balls to talk to, or subsequently had my heart crushed from afar by those same boys—fictional characters were always there for me. They were the one constant that never changed. They were reliable, dependent, steadfast. They were perfect and wonderful, and I could relive them over and over.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had my heart broken by a real person. I don’t even worry about the possibility anymore, to be honest. I throw my heart around like it’s nothing these days, and it hasn’t worked out too badly so far.

But when a cast of fictional characters goes and leave me alone with fourteen episodes and a wealth of intoxicating, cancelled potential? That’s when I wind up crying in the bathroom at work and wishing it hadn’t ended.

Keep flying, and I’ll see you in the morning.


top 10 ridiculous holiday albums.



Dear You,

It’s December! You know what that means? NaNoWriMo is over! I wasn’t able to hit 50,000 words this year, but I’m very happy with the 20,000 that I did write, and I’m looking forward to finishing the first draft of my novel in the next couple months.

Aside from having my life back, though, do you know what else December means? I get to listen to Christmas music! I absolutely adore Christmas music; I love hearing familiar songs in every different style and genre that exists, and I love the creativity of non-traditional songs that still try to connect listeners to the feelings of the holiday season.

So I’ve decided that every weekend until Christmas, I’ll be doing a post about my favorite holiday songs and albums. (And, yes, my Christmas music collection is large enough that I can write multiple posts about this.)

To start out with something fun, here are my top 10 ridiculous holiday albums! They’re mostly all sorts of terrible, but they’re all worth listening to once, if only for the lolz.

10) All Wrapped Up! – Various Artists

I might be the only one who finds this Disney Channel compilation (featuring Miley Cyrus, the Jonas Brothers, and Demi Lovato, from back when they were a big deal) totally hilarious. It’s a bit of high school nostalgia for me. It does have this pretty sweet track by the Plain White T’s on it, though:


9) Bang Bang Baby Bang Bang Merry Christmas – Angry Johnny and the Killbillies

If you’ve always secretly wanted to hear redneck Christmas music, you should give this album a try. It includes such lovely songs as “Six Bullets for Chrismas,” “Daddy Won’t Be Coming Home for Christmas,” and “Slaughter in a Winter Wonderland.”


8) Jingle My Bells – Strip Mind

This EP consists mainly of four different versions of “O Tannenbaum/O Christmas Tree,” which in and of itself makes it a little ridiculous. But if you’ve ever wanted to hear a punk or sludge metal cover of the song, look no further.


7) A Rubber Band Christmas – A Rubber Band Christmas

Found this in my campus radio station a few years ago. It’s literally two guys with some rubber bands who got bored and started dicking around in a recording studio one day (according to the liner notes). The rubber bands are all out of tune, and this album is one of the worst things I’ve ever heard, but it’s great just for the WTF factor.


6) Christmas Turkey – The Arrogant Worms

For those who are a little cynical about the holiday season, The Arrogant Worms have a pretty great comedy album here, including such lovely songs as “Santa Got Arrested,” “Christmas Sucks,” and “Christmas Hangover.”


5) Christmas with the Chipmunks – Alvin & The Chipmunks

While “The Chipmunk Song” is cute and a classic, I’m not sure how I feel about an entire album of songs sung by chipmunks. It’s the kind of thing that’ll give you nightmares if you listen to it too long.


4) A Christmas Together – John Denver & The Muppets

I debated for a while whether this album should really go on this list, because it’s actually a pretty legit Chrismas album and everything else here is either silly or terrible (or both). But eventually I decided that, if you really think about it, John Denver and the Muppets together is actually a pretty ridiculous combination (ridiculously awesome, but ridiculous nonetheless). Also, I was running out of spots on the other list and needed to fill some space here.


3) Dr. Demento Presents the Greatest Christmas Novelty CD of All Time – Various Artists

True to its name, this is probably the best compilation of silly Christmas songs to ever exist. What collection is complete without The Singing Dogs’ version of “Jingle Bells” or the most annoying song ever, “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas”?


2) Christmas In the Stars: Star Wars Christmas Album – Various Artists

Yes, there is a Star Wars Christmas album. And yes, it is fabulous. I don’t think much more needs to be said here; this song will speak for itself.


1) Pokémon Christmas Bash – Various Artists

Apparently the Pokémon universe celebrates Christmas too! Who would’ve thought? And for those who can’t help but sing along to “I’m Giving Santa a Pikachu for Christmas,” the album comes with a couple karaoke tracks, too!


Stay tuned for next week’s list of legit Christmas albums, and I’ll see you in the morning!


when the healing has begun.


, ,

Dear You,

I am exhausted.

Writing my novel has been taking its toll on me—not so much physically or mentally, as I can pull almost 2,000 words in an hour and I’ve gotten a lot better at spewing words without too much thought or effort on my brain’s part, but emotionally.

This is the first serious novel that I’ve written, and the romance between the two main characters is based heavily on several of my own relationships, both past and present. I find myself struggling to write for long periods of time because, while I can type steadily for half an hour without getting too distracted, I feel an immense sadness every time I stop to take a break. (It probably doesn’t help that I spend my writing sessions listening to both of the Once soundtracks, as well as everything else by Glen Hansard/Markéta Irglová/The Swell Season. It’s fantastic music to cry to.)

I’m pouring so much of myself into this story, my own personal feelings and memories, and it’s difficult. Even though the characters and situations are fictional, the emotions are real, and in many instances, things I haven’t completely dealt with yet. I’m struggling with how to write honestly when I’m at a point where I’m still too close to what’s happening inside my heart, where I can only see one side of the whole, complex story. Writing this novel is a step forward in figuring myself out, but damn, the process is taxing.

So, if you’re wondering how the novel is going, that’s about how. Happy Thanksgiving, and I’ll see you in the morning.


P.S. Here’s an excerpt:

I don’t remember much about the first night it happened, if only because it has gotten lost in all the other times it happened. They blur together in the fog of memory, becoming a jumble of sad sweat and silence. I remember moments, of course, but not the sequence in which they occurred, not which days contained which moments or which moments were tied to others or which moments were perhaps repeated.

I don’t remember it being awkward and clumsy, though it must have been. It must have been full of half-smile laughs and apologies, bumps and falls, too hard or too fast or too much in the wrong spot, as it always is the first time with someone new. I don’t remember what he was wearing, or what I was wearing, which sheets were on the bed or which positions our bodies ended up in. I don’t remember how long it lasted or how many times we each came before we were too exhausted to continue on beneath the bright moon of the uncurtained window.

What I do remember about that night is lying on the tiny mattress as he snored lightly beside me, tucked up against the wall, and thinking that this didn’t really change anything—though perhaps it should’ve.