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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Things that should not mean anything...but do.

In the last few days I have learned that all four members of Coldplay (my favorite band) and Christopher Nolan (one of my favorite directors) all attended University College London. This makes me want to go there.

On the other hand, Emily Deschanel (aka Bones, one of my favorite TV shows) and Leonard Nimoy (Spock) both attended Boston University (though Spock didn't graduate).

I think UCL has cooler alumni. It shouldn't matter, but it does a little bit :)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Grad School Musings

So...I still don't know where I'm going to go to school this fall. I flip-flop back and forth every day. Boston or London. London or Boston. Oh, and I was just accepted at NYU for Film Studies. Yay! But there's no way I can pay for it. Boo! Actually that's kind of nice because I already know I can't go there. Kinda...It's still there in the mix of things.

Decisions are hard. I want to go to Boston University because I can be a TA and get good teaching experience. I can take screenwriting courses. I can live in a cool city but still be close to family. I want to go to University College London because it's a very prestigious university. I could study culture with film, which I love. I could live in London for a year, which means I could see so many amazing things and meet a lot of different people and really make a difference in the ward I'm in. But, as far as I know, I can't be any sort of TA. There are opportunities to teach but they are less than at Boston. It's not as expensive as Boston. When I think I'm going to choose Boston, I kick myself for not taking such a great opportunity as London. And each time I choose London, I'm not sure that's the best thing either.

The thing I keep coming back to is where I can be the greatest influence for good. That's what I want to be. And there is no clear answer.

The easiest thing to do would be to not go. But I can't do that. I need to move forward in my life. But I love my job and the friends I have made there and the money I earn.

I guess the hardest thing is that all the options I have are good. It's just, which is best? Good. Better. Best. I know that if I have faith God will help me find the right way. I just need to have that faith. That's harder than it sounds when you say it like that. Just have faith. Like that Michael Jackson song :)

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Hunger Games

I know a movie is good when I leave it feeling this warmth in my heart, this longing - I know that may sound cheesy, but I'm serious. I feel this longing to be back in the world of the movie, to be a part of it. It's how I feel after a good book or song too - like I left part of me in the story.

That's how I felt after seeing The Hunger Games.

The more I think about that movie, the more I loved it. It was a wonderful adaptation of the book - in fact, I think it outdid the book in many instances. The cast was perfect, the cinematography was exquisite. I normally hate it when the camera moves so much (when there's so much handheld camera work) - I'm a fan of traditional, theatrical style filming where you sit back and watch a movie rather like a play. However, I think this was the first time I've actually enjoyed and felt the importance of the camera being handheld. I loved feeling so much in the world the director was creating. Every shift in focus, every element of the camera work felt needed and purposeful, shaping and crafting the experience of the characters and viewers simultaneously.

The actors all did a wonderful job, and I would like to state now that I have been a Josh Hutcherson fan since Little Manhattan way back in 2005. He was a perfect Peeta. And I love Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss. I think she embodied all of Katniss' anger, compassion, and grit in a wonderful, very real way. Stanley Tucci, Lenny Kravitz, and Woody Harrelson were my favorite supporting characters - they performed wonderfully. The tender relationship between Katniss and Cinna was lovely.

That being said, it wasn't a perfect movie. I think because I read the book I filled in some of the missing bits. Lisa Schwarzbaum, one of EW's critics, said this about The Hunger Games: "The movie shows how, but the book shows why." I think that describes the movie perfectly. You miss much of the psychological elements of the book, the motivations of the characters. Katniss' inner dilemma about trusting/creating a romance with Peeta was almost entirely absent. I think the movie shows what happens perfectly, but misses some of these psychological elements. Also, the only other qualm I had with the movie was Peeta - in the book you're not totally sure what side he's on for a while. Does he want to beat Katniss in the Games? Or does he want to help her? Is he really in love with her, or is that just a line to get sponsors? In the movie you're pretty sure he's the nice guy all along. But these are small complaints, rather nit picky I think. The worst part of the movie was the stupid Breaking Dawn pt. 2 trailer before it started. Everything after that was bliss.

Like I said, I can't wait until I can get back into that world.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


I just got back from a lovely production trip to Princeton, New Jersey - my very first, growed-up business trip! Pretty darn exciting, let me tell you. Almost all day Monday was spent traveling. The group included Steve Burton (Producer), Steve O'Leary (Sound Master Man), Michelle Ballamis (fellow editor and camera woman), and Curtis (executive man, though he actually didn't really travel with us). We arrived in Princeton in the evening and searched for some food. I asked Siri for directions to a nearby pizza place, and we awkwardly ended up at some sort of food court where the pizza had been sitting out all day and looked extremely unappetizing. So we went elsewhere, Ruby Tuesday's to be precise. I ate spaghetti squash, which I've never done before but rather enjoyed. That's not saying much, though, because I'm not super picky when it comes to food, especially when I'm not paying for it. After dinner we retired to our separate hotel suites - yes, I had my OWN suite. Here's a video:

Pretty sweet, huh? I had fun, anyways...

So, Tuesday we spent all day at the ETS hotel and conference center. The letters ETS should be familiar for most college and grad students because they're the ones who do the ACT and GRE. And you know all that money you pay to take those exams? Pretty sure it all goes right to their hotel and conference center. They provide free amazing fancy buffet lunches to all the people using/staying at their hotel, as well as snack bars with chips and cookies and bagels and such all throughout the building. And an entire fridge filled with free soft drinks. And waiters that bring you glasses of water. The teachers we were filming said that ETS really stands for Eat Til Sick.

We filmed a conference/meeting of about 12 teachers and administrators compiling performance standards for teachers. I was invited to come on the trip because I will be editing the footage for a project called LiveBook. We spent many hours filming the meeting and then many other hours filming interviews. I think that it'll all look pretty nice in the end. Call time was 7:00 AM and we didn't finishing filming until 6:45 PM so it was a rather long day.

We ate dinner at this cool little Italian place right off of Princeton Campus. Princeton looks so much like England! I felt so much at home. We then went back to our hotel rooms and slept. I read a bit of Georgette Heyer, this time it was called "The Nonesuch."

Call time on Wednesday morning was 6:45 AM. We packed up everything - suitcases, equipment, and all - and went to the conference center to film more of the meetings and the last of the interviews. I'm sure the content of the interviews and meetings will be interesting to some people, but I must admit I found myself dozing off a couple of times.

We headed for the airport at 2:30 PM with authentic cannoli that Curtis brought us (he felt bad that he never actually spent much time with us). At 5:30 PM we took off, and we were home by 8:30 PM local time. A quick, but enjoyable trip.

We stopped off by the SINET office to drop off the equipment and I discovered that Seth and Greg had kidnapped my ninjas (the tiny figurines I collect). So we kidnapped their computer keyboards and Greg's lightsabers. In the morning I hurried into work to see their reactions. Not only had they recovered their keyboards and lightsabers, but they had kidnapped my and Michelle's computer monitors! They sent me off to look for my ninjas, telling me they were "out cold." I searched in vain, and returned to my desk to discover my ninjas had been returned - they were most definitely out cold. Man I love those guys! They definitely missed us. They helped me find my monitors and I got back to work. We used my ninjas to ice some Appletini Crystal Light and overall had a marvelous day.

I feel rather refreshed, having been out of the office for a couple of days. It was like being on a paid vacation! Where I didn't actually get to do any sightseeing or relaxing....but it was still refreshing!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

American Sensibility

In some ways, I think as an American my sensibilities have been dulled when it comes to romance in the movies. Explanation:

On Tuesday night I watched My Man Godfrey (1936). This movie is absolutely brilliant. It is wonderfully written, acted, directed - it's everything. It's full of powerful social commentary while at the same time being a ridiculous screwball comedy. It's such a strange brew of wonderful. I loved it. However, whilst watching said wonderful film, I learned something about what Hollywood has done to me.

The film ends in a brilliant way, yet I was left feeling momentarily dissatisfied - why? Because there was no ending kiss! There was no final clinch, no sweeping embrace, no nothin! And I felt dissatisfied because of it. My sensibilities have been doped by Hollywood to be beyond feeling. I need that final moment of blissful love shown to me on screen or I assume it never happens. I need to be spoon fed the "happily ever after."

This reminds me of when the new Pride and Prejudice starring Keira Knightley came out. While the British version of the film ended with the scene just after Lizzie is given permission to marry Darcy and runs out of the house to find him, they tacked on a romantic final kiss for the American version. I mean, honestly, this makes us a bit of a laughing stock. And I will admit that, had P&P ended without that final kiss (as awkward as all of the "Mrs. Darcy"s were) I would have left dissatisfied.

Of course, this fault in my feelings was only momentary - I would like to think that as a film watcher I have learned to move beyond such shortcomings rather quickly. The romance in My Man Godfrey was subtle, yet plainly obvious, and that paradox is what makes it so everlastingly delightful. They never have to come out and say they love each other - they show it, they look it. And the romance is NOT the main point of the story! It's a seamless part of an overall tale that weaves together wonderfully. People will always look back on this movie and say it was great. People will look back on the Twilight movies and say, "what was wrong with this generation?" Hopefully they won't look back on the Twilight movies at all and they'll just watch My Man Godfrey instead.

Friday, March 9, 2012




My top two universities have accepted me! Crazy. I don't know what I'm going to do. Here's a brief comparison of the two universities:

Cost: $50,000 total including travel, living, and tuition expenses. But I don't have any scholarships here as of yet...
Duration: Only one year. Awesome.
Location: LONDON, my favorite place in the whole world.
Program: Film Studies located within the Centre for Intercultural Studies (meaning I would get to study film as a result of culture, which I love)
Pros: Awesome location, British people, West End, big adventure. And I could meet my wealthy British husband here.
Cons: Really far away, not sure I can afford it.

Cost: $60,000 each year (ouch!) including travel, living, and tuition. But, I already know I have received a scholarship and possibly an assistantship that would pay for almost everything! (pray I get the assistantship!)
Duration: 2 years. Pretty typical for American universities.
Location: BOSTON! Home of Cheers and the Red Sox and more American history than you can handle. Awesome. Plus, I've never been to Boston, so that's a plus. And it's a 3.5 hour train ride to NYC, which is both awesome and where my brother Mike and his family will be living.
Program: Film Studies location within the Department of Communications. Fun course offerings and study options, plus I would be able to take Screenwriting electives.
Pros: Closer to home but far enough away for an adventure and an epic road trip getting there, close to Mike and family, Broadway nearby, lots of LDS students in Boston (or so I'm told - good single scene). And I could meet my Harvard grad super smart husband here.
Cons: 2 years (Normally this wouldn't bother me, but with the option of one year in London it kinda does), I've been told it's FREEZING in the winter, and Cheers isn't actually a real bar.

Lots to think about....YIKES! Big decisions ahead. Do I go? Do I stay and work for a year? Do I go to London? Or do I go to Boston? Or do I run away to France? Tune in next time!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Today while at work I casually checked my email to find a message from the Boston University Communications Program - one of the 6 grad programs I applied to - with the subject line "Acceptance Decision." My heart immediately began beating faster. I opened the message and read the following:

Dear Jennifer,


That's all I needed to see. Woohoo! Boston University wants ME! My number one school in the states wants me!

I read further into the email and discovered that not only was I accepted but I was awarded a $16,000 scholarship for both years!!! Ahhhh! And, from a later email I discovered that I've also been nominated for a teaching assistantship where I could get 10 credits of tuition reimbursed AND a $6000 stipend. Can you believe it?!? Because I can't! I'm in shock. I was not expecting this, especially after that rejection from UT-Austin. I have to have an interview for the assistantship and it's supposedly really competitive so I don't know if I'll get it, but if I do that's half of my grad school payed for at Boston University! BOSTON!

That is, if I decide to go to grad school this year at all. I really do love my job and all that I'm learning there and the people I've come to know. I have many decisions to be made in the near future. I am just so thankful that I have been so fortunate in school and work and life in general. I can hardly believe my blessings. Someone much be watching out for me. I thank God every day for my blessed, blessed life.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Work is KILLING me!

Read this article:

My co-worker Michelle shared it with me. I think it's both hilarious and alarming. I never really thought about how much I sit everyday until I read that. My biggest trouble is the after-work sitting. I kind of have to sit all day, considering my work is all done on a computer, but when I get home I could be infinitely more active. I do work out most days (my "No More Fat!" jar is quite full! I've earned something like $68! I spent $20 of it on my own copy of the 25th anniversary performance of Phantom of the Opera and I will probably give in and buy another Sims expansion soon - play while you're young, right?) But after I work out I sit some more. And then I sleep. I think I'm going to start walking for 10 minutes on the treadmill at work for part of my lunch. That way I'll be rejuvenated and skinnier (eventually). It's no wonder so many of us nowadays are fighting to lose pounds when 80% of us sit for more than 8 hours a day! And soon we will all DIE because of it.

(Forgive me my dark humor :)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The First of Many

Well, I have received my first letter of rejection from a grad school. I will not be attending the University of Texas at Austin. Of course, I may not be going to grad school this year at all - I love my job and I could stay here. I want to go to grad school for sure eventually.

Even though I wasn't super excited about Texas, rejection letters are still lame and ego-wounding. I'm sure there will be many more to come. It's just so much more fun to say "I don't want to go to your school" rather than "you don't want me to go to your school."