Begin Again

On the roadtrip from southern California earlier last month, my sister read aloud a review about Begin Again. It deemed it worthy of viewing because of one moment, but was otherwise “uninspired.” Unlike me, my sister remembered the review and invited me to see it with her. While we disagreed on our final opinions of it, I am glad we saw it. 

Like all art forms, films are subjected to scrutinization and the perspectives of millions of people. Whether or not Begin Again is relatable, funny, or musically pleasing, it has a specific story to tell. Here is a summary of the film: a musician (Keira Knightley) works with a producer (Mark Ruffalo) to make an album. That’s not terribly interesting is it? The story begins in the details of said musician and producer and their relationships. 

The struggles they face are not unique – the musician broke up with her boyfriend (Adam Levine) after he cheated on her and the producer’s wife cheated on him, leaving him, and led to the estrangement from his daughter. Their problems are not all fixed immediately nor do they end up in a romantic relationship. The film illuminates the changes that do occur in the characters with such subtly that is pleasantly surprising.

 

A question comes to mind: can people truly change?

Take, for instance, a moment in the film when the musician’s celebrity ex plays a song written by the musician as a Christmas gift for him. Initially the ex plays the song the way the musician intended – acoustically – then eventually slides into the pop version his producers created. As the musician watches the stage lights change and the accompaniment begin, she seems to realize he has not changed as he said he would/did. 

Consider also a moment in which the musician and band are in the midst of a recording session. The producer ultimately chose to reach out to his daughter through music, by inviting her to the recording session and asking her to play. They are connecting as father and daughter, despite the obvious presence of other band members. The process of creating music, an activity the producer enjoys and prides himself in, connects the two in that moment.  Yes, the producer relies on a familiar environment, but he induces change.

As someone who has tried repeatedly to spur new beginnings, I can say from experience that change is hard. Ultimately I believe people can change, can truly begin again, if they have the diligence and willingness to do so. 

What do you believe?

Tacoma Rainiers

This evening I had the opportunity to attend a Tacoma Rainiers baseball game with my family. My brother, in younger days, was a HUGE baseball fan. He begged us frequently to watch or read anything related to baseball, the Mariners, or Ichiro. In fact, I am pretty sure I heard him say once that Ichiro was his hero. IMG_6867Now that my brother is older, his passion for baseball has lessened to a slightly more than average interest. We continue to encourage him, however, by taking him to local baseball games. 

IMG_6786Baseball is not my favorite sport by any means, but I do enjoy a good sporting event! I love going to matches and games in the company of family and friends.

My brother and I both appreciate the camaraderie of the fans and the emotion behind the game. While I may not be the home team’s number one fan and I may not pay attention to the entirety of the match, I know how to put myself out there for new experiences and have a good time. IMG_6861I must say, I admire the dedication of the players and their understanding of the technical aspect of baseball. When it becomes evident that the players know their roles and the strategies of the game, I think of how much practice and training they have endured to get to where they are. I hope that I can one day join a unit that has individuals who have as much dedication and passion for their profession as the baseball players do.

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Emma Approved

In the modern adaptation of Jane Austen’s revered novel, Emma Woodhouse is a lifestyle coach and matchmaker who aims to better the world, one person at a time. Emma’s partner Alex (George) Knightly, handles the business aspect of the company and is the voice of reason in many of Emma’s quandaries. The ongoing series utilizes various social media platforms and creates a real-time and real-world performance of Emma that emphasizes the essence of Jane Austen’s characters.

Emma Approved is written and produced by the same team as The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, a webseries I thoroughly enjoyed. I knew I would like EA – especially because I am able to enjoy the series in real-time, unlike LBD. The link I have provided below is to the first episode of EA. The information about the characters and their other social media links are listed in the description box on the video page.

I encourage all Jane Austen fans and fans of mass communication to partake in Emma Approved while it is current. I can assure that no one will regret the experience.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeeXkf8LZ_8

Sylvia Plath

The rain pouring outside my window is stirring my mind with all sorts of thoughts. I simultaneously want to huddle under warm blankets and go hiking, read and garden, watch a movie and run errands. The rain also puts me in the mood to read poetry by Sylvia Plath. 

I keep meaning to reread her semi-autobiographic novel The Bell Jar recently, but have not gotten around to it. Instead I picked up a collection of her poems from the library and have slowly read through some of them. Here I would like to lament that I am not a qualified literary critique but a person with an interest in all forms of literature and will only comment on things that have stood out to me.

(Ha! It is as though I must disclaim my entire existence in order to be able to make a few statements about an author and poet I enjoy reading…)

Sylvia Plath was troubled, as several biographers have eloquently written. In addition to the fact that she committed suicide at the age of 30 years old, her “spirit” was evidenced by her work. Many of her poems illuminate the darkness she felt surrounded in. There is something comfortable about her writing; as if she does not intend to shock her reader, she only intends to stun them with the grotesque images she occasionally describes. 

Maybe it is my affinity towards those who need help, but I think I would have liked Plath. I related to the character in The Bell Jar and found myself wanting to join her in her adventures. Granted, I have always thought I was born in the wrong time… 

Warrior Dash

I posted on Twitter and Instagram about the Warrior Dash this past weekend, but have not gotten a chance to blog about it until now.

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My dad found out about the Warrior Dash a few days before it occurred and was “coerced” into signing up for it. In essence, it is an obstacle course that serves as a fundraiser for St. Jude’s Children Hospital. There are Dashes located all around the United States, year-round.

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The Warrior Dash has various obstacles that may not be available at all locations. Some of the challenges include trenches, walls to climb, pipelines to crawl through, and elevated boards to cross. The Warrior Dash website has photos and descriptions of all the obstacles featured.

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Although registration had closed by the time I tried registering for it, I am looking forward to attempting it next year!

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The finale – a mudslide into a deep mud trench!

Reasons nursing school is worth it:

Originally posted on Confessions of a student nurse:

1. You get to wear scrubs to school. Scrubs! The only thing more comfortable would be pajamas.

2. It prepares you to be a parent. Not because you learn how to diagnose and treat common childhood ailments, but because you learn how to function effectively on little to no sleep.

3. It will provide you with the opportunity to diagnose yourself with countless conditions. Don’t worry, 97% of the time, you’ll be wrong. The other 3%? They’ll come from your psych classes.

4. You’ll rediscover your childhood sense of humor (if you ever lost it). If you can’t laugh at farts and poop, you won’t survive.

5. You’ll make lifelong friends. You’ll think they’re crazy, until one day you realize that your mutual insanity is what makes the bond between you so strong.

6. Your non-medical friends and family will LOVE how you’re able to point out every inaccuracy on…

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Accomplishments in Aviation

As you might have noticed from my Goodreads feed, I have been reading a book about women aviators lately. I enjoy reading about history, particularly when it pertains to extraordinary people. I read about Baroness Raymonde de Laroche, Bessie Coleman, and Neta Snook, all pioneers in aviation and all women. In learning about the early history of aviation, I skimmed over the chapter on Amelia Earhart who is most commonly known for flying over the Atlantic and attempting to fly around the world. As I continued on with the book, my brother asked to watch ESPN on television so I set aside the book and turned onto the news. The news story that happened to be playing was of Matt Guthmiller, a pilot who may be the youngest yet to fly solo around the world. Coincidence? Possibly.

 

Read more about the remarkable young man in the article below:

http://nypost.com/2014/07/15/teen-could-be-youngest-to-fly-solo-around-the-world/

Fitting in Cardboard

The video above touches on a question I have been trying to verbalize for a few months now. Why cannot people simply be?

Subscribing to different stereotypes and labels is easy – committing to them is not. For instance, people can and do have more than one interest. Labeling a person as a runner does not make them solely a runner. The person may also rock climb or make YouTube videos. Whatever the case may be, a person is not only interests or beliefs. A person is interests and beliefs and so much more.

A recent vlog by one of my favorite YouTubers kind of touches on my point. Zoe Sugg, a twenty-something-year-old Englishwoman, occasionally blogs about fashion and beauty in addition to vlogging and producing YouTube videos weekly. She shared her issues with anxiety very publicly over a year ago and has been fairly open about all her experiences since. While I do not know if the following is an example of the anxiety she experiences daily, I do believe that she posted this for others to understand the importance of realizing each others’ humanity and not for ulterior motives.

Genuineness is rare in people these days. Those people who are open about their lives are admirable, but those who are genuine are absolutely stunning.

Humility Versus Servitude

Recently I have been considering my role in the family. As is usually that case, my plans for the summer fell through and I am left in the sometimes overwhelming company of my family. I feel under-appreciated and whether or not I am does not matter. The fact that I feel that way is impeding in my ability to fulfill whatever my role is. 

Here is the situation: I have no job nor means of transportation, apart from unreliable public transportation. I spend most of my time with my brother, second only to my mother. I try to do whatever helps my brother including reading to him, encouraging him to write/draw, and wrestling him. I help Ma with whatever needs to be done around the house. Helping my sister is more sporadic and broad-ranged. With only two cars between the three of us, working out a schedule for the day (nevertheless the week) can be difficult. While I admit there is much more I could be doing for them, I constantly find myself conflicted between spending most of my time doing things for them and spending time on myself. I do not necessarily mean that the time spent should be on self-care but rather activities that benefit me in other ways – academically, socially, and professionally. For instance, I mentioned that I am taking online courses through the public library and recently I have not had the time nor the energy to complete a lesson. 

I know there is a line between hard work and being taken advantage of, humility and servitude. I want to be humble, but I cannot help but constantly feel irritated that everyone seems to be living their own life without taking mine into consideration. I would like to be able to spend my time the way I would like to, without feeling obligated to work for others. At this point, there’s not much I can do about my family other than make my feelings known. Hopefully they will understand and work with me.

As a nursing student, we have been told repeatedly that we may tire of our jobs and want to quit. Some nurses have told me that as time progresses, the novelty of the job wears off and weariness sets in when they realize most people do not appreciate nurses as much as they expect. It is with this in mind that I want to differentiate between humility within a job and flat out servitude sooner rather than later. I hope that in the rest of my career as a nursing student I will not be pushed to the point that I am at with my family, however, I wish to prepare myself for it if it does.