The art of silence… in Hell on Wheels

So, I know that I’m extremely late in the game on this, but I recently started watching Hell on Wheels (yay Netflix!). I’m about 10 or so episodes in, and I absolutely love the way the story is being filmed and the writing. But I was recently struck by the show’s ability to drive the story through scenes/story-lines that involve no dialogue or sound.

I think this is an interesting aspect of cinematic storytelling and it reminds me of how art without words, is able to capture the intention of a scene or plot development and have a greater impact than it would have if involved dialogue. This is also true to action scenes in the show as well.

I just finished watching a scene that involved a violent confrontation between the railroad workers and the Native Americans. There was no sound besides a Mumford and Son’s song that had a very soothing sound. The contrast between the music and the visual was so jarring that the impact was greater. I felt more in-tune with the characters and the emotions of the scene. Also knowing that violence like this did happen during the building of the railroad added to that impact.

When watching TV, I am definitely an apathetic watcher, sometimes I’ll be working on stuff while watching or playing games on my iPod, but when a show comes along and uses elements that require the full-attention of the viewer, they are doing something right. And I know that some could say I’m advocating TV-watching (only in moderation kids), but television is simply another form of story-telling. Just like with books, there’s always going to be trash, so you have to search for the story that captures your attention the most.

While getting hooked on a television show, right a grad school starts, probably wasn’t a good idea, I am super excited to see how the story will continue. On that note, do you have a favorite TV show that captured your attention? Why did it? Share in the comments!


How I made peace with saying goodbye to blogger

I started blogging in 2009 as a freshman in college. My dear friend Kimber introduced me to it and the world known as the “blogosphere.” I began to follow many bloggers who happened to be moms. I loved reading their posts and seeing the pictures of their adorable kids, but I knew that I would never “fit in” with that crowd. I was realistic, I had 10 followers, wasn’t a mom, and didn’t really know how to grow my following or find my niche.

In my last semester of my senior year of college, I began using WordPress for class. I loved it for several reasons. One, it was a bit more my personality. WordPress had this feel that it was geared towards people my age, or that maybe I would find someone relatable on it. (In all honesty it’s geared towards older people too, which made me feel like I wouldn’t grow out of the space.

Two, I was beginning to find what I liked to write about. I never completely realized it, but when I was using Blogger, I felt like I needed to fit in with all these awesome bloggers who were moms and did sweet crafts. But that was impossible. It was almost discouraging because there was this ideal that I couldn’t attain.

And three, I am not a mom blogger. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that sub-section of the blogosphere. It’s an important section because it allows moms to connect with other moms, but I had to make peace with the fact that I was trying to emulate a group to which I don’t belong (yet). I needed to find my own path and WordPress allowed for that.

So I quietly and kindly said goodbye to Blogger and continued to say hello to WordPress. I almost feel freer in the content that I put up here. I feel that my blog has more freedom to evolve, not attaining to be like anything except for myself. My focus is developing this space into being what I want it to be and I enter new stages of life. The most prevalent one of being a future Youth Librarian. But for now just an overworked grad student.

I’ve never really talked about my reasons for leaving Blogger, but it was an amicable split. Though in other news I am back in Blogger for some class notes that I probably won’t share with anyone except for the class in which it’s required… Unless something we discuss is really interesting, then it might make an appearance here!

As I am excited for this journey, one thing is lacking, a community to join. Anyone know of WordPress bloggers that are interesting to follow?

My fifth first say of school

I’ve never really enjoyed the very first day of school. Now, I don’t mean the one that happens every year, I mean the transitional one. This would include Kindergarten, sixth grade, ninth grade, freshman year of college, and now the first day of graduate school. Not unlike when I started my Public Relations major in college, while I want to be a librarian, I really have no idea what my core classes will entail. It’s all new material and all new expectations (to an extent of course, because come on, it’s still school).

So there I was, off the bus and sitting in the Cathedral of Learning to wait until an acceptable time to head to my classroom in the Information Sciences Building (which is a block or so away). Funny story, while sitting on the bench and reading, a guy comes up to me and starts the whole introduction thing. Now, I have no idea who this person is and I was certain he was a freshman, so my best guesses are one of two things. 1. He thought I was cute and thought that doing the awkward introduction would do something, or 2. He thought he knew me and when he realized he didn’t he tried to play it off as he was trying to get to know people… in the lobby of the Cathedral of Learning. I personally believe that the second option was most likely.

Anyways, I arrived to class early, because that’s what you do, and thankfully there were already people there. (Don’t make fun, this is expected and normal behavior for future librarians.) Spoke to one girl who I’d talked to weeks earlier over facebook when trying to find a place to live, and that was really nice to make another connection. Then class started.

My professor walked in, passed out the syllabus for a class that I really had no idea what the content would be, and began to speak. I always try to not get overwhelmed on the first day because essentially you get a ton of information and sometimes forget that it all doesn’t have to be done at once. As my professor continued talking, slowly and apprehension began to dissipate and slowly I realized that I wasn’t actually so clueless about the content of my Introduction to Information Technology class. There’s a lot of busy-work, but the good kind and thankfully, no major projects that are for sure to appear in my other courses.

For first days, this one was a pretty awesome one. I hope it was the same for all my friends who are students as well!

P.S. As much fun as it is to write these posts, it’s even more fun to get comments! Tell me about your day or whatever really.

Let the adventure begin

As many of you already know, I have made it safely to Pittsburgh. Technically I’ve only been here three days, but it feels like much longer. I am still settling into a beautiful post-Victorian house with four other roommates, who are all very nice. (This post may jump around a bit because I am still a little out of it.) I love my room. My parents and I bought a desk and dresser so now I really feel like I can settle in and start my life here in Pittsburgh.

At this moment I’m sitting outside on a bench between the Cathedral of Learning and the Heinz Chapel. Though his famous is very much an urban campus, there’s still a lot of beautiful green space. My orientation starts today and I and to the Expo portion for a bit to learn about various internships and volunteer positions available. I didn’t stay long though because I didn’t know anyone and it was hot. I’m okay with this though because I know I will have time to meet the other students in my program. It’s times like these that I see how introverted I am. Some things need to be on my terms. There are a couple other things today so hopefully it’ll be a less crowded environment to meet people.

The big accomplishment today was this. My roommate and I took the bus to campus. We didn’t realize at first that we needed to signal the bus, but figured it out the second time around. Thankfully it’s really simple and I was glad to have someone with me. So now we just have to take the correct bus back! Oh, and the bonus is that Pitt students ride for free.

Classes start Monday and I’m not sure where one building is yet, but I’m really excited to see what I’ll be learning. Now to find a job here…

Well, that’s the latest update on me. Hopefully soon ill have a less frazzled post!

And the countdown begins

Holy smokes. In exactly one week I’ll be in Pittsburgh, PA beginning the crazy adventure of graduate school and navigating a completely new city. I’m super excited but also completely freaked out. I’m ready to be there and get things started. But what that unfortunately means is that I have to leave a very wonderful place.

Saying goodbye is absolutely horrible, especially when the people and places you’re saying goodbye to are amazing. But in order for life to be lived, goodbyes must be said. It’s bittersweet, but I’ve been handling it fairly well (I think).

One thing, however, that I’m not saying goodbye to is this blog. My plan, which is never set in stone, is to continue to develop this blog as I develop. I’ll be updating about my time in Pittsburgh and I hope to post at least once a week about something. I have a few other ideas, but we’ll see how it goes. I’m not stressing out about it.

For now though, I must focus on packing and spending what time I have with friends and family.

Nebraska, it’s been grand and I don’t plan on forgetting you.

Haunting and heart breaking, The Civil Wars

It’s very rare for me to listen to an artist and truly and undeniably believe that the music they create is not just music, but art in its truest and most innocent form. This most recently happened when I listened to The Civil Wars’ newest album that will be release August 6, but is streaming for free on iTunes now.

I fell in love with The Civil Wars right before their first album, Barton Hallow, was released. The connection between Joy Williams and John Paul White was infectious. The music they created had this authentic and raw feel that is so rare to hear in music these days. Their lyrics were real, the connected with any listener in whatever place they were.

Though I was incredibly sad to learn last year that they were taking a break, I was eager to hear their newest album to see how the discord between them would affect the art they create together. From my first listen to the album, the tension is there. You can hear it in “The One that Got Away,” the tug and pull of the lyrics, while not necessarily speaking directly of the tension between them, is driven by that same tension.

But this album, with its haunting lyrics and the breathtaking vocals, bears little resemblance to Barton Hallow, while still carrying the familiarity that listeners fell in love with in the first place. However, what I love most about this album, what struck me the most, is that even while the discord and tension between the duo was unresolved during the making of this album, it didn’t stop them from creating an intricate masterpiece.

I truly hope that the relationship between Joy Williams and John Paul White will mend and that one day I may be able to see them sing live. But for now, I will be content with their sophomore release. If you’ve never listened to The Civil Wars, I encourage you to do so. I promise you won’t be disappointed.