Month: August 2014

Farewell Summer

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This is it.

Despite my attempts to turn back the clock, despite dragging my feet and digging my heels into the ground, despite my refusal to cross days off my calendar…

School has started again.

It’s not that I hate school. In fact, if you look at my track record, you might think I like it a lot. I’m going onto my 6th year in college. Six years. I haven’t done much of anything for 6 years straight. I have freckles on my body that are less than 6 years old. I am leaving college with more freckles than I came into it with.

So anyhow, this is my last real semester in my master’s program. At least that’s what I keep telling myself. I still have to do my thesis in the spring, but it totally doesn’t count, right? I’m basically graduated besides the massive, overwhelming, looming thesis project I have yet to think about. But let’s not get hung up on the minor details…

I had a nice break after my summer course. A whole month of classless bliss. To be clear, I was classy during my break, I just didn’t have a class to go to. That month was a whirlwind of friends, concerts, lying by the pool, and even a little bit of state hopping. I knew I would get too comfortable. The sun would be too warm and the pool too refreshing. The drinks would be too delicious. The relaxing would be too relaxing.

Then this. Out of nowhere, without warning, class would start again. My attempt to will time to stop was unsuccessful, so here I am. It’s my first day of class and I already hear a margarita calling my name later.

Cheers to the beginning of the last real semester. Sort of.

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Media’s Terrible Tribute to a Talented Man

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Yesterday the world lost a talented, warm, humble, funny, and wonderful man. Robin Williams was such an incredible person on all accounts. There have already been countless people who have written more poignant and beautiful tributes than I could have done myself. I won’t try to write about Robin’s career and legacy. It speaks for itself. I will say he has had a huge impact on me through the years, as I’m sure he has had on most people. I saw someone say they have never been so impacted by the death of someone they have never met, and I could not agree more.

Since he has been such a huge inspiration to the world, every media outlet is writing about him. Even the Los Angeles Times had his picture and story on the front page today, paying homage to a person we all loved and adored. However, some headlines are addressing the topic in a different way. Rather than focusing on the legacy Robin leaves behind, they are taking advantage of a terrible situation for publicity and attention.

Radar Online posted a picture of Robin at an AA meeting a couple months ago. I won’t post a link to the picture because it doesn’t deserve any more views. It is clearly taken by a patron of the meeting with a cell phone. It’s unclear if he even knew the picture was being taken, but he probably didn’t. I understand that the person taking the picture was probably excited to see someone they admired and respected, just like we all would be. However, it is still wrong. I’m mostly offended that Radar Online decided to post the picture.

This picture is a violation of Robin’s privacy, as well as the privacy of everyone else in the picture. It is still a violation of everything AA stands for. It is sickening to know that we live in a culture that values knowledge of a public figure’s personal life over respect for them as a human being.

Imagine living with depression, or addiction, or another mental illness while under a microscope. We live in a culture where paparazzi sit outside rehab facilities hoping to catch a celebrity checking in. They prey on public figures, hoping to catch them at their worst. Media outlets, like Radar Online, will buy pictures that are wrongfully taken in a place founded on trust and anonymity.

We require so little of our media today. No one holds them accountable for the impact their words and pictures can have on people. As a culture, we have decided that any and all stories can be printed under “free press” despite the negative impact it can, and does, have on people. The press prints fabricated (and downright untrue) stories every day. The press prints pictures of minors (without parental consent) every day. The press prints any and everything that will bring them attention, without consequence.

Radar Online should be ashamed. It was irresponsible, in poor taste, and inappropriate. They were hoping to get the most hits on their website as people dig for more proof that Robin was struggling in recent months, as if his death isn’t proof enough.

If you were struggling with depression/addiction/mental illness, imagine how hard it is to reach out for help. It’s nearly impossible, especially when dealing with something as debilitating as depression. In my experience, many people are hesitant to reach out for help because they don’t want to disappoint their loved ones. Now imagine that feeling magnified by a million because you are a public figure. Reaching out for help means your face will be on every magazine. The headlines will talk about your struggle in detail, and people you don’t even know will make assumptions about your battle. You get calls from your publicist, from friends, from family. Everyone knows. You wonder if it will impact your ability to work again. You wonder if it will impact your relationship with your family. You wonder if therapists, doctors, counselors, will sell what you said in private to the media. You wonder if you can trust anyone with your real feelings. It is not surprising that someone who is constantly surrounded by people can feel completely alone.

“Free press” is no longer a good thing if it’s used to tear people down. We have taken the humanness out of our public figures by treating them like a spectacle. We believe we are entitled to know the details of their lives. But these are real people. Real human beings with fears, hopes, families, and struggles.

I don’t know Robin’s story, but I do know depression is something many people deal with. It is something that cannot be handled alone. Maybe the media culture had nothing to do with what happened to Robin. Maybe it did. All I know is we should have more respect for him than this. His legacy, his body of work, his philanthropy, his family; those are things worth writing about.

Stained Hands & a DIY Headboard

I don’t use Pinterest.

I know, I know, I can hear the females of the world gasp in unison. I used it quite a bit before I got married for all my décor ideas. I thought I could buy coffee filters, pipe cleaner, and some twine and I would have a beautiful wedding reception like all the pictures showed. I usually ended up covered in super glue and glitter for a week after every project. And still, somehow each DIY project never turn out quite like they look in pictures.

After my wedding (I will note that I used exactly ZERO of the crafts I made because we ended up having a destination wedding) I stopped using Pinterest altogether. It gave me too many ideas and I was spending way too much money and time at craft stores. That is important to note because craft stores are where joy and youth go to die. You should limit your exposure.

Recently I have been itching to find a new project for myself. I have a month off from school and no clue what to do with my time. I quickly decided that I wanted to make myself a headboard.

Our bedroom has always been the neglected room. It’s where we store our belongings that are eyesores anywhere else. Lately, I’ve been trying to put some effort into it because, after all, we spend about 2,920 hours a year on sleeping alone. That’s a lot of time to spend in a place we have been using as a glorified storage closet. 

Besides the wood, all I needed was a dark stain, a brush, some sand paper, and screws.

IMG_1346I ended up with poplar (wood) because it was recommended by a friend and it has interesting grain patterns. I got five pieces that are 5’5″ and two pieces at 5′ to use as the stand (or legs). 

IMG_1349I picked a dark stain called Carrington because I wanted a rich look. 

IMG_1359After the stain dried, I used two pieces of wood as legs for the headboard and connected the stained boards to it with screws. It’s important to get the top piece level or else the whole thing will be slanted. 

IMG_1362I accidentally made the legs too tall, which causes the gap between the top of the mattress and bottom of the headboard. I plan on shortening it to fix that problem. 

photoIMG_1393Overall, I love the result and I had a lot of fun making it. I still have a lot of work to do on the bedroom, but… baby steps, you know?

photoOn a side note; Gloves are important. Lesson learned.