Author: Julia Van Valkenburg

New to Catch-all? Start Here

Social distancing has left me with no excuse for neglecting this blog, so I’m back—for now. If you’ve landed on this page for the first time because you were bored and cruising the internet, well, welcome! And if you’ve been here before, welcome back. Thanks for returning again and again, despite years of inconsistency. I started this blog when I graduated from college in 2013. Since then I’ve had a handful of jobs, moved to another state, went to graduate school, and have done all sorts of other “adult” things. Yet I’m still here working on Catch-all because of what it provides for me. It’s an escape and a place to share my thoughts, but it’s also something more. It’s where I put the things I make that have no other place to go. Where my creative ideas have room to be planted; maybe they’re left there for a few years, maybe they die in the unwatered soil, but at least there’s a place for them. I’ve spent the past decade imagining and then re-imagining …

What I’ve Been Watching While Staying at Home

Like many of us from all across the globe, I’ve been spending most of my time at home, figuring out ways to preoccupy myself while implementing social distancing. Though none of us are sure how long this will last, I’m going to do my part and stay away from people for as long as it takes. And if you aren’t keeping away from others already, read up on flattening the curve and start staying home, now. Lately I’ve been doing what most of us probably are—looking at my phone too much, having obsessive bouts where I read the latest news on coronavirus and then try to distance myself from it, cooking, organizing, cleaning, and watching movies and TV. Mostly, I’m watching TV. So here’s a bit of what I’ve been watching… I really enjoyed High Fidelity on Hulu, starring Zoë Kravitz. The performances are great, along with the fashion, and it’s just a fun show to watch. Now, it’s not perfect, and I’ve honestly never seen the original John Cusack movie (it’s on my list), but …

Favorites of the Decade

HAPPY NEW YEAR! 🎉 Here are a few of my favorite albums, shows, movies, and events—both personal and public—from the last decade. I’m surely missing a lot, but everything I’ve listed below certainly had an impact on shaping the last decade of my life. And while I think it’s important to acknowledge the many bad, strange, and horrifying things that happened (or were made) between 2010 and 2020, I’d rather celebrate the positive. What are some of your favorites from the past 10 years? I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson (2019) When marriage equality passed in the U.S.! Days – Real Estate (2011) 20th Century Women (2016) Making it through college and having some of the most fun and exciting experiences of my life. I cherish that time with my friends (and the lack of responsibilities) dearly. Moonlight (2016) Every Beach House album. My time with Hayley—a quirky and loyal rescue dog who I was lucky to have in my life for a number of years. They Came Together (2014) The Tree of …

Is Adulthood Just Being Busy All the Time?

I can’t tell you how much I want to have the time to work on this blog. To draw, travel, take photos, try new things—but I’m just too damn busy. Always. I keep thinking that soon I’ll have more time to do some of the stuff that makes me happy (and maybe even relax?) but with each new day comes another task to add to my seemingly endless to-do list. I’m mostly to blame for being constantly overwhelmed. I take on far too many things, but life’s just getting in the way too. Too much work, too many appointments, getting sick at inopportune times, and the infinite red-tape that makes everything more difficult. Is this what being an adult is like forever? David always tells me, “One thing at a time.” And when I have the time, this way of thinking is great. But usually, I don’t. And I feel guilty for complaining. Most people are this busy (and many are much more so), but I needed to get this off my chest. Maybe some …

Fundraising in Honor of My Dad

Join me & my family in our efforts to support the Liver Life Walk in honor of Kit Van Valkenburg. My dad died from complications due to his liver transplant in August, 2018. He had been diagnosed with liver disease over a decade earlier, but his doctor believed he had likely been suffering from the disease many years before then. According to the American Liver Foundation, millions of Americans have liver disease but don’t know it. As participants in the Liver Life Walk, my family and I are hoping to help in the fight against liver disease in honor of my dad, and raise funds to support the ALF’s mission to “promote education, advocacy, support services and research for the prevention, treatment and cure of liver disease.” Every dollar we raise will make a difference in the lives of the millions of Americans living with liver disease. By making a donation in honor of Kit Van Valkenburg, you will be helping the American Liver Foundation provide critical funding for public education, patient support services, and …

A Few of My Favorite Things

the sound of a diesel engine warm towels laying on the living room floor at my parents’ home waking up early before traveling eating vegan banh mi’s when the sun’s setting – anywhere, but especially in the desert the feeling on your skin when you get into a hot car the joy of discovery that travel brings the sense of anonymity when you’re walking down a street in a crowded city the smell after it rains in the desert eating popcorn listening to a song I love, but haven’t heard in years the smell of an old dog’s breath a good cup of coffee in the morning being moved to tears by a movie doodling when an idea just “clicks” the early stages of planning something fun the smell of gasoline when a plane finally lands & you’re safely on the ground again finding a cool object at a secondhand store when it’s chilly enough to wear a long sleeved shirt, but not so cold that you can’t still wear shorts driving in LA with …

I’m Not a Brand

When I started my blog around six years ago, this world of writing and putting my thoughts out onto the internet was so new and exhilarating. Around the same time I also joined Twitter, which continues to be my favorite social media platform because, at its best, Twitter fosters creativity and authenticity. In my mind, Twitter is the cool girl who’s into politics and memes and sometimes makes mistakes, while Instagram is the so-perfect-they’re-unreal prom queen valedictorian star athlete who’s also really great at taking photos. Maybe I’m just jealous of the Instagram chick, but I also don’t want to have to look at her perfect pictures all the time. Excuse that tangent, but I was just at a social media conference so these things are on my mind. Now, back to the point… This blog was born out of my boredom and unsureness post-college-but-pre-job (I’m clearly really into using dashes-like-this lately) during the summer of 2013 when the high in Tucson reached 111 degrees Fahrenheit. At that time I wasn’t so sure where the …

Media Consumption Histories

Sometimes I write blog posts and forget to post them! This is one of those posts. I started writing this in early 2017, completely forgot about it and never finished it, but decided to share it now without making any updates. A lot has changed since I wrote this, but I still think it’s kind of fun to share. Enjoy—or don’t! This past semester I was a graduate teaching assistant for the Introduction to Television lecture at USC, which required that I ran my own weekly hour-long class. Although the topic each week varied, many of our class discussions returned to the future of TV, and the ways in which digital technology has uprooted and transformed the traditional television landscape. As a result, I began thinking about my own consumption history and that of my closest friends and family. Living in the information age, technology seems to be propelling us ahead faster and faster, into seemingly complex and unpredictable times. Despite my anxiousness regarding our presumably hyper-tech futures, my approach to technology is not deterministic, meaning that …

Dogs, Doodles, & Other Things

It’s been a few months since my last post, and I finally felt like checking in again. After losing my dad, I didn’t have the energy or desire to work on Catch-all, so I posted a few times and took another much-needed break. But as time has passed, and I’m finding joy in things like blogging again, I’ve decided to give Catch-all another shot. Since my last blog post, a couple of major things have happened. I married the love of my life in a small ceremony at Griffith Park in Los Angeles, and we entered a new chapter together in this ever-changing and always unpredictable book that is life. Towards the end of December we adopted two adorable little dogs, who were found as strays together and never claimed by a guardian. They’ve both brought so much joy into my life and I like to think of them as gifts from my dad. Here’s Joni and Murphy healing after being spayed ❤ Last February I wrote about Lady Bird and how that film reminded me …