Author: Julia Van Valkenburg

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 …

Screens and the Time We Spend Staring at Them

As I’m writing this I’m in front of a screen, and since you’re reading this you’re in front of a screen, and screens, screens, screens, screens. … Lately I’ve been spending too much time on Instagram. Being on the app is a part of my job, and I certainly don’t mind getting paid to look at my phone—but recently I’ve felt consumed by it. Even after work, I come home and succumb to the endless scroll. It relaxes me, and I escape into it. My physicality dissipates and it’s just me and my eyes and my brain and my finger, scrolling though images, liking some, sharing memes, watching videos. My eyes, my brain, my finger, and my phone. In this world of scrolls, time doesn’t exist. Nor do responsibilities, or consequences, or the pain of the present. Just dog videos, pretty photography, and my friends’ babies. … During my last semester of graduate school I was a teaching assistant for an introduction to television course, and I spent time talking to undergraduates about what they watch and how they …

Vote Like Our Future Depends on It (Because It Does)

If you’re reading this and you’re a U.S. citizen, then you should know that the midterm elections are tomorrow. And if you know that the elections are tomorrow then you should be registered to vote and you should be voting. So you’re voting right? Or even better—you voted early? I’m still not quite in the right frame of mind to write lengthy, well-crafted blog posts, so instead I’ll link you to a few really great articles I think are worth reading and some election gifs to post tomorrow, because why not? Articles to read, digest, & share: Roxane Gay’s piece for The New York Times, “You’re Disillusioned. That’s fine. Vote Anyway.“ “If you remain disillusioned or apathetic in this climate, you are complicit. You think your disillusionment is more important than the very real dangers marginalized people in this country live with.” – Roxane Gay s.e. smith’s article for Bitch Media, “The Intimidation Game: Donald Trump and the GOP’s History of Voter Suppression.” Jeff Wise’s essay on Medium, “The Midterm Stakes: A Brief Primer“ VOTE, then Tweet: 

As Simple As Good Weather

I’m not sure when the next time I’ll write about media or pop culture is, because lately all I can think about is how I feel. Feeling good, bad, tired, anxious, happy, confused…all the damn feelings. In coping with said feelings, I’ve been working to tune into what makes me feel good and focus on those things. Luckily, a lot of things make me feel good. Taking a nice shower, talking to a loved one, watching a funny show, listening to music—I can count on all of those things turning a moment of darkness into something lighter. But you know what I’ve realized is the ultimate cure for my sad, weird, or anxious feelings? BEING OUTSIDE IN GOOD FUCKING WEATHER! I’ve been told many times throughout my life that I don’t know what “real fall” is because I was born in the wrong part of the country. And a few years ago when I was in New York in November I realized all those people were right, that definitely is REAL FALL. But you know what? …

A Few of My Favorite TV & Movie Gifs

I love a good ole’ goofy gif, so here’s a collection of a few of my favorite film and TV-related ones. I know that it seems like I’m really phoning it in for this week’s post, but I promise you that I put a lot of effort into *curating* this collection of gifs. Star Trek  PS: I love Captain Kirk. Troll 2 Broad City Hausu The Golden Girls The Room Insecure Vanderpump Rules Labyrinth Portlandia Key and Peele Twin Peaks New Girl Queer Eye Difficult People Arrested Development Curb Your Enthusiasm The Office Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Summer—Sometimes Fun, Mostly Terrible

Not that anyone’s keeping track, but I’m back! I said I’d be on a blogging hiatus until September, so here I am. Although I’m back, I won’t be able to keep up with my original goal of posting every week. Instead, I’ll post whenever I feel like it! So that may mean more than one post some weeks, or no posts for two months. You’ll just have to wait and see. I had a lot of fun this summer. I took trips both short and long to Tucson, San Francisco, San Diego, Seattle, Buffalo, and Toronto. It was also the worst summer of my life because I lost my dad. It’s not something I feel comfortable writing about yet, but I imagine that some day it will help me to share my feelings here on Catch-all. Again—we’ll see. So I’m back, but inconsistently. Hopefully I’ll share some stuff that piques your interest soon. In the mean time, resist, have fun, and do yo thang! ✌️💕

Going on a Summer Hiatus

Hey, hi, hello! Lately I haven’t had much time to dedicate to Catch-all, nor have I been all that excited about working on it. I’ve been blogging for the past five years, and up until recently it never felt like a chore. Blogging was always something I did as a hobby, but the fun of it has dissipated. I’ve decided to take a break, but not give up entirely on Catch-all. I’ll be back by the end of the summer and will hopefully feel refreshed and excited about working on it again. Until then, I’m going to focus on a few other projects I’d like to get started on, and spend more free time reading, watching movies and TV, and doing other things that make me happy. I’ll still be on Instagram and Twitter, so you can follow me there — and come back to Catch-all around September to see what’s new in this neck of the woods! As always, thanks for reading! ❤ Julia