All posts tagged: Writing

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 …

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? …

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

Catch-all is More of a Hodge-podge

I think that if I started this blog all over again I’d name it hodge-podge. Originally I thought of it like a catch-all dish that accumulates little odds and ends. Bills, bobby pins, loose change, buttons, political stickers, gum. It’s astonishing how many of those catch-all dishes I actually have in my apartment. They start out being useful, but quickly become piles of both important and unimportant things. I end up avoiding it all until it’s time to clean my catch-all dish out and start over again. But this Catch-all has become more of a hodge-podge. It’s like the area of my apartment where I’ve placed shoes, empty picture frames, books, and my old violin I’ve been meaning to donate. It’s my go-to spot for big things that don’t go together but have nowhere else to go – which is kind of like this blog. … As much as I want to pinpoint a specific direction for Catch-all so that I can actually try to reach an identifiable audience, it’s becoming clear that it’s just …

Catch-all in 2018

I decided against making resolutions this year, but that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t put aside a little time to reflect on Catch-all and consider what the future of this blog should – or could – look like. Because blogging is just a hobby for me, I’ve never been particularly strict about narrowing down my focus (it’s called Catch-all for a reason) and I know that going into 2018 my posts will continue to be just as varied. I do, however, plan to put my media studies degree to use and share more work that examines film, TV, pop culture, music, politics, identity, and representation. With more serious work will also come some fun (I think it’s about time to write about Vanderpump Rules) and I’m hoping to maintain that delicate balance between content that reflects both fierce critical engagement, and lighthearted entertainment. Catch-all in 2017 Most popular posts this past year: Fun with Vinyl Resistance Reading List On America, Mobility, & Freedom in “Easy Rider” PHOTOS: Women’s March Los Angeles Riding the Pacific Surfliner Most …

The 7 Blogging Rules I’m Always Breaking

Lately I’ve been thinking about all of the sort of universal blogging and social media marketing rules that I should be following, but don’t. The truth is, I break most of these rules despite knowing that they would surely improve my blog. But is Catch-all successful already? Well that depends on how you define success… In almost every way you look at it, my blog isn’t successful. I’ve been working on it for years and it hasn’t taken off yet and may never. But that’s okay, because I like writing and blogging, and for that reason I consider it a triumph in my own terms. Catch-all is a place where I can share my thoughts and photos, and people will either read what I write and engage – or they won’t. And that’s okay. Though I’m still trying to figure out what the identity of this blog truly is and how to best support it, I’m also just enjoying the journey and not giving it much thought. But after working on this list it became clear that if I do ever want …

The Benefits of Blogging

I’ve been blogging for a few years now and it’s something I feel passionately about and love doing. Here are just a few of the benefits I’ve discovered in starting and sustaining Catch-all: It’s a creative outlet When your work life is less than creatively fulfilling, blogging provides an opportunity to express yourself. I’m personally of the school of thought that we’re all creative people – some of us just know how to access our imagination better than others. I also believe that self-expression is hugely beneficial for anyone’s work, whether you’re an accountant, secretary, painter, or writer. Blogging improves your writing and helps you find your voice When you write a lot, your writing will naturally improve. Blogging is far more informal than most styles of writing, but I’ve found that posting on Catch-all has benefited my academic work as well. And after three years of working on this blog, I think I’ve finally become more comfortable with my voice as a writer, which of course is always evolving. Keeping up with my goal of posting weekly also requires that I’m constantly thinking of new ideas, jotting them …

I’ll Blog For You, Too!

This summer, I’m looking to spread my freelance wings and fly! If you’re searching for an experienced writer to produce high-quality articles for your blog, contact me so we can discuss your site’s needs! I have experience with formal academic writing, as well as short-form blogging. If you’re interested in reading a writing sample of my scholarly work, please let me know. Otherwise, here’s a taste of what I’ve written for the web, both on my own blog and elsewhere: ‘Boyhood: In Defense of My Dissenting Opinion’ for Catch-all ‘A Response to Michael Eisner’s Comment That Beautiful, Funny Women Are Hard to Come By’ for Catch-all Jobs review for Critics Associated  Fruitvale Station review for Critics Associated Magnolia Character Analysis for Mr. Rumsey’s Film Related Musings Topics I’m especially interested in writing about include, but aren’t limited to: General film and television criticism and analysis Gender and diversity in Hollywood General pop culture criticism and analysis Feminism and women’s issues Veganism and the environment Various social and political movements Lifestyle and self-care Please email me at vanvalkenburgj@gmail.com or fill out a …

A Quick Update

Hey there, I haven’t been present on Catch-all these past couple of weeks for a number of reasons, but I plan on kicking it back into full gear by mid-May! My first year of graduate school is coming to an end, and to be completely honest, I just haven’t had enough time to dedicate to this blog. Later this month I’ll be posting about self-care, my favorite original series on Netflix, and a reflection on my first year living in Los Angeles. This summer, I plan to focus more of my work on critically analyzing and celebrating various forms of media, while also engaging with relevant pop culture topics. As usual, contributions and feedback are always welcome. Send me your short film, web series, or information about your crowdfunding campaign, and I’d be glad to share it on Catch-all. I hope you’re all having a wonderful spring, watching lots of high (and low) quality television, and finding enough time to relax and reflect. Best wishes ❤ Julia PS: Check out this inspiring video from the Sundance Institute on women in independent film, …

LA Film Fest ’15: Diversity Speaks

Last weekend I attended two of the Diversity Speaks panels the LA Film Fest. I made it to the second half of Oscar-winning screenwriter John Ridley‘s Q & A session, moderated by Elvis Mitchell, and was available for the entire Diversity in Primetime panel featuring Wendy Calhoun (writer/co-executive producer, Empire), Gail Lerner (writer/co-executive producer, Black-ish), Andrea Navedo (actor, Jane the Virgin), Randall Park (actor, Fresh Off the Boat), and Our Lady J (writer, Transparent). Here are a few of my favorite take-aways from the event: John Ridley was asked what it’s like to work in a biased industry that promotes racial stereotypes, and if he feels that by working in Hollywood he is somehow supporting the negative aspects of the industry. His response? Bias is everywhere, but it’s his duty to tell these stories. Since John Ridley wrote my favorite film of 2013 (12 Years a Slave), I definitely “fan-girled” a little bit in his presence, but luckily I was capable of internalizing those feelings. Listening to Ridley, it was impressive just how incredibly smart and well spoken he is. I really don’t think you …