Addressing Six Pet Peeves (the last one being the most important)


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Why oh why oh why do people do these things?

Auto Playlists: I’m starting on one which I think we all can agree with right off the bat. I don’t know anyone who likes to visit a website or blog and be greeted by an automatic orchestra… or Owl City. Thankfully this has become less and less a problem over the years and automatic playlists have become a no-no if you want your blog to be welcoming to a visiting audience. And I’m not banning playlists completely; I think it’s cool if you have a playlist on your blog that I can play myself if I’m A) interested in finding out what you like because I like what I see on your blog and music is a great way to get to know someone’s personality and tastes; B) bored of my music and want to find new music or C) I happen to be in a open and curious mood that day. :)

Fake Fans. I covered this in a post already but it is such a pet peeve of mine that I had to include it on this list again. Click the link to read more.

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The Blocks of Hastags on Instagram: Oh good gravy. I love Instagram but these drive me IN-SANE. I personally made it a rule of mine not to over more then ten hashtags per post. It looks attention seeking when there are fifty two hashtags under the image. This includes talking through hashtags under your image. It’s not easy to read. At all. Hopefully, overusing hashtags will die out one of these days, but I won’t count on it.

The Misrepresentation of Sherlock Holmes’s Feelings Towards Women In Movies. (I’m trying to scrape a post up on this one.) Seriously, the movies seem to get it wrong most of the time. They either portray Holmes in love with Irene Adler, WHICH DID NOT HAPPEN, or they portray him as a jerk to all women, which he was nothing of the sort in the original stories. This drives me mad but I shall save my raving about this one for later.

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Snapbacks. You know those hats that guys wear; they look a little like baseball caps but are NOT baseball caps? They’re called snapbacks. And they are awful. They automatically make guys look like they have no intelligence whatsoever–I’m sorry, but it’s true. Ugh; does anyone want to have bonfire with me and we just burn as many as we can? BTW: Baseball caps are cool. Please go back to baseball caps.

People telling other people what they can and cannot feel: This is of a more serious nature and bothers me a lot more than snapbacks do. I really, really dislike this. I have two examples for you:

I’ve seen this behavior a lot on Twitter recently, now that it’s become cold across the nation. Someone makes a status saying, “Wow, I’m cold, it’s such and such degrees outside!” and someone else comes along on their tweet and says, “It’s twice as cold where I’m at, you have no right to be complaining, I wish I had your weather” ect. Excuse me? What’s warm for someone might be cold to someone else-they weren’t speaking for you in the first place, were they? Short Version: if someone is cold, let them be cold! I find this type of behavior incredibly rude–and that example is on a small scale.

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What’s even worse, is that people, especially Christians–ESPECIALLY ADULTS– do this with things like feelings, which are intimate pieces of a human’s soul. Someone might express that they are fearful about something and half a dozen people will come along, with big gasps, exclaiming, “Don’t say such things, you can’t be afraid! Living in fear is a sin! Hmm, you must not be trusting in God or living by faith!” Excuse me?! Where has the real Christainity gone; where’s the encouragement, the empthay, the “I’m so sorry you’ve been facing fear, I know how that feels, is there something I could be praying for you while you experiencing these traumas/insecurities/ ect.” It’s takes a lot of courage for someone to confess that they might be struggling with something as big as fear, and it makes me so mad when they’re beaten over the head with it by the people who are supposed to love and support them through their storms.

For gosh sakes, stop telling people how they should or shouldn’t be feeling by downsizing what you think their relationship with God is and instead show them that you actually want to take their feelings into consideration, whether it be trivial or soul-wrenching!

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Short Version: Christians, stopping Bible-Beating people who are actually being honest about what they’re struggling with. You’re making us all look very, very sad.

~Jamie

What Am I Plugged Into


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I finally broke down and bought myself a gadget last year in October: the black Apple iPod Touch 5th Generation and with some Christmas money I bought a set a accessories to go along with it. I’ve been taking more pictures and even some video, which has been missing in my family’s life for several years. I’m in love with the touch screen and I have a hard time imagining how I kept up with all my social networks before I could quickly access them all right out of my pocket.

Just like any gadget–Kindle, MacBook, iPhone, iPad and even computers–it can be an amazing tool.

It can also be a distracting toy.

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One thing I’ve always hated is looking around in public places–the library, mall, grocery store or the theater–and seeing just how many people are staring down at the palm of their hand. Many of them have this dazed, glazed expression on their faces. They no longer seem plugged into the world and people around them but are plugged into the gadget, as though hypnotized.

And I know not everyone is like this–the messaging, texting and calling is a fantastic way to stay in communication with people, especially on the go: “Come pick up me here” “Change of plans” ect. But I also know that’s not what everyone is doing when they’re holding a gadget in their hand.

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Before I got my iPod, I always fancied to myself that I would never become withdrawn like everyone else, if and when I was privileged to have a device of my own. I didn’t want to miss life’s little moments or just look like another distracted, uncaring and unaware human being wondering the streets like a zombie.

But once I had my little glow box in hand, I at last understood exactly what ‘those other people’ had withdrawn too. As a extroverted, color loving, motion loving person, I was spell bound at the world opened up to me. So many fun, free games with dazzling colors and effects; useful apps for photo editing or chit chatting, and music and Netflix; I actually started using Pinterest because the pinning process had less steps then on the PC because it was a touch and tap away.

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AND THE GAMES. THEY ARE SO FUN. TEMPLE RUN. LE VAMP. MINION RUSH. FRUIT NINJA. AHHH!

I love my iPod. I take care of it, I keep it safe from water and scratches, and I share it with the family at times. Heck, I can read blog posts in my bed without having to actually get out of my warm covers to turn on my computer. It’s fantastic and I now rarely go anywhere without it being safely kept in my possession.

At the same time, I don’t want to become detached from reality. As tempting as my little magic light box can be at times, I want it to be second, not first in my day to day priorities. So I’ve come up with my own rules on how to keep my iPod from replacing my family or reality.

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1. If someone is wanting to talk to me, especially if it is a more serious conversation, turn it off. The most annoying thing in the whole world is trying to share something with someone and feeling like you don’t matter because all they continue doing is staring, tapping, texting or playing away on their device. So, I’ve made it my own rule to give eye contact to people when they’re talking to me so they know I’m listening and that I care. If the conversation is of a more serious nature, I shut the iPod off or I set it down. This keeps me focused in on what really matters and keeps the other people from feeling like they’re wasting their time trying to speak to me.

2. During meal times shared with the family, the gadget should remain in pocket, not on table. Sometimes if I’m having breakfast by myself or happen to be eating lunch by myself, I’ll set my iPod on the table and will scroll through Twitter or Tumblr while I eat. However, if it’s, say, dinner and the whole family has sat down together, I try to remember to leave my iPod in my back pocket. This is (a) simple politeness and (b) keeps the doors open for good conversation between family members.

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3. I’m out in public because I’m trying to achieve something, not to walking about checking for free wi-fi. It’s my own rule that I’ll rarely pull out my iPod if I happen to be out and about with Mom or the family. Sometimes I will take a few pictures, but I’ve not left my house to constantly check Twitter. I’m grocery shopping, I’m browsing through thrift stores, I’m picking up library holds, I’m making fun of the adds playing on the movie screen to make my sister laugh: I’m doing something with someone and that’s more important then the Interent. (Same goes for most car rides.)

4. I will miss life’s special moments if I’m too busy trying to come up with a funny caption for that moment that’s still happening in front of my eyes. This is one of my strongest rules: if I’m at a birthday party, celebrating an achievement with my brother, or at out to eat, I might take some pictures, but my next goal is to not immediately upload those photos to all fifteen social sites with clever captions saying what’s going on, ect, because you know what? I’m still living that moment! I will waste something special that I’m trying to capture if all I’m doing is watching it through my screen and trying to decide which filter I should upload to make that picture better. I want to live those moments and then go back to them later and reflect upon them when it’s all said and done.

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5. Keep it a healthy balance–still have fun! It’s not like I’ve NEVER goofed off with my iPod or that that’s a bad thing! When my sister got her’s, we took pictures of each other and then poked each other teasingly through Instagram’s comments while sitting next to each, giggling. It was great fun and we were still interacting together. Living well is not a just dwelling on a bunch of restrictions OR being, “UNTAMED, NO RULES, YOLO!” ect. You’ve got to be balanced in everything. While I might not do this, that and other with my iPod, it doesn’t mean that I can’t ever not actually enjoy the fun things that come with it! I don’t want to feel guilty for playing Temple Run or Le Vamp–“Oh my gosh, this is such a waste of my time, I’m never going to get anywhere in my life, ugh, this is such a sin, I can’t believe society even created this time waster, America has crumbled!” ect. ect. ect.

The key to a healthy life is a healthy balance. So, don’t let your gadgets consume your life but also don’t let your determination of not getting consumed keep you from having some fun. This is, like, so important guys. :)

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It’s hard to follow these rules sometimes; there have been some days I have failed myself completely so I hope none of you think that I think I’m perfect. I’m not. But I want to constantly strive to keep what’s real as my primary focus… without making myself feel guilty for having bought myself an iPod in the first place. ;)

So, what are you plugged into?

~Jamie

My Entertainment of 2013


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Here at the end of the year, it’s interesting looking back, seeing what came into my life during this past year. I had a lot of stress this year and was able to deal with it in a unconventional manner: I watched lots of movies and TV shows, way more then I ever have in my life. But so many of them have impacted me in such good ways.

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Doctor Who came into my life this year, along with such delights like the lovable Warehouse 13, the fantasy Merlin, the surprisingly great The Walking Dead and the hysterical Modern Family. Even Family Guy, which has more then it’s share of inappropriate moments, came along at the right time to make me laugh and love and was a blessing in it’s own whacky way. Several of these shows have brought me and my sister together, which is awesome!

I also watched lots of movies. I fell in love with Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, zombies done right, men in black, pirates, robots and animation. 2013 can easily be ranked my movie year, just as 2012 was my book year! I found Letterboxd during the fall and haven’t stopped using it to document my movie life!

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I even broadened my music library a bit. But the song by Katy Perry, Roar, came along at just the right time too. That was an empowering song to listen to when I was at the place that I was and it certainly was brought into my life at the right time.

The piece of entertainment that impacted my life the most this year, I think, would be to The Office. I started The Office during the spring, a comedy to balance the insane amount of depression and stress that was in my home life. While I began many shows at the same time, The Office was the one that proved to be a real blessing at that point. It should not be underestimated how much this show helped me and my sister. It was so funny, and I flew through each season as quickly as the library could get them to me. It really kept me from completely cracking at that point and helped my mind keep busy, made me laugh when I was extremely depressed and provided some characters that looked at me and became my friends. I thank God that He brought that series into my life at the exact time it was needed and I’m pretty sure it saved my emotional and mental health.

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Rounding this year out, I’m excited to see what 2014 will fall under, category wise. Maybe I’ll get back to reading again and it will be a healthy mix of both. :P At any rate, I’m very grateful for the entertainment that was, I believe, Divinely brought into my life this year. Can’t wait to see what will impact me next year.

How about you, did anything in the entertainment field leave an impression on you this past year?

~Jamie

Brrr: Cold Hard Facts


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I’ve spent the last couple days walking about the house shivering. It’s gotten rather cold and I’m having a hard time adjusting to it.

I wish I could give you a poetic-like line about how I curled up with hot chocolate and a favorite quilt to read a book and just delighted in the crispness of winter but alas I cannot because I didn’t think to do that. I instead moved from room to room stating how cold I was while I wore a thin, over sized sweater and fretted about my Catching Fire review which I struggled to write for two days.

It’s so easy to wish I had the perfect-sounding life. One where I had a fireplace sit by and where I layered my clothes just right so I wasn’t cold and I still looked really cute in my Instagram pictures and went mall-shopping with friends. The truth is that real life just doesn’t work out as perfectly as we’re able to make it sound on paper. And it’s easy not to include the sloppy sounding parts of life on our cyber-networks, creating a grand illusion of a fantastic life. And I’d hate to think anyone became deceived that I have a grand life.

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Here’s some cold hard facts with no embellishing for you: I have not friends in real life anymore; I have pretty much no social life at all. My clean clothes will sometimes sit in piles for days because I hate hanging up laundry, making my room look a huge mess. The house is barely decorated for Christmas this year, my keyboard is layered in dust because I’ve not felt like playing any music even when I found new music to play and it’s so cold I’ve not gone running when I should have (plus the pair of sneakers that were comfortable for running literally fell apart and the other pair just aren’t working out.)

Was it hard to share those things above? No not really, because that’s just life. I have a feeling that similar, sad stories are behind a lot of people’s perfect, embellished peaks into their lives because no one has a perfect life. And no one should try to make their cyber life look better than their real life. Because sometimes real life facts can be more encouraging to someone, like me, than perfect ones.

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The trick of dealing with real life, to me, is turning cold hard facts into warm ones; look at them as positively as possible. I have no social life right now but I still have my internet friends and I will hopefully Skype with a best friend next week! The less Christmas decorations we put out, the less there is to put away in a few short weeks and that sounds great to me. I shall find new, comfortable running shoes and start training again when my body has adjusted to the temperature drop.

And a new year is coming. I will really work on sorting out how I feel on all the hard things that happened this year and reorganize my room and attempt to start fresh again. And maybe some of my inspiration will come back to me.

See how that works?

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Please just remember; let’s not wish we were other people. Because no matter how great their lives might sound and look sometimes, it’s as full of struggles as our’s probably is. Simply learn to include the positive side of things when you feel your life doesn’t seem that grand.

Hey, we can practice together!

~Jamie

Of Tears and Hurts | Some Self Discovery on Films and Fandoms


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The past month I’ve come to some awareness to certain aspects of my life in regards to movies and TV, and writing about my thoughts is great therapy for me, so I thought I’d write this post up and share it.

Well, the last week was brutal fandom-wise for me; The Walking Dead mid season finale was devastating; I had tears in my eyes the entire last half of that episode and was very distressed. And as all my Twitter followers should know ;) I flew through Season Four of Doctor Who and had to say goodbye to Ten, David Tenant’s Doctor. Through three seasons I got attached to him and his last farewell was very sad. I didn’t want to see him go. I did cry but it was after I shut down Netflix and walked away because Eleven’s sudden appearance broke the build of emotion (which I did not appreciate, by the way.)

But when I did cry, I cried hard because I felt I had once again lost another friend and that’s a very devastating feeling to me. I cried and cried in the bathroom for probably two solid minutes and then came out all red eyed. Kayla was very supportive of me that night and I ate sugar and watched Downton Abbey with Mom.

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But it felt good to cry. And I’ve been crying more over movies and TV recently, which for a while I thought was rather weird. But I’ve realized that I feel better afterwards when I do. It’s because I am acknowledging that I am sad and am expressing it in a healthy way. It doesn’t stay pent up in me forever; I grieve because I care and when I’m done grieving I can pick myself up and move on. I think it’s been a healthy step for my emotional side, to become more in tune with my feelings and let them come out more.

That’s not the only thing I’ve realized in regards to myself with movies and TV the past few weeks. I’ve realized how I feel about Christian critical ‘thinking and sharing’ about films and TV, especially here on the Internet, for me personally. I’ve come to some conclusions.

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For most of my teen years, my family spent all it’s time in a very conservative, small church circle. Movies and talking about movies didn’t really mix there. One of the reasons was because it was considered good thing to ‘think critically’ when it came to films. In many ways talking or sharing about movies with those kids became a very distasteful thing; it felt as though, if I or my sister spent more time talking about what we liked about a movie and not what we discovered was wrong about a movie, it felt like we weren’t quite as up to par as the rest of the children. This was part of the problem, of course, that I felt like I had to be up to par compared to other children who were being raised differently then we were.

And ‘thinking critically’–or rather ‘sharing critical thoughts out loud‘ rubs me the wrong way now because of those experiences, which includes experiences with my dad when he still lived with us because he really liked tearing movies apart. He nearly ruined our first viewing of Iron Man because of how much critical speech came out of his mouth the next day. It made watching movies almost a dread because I felt like I couldn’t enjoy the experience when I was going to have to tear it apart right afterwards.

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Even though I’ve been away from that atmosphere-that more extreme thinking-for quite some time, I still sometimes feel that I must include with my movie reviews ‘warnings’ and/or proof that I still am up to snuff. And that’s burdensome. It weighs down on my spirit, being busy worrying if I’m spiritual enough for some people. I feel as though I am still stuck in the old even though I’m not.

And so I recently came to to the conclusion that from now, until I feel better about the entire matter, I will no longer write anything about a movie unless I want too. I won’t include or acknowledge un-biblical issues in movies on my blog UNTIL I have been able to recover or unless I really want to. But at this point I don’t want too for most cases because I feel like when I do, I’m only doing what some people expect me to do, or prove myself worth something in some sort of twisted sense that is not biblical at all.

I feel as though the only way I’ll ever be able to get back to real, biblical, proper critical ‘sharing’ is to not do it at all.

(This would include me feeling responsible for warning people of anything distasteful in a movie; do your own research on a movie before watching! Everyone’s standards are different and what I might find except-able might not be in your book.)

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Don’t get me wrong, I do understand the importance of thinking critically in regards to media and entertainment. But feeling like I HAVE to share my critical thoughts is horrible. I need to get back to just talking about movies and enjoying the good in them without an unhealthy old burden from three years ago still weighing on my head.

Coming to this realization has been very freeing. My mom is very supportive of my discovery of this and with support, I hope to be on a road to real recovery in this area in my life in the future.

In conclusion: I would like to encourage anyone who hasn’t done so already, to do some soul searching of your own. Come to grips with some things that you might be doing only out a fear and see if you can get to the place where you can either stop doing them or can do them for the right reasons. It’s very freeing, lemme tell you!

PS Short movie reviews  now coming!

~Jamie