Favorite TV: Blue Bloods

Back when dad was in a facility–mom, dad, and I would sit down and watch Blue Bloods. We would leave the TV on for him as he slept, tuned to ION Television. (Dad loved watching crime dramas and that station always had something good on!)

Then, mom and I sat down with him. Gradually, we became immersed in the lives of the Reagan family, a distraction for our own chaos that was happening at that time.

We became engrossed in Jamie’s journey as he went undercover with a crime family. We held our breath when Erin was almost raped and tortured by that serial killer. And Danny? Well, I just love his spunk, more and more in every episode.

But my favorite character? Frank Reagan.

That speech, up there, is one of the many reasons why I love this character: he’s very straightforward, to-the-point, he is honorable, a rock to his family (and his family is a rock to him), and, of course, he is a man who you do not want to piss off. He exudes all of these qualities.

Also, my dad had a very similar disposition to Frank, so I’m very easily drawn to him.

There is one descriptor that I would associate with Blue Bloods: strength.

The show is strong: strong characters with firm family values and it has a steadily growing, consistent plotline. I have trouble finding any holes to poke in this show. And, because of it’s solid family values–something I’ve grown up with myself–I’m always anxious to watch another episode.

Blue Bloods is one of the best shows out there. Hands. Down.

I can’t wait to see what happens next episode!

Favorite TV: Stranger Things!

GOD I love Stranger Things. SO MUCH!!

I just went through another binge of the show, this time showing my husband the wonders of Hawkins and the Upside Down. Needless to say, he has been hooked! (MWAHAHAHA!)

Pretty much because we were so busy with post-wedding bliss and responsibilities, I missed the announcement that season 3 won’t be released until Summer 2019!

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*screaming* NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

THE PAIN!

THE TORMENT!

HOW CAN WE SURVIVE????!

Seriously though, Stranger Things is one of the best shows out there! And the fact that we have an extended hiatus is really getting to me.

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Stranger Things… I can’t even describe why I love it so much. It’s not that there aren’t reasons, but that there are so many of them!

At the very least, I grew up in a crazy space-and-time between the 80’s and 90’s. While I didn’t have a lot of experience with 80’s pop culture, I learned of it through my family. Sure, I was a Nickelodeon kid, but growing up as the youngest in my family, I’ve picked up my own admiration of the 80’s. Whether it’s Beetlejuice, Ghostbusters, and Poltergeist, or, Indiana Jones and Who Frame Roger Rabbit, they are all some of my most cherished films that are always on repeat.

So, to see the boys in Stranger Things 2 dress up as the Ghostbusters for Halloween, I was absolutely geeking out! (In fact, I even have a Funko of Dustin–my favorite character–as Ray sitting on my bookcase!)

And the constant Dungeons and Dragons references does my nerd heart proud! *SQUEE*

Another thing I love about Stranger Things is: it’s realistic.

Ok, sure. The Upside Down, Demogorgon, and a government torturing kids in order to get ahead of the Russians–I really hope those are all fictional, or at least stays in an alternate universe faaaaar away from us. But I’m talking about the people: take, for example, Joyce Byers. I LOVE how she’s not a “Oh you’re just making that up sweetie” type of mom. She kicks ass. She gets things done. She, with the help of all our beloved characters, sticks with her scruples. She follows her gut, no matter how crazy it might sound. And she gets her son back.

SHE IS SUCH AN AWESOME CHARACTER!

I had gotten used to the trope of parents who have nothing to do with their children’s adventures. (When I was in a writer’s workshop in England, that was one of the pieces of advice I was given with my own novel: “Figure out what you’re going to do with the parents.”) But not Joyce! Here she is, plowing into a literally unknown world to find her son.

Bless you, Winona Ryder. Bless you, cast. Bless you, crew. Bless you, Duffer Brothers.

A year is going to be such a long wait for Stranger Things 3. It will be gruesome; there will be much bingeing, and even more anguish in my soul.

But don’t give up fans! We will be back in Hawkins before we know it!

For those of you who haven’t caught the Season 3 trailer–or if you’re like me and want to watch it for the hundredth time–here it is:

Stay strong, Stranger Things fandom.

We. Can. Do. This!

A Thank You to TAPS

Good grief! In my flurry of adulting, I failed to remember that tonight is the FINAL episode of Ghost Hunters on SyFy! I have to make this brief, but I cannot let Ghost Hunters end without formally thanking the TAPS team! (Whether they see this post or not.)

I truly cannot express how much TAPS means to me and how much I’ve enjoyed Ghost Hunters over the years. Putting it plainly, this is the end of an era, for me and other fans that TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society) have helped through their ten year run.

Truthfully, I was late to the viewing party; Ghost Hunters was already in their sixth season when I caught wind of the show. It was then that my life changed. I was a bored college student–who was frequently spooked by the notion of ghosts–with nowhere to go and nothing to do on Halloween night, 2010. I aimlessly flipped channels on my mini-TV, trying to find a good way to celebrate the holiday, perhaps by watching a horror movie. (I may have been easily spooked back then, but I still wanted a thrill; after all, it was Halloween.) Lo and behold, I found myself on SyFy, watching people I knew nothing about freeze their asses off in Buffalo Central Terminal.

Those people are some of my favorites, some of the kindest hearts in the media’s spotlight today: Jason Hawes, Grant Wilson, Steve Gonsalves, Dave Tango, and Josh Gates, as well as others. (I don’t believe that Dustin Pari was a part of the BCT hunt, but he also needs a shout out! Sorry if I’m mistaken about that!)

In present day, these people are my role models, even if I am more of a “paranormal enthusiast” rather than an active investigator. They are professional, respectful, in their field and work hard to bring awareness and comfort to something that people are so easily afraid of. They not only inspire me to be the best in my own paranormal pursuits–a field that was once my own fear, but now remains a fascination–they also encourage me to be the best person I possibly can be.

I know I’ve said it a million times, but these people are mindblowing in how they treat their fans! I am truly grateful that I have gotten to know them while Ghost Hunters was still on the air.

I hope that Ghost Hunters will find a home on another network; that this isn’t the end but a change for TAPS. Whether they remain on air or not, I’m sure they’ll still be pursuing the paranormal off screen and helping others who need them.

Thank you, TAPS, for, plainly, being amazing. For helping us all, whether it was through a television screen or in person. For encouraging us to research, in respect, the paranormal and to broaden society’s acceptance of those who have encountered The Unknown. I’ve learned so much from you and truly wish that this wasn’t your final episode, but I will be rushing to the television to bid you adieu on SyFy.

Love, love, love to you, TAPS, and I wish you many blessings in your future! Whether you are on the air or not, I will always, always remain your loyal little fangirl!

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Castle: Good Remains in Chaos

Once upon a time, there was a twenty-three year old girl who had a cloud of technicolor dreams circling her head. She gazed at the blues, purples, reds, and golds, and as they swirled faster, her heart was encouraged. She laughed and raced down the campus steps, the doors opened to the freshly graduated girl, and she embraced the world, ready to share her dreams with it.

In case you haven’t guessed, that girl was me.

In 2011, I graduated from Otterbein University with a degree in Creative Writing, ready to share my stories with the world. And guess what? Within a year, I was professionally writing! It wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do, but it was a good stepping stone.

My true dream, however, was to be a novelist. And one of my favorite TV shows expressed exactly how I wanted my life to look:

In fact, I do actually want to be a mystery writer. Psychological thrillers and paranormal fantasies are my genres!

Life itself is a tricky thing; it can, at times, be synonymous with change, and chaos can be their little bundle of joy. That’s how it’s been off and on since 2011. For personal reasons, it’s been difficult–especially these past few months–to find time to write, let alone do other things I love (watching TV, going to movies, traveling), hence why I haven’t blogged since Easter.

Honestly, it can be challenging at times. I never imagined being in this situation five years since I graduated. But that’s how change works: it hits you right between the eyes, when you least expect it, and can be a good thing.

Take Castle’s unexpected cancellation, for example. About a month ago, over on Deadline.com, it was announced that Stana Katic and Tamala Jones were not coming back to season 9. I was among the Castle fans who was adamantly against this decision (I mean, who wouldn’t be? There’s no Caskett without Beckett!) Thankfully ABC decided to cancel the show instead of watching it go down the proverbial Primetime toilet and Caskett fans got to see Beckett and Castle live on.

For me, change reminds me of the realistic value of balancing my dreams with the reality I’m placed in. Yes, it might be excruciatingly hard at times, but I still wouldn’t change the part I must play here at home. I’m as stubborn about supporting my family as much as I am about becoming a novelist. I do believe that both will play out for the better, even if this tumultuous period seems to be clearing at an agonizing pace.

In any case, I still excited for the future; to see what it brings me and my family. I’m anxious to finish my first novel, get it seen by an agent and published. I’m anticipating a peaceful future for my family and I (really it can’t get here soon enough!). I’m curious to see what Andrew Marlowe (creator of Castle) comes up with next.

But those are distant, general futures. What I need to remind myself is to enjoy the stepping stones that bring those futures along, one day at a time. I need to be happy that I am able to write and produce YouTube videos again. I need to see the blessing in the lesson of time management. And I need to see the good in every moment here at the house, even during the bad times; there is always good!

Change happens. Life moves on. Impermanence spins the world into focus. Thank you, God, for the ability to endure, to adapt. Thank you for the gifts and lessons that life brings. And thank you for the joy that Castle has brought to so many lives.

Blessings to writers everywhere, the Castle cast and crew, and all souls that are going through hard times. It will get better. You just have to keep moving; one step, one word, after another.

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SUPERNATURAL IS BACK BABY!

Guys! Guys! It’s here! Oh my Chuck, IT. IS. HERE!!

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Supernatural’s 11th season premiered last Wednesday — and, boy, is the show as rocking as ever!

I mean, I will admit since season 5 the show hasn’t held me like it did. Even if there were some pretty intense moments. However, season 11 looks like it may be going back to the old routes: a massively scary boss that seems impossible to beat, Sam and Dean reevaluating their tactics (and actually talking!), Team Free Will pushed to the edge, the world at risk.

Yes we’ve had those themes before. But, frankly, the Leviathan and Purgatory arcs didn’t hold my attention quite like Lucifer. (Me, the angel fangirl. Of course that would be my favorite season!)

I’m looking forward to what they’ll be doing. [Slight spoiler] but they’ve been referencing the archangels here and there, both in 10’s finale and 11’s premiere. Dare I say it? We might be seeing Gabe, Luci, and Michael again! Maybe they’ll be in multiple episodes? Maybe Adam will finally escape The Cage?

Ok. That’s a spoiler-free as I can make this post. It’s a quickie, too.

I’m excited to see what the show does this season. There’s a lot at stake for Team Free Will. Even in the first episode was it intense. Jeeez. *bites nails*

Supernatural “Fan Fiction” Recap Draft: SPOILERS AHEAD!!

I had to share this. I was cracking up at my recap draft after seeing Fan Fiction.

What happens at the end of Supernatural’s 200th episode is that Chuck Shirley makes an appearance. Turns out he was the person that actually came from the publishers. And Marie (the director of the musical) did not expect that!

What did you guys think of Supernatural’s 200th episode?

Supernatural’s 200th Episode: Fan Fiction Promo

After the show’s hiatus last week, I’m back recapping Supernatural over on Fangirlish!

Tonight’s episode won’t be of the usual paranormal-meets-demon-hunters variety. No. It’s a tribute to the fans of Supernatural. Supposedly all the characters in the last ten seasons will be referenced in some way. It looks like Chuck’s books have become a theater production put together by a fan. It will have other people dressing up as our beloved characters: Bobby, Sam, Dean, Gabe, Cas, etc.

Although I’m still hoping that the actual actors will be involved in some way — COME ON! I NEED MY GABE FIX!!

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*cough* Right… anyways…

Oh. And bonus: it’s a musical episode.

Here’s a preview of tonight’s 200th EPISODE!! Congrats SPN!

Aw man, I’m going to have SUCH a hard time writing my recap! Cause I’ll want to watch it AND NOT DO ANYTHING ELSE!
*waits IMpatiently for 9PM*
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Masters of Sex: Fight

For a very long time now, I have been a fan of Michael Sheen.

Yes, this goofy guy right here:

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For those new to the world of Michael Sheen, you might recognize him as Aro in the Twilight Saga. You know, this guy:

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Other people know him as Lucian from Underworld. But, personally, he first caught my eye as an actor when he played Tony Blair. Actually, he’s played him several times. But I remember seeing him as Mr. Blair in The Queen (2006) and The Special Relationship (2010).
I couldn’t really say as to why I started honing in on him. Not back then. And I still can’t really say now. It’s just one of those things: where an actor is so memorable that he is imprinted on your mind.
And it’s a requirement to watch everything he’s in.
I always talk about Johnny Depp or Tom Hiddleston in this way. But rarely do I talk about Michael Sheen. Even though he’s included in that mental category.
I’ve been watching Masters of Sex since it premiered last year. Even if I miss episodes, I make an effort to watch everything I’ve missed. I will admit my draw to the television show was because I knew Michael Sheen was playing the lead. I knew nothing about Lizzy Caplan, Dr. William Masters, or Virginia Johnson. I only knew that I wanted to watch this series on Showtime because Michael Sheen was in it.
So I sat down to watch it, one evening, on September 29, 2013. I anxiously awaited to see Michael Sheen… and also what this show was about. (Bonus: it takes place in the 1950s, which equals more interest with me.)
Turns out Masters of Sex is about these two people who are interested in how the human body responds… while having sex. Dr. Masters has always been interested, and Virginia Johnson needed a job as a secretary. The series goes on to delve deeper into their characters: Virginia being a single mom, and Dr. Masters being a reluctant husband and soon to be father. It also deals with the social stigma of the time: specifically that sex is not studied, because it’s not talked about in society. It’s completely ignored. And doctors don’t know what to do when someone has issues with sexual reproduction. They just cut and snip and send them out the door.
But not Dr. Masters (and, by extension Virginia Johnson). They understand human bodies. They understand sex. They have an interest in it. And they want the world to not be afraid of the subject.
Anyways, long introduction.
I was watching the most recent episode, entitled “Fight”… and I finished it literally fifteen minutes ago. (Yes, you read that time stamp right: it’s 3:15 in the morning). And… wow. My mind was blown. The amount of depth that the writers put into Bill and Virginia, the cinematography, and, most importantly, the acting between Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan.
I am a little fuzzy, but around half of the episode (if not more) takes place in the hotel room that Bill and Virginia are sharing. The elements that happened before (and after) this scene affected the couple as they met again, for another “study”. Bill was uncharacteristically aggressive, and Virginia, being the ever nurturing soul, was trying to help him… but not put up with his bullshit, at the same time. You could tell these two cared for one another. But from the circumstances of life outside of the hotel room, they couldn’t admit it out right. (For one, Bill is married. Yeah.)
But Virginia got the closest. She described a lover she had in the past. A boyfriend. Who had been a captain in an army. The “man” had claimed he was engaged, but supposedly the fiance ran off. Of course that’s not the case and he abandons Virginia to go back to said fiance.
“What does that mean for us?” Bill asks.
(It has been previously established that Bill and Virginia are posing as a married couple.)
Virginia: (And this is a paraphrase) “Oh… I’d only marry a man who I love and desire.”
And Bill in this episode is dealing about the memory of his father. Who abused him. This was established waaaay back in the show. But we have more depth into Bill’s back story now. Bill confides in Virginia that his father broke his nose once, and left him at a boarding school when he was only 14. And Bill never returned home.
This is also a powerful step in their relationship because Bill doesn’t even confide in his own wife. He keeps everything bottled up inside. And yet, he feels so connected to Virginia that he opens up to her. And she listens. Unlike anyone else in his life. (Also Virginia stated in this episode that Bill basically respects her and listens to her. Take notes boys!)
But the way these scenes come across is simply amazing. The tension between Bill and Virginia is absolutely palpable. The tension between their private life and the world around them… you can feel it. It’s just… wow.
I really suggest you guys watch this TV show. It is nothing short of amazing. And, yes, it has A LOT of sexual content. So not for kids. But it’s worth your time.

 

Post-Ghost Hunting at Mansfield Reformatory PART 1 – Paranormal Background + Meet & Greet

Okay, gang. This has been a long time coming!! And I’m finally posting about it!

My trip to Mansfield Reformatory! 

Part 1: Paranormal Background + Meet & Greet.
(Because this would be reeeeallly long if I put everything in one post!)

A week ago my friend Allison and I made the 40 minute journey to The Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, Ohio (commonly referred to as “Mansfield Reformatory”). And… man… was it creepy. And awesome. And… jarring… and beautiful.

The night began when this picture was taken, at 5 PM, at the steps of Mansfield Reformatory. It was my third public ghost hunt with TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society a.k.a. “Ghost Hunters”), and I was ABSOLUTELY EXCITED for it!! For investigating with them and for the location!

I had been wanting to visit this place again for maaaaany years. I kid you not, it was more than a decade since I had been here. I went with my parents on the Shawshank tour during the day. Which it was a very nice tour to go on and I loved seeing the movie set pieces.

**Fair warning: here beginneth my ranting about TAPS and how I got interested in the paranormal (Thusly entitled “Background”)**

This was before I had gotten into the paranormal. It was around the time that I had first been immersed in “Scariest Places on Earth” (which, nowadays, is a show I’m very skeptical of). It was when I had started to realize that ghosts were not just fiction… but a reality. Back when I was afraid to sleep in the dark, and wouldn’t dare sleep with the covers any lower than my chin. When the sounds of a house settling stirred the deepest horrors of my imagination… when the sounds of mice making homes in my bedroom wall made me fear monsters were coming to get me… (I never had a real definition of what “get me” was, by the way, I just knew I didn’t want it.)

So fast forward to October 31, 2010. I was in my college apartment, at Otterbein University, just aimlessly browsing the internet, and listening to the TV in the background. I don’t exactly remember how, but I came across a TV show called Ghost Hunters Live. Now I was still interested in the paranormal, especially considering the experiences I have had since my Grandpa Nolletti died, and it was Halloween. So I thought “Why not? I’m not doing anything special tonight…”

And down the rabbit hole I went.

(PS – I miss the Live shows. PLEEEEASE BRING THEM BACK SYFY!!)

Now, in present day, my interest in the paranormal has grown… and my fear has diminished. In  my four years of being a fan, TAPS has taught me how to “debunk”. That the creaking of my house was really the wood settling… that a strange noise in the forest outside was probably a fox… that the scratching in my wall was actually mice trying to make a home… and now, when I’m sweating in the summer night, I can fully kick off my covers and not worry about monsters coming to get me.

But, on the flip side, I wanted to experience the paranormal and learn more about it. Because, as I said, I have had experiences I cannot explain. And I want to know more about the afterlife. And I want to talk to other people about their experiences. It really is a fascinating conversation if you only just let yourself have an open mind!! Whether you believe or not.

Which is why I like Josh Gates so much, too, because he has self-proclaimed that he doesn’t believe in ghosts, because he hasn’t found concrete evidence of them. But what he’s really after is talking to people, and the story.

(“The only thing that matters–” AH!! Down, Mort Rainey, down.)

Okay, so thus endeth the “Background” section of this post. NOW we return to this place:

At 5 PM I take this shot as Allison and I are walking up to Mansfield Reformatory. It is a beautiful shot, and a beautiful place. Though I can understand the stories of how inmates felt dread when they were sentenced to serve time here… “Dracula’s Castle” indeed!

We walk in the building, present our tickets, and stand in line in a hallway leading up to the Bull Pen… and where the Meet & Greet and lectures/Q&As are going to take place. Me? I’m standing there trying not to focus on the fact that in less than 30 minutes I will have met Josh Gates and I’m actually kind of terrified of how well that will go over.

God bless Allison and a woman (I never got the name of) from distracting me. We talked about the paranormal, paranormal investigations, haunted locations (Zoar, Ohio and Hill View Manor specifically), Ghost Hunters, and Ghost Adventures while we stood in line. (Note: whenever you’re at a public ghost hunt, no matter your personal beliefs, you always talk about the paranormal in some way. It’s just another way to learn a person’s story. And I love it.)

Then… the moment hit me… the moment that I would meet Josh Gates, get to see him face to face, have him finally autograph my copy of his book, and I would get to say… something. But what? I didn’t know what to say. How do I convey to a man how much I appreciate his existence? And that it’s not meant to be creepy, but a compliment? How do I tell him that he’s just plain… awesome?
I said it in a Facebook post perfectly to a friend who didn’t know who he was:
“This is Josh Gates. He used to host Destination Truth on SyFy. Now he’s creating a new show called ‘Expedition Unknown’ on the Travel channel. He has self-described himself as a ‘professional vagabond, international monster hunter, and paranormal Hardy Boy.’ (Memoirs of a Monster Hunter, Foreword). I describe him as a kind of Indiana Jones figure too. He travels the world to investigate legends and myths, talking to natives about their experiences. He’s been to all 7 continents, 92 countries, and 49 states. 
 
But what I really like about him (and yesterday at Mansfield proved it to me) is that he’s an awesome, kind, funny guy who has experienced a lot of the world and loves to share the passions of travel and adventure with others. He actively encourages people to explore outside their comfort zone. Oh. And he’s a movie geek too.”
 

Then, suddenly, I was at his table, next in line, and I pushed my fears out of me. He’s human, after all. Even if I didn’t magically become best friends with him in the next minute, I was going to do what I do best: be myself. Josh looked up, smiled, and we said hello to each other. Then I handed him my book to be signed.

The conversation proceeded to go as follows:

Me: “I love the book and show. Sad it’s not on but excited for the new one!”
Josh: “*as he’s signing* Aw, thanks!”
Me: *pause* It’s an honor to meet you.”
Josh: “Aw, that’s really sweet!”

Lesson learned: be yourself. What others think of you is their problem, not yours. But most of the time people will love you and accept you for who you are. I accomplished two milestones in that moment: I finally met Josh Gates, and I FINALLY have one of my most favorite books in my library autographed. Both make me EXTREMELY happy. Yes, as a fan, I kind of wish to be one of those special people that end up becoming friends with the celebrity they admire most in this world, but right now I’m just happy to have met the guy.

Some more photos that I (and Allison for the ones I’m standing in) took at the event:

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