Monday, July 22, 2013


So my mom got my dad HBO for his birthday or Christmas or something a couple of years ago. My parents like movies, not necessarily the same ones I like though to be honest I usually fall under the "more willing to like x than other people" category so this seemed like a good thing for them. Unfortunately for me my willingness to like x does not usually cross into HBO series. Maybe its what I choose to be hipster about, maybe it was how many times in the before we got HBO era people at the places I worked assumed I must be watching True Blood (weirdly when I would say I have basic cable people forgot HBO was a premium channel.) maybe its that my current friends who won't watch Game of Thrones coincide with friends whose tastes tend to match mine (though again willingness to watch x syndrome is a factor). Whatever the reason, I will watch HBO to see the new movies that haven't hit basic cable yet when I am at home and that was all my parents really did so it was cool.  And then all of a sudden my parents started watching this new show. And they weren't just watching this was, "Dearest daughter do not call us from 9 to 10 on Sunday nights as we must worship at the alter of HBO" level of watching (a title previously held for Grey's Anatomy.) And this was all I really knew about this show called Newsroom until I finally stayed over on a Sunday night. (Normally when I visit I drive to Omaha from Lincoln between midnight and 3 Saturday morning because of Friday gaming and then head back between 11 and noon sunday morning to make it to Sunday gaming. Did I mention RPG's take precedence over most things in my life?)

So there I am thinking "hey Sunday dinner with the family this is great we can talk and everything" and then my parents start talking about how we must be watching HBO at 9:00 (I later found out this was for a rerun the season had been over for some time)  so I watched "Amen" (Episode 5 of Newsroom an odd place to start). I thought it was interesting at the time. I liked it enough to download but not enough to stop my current Netflix splurge of "Scrubs" to actually watch it. The next visit to my parents comes around and for father's day my mom bought my dad Newsroom season one on Blu-ray so we all gather around to watch (no really) "Amen" yes at this point in time I had seen one episode twice. But then my dad showed me "5/1" (episode 7) and I was blown away.

So for those who haven't watched it Newsroom is a show with a simple premise. What if in 2010 a cable news show started producing the news instead of a ratings grab disguised as news show.  Yes I agree this is a little conceited and elitist but I know plenty of people who wish for this in great amounts.  There is a lot of personal drama and stuff that are kind of cool but that's not what makes me love it. Newsroom takes place in our recent past and covers real news stories.  I love watching the pilot and thinking about what was going on during the early part of the BP oil spill. I love watching "I'll Try to Fix You" an episode that starts out with the newsroom covering gun advocates talking about how Obama wants to take away our guns and ends with the Gabby Gifford shootings the ACTUAL start of talks about gun regulations. I groaned with the entire show when they were forced to cover the Casey Anthony trial.

What I love about Newsroom is it forces us to look back past our five minute ago window of memory and think about what has happened to us in recent history. The current season looks to be covering the Occupy Movement.  I hope that it is covered well and since it is starting out with the chaotic nature of the "Anonymous" movement and the anarchy that ensued through the eyes of the blog writer for the show I think it may be decent (fingers crossed). With the most recent episode's treatment of the Troy Davis execution I can't wait until this show is covering things like Trayvon Martin. I am excited to see how the growing unrest in Africa is covered.  I want this show to last long enough for them to be forced to cover the Royal Baby. Newsroom has made me take time to look at the news now for the same reason the 2000 elections made me watch EVERY election night. Newsroom has reminded me that we are always watching history unfold. We are watching the future be written and we have the power to write it ourselves.

Friday, July 12, 2013


There comes a time for at least some of us when we realize that we are genuinely happy. Let me explain. I have suffered from depression for a lot of my life. Between the ages of 9 and 11 were what I call the triggering events. Middle school was not kind to me (as with anyone who goes through it) but for some reason what everyone else goes through hit me very hard. I don't know that bullying was that much worse for me at the school I was at or if I was more sensitive to it than others but at some point I started being something else and did not begin to mend until I was out of the school I was in at the time.
 At the age of 12 I started going to school at a private school where I could not be ignored (small schools means all the teachers know exactly who you are, who you hang out with, just how crazy you are acting and all that) I did flourish at this school and am glad I went but I don't know that I made any lasting relationships (ok there is one kid 4 years my junior who I still friend on facebook.) I was involved in the school but I don't know if I had really regained the ability to express myself.
 My first year of college met with a relapse that was one of the darkest times of my life (having real adult depression is probably the thing that put those middle school years into perspective.) Suddenly going to a large university made things much harder to deal with. I stopped interacting with people I realized I was dependent on sleep aids and probably the worst moment was when I slept through an entire snow day without realizing that no one else was at class or leaving the dorms.  According to my mother at around Easter I broke down and said I need help. I don't remember this rock bottom moment at all but I dropped out of school and started seeing a counselor.
  While I was seeing my counselor I was still hanging out with a group of friends I met at UNL (I lived about 50 miles away but I made time to go to Sunday role playing.) Years later I am still closer to these people than almost any other friends I have ever had. At the same time I was looking for work and going through school. I started with a 2 week stint at Jimmy Johns (no really they ended my shift 2 weeks after hiring me) and then started lifeguarding at a YMCA. I spent the next two years at a job that professional courtesy allows me to only say sucked. Now this is not a burn on Y's in general. I grew up going to a YMCA and my brother now works for the one I was working at at the time. But factors caused this to be an awful time for me. But after 2 years I left and went back to UNL.
  I got more involved with the Sci-fi club and met more wonderful people in this group. Three of whom would later be my room mates at different times.  However my current room mates were less than perfect. And my studies were also sub par. I was on academic probation and with my grades what they were it soon turned into academic suspension.
  One may see this as a new low and possibly it is but for me this is where things started to get good.  I got another life guarding job that was wonderful, paid well and worked with the hours I wanted. I kept going to Lincoln to see my friends and I went to classes at the local community college that I passed with flying colors.
  A year and a half later I applied to re enter UNL and I got in. I think this was the moment. I found myself in a position where what I was doing felt right. And that's when I noticed it. In the past I was floating aimless and more importantly in a sort of fog.  I had tried to seem happy I had tried to be what was needed for me to be but it wasn't the same. Of course there were good times but overall there was this veil that seemed to separate me from the idea of being ok. I can't really explain it but I know other people who have been through depression describing something similar. A recent anecdote that drives this point home for me is that I was talking with one of my friends who was around at the time I was just joining Sci-Fi club. We were talking about how I used to act back at that time and he said something along the lines of "All I remember is you always seemed so sad" this was a pretty big blow because I was sad. I was not doing well but man was I trying not to show it. I know now that at that point in time I was not ready to trust anyone with knowing me because I was convinced that they would only see this hollowed out horrible thing that I was. Thankfully this was after the miraculous realization of happiness and I was able to shrug it off to some degree.
 So I noticed, I was happy. The best part is it keeps growing. I know people who I can let myself be me around. This was a huge step for me as I said in the previous paragraph. I still cry from time to time. I still stew on things I shouldn't stew on and I still sometimes let things get to me. But I see life with a clarity that I don't think I did for many years. And when I go to bed at night I don't cry myself to sleep, except when terrible things happen... things that I am not ready to talk about yet. And I am able to get past them. Hell even when I look in the mirror and know I need to lose weight I don't think, I'm a fatty who can't do anything right I think, I can totally do this. And you know what, I totally will.