The Next Chapter

It’s about time I experienced a semi-decent semester at the University of Nevada, Reno – I got to do some REAL journalism work, and I expanded my mind to classes that I hate and will never have to take again.

I got two perfect A’s in Nevada Media Alliance and Data journalism. My KNPB package I worked on with Stephanie turned out wonderfully – I even got an official copy of the episode on a special DVD. You can watch it online at the NVMA siteStephanie, the audio/video maven, narrated the episode as I interviewed our sources about all-day kindergarten in Nevada. I think we both kicked ass on writing the script as well.

Here’s a photo I took of when my team and I toured the KNPB station. On screen, you’ll see our episode getting ready to air! This was on April 19th:

NVMA is a permanent and new addition to the Donald W. Reynolds School of Journalism. I’m debating whether I want to do it again or not, and I’m thinking I’m should. I’m graduating in December and I would be taking about 18 credits if I joined again, and only 2 or 3 original members who reported on the legislature would return. The topic to report next semester is the reinventing or the rebirth of Reno’s economy. I discovered that covering this topic would benefit me in many ways:

I recently got hired as an intern at the Reno Gazette-Journal to report on their new blog called Reno Rebirth, which covers the recovery of the city’s economy and community. I’m incredibly excited because I’ve been wanting this internship for so long, and this blog allows VOICE in the reporting. I also get to expand my knowledge on Reno’s economy. I officially begin June 4th and I already have some decent story ideas down. Oh, and Brent Boynton, the news director of KNPB said that he would like me and the RGJ to contribute our Reno Rebirth work with KNPB! I’m kicking my feet up in the air as if I were a child who just found out that they’re going to Disneyland for the weekend; I’m so damn excited to be a part of this.

Rejoining NVMA for my next (and last) semester would be definitely beneficial for me because I would I know the subject by then, and I could continue reporting on it. Also, I would get my name out even more by the time I graduate. Gosh, I’m so spoiled!

So don’t worry, I will be linking my articles from Reno Rebirth on JOURNALISchick as well as sharing my experiences working at one of Reno’s greatest news desks. I have to write experiences anyway in order to receive three credits — but I don’t mind doing that regardless.

What else has happend? On May 7th, I received the Charles H. Stout Foundation scholarship. I forgot the amount (most scholarship recipients do), but what’s so special about this scholarship is that this foundation helped supported the NVMA to purchase the amazing media tools to make the team who we are today (and obviously, you’ve seen that we’re pretty damn amazing). Although this scholarship lasts for about a year and I have one semester left, I think I might use up the remaining scholarship to take some courses to get back into my old hobbies, if it gets difficult finding a job (drawing, choir, guitar, writing…).

My project about BLMNV and the mustangs for Data journalism came out okay, but not as good as I wanted. It’s a huge topic I’d like to investigate when the topic is hot again — you can click here to check out what I’ve gathered: http://mustangsofunrnv.wordpress.com/

Other than that, my remaining grades are okay – B+ in Women & Lit, B+ in Core Humanities, and I got very lucky with a C+ in Mircoeconomics (eff that class). But it definitely brought my GPA up higher. I’m also moving out of my apartment and moving into a secluded area away from crazy party animals (I’m such an old lady about this).

Before I go, check out the Reinventing Reno website UNR students put together with business journalist, Micki Maynard! I believe this is what the next group of NVMA would be reporting on. One of the writers even earned the Steven Martarano Best Published Article Award!

Up next: 2 book reviews and another update.

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The Second Book I Cried Over (and I rarely cry over books)

Image(My very first review. I’ll be learning how to write them along the way. Enjoy!)

Dani Shapiro’s Slow Motion is one of the books I’ve recently read for my Women & Lit class and this is first book in a while that’s made me cry my eyes out and pity the characters (the last time I cried over a book was during last summer, Mitch Albom’s For One More Day). My instructor is a huge fan of Shapiro; she added her on Facebook and read most of her writing. I believe that Shapiro has gained a new fan as well; her writing style inspires me.

Taken place in the mid 1980s, this is a memoir about the author herself who goes through drastic changes in her life after her parents get into a disastrous car crash, and it places both of them in the ICU. Throughout the book, 23-year-old Dani goes through many challenges such as choosing to be a father’s daughter or a mother’s daughter, her dependency towards others, how time is in “slow motion” for her, and like almost every 20-something year old, she’s struggling to find her identity.

Before the accident, Dani is living in San Diego pursuing in modeling and acting. She grew up in New Jersey under a strict Jewish household. Her father, Paul, wants Dani to be “the good, little yeshiva girl” while her mother, Irene, wants her to be “the pretty popular girl”. Throughout the book, Dani goes through reminisces of when she lived with her parents; her experiences show that she hasn’t been very close to them until the accident and feels that she has disappointed them greatly and now must find a way to make it up for them. Dani is a college drop-out and is a mistress to forty-six year old attorney, Lenny Klein.

Dani met Lenny through her best friend and roommate, Jess, while she was attending Sarah Lawrence College. Lenny happens to be Jess’s stepfather; he wasn’t afraid to tell Jess that he thought of Dani as an “angel”. Lenny continued to drop off flowers and gifts to Dani, and it helped their love grow for the next four years. However, Dani was not aware that it would bring changes between her and Jess.

After the accident occurs, Dani travels from San Diego to New Jersey to take care of her parents. But it takes forever for Dani to get there and time seems to be moving slow after she encounters her parents in the hospital. The title of the book, Slow Motion, is a constant theme  itself.

Both sides of the family also strike differences and conflicts between each other in the novel. Dani realizes that she doesn’t fit in with her family well at all because she chose modeling and acting over a degree. She wears fancy, brand name clothes that Lenny bought her, with fur coats and heels. She’s quite alluring. However, her half-sister from her dad’s side, Susie, has a PHD in psychology, about 10 years older than Dani and helps clients almost everyday. Dani feels like a dependent child compared to Susie and feels out of place when she acts differently towards her.

I would go more into detail about the book, but then I would be spoiling it big time. Most of the  details come into place right away, about the end of chapter 2 or beginning of of 3. Also, Shapiro also goes really in depth of what actually happened during her parents’ accident in her one of her recent books called Devotion since there’s not too much juice about the accident in Slow Motion.

My Evaluation: 

Many of my classmates did not find this book believable or found Dani’s tone to be way too whiney and annoying. I’d like to beg the differ.

Dani definitely grows throughout the novel. As you read it, pay attention to the tone and how it changes later in the novel because she starts to mature in her writing.

I do agree that Dani can become annoying because it seems that she complains a lot about what she’s going through. It’s simply one of the themes about this book, though; her complaints and sadness represent her isolation and dependency on her parents, Lenny, and alcohol and drug abuse. She also doesn’t fit in well, like I’ve said before; her looks are appealing and she makes the wrong decisions, and she’s a college dropout. Things just got worse for her because her parents are now in an unstable condition; her father is in a coma and her mother’s body is 80% broken.

Also, you may be able to relate to Dani in your own personal ways. I’m definitely able to relate with her when it comes to loving your family and realizing how much time is left to make the best out of things you’ve done wrong. I cried hard at one part in particular (which I vowed not spoil!) because it reminded me of a tragic day my family and I had to go through; back in August, a week before the fall semester started for me, my father had an embolism episode and survived because he was so healthy. He spent 3 days in ICU and 4 more in regular rooms. He’s doing great and is now 60 years old, still going to the gym and working. But I think that was the “Dani Day” for me when I realized how much time I felt like I had to fix things I needed to fix (I was quite the shitty teenager and I moved out at 19 – those were the 9 years I spent with my family that I put the most stress on them).

For a first review, I’m sorry I couldn’t describe too much. I mean, I would be pretty pissed if someone spoiled the climax and other juicy details of a story in a review before I even read the book.

It’s a quick read, but I suggest taking your time with it; it’s one of those depressing books that just drain the hell out of you if you spend too much time with it.

4/5 Stars, and it belongs on the favorites shelf (for me).

Recommendations: 

I read Slow Motion on Kobo eBooks for my desktop at the price of $11.99. To download on the desktop is free, unless you have the Kobo eReader. A couple negative things about this purchase – this program has no page numbers and I couldn’t find it anywhere in the settings. If you scroll, you move halfway through the book – it’s a sensitive program. I definitely don’t recommend this program for classroom purchases – even my instructor agrees.

Slow Motion was published on Oct. 21, 1999 by Mariner Books. Prices vary: $4.94 – $11.99

Click here for more ratings and reviews on this book on Goodreads

Click here to visit Dani Shapiro’s website. 

First Saturday, First Post.

Imagine if a human had 900 years to live without the aging and health problems. Like, what if a 65-year-old looked like they were still in their 20s with good health?

Anyway, let’s just pretend all of those kind of goodies are available in your 900 years of lifetime. Now, without getting killed (or killing yourself), what else would you do during your 900 years of life?

The answer is simple: everything that you’ve always wanted to do. What if you had all the time in the world to achieve and fulfill 200+ of your dreams?

Obviously, it’s possible (but difficult) to do that within 70 to 100 years of your life. But remember when you were a kid, you went back and forth of what you wanted to be when you grew up? I believe those kind of career interests will stick with you for the rest of your life. It’s what fascinated you the most and it will always be a piece of you. You may not be as interested in some of them after a couple of years pass because you have already made a choice (or more) of what you want. However, and usually, there’s a piece of you that still wants to try that something else, but it seems like there’s a limited amount of time (and money) to do so during your life.

That’s how I feel, anyway. When I was little, I wanted to be a doctor. I went through the fantasies of becoming a teacher to an oceanographer, to a performer, an animator and then a writer. During my teenage years, my goal was to become a funeral director, but I was an online news editor for my high school newspaper. Today, I am a senior in college majoring in journalism, experiencing competitive adventures in and out of newsrooms. I just wish I had enough time to explore my other interests as well. But isn’t that the beauty of writing and journalism? I can research and write about whatever the hell I want!

I love doing journalism because reporting gives me the opportunity to learn and write about things to share with the world. I enjoy showing things people don’t know or need to know about. Pretty much, that’s what I’m here for. This is going to sound conceited but every Saturday, I will post something that somewhat revolves around my interests and you will learn something from it. Let me define the following in my tagline:

Literature – I’m a book-worm and I want to practice writing reviews. Ah, I know: book reviews! I have many books from good to bad to share that I have read. If you’re thinking I’m going to review books such as Hunger Games, Twilight or Harry Potter, this section is probably not for you. I’m going to review books you might never heard of and convince you to read them. 🙂

Writing – I’m going to post some of my articles from newspapers I have written for, as well as narrative and fictional pieces. And yes, my “typical blogger” side will lash out with rants, randomness and other personal-conversational pieces here and there.

Life & Death – My book reviews and writing will revolve around these two subjects the most. How-Tos, Did-you-knows, titles, old and new news stories, my experiences (especially at the funeral home), personal thoughts and stories that have significant relevance.

And including…

Universe – I passed astronomy with an A. I’m also an employee at the local planetarium at my university. Studying and thinking about what’s out there passes through my mind consistently. I think I would say that it’s almost a hobby. So I want to share experiences I’ve had at the planetarium or cool news to know about the intergalactic world (it’ll be interesting, I promise).

I feel as if these descriptions are vague but I know it’ll get interesting as it goes. I can’t point out specific subjects that will be posted, but you’ll get what I mean (eventually).

It’s the Christmas season, and my mother is rolling small portions of cookie dough to make Reese cupcakes. I think we’re ordering pizza tonight and the flavor of marinara sauce sounds tasty. It’s time for me to exit, but I’ll will fix up this site as I go.

See you next week,

Molly