2014 Year In Review

Sure, it’s January 4th – but you know what? I was having fun on a holiday trip on the East Coast, so I didn’t have time to blog. Know what else? I REGRET NOTHING. ๐Ÿ™‚ But for those who are paying attention, you know I do this every year, so I’d hate to leave you hanging. So, here we go…

Previous years: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013.

Another year, another year to review! This year’s been a biggie, both in my personal life and for the world, which simultaneously became a little more evolved and a lot more insane. Two steps forward, three steps back. I suppose slow progress is better than no progress at all, huh?

May 2014.

PERSONAL LIFE:

I’ll likely remember 2014 as the year I started to tackle problems head-on, rather than ignoring them, and became more of the kind of person I want to be. I’ll also remember it as a year of a lot of change in my personal life, both good and bad. However, even when bad things happened this year, for some reason I was in more of a position to deal with things in a healthy, philosophical way. Sure, there were tears when needed, and there was even some full-on freaking out, but it all came from a healthy place of acknowledging my feelings, rather than trying to stuff them down. So, I’m grateful for that. Some highlights:

** It was an interesting year for employment. I left a day job I had for a little over a year that was burning me out and stressing me out disproportionately to what it was paying me. It was one of the best decisions I made all year. I got another part-time job that I stayed at for two weeks, because I realize that the amount they were paying me (barely minimum wage) did not warrant the money I spent on commuting. However, I did gain a long-term freelance writing client (which I’ll talk about in the Writing section below), and I continued on with a company that does work with background actors – a company that I like a lot, and my bosses there are pretty cool. ๐Ÿ™‚ย So, I’m ending 2014 with two long-term/full-time jobs and plenty of room for additional writing. Bring it on, 2015!

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** In the Tackling Problems Head-On department, I put a greater focus on three areas of my life: my health/fitness, my finances, and my emotional well-being. While I’m nowhere close to “perfect” or “done” (no one ever is), I have a better handle on things than I ever have before. In the realm of fitness, I discovered Daily Burn, which allowed me to work out more than I ever have before. I tried Orangetheory, and may be inspired to go there more regularly in the new year to work out (I’m also considering Nerdstrong and the local YMCA). I did some Couch to 5K (which I eventually stopped, because I realized that running is the most boring activity ever – to me), and I started riding my bike more, both to commute to my job, and to get to other things. In health news, I got Medi-Cal! Yay! So, now that I have some sort of health insurance, I’ve been going to doctors right and left – found a general practitioner, found a dentist (which I desperately needed after a horrible toothache ruined my experience of seeing Guardians of the Galaxy!), gyno, podiatrist…there are a couple of super-minor issues to take care of, but my physical came back completely clean, which I was really glad to hear. Especially given my family history of diabetes, cancer, and heart trouble. Whew! In my financial life, I started taking a closer look at ALL of my debt (which I’d been ignoring for years), tracking my spending, and keeping better track of the money that comes in. I’m starting the new year with a bit of an increased income (thanks, freelance clients!), and a better idea of my budget. Lastly, there’s the Emotional Well-Being front, which pretty much just means that I’ve been making time for myself to really sit with my feelings and process what I’m going through, rather than just rushing through life. Time and space are key, and I’ve been loving myself enough to give myself both in 2014, which has helped tremendously.

Dad the lifeguard

** April was a difficult month. On April 19, 2014, my father, Ramon Jusino Jr., passed away at the age of 78. This was difficult for obvious reasons. The only father I’ll ever have is gone. The parent with whom I shared the most character traits and common interests is gone. Yet it was also a relief in many ways. My father suffered from dementia that seemed exacerbated by my mother’s death in 2006. His health deteriorated, and we had to put him in a nursing home. In short, he hadn’t been My Dad for a long time, and while I miss him being on this planet, I also know that, as proud as he was, he likely wouldn’t have wanted to be seen as a helpless invalid for very long.

So, thanks to the help of my friend, Heather, and her wonderful mom, Lauren, who works for an airline, my partner and I were able to fly to NYC for the funeral. I was touched by the outpouring of support from friends and family. Friends I hadn’t seen in ages, like my friend Nippa from high school, came to the wake to show solidarity. Adam organized a dinner for me to celebrate my dad and “his greatest achievement” – me. (Those are Adam’s words, not mine) Long-time friends made it a point to be there for the wake, the funeral, and the burial, which was a military burial, to honor my dad’s Air Force service. And I took two weeks in New York to surround myself with loved ones and give myself time to grieve properly. I’m grateful for everyone who showed me love during that time – particularly Joanna and Chuck, for giving me a place to crash – and I’m glad that my mom and dad (and my dog, Scarlett, who watched over them when I couldn’t) are all at peace and together now.

Me and Heather (and my birthday flowers from her and Alexis!)

** I celebrated my 35th Birthday in July and had a great, warm night with friends. Jason and Mairghread came out with my partner and me for sushi at Midori, and more friends met up with us at Sardo’s later in the evening for beer and karaoke! It was a great time – and I was bought a lot of birthday drinks, including one from a generous guy from out of town. My little crew ended up closing the place down! Not a bad way to celebrate my mid-thirties!

My favorite photo of the night. Heather took this of me and Adam when I wasn't paying attention. Lurve.

However, my birthday weekend had another, more ill-advised component. I’d always wanted to go camping in Joshua Tree, so my partner and I drove out to camp overnight. It was beautiful, to be sure, and quiet (the quiet was what really astounded me), but between the insane heat (even at night!), the mosquitoes, and the uncomfortable car sleeping situation, we were really glad to get back to civilization! Next time, I won’t make the mistake of camping in the desert during the off-season. IT’S “OFF” FOR A REASON!

** I’ve always tried to do what I could to work toward equality in all areas for LGBT folks, but this year, with transgender people making themselves increasingly visible – what with Laverne Cox all over EVERYTHING, Transparent on Amazon Prime, and the impending blockbusterย Jupiter Ascending (directed by Andy and Lana Wachowski) – it sunk in for me how often the “T” in “LGBT” has historically been either ignored, thrown under the bus, or misrepresented/despised both within and outside the LGBT and feminist circles in which I so happily travel. So, I’ve been a bit more vocal on that score. This year has ended with the tragic suicide of Leelah Alcorn in Ohio (and the subsequent removal of her Tumblr, which contained her suicide note and hopes for other transgender teens), emphasizing the fact that there’s still so much more work to do on this front – and I hope to use my platform to amplify trans voices in addition to feminist, minority, and gay/lesbian voices.

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** SDCC 2014. UGH. I’m grateful that I had a press badge, and that Jason and Mairghread were willing to share their hotel room with me, but on the whole, I could’ve done without the whole experience. There were a handful of cool moments: interviewing Nicole Perlman, meeting up with my friends Tara and Daniel, finally meeting my friend Janice IRL at the Grimm panel after years of commiserating over the demise of Caprica and the career of one Sasha Roiz, and going to SDCC’s first-ever transgender comics panel, but I spent most of the con hot and tired, standing in line, and just generally crabby about how long it took me to walk everywhere in the crowds. I’m in no rush to go back. Though I did end up at a party with George RR Martin. That was pretty cool. ๐Ÿ™‚

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** The fall was all about going to see live music, and I got to see two of my favorite acts live! My partner and I went to see Pomplamoose at the El Rey theater in October, followed by going to Amanda Palmer’s book event for The Art of Asking at the First Unitarian Church in November. Both events were amazing for entirely different reasons. I’d never seen Pomplamoose live before, and going to see them makes me appreciate them SO MUCH MORE as musicians. They put on a really fun, kick-ass show, and if you ask me, I think the money they spent on their tour was money well spent! The Amanda Palmer event was amazing, because the musical performances were so intimate, and the evening was full of insightful, revealing, and nuanced discussion between Amanda, her guests, and the audience about what it means to be an artist and ask for help.

** Oh, and by the way, my boo and I celebrated our second anniversary in December, and we flew to the East Coast and spent a wonderful two weeks with our families for the holidays. It was a great way to end the year!

Chicks Dig Gaming cover illustration by the squee-worthy Katy Shuttleworth.

Chicks Dig Gaming cover illustration by the squee-worthy Katy Shuttleworth.

ย WRITING LIFE:

** I was published, like, a crap-ton. ๐Ÿ™‚ My first national print interview came out in the May 2014 issue of Latina Magazine, I had my first piece published on Jezebel in March, and an essay of mine is included in Mad Norwegian Press’ latest pop culture anthology, Chicks Dig Gaming, which was released in November! In addition to that, I was hired to write a pop culture column on a great site called Beacon, on which readers can subscribe directly to journalists whose work they love. While I’m no longer writing on Beacon, it was a great experiment, and there are several pieces up there that I consider some of my best work. Check it out!

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** One of the biggest things in my writing life also happens to affect my personal life, too. My friend and writing partner, Adam Hunault, finally made the big move to L.A, and I’m really happy about it! Not only because it’s really awesome to have one of my favorite New York peeps in town with me, but it makes such a difference in the way we work on our scripts and are able to pursue our joint writing career. To date, we’ve written two hour-long pilots, one hour-long spec of an existing show, have entered most of the major writing fellowships (getting none of them, but whaddaryagonnado?), joined a TV writing group and the IAWTV meet-up, sat down with two professional TV writers to discuss our path, and are currently in the process of writing our third hour-long original pilot. 2015 is going to be a huge year for us as we tackle Los Angeles together, and I’m very excited to get to it!

** I started my job as Blog Editor for HotPixel Post-Production at the beginning of 2014, creating content for the blog as well as managing their monthly newsletter and throwing in my two cents re: their communications/marketing whenever I’m asked. It’s a really cool gig, as HotPixel is a steady, reliable client that allows me to write about an industry I enjoy. My boss, Art, is a really cool guy who shoots straight with me and makes sure I’m taken care of. Meanwhile, as I write about the independent film scene, I’m learning a lot that I will likely apply to projects I work on. I’m looking forward to doing even bigger and better things with HotPixel in the coming year. Check out the HotPixel blog often! (and if you ever need post-production services for a project of your own…you know where to go!)

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** Work on Incredible Girl, the 10-episode digital series I’ve written based on Aurora de Blas’ short film of the same name, has kicked into high gear this year. We’ve spent this year in hardcore planning mode, working with our director, Sabrina, to hone our voice for the show itself, as well as the marketing/branding surrounding the show, we filmed teaser footage of the first two scenes, which we hope to use to raise funds for our pilot, we held a small fundraiser, we’ve done outreach into our target audience, we’ve built relationships with sponsors, and we’re slowly and intelligently building the team and the resources we need to move forward in 2015. Check out the show’s website, then “like” us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter! Trust me, you want in on this. ๐Ÿ˜‰

** In addition to the networking done with Adam, this was also a big year for personal networking for my solo writing work. I joined a rather large collective of women writers on Facebook that has continually provided resources, job leads, and opportunities to support each other’s work via live events and on the web.ย I’ve also formed relationshipsย with two professional writers this year, one of whom has stepped up into a formal mentorship capacity, which I’m super grateful for. I’m looking forward to working with her in the New Year on the kind of projects I want to pursueย in film and television!

2014 was a big year, full of ups and downs, but 2015 is going to be even BIGGER. I have huge plans, both personal and professional, that I’ll be telling you all about right here at The Teresa Jusino Experience! So stay tuned! And I wish all of you an amazing and fulfilling New Year jam-packed with love, fun, and good people by your side!

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2013 Year In Review

It's been a great year!

It’s been a great year!

It’s that time again, kids! Time for my annual Year In Review post written for the three of you who care about reading a recap about my life. ๐Ÿ™‚

Previous years: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012.

I have to say that, in spite of a couple of negative experiences, this was the best year ever, and that has just about everything to do with amazing people who have come into my life that have brought with them love, kindness, and opportunities that have made my life so much better. I am so grateful for 2013.

The best part of 2013.

The best part of 2013.

PERSONAL LIFE:

** Yes, the best part of 2013 was The Boy. We celebrated our first anniversary this month, and he was a part of most of my joyous, wonderful memories of this year, including my very first Valentine’s Day With a Date. He also comforted me through the difficult times, and introduced me, or strengthened my relationships with, amazing people that I now consider some of my best friends. He pretty much rules. ๐Ÿ˜‰

** This was, on the whole, The Year of the Upgrade. There are things that I thought I was “losing” at the time, but now realize were being set aside for better things. I had to leave my apartment with Hollywood, but that made room for my happily moving in with The Boy. I pulled away from producing Retcon, but that made room in my life for Incredible Girl (and an awesome new friend in my producer, Aurora). Some relationships in my life ended, but that made room for not only new friends, but better relationships with people I’d initially thought would only be acquaintances. Life’s made of peaks and valleys, and you need one to get to the other. 2013 taught (and delivered) me that.

** After a four-year hiatus, I dipped my tootsies back into acting for a bit, doing background on Coffee Shop Squatters S1, and performing a small role in the short film, Watching, Waiting, which is now making the rounds at film festivals. It’s been fun, precisely because I haven’t been trying to make a career out of it. ๐Ÿ™‚ 2014 will see me acting a little more, as my producer on Incredible Girl thought it a good idea that I play one of the supporting roles that “sounds like [me].” Sure! Why not? I’ve missed this.

Lurve. 2013-style.

Lurve. 2013-style.

** I celebrated my 34th birthday with an amazing 4-day birthday weekend filled with friends, fun, and love. Probably the best weekend of the year. Granted, it caused me to get lazy about my discipline in several areas of my life…but I wouldn’t change it for anything.

** I became a mentor with the organization WriteGirl! While I haven’t been paired with a weekly mentee yet, I’ve already met so many wonderful girls at their monthly events, as well as several wonderful women writers that I’m enjoying getting to know. It’s a great organization, and if you’re looking to start your 2014 with volunteering or donating to a worthy cause, definitely check them out.

** I also celebrated my 2nd L.Aversary with some great friends by having a picnic and game day in NoHo park and getting drunk on boxed wine. ๐Ÿ™‚

Hanging with the bride before her big day!

Hanging with the bride before her big day!

** Another highlight of 2013 was my trip East in October, when I visited both my old stomping grounds in NYC and the DC/MD/VA area (or The DMV) to visit The Boy’s family. It was the first time I’d brought The Boy home to meet my family and many of my friends, too, and he passed every test with flying colors. However, we weren’t just on the East Coast for those introductions. We were there because one of my best and oldest friends (I’ve known her since I was 5 going on 6 and she was 3 going on 4!) Joanna was getting married! She was my Single Buddy for so long that we were marveling at the fact that I was now attending her wedding with my boyfriend. ๐Ÿ™‚ Well what do you know? Pigs do fly! Another wedding of note: that of my friends, Diana and Sebastien. I couldn’t go to the wedding itself, but I did go to the wedding brunch the next day, which was a lot of fun! I also got to meet Liz and Alex’s new baby, who is just as cute as can be! The entire trip was fun, and it was great seeing everyone – but I also learned two very important things: 1) 3 weeks is way too long to be in one place on vacation unless you have your own sleeping accommodations, and 2) I’m too damn old to be sleeping on a Flip-and-Fuck futon. Real beds or couches only from now on. My hip and lower back thank you.

** 2013 also saw several of my friends from the East Coast visiting me out West! Deb visited in January, Adam in February, Lindsay in April, and Robin in July. I love having guests in town!

Judi, Matt, Robin, Marissa, Me, and The Boy at Casa Vega during Robin's visit. If you look closely, you'll see that Robin features a coming attraction for 2014 in her belly. :)

Judi, Matt, Robin, Marissa, Me, and The Boy at Casa Vega during Robin’s visit. If you look closely, you’ll see that Robin features a coming attraction for 2014 in her belly. ๐Ÿ™‚

WRITING LIFE

** The Year of the Upgrade affected my writing life, too. In 2013, I started feeling a bit “geeked out,” and after over 6 years of writing about geeky pop culture, I needed to move on. So, I no longer write for GirlGamer, Al Dia, or PopMatters…but that opened the door to my relationship with Ms. In the Biz, where I’m still a guest contributor (though not contributing regularly anymore), as well as freed me up to pursue the writing I actually want to be doing, rather than staying stuck in the niche I’d created for myself. So, you see? It all works out.

** The end of 2013 also gave me my biggest job opportunity yet. I don’t want to say too much about it yet, because I’ll be signing an official assignment agreement after the 1st of the month…but I got my first assignment from a national magazine! ๐Ÿ™‚ Who says print is dead? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Coming soon! (And by "soon" I mean whenever we finish our second draft, and an agent likes it enough to sell to someone. Details.

Coming soon! (And by “soon” I mean whenever we finish our second draft, and an agent likes it enough to sell to someone. Details.)

** One of the biggest things that happened in my writing life in 2013 was that my friend Adam and I formally decided to be a writing team! ๐Ÿ™‚ I don’t think it’s something either of us ever thought would happen, but after having such a wonderful time completing our first hour-long spec pilot, we both think that this partnership is really worth holding onto. I’m so proud of our show, and am looking forward to all of the new things we’re going to create together (there are already a couple in discussion)! 2014 will likely find us writing more scripts and seeking out representation as a team. And he and his girlfriend are going to move out to L.A. whether they like it or not! ๐Ÿ˜‰

GEEK HIGHLIGHTS

Just because I was “geeked out” writing-wise doesn’t mean I wasn’t doing geeky things! 2013 found me attending Wondercon 2013 in Anaheim, seeing Neil Gaiman read/speak at an LA Talks event in Glendale, going to see Catching Fire, and attending a Cornetto Trilogy Screening! But of course, the BIG thing this year was the 50th Anniversary special of Doctor Who, which I saw at a simulcast screening (and loved!), and the departure of Matt Smith from the show (which I didn’t love – he deserved better. Still, THANK YOU, Matt. You are “My” Doctor.). I’ve been enjoying finding the fun in geeky things again, after they became “work” for a couple of years. I’m really much happier being a fan than being invested in the reporting of geek culture, thankyouverymuch. Though, one day I hope to create something wonderful and geeky that OTHER geek writers will write about!

Well, that’s all I’ve got to say about 2013. It was a great year for me, despite some severe lows thrown in to balance things out, and I’m very excited about what 2014 has in store! After I post this, The Boy and I are going to cozy up and watch a movie before ushering in the New Year in a low-key fashion with champagne and cuddles.

I wish you all you want and need in the coming year, and I hope your 2014 is filled with love, laughter, and adventure!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

My 2013 According to WordPress!

Once again, here’s WordPress’ summary of how The Teresa Jusino Experience did in 2013. Not bad – even with my lazy patches! The most popular post this year was my Valentine’s Day post filled with love songs dedicated to good men – Because Boys Deserve Love Songs, Too (A Playlist), followed by my post on fat being The Last Acceptable Prejudice. The top three was rounded out by a post I wrote last year about Katniss Everdeen (probably because Catching Fire came out this year). Check out the complete stats below…

And thank you so much for reading! I hope that 2014 brings you all everything you want for yourselves and more!

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 46,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 17 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Looking Back On 2012, Looking Forward to 2013

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First of all,ย  JANUARY 1ST, 2013 marked the THIRD BLOGGIVERSARY of the Teresa Jusino Experience. It came and went with little fanfare, as I spent my New Year’s Day enjoying the company of friends hosting an all-day New Year’s Day Brunch-a-thon with my roommate. Still, it’s kind of cool to see how this blog has grown in three years. Here’s hoping the upward trajectory continues!

I’ve been doing a Year In Review post since 2004 (you can stalk keep up with Teresa History by checking out 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011.)

This year, I’m keeping it short and sweet for reasons I’ll make clear later in the post.

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WRITING LIFE:

  • I’m still a writer at Tor.com and PopMatters.
  • I gained a new outlet by being taken on by Al Dia, a Spanish-language newspaper based out of Philly. Expect more from me at Al Dia Cafe in the coming year. (You can check out the pieces I’ve already written HERE.)
  • I gained another job when I started writing about comics for GirlGamer.com, but found out on New Year’s Day that they can no longer use my services. Bummer, but them’s the breaks. Still, you can check out what I’ve already written for them HERE.
  • I’m still a writer on RETCON, and have been helping to produce the pilot. We had an IndieGoGo campaign this year, where we raised enough money to shoot the pilot, which is happening this month! Very excited about that, and about the possibilities for the show after the pilot’s done. I’m very much looking forward to writing episodes for the actual season!
  • Tumultuous, but ultimately successful trip toย GeekGirlCon 2012 in Seattle. Tumultuous in the getting there and getting back (I’d rather not rehash that story, but it involves being stranded in Oregon). Successful in that my panel on “Moffat’s Women” in Doctor Who was filled to capacity and I got so many compliments from strangers on it afterward. Thanks to Miley Yamamoto, Alan Kistler, and Natalie Reed for being such amazing panelists!
  • I was published in two Doctor Who-related anthologies: Chicks Unravel Time (Mad Norwegian Press) and Outside In (ATB Publishing). Very proud of the pieces I wrote (both about Classic Who), and loved the editors I got to work with. Both books are on sale now!
  • Started a Grimm spec, and started talking to a friend about a possible pilot we’ll be writing together, but my tumultuous living situation this year made it difficult to focus on writing that didn’t pay me, so my TV stuff was sadly very much on the back burner for much of the year.

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PERSONAL LIFE:

  • I’ve actually been dating this year! Fancy that. What’s more, I’m seeing someone now. And for the first time in the ever-ever, I had a date on New Year’s Eve. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say the Mayans really were right about the end of the world. Or, at least about pigs flying or snowballs in Hell.
  • I’ve met even more wonderful people in my new city. I constantly marvel at the caliber of my friends, both old and new.
  • 6-year anniversary of my mother’s passing.
  • Visited New York over the summer for the first time since moving to L.A. Had an amazing time with friends (and pulled off an epic birthday surprise on my bestie!), but also confirmed that moving to L.A. was a good decision. At least for right now. I still get really nostalgic and homesick for New York and the people in it, but I know that moving here was the right thing. Shout-out to Matt for flying me out there! Would never have been able to visit home otherwise last year.
  • Celebrated my 33rd birthday in San Diego attending my first SDCC. The cast of Grimm – Sasha, Bitsie, and Reggie in particular – totally made my SDCC experience!
  • Had a tumultuous year financially and with regard to my living situation. After a little over a year spent couch-surfing or staying in people’s spare rooms (or that one time where I THOUGHT I had a permanent apartment, only to have it pulled out from under me four days in), I finally got a permanent apartment with a friend in October. We signed a two-year lease, so for better or worse, I’m living in Hollywood for a while! It’s nice to have a permanent address…and now, to work out my finances.
  • Got a new day job through a good friend. It’s the most flexible job I could’ve asked for to make rent when writing doesn’t. Great environment and I’m working with really good people. Also, it often involves going to events and getting free food, which is a plus! ๐Ÿ˜‰
  • After a year of working for the best jefa ever, Chastity and I both decided that it’d be best if I leave my assistant position with her. Eh, I’m happier to have her as my friend rather than my boss anyway. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Devoted ALL of October to the Obama campaign in this year’s Presidential Election. You’re welcome, Mr. President.
  • As for The Fray Project, I focused less on that than I might have liked. Though, I have lost weight this year, and I have shifted my thinking and the way I do things, it was more gradual and less structured, which overall might be a good thing. It means things are actually sticking.
  • Had a great Thanksgiving week in Denver hosted and attended by wonderful and inspiring friends. Shout-out to Cathy and Matt for flying me there for the holiday, and shout-out to Angela, Heather, Lauren, and Joel for being awesome!
  • Became Molly Bloom in December. Said yes.
  • Was sick through Christmas, but had a wonderful and relaxing end of the year. Except for that rough patch at the end there. But for the most part, yes. Relaxing. And wonderful.

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And that’s that. My report on the year. And I’m keeping it simple for a reason…

Something that’s been hit home to me a lot this year is that I have a tendency towards huge gestures. Like The Fray Project on my blog, for example – pretending that I “need” to talk about things publicly to give myself motivation. The truth is, all of my Big Plans are just me procrastinating. Procrastinating….and a little bit me getting scared of what might happen whether I succeed or fail. I know “aspiring,” but I don’t know getting there. I feel like a part of me focuses on the big pronouncements of plans for things, rather than on the actual getting to the hard work, because I’m afraid of seeing things through. Why? I don’t know, but I don’t want to be afraid of that. I want to see what happens! So, this year is gonna be a lot of me keeping my head down and just doing the fucking work. I can make big pronouncements when I have something to announce, and I shouldn’t worry so much that people will forget me or about what they’ll think of me if I’m “too quiet” about what I’m doing. This year, I want to talk about what I’ve DONE rather than what I WILL do.

And standing here at the beginning of 2013, after a year of being scattered in the wind, I finally feel grounded enough to do just that.

Here’s hoping that all of you reading this find whatever you wish for yourself this year. Happy 2013 everyone!

My 2012 According to WordPress!

I have to say, I love that WordPress does this – calculates my most popular posts, etc – every year. I like to know what posts elicit the biggest responses. Apparently, you all got riled up about my post on Katniss Everdeen and the one about KONY 2012. Check out the full picture below. (And yes, I’m working on a Teresa’s Year In Review post right now!)

And thank you so much for reading! I hope that 2013 brings you all everything you want for yourselves and more!

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 47,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 11 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

L.A. Year One: 2011 Year In Review

I couldn’t believe it when I looked back and realized that I’ve been doing a Year In Review blog post since 2004! You can look back at that year, as well as 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010! You know, if you want to geek out about me, or something. ๐Ÿ™‚

2011 has been the most tumultuous year for me to date both personally and professionally. Mostly good, but a lot not-so-good. Here’s the recap:

TERESAโ€™S 2011 YEAR IN REVIEW:

Whedonistas! Top (l-r): Nancy Holder, Jenn Reese, Katy Shuttleworth, Kelly Hale, Racheline Maltese. Bottom (l-r): Jane Espenson, Lynne Thomas, Deb Stanish, and ME!

WRITING LIFE

** Whedonistas was released, thus changing my writing life forever. My first published work in a book available in bookstores, it led to me doing a string of readings, both personal and as part of a larger group of Whedonistas. It also allowed me to meet some pretty amazing (and well-known) women in sci-fi/fantasy. I was thrilled to be a part of such a wonderful project with such talented people.

** Did my first Whedonistas convention panel at Gallifrey One (February)! After having raised money to make the trip online (thank you to all of my generous supporters!), I flew out to L.A. in February for Gally. On the panel were moderators (and Whedonistas editors) Lynne Thomas and Deb Stanish; artist Katy Shuttleworth; contributors Nancy Holder, Jenn Reese, Racheline Maltese, Kelly Hale; and Jane Espenson, who has an exclusive interview in the book. After the panel, which went really well, we had a signing, during which I had someone come up to me excited to read my essay because, based on what I’d talked about during the panel, she thought that my piece would speak to her experience. I was floored by that. Later, the Whedonistas and I all went out to dinner, and I not only had the opportunity to sit next to and get to know one of my professional role models, but I got to know fellow female writers and lovers of genre with whom I have a lot in common and with whom I’ve since been becoming friends.

** While I was in L.A. for Gally, I also organized a reading on my own at a cute coffeehouse in Venice called The Talking Stick. It went well overall, though I definitely learned some dos and don’ts for future readings. While the crowd I started with wasn’t particularly large, by the end, so many had walked in and stayed that I was reading to a full house. My short story didn’t go over too well, but my Whedonistas piece went over a lot better. That, and I had some wonderful friends out to support. Namely, Heather, Alex, Amy, Julianna, and Josh, as well as Mike from ChinaShop who came out to interview me and photograph/cover the reading! That was so sweet. It was a great night.

** Back in New York, I also organized a Whedonistas reading at The Way Station in Brooklyn (March). Again, nerve-wracking, because I’d organized the event myself, but it went swimmingly and we sold several copies of the book. I was joined onstage once again by Racheline Maltese as well as Priscilla Spencer.

** I began to focus more on feminism in relation to my pop culture criticism, and wrote two articles for Tor.com – Moffat’s Women: Amy and Her Skirt, and a two part review of the film Sucker Punch – that taught me that the internet is a double-edged sword, full of intelligent people and less-intelligent trolls.

** My second Whedonistas convention panel was at Geek Girl Con (October)! That was a bit more nerve-wracking in that I had organized and would be moderating that panel myself. It turned out rather well, however. We “played” to a packed, enthusiastic room, and as I was walking to another panel afterwards, I had several strangers stop me to tell me how much they enjoyed it. Jane Espenson and Nancy Holder joined me again, along with Mariah Huehner, who is awesome. Earlier that morning, we had a signing and we SOLD OUT all of our copies of the book! Next year, the bookseller won’t under order! ๐Ÿ™‚ I was amused by how many people assumed that I worked for the bookseller at whose table we were. I had to keep telling people, “I’m sorry, I can’t help you with ringing this up. I’m actually in this book.” One day, people won’t make that mistake. ๐Ÿ™‚ Also, if you’re ever going to bring Jane a baked good, do not bring her cupcakes. Cupcakes are wasted on Jane Espenson. Bring her pie instead. Wonder at how she manages to lead a normal life with such a warped view of cake.

** While 2011 had a lot of positive things happen for my writing career, there was also some negative. I got rejected from an anthology, a sci-fi fiction website, two TV writing fellowships, and the Emerging Writers Fellowship at the Center for Fiction in New York. I also was told by the blog editor at a major entertainment blog that he was interested in my work, only to have him reject all the pitches I sent him. Just goes to show, you can’t expect success without a certain level of failure! What you need to do is keep trying!

** I left Newsarama after a little over a year of writing comics reviews for them. It wasn’t anything bad or scandalous, and I actually really enjoyed my editor and the Best Shots review team. However, I made the decision to not do anymore unpaid writing work that wasn’t my own, and so my decision to quit was in support of that. But thank you, David, for being an amazing editor, and thanks to the Best Shots team for being a lot of fun on email chains! ๐Ÿ™‚

** I became Geek Girl Traveler! First with a series of articles at ChinaShop, then a Facebook page and a Twitter feed, then a blog. You’ll be seeing more of her in 2012. ๐Ÿ™‚

** After a while of figuring out what I wanted to do with Tumblr, I finally figured it out and created The Gender Blender. As I post stuff there, what I’m working on in relation to my novel becomes clearer.

** Discovered the website, Cowbird, and was accepted to join this small storytelling community. Immediately became obsessed!

** My Geeks and Kink article at ChinaShop Magazine not only popped about the internet both in kink circles and blogs like the Boston Magazine blog, but it also won me a contributor contest, netting me a cash bonus and a new Flip Cam!

** Had the pleasure of interviewing: Jane Espenson (several times), Cheeks, Rachael Yamagata, Kevin Smith (to post in 2012), Simon Pegg, Ian “Enable” Wyatt, Jeryl Prescott, Jessica Mills, Candis Phlegm and Lyndsey Doolan, Eric Laden (never posted), Whitney Sorrow, Tony Trov and Johnny Zito, Cecil Castillucci (to post in 2012), and Sasha Roiz (again!).

** Was a guest on two podcasts! A roundtable discussion of Doctor Who S6.1 on 2 Minute Time Lord, and an interview along with Pendard re: Geeks and Kink on Polyamory Weekly. Apparently I’m an expert on geeks and kinky sex or something. ๐Ÿ™‚ There are worse things at which to excel…

Me, Amy, Heather, and Elena celebrating Life Day!

PERSONAL LIFE

** Sadly, no men of note. It was a slow one for dating. There was this one time where I thought I was being flirted with at a wedding, but that turned out to not be the case. Then there was this other time where I thought I had game at a geek singles event. But that was just men thinking I make a really good friend. *sighs* That’s how the cookie crumbles.

** 5 year anniversary of my mother’s passing.

** I turned 32 with little fanfare, but spent a fun night with Joanna and her brother, Carlos, at a really gorgeous spot in Queens on the East River that I’d never been to before. Had my first Four Loko. ๐Ÿ™‚ Also, managed to get a free slurpee at 7-Eleven.

** After Gally in February, I made the decision to make moves toward moving toward Los Angeles! At first, I was going to move to Plano, TX and save up money while living with my friend, Angela. However, another friend, Maritza, offered to let me live rent-free with her and her husband in Santa Monica in exchange for babysitting, so a plan was created for me to move out to Los Angeles toward the end of the year!

** Everything after that decision felt like prep for that. Everything I did became “my last ____ in New York.” I stopped babysitting for Caleb and Toby (whom I loved), and after my lease was up at my apartment in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, I spent a month at Maria’s while catsitting, a couple of weeks at Robin’s, then my last few days in New York at Liz and Alex’s. Hurricane Irene didn’t stop my goodbye festivities, and after planning parties for myself, I was surprised by another party thrown by my friends that had been planned since June. I cried. A LOT. I visited my mother’s grave one last time, saw my dad one last time (for now), and said goodbye to my family. Leaving New York was the biggest, most life-altering thing I’ve ever done.

** On August 31st, 2011, I left New York on a jet plane. Don’t know when I’ll be back again. ๐Ÿ™‚ I had been given letters written by some of my closest friends that I was instructed to read on the plane. After Robin and Joanna escorted me to the airport and waited until I got all the way through security before leaving, I got on the plane and started reading my letters. As the plane pulled off the runway, and I saw the skyline of my hometown fade into the distance behind us, I cried. And the letters I read were beautiful.

** Once I got to L.A. I was immediately greeted by lots of social people, and also lots of financial difficulty. I started out at Maritza’s, but that fell through for various reasons, and I had to move out. I lived for a little over a month with my friend Theresa and her husband Alan, until that fell through for various reasons. Now, I’m living where I should’ve lived in the first place, with my friend Heather and her boyfriend, Alexis. I have my own room, have been contributing to food, and will begin contributing to rent this month. I’ll be here until I save up enough for a car and a security and first month on my own place. It’ll be a while, but this lease isn’t up for two years, so…I’m a Valley Girl now. ๐Ÿ™‚ My first few weeks of living here were filled with parties, events, coffee meetings, and getting-to-know-yous…

** And then the doldrums set in. L.A. winter (which consists of rain, clouds, and temps in the 50s) was a mite depressing. So was the fact that I’m broke and stopped being able to afford being as social as I wanted to be. There was a period of a couple of weeks when I was actually rawther depressed. I’m much better now. ๐Ÿ™‚

** The Occupy Movement has become a big part of my life, and when I first heard about it going down at Occupy Wall Street, I really regretted not being in NYC to be a part of it. But then, I got involved with Occupy L.A. My friend Mike and I camped out at Occupy L.A. on the fourth night (and got interviewed by KTLA the next morning). While I haven’t been able to get there since then (no money for bus fare, no car), I’ve been spreading links and writing my face off about it. When I traveled to Seattle and San Fransisco this year, I visited their Occupations and took pictures. I will post them eventually. If you’re not outraged, you haven’t been paying attention.

** Speaking of travel, I went to Seattle for Geek Girl Con. Money was tight, so I ended up only being able to get TO Seattle. Had to wait on a paycheck to get back. It came later than expected, so I was stuck in Seattle for an extra week, which was fine. In addition to Geek Girl Con, I had an amazing time staying with my friend, Heidi, then with a new friend, also named Teresa, and her partners, Scott and Larry, all of whom were super sweet to me. Geeked out at the Battlestar Galactica Exhibit and the Avatar Exhibit at the EMP Museum. Sat on the bank of Lake Washington. Visited the first Starbucks. Had lunch with some new friends, Jennifer and Anita. Had dinner with a new friend, Kristen. Had breakfast with a new friend, Christina. ๐Ÿ™‚ So all my meals were covered, and I got to hang with some wonderful people in the process. Taking the train to Seattle rather than a plane made the trip that much more memorable. If you can take Amtrak anywhere, especially up the West Coast, do it! It’s beautiful.

** Traveled to San Fransisco the weekend following Seattle through the generosity of friends. Stayed with Anita and her boyfriend at their place on Valencia – it was so sweet of them to let me stay there barely knowing me. Met up with Cathy, Matt, Angela, and Heather and we walked ALL OVER. (that city is seriously ALL uphill) Fisherman’s Wharf, seals, Chinatown, Lombard Street, the Comic and Cartoon Art Museum, and it all culminated in seeing Kevin Spacey play Richard III at the Curran Theater. He was great, even if the production was a bit uneven. But the second half was MUCH better than the first. Would love to visit SF for a longer period of time.

** Went with my new friend, Judi (Deb’s sister!), to see Riverdance at The Pantages Theater, and saw Merle for the first time in years. Also saw Padraic, Niamh, Maeve, and some of the other Riverdance cast and crew I’d gotten to know in my years working for the show. So surreal! But it was good to see everyone!

** Spent Thanksgiving with my new friend Emily at the place she shares with her boyfriend, Phillip, as well as some of his family. It was a really nice night (with great food!), and I was so touched that she invited me. Emily’s a good’un. ๐Ÿ™‚

** Celebrated Christmas with Heather, Alexis, and their family and friends at his mom, Julie’s, place. REALLY great food, and I had a Malta for the first time in years! ๐Ÿ™‚ Met some great new people (and possibly a new personal trainer!), and was touched that Julie and Heather thought of me with gifts knowing that I couldn’t afford to give gifts this year (and even after they’d each agreed that no one was doing presents this year!). ๐Ÿ™‚ Also got some unexpected Christmas gifts from Robin and Heather E, as well as a ton of Christmas cards from everywhere. Skyped with my family. It wasn’t nearly as sad or bad as I was expecting. I felt a lot of love. I’m a lucky person.

** Roscoe’s. Chicken. And. Waffles.

A sampling of the new friends I’ve made this year: Maritza, Bob, Emily, Amy, Anita, Jennifer S, Theresa W, Alan, Teresa G, Scott, Larry, Judi, Jared, Jenni, Jenni P, Julianna, Josh, Vicky, Shanna, Jessica M, Stephanie, Dina, Sarah, Elena, Chastity, Dino, Elliot, and several more peeps. I’ve been so warmly welcomed in L.A. it’s not even funny.

Robin and Me just before her wedding!

FRIEND-RELATED AWESOME

** My BFF, Robin, got married to the love of her life, Matt – and I was her maid of honor! ๐Ÿ™‚ It was SUCH a great wedding. Everyone looked amazing, I danced so hard I hurt the next day, and everyone had a wonderful time.

** My friends Robyn and Jerry also got married in the Virgin Islands. I was originally supposed to officiate the wedding (I even became a minister in the Universal Life Church!), but my finances wouldn’t allow me to make the trip, and I had to back out, which bummed me out severely.

** Katie got pregnant again! Her first son, Nate, was a long-awaited gift. Now, this woman’s like a friggin’ rabbit! ๐Ÿ˜‰ But seriously, I’m so happy for her and Aaron.

** New York State passed marriage equality! I put this in my “friend-related awesome” section in honor of all my friends in New York who can now get married! Now, for the rest of the country… ๐Ÿ™‚

The cast and crew of Husbands at their premiere at Meltdown Comics

GEEKY/POP CULTURE HAPPENINGS OF IMPORTANCE

** I launched Beginning of Line in January 2011! In December, we’ve just posted our 18th story, which was our “Caprica Season 2″ finale. I’m so proud of all of my writers and artists – talented people, all! I’m looking forward to planning Season 3 and continuing to create stories set in the Caprica universe in 2012!

** Geek Girl Con was a huge success, and the best convention to which I’ve ever been. Hands down. It was so well run, I met so many amazing people and gained so many opportunities because of it. I can’t wait for Geek Girl Con 2012. I’ll be there with bells on!

** In television, 2011 introduced me to two of my favorite new shows, Once Upon a Time and Grimm. Torchwood: Miracle Day was really enjoyable (though I still have 2 eps to watch!), and the webseries, Husbands, was an adorable look at gay marriage. Doctor Who, Season 6 was really cool, if a bit confusing. Fringe had its best season ever. The Walking Dead? Not so much. And I caught up with two brilliant AMC shows: Mad Men and Breaking Bad. I cannot WAIT for new episodes of those two in 2012!

** In film, the end of the Harry Potter franchise totally satisfied me. I was one of the only people in the world who really liked Sucker Punch, apparently. Loved Super, Paul, and Friends With Benefits. And BRIDESMAIDS! Thank you, Kristen Wiig.

** Thankfully saw the Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark on Broadway once they worked out the kinks. It’s still not a perfect show, but it’s fun, and MUCH better than what it was before, from what I hear.

** Sadly, we lost Doctor Who‘s Elisabeth Sladen and Nicholas Courtney. RIP.

** In addition to Gally and Geek Girl Con, I attended Long Beach Comic Con and Comikaze Expo, both of which weren’t terribly thrilling.

** Went to the Husbands premiere at Meltdown Comics.

** In addition to Riverdance, I went to see a production of Danny and the Deep Blue Sea at the Crown Theatre in NoHo. L.A. DOES have a theater scene! ๐Ÿ™‚

** I was named one of the Top 11 Geek Girls of 2011 according to the Chicago Tribune Red Eye’s “Geek to Me” blog! Thanks to Elliot Serrano for thinking me worthy of inclusion in such wonderful company! WOO HOO!

Got to meet: Jessica Mills, Candis Phlegm, Lyndsey Doolan, Jane Espenson, Cheeks, Sean Hemeon, Alessandra Torresani, Magda Apanowicz, Javier Grillo-Marxuach, Amy Berg, Felicia Day, Vincent Caso, Amy Okuda, Bonnie Burton, Michelle Boyd and the rest of Team Unicorn (except Clare!), Adrianne Curry, Sean Becker, and Juliet Landau. STILL have not met Sasha Roiz despite interviewing him twice, a jillion tweets and emails, and crossed communiques to get coffee when I was visiting L.A. earlier in the year. Well, Sasha – you have until the end of the world in December to make it up to me. Ball’s in your court. ๐Ÿ˜‰

2011 was a huge year for me, and there are amazing things in the works for this new year. 2012 is going to PWN! And I’m looking forward to sharing it all with you!

HAPPY ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY…ME!

January 1st, 2011 was the one year anniversary of The First Post on this blog. I can’t believe I’ve kept it up this long. I also can’t believe that people I don’t really know actually read it! To everyone who’s stopped by, who’s subscribed, and who keeps coming back for more…

THANK YOU!!

So, I’ve been thinking about ways to improve the blog and make it more interesting and/or useful. Don’t get me wrong…it’s primarily a place for me to talk about 1) my writing, 2) my geeky interests, and 3) my crazy, impoverished, freelance-writer life. I’ll still be doing all that. However, I’d also like to give you lot something to take away with you other than me rambling on about myself. I don’t want to become a pop culture news blog – there are plenty of those – but I’d like to be more than just a personal blog… *sound of wheels turning*

So, I’m devoting this week to celebrating my little blog’s birthday by visiting posts past, talking about ideas for the future, and reaching out to you for your input on how I can make The Teresa Jusino Experience more fun/informative for people other than me. ๐Ÿ™‚

But first things first:

The Year In Blog

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meterโ„ข reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

About 3 million people visit the Taj Mahal every year. This blog was viewed about 25,000 times in 2010. If it were the Taj Mahal, it would take about 3 days for that many people to see it.

In 2010, there were 98 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 150 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 61mb. That’s about 3 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was August 18th with 3,715 views. The most popular post that day was About Teresa. (Thank you old Wil Wheaton article!)

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were lettersofnote.com, twitter.com, facebook.com, Google Reader, and tor.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for lady gaga, daniel tosh, marvel civil war, teresa jusino, and lady gaga pictures.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

About Teresa December 2009

2

A Completely Unsubstantive Crush Post (Beautiful, Beautiful Picspam) February 2010
4 comments

3

Caprican in a Tauron Body (or, Remembering Mom) April 2010
23 comments

4

Pop Goes Teresa: Loving Lady Gaga Part 2 – Camille Paglia and the Death of Reason September 2010
5 comments

5

Teresa’s Bookshelf: SONG OF SOLOMON, by Toni Morrison January 2010
3 comments

So…my readers love me, looking at hot pictures of Sasha Roiz and Daniel Tosh, reading about sci-fi and culture, highbrow literature, and Lady Gaga. Excellent. So do I.