Billion Dollar Bus Stop|Short Film Review

Hey guys! I hope everyone has been enjoying the on and off nice weather we’ve been having. I’ve been trying to spend as much time outside as I can. Mostly that means doing yard work and preparing for my sister’s graduation party that we’re hosting.

Whenever I haven’t been outside taking advantage of this weather, I’ve been in my bed rotating between Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a fan of Amazon streaming for no reason other than that I’m a picky brat. I finally gave it a chance though. Out of all of the options available, I chose a 22-minute short film titled “Billion Dollar Bus Stop,” which was directed by a friend of mine.

Image result for billion dollar bus stopBillion Dollar Bus Stop is a dramatic short film adapted from a stage play written by the star, Morgan Reddinger. The film was shot last summer with a small crew of 3-4 people in Lorain, Ohio. Director Chad Austin Kerr said “I was really attracted to the simplicity of the script and I thought it would work well as a ‘one location’ short film,” and he was right. I especially liked the single location because after I was introduced to it, I was able to focus more on the lines and body language rather than any background changes. The film received the silver award for Best Actress, bronze award for Best Original Score, and Best Drama Short at the 2019 Independent Shorts Award. It was also an official selection for the Dumbo Film Festival in Dumbo, NY.

The official description on Amazon reads:

 “A young writer [Eloise], seeking her purpose in life, meets a mysterious man [Oliver] at the morning bus stop who tries to win her heart. The unexpected couple discover things about themselves and one another but one important secret remains. We follow these dreamers as they struggle with life, love, and companionship – learning to never waste a moment.”

I’ve met a few men “at the morning bus stop” who also tried winning my heart, but I think “tried to harvest my organs” is more fitting. So before I talk about how great the film was, let’s make one thing clear- there are creeps out there so keep your guard up. Not every friendly guy at a bus stop (or elsewhere) is an Oliver.

Stars Morgan Reddinger (Eloise), Joe Morales (Oliver), and Lauren Paulis (Oliver’s sister) all had great performances in the film. Reddinger’s smartass portrayal of Eloise really kept me hooked from the beginning. I’m glad she was able to act out the character she envisioned because it felt so real. As a young woman who has had some strange encounters at bus stops, I understood the short and defensive comments she made during her first encounters with Oliver. Morales’ interpretation of Oliver was, well, magical. I couldn’t help but think to myself that he could play the love interest in any Hallmark movie and I would watch the shit out of it (you guys know how I feel about Hallmark movies).

The storyline is so unique. I have a habit of trying to predict what’s going to happen next, and I just couldn’t do it with this film. I may or may not have thrown my laptop during the ending scene from anger and disappointment as the twist threw me for a major loop, but I immediately picked it back up and watched it all again.

After talking to the director, I got some interesting information about the production of the film. One thing that almost made my head explode was that the rain in one scene was all created out of frame with a water sprayer. I’ll admit that when I watched the scene I wondered if they expected the rain or they just went with whatever weather came that day. Could’ve fooled me.

I have to give lots of credit to Morgan Reddinger for not only acting but also writing and producing the film. That’s pretty impressive. I took an acting class in college last fall where I had to act, direct, and “produce” for my then-major so I know how difficult it can be to have to act while also orchestrating everything around you.

I’d compare this short film to a couple of big Hollywood movies but I know that if I do that, it’ll completely give away the surprise ending of the film. If you watch it, you’ll probably know exactly where I’m going with this. You can watch Billion Dollar Bus Stop on Amazon for $2.99 HD/ $1.99 SD  for free with Amazon Prime.

Let Me Update Ya

I figured it was about time to update everyone on my schooling and other things going on. I finished the semester up last Wednesday and most of my final grades seem to be in (although there’s a couple classes that will definitely wait until the day final grades are due to release them).

After a long semester, I got a 99% on my math final which gave me an A in the class. In one of my history classes, I got 100% on my final and managed to get a final grade of an A in the class. After cramming for my bio exam only 5 hours before the exam (typical meg fashion) I got an 87% and ended the semester with an A in the class. Although I never took a real exam for my communication class, I ended the semester with a B. Taking my intro to com class online was a disadvantage to me for a few reasons- tech difficulties being one. I missed a few assignments due to wifi slip-ups and computer crashes, but I’m still happy I was able to mostly make up for them at the end of the semester. My Middle Eastern History and Bio lab final grades are not in yet and I expect that they won’t be for a while, so I can’t really determine what my GPA will be just yet.

I’m moving out of my apartment on Wednesday and heading back to my hometown for the summer. Next fall I’ll be moving into an apartment much closer to campus so I guess leaving the place I’ve called my second home for the past nine months will be worth it. It’s still going to be really hard to say goodbye to my bigger bedroom and own kitchen though. I’m really grateful for the opportunities this year has given me. I’ve gotten to live alone, and who knows if I’ll ever get to do that again?

I’m looking into getting a job this summer after I get a bit of time to settle back in at home. I’d like to be working a lot to save up for rent, groceries, etc. once school starts back up. So before I really start looking around for work, I’m hoping to spend lots of time with my friends while I can.

That being said, in my free time I plan to be writing a bit more. It’s been really weird not writing. I’ve had quite a few impulses to start writing but I didn’t want to start posting if I was just going to stop abruptly again due to school. But now I have a few months to get myself together and write a little more. I’ve got some ideas for the future of this site and I’m hoping to implement them this summer.

Thank you to everyone who supported me when I took a semester off last year and when I went back to school in the fall. Everyone’s kind words and well wishes these past nine months have been really appreciated. I’m super excited to go back in the fall (I know, who says that?!) and explore my major even further.

Also, I’ve changed my update schedule to every Monday at noon, so keep an eye out for my new posts!

An Update

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Hi guys and happy Saint Patrick’s Day! It’s been a month since I decided to take a break from blogging. At the time, my mind was getting pulled in a million different directions and I couldn’t find time to sit down and write. My motivation was gone and my sanity was hanging on by a thread. Although I’m not ready to come back as strong as I was before, I thought I would take some time to give an update on everything that has gone on since I announced my break.

Family

The day after I decided to take a break, I went back to my hometown for the weekend to be with my family. I got to go to a high school basketball game which was fun since I haven’t had a chance to get to any CSU games this year. The next week, my boyfriend and I took a trip to our hometown yet again for another basketball game for my sister’s senior night ceremony. For those of you who are unaware, senior night is when the seniors who participate in sports that season are recognized for their participation, grades, and goals for the future. It meant a lot to get to be there for her second senior night.

Midterms

Luckily for me, my midterm week was kind to me. I only had two exams for the week in Bio and Arabic History. My other classes either assigned papers or just used our current grade as our midterm grade. My assignments were super hard and took up almost every minute of my day, but I was just happy that I didn’t have to study a million things.

I passed all my midterms but I recognize that I could have done even better. I guess I’ll just have to use it as motivation for the remainder of the semester. Although there’s a lot of work to be done in order to pull this off, I still have the goal of making it on the dean’s list. I’ve just come to terms with the small chance of that happening. It has nothing to do with my intelligence, but more to do with the number of assignments and exams I am given weekly. I know I’ve said this a lot, but there’s not much downtime between one assignment and another.  That’s pretty common in college and people still manage to pull off getting on the dean’s list somehow, so props to those people! I just know that my brain needs lots of breaks to feel healthy.

Spring Break & Moving Out

As I’m writing this, it’s the last day of spring break. It’s hard to believe it’s already over. It went by in the blink of an eye for me. I didn’t go on any big vacation or do anything special. I just wanted to relax and enjoy my apartment since I’ll be moving out in just a few months. I really took for granted the opportunity to live by myself in a new area. There’s so much I wish I would have done sooner, but there’s no going back to change that so I have to make the best of what I have while I still have it. I’ve spent a lot more time in the backyard of the complex overlooking the lake and studying/reading- even when it’s a bit chilly outside. The view is something I may not get living somewhere else, so I’m trying to appreciate it. I move out in May, although the date has not been set. I just know that I have to be out by May 17. It seemed like such a long time away when I first moved in and somehow the days just crept right up on me. As much as I’ve absolutely hated this place and all it’s breaking amenities, I’m sure I’ll shed a few tears when I’m carrying out the last of my things. It was my first apartment and first time living on my own. It quickly became my home and it sucks having to go.

Finally…

Like I said earlier, I’m not quite ready to get back into writing consistently but I wanted to give everybody an update. I know it’s nothing special but it’s something. I’m still working on myself every day and it’s much harder than some people may think. I’ve faced (and continue to face) so many personal situations that have gotten in the way of my happiness, confidence, and mental health. The battle does not end, no matter how defeated I tend to feel. One day I hope to update everyone on what has been going on behind closed doors, but for now, I want to keep some things private.

I’ll see you guys back here soon!

Love you all.

 

 

 

 

 

Taking a Break.

Hi guys.

I promised to give you guys an update of everything that I’ve been up to today, but I took some time to think and evaluate some things. I realized that at one point I went into blogging because it made me feel good and was a huge stress reliever. It was always important for me to post content that I’m proud of and actual want people to see.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been proud of my posts for months now. I feel like I kept writing because I wanted to keep that part of me alive that wrote for fun. But she’s gone. At least for now.

So I guess this is my official announcement.

I will be taking a break from the blog for a while. I don’t know how long it’ll be, but I promise you this isn’t forever. I’ll most likely post some really short updates from time to time just to let you guys know that I’m alive and well.

Thank you to everyone who has stuck around through my fumbled posts. I promise to take this time off to recoup and find my love for writing again.

 

Meg.

The Life of a College Student as Depicted by The Office

College is a rollercoaster of emotions. So is The Office, a television show that college students seem to be obsessed with. I can see why, as so much of what goes on in the show is relatable for any student.

1.  When you check your bank account to see if you can go out to eat with your friends.

2. When your friends go to the library without you.

3. When you tested into a high math on accident.

4. Making sure you’re eating 3 square meals a day.

5. That failed exam?

6. When you decide to change your major after already taking classes you won’t need.

7. Reviewing the entire semester’s material for final exams.

8. When it’s time to go but your professor keeps lecturing.

9. When the friends you made fall semester don’t talk to you during the spring semester.

10. Coming back to your home town after working your ass off all semester.

I could go on forever with more ways that The Office is just soooo relatable, but

 

 

Why I No Longer Use Plastic Straws

Last year I was given the opportunity to get a reusable straw for less than 50 cents after a coupon was given to me on an online site. That’s when I started my research into reusable straws and why they are all the talk. What I learned was crazy. Here are some quick facts that I learned when looking into the importance of reusable straws.

  • It is impossible to recycle straws.
  • The U.S. uses 500 million straws a day!
  • Scientists predict that by the year 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans.
  • Americans use straws at an average rate of 1.6 per day.

Think about the last time you used a plastic straw. Where did it go when you were done with it? I bet you didn’t bat an eye when you threw your straw in the garbage. Most people don’t. They just carry on with their day. I’ll be honest… that was me.

Strawless Lids

Many businesses have made alterations to their policies to enforce the straw-free lifestyle. Starbucks, for example, pledged to entirely remove plastic straws from their locations by the year 2020. They plan to replace straws with recyclable lids (pictured left). They also sell hard plastic cups that you can ask your order to be served in. You can bring those cups back and get all your future orders served in them as well.

I also noticed that my university has banned the distribution of plastic straws as well. It was super exciting to see the movement expand to my university of roughly 17,000 students.

Let’s do the math real quick.

1.6 straws used a day  x   17,000 students =   27,200 straws prevented from entering our environment!

If every student at my university adjusted to the strawless lifestyle for only a day, we could prevent 27,200 straws from getting into our environment!  And that’s just at my school. Do the math for your school and see how many straws your campus would eliminate if they converted!

When I pull my straw out of my purse or backpack, I get a lot of mixed reactions from those around me. I’ve had friends laugh at me and say I’m ridiculous. I’ve also had friends who encourage me and ask where they can get their own straws. It feels good to know that although I am only one person, I am making a huge impact on the people and environment around me.

I have two different styles of straws. I preferred stainless steel over paper, but that was just my choice. If you’re into paper straws, GO FOR IT! At the end of this article, I linked the straws that I use so you can purchase your own and get started on making the change!

The style that I was interested in first was the collapsible stainless steel straw with a hard case. It was really easy to throw in my backpack before school and it’s even attachable to a keychain. I found a better quality version of the one I have on Amazon and I decided to link that one rather than the one I have because there were some issues with mine when I got it. This type of straw is great for drinks with more of a watery consistency because the rubber inside makes it hard for thicker drinks to travel through. So if you’re one who is constantly on the go and drinking water, pop, or juice, check this straw out!

I also own stainless steel straws that are not collapsible, but they came in a pack of four with two different styles- bent and straight. These straws also came with a carrier, however, this one is made of cotton. They’re great for tumbler cups or Starbucks drinks if you’re one of those whose lives just won’t go on without a straw in their frappuccino. These straws come in packs of 4 and packs of 8, so you don’t need to wash one before using another. Each pack comes with at least one cleaning brush (depending on the pack you purchase).

If you STILL think adjusting your straw habits won’t make a change, watch this TEDx Talk by Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff.

SOURCES:

http://www.thelastplasticstraw.org

http://www.nrdc.org

http://news.starbucks.com

 

GET YOUR OWN STRAWS:

Collapsible Straw

Rainbow Straws

 

 

5 Things I Learned When I Redirected My Focus to My Blog

Another year has come to a close so that means another year of MegannLouise.com has come and gone. 2018 was an eventful year for this site. Toward the end of the year, I took the bull by the horns (sorry PETA) and focused more time on writing.

When I started writing for MegannLouise.com, I had no intention of posting regularly. I just wanted a platform for me to post my work when I did write. And for roughly 75% of the time I’ve had this site, that’s exactly what I did. But now I dedicate time out of my day to work on new content. In doing this, I learned a lot about myself as a writer, creator, and individual. I know that sounds extremely corny. I’m sorry. But here’s the top 5 things I learned after I focused on my blog this year.

1. Writing isn’t always easy. And writer’s block is real.

There have been days where I’ve spent hours just trying to write an introduction or even come up with a topic. Since I’ve been writing for a long time, I know my style and whenever my brain fails me and I don’t do my best work, I get upset. I’ve spent entire days working on posts before, arguing with myself over wording or formatting. At the end of it all, I’ve felt defeated when I give in and post whatever I came up with even when I wasn’t happy with it.

And here’s the thing- writer’s block happens. It can kick your ass at the worst times but that’s how it goes. I had to learn to roll with the punches and give myself breaks while writing to recoup. Sometimes nothing would pop into my head for days or even weeks. It wasn’t pretty. I would usually go into a dark place whenever that happened. It’s pretty devastating to fall into a place where doing what you love takes a brutal toll on you. But like I said- it happens. I just had to accept that and work with what I had.

2. Writing ahead of time saves my sanity.

To piggy-back off the last point, my self-deprecation took up so much of my time and made it almost impossible for me to crank out content like I wanted. I eventually mustered up the ability to “mass produce” posts. I would write three or four posts in a day and schedule them for later dates so I wouldn’t have to worry about them the day I needed something to go up. This helped a lot during Blogmas since I had to have a post up every single day for almost two weeks. I think the best part about writing in bulk is that I can pump out a lot of content whenever I’m feeling really creative, and relax on the days where I can’t come up with anything.

3. Quality over quantity.

This one was a hard pill to swallow. Once I found time and motivation to write, I wanted to keep writing and create an arsenal of posts stocked up for scheduled posting. However, during Blogmas I realized that the short posts that didn’t take as much effort weren’t as good as the longer ones that I put more of my heart into. It took a lot out of me to know that although I was getting these posts done early, they weren’t as good as they could have been if I worked a little harder and didn’t spread myself thin.

Now I look at it as a reader instead of a writer. What would I want to read? What would I think if someone posted something like this? Would I continue to read their work?

4. It takes determination.

No successful blogger made it where they are now without determination. Slacking isn’t an option. Consistency is really important- just as important as content. Sure, breaks are great for the mind and can lead to better content, but disappearing for large chunks of time really doesn’t work. It leaves everyone wondering where you are and if you really take writing seriously. Trust me, I’ve been there. I had no motivation for this site and it ruined the great path I had made for myself. I had to almost completely start over.

5. This is a community.

I had to repeatedly remind myself that people actually read this. When I write, deep down I know that people will read it but I sometimes forget about it and throw all caution to the wind. So it’s freaky for a second when I get to meet people who read my blog and they bring up something that I forgot I wrote about. I’m always like, “HOW DID YOU KNOW THAT?!” and then it freaks them out. Sometimes I really feel like I’m writing in my diary.

I found myself heavily relying on my blog to write about my feelings. This is still true at times today. I always say that I try to remain open with my readers, and although it’s hard, it’s extremely empowering at times too. When I feel like my voice does not matter, I come here and I feel heard. I can be happy, sad, or just not myself and I know I have a community here who is willing to listen.

With that, I also had to learn how to censor myself. Although I believe it is crucial to be open with your readers, a line has to be drawn. I used to be far too open and it would ultimately backfire on me. Sometimes I post about something and look back at it later in regret. Now I have to use my better judgment whenever I write about something personal. It’s hard to hold back on occasions, but it’s for the best.