Entertainment

Coming to NYC: A Square One TV/Mathnet 30th Anniversary Tribute Show!

Hey, Square One TV/Mathnet fans! 2017 marks 30 years since Square One Television first debuted on PBS! My, how time flies, eh? There’s so much that’s been going on within the fandom over the years that I need to take some time to point out all the amazing projects and social media posts I’ve found, although today, let’s just focus on this upcoming event.

The PIT’s Square One TV/Mathnet 30th Anniversary Tribute Show! Happening in NYC at the People’s Improv Theatre on Thursday, January 26, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $5 – call ahead to reserve yours!

Square One TV 30th Anniversary Tribute Event

This is totally a dream fan project of sorts, so grab your 80s fashions and travel back in time, mathematics-style! One of the performers is an old Mathnet fandom friend of mine (hi, Heather!), so please do go and support all the hard work and talent behind this special event!

But Who’s Going?

Will I be there? I wish! Although if anyone attends and grabs video, pictures, etc., feel free to post here and/or share online! Go! Make me jealous! Maybe if it goes over well, they’ll do future performances…you never know!?!?! (PSST! Rumor has it some former cast members, writers and crew may also be in attendance.) I have been fortunate enough to keep in touch with many of the actors and behind-the-scenes crew over the years, so if anyone has a chance to meet any of them in person, tell them hello and shake their hands for me!

Connect With Fellow Fans!

The fan base has sort of migrated throughout social media over the years, starting on Usenet back in the late 90s, but for the time being, Facebook is the place to find many fans. Here are a few Square One TV-related groups/pages where you can post memories, pictures, stories, etc., at that:

Square One TV Page on Facebook (Like the page; it seems to be a semi-official one.)

MathNet – “To Cogitate and to Solve” (Public group)

Square One TV Math Fans (Closed group – request to join!)

Should any video and pictures materialize from the event, I’ll update this post to reflect it!

Enjoy! And until next time, “May the Math Be With You!

Holy Cow, Time Flies!

Well, I guess it has been awhile since the last blog post…since August of 2014? Oops!

What have I been up to since then? Mostly working on projects, some of my own, several for design and content writing clients; traveled a bit, but not enough; met and greeted Josh Groban a couple more times (pictures for another day); helped plan and put on a 20-year high school reunion (WTF?!?!?)…so, taking time to write about life has sort of been a non-priority. I thought it might be a good idea to just quickly post here so 2015 doesn’t feel too left out, so a longer post will have to wait!

As for those things that made me realize my life needed redirection, and in following my own calling, I realize some things are just best left in the past. As time passes, people and situations that have caused unhappiness and unbearable stress aren’t worth worrying about anymore. People and environments sometimes change for the better, others don’t, and as it turns out, our being present or absent has little or nothing to do with it. Sometimes to walk away and keep one’s distance is the best, healthiest thing you can do for your own sake. If people don’t like what you do or how you do things, why worry; put those feelings into something more worthwhile, always. Honestly, if nothing’s going to change in the here and now, and you realize separating yourself from those unhappy/unpleasant places is what you need to finally land where you belong, whether it’s leaving a “dead-end” job, breaking off a toxic relationship, or overcoming a persistent roadblock in life (or all of the above), push forward with no regrets and don’t look back – let the messes you can’t fix fall onto someone else’s lap, focus on your dreams and goals, and keep looking up. Enough said there.

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“Keep Looking Up” – Watercolor painting by Jill M. Sheehan, available as a print and in other formats on Society6, Redbubble, and Zazzle.

Things to Come in 2016:

  • Taking on more design and writing projects for clients;
  • Finally getting my JillthePill Design site launched beyond a “landing page” state;
  • More personal artwork projects; you’ll find several designs are currently available as high-quality art prints, stationery and personalizable housewares on Society6, Redbubble, and Zazzle. (<–Shameless plugs)
  • Working on developing more handmade pieces – some previous work is available on Etsy, but I’ll be adding new designs as I hone my artsy-fartsy skills!

And beyond that, I just have to see where things go, because holy cow, time flies.

Stay tuned – have a happy, healthy 2016 and beyond! Carpe diem! 😀

My Take on Depression and Suicide: We Need to Talk.

Depression. Suicide.

Such harsh, powerful words. Words nobody wants to speak of, ever. That is, until something major happens, usually when a celebrity opens up about their battle, or succumbs to it. As terrible and tragic as a life lost this way is, the best time to talk about it is when it’s fresh, having opened up our wounds, broken our hearts, and affected us so deeply.

Robin Williams as Patch Adams

Robin Williams as Patch Adams. (Image Credit: Universal Pictures)

The one-and-only Robin Williams, an actor and comedian eager to entertain the masses, who made us all laugh, always ready with a joke or prank to brighten someone’s day, no matter their struggle, lost the battle to this cruel, ruthless beast we know as depression and by way of suicide. It hits hard, sharply, to hear those words together, yet it is the tragic reality, and we need to able to talk about it without fear, shame, or judgment. Robin isn’t the first, and sadly, won’t be the last entertainer (or singer, or artist…) to lose their fight with depression.

My initial thoughts upon hearing of his death (taken from my Facebook status):

Regarding suicide: Please don’t criticize a suffering person who has (possibly) taken their own life. Know that it is a deep, dark, struggle and not usually a selfish decision, but one made by a person desperate to be free of their pain.

I had already been planning this post before reading an article by Katie Hurley on the Huffington Post that nails a lot of my sentiments, but it can’t be said too many times when the issue of openly discussing depression and suicide is so important, now more than ever. There are many more great articles out there; take the time to read as many as you can – this isn’t a time to “conceal, don’t feel.”

HBO Go: What’s SHE In?

Holy cow, it’s been awhile since I last posted, as in last year, but I’ve been quite busy doing the whole artist thing (go check out my Etsy shop if you’re interested in a sampling of the many things I’ve been working on), but I have a fun(ish) post to share today.

Last week, some new ads for HBO Go were suddenly stirring up quite the buzz on social media, featuring an “Awkward Family” watching some rather saucy scenes together from shows like Girls, True Blood, and Game of Thrones. My first exposure (pun intended) to this ad campaign was on my Facebook timeline, via a Time Magazine link. I noticed right away in the preview images one of the actors looked very familiar…

Where have I seen her before...hmm...

Where have I seen her before…hmm…

After checking out the ads, I knew why; the mom is played by Toni DiBuono, best known as Pat Tuesday, Mathnet.

By far the most popular of the seven clips, already reaching over 1 million views on YouTube since they debuted on April 21st, is one in which Toni doesn’t even speak – her facial expressions say it all. She walks in as her commercial son is watching True Blood.

WARNING – potentially NSFW video clip follows – click play at your own peril!

Hilarious, and effective. The rest of the ads are equally funny, and awkward, and Toni appears in 5 of the 7 ads. Go check them all out, and let’s hope we’ll see Toni in more stuff in the near future – hey, maybe they’ll spin this family off into their own series, or do some more ads!

Given the success of these ads, I’m thinking it might be a good time to do a follow-up interview/Q &A with Toni, so if anyone out there has questions about what she’s doing now, or anything not covered in Maia Weinstock’s great 2012 conversation with Ms. DiBuono (aka, Mrs. Michael McGrath), comment here!

By the way, if you have anything you’d like to shout at me on Twitter – I tend to retweet and comment about things on Mathnet/Square One TV when I find them, I can be found @JillthePillNet, though I do occasionally share and talk about other random things as well, so fair warning. 😉

2013 – My How You’ve Flown.

Well how about that, the year’s over, just like that. The past few months have been busy for me – finally opened up my Etsy shop – here’s a little preview – go check it out when you have a chance!

JillthePillDesign on Etsy

Just Joshin’

In October, I got to meet Josh Groban at his Seattle show (these pics come from my Instagram):

The Breaking Bad inspired Meet & Greet Pass.

The Breaking Bad inspired Meet & Greet Pass.

 

Me, Josh Groban, and a Box of Salonpas.

Me, Josh Groban, and a Box of Salonpas.

 

Sorry, you had to be there to get this joke. ;)

Sorry, you had to be there to get this joke. 😉

It was a brief meeting & greeting, but he was a hoot to talk to, and is always witty and entertaining during his concerts. For those of you wondering why the box of Salonpas, check Josh’s Twitter archives for background on that. 😉 Thank you, FOJG – it was a pleasant surprise to be one of the Seattle M&G drawing winners! Also saw his show in Salt Lake City, thanks to an online friend!

Old School Memories…

I revisited my old stomping grounds to say goodbye to the “Little Theater” that’s being demolished for the new FWHS, which was bittersweet, like stepping back in time where little has changed, venue-wise, but in other ways nearly unrecognizable elsewhere on campus. It was a great opportunity to say hello to my former drama teacher and let her know I’m still keeping the creative endeavors going to this day. If you ever have the chance, you should go back and thank those teachers who left an impression on you in life; it means a lot to them!

On the Creative Front…

Creatively, I’ve been juggling various projects in these final months of 2013 – new items for the Etsy shop, for one, and lots on the table for the coming year! I didn’t get everything I wanted to accomplish done just yet, some things shifted on the burners a bit, but I guess I should pace myself instead of racing myself. This has been a good year for taking time to nurture my creativity, learn new things, and journey ahead without looking back. It started out with greatly mixed feelings (as earlier posts indicate), but I’m glad I took this leap of faith. If I hadn’t taken a chance on new adventures, I know I wouldn’t be on the path to where I’m meant to be in life, so no regrets there. 🙂

That’s really about it – details on the mundane things in life aren’t worth going on about anyway, so these are just a few highlights until I post again. (This is mostly for me anyway, to look back and see the growth in myself, and share how life’s treating me for those stalkers curious folks out there.) 2014 has more in store, and I look forward to it!

May all be well with those reading this – and remember, it’s never too late to drop everything you know in favor of new, enlightening life adventures. 😀

Until we meet again – Happy New Year!

An Open Letter to PBS.

Dear PBS,

Oh, how you taunt us so. A couple of weeks ago, you posted on your official Tumblr account this little teaser image:

Where in the World IS Carmen Sandiego?

…Carmen Sandiego?

And then…speculation started to flow from all corners of the Web. Even HuffPo covered it! New episodes? Reruns of old episodes? So much potential excitement here, and then…NOTHING. No follow-up posts as of yet. Boo. Hiss.

So, what’s the deal, PBS? Don’t you guys realize how EPIC this would be? Why tease the masses, then just crush their hopes with your “edited to add” business: “this is not about new episodes, but will be appreciated by any 90s kid…” Well, I was an 80s kid and I watched it, but I’ll let that slide. Are you going to do something, or not? And while we’re on the subject, PBS, let’s talk about some other shows that could prove useful for today’s kids. You did keep Reading Rainbow on the map for awhile, as well as Ghostwriter, you even refreshed The Electric Company, an “Old School” staple, as well as Zoom! for a time. Sesame Street continues to brighten the lives of young kids as well. So, how about a couple more that could use some revamping, or re-airing, at the very least: 3-2-1 Contact, and Square One TV. Oh, and of course, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? (Let’s pretend that Noggin didn’t exist though, because it’s dead; well, it’s Nick Jr. now, and they didn’t always do these shows justice in rerun format.)

Granted, some of the materials and information on these shows may be a bit dated and in the case of “Carmen,” inaccurate, but in a time where American kids are falling behind in math, science, and geography, let’s at least put some reruns back. Better yet, DVD releases of these shows. Ever heard the phrase “shut up and take my money” used online? Surely you have. You would have SO MANY former kids fully prepared to hurl massive amounts of money at you if you put these shows out on DVD. You might not even need to have pledge drives for awhile if you do it right. Teachers and parents want this stuff in their homes, trust me. As someone who created the site for “Mathnet” (yes, it needs updating, I KNOW), I can tell you I have received a lot of E-mails about this very thing for years now, and the more people hear about possible renewed interest in these 80s and 90s after-school staples for kids, the more people will crawl out of the woodwork wanting to know more. And they’re waiting…

I could go on for quite a while about this, but what I’m saying here is: pay attention to the media buzz! Look at the likes, shares and mentions on all the major sites  – there’s your target audience, plus any new fans you pick up along the way. If you follow through with these teasers, it’ll be a move you won’t regret, and kids are about to go back to school – is there any better timing? 

So, do it. Do it, Rockapella!

With Love (that remains to be seen),

Me, and Legions of Other Fans.

3/3/13 – World Dyscalculia Day

Yay, it’s World Dyscalculia Day!

Uhhhhh…WHAT?

So, I started to touch on the topic of Dyscalculia in my last post, and I intend to further break it down into a series of posts over time, but this is a good time to summarize it, on the very day set aside each year for Dyscalculia awareness (always 3/3; how fitting for it to be a lovely fraction).

There is SO MUCH I want to say about it, but seriously, it can’t be summed up in a short post, and writing a novel will only bore people in a sea of new knowledge (tl;dr ;)), given how few actually know what it is. There are a lot of people out there who have this and only wish they could turn to someone who gets it, or knew more about it themselves, or wish to find a community of fellow “sufferers” where they’ll fit in and can relate to.

What is Dyscalculia exactly? It’s a learning disorder involving numbers, but not just numbers. Rather than write a painfully long description when other sites explain it very well, head over to the Dyscalculia Forum site and read up for a good breakdown (I’ll wait…). This does not mean we’re stupid and/or lazy, or aren’t trying hard enough to understand things like handling money, reading a map or organizing a space, or that we’re just choosing not to do something because we don’t like/feel like it, we actually lack the ability to grasp these concepts; our brains simply cannot make heads or tails of it (pun intended). It’s like any other form of dyslexia – you can try to learn, practice for hours, and no matter how much you put into it, your brain will never retain the information, or very little of it, and scrambles it around furiously without ever actually understanding it. Ooh, and the resulting brain pain. 😛

Letting Go and Moving On.

So, a major step in my future plans happened this week: I submitted my Letter of Resignation at my current job, which happens to be the family business. I am starting 2013 anew with a new venture: my own business. *GASP* Why? How can someone just walk away from their family? Well, it’s not walking away forever, it’s not disloyalty, I will still be related to many of those with whom I’ve worked for over a decade now, but it’s time. I have spent too much time setting my own interests and needs aside to please others, and I realize it’ll never be enough and only burns a person out.

How selfish of me, right? How dare I decide I want to do something else with my life. Most people seem to be supportive, while others seem quick to judge me and everything I’ve ever done, as if they knew me all that well, as if I’ve never done anything for them or contributed anything of worth to the business. At least, that’s how I see it. (Maybe I’m wrong, but this is not the place to delve into further thoughts that benefit nobody.) I suppose it’s to be expected, people don’t think you’ll walk away from something that may very well be a lifetime commitment to them. It’s not like I am unwilling to be supportive or never plan to do anything for my family’s business again; quite on the contrary. But for me, my life is meant to be so much more than it is now, and in order to move forward, I have to let go, to free myself so I can achieve everything I have set out to do from here. They will be fine without me if they’re willing to stay the course, so I hope to see things continue into the future, for everyone’s benefit.

Playing with WordPress and other Creative Endeavors

So, I got bored of the standard “2011” WordPress theme, plus I’ve been wanting to learn more about how WP works and can be customized, so if you’ve been here before, you’ll see I’ve modified the design a bit. As in, installed an entirely different theme! I didn’t design the theme, just trying to make it my own and figure out all the quirks. (For one: why is it centering all the smileys? Very strange indeed…) Graphic designers need to know these things to be useful to their clients, after all. 😀

I still have a million other things I’m juggling at the moment (well, maybe not a million things, but a decent amount), not the least of which is working on a collaborative rewrite of a screenplay! Yes, at last I am using those creative writing skills for good (not that I didn’t before). I was approached by Vernon “Eck” Eckleberry of Atlantic Pictures, LLC; he’s a classmate from a screenwriting class I took through Gotham Writers’ Workshop, and it’s been an exciting process so far! Since we’re several states apart, we’re doing the Skype thing (very useful service, let me tell you), and making some really great revisions to his original script, 10,000 Angels. His first film, Mattie and Meteor, is in post-production right now and is slated to air on OWN in the fall. Stay tuned as we go along, because I’m hoping it’s just one little step toward a very rewarding series of long-term projects! 🙂

I am also doing some artsy-fartsy things and trying to gear up for opening a little Etsy shop soon, but it’s not quite ready to go, so hang tight. If you like quirky critters made out of polymer clay, though (sneak a peek here), it’ll be right up your alley! And that’s all I’m going to say for now. 😉

That’s about it for today – check back now, ya hear?

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