Wednesday, January 28, 2009

shout outs

I would like to thank the following for getting me through the past couple weeks:

1) Macaroni and Cheese
2) Oren Lavie's "Her Morning Elegance" which has been on steady repeat on my Ipod for a good couple days now.
3) Also ABBA, Neil Diamond, and Led Zeppelin
4) Repeated viewings of Slumdog Millionaire
5) My family and my friends
6) Long car rides where I can sing at the top of my lungs
7) Puppycam. Best Invention Ever. Best Time-suck Ever.
8) And the following two poems.

Blessing the Boats
by Lucille Clifton

(at St. Mary's)

may the tide
that is entering even now
the lip of our understanding
carry you out
beyond the face of fear
may you kiss
the wind then turn from it
certain that it will
love you back may you
open your eyes to water
water waving forever
and may you in your innocence
sail through this to that

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know that place for the first time.

--T.S. Eliot

Monday, January 26, 2009

Why my mother is my hero --- reason #321,046

There are some days when, while we are driving to and from our daily lives, we may see someone stranded on the side of the road, or sitting with his or her broken down car waiting for a tow truck to arrive, or dealing with the aftermath of a car collision. We may even actually witness car accidents happen in front or around us, and most of us, myself included, usually keep going on with our lives, hoping that it works out for the best with those who were involved and grateful that it wasn't our car or our lives that were disrupted.

My mom doesn't do that.

Visiting my family for dinner last Saturday night, because there is no place I'd really rather be on a Saturday night then eating fantastic food and spending it with the people I care about most in this world, my brothers turn to me and kind of nod towards my mother.

"Did she tell you what she did?" one asks. I raise my eyebrow at my mom.


And my mom gets this look on her face, the kind of look that I know well, because it's the look I give my friends when I have already executed a crazy idea that I just thought up two minutes beforehand because I know I couldn't have done anything otherwise, and I'm begging them not to kill me a lot. It's kind of a half guilty, half totally-justified, yes-I'd-do-that-again-in-a-heartbeat kind of look -- the kind of look that most of my circle of friends yell at me for, because I just bought a homeless person coffee or rolled down my car window to tell another driver their trunk was open when I wasn't sure if they'd be grateful or flip me off. Or throw something at me.

"Mom," I say. "What did you do?"

Everyone at the table kind of laughs, and my mom gets that sheepish look on her face again. "I sort of..."


"I chased down a hit and run driver."

"You....wait, what?"

Here's the story. My family lives off two main streets, both known for having long stretches of mostly straight road, which drivers that are into racing have come to know and love. So my mom is driving behind these two cars that are obviously racing, just trying to get home, and because there are two left turn lanes, the drivers decide to continue their race, dodging and weaving in and out of traffic and across lanes. The left turn arrow turns green, both cars gun it, and that's when one unsuspecting driver pulls out of a parking lot, and, IF the car that had been racing had been going at a normal speed, would have avoided being scraped on the side as the racing car tried to maneuver around it. Hey, it totally worked in The Fast and the Furious, so.....

But what happened instead is just that: the racing car tried to move around the other car at the last minute, and the car ended up being scraped and banged up on the side as the racing car totally and utterly failed to get out of the way on time. And to continue on the trend of Epic Fail, the racing car that hit the other car? Yeah, he decided to keep driving. As in, away from the accident.

My mom has been in two serious car accidents in her life, both of which landed her in the hospital, one of which landed her and her car crashed into the side of a house, so she takes car accidents fairly seriously. I can only imagine her reaction at watching this collision happen, and then seeing the offending car take off, and I can imagine the words going through her head, most of which probably involved the word NO and some swear words.

And off she goes. My mom followed the speeding car that thought it could make a clean getaway for a couple more intersections, leaning on her horn to get the driver's attention until the driver finally turned his car around, probably thinking she had his license plate number by then, drove BACK to the scene of the accident, got out, and gave the driver of the car that had been hit his information. My mother sat in her car a few yards away and glared. Sorry, let me rephrase that. She sat in her MINI-VAN and glared. How freakin' awesome is that?!

So my mom finishes her story and looks to check my reaction, as I lean forward across the table and say, quite earnestly, "Mom, that is one of the coolest things you have ever done." And as she smiles back, glad that I'm not going to lecture her on how dangerous what she did was, I add, in the same breath, "But please don't ever do that in Los Angeles."

Love you, Mom!

Monday, January 19, 2009

You can't argue with science.

Statistically speaking, there is a 99.999999998% chance that if a) you are working on something that requires a nearby stack of papers to be easily accessible, or b) you have a pile of unfolded, clean laundry (ONLY clean, though, dirty will NOT work) sitting on top of your dryer, you cat will lie on either one of these and turn up its face at you with the most innocuous of expressions.

As if to say, What? You fully expected this, right? Surely you've read the statistics....and you knew that I was a cat when you got me.

Right. I knew you were a cat. I should have seen it coming.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Don't Look Back in Anger -- 2008 in retrospect

Given that a blog reviewing the past year is neither original nor particularly thrilling, I won't pretend that it is and instead try to keep this one fairly compact. I love lists, probably due partly to my organized-by-nature personality, probably also partly because I've found it's the best way to sum up a number of events or thoughts into one coherent package. Also because it gives me a sense of accomplishment, when in reality all I've done is actually put down, in a way that I can fully grasp, all the things that were swirling around in my head. Cathartic, really.

I decided to only do a Best of 2008 because there's too much to whine or complain about how hard the year was and I'm so over it. So without further explanation, behold:

BEST OF 2008*

Best album of 2008: Vampire Weekend, Vampire Weekend
Honorable mentions: Coldplay, Viva La Vida or Death And All His Friends
Metallica, Death Magnetic
Lenka, Lenka
Weezer, Red Album
The Ting Tings, We Started Nothing
Ray LaMontagne, Gossip in the Grain

Best song of 2008: Santogold, L.E.S. Artistes (XXXChange remix)
Honorable mentions: Pink, Sober
Little Jackie, The Stoop
The Ting Tings, We Walk
Lenka, Chance (although it's not on her album, sadly)
Zigmat, Between Bullets
Coldplay, Lovers in Japan
Vampire Weekend, Walcott
Innerpartysystem, Don't Stop

Best movie of 2008: Slumdog Millionaire
Honorable mentions: Milk
Tropic Thunder
Iron Man
Kung Fu Panda
Burn After Reading
In Bruges
No Country for Old Men
Shine a Light

I didn't see nearly as many movies as I would have liked in 2008, so if something is missing from the list, it might not be a diss as much as it is a "never got a chance to see it".

Same with the books read list. Never enough time to read other stuff when you are working on a script.

Best books read during 2008: How Not to Write a Screenplay (ironically enough)
Honorable mentions: The War of Art
Best American Poetry, 2008
The Fall of Hyperion
Eat Pray Love (again)
Religous Literacy
The Saint Plays
Three Uses of the Knife
The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke
The Soul of Rumi
Vectors, Aphorisms, and Ten Second Essays
The Book of General Ignorance
Simply Organic (cookbook)
And my script. Over and over again.

Best TV show of 2008: Battlestar Galactica. Hands down.
Honorable mentions: Pushing Daisies, RIP.
Lost (When I didn't want to kick its ass.)
Sarah Connor Chronicles
Robot Chicken

Best TV show moment of 2008: All of the first half of this year's season of Battlestar Galactica.
Honorable mentions: Season premiere of Sarah Connor Chronicles, with Shirley Manson singing "Samson and Delilah" as Cameron climbs out of car wreckage.
Season finale of Lost.
Robot Chicken's Star Wars episode

Best film moment in 2008: The "disappearing pencil" trick the Joker performs
Honorable mentions: The entire film of Slumdog Millionaire, to be honest, but specifically the opening credits and closing credits. And, ok, everything in between.
The "dancing" scene from Wall-E
Just about anything Robert Downey Jr. does in both Iron Man or Tropic Thunder. Take your pick.

Best film performance in 2008: Sean Penn as Harvey Milk, Milk
Honorable mentions: Heath Ledger as the Joker, The Dark Knight
Angelina Jolie (shocker!) in The Changeling

Best film soundtrack of 2008: Slumdog Millionaire. God Bless Danny Boyle.

Best webseries in 2008: Dr. Horrible. No arguements.
Honorable mention: The Guild.

And for some personal bests of 2008:

Best restaurant of 2008: Granville. You can't beat lobster quesadillas or really good stew.
Honorable mentions: Burning Bonzai
Danielle's Pizza
Lotus Vegan
Fred 62's

Best website of 2008: Wikihow
Honorable mentions: A Softer World
Evil Needles
Cha Cha
Rules of Thumb

Best moments of 2008: Getting my mom a kitten for Christmas
Honorable mentions: just about everything else; the friends, the families, the memories, the airplane rides, the meals, the laughs, the cries, the shows and picnics and parks and sunsets, the handshakes and hugs, the dinner parties and the double feature movie nights, the walks in cemetaries and the surprise birthday parties, the barbeques, the inside jokes, and the beginnings and the endings.

Best hike of 2008: Eaton Saddle in the San Gabriel Mountains

Best injury of 2008 (c'mon guys, it's ME): me and my guy are watching Kung Fu Panda, trying to figure out who the voice is of the kung fu master, when it occurs to us at the same time and we whip toward each other as we both yell "Dusin Hoffman!" and then we accidentally headbutt. And you guys thought nothing could compare to my 2007 "walked into a tree and gave myself a concussion" story.
Honorable mention: all the sexy, sexy bruises I get from getting hit repeatedly by other people while learning escrima, kung fu, and knife fighting. And walking into coffee tables.

Best concert of 2008: Flogging Molly. By FAR.

Best surprise of 2008: Tickets to go to Boston with my guy, given to me on my birthday
Honorable mention: The entire meal at the Ninja Restaurant in New York

Best thing I did in 2008 for my career: hmmm, starting this blog? :) Oh, and that webseries I shot, which premieres in less than a month....

February 13th, people. Stay tuned.

*purely my opinion, so try not to argue too much.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

sweetness follows

So the holidays have come and gone, and I'm usually left with this "okay, what next?" feeling every time they do. I mean, the build up of Christmas and the New Year is months (thanks, capitalistic society!) in advance, and then BAM!, the holidays hit, the time goes by way too fast, and suddenly we look up and it's the middle of January and we're still playing catch-up and trying to pick up all the pieces.


But this year has a slightly different vibe to it. Maybe it's because I'm aware of how hard 2008 was for so many people (myself included, though certainly not to the same extent as a lot of people, for which I count myself very blessed and remain utterly grateful), but I am so very, very excited that 2009 is here and I get yet another year to kick some ass and take some names, and I see new opportunities on the horizon for both myself and the people I care about.

Being a planner, and an A-Type at that, change is sometimes difficult for me. I mean, it's one thing if it's change that is carefully controlled and planned for, like a trip somewhere or a big event. But the little things? The little changes, like someone I love moving away, or a relationship or friendship evolving? It's not always easy for me to put on my Roll With It hat and suck it up with a big smile on my face.

So as I look back at 2008, with all of its changes, and I look forward to 2009, with all of its promise, I'm going to try to keep in mind that with change comes adventure, opportunity, and that general carefully controlled chaos we call life. Life is what happens while we're making other plans, and I don't want to miss a minute of it looking backwards at what I thought I wanted, and missing getting exactly what I need. Instead, I'm going to try to appreciate what life throws at me, and keep an open and grateful heart for all the good that already exists in my life. I think 2009 is going to be a fantastic year. :)
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