Saturday, October 30, 2010

there's not a word yet for old friends who've just met...

I think Paul Williams was one of the best songwriters ever. Just because he wrote said songs for puppets to sing doesn't make the words and music any less beautiful.

It kinda makes them more beautiful.

One of my favorite lines in the whole world is "there's not a word yet for old friends who've just met."

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"I ain't never really had much fun. I particularly dislike preordained happy occasions. I don't mind Christmas so much, because everyone's involved, as long as they're Christians or lazy atheists, or Muslim but into tinsel. But I've never had a good New Year's Eve, and I don't like birthdays, or any other time when you're meant to be happy. I'm against the prescription of, say, 'Ooh, it's Christmas o'clock. Smile everyone!' For me happiness occurs arbitrarily: a moment of eye contact on a bus, where all at once you fall in love; or a frozen second in a park where it's enough that there are trees in the world."
-Russell Brand
I woke up this morning with 80's hair. It's pretty fabulous, and makes up for the fact that I feel fat and tired (see: long face, droopy lids). All this afternoon I've been writing and musing about film, some of which can be noticed over at Cinephile, and I still have more rolling around in my head. I have too much to say and too much to work out. I love film so. I simply daydream about being able to be a part of it. It's frustrating to wake up to the fact that I am still on the outside.

There is a frickin woman sharing my tiny table here at Coffee Bean. No one has ever had the nerve to do that before-- big tables, yes, or those ones at Barnes and Noble when there's only 2 outlets in the whole place. But no. This woman wanted to sit in the comfy chair across from me. I get it. But I wish she'd take her comfy chair and sit elsewhere. I'm not feeling Christian today for some reason.

My mom after sampling my music taste: "I like Regina Spektor and Sufjan Stevens. I REALLY like Sufjan Stevens, but he is WEIRD."
nah, mom. everyone's wearin' the wings/boyscout uniform thing these days.

Two magazine rejections for Grey Fox today. I have to admit, I don't really understand why. I might be delusional but I think it's a really great story.

The school that I work at is doing Red Ribbon Week, and on Monday they had "the launch" which consisted of all the kids going outside with red balloons and letting them all go at once, resulting in a flurry of beautiful, shiny balloons flooding the sky. Of course, I couldn't help but think it must be bad for the environment somehow, but it was still a very cool statement and it looked magical.
I told my mom about that, too, and she sighed. "I hate that red ribbon stuff." Me: "Really? Why?" Her: "I just do." Me: "Yeah, maybe the kids don't totally get it, but I think it's nice to raise awareness. They all make drug-free pledges." Her: "Yeah... I hate that. Nice in theory, but would you have done that at that age?" Me: "I don't know." Her: "It's like those purity pledges." Me: "Oh, I hate that. So lame." Her: "Yeah. Exactly."


I finished writing my first mini-episode of a highschool story (my F&G attempt), about a homeschool taking dual credit at the local community college (familiar? why no) and gradually breaking away from her homeschool friends for her new community people. I call it Dual Credit. It's not great yet but perhaps it shall be.

It's what can only be called a Blustery Day. I feel like Piglet from Winnie The Pooh when I drive in my tiny, very lightweight car, as though we could fly away.
I've got to remember to wear scarves on days like today.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

we ain't gotta trade our shoes, and you ain't gotta walk no thousand miles.

"But it's time to exercise these demons. These motherfuckers are doing jumping jacks now!"

I can't help it. I love Eminem.

Aside from being highly self-referential like every other rapper (see: occasionally lame), his style is so impressive to me.

I think this video is also very clever, referencing his own recovery (I don't know much about his real life, but I think the point is he recently went clean), and starting with the ledge only to reveal that it's not about the ledge, it's about breaking out of captivity and flying. For a rap video, that's pretty cool.

Monday, October 25, 2010

but i'm not there, i'm gone.

I think I miss learning. During my lulls at my school job when Lee doesn't need my help, I doodle or write notes to myself on scraps of paper, and today I started working on... an essay. Obviously not a school-level essay but still. I starting writing about why the Alice in Wonderland books are still so popular/a phenomenon, and why I like them, and before I knew it I was breaking to write an outline. I take this as a good sign, that my brain refuses to turn to mush, but still. A bit odd.

I haven't been reading very much lately. I really haven't been doing much of anything aside from work. Sleeping is my main favorite activity, despite the fact that the world is now a little brighter because I have a job. It's cyclical, I keep telling myself. Anyhoo. My point is, I want to read more. I just haven't been in the zone lately. If I can just finish all of the books I've started by Christmas break (hahaha...... NOT IN SCHOOL ANYMORE THERE IS NO CHRISTMAS BREAK), I'll probably feel better. And smarter. So that means reading East of Eden, Running with Scissors, Laughter in the Dark (which I am just a SMIDGE away from finishing but cannot find at the library), American Psycho, Rebecca, Turn of the Screw, Persuasion, and the re-reading of Slaughter-House Five and 1984 (which I am also just a SMIDGE away from ending, dammit). I don't know if this pile is a testament to my ADD or my heaping ambition with no drive to follow up, but I'm going to try not to think too hard on that.

Although... while driving the other day a song from the Scarlett Pimpernel Musical (yeah, they have that) came on shuffle, and I thought, dang. Although this music is really terrible I really loved that book. And I kinda want to read it again. NO, I have to tell myself. NO.

Some friends of mine are going to try tackling Ulysses in January and suggested I join them, which I am also eager to do. I read a chapter of it in my Irish Gothic class, and bizarre as it was I knew I had to read the thing. I bought it at some point in the summer but it's been staring at me from its shelf ever since. Damn huge Irish book. And NOW that I've decided to stick to what I've started before beginning anew, NOTHING is more tempting than this big fat book which I've been told I shouldn't even try to read because I could never understand it without English-Professor guidance. Well. That is a challenge! A CHALLENGE I SAY!!! I WANT TO READ THIS DAMN BOOK.

Clearly, I have commitment issues.

for halloween, i want to be

Saturday, October 23, 2010

one by one by one by one.

Wow, lamest day of doing nothing. I spent literally the whole day picking up random things in my room, watching snippets of whatever was on TV, and sleeping. I actually pulled off some lucid dreams, though, so I guess that was the most exciting part.

I've been a bit discouraged lately because it seems as though I'm not making enough money to get back on track. Also, I am loathe to admit this, but I feel very lonely right now. I guess I always do, and I make it hard on myself when it comes to improving that part of my life. Still, for some reason or other it's become fairly unbearable this week. Whether or not I let myself acknowledge the emptiness, I can always tell when things are particularly bad because I start talking to myself alot, and I go into obsessive mode. My obsessive mode-- clinically obsessive, by the way, which has led me and one of my one-time therapists to wonder if I'm more bipolar than anything else, but I digress-- is outrageous and relentless, kind of like eating a meal that's too big for you. You ever get the idea that you have to finish the whole damn thing? That's what it's like. I'll start in on something that's charmed me or made me curious, and before I know it I have to read/know/understand/have all there is to it, even when I'm bored of it or would prefer to be doing something else. I'm guessing it's something akin to crazy old ladies with their pets, just anything to fill the stupid emotional void that we all have when we have unresolved issues or feel invalidated/unaffirmed.

Anyway. I'm constantly shrinking myself, trying to find new levels of honesty, and alot of this comes through prayer and writing. The good thing is, I think I've figured out what may be my "main" problem. I don't believe that people can work out all of their issues on their own, but I think I'm a particularly relentlessly thoughtful (see: obsessive) person, and that some breakthroughs are possible between me and me. Not that I'll know what to do with them when I crack the code, but cracking the code is at least a starting place.

So yes, the thing I've been thinking about has been occuring to me in parts, starting sometime last year when I realized I've been feeling so long a special kind of separation from people, and that I expected it to go away in my college years, but it only (kind of) got worse. It's not social ineptitude, because I can be very socially capable when I chose to be (not often, I like being by myself, but I can fake it), and generally (and I hope I'm not bragging here) to know me is usually to like me. I'm a very self-deprecating person and that makes people feel comfortable, and I'm intelligent and informed and nonjudgemental enough for most people to enjoy my conversation. So it's not that. It's a sense of bitterness and sadness that I have, sort of. A frustration at the lack of security I ultimately feel and this peculiar thing that I feel is blocking me from living happily.

I think the problems is that I feel like I've been "blocked" for so long that all I can do is think of that rather than move forward and get over that block, but the block itself is all of this disappointment that's just grown into a monster. It started with rejection or something like that, and it's just become this huge thing, and I keep hoping that some event is going to destroy it but it doesn't happen (and he stays, but he leaves the next day, as paul mccartney would say). And it makes me angry. And what is it, really? Strangely (or not), the films In America and Ghost World have helped me zero in on it, and Freaks and Geeks has also contributed to my grasp.

Please-- if you're the type to roll your eyes at this self-exploration please don't read anymore, because it is sort of cliche but that doesn't make it any less true to me, and writing about it (I hope) will ultimately help me.

The thing is, I think, is that... ugh, I hate saying this, but I think it's that my childhood was cut really short. That's hard enough for some kids, but it was extremely difficult for me because of my family dynamics and my own nature, which has always been a bit on the obsessive/over-thoughtful/eccentric side. I was exposed to my parents struggling to make things work/keep us alive when I was pretty young, and that was accompanied by moving a good deal, being exposed to alot of death, depression and mental illness in my family around the time my grandfather died, and then all of the medical problems of my sister and the affect that had on my parents. My dad closes off while still being present in body while my mother is frankly an immature person who saw in me more of a friend than a daughter. While my dad might have been affirming enough for some kids, I was always very wise and sensitive to behavior, and I could always see that my dad complimented without really seeing and gave gifts without realizing what was worth giving (which is strange because my father is sweet and could never be called a cold person, he just... doesn't get with the program). So on the one hand I felt invalidated by my dad and depended on by my mother, and gradually my childhood vanished in smoke. I put it aside consciously, even, accepting my place in my friends' life as a maternal figure.

Because of who I was, I always felt like a pretty rejected girl. And THERE's where you have it-- the sad, completely lame truth is that behind most anti-normal people are people that have tried to fit in and have been rejected. As a homeschooler, you're basically rejected by the world in the first place. Or at least it used to be that way. And then, as I got older, I was further rejected by the homeschool community because I was "bad." Yes. Rejected by the rejects.

Anyway, all this to say: ever since I was eight, I think I've been waiting to finally have that life that I feel like I was supposed to have had. I was supposed to have FUN when I was a kid, and I didn't. I was supposed to be HAPPY when I was a teenager, and I wasn't. It's an unfortunate clash of expectation on my part (and optimism, always disappointment) and rejection by whoever mattered to me at the time. I was supposed to be young and fantastic after we had moved back to Ventura and finally made friends, and that's why it broke my heart so thoroughly when that didn't happen. And then came LMU, which was supposed to be amazing, but I was still so stuck in this mourning phase that I missed out.

It's probably time to accept that I can't be young. I don't know how to be. I've become very cynical because my hopes are always so high (against my better judgment) that I always feel so terribly sad when I feel things don't work out. And that's not from event to event-- it's now morphed into what is my ongoing depression. I think that's the source. I'm too discouraged about what I feel are lost years that I feel generally hopeless about the new ones, and I can no longer summon the energy for new possibilities.

Damn, but I am a headcase. I suppose what I have to do now is just plod, try my best to take things one day at a time rather than scrutinize the big picture.

but that's so exhausting. i'd rather be dreaming than living.

Ode by Arthur O'Shaghnessy

We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamer of dreams,

Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams;
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.

With wonderful deathless ditties,
We build up the world's great cities,
And out of a fabulous story
We fashion an empire's glory:
One man with a dream, at pleasure,
Shall go forth and conquer a crown;
And three with a new song's measure
Can trample an empire down.

We, in the ages lying
In the buried past of earth,
Built Nineveh with our sighing,
And Babel itself with our mirth;
And o'erthrew them with prophesying
To the old of the new world's worth;
For each age is a dream that is dying,
Or one that is coming to birth.

A breath of our inspiration,
Is the life of each generation.
A wondrous thing of our dreaming,
Unearthly, impossible seeming-
The soldier, the king, and the peasant
Are working together in one,
Till our dream shall become their present,
And their work in the world be done.

They had no vision amazing
Of the goodly house they are raising.
They had no divine foreshowing
Of the land to which they are going:
But on one man's soul it hath broke,
A light that doth not depart
And his look, or a word he hath spoken,
Wrought flame in another man's heart.

And therefore today is thrilling,
With a past day's late fulfilling.
And the multitudes are enlisted
In the faith that their fathers resisted,
And, scorning the dream of tomorrow,
Are bringing to pass, as they may,
In the world, for it's joy or it's sorrow,
The dream that was scorned yesterday.

But we, with our dreaming and singing,
Ceaseless and sorrowless we!
The glory about us clinging
Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing;
O men! It must ever be
That we dwell, in our dreaming and singing,
A little apart from ye.

For we are afar with the dawning
And the suns that are not yet high,
And out of the infinite morning
Intrepid you hear us cry-

How, spite of your human scorning,
Once more God's future draws nigh,
And already goes forth the warning
That ye of the past must die.

Great hail! we cry to the corners
From the dazzling unknown shore;
Bring us hither your sun and your summers,
And renew our world as of yore;
You shall teach us your song's new numbers,
And things that we dreamt not before;
Yea, in spite of a dreamer who slumbers,
And a singer who sings no more.

I love this poem more and more as time goes by.

Friday, October 22, 2010

and i'll be on the sidelines with my hands tied.

I don't know when Christian companies are going to realize that their movies suck. Separating themselves from Hollywood might be a nice idea, but, um, that's where the movies are made, guys. That's where the talent is. If you're trying to get a message out, the best way is the way that any other filmmaker tries to send a message, through a well-constructed film. I don't know why Christian filmmakers can't wrap their mind around that, or why they completely lack subtlety, why every Christian film I've glimpsed beats you over the head with the "moral" rather than letting the themes speak for themselves. Of course, much poorly conceived literature and film does this, but Christian filmmakers are the worst. They tell you 50000 times what their movie is about, literally, committing the ultimate film-sin. Also, Christian movies aren't cool. Nobody is going to watch them, except for Christians. Lame Christians.

They chose to make these movies for two reasons: conversion tools and moral alternatives to mainstream films. As for the latter, this is the problem with all things mainstream Christian. By offering what they think of as a healthy "counter" they continue to perpetuate this WEIRD counter-culture that attempts to dress up and commercialize Christianity-- selling it, basically, by wrapping it up in a bow that's supposed to inform us that it's just as cool as that other mainstream thing, only Christian. This is achieved on some level, and only subtracts from the overall quality of "art" in the mainstream. If you counter Transformers with Transfigurations or something, in the end, it's just more clutter. I feel the same way about most praise music. It's only a little bit lamer than the mainstream because it's trying so hard to be like the mainstream. Why dress it up? Why market Christianity? We're not meant to market faith, for God's sake! (....haha) Also, so far as the former, using such things as a conversion tool..... if that works, I guess that's cool, and I believe God can use anything, but still. Movies like Fireproof or Left Behind are pretty shallow introductions to a very expansive, powerful concept.

From my perspective, if you want to say something about Christ, morality, or redemption, you must explore those themes through powerful and proper storytelling, just like the best of Hollywood. If that means going indie, then go indie, like so many other storytellers. Mel Gibson, crazy man that he is and it's not like I approve of his life choices etc, did it, and did a fantastic job. He made a movie on his own about Christ, literally, with fine production value and explored the pain of Christ's final hours as a human man, making more of a point about the suffering of man (and Christ's subjecting himself to that, much like Last Temptation of Christ which everyone hates on but which I like quite a bit). Of course, I agree that his choice of subject isn't subtle, but you have to admit that it's no TV-Jesus movie. Otherwise, there are so many solid films with beautiful, uplifting themes that I think reach people in much more powerful ways than those obvious movies ever could. The redemption in Magnolia and Crash and The Royal Tenenbaums, the search for something higher in Blade Runner (and pretty much any sci-fi film)? The spirituality in Signs, The Sixth Sense, The Exorcist? The sanctity of life, explored with logic and without condemnation in Juno (written by an ex-stripper, btw), Knocked Up, and Waitress? The identification of evil in countless (good) films (like No Country for Old Men, which is NOT fatalistic, btw)? The exploration of relationships (what is real? also, a strong relationship between man and wife is meant to mirror God's relationship to the church)? Even films that Christians brand as encouraging the homosexual lifestyle, like Brokeback & A Single Man I think should be viewed to help us view oneanother as real people with real pain. The fact is, unless a certain person is primed to run to Christ, it's not going to happen because they saw a Christian movie, but if we prompt someone to think about morality, mortality, redemption, and most of all, hope, I think that opens the viewer's mind to important questions.

On a side note, I would definitely enjoy the promotion of a healthier, less scary and stereotypical Christian in non-Christian film. In Hollywood film, apparently everyone is agnostic or a scary born-again. I get that "Christians" have persecuted people, but ah, they're persecuted too. I suppose that's one nice thing about television, in shows like House MD etc-- we can discover the religious leanings of characters without them having to verbalize such things the moment we meet them, giving room for more fully rounded character development.

But that's just me.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

"Screenwriters are ego-maniacs with low self-esteem."

Good lord, I am a freaking genius. Someone really needs to notice that one of these days.

I have so much potential.

I just wish it would materialize in the most material way.

"oh, is your grandpa super cool?"

My new and complete obsession is the short-lived TV show by the now can-do-no-wrong writer/producer/director Judd Apatow. Despite finding his movies hit and miss (Knocked Up, 40 Year Old Virgin, Sarah Marshall I like. Superbad I do not) and admittedly vulgar (but usually in a funny way), I have to admit the guy is kind of a genius. He must have grown up a geek, so far as I can tell, because his work (the best of it, anyway) usually has a warm-heartedness to it, a piece that reflects the pleasant side of young and stupid kids. Anyway. I'm kind of fond of him. Freaks and Geeks is his masterpiece, and it's a absolute crying shame that it lasted for only a single season while overdramatic or lazy shows like Dawson's Creek and One Tree Hill and all that other teen crap flourished on the WB & UPN and now the CW. Blows my little mind.

This show has so much subtlety, and takes the approach of Mad Men-- a slow burn, a long set-up. It gives us time to get to know the kids. And their families. And their school administrators, even. It's funny and plays off stereotypes, sure, but it examines those stereotypes and the typical story of girl-comes-of-age-and-encounters-what-might-be-bad-influences. It's also set in 1980 which lends it that Wonder Years sort of feel, eliminating the obnoxiousness and technology of modern settings and focusing on the value of the classic stories and dilemmas that don't age.

The show focuses on Lindsey, who has semi-recently been witness to her grandmother's death. I think she's a junior in HS. She's a supersmart student and has always belonged to that type of group, but upon starting her new year she falls into the burn-out group, the "freaks" as she searches for something new. The other part of the show is about her younger brother, part of the "geeks," in his own social universe, trying to figure things out and be cool. Without being overdramatic in the slightest, the show addresses Lindsey's situation in her new group-- what might appear to be the usual story of girl-goes-kinda-bad becomes much more complex when you're a part of that story. Is it really that Lindsey's going bad? The freaks are likable. Their effect on her is both good and bad, actually. She also pauses to mourn the loss of her previous social clique, as well as admits that her new friends do not challenge her. She has a relationship with one of them, Nick, but it's not satisfying because he's too clingy and smokes too much pot. I loved their relationship, because it's clear that Lindsay cares about him, but it's not as though she's in love with him, and their evolution is so believable. None of the episodes are wrapped up tidily, and much of the time the characters are disgruntled (and yet not annoying!). Anyway. I think I'm going to write about it some more in detail on the other blog, but I felt like mentioning it because it's been very inspiring. The creators and writers really stepped out of the box for F&G, and it's a very natural, wonderful story. I'm a bit inspired by it at the moment, and want to drop everything I'm doing in order to write something truthfully teenagery. Oh well. I suppose I'll leave that to Apatow.

Also, freakin' Jason Segel was so freakin' cute back then. Argh, so precious.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

let's shrug off minor incidents, make us both feel proud.

This week, Californians have been in a state of bewilderment. The skies have taken to bizarre, unprecedented behavior, and the state citizens just don't know what to make of it all. In Ventura county... it has been raining. Okay, more than rain. There has been LIGHTNING.

I have to admit that I've been away from stormy weather for so many years that I've forgotten what it feels like to be in such a thing. Rain in Socal is usually light and sporadic, so when it comes in great loads it's discombobulating. I like it a great deal in Ventura, I hated it in LA because that town is NOT built for rain. The irrigation is horrible, LMU always turns into a swamp at the first sign of drizzle (that's how I lost my shoes and nearly got fined returning a soaking wet camera case. that was also the day I had to sit through my film class, in the coldest room on campus, with my clothes soaked through. it was an amusing day, actually, but just a bit frustrating). Anyway, when it really rains in Ventura it's delicious, though always unexpected, and one can see the annoyed effect it has on the people. They're so confused. THEN, yesterday, came a burst of lightning and thunder that shook my house to it's core. Windows rattling and all that. I sat there, thinking there was something I was probably supposed to do, when I heard Melinda, my landlady, in the other room telling one of her pupils (she tutors at the house sometimes) that he should unplug his computer when it thunders. Hahaha. It reminded me of my father's psychotic, frantic unplugging of everything in Texas at the slightest sound of rain. Begrudgingly, I unplugged my laptop, though that turned out to be the last of the lightning for the day.

TODAY however has been interesting-- I worked all day to the tune of vague water pitter-patter (in my back room at my DESK, heck yes), then traversed over here to Coffee Bean. This particular building is somewhat circular, with large windows all the way around. About the time I got here, a lightning storm-- a bona-fide one-- began outside, much to the appreciation of everyone in here. We had pretty much the ideal view of most of the sky, the scattered bolts were all within our line of sight. And there were so many. And it got darker and darker and more and more crackles struck and echoed. The foundations shook, and I have to confess, I actually did feel a little unsettled. I'm too Californian now. Anyway, this went on for about 15 minutes, with the lightning getting closer and closer and louder and louder until BOOM. All of the power in Coffee Bean went out. That's never happened before! To me! In a public place! Well, other than at VC that ONE time, but even then it was ONE lightning strike and dead power for 20 seconds. It took them about 10 minutes here to get the power back. While they were messing with that, what began to fall from the sky? HAIL, children! Real-life tiny hail! I haven't seen hail in... forever. And then it poured rain, glorious rain. By now everyone in here was paying rapt attention to nature's ways, abandoning our useless computers and decaf lattes and gazing at the conflict in the sky. The place was almost completely dark, the usually overpowering lame coffee house music was absent, and the chattery buzz of the coffee bar was gone. Just the sound of water pounding on the roof mixed with the "oohs" and "aahs" of we the spectators. It was a moment of communal awe.

Then, of course, the power returned. The music blared on. Everyone bent back over their projects. If this had been some kind of meeting we would have already forgotten one another's names. I kind of feel like a member of the Breakfast Club come that Monday.

Nature: 1. People: 1 1/2.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Oscar Levant.

For some reason, today I am the highest form of curmudgeon.

I hate men today. For both personal and objective reasons. And women. I hate what women do to themselves.

Also, I hate children. While occasionally amusing, today all I can think when I hear them speak is that they're just miniatures trying so hard to sound like grown-ups. I hate that people are imitative and that children don't know anything except what they're fed by their parents and imitate from their peers (who are only demonstrating their attempts to sound like THEIR parents), resulting in a bunch of fractured, half-baked, and embarrassed little people, the smaller and less educated version of the adults in their lives.

I don't feel like being in the world today. I don't feel like participating.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Today, after I get home from both of my jobs (double-up day) I'm going to tidy up my room, make myself some coffee, clean up my record player and listen to All Things Must Pass on vinyl. I can't think of a better way to spend a Friday night.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

in defense of television

It's time to take a moral stand; I'm not going to watch Glee anymore. During the show's first season I never had time to try it, and once it became a huge hit my disinterest in it grew to a bit of disdain. It seemed loud and annoying, like That 70's Show. Over this summer I was finally so bored that I decided to give it a go and watched the entire season. It started off strong with a semi plot that propelled it forward a bit, similar to cheesy movies like Sister Act 2, all about the competition and will they win and all that. The characters were weak, but it was OK. But then the show began to drag, there were so many things wrong with it, and the flaws became incredibly apparent as the "plots" dragged out. It's an immensely self-satisfied show, and there's very little that's actually satisfying about it. I do like some of the musical performances still, but the writing and character development is some of the worst I've ever noticed. There's this odd addiction I have to it, though. It's become a show I hate (especially this season) but I can't seem to help tuning it at some point or other to see what's going on. I'm always disappointed. Huge waste of time, I don't want to watch it anymore.

BUT. One element I have to admit that I adore is the not even fully developed relationship of the "antagonist" Sue, someone who appears to hate everyone including God, and her older sister. Her older sister is downs (retarded) and living in a home, and Sue goes to see her there. Even the short scenes between the two of them are incredibly emotional to me as of late, and I think about them often. I'm glad that they made that a part of the show, even though I do see that as a part of their half-baked plan to make their collection of characters as diverse and unique as possible. It also made me realize how touchy that subject has become for me, it seems these days that any time my sister comes to mind I want to cry. When I think about what's to come or all of the things that have already happened with her and that aspect of my life, I want to cry. It's strange that one can so rarely comprehend all of the ways that their life can be impacted by a person or incident. When people die we see as far back as we can into our lives with that person, and we are sad because they will not be in our future as they were before, but we can't know what else their absence is going to mean. The same idea applies to people moving, traveling, or anything significant at all, which is just the point-- we can never know the significance of any one thing. We are too human for that, we have no gauge. Though I guess we get better at it.

Sue's anti-religion speech + the most recent scene to make me burst into some pretty serious tears . Still not even quite sure why.

if i have to go

Few celebrities make me as happy as the merest hint of Tom Waits does.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Oh Sir Frankie Crisp, you know what I mean.

I'm starting to realize more and more how difficult it is to be a good person. When you're young, things are of course simple because children think simply, right and wrong is a good deal easier to gauge, and usually when it comes to very serious things a child wouldn't even dream of doing something really truly bad (there are cases, of course, like those two British boys who killed that toddler-- don't look it up, it'll only depress and frighten you-- but I speak generally). Plus, in my case I think I was just a *good* kid. Overly cautious sometimes, even. Good-hearted and mature. Now I have more choices, more opportunities to fail at being good and kind and generous, outwardly and inwardly. I realize often that I choose to dwell on bad or negative things these days, or I just assume that I'm generally good because I think that I can tell the difference. I suppose it's apathy? There's a better word for it, and I use it all of the time, but I can't think of it right now. Anyway, I think my point is that it takes much more effort to be a real person than I used to think. It takes an effort to take care of oneself and to go further in life than just your front door. It takes effort to be kind, not just to people you care about but to people you don't understand. Giving people what they need from you (really need, not want) is a difficult thing. I've always liked to think that I'm a giving person, with my time and energy and money (when I have it) and love, but maybe I'm not so much.

Maybe I just need to keep up with the constant CHANGE, and never assume that I'm done growing up, that things are settled. Things are never settled. You have to keep rolling. I have to keep rolling, and finding new ways to be kind and loving while maintaining what I already have. I have to resist laziness in every form-- not easy for a depressed personality, as I've discovered over the past four years, because laziness can be the result of emotional exhaustion and stagnation, however I really must try all the harder. In the words of George Harrison, let it roll.

I'm in Coffee Bean right now, after a very productive day, and I'm trying to commit to writing but all I seem to FEEL like writing is this. Bah. Must get organized.

Hey there, Mr. T.

The simple fact is that coffee makes everything better.

I think I'm long overdue for a "good things" list. I shall do that later today.

EDIT: it is later today.


1. MY JOB.
It is epic. I probably won't talk about it too terribly much here, because even though my bosses aren't techies they may still find this and I don't want to be blabbing the details of their business all over the place. Still, the store is absolutely magic, the couple (who created the store, design all of the furniture in it as well as make the candles, run it all themselves. they have two adorable daughters and a fascinating backstory, interlaced with their work with many aspects of the art world) is magic, the job is magic. Yesterday was a big prep/writing day there, and I woke up super anxious that I was just not going to know what to do or how to approach it, but they were preoccupied with their own stuff so I figured out a ton of stuff out on my own and came up with some new ideas that they loved. I have alot of control already, and I think that will only grow (they want to do other things rather than just running the store all the time). I work the counter with them on the weekends and write/do newslettery salesthings on the weekdays. I'm learning about furniture design and arrangement and trendy stuff. I'm so excited and feel so hip, plus I have to dress nice while I'm there and dressing nice always makes me feel cooler than I am.

The great thing about being poor for weeks and not consuming nor having time to make coffee is that once I have it, it hits me damn hard (in a good way). I CAN DO ANYTHING with just a little bit of coffee! I woke up v. early this morning (as I do Mon/Wed/Fri) to go to my Aid job, and on the way over I was dying as I slept so poorly last night for whatever reason. I got to work early, still dying and sagging, and decided dammit, if ever there were a time for coffee it is now. I turned around, counted all of the change I had in my car, and bought a little iced coffee at Coffee Bean (iced so I could drink it quickly-- honestly, I don't know why I'm so sensitive to hot stuff, I can only drink coffee after it's been sitting for about 15 minutes). I turned into a super-heroine instantly, and despite having about 3 hours of sleep, I am still going now on my most productive day in a long time. Haven't had coffee in awhile? Have some. Really, do it.

3. Good music
Song: Conversation 16 by The National
I love the National, but when I sampled their newest album High Violet nothing really jumped out at me. Still, I downloaded a few songs some time ago and they've been slowly creeping into my consciousness. This one in particular is intriguing because while you listlessly listen all of a sudden you catch that it sounds like a story about zombies, and the chorus is "I was afraid/I'd eat your brains." Of course, it's my feeling that it's a pretty deep song about the monotony of Hollywood-type life (yeah the zombie analogy has been done before, but this feels a bit different). It sounds to me like a man has become an undead creature over his service in Hollywoodland (or the like), and either his zombie-ness threatens to zombi-fy a live girl (you're the only thing I want anymore, let's run away, I was afraid I'd eat your brains), or part of his zombiehood is his marriage to a zombie bride (lots of "we's" and we're in this together kind of stuff). Anyway, it's fantastic stuff.

Band: Cloud Cult
One of the few still making concept albums. I really like their stuff, especially "Running with the Wolves" and "There's So Much Energy In Us." I recommend, they're like a cooler sounding, less twee Polyphonic Spree, and the guy's voice is cool.

4. Cold
SoCal is a weird place. Two weeks ago it was flaming hot, almost like summer in Texas. LA had record-breaking highs. And then it got cold, and then it got kind of hot and sunny again, and now it's cold, damp, and cloudy-grey. I like seeing a bit of the sky, but I'm tired of the sun and warmth and all that. Cold! Cold I said! And the clouds heard me and bend to my will.

A few nights ago, a few people rallied together to go see an old favorite band, the demure duo called The Weepies in LA. It was a long-delayed Christmas present for my friend Maureen, who has loved the Weepies for forever and introduced me to them. The album Say I Am You was such a huge part of my life, and each song is so special that hearing about 40% of it live (and sounding PERFECT) was mind-blowing and deeply comforting and satisfying. Her voice is so velvety and soft and his voice is like... hot cocoa or something. They are both sweet people and I adored them and urge anyone to hear them live.

6. Happy dogs.
The dogs that my landlords own, two little mutty things named Gaby and Mocha, are precious. They're on the bigger side of "small," thank god, and they're not yappy unless someone is trespassing. Gaby is a fluffy part-poodle part something else (mostly part something else, she's fluffy and cute and not poodle-shaped at all though she does have the curlish poodle fur), an old, tired, sweet dog. She's Mr. V's dog, and very loyal. She doesn't like to do anything when he's not around. As far as Mocha is concerned, I'm not sure what kind of dog she is at all, has a weird thick little body and a sweet face with soft little eyes, but she's mostly precious because she loves everyone, comes to see me when she hears me moving around the house, and runs to the gate when she hears my car come home. She also loves walks, which I try to take her on because I'm nice like that. Anyway. It's nice to have someone be happy to see you when you come home.

7. Remembering weird weirdo things I did when I was younger.
Being surrounded by junior high kids (aid job) reminds me of what a weird kid I was, even in comparison to weird kids. I loved Sean Connery (I remember fantasizing about saying nice things about him at his AFI lifetime achievement thingy the night that it aired. yeah. like talking to the mirror about what a nice guy Mr. Connery was, and what a professional to work with ahahahahaha.... ahahahaha), I loved Judaism (not that that's a weird thing to love, of course, but it is a bit odd for a nine year old raised-Christian kid to perform hours of research about Jewish practices and holidays. I made my dollhouse people into a Jewish family and made them little decorations and accessories out of clay, and I marked all of the Jewish holidays on my calendar and had them celebrate every single one as orthodoxly as possible. I made copies of Jewish factoids from the books I had checked out and made it into my own huge blue Jewish book which I kept for a long time and referred to often), I was into Catwoman comic books and made a weekly pilgrimage to search for them, I started a business of printing off and cutting out those stupid "cartoon doll" things that were so popular when the internet first became really available to kids. Remembering those things are so hilarious to me, and that's just the tip of the iceberg, of course.

8. My ability to cook chicken and various other things.
So. When you run out of options all of a sudden cooking becomes a possibility. I have always sucked at cooking and the kitchen in general because it frightens me, but when left to my own devices I seem to be able to learn. That's kind of a pattern with me. I guess I'm just a hands-on learner with a psychotic fear of pressure from other people. Anyway, last week I started making things even though I couldn't remember for the life of me how to make most of it (what on earth did people use before the in-ter-nets?), but everything turned out alright. I even used a skillet. Skillets have always been particularly scary because I've never been sure as to what makes a skillet different from a frying pan and mostly prefer the microwave for everything. I know, I know, I make you talented cooks very ill. But I am learning! Another good thing.

9. Waking up to "Good Mornin'!" from Singin' in the Rain.
Annoying? Kinda. Worth it? Totally.
Bonus: I was very smug as I watched Glee the other night (stupid glee, why can't i quit you?!) and one of the characters said something like Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor duet in Singin' In The Rain with the song Make 'Em Laugh. They don't. It is in fact the Moses Supposes song that they famously duet with, along with the Fit as a Fiddle song etc. Make 'Em Laugh was all Donald. Gene just watched and laughed. Faillllllll, Glee. FAIL.

10. Silvery, glitter nailpolish.
That's all. It's just so shiny.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I was going to write chipperly about my financial plans once the paychecks start coming in (yeah, still living off that .74 cents), when I realized that I haven't yet recieved my bill from the government reminding me of what I still owe on my traffic ticket, which I didn't deserve, which I am paying off in installments. All of a sudden I had a horrible feeling. I dashed to my bank account.

Apparently the last payment I made, even though it said "debit 60.00" last time I looked, has now vanished. There are 60 dollars in my bank account that should be in the government's pocket. And I made the payment EARLY! And it SAID it was gone! SHIT. ALL I NEED IS THE GOVERNMENT MAD AT ME. I can't pay more money to them for fucking up. I can't believe this.

Ok. I know I just got a job and should be rejoicing, and I am, and I do, but 11 dollars an hour is chicken feed in comparison to what I have to get paid. My optimism is too fragile.

"Failure to comply will result in paying a civil assessment fee of 300.00, a hold placed on your driver's license, a civil judgement against you, referral to the Franchise Tax Board Intercept Program and wage garnishments."

Why me? Why am I so stupid that I didn't check on this earlier? Why did I think it would be fine? Why do I think anything is ever going to be fine?! WHAT HAS THE WORLD GOT AGAINST ME RIGHT NOW?!

I am so dashed.

Actually, it's not so bad, I'll get it figured out. I wish I had money.

I think I just need a real hug.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

he would know.

"A psychotic thinks that two and two is five. He's very candid. A neurotic knows that two and two is four, but HE CAN'T STAND IT."
-Danny Kaye

hi, john.

Really a shame that you died so young and all.

Yesterday was the much-hyped Lennon 70th birthday (or would-be 70th birthday if he hadn't been shot in 1980, ugh). I say much-hyped because it was surrounded by the release of some special edition stuff (remastered somethingorother hooplah) and the young!lennon movie (which I saw online months ago, and unless they recut it I am mostly unimpressed) and this and that. I think that's kind of a bummer. I mean, the fellow's dead. Is it a tribute or GASP a moneymaker??? I don't blame Yoko solely for that kind of stuff but of course her hand is in everything Lennon and her ownership is stifling. I'm sorry, their relationship was incredibly unstable at the time of his death, months before she was having an affair and the year before that she had CHOSEN a secretary to "give" to John and the two of them ran off and wasted away for a year before Yoko reigned him in (and made sure he'd never see the secretary again). I don't doubt that they loved each other, and of course that's not for anyone to say or speculate about, but I think it's certainly obvious that the woman was conniving and very good at keeping the willing John under her little tiny thumb. Anyway, my point was that it's weird to hear her talk about "john would have wanted you to give money to me, my life is devoted to my love for john, bla bla bla" when their relationship was shaky at best, and while John was all yay peace yay love yay activism he was also very moody, very sharp, very selfish and there's no telling what he'd go on to do. Anyway. I don't like seeing people capitalize on that kind of thing, I hope a portion of the money goes to charity at least.

Anyway, since yesterday was kind of a mini holiday for people who care about this kind of thing I celebrated by listening to my lennon best-ofs, accoustics, and plastic ono band stuff. One song on the accoustic is mainly a poorly recorded version of "it's real" which consists of John whistling and strumming. The minute it came on, the two little dogs in the house came running and barking to my door. It made me smile and think that the silly dogs and I were sort of similiar like that, still quite profoundly affected by something as crazy as pop music and John Lennon. Just goes to show you, the man still has it.

Listen to Oh Yoko and tell me it doesn't make you damn happy. Or instant karma's gonna get you.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

so silver, so exact.

So I'm listening to my own playlist, and You Are The Moon comes up.

I wonder sometimes if I could write a series of essays or short, biographical stories about every song that I love and how it's connected to me. This is one I found on some blog in early 2006 and put on a mix cd for myself. I carried around said mix cd (which included songs by Beirut, also my then-discovery, the song "eve of destruction" and instant karma by John Lennon) in my gigantic portable cd player so I could take it to the gym or listen to it while studying. My friends and I were music addicts, though, so sometimes if we were just sitting around I'd take out my player and just blare it through the headphones so we could all have at least some faint music. I remember the four of us being in the lame VC cafeteria one day in the fall, when the cold was creeping in, and I told everyone they had to hear a certain song on my cd to pass the time. I don't remember what that song was, because as soon as it ended You Are The Moon came on, which was my moody, dark and slightly depressed song of the time and I assumed most people I knew would not like my secret sad music, but my friend Josh immediately perked up at the sound of the piano. "What's that?" "...A sad song?" I tried to dismiss it. "I like it," Josh declared. My friend Jon pulled the headphones closer to listen. "I like it too." My friend Amanda, the psychotically happiest person on earth even liked it. So we listened to it on repeat for about fifteen minutes in the mostly empty cafeteria. Eventually everyone caught the Hush Sound bug, a bunch of my other friends-- also originally infected by You Are The Moon-- and I went to their concert. Still, I like to think I started it that day, not for the sake of receiving the credit (though I usually am obsessed with that. i admit it. it's a bad thing), but because I loved that afternoon.

That fall I was also very deep into the noir genre and wrote my first published-for-money story, Dead Day, as a response to that story (and a challenge. and a few other things. but anyway). Thinking about it, I had to get out my "quote book" wherein I, phasedly (no that's not a word), copy down striking quotes from books and poetry and films and wise people and such. Right next to the Jack Kerouac quote-- because yes, I was also into The Beat Generation then-- I found a tiny trove of hardboiled goodness. this was the first one:

"You've always been so good to me, you've taken care of me, you've been everything to me but what I was hoping you'd be. That isn't your fault. It isn't mine, either. It's just a miserable state of affairs..." -the burglar, david goodis

i believe i was reading that book that very day as i took the bus home.
life is funny.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I am so hungry. I am so hungry. I am so hungry for REAL food, I've only just realized that I've had nothing but coffee for the past three days. What. I didn't even know that was going on. I came home, turned on the teevee, and noticed that EVERY SINGLE COMMERCIAL featured some kind of fantastic food that I wanted to gobble down. Namely, pizza, which I of course like but only ever really want when I'm hungry. Oh my gosh. I want pizza NOW. Or mexican food. Or a huge burger. Or a steak. With potatoes. Lots of potatoes.

This is probably how people go mad. I have no food and no money to go out for some. I may perhaps swipe something from the people I live with, like cheese or something, but I want a MEAL. With MEAT and dairy and freakin' potatoes. It's cloudy, autumn weather outside and it's chilly and I want a cup of tea and LOTS OF FOOD. Damn. It. Give me food, world. Come on. Also, some good TV would be nice. And no pizza hut commercials. Thanks.

Edit: once again TV screws me over, the latest Glee episode depressed me with its lameness and also made me incredibly hungry for a grilled cheesus.

Edit: Every series on TV right now is featuring their "food" episode. this was so planned. I should turn off the TV and read, however I'm afraid that the only thing I'll be able to find is a cook book or something.

it's raining buckets tonight. i can hear it, and it's so wonderful and cold.

"Now and then we had a hope that if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates." – Mark Twain

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

[important things]

Well, news of job-ness got me out of my funk and got me writing today, I completely gutted and semi-re-wrote "Rhymes With Orange," a short script I wrote years ago that I've always wanted to make into a short film. I'm pleased about this. I've also been thinking of how easy it would be now to make a homeschool-mockumentary, as it is not something that has to "look" good at all, and I have at present connections to the young homeschool drama kids who would probably be willing to volunteer (Bernie...?), so I'm thinking of gutting my original script and writing a short (or a short series of them) and filming them sometime soon. I can picture that going very well. I'm still thinking of my Alice Noir shorts as well, however I would like for those to "look" nice, and with my camera and lack of lighting skills I'm scared of that not happening. Also, as I've been working on it and outlining, it's taken a bit of a dark turn, far more whorish and sketchy characters are surfacing, so I'm not sure if that limits the actor possibilities.

I have this great idea for the tea party scene, which will of course be in black and white, when Alice comes upon the Mad Hatter, the March Hare, and the Doormouse all sitting at a table. The Mad Hatter and the March Hare light about a million cigarettes for the duration of their chat, and place each one in their respective saucers. Each of the saucers would be on a lazy-susan kind of thing, and every time they pause to find their cigarette it will have moved away. By the end of the conversation the Doormouse, in the middle-- the top of his/her head barely visible over the tabletop-- will have a billion cigarettes in his/her mouth and hands. Bahaha.

Well, I thought it was funny.

Anyway, I want to work on that stuff. I have also assembled a goal list (well, I assembled it last month but I've been too despondent to care about it lately). My screenwriting teacher recommended such a thing-- a list of ten goals that I can see every day. It should change every six months, even if some things are not achieved. This is what is on mine:

1. Win a screenwriting contest. [part B- sell something in said contest]
2. Hook amazing internship.
3. Pay off credit debt.
4. Write/finish true-life script (my deadpan, Greenberg-I-hope-esque "this is my life story" script, which I hope to make one day, somewhat like the film "Tiny Furniture" which was a big inspiration).
5. Go to New York.
6. Shoot Rhymes With Orange
7. Lose enough weight so can look fabulous in Sacred Blue Dress (purchased before graduation, however with stupid extra weight does not look good AT ALL- pregnant is the word that comes to mind)
8. Get an agent.
9. Publish a story in print.
10. Go abroad.

tacked on: 11. Play guitar.

These are the biggies. Some are doable, some will be transferred to my next six-month goal list. At present, it makes me happy to look at it.

Some other things I hope to do:

Screenwrite, of course. And work on my novelish thing from time to time.
Work on the little short films.
Attend therapy. I don't and won't have money for it anytime soon, so in the meantime I've decided to try a group therapy for depressed and bipolar people that meets on Tuesday nights. I missed it tonight, but I'm going to try for next week.
Return to church. I have been going so rarely due to the expense (gas) and depression/sickness, really, and that in and of itself makes me depressed.
Volunteer. I thought about doing so quite a bit over this stretch of Doing Nothing, but I was far too bogged down by the monotony of Doing Nothing that I did nothing. Bah. The library downtown has a literacy program, so I may try to be a part of that twice a week. Literacy is one of the few causes that I think of quite a bit (the other two, for the most part, being autism and homelessness, but one thing at a time).
Read again. I was on a blitz there for awhile and then I just stopped. Still trying to get through East of Eden and Running with Scissors, both very easy books to read but for some reason my mind hasn't been capable of paying attention.

Also, in order to lose weight, I need to make some sort of plan. I'm trying to negotiate a bike, which will make this much easier, as I love biking (WIND IN THE HAAAAIR) and will probably be more apt to get out of the house into the air if I had such a thing. I hope. Also, I'm going to get back to walking the dogs, which will be some pleasant cardio every day. I don't know about eating habits. I either want to curl up and eat all of the food in the world or drink coffee and eat nothing-- neither option has done me much good. I wish I had the clear mind and motivation that I did after we moved to California in 2004, I immediately just GOT ON IT and lost a bazillionedy pounds while reading a bazillionedy books and watching almost the entire Criterion Collection. And then I made friends, hahaha. Oh well. There always has to be a trade-off I suppose.

Also, I know I'm so late to the party, but Empire State of Mind has a fantastic chorus. I plan on singing it to myself (as well as my entire, carefully selected "NY State of Mind" playlist) as I explore the streets of my beloved someday-city. Ahh. Ahh. I'm over-caffienated and underfed today (option 2), but also a bit hopeful. Just a bit.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

i don't care if it hurts

When I first read about it, I thought it sounded like the weirdest thing. The trailer made it look like either a business/court-room drama or simply the evolving of facebook itself as a tool from Harvard and beyond. However, after seeing it, I've started to think that it's alot more than that, and despite a few minor complaints I feel as though it's true, what all of the reviewers are saying-- it's a defining movie. It's not about facebook the website so much as WHY facebook the website is what it is. It's left me with some very brow-furrowing thoughts. I hate to be a cheerleader for the bandwagon, but when they're right they're right. SEE IT. And then let's talk.