Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Recap '08

It's snowing here in CT. I'm flying back to LA from Providence tomorrow assuming the white stuff does not keep me prisoner. Watched Kung Fu Panda and Prince Caspian last night. In a year without Wall-E I would have been quite impressed with Kung Fu Panda, though I think the latter translates better on the small screen. I like the palette. I read the Narnia books half a lifetime ago (more maybe), and I didn't remember much of Prince Caspian. I think I found him quite dull originally, but I liked the movie. Ben Barnes' accent is frightful, and the movie--hell, the story--is not really a children's one when you think about it. And it's hardly clear that what the children and Caspian are doing are right. It's great that they want to bring the Narnians out from hiding, but is it right to do so by attacking one's home? I don't know. There was something not quite right about it all. I think I preferred The Silver Chair.

Watching Caspian also dredged up old memories about the Susan problem, which apparently has bothered everyone else too. And here I thought it was just me. In the last book SPOILER ALERT all the children die in a train accident, except, presumably, Susan. I don't remember if it was clear whether Susan died and just didn't get to go to Narnia, or if she survived. And if she survived, would she get to go to Narnia later? I was kind of under the impression that Susan had stopped believing. Which is great if you're writing a Christian fable, as Mr. Lewis was, but still, did anyone really buy that Susan would have stopped believing in Narnia? Narnia was always a little bit bigger than what it was supposed to represent, and I (and apparently lots of other people always felt let down because of the Susan problem. Sadness.

Christmas was good. Went up to Mass as usual, had some good food, got a few decent gifts and some money to keep me from total poverty. Went to Philly on Sunday but was feeling quite sick, and then was in New York on Monday--had a swell time, but now I have something wrong with my ear and it's exquisitely painful. Ibuprofen helps a bit.

It's been quite a wild year, I think, and I hope the next one is a lot more chill. I have my doubts, what with the economy and this mess in Gaza and basically the majority of the people in the world sucking hard, but maybe it'll turn out all right on the end.

And now my sister insists on rewatching Caspian in our messy living room, which is where I'm typing this, so I'm going to jet. See you on the flip side.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I wish I lived here, but LA's good too.

This Is Where We Live from 4th Estate on Vimeo.

Saw this on the NY Times' book blog, Paper Cuts. Lovely.

Happy Christmas Eve, y'all, from snow-covered and recently-rained-on Connecticut!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I Capture(d) the Castle

Fan-friggin-tastic book. The plot may be formulaic and obvious in a way, but it's just written so beautifully and the main character, Cassandra, is an exquisite first-person narrator. Highly rec'd, particularly for Anglophiles and/or girls. And that the book cost me $1 at the dollar bookstore in Burbank just makes it even better.

Sidenote: Dodie Smith wrote 101 Dalmatians and had a dog named Pongo. I didn't realize the movie was an adaptation. You learn something every day. Or, in my case, two months.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Did you know...

there's a bird called a godwit?

Isn't that fantastic news?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

questions we've all asked ourselves

Why don't they just friggin' make Justin Timberlake an SNL castmember? Huh?

Saturday, December 6, 2008


The sky in Joshua Tree was a such a rich and vibrant blue, I felt like I might be in the Caribbean, hanging upside down from the sky over the cerulean sea.

Need to write. Need time. Need to not be hassled by stupid things like the brace in my mouth coming off, or potential life-threatening disease, or fights in the neighbors' parking lot, or weird tax things. Need to be amazing and amazed, really.

Need money. Fret.

Made paper snowflakes today and bought a fake Christmas tree and decorated it. Ate potentially undercooked chicken. Sleepy now. Good night.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Joshua Tree, Palm Springs

Boy did I pack in a lot yesterday. Had a physical, finally using my health insurance. Lumps in my breast, apparently, so everyone knock on wood and cross their fingers that it's just like sand or something that got in there and not the c-word (either of them).

After that, I took Smita and Cornelia to Joshua Tree in my crazy large Toyota Avalon rental. The car's a friggin' boat and it scares the Mahatma out of me. Ironically, the standard Enterprise car is a Chevy Aveo, but I got a free upgrade (that I would have preferred not to have) to the damn Avalon. My grandparents have this car. It is intimidating.

Anyhow, Joshua Tree was cool. Nothing in bloom. Lots of crazy rock stackings. Gorgeous view of the San Andreas Fault. But it's the Mojave. It's desert. And it's not African desert. It's desolate Eastern California desert.

But I got to see the windmill farms. Super-cool during the day. Kinda thought they might turn into zombie monsters and attack us in formation on the way back.

Went to Palm Springs for dinner. Ate at Boscoso. My friends are vegetarians, I am not, and each one of us had the BEST Italian food ever. It was so good I wanted to cry, and all I had was your basic spaghetti and meatballs. Cannot recommend it enough. You know, if you're already out there.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Good ideas

I haven't seen Australia yet--the run time's a bit daunting, considering I spend 40 hours a week watching about 5 to 6 hours worth of television, but I love the idea of a national epic and was already thinking of movies that could someday might make a nice box set with Australia when Vanity Fair beat me to the punch with this. Who wouldn't watch a Lorne Michaels-produced epic starring Alanis Morissette and Dan Aykroyd? I just hope Enrico Colantoni gets to be in it. Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams might be too big to get, but the greatest TV dad since Bill Cosby should definitely be in it. You know, assuming it were a go.

Also, I never eat cinnamon buns. Most are too gooey for me, but I saw the large square fluffy ones at Porto's in Burbank today, and I had to have one. For $1.50, it was a no-brainer, and damn was it good. More bun, less stickiness. Completely balanced. Mmm.

Tomorrow, friends from out-of-town are stopping by on their round-the-country trek, and I'm thinking of hitting up the Christmas lights at Griffith Park and maybe the Paris Review celebration thingamajig Tuesday night. What else? Hmm...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

thankful for

I'm alive. Number one.

Great books. I'm reading The Flaneur now, and it's fascinating.

Veronica Mars on DVD. I didn't watch it back in the day due to a disinterest in anything starring Kristen Bell. I was wrong, and now I get to enjoy this awesome show.

Good friends.

David Lebovitz's blog. Totally entertaining. It doesn't freak out like and

Christmas. It's a weird frigging holiday, but it's dang seductive.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

horrible day

Car accident. Don't want to talk about it. My eye's twitching. Not eating dinner. Going to go broke in all likelihood.

Feel like crying and I don't have any shoulders to do so on.

question about meaning

I have heard a lot of people talking about how our American soldiers are protecting our freedom abroad. And I would like someone who believes this to explain to me what they mean. I'm not baiting here. I'm just confused. Do you mean freedom from fear by fighting terrorists? Because I would buy that. But if you mean you think if they're not over in Iraq and Afghanistan, our nation will be enslaved by those governments, um, I have some news for you. Iraq and Afghanistan have enough trouble governing the square mileage they already have. They're not looking to expand. What precisely do you think will happen when we leave those countries? I haven't forgotten 9/11, and it's entirely possible that our presence overseas has changed hearts and minds, and secretly, the people who wanted to kill Americans are either altering their perceptions or are dying BECAUSE our soldiers are over there, but that's not what's being presented to us. What's being presented to us is not that we have more friends than enemies than we did seven years ago. As far as I can tell, there is no thesis statement to this war. Are we aiding the nation-building process? Are we hunting Al Qaeda in the hopes that one day we'll actually eliminate all of them, or that one day, Osama bin Laden's going to come out of his cave and say, "Look, you're right. I've realized the error of my way. Jihad's off"? Or that he'll kill himself a la Hitler and his groupies will just slough off their worldviews?

So if someone could explain to me what freedom specifically the soldiers are protecting, that would really help things because right now, I don't get how I'm more free than I would be if they were here instead.

Friday, November 21, 2008

the TV obituating continues

Oh, sadness. Pushing Daisies has officially died. That was a truly sweet show. Great "procedural."

Went to San Jose earlier this week for my faux Thanksgiving. Was yummy. I won Monopoly. Jealous yet?

I'm gonna see Bolt tonight. Left my cell phone at my internship. Must go pick it up now. This is my friggin' life.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

a thing

I'm actually disappointed about Lipstick Jungle's cancellation. Sure it's got an offensive title, but it was entertaining television.

Things That Scare Me--A Series

Scary Christmas decoration only the rich and brave can afford.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Green apples, brie, french bread--how did I know not about this awesomeness? Thank you, Aroma Cafe!

You know that song "Love Me Dead" by Ludo? It sounds familiar in part, and I finally figured out why. It's kind of like the Grinch song! Think about it. Listen to them. You'll see what I mean.

Monday, November 10, 2008

MIT's open courseware

Yale's list of online classes looks measly in comparison to MIT's.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


I bought soft, fluffy iris-colored towels today and a Winnie-the-Pooh Christmas stocking. Pure luxe. Razor blades are absurdly and almost prohibitively expensive. I'm starved for Christmas.

Writing a story partly based on personal circumstances, partly based on a heightened, improved reality where the fictional shoves its sticky fingers up the nose of the actual.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

book excitement

I've been a little grouchy lately, but something to keep my spirits up is the imminent release of an English translation of Roberto Bolano's 2666. I haven't been this excited about a new book since... I can't remember. I'm not sure why I'm so excited about it, considering I haven't read The Savage Detectives and considering Jonathan Lethem's piece in the Times absurdly waits until the fourth paragraph to mention Bolano's name and through sheer force of egoism could all but wipe out any desire any person might ever have to delve into this massive tome.

Still, I want the book badly. I may even buy it for myself. At a bookstore.

By the way, I know my reading list hasn't been updated lately, and that's not because I'm not reading. I'm reading about 1,000 pages a week, roughly, but it's for my internship, so it doesn't count. Right now, for my own pleasure, I'm reading The Eye in the Door, the second book in Pat Barker's Regeneration trilogy. So far I prefer the first, but it's still engrossing.

Also, in other books news, Alan Bennett is a total class act.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Open Letter, Part 8

Dear Peter Tolan,

I know, I know, my open letter has been on hiatus. And it happened with no warning... kind of like on network TV. So bravo to you for skirting the troublesome big five (yeah, I include the CW) for delicious, nutritious Showtime.
Now sometimes a creative project works immediately (as I'm sure The End of Steve will) but sometimes the audience a project was meant for just doesn't seem to be finding it, whether it's because of poor PR, constant shuffling of time slot, or because the show sucks. In my case, I'm sure it's because I'm blogging to an infinite void, so for now, I'm going to shut down production, not because I don't still desperately want to be your show's Writers' Assistant or a Writers' PA or something! -- but because I understand that I can only do so much. If you find me and order a back 9, I'll be happy to let you know more, specifically, about my skills. Until then, consider this little experiment dormant.

After all, it was a little absurd.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

inverted silver linings and such

It feels like a dream, doesn't it? Obama's win. It's too beautiful a thing that I keep readying myself to wake up. All day, I've been in a low-calorie haze of disbelief. I knew he should be voted in, but for it to happen so effortlessly at the end, for it to be a LANDSLIDE, was just too much.

Of course, reality is, this beautiful state with its beautiful 55 electoral votes to our President-Elect also managed, despite a smart, passionate, but fair ad campaign against it, to approve Proposition 8 to ban gay marriage. I find this astounding. I know the OC is a bastion of rich conservatives and that there's a healthy Catholic population thanks to the Hispanic contingent, but I never thought that they were enough to pass this horrifying and presumable unconstitutional piece of legislation. Our ads made it clear that it's not about religious beliefs, which should never come into matters of law, but about civil rights. Stunning that.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

open letter, part 7

Dear Peter Tolan,

Tonight is not about me. Tonight is about Ohio. Hooray!

Knock on wood.


Voted today in the garage of a private residence. Wasn't murdered. That's why America's so great.

Monday, November 3, 2008

open letter, part 6

Dear Peter Tolan,

Sometimes you put yourself out there, trying to get a job not just because you have a passionate desire to do that job but because you think the world would be a better place with you in that job, that somehow you and that job belong together. Sometimes, you're a guy running for President, and sometimes, you're a girl blogging an open letter to a producer who may never read it for the position of Writers' Assistant. Of course, one is of international importance, and the other is a little more local and personal, but what's the good of an election if you can't exploit it for personal comparisons?


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Open letter, part 5

Dear Peter Tolan,

It's November. That means cold weather is on its way, and while I know LA is not a place that knows cold like we New England-born types know cold, hot chocolate is an integral part of surviving the winter. I make fantastic hot chocolate, not to mention tasty pumpkin treats. Writers need good, sugary sustenance. By Aristotelian logic, that means writers need me. Do we really want to flout Aristotle after everything he's done for us? I think not.


Saturday, November 1, 2008

open letter, part 4

Dear Peter Tolan,

Look at me. I've missed the whole point, haven't I? That's okay. Consider the first three parts character development. Now we get to the point--why I want to work on your show.

I love risk-taking stories that care more about relationship and the organic, committed building of a world than contrived special events and arbitrary coupling-up and tearing apart. Ferocity and spirit are rare in television. You, Perry, Showtime, Rochester? That's some drama I want to be a part of. I know I haven't earned baby writer status just yet, but I'm smart as hell, cool as hell frozen over, and one hungry, original, awesome, generous, spirited, and did I mention tall before? woman.

Oh, and bonus: I have an eye for detail that really pisses people off. Who likes being told that they forgot about a character, didn't resolve a situation, or resurrected an object in Act 4 that was broken in Act 2? No one, but I don't mind being that person. It's for the good of the story, for the integrity of the show, and nothing matters more than treating the audience like they deserve the best.


Friday, October 31, 2008

Open letter, part 3

Dear Mr. Tolan,

Hope you had a Happy Halloween. Don't forget to set your clocks this weekend.

Another reason why I would be a great writers' assistant:

I don't drink. Ever. At all. I will never come to work with a hangover. I will never not come to work hung over. I'm always happy to be a designated driver. And I'm not judgmental about other people drinking. Okay, I am, but that's only because I care. And usually, I keep it to myself so long as no one's liver is screaming.

Good night,

Thursday, October 30, 2008

open letter part 2

Dear Mr. Tolan,

More reasons why you should hire me:

Your show is set in Rochester, New York. I've BEEN to Rochester. Heck, my sister is a senior at RIT. I've got the inside scoop.

I'm a hard worker. Adamantium-level hard. Right now, I'm working 60 hours a week and only being paid for 40 (re: unpaid internship), that's how I'm passionate about learning more about television and great writing.

I'm Massachusetts-born, just like you and Mr. Perry. Mass people must stick together. I've heard things about Minnesotans starting cliques, and it's only right we fight back. I'm sure Mr. Leary would agree.

I'll be back with more tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

an open letter to Peter Tolan

Dear Peter Tolan,

I have searched high, low, and at sea level, but to no avail. And by avail I mean "discovery of the production contact information for The End of Steve, your new Showtime series." According to IMDb, you're in preproduction. That's great, and soon, when you're in production, you're going to need a Writers' Assistant. I would be a fantastic WA. Why? Because I care, Mr. Tolan. I care enough to embarrass myself by posting an open letter on a silly blog. Also, I can type at Flash-level speeds, am a star at research, and happen to be very tall, which means I can find things short writers might need that were accidentally put in high places.
As long as there's a chance you might read this and hire me, I will continue to post open letters with reasons for why you should hire me. I imagine persistence, dedication, and passion will be among them.

Thank you,

Kati Stevens

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Gavin Rossdale, Simpsons, armed robbery, and so forth

Mad Men's second season is over, but The Simpsons' Halloween episode this Sunday might make the loss a bit easier.

Eventful few days. Thursday night I attended a carnival-themed party at Jerrold Pressman's beach house in Santa Monica. Gorgeous house, gorgeous guests. Gavin Rossdale sang songs from the Bush days and his latest material, Kingston ran amuck, Jon Lovitz didn't blink, and my friend flirted with Billy Bush, until he realized she only wanted him for his potential Gavin connections. We ate yummy miniature food, played carnival games (I won a snake AND a giraffe doll with my prowess) and watched contortionists and firedancers. We met some cool people, including a next-door neighbor, a guard, and a couple who did get signed photos of Gavin, but somehow managed not to get their names. Hopefully, I'll run across 'em sometime. Pretty frickin' awesome in any event. Thanks, 104.3 MYFM!

Today, I took a break from writing one of my last two posts for Treehugger and walked to the mall for lunch. Some kind of armed robbery happened while I was there and to prevent us from dying in any potential crossfire, I had to hide out in the kitchen of Barney's. For some reason, none of this is in the news. I guess no one died.

After I calmed down, I headed back home only to be diverted by a car fire.

Just another day in LA.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

fire in the Sepulveda Pass

I had to deal with the worst traffic of my life this morning because of the fire last night that wiped out the side of the hill. Almost 100 minutes to get to Santa Monica. MADNESS.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

17 redux

I consider myself a highly critical person. Ask my family, my friends, people who hate me--they'll all agree. In fact, when I become an incredibly successful writer in oh, say, the next year or two, I won't be one of those writers who harps on what twats critics are because I appreciate them. I may not always agree with them, but it's important for the potential audience or reader to have the opportunity to read what someone with brains and taste thought of the film (to whom it doesn't matter of the piece of work fails or not and is, as such, unbiased) before the reader/audience member wastes his or her money.

So yeah, I am super-critical.

But I gotta say (there is a point, dammit!) that 17 Again looks friggin' adorable. I don't really get the whole Zac Efron thing, but darn it, he's more charming than old school Lohan in the trailer. I watched the trailer because of Mr. Perry, but hell if I'm not gonna see the movie because of Mr. Efron and what seems to be a really witty twist on a familiar story line. Thank you, merciful Lord.

As you might be able to tell, I've been reading ALOT for my internship, and it's both educational and slightly frustrating. Originality, believe it or not, isn't hard. Charm, though, is. Absolutely is. Signature style that's not obnoxious--titanium-hard. It's humbling, really.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Ah, the stories. I was quite inspired tonight waiting in line FOREVER to see Michel Gondry at the Hammer, UCLA's museum named after the baking soda guy. Or is it baking powder? Pretty sure soda.
Wrote lots of notes into my phone, and then Michel spoke, and I'm fairly certain the moderator didn't understand him too well. His accent's thick, though I didn't have a problem with it. That sounds pretty smug, mostly because it was. In any event, Michel went off on a mini rant about people who call you closed-minded for not smoking pot, and it took every blood-soaked thread of inner strength not to run on the stage and embrace Michel. There's nothing more annoying than people who didn't get the whole "peer pressure is rude" thing we learned from birth. Respect people's choices. And for anyone to call Michel closed-minded is absurd. The man's one of the most creative geniuses alive.
So LOVED Gondry even more than I thought I would. Lovely man. You can watch it too, I believe, when they get their podcast thing running in a month. I'll link up when it happens.

After that, I did some quick fruit and veggie shopping at Whole Foods. Picked up some milk as well, and the lady in front of me was rude enough not to move her cart, so I put my basket down until all her food had gone through and then picked my basket back up. The milk had shifted and when I raised it, the jug swandived out of the basket and splattered the bitch without leaving a bit of milk on the floor. I apologized, but personally, I think it served her right. And anyhow, it was skim.
After the woman left, the cashier confided that that was one of the coolest things he has seen (I'm assuming he meant recently), so that was nice.

Am going to see Gavin Rossdale at a beach house party Thursday night. Kind of incredibly awesome.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Obama and Jed

This is a little old, but it's Sorkin at his awesomest, and it's been a while since I've had some awesome Sorkin in my life.

By the way, how awesome is it that Matthew Perry's getting his own Showtime show? I would give my right arm to work on it. After which I would be pretty useless as it would take me a long time to learn how to function as a writer with only my left arm. In any event, hooray for The End of Steve, which also gives us more of the brilliant Peter Tolan.

Saw Body of Lies, which I didn't think I'd still be thinking about, but here's what's not readily apparent but interesting about this movie. Leo's character is me. Okay, not me, but how I'd want to be if I were working for the government, how every liberal-minded brainiac hopes they'd be able to be as a CIA operative. Russell Crowe's character isn't just the Republicans. It's your mom and your cat and the four-year-old you're babysitting: people who don't care if what they do is the smart thing to do or the right thing to do just so long as they're in control. They don't want to let the expert in the field do what he has to do. They want to interfere, they want to put in their two cents and take out a dollar. And the consequences are what the movie portrays. It's not a revelatory film, but it is eminently viewable.

Monday, October 13, 2008

fire in the Valley, smoke in my lungs

NOT awesome.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Thursday, October 9, 2008


For this first time in a while I'm in a good place. I just started an internship which I really like, I finally received my guitar, and I'm making more friends and/or hanging out more with the ones I do have. I'm reading some great stuff, and I'm writing some good stuff that hopefully people can read soon. Good television. Lots of the "good."

Now just as long as my computer doesn't explode, I'll be happy.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


Kinda rocks this year, huh? The new cast members aren't awesome, and any Fred Armisen bit other than his impression of Obama scares the crap out of me. But good hosts (Anne Hathaway rocked it, I think) and Tina Fey's Sarah Palin impression and really good sketches have made it awesome. Also, Kristen Wiig is just continuously hilarious.

Amy Poehler is super-pregnant. I love it. I'll miss her when she's gone.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Ms. Robinson

I haven't read a whole Marilynne Robinson book straight through, but I mean to. Until that moment, I think this interview in The Paris Review gives you a peek at her incredible intellect.

On another note, I think it's helpful to note that across the board there is not a smidge of consistency in how successful writers work. Some of my favorite writers don't write every day, they don't write outlines, and they have a hell of a time answering questions about mechanics. Other writers I worship do in fact have precise methods and hours. How you work is how you work, so don't let any teacher tell you otherwise. If your writing sucks, it's not necessarily because you didn't write an outline.

the whole shebang

So far, no professionals have liked my 30 Rock spec enough to give me a fellowship so back to the writing board ('cause I don't draw). It's fine, just disappointing.
Got an internship at a truly stellar film company. Excited to start next week. But we're talking 60 hour weeks, so I'm gonna be giving up writing for Planet Green and Treehugger in the next two weeks.
Read the complete Persepolis. You should too.

Saw Synecdoche, New York, which I have trouble saying. After the screening, my idol Charlie Kaufman was there. He was a lot more...normal than I expected. And despite the trailers, Synecdoche wasn't bad at all. It was very funny and very, very weird. I think it will appeal more to the people who liked Being John Malkovich more than Eternal Sunshine. Which isn't me. But still. It's completely insane, but for whatever it's lacking, it's definitely worth seeing when it comes out. All the actors are excellent, the set is fascinating, and it's just--an experience.

Monday, September 29, 2008

in which I am a genius

I don't know how I knew this, but I totally knew the trivia question on the Travel Channel Web site. I don't know how I knew that the Namal tribe was on Vanuatu (as opposed to Samoa or Palau or wherever), but I did. I knew. And now you do too.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

concerns/ Eagle Eye

I'm so wildly self-absorbed right now with forward motion in my career that I don't think I'm taking the banking crisis seriously enough. WaMu's failure, however, has definitely set my teeth on edge. On the edge of what I'm not sure, but my mouth is not a happy place to be right now... gross?
People keep talking about recession when they should be talking about a depression. I know that's a scary word, and damn, if I'm not scared. I keep thinking about Carnivale and growing evermore nervous.

Saw Eagle Eye tonight at the Arclight for free! Hee! Good times. Actually got decent seats, relatively easy parking, was nice. The movie's a little jittery a la Cloverfield, but that's less about the camerawork than the ridiculous action sequences. Impressive, really, and the story, while crazy, at least followed some kind of logical thread. Acting was good. Really the only problem I had was the core computer thing, Aria, which was way too familiar-looking. It looked like a cross between the ship's computer in Wall-E, a Justin Timberlake music video set, and Cerebro. But, despite the happy ending (sorta), it was thoroughly entertaining. It's an excellent action movie. Insane, but enjoyable. Rec'd.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Book roundup

The summer is officially over, and so now onto autumn reading. At the moment, I'm flipping through some Mayle, Proust, Gombrich, and a book I have to review for TreeHugger.

Summer recap: I finished reading ten books and made a dent in Video Night. Only four of the books were straight-out fiction, which is unusual for me, I think, but becoming more and more the norm. Of the books on my "hope-to" list, I finished Adventures in the Screen Trade, Maps and Legends, and No Country for Old Men. Ten books is certainly solid, considering I only read seven and a short story in the spring, and a few of those books were one-dayers. I think having a list helps as did some cross-country flying.

So my autumn goals are to read the two books I have to read for TreeHugger, finish A Year in Provence, read at least two more books that I already own, and finish Video Night. I'd also like to read the next book in the Pat Barker trilogy.

So my goal is eight good books. With my new Friday-Monday schedule and a possible internship in the works, I have no idea if this is possible, but a girl has to dream big.

TV watch

When I heard about The Mentalist, I wasn't interested. It wasn't much of a hook. Another crime-a-week show, another extremely talented and observant detective with issues. But when it works, it works. I enjoyed the pilot quite a bit.
First episodes of the season of The New Adventures of Old Christine and How I Met Your Mother? Rock star solid. I didn't know how well they were gonna pull off Christine and Barb's wedding or Barney's falling in love with Robin, but both were handled with originality, wit, and aplomb. I don't actually know what aplomb is without looking it up, but I know it's something like sophistication, and damn, if that ain't it.
Privileged is cute, watchable. The least obnoxious show on the CW by a mudslide.
I continue to be House-happy. Bones, too. They're smart shows. Unlike another Fox show, a new Fox show, an over-hyped, lame-ass Fox show.

But my mama told me not to say anything if I don't have something nice to say, so I will keep my mouth shut about the other shows I've seen and hated. Can't wait till tomorrow night. Too much good TV to stand!

Friday, September 19, 2008

movies and surprises

I'm fairly certain Appaloosa is gonna bomb hugely. Why? Not sexy. Unexciting trailers (assuming you've even see one--not heavily advertised). No one of consequence under the age of 40. Viggo Mortensen with too many clothes on. Can't win.

I'm worried about the Synecdoche, NY trailer. Can the greatest screenwriter of our time direct? It's not clear from the trailer.

Bought a cookie last night. Forgot to eat it. WHICH NEVER HAPPENS.
Found it this afternoon. Ate it. Delicious.

two cents on Nicholls

Starter for Ten reminds me a bit of my college years, though I didn't need alcohol to feel like a twat nearly all of the time. I love our wannabe hero because I know where he's coming from. Other than that, the story's fairly predictable. Good read, but if you only have six months to live and you're making a list of books you must read before March, you can safely die without having read this one.
And yes, I am heartily ashamed of my punny title to this post. What of it?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Rachel Getting Married

Last night I saw Rachel Getting Married. Jonathan Demme has made some great films, and that's why people choose to forget that he's made some others that weren't as great. I don't think you should go into this film, thinking about Jonathan Demme. Though you'll probably see it because of Anne Hathaway, who I've never had a problem with and who I think is the least interesting part of this movie.
It's a strange, strange film. There's no plot, though there's plenty of story. It's a fantasy multicultural joyous wedding movie, a cliched, stupid drug addict out of rehab movie, an incredible family character study, a strange, strange movie. It's like Ordinary People meets Monsoon Wedding meets Girl, Interrupted set in a mythical Connecticut I didn't grow up in. The camerawork's a little irritating, a little Bourne/Cloverfield, which I don't love, but you get used to it.
I don't know what to say about it because it's not really original when you think about it, and yet it feels completely unique and unpretentious (I'm talking to you, Noah Baumbach). I wish Rosemarie DeWitt and Bill Irwin (the mute guy in Northern Exposure, speaking, wonderful!) were in more movies. I feel like I met Mather Zickel once at a party or saw him at UCB or something. Or maybe he's just very similar to Jarrett Grode, who I DID see at a party once. He's good. Surprising casting. Anne's just a bit shrieky, and I suppose you could argue she does her character justice but it feels like a star in an indie film. She's not an "actor" anymore. She's a commodity. And she's just too big for it. Though it's probably why it's getting any attention. Sorry, Demme, it ain't cause of you.
The music was interesting, persistent, added to the surrealism.
The sisters' relationship, however, was incredibly authentic. That's a bit how I am with my sisters. Brutal, but loving, but really, sometimes, you just want to beat the pulp out of them. Of course, no one else is allowed to. So that's the writer's skill shining through. Go, Jenny Lumet.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

in which Team McCain shows they have no understanding of the meaning of the word "sexism"

This, per TV Guide:
"Well, I think she looked a bit like her," former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina said on MSNBC. "I think, of course, the portrait was very dismissive of the substance of Sarah Palin, and so in that sense, they were defining Hillary Clinton as very substantive, and Sarah Palin as totally superficial.

"I think that continues the line of argument that is disrespectful in the extreme, and yes, I would say, sexist in the sense that just because Sarah Palin has different views than Hillary Clinton does not mean she lacks substance. She has a lot of substance."

Look, there wasn't a single thing in that sketch that wasn't DEAD ON. And I'm sick of people throwing around the word "sexist" or "racist" at people who mock Obama or Palin or Clinton. Basically, it makes their campaigns completely about this one thing. If you're voting for them, it's BECAUSE they're a woman or a minority. If you don't, it means you must be a sexist or racist. That's absurd and unfair.
If you want to accuse the SNL sketch of having a liberal bias, be my guest. And yes, it did make Sarah Palin look very superficial. But NOT BECAUSE she's a woman. Because she's clearly unqualified in every respect. If McCain had picked a man as clearly inexperienced, he'd get reamed too. And to accuse Tina Fey of sexism is possibly one of the most absurd things I've heard this week.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


This "power-sharing deal" is madness, is it not?

the power of overused words on Bravo

Phrase on which I would like to put a moratorium:

"Step it up."

Please, if you're around me, don't use this phrase. My ears will spontaneously commence bleeding. God, it made my spine shudder just to type those words.

in case you missed it...

Tina Fey rocks Sarah Palin's impression of Tina Fey pretending to be a Republican vice presidential candidate. And Amy's gold.

New York, Boo York

Back in LA, and surprisingly, happy about it. CT did me a solid with its greenery and rain, and NY reminded me how much I was unhappy there, what with all the inconveniences of the subway (broken AC in subway cars, schedule changes) and the fact that the secondary and, in my opinion, more enjoyable Strand (the one near South Street Seaport) is closing up shop. I'm glad I got to go in and say good-bye before it went to indie bookstore heaven. Not a lot of decent books left, but everything was 70% off. Got a dollar copy of Starter for 10 by David Nicholls, which was originally called something else and renamed with its movie title. Bit rough. The book's okay so far, but the real value is in the fact that it reminded me of baps! Baps, if you don't know, are delicious soft rolls, and when I lived in London and had a tiny kitchen that I shared with four other girls and a refrigerator made to fit in a doll's house, I became a great consumer of bap and grape jelly sandwiches. It was the first time I ate any kind of jam or jelly without peanut butter, and let me tell you, for a long time, it was my staple. I was thinking about that recently, but I couldn't remember the name of the kind of bread until I read it in the book.

My mom and I went on the Waterfalls boat tour to check out the Eliasson installations. I particularly like the Brooklyn Bridge fall, though they are all nice, and the one on Governor's Island looks quit nice from afar. From certain angles, the one on the Brooklyn waterfront appears to be coming off the roof of a building or tumbling over cars. But the structures are a bit too apparent, and you have to seek out the illusion of the falls.
In any event, I had forgotten how dirty even the nicer parts of New York, how muggy during the summer, how unpleasant it is so often. I came back to LA, and for the first time, it felt like home.

Quick note: please, please, people, do not give credence to the rumors spread about Obama. They are generally lies.

Thank you, and say a prayer for DFW, who has left us all too soon. More people cared about him and his work than I think he knew.

Friday, September 12, 2008

home again

In CT for Ellen's wedding. Hoorah. God, I'm astounded by clouds. LA has no clouds. It has smog and/or clear skies. Nothing else. But here. Oh, the clouds. Love it.

I went to Disneyland last weekend, and it was great, though, of course, Disneyland has nothing on Disney World. I mean, one's an entire World. Disneyland's a bit lame. Everything's smaller, and the thrills are fewer. But Space Mountain was fantastic, the parade and the fireworks were great, and I completely enjoyed their bigger, badder Pirates of the Caribbean. I also went to California Adventure, where I got a Mickey Mouse-shaped sourdough roll from the Boudin Bakery. I went on Soarin' Over California, which was essentially an IMax where you're suspended in the air. Loved it muchly. Their studio backlot was a bit pitiful compared to MGM studios, but I did think the Downtown Disney was nice. Overall, the place isn't as magical as Disney World for me, but in contrast, it's also a lot less overwhelming. Which is nice. Next time I go, I think I'll check out the GardenWalk, which looks like fun.

The newest Disney ride, Toy Story Mania, had a blitz of PR when it came out. Personally, after going on it, I think it was oversold.

And lastly, Sarah Palin. What do you say about Sarah Palin? If you're a smart Republican, you should recognize the likelihood that Palin has an excellent shot of becoming the President should McCain be elected. John just is not in good health. And you should also recognize that there are few people who are less experienced or educated about federal policy, law, and government than she. McCain would be a bad president. Palin would be staggeringly worse.
Personally, I have a low opinion of American intelligence, which I think is deserved after this country RE-elected Bush, and so I don't think anyone cares about that, and I don't think anything she does or says will do anything but help the McCain campaign. Why? Because of the reason she was picked, which was purely political. She's a woman. What voter base can McCain get? The crazy women who were voting for Clinton and are pissed she didn't get the ticket and were thinking of voting for McCain to "get back" at Obama. He just cinched those wackos' votes. Especially with a knocked-up teen daughter. See... Democrats can get slammed for family values, but we're above doing it back because we recognize that it only makes us look bad to our voter base.
In any event, politics as usual.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Pat Barker's book Regeneration, a novel "about" a psychiatrist and his wartime patients in 1917 is quite excellent. The story is not centered on a single plot with a beginning, middle, and end, though it is framed around the extent of Siegfried Sassoon's stay at Craiglockhart. What's really so, well, comforting is the strength of the prose. It's neither heavy-handed, nor Spartan, but just, overall, clever accounting. Everyone in the story seems clever but somewhat ruined and aware of it. The dialogue's entertaining, and really, I was surprised how much a book ostensibly on war could keep my interest and edify at the same time.
Just near the end, our good Dr. Rivers thinks to himself...
A society that devours its own young deserves no automatic or unquestioning allegiance.

Also, I very much like this Penguin Plume Contemporary Fiction cover by Robert Clyde Anderson. Highly rec'd.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Yes, the clothes were beautiful, the actors were beautiful, the city was beautiful. That is all that can be said about VCB. ScarJo is still mad untalented. I like Rebecca though. She was the least awkward part of that movie.

Disneyland manana. Hoorah!!!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

let's get this young, fresh, hip party started

Damn. Does 90210, The Lame Class, suck! And really it should be marketed at me. I LOVED the first 90210. It wasn't great, but at least, you know, it did a decent job with casting. Your lead girl on this show is potentially the worst actress possible, and her teeth freak me out. Girl is too young to have whitening like that. All the boys are lame. They're not even OC interesting.

Season 11 of America's Next Top Model is amazing, though. I never think Tyra can top her crazy, or her crazy cast of models, but then she does. Clark can go. I'm a fan of the only awkward French girl in history, Marjorie, Jocelyn, who looks kind of ugly in reality and awesome in photos, that crazy cat-faced vegan girl, and the Alaskan. I have nothing against Isis, except her name and her jacked teeth. Girl will last a while, but I'm backing Miss Marseille.

Raising the Bar I watched too. Seems pretty conventional. Wish Mark-Paul would not have crummy hair. He doesn't have to dye it blonde, like he used to back in the day, but cutting it would be nice.

why worry about my career prospects

Ain't nobody gonna be a paid TV writer when we're all underwater, yo!

OK, actually this is mighty saddening.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

what pig-keeping goes so well with

There's a part of my lip I keep biting. Unintentionally.

I am now 25 years old. I will remain this way for some time.

Birthdays in any event should not be celebrations for the child born but for the person who did the bearing. Only mothers should have birthdays.

Went to P.F. Chang's for the first time. Not bad. Not awesome, but not bad.

Am reading Regeneration. Enjoying it. Had to give up Video Night at page 248 because a grabby public library insisted.

My summer reading is not, so far, what I anticipated. Ah, well, it ain't over till the 21st, and I have two long flights ahead of me.

Will go to Rock 4 Change concert Thursday night at Universal Studios' Gibson Amphitheatre. Am super-pumped.

Won a guitar. Plan to sell it so I can go home for Christmas and not be poor.

My ice cream cone cupcakes were outstanding. Still, someone ought to have made me some, holiday weekend notwithstanding.

Disneyland Saturday. NBC premiere party at Paley Center Monday. Homeward bound next Tuesday night. Ellen's wedding next Friday. Olafur the day after.

And still, I would junk it all for a lowly WA job.

Monday, September 1, 2008


tomorrow's my birthday. also known as the day the new 90210 premieres. coincidence?
you decide.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Random Appreciation of the Day: Logan Wolfe Edler

I don't know Logan Wolfe Edler, but heck, if I don't want to know the secrets of Logan Wolfe Edler's success and his awesome name. Seriously, try saying Logan Wolfe Edler a few times. It's like music.
I know this sounds random, but in my never-ending quest to work on a TV show, I have searched tirelessly for understanding, for enlightenment, for that hideous word "connections." To that effect, I recently (and by recently, I mean 10 minutes ago) checked out the IMDb crew lists for the pilots ABC just picked up, and Logan Wolfe Edler, a PA on The Unusuals, appears to be the King of PAs. Look at the guy's credits. The man has worked on essentially every movie I'm interested in seeing for the next year and a half, a bunch of movies I've seen and loved, and a handful and half of television shows that, you know, rule.
Logan Wolfe Edler, if you're out there, secretly googling yourself in the middle of the night (and there's no shame--everyone self-googles...), and you come across this post, won't you show me the way?

Santa Ana

I took the 5 down to Santa Ana yesterday to visit an old roomie from grad school. Made the bad choice of wearing orange, which she did as well, and we were a bit matchy all day. Got some looks from the residents of Balboa Island, a fancy little chunk of Newport Beach, where we walked, patronized Cinnamon Roll Fair (alas, the delish s'mores bar I got there has destroyed me for all other desserts), and wondered when the time would come that we would actually be sophisticated enough to buy our olive oil at a place like Olive Oil & Beyond.
Lunch at Togo's, a chain I may have been to once before, but forgot, and I have a feeling I made the same mistake last time and got tuna. Tuna there is not my kind of tuna. Sadness.
After Balboa, we went to the Bowers Museum to check out them terra cotta warriors. Recommend doing that NOT after one has walked around in the sun all day. We waited for 40 minutes, hoping to get free tickets, and then said, what the hell, and paid the exorbitant prices. Well, my friend did. Thanks for the birthday gift, Kar!
Dinner at Original Mike's. I think Mike has an ego problem. Your basic bar/restaurant food. My rotisserie chicken was fine, unremarkable.

Okay, I'm freezing. My roommate over A/Cs our apartment. Cold damn!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Disney Studios...

are amazing. Went and saw a screening the other night. Got free popcorn, soda, and two free movie tickets--and the movie I saw didn't suck! I'm not allowed to talk about the movie, but let's just say it was a very girly movie set in Manhattan that was surprisingly funny, even if the lead male looked a little pink around the eyes throughout.
I would love to work at Disney someday. Looove. But I suppose I have to earn it. Easier said than done.

Monday, August 25, 2008

A Primer

One can go off poetry rather easily. But I've always liked Bob Hicok, and I particularly like--and respond to--this poem, and you can read here.

what I dream about when I dream about earthquakesam

Dreamt about earthquakes in high-rise buildings. Other things, too, I'm sure, but I don't remember. Earthquakes stay with you. It's what I was afraid of when I was little and the stairs would end in space, and I'd lose my balance, or the slope of a road would become impossible not to fall from, or I would start falling. Is this the nature of the world? We're told plates shift almost perceptibly, slowly, changing the face of the earth so gradually that man cannot witness it in his life or ten lifetimes.

But the earth is like evolution. It spasms. We walk the line and ignore the zags because they are rare and either cannot be foreseen or cannot be avoided. It's those spikes, those landfalls, those soaring temperatures and plummeting meteors and explosive events that are of consequence, and yet, we're supposed to ignore them. They are rare after all. You can't live your life in constant dread. But things that are rare still happen and enough. Impacts occur. People do get struck by lightning. Even twice.

There's nothing we can do to stop the forces of nature. Nothing at all. But there are things we can do to stop the human forces that inflict terror in lives. We can vote for Obama. We can recycle and buy reusable tote bags. We can ask less of the ecosystem and more of ourselves. We can save this beautiful, dramatic, dangerous world, or it will save itself--and let me tell you, I'd rather take my chances in a world we've care for than one that we've pushed to the brink, one where the zags become the line, and anyone with two feet falling off the edge.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Martian Child

I really wanted to see Martian Child when it came out, mostly because it stars John Cusack and has to do with a child who thinks he's from another planet. I don't know why New Line refers to it as a romantic drama, since it's more about the relationship between Cusack and the boy than between Cusack and Peet. Exponentially so.

Anyhow, it got decidedly mixed reviews, and I was broke, so I didn't see it. But I rented it the other day and watched it tonight, and maybe I'm sentimental, but damned if I didn't like it. It's a good movie. Better than Grace is Gone probably because it seems so... legitimate, you know? Maybe you have to be a little strange, the sort of person who could imagine this scenario and sympathize and not judge, to like it.
Really the only thing I didn't get was where it was supposed to be set. They go to a Cubs baseball game, it was shot in Vancouver, and they say it's Christmas, but it looks like summertime the whole movie...?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Viva la Individuality

So back in July I wrote about Coldplay and how what I've heard from their Viva la Vida album has won me over despite my incipient hatred for their U2 mimicry. That's because Viva la Vida, the song, and Violet Hill were so good. And then I listened to Lost and, as back in the day, took it for a U2 song until I looked up the lyrics. Come on, Chris Martin! You're killing me! I want to love your lovely songs, but I feel like I'm betraying Bono. Aagh! What to do? What to do?!
OK, I downloaded the song. Are you happy now, Chris Martin? Are you? Sigh.

this week

New battery for my computer coming! Blue screen of death I saw last night a fluke? Let's hope so.

The oatmeal chocolate chip cookies from Leda's Bake Shop are supremely good (not so fond of their cupcakes). I don't like nuts in my cookies, usually, but these delights have almonds and coconut and are delicious. Holy heaven.

Burn Notice. Love that show. Love Bruce Campbell. Too bad he's married.

Vitello's Express opened just down the street from me. Had lunch there today. Pizza's a bit overcooked, but I haven't given up on it yet. It's still a baby.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Best LA weekend

My roommate from college came down and visited this weekend, which also marked my one year anniversary in LA. Friday, we had breakfast at Jinky's. Delicious. Then we went up to the Getty (amazing) via that scary tram and saw the insects and plants of Merian and Her Daughters exhibit. Very cool. Did a little coloring. Saw some paintings and photos. Just wildly impressed by the Getty landscape. Bought a Cyclops magnet from Greece! Rome! Monsters by John Harris, a book that seems particularly cool and a bracelet that immediately began to fall apart. Every time I buy an accessory--once a year, maybe, for $15--its life span is less than that of most flies. Damn. But I am a total fan of the gorgeous Getty. Afterwards, we went to Coral Tree Cafe in Brentwood and had some very nice penne arrabbiata. Then, we drove up the PCH to Malibu, which took quite some time, and chilled out at Surfrider and watched the cute surfers crash into each other. Then we walked up the beach and around the lagoon to the Country Mart, which I had thought was, you know, a single-building market, not a collection of plazas. Nice shops. But I wouldn't want to live in Malibu. It seems like the end of the world.
Then we had dinner at Duke's. I had huli huli chicken, which is fun to say. Tasty stuff. The evening was all about Death at a Funeral, which I'm not sure about. It's funny but the jokes are, when you think about it, stale. But they've become so stale that maybe they've fermented and are thus intoxicating? Maybe.
Yesterday, exhausted, we had breakfast at Panera in Studio City, and I was the good LA hostess and brought my old roomie to Rodeo drive. I personally prefer Beverly, but whatever. Then we had lunch at Marty D's, which was nice, but it's primarily hot dog joint, and I'm not a hot dog person, so I don't really feel a pressing need to go back any time soon. Then we went to Hollywood Forever Cemetery, at which point the nuclear sun and sweltering heat laid us out.
But we pressed on and drove up to Griffith Observatory... WHICH IS SO AWESOME. Tip: you'll see a lot of cars parked on the side of the road, and you will think you should park there. Screw the idiots. Go all the way up. The parking lot will likely say "Lot Full," but people are leaving all the time. There's no need to park on the side and hike all the way up.
The Observatory offers awesome views, an astronomically stellar (sorry, that was quite punny, but also true) group of exhibits. I would have liked to hit up the planetarium, but money-wise, I went a bit mad this weekend and now have to be quite careful. We were full-on worn out by that point and went back home to chill out. Finally, we had dinner at Marmalade, which is deeply charming but in a family way more than a romantic way, which surprised me. And then we played Catchphrase with my roommates and their boyfriends. I won't comment on how that went.
Exhausting weekend, great days, crap nights (our couch sucks for sleeping), and I will be looking forward to sleeping all next weekend.
Not that it will happen.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

ice creammm

I know we're all supposed to bow down and worship at the altar of Scharffen Berger, but I personally prefer a nice Hershey bar. So color me dark-chocolate shocked when I tried Dr. Bob's Scharffen Berger Really Dark Chocolate and LOVED it. The ice cream is almost the consistency of brownies, and it's not bitter at all (probably all the butterfat and cream--whatever, it's delicious and so rich, you're not liable to eat a whole pint in one sitting like some others). Anyhow, highly rec'd.

Monday, August 11, 2008

my new job

So I'm, for the moment, working part-time as a blogger for Discovery's new network, Planet Green. I'm posting mostly on Alter Eco, Adrian Grenier's new series, and in the "Work and Connect" section of the site. The posts are just starting to go up, so feel free to mosey on over. If you ever had any question about making your life a little greener, or you just want to look at Adrian's pretty mug, Planet Green is the place to go. Enjoy.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

RIP Bernie Mac

Not to make light of a truly terrible death, but I had a dream last night that I had pneumonia and was hallucinating a giraffe in the bathroom. I'm not sure that would have made him laugh, but I think it's sufficiently strange that it should be noted here.

Friday, August 8, 2008

coming on a year

It's almost my 25th birthday and almost a year since I moved to LA, and I've been so restless lately, with my job and my poverty and not being able to explore because of those latter two things, that I've started eating like I'm in France. Open-faced sandwiches, day-old baguettes, delectable. Tomorrow I may go across the hill to get some macarons. Gotta make do how you can.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

it's only bad news when the grandma does it

But I bet you ten bucks when Matthew McConaughey does it, it'll be awesome.

Does this dude not completely look like Jack Black?

painting from the Norton Simon in Pasadena

I mean, holy crap.

Abre los Ojos

Did you see Vanilla Sky? Kinda wish you hadn't? Yeah, me too. We shoulda known from the title that it was going to suck like soft serve from a truck on Columbus Ave.
But Abre los Ojos, the film that Vanilla Sky basically apes shot for shot? Brilliant. Why? I don't know. It could be Eduardo Noriega, who doesn't have that smugness. It could be the lack of Cameron Diaz, who is just too crazy. It could be Madrid, beautiful Madrid, or just an excellent cast overall, or Amenabar's tone and direction. I think it is, in fact, all of these things. It's a wonderful movie, intimate, and all the absurdities of Vanilla Sky, still present, seem not just plausible, but certain.
Watch it on Hulu for free. But not too late at night, or you might have a dream that you and Eduardo fell in love and kissed and then found out he was your half-brother. Which would blow.

Spokoinoy nochi, Solzhenitsyn

I know it's been a while since the great man died, and most people in America haven't read a word of his. I've read parts (because the whole might kill me) of The Gulag Archipelago and all of One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. It stays with you, let me tell you. If nothing else, to get a taste of his work, might I suggest his Nobel speech?

The thing is, it's hard for me to get around the idea that the gulag was something that people were imprisoned during my life span. WW2 was terrible and also a 20th century event, yes, but it's been in a million movies, and it becomes tangible. Russia, for all our problems with it--we, as a nation, have never tried to understand what was going on there. Nearly every American film about 20th century Russia and Russians has been absurd. And it's unfortunate because mutual understanding would certainly benefit all parties.

With Solzhenitsyn's passing, I believe all the great Russian writers of the 20th century are now dead (and no, I'm not including sci-fi writers in that grouping). Am I wrong? I hope so.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Maps and Legends

Maps and Legends was not what I had hoped it would be by its title. I anticipated a neo-Borgesian collection of short stories on places that did not exist and people that never were. Chabon's essays, however, on such things proved just as, if not more, palatable. And I want to disclose right here that I though I do like his work, I am no a rabid Chabonian (have I said this before?), despite having read most of his work. To be honest, I find fiction written by Jewish men about Jewish men to be a bit -- hmm, how do I say this without sounding anti-Semitic? (Jewish men are hot! They really are. Also, this does not apply to Jewish women. Does that help?) -- over-represented in the really well-written, celebrated literature of our times, and that, along with books about Brooklyn, no matter how good they are as stories, can feel like fields too well-trod. Like, so well-trod they've turned to mud, and you'd really like to go somewhere else where you can run rather than trudge.

Which is why I liked Map and Legends. It's not absurd navel-gazing by a Jewish guy. It's brilliant, introspective essays on his influences, his childhood, and yeah, sure, Jewishness, but in an honest, not obnoxious way. He's not a self-absorbed tool. He's funny, he's frank, and he's smart as hell (I think I said that before). Dude can write a personal essay, and that puts him on another level, which is quite nice. So go him.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Colorado Boulevard

Hey, hey, Pasadena! Today was my one day off (I'm working six days a week at the moment, and it's kicking my otherwise awesome ass), and so I slept in and then thought and thought and decided, hell, why not go to Pasadena?

So I checked out the wicked awesome Norton Simon museum (much nicer than LACMA, I think). Buddhas abound, as do Dutch and French paintings--a lot of minor pieces by major players. I took some pictures and will upload them later as soon as I'm sure that's okay. This isn't commercial use, so it should be, right? Anyhow, I loved the sculpture garden and saw a painting by a guy named Quiringh. Now I already want to name my sons, should I ever have any, Quentin and Elliot or Ambrose, but Quiringh is a rocking name. I doubt I'll use it for a book, so y'all can have it. It's a little quirky, even for me. Also, I received a free print of The Flight into Egypt as a souvenir. How kind of them!

Then I went down to the Paseo Colorado to grab a super-late lunch, buy some cards at Apostrophe Books and some chocolate-covered popcorn at Harry & David's, which I guess I don't like as much as I used to.
Then I drove a little further down, skipping sadly past Vroman's, to take in a second-run showing of the Sex and the City movie. For $2, I could watch it and not feel bad. And, honestly, there were bad parts. Charlotte's just twice as absurd on the big screen, and Samantha's clothing wildly inappropriate for her age (actually, it's her ponytails that bug me the most, but moving on...), and I don't buy for a second that you could forgive someone for walking out on your wedding... but.
Yeah, there's a but. I am happy that, after all, the wedding we get at the end is one about Big and Carrie, not fashion. I think Big had a point, but he expressed it rather late in the game. And he doesn't get points for the way he "proposed." But neither does Carrie for accepting. Anyhow, there was some interesting stuff in the movie. It certainly could have been worse.
Speaking of which, for Mike's birthday, I took him to a matinee of Step Brothers before work. That movie is just the sum of randomness. It's funny, sure, but in a what-the-hell kind of way. I love Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly, and now they really need to do something else for a bit.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

green with envy, not money

I am worked to the bone, AND apparently today was cheesecake day with extremely cheap cheesecake at The Cheesecake Factory and I MISSED IT, AND I could have gone to see a movie at Universal Studios for free (INCLUDING PARKING) but I couldn't because I worked instead.

I REALLY want to go to the Green Door some Tuesday night soon because I love jazz and my favorite actor is the guest DJ there for the time being. But I'm a poor girl and not a hot model, so it's not looking likely.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

my word


But isn't that the perfect word? It's as close as I am currently able to get to a source word for my literary endeavors and satisfactions.

my day

first earthquake.

dream job interview redacted.

Ziggy Marley.

life imitating art.

feel gutted.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

mimicry is the highest form of assholery

Now I've always thought Coldplay was a U2 ripoff. That's not to say I don't listen to Clocks and enjoy it like every other human being with ears, but I feel shame when I do. 'Cause it's a wicked knockoff. But Viva La Vida has probably turned me off anti-Coldplayism for good.

But I take umbrage at calling Radiohead and The Killers U2 copycats. They are quite distinctive, and The Killers don't sound a bit like U2. I think Radiohead's a bit too mutant brain as well. I was, however, listening to Echo and the Bunnymen the other day, specifically The Killing Moon, and for a moment, I was wondering when Bono recorded it. Sorry, Ian McCulloch. In any event, those two are much closer. That's my feeling anyhow.

And I guess there are worse things than mimicking the greatest band in the world.

What's your word?

I read this a few days ago and was underwhelmed by the choices. If you're a writer and you have to find one word to sum up the foundation of what it is you do and, as such, who you are, it should be a colossal word. Lethem's furniture is good, but it seems a bit of a tongue-in-cheek response. Olivia Rosenthal chose No, which I think is super because fiction cannot exist if the characters just go along for the ride. Someone at some point as to say or act no. Nelly Arcan picked disappointment, which also seems like a good one, as it too can be motivation for all action--disappointment in one's self, one's environment, in fate.

But so many would work. Search. Desire. Uncertainty. There must be one overriding word that could take their place. I'll be figuring it out. Let me know if you find it.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

British report

Spaced is really just fantastic. If you get BBCAmerica and have DVR, record it. If you don't, just buy it. It's so great. I'm gutted it only lasted two seasons. Great, great show. I still have 3 episodes left to watch and I'm dreading the end. Dreading!

Saw Brideshead Revisited the other night. Not having read the book, I was reminded a bit of Atonement, but I liked BR much better. For the first time I saw why my sister has a thing for Matthew Goode. He's quite charming and talented, a bit like Rupert Everett but with more sincerity. Despite being blonde in the upcoming Watchmen, I imagine he's going to give Mr. McAvoy a run for his money as the hottest young UK export.

Speaking of Watchmen, Dave Gibbons is a stone-cold fox.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Mary Louise Parker and her Watchmen

I don't know why no one's said anything about this, but it's been bothering me for awhile. I mean, here's a movie starring Mary Louise Parker's last two serious boyfriends, one of which is the father of her child, the other of which she was engaged to. I don't know how much time Jeffrey Dean Morgan (the Comedian) and Billy Crudup (Dr. Manhattan) spent together onset, but they're doing press conferences together. You would think the gossip mags would be all over this, looking for infighting or something.
Oh, wait. They're not girls. So, apparently, they can control themselves. Is that it? Sigh.

dream job drama

Hey all.

Weird week. Got a part-time job, which involves me being published on a regular basis, and I will link to it as soon as all the paperwork's done and my byline goes up. Good thing.

I also applied for a writers' assistant position on a show of which, due to my current job, I am an expert. We're talking frame-by-frame. More to the point, I feel like everything I've done since high school has been leading up to this mathematically improbable moment so that, when hired, I will kick ass at this position. This is, in all likelihood, my greatest shot at an "in". So I wrote a brilliant cover letter and sent it off. Didn't hear for several days (like most jobs I apply for) and then yesterday, incredibly, got a message from a writer on the show.

Didn't get the message till 3 hours later because, somehow, I must have turned my phone off or been in the bathroom when she called. The message said interviews would be for today, Friday, and "maybe next week." So I called back but we didn't make contact till this morning...

I knew I should get up early and take a shower so if and when she called, I wouldn't be in the bathroom, but I waited till around 9:00ish and, knowing how the world works, put my phone on the sink.

And of course, as soon as I started shampooing my hair, the phone rang. Panicking, I turned off the shower, got out, dried myself off as best I could, and answered the phone, breathless. Did I introduce myself when I answered? No. She asked if she had woken me. I said no, because she hadn't, and then lied to explain my breathlessness, saying I had just run to get the phone. I wasn't about to tell her that I was shivering and naked. Then I realized she could probably hear the fan, so I turned off the fan, which meant I had to turn off the light, and continued to talk, dripping on the phone, naked and in the dark.

She tried to explain how unglamorous the job was. I said I didn't care, that I understood that it was a learning experience, and was so in a panic, that I said "I don't have any experience in television," when what I meant was "I don't have any experience on a scripted show." She sounded a little strange, as if in response to my nervous, naked inability to speak coherently, but then said she'd give my resume back to the person who was coordinating interviews...

So somewhere in that I'm afraid I may have messed up, by sounding agitated on the phone, by not calling back early enough yesterday, by accidentally saying I had no experience in television, when I do, in fact, have a little. Why? Because I have not heard back yet. And in that first message those words are still ringing in my ears--"the interviews will be held Friday and MAYBE next week."

They may have already found someone. They may have changed their minds about me. Did I really get this close to have it all slip away?

Now tell me to chill because I am clearly a hypochondriac, and I'm sure it will be fine, and the person setting up interviews will call on Monday and I will have a fantastic interview and a job that is perfect for me in every way. But there's a huge chunk of me, the chunk that was once where hope resided until experience eroded the cliff and hope fell to the rocks below (my toes?), that thinks I blew it already, and if that's the case, well... DAMN IT.

Reading some good books. Edited the first fifth of my novel. Feeling okay about that. So, uh, yeah, that's nice.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

sammies and tartines

When your arse is broke, the best thing to do is eat sandwiches.
I kind of was done with it after eating lots of turkey sandwiches in high school, mock grilled cheese in college and grad school, and PB&J always. But I've been getting un poquito creative.

Tuna, you must understand, is a challenge for me. How much mayo is too much? How much is too little? Not until I had no mayo did I realize--none is fine! I've been toasting some whole grain white bread, spreading some white chunk tuna (canned in water) onto the bread, a slice of cheese (muenster or mozz or American--whatev) and nuke for 20 seconds. Then, and here's the kicker, you need something crunchy on top. I'd dig some sprouts, but as have none, used chow mein noodles. Yumsies.

I've also been doing the scrambled egg white on toast with ketchup sandwich thing as well.

Cracked pepper turkey when I have it. All goodness.

And always, PB&J for when I get desperate.

Monday, July 21, 2008


Oy, oy, God bless the wackadoodle Britcom (what I've decided to call British sitcoms).
Spaced was only on for a half-sec back at the end of the last millennium, and it's only just come out in the States, but apparently, it's got rep, and boy, is it weird and cool. There was a mini-marathon on BBC America I DVRed due to my Sunday employment (sorry, God). The marathon was on to commemorate the DVD release of Spaced stateside. Unfortunately, they didn't show the first six episodes, just a random six over the course of both short 7-ep seasons. The others I have found are airing throughout the week. I suppose I could just buy the DVD, but I'm dirt broke. I even had to end my 401k contribution. Sadness.

Anyhow, check out Spaced if you can. Much cooler than Coupling, which I only liked when Richard was on it, and much odder than The Office. Trippy even. And I quite like Simon Pegg and Jessica Hynes (with whom I can completely relate) in it, as well as yummy and surprisingly old Mark Heap. Take a look and tell me he doesn't look familiar. And yet, he's not in anything I've seen. I think it's because he looks like a blonde American actor whose name or resume I can't remember. When I do, I'll post their photos side by side so you can call me loony joony.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


One word. Amalfi.
Trying to get from the Palisades to Santa Monica and want to avoid PCH/Ocean Drive. It's all about Amalfi to Entrada to 7th. And, damn, them's some houses on that road.

Had dinner with sporting chums at R+D Kitchen, recently opened in Santa Monica. There's a red plastic elephant and good burgers. And the restrooms? Four individual stalls -- Man, Woman, Man, Woman -- pitch black like a camp loo, and three communal sinks all askew. Mad weird. But all the women in line for the ladies were very friendly and talkative. One woman congenially complained about the communal sinks making it impossible to apply her zit medication. Sharing is caring, I guess.

Then took my leave of good friends and walked down to--

Trudged through the whole thing, the part on Ocean, took the bridge over PCH to the beach (which scared the crap out of my height-phobic knees), walked far in the sand (great exercise) in my bare feet from the funny light installations to the north of the pier,

to the pier itself.
At the base, children played on what I think is a time capsule.

Then I walked up and down the pier, saw famous actors without makeup on, and then to the south side of the pier, where there were colored glow sticks in the sand and blinking blue butterflies,

and a structure with lights dancing on it to music,

and on my way back, this, which wasn't part of the craziness, I don't think,

and then back to Ocean, past a parade of people with lanterns (that may or may not have had fish on them)

and back to California and 7th, a million miles away, where I was parked.

The installations weren't all that awe-inspiring to those of us who have ever been to Disney World or the Tate Modern, but the sheer volume of people, from those who wore neon, light-flashing apparel for the hell of it, to the homeless, to the guy dressed all in black running fast somewhere, to the guards protecting the Kohler porta-potties from who knows, to the guy who loudly suggested that the people lined up for free Starbucks samples were there to be "deloused," to the guy who drunkenly grabbed at my crotch as I was walking towards the Promenade, it was THE PEOPLE were what made Glow kind of awesome.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Dark Horrible and Ass-Kicking Umbrellas

Screw Batman. Dr. Horrible's the dark one. I mean, sheesh, what a depressing ending.

From Lucy and Wired, something AWESOME.

Friday, July 18, 2008





almost 25 years of age and only today does tatterdemalion come into my life

my mind is officially blown


also, did you know merriam-webster does not know the origin of nitty-gritty? just thought i'd keep you updated on that one

also gung-ho, according to "comes from Mandarin Chinese gōnghé, "to work together," which was used as a motto by the Chinese Industrial Cooperative Society. Lieutenant Colonel Evans F. Carlson (1896-1947) borrowed the motto as a moniker for meetings in which problems were discussed and worked out; the motto caught on among his Marines (the famous "Carlson's Raiders"), who began calling themselves the "Gung Ho Battalion."

which, of course, raises the question, who names their son Evans?


Ain't just the Firefly guy.
I tried to be an adult and get a physical, but I was thwarted in about 9 different ways. Damn it all.

So you know the Emmy nods have been announced. People who've seen The Wire are irked it got snubbed for the billionth time, but I with the lack of HBO or Netflix in my world will have to be content to feel sad about the FNL and BBT snubs. Sad not surprised.

However, Bryan Cranston more than deserves his nod. More than. So that's great.

Am looking forward to third installment of Dr. Horrible tonight. Will probably go online around 9pm tonight Pacific Coast time.

Won some HBO first season DVDs. So that's what was in Sun Valley. Nice, but still annoying to have to go there twice.

Can't see The Dark Knight yet. Too dark for me and Heath Ledger's passing is still raw.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

dear brooklyn stranger,

thank you for sending me a 2 pound mystery package.
but no thank you for stipulating that i had to sign for it.
i work during the day.
hence, i have to go to sun valley, which might as well be on the sun, what with gas sucking the niblets from my mouth (seriously, 60% of my diet this week was peanut butter and celery, which may explain why my colon seized last night--TMI? tough) tomorrow during my day off. by that point, it may have already been sent back to you.
also, sun valley is scary, despite it's pretty shiny name.
so thank you, stranger, for whatever you sent me. i'm sure it's worth it and i'm going to be super grateful. but right now, i'm just kind of annoyed. next time, don't pay extra for the signing thing. it's just biting us in our respective butts.

captioned a Google lecture today. didn't understand half of it, but i have come up with great names for bands/horror films now.

am reading Maps & Legends. Chabon should get a MacArthur. man tears up the literary essay. tears. it. up. up!

going to get a physical tomorrow. am actually starving. which is good because my semi-sedentary lifestyle has made me a flabby marshmallow woman. over the holiday weekend, some kids with Hershey bars and graham crackers kept following me around, prodding me with sticks. i tried to explain that i wasn't filled with mallowy goodness but would taste more like pork should they roast me, but they were boys, and i don't think the pork, chocolate, graham cracker was as much of a turnoff as i had hoped.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

champion of the world!

Not guilty and getting my money back! Take that, LA MTA! Know what I'll be using my reimbursed $123 for? Huh? Do you?

Oh, right, paying for my auto registration. Sigh. Nefarious evildoers.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

feelings on Jeffrey's show, edited

So I saw the pilot again, today. And guess what? The offending "called your bluff" scene? Gone! As are a few other bits that did not offend, but whatever. Weirdly, there's still a line at the end that refers to the no longer present "called your bluff" scene. And I'm still not buying the idea that First Mystery is part of a large series of Connected Mysteries, nor do I have a lot of confidence in our main girl's ability to think critically, but in any event, there's a cool chase scene and it's more developed than other shows of its ilk, so maybe I'm wrong and it will blow up... Maybe.

Coolest thing ever?

I dare you to disagree.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Act One of Dr. Horrible is now up

And it's a joy.

why the New Yorker cartoon cover goes too far (by not going far enough)

Look, this is actually more complicated than the media shows. First, Wolf Blitzer and Chris Matthews and their lot are not helping themselves by implying that most people are stupid and won't get that the cover is satirical. They're not wrong. They're just not helping the Democratic cause by making us look like the snobs that we damn well are and ought to be after the crap we've endured the last 8 years from good-old-boy non-snobs.
But Wolf and his lot are to be excused for their latent reactions because the cartoon actually isn't explicitly cartoonish enough. It's too, forgive the phrase, New Yorker. Too, "Hi, I'm ironic. Figure me out." Because the object of satirization, the jerk-offs who encourage Obama is a secret terrorist spy, is missing from the cartoon, as is the extra and essential step of taking the rumors one step farther. Missing those, the cartoon doesn't quite come off, and that's what the people who are talking about this are somehow not noticing. I'm not saying it's not a good drawing, or that it doesn't incorporate the rumors well, or that it's not smart. It's just incomplete, and, as such, is sufficiently ambiguous in which side it's agreeing with that people who should know better are freaking out publicly. Shouldn't happen. Remnick should see that. But he doesn't.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

regarding Jeff's new fall show

I've seen the pilot, and I won't be uncouth or spoilery because I don't want to get fired, but I'd like to dispell some myths about Jeff's much-hyped show. Firstly, it's no more like that other big TV show with a plane in its pilot than Ugly Betty is similar to Seinfeld because they're both set in New York. The plane isn't really important, it just happens to be a major part of our lives.
Now, let's talk a bit about plot. So our main girl has a guy, and as soon as guy says those three little words, we know he's toast. Because he looks like toast and acts like toast and runs ahead of our main girl in a I want to become toast kind of way.
And we're pissed because we thought Jeffrey was better than that. Rest assured. He is. Toast isn't what you thought.
But... logic? How our main girl gets to her lead expert makes no sense. She types some words into a database and they're not uncommon six-syllable words either, and the only person to come up is mad professor guy who, suddenly, she tells her non-boss boss is the key to the mystery on the plane. Um, what? Since when is Googling detective work? But then she goes off and gets him and tada! She was right.
And then, as the main girl attempts to get what she needs from mad professor guy, she learns that pertinent mystery (which doesn't seem all that mysterious--it's basically a chemistry question) is something part of bigger, but later, when not-boss boss starts talking about "similar" events, um, the events are in no way similar (ravens and writing desks have more in common). They are not basic chemistry questions. They're like questions written in marbles.
So those are some logic leaps that don't really gel for me. Another is that our main girl at one point bluffs rather specifically and wildly to get someone to do something for her. It's absurd. It's like someone saying, "Look, if you don't do what I say, I'll call your grandmother and tell her what you did to her cat." OK, it's not quite that specific, but still, it's specific enough that later when she confesses it was all a bluff, you can't help but call B.S. because that's not logical behavior, even in extreme emotional circumstances, and particularly for a girl in the field she's in -- isn't all this coding nice and confusing?! :)
Anyhow, this thread sounds like it was written by someone who doesn't know anything about what a person in this main girl's field would say or do, but to be honest, all we know about our main girl is that she's willing to take any risk, no matter how stupid, but she couldn't tell her guy those three little words back. We know nothing else about her. The last pilot we got from Jeffrey with a major central female heroine did not have that problem.
Now the guy who our female bluff-threats, who is going to be the main guy for the show, is not the greatest actor (though neither is our main girl, who is pretty boring), and his character is a little too caricature (just because a person is a genius does not mean they know all languages on Earth), but at least we get a sense of his back story, and we're inclined to agree with him when he says, "This is insane." Because it is. It's like Wanted, but just in terms of silliness, not in terms of all the cool, sexy stuff.
Finally, last criticism (there are a lot of good things about this show, specifically the supporting cast, who do what they can) is of some of the dialogue. I'll take the most innocuous (in that it gives nothing away) bit here.
Our main guy: Now what do we do?
Lead expert guy: Now... we wait.

Are you kidding? That's not people talking. They talk like broad strokes of an idea of a two-dimensional drawing of people. Do I actually care about any of these people? Not particularly. The one person who won't be showing up in episode 2 will be kind of missed because that character had a lot of stuff going on.
But this is not going to be a show about character, I can tell you that right now.
It's going to be a procedural dressed up as a high-concept genre show from someone with a proven track record in TV.
I'm probably shooting my foot, but unless episode 2 is drastically different, I give it a season.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

marker M

It has reached that point where the people I've gone to school with are getting married. I'm only 24, but most of my peers are 25 and if people aren't engaged or married, they're talking about it. It's one of those markers that let you know you're in the county of Adulthood. You may not be in the capital city, but damn, if you're not under its power.

I didn't like being a child, I hated being a teenager, and I'm not loving being an adult. I don't like being responsible for myself any more than I liked being told what to do as a young person. I may have a powerful IQ and know history and understand cultural behavior as evolutionary byproduct, but I still make missteps, I still worry about money incessantly, and I'm still afraid of being alone and unsuccessful. Moreover, I don't really get people. But do I believe in true love and want to get married as much as any other girl brainwashed by a childhood crammed with fairy tales and Disney movies? Abso-friggin-lutely.

Now onto more biographical details: been editing my novel like a good person, came up with a great idea for a House spec, am reading more lately than I have been, had a grilled cheese sandwich on pain de mie at the Artisan Cheese Gallery in Studio City and found something called PB Loco, which is $8 peanut butter with funny additives that I would have probably purchased if not for my unending poverty, and...
I totally visited the set of 24 yesterday. Everyone I met was friendly and nice, and I was much more at ease than I was at the last set I visited. Interesting thing about television shows--and I believe it's true of film sets, as well, from what I hear from my roommate--there is no shortage of free food. If you work on a show or a film, you do not have to buy your own food. Ever. You can't turn a corner without having a bag of chips thrown at your head or stepping into a bowl of salad. It's crazy. Reason #842 to work on a television show. No need to grocery shop.

I think I'm gonna hold off on going to a Griffith Park star party for a few months until it cools down and gets darker a bit earlier.

Friday, July 11, 2008

last word about AusNTM

So I finally watched the AusNTM finale, which, I don't know why. The show's been rigged from the get-go, and no one gave a fig about models growing and becoming better. Everyone knew Demelza would win. She's gorgeous, sure, but she's young and self-absorbed and doesn't have a lot of variety. Alex, of course, was a poor runner-up compared to a few of the other models. In general, though, my problem is not with the show's eliminations, but with how snarky and cruel the judges were. I mean, no holding back. While Tyra might seem like a fake, ANTM tries to make something more of their models than pretty faces. They at least attempt to acknowledge that there are more important things in the world than mere beauty and knowing how to wear a dress or walk a runway. There's personality, there's the power of being in the public eye, there's grace and social responsibility. And none of the judges seemed to care about such a thing let alone show it. And, boy, did they say something terrible things to the girls, the kinds of things people had the decency to say behind your back in high school or write on your locker. Your locker, not mine.
In any event, I would never want to be on an Australian reality show. Theirs makes ours look positively enlightened by comparison.
In summing up, I wish I had some kind of affirmative message to leave you with. I don't. Would you take two negative messages?
-- Woody Allen