Friday, December 19, 2008

Good at goodbye

2008 has numbed me from farewells. My life has been in semester/summer clusters, each ending with major separations.

This one is pretty significant, though. It marks the end of 7 semesters, 2 summers, 1 college career, countless friends and a lot of confidence to accompany all the platitudes I picked up along the way.

I sense my friends are holding onto this more than I, even as both parties realize the length of time before another reunion. I am dulled to it; I cannot say goodbye to all these people, physically or emotionally. I would prefer to pack my things and drive away, not looking back.

I won't look back, and I may not come back. It's not my intention. I move forward.

So, because I am good at goodbyes, or perhaps immune to them, I am not losing sleep or shedding (m)any tears. The only sadness is that the loan collectors will be nipping my ankles soon. Friends can be found anywhere, never replacing old friends. I have more to learn, but elsewhere. All of you do as well.

Lawrence, you were so good to this one. Thank you kindly, from all of me, and goodbye.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Sigh of relief

Phew. Wiping that sweat off the brow. Found an internship for next semester, so it's back to the bay. Paid full-time, free housing, free photoshop, screenwriting, editing classes, free rec facility, and best of all... an open door into the movie production process. Say hello to the Toy Story 3 story department intern. Oy oy!

Monday, December 1, 2008

The hurt of writing

One of the biggest disappointments in writing is discovering that an idea very similar to yours has been made into a film—more painful is when it's a successful film. I've had this scare a number of times and I've only developed a few stories, but I continually get anxious while watching films, hoping that my ideas remain original. I just got the scare reading a synopsis of Frozen River, but after watching the trailer, I feel much better. Only minor similarities!

Truthfully, they are my ideas whether somebody else has had them or not, but explaining that to anyone who reads the material brings an uphill battle, and in the professional world, would equate a dead screenplay. Here's hoping that never happens. I'm sure it has to many writers. What heartbreak.

Welcome to Kansas. It's shaped like a box because we live our lives as if we were in one!

These last two weeks are going to be sloooooooooow and painful. Excruciating. I am still awaiting word from AmazingAnimationStudioInEastBay about next semester, but regardless of their decision, I am so ready to bounce.

Now, I hope noone close to me takes this the wrong way, but I want to disappear. Rather, moving somewhere new means I can virtually erase my past and become a new person. Example: I haven't had a drink in two months, and it's tiring explaining that to friends who have seen me do more than a few beer bongs in a short period of time. Soon, I will be the friend who goes out and just gets water, but still has fun. No more "why won't you drink just one more time!?" or "You're wasting your senior year (pouty sorority girl face)!!!"

Leaving familiar faces and transient friendships certainly feels like a rehash of high school senior year, and although I'm no longer friends with 90% of those kids, I'm willing to accept that before leaving this go-round. Everything seems futile when new adventures await. Nothing is permanent in my life, and Kansas has a very short fuse that's burning quickly. I'm ready to work so hard, not just on the job, but to expand my boundaries, to explore every creative avenue I encounter, to challenge myself physically, mentally, creatively, emotionally. I am so ready for an endurance test.

But I'm stuck in freezing Kansas!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Unintentional Chazz Palminteri Night

It seems like I could watch any set of films from one single era, and could tie them together by an actor, director, best boy, someone. It's like playing "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon", one of my favorite brain games.

Well, last night I opted to swim through both of my Netflixed movies, Bullets Over Broadway and The Usual Suspects, both starring Chazz Palminteri. I can't connect his roles as well as I did with Brad Pitt last weekend, but in the former Chazz played a creative mafioso, stifling even his friends who blunted his art. In the latter, Palminteri is a detective hoping to blunt a megakiller named Keyser Söze, and in his way is a rather artful criminal who just posted.

Chazz Palminteri. Hmm. Not someone I thought I'd be watching twice in the same evening, but he does stellar work. He got an Oscar nod in Woody Allen's Bullets..., but was overshadowed by the brilliant Dianne Wiest and Jennifer Tilly (I love love love Wiest but think Tilly deserved the statuette).

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Unintentional Brad Pitt Weekend

Coming home this weekend meant a few things:
1. Since I am working all Thanksgiving break, pure relaxation was in order.
2. Catch up on movies. I'm always catching up on movies.
3. No homework. School is pointless anymore.

My sister sent me off with two of her favorite films, A River Runs Through It and Legends of the Fall. When out with my mom the other day, she decided to buy Sleepers. And suddenly, I was devoting 6 hours of my weekend to Brad Pitt circa 1992, 1995, and 1996 respectively.

There were three variations of how Brad must have looked as a child. The first two films both feature Pitt in Montana around WWI, and he grows into a rebel in each, breaking hearts and hurting himself and those he loves, while also showing an affinity toward Native American women. The third film is him growing up in Hell's Kitchen in the 60s and 70s, only to become a mischevous lawyer bent on freeing his friends from an avenging crime.

I feel like a casting agent, scouting this "Mr. Pitt" for his potential, as if I had never heard of him or seen his works. I feel a bit overwhelmed to be honest, and will have to take a Pittcation until I get to see him grown down in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. That's going to be stellar, I just know it. Fincher & Roth. Blanchett, Henson, Swinton, Ormond, Pitt? Oy oy!

After this weekend, however, I do admit finding a new appreciation for Mr. Tabloid Fodder, who once attended Mizzou (gross). He's a damn fine actor. In my head I thought "Redford inherited the reigns from Newman, and he is clearly wanting to pass them to Pitt." Pitt is certainly worthy of the reigns, and of Angelina's lips. I always root for the veteran actors at the Oscars, the ones who haven't yet won. Assuming Pitt's name is on the shortlist, I'll probably be gunning for him this year (Or DiCaprio, Rourke, and most certainly Winslet). He's an icon, and I'm willing to embrace that. Even if he went to Mizzou.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Addiction #1

Maybe it's because I'm facing the one true week of schoolwork this semester, but now that I am in a consistent workout routine (goodbye, 15+ pounds!) and feeling the best mentally and physically I have ever felt, it sure sucks when I get too busy to fit an hour of exercise into my day.

Fortunately this weekend it was because I was running around at work, expending 17 hours on my feet in two days. But I came home this afternoon and crashed into my bed for nearly five more hours because my mind couldn't keep up with my body. Here it is dark so I cannot run outside, and the time remaining to hit the rec center is down to two hours. Instead, I'm laying out dozens of pages in my workbook for campaigns class, putting off a paper for ethics class due Tuesday, and already deciding on skipping psychology class first thing come Tuesday. Wednesday is a 6:30 a.m. shift at work and then a 6-hour drive home in the dark.

I just want free time, warm weather, and more daylight. I just want to run around this town, igniting my brain and body with the addictive simultaneous pain and pleasure that is exercise. I feel horribly worthless without that stimulation.

Time for coffee, I reckon. Addiction #2.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Back at the Movies

Last night was brilliant. Double feature at the theater... something I have never actually done before. And yes, we paid for both films. It is Oscar season, beautiful people.

I would very much be pleased if Anne Hathaway won Best Actress for Rachel Getting Married. This is the real breakout her career needed, and a couple years overdue.





And Quantum of Solace was good. Not great (!!!) like Casino Royale, but stunning and pulsating and quite a ride nonetheless. I was happy that the drunk guy behind us puked on the guys next to me rather than on me. Well, I wasn't happy he puked on the guys next to me, but relieved that no quantum of bile found its way onto my shoulder.

Scenario

If you're driving down the street and need to make a left hand turn, do you check to see if a pedestrian is about to enter the crosswalk? Let's say hypothetically this pedestrian is a runner, and he or she is running the same direction in which you are driving prior to your desired turn; for this, they cannot see you because they are not facing you. Furthermore, if said left hand turn is at an intersection where oncoming traffic has a stop sign and the pedestrian runner assumes safety in crossing the street (as the previous 10,000,000 streets crossed also had proven safe), then would you honk at said pedestrian when you screech to a halt from nearly running him or her over with your Dodge Ram?

No, you wouldn't honk at the pedestrian for something that was entirely your fault. That would make you a completely selfish idiot.

Ladies, gentlemen: there are some completely selfish idiots on the road. They make it a scary world, and I am happy to be alive.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Title Today

What would the title of your movie be, if it were about this exact day?

Mine would be: Rise of the Pork Tacos: All Orifices Beware

No, perverts, not like that. I'm sick, sick, sick. I'm missing the busiest shift at work and losing a good $150 minimum to instead lay fetalized on my bed or pray to the potty.

Sounds like the perfect time to watch Out of Africa, a film I own but have not seen. I've been great at catching up on films lately that are necessary for my credibility. Example, example, example.

Oh, and yesterday was my one-year blogoversary. I'll have my cake, but I sure can't eat it today.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I am actually attempting the V-neck thing



What I once knocked, I am trying. Hm hm!

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday

Monday: Got a phone call, got an interview for the best possible thing ever (Bay area!).

Tuesday: Said interview took place. I feel pretty good I guess. Need to wait a couple weeks. Also, I witnessed this (read the message board!).

Wednesday: Someone broke into my car overnight, but stole nothing. Lesson: Don't keep anything of value in your car. Boxes and mix CDs aren't of value.

Thursday: On my run, I leaped over some metal construction rods and fell into a 3-foot-deep pothole on the other side. It all happened so fast, but I was able to get up and laugh uproariously to the sound of honking cars.

Tonight: Gonna go see Wall-E at the Union, hopefully for some good karma.

This week rules.

Monday, November 3, 2008

How can a 22 year old be sick of college life?

Maybe a metaphor will help. Maybe not.

Today I served a party of six at work. These folks were very nice, very sweet, very charming. Four of the guests had iced teas, and it was the third time I was refilling their glasses when I asked one man to hand me his glass, as it was out of my reach.

"Sir, can I steal that glass from you?"

He paused, his hand hovering an inch from his glass, contemplating something. I thought he was joking with me, so I chuckled.

"Ehh, no. I would prefer a new glass, but I will hang on to this one as well."

No explanation was needed. If his preference is a new glass, my preference is to do so and make him happy. However, the other three people with iced teas looked up from their plates.

"I'll take one too."

"Yes, me as well."

"And me, please."

I smiled, while quickly scanning their glasses, all of which I had topped off with fresh, crisp, icy tea. Nothing seemed the matter.

"Of course, four iced teas coming up."

Reiteration, these people were terrific. But as I filled new glasses, thankful for not having a busy section, I wondered why one man's thought process and upgrade suddenly changed the minds of the until-then-wholly-satisfied bunch.

Why do people think like sheep?

Why does everyone around me seem to operate on "Classes. Parties. Tailgate. Binge."? And why am I so annoyed that other people find pleasure in this? How selfish.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Kiss Kiss, Dang Dang.


A few posts ago, I wrote about Sarah Palin and how, at first, I wanted her to be more than she actually turned out.
Watching The Last Kiss just now, I feel the same way. I wanted to love it for many reasons:

A) I want to be Zach Braff, always and forever.
B) I want to have Rachel Bilson.
C) It's got a damn good soundtrack.
D) Paul Haggis is a damn good writer.
E) Blythe Danner, Tom Wilkinson, Casey Affleck, Jacinda Barrett
F) Everyone else bickered about its "downer" status. I love downer flicks! (It wasn't entirely downer, either. Flakes.)

But... perhaps like Palin, it constantly feels like the camera is rolling. Like the actors, save for Wilkinson, are waiting for "Cut" or just jumped from an "Action" cue, spitting imbibed lines. I love the themes here, but the plot seems trite and the story rushed, and... I think this kiss was too forced, like old biddy lipstick kisses. I had to choke it down.

The real downer ending is that, well, sometimes you can't love something you wanted to love.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The world is better in polaroid-vision

Sure am missing on Europe. Excitement like that—daily discoveries, constant foreignness, unwritable fantasies—are rare around these parts.
Made these with Poladroid. Be sure to download the English version.









Boom goes the microphone

While watching the fluffy, slightly awkward Jawbreaker today, I noticed a scene where the boom mic fell into the shot.

See it up there, in the middle?

I've caught this a number of times, in War of the Worlds, Junebug, Stranger than Fiction (debatably on purpose there) and a few others.
Entertainment Weekly's Owen Gleiberman has a good take on the matter, but I always feel sleuthy when discovering a slip like this. Nobody's perfect, and catching the quick glimpse of the boom entering the shot is like a cine-freak's Where's Waldo.

Monday, October 27, 2008

People, people

Two things sprung to mind while burning the oil on some homework this evening. I’m at a coffee shop, one of the more hipster ones.

First: What makes this lady so special that she gets to broadcast her music selections for the whole establishment? Half of them are distracting rather than soothing, and I fortunately have headphones and other music to overpower her poor taste. Surprisingly, nobody has spoken up and told her to hush it. Rude.

Second: Do people need personal victories each day? I think so. Presently, mine come in the form of good tips, or exercising, or watching a great film. When I get deep into writing or structuring a screenplay, that’s the biggest victory. Tonight, these two people have been bickering that the wireless connection is spotty. Every time the owner walks by, they scream some complaint or incantation, Heaven knows what, trying to alleviate their situation. One of the two is so set on fixing the problem that he hollers suggestions every few minutes. Dude, do you just need a little victory or something? Then play rock paper scissors with the music maven, winner gets to overpower the other’s obnoxious contributions to the decibel level in this place.

Dirr. I also find personal victories in venting.

Friday, October 24, 2008

music that soothes, caitlin is dumb


MixwitMixwit make a mixtapeMixwit mixtapes

Indie Movie Life

Today's work shift felt like a scene from an indie movie. I was chatting with a frequent customer in the corner booth, looking out the window onto Massachusetts Street, when an eerie thing occurred:

A man pushing a shopping cart inched by the window as the rain poured down, searching for a face with which to make eye contact; he found mine instantly. His eyes were bitter and his disposition sour. He was sporting a sleek full-body cat suit, a masculine Halle Berry downgrade. In his shopping cart—a tattered plastic baby doll, with a head full of brown, pigtailed hair. His glare was so stern it was humorous.

"Did you just see that?" I asked firefighter Jay, the daily customer.

"No, what?"

And I wasn't making it up. I saw the weirdo a few hours later, sans shopping cart, burping the doll. What the?!

Also, a man in my section was wearing a dress. In his defense, he was on a date, with a woman.


Larry is Austin's equally weird younger brother.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Who wants an Oscar?

My movie-faring partner Caitlin recently shared a sad revelation: we haven't had to go out of our way to see a film this year. By this time last year, our weekends were full with one or two movies each. This is typically Oscar season, or the start of it. Yet so far, nothing has come our way that seems to have solid enough reviews or buzz for awards. And when they do... the critics shoot them flat.

What in the heck is going to get nominated this year? And who? The trailer for The Visitor was great, but the film was a yawn. Vicky Cristina Barcelona was one of my favorites (certainly the best of the year), but people still seem mum.

I anxiously await Rachel Getting Married, Doubt, Frost/Nixon, Australia, Revolutionary Road, Slumdog Millionaire, The Wrestler, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Milk and I've Loved You So Long (that is a long list, yet here I sit with next to no options). But when High School Musical 3's review is better than Changeling's and Synecdoche, New York's... I wonder if the other promising films will fall horribly short of the mark, a la Body of Lies.



Where's my Michael Clayton, my Assassination of Jesse James, my Into the Wild? Right now, the only film I've seen that seems to have a Best Picture shot is The Dark Knight, and justifiably so. Otherwise, I'll have to wait for the non-buzzed, super-hyped, anxiously awaited Quantum of Solace while enjoying my overdose of solace and quantum of extra cash. Looks like it's rentals for this kid.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Six weeks ago, this was the best election ever.

And now I think it's one of the worst. Maybe it's my fatigue, and I'm sure most of you agree. I want it over, and I am not particularly excited about either pair.

It was when Palin was first introduced that I was elated with things. My Obama fatigue had already hit, and it fascinated me that McCain chose somebody so far away from prognostications. From the PR standpoint, it was a brilliant move. It took the media away from Obama for weeks, and for a while, the plan was foolproof. She's new to the practice, so they couldn't bring any heat on her. Nobody knew enough about her; she truly was a rogue. But now the media has had its fill; her interviews haven't helped. I don't look down at Palin because she leveraged a family member or this "shocking" revelation that her children flew to events on Alaskan funds. Give me a break. If that's all they can pull up on her past, then sign me up. However, it is her backwards steps that have me off kilter. I do appreciate candidates with strong religious convictions; I think that's an admirable trait. But she is too far to the right, just as I believe Obama is too far to the left. I loved for a couple weeks that my extreme leftish friends had to shut the hell up, because conservatives had their own renegade to follow. It was much shorter lived, seeing as the democratic renegade is likely the next president and rode his popularity for the past four years. Even this last push to the polls clearly shows people riding his wave higher than McCain's. Then again, I am secluded to my campus world.

I just don't see how Obama's background makes him any more qualified for the job; he's just lucky to have had 4 years to raise funds, supporters, and read up on foreign policy, etc. Poor Palin got a few days' notice. I never would have said this before, but I am starting to believe if Hillary wasn't the better choice between the two.

I think I just wanted Palin to be somebody she isn't. Or rather, she won't get the opportunity to be that person, because she has been so battered by the media. I think Alaska will do with her whatever she opts: she could very well be a senator in a few years. But her national image was nothing, and then it was brilliant for a week, and now... it's tarnished. I wanted equilibrium—a Republican answer to Barack Obama. It just wasn't researched enough, or the steam died too soon. But she wasn't ready. I wanted her to be; I wanted her interviews and her debates to be as "mavericky" as her convention speech. Nope. She did well on SNL, though. Heeeeey.

And, courtesy of JJ's linking it, here's a hilarious mash-up with Everyone's "favorite" hockey mom and everyone's favorite pregnant law enforcer:


I'm fine with Obama. That's it... I'm fine. It's a tepid feeling at best. I do hope he surprises me if elected. I love his passion, his ability to unite the masses, and I am optimistic that our global positioning will improve; I understand the hooplah. But I can't help but feel that everyone has been manipulated by pop culture. Those leftist friends I referenced earlier can't solidly defend Obama to counteract the way they bash Palin, and vice verse for the righties. They hate one for the same reason they love the other. It's utterly ridiculous how hypocritical people are, and how personal they take things. And the two men with an actual voting record, with actual experience and political promise—McCain and Biden—are getting quite overshadowed by the rookies.

Also, I have faith that the other two branches of government can keep things in order. As far as I'm concerned, we need a definitive change from the current state of affairs. Both tickets promise exactly that. Just let it be November. Heck, let it be January, let's see the change that the winner wants to implement, and let's get the next campaign started four years out this time.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Before Sunrise/Sunset


For proof that you don't need multimillion dollar special effects to tell a brilliant story:

These are two of the best films I have ever, (repeat: ever) seen, and the continuous dialogue between Delpy and Hawke is more engaging than any Michael Bay explosion. Both films center on a chance meeting between the two. Before Sunrise is in 1995, on their first encounter. They meet on a train to Vienna and are so taken with one another that they agree to spend the next day together before his flight and her next train; the day and night are spent walking around the city sharing a host of intellectual musings. They are clearly perfect for one another but the timing is not.
Before Sunset is the sequel, set one decade later, on a slightly less random encounter. The dialogue takes a new direction, discussing a failed attempt at a reunion, and a second chance at love.
Perfection. Perfect writing, perfect casting, perfect direction. Delpy is a dream, and Hawke complements her well. There is so much truth and transparency in these films. It's no wonder Hollywood can't pick up on them, or that the American people won't drop tens of millions. It's because these films are intelligent, and ask the viewer to invest themselves in the character's lives. If you're a heavy reader of books, I recommend this pair of films highly.

Knowing what you want

Something about me that often solicits comments from friends: I always seem to know what I want, both short and long term. This isn’t entirely true, but I do admit that my decisions are almost entirely based on getting from a definitive point A to a definitive point B.

Because point B is a little compromised in definitiveness right now, I’ve been mulling on what exactly I do want for the long haul. I’m trying to see how it can all fit together, how it can all be accomplished. Let me paint the picture for you:

• First and foremost: A family. An open-minded wife with a free spirit. Not liberal or conservative, but a thinker, like me. Moderate and mellow. And kids to raise in this fashion. I think having kids would be the most rewarding thing that life can offer. Oh, and ideally my wife will have similar career interests as me, or is at least ambitious in her own career. I want to split parenting 50/50 across the board.
• Locale: Well, I’m not entirely stoked about moving to LA. For now, I see the move as temporary, perhaps just a few years. Long enough to build contacts and expand my role in the industry elsewhere (read: NY, San Fran, Seattle, Chicago, Boston, Europe, Australia). Because I’d like to travel more and live in a number of places before I ultimately “settle down”, I don’t see how I’ll last in LA all that long, unless something wholly promising or addictive keeps me there. Who knows, I could always return. I’m just not ready to stand still, and I may as well move somewhere that requires a vehicle while I still have the current one and am paying loans on it.
• Work: I’d like a job that travels. Film festivals would be perfect. Man, if my yearly routine meant Telluride, Cannes, Rome, Berlinale, Sundance, Karlovy-Vary, San Francisco, Toronto, Tribeca… what a life! Or, if I could work on film/tv productions and go on location, I’d simply be beside myself. Travel. Is. A. Must. I expect to travel with my family very often. I want to move a lot, as aforementioned. I don’t care about material things. I want things I can see and remember, not see and keep. If you keep it, then you have to move it when you also move. That’s just annoying.
• Also, I want a career that doesn’t require a résumé. I never want to be concerned about “moving up” or playing politics. That’s just dumb, and a waste of time and friendships.
• I need to write, for the rest of my life. And get skilled in photography. Whenever I die, I want things to have been documented, regardless of anybody ever caring. That is how I find fulfillment—knowing I reflected, shaved off the corners, and drew full circles around my experiences.

As I step into the first phase of the working world, I know I need to build contacts, build a reputation as a hard worker, and get connected from one thing to he next, simply so I can achieve these other things. Ideally the pieces will subsequently fall into place, but I’m leaving room for chance, for fate, for fortune.

I really like my outlook on life at this moment. Yesterday I thought to myself how the place I’m at right now, mentally and spiritually and emotionally, is the most healthy it has ever been. I’m not pessimistic, I am naïve enough to dive off the deep end, I don’t have a lot of chips with which to gamble, and I possess enough fear to take cautious and rational steps. It’s the perfect balance. Translating this to the future would be the icing.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Rollercoasting

A good day following a bad day can really change your perspective. Life, you're such a tease.

In other news: this is the most perfect season for Kansas weather.



My heart beats on for Lawrence in the fall.

Building immunity

It's difficult to lay a finger on what I am feeling. I want to be inspired, like I was for so much of this year. But it seems an impossibility with my schedule. When I am not in school, I am at work. When I am not at work, I am exercising or doing homework. When I am not applying myself to either of those, I am relaxing because I need the break.

Work got bad on Wednesday. It isn't worth explaining, but I was basically equated to a worthless, helpless worm by a superior. It's funny how sometimes people see exactly what they want to see. It also doesn't help when said people are potentially bipolar.

Here's what he should have seen: The kid has a table of 11 people, and just got triple-seated on top of that. He's pretty overwhelmed.

Here's what he saw: Why isn't the kid getting waters to his new table? Maybe I should curse at him and remind him how inferior he is.

Boy, waiting tables can teach you a lot. I thought just my host and busing experience for 4 years taught me a lot. I had no idea. And it seems I screw up everything at least once. For instance, last week I shook the iced tea dispenser to see if it was full. To gauge it, I looked through the tiny window on the front. Nothing moved. It's empty, I thought. Well, I was wrong. It was full of water, and because of that, it looked empty through the window, and I set it to fill itself up. I returned 10 minutes later, the whole floor and counter covered in tea. Whoops.

Having a job that I don't necessarily look forward to is also good for me right now. For one, I really need to build up my immunity. I need to walk in, face the fact that somebody doesn't like me for completely illegitimate reasons, and deal with it. Other people like me. Serving tables isn't something I'm very good at, and that's not a major disappointment to me. It just motivates me to get a good job after I graduate; one that caters to my interests and doesn't haunt me when I'm off the clock.

I want to be in control of my mood, and in control of my mind. I also want to be inspired, to come home and feel energized enough to write or read. My free time right now exists to dilute my brain from everything else. My head is on a clock until I get to come home to Sioux Falls in November. This next month is an endurance test.

Woo, fall break. Sooo fun.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

For update's sake

Hi friends and famdamily.
I miss you all.
Going through a hard time.
Paycheck to paycheck.
One journalism class in particular is controlling my life.
Work is OK, I like the people, but don't like waiting tables. It's motivation to move up and out after graduation, to find a real job.
The "real job" part is a real headache. It's hard to network with California folk from Kansas.
Grad school seems sillier than ever to me right now.
I wish I had a girlfriend.
I wish I had a savings account.
I wish I had stability.

I gave up drinking for a while. Partially to save money, but mostly for my immediate health. I feel so much better when I don't drink. It has never been a problem, and I may have a "worthy" beer from time to time. But I'm exercising a lot more and eating a lot better. My mental health is great, save for the ruminating I do about 2009.

Let me reiterate,
I miss you all.

Friday, September 26, 2008

What has happened to me?

I couldn't do it. It was an hour ago, and I made it as far as the doorstep of my friends' apartment for their party. But I couldn't go in. Things have felt so different with this group of friends lately. It seems impossible to pinpoint my exact sentiment.

My being gone for 8 months can't have strengthened our friendship. I've been drifting from these people for the past couple years. Yet year after year, they stay as close as ever. I'm thrilled for them, because they're all perfect for one another. And they're great people; they can make the most fun of the simplest situations. But it just feels like the whole "group mentality" issue I had with my European group. When the whole bunch is together, I can't stand it. People fight for attention in trivial ways, and missing one or two events is like missing an episode of your favorite sitcom: good luck catching up on your own.

A few people have noticed my quieter nature when I do show for events. There is nothing to hide. Yeah, I feel different. Not in the big picture, but in respect to these people. And they are different, too. They have introduced new faces to the group, and I probably am the foreigner to the new majority.

Yet, on an individual level, I feel fine with any of them. And I remember why I like them so much. Something about me just twitches in large groups, when the same faces are always present time and time again. I need constant change, or a short-term deadline. Four years is far too long. It is almost incestual, too. Most people in this group have "history" with at least 2 others at any given function. Yikes. Not for me.

So, instead I drove home. I feel like an ass for not going in; I got as far as the doorstep. The 8 a.m. shift at work tomorrow was on my mind, and I seemed to value quiet over noise for the evening.

I hope their speculation isn't that I'm "too good". And even so, it's fine if they think that. Enough of them know me too well to make such a hasty conclusion. In fact, I think a lot of them know me better than I know myself right about now. That may be the core of it all!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Cucumbersone

Let my pain serve as a warning:
When tempted for a healthy midnight snack, do not opt for a whole cucumber. Even if you slice it, it will feel like a whole cucumber once it makes its way out.

Oh, did I say once it makes it way out? Try twice. Maybe thrice.

Lurch. Feeling gassy, 24 hours later.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Money, Reality, Crap

I do not know what to do next semester. I need to look harder, dig deeper. I can not afford hardly anything, but in terms of weighing money and potential, I can not afford to stay in Kansas any longer than January 31.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Postgrad...

Looking heavy into overseas stuff-- temp work. I need to explore the world more. London looks increasingly ideal. Expensive, but I'd be getting paid on the pound. I'm not ready to get into a career yet, and I almost want to treat myself to an adventure for graduating a semester early. I am not finishing early to start the rest of my life. I'm finishing early because I have the credits and it seems silly to pay for classes that I don't need. I missed a lot of things in Europe. I'd like to see more.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A year after Telluride...

Enjoying Lawrence. Way more than I expected to enjoy it. I got a job (not working for another week-ish), am living carefree, exercising daily, have the easiest class schedule ever (Tuesdays and Thursdays 11-345), and am basking in life's awesomeness. Taking a break from screenplays for a bit, because I deserve to milk this last semester.

Right now I'm contemplating next semester a lot. I really want to look at something international. I'm not concerned about making money, but moreso about breaking even. I can't lose money over the 6 months following graduation, and I absolutely have to do something exciting and new.

Telluride FIlm Fest is tomorrow. At least that's when the symposium kids show up. I am real depressed not to be there this year; looking back at this whole last year, of all the places I traveled and all the "bests" of my life that occurred... I still think that the week in Telluride was the best of them all. THe single best experience, and the most definitive. I'll be following religiously to scope out the films they're showing and the coverage the fest receives. My heart is in the mountains.

Sorry it's been almost a month. Sorry that's likely the pattern now.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The inevitable arrival of August the Third

This day had to come. August 3 has been hunting me for months; I knew it as the day that would bring normalcy back to my life—unwelcome normalcy.
But I suppose it's needed normalcy, too. I've been on this roller coaster high for all of 2008, and it's time to seal the deal back in Kansas and sniff out new opportunities.
This final week has been stellar and perfect. I had two buddies from school drive out here—yes, drive— and they crashed for a week. I originally thought "One week? We'll run out of things to do." But no. They rested up after an early Sunday arrival and immediately thereafter we found ourselves in Berkeley, walking past tree sitters and pot clouds to see James Taylor. James Taylor! What a perfect soundtrack to my last week. His songs are so perceptive and insightful; it was the best medicine for my last hurrah.
And so, while I worked the next three days, they did personal things and typical San Fran sights, and we collaborated after work for various city cultures. I think I ate every type of Asian cuisine this week, all delicious, and the guys certainly got an accurate taste of the local offerings.
Wine country was a highlight also. I forgot to mention that my friend Ashley from school also was in town; while her host went to work, the 4 of us ventured north on Thursday into Sonoma and hopped from one vineyard to the next. I've got a new appreciation for wines, even after being in Italy and France. These were the best I've tried, no doubt.
And just like that, the guys were off yesterday. Not before a KU gathering at our house on Wednesday, or before hitting the Mission nightlife with an old high school friend from Stanford and a new San Fran friend just moved in from Harvard. We were a random group, 3 guys, 2 girls, from various corners of the map, consuming the night away and having contests for hitting on people in the bars.

The past two weeks have been hard for goodbyes. Just like it was hard to leave Paris or Florence behind, it is more difficult to put this behind. I keep thinking to myself—as friendly faces turn the other way and disappear—is that the last I'll see him or her? Along those lines, I have tried savoring every bit of this summer in final tones. I've given my peace to the rats, to beautiful River (the 22-month old adorable chatterbox downstairs), the panoramic scene from the roof, friends from work, both employers, and soon, this house, this street, this town. The kids and uncle Mike have been gone for nearly 2 weeks on a cross-country trip, and it was harder for me than for the little ones to say goodbye. To them I was a summer visitor who popped upstairs for a meal each night. But I saw them differently, almost putting myself in their parents' shoes and trying to envision a similar life.
This family has made the biggest difference in my life at a point where a difference was needed... my Aunt Amy is a queen. She is so regal, the most selfless woman there was, and I see myself in her so much in terms of ethics, humor, and character. She is certainly my mother's sister, and her parents' daughter. Amy was the hardest, most brief goodbye. After our "Last Supper" (in which Amy artfully explained how to eat grilled artichokes), a taxi collected her things, and whisked her away for her trip to meet the family in New England. A single "thank you" escaped me as she climbed into the taxi, but what other words could I have said?

It's been a quiet last day. Packing, cleaning, checking off my to-do list. Had lunch with work friends. Work's last week was a hectic story also. Without elaborating on private matters, I learned a helluva lot about the real world in a matter of 5 days, and will remember it differently than the rest of my time spent at the internship. I'm excited, however, to see how the company develops in the next year, as I suspect big things from those hardworking people. The film internship ended strong, and I am grateful for the friends and insight that the job offered.
Oh, I got a new computer and iPod. They're awaiting me back home. And my camera died yesterday. Hopefully my car or some other gadget doesn't follow suit. But I'm really just sitting around until my flight, quietly reflecting on this past summer, looking forward to a week at home, and then discovering how things will take shape back at school.
And in five months, I'll be at an entirely different crossroad. Oy.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Life Support

My computer crashed, seemingly. It won't start up, but it turns on to at least think about it. I've tried every one of Apple Support's suggestions.

Most of my things are backed up. Nothing from SF, although a lot of that is on flickr, facebook, or youtube. I emailed my screenplay stuff to myself a while ago, and have only made minor changes since. My music is gone. Thousands of songs, hundreds of dollars of music. And so many programs I have downloaded. And all of my summer school material. Good news there is my paper was due yesterday and I already submitted it.

Maybe it can revive itself. I was hoping to pay off my car loan. Looks like I'm getting a new computer instead. Luckily Michael has a computer down in the studio here for the meanwhile.

Upset, but calm.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

On Brett Favre

I love you Brett Favre. Nobody knows me and doesn't know that. But on your recent indecisiveness, oh man.
It kills me so much to say this, but you need to be done. Your legacy is in Green Bay. Your reputation as the potential greatest, your humility and your honor all lie in this debacle. You retired. After years of "will he or won't he?", you hung it up. You came back many times after the critics told you to sit down. You fought through injury, through personal grief, through steel defenses, and you proved that, even at 38, you could be the best. And you damn near won another Super Bowl this year.
And coming off one of your best seasons ever, you said "That's it." You could have come back to the cheers and support, but you bowed out gracefully. And now you're giving the young kid a shot. The kid who was the 2nd QB drafted three years ago, who has played just a few times underneath you. Good for you, good for him.
But now... you regret retiring! After all of it, after making this monumental decision that was upon you year after year after year, you want to come back? And since Green Bay is ethically doing the right thing by supporting Rodgers, you want to be traded?! To a different team!? Your legacy is here. Your antics are tearing apart this team, this community, and dampening your successor's start. Please, Brett. You are my idol. But you need to sit down and shut your trap.

I want to remember you like this:


And not like this:


...much less in another team's uniform.

Your legacy. Your poor, poor legacy.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

MASSIVE update (Life is Good)

Welp, this one's overdue, and only a reminder of why I'll be done blogging for some time after summer. You just wear of it. I feel like my life is back in regular, forward motion. No more dreamworld like Europe or the start of San Francisco. Adventures are always a part of life, but the ones now are not detours, and it was the detours that seemed blogworthy.

Lots of pictures in this post. It's a mess, so I'm apologizing now.

Here's the panoramic from the rooftop of our house in SF. It's the highest point from the bay up to that point, so it's just a fantastic scene. Getting up on the roof is one of my favorite things lately. Just nursing a beer, iPod in ears, reading my homework or contemplating. It's like that James Taylor song. Speaking of James Taylor, I'm seeing him on July 27, thanks to Aunt Amy. We'll be catching him in Berkeley. How terrific.



The Chaunce-factor came for my birthday/the 4th for a little vacation. It ended up being a vacation for the whole family as we turned this city inside out. We did what seemed like everything San Franciscan, and it was the week that I will remember most fondly about the summer. Chauncy gave me some sort of revitalization in my summer. He's got an honest appreciation toward life, and I think my attitude was turning south for a few weeks. I'm feeling quite optimistic lately, and have been branching out more this past week since his departure. Not letting homework always be an excuse not to go out. I went to Berkeley to meet up with a friend on Friday, met up with some Kansans last night for an evening that went until 4 a.m., and woke up at 9 for brunch with a work friend. Just trying to enjoy these last few weeks differently than the first two months. TWO MONTHS. Wow, it's been that long? It's gone fast, because the work week goes fast once it's broken by my two different internships. I've been very reserved socially until now, which I do not regret. It's what I needed, a small detox. But now I'm all about keeping as few excuses and enjoying the scene while I have it.
Here's Chauncy, the twins and me on my 22nd:

He and I took to the roof for a brewsky. Apologies for the incredibly lame pose, but not apologizing for the stellar jacket I found in the relatives' closet. Woooooo. This scene extends to the right of the panoramic above. Yeah, you can see just about everything from that roof.
On the 4th, we dangled out the windows looking toward the bay, watching the fireworks. Well, it was so foggy that it ended up looking like Bombs in Baghdad, as Chauncy cleverly noted. Which made the fact that I backdropped the scene with Ray Charles' "America the Beautiful" all the more ironic. But it felt very cinematic, you know? It was a terrific moment to experience, all of us sticking out the open window, the hazy fog rolling in and illuminated, with dozens of neighbors out on their rooftops, hearing the faint sounds of Ray Charles celebrating out nation.


Oh yeah, and the family took me to the pride parade a few weeks back. It wasn't as eye-opening as I expected, but there were the occasional crazy people, which made it a great afternoon. Here's a goofy character biking down Market Street.


It was also Alcatraz round 2 when Chaunce was in town. I had just as much fun as the first time I took to the island. It's a great experience, and what a wonderfully-preserved place. The guest author on the Rock that day is actually a friend of my Study Abroad teacher. She moved to Lawrence after leaving Alcatraz; her dad was assistant to the warden when she grew up. Neat stuff, how our world is so small. Even isolated islands like Alcatraz provide connections.



You can't leave SF without a good dose of Chinatown. Check out the seafood and live animals. This doesn't even show off the turtles, frogs, eels, carved pigs, lizards on a stick, etc. Sheesh. Hard to stomach, any of that food... but eye candy nonetheless.



And ever wonder how they make fortune cookies? This video cost me a 50-cent donation, so the production value is infinitely higher than the others. Definitely watch it, make my investment worthwhile. Perhaps my first produced film? Ha!



So on that topic--producing--that's a relevant turn. I'm looking into that avenue of film a lot more. It plays to my natural and educational skillsets, and it stresses me much less than screenwriting. Of course, I'm still very much into screenwriting and I'm keeping the hobby up, but I think I'm going to let my future in the industry take its own shape. See where it leads me, trust my instincts. That being said, I still think Grad School is a viable option, and it will be heavily considered, but I also have faith that I can tackle things myself. I've been stressed a lot less lately--almost not at all. I'm 22 years old, for Pete's sake. By the time I'm 50, I'll have had 28 years in the industry, ideally. I'm not even 28 yet. And I feel good about the people I will meet, the work I will do, the ethics I will carry. It'll be fine. It will be.

To show how stress-free I am lately, here's me holding rats. Yes, rats. The twins have 2 rats that I was not particularly fond of at first. But they're growing on me, save for the time they peed on my khakis and pooped on the couch when I was holding one. They're wily critters, but friendly and pretty fun. Here's one that crawled into a tube sock after we played "Laundry Sock Go-Fish" to help Amy find mates for each of the dozens of socks on top of her drier.


And here's Estelle imitating the rats. She's in North Dakota with Eddie right now, and they call every day asking to talk to the rats. The rats- Herb and Mo- aren't entirely talkative. Mostly just hungry and jumpy. Good for....

...letting them crawl in your shirt! It tickles. A lot. And sometimes they inadvertently scratch you in the process, but it's still a trip. We did some family Olympics with the kids when Chauncy was here, and one of the events was standing on one foot with rats in your shirt. Chauncy and I squared off in the final, and neither of us cracked, despite laughing fits. We called a draw.


Uncle Mike asked how we could make Chauncy remember his last day in the city, to contrast it against the rest of the eventful week- we had done a Giants game, all the city sights, a comedy show on my birthday (thanks Ma and Pa!), Napa country, Alcatraz, et al. Well, Chauncy and I took Eddie and Robert to Hooters down by the bay. Nobody ordered milk or chicken breasts (hold the chicken), but it was still a fun time watching the little guys act like big guys. It was my first time ever at Hooters, and our waitress certainly was memorable.

Well, to truly commemorate Chauncy's last day, Michael picked us up after Alcatraz in the Rolls Royce. Yeah, he's got a Rolls convertible stored away in the garage. Man. You should have seen Chauncy and me, trying not to make eye contact with pedestrians and other drivers, but hoping they were staring, gawking, or eying us jealously. That. Car. Is. Delicious. Here's us driving around the town, toward the GG Bridge or through the rolling hills of Pac Heights and the woods of the Presidio. Chauncy will definitely be remembering that afternoon, as will I.







So there it is. Things are going great. Internet classes are boring, but everything else falls into place just fine. I've now officially less than 3 weeks left on this sojourn. It's surreal. Kansas looks like death right now. But it's only 4 months, and the golden life lies just beyond those rectangular months. I'll be appreciating my last semester just like I'm enjoying these last few weeks here. Life is always good. There is always goodness, even in downturns and disbeliefs.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

For Donna

Is it possible to adore someone you haven't officially met? This post is for Donna, because she is one great Mom, one great woman, one wonderful human being. She is Amy's mom, and when Amy and I were in Europe, Donna and I had a few Skype conversations. She's been a good reader, a nice reassurance in my life, always looking out for me like I was her own.
Well, Donna, the fact that you would trust my favorite book and check it out from the library... just the icing on the cake! You deserve a shout out in a blog that needs an update. I guess eventually, an update on life will be due, especially since my cousin is in town for my birthday/the holiday, and I've had an outstanding weekend, with more adventures to come. There are a few changes in my personal life, too, in what I want to accomplish and in what I foresee this upcoming spring.
But in the meantime, for Donna, here: I love you just as I love your charming, beautiful daughter, and I'm not afraid to say it about the both of you!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Not because I'm worried about helmet hair

I am... stuck. I think it's because I'm so used to living my life months, even a year in advance, and I suddenly can't see past 2008. For the first time in a long time, I am truly scared. I like this current stage of life, with no major commitments and few responsibilities. Graduating in December is exciting, but there's this growing sense of helplessness that has planted itself in my brain.

Maybe I should be stoked instead. Anxious may be the best word. Obviously I trust myself. It just feels like the first time I rode my bicycle without Dad's help. I wasn't wearing a helmet (he would have made me), and crashed into the Phillips Avenue and 30th Street sign. I still have the scar on my forehead, but also remember the dozens of people who stopped their cars to help a kid in need.
I don't plan on wearing a helmet this time, either. Please, life, spare me your damn scars.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Fireworks need not wait until July 4

I contemplated a lot today. Lately that's my favorite thing to do. Be alone, play good music, and think. I climbed to the roof of the building and sat for an hour or so, dangling my feet over the edge, overlooking the bay and miles of the beautiful town... clearing my head, sorting things out, just defragging my life.
When I climbed down, the wind had blown the window shut, and I couldn't get back in. My family is out of town this weekend, so I was stranded on the ledge of the window. Luckily, the neighbor below had her window open, so I shimmied down the balcony to her deck, and yelled in her apartment so as not to seem like a burglar. Nobody responded back, so I was faced with my only option. Run through her apartment, quickly and efficiently (while the dog barked at me), and find myself at the front door of my family's apartment. Whew! Made it clean.
And tonight I sat in the windowsill, feet dangling below, listening to a mix of Patty Griffin, Coldplay, Duffy, Amos Lee, anybody accommodating to my mindset. That's what this summer is about. Not meeting hundreds of people, building a network here, or rooting myself whatsoever. It's about clarity. I always need a balance in my life, and this summer balances the 3 months I spent with no obligations in Europe. Even though I'm living a dream of a life in SF, I'm not into the nightlife or youth culture this summer. I'm into laying low, finding equilibrium, saving my energy for a final hurrah in Lawrence.
Well, I'm starting page 1 of my new screenplay, tentatively titled Gateway (formerly "Nontraditional"). It's a big deal to be writing the actual script, as it has been months of mental planning and notes, followed by the outlining and hundreds of note cards.
Appropriately, someone just illegally shot off about 30 fireworks a few blocks away. The explosive, dazzling kind that you see on July 4th... how convenient; they're celebrating my new screenplay as well!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A sporadic update (reader be warned)

It's been some time since I've checked in. Here's a bulleted list of the past 10 days. It was a monumental 10 days, to some degree.

  • Got the worst sunburn of my life. My back has been peeling for a week. I feel like I have molted entirely.
  • Both internships are going well. It takes a few weeks to slide comfortably into a place, I feel. Now that I know the personalities and the routine of both, I can act like myself and am entirely comfortable at each. My week is a perfect balance of film and creativity.
  • Brother Sam got in a bike accident on the trails. Jaw broken in 3 places, stitches across the chin, looks like he got dragged through the forest. Staying optimistic, despite missing many teeth. I love you, kiddo. Hang in there.
  • LA... ok this deserves its own category. I finally made it to Los Angeles. I stayed with my friend Zach, who goes to USC. We did some cliche things, like Hollywood or Santa Monica, and I saw a handful of celebrities, all accidentally, but LA just felt right. My trip was a bit customized to the college student and won't be a perfect depiction of life there, but I'm about 90% positive I'll be headed there in January. There is so much to do there, and being with Zach and his film buddies was H-e-a-v-e-n. They talk about film, about making films, seeing films, and they talk about sports, and girls, and drinking, and having fun. I want all that! 
  • My Aunt set us up with this filmmaker who had a lot of good, bad, and altogether honest things to say about the industry and the town. He was very encouraging, though, and jolted me with confidence and inspiration. He graduated in 2000 with a physics degree, then just moved to LA to pursue his dream. He's 31 now, graduated from SC's producer program (which I'm likely applying for, as my thoughts on my career have altered slightly in the past month; really I just want more control of my career and am considering producing on top of writing), and now he's directing commercials, making a good living and still living his passion. Sigh of relief. It's a dog-eat-dog town, but people are living there, and they're happy and lack major regrets. My melodramatic mindset can rest for a while.
  • Since returning to SF, I have outlined my entire screenplay, which is 50 pages. Not full pages. If condensed, it's probably 20 pages or so, but they're broken into scenes. I'll probably be writing the first draft as of this weekend. That's the happiest news of all. And I'm way more confident in this script than the first one. I'm learning as I continue to write. What a novel concept.
OK, enough. To be honest, reader (yes, that was singular), I'm getting tired of this blog. I anticipate making it private at summer's end, once school is on the horizon. It has lost its original identity, I have lost my craving to update little details, and I am realizing how easily traceable each post can be to the subjects. I'd hate to be incriminated for anything I ever bitched about. 

OK, enough from me. Gotta hit the pillows.

JPG Blog 16 & 17 & 18 & 19 & 20

16: Giving Props Where Props are Due

17: Photo Challenge: Spiral

18: We haven't forgotten you... (holler at Jenny C!)

19: Photo Challenge Selections: Close Call

20: Photo Challenge: Writing on the Wall

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Unusual Truth About Sydney and Steve

When twin 9-year olds are involved in any situation, things are immediately made more interesting. Especially when one likes telling stories and giving human names to everyday objects.
This is the true story of Sydney and Steve, two snails retrieved from the dirt in our backyard one sunny Sunday afternoon.
---
Snail 1 and Snail 2 were discovered separately among the dirt and shrubs.

Snail 1 and Snail 2 were named Sydney and Steve, respectively.

Sydney and Steve were brought onto the brick patio and made to race. Sydney was the favored racer.

Instead, Steve mounted Sydney and they began fornicating.

Upon human interference into their cornucopia of love, the race continued. Sydney, as predicted, was the victor.

A curious bird, Elaine, mounted the fence over the gardens, peering down at the scene.

Elaine was hungry. She swooped in and snatched Steve, rolling him around, then clinching him in her beak before disappearing for her snack.

Sydney could only wait for a similar, depressing fate. No human interference would help her.

Five minutes passed, and sure enough, Elaine returned.

Sydney got the soccer ball treatment while hiding in her shell.

Elaine persisted. Sydney got swallowed.

It's the circle of life. Pregnant, victorious, and dead, all in 30 minutes.

Pixar Perfect

As it should have, the Pixar screening went well. Their studio is huge and amazing and wow. Very humbling to be there, seeing the first "civilian" screening of the film. It's a great show, by the way. I recommend it on the idea of two robots in love, both with a five or six word vocabulary. But the entire story is in typical Pixar fashion; maybe "cute" is the right word? They do a neat job of pulling a story almost solely on characterization and sound effects. Speaking of sound, we got a demonstration from their foley artist (aka sound effects guy, he's done most of Lucas' works of late) and he imitated a lot of the robot noises, background sounds, laser effects (it's so inventive, almost too obvious sometimes).
I didn't pull any Spielberg tricks and break the law for the sake of a budding career, but I got the vibe that this is the best place to work, for any person. OK, no surprise.
Maybe I'm a little bitter now that I'm not interning there. Bitter is the wrong word. I'm thrilled with what I'm doing. But I'm justified in being wholly jealous.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Helped by a swift kick

Today I really upset myself. There was an excellent opportunity in front of me and I passed it up.
Luckily, I had some smart people around me to knock some sense into my head.

There's an advanced screening of "WALL-E" at Pixar Studios this Saturday. Tickets are exclusive and cost upwards of $100. It includes a Pixar tour and a Q&A with the filmmakers. Of course, I did apply for an internship there and had no luck (certainly no bitterness; they probably had 100s of applicants), but this is a pretty sweet gig going on, and the Film Society got a few tickets for staff and interns. My boss offered me one, but I didn't think getting to Emeryville seemed feasible (it's a suburb of San Fran where Pixar is located). I declined the invite, citing that I would see the film eventually and it wouldn't be worth the hassle to get out there.

After a swift kick in the pants, my boss told me how opportune this was, and how I'd be stupid to pass it up (she phrased it nicely). Truthfully, what in the hell was I thinking? I should do whatever it takes to get out there, because A) I need to experience more of these things and capitalize on my ever-so-small film network, B) I'd love to work in an environment like Pixar and seeing the studio can only validate that and C) don't I need to be more ambitious and gutsy in this arena? Shouldn't I be seizing every opportunity for backstage access? People aren't going to hold my hand forever.

So I'm going. This Saturday. I got a ride--I guess I didn't think I knew anyone in the office well enough to ask for a ride. But I'm so stoked, so unbelievably excited for it. This is why I came out here this summer, isn't it? For these opportunities?
(yes)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Ugly Naked Guy

How am I like any of the characters from "Friends"? Well, sure I have 5 great "roommates" just upstairs, and yeah I live in an apartment that I totally can't afford with my work, but the real answer is that we have our very own "Ugly Naked Guy". Yep. Just look out the window of the kitchen to the next unit, and this dude always sits buck nekkid (shirtless at the very least) on his computer, oblivious to his presence in our life.

It's gross.

Watch this video from "Friends".

Better than Amy Winehouse?

I open myself up to debate. I can't take my ears off Duffy's album, Rockferry. You may know her from her first American single "Mercy", but you have to get the whole disc.

Here's my favorite song (or favourite as the Brit crooner might say). It's tough to pick a favorite track, they're so spellbinding. Viva la bop.

I present to you "Warwick Avenue", by Duffy. Great video. Great, great, great.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Yeah, that's what I thought.

Summer school starts today. Whoop whoop! Time to try this whole distance learning, Internet course thing. It didn't get off to a good start.
Any Office 2007 users out there? Not many, I presume. The upgrade from 2003 wasn't entirely necessary, so nobody really had to change. Well, my professor uses 2007, and he posted all our assignments online for us to download, fill out, and later upload.
See, the difference between Office 2007 and 2003 is that the files have separate extensions—they're different files altogether. 2007 files have a .docx extension, and 2003 has .doc. You follow? His files were all .docx, but 90% of the world has a computer that will only open .doc. If you open the file in 2003, it looks like a bunch of pish-poshed symbols.
I emailed him about the matter, and pinpointed exactly what had happened. Office 2007 fortunately allows its users to save a file with the .doc extension as well, which would be on his end of the bargain. I couldn't find any active links online that did the conversion for free for Macs, only one from Microsoft for Windows. Here was his response to my email:

I would have to go in and save every file in double format and I think you need find a way to accommodate the system and not the other way around. I am not going to change the formatting.

Ohh, really? So my paying $600 for this class, and your being salaried means it is my responsibility to be able to open the documents you post? And you think I'm the only one who will have this problem? Chyeah. Just wait, teach.
Because I'm taking extra care to watch my tongue and think things out lately (humility is important, I'm learning), I left his ridiculous email unanswered. I was, however, very very frustrated.
My beloved sister volunteered to convert the files for me, to which I thanked her graciously, but alas, she would not have to. Soon, the professor sent the entire class an email which read as follows:
You may notice that several of the assignments have two links and others only one link. The reason is that some of the links were in docx Word 2007 format and some students were unable to open such files so I added a doc Word 97-2003 link. You only need to open one link per assignment.

Oh, curious, Professor. You don't say.
And I got one address solely to me:
I may have reacted too quickly. I have added a doc file to those assignments that had docx.

Yeah, that's what I thought.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Validation Weekend

So Kevin came this weekend, and everything went swimmingly. In between adventures including Alcatraz, the Giants game, and much delicious food, I really felt grownup these few days. Similar to how I felt in Austin in April.
See, a friend from work invited us out this weekend. She started a few days after me and we hit it off on that basis. I invited her to lunch with me and the other intern, and she in turn invited Kevin and me out last night with her, her boyfriend (side note: he's a Brit with the most dank accent, ever... where can I find me one of those accents!?), and her other friends. And here's what felt good about it: they're all older, like in the range of 5-15 years older, and nobody cared that we were still in college. I felt validation for why I want out of school so badly. See, I want to enjoy my youth, but not the way college requires. I want an urban job, I want city friends, fast life, 6-packs on the patio. I want income, not debt, and an optimistic job outlook. All of these people have that. Some were married, most had significant others, all have security in their futures, whether they were still in grad school, trying new careers, or settled into a long-term field. It felt right, I felt happy, and the night felt monumental in some odd way.
I got another glimpse into how I want my life to narrow itself, and why graduating as soon as possible is important. Kansas is not where my head is at, nor will it ever be there.
Tonight it was in Telluride, as I scanned through old photos of my week spent watching films in the mountains. That trip was the single most monumental experience of my years, because I built a dozen lifetime friendships on the basis of passion for film. To quote what I wrote in the description of a photo album, it was "the week I learned that everything is going to be alright, no matter what happens."
I feed off these validations, like seeing how successful my aunt is out here after coming from her humble North Dakota roots. You need camaraderie like I had yesterday and in Telluride, you need the passion, the drive, the desire, the way my aunt started with nothing but a degree, but also her family's support, and now has so much in her life. The support got her by, she had it from her parents and siblings, and now has it from her husband and children. And she gives as much support in return, so selflessly.
And I think you need a pinch of neglect. To say that maybe today isn't where you want to be, but enjoy where you are until tomorrow, and then you can right the wrong.
I'm so nervous about this fall. It's going to be four months of tomorrows. After all that, I'd like many years of yesterdays.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Baffling

There are times where I sit in front of my computer for hours trying to brainstorm or organize the elements to a brewing screenplay. Months of formulating the details in my head need to pour out onto the blank screen. It's tough work.
Last night, I half-consciously plotted the last 2/3 of my story in under an hour, just jotting down what seemed natural and necessary. I followed a low point with a high, then another low, and a high. Characters hit arcs, got their payoffs, the story rounded itself out. Sure, most of the work was done over the past few months, but to flesh it out, especially in my tired, beaten mindset, finally brings me solace. Usually ideas sound good in your head but read poorly on the page. I think this one's gonna read much cleaner than the last one.
...And now I get to start online classes on top of a full work week. The procrastination's gonna have to stop, or else my screenplay will continue to be a mere beat outline in 2 months' time.

Monday, May 26, 2008

No nuggets for me

In 1849, this area was filled with people panning for gold nuggets. 159 years later, it's still pretty easy to find nuggets. However, these are different nuggets. Magical nuggets. Nuggets that are offered to you if you walk around Golden Gate Park. Nuggets that don't make you rich, unless you're the one selling them. Nuggets that you don't get at McDonald's or in the sands of the bay. Four times today I got offered nuggets by the seediest characters. Unlike the 49ers of yesteryear, I refrained from capitalizing on these nuggets. I think my destiny lies elsewhere.
Perhaps in synchronized roller skating? Also found in Golden Gate Park.


What a loopy day! My friend Jenny from KU--she is on the rise at Facebook, graduated '07 and commutes to Palo Alto each day. She knows the Haight/Golden Gate area well. She doesn't socialize with the nuggeteers, though.We opted for skewers and slushies.

Oh, and this one's for Caitlin. Man, I love this city!

The world is getting smaller... also, my butt cheeks

Slowly, steadily, familiar faces are coming into view. Some in the shape of old friends passing through town, like my friend Holly who visited this past week, or my best bud in the whole world Kevin who is stopping through next weekend. Tomorrow I'm meeting a KU friend for lunch; she moved out here a year ago. I knew doing this whole thing "alone" would be difficult in missing friends. At least in Europe I had 25 KU kids along with me, you know?
But the beauty of this experience is that I'm really not doing it alone at all. I think yesterday I met 7 or 8 of my aunt's good friends and carried quality conversations with each. Aunt Amy even set me up to meet her friend's niece for lunch today. This girl is in the same boat as me, living with relatives and experiencing SF life. However, she's been here almost a year, so she showed me lots of ins and outs of the Embarcadero neighborhood after we ate in Chinatown. I anticipate meeting up with her again; see, already I'm branching out... with help! The relatives are captaining this vessel I call my body, and they're experienced in the SF waters.
But I don't want to branch out too much. I like being "long lost big brother" to the three kids, skirting off to a little league game or watching a movie they picked out (Legally Blonde and Dirty Harry were this week's selections). It's nice to have the familiar faces here and there to remind me of Kansas, but truthfully, I kind of like starving myself of that commodity. It's only practice for the future.
One week in and it feels like it's been a month. I mean that in a good way. So much has occurred in the past 8 days that it would normally occupy multiple weeks. I'm meeting people, learning about film festivals and publishing companies, walking up hill both ways, toning these butt cheeks to chiseled perfection. Just you wait. You'll all want to be my friend again when I'm home.