Monday, November 29, 2004


So on Thursday I got to go to the O.C. Just like on TV, folks. Actually Josh Schwartz is a USC grad, or, in another way of putting it, part of the USC mafia that runs the show(s).

It was nice out there. The air was clearer and the ocean was visible and the streets have nature-themed names.

I was there for American Thanksgiving with Ms. Lebo and her family. I really love Thanksgiving. It's so secular and the central theme of the giving of thanks is so scarce in Western culture. Granted, it's got some sketchy roots (the pilgrims killed all the First Nations people, whaaaaa?), but the overall tone of family get-together for feasting and all-round appreciation of our daily bounty makes me feel warm all over. I was very sad to miss my own family's Thanksgiving this year, although the surprise of a dinner at Geoffrey's on the night of Canadian Thanksgiving did make me feel considerably better about being unable to defend my long-reigning Balderdash champion title. Anyway, surely Mom will make the broccoli casserole for Christmas?

But off to the O.C. for the warm family feelings of someone else's family! (or: feeling affection without also feeling slightly irritated!)

Sarah's aunt Susie is pretty awesome. When I met her for the first time last month, she told me that she'd been reading this here blog, which caused me to have a brief out-of-body experience in which I considered for the first time that people other than those who put up with me on a daily basis might actually read this stuff. When we got to her house, she had pages from mine and Sarah's blog printed out and up on the fridge. I feel famous already.

The highlights from the day include: the food (well, obviously. and of course the smell of the cooking turkey. and the pecan pie for dessert, which I evidentally enjoyed a lot, as I found little bits of it stuck to my shirt later), the setting (charmingly mismatched glassware, endearing hand-made placecards, a garden I'd give my eyeteeth for), the games (frisbee, in which I accidentally hit the smallest member of the party in the mouth and made her cry, daisy-chain making, in which I got to assist young Miss Katie, and picture bingo, in which the aforementioned youngest member of the party, Miss Lily, was told to call certain winning pictures by her grandfather or she'd be "in big trouble"), and of course, the people.

It gets the pump primed for all the partying and holidaying of December, this Thanksgiving at the end of November, doesn't it? I'm only too happy to make like Captain Torrance and bring it on.

Friday, November 26, 2004


Check this out.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Market Instability

So yesterday the house I live in got sold. Yikes. I'm not really sure what this means yet. I'm really hoping it doesn't mean I have to move, because quite apart from the intense suckiness of trying to find somewhere to live and moving, I really don't want to leave where I live. I've discovered I've become very attached to it and its funny little details: roses along the driveway to the back of the house, the birds that nest above my closet and sing through the window in the morning, the farmers' market down the street on Wednesday afternoons.

But then, maybe with that hard-hitting Canadian dollar, I could afford somewhere good. Who knows what will happen with that. Like my dad says, "Nobody."

Monday, November 22, 2004

The Smog Show

Oh, Smog. Why do I love you so? The moroseness? The spaciness? The frequent references to horses and the country? Waiting through chord progressions to hear the end of the sentence?

The first time I saw Smog, he was an angry man, hating the crowd. At the end of the set, he leaned into the mike to say "Go Home" and then stalked offstage, despite the earnest appreciation of the crowd. Oh Vancouver indie rockers and their clear-cut cultural norms of what you do and do not do at shows.

The second time I saw Bill Calahan, he was downright chipper, making jokes about the ATM that was right next to the stage and most significantly, making prolonged eye contact with individual audience members (including, at one shocking point, me) and content with the rapt reverence of the people listening. Because really, Smog is all about listening and people who are not listening closely miss it. I think this is why he sings such slow, drawn-out lyrics of such........

........undulating beauty.

Last night we saw Smog at Spaceland in Silverlake. I don't like LA indie kids all that much. Too exuberant or something. I'm used to Canadian indie kids who are clinically depressed (it's a big part of the national identity, that) and somber with small pockets of potential happiness secreted about their persons.

So anyway, I don't think Bill likes LA very much, which is fine because, between you and me and the fencepost, there's a lot to hate. He played all new stuff and then four good ol' songs. In that order. Kind of rude, perhaps, but we let the artist have his way. At one point he said, "we're getting ready to record an album, so we're practicing." Some of the new songs are pretty killer. In particular, the song about the well and the song about the country (of course) and a song about "show me the colts". The bassist looked like Shelley Duvall and was a weird and captivating limp noodle with a beat throughout. The drummer had been salvaged from the galley of a 18th century mercantile ship and looked like Dean Paul Gibson. He played the drums with a loosey goosey flair and looked like he would have preferred to play standing up so he could dance properly.

The most significant moment of the evening was when Bill said, "This is an eight show tour... ...and you're the best audience so far." Then he started to say something else, which I'm pretty sure was, "And we've got seven more shows after this." But he was drowned out by self-congratulatory cheering. Which was perfect.

Whatever. I think the man gets a lot of fuel out of being misunderstood. Also, he was sporting a pale fifteen-year-old's moustache.

Judy May Be A Punk, But Robyn Is A Filmmaker

The good times abound.

I shot the last of my final project yesterday, a slightly sad moment, but also relieving. I'm pretty happy with what I've got on that one. More and more, heading into a shoot is like having my skull in a tourniquet, but once the camera starts rolling and the actors start making really strange and wonderful choices with my material, I fall in love with both my story (again) and with the idea of making movies. It's a wonderful feeling.

On Saturday I helped out on Mr. Jordan Innes's shoot. Yeah, it's a rock opera, set in snowy woods. I hope I'm not giving too much away by saying that, but the footage is as or more awesome then you can imagine. Let's just say there's a lot of really gloppy fake blood involved. And yes, we did shoot in real snow, up in Big Bear park in San Bernadino county. The air up there was shockingly clear and clean. And cold, as it turned out. And I was the only person on the shoot wearing boots.

When I get back to Vancity (December 12, if you want to know), I really want to go into my mom's grade four class and talk with them about movies. I mean, I love visiting my mom's classes anyway, and I love chatting with anklebiters about topics of interest, but the thought of talking about movies with a class of them makes me so excited. I'm planning out a little curriculum in my head already. Please, mom?

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Crazy from the Crazy

Now this is why I read the news.

David Lee Roth continues to outdo himself. Hey, he does more before 9 a.m. than most people do all day.

(By the way, if you haven't already, here's a must-read.)


I think the worst part about being sick is being tired all the time and staying home too much and generally feeling like your head is going to explode. I've been pacing around my house like a caged animal for the past week or so (or it feels like the past week: maybe it's only been four days), wadded up tissue everywhere, awash with tea and palpating my lymph nodes.

Plus, and let's be honest, I've been trying to write and I'm heading into another shoot, which also creates the caged-animal feeling. A combination of panic and procrastination. Somehow, I often emerge on the other side of this with stuff that I'm pretty happy with, but is the misery of going through this, uh, creative process worth what I produce? Sometimes yes, sometimes, perhaps no.

The other weird side of this is that I've been ravenously hungry the past two days. Eating everything in sight and while eating, wondering what else I have around that is edible. Surely this is not healthy, maybe I've been eating very little over the previous few days? I don't remember.

Don't worry, I'll have the day from hell tomorrow, culminating in the bulk of my shooting, and then the fever will break and things will settle down into the studious lull of editing. But now I must go and sharpen the 30 pencils I bought today so they are all ready for action on set tomorrow night.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Tart and Tiny

So earlier this evening I was in Ralph's getting some brown sugar and I was standing at the 10 items or less checkout.

The first thing you need to understand is that this neighbourhood is an odd and, I think, uncomfortable mix of poor people who are mostly not white and rich college kids who are mostly white. We all meet at Ralph's, which has "USC Trojans" banners hanging from the ceiling and security guards at the doors.

It's homecoming this weekend, which involves football and a lot of people walking around in USC clothing and I think alumni? It smells like drunkenness and charcoal briquettes and Ralph's was chock-full of frat kids buying vats of margarita mix and black and Latino families buying groceries.

So I'm standing in line with my 69 cent box of brown sugar, sort of absently looking around at the crowd. In front of me is this mom with two little kids who are small explorers and then a man buying lots of bottled water (that's something else: everyone drinks bottled water here. Everyone. I thought that just pretentious actresses did that). The little boy is tiny, like he just stopped being a baby, like knee-high to a grasshopper. He's walking around by my feet with a little plastic tube of candy in hand. I was prepared to see the traditional beg-for-candy-at-the-checkout move from this tiny child, but no, instead he starts pull up the hem of his shirt, revealing a tiny pocket in his tiny sweatpants. In goes the tube of candy and he trots out after his mom, who has paid for the groceries and is leaving.

The moment that I realise that this baby boy has stolen some candy, I look away, right into the eyes of the man in front of me in line, who gives me this intense look that says, "Don't say anything." And really, I wouldn't, because jeez, the kid is practically an infant. And plus, I'm the rich white college kid and they are the poor black family, so really, it's completely out of my league to say anything. A strange moment, mostly because of the man and the way he looked at me. It was a fixative, his gaze; he knew exactly what I saw because he had seen it too and he had already anticipated what I might do about it and was preventing it by nailing me to the floor with this look. It was a personal request on his part, but at the same time it was made along the political lines of him being black and local like the little family and me being white and privileged. Saddening, because it was a connect that only served to highlight our disconnect.

And then the moment passed and we each bought our food and went off into our own worlds.

Friday, November 12, 2004

I Love Trash

Who knew, but you can buy cheap VHS tapes of very recent movies in thrift stores here in LA. Here's a clue as to why: they come in almost blank boxes that say the name of the movie, and "For Your Consideration" and "Not for Distribution or Resale." Screeners, gentle reader.

So yeah. Genius. And I got a raw silk cardigan for three bucks. Me and Randy Newman, we love LA.

Bang Bang Bang

The last week has been a little Chaplin-esqe.

First, I get a black eye. It's kind of entertaining: I wake up every morning wondering what it will look like. It went from a light purple wash, to a darker, angrier purple right over the inside corner of my eyelid. Then the yellow started, right up to my eyebrow. An alarming canary yellow for a few days, fading out now to more of an old newspaper yellow. Will it turn green next? Isn't yellow the last stop for the bile of bruising? The good thing is that this aurora borealis light show is above my eyelid only, so, while I have been getting some weird looks from people, I think they are more of the "wow, you have some strange asymmetrical eyeshadow choices" variety, rather than, "oooh, your boyfriend do that?" Stella Kowalski I am not.

Then, on Monday night I went to drive to another all-killer-no-filler Fistful of Nothing show and whoops! where's my car? I park on the street, so I wandered around a bit thinking that maybe I parked it down the block and forgot? Then I wondered if recent blows to head (see above) have disturbed my brain in such a way that it would cause me to forget, like, giving the car away or something? Then I started to have to seriously consider that it was stolen. I stayed calm and logical, and was already wondering how much money I would get for it from insurance and if that would allow me to buy another nice old Volvo when the policewoman on the phone says, yep, looks like the Department of Transport has your car.

Well, yippee, but what the hell'd they tow it for? Because the plates still shout "foreigner"? Because it was broken into and they didn't want to leave it on the street?

According to the cryptic note on the ticket, I somehow managed to park my car blocking someone's driveway? What? Why would I do this? The Pixies have asked it before and I'll ask it again: Where is my mind? Not looking out for driveways, apparently. The lead singer of Fistful of Nothing kindly gave me a ride to get my car out of hock (nothing like picking up your car from the tow lot with a black eye; a classy feeling) and gave me a pat on the back when we learned how much the final bill was. I paid two weeks rent to get it back, and we drove home, my car and me. I know you're not supposed to feel emotional connections to big hunks of machinery, but I [heart] my car and I'm glad it wasn't hurt.

Also, I think I'm getting sick, despite guzzling vitamin juice and hearty soup. But that makes three, so the run should be over.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

You Should See The Other Guy

Yesterday I got my first black eye ever. I am so excited. It keeps changing colour. This morning it was a light purple wash over my eyelid. Then this red blotch showed up, and now there's a blue-ish arc developing in a sort of semi-circle above my eyelid. I wish I had the camera this weekend.

I got the black eye from knocking skulls with Brooke at BJ's birthday party. Knocking skulls very hard, I might add. The back of her heard collided with my forehead just over my left eyebrow. Later, the birthday boy dumped a creamer on my head, but only after I drizzled a bit on his head, but then, he antognized me into doing it, so really, we're both equally to blame.

Add this to the list of tramautic things to happen here.

Thing one was getting rear-ended with Sarah at a stoplight back in August. This spacy woman just drove right into us without stopping. It was so loud and so big and jolting and scary. My sunglasses flew right off my face. Although I didn't admit to myself at the time, it made me scared of the world, and particularly, of LA, for several weeks.

Thing two involved going to see a show at the Malibu Beach Inn in September, after which we (Brooke, Sarah, TJ, Jordan, and me) decided to go across the street to the beach. Then we decided to go swimming. It was around 2:30 in the morning. Later that morning, Brooke was out on the pier we had been splashing around next to and everyone is looking over the railing into the water and oh, what are they looking at? Oh, sharks. Little sharks (5 feet) but still. I swam with sharks, folks. In the dark. Remind you of the beginning of any movies?

The moral of the story is that none of this killed me and therefore it all makes me stronger. Right? Right. Now I make it all into movies!

Thursday, November 04, 2004

World Gone Wrong

On Tuesday morning I was walking to school and the parking lot at Ralph's was full of US Sheriffs with fatigues and bullet-proof vests and machine guns sitting in 15-seater passenger vans. Going off to vote, no doubt.

It's a sad day in Mudville, and it's only going to get sadder.

On the upside, my crazy film idea worked. It made people in class talk about ideas: immensely gratifying. Now that I have a firmer harness on how to make people feel things using film, I think I will start thinking about how to make the world a less sad place.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Royal Canadian Mint is coming out with a poppy quarter for Remembrance Day that has a red centre! Wowee zowee.

I'm going to put one under my pillow and make a wish for America for voting day tomorrow. Roommate Caesar predicts that guns will be fired into the air and people will swarm the streets. I predict that six of one will equal half a dozen of another.