Tuesday, March 29, 2005

That Good Old Realization Feeling

Either Georgie Lucas has lost a lot of weight and smiles at strangers (i.e.: me) or there's a teacher at USC (in the Lucas building, no less) who looks a lot like a skinny G.L. Or a tall ewok, whatever you prefer.

So I think I have figured out the mystery of the abadoned furniture that litters the sidewalks of the neighbourhood. Or, specifically, the mystery of where it goes. Yeah, a truck comes and picks it up. This is a pretty obvious solution, but really, I've wondered about this since approximately August 15th, 2004, and only saw this picking-up activity two days ago. It's good to know that Occam's Razor is still in operation.

Also: this week is "Iraq Week" which is a stunning development in which it seems some students at USC have some kind of politcal consciousness? Really! It's all very heartwarming in a school where kids ride around on bikes unapologetically plastered with Bush 2004 stickers and the TV in the food court is tuned to FOX.

Friday, March 25, 2005

And the News of the World

Is anyone else super excited about the discovery of soft tissue in a 70 million-year-old Tyrannosaurus Rex bone? I can't get enough of it. And they think that it might actually be totally common, so now they're going to go around snapping dino femurs in half and extracting bouncy tissue and cloning dinosaurs and growing them on an island! Michael Crichton is probably squiffy with glee.

Maybe you haven't read about this, though. Maybe you've been too busy reading about this. I couldn't have thought up the response of the Wendy's spokesman; that was hilarious.

Thursday, March 24, 2005


So last weekend my mom came to visit. This was to make up for not visiting me in Japan, even though my dad and brother both did.

Except for Jeremy and Sarah, no one else from the world of Vancity has yet visited my LA world, so it was kinda sorta thrilling to share it with someone. When Steve came to see me in Sendai, I remember having a small heart attack of happiness when I first spotted him inside the train car as it pulled into the station. It was equally thrilling searching through the LAX-ness for my mom and finding her sitting very patientally on the edge of a luggage carosel with her rolly suitcase.

Having my mom visit made me realise several interesting things.

I'm a freak, and having someone who is freaky in the same way that I am around made me much more conscious of, and also delighted in, the kind of strange things I do in my life. For example: my mom constantly made pots of tea, which was great because it saved me having to. She also dug up a small jade plant that was growing out of the dirt near where I lock up my bike and she potted it in half a 2-litre pop bottle. And she found some mint growing in the backyard and deadheaded a bunch of roses so that they would bloom more. I felt as though I suddenly had a team member around, from my team, you know. Fuck, I miss Canadians.

LA is a tough city to be a tourist in, but for last weekend, I more or less was one. I tried to do as little as possible in terms of stuff for school, which felt very strange, and we drove around and looked at stuff and went shopping and did all the things I never never do here. It was strange trying to regard this city as a place to be a tourist in, and I don't think I like thinking of it that way at all. LA is considerably more utilitarian that it is anything else and all the Mulholland Drives in the world are not going to be able to do much about it.

I prefer the discomfort of being hungry over the discomfort of being overly full. I had two very expensive meals at big ol' steakhouses last week: one at Palm with Scrivy and Lee (tooling around LA enjoying the spoils of a successful bid at an auction in Rossland, BC) and Jordan and one at Fleming's out in Manhatten Beach with Scrivy and Lee and Mom. Both restaurants were very noisy and served the vegetables family style (which Lee translated as "being too lazy to spend a few minutes on presentation"). The company more than made up for any deficiencies in the restaurant in both cases, but my poverty-induced urge to clean my plate made me feel overly stuffed for a least a day after both meals.

My ridiculously insular social life allows me to spend almost as much time as I ought on school. I just don't have time to hang out with people who aren't as insane and busy as I am. If I was trying to do this in Vancouver, I'd be pulling D's. The summer is going to be bloody fantastic for remembering who I am and where I am from (as well as going camping and spending a good bank of time by the sea or in the woods and remembering what the quiet world sounds like).

My mom and I would be very good travel companions. She wants to go backpacking when I graduate for a couple months. I say: allons-y!

The rest of 69 Love Songs is as good as the first third. Thank you, Mom, for the first new cd (triple album!) in over a year and a half.

Friday, March 18, 2005

How A Week Away Makes Me Think of Other Things (Almost)

I've had a copy of Harper's kicking around my room for about a month now. March. I finally got down to reading more of it while waiting for my windshield wiper motor to be replaced (yes, all you safety-conscious folks, I did finally get that fixed- in time for the rain today).

Anyway, I was lying in bed paging through it and got to the short fiction part and HOLY CRAP, IT'S A GEORGE SAUNDERS STORY. I read something he wrote in the New Yorker last year, but otherwise, once you've sucked the marrow out of his two short story collections, you're hard up until he publishes something else. I really liked the New Yorker story. This story was a little more openly dogmatic, but I have a lot of appreciation for how the man uses modern lowest common demoninator syntax. And his fixation on leisure activities and what kind of worlds they breed.

As much as I hate to be kept waiting, I do like to be able to anticipate what artists in our time will produce next. I read Northanger Abbey knowing it was the last Austen novel I could ever read for the first time. (By the way, here is the best advice page in the world. Seriously.) That is the tragedy when someone notable dies: that their contribution to the planet now has an end point and they won't ever make anything ever again.

Kind of makes you want to publish a zine, don't it?

In other news, my mummy is visiting this weekend. At this particular moment, she's at 37000 feet and going 486 knots over the Washington-Oregon border.

Oh, and actually operated a motion picture film camera for the first time today. Exciting. I could fall in love with that shutter flicker.

And finally, the man on the far right sat one table over at House of Pies today at lunch. He did a crossword. A man after my own heart.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Easing the Spring

For spring break, I had elaborate plans of getting lots of stuff done. My body has had other plans, namely: making up on strange sleep cycles of late. That's okay. I am of the philosophy that sleeping is the kind of work your body needs to do. Knitting up the raveled sleeve of care, etc.

I did get my windshield wipers fixed, though, which took all day today when driving all over the city looking for the Downbeat Cafe with TJ is figured in. This improvement means that I can now clean the dust of my windshield with wipers whenever I please, instead of waiting until a gas station visit affords me access to a squeegee. In other words, it's not likely this car is likely to see rain for, oh, another two years or so.

We drove around in the hot sun with the windows all the way down and Love and Theft playing a very high level, thereby taking our place in the landscape of gridlocked cars blasting Dr. Dre and latino pop under the helicoptered sky while the Hollywood sign winked brown through the smog.

This evening I enjoyed a delightful dinner with Scrivy and Lee, also known as my godparents, or they would be if any kind of religious-type custodianship happened in my family, which it doesn't. They are the kind of people make me realize how much I am like my parents because my parents really like them and I really like them too. Anyway, they are in LA and treated Jordan and I to a large and nutritious dinner (starting with a large and nutritious martini, which I didn't ever quite recover from) and a Clippers game. All in all, I felt fancy, and that was great.

I love hyacinths. They are lovely and smell like spring.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Yessiree, She

Right, I only moved to LA to spot famous people out in public.

Last night had my only worthwhile sighting so far at that hip place the echo in the middle of that hip area Silverlake. It was, understand, all very hip. And the sighted subject?: PJ Harvey.

Yeah, at the Unicorns show, you know, except it wasn't actually the Unicorns, cause they broke up, but the flotsam remnants of the Unicorns, including a really gleeful drummer man with overgrown hair and wonderfully entertaining, earnest rock-out facial expressions. Four songs were good. Otherwise, no. But those four songs made me remember how fun shows are.

Right, anyway, PJ, Ms Harvey (by the way, note the lack of a period in my use of Ms. (the period just used is cause it's the end of sentence, yo.) That's per the recommendation of one Rhonda Vanderfluit, who says on the matter, "Why use a period? What is "Ms" short for? Nothing.)

Ahem. The Lady In Question was wearing what looked to be fantastic black suede ankle boots and generally looked rather 1983, in that punk way, you know. Actually, her well-put-together-ness kind of threw us. She seemed a little too hip to be really cool enough to really be her (by the way, sometimes I think the state of "hip"ness is dimetrically opposed to "cool"ness. Call me up and we can have an argument about it.). I always think of her as too cool to look that hip.

Sarah tailed her to the bathroom and when she came out, she confirmed: Absolument, Elle.

For those who are interested, the other famous people I have seen are: Lisa Ling, standing around while a manic male companion fretted over what kind of tennis socks to buy (she is angular), and Will Smith, at the Arclight, at the Ray Premiere (he is very tall).

Oh, and what else, the screening!

Great fun. Now I'd like to see all movies some time again when I'm not so drunk. But really, the most thrilly-thrill fun, sitting in front rows surrounded by all the kids in class, giving backslaps to the directors and cinematographers within arm's reach as their stuff came up, receiving them when yours comes up, sharing a plastic cup of cheap wine with Brooke, having complete strangers strike up conversations with you afterwards about your movie.

Uh Huh, Me.

Friday, March 11, 2005

75 Degrees and Sunny

I'm having such a wonderful, wonderful day.

The screening is today and it feels like graduation day, except that instead of having toiled over a thesis that will then result in a check next to your name and that no one will ever read, we've all toiled over something that we all then get to WATCH. I can't get over it: we get to show off the result of all our work and see everyone else's too!

Wowee Zowee.

Plus, I'm wearing my super-hot graduation day shoes, that makes it feel like graduation day too.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Well I Wrote And Directed A Hit Play, So I'm Not Sweating It Either

The film, the film, it's done.

Sound editing: Meditative. At times, maddening (5 hours of synching 8 seconds of screen time).

Pro Tools: great, and specifically, runs circles around Avid.

Waiting Around for five and half hours to check sound file output when you've been getting very little sleep and skipping classes (sorry, Drew) to make the deadline: not so cool.

The Mix this afternoon: euphoric, as all the hard work laid down gets finessed and finessed and finessed until your movie becomes what you always knew it could be.

Future plans include: wash hair, do laundry, go grocery shopping, go to screening, feel like a superstar, partypartyparty, sleep.

Magnetic Fields 69 Love Songs Obsession: still going strong. Caught myself singing 'The Luckiest Guy on the Lower East Side' to myself in the sound lab. Currently trying to link up all past relationships with a song. What song do I love the most? Don't make me choose; I want to marry them all.

This post is dedicated to shouting "Don't fuck with my play!", getting punched in the face and then walking onstage in slow motion with a piece of tissue up one's bloody nose.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Small Ones Are Sweeter

Let's hear it for mochi ice cream.

That's pretty much all I have to share with you today, because if I started talking about how LOUD the undergrads talk in the sound editing lab and how DIFFICULT it is to cut the noise of dough being kneaded over this din, I would get all pissy and longwinded and it wouldn't be fun to read.

But mochi ice cream, that's something sing about.

Soft, powdered, best after about five minutes outside the freezer, it's a bit like biting into a freshy bathed baby, if any of you are into biting babies.

A simple ball of ice cream inside a mochi jacket, it's the perfect blend of gluten-y starch and sweet sweet cold sweetness. Give it a whirl, it's sure to please.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Check, Check and Check

I slept for thirteen hours last night. I dreamed about receiving back massages and flying on broomstick-like contraptions with friends. That was an awesome dream. I feel much better now, thank you.

Today in the editing lab, the man sitting next to me smelled like feet. Strongly.

Martha Stewart: sprung. Now she can get on with other (good) things.

Going to make dinner, then back to the lab for more synching up of footsteps.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

My Next Film Is Called "One Hand Clapping"

Right, earlier I had some things to say about how fun our educational time in the foley stage was, but folks, it ain't got nothing on the experience of actually foleying one's own movie (or one's foley partner's movie).

Foley is sort of a bizarre line of work: these little sounds are not money like those carefully designed explosions that keep winning Academy Awards (don't get me started-- like I told my mom: that show was only fun to watch because I was drunk) for sound design, and yet when it's done well, it totally sells the image as real.

I started off in the booth, with Jordan and Mary making sweet sweet foley music with the shotgun mike in the studio. Damn, that Mary is a fine foley walker. She stood in one spot and got the shot of the feet coming down the stairs on the first take! I wasn't even recording it! I was just showing it to her so she could get the pace! Genius!

And it's amazing how much the actual kneading of dough doesn't actually sound like the kneading of dough. I didn't actually see what the two of them did to get a dough sound in the end, but it sounded great. The cup-fuls of flour being dumped sounded great too. It is for reason really really exciting to hear that exactly perfect sound match up with your heretofore silent movie. And it made me really happy to see Jordan grapple with the sticky mess of half-made dough. He's hid his pristine self behind the camera for too long.

If Mary's a good foley walker, I'm a good foley sitter. Maybe it's because it's actually my old Volvo in Mary's movie and I know its creaks, but replacating the noise of someone easing into the driver's seat with an old office chair proved to be my area of expertise. It was also really fun to make the movement/cloth track, which mostly consisted of rubbing one's clothing-clad sections of body in a way that, to a casual observer, was probably a mixture of titilating, disturbing, and just bizarre.

Foley is a strange kind of art because you are often trying to get into the rhythms laid down by the actor and the editor to create real-sounding noise in an environment often completely unrelated to the action on screen. It's hella fun and exhilirating for precisely the same reasons.