Friday, November 25, 2005


So apart from walking into a house that smells like cooking turkey, I like the part about Thanksgiving where you go around and everyone says what they are thankful for. It is, I think, the nucleus of Thanksgiving Day. Like how the minute of silence is the nucleus of Remembrance Day, the singing and candle-blowing is the nucleus of the birthday, and walking across the stage and getting the paper is the nucleus of graduation. The moment it happens.

I had a found-family Thanksgiving last night in which a bunch of people got together with their friends to do what they usually do with their families. I've had a Christmas like this before and it's a weird but good way to spend a holiday.

Anyway, the thing that I am thankful for is making stuff. Because I don't know if there are any other creatures out there besides humans who make stuff just for fun. And time and time again I save my own psychological bacon by making stuff. Pictures or little books. Things for the wall, things to send in the mail, things to wear. Cloth and paper, pens and paint. The feeling I get in the middle of making stuff is the same feeling I get when I rub my face for a long time: my brain goes into soft mode, or the front of it goes into soft mode so I can hear the back part.

The other day I was talking to Rajeev in the recording booth of the ADR room and I realised that we were making a movie, in the same way that I make stuff sitting on my bedroom floor. This seems obvious, but it hadn't occured to me to think about our movie like that in a really long time. Man, I love making stuff. I have to remember more often that that is what I am doing.

I'm also thankful for other people making stuff, especially when you can really tell someone made it. Like music or writing, and sometimes movies.

I'm also thankful for not getting a parking ticket this morning.

It's just too bad that Thanksgiving's history is couched in screwing over the First Nations people.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

More Great Visitors to SPO

Today a man came in to work to ask about posting up for sale ads for his motorcycle (cheesy, green, kawasaki) and various pieces of film-ish equipment. He was scruffy in that hippie way that you initially mistake for homelessness.

Except for his sport-sandaled feet bearing french manicured toenails.

Sunday, November 20, 2005


I just finished reading the 6th Harry Potter book. Now, let me put aside my indignation at the depiction of an evil character who has put part of his soul into a ring so that he's somewhat immortal, let me put that aside, and also the depiction of a doorway in a stone wall that shines out as lines of silver in a certain kind of light and of dead bodies with scary eyes floating just below the surface of stagnant water and even the depiction (SPOILER) of a certain kind of character dying in a certain kind of way, let me put all those fairly unimaginative thefts aside and share with you my theory on the HP phenomenon.

These books are like crack, as Dorrie once put it (even going so far as to describe her small cousin as our dealer). Yes. Okay, the genius of J.K. lies in her ability to combine certain elements of stories in such a way to keep the reader constantly enthralled. Everybody loves an underdog story because we see ourselves that way. Everybody loves a school story because school is a microcosm for the real world in which events are simultaneously world-ending and also insignificant. And we all romanticize our school times of the past, not to mention our so-painful-at-the-time adolesence. Thanks to colonialism, everyone more or less loves stories about the pluck of English children, especially if they refer to jumpers and wellies. And most of all, everyone loves a story in which their are constantly new rules of reality being written to boost our heros to greater and more interesting heights.

And Rowling has also plundered a lot of literary tradition to add compelling details to her tale. Not just Lord of the Rings, but a lot of other major fantasy works, as well as folklore, fairytales, horror movies, and, increasingly, sitcoms.

And she weaves it all with impressive skill.

Why, then, does reading any one of her books, with the possible exception of the first one, leave me cold? Admittedly, I keep reading, kinda voraciously, but I've also noticed I read them very lightly, skipping over paragraphs of description and straight on to dialogue or revealing plot points. Hmmmm, just like reading a ... script? Yep, Rowling's plots are interesting, her gags are pretty delightful, and her characters are well-drawn. But her description is often cliched and coarse and, most importantly of all, her stories have little to no inner life. Like a movie script without actors, director, images, lights, sounds.

This wouldn't bother me so much if it I didn't know about the many many children who polish one of her 600 pagers off in three days and don't read anything else for the rest of the year.

Having recently returned to reading after too long, it's a relief to again be plunged into an art form that requires an investment from me for it to really work. Well-written literature invites me in as an observer and a thinker. Well-written children's literature does the same. Rowling invites me to pick which offhand piece of knowledge from book four will turn the plot in book six, but that's hardly the same thing. A good plot does not necessarily make for a good book, although you will slog through all kinds of bad writing to find out what happens in the end. But a world in which we all escape from dragons (but just barely) and every broken nose can be healed with the swish of a wand and all punches can ultimately be rolled with is just too easy, like the books themselves. And all the magical candy gags in the world can't make it interesting.

I will say that the directors of the third and forth films have improved considerably on their source material.

Thursday, November 17, 2005


Lately the quality of my day has been easily affected by the quality of my hair for the day, which in turn lives or dies on how well I part my hair. It all comes down to the post-shower a.m. moment of drawing the edge of the comb in a line across my scalp. Will I accomodate the cowlick? Or have a chunk sticking up in the back? Will I finish with too much hair on one side of my head and not enough on the other? As my haircut grows out into increasingly unstructured floppiness, the part is the only thing I can hang on to. And knowing how my hair is coming off somehow causes my whole day to follow suit. Just put it in a ponytail = can't get it together = dropping food on crotch of pants at lunch. Or forgetting to go to the bank. Or taking the wrong freeway. When someone told me a couple days ago that my hair looked nice, I told her that if you can get the part right, all harmony of life will flow from that. She thought I was kidding but I wasn't.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Reach! For! The! Brie!

On Saturday I had a meal in a house sitting at a proper table with other people. Alex and Kat and Eric concocted an orgiastic smorgasboard of eggs and cheese and bread and everything else that is good with the world. Sarah and I were the happy guests. I think the last time I sat and ate food at a table with other people in a house was breakfast at my house just before I drove out of Vancouver to come to LA in July. Delightful.

Especially compared to the things that I constantly eat because they are easy to pack in lunches: yogurt (boring), nuts (ugh), carrots (mealy, and involves cow-like chewing), apple (never end up eating it), cliff bar (uuuuuugh). I've been eating the same lunch, give or take a few elements, for a year and a half (give or take a few summer months). I need some sort of lunch revolution in which I discover a whole new set of cheap, healthy, easy things to pack in my food sack every day. They need to invent a new vegetable that is handy and small and pre-cut and cheap. Maybe I'll starting hardboiling eggs a lot. And then have a Ramona Quimby episode.

I just played a song that I've had in my head all day (Light & Day of the Polyphonic Spree, with the video from E Sunshine of the S Mind with all of the funny things like clocks and potato people singing the words; euphoric) really loudly. Which is bad apartment karma (12:12am), but what is better than playing a song you are obsessed with really Really REALLY LOUD!!!!



Monday, November 07, 2005

Foot Wisdom

The best part about having cute socks is matching them all up when they are fresh out of the dryer. The worst part about having cute socks is when they get too old and thin and holey and you have to turn them into rags.

And Uggs are just moonboots in suede, okay? To 99% of Ugg-wearers: y'all look goofy. Though, as a moonboot fan, I can appreciate how they feel like having pillows wrapped around your feet.

What I'm waiting for is when we see transvestites at Highland and Vine decked out in these.

Thursday, November 03, 2005


Rain on lens
Rain on lens
Boom in frame
All is ruin
Let's call it a day.