Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Passion of the Sorkin

I think I'm going to write more about writing here from now on. This blog started as a way for me to share what's really going on with me, and these days, pen and paper (or keyboard and screen) have been heavy on my mind. I'm looking at my future, trying to decide where to go and what to do, whether it's best to concentrate on writing my own material or on refining other people's, and why the options seem so limited right now. I'm doing Cinema Hype and preparing to apply for the ABC/Disney Talent Development Fellowship, among other things, trying to stay sharp and make opportunities for myself. There are a lot of words in me, and I think I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about the best way to get them out. Anyway. Writing about writing.

My old friends Kendra and Amy came to visit me this weekend; Amy's getting married in June, and we got together to do dress fittings and shoe shopping and stay up late chatting (check; check; double check). It was wonderful to see them both; the three of us spent three summers working and living together, and at the end of the summer it was always like losing a pair of limbs. Kendra stayed with me an extra night, and we spent the time as two unashamed TV fiends do: we curled up on the couch with blankets and mainlined a half-season of Studio 60.

When I watch Aaron Sorkin's shows, I always learn things. He teaches me about voice and timing, about the interplay of comedy and drama, about the importance and appeal of communities in storytelling. But mostly what he teaches me is about passion. Sorkin cares deeply about platonic male friendship; that's why we get Casey and Dan, Danny and Matt, Josh and Sam, and Leo and President Bartlet. We know he cares because the result is always surgically precise and delivered like it's the Gospel itself, and also because he essentially tells the same story over and over, mulling and refining and tinkering with the same basic structure. He never gets tired of talking about it, which is why he always has relevant things to say on the subject. Sorkin is also passionate about baseball, Gilbert and Sullivan, liberal politics, and television, which is why he continually works any combination of those things into his work. He's like a kid showing his parents around at open house(or, more accurately, like Tom Jeter at Studio 60?), always wanting to show off the things that are interesting to him. It shows, the passion. It makes a difference. It's why, at the end of the Studio 60 pilot, I hear "Pressure" and see Matt and Danny walk through the semi-lit theater, and I get butterflies in my stomach. It's why I have to smile when he slips little bits of TV history in around the edges--he can't not. He so wants us to know and care, and so I do. It's inspiring.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Hello, winter. How've you been?

Guess what? I'm back on speaking terms with snow. I broke up with snow sports two winters ago after an ill-advised snowboarding trip. With the exception of a fairly tame snowshoeing expedition last year, I've not had good experiences with cold-weather athletics. It's the gravity element: I've realized that going downhill on snow isn't fun for me. It's scary. That kind of speed without control doesn't appeal to me--with great power comes great responsibility, you know? I fall down, and then the snow-bunny six-year-olds speed past and laugh. I get frustrated, and then I cry and walk the rest of the way down the hill. It's not a good thing.

But I went cross-country skiing yesterday, and had a great time. It's a happy medium: cooler than snowshoeing, but not terrifying, like all the other board sports. There are little hills, just enough to feel vaguely Olympian without the fear of breaking bones; the scenery is beautiful and appropriately Alpine; and everybody's cheerful and stopping occasionally for trail mix and sunscreen. Physically, it's like rollerblading while doing the wedding-aisle walk: stride-together-stride-together, which is kind of entertaining (I'm easy). I fell down a lot, mostly to do with my lack of snowplowing skills, but by the end of the day I had the basics. I'd like to go back.

The great thing about cross-country is the tracks: the trails are groomed with grooves for those of us who can't keep their skis parallel. Downhill? Can't steer? No problem: just bend your knees, pick up your poles, and let the curve of the track carry you (until you look up, lose your balance, and inevitably end up on the ground, but that's not the trail's fault). It's great fun. I think we should have more tracked sports. Athletics for the uncoordinated! Excellent!

Monday, February 12, 2007

12 of 12: February

February 12! Chad Darnell; 12 photos; fun for all!


7:00 - Aaaaand I'm up. Kind of. Don't mock the Sneetch.


7:09 - Maple-brown-sugar shredded wheat; skim milk; four points!


7:42 - Finishing touches. Better than not, I guess.


8: 45 - Returning a screener DVD to a friend. It was, indeed, "something."


9:51 - Walking down to the Evil Empire of Coffee; note the sun in this picture.


11:00 - Break on the lunch room couch with Rebecca and a rice cake with peanut butter. Yum.


4:40 - Note the pouring rain in this picture; compare and contrast with earlier Starbucks photo. Who has two thumbs and left her jacket at home? This girl!


5:55 - Perfect, flat rainy-day water at the lake; sadly, crew practice was cancelled anyway. However: almost not totally dark at 6:00! It's practically summer!


6:12 - Calling my mommy


7:22 - Rocking the antioxidants: tomato and red pepper soup and a chopped mango for dinner


7:36 - Watching the current Project 501 movie, All Quiet on the Western Front (1930). Bummer, man.


8:52 - Writing my Western Front review and looking forward to see what's next


10:14 - Winding down with some polish and Studio 60. Is this photo repellent? I don't have foot issues, but I've got to say that my February feet aren't so appealing.

Next month, same bat time, same bat channel.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Thursday, February 08, 2007

My home computer is hanging by a thread. As far as I can tell, the actual computer is more or less okay--it's quirky in the way that well-loved computers tend to be, but it works--but the cord seems to have stopped carrying electricity from the wall into the computer. I think. The screen is flickery, and occasionally blacks out, only to shut itself down and restart like nothing happened. The battery isn't so great, either, and I'm scrambling to back everything up before it dies.

So now I'm looking for a new power adapter, which I hear are model-specific. Power adapters, it seems, are weirdly expensive. Ninety-nine dollars for a cord? How is it possible that Radio Shack doesn't have this for seven bucks? I'm also trying to figure out a back-up scheme, because I am smart (as in, S-M-R-T) and therefore have no back-ups of anything.

I guess I'm at that point where I need to decide how much money I'm going to put into my computer before I move on. Two hundred dollars for a new cord and an external hard drive seems like a lot of money to put into an old computer--especially if Vista's taking over the world--but it's cheaper than the $1200 for the shiny new Mac I'm eyeing.

What to do, what to do?

Friday, February 02, 2007

A harsh mistress

I went to Target the other day after work. I needed contact solution. I did come out with contact solution; I also came out with a skirt, a cardigan, four DVDs (Groundhog Day, Edward Scissorhands, The Princess Bride, and Little Women--all fine films; all under $10), batteries, and a notebook. Target is the vortex, my friends!

It's a good thing their book section is so pathetic; otherwise I'd have a real problem.

Un-Haiku Friday

I've been informed that aside from being Groundhog Day, today is the Second Annual Brigid-in-Cyberspace Silent Poetry Reading. In honor of the occasion, I'm ignoring the seventeen syllables I'd prepared on Bill Murray, rodents, Pennsylvania, and the weather, and posting a real poem.

This is one of my favorites.

New Face
by Alice Walker

I have learned not to worry about love;
but to honor its coming
with all my heart.
To examine the dark mysteries
of the blood
with headless heed and
swirl,
to know the rush of feelings
swift and flowing
as water.
The source appears to be
some inexhaustible
spring
within our twin and triple
selves;
the new face I turn up
to you
no one else on earth
has ever
seen.