Wednesday, March 25, 2009


There was a nun on the bus this morning, in a full habit and everything. She was young. People kept talking to her. I bet she gets that a lot.

I have been lurking around Etsy in search of business cards--because I keep scrawling my information on the backs of receipts and handing them out, and also because handmade paper products are like catnip--and instead I keep running across "mommy cards." Mom's name, "Mom of _____" (ugh), contact info, kid's allergies/fears. Is this a thing now?

Right now, everybody should be watching Chuck and Friday Night Lights. Chuck (Mondays, 8 p.m., NBC) because it is forty-two minutes of spy-hijink hilarity, and because it continues to get better and better every week; Friday Night Lights (Fridays, 9 p.m., NBC) because it is just perfect, all the time, and because you will fall in love with every single resident of Dillon, TX, even the ones that aren't very nice. You can totally catch up on both of these shows before they end for the season; the entire series of FNL is even streamable (legally!) on Hulu, which means you are officially out of excuses.

Also, last week's episode of 30 Rock was a small miracle.

I am thinking about making a professional website for myself--something to put on the cards, with links to my various web presences--but I'm pretty sure I don't really know what that means.

The National Cathedral is the new Lake Merritt: I try to run around the grounds and gardens three days a week, and have scoped out a variety of benches and shady places to stretch out with a book once it's warm enough. I recently went inside for the first time, and learned that they have evensong every day at 5:30. I'm never home from work by then, but if I hurry and then get off the bus one stop early, I think I could catch the second half.

"Orientated" is not a word. "Oriented" is a word. World, please learn this.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Tragedy strikes!

I am so sad, you guys. One of my favorite places in Oakland--one of my favorite places in the whole world--closes on Sunday, and I won't even be there to say goodbye.

I first went to the Parkway Theater before I even lived in Oakland, and I think it was part of why I decided to move there later: any town where the theaters have ergonomic Ikea armchairs and serve food and wine and show old movies on the weekends must be close to heaven, I thought. I later moved just up the street, and went there all the time--with friends, for the late show, or by myself in the afternoon, or sometimes with my crew teammates on a stormy evening. My friend Helen described the Parkway as one of her first friends in California, and I knew just what she meant.

I'd always see people I knew at the Parkway, even before I knew a lot of people in the neighborhood. It was that kind of place. They showed second-run and almost-second-run movies, plus The Rocky Horror Picture Show every weekend night at midnight, and then they had this whole other schedule of events: benefits for local charities and Fright Night double features and weird film festivals and an ongoing series called African Diaspora Cinema. They made their own preview reels, with two of the owners sitting on the couch, talking trash and occasionally including lists of upcoming events. The owners knew everybody.

Also, the nachos were really good.

A few years back, the Parkway's owners opened a second (dare I say nicer?) theater called the Cerrito (conveniently located in El Cerrito, off the Central Ave. exit!); it appears that one's staying open, which is something. A lot of the Parkway traditions will likely migrate up there. But my old neighborhood--by the lake, just where pretty, safe Glenwood starts to unravel into International Blvd. and all that's implied therein--will miss that place. Huge, empty Art Deco theater space aside, the Parkway was an anchor of the community, a gathering place. Now they'll have to go across the street for 24-hour chicken and waffles at Merritt Bakery, or try to cram into the coffee shop that's never open, or maybe we'll hear about a major upsurge in business at the ancient family-owned Mexican restaurant in the next block. But it won't be the same. Those places don't even have raffles!

So, goodbye, Parkway. I loved you well, and I hope to see your spirit somewhere else, someday.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

12 of 12: March

Welcome to 12 of 12; for more 12-ish hijinks or more information, see Chad Darnell's blog.

On with the show:

6:50 - Up. In the dark. Ugh.

7:04 - Sherlock = Jimmy Stewart in Rear Window.

7:41 - Not running for the bus, which is always a good sign.

10:30 - I worry that I'm getting into Rachael Ray territory when I say that homemade waffles reheat perfectly in the toaster. Before you know it, I'll be washing and cutting up my veggies right when I buy them, and then coating them in some EVOO and whipping up some sammies. Oy. (They do, though. Toast well, I mean.)

11:17 - Entering (my own) edits on a book of American idioms, while also re-writing the depressing and/or tawdry sentences included by the author.

5:15 - What is this "spring" of which you speak?

5:40 - Riding the escalator out of Dupont Circle metro. The quotation inscribed on the wall is (apparently) from the Walt Whitman poem "The Wound Dresser": "Thus in silence in dreams' projections....Some suffer so much, I recall the experience sweet and sad,..."

6:37 - Out for a run at the National Cathedral.

6:39 - The gate to the gardens at the cathedral, which I hereby adopt as my extended backyard, for all of my running, walking, basking, contemplating, nature-admiring, and reading needs.

7:40 - Chickpea and pasta soup, my current simple dinner of choice. The key here, as with basically everything else in life, is extra olive oil and double the garlic.

8:05 - Happy times: Hot soup, cuddly cat, Jon Stewart on my TV.

8:47 - Writing about 80's live-action Disney movies for Cinema Hype. I love me some Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson--who doesn't?--but Race to Witch Mountain, I cannot support.

See you next month.

Monday, March 09, 2009

I love it when this happens

Part of my script just opened up. I was at work, entering edits and listening to Dark Was the Night, not really thinking about writing very much at all, and it spoke to me.

"Start with death," it said. "And a potluck."


Sunday, March 08, 2009

Getting started

It's (pretending to be) spring here--I just walked to the store in flip-flops and I still have all my toes--and so I guess it's sort of right that I'm starting things all over the place.

I'm writing a lot these days, and by "writing" I mean "staring into space with occasional frenzied bursts of typing." I'm working on an original television pilot--original pilots being what get young writers in the door these days, plus the story just had to come out--and coming up with a new TV show is, wouldn't you just know, a tremendous amount of work in terms of creating a universe and then paring down and parsing out what fits into a 42-minute episode. This project is the kind of thing that makes writers write, and also the kind that stops them from writing: the world of my show just comes to me, floods into my brain at the most inopportune times (at work, at the grocery store, anytime actual typing is not possible), and then just looks at me, all coy, when I sit down to wrangle it into five acts and three storylines. "Don't you just want to tell me all at once?" it says, and I do. I love it, and I believe in it, and I can't wait to see it all grown up and heading out into the world. It could give me a little help in this all-important outlining phase, but hey. We're not going to talk about that. It'll come.

So in the midst of my writerly highs and lows, it's a good thing I decided to do something really straightforward, right? Riiiiiight. This purplish thing is my fetal Lace Ribbon Scarf, which is really just a jumble of stitches on US-4 needles. All knitting projects start this way, like working blind, with the future hope of something pretty and springy to wear while I wait for the bus (...which will likely be finished just in time for, say, Halloween, but purple alpaca is timeless and seasonless, right?). But it's like the script: you just have to keep going, believe that the pattern's going to be there (the difference being that somebody else made up the scarf design; I have to make up the script). But, you know. I'm glad I picked that activity to break up the uncertainty of writing.

Welcome to March. Time to make something, don't you think?

Saturday, March 07, 2009