thanksgiving weekend 2003

My Solitary Writer's Dream

So it's Thanksgiving weekend and I've only eaten turkey once. I hung out with my pals Mike, Cathy, Jen, Dan and their friends. Met an interesting fella who goes by the name Space. Drank plenty of wine and girly drinks. Gobbled down a few tasty appetizers. Made a brief appearance at a drag queen show. And that was Thanksgiving.

It was much better than last year's. Thanksgiving 2002 was depressing to no end. A relationship on the rocks, a best friend getting sick of me and one hell of a car wreck. This time around I hung out with pals for the actual Turkey Day, and then the rest of the break I stayed at home to read and catch up on my movie watching. In 4 days I think I went out of my apartment once. I know that probably sounds horrifying to most of you, but it's kind of my thing lately. I've been working on the novel and trying to accomplish something as a writer. Eventually, I'd like to be good enough, and successful enough to not have a day job other than writing all day. In fact, I'd love to live that urban legend of a lifestyle most writers only fantasize about. To pick up my life, move it across the world (perhaps to England or Scotland), live in a small village in an Internet-ready cottage, with a pub nearby and a couple of dogs. And just write write write. That's my dream. To write novels somewhere else. And not be haunted by past lives and the mistakes they hold.

Don't get me wrong. San Francisco has its merits and I'm lucky to have a real job where I can afford to live here on my own. But quite frankly, I'm growing tired of city life. Of looking outside my bedroom window and seeing people shooting heroin in the park next door. Of hearing constant traffic and fire truck sirens. Of living alone in tiny apartments crushed right next to each other. I suppose I was quite spoiled when I lived in Boulder Creek. The Santa Cruz area was peaceful and quiet, and had a lot of what I was seeking when I didn't know I even wanted it yet. Too bad there weren't any real job prospects. I've joked with friends that if I could make a career out of writing books for a living, I'd move right back there to the redwoods and twisty mountain roads. But I suppose in a way that would be taking a step backwards. I don't have friends there anymore really, and I need to keep looking ahead. Santa Cruz is in the past.

And so as I spend all my freetime and sleeptime writing, perfecting, procrastinating and writing some more, I have to believe it's for a greater better my life...perhaps to take charge of it instead of waiting for Fate to play its cards like usual. I have a ways before I can make this dream a reality, but I know it will happen. It's only a matter of time before something positive snaps into focus. And this time my eyes will be wide open.

sunday., nov. 23, 2003

Pass the popcorn...

Another weekend spent writing my book, getting over a cold and watching endless DVDs. So as usual, here's a few quick movie reviews of what I watched. I have been so addicted to Netflix lately that I may start a DVD movie review section here on, so let me know if you think that would be something y'all would want to read...

Weekend Movie Reviews:

Secretary -- I wanted to see this indie sleeper hit mainly because I'm a huge James Spader fan girl, and I knew that upcoming sensation Maggie Gyllenhaal had really turned the film critics' heads with her performance. The movie is amazing. It's been awhile since a film not only captured my attention for the entire duration of the story, but made me watch it over immediately (which I did but this time listening to the director and writer's commentary.) The storyline itself is unique. I think it may actually be the first time a S&M relationship is made to look normal and loving, while the "mainstream" and "acceptable" relationships appear stifling and boring. I highly suggest renting it.

L'auberge Espagnole (The Spanish Apartment) -- If you hate your roommates, rent this film to remind yourself why having other people in the flat can be rewarding and fun. This is the story about a French student who leaves his girlfriend (played by Amelie's Audrey Tautou) behind in Paris, so he can go to Spain as an exchange student and learn about global economics. It's not a very thrilling flick, but there's some great dialog once he starts rooming at the apartment where all his roomies are from different countries. Plus Barcelona looks so appealing in this film, it made me want to vacation there immediately. Of course, if you are renting this only for Audrey Tautou, please take note she's barely in the movie and when she is, she plays a whiny character. If you want to see her in a meatier role, then check out Dirty Pretty Things when it comes to theaters.

Forces of Nature -- Let me just say right now...I really can't stand Ben Affleck. I'm sure he's a swell guy and treats J-Lo right and all. But he just reminds me too much of a spoiled frat boy, not a talented actor. But in this case, I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt. I'm a big time Sandy Bullock fan, so I wanted to watch this film and see if it was as bad as everyone said it was. And you know what? It was actually pretty good. Ben played...Ben. Even his character's name is Ben. Which made me think of the lazy acting technique of Tony Danza who only has the character name Tony in everything he's done. But Sandra was awesome as usual. And you get to see her Salsa dance, which I've heard from other actor interviews that she's a mighty fine dancer. The story line is a bit predictable, except the end. In fact, the end surprised me, but in a good way. (Don't worry, I won't tell you what happens). But the thing that struck me as the best part of the film wasn't the story or the actors, it was the cinematography itself. The way the director shows the hurricane, the rain and the sky was truly beautiful. And yeah, the love story that comes to a head at the end made me weep like a little girl. Sheesh.

Ever After -- Yet another chick flick tearjerker. I really need to invest my money in Kleenex. I'm a Drew fan too. And quite frankly I have yet to see something she truly sucks in... I even count that Poison Ivy movie too. And so I borrowed this from Kevin at work. And it's very girlie and entertaining for a fairy tale chick flick. Plus it was treat to see one of my favorite actresses Melanie Lynskey in another film. I haven't seen her in anything since her breakout role of the demented/obsessed Pauline Parker in Heavenly Creatures. Oh wait, I actually remember her barely being in Sweet Home Alabama, but still it was great to see her in another flick. If you dig Drew, rent this one. It's a great take on Cinderella.

The Good Thief -- It's good to see actor Nick Nolte doing what he does best -- acting. I'm so used to hearing more about his battle with drugs than I do about his career that it made me wonder if he bothered with films anymore. Then I got to see this film. Here he plays an recovering junkie and gambling addict who befriends a young Georgian (as in the Soviet Union) prostitute and crack addict, and tries to detox from heroin while committing the best heist of his life in Monte Carlo. It reminds me of a hipper, Euro version of Ocean's Eleven. I loved this film even if it was hard to understand Nolte's mumbled dialog, you have to admit the man has character. In a world where plastic surgery seems to dominate the lives of every actor in Tinseltown, it's comforting to see all the lines in Nolte's face are each accounted for... every wrinkle has a tale to tell... and dammit I'm just glad Nolte's back in the game.


tues., nov. 18, 2003

Coach Holt and a few life goals

At work today I saw some video tape footage of the legendary Notre Dame football coach giving a motivational speech. I don't know if it's his midwest drawl or not that did it, but I swear that man sounds so much like my dad. They look nothing alike, but the mannerisms are dead on. It was eerie and also heartwarming at the same time. Kind of hard to describe, But it did remind me of something key that I think I may have forgotten in the last 7 months. The past is the past. And I have to look forward to the future with passion, excitement and patience. And I have to think big. So that's what I plan to do. As a matter of fact I'm writing a list of all the things I want to accomplish in my life. And let me tell you...that list is huge. I already have 100 events listed. Perhaps I'll post it here, so you can call me crazy or cheer me on. Either way, I'm doing it. No more excuses.

Here's a glimpse of some of those items on that To Do list:

  • Write and publish novel. (working on that one right now)
  • Be a profound positive influence in someone's life.
  • Walk through the streets of London on a moonlit evening.
  • Live in London or somewhere in Europe for awhile.
  • Touch a pyramid.
  • Ride a camel.
  • Knit a scarf.
  • Meet David Bowie.
  • Make John Waters laugh.
  • Write a screenplay and pitch it.
  • Fall in love again and again.
  • Paint a portrait of someone I care about.
  • Be kissed in Italy.
  • Run through grass on a Scottish coast.
  • Master the magic trick where you grab a coin from behind someone's ear.
  • Learn to swing dance and salsa dance.
  • Get a belt in one of the martial arts.
  • Forgive myself.
  • Learn 5 Beatles songs on guitar.
  • Swim in every ocean.
  • Learn Spanish.
  • Gamble in Monte Carlo.
  • Ride in a motorcycle sidecar.
  • Start my own hipster gardening magazine.
  • Save a soul.
  • Jump out of an airplane.
  • Visit Tokyo as well as the villages in Japan.


monday, nov. 17, 2003

demented and sad, but social...

Actually I'm more demented than sad...okay maybe just slightly dented. Pretty productive week of work, plus I went out and saw a friend's band and hit a few local bars in the Mission. And I got to pet a cute dog named Billie thanks to his owner Bennett. The Lone Palm is soon becoming my favorite place to hang after work for a smart cocktail.

I went to a friend's housewarming party this weekend too. I managed to behave myself and have fun. Miracles never cease. Did some more unpacking -- I sure do have a lot of stuff. And I watched a few like last week here's a couple of movie reviews for those of you interested...

My weekend movie reviews:

Chicago -- Can someone please tell me what all the fuss was about with this movie? It was gawd-awful. And I'm not just saying that because most musicals make me twitchy. This was baaaaaad. Renee can't sing and she came off more creepy than sexy. Gere is the equivalent of Lee Press-On Nails scratching a chalkboard. The only good thing about this was Queen L. The movie should have been all about her instead. And Catherine Zeta-Jones pulls off a good Louise Brooks look and can really shake her money maker and sing worth a damn. But I liked her much better in High Fidelty. In fact the only reason I bothered watching it all the way through was for Lucy Liu's brief appearance at the end.

Zoolander -- When I first saw the trailers for this I thought it might be just plain stupid. But then I realized so are most male models. So in a way, it makes more sense to approach it like a mockumentary then a comedy. That said I watched it as Ben and Owen did their best male model impressions (which were pretty convincing considering they don't exactly look the part.) I also couldn't help but snicker at all the model/celeb cameos. I mean this movie is openly making fun of the fashion world, so why would you appear in a film that's obviously mocking your entire career? Then again you get 5 seconds to be in a Ben Stiller who cares what it's about? Will Farrell steals this movie away from everyone. As he should. And from now whenever I fill up my car with gas, I'll think back fondly on the model gasoline fight to the tune of Wham!

Chasing Papi -- Think screwball romantic comedy with sexy Latina actresses. The best part is that it's actually good. I figured it would be one of those guy-pisses-off-girlfriend then-makes-up-for-it-by-doing-the-right-thing flicks. But the end is much more realistic and well... fitting for a jerk who cheats on 3 women. This movie made me wish my hair was as long and flowy like Roselyn Sanchez and my dresses were as tight as Sofia Vergara's. J-Lo better watch herself. She's not the only spicy Latina actress who can sizzle up a screen and sing like a diva. If I were a betting gal (and I am) I'd say the next big actress to knock everyone on their chichis is going to be Roselyn Sanchez.

Sliding Doors -- If you can get past Gwenie's horrible British accent (think Madonna British) then you may enjoy this movie. All my gal pals who were recently dumped tell me this is much more of a satisfying film to watch than the usual chick flick. They're right. Anytime you want to see a movie where you get to see the flip side of a character's life based on their choices in men it has to make you wonder things like what would have happened if I stayed with the suicidal, self-obsessed musician, instead of breaking up with him at a Sony record release party? Or how would my life be different if I had decided to live in London instead of San Francisco? Or what if I hadn't read a boyfriend's email to discover he was in love with someone else? It makes one think about parallel universes and the like. Plus it has one of the most underrated Scottish hotties in cinema: John Hannah.

28 Days -- No, not the zombie movie...the other one about rehab! As some of you might already know...I'm a huge Sandra Bullock fan. So when people told me not to see this movie, I was even more intrigued. I mean I love funny Sandy as much as the next person, but I'm also a fan of her serious side (remember Murder By Numbers and A Time to Kill ?) So I rented it. And you know what? It was good. The script was on the lean side and the characters could have been fleshed out a bit more. But over all, the movie has some great moments including one of Steve Buscemi (another one of my favorites to gush over) acting as a rehab counselor and also a breakout role of a recovering heroin addict from upcoming actress Azura Skye. Other highlights include seeing the Lord of the Rings heartthrob Viggo Mortensen as a dimwitted baseball player and Brit hottie Dominic West as her vice. The only bad thing I really have to say about this is that I hate it when movies show deleted footage in the trailer but don't put it anywhere on the DVD.


monday, nov. 10, 2003

are we there yet?

I can't believe it's already November. It just seems like yesterday when I was bringing in 2003 with my new friends in Santa Cruz. Now I'm back in San Fran and pretty much starting over again. I guess that's good -- to be able to reinvent yourself and to grow as a person. However a big part of me still longs for the life I had in the mountains with fun housemates, a fella who seemed to care, and a dog who snored louder than any human I've ever known. But life stands still for no one... not even me.

I rented Life as a House this week to get caught up on my Hayden Christensen movies. (ahem - research for work). It was actually quite good. The shower scene was really good. An ultra-tear jerker of a plot, but still amazingly well acted. The storyline made me rethink a few things in my life and also underlined the theory I keep close to my heart that sometimes bad things have to happen to you, to push the good stuff into focus. Everything happens for a reason. It may not make any sense as it's happening, but eventually you'll understand why it had to happen the way it did. And I have to believe that that's the way the world works. There is cause and effect, but also all those events we deem as random, do have important purposes.

The first book I was working on in April is almost done except for a few odds and ends. Which leaves me to concentrate my nights and weekends on my second book which happens to be my first real novel. The entire thing is due to the publisher by January, so I basically have 2 months to finish it. It's starting to sound more like Bridget Jones Diary meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

And of course work is in full swing at Lucasfilm.

Plus I get to see my dog Sophie again. My ex-housemates who adopted her from me, have since moved from Santa Cruz to San Francisco. So it's easy for me to stop by and say howdy on my way home from work. My pals got a great place with a big yard for her to romp around in. And she still snores like a happy puppy, which of course makes me a happy puppy too.

Oh and I went to AsiaSF for dinner last night with some pals. Let me just say that some trannies make me wonder if I'm worthy of being a girl... and leave it at that.

And now for some quick and dirty movie reviews of flicks I've seen since I got my Netflix subscription:

A Mighty Wind -- Funny. Not as funny as Best in Show. And not even close to the brilliance of Spinal Tap. Parker Posey was totally under utilized in the plot. Still a good rental. Give it to your parents for the holidays.

The Order -- I've seen episodes of Fraiser scarier than this movie. It was boring and stupid. If you're going to have a scary movie about exorcism and priests, do yourself a favor and watch the masters at work with Omen and The Exorcist. This was more like a scary version of The Thornbirds. Even The Exorcist III was a helluva lot better than this. Bringing out Peter Weller as a creepy side character didn't even help this waste of a film. I can only pray that the director's commentary track is him apologizing.

Matrix Reloaded -- I found myself saying "Huh?" a lot during this movie. And the special effects aren't really special anymore now that almost all movies these days have ripped off the original Matrix in its slow-mo fighting techniques. I mean once you see the same thing being done on Charlie's Angels and a Colgate commerical, it's pretty much dead. The only reason to rent this DVD is for the bonus material disc with the Will Ferrell MTV Movie Awards skit featuring Justin Timberlake and Wanda Sykes.

Old School -- Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughn and Luke Wilson act up in this coming of age frat boy flick. Okay, it might not be the "thinking man's" Revenge of the Nerds. But it is damn hilarious. There's plenty of butt shots from Will Ferrell, which can be considered funny or frightening, depending on your views regarding love handles. Plus this film justified my year-long crush on Luke Wilson. Be sure to also watch the movie with the commentary on so you can discover how much of the film was ad libbed, and why Luke has pet names for his eyes.

Saw in theaters:

Elf -- Go see this. Immediately. The movie has Will Ferrell as a huge elf who just wants to win over his real father's love. Elf dad is played by the deadpan genius that is Bob Newhart. Human dad is the angry and underworked James Caan. Edward Asner plays Santa for crying out loud! Cameos that make the movie even better: Amy Sedaris as the secretary, Andy Richter and Kyle Gass (Tenacious D) as the kiss-butt writers and Peter Dinklage as demanding children's writer. And if that doesn't woo you over, then Zooey Deschanel's retro singing voice will. There are parts of the film I wish I could have hit rewind again and again... brilliant. It was worth it even if I had to be surrounded by tweens and little kids for over an hour.


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