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August 30, 2003

Actually left the house last night for an excursion into Hollywood to the Lava Lounge to see Kelp. Ian knows Todd and Paul, the bassist and guitarist, from the Meta days. The drummer, also from Meta, recognized Ian, but no one remembers his name.

Kelp plays "surf music," the kind of sound that would go with an Endless Summer movie. I can't help wondering if the music conjures up visions of sand, sun and sea out of itself or because it's called "surf music." Just when I had decided it didn't really matter, it was all happy music that made me smile, they played a song named Godsplitter after the brutal headaches experienced by the main character in Craig Clevenger's book, The Contortionist's Handbook. Aggressive, angry surf music evidently is not an oxymoron.

August 29, 2003

Ah, narrative! So refreshing after recent explorations in sociology. Sword-Sworn is a warm glow of a conclusion to the author's series about Tiger and Del and their outcast sword-for-hire adventures. Given recent discussions in our house, the end is especially satisfying.

August 25, 2003

Read Please Stop Laughing At Me in two and a half days, and that was too long to spend with the book. I picked it up because it was the last book to get a major marketing push before I left the bookstore at the end of last April. And because I was an outsider in school. I don't really recall anyone laughing at me, mostly just keeping their distance, but I figured I'd be able to relate to the author.

Not really. She endured some terrible stuff at the hands of her schoolmates, but despite everything they did to her, she always resisted her outsider status. I may not have been happy with mine, but I embraced it, more or less.

Anyway, the book is really hard to read. Not because it's difficult. Not even because the subject matter is painful. But because the author can't write. Here's someone who was so focused on her personal trauma that she managed to miss every "Show don't tell" lesson ever given. Nowhere in this book does the reader feel any of her pain. You're always looking from across the room, thinking, gosh, that's so sad. I stuck with the book to the end, hoping it would get better, hoping she'd learn to stand up for herself. If you're going to claim unpopular viewpoints, you'd better expect people to disagree with you. And once they do, if you don't resist the disagreement, either with argument or with stubbornness, they'll walk right over you. Remind me, what was the point in disagreeing in the first place?

August 23, 2003

Attended my first Hollywood premiere Thursday night. Ian was the First Assistant Director for The Drop when it filmed back in November. The premiere was sort of reuniony - all these people who had spent 12 or 14 or 16 hours together every day for a month and who hadn't seen each other since then. Lots of "So good see you again!" "What are you working on?" and "Would really love to work with you again sometime." It's sort of like signing a yearbook; do all these people saying nice things really mean them?

As for the movie, it's cool. The story is a bit one-dimensional, although it may have just seemed that way to me since I had read the script and heard all of Ian's on-set stories. Still, the visuals are impressive. The film creates and sustains a mood, making the movie more a sort of visual poetry then ordinary narrative. It's a surprisingly thinky. And, as an added bonus, it's the first high-definition, digitally projected movie I've seen that didn't have the whites all blown out.

August 21, 2003

Took my nephew to the park yesterday. It's quite possible that children have evolved into a new species of human. I don't remember running in gangs of three, throwing and chasing balls, twisting up the swings till I fell over dizzy. I don't remember the easy laughter, the games of one-upmanship. Did I forget these things as an adult? Did they ever happened for me?

Reading a couple of psychology books about bullying among girls. Perhaps I'm trying to understand my growing years. Odd Girl Out claims that the biggest fear girls have is one of isolation, and that this fear makes them do terrible things to each other. I don't think it quite applies to me. I don't remember people laughing at me; they mostly ignored me. Increased isolation would have required everyone else in my school to be kidnapped by aliens.

August 16, 2003

Started reading The Perks Of Being A Wallflower the other day at lunch. Finished it before bedtime, and no, I wasn't reading non-stop and ignoring everything else. Sort of what one would expect for a book published by MTV.

The story was surprisingly good. Very evocative and honest. Charlie is awkward, introverted, bookish, and friends with a group of outsiders: punks, gays, and potheads - people who are portrayed as being honest with themselves about who they are and where they want to be.

The part I didn't like was the revelation that Charlie did indeed have "something wrong with him" and didn't just feel that way. I spent a good part of my high-school years feeling something was wrong with me, and I don't have some childhood trauma to blame it on. The discovery of Charlie's long repressed memories of the sexual abuse he endured as a child, although a horrible thing, somehow cheapened the story. As if it's impossible to be awkward, introverted, bookish and an outsider and come by it naturally.

August 13, 2003

Finished Terry Pratchett's The Wee Free Men yesterday. Fun adventure story for kids, with some complicated what is a dream versus what is reality discussions thrown in for spice. I completely understood the heroines' tendency to correct the pronunciation of and provide definitions for people around her. It seems to be a habit among introverted bookworms.

Now I'm wondering where some of the books I had as a kid have gotten off to. Hopefully, they're all in Mom's attic. The Wee Free Men will be fun to read aloud some day, but so will The Light Princess. I'm going to be really upset if I've lost that book.

August 12, 2003

Saw Step Into Liquid at the NuArt the other evening. Gorgeous pictures of amazing waves, shot from incredible angles. Confirms my opinion of surfers as the most insane and simultaneously the most courageous people on the planet. And not just the big wave surfers and the wet-suited mammals in Santa Cruz, but the guys who surf the Great Lakes, the wakes of oil tankers in Texas, and the coast of Ireland. Who knew you could surf in Ireland?

The evening also included an authentic celebrity sighting. Helen Hunt saw the same screening we did. I think she may be our most famous sighting to date.

August 10, 2003

Realized Thursday that neither Ian nor myself had left the house in about three or four days. I'm not sure which is more disturbing: that we have been so reclusive or that the thing we found to get us out of the house was to take the recycling to the recycling center.

I think it is L.A.'s fault. The heat here is oppressive this time of year, and even simply sitting still and trying to think is sweat-inducing. It's impossible to tell whether or not the small breeze is a natural phenomenon or just the results of all the cars zooming past.

Of course, it might not just be the weather. L.A. has got to be one of the world's worst-planned cities. If anyone had any thoughts during construction, they were probably only about how to maximize profit; no one seems to have given any thought to quality of life. Especially not environmental quality of life. The expectation seems to be that your existence can be improved if only you spend enough money.

We've started talking about where we might go after L.A.. Hopefully, we'll only be here another year. And then we can go north, to some place greener and wetter, someplace where they don't look at you funny when you want to walk to the market, someplace where it isn't a crime to know your neighbors.

August 06, 2003

I moved the avocado that was rooting in a jar of water in the kitchen window to a pot the other day, making first time introductions between roots and soil. I've trimmed the top of the tree to encourage branching, but I need to pay attention to all forms of growth to keep it a manageable size. Can you banzai avocado trees? If you do, what size avocados do you get?

Also had to severely prune the philodendron. I like the trailing leaves effect, but all attempts to root in the carpet must be curbed immediately.

Finally finished Shogun. I think the reason I don't remember actually finishing it before is that the climax happens about 100 pages before the end of the book. Everything after that point is just tying up loose ends. Odd that in 1100 pages there's perhaps three or four things that conclude; everything else just comes to a convenient stopping point.

August 03, 2003

Have been working a bit too hard lately. Hands are hurting again. Took yesterday off and didn't even turn on my computer. Planning on taking it easy today. Probably just going to write some e-mail and do my best to do everything with ViaVoice.

The other problem with working too hard: none of my own projects get any attention. I'm full of fantastic reasons and plans to reprioritize but seem to be suffering from a knowing/doing gap. I know what I should do, and yet I don't actually do it.