Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Didn't Leave My Heart in San Francisco

After spending Memorial Day weekend in San Francisco I can honestly say I didn't leave my heart there, but I did manage to laugh and have some fun there. It was a little cold and windy but that didn't stop one of the many homeless from peeing on the street (I got too close before I knew what he was doing.) Opera man was out singing in the cold brisk air too, at the bottome of Union Square and I have to say he was actually quite good. We took a boat to Sausalito on Saturday morning, passed Alcatraz (I probably had long lost cousins that spent some hard time there), and saw some cool Dr. Suess and Smirnov artwork at a gallery. Ate Sushi in Japantown, lotus cakes in Chinatown - interesting and densely sweet - and also bought a pair of red slippers in hopes that clicking them will take me home, wherever that is. (I'm still a gypsy inside but I think that's winding down. I need to take a break from traveling for awhile.) Had my first sourdough bread bowl of crab chowder at Pier 39 and it was sooo good. I'm not sure why the cream base was yellow but I ate it and was happy. I also bought a little cup of crabmeat to enjoy but the wind blew it on the ground for the birds to attack. Even for me, there are some places the 10-second rule doesn't apply. I have to say San Francisco is a pretty expensive city and I did end up spending more than I would have liked, especially the $10 I spent on seeing the new Indiana Jones movie in a theater that smelled like pot and peanut butter. Now I do love Indiana Jones and appreciate George Lucas as a creative force in the universe (mainly because of Star Wars) but all I can say is it's like George Lucas got a tacky gold bow at the dollar store to tie up the loose ends of a saga that was great the way it was. Far-fetched plot, bad dialogue, one-dimensional characters, no depth. I woke up the next day wondering if I only dreamed it was that bad. I was incredibly disappointed. (Okay I'm done being movie critic). The singles ward seemed pretty cool, though I think most of them were out of town too. Monday I went to the MOMA and tried again to appreciate modern art more. It's interesting but still not my favorite. It seems more experimental and unemotional. I really enjoyed O'Keefe's and Matisse's works there though. There's a cool bridge by Eliasson at the top of the museum too that reflects different colors and lights as you walk through. Later in the afternoon we went to Haight and Ashebury - the famous hippy place. Bought some guitar picks and watched the high people. We ate shrimp tacos too. The trip was an educational experience. I learned the sound of machine-gun fire on the corners is not angry city dissidents but the signal that it's okay to cross the street; that a lot of people wear North Face as my friend kept pointing out; that as different as we are from others we're really not that different; and that I think the city life is out of my system once and for all. I'm ready to leave the freedom of anonymity for the challenge of specifity. Good to be back "home" in LA for the time that remains.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Write Girl Write

Saturday was my last WriteGirl workshop with my mentee Kamaria: aka Special-K (I know from the picture you might be wondering who's mentoring who). Actually I've learned a lot from these sessions and wish I'd had a program like this when I was a teenager so I could be that further along as a writer, but I guess the point is I'm on the path. The genre for May was songwriting and it's one of the best. All the girls write lyrics in these writing experiments and then they bring in these professional songwriters who take the girls lyrics and set them to music right then and there. Pure creation in the moment. It's awesome! And now that I've started playing guitar and writing a few songs of my own I was that much more inspired. WriteGirl's been a great experience. I feel like I've been mentored myself, which is good because the more I learn the more I realize the less I know (does that put me closer to Socrates now or at least Barbra Streisand - Yentl?)

I also went to the Chinese Theater in Hollywood this week to see Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation. These teen boys in the 80s re-made Raiders of the Lost Ark shot-for-shot over a period of 7 or so years. It was pretty comical and amazing. They went all out too, using an airplane, lighting things on fire, and even the scene of Indy being dragged behind a car. I probably wouldn't mind spending the next 7 summers being Indy Jones, or better yet the love interest. Other than that, I haven't read all my library books yet but I'm put some good dents in them (just like my car) and I've been picking up more writing again too. This week I'm headed down to UCIrvine to be "Nicole Morris" (I'm considering bringing a wig), a medical patient for the 1st years to practice on - nothing too scandalous of course. Should be interesting. I'm going to brush up on my acting skills and pretend I'm in a lot of pain. Great times to be had. And currently the weather's been so hot here that my favorite place lately is my car, where the AC is always working and fills up the space fast. Life is good.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Books books books

My roommate thought I was a nerd when she moved in and discovered the vintage Star Wars poster on my wall, but that was nothing compared to today when I came home with a canvas bag full of library books to go with the other 2 stacks of books on my floor. I am a nerd, I realize this more fully now. But it's all good, I've designated May as my month of reading. I think the LA Times Festival of Books hit it off last weekend. It was so fun up at UCLA campus and with lots of people that are more likely to have something intelligent to say - I mean come on, they actually read. So back to my month of reading. Yes, stories make me feel better, plus I'm doing some research so it's not completely self-indulgent. Most of them are children's novels and books on Norse mythology (good mix, huh?) I have a grand total of 24 books checked out on my library card and I can't promise not to get more. We'll see how many I get through. I may have been overly ambitious. This week some guys at the gym challenged me to a basketball game 2 on 2. They were much bigger than me, with bigger hands. I jammed my right ring finger til it was fat and purple but the good news is my team won. I also had an interesting encounter at school this week with a precocious 7th grader who was mad I wouldn't let him go to the bathroom (he just came from lunch and the teacher left instructions not to let anyone go - most just want to get out and wreak havoc in the halls anyway.) So I look up from my desk about 5 minutes later and this kid, we'll call him Tyquan, is standing in the back corner unzipping his pants and getting into position. Seriously! I couldn't help myself from yelling "Are you kidding me?" across the room. Needless to say, I chewed him out and then let him go the bathroom. He was not going to get away with a good story to tell his friends at my expense. By the way, I'm loving my guitar and practice is coming along pretty well. I got a new tuner and it shows 250 chords. The guy at guitar center gave me a deal (and no, I didn't compromise my standards to get it.) Other than that, I feel a little restless. Trying to map out the next stage of my life. Is that possible? I think that's one reason I love stories so much - the plan, the purpose is right there and you can see the order and design to it. In life, you have to take it on faith and trust that the story's there and the Author's watching over it (unless he got tired of the book and tossed it in a dusty corner where it's collecting cobwebs. I hate spiders.)