Real Life gets in the way; Missing Roommate

My roommate went missing.  She’s only lived in LA for about a month, and I don’t know her that well.  She graduated from the same film school I went to and we’d worked on set together, but we aren’t close.

She disappeared for 48 hours.  She left a string of incomprehensible facebook messages, texts and voicemails over the weekend.  I spent yesterday calling anyone who may have seen her, where she worked, all of that.  No one had heard from her.  Her mother flew into LA last night.  My other roommate went to the police.  The police came by where I live, asked some questions.  Whatever you may have heard about the LAPD, these two gentlemen were very nice and polite.  I was quite impressed.  Though they seemed confused as to why this house full of white MFAs was living in a poor Hispanic neighborhood.  See: Overeducated/Underpaid.

No news over night, searched some parks, though she’d posted on facebook something about a road trip.  It was all difficult to decipher, her most recent update being: Please SMS the menu. W/ the fucking whatever it is that it’s either. Yes jfkdkmenc chomp just ate electric particles.  And the other 100 or so updates in the 3 hours up to that were equally nonsensical.

Fortunately, she was found this morning.  The police had picked her up at a lake, crying, and she was taken to the emergency psych ward at the UCLA medical center.  She’s refusing to see her mother, but she’s safe.  She clearly has had a psychotic break, whether drug-induced or related to schizophrenia or bipolar disorder is not clear at this point.

I have terrible luck with roommates, I’m glad she’s safe.  But if this is the start of an intense mental disorder, she has a very long and difficult road ahead of her.  The last 24 hours have been exhausting.

Real Life gets in the way; Missing Roommate

20 good posts for a new blog on writing

I have a friend who is thinking about doing a weekly blog about writing for a newspaper.  She started IMing me because she wasn’t super confident about what she should write about or how someone went about doing a blog like for real people, not for like friends.  (Her example being that she couldn’t post things like “I found a picture of poo on the interwebs”)

So I came up with a list based on a few things.  1. People like lists 2. People like hate 3. People like advice.  Copied from the IM window.

1st post has to be who you are and what you write and why
2nd could be a focus on say a particular genre and what makes it unique (she is focusing on a YA Sci Fi story)
3rd post about how to pick a topic or location that you’d be good at writing, so that’d be about research and why it’s set wherever
4th post about the difference between YA, kids and adult fiction
5th post about an author or person who gets YA literature absolutely wrong (I picked YA over SciFi because SciFi authors get torn apart fairly regularly)
6th post about if it’s possible to separate the author from their work (See Orson Scott Card)
7th post about struggling with the second act
8th post what to do when you have several different endings that could work
9th post about creating a world that is different from modern earth
10th post about something full of rage and hate — maybe how online fiction isn’t taken seriously, or you know, something angry
11th post should address different mediums and how to write for them (short story, long fiction, online, print, TV, film etc)
12th post should be about an author you loved and inspired you to get into writing with some heartwrenching bs
13th should be about whether it’s OK to include messages or to write “message fiction”
14th should be a response to reader questions, which you may have to make up
15th should be about how there’s not enough respect for minority of your choice in fiction at large
16th make fun of Mary Sues
17th 10 ways writing is like poo
18th 10 ways author-you-hate’s writing is like poo
19th a controversial opinion piece like how coming out stories are boring or how cancer made my life better stories are bullshit
20th what’s hardest about writing for you coming up with ideas, or plotting or whatever and how you get around it

Finally, a parody post where you just put in different options that another blogger could simply highlight to tell their story “How my minority status/disability/difficult childhood helped/hurt my writing career”

I will now consult her blog, should she start writing, and check things off the list if she uses them.  Maybe I’ll write a couple too…

20 good posts for a new blog on writing

Alexander McQueen

I am not, generally, a fashion person.  I mean, I enjoy a pretty dress and Project Runway as much as the next person, but I am generally way more interested in costumes than I am in fashion. Hence my love for Alexander McQueen.  Who has killed himself at the age of 40, only a few days after his mother died.

All I can think to do is to show some pictures of his completely over-the-top work.

Alexander McQueen

Grand Canyon; Why I haven’t been posting

I’ve been bad about updating because I’ve spent most of my time the last few days trying to plan a road trip.  And the thing is that I’m horribly nerdy and when I decide to do something like this I have to Have A Plan.  The basic idea is that I have a three day weekend that coincides with Valentine’s Day, and neither F or I have seen the Grand Canyon, so we thought, hey, let’s go see the Grand Canyon.  But then it was like… and what else are we going to do besides drive to the Grand Canyon and back.  And I was like Hoover Dam.

And then I spent 3 days researching what sorts of things there are to do on the legs of the trip and once we got places.  Like I learned of a place called Grand Canyon West, where there’s this horrifying/tacky/awesome thing called the Skywalk, where you essentially walk out onto glass above the Grand Canyon.  Think Indiana Jones’ leap of faith, but less cool.  It’s much much closer to the Hoover Dam and Vegas, but it’s also extremely expensive and not as high up as the South Rim.  I weighed pros and cons and decided that the South Rim was the <i>real</i> Grand Canyon, so I’d better see that.

I’ve been trying to come up with things to do in Las Vegas that I wouldn’t hate, and I’ve had a few suggestions, but you’re welcome to comment here.  Keep in mind that I don’t drink, gamble, or do things where the main objective is to “have fun” rather than do something in particular.  We were thinking we might try to get some tickets to see Penn&Teller, they do the 1/2 price thing like in NYC.  The Erotic Heritage Museum looked interesting, and it’s open til midnight.  “The Chapel Theater will prominently feature Shakespeare’s erotic material. This material has not been performed in four hundred years. Be prepared to be “Bard to the Bone” and  experience Shakespeare in an entirely new fashion.”  Bard to the Bone.  Oh dear.

It also seems likely that we’ll pass through Baker which has two things that are heavily recommended by travelers.  Alien Jerky, supposedly the best jerky ever, I’m not a jerky eater, but F is.  And the Mad Greek.  I’m not necessarily sold on either, but they’re there.


LA to Tusakan AZ 8 hours
-Drive through Joshua Tree +50 mins
-Visit Grand Canyon Caverns +1 hour (plus visiting time of probably an hour, closes at 4)
Roadkill Cafe (off the interstate, adds only the time of visit)
NOTE: I think we wouldn’t be happy trying to get to the caverns before 4 on this leg

Tusakan AZ to Las Vegas NV 5 hours
(I-40 to 93)
-Visit Grand Canyon Caverns +1 hour (plus visiting time of probably an hour, closes at 4)
-Roadkill Cafe (off the interstate, adds only the time of visit)
-Hoover Dam (adds only time of visit, closes at 4:15)
NOTE: I think we can’t do the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon in the same day, unless we get super bored with the Grand Canyon early

Las Vegas NV to LA 4.5 hours
-Hoover Dam +60 minutes round trip, +30 minutes if taking 95 (closes at 4:15)
-Drive by Death Valley +2 hours
-Take 95 to I-40 +2 hours; +1:30 if driving from Hoover Dam (if we don’t go by Joshua Tree, we will have driven this stretch already)
NOTE: I’d like to see the Hoover Dam, but we will be driving over it, so if we don’t make it to a tour, I’d be fine.

The Map

Grand Canyon; Why I haven’t been posting

Academy Awards Predictions: First Female Best Director?!

I think that Avatar’s going to win an awful lot.  Basically it’s going to win unless there’s a really compelling reason to give it to someone else.  That being said, as a technical achievement, the film is a marvel, and I think it winning the technical categories is completely called for.  And of course, most of the wins in the technical categories aren’t really for “best” so much as they are for “most”.  “Most Cinematography” and “Most Editing”.

The only thing I really want to happen is that I really want Kathryn Bigelow to win best director.  She’s only the fourth female nominee in the category.  My preference for Up in a lot of places is just that I think that animated films deserve to be more recognized than they are.  I don’t think Up is nearly as amazing as Wall-E was, but I’m going to pull for animation.  Especially as there isn’t anything here I really care that much about.

Who I want to win in italics, who I think will win in bold.  No italics where I have no preference, or not enough knowledge.

Actor in a Leading Role
• Jeff Bridges in “Crazy Heart”
• George Clooney in “Up in the Air”
• Colin Firth in “A Single Man”
• Morgan Freeman in “Invictus”
• Jeremy Renner in “The Hurt Locker”

Actor in a Supporting Role
• Matt Damon in “Invictus”
• Woody Harrelson in “The Messenger”
• Christopher Plummer in “The Last Station”
• Stanley Tucci in “The Lovely Bones”
• Christoph Waltz in “Inglourious Basterds”

Actress in a Leading Role
• Sandra Bullock in “The Blind Side”
• Helen Mirren in “The Last Station”
• Carey Mulligan in “An Education”
• Gabourey Sidibe in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”
• Meryl Streep in “Julie & Julia”

Actress in a Supporting Role
• Penélope Cruz in “Nine”
• Vera Farmiga in “Up in the Air”
• Maggie Gyllenhaal in “Crazy Heart”
• Anna Kendrick in “Up in the Air”
• Mo’Nique in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”

Animated Feature Film
• “Coraline” Henry Selick
• “Fantastic Mr. Fox” Wes Anderson
• “The Princess and the Frog” John Musker and Ron Clements
• “The Secret of Kells” Tomm Moore
• “Up” Pete Docter

Art Direction
• “Avatar” Art Direction: Rick Carter and Robert Stromberg; Set Decoration: Kim Sinclair
• “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” Art Direction: Dave Warren and Anastasia Masaro; Set Decoration: Caroline Smith
• “Nine” Art Direction: John Myhre; Set Decoration: Gordon Sim
• “Sherlock Holmes” Art Direction: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer
• “The Young Victoria” Art Direction: Patrice Vermette; Set Decoration: Maggie Gray

• “Avatar” Mauro Fiore
• “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” Bruno Delbonnel
• “The Hurt Locker” Barry Ackroyd
• “Inglourious Basterds” Robert Richardson
• “The White Ribbon” Christian Berger

Costume Design
• “Bright Star” Janet Patterson
• “Coco before Chanel” Catherine Leterrier
• “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” Monique Prudhomme
• “Nine” Colleen Atwood
• “The Young Victoria” Sandy Powell

• “Avatar” James Cameron
• “The Hurt Locker” Kathryn Bigelow
• “Inglourious Basterds” Quentin Tarantino
• “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Lee Daniels
• “Up in the Air” Jason Reitman

Documentary (Feature)
• “Burma VJ” Anders Østergaard and Lise Lense-Møller
• “The Cove” Nominees to be determined
• “Food, Inc.” Robert Kenner and Elise Pearlstein
• “The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers” Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith
• “Which Way Home” Rebecca Cammisa

Documentary (Short Subject)
• “China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province” Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill
• “The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner” Daniel Junge and Henry Ansbacher
• “The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant” Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert
• “Music by Prudence” Roger Ross Williams and Elinor Burkett
• “Rabbit à la Berlin” Bartek Konopka and Anna Wydra

Film Editing
• “Avatar” Stephen Rivkin, John Refoua and James Cameron
• “District 9” Julian Clarke
• “The Hurt Locker” Bob Murawski and Chris Innis
• “Inglourious Basterds” Sally Menke
• “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Joe Klotz

Foreign Language Film
• “Ajami” Israel
• “El Secreto de Sus Ojos” Argentina
• “The Milk of Sorrow” Peru
• “Un Prophète” France
• “The White Ribbon” Germany

• “Il Divo” Aldo Signoretti and Vittorio Sodano
• “Star Trek” Barney Burman, Mindy Hall and Joel Harlow
• “The Young Victoria” Jon Henry Gordon and Jenny Shircore

Music (Original Score)
• “Avatar” James Horner
• “Fantastic Mr. Fox” Alexandre Desplat
• “The Hurt Locker” Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders
• “Sherlock Holmes” Hans Zimmer
• “Up” Michael Giacchino

Music (Original Song)
• “Almost There” from “The Princess and the Frog” Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
• “Down in New Orleans” from “The Princess and the Frog” Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
• “Loin de Paname” from “Paris 36” Music by Reinhardt Wagner Lyric by Frank Thomas
• “Take It All” from “Nine” Music and Lyric by Maury Yeston
• “The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)” from “Crazy Heart” Music and Lyric by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett

Best Picture
• “Avatar” James Cameron and Jon Landau, Producers
• “The Blind Side” Nominees to be determined
• “District 9” Peter Jackson and Carolynne Cunningham, Producers
• “An Education” Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey, Producers
• “The Hurt Locker” Nominees to be determined
• “Inglourious Basterds” Lawrence Bender, Producer
• “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Lee Daniels, Sarah Siegel-Magness and Gary Magness, Producers
• “A Serious Man” Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, Producers
• “Up” Jonas Rivera, Producer
• “Up in the Air” Daniel Dubiecki, Ivan Reitman and Jason Reitman, Producers

Short Film (Animated)
• “French Roast” Fabrice O. Joubert
• “Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty” Nicky Phelan and Darragh O’Connell
• “The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte)” Javier Recio Gracia
• “Logorama” Nicolas Schmerkin
• “A Matter of Loaf and Death” Nick Park

Short Film (Live Action)
• “The Door” Juanita Wilson and James Flynn
• “Instead of Abracadabra” Patrik Eklund and Mathias Fjellström
• “Kavi” Gregg Helvey
• “Miracle Fish” Luke Doolan and Drew Bailey
• “The New Tenants” Joachim Back and Tivi Magnusson

Sound Editing
• “Avatar” Christopher Boyes and Gwendolyn Yates Whittle
• “The Hurt Locker” Paul N.J. Ottosson
• “Inglourious Basterds” Wylie Stateman
• “Star Trek” Mark Stoeckinger and Alan Rankin
• “Up” Michael Silvers and Tom Myers

Sound Mixing
• “Avatar” Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers, Andy Nelson and Tony Johnson
• “The Hurt Locker” Paul N.J. Ottosson and Ray Beckett
• “Inglourious Basterds” Michael Minkler, Tony Lamberti and Mark Ulano
• “Star Trek” Anna Behlmer, Andy Nelson and Peter J. Devlin
• “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers and Geoffrey Patterson

Visual Effects
• “Avatar” Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham and Andrew R. Jones
• “District 9” Dan Kaufman, Peter Muyzers, Robert Habros and Matt Aitken
• “Star Trek” Roger Guyett, Russell Earl, Paul Kavanagh and Burt Dalton

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
• “District 9” Written by Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell
• “An Education” Screenplay by Nick Hornby
• “In the Loop” Screenplay by Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche
• “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Screenplay by Geoffrey Fletcher
• “Up in the Air” Screenplay by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner

Writing (Original Screenplay)
• “The Hurt Locker” Written by Mark Boal
• “Inglourious Basterds” Written by Quentin Tarantino
• “The Messenger” Written by Alessandro Camon & Oren Moverman
• “A Serious Man” Written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
• “Up” Screenplay by Bob Peterson, Pete Docter, Story by Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom McCarthy

Academy Awards Predictions: First Female Best Director?!

First Days

Always a lot of build up, and then the day is really nothing like the rest will be, of course.  Ease into it, figure things out.  Everything is deceptively straightforward and laid back.  Or rather, the problems you find aren’t problems you’re equipped to address, so you get to outsource them.

I still wish I worked in a room that had any sort of natural light allowed into it.  But I have conned my way into getting a drawer and a desk lamp.  I may even get two, because it’s dark back here.

First Days