Sunday, December 23, 2007

Friday, November 30, 2007

Why do I like these guys?

They're difficult. They make bad choices. They don't see what should be right in front of them because they're caught up in their pasts. They can be self destructive. They could use a few hours on the therapists chair. They don't do what I tell them to do, and sometimes go off in their own direction entirely. They bring things to a standstill when they don't like what is happening and won't move again until they get their way. They make waves, and can never leave well enough alone. And if I leave them alone, they do nothing at all.

Sometimes I have to remind myself that I like the main characters in my book.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Perhaps A Day Late

Tech Support and I were watching something together the other night and somehow it led to my speculating absurdly on Morgan Freeman. He has such a dignity about him that seems to come with age, that I wondered if he'd existed as a young man. I imagined he'd appeared on the earth in his late 40's and proceeded to carve out a successful film career.

To test my theory we went to the imdb and discovered he'd at least been in his early 30's when he appeared on this planet. In fact, he'd spent several years on the Electric Company at that time.

YouTube was consulted, and a wonderful discovery was made:

Sunday, October 28, 2007

All Day Sunset

"Those hot dry winds that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands' necks. Anything can happen." -- Raymond Chandler

When I was eleven or twelve I stood on our balcony and watched what looked like I imagined snowfall would look like, white flakes raining from the sky. The Santa Ana's were in town and Malibu was on fire.

That's one of the things I noticed this time, no ash. On Sunday we stood on top of the parking lot at the Grove, and saw the smoke coming down the coast from Malibu. Tuesday the air near my work in West Hollywood was so thick it made breathing hard. According to the news the worst air gathers in Long Beach, there residents like my friend Meg were advised to stay indoors. In San Diego some of my family evacuated, and thankfully their house made it.

Wednesday morning at the Farmers Market on the promenade a man in a suit yelled "There's no air here" to no one in particular. Yet I found Santa Monica clear and blue, the air free of that ash and smoke quality.

That same day we went down to the beach. The sun was blazing and the coastal view had turned to mud. Above the city the sky was clear and blue, but out over the pacific was another story. The sky was brown, the water reflecting the sky was brown, and the wet sand on the shore was brown. No picture can capture the surreality of the situation.

Besides the beach I might never have known there were fires except for the light coming through my patio window. Golden yellow, all day long. As though there was a constant sunset.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Monday, October 22, 2007

... don't know where, don't know when ...

Lion 1987-2007

Miss you bad already. See you later, I promise.

The picture is from my 8th grade page in the yearbook. For a more verbose eulogy check out my Lil Bros Blog.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Bowing to my Spider Overlords

Today the boy came back into the house after giving me a sweet kiss and leaving, he'd forgotten his other girlfriend, his laptop.

"There is a huge spider out there. You have to see it."

There's no way of missing it.

While I can admire this creatures size and the amazing spotting on it's belly, I cannot bring myself to walk by it, rendered defenseless by the dirty clothes filling my arms, to laundry room. I can wash my clothes later.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Full House

I've been a lousy blogger lately. Here's what I wrote for the OCC RWA Blog

Perhaps it's the cold given to me by a recent house guest, but I'm feeling a low on both Pop and Culture, so this month's post will follow suit.

Last night I was relaxing in bed and enjoying the premier of season two of Heroes (there's the pop culture part!) when a news spot comes on and a woman starts talking about this house that has been sitting on the shoulder of the 101 for over a week, complete with footage.

"Hey-" I start even as the boyfriend's eyes widen.

"That's our house!" He says.

Back to the beginning. I'm at my writing spot waiting for the words to pour forth when this horrible jackhammer noise starts up. It sounds like it's right outside my window but it's actually across the street. They're finally getting rid of the house that has had the notice of demolition sign up since we moved into our apartment three years ago. Soon we'll have 'affordable' condos there instead.

Only, despite some very vigorous jackhammering and other intrusive construction noises, the house doesn't actually appear to be getting demolished. Then one day, when I pull on my sweater and decide to take one of those clarifying walks, when I stop short in front of my apartment. There is a house parked across the street. I pull out my cell phone and take a picture.

Then retreat back into my apartment, not prepared to deal with the kind of world where a house is parked across the street. Later I peer out long enough to see that it's gone, and figure that's the end of the madness.

But when I join my boyfriend in the car that night to go out for dinner, we see the house, now down the block and parked at the end of the cul-d-sac, two police cars parked outside. We try not to stare, but it's hard not to. We're almost disappointed when we get back and the police are gone, though the house is still there.

And it stays there for at least a week and a half. Prompting various guests to greet me with: "You know there's a house parked down the street from you, right?" And a series of jokes about real estate and the new neighbors.

It goes on long enough that we have almost forgotten about it until we're in the car again, miles from home. The traffic report drones on underneath our conversation, but during a pause in conversation I hear a warning about the 101. Traffic is jammed for miles, and has been for hours, thanks to a house lodged in a freeway underpass. Startled, I ask the boy if he's heard that and then have to repeat the whole story to him.

"Think that's our house?"

"How many houses can there be moving around Los Angeles on any given day?" He asks.

Sure enough, the house was no longer down the street. I looked online to see if there are any pictures, but traffic in LA isn't a big enough story. A week later though, after I see the spot on the news, I can find dozens of pictures that confirm that it is my house (okay, the one from across the street) lodged underneath the freeway. I can understand the distinction, a house in the middle of a residential street for a week is nothing to write home about, sticking out into 101 for too long and the LA Times will take notice.

For more information on this strange debacle, just google "house 101 Freeway".

Friday, August 31, 2007

The Results of A Crafternoon

The cat is one of my favorite gifts that Tech Support's mother has given me. The red bib is something I've seen all over Japan and been wanting to make, my mum helped me.

Aunt Kitty made this, and it outclasses all the other magnets on my refrigerator. Unfortunately my camera phone cannot take good closeups.

I want to finish posting about Japan, but I think I shall mix it in with other posts from now on.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Endless Summer

Originally Friday, July 27th

I dragged Tech Support out of bed early on Friday to hike up a mountain with me. We went over to the train station to get our passes with my mother then left her behind as we took the bus to Nanzenji.

We walked past the main temple with intent and started up the mountain path. I led us past the point we'd gotten to before and only a short while later we came to a big split in the paths and stared with confusion at the map, entirely in Japanese. Some nice men pointed in one direction and said "Daimon", and since they appeared convinced that was the way we should go I was happy to follow their direction.

Also, I realized only a few minutes later that Daimon was the name of a rather famous mountain in Kyoto.

Then we walked, and walked, and walked. My ability to read Kanji just good enough that I was able to keep us heading towards Daimon anytime there was a split in the path. Most of the way trees obscured our view, but there were a few breaks.

We worked well as a team. One of us would fade at a time, saying something like, "well, I can go a little further but we've got to stop soon" and as soon as they were ready to give up the other would say "No, I see some blue, there is a beautiful view just up ahead."

This went on for almost two hours.

Finally I was just about ready to expire but Tech Support wanted to jog ahead further. I told him I'd walk slowly behind him and we'd meet up at some point. I followed after him, and after just a few minutes he disappeared from sight. I came to a split in the road and worried he might not know which way to go, but went in the directions I was fairly certain he'd gone.

And I walked, and walked. I worried again that he'd gone a different way at the split, but knew it was far more likely he'd forgotten about time altogether. I pressed on, panting like a dog after a rather steep incline, and only worried when I got to an even bigger fork in the road. From the map it looked like something ahead was worth getting to, but first you had to go up a rather step incline.

I climbed up. Another fork, this time no signs to help you. I looked both ways. I mumbled Tech Support's name loudly, then, worried, I started back down again. He would find me when I headed back.

I paused at the bottom to look at the map one more time, and that's when I heard my name. Tech Support was at the top of the hill, and so pleased to see me. I followed after him and after a few minutes, we saw our view.

Pictures can't do it justice, we saw all of Kyoto. At once. We could see the station, where our Ryokan was, the tiny orange gate that was the massive Tori for the Heian Shrine, everything.

We sat down for a moment. Another couple was there, and older Japanese one, she was trying to talk to JR about something she'd lost on the train and was having trouble getting reception up the mountain.

Tech Support and I had run out of water, poor planning on our part, and were already dreading a bit of the downhill. While the slope was hard on our knees, we only took about an hour, half the time it took to get up, to get back down. But by the time I recognized things as being down by the base I was terrifically thirsty. It was hard not to run through the temple to the soda machines.

We caught the bus back to Kyoto station and then walked over to our Ryokan where we showered and rolled around on our futons, groaning. Tech Support got some laundry together and went down the street. I went over to visit him but the heat was so bad that even walking on the street was difficult.

(Probably my favorite shot from the trip.)

I left him with the laundry and wandered around just a tiny bit more, taking refuge in the air conditioned crafts store, then going back to meet with everyone at the Ryokan.

We had Okonomiyaki at the train station, a fun experience that involved cooking our own crazy pancake-type-thing on our table. Then went across town to Gion where we got our own booth and Karaoke'd for a few hours. Lil Bro's tempo was off but his voice surprisingly like Bob Dylan's, J-Po made everything into heavy metal, and I was totally unable to carry a tune.

Karaoke is always deceptively fun. I think an hour is enough time to sing with friends, then suddenly almost two hours have gone by and it's time to get back to the Ryokan before curfew.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Key Oh Toe

Originally Thursday, July 26th.

Thursday was the first full day in Kyoto, and also my father's birthday. Unfortunately by the time I'd remembered that he'd already disappeared, with my brother, to the coin laundry down the street. We had breakfast at the Ryokan, very tasty, and me, Tech Support, Mom and J-Po set out for some sight seeing.

Most of us had already seen some of the major sights, so we let J-Po lead us to some smaller shrines and temples over on the East side of Kyoto. First we got a little lost and talked to the cutest little Japanese lady who set us right. Our first Shrine was dedicated to Susanoh-no-mikoto, Kusanagi, and bunnies. Yes, it was a fertility shrine.

The sky started dropping big fat raindrops to add to the atmosphere at the small, quiet shrine. We checked out the little charms for purchase, all adorable and adorned with bunnies, but none of us knew anyone pregnant so we could not justify the purchase.

We slipped next door to an even smaller and more unremarkable temple. The main sights there was a well that some famous monk had seen his reflecting in, and a plum tree.

There was some other atmosphere as well.

Then we climbed up the hill to a much larger temple and wandered around the grounds. It was still raining and the quiet and rain added to the solemnity of the experience. There were no loud bustling crowds in the temples, and we could enjoy the experience without feeling hurried by the people bumping against our backs.

Japanese graveyards are wonderful. I have an odd fondness for graveyards anyway but I do like theirs the best overall. We walked through a few large ones and enjoyed some of the odd headstone type things we came across. We chatted with J-Po and caught up with him on some things.

Then we came down and went several blocks to Nanzenji, a temple I'd been to before and quite liked. We went up the gate, which had steep stairs I'd completely forgotten, and then looked out at the beautiful landscape at the edge of Kyoto.

We came down and walked over to the aqueduct where some people were doing art, and then climbed up to the mountain behind the temple. Ever since I'd been there last year I'd wanted to go further up to mountain, but unfortunately neither mum nor Jason were up for that. I only got a little further than I'd gotten before, just far enough to perk my interest.

I told Tech Support I wanted to go up there again, and he said he'd come with me.

At that point people started getting hungry and tempers started getting short. We went down to the bus and shot over to the Gion area, where we took another bus to actually get into Gion. We went down a sweet little street full of places to eat that had closed about a half an hour ago (it was about 3:30pm by now). Tempers fraying further, we finally found a Muji Deli and enjoyed a peaceful little lunch.

The department building we were in of course had a Muji, but I'd already found all the clothes I liked, and a large bookstore for several floors. I explored the bookstore but despite the expansive section of cookbooks and childrearing books, found little that interested me in the Knitting/Crochet section.

We then explored Gion, an area Tech Support had wanted to explore since last year. We didn't have too much time, I found a bookstore that did have some neat craft books, Mum left us, and we found some bizarre, hip hop style shirts.

We had to hurry back in time for a bizarre birthday dinner with my father at a little restaurant called Cafe Beret. The Prosciutto Sandwich that most of the party had consisted of one sliver of prosciutto, lettuce and mayonnaise on wonder bread. An opulent banquet it was not.

Dad headed back to the hotel and the rest of us went to get some pastries for him to enjoy. We split again and the boys took the pastries back while mom and I went to a craft store we'd been to before and I found a book I'd been looking for.

Back at the ryokan I enjoyed a little down time with my parents, eating half of a rich pastry with my mother. We also found out that ours was not the only group where tempers had become short, which was a bit of a relief. I went out to find a karaoke place with Tech Support, Lil Bro, Meggish, her fiance, and J-Po. Meggish and I were fading fast and the two karaoke places by the station were both busy and had a questionable number of english songs so we went back home instead to collapse.