Friday, August 31, 2007


I just signed up for a business planning class at the SF Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center. This course meets twice a week for 14 weeks. I am, of course, ambivalent about committing two nights a week to take this course (I could be having fun! I could be relaxing after a long day at work! I could be reading my New Yorker! I could be playing with my cat! I could be eating and drinking at fancy restaurants!), and at the same time I'm excited to begin this new phase of my life, in which I'll be able to finally define myself as the owner of the business I've been dreaming about. For years I've been toying with the idea of starting my production company, and for years I've been making excuses, following tangents, getting distracted by this and that, never giving my idea the energy and nurturing that it deserves.

So here goes. I am finally defining myself and making the decision to no longer live in that grey area.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

stuck in a teenage wasteland

My short story is in the final stages of editing. I have had several readers with refined literary tastes make comments, and I have made several revisions and changes. The main comment I get back is that my story would be ideal for the teen literature market. I don't know if I should be happy or sad about this. Is my writing style that juvenile? Or do I simply relate to adolescent angst? I guess I always liked stories about teens. Those formative years are so intense. Love A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. And some of my favorite tv shows have been about teens, especially teenage girls (love Buffy, My So-Called Life). So now I'm trying to tap into this Young Adult Literature market but I don't even know where to start. I'd love to get the story into some kind of anthology, so I'm currently scouring the web for ideas and leads.

virgos do it better

On Sunday, August 26, 2007, my brother Tommy took part in the Cycle to the Sun race that ended at the top of the dormant volcano Haleakala. The race was 36 miles uphill. The elevation at the summit is 10,023 feet. It took him 4 hours and 15 minutes to complete the race, finishing 66th.

Tommy turned 39 years old on Tuesday. What a way to celebrate being alive.

Congratulations, Tommy!!!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A: Meow

Q: Do you like your new toy?

Q: You like a scratch on your cheeks, don't you?

Q: Who's the prettiest kitty?

Q: Did you have a nice nap?

Q: Was that a yummy snack?

Q: Why did you barf on the carpet?

Q: Why did you poo on the carpet?

Q: Why did you pee outside your litter box?

Q: Do you miss Jon?

Q: Aren't I good to you too?

Q: Do you need a pet psychologist?

Monday, August 20, 2007

quote from my man, j.j. rousseau

When I lived in Grenoble, my friends and I often hiked in the surrounding Alps. We always brought along inspirational quotes to read aloud once we reached the peak, the city below looking so small that we could pick it up and cup it in our hands. I had just taken a class in 18th century French literature, and my favorite quote at the time came from Jean-Jacques Rousseau, from his epistolary novel, Julie ou la Nouvelle Héloïse, included here below (sans traduction, so get out your Larousse!):

Ce fut là que je démêlai sensiblement dans la pureté de l’air où je me trouvais la véritable cause du changement de mon humeur, et du retour de cette paix intérieure que j’avais perdue depuis si longtemps. En effet, c’est une impression générale qu’éprouvent tous les hommes, quoiqu’ils ne l’observent pas tous, que sur les hautes montagnes, où l’air est pur et subtil, on se sent plus de facilité dans la respiration, plus de légèreté dans le corps, plus de sérénité dans l’esprit; les plaisirs y sont moins ardents, les passions plus modérées. Les méditations y prennent je ne sais quel caractère grand et sublime… Il semble qu’en s’élevant au-dessus du séjour des hommes, on y laisse tous les sentiments bas et terrestres, et qu’à mesure qu’on approche des régions éthérées, l’âme contracte quelque chose de leur inaltérable pureté. On y est grave sans mélancolie, paisible sans indolence, content d’être et de penser: tous les désirs trop vifs s’émoussent, ils perdent cette pointe aiguë qui les rend douloureux; ils ne laissent au fond du coeur qu’une émotion légère et douce; et c’est ainsi qu’un heureux climat fait servir à la félicité de l’homme les passions qui font ailleurs son tourment… je suis surpris que des bains de l’air salutaire et bienfaisant des montagnes ne soient pas un des grands remèdes de la médecine et de la morale.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

dive (updated)

Later this summer, retired French Army colonel Michel Fournier will attempt le Grand Saut (the Great Leap): to sky dive from outer space--25 miles above sea level--to the plains of Saskatchewan, the highest jump ever attempted. He is in his early sixties and has devoted his entire life to achieve this goal. He has already attempted the leap two times unsuccessfully due to technical difficulties or Acts of God. He has given everything else up that might ease his retirement in order to fund his endeavor, borrowing money, selling his home and living in a friend's rustic country house without electricity with his wife. He is obsessively dedicated to breaking not just one record (an American parachuted from 19 miles above sea level to the deserts of New Mexico in the 1960's), but four.

You could read his story and conclude that this man is crazy, but he is pursuing his dream. And although I personally (hopefully) will never be possessed to jump out of a plane with a bag of fabric on my back, I am inspired by his vision and dedication.

Last night, Lilia, Sultan, Joyce and I went for sangria at Cha Cha Cha in the Mission. I complained about being frustrated by the vicious cycle I continue to find myself in, the same complaint of many San Franciscans, that this town is too damn expensive and it's hard to make ends meet. I've only been living here on my own for a month and a half, and I'm already sick of living paycheck to paycheck, barely scraping by. (A week ago, I checked my checking account balance and it was in double digits.) I've been talking about breaking the cycle for years, and now, staring at in the face once again, I'm finally ready to jump out of it.

Sultan's friend Maceij, the hot medical student/runway model from Germany, joined us later and we ended up at karaoke night at Amnesia. Whenever there's a microphone and an opportunity to live out my rock-and-roll fantasy, I need very little encouragement. I quickly signed my name and request on the dj's list, and before long I was called up on stage. The words appeared on the screen and I belted out the lyrics I know all too well:

Hey Hey Mama
Said the way you move
Gon' make you sweat
Gon' make you groooooooove!

I thrashed my head and body about on stage and the crowd gathered around below me, singing with me and headbanging. The adrenaline rushed through all my cells and felt amazing. Near the end of my performance, somewhere between stanzas of "Ah Ah Ah Ah/Ah Ah Ah Ah" I heard the dj say to me "I feel a stage dive coming on." I looked out on my fans and they all had their hands in the air ready to catch me. I had never done a stage dive before. I put the microphone back on the stand, and prepared for my great leap. I didn't have time to really think about what might happen if they dropped me on the floor before my body went flying off the stage, landing softly onto the hands of the many people I didn't even know, but who nonetheless seemed to support me.

I don't even remember how I came down and got back onto my own feet again.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

art or vandalism?

I'm a little late in commenting on this happening, but when I saw this article in the SF Chronicle, I was a little in shock. As you may know, Jessica and I are in the thralls of producing our experimental dance film, and a few months ago we set out with our cameraman Jeff to film in several locations throughout San Francisco. We came across this crazy location by chance out in the Dogpatch neighborhood. The corrugated steel fences were covered in graffiti, as well as some seemingly abandoned construction equipment. The park looked like some kind of drug infested mad max throwaway of the City, empty and abandoned, some decayed version of what planners wanted it to be, and we thought it perfectly represented the state of mind and body that Jessica and I wanted to convey through the film. So we set up and filmed there.

Little did we know then that the park was called Warm Water Cove and that city officials were planning on giving the park a makeover, more specifically repainting the tagged walls in white, like tabula rasa.

So it's ironic and fitting that this park now has a new identity, and that we were there expressing ourselves as a result of the street art that in turn inspired us to dance and create. Here are a few pics of Jess doing her thing out there:

And some more photos of the day they painted here on SFist:

SFist posting


All right, Barry!!!!!!!!!