Wednesday, January 30, 2008

feeling existential!

Just had a philosophical thought as I was completing the banal task of doing dishes. Just thinking about the moments in life that make you feel. Like when my drive failed, I felt panic. When the second one failed, I felt panic and then I felt very jaded. Living with my mom made me feel really secure, and also at the same time incredibly liberated and incredibly stifled. At times I feel tenderness and love and passion from and for certain people, and then all of a sudden I don't anymore. E-mailing and phoning Alexei makes me feel longing. Working with certain directors makes me feel frustrated and angry. Taking care of Cloud makes me feel very motherly. Having a couple beers makes me feel drunk. Looking at art that appeals to me makes me feel other-worldly. Spending time with friends makes me feel elated. Alone time makes me feel (logically) lonely.

At the time this thought came upon me, I was doing my dishes, and I realized I wasn't feeling anything at all, which made me realize once again that all the feelings we cycle through as human beings don't last. Some feelings, like love, often do last, but even those feelings change over time. They grow deeper or become lighter or morph into a different definition of the word. The feeling of loyalty also changes. When I reflect upon my friendships, I feel that I am still a loyal friend to those I consider friends, but usually friendships wax and wane with the years as well, and often the number of times I call a certain pal to recount the day's events becomes fewer and fewer. So even loyalty, like love, fades.

Thankfully we don't experience all these feelings all at the same time (unless you're on hallucinogenics), and it feels good to be aware that all you're experiencing is an emotion in a moment in time that won't last in the particular way you are experiencing it. So the point is to simply be in the moment and be in touch with what that feeling is before it goes away.

It would be sad to not cycle through all these emotions and to constantly feel like I felt while I was doing the dishes (nothing).

The bike ride I took this morning made me feel like I was going to vomit (that's what a lot of homework and a little rain will do to my overall fitness level!). Thank God emotions and sensations are fleeting!

Monday, January 28, 2008

stop the spray

I don't know about you, but I'm really tired of toxicity!

Did you know that there is a plan for a widespread aerial spraying of
pesticide over the East Bay and San Francisco starting either this
February or March? It is to combat the Light Brown Apple Moth (LBAM)
which state and federal governments fear will adversely affect
California Agriculture. They plan to spray every 30 days for 9 months
every year until two life cycles after the last moth is found.

Low flying planes have already sprayed a pesticide called CheckMate
LBMA-F & OLR-F over Santa Cruz and Monterey counties. There have been
over 600 reports of adverse health affects due to the spraying,
including two deaths of pets. There were also reported cases of birds
found dead. They will not disclose all the chemicals that are in
CheckMate. Some of it is apparently a "Trade Secret". And they will
not tell us what they plan to spray on us this February or March.

When and where will the spraying take place here in the East Bay?
They won't give an exact date. They did say that they will give us a
72 hour notice before the spraying begins, with all the safety

They gave Santa Cruz and Monterey residents 72 hour
notice of the spraying, but apparently not everyone got that notice.
To learn more about the aerial spraying go to these sites to read
articles, reports, and fact sheets, and take action:

Saturday, January 26, 2008


We left the bar at 2 am tonight [today] and as we were walking back to Sheila's car, she said something to me that made me think how the stories of certain relationships can be told over the course of years and others can be told over the course of nights and others in just a few minutes, seconds even. What she said was that she loved the moment when you leave the bar--the fresh air, the night sky, what lies ahead. It makes me think of the times I've left a bar with a man, and the stories and experiences that emerge afterwards. Her comment reminded me that some bonds begin in a bar and end when you leave, while others begin there and continue on.

There is definitely something enchanting about the night sky of the petit matin, the unknown that is represented by the darkness, the newness of a budding relationship that is represented by the fresh air, the light of the moon or streetlights that leads you to a new destination, and the space between two hands that are not clutched, or pairs of lips that are not touching [yet].

I was reminded that time is simply relative; I was reminded that certain relationships of mine have grown intermittently yet intensely over the course of years (be it three or twenty three), relationships that began in bars, or cafés, that are still with me. I wondered when, if ever, they will cease, or perhaps morph into something unexpected. Because all I truly have to hold onto now are pieces of stories that I'm trying to fit together into a whole.

Sometimes I think I'll have to keep revisiting the bar, the night sky, the fresh air, the suggestive luminance, to find the missing pieces, the ones that will give me resolution, that will make the puzzle whole, the story complete.

Friday, January 25, 2008

kickass ass

A fresh new angle on le féminisme français. Simone de Beauvoir's butt on the cover of Le Nouvel Observateur. Seen here in the bathroom of her lover's apartment in Chicago. Tout nue sauf ses talons. Trop chic.


Tune in at your local gas station:

As a side note, I actually feel like I'm editing mindless crap at this very moment.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

happy b-day roe v. wade

Choice in this country is now 35 years old.

success at sundance

Fields of Fuel, the film about biodiesel (for which I was one of the editors), premiered at Sundance to a sold-out crowd and received a standing ovation! Congrats to director and biodiesel visionary Josh Tickell! I'm looking forward to finally seeing the finished film.

Read a review.

BIG NEWS: Fields of Fuel won the Sundance 2008 Audience Award! YEAH!

not a blowhard

Bravo to Sarko for agreeing to ban MON 810, Monsanto's genetically modified corn, in France (citing that GM corn would be toxic to earthworms--and ultimately our food chain), thereby ending José Bové's hunger strike! It still seems bizarre to me how incredibly different the policies regarding GM crops are between North America and Europe. Europe gets it. The US doesn't.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

s'il faut donner son sang, allez donner le vôtre

Wounded GI's are now being deployed to fight when they really are in no condition to do so. Where's the respect and honor for the service they've already given?

I've been working on a documentary about Vietnam vets who, having lived with decades of undiagnosed PTSD, return to Vietnam for the first time since the fall of Saigon to face their demons and ghosts. It's sad that our government doesn't care more for our vets. A couple times since I've started editing this doc, I've passed by a VA center in SoMa, and I see the look on the faces of some of the men who stand outside. They have the same lost and pained look on their faces as some of the men in the film.

It makes me sad that there will be yet another generation of American men and women who return from fighting in a war whose cause is unfounded. Hasn't history taught our government any lessons? Oh yeah, I forgot who the commander-in-chief was for a minute.

Compassionate conservative, my arse.

I just finished reading an intriguing book review by Adam Gopnik in the New Yorker about the death toll during the Civil War. What made the grieving more palatable for those who lost their loved ones was the notion that these fathers, sons and husbands died for a Cause. I'm not sure if families and loved ones of the deceased in today's war can find similar solace.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

philosophy doesn't make sense. comedy does!

I've been catching up on New Yorkers recently (due to not having television and not enough Netflix), so I finally read the Oct. 29, 2007 issue that features a profile of Steve Martin as a budding comedian. Apparently he studied philosophy (due to a crush on one of his peers at Knott's Berry Farm) at Long Beach State and UCLA. He says this about the moment he realized he didn't want a career in philosophy, but in show biz:

"A classmate, Ron Barnette, and I spent hours engaged in late-night mind-altering dialogues in laundromats and parking lots, discussing Wittgenstein, whose investigations disallowed so many types of philosophical discussions that we became convinced that the very discussion we were having was impossible. Soon I felt that a career in the irrational world of creativity not only made sense but had moral purpose."

guilty as charged - environmentally prejudiced!

French courts have set a legal precedent by charging Total--the world's fourth largest oil company--not only damages related to cleaning up the 1999 oil spill caused by the sinking of the Erika, but also for any damage done to the environment as a result of the accident. They're calling it Environmental Prejudice.

The sinking of the Erika resulted in the deaths of over 150,000 sea birds, and a spill that affected over 400 km of France's coastline.

According to France 24, the Economic Research Institute (INRA) has estimated the value of the ecological damage at 350 million euros. The prosecution, including the French state, claims a billon euros.

What I find so interesting about the court's ruling is the way in which we perceive the danger of who pollutes, where the accountability falls on the shoulders of Total, and not on the driver of the cargo ship.

I tried to find information about the current status of the November 7, 2007 Cosco disaster in the SF Bay. All I've found is that cleanup costs were around $61 million. Who is being held accountable? The irresponsible captain who rammed the Bay Bridge, or the company that sees it fitting to haul 65,000 tons of toxicity across our seas-- not only habitats for so much wildlife, but also for our food source?

My hope is that the French Court's decision will set a global precedent, not merely a European one, and that the responsibility for the inherent dangers in wheeling and dealing toxicity and poison falls directly on the shoulders of those who produce it.

Friday, January 11, 2008

oh no, you did not just say that!

G.W. on Auschwitz: "Why didn't Roosevelt bomb it?"

How many more days left?


Today is a joyous day! Not only because we are one more day closer to the end of the Bush Regime, but because today I received word from Alexei that he has a visa to travel to Holland in March! Time to celebrate!

The only downside is that his visa is only for one month, which is kind of lame seeing as how he's never been able to leave the little godforsaken island that is his country in all of his 32 years on earth. So, as it stands now, he'll only be given a brief taste of what it is like to be released and live in a free society, and then basically be forced to go back to prison after his get out of jail free card expires thirty days later.

Seems unfair; however, at this point, I must rejoice that we at least will have the chance to experience life together without the pressures and constraints imposed by his country's totalitarian rule.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

must see!

Persepolis: the semi-autobiographical story of a girl growing up during the Iranian Revolution. Her story is told in beautiful black and white animation, and the imagery is captivating. Marjane Satrapi is a super-duper talented artist and storyteller, and that's all I want to say about that. I urge everyone to check it out as soon as possible.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


The dispute over genetically modified crops goes on! The director I'm working with today on the corporate video project for an unmentionable client is going to France in a couple weeks, so I thought I'd check the French newspapers to see what was going on over there so he could have some talking points. Today's top story from Libération is about José Bové, an independent farmer/activist who has been on a hunger strike for the last week to pressure the government to ban cultivation of genetically modified corn. It is not surprising to me that a group of Frenchies are on strike. It is not so surprising that the French are striking against GM crops. What is surprising to me, as an American living in a country where the majority of our crops are GM and nobody seems to care that much, is that this is the headline story in one of France's top three newspapers. Bravo to the French media for not burying this story, especially when one of France's most valuable assets--its food--is at stake.

By the way, according to AFP, GM crops cover less than one percent of farmland in France, Europe's top agricultural producer.

Monday, January 07, 2008

caption contest #124

Been catching up on my New Yorkers and just read this morning that my former screenwriting professor, Peter Moller, from Syracuse University won the latest Cartoon Caption Contest!

happy kitty

I have recently discovered that Cloud enjoys getting scratched underneath her armpits, a trait that further endears me to her.

Friday, January 04, 2008

power to the people power!

The oldest and most basic heat generator known to man (besides the sun, which in the winter months is not so hot) is being harnessed in Stockholm Central Station in order to provide energy and heat to neighboring buildings.

don't drink the water (in LA)

And yet another LA water story. Yikes for real! The reservoirs in question are located in my old neighborhood.

today's storm

Here's a pic of a fallen tree outside of Velo Rouge. There are many of these dotting the streets this morning. Felt like one continuous earthquake in my apartment last night! No wonder my cat was freaked out and meowing all night long!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

the last sunset, or love in a junkyard

New Year's Eve this time around seemed very random to me. Unlike other years, I was in San Francisco, and not in some exotic destination. Also this was the first New Year's Eve that I wouldn't spend with Alexei since I met him. So when it finally rolled around, I didn't have any expectations, and I didn't really have any solidified plans. I futzed around the house for a while, then ran some errands. Heading west on Fulton Street towards home, I noticed what looked like a million little cotton balls that had exploded across the sky. I continued on past my building, thinking what better way to begin the last night of 2007 than to witness the year's last sunset. Words cannot even describe the experience that I shared with hundreds of other beachcombers, except that the sky looked like a ceiling of light and color. I only had my camera phone with me, but snapped away in order to share this evidence of a higher power with all of my loved ones.

After the sunset, I returned home and had my first glass of sparkling wine and toasted to 2008, the last year of GW, with my cat, then packed up a bag of more bottles of bubbly to go party with Lilia and Geoff. Where we would end up celebrating the countdown remained to be seen, but at least I was prepared.

Where we ended up was a junkyard in Bayview. Lilia knew about a bicycle party out there, to which we took a taxi, which I found ironic. Upon arrival, I knew we had come to something special. A party in a junkyard, complete with live bands, $3 cocktails and firepits inside empty oil drums. Lilia, Geoff and I sat atop a junked police car and popped open a bottle of Prosecco.

Chad the music teacher joined us. Geoff performed some card tricks which attracted a small crowd. And it was there, in this very odd but memorable location, that we counted down to 2008 under the stars, fireworks exploding en l'air, kisses exploding sur terre, a very drunken couple copulating in the front seat of the junked cop car, steaming up the windows and giving us all a bumpy ride.

Lilia and Geoff took off early, leaving me to finish my drinks with the music teacher. At about 3 am, we decided to leave, and since there were no taxis in sight at that hour in that neighborhood, Chad gave me a lift on the back of his bicycle, something I haven't done since I was eighteen years old. We rode from Bayview to the Mission which seemed strangely empty and made the ending to this celebratory night that much more surreal.