Saturday, November 29, 2008

I love talking to strangers.

Not creepers, mind you. But just your legitimate, one-time acquaintance strangers.

I was sitting in Dunkin Donuts today after hanging out with a friend in the City. I was trying to stall my return to Jersey, I think. I was sitting at the window bar on 10th and 44th, definitely not writing anything on the legal pad in front of me, when the man next to me and I started talking.

I always think that I'm going to be ridiculously creative when talking with strangers. I can say whatever I want. Wouldn't it be fun to make up some crazy story about my life? But I almost always end up telling the truth. And I think it's because, with a one shot acquaintance, you can be absolutely honest. Only complete strangers can get away with asking things like "Who did you vote for?" and "Are you in love?" I told him what I was looking for in a man and he told me why his Thanksgiving was a nightmare. We joked that we'd meet again one day when I would be writing a show or movie he'd be hired on. I was probably more willing to have a completely unguarded conversation with him than I would be with half my friends. I think that's more fun than making up a fake backstory.

He waved hello to at least six people while we were sitting there.

"Do you know everyone?" I asked.

"Of course, I know everyone in the neighborhood."

Of course he did. John Michael Bolger, if I'm ever in the neighborhood, I hope we meet again.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving is sort of an odd holiday, I think. It's a day that's dedicated to spending time with friends and family... though there's nothing to really *do.* Not counting the actual meal - which takes all in all what, maybe an hour to eat? - my family doesn't really have any traditions or activities anymore that we do on Thanksgiving. I mean, the parade and the football games are on TV, but that doesn't mean that we're all watching them. So then it becomes this awkward dilemma of what to do with your family when your family's not doing anything.

So I read Twilight.

Let me explain myself. Everyone was aware that the movie opened this weekend, right? We looked at the box office in my industry class on Tuesday, like we always do, knowing Twilight was going to be the big winner. The movie recouped its costs in one weekend. On a budget of $37 million, it's made, in less than a week, a worldwide gross on $90 million. But really, that wasn't what made up my mind to read the book. We all knew it was going to be a smash hit. The producers were actually smiling weeks before it was released.

No, what made me pick up Twilight for my recreational holiday reading could be encapsulated in one story. My industry professor went to see the movie with his wife opening weekend, and he told us there was a woman sitting next to them who flat out sobbed for an hour during the movie. Unashamed. Stories like those, and hearing from anyone who's ever picked it up and read it in under 48 hours that it's amazing, convinced me that I needed to experience this phenomen first hand, if solely from a storyteller's perspective. What is it about this book that has stirred so many people, from all different age groups? I'm really sorry, Robert Pattinson, but I don't think it's just you, despite what all the girls in my industry class say. You're not that devastatingly beautiful.

So I read it. And here's my opinion of the book:

The last 350 pages were good. That was when things actually started happening. I got caught up in those and really enjoyed the story there. The first 350 pages ran something like this --

I hated Forks. If only I hadn't come to this miserable gloomy place where every single boy is subtly trying to ask me out. Then there's Edward Cullen, blindingly beautiful, but for a hundred pages all we exchange are trite hellos while I wonder why he secretly hates me. Luckily, after I find out he's a vampire, we talk. A lot. We spend hours and hours in the car just asking each other questions about our lives, how this whole vampire thing works, him marveling at the fact that I'm not afraid, me wondering how he would ever pick a normal girl like me, each conversation ending with me staggering out of the car, gripping onto the door for support, hoping that I don't trip in my incapacitated by his very presence state.

I'm not saying it was a bad book. It was good. I enjoyed it. I'll probably read the others over Christmas break. I'll almost definitely watch the movie at some point, to make my case study complete. But I'm not sure I've got it yet - what it is that made this such a phenomenon. I think I'm going to start asking people, but if everyone answers, "Because Edward Cullen is amazingly perfect," I may renounce the books altogether.

(I don't know, maybe that results from my cynicism on love stories, and how they're the most difficult to write. Let me just say that I thought the relationship was only nominally interesting/believable until the end.)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Everyone should do this at least once

Yesterday, as part of my ritual procrastination phase of writing, I spent a lot of time on YouTube looking up obscure songs by one of my favourite bands. Obviously, these are not of the best sound quality, and I recommend totally ignoring whatever footage/weird montage is attached to them. Here are some of my favourites :

For You



Your Love Means Everything to Me (with Faultline)

A well known hit, with a twist.

And I like covers.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The first real snowfall

Mm, I love it. I will most definitely miss the seasons if I'm out in LA or New Mexico for too long. And I got to wear my snow boots today, which I love.

A few weeks ago, my boss's boss's boss told me he liked my shoes. This was even more amusing because he sounds like Kronk from the Emperor's New Groove.

We were celebrating things at my house the other night. We were celebrating because D. got into law school and M. got into med school, and then so the rest of us wouldn't feel left out, we made up things for each one of us to celebrate. We celebrated J. for applying to grad schools and E. because she's cool and me because I will one day get a job. Can't you imagine that toast? Here's to you, Amy, for getting a job someday.

We haven't seen the sun in seven days.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Highly entertaining dramatic reading of a REAL break up letter that I immediately had to share with all my friends. Make sure your sound is on.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

'Cause I'm on a Switchfoot kick

In this world of news, I've found nothing new
I've found nothing pure
Maybe I'm just idealistic to assume that truth
Could be fact and form
That love could be a verb
Maybe I'm just a little misinformed

As the dead moon rises, and the freeways sigh
Let the trains watch over the tides and the mist
Spinning circles in our skies tonight
Let the trucks roll in from Los Angeles
Maybe our stars are unanimously tired

Let your love be strong, and I don't care what goes down
Let your love be strong enough to weather through the thunder cloud
Fury and thunder clap like stealing the fire from your eyes
All of my world hanging on your love

Let the wars begin, let my strength wear thin
Let my fingers crack, let my world fall apart
Train the monkeys on my back to fight
Let it start tonight
When my world explodes, when my stars touch the ground
Falling down like broken satellites

Let your love be strong, and I don't care what goes down
Let your love be strong enough to weather through the thunder cloud
Fury and thunder clap like stealing the fire from your eyes
All of my world hanging on your love

All that I am resting on
All of my world resting on your love

- "Let Your Love Be Strong" Switchfoot

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Things I might do... later

I've been thinking a lot about what I'm doing after graduation. I think I've gotten my two-year itch to get up and move again. As much as I love college, something tells me it's time to start real life soon. Here are my current options:

1. Go home. Well, this isn't an option, actually. My two best friends from high school getting married in June and my bridesmaid duties require my presence for my first two months as a college graduate. However, this is not all just sitting around and waiting for the weddings. It's free room and board, and because I'm so close to New York City, I'm going to translate this into Get An Internship, something I don't have on my resume but is a practical necessity in this industry. If I find at the end of the weddings/internship that I am still poor but can find a job in the City, then I might stick around the area for another year or so.

2. Move to LA. This is tricky. The thing about moving to LA is that you sorta need money before you go out there. Since you can't get a job before you're there, you're going to spend a couple of weeks just job searching, paying to live in LA without having any money come back in. There is just the slimmest chance that I will be financially ready to move to LA come July. My other LA option is this Screenwriter's Lab. My screenwriting prof of last year recommended it to me, and by the time the deadline rolls around I should have at least two scripts that have been raked over enough to show to them. I haven't done well in competitions historically, but if I can get into this, I won't mind moving out to LA and getting a job at Starbucks or Applebee's or nannying for some B-list actress. As long as I have some film-related reason for being there, I'll take any job.

3. Albuquerque. Or any other place that has great tax incentives and low cost of living. Michigan recently passed a whole lot of tax incentives for film and business has been great. My industry professor has friends in New Mexico who've never stopped working since they passed the tax incentives there. There are a couple other states that have drawn the film industry but still remain relatively cheap places to live. If I were to stay in Michigan, though, I'd need more of a reason than just a job. New Mexico sounds like fun, maybe just because I've never been there before, but I'm going to have to learn how to spell Albuquerque. This would be a stepping stone to LA. 1-3 years.

4. Leave the country. One of our recent graduates works in Ireland for a production company and is involved in the International Film Board or something. Let's be honest. I'm going to live in Ireland one day, and I'm much more interested in winning an Irish Academy Award than an American one. The only question is how soon do I want to move there and should I stop by LA on the way.

5. Move to a small town with one stop light somewhere west of the Mississippi, get a high profile job like bank teller, and spend a year writing and being the center of town gossip.

I still have about six months to figure this out, eight if you count my time in Jersey for the weddings. Something, maybe just how it's happened in the past, makes me feel like I won't know for sure until month seven and three quarters.