Wednesday, February 25, 2009

facebook game i couldn't resist

Today was feeling overly productive. So here:

Create Your Band and Their Debut Album

1 - Go to "wikipedia." Hit “random”
or click
The first random wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.

2 - Go to "Random quotations"
or click
The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.

3 - Go to flickr and click on “explore the last seven days”
or click on
The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4 - Use photoshop or similar to put it all together.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

500 days of sundance, part 3

You may have noticed that many, many days have passed since my "part 2". I'm chalking it up to a serious bout of workaholism, from which I am now recovering. I may have to skip parts that I don't remember. Or make them up.

Day 6. Tuesday.

9:00 a.m. Our first African-American president is inaugurated. In Washington D.C., movie stars and politicians cry and celebrate. In Park City, Utah, Destin and JoJo dance in the middle of Main Street. In Karen's downstairs guest room, I sleep. It's not that I don't care. I do. On this particular day, I just care about sleeping more.

3:00 p.m. I take a bus to Eccles to join Destin (who had spent part of the night before playing Rock Band with Topanga from Boy Meets World), Joy, and Brad. We watch Push. Not the sci fi movie with the dumbest premise ever. Another movie named Push, which is about - and don't read this if you think you're going to see it in theaters - a black high school student in 1980's Harlem named Precious, who is: illiterate, obese, pregnant by her father, emotionally and physically abused by her mother, and HIV positive (because of her father.) Oh, and her first child by her father has Down syndrome. It's extremely powerful, with great acting. The audience gave the filmmaker a standing ovation. But later that night, I was talking to another actor who had been at the screening and he was like, "Is he being serious with that movie? She's fat and she can't read the word 'day' and her father rapes her and she's pregnant with his child and her kid has mental problems and her mom beats her and she's dying? Of AIDS? At some point, I just wanted to tell the movie to shut up." I could see his point, but other people didn't seem to feel that way - the movie ended up winning both Sundance's grand jury prize and the audience choice award.

5:30 p.m. Destin and I meet Jared (the other A.D. from the crew) to watch something that was listed in the film guide as "Sneak Preview with Steven Soderbergh."

6:15 p.m. Steven Soderbergh and Festival Director Geoff Gilmore sit on stools on the stage. Soderbergh starts talking about how people keep asking him what movie they're going to show. He has this whole coy little speech about how he doesn't know why people think they're going to show a new movie of his... he just doesn't know how these rumors get started... oh, maybe it's because he's going to show movie of his! This would be a more effective surprise if the words "Sneak Preview" could be interpreted to mean anything other than that they were going to show a movie of his.

6:20 p.m. The movie starts. It's a low-resolution cut of Soderbergh's next movie The Girlfriend Experience, about an escort having problems with her boyfriend, and starring real-life porn star Sasha Grey. At one point, an escort reviewer gives the main character a bad review, calling her dull and pretentious with a flat affect. These are basically my thoughts on the movie. Extremely talky and edited to be non-linear for no discernible reason, the only thing I really liked was the cinematography. Fans of the Red camera (by which I mean you, Bays) will be interested to know that only two scenes in the whole movie were lit.

7:30 p.m. I'm relieved that Destin and I have to sneak out of the movie early to go to the shorts awards ceremony. We take the shuttle over. I ask Destin if he wishes he had bothered to take a shower that morning. Because... what if... something happens where people... might perhaps want to take a picture of him? He acts like he doesn't know what I'm talking about.

8:00 p.m. We arrive at the shorts awards reception. TIME columnist Joel Stein, who had a short in the festival called Joel Stein's Completely Unfabricated Adventures, describes it this way:
I'm not sure where the award ceremony for the feature films was held, but the shorts awards were given out a mile from town at a weird '80s dance party with a really bad buffet in a room without seats. I did not see Robert Redford.
I didn't actually think the buffet was that bad. In fact, I seem to recall this mushroom bread pizza thing that I may have gone back for thirds on. I don't see Robert Redford either.

8:30 p.m. Sundance people announce the winner of YouTube's Project Direct contest, and they screen the film, Perfecto. Unfortunately, the sound system is awful and most of the crowd can't hear the dialogue. If you want to watch it, you can here.

8:45 p.m. I start getting texts from cast and crew asking me if they've announced the awards yet. I just text back, "Not yet" but now I'm kind of feeling pressured. I mean, there are 96 shorts! That's only a... 1.04% chance of winning. I really don't want everybody's hopes to be up.

9:00 p.m. People move downstairs to hear the announcement of the shorts awards.

9:05 p.m. The Honorable Mentions are announced. I didn't realize there would be so many... eight are awarded. The three that I've actually seen are Omelette, a Bulgarian film set during the '80s when inflation prices made food staples nearly impossible to afford, Love You More, a British film written by the writer of Closer and exec produced by Anthony Minghella (this seems like cheating to me), and The Attack of the Robots from Nebula-5, which was in our program, a weird, funny, sad black and white Spanish film about a mentally handicapped young man who thinks Earth is about to be destroyed. The fact that I actually really liked all of these makes me wonder if I'm finally getting Sundancy taste or if Sundance is finally getting Steffesy taste. Short Term 12 doesn't get an Honorable Mention. Part of me thinks this is a good sign. I tell that part of me to shut up.

9:11 p.m. Next they announce that Lies, a short film I haven't seen, has won the International Prize. (If you click the link there you can see that Sundance calls this the "International Jury Prize in International Short Filmmaking." Nice.)

9:12 p.m. The guy says he's getting ready to announce the last award, the Jury Prize for Short Filmmaking. He says it was clear early on which film would win, that this filmmaker (which he refers to as "he," not that that really narrows it down) is clearly enormously gifted, etc. I think, "He's going to say Short Term 12." He does. Despite my confident intuition from two seconds earlier, I shriek and drop my vodka soda. (Sorry, Sundance janitorial crew.)

9:12 1/2 p.m. I turn around and hug Destin, who's standing behind me, perfectly still. He hugs me back, hugs Joy, and wanders in a daze to the stage. He wrote about the experience in a blog for a San Diego news station:
They called our name and I thought I was hallucinating. Joy, Michelle, Jared, Brad, and Brett all started screaming but their voices sounded like little chickens to me, and their lips were moving in extra slow motion. I only had about two hours of sleep the night before, so I was feeling pretty weird already, and then the extra stimuli just sent my head spinning. But I managed to stumble through some kind of thank you speech and get off the stage without fainting.
You can see part of Destin's speech in this video from the Sundance website. I wish I could embed it, because it's great, but I can't, so I just really encourage you to watch it. Again, here is the link. Watch it. Seriously.

9:18 p.m. Destin takes pictures with other winners, then with us. I ask Destin if now he wishes he had showered that morning. He does.

9:20 p.m. I text the cast and crew that I have in my cell phone and say "WE WON" with about twelve exclamation points. Several of them text back to ask if I'm being serious. A couple of them want me to tell them the exact name of the exact award so they understand how excited to get.

That was really fun. I kind of want to not delete the texts, ever.

Here's this period of time from Joel Stein's perspective:
Standing near the stage, rehearsing my speech, I was relieved not to get any of the eight "honorable mentions," which is some kind of Sundancespeak for "loser." But when the actual award was given, they called up a young hipster named Destin Cretton, who not only did not have a speech prepared but also was holding a half-eaten lollipop. Trying to be a gracious runner-up, I walked over to congratulate Cretton.

"I assume yours is about either the Holocaust or a mentally disabled guy," I said.

"You're right," Cretton replied. "I worked for two years at a residential facility for at-risk teenagers." I felt an interesting mix of discomfort and validation. Then Cretton put his arm around me and said, "It's not about winning and losing. We're all at Sundance together." When he offered me his half-eaten lollipop, the discomfort quickly melted away.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


Even though it's now well past Sundance, I'm still planning to finish blogging about it. If you have a problem with that, you don't have to read it, ok?

In the meantime, wanted to let you know that John Arlotto's film Deface, which I mentioned in my last post, is now up on the Windrider site. It's very good and well worth the 22 minutes it takes to watch it.

Friday, January 23, 2009

500 days of sundance, part 2

We now return to our story, already in progress.

Day 4. Sunday.

10:00 a.m. Karen gives me a ride into town. She is worried that I'm not eating. I promise her that I'm headed to a producers' lunch. (The producers' lunch is the only thing Sundance does for producers. Destin gets $500 and a Timberland jacket and Timberland hiking boots and various tickets to receptions and brunches. I get quiche.)

10:30 a.m. I take a shuttle to Main Street. I overhear the man next to me telling a filmmaker that he's a film critic and head of an Italian film festival. I introduce myself and he asks me to send him a screener of Short Term 12. I'm rather proud of my schmoozing.

11:30 a.m. I walk into the producers' lunch, steel myself, then walk up to a couple at a random table and ask if I can sit with them. Both of the table occupants (the producers of Nobody Knows You, Nobody Gives a Damn) shriek when they see that I produced Short Term 12. They tell me they love the movie, and David shows me the button on his jacket - it's the pin for Short Term 12. He tells me he was excited when he found it on the ground. I also meet a producer who turns out to be a good friend of my friend Maggie's. I congratulate myself on my excellent choice of tables as I eat my quiche.

12:00 p.m. Mary Jane Skalski, the producer of The Visitor, Mysterious Skin, and The Station Agent, among others, gives a talk about producing. Part of her talk was about tough love, letting people you respect rip your project to shreds so that it can be better in the end. I feel inspired to take criticism better.

12:30 p.m. Michelle Satter, the Director of Sundance's Feature Film Program, introduces the five fellows of Sundance Creative Producing Initiative. I would like to apply for the program but I see that I may be too pale.

12:45 p.m. I force myself to go up to another table and introduce myself. I meet the director of a short I haven't seen. She tells me she is "a shrieking atheist."

1:00 p.m. I decide two tables of producers and one film critic on the shuttle is my schmooze limit for the day.

1:30 p.m. I meet my friend Geoff (fellow LTL veteran) for coffee on Main Street. He's the co-producer of a film that I have tickets for the next day, called Adam.

2:30 p.m. I meet Destin on Main Street. We run into to a few other filmmakers from our program on the sidewalk. We chat about what a genius Destin is. I wait for his sister Joy while he goes to a press reception.

3:00 p.m. Joy and I walk around Main Street. On the sidewalk across from a fur shop is a group of scary animal rights activists who are dressed like zombies. Joy and I are kind of scared to walk past them. I'm afraid they're going to pour paint on my leather purse or grab Joy's fake fur-lined jacket.

3:30 p.m. Joy and I find a little bookshop/coffeeshop to hide out in.

4:30 p.m. Destin gets out of his reception and we head to an art gallery for an NBC/Universal reception. It's completely packed. As we stand at the door about to go in, a woman comes up to the woman checking names at the door and tells her that the place is completely over fire capacity and they have to stop letting people in. We slip in just before they close the door behind us and try to push our way through to the wine bar.

5:00 p.m. We don't win $25,000 in the business card raffle.

5:15 p.m. Two other short filmmakers and I talk about what a genius Destin is for approximately 45 minutes.

6:00 p.m. Joy and I eat dinner at Nacho Mama's while Destin meets with a manager interested in signing him. (Destin has previously informed me that he only wants to be represented by a nice person.)

8:00 p.m. I look over the list of short films in Shorts Program 1 and decide to wait list it. Ones of the shorts in this program is called Little Minx Exquisite Corpse: She Walked Calmly Disappearing Into the Darkness. And I am not even kidding. If you would like to watch it (and maybe explain it to me after,) here it is:

8:30 p.m. Joy, Destin, and I watch the program, which is very strong. A couple I like are Omelette from Bulgaria and Netherland Dwarf from Australia. Two are about boys (one English, one Russian) smoking and drinking for the first time then losing their virginity. It makes me wonder why they're in the same block. One is about an evangelical family that goes around murdering people with no faith. Another is about an elderly mother and her mentally retarded son who live in a house filled with birds and take baths together.

10:15 p.m. Alex, a documentary filmmaker working on a British show called Follow the Filmmaker, asks if he can interview me. I'm relieved to learn that the filmmaker he's following is Olivia Silver, director of Little Canyon, a short in the program that I very much liked. And understood. Which makes me sound smarter in the interview. I give him a screener of Short Term 12.

10:35 p.m. We wrap up the interview. Alex tells Destin that I was great and he could have gone all night. Destin smirks at him. Alex says that phrase doesn't mean the same thing in England.

Day 5. Monday.

10:30 a.m. Karen gives me a ride into town. I wait in line at Eccles theater. A woman near me in line shows me the picture she got with Ewan MacGregor who was at the theater earlier for his screening of I Love You Phillip Morris.

12:15 p.m. Destin shows up at Eccles and we watch Adam, the film Geoff worked on. I lurrrrve it. It would be great to make a movie like this one day. I find Geoff to congratulate him.

2:15 p.m. I try to head home on the bus to take a nap, but Adam, one of our actors, needs an extra credential, so I reroute.

3:00 p.m. I meet Destin, Joy, and our A.D. Brad at Mountain Vineyard Church, where the Windrider Forum is based while at Sundance. (Windrider is really how I know Destin - we both had films as part of the Forum last year.)

4:30 p.m. The four of us meet Adam and his girlfriend Katie and stand in line for an hour and a half to get into a Damien Rice concert. I stole this picture from Adam's Facebook page. Katie with the line for the concert in the background:

6:00 p.m. We finally get into the show. Our numb toes and fingers are totally worth it. Despite our poor view, I develop a little crush on Damien Rice.

7:00 p.m. We head over to the church, but miss the spaghetti dinner. We watch three current Windrider films, Small Change, Deface, and Unattached, which are great. I had seen (and loved) Deface at Savannah Film Festival and had met director John Arlotto there. Here's a trailer:

That's all for now. Must sleep.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

500 days of sundance, part 1

Well, maybe not 500 days. Maybe just seven days that feel a bit like 500. It's 1 a.m. and I have to be up by 8, but it's been long enough and you really deserve a bit of a rundown. Here's what happened the first three days:

Day 1. Thursday.

11:00 a.m. After staying up all night working on an arbitration (and by working, I mean going to Cat 'n' Fiddle for three hours and spending at least another three staring at a wall in a jittery, modavigil-inspired stupor) I take a 45-minute nap, throw boxes of Short Term 12 postcards and business cards as well as piles of arbitration scripts into a suitcase, after which I have approximately six square inches left for my sweaters, jeans, and new waterproof boots. (Thanks, Zappos.)

1:30 p.m. My friend Jason arrives to take me to the airport. We discuss arbitrations practically the whole way, which is fascinating to us but would make anyone else want to punch themselves in the face. I get to the Delta counter and find out my script-and-postcard-and boot-laden bag weighs 70 pounds. "That will be ninety dollars," the Delta representative tells me sweetly, as if that's even a remotely reasonable amount to charge for a heavy bag. I throw the suitcase at her and run.

3:40 p.m. I board the plane and sit next to the window. The guy next to me is a loud Hollywood type who jabs me with his elbow throughout the flight. All attempts to sleep are futile, which means I'm awake for a lovely sunset.

7:00 p.m. I take an Xpress Shuttle from the airport to Park City. I meet the editor and director of a movie called Black Dynamite and make plans to get a drink later in the week. The shuttle driver seems jittery and weird. I wonder if I'm going to make it to town in time for the opening night film at 9:30.

7:45 p.m. The shuttle driver announces he missed my stop and will have to drop everyone else off before me.

8:30 p.m. The shuttle driver, who is using his iPhone to navigate while driving on icy roads, gets lost for the fifth time.

8:45 p.m. The driver gets into a screaming match with the only other remaining passenger and threatens to leave her on the side of the road. I stop wondering if I'm going to make it to the opening night film and start wondering if I am going to die.

9:00 p.m. After much harrowing iPhone usage/driving, I drop off business cards and postcards for Destin so he can take them to the opening night film, which I will now definitely not be able to get to on time.

9:30 p.m. I arrive at the home of my host, a lovely woman named Karen. She makes me the most delicious tortilla soup I have ever had in my life, and then I retire to my room to try to finish the arbitration statement that I should have completed the night before.

2:00 a.m. With my head aching and my eyes closing of their own accord, I finish a (mostly coherent) draft of the statement and send it to my writer, then collapse into bed.

Day 2. Friday.

10:00 a.m. I wake up to find a dishearteningly long list of notes from my writer on the draft. I work on changes for the next three hours, then shower and race to catch a cab into town to make the premiere screening of Short Term 12. Ryan (our publicist) meets me in front of the theater with a ticket.

2:15 p.m. The shorts program begins. To my shock, I at least like every single film. The audience is amazing, they're laughing at everything.

3:15 p.m. Short Term 12 plays and goes over amazingly well. The audience is laughing at everything that's even a little funny, and gasping in shock at parts.

4:00 p.m. The program ends, and Destin hands me his video camera so I can record his Q&A. One of the Sundance staffers comes over to me and says, "Ma'am, I need you to come with me." He's looking right at me, but the tone of his voice is bizarre, like my visa is expired and he's about to deport me, so I look around to see who he's talking to, and he says, "You, ma'am. Come with me." I say, "What, are you serious? I want to see the Q&A." He says, "I need to make sure you didn't record any of the shorts, I need you to come with me and show me your footage." After arguing with him for a couple of minutes, saying that I'm not trying to pirate short films, for pete's sake, and I want to be there to see the Q&A, Destin finally goes with him to show him footage and makes it back in time to give me the camera and go up front.

4:15 p.m. Destin's footage of the Q&A is made significantly less watchable as I go into a huge coughing fit and nearly fall on the floor.

4:18 p.m. I go into another coughing fit, hand the camera to Bekah (our production coordinator,) and stumble out of the theater. As I walk by the Nazi staffer guy, he says, "Thank you," in a voice that may or may not be snotty. I cough on him a little just in case.

4:20 p.m. I grab a shuttle, where I try to hold on to the railing and talk on the cell phone to my writer, who is freaking out about the nearing WGA deadline of 5:00 PST, without pouring Diet Mountain Dew all over myself. I pour Diet Mountain Dew all over myself.

4:30 p.m. I arrive at Sundance Headquarters and grab a spot on the floor, where I pull out my laptop and make frantic changes to the statement for the next hour and a half.

6:00 p.m. We finish the statement and my writer turns it into the Writers Guild just in time, only to find out that the people at the Writers Guild have gone home early for the weekend. I make a note to egg the Writers Guild when I get back to LA.

6:10 p.m. My crew arrives at Headquarters after a long and very frustrating shuttle ride in which they passed Headquarters twice. We head over to Main Street.

6:30 p.m. I grab dinner with some of the cast and crew of Short Term 12 at Main Street Pizza and Noodle. The caesar salad and pizza seem incredible to me, possibly because I haven't eaten all day.

12:00 a.m. I wait list another shorts program with Tania (who plays Natalia in our film) and her boyfriend. These films are slightly weirder than our block, I think. One I like is Captain Coulier, Space Explorer, about an aloof, bipolar, Gen X space captain who is looking for new planets and true love. Another is Boutonniere, which I actually read as a script when the filmmaker applied to the DWW.

Day 3. Saturday.

11:00 a.m. I oversleep, then get ready and walk to the bus stop near my place. I wait outside for a while.

11:10 a.m. I decide I have missed the bus and call a taxi. I am supposed to be at Headquarters by noon to catch a shuttle to Salt Lake City for the second screening of Short Term 12, which Destin cannot attend (as he is at a brunch meeting John Krasinski.)

11:20 a.m. The bus drives past me as I continue to wait for the taxi.

11:40 p.m. I continue to wait. I begin mildly freaking out.

11:41 p.m. Now that there's no way I can get to HQ by noon, I call Tania (who is going with me to the screening) to ask if she can try to get the shuttle driver to meet my cab driver on the side of the road somewhere and pick me up.

11:46 p.m. My cab driver arrives. He races into town. We discuss the possibility of us catching the other shuttle on the road to Salt Lake City and me climbing from one van to the other while they're both moving, a la Speed.

11:58 p.m. Tania speaks to the driver at HQ, who tells her that he's waiting for Joseph Gordon-Levitt (who directed a short in our program called Sparks) anyway and won't leave right at noon. I silently thank God for tardy movie stars.

12:10 p.m. Tania and I ride down to Salt Lake City with JoJo (as I now call him) and his producer Beau. We discuss the craziness of my near-arrest for piracy at the last screening and JoJo records the conversation on his camcorder.

1:00 p.m. We arrive at the theater in Salt Lake City.

1:10 p.m. The moderator introduces us to the half-full theater twenty minutes early, when JoJo, Beau, Tania, and I are all out in the lobby getting popcorn and such. It's awkward.

1:30 p.m. The theater is full now. The shorts program starts, and I watch them all a second time. They hold up surprisingly well, and I notice little things about each of the films that make them more interesting.

3:15 p.m. Tania and I do a Q&A with the other filmmakers, including the producer and actress from Our Neck of the Woods, a great film about spontaneously combusting lawn deer that was shot in Mt. Airy, North Carolina. I give my camera to an audience member to record the Q&A. I chew gum the whole time, which, shockingly, looks obnoxious on camera. Hence me not posting the video. We climb back in the shuttle and head back to Park City.

5:30 p.m. I wait list for Prom Night in Mississippi with Katie (our casting director) and her sister Kari and cousin Amy. (How it works: you line up two to three hours before the film you want to see begins. At two hours before, they give a number to each person in line, and you're free to go. Half an hour before the film, you come back to the theater and get in order according to your number. Fifteen minutes before the film, they allow all ticket holders in to the theater, count the empty seats, and allow that many people from the wait list line to buy tickets and come in.) We sit on the floor for an hour to get our numbers and play "I'm Going to the Moon" to keep ourselves occupied. A woman behind us in line gives us some popcorn, which is the first thing I've had to eat all day.

6:30 p.m. We get our numbers and walk to Sports Authority to buy gloves, Albertson's to buy trial-size conditioner, then to Burger King so I can eat actual food. Somewhere during this time, I lose my wait list number, but don't realize it.

7:45 p.m. We return to the tent to get into our wait list line, which is when I realize I don't have my number anymore. I try to explain the situation to the staffer in the tent, but she says there's nothing she can do for me. Kari goes with me to look for the number in Sports Authority, but it's no use. I stand on the edge of the line and try to make plans to meet up with the girls later. After we complain loudly for about ten minutes about my missing number, the woman behind us in line offers us an extra number that she's not using. I get in line, and we make it into the theater.

8:30 p.m. We watch the movie, which is about the first integrated prom in Charleston, Mississippi. The first integrated prom, which happened in 2008. Before that, they had black proms and white proms. Before that, meaning in 2007.

11:30 p.m. We join the rest of the cast and crew present and I watch the shorts program for the third time in two days. And I can still tolerate it, which I think says something. I find out we got a great review on a website called Gossip Sauce:

From left to right, this is the cast and crew that was there that night: Bekah, Katie, Phoenix (who plays Jayden,) Katelin (who plays Chelsea,) Adam (who plays Scott,) me, Tania, and Destin.

2:00 a.m. Bekah and Destin drive me home, twenty minutes in the wrong direction. Bekah hates me a little.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

it's not about the money, because i'm not making any

There's an interview with Destin about Short Term 12 here.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

chinese new year

My dad, Micky, and Sean are leaving for almost nine months in Africa tomorrow. They each get to take one suitcase weighing 44 pounds. You don't realize how much stuff you use, how much stuff you need, until you have to fit it all into one suitcase. Think about all the stuff you use that you might not be able to get in Benin. Contact solution... toothpaste for sensitive teeth... your special conditioner that you like... your new Legos Star Wars Republic Gunship... not to mention clothes and books. I am not jealous, and I will be a little bit more thankful next time I walk into Rite-Aid.

We went out to lunch for my dad and Sean's last meal out in America until next fall. (Micky stayed home to kick her suitcase against the wall repeatedly.) We stopped by Andy's, a fifties diner, then walked out because of poor service (apparently we're that family,) then went to Waffle House (yes, for their last meal in America for nine months, we went to Waffle House,) then walked out because Waffle House was just a terrible idea to begin with. Then we went to a Chinese buffet. Sean doesn't like Chinese food, so he wasn't happy, but breaded, fried chicken is basically the same anywhere, so we found him something to eat. He picked up each piece of sweet and sour chicken to show me before he ate it, saying "This is an eyeball," or, "This is a nose," or, "This is a brain." I asked him how the brain was. He chewed for a minute and said, "Tastes like chicken."

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Monday, December 29, 2008

this sits on a chair in the guest room at my dad's house

I'm not sure what the point of it is exactly, but if it's supposed to scare the crap out of me every time I walk into the room, it's doing the trick nicely.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

my date

I had a date tonight; it was pretty sweet. He took me out to dinner and a movie. We hit Mickey D's for chicken nuggets, and then went to see Bolt. In 3-D, no less, so he got to see how awesome I look in shades:

On the way home, I asked him what his favorite Christmas gift was. He answered immediately, "Legos Star Wars Republic Gunship. And my Legos wristwatch." After a beat, he added, "And the ones you got me."

Friday, December 26, 2008

why the chimes rang

When I was at the Grove Christmas Tree telling Christmas stories with Cubby and Breezy (I feel like Brie deserves a blog nickname too), I was trying to remember the story that my dad used to read to us every Christmas. It was about two brothers who were trying to make it to a church, where only a great offering laid on the alter of the Christ-child would make the Christmas chimes ring. I couldn't remember the story very well, and I was like, "I think one of the boys gets stuck in the snow, and the other one leaves him behind to go to the church... and then... his coin makes the bells ring."

Cubby and Breezy just stared at me. "He leaves his brother behind in the snow? To die?" And I was like, "Yeah, I think... that's what it was." They were like, "That cannot possibly be right."

You'll be pleased to know that it wasn't right, but one of the boys does stay behind in the snow, to help a woman who is about to freeze to death. I forgot that part. My Dad read it again this Christmas, and you can read it here.

After presents, we played with our toys. Sean with his legos:

And me with my new camera:

Thursday, December 25, 2008

the fayetteville food lion would like to wish you and yours a happy kwanzaa

and to tell you and yours that Bud Light is 12.99 for a 24-pack, limit 2.

I'm sitting in the kitchen trying to work on revisions for that writing job I mentioned, and doing my best to ignore the dog, who thinks that I will take her out into the backyard in the rain and play fetch with her if she looks at me like this long enough:

Here's hoping you're all having a very Merry Christmas, and also hoping that you didn't get $400 worth of unauthorized paypal charges on your checking account this morning, like I did.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

they're singing deck the halls, but it's not like christmas at all

My mom just wandered out from her bedroom to see why the living room light was on at 3 in the morning, and found me sitting on the floor, using the sofa as a table and eating potato chips and drinking cherry coke zero while reading blogs of people that I don't know.

Sometimes you don't realize how sad you're being until someone else sees you being sad. Even if it is someone who loves you unconditionally and barely raises an eyebrow at the chips you're scarfing down after you swore you weren't eating any more junk food for the rest of the trip. Although let's face it, you didn't last two minutes after she pulled the little sugar cookies with Christmas trees in the middle out of the oven, anyway, did you?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

ok, good to know

When I was driving the other night somewhere in or near Ohio, and my family was all asleep, the GPS told me to get off of I-77 and take a state road. I wasn't sure that was what I was supposed to do, but I decided not to wake up my dad to ask him, and to just do it. But as soon as I took the exit, he woke up anyway, and said, "What are you doing? Stay on 77 to Cleveland."

Then he turned over to go back to sleep, mumbling, "Even when you're not watching them, you can tell when your kid is doing something wrong."

Monday, December 22, 2008

got this note from vincent

who wanted to cheer me up about the groovy situation:
I cannot repeat to you often enough, boy, that when one is thirty, one is just beginning. Look at the biographies of artists. Even many who had painted from their earliest years changed only then, found their own personality only then. I only ask you to take those things into consideration.

~ Vincent van Gogh
Very encouraging, though I keep asking him not to call me "boy."

Sunday, December 21, 2008

do not go gentle into that groovy night

Friday night the paternal side of my immediate family drove all night to Michigan, braving snow and wind and doughnut pit stops. About midnight I was driving through West Virginia, and everyone else was asleep. I was listening to the radio, very low, and balanced all the way to the front and left, and trying to find a station that wasn't playing either country, gospel, or classic rock. I finally stopped on one that was playing U2's New Year's Day and then Sinead O'Connor's Nothing Compares 2 U. I think Sinead O'Connor and U2 were among the very first batch of cassette tapes (cassette tapes!) that I ever bought when I was trying to grow up and listen to cool music. (Rounding out the list: Janet Jackson, REM, and a band called Icehouse that I bet you don't remember.) And I definitely recorded the video of Nothing Compares 2 U on our beta player (beta player!) and watched it obsessively.

So, I'm driving along, happily listening to Sinead, and a commercial came on. Well, first there was a commercial for Pocahantas Mine (which apparently has underground positions to fill immediately, great benefits) and then there was a commercial for the radio station itself, Groovy 94.1. It went something like, "Don't you hate it when you get into your car and the kids have been messing with the presets, and you turn on the radio, and it sounds like this: [punk guitar riff]? Turn it back to Groovy 94.1! The music from your generation!"

And I realized with horror that I was listening to an oldies station. An oldies station that plays music from my lifetime. An oldies station that not only assumes that I have kids, but assumes that I have kids old enough to listen to crazy rock music that is too loud for my sensitive, decrepit ear drums.

I didn't know what to do. Accept my fate? Change the station to country? Try to find a station playing the Jonas Brothers? I just shut off the radio and pretended it didn't happen, but I'm still feeling a little shaky.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

love and basketball (ok, just basketball)

I nearly slept through my last flight to Fayetteville Wednesday night. I left LAX at 5:30 pm, flew to Salt Lake City, had a five hour layover, flew to Atlanta, then had a two hour layover. I fell asleep waiting for the last flight, thinking the noise of people boarding would wake me up. Instead, I woke up to the sound of a stewardess standing over me, going, "Fayetteville? Fayetteville? Ma'am? Fayetteville?"

They had already closed the gate, but they reopened it for me and I boarded the plane, which was about 3/4 empty. I picked a random seat in the back in an empty row. After a few minutes, a man came walking down the aisle. He stopped in the aisle and stared at me. I figured I must be in his seat, and I kind of felt like, "Are you kidding me, just sit somewhere else." Then I remembered the creepy guy who sat next to me on the flight to Atlanta (who introduced himself to me and shook my hand, then put his other hand on top of mine and asked if he could "catch up with me sometime") and hoped there wasn't going to be a repeat performance. I said, "Am I in your seat?" And he kind of laughed and put his backpack down across the aisle, and said, "Yeah, you're in my seat." Then he turned back to me and went in for a hug, and I think it was about two seconds before contact that I realized he was my high school basketball coach. He was thinner and had a beard! He was hard to recognize! I have a picture of him and my team at home, which I will scan in later.

It was fun to catch up with him. He had just gotten back from six months in Afghanistan, where, he said, his beard was "four fingers long," which is how it's measured there. And I had just been talking about playing basketball a couple of days ago. I loved it, it was my favorite part of high school. That's definitely something I wish I could go back and do again. Guys can play in pickup games, but girls don't really do that. Unless some of you want to. In which case, let's do it. There's a park near my place.

My mom picked me up at the airport and I went home and slept for a few hours, then we got up and drove to Raleigh to pick up my brother Ryan and his wife Rachel, and we all went to Chapel Hill to go to the Carolina-Evansville game.
When my dad first moved to Fayetteville, he opened a surgery practice with a friend from residency who had played center for UNC in the 60s. He is so tall. I definitely remember being pretty old and still only coming up to his waist. And so we became Carolina fans. By "we" I mean Mom and Ryan. And me by attrition.

Ryan was freaking out that we wouldn't get to the game on time. He and Rachel left work early, and Mom and I left at like 2:30 to get to Chapel Hill for a 7:00 game. We parked at the lot, got on the shuttle, where everyone is wearing Carolina Blue (I borrowed a shirt from my mom) and talking to each other like they know each other, and got to the stadium. WHICH WAS NOT OPEN YET. That's how early we were. THIS is how early we were:

The game was sold out because it was the night that UNC forward Tyler Hansborough was poised to beat the record as all-time leading scorer at Carolina, if he scored more than nine points. My mom made a poster ("All I want for Christmas is 9 points" written in her perfect, third-grade teacher cursive,) but they took it away from her in the line to get in. She did manage to smuggle her purse in under her shirt (she didn't want to go through the "search your bag" line) which looked pretty great, with a strap poking up out of her neckline and a big Frankenstein-looking lump on her torso.

Tyler beat the record, of course. And my mom did a little dance to "Jump Around," which was my favorite part of the evening.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

what in the sam hill you yellin' for, george?

Brie and Cubby are over watching It's a Wonderful Life. I've been working on research on a certain post-impressionist painter who cut off a body part (because I got my first for real writing job that is not an arbitration!) but I am taking a break to be Christmasy.

Earlier we walked to the Grove and got hot chocolate and sat on a bench under the big Christmas tree. Brie told a story about the year she and Adam saw Santa Claus in the sky. Cubby told a story about a gift that meant a lot to their family one Christmas. He was sitting in between Brie and me on the bench, and a guy from Crate and Barrel walked by. He looked at us, gave Cubby a nod, and said, "Life is good."

So true, guy from Crate and Barrel. So true.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

sundance, or as my friend katie calls it, hollywood schmoozefest 2009

Now that it's been officially announced, I can say in the blog that Short Term 12, which, as you may remember, is the short film I produced with director Destin Cretton earlier this year, was accepted into Sundance! So in January, I will be off to Utah for a week and a half of doing my two favorite things in the world: networking and standing in lines in the freezing cold.