I will soon amass a card deck's worth of rejection letters! Right now I could have the hand of a Blackjack, Guts, or Four-Card Poker player. Am working up to Go Fish. 



5:30 PM: Had the anticipatory feeling that comes with hunger. I took inventory of present cravings (carbohydrates, a novel salad dressing) and came up with a game plan. Trader Joe's was busy, but not oppressively so. At the sample station I ate one sixteenth of grilled cheese sandwich from a small paper cup. (Gouda cheese on potato bread--recommended!) Then found cilantro salad dressing and four firm avocados in the produce aisle. On the way to the cash register I picked up sauce and pizza dough with herbs. The dough comes as a blob in a plastic bag. During moments of leisure, such as the 24 bus ride home, it is extremely enjoyable to squish it--sort of like the grown-up equivalent of a water toy.

Water Wiggle


Pizza dough

7:30 PM: Pleased. 


comfort food

There are three elements common to road trips with my family:

a) the invention of new car games, e.g. the Question Game. (Mom: "If you could get a tattoo, what would it be?" Ty, without hesitation: "A chinese dragon.")

b) the telling of favorites stories, e.g. the days when Ty pronounced all y's as l's--lellow, lou, les-and the time, at age six, that I made Jordan eat an ant (still a source of guilt).

c) One hike, to which I reluctantly submit, then end up enjoying.

Saturday was Mom's birthday, so we all piled into the blue Prius and drove to Point Reyes, a cape north of San Francisco. The town was sleepy and the weather moody, just the way I like it. We stopped at a restaurant in search of hike advice, then headed toward a recommended trail. After parking, we realized that it was not so much a hike as a mosey, since the path was actually a cow pasture.

I chased the cows...

while Jordan chased frogs,

and Ty chased Molly.

He also climbed rocks,

and played soccer,

with mixed results.

Meanwhile, Mom and I found the meadow's weirdest plant.

When it started to rain, we drove into town. I had a strong feeling of nostalgia--not for something I had once known, as I'd never been there, but for a different kind of life. In that life, I would feel contented by simple things, such as drawn-out meals and the salt smell of sea water. 


Jordan and Mom bought cheese in a converted barn. I selected an olive oil dark chocolate.

In the afternoon we drove back to concrete and familiar pathways and domesticated animals, all the marks of this city. Sentimentality can be a corny thing, but that is what I felt. 



Nora works in a lingerie shop. To pass the time when things are slow, she orders free samples off a slightly sketchy website. A new item comes in the mail every few days, hermetically sealed and addressed to doppelganger Nora Bah. So far, a bag of Quaker Oats Chocolate Rice Cakes and a miniature floral perfume have arrived; she is still waiting on Simply Asia's Lemongrass Soup. (How exactly a soup sample can be packaged has us in great suspense.) Every day feels like Christmas! Maybe I will follow suit. 

Right now, I am the messiest I've ever been. It's getting bad; even my little brother has noticed. (Ty, upon entering my room: "Saints preserve us!") Still, I've cleaned the top of my desk. The unblemished cream color of its underbelly is a powerful motivator for other forms of cleanliness. I am now thinking of vacuuming the rugs, cleaning the stovetop, deweeding the garden. This industrious mood lasts only so long as I am looking at the desktop.

Hmm, other things. Ali sent me a postcard from the Vassar Observatory. It makes me think of alienz. 

I've also made headway in my search for SF's best granola. In ring one: Udi's Natural Artisan Granola (this is the cranberry kind; superior 'original' flavor not shown, as Shufat Market was out of it). In ring two: Nature's Path Organic Pomegranate Plus Granola (with Cherries).  Final decision pending. 


i hope to attain rubber band-like imaginative elasticity

When I was little, I made up a game. The game was called "Somewhere in the world...", and its objective was to finish the sentence with the oddest or sweetest or most terrible thing I could imagine. The logic went that no matter how bizarre the activity, somewhere in the world, someone had to be doing it. Somewhere in the world, a curious person is doing a Google search about why flamingoes only stand on one leg. Somewhere in the world, an elderly man has just found and brought home what he thinks is his lost cat--except it is not his, only an impostor. Somewhere in the world, a mother is cooking the world's most awful chicken soup (literally, the world's most awful), but her sick son will eat it, because he does not want to hurt her feelings. 

On buses and while walking and at bedtime, when one cannot sleep, this game provides hours of entertainment. 


when things aren't going your way,

find a new way of getting there. A secret passage is one example. 



For better or worse, one thing about me: I am prone to obsessions. This happens even, or perhaps especially, when an obsession is not warranted. In my third grade gymnastics phase, it was Olympics or bust, despite the fact that I couldn't get up on the balance beam without assistance and had recently dropped back down to Beginner after a trial week in the Intermediate class. Ditto my fixations on painting, soccer, pop music, snow globe construction, horseback riding, acting, etc. Some have lasted longer than others: ballet was a biggie, spanning my middle school through college years, and writing has always been there. 

Last week I sat in on a film class. I'd thought I was going to documentary film (watching), but nope--this was (advanced) documentary film (making), and I had never turned on a camera. We watched clips from The Bridge, and an Austrian movie about food, and a great short film my teacher did about the world's largest shopping mall, and even then I could feel it coming on, the obsession. So I'm sticking with it--but sticking with it has meant three camera how-to sessions, four days of self-teaching on Final Cut Pro, one day of shooting along Clement and Balboa, a second day of shooting by my apartment after I botched the timecode on the first tape, many pounds of rented equipment, a handful of Sony DV tapes, the most finicky tripod in the world, and two very sore biceps. 

But it's also meant that I'm able, for the first time, to do something I've always wanted to do: to step through whatever separates us from the people we don't know. I heard delivery horror stories from the guys at Pizza City and what Marrakech is like from a Moroccan cab driver. I got a list of good old movies and longer list of editing tips from the people at Poppa Opp's Videos. Antoine, who runs a liquor store by my Dad's house, showed me a sick Obama print his cousin made and his hand-drawn picture of the 49ers. And I was amazed to receive these stories, to be a part of a conversation mostly because of my camera. It seemed to me to be a bit like writing, except I didn't have to make anything up. I can't decide whether that feels like a weight lifted or a weight gained.

I just finished the first assignment, which was to compile ten 10-second clips. It took me five days. I feel as though I've just emerged from a severe fever (102 degrees +).