4.29.2009

final cut pro is my hamster wheel

My film is almost done! On free days I've been hibernating in the college's editing rooms, which have harsh fluorescent lighting but no windows and tend to get very hot. This doesn't sound like fun, but it is. I turn off the lights and curl up in a comfy chair that spins and try to make a movie, and I feel the way I imagine industrious animals do: caged, but contented.


The movie is about Missed Connections, a phenomenon I just recently became aware of, in which people post messages to those they feel they've had a connective moment with. As with most branches of Craigslist, the validity and effectiveness of Missed Connections is debatable. The odes are strange, and they range from sweet ("We were looking through free stuff on the corner", "You helped me pick an avocado ~ Safeway ~ 8 pm") to unsettling ("Saw u on the fifth floor of the county jail"). Still, most are fascinating, in part for the questions they raise. If the site's success rate is as low as it seems, what does it mean to reach out to someone who probably is not there? Has the internet made it easier or more difficult to meet people?

In the documentary I'm profiling three people trying to find their missed connections. There is a 41-year-old cardiologist and a student majoring in Anthropology, as well as a woman who works in social justice. They've all been wonderfully helpful and engaging and smart, and one person's post does reach its intended recipient. Everyone also had very thoughtful things to say about the extent to which Missed Connections as a concept is related to (or was born out of) modern culture. And the filming experience has been filled with other fun things: searching for murals in the Mission, composing a score made up of whistles, trying to find the best way to tell the man who offered to sneak out of rehab for an interview that an escape just wasn't necessary. Anyhow, I will try to post a link to it when it's all finished. The first and very rough project I did is here. Youtube-suggested related videos include, for no apparent reason, "My Hampster Mocha Eating Broccoli", "A Younger Barack Obama on the War on Drugs and Marijuana", "Miss Aloha Hula 2008" and "Amy Winehouse Photos". Anyhow, spending the day with dogs made me long for a french bulldog like him:

4.21.2009

recession seating

When there is no money to buy couches or chairs or even throw pillows, one must get creative.

4.15.2009

sunday best

If Easter is a day of renewal, it seems fitting to have spent it at the flea market. We hopped the 24 Divisadero to Industrial and Bayshore, then cut beneath an overpass to Alemany. Paper bags had tangled in the limbs of trees, and the sky was a chlorine blue. It felt like spring: mucky and promising.






Usually, when I go to flea markets, I fall in love with strange paintings and splay-legged furniture, dying plants and yellowed pictures. Then I spend forty dollars and have trouble maneuvering all of my purchases home. This time, I forbade myself from bringing money. There: problem solved! Otherwise, I might have been tempted to buy this.


Other desirable options: Star Trek Barbie,


and plants within snails.


Here were 2009 calendars. In box one: Outhouses. In box two: Bible Verses? 


These men sell ladies' lingerie and Yankees uniforms. They've got all bases covered. 


In the designer purses section, at least one person was financially prudent.


The bird was not for sale.


This little guy had to be removed from the top of the ice cream cart, which he climbed up and clung to as the cart moved from the 2009 calendars to the clothing area.


I sometimes wonder what is most appealing about flea markets, the collecting of things or the collecting of stories. Perhaps the two are interchangeable. I'm always drawn to old photographs and postcards; the ones with writing on the back are the best. Years ago I found a tiny, scallop-edged snapshot stuck to the bottom of a bin. In the picture a small boy in striped pajamas and house slippers holds a flowerpot. Written on the other side, in neat handwriting: "May, 1940: Frank, with the sweet potato plant he planted, re-planted, and then re-re-planted." Frank looks quite pleased with himself. Flea markets offer an odd kind of voyeurism, one that is nameless and faceless--a perusal of personal histories in which there is no person. 




On the way home we went to Flowercraft in search of new plants for the garden.  Beneath the grid of the highway we waited for the 24 bus, reading care tags in a square of sun.


It was a different kind of Easter egg hunt. 


4.11.2009

unexpectedly charming:

1. Tumbleweeds, in both name and appearance. Their puffiness is misleading--makes me want to prod and cuddle them, as one would a persian cat. 





2. The letters sent from prison to my internship office. All are painstakingly handwritten and more polite than any queries received from the non-incarcerated. 


3. Bjork, when the mood is right.  


4.05.2009

bad behavior


While I was waiting for the J train at Powell today, five cops hurdled down the escalator and made a run for the Ellis street exit. A pigtailed child asked her mother who was in trouble, speaking for the rest of us.

I have been inside a cop car only once, when I was sixteen. About six of us had packed into the only licensed driver's Volvo in an attempt to get to a party in the Presidio. As the smallest of the group, I was sitting on somebody's lap in the middle seat. We were busted between a string of military houses and the old Bowling Alley. The cop had gelled-back hair and the smooth complexion of a skincare model; he looked less like an actual police officer than an actor playing one.

"Well, this is quite the clown car," he said, tapping on the passenger window. He pointed at me, the only one without a seat belt. 

"You," said the cop. "Where do you live?"

I remember feeling surprised that the back of the police car was so unlike a regular car. The seats were not leather or even cloth-covered--they were plastic and felt hollow, like chairs from a children's playhouse. 

"I feel like a criminal back here," I said, trying to flirt my way out of trouble.

The cop said we shouldn't have been driving with so many people in the car to begin with. I expressed remorse, and soon he warmed up, asking about my favorite school subjects and what I liked to do for hobbies. When I told him my age, he asked if I'd had a Sweet Sixteen birthday party. I said no, that Sweet Sixteens weren't big in San Francisco. There was the hassle of cleaning up afterwards, and nobody wanted to pay for a location to begin with.

"Really?" he asked. "Everyone does it on the East Coast."

We spent the rest of the ride discussing Sweet Sixteens and their East/West cultural significance. He spoke fondly of his own party, and I agreed that it sounded pretty fun. When we reached my front door, I thanked him and quickly hopped out. My parents must have gone to sleep--nothing was ever said about my arrival in a cop car. At breakfast the next morning, I ate pancakes and thought: safe.

4.03.2009

rounds

My stepmom, Ellen, is cleaning out the old Kids' Computer Nook at my Dad's house. Once the relatively tidy location of a titanic Dell computer and select CD-ROM games, the nook has since swallowed up an assortment of childhood debris: slinkies, bead kits, yoyos, a faded rainbow of bouncy balls, tenacious Happy Meal toys. Every few days, Ellen reports back from the trenches. Yesterday she found Creative Writer, my favorite computer game from the age of seven to maybe twelve, with which I created newsletters and stationary and generously-asterisked business cards (Chloe *~* Novelist *~* Age 11 *~* ). 



Last night, I took the 5 Fulton down to my internship for a Reader Roundtable. This is the last step in what seems to be a pretty democratic submission-review process: every month, all of the readers set aside stories they like, and before each issue comes out a Roundtable is held to decide which ones should be sent up to the editors. We drank wine and ate food from the restaurant downstairs and discussed stories, and I was reminded of how happy this kind of thing makes me.


Now that it's April (rabbit!) , I'm starting to get ready to go back to Vassar. It will be hard to leave a lot of things here (the apartment, Nora, SF avocados, my dresser with the weird knobs), but I think spending senior year at Vassar is the right choice, and I'm beginning to feel excited. Am also researching internships in Brooklyn--perhaps something in documentary film? I've realized that I need at least a little bit of city time to feel fueled, and a once-a-week dose of Brooklyn could be a nice thing. 


For now, though, I am still here, and the city is at its loveliest. Although I am big on rain and fog, there's something about 70-degree days in the Mission that puts me in the best mood. Beach with friends this weekend is kinda all I wanna do. 


4.01.2009

one true thing

Sends Nora: "This is what you are like in the morning before coffee--http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofrSio_jZO0."