Thursday, November 28, 2013


Happy Thanksgiving!  

And because no one can express this sentiment better than Pharrell, I have attached this video chock full of subliminal messages and excellent dance moves.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you've held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.
- Ellen Bass 

Monday, November 25, 2013


As it's Thanksgiving weekend coming up, I'm going to up my link quota.

Nanowrimo Punctuation Tips
How to properly use dashes, hyphens, parentheses, quote marks (double and single), apostrophes, ellipses, brackets, slashes, question marks, and exclamation points.

Dating and Inspiration
The Craziest OkCupid Date Ever
They traveled 8 countries in 21 days. With no luggage and no money.
They visited all the places I've always wanted to go: Turkey, Croatia, Hungary, except they did it in a way that I can only recreate in my imagination.

The Successful Writer's Work Ethic with Kerry Wilkinson
This man writes 1000 words per hour. My God. This post makes me deeply ashamed of the amount of time I spend trolling Craigslist for used bikes.

Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About Filmmaking (in 240+) Links
Ever thought/considered/dreamed/fantasized/fetishized/investigated/vaguely mentally analyzed how to make a movie? I have. Here's a link.

How Squinching Will Make You Look Good in Photos
Squinching: to slightly squint your eyes. It has never occurred to me to do this - I usually just smile so it looks like I'm having fun regardless of reality, but could this work?

You Can Do Anything: Must Every Kids' Movie Reinforce the Cult of Self Esteem?
True? Not true?

10 Travel Web Sites Worth Bookmarking

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Well, hello there, Bed. These images are from actor Vincent Kartheiser's home, as profiled in Dwell magazine. The style here is Japanese industrial, and that first shot is of Kartheiser pulling his bed down from the ceiling. That wooden slab in the background there? It's the headboard. When the bed is up, the slab folds down to become a desk. That's right: a desk.  

To offset the weight of the bed, there is a 300 lb. weight hidden away somewhere, in a way that is built into the cabin. There are so many different ideas going on here (Red as an accent color anyone?), I don't even know where to point (Red curtain??). It's all just too good. It baffles and astounds me. I have no words. Look and enjoy.* 

* Okay, one small final point. This cabin was designed by Funn Roberts. How did this creativity happen? As Kartheiser puts it: "Funn is an artist, he's going to do his best work if he's trusted. You trust the artist and you don't micromanage him." There, all done.

Monday, November 18, 2013


Image via Cinema Fanpage
Wow, when you dream - dream big! Miles Scott asked to be BatKid as his wish for MakeAWish Foundation. And he got it. I am in awe of this kid.

Batkid from San Francisco Chronicle on Vimeo.


This series from photographer Denise Grunstein caught my eye recently. It looks like the good part of a dream. Everyone carries an idea in their head of what the world they've created looks like. I know I do. The world I create is always different from the world I observe - it's an enhancement. The colors are stronger, and objects more meaningful, or are possibly a plot device to be referenced later. Grunstein captures that unreal quality here. It's reality, but better kind.

Friday, November 15, 2013


Image via Hitta Hem
I saw this hanging hand lamp on the Hitta Hem website. On occasion, while walking next to houses that turn on their lights but don't close their curtains, I've noticed that overhead lights are not all that flattering. They usually cover everything in a flat yellowish color, which become apparent if you look at walls that are white in daylight, and yellow at night. One possible way to mix things up is to have multiple light sources. Once easy way to do this, is to hang a hand lamp off a shelf or to a desk, as shown above.  

There are two ways I can see to replicate this: 
  1. There is the cheap industrial version from Daniel Woodhead (Search for an incandescent hand lamp or wet location hand lamp). Then add an edison bulb.
  2. On the more high end, you can go to West Elm for their wooden cord set, add their selection of edison bulbs, and add a light guard so you can hook it to a shelf. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013



There's nothing new under the sun here. I'm not here to blow minds or take names. What I am here to do is to remind you of thoughts that you probably already know, but may tend to forget.

Certain feelings, I have found, are detrimental to the soul. There are certain mental habits that come almost automatically, without conscious thought or action. I consider these fallback emotions; they take over when you are weak or tired or simply reacting. Breaking these habits takes constant vigilance and practice, and possibly random reminders like this one.

One of my personal favorite habits is thinking "Oh, I should have done that." That being whatever was the opposite of the choice I just made. I've never consciously said that, even in my head. The "should have" feeling is just that - a strong negative emotional...intonement. Let's go with that. 

The "should have" feeling is pretty much a guaranteed path to unhappiness. Most decisions are not about life or death. They're just decisions, but when you add the "should have" or "could have" into the mix, decision making becomes a miserable no win situation.  Nothing good comes of thinking in "should have's." It is a bad mental habit. If you have this habit, throw it away. 
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Monday, November 11, 2013



Mostly classics, but they're also classics.

I'm always on the lookout for ways to continue learning.

It's probably clear by now that I haven't read this. 

Eventually, I would like to go to Nepal, and I would also like to return alive. I have this bookmarked.

If you don't want to buy all organic produce, just buy these.

Friday, November 8, 2013


Image via Braid Creative
I've been feeling stressed and overwhelmed lately. Strangely enough, listening to Brene Brown's book Daring Greatly on audiobook really helps me to unclench those stress muscles. There is a magical collaboration that takes place between the written content and reader's vocal delivery that just hits the spot. Also, the book is good. 

I don't think I can add anything that hasn't been said already and better, such as by Braid Creative where I got that pic. What I will say is this: the audiobook relieves some of the burden of stress by putting emotion in context. Brown talks a lot about vulnerability, and in doing so she gives it a purpose. You are no longer swimming aimlessly in a sea of discomfort and anxiety, but moving towards a goal. That knowledge, and the repetition of that knowledge, sends a series of neural signals to the part of the brain specifically geared to relax. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


High end fashion is like the island of Santorini in Greece; it is a beautiful jewel in a land far away, and only accessible with a significant investment of cash. Then I came across the above interview with Isabel Marant from the Wall Street Journal magazine. The interviewer is very good; he notices little details about his subject. He notices the way she cuts open and rolls her cigarettes, and the pleasure she takes in simply being herself. 
"I do fashion because I'm happy when somebody gets joy from a new garment. There is a magic side to this."
What is particular to Marant is the deliberate choices she makes to balance between two edges of a spectrum. On the one hand, Marant is a high end fashion label. On the other, she herself embraces a low profile way of life. She notes, "When people meet me, they think this cannot be her, because I look like a bum." It's interesting how despite being immersed in the fashion industry, she can hold herself separate from it, and embrace a separate set of standards for herself that are uniquely and entirely her own.
"If you have a nice house outside of have to fix the heater or the roof is broken. I don't need that. On weekends I want to empty my head and be surrounded by green nature and breathe. I need balance." 
So on weekends, she leaves for a cabin in Fountainebleau outside of Paris with no running water or electricity, and this is the other side to being a fashion designer for her: commuting from city to nature and back again. This is her balance. This is what she needs to create.

It's not too far of a reach to say compare writing to design. The goals are the same: the creation of joy. There is alchemy in both.

Monday, November 4, 2013


I love my rejection slips.  They show me I try.
- Sylvia Plath

Long story short, I sent out a draft of my book* to a friend for a review, and the review came back that she had stopped reading at about 70 pages because she just couldn't get into it, and that if you haven't hooked the reader by 70 pages, then you never will because they will stop reading. 

So, the first reaction was feeling that this was a personal stab to the heart; it's like she told me my child looked like a gnome. I don't think that part is avoidable. It was a first draft, and I don't think anyone's first draft comes out anywhere near perfect. I read that part of her email again, and...nope it was still a stab to the heart. 

Then, I did what I did when I was back in college. I used to bounce back quickly back then. I remembered that I really enjoyed self-identifying as a problem-solver. For some reason, rejection never seemed to be a surprise then, it used to be something that just happened, and something that you turned into a problem to be solved. It's an old skill that I used to do instinctively, and that I'd like to learn again. 

I'm going to try to break the 70 pages of unreadability into manageable parts. What exactly worked or didn't? I think her assessment was useful and timely - I'm at a place where I can do something about it, but I would like something more concrete than that she couldn't get through it. I have some guesses on what went wrong, and if I think on it a bit, I can come up with some solutions. So life goes on. 

*Co-book. I've co-written a book, but to lessen confusion, I will use "my."
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