Who plays you in the movies?

Okay, you’re a character in a movie. Who plays you?

Will and I discussed this very thing this morning. His suggestions: Chris Pratt and Aubrey Plaza; Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally. (Why yes, we DO watch Parks and Recreation. Why do you ask?) I don’t know that either of these is perfect, but I sure like the idea of either lady playing me!

Now I am wondering about the ideal casting for everyone else I know.

Won’t you tell me who would play you?

(For the sake of this game, the movie version of you should be somewhere between who you really are and who you wish you are. And if you’re an actor, no fair saying you’d play yourself.)

In case you need to know more about me….

An interview! These questions come from Bethany Actually.

1. You live in Los Angeles. Why do you like living there? If you couldn’t live there, where would you want to live?

Los Angeles was the first city that I loved the instant I set foot in it. I fell in love first with the trees, and second with everything else. Right now, it is harder to like living here because we are so ridiculously poor. But it’s not impossible — and having a child is actually making me love it more because I am spending all my time with someone who is impressed if I take him around the block. We spend so much time at the zoo and the Autry Center and the many parks, not to mention just walking around.

If we couldn’t live here — well, we eventually want to move out to the desert, either in Pioneertown or out by Littlerock, and build a ranch. Or farm. Call it whatever pleases you.

But I’m going to pretend you asked where I’d want to live if we couldn’t be in Southern California at all. Because the first answer I came up with SHOCKED me. I would like to move back to New York and get a place in either Brooklyn or Queens. Now what you have to understand is that while New York City technically has five burroughs, I am from Manhattan and so as far as I am concerned there are no other burroughs. And yet, that is where I would go. Assuming that Will and Sam were agreeable.

(This is funny! Apparently a couple of years ago Whoorl asked me a similar question. I have NO MEMORY of that interview!)

2. I know you’re a Star Wars fan. What do you think of Star Trek, any of the permutations?

I think that if I sat down and watched it, I would LOVE Star Trek. I did watch TNG for a while when I was about 12, and I loooooooved Wesley Crusher. (I’ve met Wil Wheaton, and it was really cool because we met through a mutual friend who we both worked with at Metblogs so it wasn’t like meeting a celebrity at all — as an actor or as a writer, which is what he is known for primarily now — but was just two writers meeting through a friend. Which was awesome.) Anyway, TNG: I don’t remember much about it, to be honest. Later in my teens I watched most of TOS, which I found moderately delightful as a kitsch piece. Now that I have seen a lot of old sci-fi movies like Beast of Yucca Flats, I am positive I would adore TOS. I saw one episode of Deep Space Nine in college, and it was BRILLIANT. Honestly, part of the reason I never watched it again was because I was sure it couldn’t hold up. I’ve never seen Voyager or Enterprise.

3. Who taught you to knit; how old were you when you learned; and what was the first complete project you knitted?

I taught myself to knit. When I was 16 or 17, my friend Joni tried to teach me, but I just couldn’t get the hang of it so she taught me to crochet instead. Ten years later my friend Cassie gave me Stitch & Bitch for Christmas and I was knitting within a day or two. I honestly have NO IDEA what the first project I finished was. I do know that my longest-going UFO (unfinished object) is a seed stitch scarf in off-white alpaca that I will most likely never finish.

4. If you had limitless resources and time, where would you like to travel?

Can I just say everywhere? If not, I will limit it to two places: the American Southwest (we’ve been planning a driving tour for about eight years now) and the Mediterranean. I am DESPERATE to go to Sicily. It’s where my family is from, several generations ago, and most of the family history is lost (or known only to distant cousins). There is a cooking school, which as far as I know is not connected to any of my relatives, that I have to go to before I die. I also want to see Greece and Spain.

5. What’s your favorite food to prepare?

This is a hard one! I love cooking, I love eating, and I love feeding people. There is very little I don’t like to prepare. I love cooking with meat, which is funny because I was raised vegetarian. I love making pies — the fruit kind, though I’m sure meat pies are nice. Oh, and the pizza kind!

I will play along by emailing interview questions to the first three people that respond to this. (If you want to comment but don’t want to be interviewed, that’s fine! Just say so.)

Weekly Winners

I’ve come across this Photo meme on a couple of blogs recently, and just came across the original. I figure this is a sign, so I am going to participate. Because I? Am a follower.

The idea is to post my favorite photographs taken (by me) this week. I decided to go for the photos I think are the best, not the ones I love the most. I just don’t think the internet needs to see any more blurry pictures of my kid doing something cute, you know?

The view from the Hollywood Hills:

weekly winners

A close-up of the berries:

Weekly Winners

And an over-the-shoulder shot behind the bar:

Weekly Winners

Click on any of the photos to see them larger at Flickr.

I am not certain how I feel about calling my own photos “winners.” Not because I don’t think they’re good enough (I do) but because it just feels that I should be awarding other folks’ work.

Five Writing Strengths

Nova, who is generous enough to consider me a real writer, has tagged me for a horrible, awful, bad meme. She wants me to list my five strengths as a writer. Obviously that’s crazy. How about ten weaknesses? Or a more general post on why I suck? That would be easier.

Oh, FINE. But I’m going to do my five strengths as a collaborative writer.

1. I am ruthless. I know when to cut and I just do it. The only place I have difficulty doing this is with dialog — I am always convinced I will lose something great if I cut a line Will wrote. But with everything else my figurative red pen slashes left and right with wild abandon. Here’s an example: we’re working on two outlines right now, a modern ghost story and a western. We’ve been working on the ghost story for a while and we just couldn’t get things moving quickly enough. It was all character development, character development, mood, mood, mood, and it was good but nothing was happening. When I started working on the western outline, I wanted to avoid that so I started in the middle. Skipped right over all the backstory and character introductions and just put that stuff in later. That outline was finished in an afternoon (and it’s good). So I went into the ghost story and said, “Hey, can we move this action from halfway through to right here at the beginning? We can meet the characters after.” And you know what? It works brilliantly.

2. I craft a near-perfect sentence. I have good grammar, excellent spelling, impeccable punctuation, and a way with words. Sure, I do not use these skills very often here, but trust me — I have ’em. And when one is ruthlessly editing a script down to the bare essentials it helps to be able to actually get your meaning across.

3. I am a little bit evil. I don’t pull punches when I write and I know when (and how) to push something to the next level. So if something is a little disturbing, I can make it outright horrifying, and if something is sad I can make it heartbreaking. I think I do this without going too far (unless too far is called for), which is sadly rare.

4. I know my weaknesses.
Wait, hear me out! This really is a strength. Will and I divide the work up in what I think is a fairly non-traditional method for collaborators. I know that I am not good at first drafts because I don’t really hear the characters in my head, so Will does the first draft. Lest you think this makes me an editor rather than a co-writer, we outline everything first in great detail, and my second draft often takes drastic departures from the first. It’s a great way to work because it plays to both of our strengths. (I actually have been working on a post about our writing process for months. One of these days I will finish it.)

5. I can type. Sorry. I am pretty. Whoops! I don’t know how that got there. I can take notes. Phew! I thought of a legitimate fifth strength. In general, I can hear critique of my/our work and think about it honestly and objectively and go on to implement changes without bristling too much. I make an exception for idiotic notes, of which we have received (and ignored) many. But when it is necessary, i.e. we are working for someone, I can take even the dumbest of notes and make it work. And I am always willing to consider that something I think is a stupid idea might actually be a great one, or at least inspire something better.

Here’s the part where I tag other writers (and please know that I consider this absolutely optional):

  1. Jess
  2. Katherine
  3. Mindi
  4. Nell
  5. P@
  6. Stephanie
  7. Uccellina

Edited to tag more people, because I can.

The Dystopic Movie Meme

Stole this fun movie meme from Ryan. You just bold the ones you’ve seen.

1. Metropolis (1927)
2. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
3. Brazil (1985)
4. Wings of Desire (1987)
5. Blade Runner (1982)
6. Children of Men (2006)
7. The Matrix (1999)
8. Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)
9. Minority Report (2002)
10. Delicatessen (1991)
11. Sleeper (1973)
12. The Trial (1962)
13. Alphaville (1965)
14. Twelve Monkeys (1995)
15. Serenity (2005)
16. Pleasantville (1998)
17. Ghost in the Shell (1995)
18. Battle Royale (2000)
19. RoboCop (1987)
20. Akira (1988)
21. The City of Lost Children (1995)
22. Planet of the Apes (1968)
23. V for Vendetta (2005)
24. Metropolis (2001)
25. Gattaca (1997)
26. Fahrenheit 451 (1966)
27. On The Beach (1959)
28. Mad Max (1979)
29. Total Recall (1990)
30. Dark City (1998)
31. War Of the Worlds (1953)
32. District B13 (2004)
33. They Live (1988)
34. THX 1138 (1971)
35. Escape from New York (1981)
36. A Scanner Darkly (2006)
37. Silent Running (1972)
38. Artificial Intelligence: AI (2001)
39. Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984)
40. A Boy and His Dog (1975)
41. Soylent Green (1973)
42. I Robot (2004)
43. Logan’s Run (1976)
44. Strange Days (1995)
45. Idiocracy (2006)
46. Death Race 2000 (1975)
47. Rollerball (1975)
48. Starship Troopers (1997)
49. One Point O (2004)
50. Equilibrium (2002)

You’d think I would have seen more of them, considering the fact that I wrote a dystopic movie. Oh well.

I did not bold Planet Of The Apes, but I’m pretty sure I saw all of them once when I was on a bender. Also, I take serious umbrage at the inclusion of Pleasantville, which is not a dystopic movie at all. Furthermore, I have seen one Mad Max movie but I don’t remember which one. I think it was maybe Thunderdome, which somehow failed to make this list. Most mysterious. And lastly, I corrected the title of entry #32.


Stepherz tagged me for this meme forever ago and I’ve had it sitting half-finished in my drafts this whole time.

2 things you compliment your husband on while in his presence:

  1. What a good Daddy he is. I’ve always known how good he is with kids, but I could never have imagined just how patient and loving and how much fun he is with Sam.
  2. What a good cook he’s become. He took over in the kitchen after Sam was born, when I was nursing nonstop and so very sick to boot. He’s gone from making a killer grilled cheese (and that being the extent of his repertoire) to balancing four burners plus the oven, making a meal complete with two proteins (one meat, one veg), without blinking.

2 compliments you give about your husband to others:

  1. He is a creative genius. There is always a story (or six) developing in his brain. I am so much in awe.
  2. He reads. This man loves to read. When he was at Big Movie Star’s company, reading six or seven scripts a day, he’d still come home and read a book. Just because.

2 Traits you married him for:

  1. Laughter.
  2. Friendship.

(I don’t think those need to be elaborated on)

2 days you cherished most being together with your husband:

  1. The night I went into labor with Sam.
  2. The day I found out my friend Susan had died (cancer, age 60) and he held me while I sobbed.

2 Material things you would give your husband if you inherited a fortune:

  1. A room of his own, filled with toys.
  2. A faster Vespa.

2 things you would miss most if he left for 2 weeks:

  1. Clean dishes.
  2. Him.

2 things that crossed your mind the first time you met your future husband:

  1. Who’s the suit?
  2. Oh, right, Will…he’s the one who likes movies.

I know — so romantic.

2 favorite dates:

  1. The first one, because it was the first.
  2. The last one, because it was the night before we had Sam.

2 funny, odd things you love about your husband:

Only two?

  1. He is an encyclopedia. Of character actors, of military organization and tactics, you name it.
  2. He can’t sleep with a shirt on. (I may get in trouble for that one!)

2 places you have lived with your husband:

  1. Pittsburgh, in a huge apartment that we loved in a scary building called The Morrowfield.
  2. Hillsdale, NY, on the second floor of an old farmhouse.

2 favorite vacations:

  1. Santa Barbara, April 2006.
  2. 29 Palms/Pioneertown, August 2006.

2 people to tag:

  1. Uccellina
  2. Sachi

I promised myself I wouldn’t cry.

My five year blogiversary is forthcoming (August 16) and I have never won any awards. I am on very few blogrolls and receive a mid-sized number of comments. I have not in any other way been singled out as a worthy blogger.

Well, that isn’t strictly true. The comments I do get are wonderful and thoughtful and appreciated. The bloggers whose blogrolls include me are uniformly wonderful. I am good enough that I was offered the two blogging gigs I actively sought out. And I have inspired at least two people to start their own blogs.

But I am greedy and I want some sort of distinction. Some…well, fame. I want to win a blogging award or be offered a paid blogging gig or something. Hell, I have only been tagged for a meme once or twice (and I still haven’t posted my answers…hmm, wonder if that’s why I don’t get tagged).

But those rewards are not why I’m here. I write because I have to. Because I love to. I always have. Blogging is the perfect medium for me — a place where I can ruminate on disparate subjects, allowing my mind to wander at will, and receive feedback from a variety of intelligent people (and the occasional fun troll). It is at once a diary, a writing exercise, an entertainment effort, a place to seek encouragement and a place to work out my troubles. It is all that and more.

I was beginning to be downright amused about the whole thing, actually. Proud, even. Five years with NO distinction! I was planning to celebrate come August. Award myself the Average Blogger Award. Set a new standard. Finally hold another Noirbettie Award and take the time to appreciate the bloggers I love. Make it a little less about me.

It’s not easy to admit how selfish you are. It’s embarrassing. I certainly don’t feel that I deserve the accolades I covet.

Well, I’ve won something.

thinking blogger awardViolet has awarded me the Thinking Blogger Award, something I’ve seen other bloggers receive and each time thought, Yes, s/he makes me think. To know that someone feels that way about me…it is like winning the Oscar.

From her post:

[Annika is] one of those people I’d be completely intimidated by if I saw her walking down the grocery store aisle, but who I’d simultaneously wish I could wander up to and ask for advice on how to be cool the way she is. (Seriously, she leaves a comment here and I get all giddy about it. I need all the “cool” help I can get..)

I am utterly gobsmacked that anyone could feel that way about me. Not least because I am the most uncool person on earth, but also because it is just hard to accept compliments. And Violet? She is super neat-o. I can’t remember how I found her blog but it’s a good one. So to say I am honored is an understatement.

The rules state that I’m to nominate five more thinkers. Here goes nothing.

(And may I just say — this is hard. I read some brilliant thinkers.)

1. Uccellina of A Bird’s Nest. Normally I don’t like having friends who are smarter than me. I make an exception here because she is also kind and thoughtful and very pretty. Also, she writes brilliant adventure stories about Peeps. And did I mention how smart she is?

2. Soper of Uterine Wars. The story of her daughter Moonpie’s adoption was the most spellbinding reading of my life. Then she quit blogging and there was a hole for over a year. She’s started again, and most recently is wrestling with finding Moonpie’s biological family, adopting again, and the loneliness of being a mom in a new town.

3. Faith of That is so queer… Faith is brilliant. She’s one of the most self-aware bloggers I know, and always open to more self-discovery. She does important work and has opinions about improving the world. Plus, she’s one of my knitty pals, and you know how I love my knittaz.

4. Moreena of The Wait and the Wonder. Moreena’s six-year-old daughter Annika is waiting for her third liver transplant. Moreena lives and writes with a grace we should all aspire to. When the system angers her, she figures out a way to fight against the problem rationally and logically. She speaks up for organ donation and against its inaccurate portrayal in the media. And she posts hilarious videos of Annika and little sister Frankie.

5. Carmen of Mom to the Screaming Masses. Carmen just started an auxiliary blog for her weight loss tips — she lost 60 pounds in the last year without going on a diet. Check out The ELFF Diet as well as her regular blog. Carmen is one of the people who reminds me that Christians are wonderful, good people who are not accurately represented by a few loud nutjobs. Also, she is wicked funny.

And because this doesn’t come close to covering even a fraction of the bloggers whose posts make my gears turn, here is a list of some of my current bloggy crushes:
Jessica of Kerflop, Secret Agent Josephine, Whoorl, Nell at meanwhile…, Yvonne of Joy Unexpected, Ree at Confessions of a Pioneer Woman, Oh My Stinkin Heck, Nova of Distraction No. 99, and of course Violet herself.

five questions

Whoorl interviewed me!

1. What are your 2 favorite things about living in LA?

  1. The weather.
  2. (And I swear this is different than #1) Being so close to the desert.

2. What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

Sometime before dawn Sam starts his morning marathon nursing. This continues until either he wakes himself up or I wake up enough to realize I can’t wait any longer to pee, at which time I incur his wrath by detaching him from the delicious milk source. So I guess the first thing I do is either a. nurse, b. pee, or c. stumble out of bed with the baby in order to allow Will to sleep, in which case I usually skip peeing and go straight to sitting on the couch trying to focus.

3. Magenta or Plum? Why?

Plum, for two reasons:

  1. I like the Crayola color.
  2. It’s also the name of a delicious fruit.

4. If you could have one wish granted by the end of this year, what would it be?

I’d like to sell our original screenplay. (That’s a wish. Getting hired to write other projects for money is a goal. Both would be fine!)

5. Do you believe in past lives?

Yes. No. Maybe! I don’t know. It seems just as likely as heaven. And for a long time I was convinced that I could only be so afraid of being underwater because I’d drowned once. Now I am totally ambivalent about it.

And there you have it!

If you’d like me to interview you for your blog, leave a comment saying so. Please use a real email address so I can email questions to you. The terms of this meme state that you must then offer your readers the same, but I won’t tell if you don’t.