Thursday, December 29, 2005

Coolidge Corner and Harvard Square

I think I almost killed Mark today. We wandered through Coolidge Corner and Harvard Square for several hours, really fast. Somehow over the course of the day I became a crazy powerwalker. Mark's resting right now with some trail mix and Real World Austin. I think we roamed around a total of four or five bookstores around Boston and Cambridge. I saw so many books I haven't read that I'm itching to. I put a restraint on my wallet and promised myself I'd finish the ones I have already. Oh yeah, Mark and Travis saw some ESPN celebrity at Fenway Park yesterday. I had no clue who he was. Some tall, white haired dude.

Italian food and tirimasu with Mike and Jackie tonight!!! And the alleyway of saints. Tomorrow, the aquarium.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Fenway Park

Mark and I are in Boston right now. It's cold. Very cold. So far our visit has consisted of Newbury Comics, spicy Indian food, a tour of Fenway Park, coffee with Amy and Travis, searching for Mike's wedding ring in the Public Gardens and cable TV. We're loving it. We promised to catch a movie each day, but have yet to keep that promise. Our four day visit is going by way too fast. I forget how much I love hotel rooms. I LOVE hotels. Love them. I've been good and haven't done any film work yet. Well, besides working on my Brain Brawl rewrite for a little bit each morning. Sadly, I've been stuck on the first 10 pages.

Mark and I have a new favorite TV show. Being Bobby Brown. It's like a bad accident.

Friday, December 23, 2005

15 = Red

I ran 15 miles today. The longest I've ever run in my entire life. I struggled through miles 11 and 12. My legs got jelly like and all I could think about was the Run Tex water station where I would allow myself 30 seconds to stop and sip on water. I savored every last nanosecond of it. By mile 13, I forgot about my weary body and my throbbing foot. Speaking of my throbbing foot, I'm wondering, fretting really about whether I'll be able to do the marathon. I'm so friggin' determined to do it. I'm torn though. Do I run the risk of screwing up my foot for the rest of my life or run 26.2 miles to prove to myself that I can do it? The answer seems obvious, but knowing how badly I want to run this race ... it gets pretty muddled in my head.

Mark and I are headed to Florida in a few hours. I'm anxious to see my folks, my brother and my nephews. My mom called today as she always does right before I leave to see what kind of snacks I want to eat. It's always the same ... apples and bananas. Specifically Fuji or Red Delicious apples. I'm pretty picky about my apples. You kind of have to be. She went on to tell me about each dish she and Tiffany are making for Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Day dinner. Ham, turkey, cheese and broccoli casserole, stuffing ... She's so cute. I love the hell out of that woman.

This is the first Christmas Mark is spending with me and my family. He's been very worried about many things ...

1) Does my mom decorate the house for Christmas? Uh yeah. Big time. Every year she picks a theme. Iridescent or blue or blue and gold. She goes all out. Shit, she's a part time interior decorator.
2) Do we open our gifts Christmas Eve or Christmas Day? Christmas Eve. Mark was not pleased with this response. He's always opened his gifts on Christmas Day. My mom said we could reach some sort of compromise.
3) Does my mom stuff our stockings with goodies in the middle of the night? My mom actually admitted this year that she can't find the stockings and is not sure if she's putting any up. I have yet to tell Mark this. Not sure how he'll react.
4) Do we go to Christmas Eve mass? Always. Even though the only part I pay attention to is the choir. I usually start fading by the second reading.
5) Will they have Dr. Pepper in their fridge? No. I forgot to add that to the list of snacks. Yikes!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

A sad day in Mudville

Karen's getting on a plane in a few hours for Florida. In January she'll unpack her bags in New York City. I was trying to count how many years we've lived in the same city since we met in 7th grade. 18, I think. We've been roommates for several of those 18 years. I have too many good memories with that girl to even count. I cried myself to sleep last night dreading this day. It's a really sad day in Mudville.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

11:50pm

see karen, i can stay up late! my eyelids are super heavy though. i apologize in advance if none of this makes sense. i just got home from our cycorp holiday party. my feet hurt from dancing to random 80s tunes. i'm such a slut for 80s music and dancefloors. especially when madonna and abba are involved. and missy elliott. "work it" gets me every time. i cringed when missy mentioned her "cha cha". looking to see if my boss even noticed. nope. cool, keep dancing.787

stacy and i went to justin's to listen to sound on reels 1-3 this afternoon. oh my god. hearing the film with a first pass at mixed sound with foley work. i started crying. and yes, i know that i cry at everything. it's just my way, i guess. shit, i should go to sleep.

oh, and i've become addicted to myspace. checking everyday to see how many new "friends" i have. it's kind of pathetic.

pork chop is really freaking out. i think we both need to get some rest.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Say Yeah!

I have "Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah" on repeat on the old headphones. I'm watching the minutes go by on my computer at work. It's almost painful. But I'm bouncing around in my seat and smiling like crazy because I fucking love this band so much. Thank you Kurt! It's so friggin' good! It's the kind of music that makes you want to run around and hug random strangers in the streets.

I forgot to include my favorite books of 2006 in my last blog entry. They would be Under the Bridge, Brokeback Mountain and Blindness. So that's that about that.

I saw a slew of film friends at the Driskill the other night for an impromptu get together. It was really nice. One of my new year's resolutions ... hang out with my friends more. I missed them in a big way this last year. I'm longing for spur of the moment trips to Johnson City to play pool at the Friendliest Bar, family dinners at Madras Pavillion, late night games of spades where Kurt uses the phrase "clean your clocks" over and over, fuseball competitions at Lala's Little Nugget, drunken conversations in the Draught Haus parking lot, soccer games where we run around like a bunch of 5-year olds, photobooths at Amy's, scavenger hunts that involve nudity in elevators and sitting around our livingrooms talking about movies and music until 2am.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

my end of even thought it's not quite

Movies in 2005 that I absolutely loved:
Capote
Shopgirl
Brokeback Mountain
The Upside of Anger
Be Here to Love Me
Red Eye
Last Days (I changed my mind about this one)

Movies that I was super excited about but was sadly disappointed by:
Imaginary Heroes
Paradise Now

Favorite Performances of 2005:
Claire Danes (Shopgirl)
Catherine Keener (Capote)
Philip Seymour Hoffman (Capote)
Michael Pitt (Last Days)
Lou Taylor Pucci (Thumbsucker)
Cillian Murphy (Red Eye)
Joan Allen (The Upside of Anger)
Rhett Wilkins (The Puffy Chair)
Owen Kline (The Squid and the Whale)

Movies in 2005 that I wish I'd seen:
Nobody Knows
2046
Flotsam/Jetsam
Room
The History of Violence
A Tale of Two Sisters

Movies I'm so excited to see I can't stand it:
Angel
Marie Antoinette

Music that I loved in 2005:
Bosque Brown
Jeff Hanson
Jose Gonzalez
Sufjan Stevens
Explosions in the Sky
Amina
jumping off bridges score
Basically the jumping off bridges soundtrack. It's a good fucking soundtrack!
Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah
Brokeback Mountain Score

Monday, December 12, 2005

Team Candler-Osborn

Mark and I make a really good team. :)

Friday, December 09, 2005

The underdog

My car is fixed. Let's hope anyway. I'm supposed to pick it up in an hour. Not having a car in this city sucks. I've never ridden the bus. No, I take that back, in seventh grade, my friend Kelly MacEwan and I took a bus to the mall. I think her mom was at work or something and we NEEDED to go pretty badly. Anyhow, it'll be nice to have my sweet, little ride back.

I've been furiously putting together a press kit. It's pretty cool actually. We have some contacts with some festivals to get them out to. It's nice to have it almost done. And of course it'll be forever changing. Adding articles, festival screenings ... that sort of thing.

We've been having some promising conversations with a guy in the UK about funding for BRAIN BRAWL. Today we found out that we're waiting for this group of investors to make this major, major 50/50 decision. They're deciding between our project and another astronomically huge budgeted project. I hope they go for the underdog. It would be SO nice to have money for a dolly every day and to pay our cast and crew a regular wage and to have an accountant ...

Speaking of money, we're giving a workshop tomorrow to raise some more funds and to educate a few people on how to be scrappy and persistent in the art of filmmaking. Stacy's also sending off the final parameters for the CICADAS' DVD today. We'll be selling those little bad boys VERY soon. $25.00 for your very own copy. You can go ahead and order them on our website at www.storieproductions.com. AND you get to support a worthy cause of helping us finish our film JUMPING OFF BRIDGES.

Also, if you're reading this and live in Austin, go check out Margaret Brown's, BE HERE TO LOVE ME this weekend at the Alamo Drafthouse South!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Arctic Temperatures

The roads were empty as I creeped down the highway, avoiding any icy patches on my way to work. I dragged poor Mark out of bed since my little Tercel was in the shop, again. Mark still looked pretty rough after a full day of battling stomach flu. I've never seen him look so bad. My heart just ached last night as he trembled and paled after eating some soup I brought home. All in all though, everyone seems to be surviving these arctic temperatures. For the first time in maybe a year, Mark turned the air conditioner off in our house. It's consistently about 68 - 70 degrees in our little apartment. No joke. I usually have to wear a warm jacket just to sit on the couch and read a book. I snuck the heat on and I think he was so sick yesterday he didn't bother to turn it off.

Natasha had a fantastic reading of her script on Tuesday. The actors really floored me. It made me want to be on a set or in rehearsals so badly. It's funny how five years ago, actors sent me into panic mode. I didn't know how to talk to them. I just sort of let them do their thing. Now I want to watch them, mold them, shape them, collaborate with them, experiment ... I love that process so very, very much. And when they shine, like they did on Tuesday night, I just get so friggin' proud!

Lorie's been in Los Angeles for a week trying to get her bearings in a town she'll be moving to at the beginning of the year. She also had a meeting with one of the producer's reps we've been eyeing. They called the film "a gem". We should hear from them in the next week or two as to whether they think the film is marketable enough to take on. She also mentioned BRAIN BRAWL to a few people who seemed really interested. As much as I get a bad taste in my mouth for Los Angeles, I know that I need to chomp on a mint and get over it. Stacy and I were talking today that we need to set up some time to spend a week in both Los Angeles and New York, taking meetings with people to make more contacts and connections. It's inevitable.

We're about to submit to Tribeca and SXSW. I've been assembling the press kit and applications while Stacy burns the DVDs. Stacy's been in the midst of post production and making sure we stay on the right path. She's amazing. Amazing! I love how she's really finding her way with all of this. She owns this film, and by "own", I mean, she makes this whole thing possible.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

MARK'S TOP TEN ALBUMS OF 2005

Every year my boyfriend and our friends put together their top ten albums and top ten films. Here's Mark's Top Ten Albums of 2005. Enjoy.

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MARK'S TOP TEN ALBUMS OF 2005

10. You Could Have It So Much Better - Franz Ferdinand

It's curious that hipster critics so quickly pounce on labels for not giving their artists "room to grow", yet when a band sticks to a musical formula for more than one album the intelligentsia throw a fit! This Scottish band's sophomore album peaks-and-valleys after 4 strong songs, but as a whole it contains the most concise songwriting of the year.

The sloganeering album cover gives the music a face and Alex Kappranos' decision to print his lyrics on mock notebook paper personalizes their meaning (argument's #1 and #2 for not relying on your iPods.).


9. Twin Cinema - The New Pornographers

The New Pornographers (bad name) perpetually curse themselves with bad album covers, bad album titles, and nonsensical-to-bad lyrics: "Roll with your vertigo stomp/Now you're clear but gone/You've been cleared of every charge/Understand?" No, not really. Not AT ALL in fact, but a good song is a good song is a good song. And for 3 full albums now, most of A.C. Newman and Dan Bejar's good songs have been great.


8. Demon Days - Gorillaz

Damon Albarn is finally a bonafide superstar. Trouble is, nobody knows his face. After forever trying to achieve Top 10 success - across the ocean - with Blur, Mr. Albarn took up this playful beat-driven/sample-heavy side project with cartoonist Jamie Hewlett. The funny thing is that Damon sounds more at home in this hidden environment that he ever did in the 94'-95' salad days of Britpop. "El Manana" has the pleasure of an easy Blur ballad while still staying loyal to the Gorillaz' kitchen sink philosophy. To add perplexity to their popularity, you could argue that Gorillaz' music is exponentially more challenging that Blur's ever was (Both Demon Days and Blur's Think Tank are musically inspired by Albarn's exposure too, and collaborations with, African musicians). Maybe labels and artists really can't ever have their fingers on the pulse of the music-buying youth after all. Is this wicked irony or the future of pop music?


7. Before The Dawn Heals Us - M83

Frenchman Anthony Gonzalez is hopelessly romantic and unashamed of his melodramatic musical tendencies. He's also unhindered by his lack of instrumental talent (I could play the drums on this album). Gonzalez is still playing with familiar chord structures and continues to wear his influences on his sleeve, but it's charming because it's honest. The album gets by on emotion where it lacks in originality. These 15 songs represent a snapshot in the mind of a man who has just been in a fatal car wreck with his true love. Death is inescapable and near. It takes a man untouched by cynicism to approach this topic this way. I'm glad we still have ar


6. Tanglewood Numbers - Silver Jews

Front-and-center on the cover of David Berman's (Silver Jews) 5th album are the busts of the assassinated Kennedy brothers and the assassinated civil rights leader Martin Luther King. They are framed by liquor bottles, a cash register that reads $1.35, a picture of two black men, and a wrapped box with a label that reads "Black & White". It's up to each viewer to decipher this. Berman's songs mimic the same philosophy. Full of color, wit, humor and details, Berman writes about subjects that are familiar and universal, yet the meanings are personal. And unlike some of the lyrically remarkable songs in the past, none of these songs fail the feet. The album ends in a gospel style rave-up with the spiritual refrain "I saw God's shadow on this world". It's bookended at the beginning with an "I love you to the max!" refrain. I know what I want this to mean, but I don't want to tell you.



5. Get Behind Me Satan - The White Stripes

It's no secret that Jack White quite often airs frustrations with females in song. The White Stripes are 5 albums in now, and the subject's remained the same. But hey, why quit if you're still getting mileage out of it? In my view, the roads keep getting wider and the songs keep getting better. In fact, Mr. White may be obsessing about love too much, because his lyrics are now magnifying the smallest details. On "The Denial Twist" he sings: "If you think that a kiss is all in the lips/C'mon, you got it all wrong, man" and on "Instinct Blues" he just can't get how something so easy (loving) is so difficult for a woman to grasp: "Well, the crickets get it/And the ants get it/I bet you the pigs get it...And every bird and bug in the jungle, too/And everything in the ocean blue/They just happen to know exactly what to do/So why don't you?"


4. Make Believe - Weezer

Rivers Cuomo's career goal has been to purify the pop song. Strip away the ego, the intellectualism, the "high-art". Plaintive lyrics, a direct melody, a perfect bridge and a song title that is self-explanatory ("Hold Me", "The Damage In Your Heart", "My Best Friend"). That's all that is necessary. Rock critic Chuck Eddy started this theory in the 80's. He believed that any good song should reveal itself on the first listen. Cuomo has achieved this with Make Believe, but what he and Eddy don't know is that good songs reveal themselves as great when they stand up to repeated listening. That's my theory, and the songs on Make Believe are the proof.


3. The Sunset Tree - The Mountain Goats

John Darnielle achieves transcendence by way of forgiveness on The Sunset Tree. You can hear it happening on record. That's what makes the album so unique. His stepfather was a brute to him until he passed away in 2004. Darnielle graciously writes in the liner notes: "May the peace that eluded you in life be yours now." To set aside the pain he suffered to recognize and sympathize with the pain of his stepfather shows a selflessness that is sorely lacking in these cynical times. From song #1 to song #13 we get glimpses into the relationship both men shared. John Darnielle's songwriting style has always been instinctual and improvisatory. This style merges well with the subject of his songs and as result Darneille finds the shelter of spirituality and the power of forgiveness.


2. Separation Sunday - The Hold Steady

The album cover to Separation Sunday depicts a "crossroads" of sorts. It's an appropriate image, because each character on the album spends time in that place. By the end of this immensely entertaining album our hero (Halleluiah is her name) achieves salvation by returning to a spirituality she had once rejected. Lead Singer/Songwriter Craig Finn describes himself as a "lapsed Catholic", but he doesn't piss on religion the way most indie hipsters seem too. It's refreshing. He's an "independent" with an open mind, a "scenester" with perspective, an "intellectual" who's actually educated. Add these up, and you get a worldly man with a grasp for compassion. Each song bristles with literate, lyrical wit (puns aplently, references abound) and the band's musical heft carries the concept along. The first words spoken on the album are:

"she said always remember/ never to trust me/ she said that the first night she met me/ she said there's gonna be a time/ when i'm gonna have to go/ with whoever's gonna get me the highest."

This holds literal drug-related meaning for the strung-out Halleluiah, but it also foreshadows where she'll be by albums end:

"Halleluiah came to in the confession booth/Infested with infection/Smiling on an abscessed tooth/...,"Lord, what do you prescribe?"


ALBUM OF THE YEAR:

Rehearsing My Choir - The Fiery Furnaces

"Faster Hammers, Faster Hammers!" Those are the first words sung by Olga Sarantos - the grandmother of Eleanor and Matthew Friedberger - as her grandson pounds the piano alongside her. The meaning is two-fold. By "hammers" she means the steel arms of a 1940's train: churning, burning and turning the wheels that will carry her back to her boyfriend's arms. But she also means the "hammers" underneath the piano lid that are driving her train of thought, sprouting up memories that her grandchildren have asked her to share. By making his grandmother the focus of the album, Matthew Friedburger reaches across two generations of tradition to connect with his musical family.

"Listen to the tune I'm playing now kids/Does it make you sad/Does it remind you of when?", the grandmother laments as the piano slows, empathizing with her sadness. And Matthew continues this trend throughout the album. His music is interpretive. The rhythms shift on a dime, and it's somewhat jarring, but we're not talking eccentricity for the sake of difficulty here. His intentions are sincere and constructive. Like a child he wants to add color and give life to the stories he hears.

Meanwhile, sister Eleanor draws parallels between her own romantic flights and her grandmother's. Throughout the album, they share the vocal duties, trading back and forth. You get lost in the shuffle: Which one dated Jimmy? Which one created a witches brew to curse their ex? Whose sister drinks too much? Do they both slave away for their men? We know which one directed a choir, but did the other one too? These are family secrets, and likely somewhat fictional, but it's all in the family.


Singles of 2005

* "Helena" - My Chemical Romance
* "Dance, Dance" - Fall Out Boy
* "Stay Fly" - Three 6 Mafia
* "Since You've Been Gone"/"Behind These Hazel Eyes" - Kelly Clarkson
* "The Bucket" - Kings of Leon
* "Number One Spot" - Ludacris
* "Hollaback Girl"/"Cool" - Gwen Stefani
* "Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own" - U2
* "Speed of Sound" - Coldplay
* "Dare" - Gorillaz
* "Best of You" - Foo Fighters
* "Little Sister" - Queens of the Stone Age
* "My Doorbell" - The White Stripes
* "Daft Punk Is Playing At My House" - LCD Soundsystem
* "Outta Control" - 50 Cent

Duds/Unimpressed/Boring

* The Milk of Human Kindness - Caribou
* Picaresque - The Decemberists
* Worlds Apart - ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead
* Beauty and the Beat - Edan
* Be - Common
* Black Dialogue - The Perceptionists
* The Woods - Sleater-Kinney

Monday, December 05, 2005

Anorexic Girls and Mocha Mocha Goo

Weekend Highlights:

Running 12 miles Saturday Morning with our Marathon Training Group. I got a little nauseous by mile 11. I think I have tendonitis in both feet which doesn't help matters. It hurts in the muscle connecting my feet to my shin. Reminds me a lot of when I had tendonitis in my left shin this time last year. Damn. Stacy and I keep comparing goo flavors. My favorite so far is Mocha Mocha. Banana blitz is pretty good too. If you've never had it before, it's like eating a tablespoon of icing. It takes a little getting used to.

My car breaking down. Christmas gifts will be scarce this year. I just got hit with a pretty heft car payment to install a new ignitor. I hate cars. I want a new one so bad though.

CICADAS screening went really well. We had a great crowd. Lots of familiar faces and lots of unfamiliar faces. It was nice to show the cast and crew who showed up some of the JUMPING footage.

Lots of quality time with Karen. She's been staying with Mark and I for a few days. It's been wonderful taking long walks, sipping coffee for an hour at Quack's. I'm going to miss that girl something fierce.

Rehearsals for Natasha Rosow's script ANOREXIC GIRLS WITH GUNS. I was asked to direct a screenplay reading for UTFI. It's a fun, crazy screenplay. Vicky Boone assembled a fantastic group of actors some of which I already knew were fantastic (Savannah, Glen and Anne). I love seeing new faces and discovering new talent. Every single actor in this read-through is ridiculously talented. I love it. Natasha got so tickled about Savannah playing the lead. She was beside herself with how perfect she was. The read-through goes up on Tuesday night. I think the audience will have a great response for Natasha. It's a super funny script.

SHOPGIRL. I LOVED this movie! LOVED it! I went with Karen last night. She didn't like it so much. I had the complete opposite reaction. Thank God Claire Danes is back. She reminded me of Catherine Keener's performance in CAPOTE. So beautifully restrained and simple and spot on. I haven't seen a whole lot of movies this year, but SHOPGIRL and CAPOTE are my absolute favorite so far. I'm still anticipating BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA and THE NEW WORLD. I have a feeling they'll be up on that list as well. Ang Lee can do no wrong in my book. With the exception of THE HULK.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Blue or Red?

Wedding plans are afoot. I didn't think I would get into it really, but I kind of am. It's the little girl in me. Well, not really, since I was more into box cars and collecting tree frogs than I was into dresses and tea parties. But still, it's kind of fun. Mark's in charge of picking out movies and music to play during the wedding. He's going really obscure, which I love. I haven't heard of most of the films, just the director's. Old school. He loves this kind of thing so much. We picked out our wedding cake. His sister Amy, who's a pastry chef and teaches at the Culinary Academy in town, is making her famous chocolate hazelnut cake. She made it for one of my birthdays and I thought I'd died and gone to heaven with each bite. That girl's got crazy talent. Emory's taking the photographs. He's a youngster who travels to tiny villages in Africa to take pictures for months on end. He's got an amazing eye. Tracy's helping with the coordination. Couldn't have asked for a better right hand woman. She'll have the whole thing flowing smooth, like Biz Markie. The reception ... Italian themed. Mark and I are spending part of Christmas in Boston and I plan to visit many an Italian restaurant and pastry shop to get some ideas. Maybe watch The Godfathers and Big Night for inspiration. One of the biggest decisions to make is the color of my converses. At first I was thinking black or blue, but now I'm kind of thinking red. It's a tough call.

Oh and if anyone's interested, CICADAS' DVDs will be available soon on the Storie Productions website. We're selling them for $25 and you even get a poster too. All proceeds will help finish JUMPING OFF BRIDGES.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

There are few people in your life that you care about so deeply that it physically hurts. It aches to just think about them. And you want happiness to follow them everywhere. But then reality sets in. I've spent a lot of time mulling over everything in my head. Wishing there were easy answers or quick fixes. There never are. Just love and support. An ear in the middle of the night. Really huge hugs. A kiss on the forehead ... a kiss on the forehead. I think those are the best.