All the good and the bad

Just watched the Spain – Switzerland replay on ESPN. It was a pretty dull first half and Spain missed a lot of great chances to get shots on goal. The second half was really good after Switzerland scored a goal and then defended for twenty minutes to win 1-0. Benaglio, the Swiss goalkeeper, is really good. I’m looking forward to more Swiss matches. I really hope they make it out of the group stage.

Got back in touch with a few old friends and have had a good time meeting up with them during this short bit of free time. Woke up today being unable to speak because of a sore throat and then coughed up an incredible piece of congealed phlegm. It was huge. I’m still amazed. I hope I’m not allergic to the cats, otherwise I’ll be spending lots of time in Emeryville.

Just remembered that my birthday is coming up in two weeks. I keep reminding people that we’ll be doing something, but I have no idea what we’re actually doing. Maybe I should get on that.

A lot of the people whose blogs I used to read aren’t active anymore, which is a big shame, so I’ll be updating my links list with new entries. It’s been a while since I added links, so I think now is as good a time as any.

It’s Thursday and I’m going hiking this weekend. Oh yeah.

Theories of movement

I’ve been living in San Francisco for almost two weeks now and I like the climate changes that occur when you go downtown. It’s always foggy and cold in the outlying districts and sunny and warm in the financial district, which can sometimes be surprising when you look out your window and it’s misting but when you get downtown you see people wearing shorts.

M and I have been spending a lot of time doing pretty much nothing but eating. I feel a little bit like a kid around her. She listens to disco music in the car and I don’t mind.

I picked up Nam Le’s “The Boat” a couple of days ago. Despite the glowing reviews it received when it was published two years ago, I’m left slightly disappointed after the first three stories. There’s no doubt that Le has talent – his lyricism is impressive. I have problems with the subject matter, especially the teenage assassin in Medellin. That story feels like a way to showcase Le’s ventriloquism, a cheap trick.

Besides his awkward attempts at proving that he’s a capable writer, Le seems to have no idea of how to finish a story. No matter how moving some of these stories are, the endings are too open. What happened to having a strong conclusion? Maybe the rest of the stories will redeem this collection.

Has anyone been watching the World Cup?

Yeah, I know

Not enough writing, not enough communication with you, some of whom are faithful readers. I’m sorry, but mostly this is an apology to myself for not pursuing this creative outlet as much as I should have.

I’m moving to San Francisco next week, almost exactly a year to the day after I left the Bay Area. If you know me then you know how important it has been for me to get back to the city. Everything and everyone I care about is there. I believe that SF will be the key to my personal and professional success, especially now that I’ve graduated and have a chance to discover what it is I can really do on my own.

I won’t write too much about the film I just finished working on. The industry is such that outsiders aren’t welcome, and discussing set happenings on a blog just seems to invade the privacy of everyone I’ve worked with. I will say that I spent a great two months in Detroit.

I need to get back into reading good books. Like I said when I was in Michigan, I’ve felt really disconnected from the literary scene for several months. I think that now is the time to start gearing up for a summer’s worth of reading and writing.

Still Haunted

Still haunted by your absence, I enter the city prepared. On campus I forget you. I do not look for you or go to your apartment. I do not even remember you: the unbound knot of your spine, our awkward first trip to the city, photographs of your mouth on my body.

I do not walk the five blocks to see you. I forget about the distance.

In the city, we do not speak of you, your present absence. We forget. We drink wine and compliment each other. I do not dream of you. You do not approach me.

I see no one. All are names and blank faces striding past into the darkness.

I am one of a group which boards the train at the station and miraculously moves as one through the tunnels. We surprise each other upon arrival, for we are unintended.

I board the plane with Proust. Outside, the runway lights imitate a flower or the curvature of your profile, two intersecting lines of brightness reflected into my eyes.

I remember you. I let you go. I let myself go into the darkness of the world, the unending horizon.

Whoa

I didn’t realize it had been nearly a week since I last posted. It’s not that I don’t have time to write, it’s that I’m spending too much time doing other things, so the blog was put on the backburner for a short time. I’m going to San Francisco tomorrow, then leaving for Detroit on Thursday. I will try to write more, but I will be in Detroit for six or seven weeks, so it’s hard to judge how much free time I will have. I guess it depends on whether or not I’ll be working six day weeks and if I will have access to a computer.

Finished 2666 about four days ago. Amazing novel. I’m still processing it. In the meantime, a couple of book recommendations: Wells Tower’s “Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned” is a pretty good collection of short stories. I wouldn’t say it’s amazing, but it does keep on making me laugh, so I recommend that you pick it up. Alice Munro’s “Too Much Happiness,” her new short story collection, is exquisite. Or at least the first story, “Dimensions,” is horrifying and heartbreaking and amazing. That’s all I’ve had time to read out of that collection, but if it’s any indication of the quality of the rest of the collection, it will be amazing. Pick up both of those for a marvelous contrast between voices and styles. Literally.

What I’m looking forward to this morning

I hope you enjoy your new year’s parties. I’m off to Berkeley this morning. I won’t be posting any updates until I return on the 9th.

I’ve been thinking about all the things I’m looking forward to on my short trip this morning. Here are a few:

I bought Jonathan Franzen’s novel “The Corrections,” along with David Mitchell’s “Cloud Atlas,” and I hope to read either one or both of these novels on the trip. There’s going to be lots of dead travel time on buses and trains and an hour on the plane. I decided that I should finally buy some books, and so I did, starting with “Never Let Me Go.” I’ll be doing a lot of reading this week.

I get to see my friends and engage in lots of random activities.

I’m going back to Berkeley to not only see friends, but to hopefully see a professor of mine who greatly supported and inspired me in my writing during my time at Cal. I owe him lunch and I think I owe it to him to tell him what has happened to my writing during the last six months. That should be an interesting story.

I get to leave Los Angeles for more than three days, which is an enormous pleasure for me. I hope to leave here permanently by the end of 2010.

I get to meet a new person. Thanks N, I look forward to meeting another writer.

I’m also going back to a cafe I used to frequent, where I spent time reading and writing. It’s one of my favorite places.

I suppose that’s a good list for now. When I get back, more interesting stories will be told. I should mention that I’m slightly nervous about flying and the associated dread it brings with regard to identification and security. Hopefully nothing will happen. I do have the advantage of being a white male whom no one considers dangerous or suspicious.

All we can do is wait

I’ve been preoccupied with waiting lately. Waiting through the green card process, waiting for phone calls, waiting for work, etc.

Last week, my sister finally got her green card. She can now travel to Russia with my mother at the end of the month. I will stay here. Even if I could go, I probably wouldn’t want to go to Russia for a while. I’d rather go to Vancouver.

I’m having a really hard time sitting down to write. Been thinking through a couple of pieces in my head but my schedule is such that I just don’t have the time for it. We’re working on a documentary about a Ukrainian Prime Minister, and it has to be done within the next four to five weeks, so it is really short notice. I will most likely be in the Bay Area within the next two weeks, which will be a great way to see all of my friends.

I’m so apathetic right now. Just want to sleep but I slept for six hours instead of napping for an hour. That was one huge stress dream, full of deadlines and angry people and heads rolling on the floor.

Let’s see if I can fall back asleep.

Dreaming

I dreamt about JJ a couple of days ago, woke up and thought I’d actually seen her. Then I realized it had been a dream. The subconscious is a powerful element. How else do you explain a vivid dream where everything she says sounds perfectly logical, where I hear her laugh and see her smile and feel her hugs. I don’t even know how many weeks it has been since we’ve spoken. Like X said, I’m in the moment of remembering the good moments now.

Dreaming reminds me of Murakami. More importantly, dreaming reminds me of the DREAM Act and immigration reform, which I’ve mistakenly stopped mentioning on this blog. Please do some research on immigration reform and support the DREAM Act. For many undocumented students such as myself, it’s the only chance for a better life. At the rate my immigration petition is moving through the system, I’ll be 30 years old by the time I get a green card. I’d have been in the US for 20 years; two-thirds of my life would have been spent in California.

A couple of my Bay Area friends stopped by on the way home from the San Diego Comic Con. It’s been several months since we’ve seen each other. The last time was the Tuesday before I left Berkeley. I’d gone to San Francisco to see them and we ended up going to a Ramen restaurant in Japantown, on Post and Laguna, then drove to the Sunset to go to a Japanese dessert cafe. Today, we went to Subway and had a good hour all together before they left to drive the five hours to SF. It’s a shame Richard went to Japan and didn’t come to SDCC. Chris and Luke more than made up for his absence though. They’re wonderful people and they make me realize how lucky I’ve been to meet them.

What I talk about when I talk about love

I’m quiet and unfunny. I often break things. I tend to eat less than I should and when I was younger I weighed much less than I should have. When I moved to Berkeley, living in a house full of drug addicts and slackers, I gained weight from eating nothing but fried chicken and ice cream. As an aside, when you’re living with a cocaine user, you should never do laundry after midnight, because said roommate might come out of his room, high and scared shitless because you were doing laundry and he heard some weird sounds. Don’t get me started on the landlord who told us that we should pray for sunny days because our roof had been blown off.

I’m tall and awkward. My hair has grown long and I need a haircut, but I’m going to try and grow it out for 130 more days. As a kid, I had long, platinum blonde hair, especially when I lived in the Bahamas. I miss having bright blonde hair. It’s just another reason I’m not considered Nordic. That and my lack of blue eyes.

Some people may not agree with my goals or the ways in which I go about achieving them. I believe I’m asking not out of a sense of entitlement, but out of desperation. I’ve tried everything else, and I feel as if this is my opportunity to continue growing as a person. I’m not against the negative things that have been said of me. I understand that people have their own ways of looking at the world, and I have mine. We can disagree. I do need some help though.

I’m currently listening to Pandora after a six month hiatus. I used to spend hours listening to a carefully crafted station, started with “City and Colour.” When I was writing essays for a Russian lit class in Berkeley, I was told to stop using prepositional phrases. My professor’s suggestion was the best bit of criticism I had ever received as far as critical writing goes. He was an amazing professor who made Nabokov into a heroic figure for me, always elaborating on Nabokov’s life and interesting facts as they related to his novels.

I am nearly thirty years old. This is an inescapable fact. Here’s to hoping that these last twenty five years have been only a small part of my future life.

I’m avoiding any thoughts of JJ. We haven’t spoken in five days, and I’ve finally figured out that I haven’t seen her since December 26th. At least that is what remember now, after a few moments of trying to recall the day she came over for the last time. I’d been home alone after coming back from Berkeley for ten days to work on MFA applications. My parents had gone north to visit my sister in Arcata, but I decided to come to southern california alone. I saw only JJ and X during my vacation. JJ had come down to see her family for a few days before leaving for England. I can still vividly recall her room for the last time, and her crying after her sister took a number of photographs of the two of us. She said she didn’t want to go.

It’s funny how I remember only the bad times during our time together. The only good time I can remember wasn’t considered a good time when I was going through it, but now, it’s the only good time I can remember with JJ. We had just started seeing each other and I asked her to come with me to a friend’s place for dinner. On the train, she wouldn’t look at me. We sat in the front car, facing the front. She sat next to the window, and I sat next to her.

When we got to the party, I remember drinking and talking about music with my friend. JJ kept her hand on my leg under the table throughout dinner. On the way home, we got a ride from my friend, and JJ fell asleep across the car from me while holding my hand.

I’m always wondering how long it will take for me to stop thinking about her. This is just a first step.