Touristy

We rode the cable cars a few weeks ago, walked one of the routes on foot, visited Fort Mason and the Aquatic Park, and saw various interesting things in the last month. I turned 26 nearly three weeks ago. What a trip.

I’m sick again. I thought allergies must be causing this, but I’m pretty sure allergies don’t cause fevers. I think the worst has been over since Friday morning. Now just the cough remains.

Do I have a job yet? It looks like I’m going to LA to work on a low budget film within the next two weeks. I’m not sure I’m very excited about going to LA, but it will probably be nice to get out of town and get a tan or something. The microclimates in San Francisco are killing me.

I keep thinking I should write something but I can’t focus on anything. The other week I wrote something down about a guy sitting across the aisle from me on the BART, but it didn’t really matter in the end. He was just some guy with splashes of paint on his clothes and hands, eating nuts out of a can.

I went to a very good reading at the VONA workshop several weeks ago, which reminds me that I have to update my links, but I can get to that later. The reading featured the writers who led the VONA workshop at USF, and I really enjoyed it. I hadn’t been to a reading in at least a year, so it was refreshing. I particularly enjoyed David Mura and Suheir Hammad.

Elmaz Abinader’s excerpt about the Lebanese civil war reminded me of my former professor, a woman who was key to my development as a poet about six years ago (wow, I’ve been writing for six years?). One of her books of poetry focused on the stories of Lebanese civil war survivors, and the poems within it were what I was suddenly reminded of while Elmaz was reading.

Off to sleep. Go watch Inception – you will probably like it!

Hemingway again

I’m reading “A Moveable Feast,” which is Hemingway’s memoir on his life as an expat in Paris. It’s very jarring at times, and it elaborates his fascination with machismo and heroism, but it also provides some interesting character studies of the people he knew. One of my favorite chapters so far has been about Gertrude Stein, whom he portrays as a complete bitch. I’m not sure how much of this is fiction, but it is certainly entertaining to see famous writers in the context of their friends, who are or eventually become famous writers themselves.

Just watched “Elegy,” with Ben Kingsley and Penelope Cruz. It’s an adaptation of Roth’s “The Dying Animal,” and it makes me want to read the novel. I really enjoyed this film.

Germany plays Spain in a few short hours for the final spot in the world cup finals match!

World cup group stages coming to an end

Well, it looks like the US might finally get some respect for its football skills, as long as they beat Algeria in seven hours. It will be interesting to see if England can make it out of group play with the way they’ve been playing. M and I will be watching both games at a bar in SF in the morning.

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.

In Memoriam

Today, UCLA alumnae and immigration activists Tam Tran and Cinthya Perez died in a car accident in Maine. Though I knew neither personally other than having had a conversation with Cinthya in regards to why I had added her as a friend on Facebook, I feel that this post is necessary in a way that few others on this blog are.

Tam and Cinthya were enormously important to the Dream Act movement. They proved that undocumented immigrants can be successful and did what many of us should have been doing long ago – giving voice to those who could not speak for themselves. More importantly, they were a prime example of what can be accomplished with hard work and dedication, and served as a counter-argument to nativist cries that immigrants are detrimental to US interests.

Tam was a PhD student in American Civilization at Brown University and Cinthya was the first undocumented student to attend Columbia’s School of Public Health. Tam testified before Congress and her family was detained because she spoke up for her rights. I can’t imagine any individuals more important to US interests.

I’m echoing another blog post when I say let’s not forget Tam and Cinthya. Let’s remember that they were great women, not numbers in a system that refused to recognize them as such.

It’s a great, sad irony that this news comes to us only a couple of days before students all across the country receive their diplomas.

So long Tam. So long Cinthya. I celebrate your lives.

Back in it

Back in it for good but what I miss is the rooftop overlooking Detroit, the luminous clouds, the bridge across the infinite river I can never cross, and the city itself, standing guard over so many deserted factories.

We climb twelve flights of broken stairs to reach the roof of the station. The top floor is a collection of broken floorboards and supports scattered over every available space, a bombed out vision. Graffiti covers everything.

Up top, downtown is less sprawling than I imagined. We walk over to the other side of the building, careful not to step into an open elevator shaft that plunges into the darkness. We can see Canada across the river.

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She’s selling the bed we slept in. I couldn’t really understand.

Two weeks

Only eight days of shooting remain and each day blurs into the next. I find myself missing the west coast with its abundance of public transportation and accessible bookstores.

It rained on Saturday night and we shot outside, sodden after twelve hours of misery.

When I get back I will read Alice Munro’s “Too Much Happiness” and hopefully some other good stuff. I miss the feeling of being contained inside a story or a novel. I miss good stories. I miss good people.

Looks like the sun has reached me.

Briefly

We’re halfway done and our most difficult week starts today. In less than four weeks I should be back on the west coast unless some work comes my way here. I finally purchased a new phone, and yes, it is an iPhone. It’s pretty good. At least I hope to take some quality pictures this week without having to lug my regular camera around.

I just rediscovered Pandora. Forgot how much I missed it. Last weekend I got shot in the face with an airsoft gun. It was not a pleasant experience, and became less pleasant when I realized I had blood running down my cheek. I’ve yet to enact my revenge.

I haven’t left Monroe since I got here, but it isn’t so bad because I do nothing besides sleeping and working. I hope I can see more of Detroit before I leave. I’d love to write a piece about it. There’s so much going on here culturally.

See you next week.