About a Boy, San Francisco, and Filming On Location

Since I’ve clearly documented my love of all things Olympics (here), it will come as no surprise that I spent my evenings in Florida glued to NBC’s coverage. I even watched the entirety of the documentary about the Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harrding story, which I am just a bit too young to remember. And since I didn’t have anything else to do, I figured I might as well stick around for the pilots of About a Boy and Growing Up Fisher.

Both were interesting in the how-are-they-going-to-make-a-series-out-of-this sort of way, but I was most interested in About a Boy. I’m not usually a sitcom gal, but it was the setting of this show that piqued my interest the most. San Francisco. Anything filmed on location in San Francisco (and yes, it was definitely filmed on location) makes me ask a million questions.

With any TV show or movie set in any major city there are bound to be geographical and logistic questions. For one, where do they actually live? Of course Will would be able to afford to live anywhere with money to spare from a hit song, but with Fiona unemployed, it doesn’t seem like they would fit in the same neighborhood. Where does Markus go to school? The flier said Oakland, but why would they live in the city and then commute to Oakland? Unemployment rules out private school and the lottery system isn’t THAT crazy.

Beyond that there are the unrealistic convenience factors. We already know that characters don’t look for parking spaces. But even so it’s border-line impossible that Dakota was able to find a parking space right in front of Will’s house, never mind on the same block.

These idiosyncrasies are what makes watching TV shows and movies filmed in familiar cities exciting. I hope that About a Boy will be able to keep filming on location, and I am always excited to see San Francisco or Chicago on my TV. When TV show film on location, the local becomes a part of the show’s character and only adds to the magic.

Good-bye Summer!

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I’m excited for summer to be over. Fall has pretty much always been my favorite season. It comes with pretty colors, cooler temperatures, and the ability to wear lots of layers.

Now that I’m in the land of perpetual summer, I’ll just have to settle for slightly cooler temperatures. It’s no secret that I’ve been hating the heat here in Los Angeles. I don’t have air conditioning, so I’m dealing with open windows and a few fans. I’m dealing with it by eating lots of homemade popsicles, hiding in air conditioned places, and trying my best not to move.

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Heat isn’t the only reason I’m excited for summer to be over though. This summer in particular has had more than it’s fair share of craziness, and I’m excited that all that crazy seems to be winding down. I started the season in Los Angeles, went back to San Francisco, and then returned to LA again. I’m done moving for a while, and I’m so glad to be staying in one place for a whole year.

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This summer has included some pretty awesome things. I got to reconnect with old friends. I got to spend time climbing, yogaing, and photographing. I got a chance to learn from some truly fantastic people, and get to know some people who I’m certain will become some of my dearest friends.

This summer gave me a taste of what the future could be. Conversations with smart, creative people and growing into my own work and experience. And while I’m excited for all of those things, right now I’m just glad that fall is on the horizon. My last semester or remote learning will give some structure to my life, and (hopefully) the change in season will give me a bit of a break from this heat.

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The best thing I did to help, was actually coincidental. I cut my hair to go along with the #hairforhazel and #itgrows back campaign, and wound up with a cute (slightly uneven) bob. Not only is this fantastic for wearing in general, but this style also fits neatly under my helmet so now I don’t have to worry about my hair getting caught in my helmet or jacket. I donated 12 inches of hair, sent it off last week. I hadn’t been expecting to go short again, but it seems to have worked out to be perfect timing.

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What was the best thing that happened to you this summer? Are you sad summer is ending, or excited about fall?

Moving Through the Ages

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I don’t remember the first time I moved. Memories of swimming in a kiddie pool with neighbors in Chicago runs together with running around the crazy daisy with my sister in our yard in Milwaukee. Playing tag with my mom runs in our condo turns to teaching myself how to dribble in the driveway. I have no memoriy of packing, moving, and leaving. Only vagueities of both places.

I remember when I was told that we were moving to New York from Wisconsin. I was wearing a red dress and I sat in my moms lap and cried my eyes out. When I finished crying we set off the library. We checked out stacks of books on New York. Eloise, and Lyle, Lyle Crocodile. We got sticker books with bagels and hot dogs, buses and subways, guide books that told about famous landmarks in the city. When we arrived in New York we were greeted by a doorman, a balcony, and a phone that cackled like a roster. Maybe it wouldn’t be as terrible as I had envisioned.

When we went house hunting in DC, I announced to our doorman that we were going to Washington. “Which one?” I hadn’t realized there were two. I wanted a house like in my favorite books I imagined a place covered with ivy like in the Secret Garden and a well in the backyard like in Little House on the Prairie. We got a colonial-esque house on a street lined with cheery trees. After a two year contract we were out and on our way back to the New York tri-state area.

I don’t remember much about moving from Washington to New Jersey. At that point, with moving every two years I had become desensitized to moving paraphernalia. I do remember laying on my sisters bed, facing that wall and crying a little bit. I quickly dried my tears, not wanting anyone to see my feelings.

We had only ever really spent two years in any city at that point, so I went into friendships in New Jersey with the idea that we would move again in two years. Two years past, then three, and four and I came to the realization that I was stuck in the suburbs. At least for the foreseeable future.

I had just gotten back from camp when I was told we would be moving again. I wanted to tell everyone as soon as I knew. I was so excited to explore a new city and learn a new place. I was adamant that we live within walking distance to the bus or train. Even with three homes in less than two years, I was so ecstatic to be in the middle of it all. When I graduated high school I spent my last days in San Francsico planning to set up in Chicago for the next four years.

Since starting college I’ve lived in four apartments and returned multiple times to the house I left in San Francisco. The process of moving quickly has turned from large-scale production to small-scale to do. At one point I finished moving the last of my belongings into an apartment with a granny cart and a backpack.

Now this sea-saw of transitions is settling into equilibrium. I just signed a lease for a year. A whole year. And I’ll be living here the whole time as opposed to going home to San Francisco for extended summer breaks and thinking of it as a sloppy second. I am amazed that this new home is not in Chicago, but in Los Angeles, a city of traffic and heat I don’t even quite fully understand yet.

I have to keep telling myself that I’ve found a place to live in Los Angeles. And somehow with everything, I have decided that I will make this place home. It’s been a long time coming, but I’m excited once again to get started in this new city where I can begin to build the kind of community that I will thrive in. Are you ready for this? Don’t answer that, because ready or not here I come.

Good-Bye My San Francisco

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I have a “Book of Lists” dating from probably the beginning of high school in which the first list is places I want to go. When I wrote it I was living in New Jersey, watching too much TV, and not really enjoying school. The list is full of domestic and international cities on every continent, and the first place on the list is my San Francisco.

When writing this list I had no way of knowing that that far-away place would become my home. I am so glad and grateful for my family’s cross-country move, for all the people I have met though church, school, and happenstance. And as I move to LA (again), I am saddened to think that an era may be coming to an end. Soon I will be not only moving myself and some of my belongings to a new city, but within the year I will also be changing my official address with the state to say that I live in Los Angeles. This is a bitter-sweet moment.

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I remember very clearly my first time coming to San Francisco. It was November 2008. Our six hour flight got in very late, and we took a taxi from the airport to our hotel. I remember looking out the window as we flew down an empty Market Street and thinking to myself, “Soon this will be home.” The next day I went to a Waldorf Open House where I met Allason, still one of my best friends.

In January I packed two suitcases, got on a plane, and came home. San Francisco was home almost immediately. My sister and I shared a bedroom in a temporary apartment we called the IKEA showroom. The place had no decent knives and everything was either white or black. It was an awkward layout and we never invited anyone over. But all the same I was home in this new city like I had never quite felt at home in suburban New Jersey.

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I took a bus and a rail-line to get to school, quickly deciding that my MUNI pass was my ticket to freedom. I could go anywhere in the city. The electric buzz of the bus lines took me to my first In and Out. The bell of the California cable car took me to the Farmers Market. I could ride the bus for hours at a time, I didn’t even care where it took me.

The heat wave that April happened to coincide with our performance of Once Upon A Mattress. Of course, the week that we spend in tights and long dresses under hot lights rehearsing and performing for hours, is the hottest week of the year.

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At the end of the school year my dad and I schlepped stuff from the IKEA showroom to a new rental apartment on Fillmore. My parents were very specific about what they wanted in a house, and we didn’t want to rely on the temporary apartment anymore. When I first saw the room sister!Emma and I would share I cried. The apartment was the same size as the IKEA showroom, but with more of our own furniture. With our pots and pans and table and chairs we invited friends to our home in the hood… Yeah, we had accidentally moved into the Western Addition without quite realizing what that meant.

For a year we spotted drug deals while waiting for the bus, and don’t forget my mom’s interesting interaction with a pimp while on the way home from the grocery store. I fell even more in love with the city and the fog, layering sweaters, jackets, and scarves. My senior year in high school included two plays and cast parties on the bus, Teatro Zinzanni, a trip to Joshua Tree which ended with me sitting next to my backpack on the 31 bus, and a re-introduction to rock climbing.

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On my last week as a senior we bought a house that is walking distance from my school. Yes, really. And so I spent a summer in my beautiful San Francisco and then left for Chicago. I love Chicago too, but it’s a completely different kind of love. In the past three years I have had the privilege of calling my San Francisco home. San Francisco is the smallest of the large cities, a place where you can run into your high school drama teacher at the Farmers Market. It’s a city of hills and fog, of bonfires so windy it forces us to retreat. Of free knit cap night at the ballpark in mid-June.

San Francisco is a city that will forever stay in my bones. A city that I never want to move away from, but can’t help but leave. Because as wonderful as it is, it isn’t the city that holds my dreams. Somehow, inexplicably, my dreams seem to be held in Los Angeles. Despite the traffic and the sun, I am drawn to the studios and sprawl. My place is in a writers room I have never been to, next to writers, producers, camera people, and talent, most of whom I have yet to meet. And so I say a sad good-bye to my San Francisco to cautiously enter a new world. Good-bye San Francisco, we will meet again, this much I know, I can only hope and pray that it is on good terms.

Plan A vs. Plan A

My plan A:
Come to Los Angeles in late February for school.  After school, register for a summer course here, and online classes in the fall, get cleared to do this instantly, find a permanent apartment here in LA, and move in.  Volunteer until I start my summer program in July.  Build a community.  Buy things from IKEA.

At the end of summer take a road trip.  Either with a friend in her car, or with a crazy Uncle to get my stuff to LA.  Set up a full apartment.  Have a bit of a housewarming party now that I can cook things properly in a full kitchen.

In the fall, take online classes while interning, all the while building up my portfolio to apply for writing fellowships in the spring.  Apply and get into writing fellowships.  Get paid from said fellowships.  Finish school in December.  Graduate and walk in May 2014, right back to LA to start working.  Become financially independent.

Mom’s plan:
Go to LA in late February for school.  Come back to San Francisco afterwards.  In May go to Chicago to take a summer history class.  Return to LA in June to find a place to live.  Summer program in July.

God’s plan A:
LA for condensed spring semester.  Back home to SF for an unknown amount of time.  Volunteer?  Intern?  Class in Chicago?  Probably stay til mid-June before coming back to LA to prepare for Summer program.

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I wish I knew what the future held.  But apparently God’s plan is only revealed on a need-to-know basis.  I guess I don’t need to know yet.  God’s plan is better than any plan I could ever have for myself.  Whatever God has for me will be so much better than my plan A.

Right now, God’s plan A looks a lot like my plan C or D or E.  Parts of it look terrifyingly like plan Z.  But I have to trust Him.  I have to obey.  Because right now I’m miserable.  And that’s never part of the plan.

The Science of Creativity

It often strikes me how different my sister and I are.  We don’t look alike, we don’t think alike.  People are sometimes surprised to find that we are even related.  My sister is in her first year of an engineering degree, something that is so far beyond my fathoming that I cannot even think of where I would begin.  We are on opposite sides of the spectrum in nearly every way; creative on one, scientific on the other.

Last weekend I visited the Tech Museum in San Jose.  I went with the primary goal to see the museum’s Mythbuster’s exhibit, which was both awesome, and slightly disappointing.  So many people in for the last weekend of it’s showing made it hard to get close enough to anything.  Poor lighting made it hard to read the explanations   What I found more interesting, was the differences in what I was interested in and my sister was interested in.

The other exhibits in the museum were interesting, some more than others.  I quickly tired of the heavily scientific explanations in some, while my sister spent exorbitant amounts of time at them.  Interactive and musical games and drawings were my favorites.  Things that I could play with.  Perhaps I am not, as we say in my family, the target market.  I liked the interactive because it allowed for creativity to take reign, even amidst the highly scientific intonations surrounding me.

It’s amazing how often the two interact.  The type of creative storytelling that I do is only possible from the technological developments in science and engineering.  Engineers must use creativity to develop new innovations of technology.  The question becomes, how can art and science work together to build the future?

Before that future comes to be, we have a lot to learn about each other.  We need to be patient with each other.  Learning the limitations of each can show us the future we are bound to.  Stretching the limitations of one through the lens of the other is what drives innovation.

I am looking forward to the future.  While we know not what it will bring, it seems to us a blank slate on which to draw whatever we choose.  A slate of the new and the different, however that unfolds.

A Thankful Weekend

 

 

I wanted to share a few pictures from this weekend as I not only found my camera charger at home (after ordering it on the internet three weeks ago and it still not being here), but I also got a new phone while I was at it.  My old one had been teetering on the edge of the abyss for a while lately and it was time to change.

This weekend was wonderful.  As previously mentioned, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday since the only major event is eating.  I managed not to overeat, but hit up some of my favorite San Francisco things along the way.  Burritos, the Ferry Plaza Market, and my dad’s cooking (it’s a San Francisco staple, what do you mean you’ve never heard of it?).

Other highlights included a (very) mini What Moves You reunion on the beach, a new hat, and finishing the scarf I was working on for my sister (she elected to receive it now instead of as a Christmas gift leaving me not quite sure what to do for her Christmas gift).  I also sang until my sister hit me and did eurythmy in One Embargadero.  Because when the 4th movement of Beethoven’s 5th comes on I can’t seem to help myself.

 

As I take stock of all my blessings I am becoming more and more aware of how far I have to go.  Not only for the rest of the school year, and the rest of my academic career, but beyond that as well.  I’m in it for the long haul and if I’m going to make it in the big bad city then I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me.  I’m excited to see the road ahead and looking forward to future holidays spent in San Francisco and around the world.

Side note: These pictures were taken with my new phone on my walk home from the bus stop.  I live on a massive hill and pretty much any way you slice it I get to walk uphill to home.  No complaining here, it’s gorgeous.

Happy Thanksgiving!

The week of Thanksgiving always feels a bit surreal to me.  I generally don’t get much done work-wise.  I wander around wondering what to do with my life and teeter on the edge of boredom for a while there until I decide on some sort of an adventure.

This week has been particularly unfocused because I am at a stop sign between my show being finished (I warped production last week) and figuring out what to do with the rest of my life (a question that apparently wants to be answered right now).

Meanwhile I’m thankful for so many things, and perhaps especially the chance to be home for this favorite holiday seeing old friends, spending time with family, and eating lots and lots of food.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone, and have a great weekend!

This Has Been: August Edition

I started this month half a world away, if you’ll excuse the bad pun (I’ve cashed in way to many airline miles this month).  The month began with the end of What Moves You? which I’ve explained too many times to go on about it again here.  Read my reflection on the program.

The end of What Moves You brought the begining of my travels with Allason.  We galavanted.  I rock climbed.  We watched movies and ate Haribo.  We took pictures on bikes and in front of gazeboes.  We wandered, got lost, and forgot our map.  We accidentally paid five euros for Fanta.  We ate too much pizza.  I lost my hat and gained a parasol.  We took six trains and a bus down to Rome, where we found a way to an airport and waited in two unnessesary lines before spending 24 hours making our way home.

Even though it may have been a bit too much to have been going for what clocked in as seven weeks straight, I’m glad I got the chance to travel after What Moves You.  If I had just gone to Berlin and come straight home I probably would have felt a little jipted.

I was only home for two days at a time this month and sandwiched in between the four days total of San Francisco time was a few days spent in DisneyLand with the fam.  I’ll spare you a second list of things that were done by saying we had a good time, got to see some new things along with the old favorites, and we probably spent too much money.  All a part of the program.

When we got home I had lunch with a few friends (wasn’t able to get in touch with others) and did a buch of errands.  One of these was staring at my three suitcases and willing them to pack themselves.  Honestly though, how did I manage to fill three suitcases to begin with?  I only barely managed this time around.

This last week has been full of moving into my new apartment and getting settled in Chicago.  I’ve moved into a little apartment that I’ll be at for this semester, and am starting to get in the rythem of a new place.  As much as unpacking a ton of boxes can be a rythem.

The Adventure of Alone

Parts of last week and the majority of this coming week have me living alone in our house in San Francisco.  This involves getting myself up and getting things done without prompting.  In Chicago this is normal, but In San Francisco it is odd.

My mom keeps our fridge well stocked with food, but now I can’t even go to the grocery store because I don’t have a car (this was a conscious choice, so don’t feel too sorry for me).  The cupboards seem emptier than usual.  I have no idea what to do with the freshly laundered towels.  At night I have to go through the whole house to make sure lights get turned off.  Tonight I have to bring the trash cans to the front for collecting.

It’s not that any of these things are inherently bad.  It’s just that it’s just a sort of a new adventure.  An adventure of living alone when I’ve never done it before.  But there are other things that are much more clearly in the positive arena.

I get the TV to myself.  I can do chores on my own timeline without needing to worry about getting in other people’s way.  There’s no chance that the Oreo’s are going to disappear without me noticing (unless I have recently developed a habit of sleep eating or have a very selective robber).  I get the TV all to myself.

Do you live alone?  Do you love it or hate it?