Saturday, April 30, 2016

A Rare Screening

Several months ago, during one of my trips home (I am dual-coast living right now, working in Burbank and still maintaining an active presence with house renovating, close friends, and man-friend in Jersey City), I dug out some Beta back-ups of my old Daniel Johnston footage from the late 80s and early 90s.

Then, about a month ago, I had a facility down Vine preserve lossless digital copies of the takes.

Was this the best way, I wondered? Or would it be just as easy to use the DV copies I'd made already, but had no idea where in my storage unit they were? Or would it make more sense to use the VHS originals? But then...they had continued to degrade since I'd converted them to Betacam in the mid-nineties.

In the end, the Beta back-ups worked out way cleaner than the last time I'd looked at the VHS tapes. I winced as I paid a small fortune to digitize material I'd previously digitized but couldn't find, but unless I flew home and dug through my storage unit, this was unavoidable on the timeline in question. Other offers to pay were nice, but I need a clean copyright to my own footage.

What didn't work out so well was my memory. I nearly missed the screening! It's tomorrow night, but I essentially have almost no concept of day or time or even year, because I like to inhabit my own little bubble of reality. Fortunately, FB reminded me, so I'll be attending this tomorrow night. I forgot to RSVP, so I might have to show an ID and point to the program description, but this should be entertainingly odd for a Sunday night.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

A Walk Around the Neighborhood

This morning, I stumbled over this great look at my neighborhood back home in JC. I was delighted to see my house in the first photo.

I'm more and more convinced that buying this house was a good move. The area is really pleasant and not overrun by wealthy speculators (yet, at least).

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Day Job

I'm the one who is female and not Amanda.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Daydreaming for Off the Grid

I'm exhausted these days. I'm really not cut out for being in one spot every weekday, and given much of my life has been dedicated to avoiding routine and inter-office dramas, I doubt that surprises anyone reading this. My last job was about making comics from my laptop, sometimes involving circumventing firewalls in police-states. It's hard to go back to the world of meetings and dental insurance. It's hard to to cooperate with others when I'm used to running my own little ship in the world. But we evolve. We learn. It's all part of existing, I suppose.

But I still need breaks. I booked a short Grand Canyon rafting trip for early May. It's to finish up the Canyon. In 2008, I took the trip from Lees Ferry to Bar 10, and now I'm going to fly into Bar 10 and finish up all the way to Lake Mead.

I'm looking forward to it. There's no cell reception or Internet at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

Of course, all my gear is in Jersey City. I'll have to bring it back next time I'm home.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

A Tolerable Habitat

A pal of mine at work, a young assistant editor, recently left the company to move back East. He left me a lamp, a nice antique perfect for my 1920s-era Hollywood actresses studio.

And BBF visited from JC. He installed curtain rods across the huge window in my apartment.

People should come and go more often! (And my friend Tracy offers to show up with a puppy...)

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Windmills in the Desert

A few days ago, someone asked me if the theme park we put up in Kuwait was still there.

"I'm sure it is," I said. "It was there before we got to it, and it's probably still there now. But the murals probably aren't maintained."

Then it occurred to me to dig around online.

I only found one photo on TripAdvisor, but that's how I learned the colors did not hold up to the Kuwaiti sun. But yes, June Brigman's art is still there, towering next to a shopping mall in Jahra, a monument, an anthem to a Quixotic cause.

Below is the park on opening night in February of 2009. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

On Clothes and Shoes and Malls and Hamilton Park

I went downtown today to try on jeans at Macy's. Downtown as in Los Angeles. From Hollywood, this is easy. Just hop on the Red Line at Hollywood and Argyle, which is called Hollywood & Vine. Hop off at 7th Street, less than 15 minutes later.*

As I wandered through the aisles, I recalled how back home, I always walked from the Newport PATH station through the clothes section at the Newport Mall Macy's. My home on Hamilton Park was on the opposite side of the mall, a little farther west of the Hudson River. And I laughed a little as I thought how I always headed through the clothes, but Roberta always chose to walk past the shoes on the ground floor.

I missed all that walking and even my daily commute through consumerism. The mall had A/C in the summer, heat in the winter, a roof in the rain, Indian food until 11 on weeknights, a threading kiosk, and the clothes section at Macy's. Or the shoes, if you're Roberta. When I got sick of the mall, or in nice weather, I'd walk to the other stop, avoiding the mall and walking through the neighborhood instead.

"I'll be able to go home in no time," I thought today, by the Levi's on the second floor of DTLA Macy’s. "Two more years max to finish some commitments."**

And then, in the handbags, I realized...that part of my life is over. I don't live in Hamilton Park anymore, even when I do eventually go home. I lived there after Cairo to departing for L.A., leaving it empty my second time in Egypt and subletting during my second trip around the world. Before that, on and off from 2003 to 2007, I lived two blocks away from Hamilton Park. My trip to Manhattan followed the same route. In May, I bought a house a few miles away. Not on the PATH train. (Obviously, a million dollar house near the subway is out of my range.) I am by Liberty State Park now, where I can take a Light Rail or a bus to the PATH. Or walk, but it’s past an unpleasant traffic-y area. So even when I do eventually go home, that part of my life where I lived on an 1800s residential square with brownstones and a gazebo, where I walked past the Macy’s women’s clothing every day, where I would race to the Indian carry-out in the food court at 10:50 on nights we’d sent books to press, where I’d run downstairs to meet Denise at the coffee shop or Roberta in the park…that is no more a part of my life than the two years I was in and out of Australia, the summer in Uganda, the year of being a Cairene, the seven years of working for Kuwait, the identity of being a roaming traveler for a year, stopping a month in Bali or Berlin. The writer. The Marvel movie book writer, the freelance prose editor, the colorist, the SVA teacher, the travel book writer.

All that is as gone as my years in and around Hamilton Park, and bickering with Roberta over which is better, the clothes or the shoes.


*My not bringing my car here doesn’t hurt anyone, so you know what would be cool? If people did NOT take this moment to express outrage or shock that I have set up my situation here to make the most of public transit. I figure if I can go around the entire world twice on public transport, including horse-cart, share-taxi, old truck, trains, and buses, one of the most urban environments in an English-speaking country should be a piece of cake.

**I know it seems to be a weird dichotomy that someone who has lived all over the world wants to go home, but what you might not know is all that roaming taught me that I needed to commit to one spot and make it home. Which I’d done a few years before being uprooted. Years of living abroad or traveling for extended periods of time taught me the value of NOT roaming around, and here I am roaming around again. I cannot deny that I value my time spent in other countries and cities, but I resent being thwarted and I am basically putting my life on hold again, but this time solely for career, which if you’ve been following the Marie-narrative for a while, you know that is contrary to how I live.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Fancy Dress

Or you might say, gentrification in Hollywood. I look forward to seeing what this becomes.

Monday, February 15, 2016

What, Me, Work?

Here is the door to my office at work. I didn't ask for this one--or any specific door. We didn't get to choose. Originally, I had a jagged-edged Mazzucchelli Batman door. But then things were shuffled and I ended up with a Sergio door.

Which is really, to my mind, the best door out there. As a once-editor of Groo, I am not complaining.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

My 1992 in a Single Video Capsule

This video popped up after years of languishing in obscurity. It's the band Unrest, in 1992.

Shot on the roof of our Mercer Street, Jersey City shared house. Me, Marie, and Otis...we had bands staying over all the time. We had a duplex with 1.5 baths, and the setup worked great for guests.

Watching this, I remembered the time Marie and I crimped drummer Phil's hair. The Jimmy D's T-shirt I wore frequently, courtesy Jimmy D himself at his music store in Cincinnati. The crazy late nights at Maxwell's, the eternal need to be on "the list."

Looking back now, it all seems so innocent and frivolous. But fun. Lots of fun.