Sunday, December 10, 2006

NEW BOOK OF INTEREST: Left Ahead, The Beginning Times

If you answer any of these three questions affimatively, you should buy the new book: Left Ahead, the Beginning Times by Hale Amity.
1) Do you hate Tim LaHaye's Insane Views on Christianity?
2) Are you looking for a fresh perspective on Christian views and a critique of right-wing, exclusionary, views?
3) Are you curious to know more about what it means to be Left Ahead?

Please visit the books website: to read excerpts of the book and to buy a copy.

The book was self-published by an amazing author, who has spent the last few years perfecting the story. The book is written as a fictional story, but has many metaphors to real life battles regarding what it means to be "christian" and to be a "sinner."

The book Left Behind scared thousands of people into believing that they would be damned....Left Ahead is an answer to the insane interpretations of the bible in that book.

The Author has this to say about his book:
Bill Moyers' watershed interviews with Joseph Campbell in 1988 taught me about the power of myth. I understood, for the first time, why stories matter -- how stories carry a deep meaning for the storytellers who seek to locate themselves and define their purpose within the vastness of Creation.

I offer the following as an alternative to a story that is currently moving within a segment of the American public. The story is an old one -- dating back nearly two millennia -- but recently, in the hands of religious fundamentalists, it has been given a fearful modern twist.

Left Ahead is an invitation to reexamine the mythology that is guiding our culture and influencing our politics. It is a new look at the Apocalypse -- a whimsical story of what might happen if Americans changed their expectations of God.

Hale Amity
August 2006

Friday, November 10, 2006

Carving New Paths

Shallow Stream, Yosemite, Summer 2006

I haven't written much in the past several months--and when I do write it is usually about something less than uplifting. So despite all the setbacks, challenges, and general stressors, things are still generally good. Repeating what an anonymous blogger wrote: No matter how hard the surface is, no matter how much damage it seems to do, water is always stronger. It will always carve it's path.

Here is to Carving New Paths:

(1) The Democrats have the Senate and the House!
(2) A dear friend will be leaving a bad work situation--entering a much better one!
(3) A burden has been lifted, and is now far away (see earlier poem about concrete)
(4) I have reconnected with family, that I missed very much!
(5) I haven't yet signed my soul over to a giant law firm...(rejections are sometimes a good thing)
(6) I have the most wonderful boyfriend in the world, who supports me every day and gives me much needed hugs when I have a hard day--may we continue to carve two intertwined paths.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Lost Time Perception

For the first time in my life, I have been so busy that I have actually developed a sort of short-term memory loss co-mingled with a loss of time perception for brief moments.

Ex. Riding on the train to and from law school, I will often be so "in my head" that when I come out of it, I either (1) think that a great amount of time has passed, and that I may have missed my stop, only to realize only a minute or so has passed, or (2) I will think that only a minute has passed and infact, 7 or so minutes have passed.

The short-term memory loss comes into play when I am attempting to keep a clear train of thought. I am easily pushed "off the track" and then it takes me a second to remember what I was saying.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Sometimes it feels
like you are concrete
pouring over me,
and trying to hold me back
from living.

I keep breaking through
but the pressure,
the weight of your words
is breaking my branches,
wilting my petals,
and drowning my roots.

I ask you to stop
at least take a break
so I can breath a moment.
But you aren't listening,
you are trapped inside
your necessary fictions.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Review: "Little Miss Sunshine"

You Must See This Film! I will be disappointed in those people who don't go to the movies and see this film.

I haven't laughed so hard in literally years. I don't remember the last time a movie made me laugh so hard. Save this gem for a day when you need a break from the stress of the every day, the whining of your boss or co-workers, or when you simply just need a good laugh. I think this is a masterpiece and I will probably see it again in the theatres (which for me is unheard of).

Family of four, plus grandpa, plus uncle all drive to California so that the daughter may enter in a beauty pagent (she has already won the New Mexico beauty pagent). In the journey to California the family faces some challenges, both emotional and mechanical (with the volkswagon bus) which highlight some of their family issues, but also bring them closer together.
This is not a cheesy film. This film has been said to have "dark" humor but I really think the humor is not quite so dark at all. This may be a matter of opinion, so let me know when you see it.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

A New Role

No one to wipe your nose
when it's running down your lip.
That salty taste of infection
is now your reminder, that she's not there.

You're all grown up now-
and you worry about taking care of her,
now that she can't take care of you.

Wishing, just wishing you could go back.
Back to the days when she brought you soup,
warm and steaming, with crackers and juice.

The hands that tucked you in and wiped your tears
are three thousand miles away
and need some help, getting through the week.

Please let me return, for a moment
to that warm pillow and bowl of soup
before the roles reverse.

I wrote this poem a while ago, but I felt like re-posting it because the same feelings are resurfacing at this time in my life, again and again. There are some dark feelings that I often wish would sink to the bottom of those murky waters of my mind, but instead they re-emerge and resurface like a dead body wanting to be found.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

First Alpine Climb!

View of Matthes Crest, Yosemite

I have been indoor rock climbing for almost two years now, but before a week ago I had only been outdoors once. The reason for this is that in order to climb outside, you must make a pretty large investment in equipment. Therefore, I am reliant upon the generosity of other climbers that already have this equipment.

On Sunday I climbed Matthes Crest in Yosemite with my boyfriend, his uncle, and a mutual friend. Matthes Crest overlooks Echo Lake to the west, which is a 5-6 mile hike from Tuolumne Meadows. It was my first Alpine climb. We scaled over 1000 feet. Once we were at the top, we were about 10,000 feet above sea level. We started hiking up the mountain at around 7:30am and didn't return to camp until about 6pm that night---with no real rests!

Looking at the image above, we hiked to the right side of the crest, scaled the right side with three pitches, then continued across the mountain (which included some upward climbs, some down climbs, and some horizontal walking/climbing.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Film Review: "Caché"

J'ai vu le film "Caché" ce soir.
C'était magnifique! Si tu le vois, tu dois voir aussi la discussion avec le directeur du film, Michael Haneke. Le directeur explique ses motivations, ses pensées, ses stratégies en fait faire le film et aussi comment il veut que le voyeur approche le film. Surtout, le film te pousse à réfléchir sur les façons qu’on utilise à oublier le passé et survivre dans le présent.

J’espère que tout ça te semble cohérent. Ca fait longtemps depuis que j’écrivais en français.
I truly enjoy films that require the viewer to think, even for several days, after the film has ended. I recently watched "The Swimming Pool" as well as "Natalie." Both films were excellent. "Swimming Pool" really amazed me. It was my interpretation that the young girl depicted throughout the film, is in fact not only dreamed up by the aging author, but represents her alter ego--that carelessness, sexuality, and freedom which she has lost and maybe never had. That film was so masterful that I wish I could re-experience my first time viewing it.

Photo of Michael Haneke:

Monday, June 26, 2006

Music Scene: Neko Case

I usually don't write about my music interests, but today is a different day. Last night I saw Neko Case at Bimbo's 365 in San Francisco. She was amazing! I only found out about NC about three or four months ago. When I first listened to her music, I wasn't convinced. After listening to her album "Blacklisted" a third time, I heard it.

Her voice is both angelic and throaty, soft and deep. Her music style is considered 'blue grass' but those words don't reflect the complexity in her songs and voice. I highly recommend that you listen to Neko Case at least once. If you are like me and take three listens to hear the beauty of her voice, then listen to one of her albums three times.

Upcoming Tour Dates and Locations:
Tue 6/27 - San Francisco, CA @ Bimbo's 365
Wed 6/28 - San Francisco, CA @ Bimbo's 365 (just added!!!)
Thu 6/29 - Eugene, OR @ WOW Hall
Fri 6/30 - Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom
Sat 7/1 - Seattle, WA @ Moore Theatre
Sun 7/2 - Vancouver, BC @ Centre For The Performing Arts
Mon 7/3 - Victoria, BC @ ICA FolkFest
Wed 7/5 - Edmonton, AB @ Myer Horowitz
Fri 7/6 - Saskatoon, SK @ The Odeon
Fri 7/7 - Winnipeg, MB @ Winnipeg Folk Festival
Sat 7/8 - Winnipeg, MB @ Winnipeg Folk Festival
Thu 8/24 - Brooklyn, NY @ McCarren Pool
Sat 9/9 - Pioneertown, CA @ Pappy & Harriet's
Sun 9/10 - Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Bowl (w/Willie Nelson!)


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Where It Breaks Down

I am quickly learning that the majority of problems in relationships (of all kinds) result from one person assuming what the other person is thinking, OR assuming that he or she understands the problem before having bothered to listen.

Anger isn't rationale, that isn't disputed. But the feelings that led us to anger, may be rationale. The feelings that led us to feeling pain, may be rationale. Unfortunately, we sometimes confuse the rationality of the reaction with the rationality of the factors causing that reaction. This is where most men seem to write off women, and women's responses to feeling pain.

Unhelpful Phrases:
- "you are overreacting"
- "relax, you need to relax"
- "calm down"

Instead of focusing on soothing a person, we sometimes immediately initiate a counter-attack of excuses. But this approach is wrong, for several reasons. (1) If you have already hurt someone, and you can see they are in pain, that person doesn't want to hear your excuses for that behavior (2) a person in this state cannot understand an excuse, because all they feel is pain (3) it doesn't really matter why the person is hurt, it matters IN THE MOMENT that they are hurt, and that they are looking for caring words and not excuses.

The unfortunate result of these situations is that an argument is created when both parties aren't able to discuss the matter rationally, one being blinded by pain, and the other blinded by a defensive attitude.

But even when things have settled, and emotions have balanced, the next big problem occurs: one person assumes they already understand the problem before listening, OR they prematurely assert understanding after having feigned an open mind.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Small Victory for the Government....

I got to hear this argument today...if you are interested in gun violence, and the participation of gun sellers/dealers in facilitating crime keep an eye on this company and the case pending against it.

Judge denies appeal from San Leandro gun dealer
Thursday, May 25, 2006

(05-25) 20:10 PDT San Francisco (AP) --

A judge on Thursday denied an appeal from the owner of one of Northern California's largest gun dealers to keep the federal government from revoking his license to sell firearms.

The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives sought to revoke the license for Trader Sports Inc. chief executive Anthony Cucchiara after a five-year investigation uncovered allegations of repeated inventory and sales violations at the San Leandro store.

Cucchiara sued, claiming the government was illegally trying to intimidate gun buyers by driving him out of business for minor and inadvertent violation of gun laws.

After a hearing Thursday, U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker denied Cucchiara's request for an injunction to keep the license revocation from taking effect June 1.

"We're disappointed," said Cucchiara's attorney, Malcolm Segal. "I fear that the business will be forced to close."

Trader Sports has been in business more than 35 years and is one of the state's biggest gun dealers, selling more than 3,500 weapons a year.

The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence recently issued a report identifying the store as the nation's second-largest supplier of guns used in crimes. In 2005, 447 weapons used in crimes were traced to the shop, the group said.

Segal argued that shutting down Trader Sports would harm hunters and law enforcement personnel who buy their guns and ammunition from the store. He also accused federal investigators of staging more inspections of his client's operations in a single year than is allowed by law.

But Walker said the arguments were not strong enough to warrant a preliminary injunction reversing the license revocation.

"Traders argues it will suffer numerous hardships," Walker said in handing down his ruling. "The court agrees it will face damages. (But) the motion for preliminary injunction will be denied."

Cucchiara has not decided whether to appeal the decision, Segal said. A hearing on the lawsuit itself is pending.


Information from: San Francisco Chronicle,

Saturday, May 20, 2006


Often, in the afternoon,
trespassing through curtains
the sun
will remind me.

And I am tempted
to go to that place.

I would sit on my porch,
watch the children
playing in my neighbor’s yard.

The girl in the little red tennis shoes,
she glistened.

I finally found a series of poems I wrote in 2002...which I had thought were lost for good. Here is one of them.
When I was little, I used to go to daycare at this woman's house, and I would play in the backyard. The woman who lived next door to my nanny used to watch us through her window. One day she told my mother that she would always watch me "the girl in the little red tennis shoes" because I was always doing something interesting. Anyway, this poem is supposed to be through the eyes of that woman.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


It has been several weeks now,
of non-stop hours in front
of this very screen,
and perhaps the work has served me well
..has served to distract me
from all the rest.

I can feel it coming back,
the realization that nothing
is in balance, and the weights
seem to be pulling me down,
while the walls collapse
all around me.

I should open the window
and breathe for a moment
perhaps my heart will stop racing.
My coffee is cold; layers of brown
rings formed inside the cup.
Back to the books and distraction.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Bunnies, the New Godzilla?

Supposedly, Large Bunnies are taking over the world!!
In England, there is a renegade bunny stealing parsnips and dashing off before anyone can catch him! This "monstrous rabbit" has been "stalking a Northumberland village."

Andrew Norfolk writes for the Times Online:
The creature leaves behind huge footprints, has diabolically shaped ears and is proving the biggest threat to cabbages in the history of the local allotment. So strong that it is able to pull leeks and turnips fully out of the soil, the black-and-brown rabbit has already demolished a market stall’s worth of Japanese onions, parsnips and spring carrots.

I find it funny that people are honestly afraid of a bunny! I had flop-eared bunnies quite like the one shown (though not as large) and they were nothing close to scary! I certainly would never shoot at anything so harmless.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Scalia's, Not so Grand, Gesture

In case you haven't already heard about this story...

Here is the letter:

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Film: "Good Night and Good Luck"

Last night I finally watched the film "Good Night and Good Luck" directed by George Clooney. The film is about Edward R. Murrow, (as well as many others at CBS) taking on McCarthy's sadist views on removing "communists" from our nation and proving that the news can acheive more than we usually expect of it. For people of my generation, the film reminds us of history we never lived through, but should be aware of in a way that is more intimate than the short description in our highschool history books.

The film was excellent, a big hoorah for Clooney. The film reminds us all of the importance of defending individual rights, and protecting reporters' and news agencies' rights to publish and report on issues not always positive toward the current administration, so they may do the job they were meant to do--show us what in the hell is going on around the world and not simply repeat goverment propaganda.

"We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men--not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes that were, for the moment, unpopular."
--Edward R. Murrow.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Soaring Crime Rates

In Oakland this year, crime rates have soared but no one has given any explanation.
Last night on the shitty evening news, Oakland's police chief spoke about reasons why a State of Emergency should be initiated to allow more desk officers to work on the streets. The Police Association is against the decision to declare a State of Emergency, stating reasons like disruption of officer's schedules. That excuse struck me as both weak and offensive.

My friends were held up at gun point outside their apartment last Friday. They live on a quiet and relatively safe street, or so they thought. The police will never find the two men who did it.
There are car breakins so often in this town, that everyone expects that their car will be looked-over for any small item of worth almost once or twice a week, if not more.

Citizens of Oakland put on a demonstration a week or so back, protesting against the rising levels of crime in Oakland and the lack of action put forth by the Oakland Police Department or the City in creating a game plan to reduce it.

The whole situation makes me so angry because it just makes Oakland look bad, when in fact Oakland is a great city for many reasons. There are a lot of good people living in Oakland, trying to make ends meet or keep their business running.

In 2004, there were 5151 reported violent crimes, 83 murders, 262 rapes, 2190 and 2616 aggravated assaults. There were 22185 "property crimes" 4324 of which were burglaries, 10984 larceny/theft and 6877 motor vehicle thefts. In addition, there were 266 arsons.
Statistics found at:

Also, if you compare San Francisco to Oakland, Oakland's crime rate is still much much higher than San Francisco.

Oakland is also much higher than Los Angeles in almost every category except Assault, where Los Angeles beats Oakland.

These comparisons are based on number of crimes per 100,000 people. Los Angeles is a much bigger city, so of course the total number of each crime is higher but not as a percentage per 100,000 people.

I'd be curious to know if any other cities around the nation have had similar increases in crime in the past year? Are there reasons that have been put forth to explain the increase?

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Something To Think On......

This excerpt is from Craig MacAndrew & Robert B. Edgarton, Drunken Comportment: A Social Explanation 165, 173 (1969)

Author's Thesis:
"..the way people comport themselves when they are drunk is determined not by alcohol's toxic assault upon the seat of moral judgment, conscience, or the like, but by what their society makes of and imparts to them concerning the state of drunkenness...The moral, then, is this. Since societies, like individuals, get the sorts of drunken comportment they allow, they deserve what they get."

When the authors say "they deserve what they get," they are referring to legal culpability and disallowing criminal defendants to use evidence of voluntary intoxication as a defense or as evidence that they did not have the requisite intent necessary to commit the acts of which they are accused.

I know that this book was written almost thirty years ago, but I was unfamiliar with this theory and I find it quite interesting.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

More Police Activity at US Airports...

Scott Stapp Gets Married, Arrested

"For Scott Stapp, the honeymoon was over before it even began.
Hours after the former Creed frontman tied the knot with beauty queen Jaclyn Nesheiwat in Miami on Friday, the rocker was rung up for public intoxication in Los Angeles.
Stapp, en route to his Hawaiian honeymoon, was stopped from boarding a plane at Los Angeles International Airport Saturday after airline personnel deemed the rocker "antagonistic" and "boisterous."

A spokesman for the airport police, Lieutenant Tyrone Stallings, said the rocker was arrested on suspicion of being drunk in a public place and taken to the Van Nuys station for processing.
According to, which first reported the incident, Stapp demanded a blood-alcohol test at the station, where he registered a 0.18--twice the legal limit.
Stapp, 32, eventually was freed and ordered to report for arraignment on Mar. 8."


Now considering an allegedly bi-polar man was shot at Miami International Airport this past year, and now the lead singer of Creed is getting arrested for being drunk, on his honeymoon no less, I am wondering what exactly is happening at our airports.

Interestingly Creed is also known as having huge Christian overtones in their lyrics, thought they don't claim to be a 'Christian Band.'

I have to say I'm a little shocked that Airport Security at LA International would waste their time arresting a celebrity for being drunk.

Monday, February 13, 2006

What Happened To...

The five minute walk from the train to my door
at the end of the day
seems endless.

After ascending the stairs
my body gives in to the fatigue
and I collapse in the threshold
of my apartment.

After pulling myself up from the floor,
the kitchen beckons my stomach,
and the two co-conspire to
force me to run past the man
waiting for me in the doorway.

After satisfying my hungry belly,
I choose to comfort my weary body
by laying on the couch
and lose my head to the thought of
tomorrow’s tasks.

When I reach the bed
my only wish is to sleep,
sleep as deeply as possible
as quickly as possible.

And there goes another day
of neglecting the one I love
and forgetting that I ever
had any desires...

February 13, 2006

Written after a long day, and a long month with hardly any play after hours.
I miss owning my own thoughts…they are now enslaved by law school.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Always Forgetting....

“We have shared the incommunicable experience of war.
We have felt, we still feel, the passion of life to its top.
In our youths our hearts were touched with fire.”
~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Oliver Wendell Holmes made this statement, referring to the Civil War. At that time men, women, and children were all face to face with war in the South. It was the last time our country felt the impact of war in our own homes, taking not only our men, boys, and fathers, but our communities. Yet we are taking all of this again, and losing it all again--but we forget, we deny, we look away and stare up at the television waiting for words of comfort from our President, words that never come.

Holmes' statement draws up sadness and pride...I think we have too much pride and not enough sadness.

I fear we forget these words, we forget the loss of so many men to war, we no longer taste the salty blood of wounds and the sour smell of dead bodies. This loss is too far from our doorways, no longer falling in the threshold of our homes. We are removed, too far removed, to feel this pain, until the letters come home telling us of our loss.

How I wish this war had never begun, and now I cannot picture its end.

Letter from Sullivan Ballou, Civil War

I think this letter is beautiful. It is recited on the Civil War Soundtrack from the PBS series with Ashokan Farewell playing the background (one of my dear favorite songs).
I sometimes wish to bring myself closer to the sadness of war, since the media only brings us images of blood and bombs in ways that none of us can grasp. Often I think reading letters from soldiers to their loved ones, brings us closer than any other medium could ever here you are a letter written by Sullivan Ballou to his dear Sarah during the Civil War.


July the 14th, 1861
Washington DC

My very dear Sarah:

The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days - perhaps tomorrow. Lest I should not be able to write you again, I feel impelled to write lines that may fall under your eye when I shall be no more.

Our movement may be one of a few days duration and full of pleasure - and it may be one of severe conflict and death to me. Not my will, but thine 0 God, be done. If it is necessary that I should fall on the battlefield for my country, I am ready. I have no misgivings about, or lack of confidence in, the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. I know how strongly American Civilization now leans upon the triumph of the Government, and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and suffering of the Revolution. And I am willing - perfectly willing - to lay down all my joys in this life, to help maintain this Government, and to pay that debt.

But, my dear wife, when I know that with my own joys I lay down nearly all of yours, and replace them in this life with cares and sorrows - when, after having eaten for long years the bitter fruit of orphanage myself, I must offer it as their only sustenance to my dear little children - is it weak or dishonorable, while the banner of my purpose floats calmly and proudly in the breeze, that my unbounded love for you, my darling wife and children, should struggle in fierce, though useless, contest with my love of country?

I cannot describe to you my feelings on this calm summer night, when two thousand men are sleeping around me, many of them enjoying the last, perhaps, before that of death -- and I, suspicious that Death is creeping behind me with his fatal dart, am communing with God, my country, and thee.

I have sought most closely and diligently, and often in my breast, for a wrong motive in thus hazarding the happiness of those I loved and I could not find one. A pure love of my country and of the principles have often advocated before the people and "the name of honor that I love more than I fear death" have called upon me, and I have obeyed.

Sarah, my love for you is deathless, it seems to bind me to you with mighty cables that nothing but Omnipotence could break; and yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me irresistibly on with all these chains to the battlefield.

The memories of the blissful moments I have spent with you come creeping over me, and I feel most gratified to God and to you that I have enjoyed them so long. And hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes of future years, when God willing, we might still have lived and loved together and seen our sons grow up to honorable manhood around us. I have, I know, but few and small claims upon Divine Providence, but something whispers to me - perhaps it is the wafted prayer of my little Edgar -- that I shall return to my loved ones unharmed. If I do not, my dear Sarah, never forget how much I love you, and when my last breath escapes me on the battlefield, it will whisper your name.

Forgive my many faults, and the many pains I have caused you. How thoughtless and foolish I have oftentimes been! How gladly would I wash out with my tears every little spot upon your happiness, and struggle with all the misfortune of this world, to shield you and my children from harm. But I cannot. I must watch you from the spirit land and hover near you, while you buffet the storms with your precious little freight, and wait with sad patience till we meet to part no more.

But, O Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the garish day and in the darkest night -- amidst your happiest scenes and gloomiest hours - always, always; and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath; or the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by.

Sarah, do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for thee, for we shall meet again.

As for my little boys, they will grow as I have done, and never know a father's love and care. Little Willie is too young to remember me long, and my blue eyed Edgar will keep my frolics with him among the dimmest memories of his childhood. Sarah, I have unlimited confidence in your maternal care and your development of their characters. Tell my two mothers his and hers I call God's blessing upon them. O Sarah, I wait for you there! Come to me, and lead thither my children.


Sunday, February 05, 2006

Phone Call

There is always that call
you make just before
stepping out.

The one you made yesterday
but got no answer,
and all day long
you worried.

So today I picked up
and dialed-
and got through;
only to spend two hours
getting un-worried
and finding myself
destroyed at the end.


She told me today
that at night, when she lies in bed
she holds herself in those spots
just under the ribs and above the hips
where he used to lay his hands
and fall asleep.

She told me she misses him.
She misses his warmth at night
when she reaches over
and remembers
it has already been a year.


Saturday, February 04, 2006

Pet Peeves

I have thought about doing a post about Pet Peeves for quite some time. I usually forget about the idea for months at a time, then return to it when something irks me. Please add your own pet peeves to comments, I love to see the little quirky differences between people in terms of what gets under our skin and what doesn’t! I think pet peeves say a lot about a person because they usually define the amount of patience, care, attention, and expectations one has of others and of oneself.

So here is my little list of Pet Peeves:
(1) TRAIN: When I am trying to exit the train (BART) and someone tries to literally walk through me instead of letting me out first.
(2) DOORS: When people allow the door to slam in my face instead of waiting an extra second to hold it open.
(3) EYE CONTACT: When I am talking to a person for an extended period of time and they are unable to make consistent eye contact with me, but instead look at my shoulder, earrings, or other random area on my body.
(4) SIDEWALKS: I absolutely can’t stand it when two or more people take over the sidewalk and cause me to walk in the street. I hate this!
(5) GROCERIES: I get a little peeved when I am at the grocery store and people block the aisles with their carts while they stare up at the shelves for what seems like hours.
(6) CONCERTS: There is always that guy who is just acting completely inappropriately or singing so loud that I can no longer hear the artist/band’s voice(s). I usually refer to this person as “that guy.”
(7) CELL PHONES: I can’t stand it when people yell on their cell phones at the coffee joint, on the train, on a plane, or anywhere else where I am enclosed and forced to be right next to them.
(8) COURTESY CALLS: Why in God’s name do they call these “courtesy calls.” They are anything but courteous and if they think I am going to talk to them when they have interrupted me mid-bite as I am trying to eat dinner, they are damn crazy.
(9) SHOPPING: I do not like it when I go to this particular store, and I have to almost beg the young woman to ring me up even though she is doing absolutely nothing. I think she actually gets mad when people want to buy something because it means she has to do something.
(10) NO RIGHT ANSWER: I have a couple of friends whom I dearly love but when they have a problem, there is absolutely no solution and no up-side. In my own life I have survived by looking at the possible solution or the positive aspects of a shitty situation. When I try this with these persons, they cut me off before I can get two words out.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Plan All Along...

What if Osama's plan all along was to only strike once, but to destroy the US long term politically and socially from within. Certainly that is exactly what is happening. We have destroyed the relationships with many of our former allies, we have created far more enemies, we have showed ourselves as a nation to no longer be a victim, but a perpetrator, and we have spent so much money on doing all this and waging war that our own social framework and our own citizens are also suffering (in addition to the hundreds of thousands of citizens of other nations). We have stripped our own citizens of rights, and have a god-like veiw of entitlement. No one needs to bomb us anymore, we are now doing the bombing and the killing and all in the name of what?? At what point do the costs outweigh the benefits, which are in question in and of themselves. Prime goal: kill people associated with the Taliban and Osama...but it seems like no one has really explained the framework or formula for deciding how much is too much! I think most people in America (myself included) would rather have spared all the lives lost post 9/11 and have kept the 81 billion (or whatever that number is now) and put that back into our own economy in a much more socially beneficial way, rather than only to large building companies and oil companies.

The US bombing of a small village outside of Islamabad in the tribal community of Bajaur, is a prime example of how Osama (if he did have such a plan or thought) was successful in getting the US to do his dirty work for him. It is reported that the CIA is behind the bombing, but I haven't read anywhere that it is conclusive. The US military has denied the attack. However, apart from that, the view is that the US is behind it and that is the important part...for now. At least 18 people were killed in the bombing today, which only adds to the thousands of Iraqis killed by US troops, many of which were not combattants but civilians.

Thank you to Reidski for calling my attention to the bombing.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Memoirs of What??

I wish I hadn't gone. I wish I hadn't seen the movie, but I did. I went to see Memoirs of a Geisha, the film. Unlike some other readers I know, I read the novel the week before I saw the film. This had an unexpected result: I noticed every single difference in the film.

To begin with the positive attributes: the film from an aesthetic point of view was beautiful. Certainly many images would make good screen savers and wallpapers. I did think that the camera angles throughout the film and the lighting were not quite as flawless. The costumes were also breathtaking, and certainly gave the impression that someone had done their research. The textures of each kimono worn seemed to demonstrate the level of each geisha or maid or other character. I did appreciate this.

So to get to the dirt. As I am sure many of you already know, most of the actors and actresses in this movie are not Japanese, but Chinese. This main explain why the movie was not filmed in Japanese with subtitles. The film would have really benefitted if it was in Japanese, though it would not have fixed everything. At least the characters would been speaking English with Chinese accents and trying to pronounce Japanese words from time to time, which comes across as nothing but absurd. Perhaps Sony Pictures rather has famous actors that look Japanese than casting Japanese actors who are less well known but in my opinion, could add immensely to the film. In fact, I think this film would have been better (aside from the language issue) with less well known actors. After seeing the same actors again and again, the viewer sees less and less of the characters these actors are portraying and more of the actor's film history. I didn't find any of the performances by any of the actors to be very good, just average.

The novel, was written from the point of view of Sayuri. The film, on the other hand, isn't really from any particular character's point of view. Many of the funny and interesting observations of Sayuri in the novel, are completely lost in the film. This flaw, though seemingly minute, really minimizes the intimacy with Sayuri and therefore strips away a lot of the charm that I found in the novel.

In addition, so much of the history of geisha, of WWII, and of the story itself are completely lost in this film. The relationships in the film are watered down and stripped of all the complexity Golden took so much care to create. That was the most dissappointing thing for me.

If you haven't read the book, go and read it.
If you haven't seen the film yet...wait till it comes out on video. Don't waste your $$ on the $8-10 movie tickets, unless cinematography interests you enough to waste that money.

If you agree or disagree please leave a comment. I enjoy reading all types of feed back from readers.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Memoirs of a Geisha

I just finished reading Memoirs of a Geisha and I am soon going to watch the film. There are many things about this story that I find interesting and worth discussing. FIrst, I would like to applaud the writing of Arthur Golden. Secondly, I would like to discuss the impact of this book upon me as a reader. After I see the film I will review it in a later post.

The Writing of the Novel:

It was an absolute pleasure to read this book. The writing is creative and original. Many of the sayings in this book, I assume are common sayings in Japan. These sayings are a large part of the reason that I enjoyed the writing of the book. The story, too is wonderful because it reads as it if is a true story. Golden has definitely put in a great deal of effort and time in shaping his story and it shows. The novel also includes many historical tidbits. It is less clear who of the figures in the story are real and if any of the story was taken from real relationships between real geisha. This would be interesting to know and read more about. Having started and finished the book during a time when advertisements for the movie were popular, I had expectations of the direction of the story that simply were unfounded and therefore not met. What do I mean? Well, in the ad campaign for the movie, one is drawn to believe that a love story is at the heart of the story. This is not really true. The book focuses very little attention on the love story between Sayuri and the Chairman. In fact, of any of the relationships throughout the book including Sayuri and Mameha, Sayuri and Hatsumomo, Sayuri and Nobu, and Sayuri and Pumpkin, we know the least about the relationship between the Chairman and Sayuri once it has really begun as a romance. This is perhaps the only thing that I felt Golden really gave up on. His attentions to detail throughout the book on the life of a geisha do not follow with the relationship between Sayuri and the Chairman. In many ways I could see the story ending simply with the first intimate discussion between the Chairman and Sayuri but instead Golden lures the reader in a little more only to give a very choppy and rushed ending. This last section of the book (perhaps the last 30 pages or so) should almost have been left out completely because it didn't add anything to the story. The only way it could have added something is if it was extended and written with the same attention and care as the rest of the novel.
If I had to rate this book, I would give it an A (Not an A + simply because of the ending).

The Impact of This Novel Upon Me

As a woman, this novel was much more to me than an excellent novel. Throughout the book, I paid a good deal of attention to the etiquette of the geisha, trying myself to improve my own manners and etiquette. Although I would never wish the life of a geisha upon any woman, there are many aspects of the art of geisha that I have to appreciate (only when they are separated from all the negative aspects of it all). One example is how the geisha used their voices, movements, and eyes to have an impact on men. They were not strippers, they didn't perform sexual acts in front of other men. The relationships they had with men were private and there was some shred of respect for the women. There is one moment in the film where Sayuri is told how the way she pours sake can mean so many things. Foremost she was told how to show the under-side of her forearm to accentuate the feminine delicacy of her arm. This really struck me and I won't ever forget it. Recently, mainly while reading this book, I have been thinking about how the female form has lost something when it is openly displayed and often in a crude way, to others. I am speaking of the women and girls who wear clothes that are so revealing they leave nothing to the imagination. I often wish that the "mystery of the female form" the essence of it was kept more private because perhaps then it would be valued in a different way. I am not saying that all porn or nude art work etc should be stopped. There are certainly ways to display the body which are not crude but quite beautiful. However, I find that pornography can really de-value the female form by making it too accessible, too exposed. Although in the past, women were too covered by clothing and the ability to wear what one wants is in fact a huge privilege, I find that we have lost something in this change. The lines and forms of the female body are not "displayed" like art work the way the geisha are really pieces of art work, they are exposed and sold in a cheap and really tasteless way. I am sure many people will disagree with me on this, but oh well. I really just hope that there are some men that still appreciate when women maintain a mystery, to be unveiled when intimacy begins. I am not talking of prudeness or virginity or any of that crap. I am simply talking of allowing others to visually consume you in a nice five course meal instead of buffet style where everything is layed out on the table at once so as to not allow any one piece of food to stand out and be valued, consumed, and enjoyed by itself.

All of this babbling is how the book impacted me and I am sure that all of my views here may be personal but hopefully interesting to some of you.

Soon I will see the film and offer my comments on it.