Monday, November 23, 2009

LeechBlock and Gimpix

Two great finds this morning while writing:

First, LeechBlock, a Firefox add-on designed to block those time-wasting sites that can suck the life out of your working day. All you need to do is specify which sites to block and when to block them.

This add-on has a ton of customizable features, allowing you to block groups of sites during specific days and time periods. You can even limit access to application's preferences to keep yourself honest during an unauthorized Facebook craving.

Thank you, James Anderson, for this gift to writers. Goodbye Facebook, hello productivity!

Second, my research on long leg casts led me to this peculiar, possibly NSFW site. Gimpix is a site dedicated to "exploring the sexuality of an attractive woman in a plaster of Paris leg cast."

The author of Gimpix explains his site in a 9-point "Rationale" section. Some highlights:

"My pulse quickens and I receive a powerful stimulation whenever I see a pretty woman with her leg in a plaster cast, either hobbling on crutches or staggering along in a walking cast!"

"Of the many orthopedic devices that exist, only plaster leg casts have such charisma."

"Watching a woman wiggling her toes is very seductive whether they are in a cast or not. But seeing them sticking out of plaster intensifies the allure."

"Also sometimes pleasurable for women is the warm feeling provided by the exothermic chemical reaction of the setting plaster, although one must be cautious to avoid high water temperatures, and consequently risk of burning."

Thank you, the Internet! My gift to you this Monday morning.

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Friday, September 18, 2009

Upscale Restaurants to Try


buffalo club


the little next door

tanner's coffee

king's cafe
New Cafe List

infuzion cafe

joni's coffee

cow's end


Brew N Beans
sat 8-3


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Every Little Step

Just watched Every Little Step at the Arclight, a documentary about dancers auditioning for a show about dancers auditioning for a show. I saw a community theater version of A Chorus Line with Catherine Ho in high school. I left the theater and ran to the Borders across the street hunting for the CD.

The most interesting thing about the film, I thought, was how it revealed the lineage of each character in the show as auditionees attempted to capture the essence of the roles. One thing I didn't know about A Chorus Line was that it began as a taped interview, Michael Bennett assembling a group of dancers one night to talk about their lives.

All great theatre is an experiment. A Chorus Line was based on the lives of real dancers, and in the original, those dancers played themselves. So what's interesting about the revival is how the auditionees are vying for roles that were originally created from and inhabited by other real dancers. Asian-American dancers auditioned for Baayork Lee--not just the original "Connie Wong," but the woman on whom "Connie Wong" is based. "Cassie" hopefuls danced to "The Music and the Mirror," a song tailored to Donna McKechnie's unusually large range.

What I liked about the film was its communion with the past, with the original actors and the actors who reprized their roles.

Cote Smith's "Hurt People"

Just finished reading the latest issue of One Story: "Hurt People," a debut story from Cote Smith.

The story is amazing. Eerie, elegant, chilling, a tale of two brothers in a town "with more prisons than restaurants." Smith's interview on was very interesting as well. He talks about refining stories on the sentence level, going for the understated instead of the over-the-top. Here's a snippet from the interview:

"I had been writing stories that I didn't really like and I couldn't pinpoint why. Thinking about the stories, I liked the ideas, but I didn't like the actual story. I finally figured out it was the over-the-top, sentence-level writing that turned me off. How I figured this out was I read two short story collections, Twenty Grand by Rebecca Curtis, and The First Hurt, by Rachel Sherman. Those two books showed me how someone can write beautiful, engaging, and surprising stories using nicely measured sentences with basic syntax and structure. So I decided to write a story in which I just showed as much as possible, in simple, hopefully beautiful sentences. The first sentence I wrote was, 'The town had more prisons than restaurants.' The story took off from there."

I think that this "over-the-topness" is something that often happens in my writing. I'm going to check out the collections from Curtis and Sherman and want to experiment with a more measured approach in the new Spork project I'm working on.

Can't wait to read more from Cote Smith.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Staglevision: Birthday update

Dear friends,

Happy spring! I've got some exciting news to share with you:

FILM - "Street Kid Book Factory" Airing on Current TV
The short documentary I shot with Sarah Gilbert in Buenos Aires last year is finally playing on Current TV! Here's a synopsis and the link:

Eloisa Cartonera is an independent book publisher in Buenos Aires that sells recycled, handpainted books written by some of Latin America's most dynamic young writers. In this pod, VC2 producers Steven Tagle and Sarah Gilbert profile the publisher's founder and interview some of the young street kids who collect the cardboard and paint the books.

Watch "Street Kid Book Factory" and let me know what you think:

WRITING - Spork Piece in Progress
I've begun writing a piece for Spork, a literary magazine edited and constructed by Richard Siken and Drew Burk. Siken has been one of my favorite poets since I read his debut collection, Crush, in college. I emailed Spork asking how I could get involved, and Drew very generously, very quirkily invited me to write a piece. I think that's all I can divulge for now, but with luck, you'll soon be seeing me in one of Spork's beautifully bound hardback issues! This will be my very first publication.

See what Spork is all about:

LIFE IN LA - Birthday Brunch and Beach, 4/26/09
Next Sunday, April 26, I'll be celebrating my 24th birthday at Panini Garden in Santa Monica. I discovered Panini Garden a few weekends back on a writing adventure with Amy Aniobi and Reena Magsarili. They have a Secret Garden-esque backyard patio and a breakfast panini with a side of fresh fruit that makes my mouth water.

If you're in town and want to spend an afternoon brunching and hanging out at the beach, I'd love to see you there.

Date: Sunday, April 26, 2009
Time: 12:00pm - 6:00pm
Location: Panini Garden then Santa Monica Beach
Street: 2715 Main Street (at Hill St.)
City/Town: Santa Monica, CA
Parking: There's free street parking around 6th and Hill,
or use the Farmer's Market beach parking.

Hope to see you next Sunday!


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Street Kid Book Factory

Dear friends,

Exciting news! The short documentary I shot with Sarah Gilbert in Buenos Aires last year is finally playing on Current TV. Here it is:

Street Kid Book Factory

Eloisa Cartonera is an independent book publisher in Buenos Aires that sells recycled, handpainted books written by some of Latin America's most dynamic young writers. In this pod, VC2 producers Steven Tagle and Sarah Gilbert profile the publisher's founder and interview some of the young street kids who collect the cardboard and paint the books.

Please watch it on Current and comment!

Theory of Writing: Moments

I want to write moments that my characters would remember for the rest of their lives.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Restaurants and Cafes to Try in LA

royal t ****
an experience; modern art, salmon with edamame, japanese french maids

espresso profeta ****
very homey and quaint; choncey's art is spectacular

clementine ****
nice little restaurant, great for a weekend brunch

venice grind ****
great on sundays, right next to the mar vista farmer's market.
limited seating

alibi room**
nice interior, but crowded, narrow and loud. when we were there, we had to wait over an hour for tacos, and the bar owners called the cops because some a**hole was outside drumming on the front door

la mill coffee boutique****

bolivar cafe and gallery****
great arepas, a little chilly

all right, great counter service. best burger in la? i don't know.

funnel mill***
very zen writing spot in santa monica

18th street****
great french cafe with booths perfect for sitting cross-legged in!

the hall at palihouse holloway****
Great decor and service

empanada's place***** Absolutely amazing Empanadas

caffe luxxe***
upscale cafe, nice place to meet an old friend for coffee


amelia's expresso and panini

17th street cafe



argentinean empanadas

The Little Next Door

bonano's chicken in northridge

griddle cafe

Ye Olde Kings Head English Breakfast

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Staglevision: Valentine's Day update

Dear friends,

It's been a while. I hope you all had a pleasant start to 2009. Here's what I've been up to:

A year and a half after moving down here, I'm finally starting to feel at home in LA. I have my favorite local haunts: dinners with my sister at The Nook, a neighborhood bistro; writing at Cafe Balcony or Intelligentsia; catching the latest great movie with Tyrrell after work at the Landmark or Vista theaters.

No matter how much time I spend here, there's always more to discover. I recently saw The Bird and the Bee (one of my favorite bands) perform at the Natural History Museum amid display cases of extinct mammals. The night after, I heard Edward Albee discuss his plays at UCLA.

For Christmas, I asked for subscriptions to a few top literary magazines. I am now a proud subscriber to McSweeney's, Zoetrope: All-Story, One Story, and The Threepenny Review. After reading short stories from some of my favorite contemporary authors, I am excited to return to this form.

In January, I wrote a couple drafts of a poem currently titled, "The Night We Went to Fubar." I don't write poems very often, but I find that it exercises a certain muscle that I'd like to develop more. I enjoy the surgical precision that a poem requires, the microscopic attention to every element of the line. Thanks to Shamala and Larry for all their helpful comments on my revisions!

This month, I've returned to work on the novel, which by now feels like an old friend. I completed revisions on Chapter One in the fall, and I'm very pleased with them, though the chapter has doubled in size. I'm now combining Chapters Two and Three, hoping to finish by the end of this month so I can move on to the Oktoberfest chapter.

For almost a year, I've been working at SpiritClips, a new media company that produces high-quality inspirational content. At, you can watch moving short films and share them as exquisite, personalized FilmCards.

I'm responsible for producing our website, and I'm learning a ton about web development, HTML coding, Google Adwords and Analytics, project management, copywriting, the works. Since I only took Intro to Computing in college, this is very exciting!

Watch a Valentine's Day FilmCard featuring our newest film, "Montgomery."

If this FilmCard inspires you, please share it with a friend or loved one!

Here's the best way:
1) Join
2) Select the Free Trial to send one FilmCard, free.
3) Personalize "Montgomery" by adding a cover, photo (optional), and message.
4) Address and send!

Thanks for listening. If we haven't spoken in a while, give me a call, or let's hang out. I want to know how you've been!


Sunday, February 8, 2009

Saturday, February 7, 2009