My film of the year, I think: Moonrise Kingdom. It made me happy, what
more can you ask? We have a huge poster for The Life Aquatic in our
house, which Hudson and Paradise have grown up with. I hope their lives
unfold like a magical Wes Anderson tale.
If Wes Anderson controlled the cosmos, it would be a far, far kinder place:)
I wanted to post this photo of our dog at our friends' ranch near Groveland (which is near the north-west entrance of Yosemite National Park), simply because I love the picture and I love the fact that she had such a great time at Thanksgiving running free there with a "pack" of our friends' four dogs.
She was so happy that I wondered if friendship can be measured by how well your dogs get along.
This wonderful, totally inspirational video was on our friend, Michael Betanoff's fantastic blog, tintin americain (which you should definitely check out - today's offering is John Lennon's immortal Imagine).
It tells the story of the remarkable Kelvin Doe (aka DJ Focus), a fifteen year old self-taught genius from extraordinarily poor circumstances in Sierra Leone, who has taught himself to how to build all kinds of equipment, including his own generator and radio station, from parts he found rummaging through the garbage.
A doctoral student at MIT, David Sengeh, recognized Kelvin's astonishing talents and arranged an invitation for Kelvin to visit MIT, as the youngest person in history to be included as part of their "Visiting Practitioner's Program."
The world needs many more Kelvin Does - and we should all feel humbled by what he has achieved with so little (and so young!), and the wonder and love he has for our world.
We just want to say a big thank you to everyone - including all the very friendly and helpful staff at ER - for their care of and concern for Hudson, who is gradually starting to feel better.
We would also like to make a special mention of Dr Lisa Johnson, who was on call tonight for Forest Road Pediatrics, and who had a long telephone conversation with me, in which she answered many questions with a depth of knowledge and experience that was both highly reassuring and informative, and who left us feeling confident that we are on the right path for the weekend - always a difficult time when your child is not feeling well.
Hopefully, Hudson will continue to improve in the days ahead, and we would li…
Skyfall is already - in its first weekend of release in the United States - the most successful Bond movie ever, with a worldwide gross, as of writing, of $669.2 million. Not bad for a franchise that is 50 years old!
I'm particularly pleased for producer Barbara Broccoli, who was the first person to option the film rights in my novel, The War Zone, some considerable time ago (although she wasn't involved in making the film when it was finally produced).
Last weekend, we had our first dusting of snow this winter - and it was beautiful.
There was only a little at our house, just enough to give our Buddha his first taste of white flakes this year - but a little farther up the hill, our local playground looked like something out of a fairytale.
We moved here because our children wanted snow. Last winter was remarkably mild, although we did have a little. This year, given the fact that we've had some before Thanksgiving, we are hoping that we'll have a good deal more.
I had hoped to write something sweeping and inspirational, as well as considered and smart and carefully argued, about tomorrow's presidential election - an election that feels as if it has been a decade in the making - but time has proven tighter than usual in the past few days, and so you get this: an impassioned plea to get out and VOTE tomorrow, if you have not already done so, and to VOTE FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA AND HISTORY.
I first wrote about Barack Obama on February 3, 2008, for my previous blog, Loving The Wolf, in a fairly lengthy post in which I talked about my reasons for moving to the US from Britain in 1990, my choice to become a United States citizen, the coming economic disaster that George W Bush had led us into, and the future that candidate Obama (at that time, he was still campaigning in the Democratic primaries against Hillary Clinton) offered.
I ended that post with these words, which I still wholeheartedly believe today:
Thirteen years ago, when the film of my novel The War Zone was released, something remarkable occurred: a film and a book about incest gave birth to an online message board, The War Zone Message Board, intended for survivors of incest and abuse, and all who wished to discuss relevant topics in an empathetic manner.
It is not a fan site for either the book or the film. It is moderated by volunteers - currently two young women called Nath and Norie - who give freely of their time to insure that those who wish to give voice to their feelings, or to find solace or help or support from others, may do so.
Some of the people involved call themselves "zoners," which for me is something quite remarkable and humbling: that a novel I first started thinking about almost 30 years ago, and a film that Tim Roth directed so stunningly 13 years ago, should spawn its own support system for those caught up in the horrifying world we reflected on the page and screen.
Early voting is critical and gives a greater push to the Obama Campaign - as well as freeing up resources, including perhaps time you might contribute yourself, to get out the vote on November 6.
This election is a turning point for our nation. Either we go forward with President Obama, and give him four more years to bring his policies to bear, or we take a massively backward step with Romney and Ryan, who will tear up so much of the social fabric that protects the less advantaged and less successful in the United States, in favor of major corporations (which Romney likes to call "small businesses" - you know, Exxon, Chevron, etc) and the extremely wealthy.
Please give President Obama a second term in which to support women's rights and the rights of minorities, in which to see the economy continue to grow from the worst economic recession s…
Charong, who is not Muslim (she's
Chinese-American), has worked extraordinarily hard - and successfully -
to capture Muslim culture in New Jersey, and to explore the world of a normal American father, an accountant, who feels increasingly marginalized and victimized by his religion.
The book presents a unique view of America from the standpoint both of Nomi's experience as a Pakistani-American and Charong's as a Chinese-American.
This absolutely hilarious P-P-P-Paul Ryan music video gives us a little taste of the America of the 1950s - or is it the 1850s? - that Paul Ryan would love to take us back to, in terms of limiting welfare, women's rights, worker's rights...you name it.
It brings back the fun and wonder of seeing that movie for the first time. If you've never seen it, watch it - and in the meantime here is the YouTube link for the alien landing sequence that inspired Deadmau5. Note that there were no FEMALE scientists in evidence back in 1977!
I recently saw that Deadmau5 is one of the world's highest paid deejays - with earnings around $11 million per year, I believe!
Today is not only President Obama's first - and hopefully decisive - debate with Mitt Romney, but also his 20th Wedding Anniversary with First Lady Michelle Obama. No doubt she will be wondering why their special dinner is delayed.
Aside from wishing them both a very happy anniversary, I also hope that, with the debate, President Obama opens up his lead in the national and swing state polls by as wide a margin as possible. They say that debates can only account for a 3 or 4 point swing - but that would double Barack Obama's lead over Mitt Romney to 8 points, which would be fine for now.
I'm looking for a landslide Democratic win on November 6, not just for President Obama but for a powerful Democratic Congress for him to work with.
Barack Obama has endured four years of abuse and obstruction from the Republican Party (the ridiculous "birther" controversy - racism in sheep's clothing - to name but one). November 6 is the day to correct that.
Anyone interested in attending the retreat should contact Jill Klajic-Ryan on 209-743-8097. I am speaking at a lunch at the Columbia House Restaurant (recently The Black Bart Skillet) on Main Street in Columbia on Sunday September 30, from 12:30-2:30pm.
WATCH this brilliant and hilarious SIMPSONS VOTING VIDEO - and also fight to ensure that everyone is actually allowed to vote, even if they
don't have ID...or are black...or poor...or students...or yellow cartoon characters.
There is an absolutely fascinating article about a lost chapter of Los Angeles history on KCET's website, as part of Hispanic Heritage Month. KCET is the Los Angeles-based community television station for southern and central California.
Chavez Ravine, now known best as the hillside above which Dodger Stadium perches, was once the site of a thriving Mexican-American community, dating back as far as 1844, when Julian Chavez acquired 83 acres encompassing a narrow valley northwest of the city center.
Chavez was a native of New Mexico who had arrived in Los Angeles in the 1830s, and who promptly became a leading political figure.
The story of how the community developed (actually as three distinct neighborhoods: Bishop, La Loma and Palo Verde), with goats grazing on hillsides and residents raising domesticated animals from pigs to peacocks, is vividly told on the KCET website.
Sadly, due to various attempts to redevelop the land (at the expense of the local community), by 1957 only 20 f…
The retreat includes a ghost walk on Friday, open mic sessions with poems, stories, music and a Native American poetry and drum circle on the Saturday, and "Author's Row" on the Sunday. Guests include Blanche Abrams and Charity Maness.
I will be speaking during the lunch about my career as a writer and my experiences both as a novelist, non-fiction writer and children's author, and as a screenwriter for the major Hollywood studios and independents.
For more information about my career, please visit the Biography page of this blog.
Advance registration is required for the workshops and meals. The registration fee is $145, with a 20% discount for students.
The image below of a woman taking cocaine is, I
believe, from the 1910s and is one of the many research pictures I've
amassed for my noir novel - a love story and thriller set in 1919 - Chinatown Nights.
Although drugs do not play a huge role in the plot, several of the characters in the novel are involved in the world of illegal drugs, illicit drinking clubs and other rather suspect activities - including arms dealing.
Brilliant Chang, a notable Chinese figure in London in the 1910s and
1920s, who is fictionalized as a character in Chinatown Nights, was
alleged to be one of London's primary cocaine dealers (cocaine was a
popular drug, then as now) and was the subject of a great deal of police
Chang was charged in 1924 with possession of a
single packet of cocaine (a surprisingly small amount for one of the
supposed "drug kingpins" of London - probably planted by the police),
was jailed and was eventually deported from Britain.
I was thrilled that the Kickstarter campaign for Chinatown Nights ended yesterday, meeting not only its initial target of $2,000, but the new unofficial target I set of $2,500, thanks to a very generous donation yesterday afternoon.
Thank you to everyone who participated and contributed. My full thanks, and more details of both the novel and the campaign, are on the Chinatown Nights Facebook Page. Please "Like" it if you visit it! Thank you.
Originally known as Rancho del Matadero, and founded by Mission Santa Cruz in 1791, the Wilder family later acquired the land and operated a very successful dairy on the property - which includes an extraordinary stretch of coastland, with spectacular cliffs and coves.
Many of the coves of what is now a state historic park are preserved for the benefit of marine wildlife - snowy plovers, pelicans, seagulls, seals and dolphins.
You can walk along the cliffs and enjoy the spectacular vistas, but only a couple of the beaches are accessible for swimming - but they are well worth the hike to get there.
Our entire family, including Hudson, who's eight, and Paradise, who's three, enjoyed climbing out along the rocks to view an outcrop of rocks where seals and pelicans were basking in the sun.