Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Quasi's Big Day

This morning when I got up my friend Michael had emailed me that my film "Quasi at the Quackadero" had been included in 2009 National Film Registry.

"The National Film Preservation Board members enthusiastically supported this addition to the more than 500 U.S. films now recognized as "culturally, historically and aesthetically significant" and worthy of preservation."

I want to toast E.E. Gregg Snazelle. Right after college I rented an editing room at Snazelle Films in San Francisco so I could finish my third film, "Chow Fun." Gregg saw the film and offered me a job at his film company. The job was to experiment with animation, and do commercials for him when the jobs came in. He also hoped I'd figure out how to solve 3-d without glasses.

Needless to say I didn't solve 3-d. I didn't even do very many commercials over ten years, but I showed up at 8:30, took an hour off for lunch and worked till 5:30. I was paid $350 a month, and I could live on that then.

He encouraged me generously without ever paying much attention to me. These days if an opportunity like that even existed, you'd be forced to sign all kinds of rights statements for characters and content created, but this was before "Star Wars" and he just seemed to be happy to have me around. We were never particularly close. It spoiled me for any job after that.

I made all my "Quasi" films while I was working at Snazelle. Unfortunately he's no longer alive, but here's to you, Gregg, with a big heart and much thanks.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

hostess dilemna

I saw this cute lady at Santa Anita the day after Christmas. Her hat was covered with sequins but I don't know how to get a sequin effect. Hope she was luckier than I was in her horse picks. We got to see Zenyatta one more time, and Brian and Dinah came too.

For Christmas we had invited nine guests. We had cooked about 20 dishes to accomodate various diets. Three of the guests were traveling together and they were picking up a fourth guest in Hollywood who can't drive. This had been arranged over a week's worth of emails.

When the carload of four arrived, guess what? There were only three. They had forgotten to pick up the fourth guest, and they were late. The food was all cooked. They'd totally forgotten.

Dinah got an A+ for volunteering to drive over to Hollywood and retrieve our guest who was patiently waiting. (But couldn't she have called to ask what's up?) Our cooked food also patiently waited for more than an hour. By the time we ate the food had patiently waited for more than two hours. We managed not to get mad and had a jolly time but it was a dilemna (that's the old fashioned spelling).

Here we are with Dinah's chickens. Remind me to wear makeup next time I get my picture taken with spring chickens.


Well I just spoke to my mother and she's sitting on a bench in Princeton. She said she hopes it'll be a lot more fun when I graduate- it's really supposed to be fun, but they're bringing all the mothers in in wheelbarrows and the sons aren't happy about it. Anyway, I'm supposed to meet her at the yacht house gate tonight between 5 and 7.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Dinah got home this morning, with her friend Brian,

her three chickens, and two guinea pigs.

A good friend who grew up in Puerto Rico brought us these incredible Cuban pastries. He said the line went around the block.

Hope you all have a great day whatever you celebrate, whatever you're doing.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A letter from Jan. 18, 1981

My mother, my sister and I wrote each other many letters, and some of them I've saved. I was going through a box the other day and I thought this letter my mother had written me in 1981 really gives you a sense of her vivid imagination, and where mine comes from.

The first part of the letter, which I left out, was about whether my sister should come with me on a lecture tour. (My mother was against it.) The rest of the letter is below:

I just read your "Dome of Peace ". It' s a beautiful story Sally and once again I can't get over the gift you have for writing. I knew you had done some interesting things at Smith but didn't realize the extent of your creative abilities.

I like this story particularly because it is positive. The world needs to hear and read of victorious characters. The character in your story is confronted with destructive forces and manages to be victorious over them. So many writers like to leave their characters in hopeless defeat or hopeless anxiety.

Of course that is the true meaning of Christianity--victory. I never told Daddy but I had the deepest respect for Martin Luther King--"I have a dream" and "We can overcome", just think
what he accomplished in his short life . Writers can have tremendous influence on people without ever knowing it. I am so moved by what I read that I have to make vigilant choices.

I actually gave up novels because I couldn't read them like regular people. I was "them" in the novel and couldn't do anything else till I was finished with "them". That's why I like biographies and autobiographies. I know the people turned out O.K. so I can read at my leisure, like regular
people. Even here I find myself wanting to copy down all the wise conclusions they come to so my children can have the benefit of them! With Schweitzer I was in steaming Africa, with Zelda Fitzgerald in the nut house, with Baruch on Wall Street, and so it goes... There are many people, not in the public eye who live victoriously and it is these people who deserve plaudits, like Enether and Jean Wallace.

Must close this, I am taking Bee Burnett to church and because she wants to/will sit thru a lecture on Islamic religion set up by the education dept at St. Pauls. Talk about negative! Who ever said I was prejudiced! If he isn't too darling about it I may find it interesting. He is a
professor, not a missionary.

My afternoon is going to be wonderful. First the football game and then the tennis!

Lots of love


(The letter was typewritten and I was able to scan it and then use a program that recognized the text to paste it here. )

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

All Over the Globe

When I spoke to my mother today the ship she thinks she's on had passed through the Panama Canal. Now they were in Japan, and people talked too fast and she had never liked the place or the people. She said she missed America.

I tried to pull her back to reality by talking about my brother. "Cricket's in Africa," I said. (It's true- he's visiting his daughter in Mozambique.) She knew this. She remembered that his daughter had been ill in Africa earlier this year.

At the end she said "Lovely of you to call." Ta ta!

What I've been thinking is that with baby boomers approaching the falling down age, researchers had better get on the stick with studies of anesthesia and its effect on the elderly, or "The Magical Mystery Tour" will have a total new meaning.

These images from a wonderful site, Cruising the Past.

Monday, December 21, 2009

On the S.S. Xmas

Today when I called my mother she said "I'm back on the ocean."

We talked about that a while, and I tried to steer the boat elsewhere by saying we were decorating our tree. She said, "Oh we had a big Xmas party on the ship yesterday but the staff was running around snatching people's presents. Then they gave us castor oil."

Not sure this is the ship we want to be on.

Friday, December 18, 2009


My mother was moved to long term nursing care yesterday. I called today and the very jolly nurse said they were about to make peanut butter cookies together and it was a good time for me to call.

I said "Hi Mom" and she told me:
  • She'd been in China but now she was in Hawaii.
  • She was in a work camp run by the Episcopal Church.
  • She was in a recreation hall and the people running things weren't very bright. I said, "Well you've always gotten along with people like that," and she said "That's true."
  • She was amazed I was able to reach her on the telephone.
  • She was worried about my father because he walks so much slower than most of the people where she was. (He died in 1969 and I remember he was a slow walker.)
She's always had a good imagination and it's certainly rolling along now. Her voice had a hint of the old time educated/elegant Baltimore accent I can remember from when I was little. She sounded quite breezy.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sketchbook Pro

I have a trial version of Sketchbook Pro starting today. This is the first picture I've drawn with it. Definitely captures my not quite with the season mood.

The program seems quite nice actually. I figured it out enough in five minutes to get started, and the colors are more fun to play with than what I'm used to. I believe it's rather expensive but I haven't checked the price yet. It wasn't much more complicated than graffiti, at least to start out with.

Add to that Dinah just called and probably won't get home for Christmas because her horse developed an abcess in her hoof, which requires daily attention. It used to be you had to put your horse's hoof in a bucket twice a day, now you wrap a diaper soaked in cayenne mixture. The cayenne is so the goats won't eat the diaper.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Another tough dog from long ago

As I was looking through the giant pile of cd-roms to find replacement software for my old computer, I came upon a cd of this photograph.

I sold this on ebay about six years ago. A bidding war ensued and it sold for more than $700. It wasn't much bigger than a postcard. Two women who both loved pitbulls were battling. You may not be able to tell, but the girl's holding a pistol and the pitbull has his, uh, lipstick showing.

While trying to revive my laptop I've come upon all sorts of weird solutions that people say work, like "Turn it on, put it in a plastic bag, then cover it with several towels. Wait 45 minutes, turn it off, then turn it on again and hold down the j-k-l keys." Not the h-e-l-p keys?

It didn't work. People are trying to put together a class action suit for this particular hp tablet laptop.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Been a while

Yeah, holiday spirit. I've been trying to put my computer back together again and I came upon this picture Dinah created about 8 years ago. That's our old dog Lulu on the front porch in Colorado.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Cold Case Carnival

Hey, what's in that tent?

I'm back on the track of taking my German Shepherd Molly to Lake Balboa every morning at dawn. I thought the big news this morning was that the pelicans were back-- I saw 10 landing-- but then turning down a side road I came upon this amazing carnival set for Cold Case. They're filming tomorrow and Monday so they have to keep the sets up and I guarantee they'll have a rough time this weekend convincing people that it's not a circus and it's not a carnival.

The pleasant(ly plump) security guy told me I couldn't have a walk around even though it wasn't filming till next day. I understood. Just wish he didn't have that tattoo of his name crawling up the side of his neck. Freaks to the left of me, freaks to the right of me.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Reading Manly Men Bios!

Ha, got you there! While I was in New Jersey I read Robert Mitchum's biography, "Baby, I Don't Care." What a character, this big sexy coolster, part Norwegian, part Indian, smarter than anyone would expect and hard to define. The book is a bit long (500+ pp) but you think about him long after it's done. One of the things people remembered about him the most, aside from his "I don't care" bohemianism, and his incredible face, was that he was a great story teller.

Last summer I was really intrigued by Raoul Walsh's autobiography,"Each Man in his Time" . As a child his parents entertained famous Broadway actor of the day Edwin Thomas Booth, brother of John Wilkes Booth whom Walsh was later to play in The Birth of a Nation (1915). They lived on a farm somewhere near Harlem and entertained all the most famous people of their day it seemed.

Being an autobiography, this book had a lot more insight into the life of a man who traveled with and filmed Pancho Villa in Mexico, and had stories that were just breathtaking. He didn't seem happy except when he was making a movie. He was a director for 50+ years!

Robert Mitchum and Raoul Walsh intersect briefly in the 40's.

What got me thinking was this: both men were known for being great story tellers, both men were major figures in Hollywood history. Who's a great story teller anymore? Movies today have so little story line. People today rarely tell stories in social situations. Hmm, is there something here?

And that's actually the point of this post. I got to thinking.