Monday, October 29, 2007


AFI Fest 2007

- Special Presentation -
November 7, 2007
Arclight Theaters, 6:45pm
6360 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles

In attendance: filmmaker Arthur Dong; cast members Nancy Kwan, Amy Tan, Justin Lin, Lisa Lu, James Hong, Tsai Chin, Mai Lon Gittlesohn & Marcella Wong-Yasuhiro (daughters of Violet Wong, star of the 1916 film, The Curse of Quon Gwon), and James Leong, Jr. (son of James B. Leong, producer/writer of the 1921 film, Lotus Blossom). Post screening discussion moderated by Randy Haberkamp, Director of Education and Special Events, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (affiliation listed for informational purposes only)

The hidden ingredient in relationships...

Twenty years ago this week, I met my first love. It was my first year at college and I was a bright-eyed freshman. I wore my jeans jacket with a heart-shaped peace symbol pendant proudly displayed on the lapel. It was lunchtime, and we were in line at the Sandwich shop. I stood by myself behind his crowd of friends and we exchanged purposeful glances at each other. He walked over to me, and after a few quippy comments, a conversation ensued. He told me later it was my peace pendant that melted his heart. Before I knew it he was sitting beside me, eating sandwiches together.

He and I were together for a total of 7-1/2 years after that singular moment. The break up was difficult. We didn't talk for 5 years after. We still are in communication after all these years. Distance and time have mended all the wounds and tempered the feelings between us. He is married now with a child. He lives 12,000 miles away. Yesterday via email, he reminded me of our "20 year anniversary" of the day of our momentous meeting. He thanked me and wrote: "you played a very big role in my development and I thank you for the seven and a half years we shared together." I smiled on the inside. He sent me a beautiful and unadulterated wish: "...that you do find ...someone wonderful and deserving of your amazing warmth and passion for life." I smiled on the inside and out.

What are the critical ingredients of a successful relationship? What is it that makes a long term committment last? Is there such a thing as an effortless relationship? I will explore these topics and more in my upcoming blogs...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Los Angeles Railway Route Map

An anonymous blogger pointed me in the direction of this old map of the Los Angeles route map for the electric cars and buses. The CRA could take a cue from the historic routes...

My dad remembers riding the Red Car rails regularly as a little boy, traveling mostly from Inglewood to Chinatown. Back in the 1940s, it was easy to be car-less. A popular mantra in Northern California: "One Less Car" is not feasible in Los Angeles. It would be good if an increase in gas prices triggers a reduction of gas consumption, but I can only hope!

It remains to be seen if the Subway to the Sea, the Expo Line to Culver City and the Extension of the Gold Line improves the traffic situation in Hell-la! Again, I can only wish....

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Largest Electric Railway in the US (LARY)

My favorite topic - Mass Transit is on my mind again....

Today, transportation in Los Angeles is definitely driven by the car, however for 90 years (1873-1963), the city boasted the largest railway system in the United States. LARY (Los Angeles Railway) covered 600 miles of tracks, and operated over 1,200 cars at its peak...."The Los Angeles streetcar system was by far the largest streetcar system ever constructed, and was instrumental in shaping the early development pattern of Los Angeles."

So.... what happened? Freeways happened. And that is another story...

The CRA-LA (Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles) has a plan to resurrect the Red Car line in areas of Downtown LA. With all the converted work-live lofts in downtown, the neighborhood would greatly benefit by the revival of this public transportation infrastructure. It would revitalize the community and enrich the urban fabric of downtown. In 2003, San Pedro successfully implemented the Red Car Trolley line at the Port of Los Angeles. Why isn't LA following suit?

It could be that the owners of the converted condos are not actually living downtown. They are investors. As speculated by a urban designer I know at Moule Polyzoides, the real community will be in a few years after the initial turn-over occurs; the second owners will reside in the heart of downtown. Hopefully, they will have one family car, take the subway and ride the street car. They will shop, work and live in downtown.

Monday, October 22, 2007

...And So it Goes

A quote from one of my favorite authors. Simply put, it sums up the futility and the lack of control we have in life. Especially when it comes to a Force Majeure.

Malibu was on fire when I went to bed last night. I woke up this morning and four more fires sprung up overnight, sprinkled all over the southland. It seems as if Los Angeles county is on fire.

The only Castle in Southern California... Princess Lilly's "Castle" is one of the causalities of the Malibu Fire. While it may be a surreal, postmodern hodge podge of a design, it housed priceless artifacts. It represented one woman's dream of royal-dom and embodied her visions of a privileged philanthropist. It is burnt to a crisp. The stone walls are smoking rubble. The fairy-tale is in ruins.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


I listened to a short story told by Andrew Sean Greer on Writer's Block.

It was a variation of Nathaniel Hawthorne's Wakefield but told in a different city (not London) and a different time (not 1850s. ) The plot was nefarious yet in an innocent way. The main character, Wakefield did not even understand his own motivations and why he whimsically chose to leave his wife and move one block over from his house to live a separate existence. He doesn't know why he didn't return for 20 years to his loving and devoted wife and his cozy fire.

It is a common fantasy to detach oneself from one's life, to, in effect, be dead to the world, yet to see the effect of one's death to those around you without being seen. Is that enough motivation for a person to become absent for an extended period of time? It is the Rip Van Winkle complex. That the people who count on us and who we count on can be ripped from us in an instant? Life, love and its bondage is fleeting and mysterious. Yet when we least expect it, can all come back again in a heartbeat.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Howard Zinn: You Can't Be Neutral...

I watched an important documentary that EVERY American needs to watch!
If you don't know who he is....learn!

Howard Zinn: You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train.

A Great Man of Impeccable Integrity and Fervent moral and humanistic beliefs.
A Passivist and a Teacher.
A Voice for Peace and Social Justice

Speaks for the Powerless.
Advocates for the Weak.
Writes so we Don't Forget.

Changing One Mind at a Time....

Monday, October 1, 2007

Everyday habits of the Average American

Change your current mindset, change the world.

Habits are easy and being a creature of habit is comfortable. ....however I encourage you to
Push your comfort level and try something different. Use your right brain by giving your left brain an impossible task. The left brain doesn't like paradoxes, so the right side will take over.

Here are some right brain exercises...
  • Take mass transit whenever possible
  • Not Driving and non-parking in Los Angeles
  • Turning off lights prime-time on a Saturday night