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I'm about halfway through my winter break, and I've done very little. I'm listless about writing, whether it's prose or poems or songs or plays (screen or otherwise). I've been washing a lot of dishes, because I have realized this satisfies the exact same part of my brain as Bejeweled, Tetris, Yuma, etc., with the bonus that I then have clean dishes. Through my own fault, I have housewife malaise.

Ciro's apartment is very comfortable, and I'm doing what I can to make it more so, gradually, although I don't have anything like a gradual time scale to work on, which I'm trying and failing not to think about. And time just goes; it takes us something like 2 hours to get much of anywhere, and we'd rather wait weeks and weeks in case we can manage whatever it is for free. The thing about dead end situations is that they're dead ends, no matter how smart or attractive or kind you are. So I'm sad about Ciro a lot, or for Ciro, or in addition to Ciro. But it's warm and the floors are smooth, and I have my guitar (which is better than other people's guitars), and we found imported Nutella (the real stuff that's hazelnut all the way through).

1. What did you do in 2007 that you'd never done before?
Ate Icelandic chocolate. Traveled to Wales and Ireland. Shot color 16mm. Used a suitcase dolly. Recorded sound on a Nagra V. Edited on Final Cut Pro. Wrote 18 poems in a month. Went to the emergency room. Made up various gin-based cocktails. Figured out how to use the timer function on my Elph (which I've had since like 2000. But the possible existence of this function never occurred to me before a few months ago). Attended the annual science expo by The Royal Society. Joined a social networking site (Facebook).

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
My resolutions tend to be on shorter or longer time scales than that. Arguably, I should resolve to write one of the several novels or feature scripts I have outlined, despite the fact that I hate writing. (I enjoy having written, but this is not always sufficient motivation.)

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Not that I remember. Generationally, my family is in a gap period. It's generally presumed that I'll be the next one to have kids, but that it won't happen for another few years.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
My Aunt Caroline, of complications from a brain tumor.

5. What countries did you visit?
The U.S., U.K., and Ireland. My goal for 2008 is France and perhaps Iceland, although Italy is more likely, what with family connections.

6. What would you like to have in 2007 that you lacked in 2006.
I'd like an income, although once again, it is unlikely. I'd like Ciro to live in the same place as me; while there, I'd like him to be able to work on films and perhaps enroll in college. I'd like more options for where to eat lunch. I'd be good to get some scholarships or grants; I don't know why I've been so half-assed about researching those, although it probably has to do with (a) the difficulty of finding graduate scholarships in general, (b) particularly in art, and (c) when you're studying at a foriegn university (or a foreigner studying at a university). Otherwise, I'm doing pretty well, which is fortunate, since I doubt I'm going to get any of those things.

7. What date from 2006 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
July 13 - Ciro's and my first anniversary, and the day a film I directed was shown at the National Gallery.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
The National Gallery is pretty hard to top. I like some of my poems quite a bit, and my vocal control has gotten very respectable. I did some fly camerawork (especially on "Imaginary Friends," but also on "Sorry" and on "Patterns"), and a couple of lighting setups I'm pretty proud of (on "Shelter"). I took a few photos I like. I finally made it to Dublin - my first "Romie goes on independent adventures in a foriegn nation" jaunt since Japan. (England massively doen't count.)

9. What was your biggest failure?
I'm still not with Ciro, and he is still grindingly poor and underutilized. My lighting on "Two Lovers" was absolute crap (except during the morning scene), and one of the interviews I shot was appalling. (While I'd normally brush it off as "I did the best I could," I also missed some dirt when I checked the gate, and it drives me crazy every time I see it on screen.) I started a large number of stories that I didn't finish, and I keep neglecting to submit things I do finish. I cried really theatrically one time I was trying hard not to cry; it's possible this has actually benefited my social standing by breaking down barriers, but it was still a complete failure to do what I meant to do. Finally, I tried and failed to stay friends with Patrick, even though he became increasingly horrible and I found out more and more horrible things he'd done while we were together that I hadn't known about. This is not exactly my failure, but it is embarrassing, and it would have been nicer if he'd behaved decently.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I was bitten an absurd number of times by mosquitoes and ants, and then got on a plane. My ankles turned in to sausages, and I still have a huge red scar on my right thigh. I also went to the emergency room for a really savage UTI.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
I haven't done it yet, but I'm thinking about buying a Nikon D80 before the year is out. Otherwise, probably George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire; The Trials of Van Occupanther, by Midlake; The American Astronaut, directed by Cory McAbee; and Ulli's Roy Orbison in Clingfilm novel.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Well, Val and Jen got engaged, Summer got married, and Ed graduated with a BFA in sculpture. My sister REL also got a BFA, hers in Fibers, and is currently designing area rugs for a company in Atlanta. Rounding out the graduations, my cousin Max finished high school. My parents visited Jerusalem, which they've wanted to do for a long time, and my Mom's work as a costumer was nominated for a Boston-area theatre award. I'd also like to applaud Transport for London for their continuing good service and excellent website, and the NHS for taking care of me when I need it. And a big shout out to the British Film Institute, my second home.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Most white American Baby Boomers in government. Top of the list are Hillary, the neo-cons (particularly the Bush administration), the CIA (wtf, guys?), and anybody who said they agreed with Milton Friedman or Andrew Jackson. The word "libertarian" pretty much puts me in a killing mood these days. (To hell with small government; I'd like civil servants to be available when I need them, and I'd like to know I can count on clean water and safe food.) In England, the happy slappers and the various protectionists (aka racists) that have been rolling back options for asylum seekers. And jesus, Heathrow, pull yourself together.

14. Where did most of your money go?
School. Big time.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
I don't even remember. It doesn't take a lot to get me really, really, really excited. Hot chocolate sits fairly high on this list, but probably top of the list is a picture of a lemur that ran in National Geographic.

16. What song will always remind you of 2006?
"North American Scum," by LCD Soundsystem.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?
Happier, but less hopeful.

ii. thinner or fatter?
I think the same. My legs are looking better, though. I walk a lot.

iii. richer or poorer?
Very far in to the negative money.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
I wish I could've spent more time with Ciro. As usual, I meant to write more. I still haven't visited the Poetry Society, partly because it costs money. Finally, when I'm in England, I dress very badly and almost never sing, both of which make me sad but are presently insurmountable.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
I cry a hell of a lot. In general, I find it difficult to harden my heart or to think happy thoughts; when things are bad, I just hurt a lot.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
I'm not sure. I think we'll be with Ciro's family, but I don't know how long that lasts or what it will be like, and I have had the worst time coming up with presents. My parents will show up at around midnight; I don't know whether I'll see them then or the next day.

21. Did you fall in love in 2006?
It's cheesy, but I fell hard for London. I've disliked and resented the place for years and years, but things have changed and romance has blossommed. There's so much city, I have to love it, even when it isn't doing wonderful things like grassing over Trafalgar Square for a few days just because. I even like the things people say are bad, like the weather and the food, and I've even grown to tolerate some of the more eccentric English pronunciations of foreign words.

22. How many one night stands?
None. I'm off the market.

23. What was your favorite TV program?
I've been rewatching The Office (US), Arrested Development, and FullMetal Alchemist. I've wanted to watch The Kingdom, which remains my all-time favorite. When it comes to current TV, I'm still a Galactica and Colbert Report fan, and I liked the second season of Rome (although not as well as the first). I've just discovered The IT Crowd, which I'm enjoying, and I continue to pine for Life on Mars (because I have only been able to see two episodes thus far, and they were really good).

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
I don't think so; my hatred's been pretty consistent, and has perhaps even relaxed a little. That said, I can't remember whether I was hating the government of Myanmar last year, which I certainly hate now.

[This post was just interrupted by a surprise Christmas ham gifting by my next door neighbor, Andrea - a singer/songwriter and a friend from way back on the open mic circuit. A Christmas ham! All of a sudden! People in general are very good to Ciro and me, particularly when it comes to the feeding. I am not sure what we do to generate this kind of bonhommie, or whether it has to do with us at all, and I would normally say it's to do with Ciro except that people are similarly very kind to me when I am in England. I realize that human beings are social animals, and that I too am motivated to be kind to people, but it's still amazing every time, and I get a fairly goofy smile just thinking about it.]

25. What was the best book you read?
I liked Nightwatch a lot. It's not much like the movie; it's more concerned with philosophical explorations of the nature of good and evil. I liked The Wild Party, an epic poem of sex and betrayal in the 1920s. I thought The Aviary was brilliant and creepy - it's a surrealist graphic novel that's a little hard to explain, but you should pick up a copy if you can. Another book I enjoyed, although it sometimes frustrated me, was Special Topics in Calamity Physics. Don't be thrown off by the flashiness of the first few chapters; it calms down.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I could say Midlake, or LCD Soundsystem, or The Magnetic Fields, or minimalist composer Steve Reich, but the answer is Charlotte Bray, a student at the Royal College of Music, who scored my last film and who I will probably ask to score future films.

27. What did you want and get?
I worked on a hell of a lot of films, and some of them I really liked. And my new class is great.

28. What did you want and not get?
Ciro. Aside from that, I pitched some films that were rejected, submitted some poems that were rejected, and have thus far not managed to get a straight answer from the Dallas Museum of Art about how to submit a proposal for an installation.

29. What was your favorite film this year?
There are a number of films that have just released that I desperately want to see, so this could change, but for the time being, Zodiac, by David Fincher.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I got sick just before my birthday, which tanked all but the most relaxed of plans. Ciro and I went to a local photography gallery, then grabbed some Thai food. In the evening, we drank expensive tequila at Tiffany's and listened to old LPs. I was (and still am) 27.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Ciro. Enough money to relax for a second. But mostly Ciro.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2006?
I dress horribly when I'm in England, mainly because I need to project "friendly, technically minded, capable, and willing to crouch behind cameras in the rain." I really hate it. However, it does what I need - which includes needing to be able to roll out of bed and throw something on without thinking about it. When I'm home with Ciro, I can be more detailed - I guess you could call it military-inflected anime Edwardian-plus-decolletage rock pianist.

33. What kept you sane?
Midlake. Writing. Very good producers.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I have a pretty huge crush on Malcolm Gladwell. I keep re-reading bits of Blink and The Tipping Point and his online archive. I even started eating and liking ketchup, after disdaining it for years. I was distressed to find Gladwell on The Boston Phoenix's list of least sexy people, not least because my reaction revealed to Ciro the depth of my attraction to Gladwell. What can I say: I'm irresistably drawn to men with a knack for synthesizing data, particularly if they can then express that data with a certain dry wit and hopefulness. Malcolm Gladwell, we could be so good together. I have a great idea for a book about the construction of self image. Call me.

35. What political issue stirred you the most?
I'm deeply disturbed by the continuing attempts by neocons to bankrupt the government so that they can shut down social services (like schools). I'm alarmed by the continuing suspension of habeus corpus, and the flaunting of the Geneva Conventions. I'm terrified that the executive branch is now answerable to no one. And the current security and secrecy contest not only goes against my most deeply held belief - that information wants to be free and truth must always bear the scrutiny of daylight verification - but has made my personal life difficult by blocking my access to legal documents I need. Documents that have no business requiring FBI background checks. The current state of things goes beyond terrifying; sure, I can live my day-to-day life largely unmolested, but without rights and without access, I am not a citizen, regardless of what my passport says. And neither are you.

36. Who did you miss?
Ciro. Val. My cousin Scarlett.

37. Who was the best new person you met?
My new class really is wonderful; I have a lot of friends. (Special shout out to Christopher and to Kerry.) But there can be no question that one person is the best, and that is Birgitta. She saved me a seat on the very first day, and we've eaten lunch together ever since. Pezhmaan said we were sisters in the making, and he is right. I honestly don't know what I'd do without her.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2006.
This is a too specific to be widely applicable, but here it is: you produce better work if you think of yourself as an artist working in the medium of film than if you think of yourself as a filmmaker.

39. Quote a song that sums up your year:
"oh i don't know, i don't know, oh, where to begin
we are north americans
and for those of you who still think we're from England
we're not, no.
we've been on planes and on trains till we think we might die,
far from North America,
where the buildings are old and you might have lots of mimes."
- "North American Scum," LCD Soundsystem

"Sometimes I feel happy. Sometimes I feel happy. Sometimes I feel happy. And other times I don't."
- "Sometimes," Mr. Do

(no subject)

Date: 2007-12-22 02:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jonquil.livejournal.com
I followed the link from Charlotte's site to your film. It was lovely and haunting. I watched it twice over. Well done. "Half of the painting is missing."

(no subject)

Date: 2007-12-23 03:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rinue.livejournal.com
Wow. Thank you.

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