Jacqui (jacqui) wrote,
Jacqui
jacqui

Palm Desert, Sky Captain, Early TV and My Mother, Donald Trump and Jude Law

I wrote this last week when we were at our house in the desert. I keep doing this -- writing partial entries and leaving them unfinished, but I thought I might as well include this because it goes with the pictures I took -- I mean they belong together, the pictures of the trees and street sign by our house, and the things I was thinking, so I'll put it up now and then backdate it later : )


I love the names of all of the streets here -- so Moroccan.

I just went out to the car to get my camera. Our gardener, Joel, who I really like, sprayed down EVERYTHING this morning including all of the door mats so when I stepped out the front door my feet immediately sunk into about an inch of dirty, wet, carpet, then of course I had to bring my cold, wet feet back into the house with me, along with a trail of brown, leafy, water that I had to clean up, because we're getting the house ready for our renters.

We rent the house out once or twice a year to cover the maintenance costs and the property taxes. I just wish we could find someone with a vacation house in the mountains, in Hawaii, Mexico, on the East Coast, New York, New Jersey or by a beach somewhere who would want to trade houses with us so we could get to travel a bit more and stay places for free. It seems so wasteful to me that we have this gorgeous four bedroom house on a golf course in one of the best parts of the desert that sits empty for most of the year, there must be someone who would want to trade. I just don't know how to advertise it, or make this happen with people I can trust with our house.


It was pretty rainy when I took all of these pictures but there were so many things in bloom and the trees were loaded down with fruit so I wanted to share some of these images with you.

I never understand why gardeners can't selectively water things on people's porches -- they do the same thing at home -- wet everything down without even noticing when there is something there that shouldn't be watered like oh, say, books on the coffee table, or Beau's backpack, or something. I mean I know that when you're holding a running hose you can't exactly stop the flow of water, unless you have an attachment for it, but you'd think they could direct the stream a little more carefully.


One of our orange trees

They never seem to get that while a doormat might be able to handle the occasional weather, it isn't exactly designed to withstand the same kind of watering as say a plant, and that all of this lazy watering is not only bad for all of the outdoor mats that we have to keep replacing when they rot and wear out, but that it pisses people off. It's like a guarantee that each week one or more clients will silently swear to themselves, "Damn gardeners," as they step into a mushy sodden mat and then drag water and dirt back into their houses. What do you think they're thinking when they hose down every little thing in sight, "Hey, I get paid little enough as it is, you can't expect me to water carefully around your things. If you don't want them to get went, then move them out of the way." Or maybe they're not thinking anything like that, maybe they're worrying about their families or how tired they are and how much they want to hurry up and finish so they can go get lunch. I don't know, and I feel like a jerk for complaining about something as insignificant and petty as this.


There was so much fruit that it was weighing the trees down and falling off unplucked. This rain covered lemon was just laying on the ground.

Beau and our friend from Burning Man, Phil, got into the usual naughty, frustrated teenager troubles while they were hanging out together. They went careening around on the golf cart even though they promised to take it easy, and Beau, who was leaning out, dragging something along the ground, got tossed out when Phil made a fast and sudden U-turn. He's okay, just sore and I feel stupid for having trusted them -- stupid for having thought that a good talk would make up for their wild and wooly youthful lack of judgment.

After that they ran off in the direction of the thumping bass that was coming from somewhere in the distance and had fun running around the golf course at night. Some time later they gleefully picked and tossed a couple dozen fat yellow grapefruit in the pool. Beau said, "We like the sound it makes when it hits the water...and the splash." Our grumpy, conservative, old folk neighbors weren't too happy about this when they came out in the morning for their water aerobics class, and naturally I made Beau pick them all up with me. He didn't understand what the big deal was and I felt like a poor parent that he didn't just get that it's not only uncool to do to the pool, and inconsiderate of the neighbors, but a waste of food when there are people in the world who would do almost anything for just one grapefruit. But I did wacky stuff like this when I was a kid -- wackier, if you can believe that -- and it's a fine balance you have to walk as a parent between teaching values and being heavy handed and shaming. When like countless other parents before me I said, "Who do you think is going to clean this up for you?" He said, "Whoever wants to." Sigh.



Beau and Rosa's son Jose, or Junior, are watching the copy of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow that I rented yesterday. I never saw it when it was out and you'd think I would have rushed to see it, given the actors and the special affects, but somehow the trailers left me feeling cold.

This movie is undeniably, dazzlingly beautiful but at it's heart it's a bit formulaic and cold. I should have seen it before this though because it has so much to offer. I had boycotted it because I was being stupid. I love movies. I am madly, passionately in love with the art of filmmaking, but as much as I love digital animation and can appreciate CGI, I worry when anything drastic happens in film. I'm a big frightened baby when it comes to change and I don't want film makers to work actors against blue screens in order to save money on locations and for the thrill of the amazing special affects they can create when they work this way. As much as I love art, working entirely in blue screen is too much of a sacrifice, too much of a trade off.

Once we start drawing everything but the actors in a film, how far of a step is it until we're drawing all of the characters as well. I worry that we'll draw actors out of work and we all know there is little enough work for the number of artists wanting to work in this medium as it is. Conspiracy nutter that I am, I saw the future filled with computer drawn people and digital special affects with voice work outsourced to Canada or even generated by computers and I hung back and boycotted the film. I worry that actors, directors, casting directors, cinematographers, costume designers, editors, grips and best boys and girls -- all of us, will be consigned to the dust heap of cinema. Yeah, what about craft services. But sadly I can see that while some of this may be true, I was mistaken in having denied myself the experience of seeing this film, and in not supporting it. I think it's a beautiful sight to see, serious eye candy, and it's definitely my loss that I didn't get to see it on a big screen.

It's like a little boy's 1940's futuristic dream of marching flying robots, a world saving action adventure with a noirish love story thrown in.

There's a scene in the movie with Gwyneth Paltrow in a phone booth, and the super dark, almost black lipstick she was wearing reminded me of a story my Mother likes to tell: Back when TV was a brand new thing, there was a man who owned a big Cadillac dealership in downtown Los Angeles near the freeway. His name was Tommy Lee, at least that what she thinks it was, and he owned a radio station that he used to promote his car dealership. He was successful and wealthy, and before anyone had televisions in their homes he had this crazy idea that he could use TV to publicize his car business, so he bought a television station and would broadcast from his lot. He was desperate for content so he would put pretty much anyone and anything on that would keep him on the air.

At some point he got the idea that models in pretty dresses would be a good thing for his little station so he got Mom to come on down and be the MC for a fashion show of her clothes. She was young and pretty and the models looked good but she didn't have a clue what to do -- she was so shy. They put black lipstick on her and then they would push and pull her on and off camera -- someone standing just off to the side would grab her elbow just out of the shot and yank her off. That must have been so funny to see.

My Grandparents wanted to see her on TV, but no one owned one back then, so they went to the Brown Derby on Vine to watch her there, because they had a brand new TV in the bar. So there you have it, that's what I think of when I see black lipstick, not Halloween or Goth culture, but Mom being shoved on camera and yanked off, years and years ago. God, what I wouldn't give for a copy of that. Someday I'll write this into a film or include it in a story about her life, as long as no one reading it here steals it first eh? Hey, don't laugh, you'd be surprised how many producers troll journals and blogs for ideas, especially the dream journals. I've read conversations about this between writers on line. I once accidentally pitched a story to a producer in an elevator and it turned into a major film, same title and everything, I just know it developed out of that initial conversation.

Watching the movie I was reminded of this kind of telling comment that Donald Trump made in the issue of Vogue that has Melania in her hundred thousand dollar Dior wedding dress on the cover. While flying with Donald, Melania and Andre Leon Talley -- the editor of Vogue -- on Trump's private jet, the writer wrote this interesting little bit;

"Jude Law is nothing," Donald says about the man who just pipped him to the title of Sexiest Man Alive. He says with genuine bafflement, "I don't get it. He's got nothing." Everybody on the jet nods in agreement—in Melania's case, with a sparkle in her eye.


And last but not least...a rainy ornamental pear tree.
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