Jul 13

Sofia Coppola and a new movie mafia

I went to see The Bling Ring last night. The theater I went to sells Perrier at the refreshment stand, which would not be otherwise notable if it weren’t the high point of my viewing experience.

The movie is not really worth watching. With that said, I’ll go see anything with Emma Watson in it. And I happen to like Sofia Coppola, too.

Not for her movies. Which have all pretty much been not worth watching. But for her.

In the opening credits, I saw that Francis Ford Coppola was listed. I knew then, already, that it was a mistake to have enlisted his help.

Sofia Coppola has a lot to live up to with her family name. But I think she would have been better off going about it in a non-Coppola way. Not to say she shouldn’t be making movies; just that she would do well to live up to any name, even if it isn’t the Coppola one.

In any case, it’s clear that all of the girls in the movie had a really fun time filming. They all have nice things to say about working with Sofia Coppola. So it doesn’t really matter that the movie was mostly a flop, because a new movie mafia is being formed. Just like Wes Anderson, with Owen Wilson, Jason Schwartzman, and Bill Murray. It matters less about the final product and more about the bonds being forged.

I’m sure this cast and crew will continue to find ways to work together again, and eventually, something good will come out of it. That, I’m sure of.

Nov 10

We Are All True to Form

Hi y’all. Go follow me on Twitter (@melissa) where I post a lot more often.

Penelope emailed me earlier:

“you have @melissa on twitter? that’s really cool.”

One minute later, she emails again:

“you are good at twitter. i have never read your feed before.

but it’s good. fun. and smart.”

You heard it from the source, first.

I have linked to Penelope exactly twice (Being A Digital Native and Human Moments) in the two years that I’ve known her. She has linked to me only once before. So, now we’re even.

This is shocking, because depending on the varying levels of our individual (in)sanity, we probably talk somewhere between eight and forty-two times a day — or night, in my case, now that I live on the other side of the world.

I once had to change my cell phone plan in order to account for all of the extra minutes I was using to call her, all day, all the time. (You already know why she can’t call me. Her phone is always out of battery, misplaced, or legitimately lost.)

Penelope instant messaged me about three minutes before she wanted the post to go up. At 4:27AM in Hong Kong:

Penelope: are you awake?

me: hi

Penelope: i have a post with you in it. i’m sending it to you. you can add keywords

me: i do this [CRAZY INSANE REDACTED THING] that you do too!!

Penelope: i need to post now. so look now, please. i hope you like it.

me: yes of course i will read it right away

Penelope: i love that i’m writing about posting on my blog and you’re writing about [REDACTED].

Penelope: the two of us make me laugh

Penelope: we are absurd

Then she abruptly signed off. And that pretty much sums up our relationship.

Which, in case there is any doubt, is actually an incredible and inspiring friendship, one that I value so highly that I don’t know how I ever lived without it.

In her post, she wrote that I’m God’s gift to “whatever [I] want to rank high in SEO for.” And she wrote that because it’s true. What I want to rank highly in, whether it be for SEO or for life, the universe, and everything, changes on a daily basis. Sometimes hourly.

In increments smaller than that, I wouldn’t know, since Penelope dictates how many messages, emails, or texts I can send her, and within them, how many words, characters, and bullet points I can use.

Penelope: at first i was like, hey, i don’t do that! but it’s true. i do.

So, here I am. And here it is — short and sweet — and posted now.

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Jul 10

Dressed Up

In New York City, my starting salary was so low, that after rent, bills, and taxes (federal, state, city), I only had about $500 a month to live on. That’s not much, when you consider a box of no-name knock-off cereal costs $7.99 on the island

Fortunately, the job in NYC did not require much of a wardrobe change; just a little sharper than college, with heels all the time. That wasn’t a problem, since I’d already amassed a vast collection of shoes.

I shopped exclusively at Forever 21, and occasionally, very rarely, at H&M, because I thought it to be a bit pricey. Never at Zara, because everything seemed truly expensive to me. Still, I lived and dressed within my means, and I was always quite stylish by the standards in my industry.

At one point, in my second job in Manhattan, I documented my outfits every day for about two months, making it a point to never wear the same clothes twice. It was a fun experiment in narcissism; though, you would be surprised at how pumped up you are for work when you spend all that time fussing over yourself.

The following year, when I moved to San Francisco, it felt painfully like reversion. “Dressed up” meant flip-flops and hoodies. I felt like a scrub, as if I’d gone back to college, or worse, as if I were living at home again. I even couldn’t wear heels, because of the CLICK-CLICK-CLACK they made on the wooden floor of our uber cool exposed brick loft office in SoMa.

Especially as the only girl in office of eleven mid-twenties boymen, it just drew too much attention every time I moved from my desk. As a result, in retrospect, it seemed harder to take my job seriously, when I didn’t take myself seriously enough to get “dressed up.”

Starting my job in Hong Kong was a big shock. From where I stand, it seems that the real reason people in finance get paid the big bucks is primarily so that they can afford clothes to wear to work with people who get paid the big(ger) bucks.

Of course, in finance, there were no jeans or shorts or hats or t-shirts or hoodies or flats. Nothing cotton what-so-ever. Even the stuff I owned that I fancied to be fancy wasn’t dressy enough to make the cut. It’s all suits and skirts and stockings, in shiny and smooth fabrics, the stodgier, the stuffier, the better.

Initially, I found it terribly hard to keep up. At the beginning, I spent thousands of dollars in vain (that I didn’t have after the expenses of moving to the other side of the world) because I was desperate to feel like I fit in. Not to mention the additional cost of tailoring, because apparently, even the clothes in Asia aren’t small enough for mini-me.

My solution, my savior, has been silk. I go to open market to buy the fabric, make my own designs or copy simple designs, and take it all to my tailor. Total cost for each piece ranges from USD$50-100. Very reasonable for completely custom clothing for which I’m constantly complimented.

This is me doing more with less.

And winning at it.


Jun 10

Poetry Outloud

First and foremostly, I’m a geek. No, seriously. You can tell because I’m the only one reading from my iPhone, and not a piece of paper or memory.

Secondly, I’m a writer, not a poet. So, forgive me, if I suck. I’m new, I’m learning, learning to appreciate.

In college, the way I felt about poetry was similar to way my boyfriend currently feels about my deep obsession with The New Yorker magazine.

“What is it saying?” he gripes. “It’s not news, honey,” I pleadingly interject, “It’s just commentary. About news. Sometimes.” He scoffs at this. “But where are the facts!?”

Since I struggle with this in poetry, I’m going to offer an explanation about my poem before I read it. I hope you don’t mind. It’s about how I imagined it would feel to have Alzheimer’s.

Finally, a disclaimer: I am a writer by day, and a poet only by nightmare. I wrote this one in the middle of the night, after a particularly bad dream, and was surprised to find it blinking at me, as I blinked back at the computer screen in the morning after.


Apr 10


I had another bad dream last night. Not that this is unusual, in fact, it’s more the norm than the exception. Another notorious nightmare. But maybe, maybe, if I start writing them down, they’ll go away? Lessen, at least? Spare me the sadness and the strife, the tears in the darkness between sleep and wake.

I was in a street market, covered by a big white tarp, partitioned off by wares. I was going through a section I hated, because it was the animal section, and they were not kind to animals there.

As I walk through with my head down, I see a beautiful bird, white with colorful wings, out of the corner of my eye. It is flapping its wings, beak outstretched towards the sky, but he can’t fly. His feet are tied up, at the bottom of a big, glass fishbowl, filled with water. He’s not struggling for flight, he’s struggling for life.

There is a man who is in charge of this sick spectacle, and two women watch on in untroubled fascination and breathless excitement. One women wears a bright yellow kaftan, and a matching shawl pulled over her head and face. The other women is blonde and bouncy, filming with her bright and shiny iPhone.

The man brags: “These birds can hold their breath under water for two to three minutes.” And the women ooohh and aaahh, as the bird struggles more strongly, its desperation magnified by the water and distorted by the thick round bowl.

And then the bird drowns to death, weightless in its final flight, its final fight. The women clap, and the man nods emphatically, exuding pride while attempting to project humility.

I come crashing down, crying at the cruelty, can’t stand up to the crushing weight of caustic nature in the world, slowly sensing something inside of me, fly and die, too.


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