Still alive

Not a day goes by without legions of Pigs in a Barrel readers asking me when, when, I’m going to update my blog and once again offer my thoughts on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Mickey Mouse’s relevance in the 21st century, or any one of the many titillating topics I expounded on in order to fulfill a USC writing requirement.

Sorry to disappoint, but that won’t be happening today. I did, however, update my About Me section.

This blog once promised to be about “politics and other musings…or something like that.” As always, I was right to be ambiguous. Mentally strike “politics” from the banner, since I don’t know how to edit it and am still too fond of the graphic my friend Tim Shundo designed.

From now on, if I continue to write here, I will post “other musings…or something like that.”  Possible musings include self-serving announcements such as this one, or perhaps the occasional The Bachelor recap. That’s pretty much what I was doing already, but I’m officially acknowledging it now.

What are you waiting for? This page isn’t going to bookmark itself.

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Protected: Shidduch

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Quintessential: Pasta, Palace of Fine Arts, & One Gay

When my friend Anita and I first visited San Francisco together on our shared birthday, Dec. 6, we found the perfect word to describe the city: “Quintessential.”

I took some pictures with my phone’s dinky camera, but it’s not the same as seeing these things in person.

Every time I run by The Palace of Fine Arts, I can’t believe I could possibly live five minutes from something so beautiful. The first time I saw it last year, I knew immediately it’s where I want to get married. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Crissy Field is also part of the home turf. You can just make out the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. See the bench? I claim you, future reading spot.

I’m becoming much more independent. Por ejemplo: This Trader Joe’s lobster pasta is a direct result of my boiling water! I’m also sitting alone in my apartment and am only mildly fearful for my life. This is progress.

Look out...Julia Child. (Recalling her name just now was such a challenge.)

And, best for last: One Gay.

Only one? I seriously doubt that.

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The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books: Eggers’ Staggering Genius and Little Women’s Stupefying Acne

The publishing company Penguin Group reeled me in today at The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books with its “Buy two Penguin books, get a free Penguin tote bag” offer. By the time I realized I don’t need a tote bag, let alone one touting Penguin Group, I was already at their display with FREE emblazoned in my mind. Damn them, playing to Jewish stereotypes and succeeding.

I’m vain, and consequently, I judge books by their covers. (Just “Don’t Judge Books By Their Movies,” as one t-shirt on display in the booth smartly reminded.) Penguin is pushing classics with contemporary covers that are modern and hip. To see the latest batch of books to fall down the rabbit hole: http://shelf-life.ew.com/2010/02/23/penguin-gets-tatted-up-with-new-penguin-inks-series/

It’s a smart way to get younger readers to pick up an older book and older readers to pick up a newer version. (Pleased to read in Rolling Stone that Lea Michele from Glee has a Wuthering Heights collection.)  Wasn’t as pleased with the Little Women cover from 2007. I value special edition covers, but this cover misses the essence of the story’s romantic, old-fashioned tone.

More from the Festival: I was privileged to attend a panel featuring Dave Eggers, author of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. For that pretentious, meaningless, brilliant title alone, he has my respect. But more precisely, I am privileged to have a mother gutsy enough to bypass the standby line under the guise of needing to go inside to find a bathroom. Of course she went straight for the auditorium.

What I learned: Eggers, like me, deplores the growing trend toward putting everything on a screen. At the same time, he thinks this is the best time to be in publishing, because of what technology can do in terms of production value. Speaking of covers, check out the books Eggers self-publishes with his company McSweeney’s. They are fantastic.

You’d think I am an ill-disguised PR agent for Eggers. I’ll make just one more plug on his behalf. He created this great nonprofit called 826 Valencia that helps children develop writing skills. The kids’ stories are published; seeing their names in print legitimizes their writer status and gives them the sense that their words are important. I think this is such a worthwhile endeavor and would love to get involved at some point. I got one of the books at the 826 booth today for $5. It was autographed by the kids — too cute.

What Is Love?
By Anthony Vasquez

Girls like to kiss boys in the movies.

They like to watch movies together.

Then they go home to sleep.

In the morning they have

breakfast together.

Finally they get married.

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On Jefferson Project

I wrote a while back that my journalism class last semester was reporting on the surrounding USC community on Jefferson Boulevard. A summary from the site:

A team of reporters from the University of Southern California headed down Jefferson Blvd. in search of the stories that define the area. They quickly discovered that the everyday people of Jefferson bring the richness of character, meaning and vitality on the boulevard. It was the journalist’s hope that “On Jefferson Project” would provide just a glimpse into the story and heart of this great community.

To check it out: http://onjefferson.uscannenberg.org/home/

My sections:

Jefferson Historical Renovation

Jefferson Library

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“Special”

My short story “Special” is online!

http://angelingo.usc.edu/?p=1188

“Special” won second place at USC’s Undergraduate Writers’ Conference last April in the category of Creative Writing. The story is very close to my heart, so I hope you read and enjoy it.

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