Oprah, Can I Have a Car?

Busy weekend at the Independent Film Festival, between volunteering and watching films. I saw four interesting documentaries.

One was about Sasha Shulgin, a brilliant chemist who re-discovered the compound for the drug Ecstasy in the ’60s. He liked to experiment with psychedelic drugs, in a scientific sense. He thought that these types of drugs could be used in therapy, for psychological purposes. There is currently a whole movement of people working with the FDA and other agencies to try to enable psychiatrists to prescribe such drugs. It was fascinating.

I saw two music documentaries about two of my favorite groups/musicians….amazing! One was about the Magnetic Fields, and the other was about Elliott Smith. It was so cool to see how and where these musicians work(ed), and learn about their relationships with family and friends. The Elliott Smith one had a somber undertone, because he committed suicide in 2003. It is an emotionally charged situation because his girlfriend was with him at the time, and some people accuse her of killing him. The case is still open, but no one has come forward with any incriminating evidence against her.

I also saw a documentary about the scene in Denver as the city prepared to host the DNC in 2008. There were interesting angles covered: protesters, journalists, and the mayor’s office.

Tomorrow is closing night of the festival. A documentary about Saturday Night Live was scheduled. The fest found out yesterday that they wouldn’t be able to screen it! #($#)$*@(! Amazingly, they got their hands on Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s latest film (he is the genius behind Amelie).

OK, so where the hell does Oprah come in? Well, on a totally unrelated note, I won tickets to see a special Oprah show in NYC next Friday. I have been trying to get tickets to her show off and on for YEARS. And yesterday, I got them. I think most people either love Oprah or hate/dislike her. Me, I like her. I’m not a disciple, but I think she does a lot of good for people. Or at least tries. I subscribe to her magazine and find some thoughtful articles. Her motto is Live Your Best Life…that’s a solid motto.

So I have no idea who is coming with me yet, where we will stay, or how we will get there. But we will get there! At 8:30 am next Friday! I don’t need a car, Oprah…but a free book might be nice?

Happy Earth Day

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” —Margaret Mead

It’s the 40th anniversary of Earth Day…what will you pledge to do to make your life a little greener?

I am going to buy as much organic food as I can. And I am going to try to remember to bring reusable bags with me when I shop. I have at least 4 of them, but I always forget to bring them with me to the store.

Yesterday was John Muir’s birthday. He is the founder of the Sierra Club and basically the father of the national park system/conservationism in general. He was a fascinating man…born in Scotland and then spent almost 50 years in California. Read about him here.

Mussels and Harpoon

Had a lovely weekend in Vermont with Daisy and Az. We ate great food, drank good coffee, and most importantly, drank great beer. I checked two things off my birthday list. I tried a food I have never eaten. Mussels. I never thought I would live to see the day when I ate a mussel. I think it helped that I had a pint of beer in me when making the decision. I enjoyed the taste…but am not sure if the taste is worth digging the weird thing out of the shell. That’s just my hang-up. But I am very glad I tried them!

Dais and I drove up to Windsor, VT, home of the satellite Harpoon brewery. We had our own private brewery tour, with two tour guides. We tried the 100 Barrel Series Oyster Stout, which didn’t taste oyster-y at all. I tried the white UFO and liked it. And the Imperial Red. The brewery has a restaurant/bar attached, which was cool. The fries were delish. It must be a fun place to visit in the summertime because it has a big patio.

Dais and Az are planting a garden in their front yard, which has gotten me excited for the farmers’ market season.

So I have ten more items to complete. Actually, eight…since I am doing two things on May 31. Going to Provincetown and going on a whale watch.

Harpoon Brewery, VT

Cheese, Gromit

What a crazy week it’s been. Am heading to visit my friend Daisy in the glorious land of cheese, beer, and green hills. Hope everyone has a good weekend.

Next week will be even crazier, because I am helping out with the amazing, stupendous IFFBoston. This is my seventh year of volunteering. The festival is completely volunteer-run. The people who run it are some of the nicest and most fun people I have ever met.

Lots of great documentaries this year! April 21–28, Boston people.

I Patted David Sedaris’s Hand

I patted David Sedaris’s hand tonight. It may have been a combination pat/pet…I can’t recall for sure. I am slightly mortified. Why did I do that!

I saw him speak tonight. This is the fourth or fifth time I’ve been to one of his talks. He always signs books afterward, and the line is always incredibly long. So I have always skipped the signing part. But tonight, I stuck it out. My friend Carrie went to the talk with me. She had written a letter to David a few years ago, and he wrote her back. She wanted to show him the letter. Unfortunately, she couldn’t stay to wait in line. I felt it was a mission to get to him to show him the letter. Also, I kind of told myself that meeting him could be a birthday list item.

So. I waited in line for almost an hour and a half. As I got closer, I realized that it was taking so long because he was chatting with people. He was asking the fans questions! As if they were chatting over cocktails. I decided I could talk to him about London, because I gleaned that he had moved there, from Paris. I tend to get tongue-tied when meeting authors so I was glad to have something to talk about.

We talked about London a bit…then I showed him Carrie’s letter. He said that he writes back to everyone, unless the person is crazy. And he said that people write him letters asking him for free stuff all the time. I was surprised by that.

He was so endearing and laidback…I wanted to give him a hug or something. Out of nowhere, came the hand pat. Why didn’t I shake his hand? Why the grandmother hand pat. He just smiled and squinted his eyes…I hope I didn’t creep him out.

Sigh. Oh well. After I left, I looked at what he wrote in my book. This is why I love him. He wrote—

“To Nancy. I’m so happy you’re alive.”