Monday, January 04, 2021

Is Heckasac a SubStack now? Good idea? Bad idea?

The New Yorker had an article about SubStack. I subscribe to a couple SubStack newsletters, and I pay for at least one of them (not sure about the other, I subscribe to so many apps and services that I can't keep them straight). The article got me thinking maybe I could do a SubStack newsletter to roll into the second decade of Heckasac.

Here are the problems

1) not interactive. you can do comment threads but that's not the same. but I should admit that with the exception of the weird spam in the last post and Cody's very welcome comment, that Heckasac is largely not interactive either and 

2) the SubStack newsletters I get always feel like somewhat of a drag to read, like a chore or something. They are both food-related, and both good, but for some reason having them in my inbox on a schedule I don't control makes it feel more like a to-do read than a pleasure

So yeah, probably won't do it? We'll see. I love the idea that I started Heckasac because The New Yorker explained to me what blogs are and then I could move onto another platform for the same reason! It's still my main way to find out about many things.

I'm currently in 3 book clubs. One is a neighborhood one reading White Fragility. We had our first meeting I think it went ok. I've organized a previous, work-based book club for this same book but this iteration is my first time with a non-white person in the group. That makes the discussion just a little different because so much of that book is "white people, stop doing this shit" but I am thoroughly excited and engaged to have the convo with a non-white person as well, with also not wanting to put extra pressure on them as far as the group dynamics

My other book club is reading Luster by Raven Leilani. It's actually not a great book club book because it's compulsively readable and it's also short, so some of the group had read over half of the book before we even convened and now we are already done and we just started! Next time maybe we'll read Ulysses, ha.

This post is boring me so I won't go into the third book club, suffice to say that it's an attempt to keep up the only friendship I have made during quar.

Now that the holidays are over, my year stretches out as a featureless blob. I am looking forward to eating Dungeness crabs in the backyard with one friend soon. I have an April camping trip planned that hopefully can still happen, but bummer we probably won't be vaccinated by then.  Oh yeah, and inauguration day to get rid of the creep.

Friday, October 23, 2020


 I watched First Cow last night, the new-ish movie from Kelly Reichardt (Meek's Cutoff, Wendy and Lucy). Really enjoyed it. I was apprehensive when I saw Alia Shawkat in the first scene because I'm not a big fan, but without spoiling I will say it's a cameo. Orion Lee, who plays King Lu is an enormously appealing and charismatic actor. I looked him up and looks like he's done a lot of theater.

I had a thought while watching it and thinking about all the movies I've watched recently that were made by female directors: what if male directors aren't very good? I think this might secretly be the case and I'm putting this forth without any kind of developed argument. 

Wednesday, October 07, 2020

New phase of quar: same phase of quar

These days I mostly just watch The Vow and as of last night I started hate-watching We Are Who We Are but I don't think I can get through it. Also, Smiller and I finished the Sopranos. He had never seen the ending! I had only seen it once, close to when it was first on (I  think, my memory could be wrong). Brilliant! Best ending.

As far as the list of brilliant female directors, the one movie I've watched lately is Red Road. Intense! Has one of the craziest sex scenes ever. Then I found out the director, Andrea Arnold (pictured), directed American Honey and also the second season of Big Little Lies. I also saw her movie Fish Tank, I think I went to see it, so that was 11 years ago.

As far as quar. phases go, maybe the new phase is just settling in and not going through any truly new phases? I have the ingredients to start fermenting miso but keep forgetting to start it. I have a camping trip planned, but I'm fully expecting either fires or rain to interrupt it since everything I try to do with friends gets canceled.

I am getting even less social, my 2 bookclubs are the only things I do consistently (well it's really 3 bookclubs but one is for work so I don't count that as social). 

Wow, boring post!!

Wednesday, September 02, 2020

Brilliant underappreciated female directors

Hi to you if you are reading this, but these days I'm posting just for myself since it's not much of an interactive space. I was watching La Cienaga last night, as part of the Criterion "Bad Vacation" collection (I've watched almost all of them - may rewatch Haneke's "Funny Games" although it's one of his weaker movies), anyway, La Cienaga is brilliant and is directed by an Argentinian woman and I was thinking since I often forget director's names that I should start a list of brilliant female directors so that when I'm looking for a movie to watch I can browse theirs.

So: Lucrecia Martel. She has quite a few and La Cienaga is her first full-length. She seems to be quite acclaimed so not sure why I haven't heard of her.

The other day Mike C. texted me to ask if I had ever seen movies by Lynne Ramsay and I said no and then looked up her movies and I've seen most of them! I think I was a bit confused by Morvern Callar, but I liked We Need to Talk About Kevin and liked but didn't love You Were Never Really Here. I need to watch Ratcatcher! That seems like one maybe Smiller would watch.

Then there's Eliza Hittman, Here most recent (this year) is Never Rarely Sometimes Always is super gripping and important. Beach Rats I remember liking. I need to watch It Felt Like Love now.

Then there's one of my FAVES: Maren Ade. Towering talent there, but OF COURSE does not get the props she should of would if she was male. She's only made 3 movies in 17 years so I hope she makes more soon. She probably can't get funding cuz she's a woman.

Then there's Atlantics, which is on Netflix and I hope everyone has watched it!! It's very arresting, for the setting in Dakar as much as anything else. And I love the soundtrack and horror elements. Directed by Mati Diop, who also starred in a Claire Denis movie, so she's multitalented.

I need to watch Portrait of a Lady on Fire although I don't tend to like those type of period pieces, but that's directed by Celina Sciamma and I know people loved it.

I'll think of more and add!

Friday, August 28, 2020

Quar Phase Report

 It's now about two months since my last post. Dull, repetitive time flies! 

I deactivated my FB today. I hesitated on total delete due to photos, memories, etc. The final straw was looking at the Sac Antifa page about a protest I was planning to go to. I went home before dark, which was when the Antifa-organized one started. It was peaceful and inspiring.

Anyway, this Folsom bro (using his real name) was like "this is a great time to try out my Dodge whatever protester ramming truck". I flagged it as a violent threat. FB reviewed it and left it up. This along with articles coming out that FB refused to remove threats in advance of that kid killing the Kenosha protesters. 

It was a pretty easy choice given that I've wanted to do it for years, but I used to be afraid I would miss events. But without events.....

I will definitely miss Natalie's Mark Trail content.

Other quar stuff:

I make sourdough bread every week. It's tasty but ugly. I just bought a bread proofing basked and a lame (which is a knife you use to score the bread). I'm hoping the lame will help with the ugliness aspect. I have discovered that an overnight proof gives the best flavor. I'm not sure I'm using the term "proof" properly. I make bread, but I'm not a bread nerd. I don't read about it or anything, I just use the same recipe over and over, with slightly different mixes of flour.

My Elena Ferrante book club is going strong, one of the better quar. things I've done. We have finished book two. These books are mightily entertaining but don't linger in the mind. Not great for a book club because there's not a lot to discuss, but I enjoy the people in the group.

Still been doing a lot of writing, mostly for the Bee. Have another thing lined up for Sacramento Mag. 

I am stalled on my secret political activism project because work has been intense. It's too boring to go into, but it leaves me no time during the day for little projects, and then when I'm done I don't want to stay on my computer.

But politically, I've been donating more, I have a diversity book club at work, I just did my first protest in a while as I mentioned. 

PS Trump is going to win prepare yourself.

Criterion "bad vacation" collection is giving me life right now! Love it.

Thursday, July 02, 2020

state of the Heckasac

What the world really doesn't need right now is....a new Heckasac post! But yet here it is.

"Quar" as I mostly call lockdown, shelter-in-place, what have you has so many different phases, right? It's always changing, yet always flat and dull. I won't say boring, because I have Criterion channel, a sourdough starter (thanks EL), a fun husband, and a lifetime of books, so I'm not "bored' but life is just flat and kinda drab.

I won't go through all the phases (a few: joking about gaining quar. weight, flour shortage/baking, backlash against joking about gaining weight) ok of course it's me so I would list the food ones.

Here's the phase I'm in now:

1 book club started (reading My Brilliant Friend), waiting for my books about racism to come in so I can start 2 more. Of the two I am looking to start, one is with friends (The New Jim Crow) and one is at work (re-reading White Fragility), since my work needs it!

Making sourdough on the regular. Ok, twice, but the second time the flavor was on point.

Starting a secret political activism project, not ready to share yet, hope I can keep up momentum on it

Bought a Dyson (one of the cheaper ones)

Running 4 times a week (3 miles each) and doing yoga or barre in my bedroom the other days

Still can't get a handle on my chaotic movie watching, which is upsetting to me. I want to find a way to stick to a theme, it's just to all over the place. Watching I Will Destroy You and tripping on it, on Season 6 of The Sopranos with Smiller and loving it more than ever. It will be a trip when we finally finish the show, it's going to feel like really turning a quar corner

Thinking about food writing a lot. I have made many mistakes and I'm learning. The latest thing is Peter Meehan stepping down at LA Times yesterday. I truly never got him. I always think about being so annoyed at how macho the first Lucky Peach was that I threw it away, and then people I knew later were able to sell their copy for a hundred bucks.

This year I've been doing more writing than ever, thanks mostly to a good editor hookup at The Bee. Writing about The Last Supper Society is one of the most rewarding things I've written in my career as far as feedback, so that's going well. With no social life, writing deadlines don't bring on dread like they used to, so I enjoy writing more. Plus, now I do The Cook In every Friday and that's been really fun and delicious.

With no 'rona, I would have been heading to Tampa for work soon, and then from there I was going to fly to Havana. If Cuba didn't work out I was going to go to Miama and the Keys. Those were my last travel plans for the year, besides a vague plan to go to Malaysia by myself in the fall. The lack of travel plans is the major contributor to the flatness of life for me.

So that's the state of Heckasac on July 2nd.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

comedy article

I wrote a thing for the Bee on local comedy doin's

I think I've already written more this year than I did all of last year. It's so different taking on deadlines now because there's no social life for them to conflict with. It makes the writing more enjoyable.