The deterioration of handwriting

Perhaps this is a problem which effects only me, but recently I have noticed that my handwriting is, to put it bluntly, almost illegible. I blame this problem on myself, of course, and on my reliance on computers.
A couple of months ago, I vowed to retrieve my pens, buy some paper, and put these writing tools to more frequent use. I have indeed begun to write with a pen more often, only to find that my handwriting has become quite appalling. I am wondering if other people have experienced this problem, or have perhaps given up on writing with pen and paper altogether.
(For those of you who do not know, a pen is a writing implement filled with ink; it was quite the popular writing tool during the last century.)

Berkeley Public Library

Here is a shot of Berkeley Public Library's main branch on Kitteridge Street in Berkeley, California. There is even a small used-book store inside where I was able to buy two books I've been wanting to add to my collection; I snagged these for fifty cents each. Among the books I checked out were two novels by Sharan Newman, a lesser-known but very good mystery writer.

The Kitchen God's Wife by Amy Tan

I have just read The Kitchen God's Wife by Amy Tan. It is a novel about inner strength, perseverance in overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles, shame, truth, fear, and new beginnings. It is a beautifully written book.

The return of Scripter...

Hello, I have been busy moving across the country for the past several weeks, and now I am getting back to my writing. I have actually moved to the San Francisco area (the fulfillment of a dream for some time), and have started another blog to chronicle my adventures here. It is called SF Bay Expressions, and contains photos of various things - landscapes, happenings, cultural events, etc. - which I am encountering as I explore the area.

During my journey, I tried not to, but inevitably could not help but ocassionally think of John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, as I was moving across the country to California. The last time I read this book, I was in high school, and though that was long ago, there are certain images and notions burned into my brain because of this novel. Throughout my school years, I had to read quite a few of Steinbeck's books. It started with The Red Pony, which I despised because of the misleading title. The next was The Pearl, then Of Mice and Men, and finally The Grapes of Wrath. Whenever my plans go awry, I think of Steinbeck and the bitter twist with which his stories ended.

During my journey, I re-read Marley and Me by John Grogan. This is a very upbeat story. The first time I read it, it really lifted my spirits and put me in a very good mood (not because of the ending of course). If you have ever owned a dog that was less than perfect, you really must read this book. I love Grogan's writing as well; it is so descriptive and engaging.

I have also recently started reading The Kitchen God's Wife by Amy Tan. It is fast becoming my second favorite Tan book, with The Joy Luck Club being my favorite. What have you been reading recently?

Yet there are still so many books that I want and need...

When I was packing up all of my belongings, about half of which consist of books, I thought how much easier, less expensive, and lighter my move would have been if I had an e-book device like the Kindle, instead of real books. Instead of several hundred pounds worth of baggage, I would have only one little electronic gadget to take with me. The Kindle has thus gained one advantage point over real books in my mind. (See earlier post for more thorough discussion of e-books verus traditional paper books.)

New Review: Flawless on DVD

Read my review of Magnolia Pictures' Flawless, just released on DVD. Demi Moore is glamorous and crafty when she teams up with Michael Caine to try to outwit the largest diamond conglomerate in London.

Now reading...

I am on the verge of moving across the country and have purchased two books to keep me company on my trip - The Kitchen God's Wife by Amy Tan, and The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho.
I have been wanting to read The Kitchen God's Wife since I finished The Joy Luck Club. I love Amy Tan's writing; I always become very involved in what is going on in her novels, so they are perfect for reading when you need to de-stress and distract yourself from hectic experiences such as relocating.
Paulo Coelho is also one of my favorite authors; I was originally planning to purchase Brida, but instead chose The Pilgrimage, as I thought this might be more appropriate for my journey and embarkment on a new life.

Movie Reviews

I have just become a writer for The Movie Space! Check out my review of Magnolia Pictures' Ira & Abby, an entertaining romantic comedy starring Jennifer Westfeldt and Chris Messina.

Spotlight on TV: Alice Kramden (The Honeymooners)

Growing up, I had favorite TV shows that I would watch every night. One of those programs was The Honeymooners (in reruns) on WPIX. Though I may not have been conscious of it at the time, I now realize that there was one character on the show who stood out as a positive role model for women of her generation.
The Honeymooners was a situation comedy that aired in the mid 1950's. It revolved around the lives of a New York City bus driver (Ralph Kramden, played by Jackie Gleason) and his wife (Alice Kramden, played by Audrey Meadows). They lived in a small apartment in Brooklyn, and would most often just scrape by financially.
Alice was a strong female character who spoke her mind and challenged her husband, and argued with him about who was "head of the household." At a time when other "TV wives" were drifting around in pearls and staying in their traditional roles as the behind the scenes, have-it-all-together homemaker, Alice represented a more realistic and progressive woman, one who was not content to stay quiet and to do as her husband said without questioning it, and one whose mission in life was not solely to keep the house looking perfect and the husband happy.
Alice spoke her mind with regard to finances and business decisions, and expressed her unhappiness with her abode at times; whenever Ralph had a get-rich-quick idea, Alice was sure to shoot it down with practicality. But also, she was always there in the end to forgive him and help put their lives back in arrears when things did not go as planned. Alice did not need rescuing; in fact, it was often she who came to Ralph's rescue.
Obviously, this show aired before the cultural revolution of the 1960's; for this reason, I think Alice Kramden's character could be seen as something of a brave trend-setter.
What television shows/movies have you seen, or what books have you read, that have featured characters who were ahead of their time, or who acted outside of their traditional societal roles?

Bad Movie Review: Hollywood Homicide kills my evening...

Tonight, I was flipping through the stations on TV, and caught a glimpse of a Harrison Ford movie. I did not know what it was, but since Harrison Ford was starring in it, I thought, well, there is probably some merit to it....
An hour and a half later, I sit on my couch, shocked that Ford would choose to act in such a lame movie, shocked further still, that I have continued to watch it, like the scene of a bad car accident that one cannot turn away from (which is actually in the movie). Here is my interpretation: Ford plays a LAPD cop who moonlights as a real estate agent. Or, rather than moonlighting, he seems to conduct his real estate duties alternately during his police shift. His partner, Josh Hartnett, moonlights as a yoga instructor, but is also an aspiring actor who rehearses his lines while on duty. The dialogue is peppered with lines that I can only guess are supposed to be funny, but are actually trite and unoriginal.
During the "chase scene" which dominates the last thirty minutes or so of the movie, Ford is actually on his cell phone trying to broker a high-end real estate deal between two clients, and continues to take calls while shooting at suspects. After Ford crashes the car during the chase, Hartnett commendeers an SUV with a family still inside of it, and tells the children horror stories as he drives. Later, the chase continues on foot, and Ford ends up in a subway station in pursuit of the criminals. This is odd, because I do not think Los Angeles even has subways?!! In any case, they end up catching the criminals and Ford closes his real estate deal.
The movie wraps up with a scene from a play that Hartnett is starring in (A Streetcar Named Desire). During the play, both Hartnett and Ford (who is attending the play) get calls from the LAPD and off they go.
Have you seen this movie? If so, why did you watch it?;)
Has there been a movie that you have watched simply because it starred an actor you favored, only to leave you feeling disappointed?

The unused pen...

I miss writing, and I am not referring to creating stories, articles, or other written works. I mean that I miss writing with a real pen; I miss putting words down on a real piece of paper and seeing what I've written right there in front of me in blue (my preferred choice of ink color). For me, writing with a pen is more natural than typing on a keyboard.
When I was young, I did not even use computers; in the mid-1980's, computers were a luxury that neither my family nor my school owned. Therefore, I would write all of my stories and lists and articles in a looseleaf binder or on a legal pad or in a notebook. My father worked for a printing company and would bring home extra supplies, so paper was never in short order at our house. We had pads of lined and unlined paper, piles of steno books, binders and looseleaf, all kept in a little cabinet in the basement. I can remember the types of paper I used to write my first stories. One story was about a family that found a little dog while en route to Alaska; it was written on fourteen tiny lined pages in a binder that could not have been more than six inches tall.
I kept a typewriter in the basement on a small table; this was where I would transfer my writings into a legible form. When I was nine years old, I started a community newspaper called the New Dorp Action. It was based on the happenings in my neighborhood. It included comics, recipes, contests, and reports of any gossip on my block. I was the managing editor, publisher, and head staff writer. A friend who lived next door was also a staff writer. I think I peaked at nine.
In any case, I've never become a very fast typer. Even through college and into adulthood, I would physically write everything down on paper, and then type it up on the computer. However, in the past couple of years, I've begun to write directly on the computer; it's less time-consuming and it's easier for editing purposes. Also, I don't end up with a heap of hand-written thoughts and stories that I claim I will type up later.
Lately, I've started to miss physically writing on paper. There is something about a pen and paper that, for me, lends itself to better writing. Maybe it is eccentricity. In any case, as of today, I am digging up all of my pens out of desk drawers and bags, and putting them back to work.