I finally made it to the 626 Night Market in Arcadia tonight. Kenn and I made it when we still had some sun left and although it was hot, it was perfect for the ice cream we got. It wasn’t as crowded as I was warned it would be, but there were still a lot of people and I’m sure as the night went on, more people came in. I also didn’t realize how popular takoyaki was becoming because those stalls always had the longest lines.
Even though I wanted to try everything, I knew I could only eat a few things before my stomach gave up. I made sure to get my ice cream in first because ice cream is love. I also tried the Kobe beef yakisoba and and a meh Thai milk tea. We explored the other stalls and the Art Walk before heading out.
Labor Day Weekend is the last one of the season, so if you haven’t gone already, I suggest you do!
I just spent a harrowing seven hours at the airport due to a weird system outage at Oakland Airport. I should have known something was wrong when I stepped through the sliding glass doors and saw dozens and dozens of people queuing at the Southwest kiosks. I mean, nowadays, everyone uses mobile boarding passes, right?
So I get through security fine, but then find out that my flight has been delayed ten minutes. Okay, not bad. I caught up on some emails at the gate. Twenty minutes later, I find out my flight’s been delayed an hour. Okay, still not too bad. I’ll land in Los Angeles before dinner.
By this time, I’ve heard countless announcements about the Southwest computer and phone systems being down. Not unusual, stuff happens. Then, someone makes an announcement that everyone with mobile boarding passes should immediately see an agent to switch out to a paper one. I do that, no problem.
Our plane lands, passengers deboard. Gate agents make the announcement to start lining up for our flight out to Burbank. We do. Then, the horrible announcement happens: the flight is canceled.
And just like that, there are a hundred of us stranded, wandering the gate area like lost sheep. There’s a plane leaving right now but only A-listers will get those spots. I sigh and shake my head.
Here’s the good news: I made it onto another flight that was departing in the next twenty minutes. I got extremely lucky. I landed in LAX at 6 o’clock and made it back home to the Valley around 7:30.
So here’s what to do if the airline cancels your flight (or at least what worked for me):
Immediately get on the phone with customer service. Everyone bolted to get in line for the desks. Don’t get me wrong — you should too. However, the gate agents were only servicing A-list passengers at that time. So get in line but be on the phone with the airline’s customer service as well. Double your chances of being helped.
Explain the situation, but don’t complain or use profanity. My flight’s cancellation was in no way Southwest’s fault. Their systems have been down all day and they were backed up with delays as it was. As calmly as possible, explain what has happened with your reservation, then ask to either rebook onto a later flight or to get a refund.
Listen to other representatives as they make announcements; act quickly. I got super lucky because another Southwest representative came by as I was in line and on the phone. He explained that those of us who were okay with landing at another airport should follow him immediately, but he could only take six. Because I knew the gate agents were only servicing A-listers at that moment, I was the second person to follow him to another gate where he printed new boarding passes for a flight that was leaving in twenty minutes to LAX.
Twitter, Twitter, Twitter! As I waited to board the flight to LAX, I finally got through to customer service on the phone. The lady told me since I had been rebooked onto another flight, there was nothing else she could do for me. I hung up, got on Twitter right away, and tweeted at the airline. Surprise! I got an reply back almost immediately. Ten minutes waiting in line, almost thirty minutes on the phone, but a few minutes on Twitter and I got everything squared away. Although they weren’t able to refund me because I was rerouted to LAX, they sent me a travel voucher for my next flight with Southwest. Just with one simple tweet, I was able to get a lot more out of it than I did with the other two methods.
If all else fails, book a hotel for the night, clear your head, and make new plans. The airline should be pretty accommodating with this. Of course, there’s a certain level of stress everyone is feeling in these kinds of situations, but if you’re polite and understanding, it seems to work out for both parties involved. Sometimes, it really isn’t the airline’s fault that the flight got canceled. Either way, make sure to look up your rights as a passenger, which should be available online for every major airline.
Lastly, remember to make the appropriate arrangements for transportation once you land, picking up checked baggage, etc. Although we can’t always prepare for every circumstance, it helps to have a backup plan or two when traveling.
Last Wednesday night, Tim and I left a sweltering LA and headed up north to San Francisco, which was only slightly sweltering. We got into the Bay at 2 am then got up early Thursday morning to hit the city.
We took the ferry across the Bay to SF, where tourists were already out and about in Fisherman’s Wharf. We immediately headed to the Golden Gate Bridge where we got magnificent views along the water. It was incredibly windy that day and all the effort that went into hair styling that morning went to waste.
After the bridge, we went to the Walt Disney Family Museum in the Presidio and spent about an hour inside. There were so many little kids on a field trip. They all ran around and chanted for Mickey Mouse. At first it was cute, then it got annoying really quickly…
After a quick lunch at a barbecue joint, Tim and I visited the Painted Ladies, the actual Full House house, and the Mrs. Doubtfire house. Tim wanted to walk through the streets of SF, so we definitely burned off the lunch pretty fast.
After the Mrs. Doubtfire house, we took a Lyft into Chinatown where we mingled with the locals and also got some boba. There were so many trinket shops that sold the same exact items as their neighbors, and it was entertaining watching people haggle over prices.
Union Square was next where we finally got to rest for a bit. We then wandered around the area and shopped before hitting up Beard Papa for those amazing cream puffs. The last event of the night was the SF Dungeon with its new Escape from Alcatraz Drop Ride. I got picked as a participate for the first leg of the attraction where I had to spin the wheel that would determine the fate of our tour group. Tim had a good laugh at that, as it seems I’m always picked for stuff like this, ugh.
The next day, we slept in (which still means only like 9 am) and then went to the USS Hornet on the Alameda base. Funny enough, a family that was in our group at the SF Dungeon was also in our tour group for the Hornet, and we all remembered each other. The docents who led the tours served on sister ships in Vietnam so they were all super knowledgable about it.
That night, Tim, Angela, Tom, and I went out to the Castro where we hit up a club and even had a great conversation with the owner of a clothing store. It was a ratchet night but we all made it back okay around 2 am.
On the last day, Tim and I visited the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose and we were thoroughly creeped out. We did an extended tour that took us to parts of the house that are not open to the rest of the public and I definitely got the heebie-jeebies during it.
After the Winchester tour, we headed onto the highway and straight back to LA. Exhausted, I napped when I got home. It was a fun three days in the Bay and the trip was a good break from the routine of LA.
Well, it happened: I made it to the end of the program and to the end of the year! The year zipped by so fast; I feel like we just started. Where did the year go?
This was definitely a great experience and I’m so glad I did it. I’ve only heard nothing but good things about the program and now I can finally attest to that. The Monday night lectures were fun and enlightening. As someone new to this world, they were the perfect gateway into the reality of writing in LA. We had an impressive list of guest speakers, from Damon Lindelof to Meg LeFauve and Phyllis Nagy to name just a few. The Tuesday night workshops have strengthened both my writing and my passion for writing. And honestly, the workshop alone is worth it: having ten different pairs of eyes on your work every week is priceless. We also got to expose our work in a supportive environment, were allowed to fail (and trust me, I needed that safety net). The classmates and professors I had in the workshops were easily the highlight of the program for me and I will miss them so much.
During the year, I had my share of mini-crises where I told all my friends and family I didn’t know why I’m here trying to do this. Since there is no one right path for writers, the uncertainty of it all scared the shit out of me. I was in class Tuesday night on November 8 and all I remember is checking my phone every two seconds and being in a state of anxiety all night. Our class had our ups and downs, our struggles and triumphs, and I’m proud to say we all supported one another, made it easy to lean on each other. The biggest thing I took from the program is to work hard and develop a strong sense of discipline, not be afraid to follow your dreams, and don’t be an asshole. I’ll try my best on that last one.
We had the certificate ceremony last night where we all came together for the last time to celebrate our achievements. I’m extremely grateful to my classmates for all the great feedback and notes every week. They were there from Day 1 when we were just developing our ideas, so I’m 100% positive I wouldn’t have finished two scripts, let alone one, without them. I’m also thankful for the professors I had in the program, Marc and John. This was my first screenwriting class ever, and to have their support and guidance meant everything to me. I will miss everyone without a doubt; it feels bittersweet to be done and it feels weird to know I don’t have to drive to class next Monday. But for now, it’s time to keep writing and moving forward. And at least I don’t have to pay another $140 for a parking permit every quarter.
Well, the moment we’ve all been waiting for has finally arrived: Wonder Woman is here! And it’s already a huge success. Because we were excited beyond words for this movie (along with the rest of the world), Tim, Kayla, and I went to the midnight premiere in Burbank.
I won’t get too much into the actual plot of the film because many of you have yet to see it. However, I can confidently say that while formulaic (I mean, it still is a superhero movie), it’s better than 99% of films in its genre. (If you haven’t yet, go see Logan!) Yes, the storyline is predictable, the dialogue can be cheesy at times, and the showdowns felt forced, but you know what? It passes the Bechdel test in the very first scene. And holy mama, those action sequences! Bravo, Patty Jenkins, bravo. They were, without a doubt, the best actions scenes I’ve ever seen in a superhero film.
A brief aside about my favorite part of any DCEU film: Wonder Woman’s theme is epic and, simply put, incredible. Just as we immediately recognize John Williams’ Superman tune and Danny Elfman’s Batman one, this cello-based melody will for sure go down as one of the greatest of all time (and the one redeeming quality of Batman v Superman). As for the rest of the Wonder Woman soundtrack, we should all just bow down to Rupert Gregson-Williams right now. DCEU superhero themes never disappoint and in my opinion, they blow Marvel’s out of the water.
This film will mean a lot to people in the coming days, especially women like me who have grown up surrounded by a sickeningly large number of male superheroes. To see a woman finally be able to save the day hits a nerve for many of us. Although beautiful, Diana is also strong, vulnerable, tender, and emotional; essentially, she’s a realistic depiction of a woman, one that’s definitely been lacking in this genre for decades. This is made possible by the brilliant decision to hire Patty Jenkins as the captain of this ship. Although the Amazons wear skirts into battle, I don’t get the feeling they’re being objectified. Instead, they come across as bad-ass and powerful. Compare this to male-directed films with female leads, like Alien or Mad Max: Fury Road. Although these women are strong too, there are moments where it’s obvious they were crafted from a man’s perspective, like when the wives are hosing each other off in their underwear in Fury Road.
No, Wonder Woman is not a perfect movie. For example, I think Chris Pine took up too much screen time for a love interest, definitely way more than any female love interests, that’s for sure. And Etta Candy was grossly underutilized! But the Deadline commenter above is a perfect example of why this film isn’t “just a movie” for women. In fact, it goes far beyond it. It’s what happens after the credits start rolling (and in this case, before the film even comes out).
Wonder Woman isn’t the first female-led superhero movie (lol remember Catwoman and Elektra?), but it certainly feels like it. I’m sure you’ve already seen countless photos of little girls dressed up as the superhero. And just think about the moment they walk out of that theater with a new role model to look up to. It makes my heart soar, and I’m glad Patty Jenkins pushed for a PG-13 rating to reach a wider and younger audience (which is also why you never actually see someone die onscreen). This is why representation matters! Because we tend to relate to characters who look like us, speak like us, feel like us.
With its record-setting $100.5 million domestic debut (and as of Sunday night, it’s dominating the international box office with $122.5 million), Wonder Woman will no doubt start or continue important conversations in Hollywood. The industry is slow to change, but it is changing, and I only hope this movie will expedite the results that will come from this dialogue. I believe this is the first step of many to see more and more women, POC, and LGBTQIA in films, both in front of and behind the camera.
So go out and see Wonder Woman. Then go see it again. Share your thoughts with your community. But above all, react. React in the best way you know how, just as I did here. Let’s send a message not just to Hollywood, but to the country and the world, especially now during Emperor Cheeto’s Reign of Terror. Then hopefully, we won’t have to wait so long for the next kick-ass female superhero.