Obessed by Floors

There’s this hotel in San Francisco that’s technically in the Financial district but really is so close to the Embarcadero you can taste it (not that you’d actually want to taste the Embarcadero. That’s just ew.).

The hotel is the Hyatt Recency and it’s not only a hotel, it’s also a movie star. The Hyatt featured prominently in the Mel Brooks movie High Anxiety and also served as the lobby for the The Towering Inferno.

I am utterly fascinated by this hotel. It’s a quirky place and definitely has this 1970’s vibe. It was opened in 1973 and I’m guessing it was pretty cha-cha for the time.

It’s odd shaped. The huge atrium is profound. The open hallways looking into the atrium do give a bit of vertigo.

But while that’s all fascinating…it’s the floors that get me. I’m literally obsessed with these floors.

Here’s a couple photos. The patterns just kill me! (in a good way)

Photograph by Karen Fayeth, Copyright 2011

Photograph by Karen Fayeth, Copyright 2011

I can’t even begin to imagine how long it took to lay all of those tiles in patterns across not only the huge hotel atrium but also on all four buildings of the shopping center next door.

The floors have a seventies vibe, to be sure, but there is something engaging about them too.

I can catch a glimpse of these floors in a movie or old photo and I know exactly where they are.

It’s just another one of those oh-so-uniquely San Francisco things.

Yes, I wrote a whole blog post about floors.

Photographs by Karen Fayeth, Copyright 2011, and subject to the Creative Commons license in the far right corner of this blog. Photos takes with an iPhone4 (I haven’t set up the new phone yet) and using the Camera+ and Hipstamatic apps.

Let Me Outta Here!

When this week’s Theme Thursday was posted, for like a nanosecond (they seem to be having technical difficulties on the site), this week’s theme was “escape.”

Well, I’ll tell ya, escape is on my mind for this Friday at the end of a long week.

That said….when I first saw the word escape, the first thing I thought of was that movie “The Great Escape.”

Here’s a little known fact about me….even though I’m a girl, when I watched that movie even *I* wanted to be Steve McQueen.

And then there is the movie Bullitt. The thing I remember most about that movie is McQueen parallel parking his green fastback, manual transmission Mustang on a VERY steep hill in San Francisco in just one, perfect try.

Guy’s a stud. Just saying.

Ok, back to work. The quicker I get my To Do list done, the quicker I make my escape to a very nice weekend ahead.

The Shame…The Shaaaaame!

So…a couple years back, looking for something easy and sort of trashy to read, I stumbled across some online hubbub about that Twilight book series.

Ya know, I do love tween/teen fiction. I mean, I read every Harry Potter through to the end. The Golden Compass series too.

So I ordered the first three books in the Twilight series (the fourth wasn’t out yet) from the library and I read ’em through.

Well, I read the first two all the way through. The third, I stopped about halfway through and returned it to the library. I was done. So done. Completely, utterly, oh my god why did I read this, can’t unread what I’ve read, d-o-n-e, done.

Oh the angst! The agony! The yearning!

Fine, sure. I imagine the perspective of a 40 year old married woman and a giddy hormonal teen girl are, indeed, rather different.

But I got *pissed off* at the “I can’t be with you” aspect of it. And the “you deserve better” bullsheet.

Ok look, I’ve dated a few men in my time. My thing wasn’t vampires, like Bella. It was cowboys. Beautiful and amazing and soul sucking in their own way.

I’ve had MORE than my fair share of guys who come on all strong, wooed me along, then gave me the “you are too good for me” line. Or the “I’m too dedicated to my work/life/horse/truck/school to be with you.”

Or the “you shouldn’t be with a guy like me.”

It is ALL a form of utter, unadulterated bullsh*t.

Ya like me, ya wanna be with me? Be with me. Ya like me but wanna like a whooole lotta other girls too? Well, sack up about it!

And so in this book, oooh here is this poor *suffering* vampire who can’t be with the girl (cuz he wants to kill her), but then he CAN be with the girl, but I can’t! Yes I can!

No, I break up with you!

But I can’t liiiive without you.

Bella, sista, run. Don’t walk. Run. Find a nice dependable guy (and not that Jacob dude who ends up naked in the woods. That’s just…weird) and get on with your life.

Yeah. I might have had a sort of personal, visceral reaction to the story based on things that might have little to do with the story.


So, utter fool that I am, ya wanna know what I did? Well, I’ve been hearing all this mess about the new Twilight movie opening up. I thought…hell, why not. Maybe the movie versions are better.

I finally watched the first movie in the series, Twilight.

I’ll say this, the screenwriters did a fine job of adapting the book. Really. They stayed very true to the story and visually it’s very well done.

And when I first saw a photo of Robert Pattinson, I thought “yeah, ok! He really looks the part of Edward. Perfect!”

But his acting! My god, son! I realize that Edward is all cold (literally) and sullen and austere and a bunch of other things that make him squinch up and be overly emo and serious and stuff.

But dude. Are you even in there? Was your preparation for this role to just go limp and then stand in front of a camera? Have some presence, man!


And then the whole push-pull, yes-no thing got me all worked up again, too.

And now I’m just stalking around being irritable.

If you are the sort of person who loves this whole Twilight thing, good on ya. Believe me, I understand. Enjoy your team Edward/Jacob tug of war. Enjoy that moody monster. Really. I bid you no ill will!

Me. I need a brain cleanser. I cannot believe I watched that.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to squirt scrubbing bubbles in both ears and wait for this memory to fade like mold from my shower stall.

Plot devices that no longer work

So, in the middle of the night last night, while I was *not* sleeping, I got to thinking about, well, phone booths.

And how there aren’t any around anymore.

Phone booths were such a key element to the plot lines of a LOT of books and movies.

For example, where would Superman be if not for the phone booth!

Where does mild mannered Clark Kent put on his blue tights these days?

Probably the bathroom at a Starbucks, but that’s not the point.

The point is, there are no phone booths on every city street corner anymore. Where are you supposed to take that random and creepy phone call? Where are you supposed to wait for the kidnappers to give you your next clue? How do you have an angry confrontation with a guido over how long you are on the phone? You don’t. Not anymore.

The movie “Crazy Heart” had a scene with a phone booth. It was by the side of a desolate road in New Mexico (playing the part of Arizona). It felt odd even in the context of the movie. It was in a weird location and had no wires leading to or from it.

It just didn’t work. The era of the phone booth is dead.

How many of our great stories told over the years involved a phone booth?

Or for that matter, payphones in general?

It’s just not the same.

The lonely cowboy with a stack of dimes trying to get his lady on the line, rain pouring outside the glass phone booth, operator intoning “fifty cents please” in a nasaly voice. That’s literature!

Cowboy flips open his mobile device and curses the low signal strength just doesn’t have the same je ne sais quoi, ya know?

And so then I thought about another lost plot device. The lockers in bus stations, train stations and airports. (ok, I already lamented their loss here, but I’m going there again.)

You know, the bad guy stashes the loot to cool it off, inserts a quarter, takes the key and no one is the wiser? Until the bad guy is bumped off and ANOTHER bad guy takes the key and tries to figure out where it goes so he can get the stash?

Oh yeah. That’s good suspense!

The movie “Desperately Seeking Susan” centered around the Rosanna Arquette character getting Madonna’s locker key that held her valise and that really cool jacket. Remember?

Yeah, we really don’t have those anymore, the quarter to rent a locker places. A few gyms have ’em and a local nature preserve has a few near the walking trails, but mostly people leave their stuff in their car or carry a backpack anymore.

Another good plot device, dead.

Oh, and how about meeting people at the gate at the airport!?!

How many great, dramatic scenes involve someone stepping off a plane and a loved one, bad guy, limo guy, complete stranger, detective, etc. is there waiting?

It’s just not quite as dramatic to have the waiting happen down at baggage claim where you hope you find the right person.

Or heck, really going back, how about waiting out on the tarmac while the starlet decends the metal stairs. Nope.

I won’t EVEN start down the road of the loss of manual transmission cars (I covered it here), but do you think Steve McQueen’s hot little green fast back Mustang in “Bullitt” was an automatic? Oh no, I don’t think so.

I know, I know. I’m being a fuddy duddy and time must always march on. But as a writer, I lament the loss of ANY good device to keep a story moving along….