Fallout Girl's Blog

FalloutGirl’s State of the Union

Radiation Level: Latent telepathic powers

Listening to: Million Miles by TV on the Radio


It was a fast-paced, totally weird summer that left me with my tongue hanging out of my mouth, Cyrus-style. After seeing nearly every movie that was released – and there were some real clunkers, in 3D no less – I was relieved of my film criticism duties to focus more on…


What the heck am I gonna do?  I’m a writer.  I’m disillusioned with screenwriting at the moment, however.  Panic set in.  Self-loathing, doubt.  The thing about being an entertainment writer/film critic is that I was busy every moment and didn’t have time to focus on my lack of success in the film world.  It was novocaine via work.

So I decided, after long years of urging by AmishGirl, to become a novelist.

Okay, so technically, I started the novel last summer, but now – in light of the new opening of my schedule – it was time to to make the magic happen.

I’ve written 30k words.  I’m told It needs to be 80 -120k.  So I’m not far into it, but certainly on my way.  Yes, friends, that’s a lot of words.  And punctuation.  And sitting!

My right shoulder (my mouse arm) is currently very stiff and hurts a lot.  I will make a doctor’s appoint tomorrow, but I’m not sure if there’s much they can do other than tell me to lay off the laptop.  Maybe a shot of cortisone?  Amputation?

Many of you know I was doing Weight Watchers. I lost a total of 18 pounds, but gained 7 back as soon as I stopped counting points, so I’m trying to turn up the exercise.

I’m addicted (and managed to addict SeattleGirl) to a “Body Pump” class at my gym with an Austrian teacher we refer to as Frau Ludviga.  She’s every Austrian stereotype you can think of – white-blonde hair, cold personality and likes to put “v’s” where “w’s” should go in her speech.  She runs her class like a German train or Swiss watch.  Each set of reps ends as the electonica song ends. To the second. The class is mostly using a bar-bell where we change the amount of weight depending on what part of the body we’re working (legs, back, triceps, biceps, etc.). Shoulders are particularly difficult for me right now.  I thought pushing through the pain would make the pain go away. It hasn’t, but my biceps are really getting toned.

In addition to Frau Ludviga, I try to walk and climb the Culver City stairs 2 times a week.  From my house, it’s about an hour and a half round trip. Quicker if I jog part of the way. But I love being up at the top. It’s so surprising to me how much wildlife there is in Culver City.  Part of it is being so near to the Ballona Creek and the Baldwin Hills. At the top of the stairs, I’ve seen numerous snakes, lizards and birds.  But also bunnies!

photoThis rabbit has become like my talisman, as if seeing it portends a good omen.  For a while, I saw one every time I went. Then, I went about a month without seeing one, but just the other day, I saw two!

Take a look at this photo – they are so well camouflaged, I didn’t notice the second bunny for a few minutes.

photoAs for work, I’ve been writing the bar mitzvah video scripts and oy vey, have they been challenging.  Not to kvetch too much, it’s a good job.  One video is actually going to be shown on the Jumbo-Tron at Dodger Stadium!  They are just harder to write then they sound. The good news is that my Yiddish is improving.

A couple weeks ago, I went to help out a caterer friend of mine with a party.  Turns out, it was a bar mitzvah.  I felt as if I was in some surreal Franz Kafka tale, where instead of turning into a cockroach, I was slowly turning into a Jew. Which isn’t a bad thing, I just don’t know how this agnostic, post-theist got hooked up with so much old-time religion. If I believed in a god, I would think she was trying to tell me something.

I’m going to try to keep up with blogging.  So feel free to come back anytime.


2013 Rocks!

Radiation Level: Thermostatically Controlled

Listening to:  Do You Really Want to Hurt Me by Culture Club

January, 2013 is coming to an end and its already been fantastic! Fallout Girl’s been blessed with some new writing assignments and I have to say I’m super excited. I will be writing a column for a survivalist journal and will be taking some new gas mask photos (yippee!).

In the meantime, here’s what I’ve been up to:


Thanks so much to SurferGirl for offering her pad to me and two other writers. We spent three days doing yoga and writing…It was glorious.  This photo is of SurferGirl setting her intentions for the year.



Next is a list of inappropriate words one of my 3rd grade students brought to my science class. I was nervous when he announced he made this list, but couldn’t help but laugh when I read it.  Whatever you do, never say “Whatha Heak” in mixed company.

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I’ve already seen ten movies this year and can say that horror movie Mama was my favorite so far. I’ve started watching the new Fox show The Following and have to say that while it lacks any real depth for a show about a killer obsessed with Edgar Allen Poe, it’s twisty and scary – I screamed out loud, from my couch on Monday night. Oh, and James Purefoy is easy on the eyes…



I’ve joined Weight Watchers and have lost 7 pounds! So excited to firm up and get lean. Okay, so I feel like I just might turn into an egg white, but the results are fantastic.


The lovely KodakGirl managed to produce and direct a short play of mine called Prom Night.  Here’s a photo that made me laugh out loud! I really wish I could have seen it live…


How’s your 2013 been so far?

Favorite Moments of 2012

Radiation Level: Falling off a fiscal cliff

Listening To: Girl I used to Know by JMSN

This last year has felt like a boxing match in which I managed to avoid getting knocked out but dang, I didn’t win. That said, there were sparse moments of sincere joy for which I’m truly grateful.  Here are a few:

Making bubbles with my students.


The thrill of making these giant bubbles lifted the spirits of my students. I’ve never seen so many smiles on such tough kids.

Seeing my movie quotes on TV and around LA.

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I saw over 130 movies this year, and it was just super rewarding to see that someone valued my opinion enough to share it with the world.

Winning the Carmen Miranda Barbie Doll* at Richard Simmons.

banana bonanza barbie

I played Carmen Miranda in my high school musical review, and I have a photo of Carmen Miranda hanging in  my kitchen so it was so fun to win this. Any woman who can sing and dance with fruit on her head is my heroine.

*Technically, the doll is called the Bob Mackie®Brazilian Banana BonanzaBarbie® Doll, but is clearly a nod to the fabulous Ms. Miranda.

Django Unchained


Okay, so it’s not as good as Inglourious Basterds, but it’s my kind of movie.

Jack White’s Blunderbuss CD/Concert


Sixteen Saltines and Freedom at 21 have been my soundtrack for some time.  Thank you, Jack for making me feel like a teenager again. (Dreamy sigh…)

My best friends coming together to help me make my short film. You know who you are and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Getting to review movies.

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Thanks SO MUCH to RioGirl for believing in me and getting me the job. And thanks to SundayGirl for letting me borrow her adorable son so I don’t look like the loser cat-lady at the Saturday morning kids’ movie screenings.

Support, love and awesome notes from my new writers group. Way to go, Culver City Clutch!

My YA Novel will be here in 2013.

Visiting KodakGirl in Prescott and watching my play Vampire Mouth come to life.

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So amazing to see talented, creative people working together to create something out of nothing.

What are your favorite moments of 2012?

My Review of the Hobbit

Radiation Level:  Dwarfed

Listening To:  Short People by Randy Newman


Want to know what I thought of Peter Jackson’s version of JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit (the first of THREE films in 48fpx and #D)?

Click here

Happy 197th Birthday, Ada Lovelace

Radiation Level: Binary and Laudanum 

Listening to:  Carolyn’s Fingers by Cocteau Twins


Ada, you are my BFF!  I’d give anything to share a bottle of claret with you today and celebrate – maybe go to the horse races or just talk about the amazing future.  If only you could see me typing away on my laptop, blogging about YOU!

See, Ada knew she would be famous after her death.  So being the subject of the Google doodle proves her prophecy correct – such a smart girl!

If you don’t know Ada, you can do a quickie-Wiki here.  What I can tell you is that she lived and breathed the future of computing.  The daughter of the romantic poet Lord Byron, she worked with Charles Babbage to help others understand the genius of his Analytical Engine.

The Countess of Lovelace is controversial.  There are haters who think she’s overrated.  Of course these haters are men.

To me, Ada is an unbridled spirit, incapable of accepting the status quo for women in the 19th century.  She had big ideas and wanted more than anything to touch the glorious promise of the years to come.

To me, Ada is inspiration to young girls. I often dress up as Ada and travel to elementary schools, teaching young students about this amazing woman and teaching them about binary code.

To me, Ada is a friend. A companion I’ve spent thousands of hours with, writing my bio-pic screenplay about her and now, a young adult novel. Ada Lovelace is my muse.

To me, Ada is a heroine.  She spoke up to the Royal Science Society and to anyone who would listen about Babbage’s engines.

Ada, shine bright today and lead the way for women all over the planet who want to excel in the sciences.  Our planet needs them.


Okay, FalloutGirl, I’ll yell if I have to!

Life on Mars?

Radiation Level: 92% Organic, 8% GMO

Listening to:  Spellbound by Siouxie and the Banshees


NASA has a big announcement to make on Monday, 12/3/12, about something Mars rover Curiosity found while exploring the red planet.  Many have speculated the discovery is some kind of organic, biologic material, but this could mean many things.

NASA scientist John Grotzinger says, “We’re getting data from SAM … this data is gonna be one for the history books. It’s looking really good.”

I’ve always thought that in my lifetime, we would find evidence that “life” exists or at least once existed on other planets. I’m hoping this is the big find.  The discovery of ice the size of Washington DC on hot-pot Mercury is encouraging.

What do you hope they find on Mars?


Hey FalloutGirl, get ready for the discovery of a lifetime!

The Official List of Fun Things

Radiation Level:  Gory and bloody

Listening to:  Killing Me Softly with His Song by Robert Flack

Today I taught a science class to some second graders where we learned about the physics/history of the boomerang.  After, my students all took turns throwing it.  The boys went crazy – anything they can throw and chase is always a winner.

After about a half an hour, we went to make propeller-type flyers out of foam.  One student, Jared, insisted he didn’t want to make one. When I asked why, he said, “It’s not fun.”

I thought this was very strange because all the other kids seemed to be enjoying themselves, so I handed him a piece of paper and a pencil and said to make a list of “fun things” that he thinks I should include in my classes from now on.   Here’s the list:

Do any of these things sound fun to you?

Eyeballs are most certainly fun – I prefer them to remain in my head, though. I suppose there’s a science lesson about trucks somewhere – please comment if you know one.  Shark fins and snake flesh sound more like a bad meal, however.

Well, at least the world finally knows what a seven-year-old boy thinks is fun.

A Tribe Called Red

Radiation Level:  

Listening to: Electric Pow Wow by A Tribe Called Red

This Canadian dance party takes traditional rhythmic Native American music and mashes it with techno beats, pushing the envelope for remixers everywhere.

You can even download their CD for FREE by clicking here.

The perfect way to dance-off all those Thanksgiving calories.  Enjoy!


John Napier Memorial

This was on Facebook:

From Michelle Carr —
Greetings friends! The John Napier memorial as been confirmed, please save the date:
Sunday, December 2 [2012] from 3 to 9 at The Echo.

Please visit the John Napier Remembered [Facebook] page for details as they unfurl. Anyone who loved John is invited to come celebrate his life so please spread the word. Love, love, love!

Darci’s Challenge

Radiation Level:  332 Electoral Votes

Listening To: Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours by Stevie Wonder

Thursday I went to teach my science classes.  I walked in at 3pm on the button, having barely made it past the construction on Overland, and greeted my 12 boys and one girl, Darci.

All the boys sat in the first few rows, smiling, throwing things, wrestling. Darci always sits alone, in the back.  All the other girls are taking a class on fashion design, and I can’t say I blame them.  I would have done the same at their age.  But not Darci.

Darci is a thoughtful, often serious girl but grins widely when she answers questions correctly.  Today, though, alone in the back of the room, she was crying.

When I asked her what was wrong, she said, “No matter what, they always make fun of me,” pointing to the group of wily boys.

The boys got quiet, guilty looks on their faces.  I don’t tolerate bullying, and when it’s a group of boys ganging up on a girl, it really makes me angry.  But I also don’t want to coddle my female students.  It IS hard for women and they DO need to be tougher, especially if they want to succeed in a male-dominated environment such as science.

I said, “Darci, come here,” and I took her just outside the classroom.  I brushed one of her blonde curls behind her ear as tears ran down her face.  I said, “Boys like to tease each other. It’s just what they do.”  She looked up at me, knowing this was true, wishing it wasn’t.

I crouched down to her eye level and said, “You deserve to be in this class, just as much as they do.  You are just as smart, just as capable as they are, so don’t ever let them make you feel that you’re not.”  The second-grader nodded, wiping her tears away.  “If they ever say anything mean to you, you just tell them “forget you!”

I felt her pain.  All the challenges she’ll face as a girl, because she’s a girl, flashed before my eyes. I didn’t have the heart to tell her how hard it’s really going to be.  But something in me told me Darci was going to do okay.

We walked back into the classroom and I looked at my students and said, “When we’re in this room, we are scientists.  Scientists MUST work together as a team.  Do you think we could have ever made it to the moon or put a rover on Mars without working together?”

The boys understood this. Will it keep them from taunting Darci? Probably not. But the idea of being part of something bigger than themselves — for science — did appeal to them.  I don’t want my boys to simply tolerate girls.  Girls are necessary, important, particularly in science.

I said, “On the count of three, we’ll all yell teamwork:  one, two, three!

And we all yelled teamwork.  Darci smiled. Balance created/restored. Learning is good.

Hang in there, Darci!
— Ada Lovelace, scientist