The Mallory Project

"Find something you're passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it." – Julia Child

YouTube Videos

I recently downloaded a program on my iPad called Movie Director Pro, where you can edit film clips with photos and music to create a short video (actually it might be able to do longer videos, but the longest one I’ve done so far is about 3 minutes, the length of a music video.)
I’ve had a lot of fun messing around with the program, just making fun, silly things. I’ve done some trailers for my scripts, and made a few mash-ups (I mashed up the songs in Garage Band first).
I’ve uploaded all the videos to my YouTube channel here. Have some fun and take a look at my videos. I’m working on a trailer for my novel right now, and when the video goes up, I’m gonna post the first chapter here.

Thanks! And tell your friends!

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Heroes Among Us

There have been a lot of scary things in the news lately. For me and my community, it started over the weekend. An 8 year old baseball player was hit by a pitch and collapsed. His heart had stopped. He’s okay now, but he had to be rushed to the Children’s Hospital in Oakland (over an hour away).

And of course, on Monday were the explosions during the Boston Marathon. Then the ricin scare at the White House, the explosion in Texas last night, and the Senate voting down the gun background check bill.

Scary news is nothing new to anybody. That’s pretty much all news is nowadays. “Something bad happened blah blah blah” (or “Kim Kardashian did something!”, though I would still consider that scary news.)

Which is why I am appreciative for every piece of news I hear about somebody doing good. There are as many examples of that as there are of horror and terror, but those pieces are rarely printed on the front page. “Firefighter saves kitten from tree” is a great story, but it doesn’t sell as many newspapers as “Explosion at factory kills 11.” It’s unfortunate, but that’s not what this post is about. I don’t want to talk about why good stories aren’t on the front page. I want to talk about stories that should have been on the front page.

These are all local stories, so those of you outside of Sonoma County will probably have not heard of any of these people. Those of you within Sonoma County might not have heard of these people either. I hadn’t heard most of these stories until this morning, and I’ve lived here for 15 years (except for the 5 years I was away for school, but my family still lived here and I visited often, so I still count it…)

This morning, I was able to attend the American Red Cross’s Real Heroes Breakfast, during which ten local heroes were honored. Their stories were humbling and inspiring. Some of them were even tearjerking. It made me feel proud to be a part of this community, and to be part of such an amazing organization. (It also made me feel like I need to get off my ass and do some good.)

The first hero honored was Officer Tim Murphy, who is a California Peace Officer and Lifeguard. He saved three people, including an 11-year-old boy, from drowning. He was four miles away and the only lifeguard on duty for the entire Sonoma coast when he got the call. The water was 49 degrees. There have been 130 recorded drownings at this beach. During his speech, he thanked his parents for “getting me into the water early.” (My parents got me into the water early; I don’t think I’d be able to save three people from drowning, though.)

The second honoree was Matthew Nalywaiko, who created a local aid effort called Serve A Little, which provides home and car repairs for single mothers. He’s spent time in Haiti, India and Mexico, building houses and working in orphanages. He credits a quote from Martin Luther King Jr for inspiring him to create Serve A Little. (This is my new favorite quote.)

Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.

 Honoree number three was Mary Munot, who is known as Green Mary. She works to create Zero Waste events, and to promote composting and recycling. Her endeavor is honorable, but it wasn’t tearjerking. She is the only honoree I’d heard of before.

The fourth honoree also has an honorable but not tearjearking endeavor (at least not tearjerking to me personally.) She is Dr. Elaine Leeder, who started a program to help prisoners receive higher education. It was her past that got me interested in her story. Her father is a Holocaust survivor, and she marched with MLK in Boston in 1962. I wish I could say something that cool about my life.

Austin Morris is a recent high school graduate who participated in Project Kaiseim, a 151-foot brigantine that spent summer 2012 tracking debris from the Japan earthquake as it traveled through the Pacific Ocean. One of his crewmates fell overboard, and Austin rescued her.

The sixth honoree also saved a life in the ocean. Mark Anello freed a 40-foot gray whale from fishing nets off the Sonoma County coast. “The first thing I thought was holy cow,” he said. But his sponsor, from Medtronic, said “I won’t tell you what he really said, instead of holy cow.”

 Dr. Paula Dhanda has worked throughout the Third World, training women in health care. She’s delivered babies and saved lives in Chad, Haiti and Nepal. Her group once performed 50 surgeries in 2 weeks. She sums up her values as “It’s not what you have but in what you can give away”.

CHP (California Highway Patrol, who aren’t all like Ponch) Officer Adam Garcia pulled two people out of a burning car. He said it was one of those “once in a career moments…at least I hope it is.” He said he was just “in the right place at the right time”.

The ninth honoree is the one that really got me teared up. For a little background here, my family is very involved with helping the troops. I am friends with a number of Naval officers and members stationed in Hawaii, and my mom is a part of the Soldier’s Angels program. Every month she bakes goodies and sends care packages (and birthday cards) to troops stationed in Afghanistan.

Army Specialist Stefan LeRoy, who is originally from the Sonoma County area but currently lives in Washington DC, was deployed to Afghanistan in 2012. He stepped on an IED and lost both of his legs below the knee. But he has managed to go snorkeling, and ski, and even complete a marathon with a handcycle. He now plans on competing in the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. He says that no matter what hardship you are facing, “someone else out there is facing the same thing, and something harder.”

And the final hero was Trevor Kasimoff, who rescued several of his neighbors from a fire in their apartment fire. Thanks to Trevor, the worst injury was a broken foot. Another of his neighbors suffered from smoke inhalation, but Trevor got there right in time. “If it had been a minute later…it would have been a different story,” he said.

The Red Cross also honored three of their volunteers, Fran Condon, June Albor and Jim Plank. As June said, the greatest gift that can be given is someone saying “you touch my heart”. All three of these volunteers have traveled as far as New Orleans (after Hurricane Katrina) and New York (after Hurricane Sandy.)

These are only three of the 1,000 Sonoma, Mendocino and Lake County volunteers who have helped thousands of Northern California victims in such disasters as flash floods, fires and mudslides. The Red Cross wants to remind people that “what happened to somebody else yesterday could happen to you today.” And they want to make sure that they are there to help you if (or when) you need it.

ARC wants to give everybody the chance to be heroes. And the best way to do that is to volunteer your time or donate your money. Even $5 will help provide a child with a warm meal. $1000 helps 50 people find shelter for a night. Visit your local chapter of the ARC to help out.

Or be like Tim Murphy, Matthew Nalywaiko and the others and become heroes in your community. It doesn’t take much. You can be in the right place at the right time, like Trevor Kasimoff, or you can create a business like Mary Munat. As Austin Morris said, “it’s a great feeling. I recommend it.”



P.S. Check back in tomorrow, when I write about some of the heroes closest to me, who I think deserve recognition.

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Not again…

Here I am, once more sitting in the waiting room of Urgent Care.

What I have isn’t particularly urgent. It’s not like I’m about to bleed out or anything. But it’s Friday, and I don’t want to wait until Monday for an appointment.

I have a history of sore throats. I used to think it was because I was a singer. Once every few months I would lose my voice for a couple days, drink some hot tea with lemon and get better really fast.

Then the day before Thanksgiving 2011, I came down with pneumonia. But my doctors diagnosed it as bronchitis. I was coughing so hard I pulled a muscle in my side. It was awful.

It wasn’t until I moved from Hawaii back to California that I was tested for pneumonia. This was around Valentine’s Day 2012. I’d been coughing nonstop for almost 3 months. My lung x-rays were clear, but my blood test showed positive for pneumonia. I was finally treated.

But I haven’t been the same since. I can barely make it through one song without coughing. I have to drink something or have a cough drop almost constantly, or I’ll grow hoarse. My voice cracks all the time.

A little over a month ago, my throat started getting sore again. It wasn’t bad, it just felt like laryngitis. But my mom had just been diagnosed with pneumonia. (I’m starting to hate that word.) I was tested for strep. That came back negative. But the test came back positive for staph.

I took the antibiotics. But they didn’t help. So I went to Urgent Care. The doctors there said I had thrush. How am I lucky enough to get both a staph infection and thrush at the same time?

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Community Season 4

I’ve been a fan of Community since day 1. I own the first 3 seasons on DVD, and I have watched each episode four or five times; including the commentary. The first ever spec script I wrote was Community. I once watched the entire first season in one day.

I was among the fans dismayed to hear that creator Dan Harmon had been fired. Dan Harmon is the reason Community is Community.

Actually, that’s not true. Community wouldn’t be Community without the cast and the writers. But Harmon is the spine of the show, while the cast and writers (and fans!) are the organs and skin and hair. (Man, I Britta’d that metaphor.)

Jeff Winger would be an unlikeable jackass if he was played by anyone but Joel McHale. Annie would be whiny and immature if not for Alison Brie. You can say that sort of thing for all the actors (especially Jim Rash.)

This season, Community has been as funny as ever. I loved the Inspector Spacetime Convention, and I’m wondering when someone is going to greenlight that as a real show (though not Pierce’s version, without the pesky space and time travel.)

My issue with this season is Donald Glover. Or rather the lack of Donald Glover. He plays Troy Barnes, the ex-athlete who isn’t so bright but has a good heart. He’s Abed’s best friend, and now Britta’s boyfriend. And he’s one of the funniest characters.

But Troy hasn’t had any big storylines this year, except for his new relationship with Britta. Which happened very suddenly. They’ve been flirty-flirty since season one, but no mention of it, until this season’s premiere and WOW they’re in bed together.

Troy is famous for being Abed’s best friend. But the writers are trying to make Abed “grow” this year, which means moving him away from Troy. Which doesn’t leave Troy much to do.

So I hope that during the course of the rest of the season, Troy (and Glover) get more storylines.

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Girlfriend Review: BioShock and BioShock: Infinite

To read my latest video game review, visit here

For those of you who don’t know about the Girlfriend Review… My boyfriend is a gamer. He is a writer/podcaster for He plays a lot of video games while I write or read or play Flow on my iPad. I catch most of the game play, but I don’t pay a lot of attention to it. After he beats the game, I write a review based on what I saw of the game. So it’s basically a review by someone who hasn’t personally experienced the game. I would equate it to someone reviewing a movie based on the script alone, without having seen the film itself.

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