There are definitely seasons in California, whatever anyone says to the contrary. In the winter the smog lifts. The daytime skies are a blue that delights my New England soul. At night the lights that sprawl from the San Gabriel Mountains to the sea glow against a heavenly dome of deep Mediterranean blue. People wear sweaters. In 1991 when I turned thirty the film I had worked on for over a year was released. It got critical acclaim over Thanksgiving weekend (a good omen for the Oscars) and as Christmas approached and the daytime temperatures maxed out at 68º the director I had faithfully assisted, Cooper, started to think about his next project.