Welcome Gentle Readers

This blog tends to wander from its main purpose -- updates on my fiction. I do have updates and excerpts of my work. But I also write about my obsessions -- food, friends and pop culture and my weird life in Los Angeles. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Frenzies, Actors and Christmas Stories

Warning: If you find yourself here via a google search for such things as TV shows or films, recipes or cities, this blog has some facts. However, this blog is one author’s very twisted musing on many weird things. It is sometimes graphic in content. If you read on, don’t write to yell at me.

Wacky Week

Much wackiness is about to ensue, including at rant on two CSI shows. And there will be much wandering in the narrative. And I think there are more links in this blog than any I've written. Do visit them all.

It’s been a busy week. I apologize to everyone that may still be waiting to hear from me. It’s been hard keeping up with even routine e-mail. The cookie insanity has entered phase two – local deliveries. The first batches turned out well and had a lot of variety this year. The marshmallows stayed in the bowls and turned out light and fluffy. And the menorah didn't catch the apartment on fire. But the baking was the easy part. Over the past week, I’ve packaged and shipped 35 boxes with an average of three bags of cookies or cookies and hot cocoa mix. Thank goodness for flat rate boxes and labels with postage that can be printed at home. Everything was ready when we got to the Post Office. Today I will try my hand at making chocolate truffles and mini baklava. The ladies on The Food Network make it all look easy. We shall soon see.

Right now, I’m enjoying a surprisingly good glass of wine in preparation for the Eagles/Dallas game. It’s surprising because I bought it at the 99 Cents Only Store for only 99 cents. I’ve had really good wine in France for under $2.00. It was 1€ 20, I believe, for a lovely red wine. I always enjoy a glass of two buck Chuck but this is my first under a dollar vintage. I must say that Foggy Bay white Table Wine is quite nice. I don’t think it will help with this Eagles game, but maybe I won’t care by the time I finish drinking it.

Holiday Viewing

This year, I didn’t yield to the strange way networks scheduled their holiday programming. One should not be watching A Charlie Brown Christmas before it’s December. We recorded all of the usual suspects and watched a number of them last night while I was trying to cook. I almost never just sit and watch the shows. I’m usually baking or decorating or wrapping or something.

Our holiday viewing is a bit ecclectic. We watch the shows and films we grew up watching like How The Grinch Stole Christmas and Scrooge, the version of A Christmas Carol with Alistair Sim. It is really the best one to me as it adhere’s so closely to Dickens’ text, and Sims is a hoot. It may be running on cable, but if not, buy it! Of course, I watch the endless Holdiay specials on The Food Network. They have a series of them under Season’s Eatings with programs for cooks of every skill level. I watch for new recipes like the truffles and baklava. I also watch for the warm, fuzzy feelings from my favorite chefs.

But there is a darker side to my holiday viewing. Jon and I never fail to be twisted, even during the holidays. I even found a twisted Holiday cooking special. Anthony Bourdain’s Holiday Special was a nightmare version of anything The Food Network would show. His neice carries a switchblade and his young nephew curses like a long shoreman. The cooking instructions include terms like ‘a crap-load of butter’ and ‘enough sugar to make you smile.’ But my favorite line was ‘Uncle Tony is not huffing glue. I’m checking it for quality.’ It’s repeating at various times on The Travel Channel. Try not to miss it. I adore Anthony Bourdain. He is so funny and so crazy. His No Reservations is addictive. The episode on Beirut, filmed as bombs were falling on the city, was such riveting television that it was nominated for a news documentary emmy. Each show is a gem though, and Bourdain is always fascinating.

However, we found a wonderfully twisted yet touching anime Christmas film. Tokyo Godfather’s comes from the folks who made the amazing series, Paranoia Agent, which ran on Adult Swim. Here is the trailer Tokyo Godfathers is a re-make of Three Godfathers. In this case, the ‘Godfathers’ are a drunk, a drag queen and a runaway teen who are homeless. They find an infant on Christmas Eve and undertake a harrowing, funny and poignant adventure to reunite the child with her parents. In the process, they find their own way back from the streets. It’s available on Netflix and we highly recommend it. Here is the trailer.

Our favorite slightly irreverant Christmas shows are two Futurama episodes, Xmas Story and a Tale of Two Santas. In these, Santa Clause is a violent robot who tries to kill people instead of giving presents. The take on Christmas is really screwy, but it doesn’t leave other faiths unscathed. There is The Hanuka Zombie and the Kwanzaa bot is particularly funny. From there, the animation we like to watch becomes more and more profane and drifts into the blasphemous. Be warned (that means you, mother-in-law, dear) the language and action is graphic and really adult (thought not mature). There is the mobster spin on Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Raging Rudolf and the Reinfather, and the original South Park Chritmas video that spawned the series. And then there is the brilliant depravity of Robot Chicken’s Holiday that manages to offend everyone.

So, the cleaning and baking and shopping frenzy will continue until next Saturday. I’m having major dental work then. Next week’s blog may prove quite interesting under the influence of painkillers (No, it isn’t always written under the influence. It just seems that way.)

Playing Santa

We do have fun during the various frenzies. I really enjoy meeting up with my actors and spreading some holiday cheer. We catch up with each other, and I update them on the status of projects. Mainly, we just enjoy their company. Yesterday, we met with David and Lisa Lee, my leads in The Gift of Surrender. I always enjoy spending time with them. They are so funny and talk about som many interesting things. And they are just gorgeous. Jon and I had so much to do in a compressed amount of time, but I am really pleased that we made the effort and slowed down to enjoy the moment. We get to do it again with our Gunslinger leads, Travis and Jennifer on Monday.


I actually got back to writing. It’s slow with all of the distractions, but I’m back to a few pages per day. That makes me feel a lot better. When I’m not writing something each day, other parts of my life suffer. Ireally need that creative outlet to be whole and relatively happy. I’ve been asked how I keep at my creative work when getting films made or promoting the books is so hard. I’d be writing even if none of my works went anywhere but my website. I have to keep writing.

Last year, I wrote a bonus chapter for those who purchased A Soldier’s Choice. I also complied a mini cookbook of all the recipes Vincent Greven made in the novel and in the bonus chapter. I’ve decided not to include them in the second edition of A Soldier’s Choice. Nor will they be in A Soldier’s Fate. They don’t fit in either book. Thus, I've uploaded them onto the website for A Soldier’s Choice. Go to Cookbook for the recipes and Bonus for the chapter.

The Rants

Okay, the vaporizing machine gun on CSI: Miami was ridiculous. I can’t remember the name of the darned thing, but it had an insane number of bullets over a barrel shapped like a wide cross and fired with an electronic trigger. The affect was a hail of bullets that ‘vaporized a target.’ It was gooey to watch. Jon and I decided it was less phaser and more disruptor. But Jon panned the gun as idiotic for any application because it would take forever to reload. Beyond the silliness of the gun, was some really violent action. Horatio Cain dispatched of three gun runners by himself with a shot to the head each. Even Steve McGarrett never did that. Though he did spray people with machinge gun fire from a helicopter once or twice.

But I must commend the show for not being as stupid as the previews indicated. From the clips, it looked like Delko was about to be shot – again. Now, even in the 60s, everyone realized that Mannix could only get hit in the head so many times before he’d have some real brain damage. I was cringing at the thought of a guy having two bullets in the brain in one year. Fortunately, it was a falshback. But shame on them for such a misleading promo!

And CSI needs to abandon this conspriacy thingy with the mob and their department. It had become a slick, fun show without the incredible goofiness of it’s successor. Last season had some brillaint episodes (though I still wish Sarah Sidle had been the minature killer). One epsode, Ending Happy, had a tribute to Tor Johnson. Brilliant. This year, goofiness is gripping them though the Lab Rats Game episode was wuite good). Knock it off!

I'm off to continue the baking marathon. See you next week.

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