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, July 06, 2008

Apple Pie, Strikes and Andy Rooney

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.

First off, thanks for all the inquiries as to our health and safety. The national coverage of the fires seldom lets viewers know where the major cities are in relation to the various blazes. LA is hundreds of miles from the Goleta and Big Sur fires. LA County is having fires in the Santa Clarita area and in Malibu again. These are much smaller than the blazes last year. They haven’t impacted our air quality yet. So, we’re okay right now.

Holi-daze Patriotism Edition

Happy Canada Day to my Canadian readers! And for those for which it applies, Happy 400th anniversary to Quebec City. The celebrations looked grand, indeed. Quebec City’s special day was even celebrated throughout France. Well done! I have some very dear friends in Canada and some very fond memories of my visits there. I’m very fond of their actor-boys as well. Though I’ve often talked about the talent on Battlestar Galactica, but I also highly recommend taking a look at DaVinci’s Inquest, a very fine police drama that is now syndicated throughout the US markets as well as in the UK, Ireland and Australia. Jon finds it has some of the most natural dialogued he’d ever heard in a TV show. I’m inclined to agree. It also had a very wicked sense of humor (one of my favorite titles was ‘Ass Covering Day’). The performances are first rate. And if you ever get the opportunity, Visit Canada. Toronto is hip and eclectic, and Vancouver is breathtakingly beautiful with amazing food and vistas. The people are friendly and helpful, to boot.

We had a quiet 4th of July. I made an apple pie and we ate hot dogs. Alas, we had no guns, so we couldn’t celebrate the way Stephen Colbert would. Jon and I were watching the local news that day. There were a lot of trivia questions about the holiday. Several of them were about the Liberty Bell. I know there are many Philadelphians who stay away from Independence Mall (Philadelphians generally aren’t fond of tourists), but Jon and I had heard the speech about the bell dozens of times over the years. During one of my numerous jobs in Philly, I was trained by Federal Park Rangers on the sites in the Mall, so I could help guide visitors. Some of those talks are quite moving, and I remember many of them to this day. Anyway, after the final trivia question on the Bell, my ever-sentimental husband pointed out that the Liberty Bell would not be a good symbol for Quality Assurance (the current crack isn’t the first one and it hasn’t been rung in a very, very long time). While I found that remark appalling, his observation after the trivia question on The Star Spangled Banner was almost disturbing. It seems that our national anthem is filking to a British drinking song. All one can say to that is: U-S-A! U-S-A! Actually, our friends find us surprisingly patriotic. I made an apple pie. But those tales are for another blog.

The next Holidaze-Patriot Edition will be about Bastille Day. Stay Tuned.

A Strike that’s not a Strike

I’ve also received inquiries about The Gunslinger and the Screen Actors Guild (SAG). Since no strike was declared on July 1st, many of the e-mails reasoned that we should be able to proceed with our plans. Not exactly. There has been no strike vote taken (I’ve been told by someone on SAG’s board that they don’t have enough votes to get an authorization passed). However, there also hasn’t been an extension of the current contract. That means that actors aren’t bound to keep working and could walk out at any time. That has made movie studios reluctant to start films. Insurance companies won’t underwrite them out of concern over a walk-out. Stopping a film after cameras roll is hideously expensive – even to a major studio. Work will slowly grind to a complete halt save for smaller indie productions. It seems to have affected some TV episodics as well. At least, they aren’t having as many Breakdowns or casting calls as there should be for the TV season. It’s actually a fraction of what it should be right now. So, there is no actual strike right now, but there is very little actual work going on. No one is sure how long this state of affairs will last.

Distilled Prose

I’ve been working on my pitches for A Soldier’s Choice and some other projects. In trying to distill the lengthy and involved back-story for our heroes world and their pasts, I’ve had to first write said back-story. From the full version, I have to do a 3 or 4 paragraph version to go on a one-sheet version, it’s a glossy flier with text and images on one or both sides along with contact info. That must be further distilled into a tag line (one line that encompasses the entire concept). It’s also called a high concept pitch. The most famous high concept pitch was MTV Cops for Miami Vice. Attention spans for studio execs are short probably because they are doing the Hydra thing to the extreme. I’ve never seen people who could carry on so many conversations at once and keep track as these execs do. The pitch must be short, succinct and compelling in a few seconds. Since I’ve done all of this work, I’ve decided to put the back-story up on the Soldier’s Choice Web page. Maybe someone will kindly add it to Wikipedia at some point. I’ll put up the one-sheet as well once it’s ready. It should be really neat with the Manga style artwork.

He’s Back!

Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations returns tomorrow, July 7th on The Travel Channel with some very exciting places on the schedule. If you love food and enjoy funny, biting, sardonic, insightful commentary and a real, ground level glimpse of a far flung place, watch his man. He’s infectious, I tell you. He had Samantha Brown cursing in her new show Passport to Great Weekends. To quote, dear, retiring, almost staid Samantha Brown said ‘You’ve never seen Anthony Bourdain spinning his ass in a champagne glass.’ She was dancing with The Pussycat Dolls at the time. Shocking, I tell you. So, watch Anthony. He may get you to do something wild as well.

And Now, Andy Rooney

Yes, I’m channeling Andy Rooney. I have to complain about Chipotle peppers and Ciabatta bread. Now, I like both products a great deal and use them frequently. But I’m really tired of food chains replacing them with their normal fare. I can’t get extra crispy chicken at KFC unless it is Chipolte Extra Crispy chicken. And Jack in the Box has replaced most of its burger buns with Ciabatta Bread. Sometimes, I want a regular hamburger bun, for Pete’s sake. This trend is as annoying as the sun dried tomatoes and pesto in the 90s. Geez. Okay, I’m done. Now. I’m off to make a hamburger on a regular bun.

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