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, November 30, 2008

Mud, Stuffing and Amish Coffee Makers

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.

And Then There Was Mud

The fire danger gave way to threat of mudslides at the beginning of this week. I had no idea that the Emergency Broadcast System could activate while replaying a recording on the cable DV-R box. I was watching a cooking show when I suddenly found myself looking at instructions for evacuation if I were in Yorba Linda, California. Next, I was on the shopping channel and somewhere else before I realized that my recording had been turned off. That happened three more times before the end of the recording. I really think that if I were in the flooding area, I would notice an impending river of mud. They seemed to be on top of the situation there, if the sandbags are any indication. For us, the rain was mostly a relief – save for all the skidding cars on the road. It made he temperatures much cooler (I finally put on my coat the day before Thanksgiving. I think that may be a record). The gray skies are a nice change. If we can’t have real autumn, I’ll take a little gray now and then. Thanksgiving makes more sense when it’s cool and damp than when it’s a blazing 90 degrees.

Stuffed with Stuffing

As always, I really enjoyed everything about the Thanksgiving Holiday. I like all of the holiday specials on the Food Network, even if I’d seen them many times. Though this year, I must admit to being vexed by the Dear Food Network mini series of specials. In it they had fans go meet their favorite chefs and learn to overcome their recipe disasters. I was particularly peeved over the Ina Garten segment on desserts. She flew in the participating fans to her house in the Hamptons by helicopter for a party in her new barn (not the kind of barn one normally conjures up, but one in which five star parties can be held). On top of that, one of the participants FIRST got to hang out with Tyler Florence. I asked him for help with my disastrous hush puppies years ago, but do I get a call – no! Granted, hush puppies aren’t typical Thanksgiving fare that I know of. They usually involve a fish fry. But I asked first. Boy, that episode really burned my biscuits. Not that I make biscuits for Thanksgiving either. We usually cheat by throwing brown n’ serve rolls in the oven after everything is heated (That’s if we remember we even bought them. There were a couple of holidays in a row they were still in the pantry when the guests left). Where was I? Oh yeah, I was really ticked off. I watched anyway. Our meal was really good and most plentiful where leftovers were concerned. I am seldom tired of them when they finally run out.

I didn’t do my usual photo shoot of food while I cooked. Actually, I was going to make a little video of my kitchen doings, but I was really taking it easy during the whole time I was cooking. In other words, it didn’t look pretty in here. I don’t want to horrify anyone. Perhaps I’ll make one during the Christmas baking. However, we wanted to show everyone something we were thankful about. We decided on this. In case you can’t see, we’re eating steak sandwiches. Very traditional.

We kept this holiday very low key this year. I’m still fighting off some sort of lingering cold or sinus problem. There are also persistent back problems. We are taking it very easy every chance we get, and since everything slows down here, industry wise for the whole four day weekend, it was a great opportunity to rest. Still, we are working on the projects.


There are none. Everyone was shut down by Wednesday, so there is no movement to report on any of the projects. We do expect a great deal to happen this week.

Friends In Deed

No, it isn’t a typo. These are friends who do deeds for each other. Personal connections are extremely important in showbiz. Through these connections, we can get meetings or find crews. We’ve networked our way into contacts that introduced us to funding sources. It’s hard to meet such people without an introduction from the right person. It’s so very 19th Century at times that I expect to be asked or a formal letter of introduction. In exchange for the generosity we’ve been shown out here, I always try to help friends with productions as best I can. On another level, friends can help with nuts and bolts of a production from development to post. I often turn to non-industry friends for answers to pre-production questions. Our primary Set Elf (you’ll have to ask him to explain that term), Randy, is the go-to guy for advice on building sets. Information about the cost of materials and the amount of time are very useful when developing a budget. To get that info from someone who usually works on designing and building sets involves paying a consulting fee. Not that I begrudge anyone fees for valuable insight. It’s understandable to charge when you reach a certain level of expertise. And the danger of networking is the risk of being used for contacts or expertise. I work hard not to unduly impose on anyone. However, our company has yet to reach the point where we have five or six figure development budgets (I don’t think we’d know how to act when that happens). Often, a project can’t get off the ground if there isn’t a complete and believable budget, so this assistance is vital. Then, there are times that I just need to find a way of articulating a character during the writing process. My musician/DJ friend, Bruce Kline, has been very helpful in assisting my articulation of Billy Swain’s character in Luv U 4 Ever. He’s also been willing to work for tens of dollars on the musical score for the Blood Oath short. I don’t write with music in my head as a habit, but having the music prior to shooting in this case will be extremely useful as we block the action. We’ll be editing according to the music, and it helps to have blocking of the action that keeps the editing in mind. Since both men have very busy lives, and the reward for these deeds is not guaranteed, their deeds are very much appreciated and valued. Thanks guys. Now get back to work. :)

Worst TV Thing Ever

Well, I can’t say it’s the absolute worse. There are many new lows to reach, I’m sure. But this made my brain hurt. Even Craig said, ‘this just is completely wrong’ when he saw it. I’ve watched a lot of inane TV commercials over the years, and some of them have been really appalling. There was the spray on hair in a can. And then there are those pills one of the Brady Bunch boys is pushing to make men larger (ewww). But this is beyond the pale. It’s the heatsurge portable fireplace (it’s on wheels). The ad claims that the devices are handmade by Amish craftsmen. My favorite part of the ad is when the ‘Amish’ are taking these items to be shipped in a horse drawn cart. Most ridiculous of all, if you order during the ad, they’ll throw in an electric coffee maker. We believe that the Amish are making only the mantles for these things, and that’s by giving the company a huge benefit of the doubt. That photos on the website don’t seem to have any elements that were in the same room together ever. And for those unfamiliar, it’s highly unlikely that the Amish have anything to do with electric coffee makers or fireplaces with remote controls or anything electric. We’re hoping some of their Menonite brethren, who do watch TV, will inform about this ad.

A lot of action happens this week. Stay tuned.

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