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 05, 2009

Multiple Voices, Grillin' and Tough Calls

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.

Shades of Sybil

I'm always happy when the characters I'm writing find their voices and start living in my mind. Don't worry, it isn't time for a straight jacket (not for that, anyway). I'm not splitting into these characters and their voices have yet to tell me to set anything on fire. They just hang out in their disparate groups with remnants of songs (lately, they've largely been Michael Jackson or the Jackson 5 and songs from Funny Girl ) and snippets of books that I'm processing for the Archive. Okay, that still sounds crazy. Don't worry about it. I'm currently writing a few things simultaneously. All of those characters are now running around in my head doing their individual things. I'm having the most fun with dear Vincent Greven and the cookbook. Jon's been helping me with the guy's view of cooking. The result is some very funny narrative between the recipes about such important things like having to clean the fridge every now and then or how to handle cutting boards so that no is killed by the food. Vincent's voice is often playful and sardonic making him a lot of fun to write. I'm also thinking about him and Rik Heron for the next Soldier's book. Simon Molinar, from Demon Under Glass is back for that one as well. That book is in there percolating phase. The characters from the Surrender books are back in my mind, because I'm contemplating a third book with them.
And then there is my Mother with the memoir. She's not out of place with my more lurid characters. Mom was very open minded (she came of age in the 60s, after all). I inherited my penchant for attracting very strange people as friends from her. There are a number of very naughty characters that Mom would have liked to hang out with very much. I'm still sweating the plot threads (memory threads, really) and the language in the first story from the memoir. The exposition in this story is really important to the rest of the collection, but it can't seem like exposition. It must feel more like rumination (as in pondering, not chewing cud ). The story was spun really quickly, but the honing is at a glacier's pace. Most days, one of the characters is speaking to me more loudly than the others and I make progress on something. Last week, I was so tired for some reason that none of them were speaking. I suppose characters can nap as well. They're all talking now, especially Vincent. I expect to finish the cookbook, writing wise, soon. We've never laid out a book like this, so the production may take some time after that.

July 4th 2009 Edition

The following is a bit more cooking detail than my norm, but I'm cross posting this section on Paula Deen's social network. This crazy blog is now appearing on all sorts of sites without my intervention and at least six where it was directly requested. Go figure!

I had hoped for a relaxing 3 day weekend. That would mean that all three days are spent relatively close to my sofa working on the pile of stuff in my inbox. Alas, that was not to be. We had to go to Costco on Friday. Perhaps because the banks were open, I thought that most people weren't off on Friday like Jon and I. Silly, silly me. The crowds in the parking lot and the store were unlike anything we'd ever seen there. The parking lot was full to the point of complete gridlock. Every square foot of that cavernous stores was jammed with adults and children who were all but immobilized by the volume. Jon and I have a method for such crowds. We park the cart then zip around and get what we need. That helped some. I still had to shove some carts and the person pushing them out of my way. For some reason, the Pharmacy window is next to one of the registers. The people in line seemed to think that leaving a foot of space clear would negate their spot in line. Naturally, they were either on the phone or texting. So, I shoved – hard. A little later I passed by the same area to find that an elderly woman had been injured trying to get through the register line to the pharmacy window. That was the kind of day it was there.

Though the errand was inconvenient and I was homicidal by the time we worked our way out of the parking lot, it was worth the effort. I wanted to try grilling some new things for this 4th of July like lamb chops. We didn't have lamb growing up, because Dad didn't like it (but they kept foisting okra on us). We've made leg of lamb for Easter when we had a room mate. His family was from Eastern Europe, so we had a blend of foods at holidays. That was okay. I liked ground lamb in a ragout . Jon even liked it though I suspect he didn't know what the meat actually was. I first had lamb chops at the premier party for Battlestar Galactica. The buffet was just killer (better than the one we had for the premier of Leap Years, and that one was awesome) with a huge bowl of grilled lamb chops at the center. Gabriel Koerner and I had a pile a piece. It was disgraceful, but so delicious. I've seen many recipes for grilled lamb chops on the Food Network, and finally decided to try one when next we pulled out the grill. Costco has an amazing price on a rack of lamb that cuts into 8 chops. Mine didn't look as pretty as the ones on TV (you may notice that some of the little chops have fallen off their bones), but they were really delicious. A simple marinate of garlic, rosemary, thyme and olive oil for an hour along with the tobasco barrel woodchips in the charcoal fire made for incredible flavor. The wood chips were a gift from Ohio DJ friend Bruce Kline. I plan to do a lot more grilling this summer. Lamb chops will be on the top of the list. I also lucked out in finding a huge pork shoulder on sale. It had the bone and the fat layer on top. That's becoming increasingly rare at my markets for some reason. I bought one of those and slow, slow roasted it overnight with a new kind of rub. Instead of the pulled pork rub (onion powder, garlic powder, brown sugar, chili powder and pepper), I did a rub with herb de Provence, salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder. I found I like pulled pork with other than just barbecue flavor, and this rub gives me more options. And don't worry, Jon and I weren't in a meat coma by the time of the fireworks. I have my handy vacuum sealer to properly freeze the vast leftovers for meals over the next couple of weeks.


We've heard from our funding connection this week before the holiday bug-out. Our current count down to a mid to late August green light is holding steady. Toward the end of this month, we'll start contacting our locations for The Gunslinger and find out their availability. We'll also look at the availability of lodgings and such. For the horror film, the debate over where we're filming is over. Our company is now involved with a local soundstage that can provide everything we need, set wise, at a price that no one else is going to beat – no matter how many rebates on the budget are offered. Additionally, California and the city of Los Angeles are offering rebates that make travel for a shoot completely unnecessary unless it is for a unique locale. So, for one of them, we're staying home. For Blood Oath, we're taking on some new personnel for post. The reasons are detailed below. The rough cut is being refined. And we're looking seriously at having a screening for the network suits and yaoi fans in August. That should be some kind of interesting party. Stay tuned for more details.

Tough Call

I had to fire someone very close to me last week. It was a difficult decision, but I had to think of the good of the project. Yep, I had to fire myself from one of the tasks on Blood Oath. My work was fine, but my production was too slow. It was too long since I had used that skill set. I was happy with the sketches as was Jon, surprisingly enough, but the output couldn't match what we needed to finish the pilot presentation in any kind of timely manner. So I fired myself and put ads out for a replacement. Randy was very surprised at the speed of the decision. He worried about his own position. I made him feel better by saying that he'd better get his tush out here as quickly as possible with a big spring in his step. I've learned that I have to put the film before everything else, including my ego and others. It was a tough lesson to learn, but I think it makes me happier in my role as a producer. Things run more smoothly and I'm less aggravated. That was another thing I had to learn. Every set has a personality. Sometimes, it reflects that of the director. Sometimes, it reflects that of the lead. Our mentor in film making, Jonathan Zimmerman, told us that sets can have a frenetic energy where everyone is highly strung and prone to explosions or it can be really laid back and mellow even under extreme pressure. Problems only arose when these temperaments were mixed on the same set.
He was of the opinion, and we agreed with him, that since making films was one of the coolest jobs on the planet, there was no reason to be screaming and tense all the time. Jon and I are laid back and mellow. I seldom raise my voice and Jon hates that kind of tension. It was great on Blood Oath to have crew that gave great creative input and helped us problem solve without drama. It was the most fun I've had on a shoot (though Gunslinger was a hoot, it was more of a grind). Thus far, we've gathered some very talented people for the upcoming shoots. They also seem to be as mellow and twisted as we are. Still, it was hard firing me. I had to make it up to myself with a special desert. I'm sure I'll get over it in time.

1 comment:

Yvonne said...

Sounds like you have had a pretty up & down week. But you are making me hungry with all this talk about grillin' an eatin'. lol