On a side note, I swear I just heard a penalty call during the New York/New Orleans for unnecessary punching. Does that mean that there can be punching during the game that's considered necessary? I'm curious. Much time has passed. I've been distracted by cooking and some other more troublesome matters. The blog is very late this week. In fact, there was no blog at all last Sunday. My apologies.
It's now Friday. Jon and I are home sick...again. No, it's not H1N1. It is something that keeps running around the Archive. This fun thing has the body aches and near debilitating fatigue. Even so, I am making a quick version of my favorite chicken stock to make some restorative soups. Jon is not so much for the old fashioned chicken soup, but he does like cream of tomato soup with crackers (Ritz, of course). I have a lovely recipe for roasted tomato and red bell pepper soup by Sunny Anderson, another Food Network diva I like. And with this recipe, he gets the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants from the tomatoes, garlic and the red bell peppers. I've also made a crockpot full of mulled wine from a recipe shared by one of my French friends. The whole pace smells wonderful. That helps a lot. And I really like the idea of drinking something that is also known as Glogg. Unfortunately, I have no flagons. The soup is finished and it tastes quite yummy. All we need now are some gooey grilled cheese samiches (yes, I meant samiches).
Food P0rn Part Deux
When Anthony Bourdain did his Food P0rn (I'm using the zero instead of an o to avoid search engine problems, okay), it was an interesting excursion through what highly trained chefs and extreme foodies call a hedonistic experience. It was entertaining and informative, but not anywhere near erotic. I was a little let down by that, because Bourdain is sensual and poetic in expressing his views on foods in any given episode. I've been inspired by this way of viewing food and cooking. It certainly has crept into my prose and scripts. But last week, I was exposed to an artists in sensually describing the sights, sounds and tastes of a kitchen. Alex's Day Off is Alexandra Guarnaschelli's new show on the Food Network. The premier episode featured a very simple meal of bacon, eggs and hash browns. It was sexier than some of my most naughty fiction. The way Chef Alex ordered a 'sloppy pound' of bacon made Jon look up from his work to ask what EXACTLY was I watching. I had been enjoying her posts on the Facebook all week long. One involving a butternut squash caused me to all but run out and buy one in hopes of having a similarly intense experience. Tonight she was talking about a sandwich. It sounded like way too much fun to have with a sandwich. She is extraordinary as a chef and a lover of food. Do have a look at the show.
No I don't mean discovering that Jon has changed my brutal mutant soldiers into ballet dancers. These surprises are about subtlety in the performances that pare very pleasing to someone looking for her characters to come to life. There was a lot I saw live and on the monitors dureing that made me happy during the Blood Oath shoots themselves, but it's hard to see everything. Throughout the fight scene I was watching to make sure that Goggles(Aaron Blake or Brian Avery) didn't lose his red scarf or that Vincent's (Matty Ferraro) ponytail didn't unravel or Rik's (Lance Wesley) military patches stayed in place. There weren't a lot of moments when I could focus on the facial expressions that happened during the fight scene. As a movie fan, I prefer action scenes that are telling me something about who the characters are. I expect the same character exposition during love scenes as well.
For example, the fight scene between Hector (Eric Bana) and Achilles (Brad Pitt) in Troy was a tragic ballet of grief and anger and honor. It was as sad as it was beautiful (Yes, even with all that bare, glistening skin, I noticed the actual fight). My favorite thing about the final duel between Obi-wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker during Revenge of the Sith is that the nature of their entire relationship played out during it. The fight was almost painful to watch. But my favorite example of an American film (Hong Kong action films have this down to a fine art) that uses character exposition during a fight scene and a chase scene brilliantly is Mr. &Mrs. Smith. Their first knock down drag out fight against each other is brutal, but it's also very funny and extremely sexy. It is quite clear that their being on opposites sides has not changed their feelings for each other. And then there is my favorite chase scene in film (same film). They dissect their whole relationship during a harrowing and death defying pursuit on a major highway. See the trailer HERE. It has some of the fight scene (you'll have to wade through an ad for another film). Incidentally, and completely unrelated to my point, I must commend Brad Pitt on his performance in Mr. & Mrs. Smith in that he was completely credible as being dangerous and goofy.
I'm not comparing out modest pilot to those big, expensive films. However, I was still looking carefully at the fight footage as Jon edited it to find my characters. You don't need high end production values to convey a sense of the characters through their action. And I did see them in brief glimpses during the frenetic fight. As Jon worked on the FX one frame at a time, I was impressed by the facial expressions of both Lance and Matty while they were fighting. I saw Vincent's determination, his temper and even his playfulness. In Rik, I saw the intense focus, the temper and the sardonic Colonel Bastard that is in the Soldier's novels. In each of them, I saw protectiveness and sometimes panic over each others safety. I would have never have seen that on the soundstage because I was too far from the action and they were moving way too fast. However, on a regular TV screen, everything was apparent. I could clearly see Vincent and Rik without them uttering a single line of dialogue. It was very exciting.
In other Blood Oath news, we've set a tentative date for the premier screening. I plan to firm it up in the next two weeks. We are toying with the notion of inviting fans of Yaoi, Manga and homoerotic sci-fi to the screening to generate some buzz. We have to decide on that soon as the screening will be the week before Christmas.
It's really odd, but five years ago, Dragoncor/Earthdraggon couldn't avoid shooting in November. Now, it seems that we can't avoid shoots in January and February. That's the current status of pre-production for the next film. It's not so bad though. It's not blazing hot, and a number of actors we're interested in for the horror film and the western are more available during that time (TV season is still on hiatus in January). We decided not to fight against the tide. Aside from the frequent illnesses, all of us are consumed by assisting Lucy with the soundstage launch and the new distribution arm of Dragoncor/Earthdraggon. I have to write up protocols for submissions for that. Jon had to drop everything to do an online, animated advertisement on Thursday for the soundstage. It's been exciting to watch all of this take shape, but it is draining at times for everyone. I can't imagine going into full-blown pre-production on top of all that. There are only so many hats that can fit on one set of heads.
CSI: Miami – Times They are a Changing
I remain flummoxed by the tones and plots on CSI: Miami this year. I'm not displeased by any stretch. I'm just really surprised and a little suspicious. What's going on here? I mean we have a hostage situation in one episode that does not behave in anyway like any other hostage situation I've seen on most police dramas. The twists and turns in that episode really surprised me – and not unpleasantly (see, I was paying attention to more than half naked CSI Cardoza (Eddie Cibrian). A side note, Jon postulated during last weeks episode where CSI Cardoza was running around shirtless and shoeless in low slung shorts while on the beach that perhaps the near naked thing is the actor's MO. I did some image surfing on the interwebs and found that he does, indeed, have no problem with being in a towel or less. Delightful. But where was I? Ah, yes, fun plot twists. The hostage ep was very interesting. My only criticism is an ongoing one. I'm not sure how many times armed gunmen have overrun their law enforcement building, but I really think after the first time, there would be some sort of armed security at the entrances. Last weeks ep, Bad Seed, was truly unique for the series. It didn't have an outright bad guy for one thing. The killer was a number of elements coming together to create food contamination that was in no way intentional. And the investigation was more science and less interrogation. In other words, the issues were really complex. The solution was not ideal, yet the journey to the conclusion was satisfying. Wow. And I'm really liking the more team-like feel between the actors. Horatio Cain (David Caruso) was content to let the team run with the ground work. He came in for the key interrogations. I'm seeing more and more of this from him. It fits the Steve McGarrett paradigm. In later seasons, he also was less in the field preferring to orchestrate the actions from behind the scenes. Still, I hope we haven't seen the last of Horatio's deadly shooting.
The best thing about the heat wave two weeks ago was some late season skin baring amongst the fitness conscious hot guys in the neighborhood. Two Saturdays ago, it looked like a calendar photo shoot had erupted outside our building. It wasn't like a Diuex du Stade calendar (that link is so not work safe). It was more in the racy fireman range. One of the lovely specimens was stretching on a utility pole in front of our building. He had on some sort of white spandex bike pants rolled down low. He was built as though fashioned by a talented sculptor, and he was glistening with sweat. But what I liked most was the self-effacing smile that graced that gorgeous mug in response to my most likely maniacal grin. He was so sporting about my leer, I didn't feel it was right to ask him to wait while I fetched my calander. There were about a dozen more such specimens getting in their runs on the route to Marina del Rey. I sure as heck didn't mind the heat any more.
Speaking of changing seasons. The change to standard time is next week in the US. As a reminder in the UK, the wonderfully naughty PSA aired. Thank you, Sylvette for the pleasant heads up!
Finally, thanks to everyone who sent notes of concern. We're on the mend. We just had to really take some time and rest.