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!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Twisters in Cali and Other Oddities

I know I've had a lot of fun ribbing LA weather people and their doppleganger radar uber technology in a region where the weather rarely changes. But last week, they had reason to get a bit hysterical. Among other things, there were three 'suspected' tornadoes. I suppose they will remain suspects until CSI: Tornadoes gets a VIN number or some tornado DNA. What I'm saying is that there was actual breaking news during the storms. I didn't even mind the coverage preempting my court reality shows. Aside from the violence in this group of storms, there were the fire areas from the summer that were in danger of having a water logged mountain come down on them. I only wished the news had preempted Martha Stewart pole dancing on her talk show. Somehow, the segment had something to do with keeping fit. But I digress. The torrential rains and window rattling thunder were great for hunkering down with some great soups, reading materials and a short story that I had to edit as long as the power held out. More on that later.

Food Fight

I received a lot of very helpful suggestions on augmenting the protein in my diet. Thank you! I've implemented some of them and plan to try others. I'm still losing weight but not as quickly as before, and the Docs think I'm getting what I need to heal and regain my strength. None of them want me to get back to the weight I was months ago, but they don't want me to lose much more. Thus, I am allowed to indulge in things that would have made them frown before. Thus, the vast array of apples I purchased to make fresh juice have ended up in a beautiful apple pie. I made the juice, too. But how much apple juice can two people drink before the stuff goes bad? It didn't have preservatives. I transformed it into a form that will survive longer and will be completely consumed. No one wants to waste good food, right? I've also discovered that Buffalo wings are very tasty with Hollandaise sauce though I can't figure out a healthy angle for that. I'm also letting my inner Soup Nazi free. Since soups are a great way to consume veggies, and I can mix my protein boosters in them. I also get to do my favorite cooking basic – making stock. The apartment smells amazing. The aroma and warmth is especially nice as it has been uncharacteristically cold with the rain. Just lovely. Over the next few days, I'll be trying all kinds of new vegetable soups. I'll be sure to share the reviews.

Slow Starts and Finishes

Many people we know are under the impression that Jon and I are a writing machine, easily weaving plots and developing characters without any creative conflict. Cue Edna Krabappel's HA! Jon and I have always had disagreements about characters and plots. Some of those get quite spirited. Some of those are never completely resolved. In those cases, the judgment goes to the one who created the plot or character. Right now, we're disagreeing over a script that has been long in development. Since I'll be home for quite some time, I've taken on writing the first draft. Starting the script is proving difficult because Jon and I haven't quite resolved who are lead characters are. It doesn't help that Jon doesn't like one of the characters. The other is, by all accounts, a tragedy. We've never written such a character. And since neither of us like films that are downers, we've been trying to figure out how to portray him accurately and still have him be uplifting. The debate rages. Well, it doesn't rage. The debate is more of a brisk simmer. At some point, I'm going to pick a direction and see where it goes. Mind you, Jon does not write scripts this way. He likes to solve everything in his head before writing one word. He's gotten better over the years, but I'm still convinced he'd only ever do one draft of anything if he could get away with it. I've learned that nothing ever sees the light of day as a first draft. That's especially true with scripts, because production realities (money, location, cast) always change scripts – even if the director wrote it. What has worked for us as collaborating pair is that my draft often points to the answers he's looking for to do the shooting script. I know this and he knows this, yet somehow we always end up doing the same dance before we start writing.

While I love crashing out drafts, I really hate editing. I may seem like a level headed person, but I am actually a very neurotic writer with all the insecurities that go with that personality. Editing always makes me second guess every sentence and really question my abilities. With this in mind and that I am more fragile than I've ever been from my illness, I get the brilliant notion to send the first chapter of the memoir out to literary journals and competitions. I haven't done anything like this in twenty years for the simple reason that I hate doing it. Even when the rejections have been constructive and helpful, they are painful to a neurotic writer. But here I am, editing a very personal story with some very helpful notes from dear Sarah and nit-picky line edits from Jon and wondering why I ever picked up a pen. Why torture yourself, you may wonder. I wonder that as well. Ultimately, it's about marketing the memoir. If this chapter gets published or wins a prize, that only helps the book's sales. I want this book to do well, so I have to suck it up and get some eyes on it.

Swords and Bears

Last week's CSI: Miami had no ninjas. The villains were Yakuza though they used a different term. It was a nifty twist on a pedestrian plot. The head gangster was trying to re-claim his long lost son, a teen who had no idea who his parents were, but the desire for fatherhood was not born of love or even the machismo of having a son to carry on his name. Oh no, he wanted the boy's young and healthy liver (and not to have with fava beans and a nice Chianti). It seems many Yakuza need liver transplants due to the types of tattoos they get over the years and alcoholism. I had heard about this on 60 Minutes in a disturbing story about a liver transplant given to a big Yakuza at UCLA outside of the donor list regulations. It was a very clever episode. And it had the bad-ass Horatio Caine (David Caruso) take down at the end. It was good to see his dead eyed shooting once again. It's been too long. There has been a distinct change in the show this season. It has a more pronounced sense of humor, and the addition of CSI Cardoza (Eddie Cibrian) and Walter Benson (Omar Benson Miller) has changed the dynamic of the cast. Unlike adding a cute kid to a tired sitcom, these cast additions have brought a new energy to the series. Cardoza and Benson actually did that joke about running away from a grizzly bear (I don't have to outrun the bear. I just have to outrun you). That was startling and very welcome. The episodes have become more ensemble driven than Horatio driven. And while I enjoy that, it was really good to see a classic Caine take down.

I'm slower writing the blogs of late. Everyday things still fatigue me, thus I'm a lot slower in my tasks than I used to be.

Stay Tuned!

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