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, February 14, 2010

Tigers and Souffles and Plots, Oh My!

Gong hei fat choi!
Happy Year of the Dragon and Happy Valentine's Day! And as if this week can't begin any more strangely, Tuesday is Mardi Gras. For now, I'm only dealing with these two. Our romantic dinner features homemade potstickers and chicken friend rice with a chocolate souffle and some bubbly for dessert. The souffle is an amazing recipe from America's Test Kitchen that can be made ahead and frozen. I've shown a photo of it from when I made it during the summer. It's fairly easy to put together as well. I made the dumplings during the Super Bowl and froze them. And fried rice is easy to put together. Thus, it will be a no fuss but lovely and, hopefully, romantic dinner. That will bring us luck during the new year. Who knows? It's worth a shot. I had some ambitious notions of cooking duck breast or Peking Duck (duck being both a staple of romantic meals and important Chinese feasts). But I've cooked it exactly once, and that was an ordeal and a half. Since duck is neither bread or noodles, Jon could care less if it appears on his plate. Thus,I thought it prudent to wait until I have more energy. There is less likelihood of disaster that way.

The Super Bowl was fun. I didn't have a preference for a winner, so I think my biggest reaction during the whole time was 'Abe Vigoda is alive?' Though the game and the ads were really good, I found myself preoccupied with cooking prep for the big pot of chili (no beans) and the slab of sweet cornbread and the potstickers. My friends and colleagues are benefiting greatly from my food therapy. Now, they're sending supplies my way with requests. I'm needing a bigger fridge or an supplemental fridge. That's especially true when I'm doing the juicing thing. To have enough produce to make juice means there is just bushels of stuff to go through. But I digress. I want to thank all of those sending me their recipes and suggestions for warm and comforting meals last week. I'm going to try some of them very soon.

Writing Roadblocks
I wanted to get more writing done, but the week was rough where concentration was concerned. My characters were speaking, but I couldn't focus enough to filter it through to my keyboard. My script outline was stymied by the realization that I had to do a great deal more research on one of the main characters. I thought I had the correct thread, but when I pulled it, I was lead to a lot farther back in his life than I first thought was relevant. That was a fascinating if terribly inconvenient development. That biography is nearly three inches thick and quite heavy. I really didn't want to tote that to and from my appointments. Ah, well. The upside is that the research is riveting. I find myself losing a lot of time reading the biography and, of course, the short fiction mentioned therein. (I can't do that when I'm on the road as I am without a laptop. It would be too unwieldy in a waiting room. Jon is predicting that this script will likely producer – egads – an academic paper or perhaps a course.

And, despite all the work I have on my plate, I've allowed myself to get distracted by a bit of experimental script writing. Jon and I both have scripts knocking about that we know are going to be difficult if not impossible to produce, but it's an itch that we need to scratch. It's like having to solve a puzzle. In my experiment, I believe I have solved the problem that this sort of material presents for film makers save for no one would fund it and casting would be a bear. Thus, it's not something that I want distracting me right now. Although past experience has taught me that I find my focus on one work while distracted by another one. I suppose, I can just let this go where it will for the time being. It is a very fun script for me to write. I'm taking what could have been a 1950s era romance between the powerful scion of an industrial family and a lady business executive and turning it on its ear – Big Time while still having an Eve Arden character.

I must digress here to register a strong protest about an upcoming remake of Mildred Pierce. I adore Kate Winslet, but that is a film that is very much of it's era. I don't think any film maker today has the sensibilities to re-make it and not get it wrong. Why do I have an itch to upend 50s romances while objecting to a re-make of an iconic film? Well, first, I'm not re-making anything specific. I'm using a fun and familiar template to push drama in a very different direction. It's part of my need to rehabilitate erotica in films. Too much of it is bad. Most of it manages to make sex boring (I give you Eyes Wide Shut). And film erotica is almost never romantic. And when the characters in such films do fall in love with each other, it's almost always a toxic sort of relationship. And these films never have a sense of humor. This is a tough nut to crack in a script that isn't 400 pages long. And even if I manage to write something that moves crisply and has highly engaging characters (and I'm onto something with the 50s romance template), there is still the issue of writing it in such a way that it could find a big enough audience to attract funding. It's quite the puzzle.

CSI: Miami Fun
One of the commercials that really amused me during the Super Bowl was for last week's CSI: Miami. It featured a death that appeared to have happened in outer space. At the end of the ad, there was an image of Horatio Caine's (David Caruso) glasses floating owner-less in space. The episode itself was quite amusing in spots. It even featured physical comedy by two of the CSIs in a vomit comet. Youcan see footage of the plane in action HERE. Though the plot pushed credulity to the very limit, the episode was highly amusing. I'm really enjoying this season, and I'm very impressed with Caruso's sense of humor about his alter ego and his show. He's been promoting a Horatio Caine impersonation contest (the contestants are at the bottom of the page), and because of him, I was introduced to the extremely amusing Black CSI: Miami. These clever shorts feature such over the top dialogue as 'Black Eric, what do we have?' 'Well, Black Horatio, I'm processing this pitcher of Kool-Ade.' And the Horatio is really spot on. Good show, fellows!
One More Doppler Jab
I know I promised no more making fun of weather forecasters, and I'm not (for those who may have missed the reason for this promise, please check out the nuttiest of all the Dopplergangers Snowpocalypse Forecast). I do, however, have to share Stephen colbert's version of the Doppler craze with his Dopplerest 9000 coverage of Snowmaggeddon 2010. See We're Off to See the Blizzard. Enjoy!

Film vs Book
Well, not just books but also comic books and/or cartoons. I finally saw GI: Joe The Rise of Cobra and Julie and Julia. So, next week I'll talk about the difficulties of going from one media to another and where both films were successful or not so much. I'm also still puzzling on how the film version of GI: Joe managed to completely de-gayify (that's a word or it is now) the cartoon series. That was quite a feat. And I know you all think I see the homoerotic everywhere (or choose to), but, in this case, I'm not the only one who did where GI: Joe was concerned. On the left you have a Joe character on the right, the Venture Brother's version. I love the whole squad on Venture Brothers, they shamelessly resemble the Village People. But I'm digressing, and this is for the next blog.

Stay tuned!

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