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, May 30, 2010

Skunks, Funk, and Wee Willie Influences

Craig is having a battle with a skunk. It's after his corn and sunflowers. It seems that he must take a stand before planting the tomatoes. I hadn't realize that Craig had become Oliver Douglas. I suppose that tilling the land was a wonderfully benign hobby considering the mayhem he could be enjoying. However, I couldn't condone his plans for the ravenous skunk. Craig's lovely girlfriend wouldn't let him dispatch the one legged cricket. There was no way he would be allowed to take out a fur bearin' critter. My Father has extensive experience with gardening. I know he had run ins with gophers. I plan to consult him on the matter before Craig does something rash. Despite the critter problem, I have garden envy. All of this cooking has made me want to grow my own herbs at least. But even that is out of the question. Aside from being tiny, our abode is not much for natural light. We have no plants because of that. It's sad. And the courtyard is off limits to anything but passing through and swimming. But then, if I were gardening, I'd have to be weeding. I'm not in shape for that. I will update on the skunk war as information becomes available.

Summer Eats

As to what's cooking? Alas, there is not a lot going on right now. My energy level is still not what it was before the last surgery. And my appetite is still off most of the time. It actually took me a week to get through the Tastykakes and Federal soft pretzels my Brother and Sister-in-law brought along when they visited. Typically, I finish such delights in embarrassingly short order. I did manage to make a small bowl of potato salad to go with the oven barbecue I'm planning for today into tomorrow. I so enjoy food roasted over charcoal, but wrangling that grill is just not happening any time soon. I've read some good tips on making everything in the oven, and Dad gave me a few more. I'm thinking some chicken and ribs will work nicely. I'm even thinking of making my own barbecue sauce. And we have fresh corn locally grown – really! I have a selection of fresh melons sliced up as an appetizer. We're pretty well set. I had hoped to go to the movies over the holiday, but I don't think I'm up to that quite yet. I need to be able to recline and I never know when that need will arise. That's another reason why oven grilling works better for me right now. And both meats survive well in the leftover phase. I have more ambitious cooking/baking in the planning stages. If I have enough energy, there is a cake I really want to make in cupcake form. It's a cinnamon swirl pound cake with a coffee cake streusel topping that's also swirled throughout. I had something similar from a joint called the Corner Bakery . The recipe in The Cake Book was the closest I've run across to the ingredients – at least I think it does. I'll certainly let you know.

Lithuanian Funk

I saw this photo on Yahoo News and realized that aside from the Cannes Film Market, the time had come once again for the Eruovision Song Contest. Jon and I were fascinated by that the last time we were in Europe. In fact, watching the show almost made us miss our cab to a film premier. This group claimed to be representing Eastern European funk. I was doubtful. The transplant of Rap to Europe generally makes me sad. Some of it is probably good. I'm sad that it emigrated at all. I'm for contracting of the form not expansion. Funk is not easy to achieve. It seems even more difficult in disturbingly brief sequined shorts. But I'm game for exposure to any sort of musical funk. Inculto (check out the video of them competing) had a surprising sense of humor about their music and, I must admit, it was fairly funky. I'm not sure what George Clinton would make of them, but I felt they represented Lithuania very well. I'm not sure why they didn't win. I would have enjoyed seeing the competition. I like peeking into the pop culture of other countries. I get my fix on the internet where I can, but there is nothing like turning on the TV in a hotel room to a random channel and thinking 'what in the world?' Jon and I are feeling especially vexed and gypped to not get to see Law and Order: UK. It's a rare opportunity to directly compare the differences in crime dramas. The plots are taken directly from scripts early in the show's run in the US. We saw clips on Youtube and – geeks that we are – recognized the cases, but not how they were being handled. Alas, the deal for HULU UK fell through, so we don't know when we'll get the chance. But I digress. My hats off to you, Inculto, keep up the Funk. Though you didn't win, I hope we see more of you here.

Wee Willie Remembered

Speaking of local programming, I was saddened to learn that a giant in Philadelphia local TV, particularly to kids, had passed away. Bill Webber aka Wee Willie Webber hosted weekday afternoon cartoons on one of our UHF channels for many years. It was three and a half hours and ran for ten years. This man's shows is directly responsible for Jon and my fixation with Anime and was a profound influence on our bents in writing. He introduced Philly kids to shows like Speed Racer. I still say that the film was better than the general public realizes. But there were so many other shows that are less famous that I remember quite fondly and can still sing the opening themes. Among them and in no particular order: Astro Boy , Marine Boy. The theme for Marine Boy is especially insidious. I found it on Youtube for Craig because his Ohio born lady had never seen the show. He cursed me for a week. Click on it if you dare. There are so many more Animes I could mention, but the most interesting one for me is one Jon doesn't remember. Prince Planet had such a profound impact on my memory that I include a very obscure reference to it as an aspect to my lead character in The Privateers. It too has a very catchy theme song . Wee Willy Webber also introduced us to live action Japanese TV. The biggest among them was Ultraman. That show had cool uniforms, a cute girl and lots of big rubber monsters. It was awesome. And a reference from that show turned up in Soldier's Choice. I saw a couple of episodes when our former roommate ordered a video a few years back. Jon and I agree that it holds up now. And here is Ultraman's theme song. Not everything was good. I'm not sure why I even bothered with Gigantor. And I still don't quite know what Johnny Sakko and His Flying Robot were about. But they are available for your perusal on Hulu.com. All of the above is to say thank you to Wee Willie Webber. He changed my perspective ans the programs he introduced us to all those years ago still have the power to while away our time and stir our imaginations.

Under the Influence

Speaking of creative influences, the Hubs and I have finally stopped squabbling over the script we've been researching for more than a year. Jon had grown justifiably weary of films that use history as clip art. That is his term he used and he applies it to personal history as well as national. I agree with him for the most part. But I maintained that in this case, since there was no video or social media to record their meetings, we had to rely on anecdotal evidence that they met where and when they said they did and that events transpired the way they were stated. For a long while, that was making no headway. Heck, had I not found a note written in the hand of one of them about the event which prompted my interest in writing the script, we'd still be squabbling about doing it at all. Still, it took me reading copious biographies to convince Jon that neither character was truthful about events in their lives. And that they both tended to manipulate events in their relationships to fit whatever the current narrative of their lives was. Even the accounts in their letters must be regarded as somewhat unreliable. This discovery has prompted Jon to make this unreliable narrative a part of the script. Thus, we can manipulate the timeline somewhat. Memoirs are not always just the facts. The are written through the same prisms that influence fiction. Did that happen or am I remembering an episode of the Cosby Show? I find myself asking that question often as I write the memoir about my Mother. I suppose it could be worse. I could be remembering an episode of Mannix. That would be weird. At any rate, this research and from I've gleaned working at the Archive, pop culture influence has always blended with personal history to inform fiction and sometimes memoir.


All the writing is coming along at a satisfactory pace. I've had some setbacks connected to shooting the interviews for the re-release of Demon Under Glass. Namely, each one put me back on my butt for a few days afterward. I still tire really easily. Still, they were good sessions that revealed at lot about the actors' views of their characters and some surprising views on future material. I'll talk about my reaction when they run. Anything I say now is an absolute spoiler. We also recorded some voice overs for promos connected to DraggonTV.com. My thanks again to Garett Maggart, Owen Szabo, Matty Ferarro and Cynthia Quiles-del Rosario for taking the time on such short notice to help us. Owen and Cynthia rose to the occasion despite being completely unfamiliar with the material. We look forward to working with them again soon. Everything will be live on line in a few weeks. Then, most of the questions raised will be answered.

Stay Tuned.

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