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 24, 2011

Craig and Moules, Ampersands and Updates

Craig became a librarian this week. While that is justifiably terrifying, it's better than the plans he was hatching for world domination. Not that I thought any of those plans had a chance of succeeding further than his getting arrested on some weird harassment charge. Craig has weird harassment plans honed to a very fine art. It just that because I would point out the potential problems in placing art installations made of rotting meat in front of the homes of his enemies – so many enemies – he had decided that I was his nemesis in his plans for world domination. I don't have the energy to be Craig's nemesis. He has far too wiley an imagination. I was very glad that the long layoff ended. The timing was interesting as he returned to dealing with books the same week Borders met its final demise. His first day was reminiscent of any given day at good old store #93 in that there were many arguments amongst angry, drunk homeless men. He amazed the staff by not really getting bothered by all the commotion. I understood his ennui. They had on pants and weren't carrying gasoline. That was counted as a mild disturbance at our store. It made Craig feel right at home.

Speaking of art installations, Jon and I noticed a solar powered ampersand in a vacant lot near one of our supermarkets. As I suspected, it was something that was really annoying. Jon has an art degree, so he understood it and was really annoyed. I just knew it would be something I'd consider silly. The stated explanation was HERE. All in all, I think I'd prefer the rotting meat. At least I understand Craig's motives, diabolical as they are.

Moules no Frites

Usually my kitchen therapy is a carefully planned exercise in trying something new that I've often wanted to attempt. I think a long time about the dish and the process. I thought about croissant baking for every bit of a year. Sometimes though, I find myself making something that is a little bit intricate to work through something very emotional – like blind rage. Let's just say that while doing one's utility paying online can be very convenient, when things go wrong, it is spectacular. And calling customer service is beyond frustrating when the business is vested in keeping things as automated as possible. Thus, all the while I'm navigating through the complicated phone system, it keeps telling me that I would find better and faster service on the web page that has royally screwed up everything in the first place. I finally have punched in my information and reach the correct level of the system when I'm told that customer service is down and to either call back later or go back to the accursed web page. Unfortunately for this utility, they have offices in nearby Santa Monica. It takes a lot to blast me out of the house when I haven't planned on leaving, but adrenaline is an amazing thing. I maintained my ire via a very annoying and ridiculously expensive commute.

Once the errand was completed with no bloodshed or other mayhem, I found I was in downtown Santa Monica on a beautiful summer day. Happiness! So, I first went to Penzey's Spice Shop. I had no plans for visiting that very dangerous place, but I soon realized that my pantry was lacking in some things I needed for upcoming recipes. They weren't very exotic spices either. For instance, I had no celery seeds or dried mustard powder. These items weren't expensive, and now I can make some new dishes. And make some other dishes correctly. It took a great deal of will power to not buy something from every aisle. I had to save some bucks for the even more dangerous establishment I would visit next – Santa Monica Seafood! Boy, did that take a lot of focus and determination. I was only there to buy mussels which are very inexpensive. But the mussels were next to the big, beautiful sea scallops and the bigger and even more beautiful crab legs. They were not anywhere near inexpensive.

When we were in Cannes, there was a restaurant in the middle of the route to our hotel whose specialty is Moules et Frites – Mussels and Fries. The place always smelled of a delicious garlic and wine sauce. I had had wonderful mussels cooked by a grad school chum years – decades ago – and hadn't had them since. That restaurant made my mouth water every time we passed by. It was also always packed. We were usually in a hurry to get to screenings going down to the Festival and too tired to stop for anything on the way back to the hotel. Somehow, in the ten days in Cannes, we just never got there. I was determined to try to duplicate that scent and the taste my friend, Philomena created. The recipe was really simple. Everything was in the prep and the careful execution. It took only a half hour of prep and most of that was waiting for the mussels to soak in salt water. They took less than ten minutes to cook. I had them with some hunks of baguettes smeared with St. Andres cheese and a cold beer. I forgot the entire ordeal with the website and the phone call and the commute. I forgot to take photos. I was transported in time and space. I found bliss. That reminds me, I have to start thinking about baking baguettes.


The books are coming along well. I have my calendar to silently keep me on track with page output. I've sent specs for new artwork for the revised versions of A Soldier's Choice and A Soldier's Fate and for Ensnared. I've got my marketing campaign for the books planned out. I've been making decent progress on a script that has been years in the making. It's a huge departure from what we normally write, thus the very long development. The writing is going well. The productions are in various states of flux. I've had an exciting development with The Secret Cancer. You can check that out HERE. Octodemon is still working through development issues with FX and currently scheduling. And my web series are all basically waiting for me to be recovered enough from treatment side effects to take on the daily rigors of running a shoot. Since Jon is working, it's fallen more on me to actually run things which I really can't yet. My unscheduled trip to Santa Monica was followed by two days of not doing much of anything save write. It is extremely frustrating, but it isn't uncommon for my cancer treatment. I have to be patient.

Stay tuned!

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