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!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Naked Truths, New Status and Updates!

I actually try to shop locally as much as I can. We are incredibly fortunate to reside in an area with a lot of shopping at our finger tips. We're really lucky to live near all manner of businesses that support my little cooking biz. There are two major Japanese markets in the immediate area. There are some seriously good ethnic markets where I get my stock makings and cheap veggies when not at the farmers market. And there are some major restaurant supply joints a short drive from here. I now qualify for a professionals discount from those! But one of my favorite places is Gloria's Cake and Candy Supply. I always go there for my Small Business Saturday purchases. For a while, they had the most interesting clerk to ever work in such an establishment. He looked like he walked off of a stage at a battle of the death metal bands. I was so tickled at him selling things like Spongebob cake toppers. He didn't look quite as extreme as the Vegan Metal Death chef here, but it is close. Alas, he was not there this past Small Business Saturday. On Prince's Erotic City and its incredibly racy lyrics. I was shocked until I thought about it for a moment. When that song was popular, the snowy haired owner would have been in her 20s as I was. She may have enjoyed turning out the dance floor to Prince as much as I did. She may still. That made shopping for my mini cupcake liners and piping bags a lot more fun as I head bobbed through the aisles.
duty was the elegant showy haired lady who owns the place. And that was why the choice of music was a bit shocking. It was

The Naked Truth

Los Angles is a magnet for good looking people all over the world. They are drawn here to try their hand in the various entertainment fields. On any given day, rain or shine, I can look from the door to my building to the bike path across the street and see male beauty of all colors and types biking or skating or jogging past in all manner of dress. I've been told that there are some amazing sights to see in my own building. Jon has seen a young man who likes to do pull ups near the laundry room nearly naked. I'm told he's built like a swimmer. I've had visitors tell me about the gloriously built, tawny skinned blond from upstairs going to his apartment from the pool. Why am I writing as if I never get to see these things? Because, I don't, it seems. When I see any of these men, they are fully clothed. Who do I get to see naked? Usually, octogenarians. One day during the Demon Under Glass Shoot, we had about a half dozen really hot, young actors portraying commandos. They were incredibly built with adorable smiles. All day long I heard of the various crew seeing these guys in the all together. You know who I get to see in his skivvies, Jack Donner. I always end up seeing him in his skivvies. And last week, I saw another very very elderly man in boxers. This time, it was the neighbor of the Cat Lady Who Calls Me Barbara. He was taking out his trash to the dumpster which had been moved out front for collection. He seemed annoyed at me that I was on a public street while he was out of his apartment without a robe.

Speaking of elderly gents, I ran into an adorable widower who reminded me a bit of my father. He had a dark blue stretch limo parked in front of my Costco. I must have been looking at the vehicle quizzically, because he struck up a conversation and offered me his card should I require his services. I have no doubt that he was hitting on me a bit, but I've gotten tickled by the notion of doing my last minute shopping and cookie deliveries in a stretch limo. He claims it would be the same price as a cab. We'll see...

Big News

I went for my latest check up at the oncology clinic ready for battle. I was tired of going there once a month for a five minute B-12 shot. No one in my cancer support group was going to the doctor for those shots if they needed them. Additionally, there had been a policy change that dictated that I had to fill my prescription for the vitamin at the hospital pharmacy. This would mean that I'd have a two day appointment once a month for something all other patients with my cancer do at home. It was ridiculous. Well, an amazing thing happened when I brought up the B-12 shot. The resident came back from conferring with the head of the department and said that I still had enough of that part of the intestine that absorbs B-12. I didn't need the shots if I made sure I was getting a B-12 rich diet. In fact, I was well enough to transfer monitoring my condition to my primary care doc save for the annual tests. They needed the space for someone sicker. It was almost four years to the day that I had been diagnosed. When I realized that this was good news, I was elated! I'll go back next week to take the nurses the Christmas cookies they've been anticipating, but it will be nice to not have to go back so often. It's nice to be free of the designation of cancer patient. I can really embrace the designation of survivor!


Part One – Cooking

Thanksgiving was exciting and scary. I had some clients for pies and bead and sides. One of them was a favorite Aunt on my Father's side of the family. The Warner women are stellar backers, so sending her baked goods was almost terrifying. The family liked everything! My Aunt liked the goods enough that she wants me to bake for clients from her own business. She's not a caterer, but she often baked for certain clients who needed something home made for a special occasion. She's going to sub-contract those gigs to me! My dinner rolls were very well received as was my first ever vegan apple pie! I was so happy that it all went well. I have a few clients for Christmas and none for the New Year's celebrations. I plan a push to get some more of those. I'd like to keep it growing at a slow pace, so I don't get overwhelmed during this merry time of year. I do have a long range plan should my orders really start coming in. Unfortunately for Jon, it involves dragooning him as perhaps some of my other friends and a professional kitchen. But that's for later. Meanwhile, here is the link to my website http://deborahlwarner.wix.com/dlwcatering#!hors-doeuvers/c1e7h. If you don't see it, write me or call me! I can make anything!

Part Two – WRITING!!

When last we met here, I was in a deep, deep funk about where my writing projects were and how slowly
they were progressing. Since those very dark days, I have devised a plan to get back to the output I had a year or so ago. I had to figure out why I was stuck with each title that was at an impasse. That's been an interesting process. I'm not an actual believer in writer's block where I'm concerned. I've been trained to write no matter what is going on in my life. That's why I think out my treatments and outlines so carefully. I can then churn out pages ever when I am having the worst kind of days. That's what's been so disconcerting about this problem that has been getting worse with each passing month. What I realized is that I am having an issue with the original plan for one book that has brought me to a halt. As for the rest, I've been profoundly unhappy about how my work has fared on the market. There was an ever growing, 'why do I even bother' growing. Well, I've been schooled in why and how I should continue. Thus, this list is not as daunting as it seems. I'm actually working on some short fiction with the characters in my yaoi books. That's been fun which is more than I could say about my writing for quite some time.

Stay tuned!

And now, a look at the past few weeks in photos.

Turkey Stock.

Bondage turkey.

Our favorite actor headshot from the Privateers.

Piles of beautiful collards at the farmers market.

An odd prop from The Gunslinger.

Strange fruit at the farmers market.

Jon's desk after a lot of arts and crafts.

Craig at my library.

Farmer's Market fare.

Carbine Whiskey at Costco.

Singer John Legend causing a stir at our happy hour.

Jon's beautiful chess set in pieces.

A blast from our past.

My experiment with a Shrimp appetizer as a main dish.

My view of a casting session

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Big Reality Check, Boiling Wigs and Salarymen

I had hoped to begin this blog with the boiling of the purple wig weeks ago, but that was not to be. I was so crazy busy that I couldn't keep up with day to day obligations let alone blog. And then, there was Bent-con (http://Bent-con.org ). I'd say 80% of everything we were doing was focused on getting ready for that. Everything else got shoved violently into a corner. I can't even tell you how many writing deadlines I've blown. I'm still sifting through the wreckage of my writing career. I can't blog about Bent-con now. I'm still sorting out the information that I learned there and put it with the proper hat I was wearing at the time I learned it. That will take some time. I'll put a link to the best cosplay costumes and some of the fun photos I took at the end of the blog for the time being. There is also a link to the interview I did while in the booth. Some say I did well with it. I was nervous – it's been a while since I've been on camera like that – so I wasn't sure.

Boiling the wig was fun. The whole notion tickled me. I got the idea from youtube – and not from avid cosplayers. Oh no, it was from women like me. Sistahs who like to wear wigs. It's a trait for some from my ethnic background to wear incredible Sunday going to meeting hats like it is for wearing lots of wigs. My Maw-in-law will note here that originally, that the people who were going to meetings on Sundays were Quaker, and Quakers are not likely to wear big fancy hats. I have no idea how that phrase came into being. Where was I? Oh, yes, wigs. Apparently, there are bunches of videos on Youtube like this one  http://youtu.be/Z7mTVtpTDN8 from the sistahs who wear wigs and how to keep them fresh and new. That one has a long opeing, but it gets to the point after a minute. I enjoyed the task as it reminded of playing with doll hair when I was little. I wasn't happy with the costume, I must admit (see photos below), but everyone agreed that I looked great in that wig. So, I wore it again the Tuesday before Halloween at the Culver Hotel while Marie wore her epic top hat and at Bent-con with a different outfit. I may wear it for other occasions. Heck, I may get some other crazy colors. Those wigs were fairly cheap. It was fun to not be completely myself. The wig gave me an exotic persona. It was also nice to get all dolled up. I suppose I get why actors like acting.

On Priorities

I was brought up short in recent weeks. It was a violent upending of my views on the illness I fought and the realities that could be visited upon me. Someone from our cancer group that we thought the strongest amongst us is weeks from needing hospice care. She had had a couple recurrences of her illness, but she seemed unstoppable. Now, she isn't. I know that I cannot compare illnesses. Though we have the same overall diagnosis, there are so many sub-variants along with degrees of severity that comparisons are pointless. Still, I was harshly reminded of all of the promises I made myself while I was in that ICU and how many of them I have gone back on in some fashion. I am ashamed to admit that I have not done a number of things that were in my grasp to do. And I have done a number of things I swore I'd never do again. Some of the latter have actually caused me health problems. I am not ignoring the wake up call. I am going to do a lot of pulling back on obligations and focusing on the things that I have direct control of – mainly my fiction and my very tiny film projects (the ones I shoot in my own living room, for example). There will be no more pushing projects with people who do not share either my enthusiasm or work ethic. I have been sternly reminded that the time I was given was a precious gift. I will not be taking it for granted anymore.

Deb vs Japanese – Costco Edition

I try to avoid Costco on Friday afternoons. It can be a source of great aggravation. Alas, occasionally, the schedule does not cooperate, and I found myself navigating through dense configurations of cars and shopping carts. This store is cavernous – at least the size of a football field. I think it may be bigger. Sure feels like it is. Despite it's size, it fills up with people and carts really quickly. This is especially true on Friday afternoons and on weekends. There are also samples being handed out at intervals at the most inconvenient places that make for frequent bottlenecks. It is in this situation that I find a wall of men in suits that is five guys across slowly walking along and looking about like they had all the time in the world. I was in a terrible hurry, so I was instantly infuriated. They were speaking in Japanese.

Thus, I excused myself for interrupting them and asked for the American. I knew it had to be one in charge of this gaggle. They were all started by the irate American woman speaking really simple but competent Japanese, but one pointed to a crisply pressed and nicely coiffed blonde guy in a really nice suit. To him I said. 'Really? Five across on Friday afternoon?' He blushed and quickly moved the men to a single line. As I stormed past the lot of them, I heard one of the men ask if I was Okatu, a term for an obsessive fan currently most associated with manga and anime fans. Such pursuits do tend to be the gateway for Americans to the Japanese language, so that made sense. However, I replied in Japanese, “No, I am Fujoshi.” The men either shrank back or chuckled nervously as that meant that I was an extremely naughty fan girl.

I left rather amused with myself though I do long for the day when my Japanese will consist of more than brief utterances that are usually out of irritation. Though I admit that it is nice to live in a sliver of town where I can actually practice the language.

Next time – Bent-con report and the holiday baking season plans!

Stay tuned!

Photo Round Up for November 1-15

Photos will make more sense with the next blog. Probably.

Deb being interviewed:

Booth Babe Front

Me with darling Peter, Bent-con's Social Media Wiz.

Early smiles.

Our talented Booth neighbor.

Acid Trip

Booth swag.

Booth Silliness.

Waiting for the interview.

Cosplay dance.

Booth babe back.

Our lovely booth.

Dance Fever gone wrong.

Sunshine and a Twisted Sister.

Book fort.

Room mascot.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Scenes from a Marriage and Marina del Rey

I spend a lot of time in Marina del Rey lately. It is the home of a yacht club and million dollar condos. It's also the home of Costco, a bitchin' dollar store and some social services agencies. It is a mix of the incredibly well heeled and the those of us with worn down heels. Sometimes, this mix is annoying. Sometimes, it's really funny. I can say honestly that it is never dull. I had two encounters in one week that encapsulate the dichotomy of the interactions.

Scene One: Entitlement Zone

I'm in the express lane in Pavillions Market in the heart of MdR. It is a regular market with some upscale touches, but nothing like the Hoi polloi market that is Gelsons where they dust the fruit individually and toss anything with even a hint of a blemish. There I stood with a flexible but not wide open schedule for that day. There were things that I needed tp get done in a timely fashion. The man ahead of me conducting his transaction had his I phone on the little counter next to the credit card reader. He still had reusable bags in his cart as he explained in comedic schtick how disorganized his rain was. After finishing the transaction, he decided to put the spare change into one of those little boxes designated for a charity. The slots are difficult when the box is empty. This one was full to bursting. That meant putting some English on the change while not moving his iphone from the little counter or his cart or himself out of the path of my transaction for nearly five minutes as if the rest of us were free to participate in his disorganized brain. If I had given a hint that I found this inconsiderate he would have been annoyed...nay, he would have been enraged that I called him on being an self-absorbed, inconsiderate bastard while he was being charitable. This is the way of the land of million dollar condos.

Scene Two: The Insightful Merchant

I was on my way to another destination after a Costco run when I realized that I hadn't eaten for many hours and would keel over before long. I ended up in a donut shop looking for water (I left home without that as well) and a viable snack (something not calorie crazy). I know, donut shop! The water was nice and cheap, but my eyes chanced upon a display of Cheetos. Returning to film shoots had re-kindled my love of that diabolical snack food.
“Oh no! Not Cheetos,” I said in despair.
“But why not Cheetos?” Asked the Merchant. “You work very hard every day and deserve a little treat. "Besides, Cheetos are inexpensive and quite delicious.”
How could I not buy the Cheetos? I also felt quite tickled from the entire encounter. That little chuckle carried me through the rest of my errands.

The aggravating and the amusing have always been part of my dealings in MdR. That merchant is likely accustomed to selling to all the stripes of MdR customers and has become quite charming at the game. I plan on frequenting his establishment. On the other hand, in order avoiding bursting a vein or courting arrest, I have learned a great deal of patience and forbearance in dealing with the Entitled. Dude would never get why I couldn't accept that his time was far more important than anyone in the line. He would just get indignant and enraged. It's not worth the effort. I have perfected the knowing eyebrow raise at the often beleaguered store clerks. And that's enough. The Hubs is not so good at these tactics, however. That is why I've taken to shopping without him when I have to shop in MdR. It's just easier on both of us and the lunkheads we might encounter. That's what a good spouse does.

Scenes from a Marriage

On October 3rd, Jon and I marked our 15th anniversary! We are amused that we are oft viewed by our friends as having a smooth sailing marriage. All but one friends who happened to have roomed with us for a spell cackled at that notion. It's taken years of negotiation and mellowing that comes with age to get to this point. I don't know how many very tense shopping trips over the years it took before I realized that Jon simply cannot suffer fools without reacting in strong terms. Sure, he was helpful with carrying bags or pulling the heavy granny cart up curbs. But that help was not worth the tension we both endured for hours after the trip. Jon wasn't changing, so it was best for us both that he didn't come along for some of the trips. However, there are some excursions that Jon really doesn't mind tagging along. He doesn't mind shoe shopping. In fact, he has a lot more patience for that kind of shopping than I do. The other day, I saw him rocking my big ol' purse on his shoulder the other day, I knew that he is definitely a keeper. But then, I always have known that.

Strangely, what we think of as our real anniversary is on Christmas Eve. That was when we officially 
seeing each other. This year makes 20 years that we've been together. That's hardly seems possible to me on most days. And then, my knees creak and I remember that I'm not 33 anymore and Jon's hair is a lot grayer (or whiter, actually, as is mine). We celebrated the wedding  anniversary with a favorite meal that was one that we often had while we were dating. It was spaghetti aglio e olio
topped with a little lump crab meat and garlic bread. I also had my ultimate crab cakes and Key Lime Pie for dessert. It was simple for me to make, and something we really enjoy for the taste and the memories. I want to do something really special for the 20th anniversary in December, but I have no idea what. We tend to be strapped for cash at that time of the year. Maybe we'll pull off a getaway somewhere for a few days. I really wish there was that Star Trek exhibit somewhere. That would have been nice to visit again. I'm open for suggestions.

Meanwhile, I have a lot of writing to prep for Bent-con and the other projects. What's going on? I promise, promise, promise to post next week. Meanwhile, see the photos below for my recent adventures.

Stay tuned.
Farmer's Market Tuesday

 From the wedding 15 years ago

My adventures in a wholesale food market where I get my catering foodstuffs.
 A new way of serving scrambled eggs and a sausage patty.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Glamour, Book Launches and Other Adventures

Mother and I always enjoyed the glamor of old Hollywood. To this day, I really love trench coats and silk head scarves and classy evening gowns with long gloves. I was born at a time when every day glamor was ending. Women stopped wearing gloves and hats routinely. Nowadays, even the most glamorous of starlets doesn't have a proper wrap for a red carpet event. Even finding a trench coat has become an ordeal. They must be back in style, because now, I can at least find real ones – for a stiff price, that is. I've had brushes with glamor over the years. Some of them have been truly astounding. When we last went to Cannes, there were many opportunities for glamor. I have never wore four evening gowns in a week. But there was one particular Gare
du Nord in Paris  when we took the train to Cannes from Paris. That's pretty glam on its own, but we were in this incredible train shed with tons of history and ambiance. I kept seeing Audrey Hepburn from Charade  in the corner of my eye. We even got to have coffee in a cafe near the tracks. All that was missing from that dramatic and glamorous was fog. It was really an awesome feeling to stroll to our train car in such a setting.
place that we found really glamorous, and I know that Mother would agree. That was at

It's been some years since we experienced that sort of glamor or anything close to it. However, last month, we did have a fine evening with something I've never experienced, and I was a bartender at one time. Sybaritic Press was doing a book launch of our Anais Nin anthology: From a Four Chambered Heart..... The launch itself was something that I don't typically take part in. For the most parts, my books have not come out with such a sense of occasion. The event was held at a very hip place near Jon's place of employment called the Mandrake. And what really heightened that sense of occasion and gave the gathering the proper kind of verve for such a truly Sybaritic author we were paying homage to was a special cocktail named after her. The Nin Fizz even had ingredients that sounded like they would come from salons Nin attended. The drink was made from champagne and St Germain. The drink was beautiful and it was potent – two things Nin would have appreciated. Had I had more than the two and Jon had not been there, I may have gotten into a world of trouble. That was something Nin also would have approved of! The evening was also filled with beautifully written, sensual poetry. I could imagine while in the thrall of the drink and the poetry that we were back in Paris having an most convivial evening with expats of that long past era. I could see the evening ending with some Champagne and St Germain inspired indiscretion followed by a Omelette du Fromage ou des Fines Herbs. I'd like to think that was the case for some of our guests. If so, that would have been a fine and proper launch of a Nin tribute. It was also a nice brush with some French tinged glamor after so very long.

Side Gigs and New Adventures

After many years of running the specialty film location, Central City Studio in Downtown Los Angeles, our Demon Under Glass. She was also our guardian angel when Internet Archive lost it's LA location and needed a new home. On a personal note, Lucy was Jon's go to counsel on how to deal with his often terrified wife during the worst of the cancer treatments. We are thrilled that she is finally going to get a chance to relax and enjoy her grand kids and ecstatic that Ralph and Marguerite get to hang out there own shingle and start a studio, Central City Stages. We'll have a role in the company, of course. My first one is a Production Services business with Ralph doing professional film schedules and budgets, key elements in finding funding, at rates that all budgets can afford. We've done so many over the years for ourselves and for other indie filmmakers that Jon jokes that I can weigh the script in one hand and tell how many shooting days it will need and that act 3 needs a little work. So if you have a film project that needs specialty sets like Hospitals or police precincts or a courtroom to name a few, stop on by. And if your script needs a professional business plan to attract investors click here: http://centralcitystages.com/about.html.

But that's not my only new business. I have also decided to take the plunge with my cooking and set up a very small catering company, DLW Catering – Cook for Hire. Here is the website. Right now, I'm only offering baked goods. Here is that link: http://deborahlwarner.wix.com/dlwcatering . Just click on Menu. All the photos are of my food. I'm about to announce what offerings I have for Thanksgiving. Why so soon? Well, that's the thing about my new businesses. They are very much of the 'order long before you need it' variety. Because, I'm still having bad days with my health. Those side effects of cancer treatment just keep on giving. Thus, I must take my time and not over tax. However, I think I can easily accommodate anyone who plans ahead.

Enjoy the photos from the book launch and the rest of this month's interesting pictures below. I have a lot to get into on my writing next time.