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!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Adventures in Japanese, Cookery and Writing for Reals

Once again, I began this blog days ago and have been kept from finishing. But it as just was well this time around. Some really fun things happened days after I would have finished. Jon turned up with The Dreaded Summer Cold this weekend. I was thus sent forth to find stock fixins and meds for my poor Hubs. And thus, my Saturday adventures began! I left almost two hours earlier than my norm on the weekend. Jon and I tend to amble about our day, so there is no hurry about anything. This time, I had to get moving. The Hubs needed some real soup and really needed some 'tussin (cough medicine with decongestants). And as men tend to be, he was really a sad and miserable thing. The best chicken stock comes from collagen rich parts like chicken wings or feet. I have a special source for those. Also, my favorite Japanese market usually has whole carcasses from the pieces and filets they've trimmed from the whole bird.

Pop Japanese Quiz and Drunken Proposal
My favorite clerk at Mitsuwa does not typically work on the weekend. Yet there he was bagging for one of the female cashiers that is also a Japanese transplant (I can tell by the way she says thank you like every anime character I've ever heard). He spoke to the cashier as I ambled up. I heard something about Japanese and me while I put my items on the conveyor belt. Before I could remember the sentence that informs native speakers that my Japanese is terrible, she was speaking to me about the transaction. I kept saying sorry, sorry as I managed to tell her that I had three pennies (the number 3 keeps coming up in anime) and I remembered how to say your welcome before saying good afternoon and goodbye. I turned on my young bagger friend wanting some English from him for all of my trouble. All I got from him was 'sup? He seemed very pleased with himself when I responded with an exasperated 'really?!' En route to the regular supermarket, I passed a red faced man sitting at a bus stop. I thought he was red faced because it was crazy hot for this part of town, and the man had no hat. He looked at me with bleary eyes as I passed. I got a little bit away before he shouted 'marry me' in a heavy slur. The exercise is working. The first thing that comes back when I lose weight is the rack. Maxi informed me during the shoot that I could give Beyonce's butt a run for the money. I yelled back in my best Rhoda Morganstern voice, “I'm Maaarreeed!' This sort of weird never happens when Jon is with me. Then, I run into a whole different kind of weird.

I made stock for a couple of different soups, and I made grilled cheese sammies. And I gave Jon his 'tussin' every six hours. I worked on this blog and the other writings I need to get done while Jon dozed in his chair while working on his chess pieces. He's making full blown sets on commission! Can an Etsy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Etsy account be far behind?

And Now, We Join the Blog Already in Progress

This week finds me cranky and a tiny bit desperate. And that is because I lost almost an entire week of work last week. I think all I managed to do in seven days were the blogs and a few emails. I was more productive during chemo! What happened? I ignored something that was incredibly important, and it took me a while to figure out what that was. You see, after the first surgery I had in 2009, I could no longer process vitamin B-12 through food or pills. That part of my intestines is gone. I'll need injections for the rest of my life. It's not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. Once a month, I get a small injection. It's even stored in my liver for up to two months before there is a real problem. And I think that was my problem – that it was a very minor problem. Because of my recent schedule, I found myself postponing the shot two Fridays in a row. Last week, was the beginning of week three. I was dropping off to sleep in mid sentence by Monday. All week long, I'd start badly awake not realizing that I had fallen asleep. I was constantly apologizing to people who were on chats with me for disappearing without replying. I'm not sure if I was believed my excuses in some cases. It took Jon to figure it out by Wednesday that it was likely lack of B-12. I don't sleep very well on at least 3 days out of seven in any given week for no rhyme or reason. I probably wouldn't have connected it to B-12 on my own. The theory proved correct when I was nearly back to normal as soon as I had the shot.

This lapse in judgment about my meds put me even more behind in my obligations at a time when I was having almost an existential crisis about how much I should be trying to get done. All of the kitbitzing that I've been doing in the run up to the book fair has had me questioning whether I should take off my filmmaking hat permanently and focus solely on writing fiction. That was my original dream for many, many years. And now with Indie publish and marketing opportunities, I could make a reasonable amount of money from my work – enough to push Jon and I beyond just getting by. On the other had, Jon and I have sacrificed so much for so long to get the film career off the ground. I had long talks with the Hubs and with Marie and other factions during the week that I was more fully awake. The consensus was that I could keep both jobs with some reorganization of my time and some selfishness about giving up any of it. Given that I start my day when Jon leaves and end it 12 hours or more later, and work seven days a week on creative things, I should be able to keep both hats and make some head way, Thus, I have a schedule of work each week starting with this week. We'll see how it goes in a week or two.

Food Stuff
During one of my Sunday calls, my father asked me what it was I was putting up on Facebook that my http://www.marthastewart.com/972476/basic-pasta and tips from the episode http://www.kpbs.org/news/2013/may/03/martha-stewarts-cooking-school-pasta/ to roll out strips of pasta into sheets. We let the dough rest for an hour between rollings until it was super thin. Then, Jon cut it. He is far more precise than I am with that kind of thing. We didn't get anywhere near angel hair pasta in thinness nor was it as long, but the texture and taste was great. We're still not sure about buying the attachment yet, but it looks promising. [See Photos below] I've also been having huge successes with desserts and breads as I've been making a lot of them. I've actually begun taking orders for pay! I'm still not sure what to charge, but this is really cool.
relatives were going on about. That could be any number of things that would be bad all bad where my 70-something former cop father is concerned. Thankfully, it was all related to the new recipes I'd been trying. Of particular note, was the pasta that Jon and I made a couple of weeks ago. We're trying to figure out if we want to invest in a pasta making attachment for the standing mixer by making pasta on our own. Coincidentally, Martha Stewart and another cooking show we watch were doing hand made pasta. We used her basic recipe

Writing Round-up

My plan is to get the latest Soldiers Book done for Bent-con in November. I would like to have some short stories from the Ensnared universe and Vincent's Cookbook (finally). I also want to have some sample chapters of the Proposal ready for Bent-con as well. I'm also prepping a schedule for next year of an ambitious slate of titles and an intensive marketing campaign. I really think I can make my writing a real source of income in the next year. I'm feeling really positive about that.

Next up-- The blog about the book launch and the Nin-fizz!

Stay tuned!

Pasta in basically the correct order.

More fun sthings:

A Sage Margarita in North Hollywood.

A spa water at home.

Christmas ornaments at Costco in August.

A fraction of my expanding art supplies.

Birdthday buffet a la Deb part one.

Birthday buffet part 2.

Tired chef.

We are now special guests at the Culver Hotel.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Fear and Loathing in the Hollywood Hills

I've begun this blog every day for almost two weeks. I'm not sure why I have such a hard time with it. I'm certainly chatty enough on the phone and I'm moderately witty on Facebook on a routine basis. I think I've been reluctant to blog, because I have to sum up how I feel about what's been happening with my life. I have had trouble doing that without sounding like I'm complaining unduly or I'm really pessimistic. I'm not actually. I realized today that I have very little patience for idiocy of any kind anymore. It's cliché, I suppose, but it's true. After being so close to death, I feel like I should be making the most of the new chance I've been given. I don't have time to waste on anything that isn't going to get me where I want to go or is less than satisfying for me in some fashion. For instance, there are times when I'd rather watch a rerun of Ironside (Perry Mason as a 1970s era police detective in a wheelchair) than deal with people that are a waste of my time. I find watching that show strangely fascinating. In the last few weeks, I've had a few encounters where I have expressed my impatience in no uncertain terms. They've overshadowed how I've felt about what has been a very interesting and potentially momentous few weeks. I can even tell you about most of it.

We now return to the blog that was already in progress.

I look back on the last two weeks with excitement and exhaustion. I've had trouble doing a blog about it, because I still don't know how I feel about it. Let's start with the good stuff. I survived almost a week on shoot that was 12 hours overnight (6pm to 6am) in a 4 story location where use of the steep staircase was mandatory. The whole prospect was frightening. I can have so many issues that can keep me from really getting out of bed on any given day. I still never know when that day will be. But there were many reasons that I very much wanted to work this shoot. The most important reason was to prove to myself that I can do the work in some fashion. I knew that I couldn't run around as I once did, but I could do some things. I was very grateful to the producers to be given the opportunity.

No Place Like This Home

Some of the crew remarked that it would be cool to live in that mansion way up in the Hollywood Hills. I Demonspawn there. Most of the rooms that faced the east had these gigantic electronic black out shades. I could see Simon Molinar totally renting a place with that many large windows as a lark and because no one would think of him renting such a place. I actually had a chat with the very nice young men who were running the location about a short shoot there. That kind of location can really sell the notion of a hero with deep pockets. One scene goes a very long way. Here is the house in all of its glory though there are many rooms not shown. http://www.coldwellbankerpreviews.com/property/280715974 Where the sister property is the one I think would be more to Simon's tastes because it has more woods and darker colors. I just see Simon as liking that more. http://www.estately.com/listings/info/6451-weidlake-drive
was not among them. It wasn't a house that was built to live in, actually. It made absolutely no sense as a house that one lives in. I later found out that it was built as a location. I mean, even the most vain individual would not have a four station professional make-up room with a pro wardrobe room attached. There were even two private toilets off the make-up room. It was set up for actors. But that's good, because there was a lot for the director to work with. The setting even made me want think about how we could do bits of

I set up in the suite of rooms commandeered for make-up, wardrobe and the green room. (See Pics Below) This suite was on the third floor. That meant that I only had to walk or down one floor to get done anything that I needed to do. My job was to coordinate a campaign on social media to raise awareness amongst Trek fans about Unbelievable!!!!!, a sci-fi spoof starring actors from almost all of the Trek series. I took some photos, but I mostly chose amongst the hundreds of shots being taken by the set photographers. In addition to that, I did some on the spot interviews and some short acting bits to run on the film's Facebook page, blog page and Twitter page. It's a lot of grabbing what I need in between takes or during down time. It's also a lot of monotonous photo sizing and color correcting. It was an easy yet strangely demanding job that was stressful around the edges. And then there was the over night shift. I do not like working hours like that. Despite being a long time night owl and often suffering from insomnia, there is something about having to stay awake all night long that is really grueling.

But Deb, aren't you a gigantic Trek fan, you might ask. Weren't you in a documentary for being a gigantic Star Trek: Voyager. The producer, Brannon Braga, mentioned the stories while being interviewed for the documentary. The stories could have been about anything at all. They just happened to be about characters from a Trek series. And while I am a fangirl, I've also been a filmmaker for a very long time. Actors need space to get ready to work. You interact with them strictly on their terms. This seems especially true of the younger Trek actors. Every one of them was cordial but distant until they figured out that someone identified as a fan was paying no attention to where they were in the room until they needed to communicate with them. That was easy enough for me to do. I had too much to do on location and at home to follow every move of an actor. All of my projects were on going, so I had to keep an eye on them as well as stay on top of things on set. I was actually keeping track of chats on Facebook, Skype and my phone while doing everything else. This is a very funny position for me to be in. I fought having a smart phone up until last year. Now, there is that, the laptop and a Kindle Fire in my life. Very bizarre. The upshot is that after the first day of the shoot, the Trek actors were comfortable enough with me that one was sharing a bedroom with me and I was in the bathroom with three others while they got their make-up done. They talked freely about a surprising array of things around me. It was most pleasing to this fangirl!
Trek fan? Yes and yes. But there are caveats to those facts. I was in the documentary because a writing experiment I was working on got put online by a friend and it was discovered by cast members and producers who worked on

The job was fun and interesting and I did what I could to mitigate the physical impact of the job. But that building and that shift kicked my ass. In addition to the hours, I had to commute downtown and meet Ralph for the drive to the location. That meant getting up a couple hours earlier than I would if I were going to a regular job. Add to that, winding down enough to sleep when I don't normally sleep (vodka comes in handy). I never got more than 3 or 4 hours sleep before I was due to start it all over again. Meanwhile, our fridge was dying. That threw a huge monkey wrench into the lunch and dinner situation and stressed me out even more. I really can't function without a working fridge. By the end of the work week (Saturday), I was shell shocked. My eyes were continuously burning. I still had hundreds of photos and a dozen videos to process. We also had enough money to get a new fridge without incurring anymore debt. Sweet! And I survived to fight another day. All the work I did for that film is for naught, but the fact that I was able to do any of it was the more important thing for me. And we found some major locations for the web series. Here's the latest on that: http://demonspawntales.blogspot.com/2013/08/updates-from-hollywood-mansion.html .

Meanwhile, Back at Sybpress

Sybpress has released its latest title, an anthology in tribute to Anais Nin. From the Four Chambered
Heart: In Tribute to Anais Nin is our best reviewed and best selling book of poetry, essays and fiction we've had in our history! You can find it on Amazon here: http://tinyurl.com/mgsx4v3 . Find out about our super fun book launch in the next blog. I promise that will be only a few days from now!

Now, go and enjoy the photos of our adventures from the last couple of weeks! I'll post more photos and even some video of my adventure next time. And, as always, Stay tuned!


Me and Nichelle Nichols!!

Maxi now!

Maxi during the Demon Under Glass Shoot.
My desk at the shoot.

Another view of my office at the shoot.

Mansion Kitchen.

My office view from the desk.
Film shoot at the Farmers Market.

Marie's  birthday buffet a la me!

Jon made the chess set out of cardboard and paint.

A croissant/doughnut combo called a cronut. I made it.

Farmers Market Tomatoes.