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!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Craig vs the ALA and More Adventures in Japanese

Craig scolded me today. I had been on the fence about pulling out of a commission I'd accepted to write a script. He told me that I of all people know that life was too short to do things that aren't creatively fulfilling. And then he sang me a song he wrote about Driving Miss Daisy. It's really difficult to be morose when you're laughing your head off. This encounter reminded me of another conversation I had with Craig that illustrates that as crazy as he can be, I often find myself agreeing with him.

Craig vs the ALA

Craig called last week in a dither over an exam he has to take for a grad school class. He's becoming a librarian, don't cha know. Apparently, he hadn't done well in a mock exam and wanted my opinion on the test, his answers and what the correct ones were supposed to be.

  1. A neighborhood chapter of the KKK wants to put up a competing display for MLK Day.
Craig: There's a chapter of the Klan in my neighborhood? What's their address? I wonder if I can get a gas can before the hardware store closes. Why? Nevermind? Maybe I can get enough rotten meat for a six foot cross? Can you even light a fire with rotten meat?
Me: Yes, you have to allow the display or take them both down if it'll be too disrupting for the branch. Apparently, the ALA took my stance.

  1. One of your co-workers is in NAMBLA. He wants to hold a group meeting in the community room. Should you allow it?
Craig: How quickly can I fire him as in brun ward fire? Are you crazy? We sign a pledge to protect children at the public library I work in!
Me: That is nuts! Parents in that area would sue the pants off the city – and win. It's a neighborhood of really good attorneys. And does this co-worker shelve in children's books? Craig and I both agreed that such a meeting could be in the furtherance of committing a crime. Apparently, the ALA sees no problem with such a meeting.

  1. One of the librarians threatens a co-worker during a confidential HR meeting. Do you alert the authorities?
Craig: Hell, yes. That is a criminal act. He supposed to guarantee the safety of everyone at the branch. And if he says nothing, and something happens, the library is liable.
Me: I agreed with Craig and not just because I'm the daughter of a cop. The ALA valued employee privacy over another's safety.

Craig opted to take the hit on the questions rather than mindlessly parrot it back. He gave the TA an earful in class about the real world and the word liability both civil and criminal.

Deb vs Japanese Squid Parts and Shiatsu Edition

I have been obsessed with soup stocks for quite some time. There is nothing like soup or sauce made from real stock. Also, I am lucky enough to live in a neighborhood with a lot of markets that sell various animal parts that are suitable for the stock pot and no less than three Farmers markets for the necessary produce. I love noodles soups in general, but have become more and more interested in real ramen soup. The stuff that is the staple for college students is far different from the stuff served in ramen houses all over Japan (and increasingly in the US). Ramen has become so hip that even Philly has what is considered to be a respectable ramen house. To learn more about the makings of a good bowl, I bought Ivan Ramen, a bio and cookbook by a New Yorker who runs one of the best ramen houses in Tokyo. Aside from having a fascinating bio, he made his soup sound so yummy that I really wanted to try to duplicate his process. Thus, I found myself in two of the larger Japanese markets in the area (we're lucky to live near three of them) trying to track down the ingredients. I clever took along the Kindle reader in case my pronunciations were as bad as they tended to be or to convince the clerks that I actually wanted dried squid testicles. They are said to add sweetness to dashi stock – a key component of the Ivan Ramen double soup. Neither store had any, but I did give a few clerks quite a chuckle asking for them. My Japanese is not improving with any speed, but I do provide enjoyment for many native speakers that I run across. Meanwhile, the stocks are coming along brilliantly.

That same week, I found myself out of sorts. Some of the reason is the same matter that Craig was scolding me over. The tension was such that I couldn't turn my head. And I wasn't writing as much as I should be and I wasn't drawing at all. Massages often help, but I decided to have a Shiatsu massage to help me relax and release pent up energy. Of course no one told me that involved stretching my limbs in all sorts of unlikely positions while the attractive and very male practitioner straddled me. I was very pleased that my limbs remained as flexible as they are, but I'm not sure if it was the massage of how silly it made me. We both ended up laughing through it. I'll have to try it again.


We're working on a number of publishing relating things. But I do have a lot of work coming out in the next couple of months.

Stay tuned.


My first real bento lunch

Winter Foliage

Winter Cactus

Steamed buns

Lucky Goddess

Green Tea Fudge

Lucky Ducks

Lucky Money

finished ravioli

finished noodles

Rolling out dough

Homemade pasta start