Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Overheard Lines In San Francisco

I don't like to eavesdrop, but in the age of the cell phone, some people make it impossible not to. At any rate, this blog has some good ones...


My favorite line that I've overheard, was just a little after 9/11. When we bombing the caves and looking for certain nefarious character, I was on a bus late at night, and one drunk bum said to another...

"They say they can't find Bin Laden? Sh*t, they need to put child welfare on his ass. They've found me in three different states and hit me up for child support, they're bound to find him too!"

Monday, October 30, 2006

A Game To Help People Get Inspired On A Monday

The Bluebird of Happiness has dropped something on my shoulder, that was clearly the turd that should've been borne from the Ostrich of Ostracism. A Monday that truly lived up to its name...oh...joy.

File and forget it, let's get all of you going in the right direction with an online game that is just as fun as Pollock extravaganza. Brought to our attention by the Missus, it's Mr. Picassohead!

Who knows? Maybe this will inspire you to create a better Halloween costume.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Once Again, Because Little Is About Screenwriting Around Here

For a blog that was originally supposed to be about screenwriting and writing, so little around here is about those actually crafts. I doubt this counts and it's not terribly important (I bookmarked it over a month ago), but it's a quick read.

Tomorrow, there will be a link of interest that is sure to inspire the last minute Halloween costume.


Saturday, October 28, 2006

Every So Often, You Stumble Across A Gem

I conservatively read over a sixty blogs a week. I'm not kidding, sixty.

And every so often, I'll hit up an old link, just for the hell of it. Mystery Dawg hardly ever updates, so he was completely off my blog radar, until I clicked over the other day.

I found this gem, a short story from Pearce Hansen, "
The Day He Raised." It's a short story about a cat who just gets out of Pelican Bay, the prison up by the Oregon border that they send criminals that are too hardcore for even San Quentin. I always wondered what it would be like released into the middle of nowhere and just what worlds exist just outside of the roads that we travel. Mr. Hansen does not disappoint.

My kind of writing, my kind of neo-noir.

Even better yet, "Raised" is a chapter in the novel "
Street Raised," that is coming out this Thursday.


It's The Real Deep Fried Thing

I'll post the majority of the article for those of you who might want to read it after the Yahoo link has expired.

A new fast food is making its debut at U.S. fairs this fall -- fried Coke.

Abel Gonzales, 36, a computer analyst from Dallas, tried about 15 different varieties before coming up with his perfect recipe -- a batter mix made with Coca-Cola syrup, a drizzle of strawberry syrup, and some strawberries.

Balls of the batter are then deep-fried, ending up like ping-pong ball sized doughnuts which are then served in a cup, topped with Coca-Cola syrup, whipped cream, cinnamon sugar and a cherry on the top.

"It tastes great," said Sue Gooding, a spokeswoman for the State Fair of Texas where Gonzales' fried Coke made its debut this fall. "It was a huge success."

Gonzales ran two stands at the State Fair of Texas and sold up to 35,000 fried Cokes over 24 days for $4.50 each -- and won a prize for coming up with "most creative" new fair food.

Then there's the food critic of the San Francisco Chronicle's take on it.

Well, there's a creation that would never occur to me in a million years, despite my bad predilection for fried food that makes me stay north of the Mason Dixon and away from county fairs, at all times.

In San Francisco, we have the Colonel, Popeye's, I won't eat Church's, french fries, tempura, fish & chips, and egg rolls, so I'm fairly safe. No deep fried Snickers here, to tempt me...


Friday, October 27, 2006

It Exists In Theory

So the Missus and I were having breakfast this morning, with Epicurious on the TV. Because I'm all Iraq war and baseballed out. As we are watching a recipe, an ingredient triggers me to question a common saying. It's a saying that has declined in usage, still you hear it often enough that it never seems to go out of style. This, despite the fact that I doubt that anyone has seen one in years.

Just like a UFO, I doubt anyone would admit to seeing one of these, yet they most certainly exist somewhere.

So I ask you, just where is this turnip truck that everyone denies falling off of?


Thursday, October 26, 2006

Five Things You Don't Know About Me

I wasn't going to post on the blog, because I was still smarting from how my "Fifty Food" list went over like Mel Gibson giving a speech at the Knesset. But when my best online friend tags me, I have to respond because she's had my back, through Internet thick and thin.

Five Things You Don't Know About Me

1) I was in a TV commercial when I was a child. It was a PSA (Public Service Announcement) and I didn't get paid a dime. I did the day off from school, I did get food and I got to hang out in this
park. I filmed that when I was six and everywhere I went in the San Francisco Bay Area for the next eleven years, people would call me the same name as a character in that ad.

Did I mention that I didn't get paid? Because everyone was sure upset about that and they were determined that I should've been too. You think I'm kidding when I say everyone? Okay, not everyone, just every one out of three kids that saw the damn ad, then other two would laugh or make an equally smart ass remark. I shit thee not.

The experience was so negative that if I do become a successful writer or screenwriter, I will make J.D. Salinger look like an attention whore in comparison. The next to last time I saw the ad was in Jersey back in 1980, during my first trip Back East...ugh, enough. Next...

2) You wouldn't know it by reading my blog, but I'm an introvert...painfully so. Being a parent has helped me come out of my shell and for better or for worse, it's forced me to socialize. If I get angry enough or happy enough, this will override my shyness switch. The Missus is my security blanket when I'm in a new enviroment and if we're split up (like at parties), you will get more of a conversation out of Easter Island head statue.

3) On top of my head, I am almost bald right down the middle. It's as if God himself played golf on my head and he used my scalp to tee off, then he didn't bother to replace the divot. And who am I to say anything to the Almighty? I wear a top knot, warrior-style circa ancient China and while it doesn't look quite right, it's not Donald Trump bad.

4) Even though I'm a registered Democrat, I will buck the party line and vote Independent or Green. I voted Green four times. Once for Matt Gonzalez as a supervisor, and twice again, during the mayoral election and the runoff. Also I voted for his sucessor as supervisor, Ross Mirkarimi. They've always responded to my emails, they understand what a consensus is and they understand pothole politics.

5) In a past lifetime, I wasn't a king, a knight, a samurai, a successful writer, or anyone remotely famous, or rich. I was an ordinary man, that lived an uneventful life, but I got everything right. Everything. Somewhere beyond that ordinary and blissful lifetime, I stumbled just before attaining Nirvana and I've been trying to get it right ever since.

Who to tag? Who to tag? I've seen this meme around, but I don't have the time to check who has done it before and who hasn't. So, bearing that in mind...

The Missus doesn't have the time, but here goes, anyway
The D.D.L, goes she likes to get meme freak on
Pooks got me good last time
Chelene, cause she throws a me curve everyday

Princess Ladybug filled hers out awhile ago, but I owe her because I ducked the open meme.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

My List of 50 Foods To Eat Before You Die

The list of Fifty Foods to Eat Before You Die from the BBC has Thai and Chinese food, but somehow they omitted Indian food. Probably because it is such a given in England and something that they might take for granted. Indian, Italian and Jamaican food are virtually the only sustenance in Britain, if you get tired of meat, pub fare or burgers.

Speaking of Indian food, t
he Missus loves #1 Chicken Makhanwala and this recipe is a fair approximation to the one we usually order. This dish melts in your mouth.

#2 The
Australian Lobster is the “J-Lo” of lobsters, because it is all tail. The way Scoma’s prepares it, well, let’s just say it is far more delicious and delicate than the lobster you are used to eating.

Regular readers of my blog know that I love #3
Burritos. Not that horrendous stuff that they serve you at convenience stores or in what passes for a Mexican restaurant east of the Mississippi. But an honest, to God, burrito. That means quality meat that is preferably marinated, but should at least be roasted or slow-cooked. Last but not least, are the fillings. Good beans, quality onions, guacamole, salsa, fresh sour cream, and cilantro.

Regular readers also know that I’m always looking for a good #4
Lobster Roll.

If there is one thing that the English do well more often than not, it’s #5 Prime Rib. Too many people in the world have experience mediocre good prime rib and not known it. The perfect compliment to prime rib besides “mash,” is #6
Yorkshire Pudding.

#7 Burmese food. Burma is not just between India and Thailand geographically, but also from a culinary standpoint as well. Especially with Burmese curry, which taste-wise is the exact middle to Thai and Indian, but with more turmeric. Check out the
Burma Superstar menu, to get an idea of Burmese fare.

The perfect accompaniment to Burmese curry is #8 Platha, which the menu lists as “Indian influenced pan fried layered bread.” That is as accurate a statement as can be made in such a small line, but I think that would give people the impression that they’re actually talking about
naan. Platha is not as heavy as naan and is more croissant-like in layers and texture.

Forget about the quesadilla, #9 the
Pupusa it’s at. It’s all about the cheese and this is the one thing the Salvadorians can lord over the Mexicans.

I would say that for the most part, what passes for Mexican food outside of the Southwestern states, is barely acceptable. Though the influence of real Mexican food is spreading and you all will catch up with us, eventually. One of my favorite all time Mexican dishes is #10
Chile Verde. One of the best stews ever and even the worst cook would have to work hard to ruin it.

The sister of chile verde is #11
Chile Colorado, which is also the not too distant relative of the original chili that was served to the cowboys on their cattle drives. No beans of course, or technically, it’s not chili.

Many a gourmet is familiar with #12
Tiramisù, but how about the dessert’s near cousin, #13 Zuppa Inglese, or “English soup.” An odd and terrible name, for one of the world’s most heavenly desserts.

The grandmother of a filmmaker friend thought I was out of my skull when I tried to describe the #14 Bistecca alla Florentina (Florentine Beefsteak) to her. Because Italian steaks tend to be much smaller than their American counterparts, so she thought I was telling one big fish story, too many. Yet this steak is the biggest, juiciest cut that there is in Italy and in Europe. I’ll let
Traveltuscany.net describe it…
The word Bistecca is derived from the English “beef steak” and the Bistecca alla Florentina is a porterhouse cut believed to have been introduced to the region by wealthy English residents in the 1800s. The Bistecca alla Florentina is made from the meat of the Vacca Chianina (pronounced Kee-a-nee-na), a large white breed of cattle that takes its name from the Chiana valley and was originally raised in this region for agricultural work and also to pull carts. But it was found to yield wonderfully tasty and tender meat, and is now valued for this attribute. The people of Florence consider the Bistecca alla Florentina one of the highest expressions of Tuscan gastronomical achievement, and, after eating my fill at the Trattoria Sanesi, I agree with them.

Moving to the other side of the globe…Vietnamese food is about fresh ingredients and simple, not overwhelming tastes so that there is nothing to inhibit your enjoyment.

Bi Cuon (“be-kwan”) are sometimes called Vietnamese spring rolls with shredded pork, pork skin, mint leaves, garlic, lettuce and sometimes, rice noodles in the filling. I could liken the outer skin to a soft tortilla, but it’s made out of rice paper and not deep-fried like Chinese egg rolls.

Start with dough for a baguette, then make sure that is lighter and less crusty than its French counterpart. Take shredded carrot, julienned cucumber, fresh cilantro, salt, pepper, rice vinegar, and your favorite meat, lightly seasoned to perfection. Then imagine that combination tasting twice as good as you could ever make it, then you would have #16
Bánh mì. Like I’ve said before in my blog about the Wiki entry, “nobody calls them ‘Vietnamese hoagies.’ That's like calling spaghetti, ‘Italian chow mein."

From the same
blog entry, there was Irving Café’s #17 “Special Chicken.” "Special Chicken" is just that and certainly not in the context to condescend. Light fluffy rice, jasmine, I guess. Broiled chicken, cucumbers, fresh cilantro, carrots marinated in rice vinegar, and a fine rice vinegar-dipping sauce to compliment the taste adventure.

Reggio di Calabria is a city on the toe of the boot that is about to kick Sicily. I stayed in a town just north of that and one of the local pizzerias had this treat, #18 Arancini, or “little oranges.” They are deep fried, saffron-risotto balls. They are filled with mozzarella or provolone, onions, peas, mushrooms, ham, sausage, and ground beef. I had them with mozzarella, peas, onions and ground beef inside, as well as cheap saffron and this is one of the rare occasions where you don’t want good saffron at all.

All of you have had pasta and a few of you have had risotto, but it’s not the real thing unless it tastes and feels like you’ve eaten a butter and saffron cloud. This #19 Risotto alla Milanese recipe is a good approximation, though there’s a secret or two that every good Italian cook won’t let you in on, just what makes theirs superior. Good butter and real Parmesan are essential. Gran Padano cheese will do in dire emergencies.

On a cold day, nothing beats #20
Udon, with beef in particular. Anyone who has seen “Tampopo” or has eaten good Japanese food, knows that the soup base means everything. Likewise with the Vietnamese counterpart, #21 Pho. Pho is excellent stuff, though I tend to avoid the style served with beef tendons or squid balls (clean up your mind, it’s balls formed from squid…never mind).

One of the best Thai soups is #22
Tom Ka Gai, or “chicken coconut soup.” The best thing for heading off a cold at its onset.

If there is one thing that Jews and Russians can agree on, that’s #23
Blintzes, their take on the crepe. My favorite? Filled with ground beef and topped off with sour cream.

Everyone else seems to prefer theirs filled with cheese, but my favorite variation of the cheese blintz is the Italian version, the # 24 Sofficini. Unfortunately, I can’t find an accurate representation or recipe of this dish on the Internet, even after twenty minutes of searching. The variation I had in Italy, was a crepe, covered with bread crumbs and fried. It was filled with melted mozzarella, but it wasn’t heavy at the ingredients sound.

I loved enchiladas as a kid and as a teenager, not so much now. You won’t see me in Mexican restaurants that have “combination plates” because they tend to be the least authentic and I prefer authentic Mexican cuisine or taquerias, to the less authentic places. For the most part, they serve enchiladas that are tomato paste, marginal cheese, marginal shredded beef, and a mush that is somehow meant to represent refried beans.

The antidote to such mediocrity? #25 Enchiladas Suiza or “Swiss enchiladas.” This recipe is a good representation. This dish is so good, even the lowliest of frozen food companies hasn’t figured out how to ruin it yet.

If you find yourself in the
Emilia Romagna area of Italy, you have to try #26 Tortelli di Zucca (which loosely translated, means “pumpkin ravioli”). Sweet pumpkin-filled pillows, covered in a butter and sage sauce, topped off with freshly grated Parmesan. I do have a problem with the recipes I found online as I definitely don’t remember the presence of mustard powder, biscotti di amaretti (amaretto cookies) or potatoes.

Jambalaya is my favorite Cajun dish. Andouille sausage, chicken, shrimp, tomatoes, and sometimes, even okra is welcome, to one of the best stews ever. The quick version is equally as tasty.

A few Asian fusion and Vietnamese restaurants serve a #28 Roasted Garlic Crab that I suspect has some French influence, because butter is one of the main ingredients. Garlic, butter, plenty of black pepper, and sometimes red pepper too, depending on the restaurant. At some restaurants, the spices are similar to the next dish on the list, #29 Maryland soft shell crabs.

I remember the first time I had these, I thought they were too small to eat. Then someone explained to me that you don’t crack the crab, but you eat it whole. I replied something to the effect of, “what do I look like, a sea otter?” Because realistically, I look more like a river otter, but that’s beside the point. Next thing I knew, I ate about a dozen of them and I’ve developed a life long addiction to both soft shell crabs and #30 Old Bay Seasoning.

Old Bay Seasoning has celery salt (celery seed and salt), mustard, red pepper, black pepper, bay leaves, cloves, allspice, ginger, mace, cardamom, cinnamon, and paprika. Basically, an American take on curry or garam marsala. It’s a perfect start for a spice rub, or you can use it on any seafood or mayonnaise-based salad. I love it in potato salad and I can’t imagine #31
Crab Cakes without it.

#32 Texas-style Barbecue. I’m partial to recipes with molasses, brown sugar, paprika and hopefully a good like hickory or mesquite will be involved.

Shrub, the Elder, wouldn’t have that sour, constipated look on his face if he would put aside his hatred of broccoli and switch over to #33
Broccolini. It‘s a cross between broccoli and Chinese kale. A little olive oil, garlic, a pinch of salt, and you have vegetable that will win over any kid and even some adults.

I put #34
Star Fruit, just to add something exotic to the list. I’ve had it before and it wasn’t remarkable enough for me to remember. It costs a fortune, even when its in season. Yet, this is the kind of thing I’m going to buy once a month if I ever become rich, because that’s as decadent as I get.

As the Missus said, she won me over because of her #35
Baba Ghanoush, when that’s just the icing on the cake. The dish has eggplant, tahini, lemon juice, parsley, and the Missus adds olive oil, and loads of garlic. The one dish that I could eat every day of my life and not get sick of.
When we honeymooned in Jamaica, there was the jerked fare, plenty of fish, and #36
Curried Conch. A sublime food that is not as strong or heavy in taste, as other shellfish can be.

The Missus also makes some of the best #37
Steak Au Poivre. Hou là, magnifique!

Why not #38 Buffalo? It’s leaner than beef and it makes a better burger or stew.

One of the benefits of living in the San Francisco Bay Area, is the multitude of Ethiopian restaurants. With Ethiopian cuisine, in lieu of flatware, you use #39
Injera, a flat bread that you use to scoop up the food like #40 Doro Wat, their chicken stew.

Although I’m not a big steak tartare fan, I do love the Eithiopian take, #41
Kitfo. “Ground raw beef marinated in mitmita (a very spicy chili powder) and niter kibbeh (a clarified butter infused with herbs and spices).”

In Ethiopia, they call it the #42 “Sambusa.” They fill their pastry with lentils or ground beef. In India, it’s called #43 “
Samosa.” They fill theirs with potato, onions, peas, and exotic spices. The Burmese version is not altogether different from the Indian counterpart in filling and spices, but it‘s called #44 “Samusa.” They’re all equally delicious.

The Missus has just pointed out to me how jaded that I’ve become, that I would leave out #45
Crepe Suzette and #46 Peking Duck. These are foods that I once enjoyed, though not as much as my younger years. Still, they are two dishes that everyone should sample at least once, before they go on to the Great Kitchen in The Sky.

Another one that I can’t live without and that everyone should try at least once, is #47
Pesto alla Genovese, or “pesto” as we call it. In Italian, pesto means “paste,” so if you just say pesto to them, you have to specify that you mean Genovese-style pesto. My one peeve is when it is made with pine nuts and they aren’t ground. It’s pesto, not pine nut butter.

Cannoli and if you have to ask what they are, your should’ve already booked your trip to New York City or Italy. You will thank me, as well as name your children after me...or you will name them "Italy" or "Italia."

Chocolate Mousse, do I really need to add to those two words?

Dim sum. It’s all about the shrimp (ha gow), potstickers, chicken and pork dumpings (gai siu mai and siu mai), pork buns (char siu bau), and big, fat, rice noodles. Filled with onions and dried shrimp.

Some of the dishes on this list will be taken for granted by those in the audience, due to their easy availability and to that, I say consider yourselves privileged. I had a hard time coming up with dishes towards the end, mostly because the list made me so hungry. A special thanks to the Missus, who contributed the last five and who shared in the non-Italian food adventures.

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Friday, October 20, 2006

Coming On Monday Or Tuesday.

I'm a tenth of the way there, so coming this Monday or Tuesday, a list to rival the BBC's of fifty things to eat before you die. Oh, goody, a faux deadline to get my ass in gear and write.

And apologies to Scotland in advance, sorry that y'all won't be represented. Please refrain from pelting me with haggis.

P.S. Ever been to Blogger? "Land of the 500 Internal Error?"

*UPDATE* I'm taking a break as I pass the halfway mark and I hope my sanity returns after this is all done.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Best Sports Quote Of The Year

"I don't try getting into his head, that's for sure. It's an empty place."

Robert Esche, the Philadelphia Flyers goalie on his coach, Ken Hitchcock. This was in response to Hitchcock choosing to start Esche against a 5-0 Buffalo Sabres, after benching him for four straight games. Esche then proceeded to give up nine goals, in the Sabres 9-1 blowout of the Flyers. A low score for a Canadian Football game, but a ridiculous score for hockey.

Usually you want to take your goalie out after he gives up five goals, to protect his psyche and to give the backup some playing time in a game that is already lost. Somehow, I don't think that they'll be exchanging Christmas presents this year.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Life With Procrastinator The Younger

Procrastinator Jr. just took up the guitar at school. He's in fifth grade and he doesn't really know the Guitar Gods, but he knows a good riff or two. I tried to teach him the letters of the six strings (E, A, D, G, B, and E) via a mnemonic, but sadly my improvisational skills are lacking. The best I could come up with in a couple of minutes was, "Every Apple Doesn't Go Bananas, Everytime."

I'm sure that somebody out there in Blogdom could come up with a better mnemonic than that, right?

Yesterday the offspring caught the tail-end of a show I was watching on PBS that dealt with the Hindenberg disaster. In the documentary, former NASA scientist and hydrogen specialist, Addison Bain proved that the disaster more than likely was not the result of a hydrogen explosion, but a result of the powdered aluminum that was in the blimp's skin for cosmetic reasons (it made is shiny and pretty).

Powdered aluminum has a low flashpoint and the skin of the dirigible apparently absorbed a good amount of static electricity. A recipe for disaster, to say the least.

Toward the conclusion, the documentary had Addison Bain, explain his theory to an actual American member of the Lake Hurst, New Jersey ground crew who saw the explosion. Of course the ground crew member who saw the whole tragedy, couldn't be convinced that it was anything but hydrogen.

I explained to Procrastinator Jr. that much of history is like this, one perspective versus another and neither party can be convinced otherwise. On a different note, it also brought to mind this quote for me...

"Some people say that history is a lie that is agreed upon."
-David Milch from the "Deadwood" DVD commentary

Friday, October 13, 2006

Pooks' Book Tag

When Pooks lays down the gauntlet, you have to cowboy up, literally. She challenged me to a meme.

1 ) One book that changed your life: Long story short, I have the attention span of a flea in a kennel. In 2002, a coworker asked me what books have I read lately as I was trying to convince her that I was a serious screenwriter. I had to admit that I hadn’t, because of my attention deficit disorder. I loved books, but I had a magazine-type of attention span, the time.

Ooh, chocolate milk, I love chocolate milk, but I hate that damn Nestle‘s Quik Bunny. I hope Ted Nugent gets him in his sights. What’s for dinner tonight? Huh, what? Oh, yeah, where was I?

She basically hinted that my screenwriting would improve exponentially if I read more books and I could see her point. The one thing that I knew would reinvigorate my interest in reading, is a book on film. So I picked
“The Coen Brothers” by Ronald Bergan. A damn good book, but an even better source of material for me, when I found out how they took two Dashiell Hammett stories and combined them into “Miller’s Crossing.”

One of the two stories, I’ll mention later. But the primary story was
The Glass Key. Bergan’s book led me to Hammett and Hammett is the gateway drug, to the hardcore trip that is noir, as well as crime fiction.

2) One book that you’d read more than once:
“San Francisco Noir.” The best of the Akashic Noir Series, about the best city on Earth (I’m so partial, yeah).

3 ) One book you’d want on a deserted island: The other component of “Miller’s Crossing” is
“Red Harvest.” A rare book in that it gets better with every read. As Pooks pointed out though, I’d be better off with some kind of survival guide.

4) One book that made you laugh:
“Sushi For Beginners.” If you look at my book collection, you will see mostly film-related books and crime-related books. I‘m not big on “chick lit” and yes, I know the genre is not written for me. I stumbled onto this book when I had nothing to read, because brought the wrong Michael Connelly book to work, as all Connelly books have too similar covers.

I didn’t want to reread the Bosch novel and “Sushi For Beginners” seemed like the most palatable (pun intended) book of the small library of “chick lit” and spy novels in the break room. A lot of Marian Keyes’ material follows the same territory as Helen Fielding’s “Bridget Jones,” but Keyes’ humor is what sets her apart from most authors, and is also what makes her one of my favorites.

5) One book that made you cry: “The Devil In The White City.” I won’t even link this book, it has that affect on me. A wonderful novel in terms of both history and insight on America standing on the brink of greatness. Yet, the things that Henry H. Holmes, America’s first acknowledged serial killer, did to women and children alike, is both tragic and revolting.

6) One book you wish you’d written: Heh-heh, (cue Brittany Murphy) I’ll never tell.

7) One book you wish had never been written: I’d pick any Neo-con-related squandering of ink and forests, but they would somehow get it twisted like a pretzel factory gone wrong. You can fill in the blank with the fascist drivel of your choice.

8) One book you’re currently reading: I’ve somehow misplaced
“Twin Cities Noir,” though I will be picking up “Echo Park” and “Fear of The Dark” today.

9) One book you’ve been meaning to read: “The Moving Target.” I’m not too familiar with Ross McDonald, other than praise for him at a blog here, and a crime fiction site, there. Walter Mosely said this was a good read and that is enough of a reason, for me.

10) Tag five people: No offense to Pooks because I’ve been tagged so rarely and I tend to enjoy memes, but the last (and only) meme I participated in, got mixed reactions from those who were tagged. So with a little reluctance and going out of the box by picking six…

The Missus
The Great Kate-ie
D.D.L. Because, she loves a meme
Gian Don
And last but not least, Is That So Wrong. He’s not crazy about memes, but he loves literature.


Thursday, October 12, 2006

"A Blessing?"

Mel Gibson called his DUI arrest "a blessing"...


Whatever you say, "Mr. Sugar Tits."

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Happy Birthday To The Man Who Made Tarantino Possible

One of these days, I'm gonna scoop Bill Crider. Not in this lifetime, but one of these days. Happy 81st birthday to Elmore Leonard! A man who not only writes a pretty damn good crime novel, but he can also write excellent westerns that stand the test of time.

As a matter of fact, he started out writing
westerns at the tail end of the pulps. He's a huge influence to all of us who write crime mixed with dark comedy. In the age of gimmicks where everyone else tries to go bigger and better, Leonard understands that great stories boil down to just people.

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Monday, October 09, 2006

Sour Grapes

Quoting a certain running back who didn't have enough sense to cover up a lateral...

"We're losing to teams that we're clearly better than. We had better players, no disrespect to them or anybody else. We had a lead at halftime? Two weeks in a row we had a lead at halftime, and we don't finish. I think we should have beat this team today."

I'm not going to argue who the better team is, I can only say which team played like a team, yesterday. Notice Mr. Sour Grapes, Frank Gore didn't fumble. He acknowledges his mistakes and tries to correct them. He might fumble again, but at least he takes responsibility for his actions.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

50 Things To Eat Before You Die

I was blog hopping and I found http://www.writecoast.com/. A distant cousin, blog-wise? Not exactly. At any rate, thanks to Write Coast because there was this from the BBC, "50 Things To Eat Before You Die."

Since I can't "strike" or "cross out" because I don't know HTML and "Blogger Help" is anything but, here are the foods on the list that I have not eaten:

Moreton Bay Bugs. If I ever get down to Austrailia, sure. I just don't want "to see the sausage made." Other than that, it's all good.
Cream Tea. Nope, nor have I had "clotted cream."
Alligator. Every time a restaurant in San Francisco features this, it manages to close before I can get there.
Kangaroo. I am, absolutely down, for this. I'll try most food as long as it is not dog, cat or...
Guinea Pig. It would take the Apocalypse to get me to knowingly eat any kind of rodent.
Barramundi. Sounds like another reason to make a trip Down Under.
Durian Fruit. No and hell no. Remember, your sense of smell is connected to your sense of taste. Anything riper than gorgonzola is a huge fuhgedaboutit.

I've had Aussie meat pies and Cornish pasties, but they were made by Americans and I'm entirely sure if they weren't seasoned for American tastes. Much like most so-called Italian food in America, which is as authentically Italian as a cheeseburger.

Hopefully within the next two weeks, I can comply a list "of fifty things to eat before you die."

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Saturday, October 07, 2006

Fancy Is, As Fancy Does

Everybody welcome Pooks to the Cafe Press Screenwriter's Fraternity. Everyone's favorite planet will draw you into orbit with this shirt.

Of course, it helps if you contextualize it with the back story, so that it doesn't become a screenwriting or T.O. -thing.

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Friday, October 06, 2006

Odds And Ends From The Anniversary

So Wednesday, the 28th was the big day, a whole decade and a half. It did not start well. I bought the Missus a nice flower arrangement with a bird of paradise in the middle and several flowers that I don't know the names of, in a blue China vase.

I was parked in front of a store on Post and a truck had me hemmed in. There were two drivers making a delivery of I'm guessing, clothes, since the truck said "Marshall's" on the outside. I said to the truck driver, "hey, um, you have me blocked in." He glared at me, glared at my car, and said "you are in a yellow zone. You are lucky I do not have you towed." His tone was chalk full of hostility and self-righteousness, not a good sign.

I was going to respond that the yellow zone was not in effect for another forty-five minutes, but I kept quiet because I figured that one of the two truckers (and what rhymes with "truckers," folks?) would do the polite thing and move the truck just a tad so that I could pull out. I sat down in my car and waited, because I didn't trust myself to not fly off the handle at this point, nothing ruins an anniversary like your wife having to bail you out of jail.

In my mirrors, I could see this guy glare at me with each trip into the truck and back down the alley with a pallet load. This gentleman, and I use the term loosely, was of foreign extraction. I mention this only because I will give someone from outside the country, a tiny bit more leeway in terms of manners. Though in theory, we should all be civil to each other...or at least follow the golden rule.

Now, I'm making it a point not to mention his ethnicity and I also want to reemphasize that his being born in another country, has no bearing in my feelings towards him. Because, forget metric and forget standard, this guy was a universal tool. I dislike and hate on an individual basis, not by race or religion. I'm sure in his native country, they would tell you that they don't act like that and only tools behave as he did.

This guy was born a dickhead and will always be a dickhead. Also, by not speaking up, by default, and by association, his coworker was a dickhead too.

After ten minutes and another three trips by these tools up and down the alley, it was obvious that they weren't going to let me out, so I had to consider my options. Now, I couldn't pull forward because I would scrap the truck's gas tank and getting the car, and myself, blown up is also not the way to celebrate an anniversary. I could've backed up, but they put a piece of scaffolding behind my car and beyond that, there wasn't a lot of room to pull my car past the truck and there wasn't much room past the truck, because of a car that was parked on the other side of the alley.

I don't like to mess with someone's livelihood and report an employee for each and every disagreement or perceived slight on their or my part, but I had enough at this point. I went to the back of the truck to take down the license, but of course, it was obscured by the truck's lift. Wonderful. I measured the alley and the truck's proximity to the car, and I decided that I could back up carefully, but with only about a two inches of clearance for my passenger side mirror.

I moved the scaffolding onto the sidewalk, got in the car and backed up like an old lady at a shopping center parking lot, in that, good luck to whatever was behind and to the sides of me. The mirror cleared the truck, then Mr. Tool came out to help direct me, entirely too late, because for all intents and purposes, I was clear. As I swung by, I "thanked Mr. Tool for making my fifteenth anniversary oh so special." Yes, in those words, but without calling him "Mr. Tool."

Including the time spent at the florist's, I came home thirty minutes late. The Missus loved the flowers and the arrangement, but I was wound up like Wolfgang Puck trapped in McDonald's. It carried over and slept like crap. I got a late start on finding a jeweler, so I decided to get her a HP LaserJet 3055, because she's always wanted a scanner and we always need a fax and copier for Procrastinator Junior's homework situations with his classmates.

Dinner was a take out surprise from http://www.woodhousefish.com/ and regular readers of this blog know that I'm always looking for that perfect lobster roll. Woodhouse does it right, lots of tail and claw meat, on a delicately buttered roll. Their fries are excellent too, but somehow, Cafe Maritime is better...only, just.


Thursday, October 05, 2006

Everybody's Redesigning Their Blog

Gian Don


Rand and


have changed their templates and pages. Go ahead, make me feel lazy ; P

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

And So It Begins Again

A title worthy of an all points bulletin by the grammar police. I am not a reality TV maven by any stretch of the imagination. I will watch dating shows and just about anything on VH-1, TLC or Bravo at least once. The only shows where I've watched most of, or all of their entire runs are: "Project Greenlight; Season Three," "Last Comic Standing; Season Two" and one of my all time favorites, "Top Chef."

Now, I know that reality TV is about is unreal as you can get. Most of the shots and certainly 99.5% of the situations are staged. The phrase "reality TV" actually translates to "we don't want to pay the writers and crew what they're worth and we're trying to circumvent paying out benefits."

Yet, what I enjoyed about "Greenlight; Season Three" and "Top Chef" was that very little of those shows had to be staged, because of the personalities and natures of the people in those businesses. Throw them together in a room and the rest takes care of its self.

A commercial on Bravo misinformed me by saying that Season Two of "Top Chef" was already underway. False alarm, they are repeats from Season One according to Bravo's site and Two kicks off on October 18th.

No overtly contrived situations with smarmy English chefs barking at people like on Fox. Just difficult culinary challenges in a short amount of time and the natural ambition of cooks wanting to be Top Chef

Of course when things don't get dramatic enough, they ply them with large amounts of liquor. Yeah, that's real.

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Monday, October 02, 2006

The Deuce You Say

No, seriously. Gian Don Carlucci has an online comic. Check it out.

Quoth The Richard Pryor, "I Can't Feel Anything In My Leg!"

Your first wedding anniversary is “paper.” Your twenty-fifth is your “silver” and your fiftieth is “gold.” Now, I haven’t looked it up, but after this weekend, I’m sure the fifteenth is the “derriere goes numb” anniversary. Whoa! Hold on, put the brick down and let me explain first.

I’ve been losing sleep over what to get the Missus and how to express my love in the blog, so I skipped the latter and concentrated on the former. I was going to get her another wedding ring because the one I bought her was decent for what was within my means, at the time.

Despite what they tell me in radio and TV ads, I don’t believe for a second that jewelers are my friends. I know she likes the earrings I got her for her birthday, but I couldn’t trust a jeweler to sell me the type of ring I want to buy her without it having some serious flaws or without me getting fleeced. So I bought her something else and I’ll post on that as soon as I get the thing hooked up.

Her present to me was that we go
here. I’ve promised Procrastinator Jr. that we would go to Yosemite for the last three years, but something always comes up financially or in terms of illness. We’re all on the tail end of a monster cold, courtesy of a “Back To School” night a couple weeks ago, yet the money is right this month.

So we were off…

…except there was a birthday party to be attend on Saturday. We, or I should say, the Missus and Procrastinator Jr. couldn’t flake it off. It’s a good friend of Junior’s and plus, we get along real well with the friend’s parents, so they went. I flaked things up by sleeping late and not getting everything packed and ready, the night before.

The end result? A late start. We left San Francisco at around 6:45 pm and according to Mapquest, the two hundred and nine mile drive should’ve taken three hours and fifty-one minutes. And you know what? They’re not that far off…if you don’t need to eat along the way…or use the bathroom…or if you’re not worried about losing circulation below the waist, sure, you could do it within that time.

Me? Hells no.

The drive that cuts through the Central Valley of California is the world’s best sleep aid. What’s the difference between Sacramento and Stockton? Sacramento has a jazz festival and more tall buildings than the other cities and towns that make up culo, I mean, the “bucolic” setting of the Central Valley of California.

I kid, but only by so much. Sure, there are things to do in Sacramento when it isn’t flooding or sweltering, but it’s just a bigger version of all the other geographically and culturally flat cities that run down the middle until you get to L.A. There’s little to distinguish one mini-mall from another, one grain silo from the next, and one tipped cow from…oh, wait, in Merced, they have to tip goats, lest they actually hurt a cow and thus, devastate the town’s economy.

I had to edit my rant down, because I don’t dislike folks in the Central Valley. I just have a hard time understanding why they don’t try to at least emulate their big sister city, Sacramento, by trying to attract real entertainment or culture.

I will say that my ass was completely asleep by the time we got to Modesto, no thanks to what passes as radio down there. Preachers, really bad Tejano and Norteno music own seventy percent of the dial. The rest? Let’s just say you can’t play two good songs in a row or you the Central Valley equivalent of the FCC will put you away.

I lost the rest of sensation and thought between Merced and Fish Camp. The roads there are designed to negate effective usage of your cruise control and are modified for maximum darkness at night. We arrived at Tenaya so numb, that we would’ve voted Republican in exchange for a warm bed. Luckily, the staff was friendly and did not want to offer such a Faustian bargain.

Saturday was a wash and Sunday held the early promise for Procrastinator Jr. of swimming in one of two pools. Big mistake. The pools didn’t open until 7:00 and we were supposed to wake up at 8:30, but guess who was up at 7:30? What made that difficult was the fact that we didn’t get to bed until 1:15, but kids and pools, are like dogs and walks. You will do it on their time, whether you want to or not.

After swimming and a nice breakfast buffet, we spent most of the day
here. It takes your breath away when you see it. And if it doesn’t, looking at the idiots through a telescope, walking across Half Dome, will.

If I seem a tad grumpy and ingrate-like, I apologize. I should thank my stars that I married such a wonderful woman who is still spontaneous and still goes above and beyond to make me happy. It meant a lot to me to get to see Yosemite for the first time and to get away from the job from hell. I just wish that Merced had an airport.

The Soundtrack To The Adventure: Grover Washington Jr.
All My Tomorrows and Paradise. Nikka Costa Everybody’s Got Their Something, Al Green’s The Love Songs Collection and of course, Bill Withers and Grover Washington Jr.‘s “Just The Two Of Us.” Because I’m corny like that.