Friday, January 11, 2008

Artbucks - Friday 1/11/2008

Today I decided to read the so-called first draft of the novel I am working on. After a few hours I became very antsy and fled to a Starbucks in Palmdale, where I made this attempt at an artsy sunset shot. (What's going on up there lately?)

I spent another hour and a half letting my coffee go cold (dang, should have brought that tea light with me) and my blood cooled right along with it.

If you write, you have had this day. The one when you can't see for the life of you how you could have spent all this time working on this project that suddenly looks absolutely hollow.

I have a plot, I swear I do. It's in there somewhere, and there's more in my outline--what did I do with that? But it's also a lot of scenery and conversations.

Oh my god, it's like I've turned Death Valley (the setting of the novel) into one gigantic coffee house!

Fluorescent Dawn - 1/10/2008

No kidding, it was this crazy bright over Acton this morning.

If I hadn't stayed in bed so long with Steve Martin this morning I would have missed it.

My friend Diver and I used to watch lots of talk shows. Star-struck from the get-go, in the early seventies we were too young to stay up for the late night cream. We watched the stuff that was on when we got home from school: Mike Douglas, Merv Griffin, Dinah Shore (it was fascinating when Burt Reynolds came on and we knew they were lovers!)

We were very into stand up comics and were always predicting who would move up to the Tonight Show (which we did see on weekends.) I remember seeing Steve Martin on the Merv Griffin show, I think, and calling Diver to claim him as one of my rising star predictions. The banjo, the arrow through the head. What the heck was happening!?

His King Tut spoof on Saturday Night Live is still one of the most astonishingly funny things I've ever seen. Everyone was Tut-crazed at the time, and it was perfectly kitchy and fabulous. Diver and I learned all the moves at the youth disco we went to every weekend.

I remember diving for the volume control as we listened to the "Cat Handcuffs" on his Wild and Crazy Guy LP in my bedroom. Stuff like that would get you banished in my house (I'd had to return my 45 of Spiders and Snakes a few years earlier, see.) And I wore out an 8 track tape of one of his albums in the truck I appropriated from my dad to drive to my freshman year of college.

He made it big and then bigger. He was my best call. To be fair, Diver called Jay Leno when she saw him live at a comedy club in Cleveland where she had her first nursing job. So we're even I guess.

So, anyway, you see that this Steve Martin thing is not new or fleeting. And of course, you see that I am just reading Steve's new autobiography Born Standing Up. I can't say the writing is great or that he's revealing anything much about his inner life, but it's interesting to a person who's followed him to understand a little about the philosophy of comedy he developed through his stand up.

Don't pick the book up if you're looking for buckets of laughs. It's about as funny as this post.


Self Indulgence - Wednesday 1/9/2008

I can talk myself into indulging in just about anything if I can convince myself that it will contribute to my writing life.

It keeps my tea hot while I write.

That's very important. Really.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Today in L.A. - Tuesday 1/8/2008

The bowls on display at New Stone Age on Third Street are really lovely.

But seriously, folks? Fifty-five dollars each? This just gives me a stomach ache. Who needs bowls that cost this much?

I window shopped and browsed along the street of brazen dreams for about 45 minutes this morning, waiting for Chado to open, so I could indulge in some good teas. Treated myself to two ounces each of a gold tipped Assam and a nice Darjeeling. A morning and an afternoon tea for my writing day tomorrow.

Overheard at The Cook's Library, regarding a customer's daughter's crush on Jake Gyllenhall: "Have her come in and sit on the couch. He's in here all the time."

"He's a cook?"

"More of a foodie."

Do tell.

Apparently having enough money to buy $50 bowls and $125 stemware doesn't instantly make you tactful. Signs like these were not uncommon.

In the thrift stores along Fairfax in Little Ethiopia, no one feels the need to tell you to mind your manners. Poking around the old stuff made me so happy. I picked up a couple of darling little 3 ounce glasses for fifty cents each.

Then I crossed the street for lunch at Merkato. I have eaten there probably four times and have always ordered the trout because it was recommended by the woman who introduced me to the place. Honestly, this is consistently the best trout ever. Crisp outside, tender and moist inside. And you get to eat it with your hands.

Sundry is one happy day-tripper.

And the beat goes on. On my way home, I had another opportunity to honk for the WGA. A lot's been going on, but none of what I've heard seems to be moving things any closer to a conclusion.

Kind of sad about the Golden Globes being canceled. That awards show always seems like so much fun. If I could get a ticket to an awards show (and a dress--it ain't no good being Cinderella in her home-duds), I'd choose this one... or the Independent Spirit Awards.

Cool Thing: Attention budding filmmakers: United Hollywood is sponsoring its First Annual Short Film Contest, where you can make a statement about issues related to the WGA strike. Paul Haggis, Marti Noxon and Callie Khouri will judge. Come on, you know you wanna!

It's a Wonder I Can Sleep at All - Monday 1/7/2008

I took a lot of photos yesterday and I thought that several of them would be the photo of the day. But then when I looked back at them, I noticed that the day took a dark turn.

When? After dark.

Mannequins in waiting, Washington Boulevard.

Just one of the decorations in Braveheart's office cum guest room.

Another guest room denizen.

Make yourself right at home.

Braveheart's always talking about dreams and how important they are. I wonder, is she trying to influence mine?

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Being Home Makes Me Want to Bake - Sunday 1/6/2008

Which is dangerous on SO many levels.

But I love putting something in the oven and sitting down to write. The house starts smelling really fabulous right before the timer goes off. I'll bet that's how cooks knew it was done before thermometers and timers.

Oh, and I'd like to introduce you to the new (pre-seasoned!) cast iron fry pan I received from Cuz-P for Christmas. I think you'll be seeing more cast iron in future posts as I am falling in love with it as we speak.

Cuz-V gave me a copy of Cast Iron Cooking for Dummies, from which I took this recipe. Mmm. Good! (Though next time I think I'll use crushed pineapple and make a little more goop for the top.)

I Gotcher Weekend Job for Ya Right Here - Saturday 1/5/2008

It's 40 degrees in Acton. Do you know where your son is?

There are always a couple of high school students hanging out in the semi-trailers out back of Country Club feed store over on Sierra Highway. What kind of trouble are they getting up to?

You'll find out when you buy a 50 pound bag of horse chow or some bales of hay. You show your receipt to one of these guys and they load what you ordered in the back of your vehicle.

They were reattaching the tarp to this stack when we picked up 50 pounds of birdseed. We also get 50 pound bags of chicken scratch which only costs $8.50 and, as it turns out, attracts a wider variety of birds than just the seed.

Doesn't this look like FUN?

I didn't get a photo of him, but we now have a regular non-ground squirrel in our backyard. Perhaps drawn by the chicken scratch? Hydra speculates that he came from the forest. I dunno. But he sounded like a Labrador retriever when he ran across our roof a couple of time this weekend.