Monday, June 21, 2010

Monday, June 21, 2010
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Summer Solstice
Hot and humid

May you have a blessed and joyful Summer Solstice — longest day and shortest night of the year.

This is NOT the start of summer — it’s midsummer, in spite of “oh it’s the first day of summer.” No, the Solstice is MIDSUMMER, as in Midsummer’s Eve, as in, starting tomorrow, the days get shorter until we hit the Fall Equinox when night and day are even again.

A friend and I are going to the celebration at a local spiritual center tonight. I’ve never attended one of their rituals. I went to a couple of events there last year — it’s one of the premiere centers in the area and it’s in my town. In the past, I’ve found them overpriced and catering to the local rich suburban women who live off their husbands, don’t do anything but shop and indulge themselves and want to play at being “spiritual” out of guilt, but by playing at spirituality, they don’t actually have to take responsibility for anything or take any actions that will truly make a difference. In previous experiences, I’ve liked the practitioners, but loathed the attendees. So tonight could be interesting. It could be wonderful, or it could be an exercise in gritting my teeth. All depends who shows up.

I started getting really angry and resentful about it last night — more angry at me than anything else, because I put myself in a stupid situation — my friend asked me for a ride. I’d said yes, not thinking about it. And then I realized: it’s an hour to go pick her up, and hour to get back to the event, an hour to drive her home and an hour for me to get back. That’s four hours to attend an event that’s in my town — a five minute drive from me. It’s too much. I emailed her last night to ask if we could split the difference — if she would take the train to White Plains and I’ll pick her up, and then I’ll drive her back upcounty after the event. That would save me an hour and a half. She better check her email!

The weekend was pretty quiet, thank goodness. Saturday wasn’t as hot as predicted. I actually made a peach spice cake, not the brightest thing to do on a hot summer’s day, but I needed to use up the fresh peaches. It takes five bowls and an hour to prepare and an hour to bake, but it’s really good. It’s from Mollie Katzen’s STILL LIFE WITH MENU cookbook.

Had a great writing session on POWER OF WORDS on Saturday. Went next door to hang out with the neighbor’s cat. Finished THE DEVLIN DIARY. I liked it a lot. Some of it takes place in 1672, some of it in 2008. The material in 1672 is written in the present. It’s a bold stylistic choice and I completely understand why it was made. However, present tense, especially when it’s something that takes place hundreds of years in the past, pushes me out of the narrative and keeps me outside of it, instead of serving its purpose, which is to make me feel in the midst of it. That’s a personal issue I’ve always had with present tense used in anything other than a script. It pushes me out of the narrative and makes me feel excluded. So, even though the sections set in the past — which are, actually, the Diary — were fascinating, I always felt on the outside looking in. So, while I really liked the book a lot, and I want to read THE ROSSETTI LETTERS by the same author, parts of it were a struggle for me. I could never completely lose myself in those sections of the book, the way I could in other sections. LIke I said, it’s a personal response I have to present tense used in this kind of prose, and the book is worth reading.

The book also sent me back to Claire Tomalin’s wonderful biography of Samuel Pepys, which I’ve started to re-read.

Okay, so what is this bullshit in the British press that criticizing BP means criticizing Britain? The money-grubbing greed and carelessness of specific BP executives — and, unless they release names we don’t know where the hell they’re from — caused the deaths of 11 people and is destroying an entire region of the United States. That’s not “Britain” — that’s specific individuals in a typical example of corrupt corporate culture. No one cares that Tony Hayward is British — we care that he’s an irresponsible dick. The fury would be the same, no matter where he was from.

Speaking of corruption, our landlords bought off the current City Council and they sold us out. Typical Republican City Council — hand them money and they close their eyes to any illegalities going on. So when I keep posting about the problems here, and you keep telling me to go to City Hall — the City’s been paid off by the scumbags and has turned their back on us. The landlords can inflict any abuse on us they want, and the city will stand by and laugh, because the price was right. In this town, when Republicans run things, the only way to get anything done is to be the highest bidder. Law, ethics, and values mean nothing. That’s the way it’s worked since we moved here in the 1960’s.

Sunday was hot,humid, and not particularly productive. Elsa was worse, unfortunately. I didn’t get much writing done. I got some reading done, I hung out with the neighbor’s cat. I wound up going through email — since 1and1 actually let me access my accounts. I may be booking four more teaching gigs — three this fall, seminars deconstructing a couple of novels and a film — and teaching one or two workshops for someone else next year. That ups my teaching next year quite a bit, which is good, because it also ups my income. I also spoke to the head of the Muse Conference, explaining that i need to limit the amount of students this year — I can’t do intensive one-on-one comments — which is what the class requires — on an unlimited number of students, and I can’t have people wandering in and out of class whenever they feel like it. Commit and do the work, or don’t. She was very open to that, thank goodness, and understands.

Went to the farmer’s market — radishes, cilantro, a mixed berry tart, blueberry muffins, apple cinnamon muffins, fresh rolls — all wonderful. More than I wanted to spend, but the taste and health differentials are worth it. I used up the cilantro right away, making a triple batch of the lime-cilantro mayonnaise, some of which we then had on the rest of the roast beef — it was wonderful.

Unfortunately, we got some bad news about another family member — one who’s younger than I am, married with a couple of kids. He’s very, very ill and it doesn’t loo good.

We had the air conditioner on for awhile yesterday afternoon — once the cats got over their diva fits about the door needing to be closed, they liked it. Even Elsa perked up a bit. She woke me up at three wheezing, but since then, seems to have improved slightly.

I got up and ran this morning — well, walked. It was so humid, when I tried to run, I felt like I was choking and had to stop. I came across an enormous raccoon sorting through the garbage — it was funny. He scuttled under a bush and I made sure to give him plenty of space not to spook him. It was later than I’ve usually been going — instead of setting the alarm, I let myself wake up naturally and just do it. I’d given my body a break from everything all weekend — I didn’t even do any yoga. It needed it.

I also didn’t get any work done on ANGEL HUNT, but oh, well. POWER OF WORDS is coming along nicely. Hopefully, the Solstice celebration will be lovely and joyful. And hopefully, Elsa will make up the ground she lost yesterday and continue to improve.

I’m going back to the page for a few hours, and then I’ve got the ever-present errands. It always amazes me how I keep doing errands and more come up!


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

It was lovely to get up and run this morning. They said it would rain and be miserable, but it was cool and lovely.

I got some work done on POWER OF WORDS yesterday, and the rest was admin, getting out requested material. I went grocery shopping. I love grocery shopping, so that was fun. Drove to CT, because I wanted to take a nature walk; arrived to discover a high admission fee, which wasn’t on any of the materials about the place. Sorry, I know you’ve got to maintain the space, but right now I can’t afford you.

These places whining about low attendance and jacking up their fees to make up for it need to learn that, if they lowered the fee, they’d get a higher turnover and ultimately make more money. In my own case, if these fees were more reasonable, not only would I go more often, but I’d bring people. Whatever.

I went to the bookstore down the road from the place instead and got two novels. I’m reading the first one, BREAKFAST WITH BUDDHA, by Roland Merullo, and really enjoying it. I simply wasn’t in the mood for genre. I love a good genre novel, but I needed something non-formularic. This certainly fits the bill. It’s charmingly written and relatable, with a gentle humor that actually makes me laugh out loud, and then the cats stare at me. I keep forgetting it’s a novel — the voice is so conversational. I’m really enjoying it. It was the perfect choice for me right now.

On the agenda for today: writing, cleaning, going over things with the neighbor who’s cat I’m looking after for the next three weeks, reading. I’m going to try and have a quiet day, because tomorrow will be a little on the zany/busy side.

Elsa’s hanging in there. Wrote a long email to the vet, detailing how I got her back to eating/stopped the nausea, my concerns about the mucus (is there an holistic Mucinex for cats?), and asking what we try next. I think the infection is mutating; we try something, it works for a few days, the infection adapts. We need to blast out the infection and then figure out the cause so it won’t come back.

ANGEL HUNT is calling to me, so I’ll probably get back to that this weekend, finally. It’s such an intense book I need to take breaks between each section.

Cooked yesterday — herbed crabmeat salad served on lettuce and red peppers for lunch and chicken breast with a blue cheese sauce for dinner. I’m not a fan of blue cheese, but even I thought it was pretty good!


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Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday, June 11, 2010
Dark Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

I was up and out the door so early that I’m back at my desk by 5:30 this morning, showered and all! If I keep getting out there earlier and earlier, I will have run the night before!

But it was great — no one around, a periwinkle sky. Lovely.

After the Solstice, when the days start getting shorter, I’ll have to adjust, because I have no intention of running in full dark. And Solstice is not the “start of summer” — it’s midsummer.

Elsa showed some real improvement yesterday. I hope it’s solid progress, not just momentary. She’s eating well again, and there’s a minimum of sniffling. She’s back on the Candida cleanse and the hydrocortisone, along with the ParaClenz I found for her and the digestive enzyme, but that’s it. If she continues to progress for about a week, I’ll try to add the olive leaf back in as a liquid, and ask the vet what we should do next about the nasal infection. But first, I want to build up her strength and make sure she’s not getting nauseous. All the BHI medications make her nauseous, including the anti-nausea, so I’m not forcing them on her.

Worked on POWER OF WORDS yesterday, and napped most of the afternoon. Went to my friend’s place for dinner — she lives upcounty on the Hudson River. We haven’t actually seen each other in awhile, and there was a lot of catching up, including on the backstage goings on. So that’s all good.

Driving back on the Taconic Parkway at night is a nightmare, though. Lack of visibility plus a high rate of crazy people makes it a challenge. Got home safely, though. Elsa had taught my mom the routine — let her know what she was supposed to do when while I was gone, and was all perky and happy when I got back. We both slept through the night well, and she’s eating well this morning. I’m trying a gluten-free organic cat food, and she seems to respond well. I wonder if part of the problem is she’s developed a sensitivity to wheat?

Going to do some writing, and then, maybe nap this afternoon, if the construction noise isn’t too bad.

I’m hoping for a quiet weekend, and that Elsa is well enough on Sunday so I can go to a Tony Awards party.


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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and pleasant

Up and out for my run by 5. No skeezy people this morning, probably due to the police car parked in the municipal lot across from the building. On my way back, I stopped by the car to say hi and thanks for being there, since there were some real shady people out here this early. The cop says, “Yeah, I know. I read your blog.” Too funny! So thank you, this town’s finest, for being that and looking out for me!

Yesterday was scary, Elsa-wise. She seemed to be getting worse again, after improving the night before. I went back to the pharmacy and got a ParaClenz I’d had my eye on the day before. I also had to go grocery shopping, and I fully expected her to be gone by the time I got back. But, she wasn’t, I gave her the Clenz, and within an hour, she was eating again. Over the course of the day, I got a whole big jar of her favorite organic chicken w/brown rice baby food into her, which is more than she’s eaten over the past few days. And she’s started following us around, getting into stuff again. I started adding the Candida cleanse back into the baby food in the evening, and she continued to eat. This morning, she ate a little bit of regular cat food (her choice), and I gave her the digestive enzyme, so we’ll see where we go from here. I’m going to try to give her some more baby food every hour or so.

For the past few days, workmen have been on the roof. I don’t know what they’re doing, but yesterday they were flinging windows and metal vent covers and poles and wooden frames off the roof. Supposedly, it went into the dumpster, but half the time, they missed. If I had put my air conditioner in last week, it would have been knocked out by the debris. It is terrifying to see a window fall past the place and hear it smash onto the pavement, with glass and dust scattering everywhere. The landlord, of course, ignored my questions. It starts again today, I call the City — although this new mayor and City Council will let anyone do anything they want, if they pay for it. Typical Republicans. If something comes smashing through the window, one of us or the cat will be killed. Can you imagine how much force a large object picks up when it’s tossed off a fourth-floor building? With NO safeguards?

I took photos.

On top of that, I barely got any sleep, because they’re renovating the train station across the street at night. And, last night, all the machinery they used was in reverse — beeping all night long. With this new mayor and City Council in place, the quality of both life and safety in this town has gone down to ZERO.

Got very little writing done. Hopefully, I’ll have a better day today, writing-wise, and Elsa will continue slow steps to improvement.


Monday, June 7, 2010

Monday, June 6, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and cooler

I woke up very, very early and went out for a run. No creepy delivery guy. Nearly a half hour earlier than I usually run. Just ran into the milkman’s van –yes, there’s a place that delivers milk again! But that was not a problem.

Quite the busy weekend. Elsa was too sick to leave on Saturday, so I wound up covering the Belmont via live feed. That was positive because: A) I could be here to take care of Elsa; B) it was so hot and humid, I would have been awfully cranky at the track; C) A Very Famous someone I utterly loathe was there and a nasty confrontation would have ensued when I performed my civic duty by slapping the smirk of the smug little sociopath’s face had we been within a mile of each other.

On the negative side, my not being there meant I saw video rather than experiencing in person the Belmont win by my friend Mike Smith. I’m so proud of him and thrilled for him and all the rest. But I still congratulated him — we’ve been friends for a long time, and we’ve got each other’s backs, whether we’re in the same physical location or not. He also won races on the lovely filly Proviso and jumped aboard Tanda when her original jockey had to be taken to the hospital unexpectedly, bringing the horse to a third place spot. But, of course, the Belmont is a glorious achievement. He’s won a lot of Breeders’ Cup races, the Preakness, and the Derby. Now he’s also got that Belmont win. He’s a wonderful horseman and a great guy, and no one deserves it more.

It’s a rough road with Elsa. One of the medications that’s supposed to settle her stomach instead disagreed with her, so I stopped giving it to her, and just gave her the other one. Getting her to eat is hard. She’s interested in food, she WANTS to eat, but it seems to make her feel queasy again after a few bites. Of course, in the heat, NONE of them were eating much. I was in despair on Saturday, but Sunday morning, Elsa bypassed the baby food and ate actual cat food again. Not much, just a little, but it had substance and it stayed down. Today is cooler, so I’m hoping everyone eats more, and I’ve got another call in to the vet.

I got the second section of POWER OF WORDS out to my readers. I started Part III, the shoot of the mini-series, with the chapter at the Cape Cod location. I felt like I hadn’t gotten very far, but I actually wrote over 2K, so that’s not bad. I worked on my Belmont wrap up article, which I will finish, polish, and get to my editor today. Ran some errands, including trying to find some other supplements for Elsa and round up some more of that Earth’s Best organic baby food, just in case. Whole Foods (AKA Hole-in-the-Wallet-Foods) had some, and it was actually reasonably priced, but still not Elsa’s favorite chicken with brown rice. Seems it’s everyone’s favorite, and hard to find.

I have a lot to do today, and, if the vet decides Elsa has to come in again, that has to be factored in. I’m annoyed at the director of the play running — I told her what’s going on, and yet I’m getting badgered about when I’m coming to the show — although heaven forbid they comp me, per DG rules! I’ve warned them several times — do not nag me. I told them I would let them know as soon as I could. Ask me to do something once, I tell you when I’m going to do it, and that’s when it’s done. Nag me, and I dig in and won’t do it Period.


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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Foggy, hot, muggy

Up early, out for my run. Creepy newspaper delivery guy changed his route and was following me again. Not happy. At least on this new loop of the route, there are plenty of people walking down to the train station. Although it makes it more difficult to run upstream through them, at least it’s not quite as isolated. And the attitude of some — I know my neighborhood’s streets aren’t wide as the boulevards of Paris, but there’s plenty of room for two people to pass in opposite directions, so get out of the middle of the sidewalk! I’m not running into the street to get crushed by the street sweeper. Oh, and by the way, I worked in wardrobe for a really long time — I know where you bought your suit and how much you paid for it by the way it drapes. I know who has a full-price Hugo Boss, who found an irregular at Marshall’s, and who’s shopping at Men’s Wearhouse. So cut the attitude!

Scumbag landlords are at it again: third consecutive week where they turn off the hot water at 9 AM and don’t turn it on until 5:30 on non-holiday weekdays because “everyone” works from 9-5, and if you don’t, they want you out.

Not happy with the work I did for Confidential Job #2, so will rework it today and send it off — today’s the due date. Got some good work done on POWER OF WORDS. Had some discussion with the group in Austin — they are excited to see the pieces. Four skits are percolating, and I hope to write them this week, polish them over the weekend, and get them out Sunday night in time for their meeting next week. Working on my Stanley Cup article. Prepping for Belmont. Have not been paying attention to the America’s Cup this year at all. Turned down 17 different invitations for stuff this weekend — seems everything is happening this weekend — and I’m booked between the horse racing and the ice hockey! And the Tony Awards are any minute, too, and I haven’t even been paying attention (once I knew none of my friends were individually nominated). Need to schedule a service appointment for my car — hopefully tomorrow — maybe I’ll work on the skits while I wait for it. Sorting out a few days’ worth of events for August — I think I’ll be able to do my usual volunteer work prepping for the gala in Saratoga, then head over to North Adams for an event at MassMoca, and down to Lenox for something else all within the course of 2-3 days, provided my mom’s free to take care of Elsa. Got out a few queries. Have to finish up some documentation for the Illinois Attorney General, who’s taking care of a nasty matter for me.

I don’t particularly feel focused or responsible or reliable, but I have to be, so, oh well. There’s a lot that has to get done, it has to get done within a very specific time frame, and I’m the one who has to do it. So I better get to it.

Still waiting to hear back from the vet. The cats decided they no longer like the food from Trader Joe’s, so I went up to Pet Smart yesterday to buy a variety of organic types to see which ones they like, and then I’ll stock up. My cats are feline gourmands — if you try to put down the same thing in the dish every day, they tip it over and wipe it all over the floor. The “experts” say changing a cat’s food upsets them, but mine DEMAND it.

Back to the page.


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Monday, May 31, 2010

Monday, May 31, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and warm
Memorial Day

Woke up at 3 and couldn’t get back to sleep. Even the cats were, “You’re kidding, right?”

Up and out of the house for my run by 5. Did my bowtie circuit, which I like much better. No creepy paper delivery guy, but a different creepy guy, also in an SUV. Look, I live in a residential neighborhood. The only reason people have to be out at that hour in that neighborhood are to run, to walk dogs, deliver papers, or go to work, either by car or heading to the nearby train station on foot. There’s just nothing else to do here at 5 AM, unless you’re doing something shady.

Busy weekend. Went to hang out with my friend on Saturday, caught up on laundry, read. Wasn’t the best company because my head was completely into POWER OF WORDS.

Tried a new recipe for dinner. It didn’t work. Enough said.

Played with the cats at night. Did more yoga and a long, helpful mediation. The landlords are gearing up to be hateful again and I have to prepare. If I could give notice and move right this second, I would, but that is not possible for a myriad of reasons.

Sunday morning, had a good yoga section and wrote 3100 words on POWER OF WORDS. I’m as tired after every section as though I’m actually in rehearsal for a production. I’m kind of thrilled and amazed that the section of the book dealing with rehearsals is almost done. I figured it would take me all summer to write the first draft of it. Did another 1K later in the day. When I finish this chapter, Chapter 12, I’m done with the rehearsal section of the book and get to work on the location shooting.

It’s so bizarre, because of the amount of detail I have to put into the planning of the piece they’re shooting within the book — set and costume building schedules, rehearsals, call sheets, shooting schedules, storyboards — it’s like actually doing the shoot, and I’m always a little puzzled for the first couple of hours after writing it until I realize that it’s not an actual production I’m working on!

I’ve got paperwork to prepare for a filing tomorrow, some more pitches to get out, three short pieces to percolate for that job in Austin — I think we’re going to try each other out for awhile –and work to do on Confidential Job #1. I’m up to my neck in Belmont prep and covering the Stanley Cup Final as well, so it’s shaping up to be a busy week.


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Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday, May 28, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and cooler

Up at 4:30 and out for my run a little after 5 (because I do yoga before the run). Instead of doing a double circuit, it was more of a bow-tie — I did a different loop for my second circuit. I expected it to be really busy this morning, people going in early so they could leave at noon, but I guess a lot of people took today off. Plenty of people were up and moving around in the houses, but few were on the street, which made the run easier. I like the second loop, but, on days when the commuters move down the hill towards the train station like lemmings, I don’t know if it will work. Also, changing the route helps me avoid the creepy paper delivery guy. I don’t know why I have a bad feeling about him — he’s never done anything but ask for directions and wave. But every time I adjust my running time, a day or two later, his is adjusted,too, and that seems more than coincidence. And I just — get a bad feeling. I like being out there on my own with my thoughts, but I also don’t want to be stupid. Yet another reason not to wear headphones and listen to music when I run — I need to stay alert.

Houseplants — yes, I have a lot of them. Actually, I have less right now than usual, because a bunch died off or Iris ate them. I try not to keep plants poisonous to cats around (although I do have two great philodendron), and I spray them with apple bitter to keep the cats from chomping. it doesn’t work on the bamboo — Iris eats it anyway. She must think she’s part panda. So I keep moving it. I only have one big one and one small one left. I have a small tangerine tree I grew from seed from a tangerine someone gave me one holiday. And, a small rose, African violets, bamboo, philodendron, kalachoe (they reproducer quickly), ivy, bamboo, fern, jade, mother’s tongue, a small silvery green plant whose name escapes me, Thanksgiving cacti, a small Spruce tree, morning glories. I don’t have enough sun to grow many herbs, although chives and mint do pretty well, but I don’t have them this year. Last year, our tomato plant lasted until Christmas, but we didn’t have enough sun for it to actually give us tomatoes. There’s one plant that I think is either begonia or geranium, but it hasn’t bloomed in awhile. The greenery is pretty, though.

Excellent day on POWER OF WORDS. The chapters dealing with rehearsals are going very well, and it’s a good way to get to meet the actors in rehearsal context and get to know them as they both work and hang out. I’ve rearranged chapters, added some new material from the original vision. I need to go back and fix a scene — I start in Evan’s POV and switch to Mia’s when she enters. I’m going to break it into two scenes,with specific POVS and a sight overlap. Zander finally earned his right to stay in the book yesterday — he needs to do more of that earlier. Today, I’ll go on to the confrontation I originally had in the first rehearsal chapter, but is now in the third.

I’m actually really excited to start on the chapters that deal with the shooting of the mini-series — almost as much as if we were actually shooting it! I want the piece they’re shooting to feel clear and immediate. I made a lot of notes on it, but I’d really rather not write the entire piece-within-the-piece!

Ran some errands in the morning, just missed the thunderstorms. It’s cooler today, thank goodness. I washed Elsa with the sage/rosemary concoction I made,and I think it helped. I hope when the sinus medication is finished next week, we stop. I think she’s tired of getting it 5X/day, and I think, at this point, it’s getting counterproductive. I realize we have to get all the infection OUT, hence the runny nose, but where she used to be better after each dose, I no longer feel that’s true. Well, something to discuss with the doctor next week. She’s definitely more and more “Elsa” again, if that makes any sense. Here, I thought she was just getting old, but in reality, she was sick.

I’d like to spout off on my opinions about the situation in the Gulf Coast, but Confidential Job #3 is in the pro-environmental sector and I’m bound by a confidentiality agreement to keep my mouth shut. Hopefully, though, the work I’m involved in will have a positive, long-term impact and fix what is broken on several levels. Several people have asked why I haven’t discussed it, and it’s not that I’m ignoring it. I’m doing what I can within the context of this particular job and bound by a confidentiality agreement.

Got a royalty check from the play. The producer is talking about re-mounting it after she moves to Florida, which would be great. I’ll get to see it in a couple of weeks. And I got some interesting job offers in my inbox that I need to sort through and consider this weekend. Of course, they’re for 2011, but still . . .

It’s a holiday weekend! Woo-hoo! Not that it makes much difference in my personal schedule, but it’s still fun.

Back to the page.


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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and warm

I managed to get out the door for a run this morning, but it wasn’t easy. I am just exhausted from the last couple of days. I still have to get some paperwork filed to day with the appropriate authorities, but I think the situation is on the way to being resolved. The person I fired had the gall to argue with me — and I was in no mood for that, let me tell you. When I can do in less than an hour what she’d been paid to do and hadn’t managed to in over three weeks . . .well, you get the picture.

I’m signed up for a beginning clay class in July. They’ll let me sit in on another class to make up for the one I miss when I go out of town for work. So that’s all settled, and I’m very excited. When I go to pick up the pieces from this previous workshop, I will buy my set of clay tools, and I’ll be all set. It’s on Thursdays during the day, which is fantastic. I understand that a lot of people want to/need to go to class at night, because of day jobs — but being able to take a day class, where I’m around people like me who aren’t 9-5, makes all the difference in the world. There’s a very different mindset between “day job” and non “day job”.

I have a question for you, since most of you who read this like to watch movies. I’m having a dilemma in the screenplay. One character has positioned herself to look like she’s part of the good guy ensemble, when, in reality, she’s beyond working with the primary antagonist, she’s perfectly willing to double cross him as well for her own purposes. I’m not sure how much of that to show. I set a hint in the piece early on. Now, she seems to be in the same dangerous situation as Lucas’s girlfriend, only it’s all a sham. Do I only show the scenes where she’s playing like she’s on Alicia’s side? Do I sprinkle in a few of what she’s really doing in this section? Or does it become a big reveal later on, when it seems she’s been rescued by the protags and then turns on them? I’m leaning towards the latter, but, since I set the hint in early on, I don’t want to leave the audience feeling confused or unfulfilled. When you watch something, how much do you want revealed as it unfolds, or do you prefer a surprise, even if a hint’s been laid down early on?

I was doing something else entirely yesterday when I had a sudden breakthrough on a piece I’d worked on over a year ago and put aside because I got stuck. Originally, I was going to submit it as part of a shared world series. But there are restrictions — that have nothing to do with shared world locations or characters, but with character motivations dictated by the series — that were giving me a problem. I realized that, if I really want this piece to be in my vision, I have to dump the shared world aspect, rebuild the world into my vision of what serves the piece well, and then the character motivations I want to use for these characters will make sense. It means a good solid few weeks of world-building, but I’ve got a good 100+ pages of material and notes, and I hated to abandon these characters. Maybe I”ll take the material with me this weekend and see what kind of world building I can do.

I’m so exhausted from the past few days. I may go down to Philly and just do the work I’m there for and hang out for the rest of it, doing very little else. I need a change of scenery.

The vet is pleased with Elsa’s progress. Real health will take a long time to achieve, but she’s so much better than she was just a few weeks ago. I’ll type up the medication/feeding instructions for my mom today — Elsa is dosed a total of 8X/day on the various remedies.

I’m going to try to tackle some more on the screenplay. I don’t think I’ll have it entirely done by tomorrow, but I think, once I push through this section, the rest of it will fall into place pretty well. Then I can put it aside for a few weeks before I take another look and then start making cuts.

Next week, I want to get back to POWER OF WORDS and also move forward with the revision on ANGEL HUNT and BEHIND THE MAN.


Published in: on May 19, 2010 at 5:46 am  Comments (7)  
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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Rainy and cold

The alarm went off early, so I was out by 5 AM for the run.

I’ve been really lax about marketing, because I’ve concentrated so much on fiction and scripts over the past few months, but now that the theatre commissions are winding down (at least until the next round of meetings/commissions), I need to get back on the stick. The job listings have sucked the last few months — the content mills are pulling down a lot of the prices, and I’m not going to write a press release (for years my bread-and-butter) for one-fifth of my normal rate.

I looked at Media Bistro — LOTS of jobs, well over 1000, legitimate jobs at legitimate rates, but very few that interest me. One did, it’s a company I’ve looked at for awhile and something opened up I could definitely do, but the amount of invasive paperwork and “investigative rights” you’re supposed to sign over to even apply for the job pissed me off, and I decided not to. I don’t do drugs, but I’m still not going to pee into a cup on demand, nor am I going to sign paper work to let you delve into my personal life. My personal life’s not particularly interesting or salacious, but IT’S MINE, and it has nothing to do with providing copywriting for your frigging company. I could understand if it was some national-security type job for a government or research or medical or defense firm where people’s lives were on the line, but copywriting for this type of company? Give me a break. And, knowing what I do about this particular organization, at least 70% of the people administering the tests are cokeheads, so I don’t think so. Hypocrites. There was another organization that looks really interesting (and the application process less invasive), but the job offered isn’t really what I want. However, I’m going to do some research and send them a proposal creating the freelance position I want, and we’ll see.

The NYFA job search board has a lot of jobs listed — again, they’re good, solid, legitimate jobs, many with benefits, but not what I’m looking for, too much full-time; but I can pull information and do direct mail pitches. If I can get a mailing out by early June, that would be great. I’ve built an interesting prospect list over the past few months, but it doesn’t do anyone any good if it’s just sitting in a folder.

Got some work done on SETTLING THE SCORE. When I’m done with this sequence, some of these scenes will be darkly funny. The trick is to give the actors and director enough solid, specific text WITHOUT STAGE DIRECTIONS so they can explore and have fun and bring their uniqueness to the material, and yet make it precise enough so the layers of meaning are clear without everything being overly explained.

For some reason, I got very nauseous yesterday. It came and went all day. I have no idea why. I managed to get the grocery shopping done, and took a nap, but it wasn’t the productive day for which I hoped.

Cleaned a bunch of stuff. Literally wiped off all the papers that piled on top of my desk and stuck them in a box. I’m going to sort & file from that box for 15-30 minutes per day to get it all handled. I now have a clean desk, which, to Violet, means a place to perch and watch me while I work. I still have the old behemoth PC because I’m not done transferring the disks — yes, it’s taken over a year and I’m still not done — but there’s a lot more room to work. It’s been a long time since I had a clean desk. It’s a little intimidating, but hopefully, will lead to more productive worktime. Definitely better feng shui. I need to look up in my favorite feng shui book, MOVE YOUR STUFF, CHANGE YOUR LIFE, how to rearrange the desk.

“Organizers” say you “can’t” have “stuff” on the desk” — well, i can’t work without my “stuff”. It’s my creative fuel. I have my gargoyle and my dragon and my crystals and my Ganesh and other items that have personal creative meaning for me, along wiht the pens and the computer and the Rolodex and whatever I’m working on at the moment. Files are nearby, but not on the desk, and books are stacked in crates beside the desk by project, and office supplies in a bookcase against the wall beside the desk. Photos relevant to various projects are on corkboards, and I put the one I need up on top of the office supply bookcase where I can see it while I work. Works for me, and that’s what matters, right? I’ve yet to meet an “organizer” whose systems had any relevance to my life and work. Julie Morgenstern’s books come the closest, but then, she used to work in theatre, so she gets it.

Still haven’t heard back from the vet and am getting frustrated. I’m trying to hold Elsa steady, but we need to make decisions to move forward. If he needs to see her again (and wants me to dump more money at the facility) TELL me to make an appointment. Don’t just not get back to me.

Today is a day for dealing with scumbag landlords who are coming in to “make repairs”, but, in reality, coming in to snoop to see how they can continue to make lives miserable. Will also get on their case about the heat.

LOST just annoyed me yesterday, and that’s all I have to say about it. At this point in the story, I don’t care to learn backstory of anyone we’ve haven’t lived with a lot unless it takes 3 (short) scenes or less. Even if I did go to college with one of those guys. Again, no surprises, just the order in which they’re revealing stuff, and the length of time they’re taking to jerk the audience around.

I am looking forward to the day being over.

Hey, whaddaya know? 6:14 AM and the heaters are clanking. What do you figure, three, four minutes of heat this morning before they turn it off again?


Monday, May 10, 2010

Monday, May 10, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

My post-Derby article is up on FemmeFan here. My editor loved it, even though I felt it lacked sparkle. Motivates me to make the Preakness article this week twice as good!

Exceptionally cold all weekend, frost on the ground this morning, and the scumbag landlords had the heat off until 6 AM today. Typical.

The alarm didn’t go off this morning, but Elsa is better than any alarm clock, so I went out for my run by 5:15. It’s quite light out, with just a sliver of waning moon, singing birds, corporate types scurrying to the train station . . .

So, where do I start? Didn’t write on Saturday at all — on purpose. Needed to refill creative well. Did my errands, sorted, purged a bunch of junk, took stuff to storage. Read. Cooked.

Got some good ideas for the next section of the urban fantasy.

Was about to order a great futon couch. It looks good, the price is good, and it will fit through the doorway — since they put in the new doors, I can’t bring in my sofabed. the doorway is now too narrow. Not to mention the doors suck. Anyway, I was trying to figure out the shipping costs, and, when I read the fine print, it clearly states that they don’t deliver the couch to the house. They deliver it TO THE CURB. If you want it taken into the house (or, in my case, the third floor apartment), you negotiate with the delivery guy when he arrives and you pay him cash on the spot. Sounds like extortion to me — no price quotes, no regulations. So I’m not ordering the futon. Bite me, assholes. You think I’m really that stupid? I wonder how many people were stuck with furniture left on the curb and wound up paying a couple of times more than they paid for the pieces themselves just to get them inside the house?

Elsa was up and down on Saturday — much better than she was on Friday, but still not doing as well as last week. I got up early on Sunday to give her the medicine, went back to bed, and had a weird dream.

In the dream, I was brought in to script doctor some piece or other rehearsing in Greenwich Village. I’m assuming it was a film, but maybe it was a play. That was unclear. It starred an actor who tops the list of people I still want to work with. He looked completely dazed at the disorganized chaos. No one seemed to be in charge. There were far too many producers floating around (as usual), saying, “I’ll take care of it” when something was brought to their attention and then doing nothing (as usual). We had to fill out huge packets of information we were told were “for tax purposes” but read like psych evaluations. I told the actor I was excited to work with him, just not sure it should be on this. He laughed. Some other guy asked me to watch his stuff because “You’re the amateur.” I said, “No, I’m the writer” and he replied, “Same thing.” I did NOT watch his stuff. I knew a lot of the actors in the project in the dream and had worked with them before, although in life, I’d only worked with one actress in a big musical. She kept trying to match-make me with this one and that one, whether I was interested or not (which she tried when we worked together). I was about to pitch a fit and either take over or walk out (in spite of the actor I really, really wanted to work with) when Elsa sneezed in my face and woke me up.

Obviously, I’ve been thinking about production a lot lately, since POWER OF WORDS takes place behind-the-scenes on one. This dream is a warning, the the specific actor representing not just himself, but everyone that’s still on that list of people I hope to work with (poor guy). Knowing how my dreams work, it may also be a caution– an opportunity may present itself and it may not be what it initially seems. I shouldn’t accept simply because there’s someone involved who’s on my list. So I stand warned. The nasty comment from the guy who wanted me to do PA duties represents the way writers are often treated in this business.

Made some cuts in SETTLING THE SCORE on Sunday, wrote twenty more pages, made more cuts, wrote eight more pages. Printed it all out (now that I have ink and paper again) and saw a huge, huge, HUGE logistics gap. There’s no way that character could have that piece of information vital to the plot machinations at that point in time the way I’ve got it laid out. I wrote some notes — I want to complete the draft before making any more fixes and running any more copies — and will move forward. Also, in the final draft, I’ll have to fix some formatting things. When I write scripts, I triple space between dialogue bits instead of double space. And the default font on this machine is Helvetica, which is fabulous to work in, but for script purposes, I have to change it to Courier (I loathe Courier). That will also drop the page count, which is good, because I’m up there now, and there’s still another good third of the movie to go. My goal is to have it run just over 2 hours, but feel like about 85 minutes.

On today’s agenda: pack more stuff for storage, work on SETTLING THE SCORE, maybe work on the adaptation of BEHIND THE MAN. I need to get my scripts sorted and synopsised and loglined over the next few weeks for some upcoming meetings. I may take WOMEN WITH AN EDGE out of retirement briefly just for the meetings, even. I should also take a look at my spec TV scripts — I don’t even know what one is “supposed” to have in one’s portfolio this season. I don’t know if I can still even use the BUFFY sample or the STARGATE ATLANTIS sample. If I need to come up with new ones, it would make sense to do one for HUMAN TARGET, since I spent so much time dissecting the show, but I don’t think that’s on “the list.” Of course, I might do one anyway, just to prove to myself that I can.

I’ll check with some acquaintances and find out what this season’s “list” is, and then figure out if I should even do a set of specs, or just stick to the plays for the moment, and this next round of meetings. I’m not angling for a series slot anyway — there are, literally, thousands of scriptwriters more qualified, in line ahead of me, and in LA so to do. But sometimes, even if you’re not up for the job, that’s the kind of sample someone wants to see in a meeting.

I’ll pack extra Excedrin, too. The meetings aren’t for a few months, but it takes time to put everything together, write any new material necessary, and have it be good, so I’m looking ahead. That way, instead of scrambling, everything is ready, I can just pull what i need for that meeting out of the file, and it’s much less stressful.

I’d like to get back to the urban fantasy this week, since I figured out how to overcome it’s obstacle, and, of course, ANGEL HUNT. My worry with ANGEL HUNT is that, once I go down the rabbit hole with that, I won’t come out for weeks, because of the intensity of the project. With the Preakness AND a pottery workshop this week, AND paperwork to complete for next year’s teaching schedule (yes, I’ve already got some major bookings for 2011), I don’t know if I can go down that rabbit hole right now. However, I want to get the book out on submission by the end of the month, so I need to get cracking.

Hard to sort out when so much has equal value and equal importance. But, I’ll figure it out. And I have to talk to the vet. Elsa is steadying again, but it doesn’t look like we can wean her off the steroid just yet. So we need to discuss next steps.

Back to the page.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and warm

Up early, out the door by 5:15 for my run. It’s getting lighter and lighter earlier and earlier, and it’s interesting to watch the moon’s progress. Also, it’s interesting to see how many more people are up early on a Wednesday than a Monday. I don’t know why I find it interesting, but I do.

There’s an interview with me in my Jenny Storm persona, for DIXIE DUST RUMORS here, on Katie Hines’s blog. I hope you hop over and drop a comment. Thanks to Katie for including me in her blog.

I got some work done on the urban fantasy yesterday. I’m almost done with the scene with which I’m having trouble. I’m re-thinking the end of the first scene in BEHIND THE MAN. Because of production constraints, I had Max and Sally Sweet retreat to his office offstage and that what gets Ida out of her good-girl persona and start some actual detecting on her own, instead of being the “sweet office girl”. In the adaptation, I think I’m going to have Max’s office on stage, and what Ida overhears them do in the office serve as additional impetus. I think I could get into some funny and farcical elements.

I have a really difficult section to tackle on POWER OF WORDS — because of the changes I did in part one of the book, it completely changes this section. I have to expand it and develop a lot of different themes and weave in character arcs without losing sight of the ones I feel are the center of the book.

I spent far too much time fighting with 1and1 yesterday. I feel like they’re holding my webmail files hostage — I haven’t been able to download them through a file manager, and I can’t move hosts until I have my old mail, contracts, etc. It’s fat too much for me to be able to print them out. And, I’m discovering that a good many of my work-related emails aren’t getting through, and I’m not receiving a lot. I need the professional address for work. I can’t have some other non-site-related address. As it is, I’m having to send and receive a good portion of email by pulling it through mail2web, because most of the time I can’t get into the webmail, and, if I can get into it, I can’t actually get any work done in it. Plus, with their fucking “upgrade”, not only are my address books useless, but now I can’t even read some of the email that comes in. It’s so frustrating. I’m paying them and losing work — some of which can never be replaced.

In better news, I got an email from the vet this morning. There’s no tumor in Elsa’s nasal passages, just inflammation. One of the lab tests still isn’t back, but the other indicates more of a fungal infection than cancer. That’s a relief. It’s not definitive yet, but it gives us another place to work from. He doesn’t think she needs a CT scan (thank goodness). I’m weaning her off the steriod and have her on the supplement and, in a week, we’ll see how she is and see what other course of treatment to start her on to fight the inflammation that won’t trigger the rest of the infection — the antibiotics and steriod helped with the inflammation, but triggered the infection. It’s good news, but there’s still a long road ahead for the little kitty. She was doing great yesterday and has backslid a bit today, so I hope she steadies.

I have some sort of irritation on my little finger of my left hand. I’d originally hurt it during the Prague trip and didn’t think much about it, but it’s been bothering me on and off since. I took a good look at it yesterday, and something’s wrong. Of course, I can’t go to a doctor, because I don’t have insurance, and a basic out-of-pocket 5 minute consultation starts at $285 around here — that’s just for a doctor to open the door, and only at places where they’d actually agree to see someone without insurance. I’m not going to the emergency room unless I think the damn thing’s ready to explode or fall off or something.

I’m going to acupuncture today, so I’ll have her treat it and then do some homeopathic/herbal treatments and see where we go from there. But it makes typing difficult.

I’m reading an autobiography of a Very Famous Actor. I’ve never worked with the guy, but we’ve worked at some of the same places and with a lot of the same people over the years. I thought it would be interesting, and give me a good idea of the atmosphere of the era on Broadway just before I came up in the ranks. Because, of course, we always think the years just before us were so much better. In addition to the book being appallingly badly written, this guy spent so much time drinking and screwing around that it’s amazing he ever found the stage door on any given night, much less managed to get his lines out. Drunks just aren’t that interesting to anyone but themselves or fellow drunks. A bit of a disappointment, and he comes across as not a particularly nice person or loyal friend at all. Maybe that’s part of the point — confessional? Or that presenting himself as a total ass would sell more books? In any case, it’s certainly made me glad I’ve never worked with him! There’s some good atmospheric detail in a couple of the anecdotes that may be useful should I ever set something backstage during that era, but, overall, far too much I-love-my-drink-and-constant-sex and not enough approach to character or sense of fun in the overall process. Maybe part of the point is that he wasn’t having fun? I don’t know. It’s fun to read his opinion on some of the people I’ve worked with over the years, though, and anecdotes I’ve heard from them backstage told from a different point of view. Interesting, but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who wasn’t doing specific research.

I need to get back to the page. I’ve got a truncated writing day today, because I’m heading off to acupuncture in the late morning, and, when I return, I’ll have to let it set.

Back to the page.


Monday, May 3, 2010

Monday, May 3
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Rainy and warm

It’s not even 6 AM, and I’m posting! That’s wrong on so many levels! 😉

Got out the door before 5 for my run. It was raining too hard for me to see, so I only did one circuit.

Busy weekend. I wrote a little over 3K on Saturday morning, and spent the rest of the day watching Derby races. I had something hit the board in almost every race, and had picks come in 1,2,3 in the Derby itself (I had Super Saver across the board, and he won; Ice Box to place, which he did, and Paddy O’Prado across the board, and he hit the show spot). I’m skeptical that Super Saver will win the Triple Crown, but hope I’m proved wrong. My actual favorite in the race was the filly, Devil May Care, who ran a great race but wore down towards the end.

Thank goodness for the person (or people, depending upon your news source) who said something about the suspicious car and the fantastic NYPD for diffusing the car bomb in Times Square on Saturday night. Depending on the force and circumference of the explosion, based on the block where it was placed, at the very least a few hundred people would have been hurt or killed, at the very most a couple of thousand. Not to mention damage done to the subway, theatres, and hotels. According to the information we’ve been given, which isn’t much, since they need time to sift through everything, it wasn’t enough to take down any buildings, but it was enough to do some serious damage. In Times Square. On a Saturday night. Times Square on a Saturday night has more people in it than many towns in other parts of the country. Makes you wonder how many lives would have been saved, had the Bush Administration acted on/shared the information received on August 6, 2001, a full month prior to 9/11. No, that’s not some wild conspiracy theory. Go read the documentation. It’s all a matter of public record.

I admit, I’m glad I no longer live just off Times Square, and I’m glad I don’t have to cross through it 2x/day on my way to and from the theatre.

Between Boston’s water rupture, the Gulf Coast oil spill, and the floods in Tennessee, there’s a lot going on. I want to know why these dicks in the oil business were allowed to drill in the first place when they didn’t have a way to turn off the well if something went wrong? Oh, yeah, because they bought themselves enough politicians to do whatever they want.

I wrote a lot yesterday, too, and I’m at a sticky section now, where I need to sort some stuff out and do some plotting before I can move on. I plan to do some work on the urban fantasy today and on ANGEL HUNT. (I worked on POWER OF WORDS most of the weekend). I’m not happy with my post-Derby article, so I’m going to strip it down and rebuild it. I need to get it to my editor today. I’ve also got to pack more boxes to take to storage tomorrow.

Actually, I’m ready to just go back to bed, but that’s not an option.

Elsa seemed a little worse over the weekend, but a little better today. The supplement I had to special order arrived on Saturday, and I think it’s doing her some good. She’s off the antibiotics, and the steriod dose is cut in half, so we’ll see. By tomorrow, I should know the results from the radiology consult and the sneezing swab cultures, so maybe we’ll have some ideas on moving forward, poor little thing.

I screwed up my schedule — the pottery workshop is on Preakness Day, which means I can’t go down to Maryland (boo — it’s my favorite of the three because it’s more laid back). I’ll miss seeing the first few races live and then, after the workshop, watch the live feed from the other races. A big field is expected, because a lot of people want to prevent Super Saver from winning the Triple Crown. Which is a shame, because we need such a winner.

Back to the page.


Published in: on May 3, 2010 at 5:03 am  Comments (5)  
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