Sunday, July 30, 2006

It's Going To Be A Hard Winter

After a couple hundred dollars and about a month’s worth of time, one tomato is growing in our greenhouse.

We are, possibly, the worst greenhouse keepers in the history of greenhouse keeping.

I call our greenhouse THE THREE BEARS.

First it was too cold. Then it was too hot. Now, it’s varying degrees of warm as if we’re in Hell, and someone keeps opening the door.


Some people think it’s funny when they open the bathroom door and I yell, “Close the door, you’re letting my warm air out!”

“Shouldn’t that be, letting the cold air in? “ they argue.

In/out, I don’t care. What’s being disturbed is a carefully balanced temperature control system of steam, hot naked body and cooling pond of water. So, close the door.


As I was saying, we have four tomato plants, a single surviving cucumber, six pea plants who somehow managed to jump out of the raised beds and sprout in the dirt floor, two cabbages trying to live, four carrot tops and one lonely tomato.

If we had to live this winter on what we grew this summer, we wouldn’t last a day.

What spurred us into this flurry of garden insufficiency? Green tomatoes.

We had given up the garden because between Montana’s short – oh, wait, it’s over – growing season and marauding deer, it wasn’t worth the aggravation. At the end of last summer, I came across a wonderful recipe for fried green tomatoes, which my Dearest proclaimed, turned out better than his grandma used to make. So, we went begging to all our gardening neighbors for green tomatoes which everyone had in excess because Montana’s growing season is about this long, no wait, it’s over already.

Some time this winter, we realized that while we couldn’t grow ripe tomatoes here, because no one can, we could, we reasoned, grow GREEN TOMATOES, and voila, the great greenhouse experiment gained momentum and rolled right over us.

So, now we gaze upon our pea-sized tomato and fantasize about a dinner of fried green tomatoes and cornbread. We haven’t stared at something this intently, for this long, since the baby was born.

It’s going to be a long winter.

Best Fried Green Tomato Recipe

Although it passed through several sources before it got to me, it is originally attributed to Ronni Lundy’s book, In Praise of Tomatoes, from Lark Books.

The triple dip is the secret.

5 green tomatoes (I can only dream)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 eggs
¼ cup of milk
3 cups of bread crumbs (French bread works best IMHO)
Vegetable oil for frying

Cut the tomatoes into slices about ½ inch thick. Combine flour, salt and pepper in a bowl. In a second bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk. In a third bowl, dump the bread crumbs.

Heat about ½ inch oil in a wide, heavy skillet over a medium flame.

Dredge the tomato slices first through the flour, lightly coating both sides. (That’s right, flour first.) Next, drag each floured slice through the egg-milk mixture. Finally, place the slices in the bread crumbs, coating both sides.

Fry the tomato slices two or three at a time, turning once, until golden brown on both sides. Serve hot.


~ ~ UPDATE ~ ~

On second thought, slice the tomatoes thinner. Let them sit for a bit to lose some fluid. French bread crumbs are good. Cornbread crumbs are good. Sourdough crumbs are not.

Guaranteed to make a country boy smile.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Once Upon A Time

I’ve been thinking about my writing process lately.
It goes like this.

A feeling, idea or character will pop into my consciousness and BANG. I’ll have the Beginning and End of a story. Multiple scenes that go here and there. Almost always the theme, although I may not be able to frame it in a sentence at first. More characters and a nice juicy Villain.

What’s missing?

Always. Always. The entire Second Act.

Sometimes. Usually. I’ll vaguely know that, oh, say, something like this needs to happen in the middle before we get to the lovely planned End.

The script I’m writing now … haven’t a clue.

I have the entire First Act. The complete Third Act. What are the characters doing between pages 30 and 90? Currently, sitting in their homes until it’s time to gather for the Finale.

I said to myself, What the heck happens in the Second Act?

And Self said back, How should I know? Why are you asking me?

It’s a good thing I fall in love easily, or I’d never stick with any of the characters long enough to find out what happens in the middle.

Oh, it’s like life, she says philosophically. You’re born. That’s exciting. You die, that’s sad.

Everything else is the Second Act.

Monday, July 24, 2006

After the Hack

I like my hacked pen so much, it’s about to lure me away from my favorites.

“Oh what fools these mortals be.”


Monday Meme

Compliments of here and here.

1. I won't eat past _____ o'clock in the evening.

There's a time limit? I once heard Oprah say, "Everything you eat past 7 pm goes right to your thighs," but I usually ignore that type of advice.

So, I'll say, when my eyes drift closed at bedtime.

2. My favorite subject for photographing is _____.

Everything. No, I'm not too lazy to think up an answer. I like to take pictures.

3. I use _____ most often to edit my photographs.

Well, my dears, back in the Dark Ages, I used an actual darkroom to edit my photographs and amazingly, still retain that ability. However, alas, like the entire rest of the world, I have been spoiled by the ease of the digital world, so now I use Photoshop on my computer. And if I'm in my little office, I'm three steps away from an actual darkroom when I'm doing it.

I suppose the darkroom is now an Analog Capture Device.

4. If I'm having trouble sleeping, I usually _____.

Stay awake.

5. When I'm hungry for a snack, I usually eat _____.

Whatever I can find.


I planned on writing an entry about synchronicity because, suddenly it seems, I'm seeing the same advice about screenwriting all over the place.

Which means either --

A. The Universe is trying to get me to pay attention.


B. Everyone arrived at the same lesson at the same time.

Go figure.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Friday Meme - Pick 4

From BeliBlog.

Q: What are four (4) of your favorite words?

The names of my loved ones.

Q: What are four (4) things you hope to do this weekend?

See Lady in the Water
Have a barbeque in the yard.
Make potato salad.
Finish reading a scary book I started today.

Q: What are the four (4) things you say most often?

Zeke, do not chase that car.
Did you open the greenhouse door?
Did you close the greenhouse door?
Was that a snake?

Q: What are four (4) things you wish you could do right now?

Go to sleep.
Finish reading that novel.
Stop thinking about the script I'm writing now, so I could go to sleep.
Have a cold drink.

Q: What are four (4) things that turn you on?

Good humor.
Nice hairy chest.

Q: What are four (4) things you know you can't do?

Climb rocks, boulders or freakin' cliffs.
Get Zeke to stop chasing cars.
Become President of these United States.
Build a better mouse trap.

Q: What are your four (4) favorite things to do?

Take Pictures.
Go to the beach.

Q: What four (4) sounds or noises do you absolutely hate?

An animal crying in pain.
Babies crying during the homily.
Dentist's drill.
Drunks leaving the bar.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Girls Rock

This is why my hair's turning gray.

That's my college girl "bouldering," as she calls it. But, let me tell you. That is not a boulder. Ok. Not a boulder. It is a freakin' cliff.

She's out on an archeological dig now, camping rough, so I can talk about her, and she'll never know.

After this particular climb, she apologized for scaring me, even though I hadn't said a word. I guess you have to be a parent, maybe a Mom, to understand how a human heart can hold an equal measure of panic and pride.

Girls Rock.

Fleecing the Wannabees

Well, fellow hoopleheads,

I got in trouble in screenwriting class for being a smart aleck, and having an opinion. Unfortunately, two things unlikely to change.

I plan to keep my head down and persevere.

Same story, different day.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Meme For Wednesday

Are you more... from this site.

01) Macho or swishy?

Can Ladies be Macho? Machina?

02) Talker or listener?

You're kidding me right? Definitely, listener. What?

03) Intelligent or artistic?

Shucks. Can't I be both? Artistic.

04) Carnivore or herbivore?


05) A recycling nut or one who doesn't recycle much if at all?

Lazy but guilt-ridden.

06) Nature-lover or cleanliness-lover?

This is an interesting choice. Nature-lover.

07) Elvis or The Beatles?

Well, I remember the Beatles better, but I'd rather be Elvis. The skinny, sexy one, not the fat one on drugs.

08) The Brady Bunch or The Partridge Family?

Oh please.

09) Gilligan or the Skipper?

Hmm. I'm afraid Gilligan.

10) A seeker of truth no matter how ugly or a seeker of beauty even if it's false?

Seeker of truth.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Hack A Pen

I found this link and it cracked me up, so I'm sharing.

It's for a page called Save $200 in 2 minutes and have the world's best writing pen.

Now, I have nothing against fine writing instruments. I do, in fact, enjoy fine writing instruments. I don't have a Mont Blanc. I have a Waterman and a Sailor though. Fine pens on their own merits, still not as expensive as the Mont Blanc.

I went right out and performed the steps outlined here because it appealed to the anti-establishment streak in my nature. Guess I do have a Mont Blanc now, only it's masquerading as a Pilot G2 Pro.

And, yes, the Mont Blanc ink is way smoother than the ink that came with the G2.

I'm still waiting for someone to rediscover the perfect pencil.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Gather 'Round, Wannabees and Hoopleheads

Yeah, that’s the actual Deadwood. But today I’m not about mourning HBO’s fiscal nearsightedness that caused it to cancel nasty old Deadwood’s ticket.

You see, I decided to take a screenwriting class.

Enter screenwriting in a search engine and watch a gazillion hits return.

Try screenwriting class, and get a zillion more.

Pour through the offerings and experience what Deadwood’s hoopleheads must have felt as they marched down the thoroughfare between the Gem and Bella Union whilst Al Swearengen and Sy Tolliver peered down at them.

Prepare to be fleeced.

I’ve often heard screenwriting compared to the Old West Gold Rush where the only lucky souls who made a reliable income were the ones outfitting and otherwise servicing the intrepid dreamers who bet their lives on slaving in dirt for a chance at a fortune.

I’d count how many screenwriting books I’ve bought, but I fear for my sanity.

My hard drive is loaded with off-the-Net articles. How to Pitch, Logline Advice, Beat Sheets, Marketing Secrets, High Concept Strategies, Structure Guidelines, 5 – 7 – 8 Sequences to Riches and Fame, How to Make Hollywood Beat A Path To Your Door Even If You Live In NoPlace Prairieville, Award Winning Guidelines to Screenwriting Success, How To Make A Producer Love Your Work Even If Your Mom Thinks You’re Odd, Guaranteed Success In 3, 5, 87, or 967 Easy Steps, Make Money In Your Spare Time Using Only Your Computer and 3 Rubber Bands.

Blah, blah, blah. Blah. Blah.

So, my dears, you may inquire, why’d she succumb now?

Well, it’s dusty out here in the diggings and a cold beer sounded nice, and I just happened to wander into the Gem when Al was in a rare good mood . . .

One day, I wondered to my self, how long are you planning on doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different outcome?

Furthermore, dear self, how many more soft passes can you stand where they praise the writing and pass on the project?

And Self said back, Jesus, Mary and all the Saints, then do something different.

So, being in a mood that fluctuated between irrational commitment to career and willingness to risk fleecing, I serendipitously followed a link, found a site, perused the classes, checked out the purveyors, forked over the dough and am now committed to five months of class, homework and learning something new.

Previously, I reached the conclusion, that all the formatting, beat sheet adherence, and structure strictures were minor factors in what makes someone want to buy a script. I decided I was missing some important element of STORY and that was what held me back.

We shall see.

Back to the diggings now, fellow hoopleheads. The odds may be favor the house, but somewhere there’s a new strike every day.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Friday Meme

Courtesy of Friday Fiver

1. Have you ever had an addiction?

Does Starbucks Double Shot in a can count?

2. Are you afraid of the dark?

No. I'm afraid of what might be lurking in the dark.

3. What's your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Chocolate Chip. Chocolate. And Strawberry.

4. Have you ever been to the circus?


Been to the rodeo too. Saw a dead whale on ice in a truck once. Who would think a person could make money dragging around a dead whale on ice?

5. What do you think of North Korea testing nuclear weapons?

One more example of how the world is more dangerous now than pre 9/11.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Devilish Design

My good movie ratio keeps getting better.

Saw The Devil Wore Prada this afternoon.

Meryl Streep is divine.

Anne Hathaway, loveable and chic. Note her character, Andy Sachs clutches her Moleskine notebook as she runs after her demanding boss.

I tried to read the novel last week, but stopped a few chapters in when I realized I could have just as much fun pulling out big chunks of my hair.

I am no fashionista. When I worked in an office, you could tell I had dressed up if I was wearing cords instead of jeans. Now, I don't go to an office, figure it out. I found the comment on the fashion industry interesting. Both sides.

There was a good crowd for Sunday afternoon. Women, all ages, with a few obliviously dragged along husbands. All the previews were for football movies. I thought that was weird. Why weren't they bombarding us with chick flick previews? And why are there so many football movies about to come out?