Saturday, December 23, 2006

greetings from SXM

This is a French keyboard and the keys are different, so please excuse any typos.

St. Martin is beautiful and hot. It's 86 degrees today. The new airport is great, but I do miss the old school one a little bit. I spent all day at the beach yesterday. Le Gallion was so tranquille.

Of course my mom had to make a comment about my hair. She asked me if I didn't have a chance to get it done...it didn't look good. I love my mom. I flew for hours and that was her second comment. My sister laughed about later. I mean what can I do, our mom is conservative and I refuse to wear my hair like Condi Rice. ha!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Happy Holidays!!!

This ragazza is off to St. Martin and Anguilla for Christmas. I'm looking forward to seeing my parents and the rest of my family.

I will be trying very hard not to check emails, so I might post only once a week during the break. I plan to spend a lot of time on the beach.

I hope everyone has an incredible holiday and see you in 2007.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Is there any role Kate Winslet can't play?

There is a reason she has been nominated for an Oscar 4 times already before the age of 30.

She was the best thing in THE HOLIDAY (I really enjoyed SOMETHING'S GOTTA GIVE, but was disappointed with THE HOLIDAY. Cameron bugs.)

I just watched LITTLE CHILDREN. I looooved the book and the movie was depressing, but well acted. I forgot I was watching Kate and got sucked up in the story and these peoples lives.

I am finally over my cold. I also had a migrane for two days last week so I didn't go to the gym at all. It felt good to get back to the gym this weekend. I can't believe I have to get into a bathing suit later this week.

Friday, December 15, 2006

It's official

I'm a member of the E.U. The French Consulate called me yesterday and said my passport is ready for pick up. I'm going to pick it up today. Excellent.

I thought I would be able to get on the shorter residents line next week in St. Martin but my sister reminded me that the airport is on the Dutch side of the island (St. Maarten) so I will have to stay on the vistors line at customs. C'est la vie.

I just signed up for Intermediate Italian level 2. Two of my friends are repeating the class as well, but are going to take it on a week night. I am going to go on Saturdays. It would be great to be in the same class again but my brain is fried after work and sitting in traffic for an hour before class doesn't help. The grammer in this level was molto difficult, which is why I'm taking the class again. I will bring some earlier chapters with me over vacation to review. I haven't been in class since June. January is going to be fun. ha!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Volver by Pedro Almodovar, the Princess Diana report

What a good film. Penelope Cruz was fantastic. If you have only seen her Hollywood films please rent her Spanish and Italian films (ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER, OPEN YOUR EYES, DON'T MOVE). She is very talented and the pretty girl roles she is offered stateside don't do her justice.

Her performance will def. be nominated for an Oscar along with Helen Mirren for THE QUEEN. Hopefully Meryl Streep will also receive one for DWP. She was great, but sometimes comedies are not nominated.

I know Mr. Fayed lost his son, but he needs to stop. The princess was not pregnant and was not going to marry Dodi. Diana was not assasinated because the family didn't want her to marry a Muslim. Today on the news Mr. Fayed said he will never change his mind. Did he forget the hotel they stayed in belongs to him and the driver worked for him? She was very close to her boys and never mentioned marriage. The relationship was not that serious.I feel for her sons who cleary want closure.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

one week!

That is all I have to say.

It's not very "Christmasy"

I am so over this stupid cold.

Anyway, I was driving down Wilshire and it occured to me that Christmas is only a few days away. It doesn't feel like it. I can't say it's because of the warm weather, I will be spending the holidays in a place where the avg. tempature is 80 degrees. I think it's the lack of certain smells, sights and sounds.

I miss the smell of chestnuts, hot dogs and knishes (sp) . I don't miss the smell of urine though. I miss the amazing windows at Bergdorf's, Barneys, Bloomies, Saks, the tree at Rockefeller Center, the ice skating rink, walking through Central Park after it snows. I miss the energy of Manhattan, the diversity, the buildings, the subway artists in the tunnel between Port Authority and the local trains, men giving me the "what's up sister nod", men wearing suits, my former doormen who would look out for me, chinese/deli delivery.

On the Jersey side: Wood burning fireplaces, football games, Kings grocery store, Short Hills Mall, South Mountain Reservation (with it's kick ass view of "the city"), Christmas eve service with usually one bad vocal performance. I remember one year a boom box was involved. It wasn't pretty. Christmas day the uncles (mom's side) coming over and getting in heated discussions about politics (one, I believe, loved him some Nixon), my mom's cooking, my dad playing the same Christmas records from 1972 and trying not to get into a fight with the Nixon loving uncle.

Now I just count the days to go on break. I avoid the mall and I just don't feel in the holiday spirit. Maybe that will change next week when I see people walking around with the Santa hats on and every station is playing Calypso/reggae-ish Christmas music.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Out sick, Fergelicious

Yesterday I did something I hardly ever do...nothing. No gym, no scripts, (I did watch a movie for work), no shower. I needed to clean, work on the book and a zillion other things, but I got under a blanket on my couch and watch the Rick Steves' Italy marathon on PBS instead. I felt guity until I started sneezing again.

I hope this cold goes away soon. I do feel better this morning. I had soup for lunch yesterday and drank plenty of liquids.

I won't be able to stay in today. Too much work to do and I have a meeting this evening.

Re: Stacey Ferguson
I couldn't stand Fergie's single "London Bridge". Despite my better judgement I really like the second single "Fergelicious". It's very, very catchy.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

James Kim, a sad story.

Of course I don't know this family, but I was sad when I heard on the news his body was found. At least he didn't die in vain. Were it not for his tracks the search team might not have found his wife and children.


http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061207/ap_on_re_us/missing_family_80

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Two weeks

From today I will be on my way to St. Martin. Of course I'm excited to see my family, but I'm also looking forward to sitting on a beach (perhaps Le Gallion, Baie Rouge or Friar's Bay) with a margarita, some books and chilling.

Work is so insane now. Some of my colleagues are irritated every time the phone rings. I love that people are sending me scripts (not!) for me to read over the break. Three of the big talent agencies are shutting down on the 15th, as will most productions companies (including ours). Since I'm a consultant I only get paid when I work. We are shutting down so early I will miss three weeks of pay. Oh well.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Draft number 11, finito! A little good news

I am done with the latest draft of my book. I'm at 81,000 words and 301 pages. I will continue to work on it during the next 2 weeks then print out a copy to edit while in the Caribbean.

Meanwhile an indie film I worked on (the first one I received a producer credit for) was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award. I'm so excited for the director and the producer. The reviews were somewhat scathing, it was a tough shoot (an under 2 million dollar budget with a zillion locations and a pretty big cast), editing drama, plus we shot a big chunk of the movie in the Valley during the summer. One day an extra passed out from the heat. I had no idea the film was even submitted until friends started calling me at work.

I don't know if I'm going to the ceremony yet. It's held the day before the Oscars. I was very happy to hear Daniel Craig was nominated for INFAMOUS. Hopefully he will be there. LOL.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

I think I'm good for at least the next 12 months

It was great to see some friends last night. I even saw the agent who made the "intimidating" remark. Several females colleagues went on and on about my new hair style and said the nicest compliments. I got nothing from the men, but not surprised.

I did have a few agents/managers pitch me writers for some of our projects. Bumped into a few people I haven't seen in years who said "oh it so great to see you again." It was clear they didn't remember my name but seeing how the room was packed, but not diverse, my friend and I stood out.

These "parties" are so weird. A few people did start to dance as we left, but basically you spend a few hours networking. I wouldn't call it fun way to spend a Friday night.

There were some moments when my friends and I laughed out loud. After my only drink of the night (somewhat of a light weight these days), I made crass remake to my friend (joking) about the lack of sexual attractive to the frat boys. She started laughing and we didn't realize that a female agent overheard us. The agent looked around the room, shrugged, and said she didn't know how to help us. :)

When I was a jr. development exec I used to go to these parties all the time. Around three years ago, I cut way back. I have so much work to do, I can't be out on the town all the time. When I do go out, I want to really socialize and relax with my friends not go to a work event fronting as a party. During the car ride home my friend said it was good for my career that I went. Yes I totatlly understand and now I don't need to go to another one of these for a few months.

Off to the gym and then to write. I'm working on the last chapter of this re-write. I am going to clean up the draft the next two weeks then take a copy home with me to read during the break.

Friday, December 01, 2006

The green-eyed monster

As my brother would say, "Not a good look." Yesterday a friend called me to talk about some work stuff and a guy she met. She went out with an actress friend of ours to a Hollywood hotspot and had a great time. She mentioned a well respected, talented foriegn actor (and very good looking one). When I figured out the actor and the guy she met was one in the same, I told her I had to go. I couldn't believe how salty I was. I did call her back once I got home and apologized.

Okay what was wrong with me? Yes, I like many other women think this guy is smoking, but it's not as if I know him. It was so random of all the men , why is she hooking up with him? This is one of my friends who complains about not dating in L.A. However, she is very confident. I thought about my reaction some more and I think I just don't get it. What kind of energy am I putting out there? I have a great group of friends, so it's not like I'm anti-social but men never talk to me here. I'm invisible.

Another friend at a dinner party told me my name came up during a meeting at her agency. The male agent said nice things about me (regarding smarts), but also added that I was intimidating. What? I have had one lunch with him and several phone calls. He is one of the most intelligent guys I've met out here. Great taste and very well read. My brother said the same thing to me years ago but I told him he was tripping. I can't count how many women I knew in DC who said they weren't dating because they were too intimidating. That was not the reason. I am not one of those women who set impossibly high standands and then complain when no men can reach them.

Where is this "intimidating" stuff coming from? My friend from the dinner party said there is a super girly thing going on in the culture and L.A. is the extreme of this. I don't come across helpless or silly. Anyone who has read this blog knows I can be very silly but I do notice when I leave the country are things different. It makes no sense, I'm still the same person. I think of the Susan character on DES. HOUSEWIVES and I see what my friend is saying. The character is a 40 something woman but acts like a dumb ass teenager. All giggly and super insecure. Why must we have two extremes, either women are emasculating bitches or dim, non-threatening pretty girls? I don't know any women like that.

That said maybe there is some non-approachable vibe I'm giving off. I have heard the "intimidating" thing one too many times. I remember being very offended when a good friend said I was the black Miranda. Hello, I would like to think I make better clothing choices and I am not that cynical, angry, agressive or successful. As a creative person I thought she would say I was more Carrie-ish without the immaturity, poor spending habits or the occasional what the fuck is she wearing outfits.

I have to go to an industry party tonight. A friend is dragging me and I'd rather stay home and work on my book. While I am looking to seeing some people I haven't seen for a minute, I hate spending Friday nights talking about the biz. It's going to be a very frat boy crowd, a lot of "I'm a player with my leased Mercedes and best friends with such and such star." These "parties" are not fun.

I'm going to try a little experiment. I will buy a new outfit and walk into that restaurant and treat it like it's a party, not a networking event. Let others work the room and try to one up each other. I will seek out my friends, have a few drinks and who knows, maybe have a good time.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Marie Antoinette

This movie frustrated me! Why did Sofia Coppola make this film? The movie looked beautiful and there were some very nice shots. I couldn't figure out if Sofia purposely made a very shallow movie in order to say something about our celebrity worshipping times or the movie is just shallow.

Why do half the cast speak with French/European accents but Kirsten, Jason and esp. Rip Torn speak with modern American accents? Took me out of the movie. Maybe I shouldn't have watched this movie after seeing THE QUEEN. That movie also dealt with an isolated Queen and something to same about the cult of celebrity but it had depth.

I don't know how/why you make a movie about a Queen who reigned during such a turbulent time in history and reduce it to a long movie video with some nice costumes, scenery and music.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Last King of Scotland, enough with the no underwear shots

Finally caught up with this one. I read the script last year and loved it.

Forest gives an incredible performance. There are some scenes in the 3rd act that are tough to watch. The supporting cast was excellent as well.

I need to keep watching movies like, Casino Royale, Scotland and The Queen to remind me why I work and live here. I was at the gym this morning and two of the monitors were on E!. After the top ten "celeb news items", they ran the top 25 sexiest hookups. Hilarious. More than half the couples are not together anymore ( I think this special was from last year) and several of the men are gay.

I am so over the new dynamic duo of Paris and Britney. Where are Britney's PR people? This is not the way to stage a comeback; partying with Paris, stepping in and out of cars without wearing underwear so the paparazzi can take photos of your vagina, wearing bad extentions, the list goes on.

One of my friends is tired of Britney using the "we're country" excuse. This friend is a Southerner who grew up in the country and has impeccable manners.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Queen, Rome and fishnet stockings

Okay first let me say I only watched the Bachelor this season because they shot it in Rome. I couldn't watch the whole thing last night. Lorenzo (the non Italian speaking, Italian Prince) is a knucklehead. His comment to Sadie was not gracious, there is a better way to break up with someone. Jen might be sweet but she seems like an airhead. I wonder what grades she teaches. Also, who shows up to meet someone's parents ("royalty" at that) wearing skin tight jeans and a spagetti strap tank top?) Overall I have a real problem with the concept of these shows in the first place. Do people not take matters of the heart seriously anymore?

Clearly Pam Anderson and Kid rock don't. After a very long marriage of three months they are getting a divorce. What was the point in getting married in the first place?

I'm glad Paula told me I can take out my landlord and move to France and not have to stand trial (joking). She stopped by my apartment last night to give me the notice about my rent going up. Ha, ha why did she write on top, second notice? I never received the first. She thinks she's slick.

This is one of my favorite times of the year for many reasons. One, I love the holidays and two, the Oscar screeners. I can catch up on all the movies I missed. I loved THE QUEEN. Helen Mirren was outstanding. I am not going to comment on the Da Vinci Code but I thought book was a fun, quick read.

Several bloggers and friends have asked me what it is exactly I plan to do in Rome? I would like to continue to work in film and write. That is why I can't just pack my bags and go. I will have a better idea of my time table after next year.

In my quest to dress like a grown woman I wore fishnet stockings and heels with my conservative outfit. My boss (a woman, not to worry) said I looked very sexy. Mind you I'm wearing a cashmere turtleneck and a herringbone print skirt from J Crew, a store which I see as preppy not sexy. LOL.

Monday, November 27, 2006

French Passport

Bonjour everyone!

I went to the consulate last week. I thought it would be a huge red tape nightmare. Fifteen minutes later the nice lady said to me, "Your passport should arrive in three to four weeks."

She also gave me a picture I.D. which says on the back, "The holder of this card is under French authorities protection." Not sure what that really means. I was reminded to vote in next year's election. I did read in Vogue (American) about one of the candidates who is running. I have to do more research on her.

I was shocked things went so smoothly. The consulate told me it was because my parents already did all the paperwork. Had they not registered our births with the New York Embassy, applied for the "Livret de Famille" (the family book), it would have been very difficult for me to obtain my French citizenship. I would have to track down and fill out a ton of paperwork (mine and my parents) and be interviewed. I had the stamped copy of my French birth certificate therefore I didn't have to prove anything.

I do prefer the French (and correct) pronunciation of my name. Growing up I did not like having a name from the 50s. The only other Arlenes I heard of as a child were, Arlene Francis and 40 something Jewish women from Syosset or Great Neck, Long Island. I was supposed to be named Jacqueline but my mom changed her mind. She didn't like the name Jackie and eveyone was naming their daughters after Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis. I guess Jackie was the Britney of the mid to late 60s. I understand, but why not Stacey, Melissa or something? Plus my middle name is Antoinette. Hello, did she not have her head sliced off? I know some of these really old school name are coming back, Grace, Hazel, Ella, but I don't expect to see Arlene on those lists anytime soon.

I have no idea why my parents dropped the accent. It's on all my French documents. It's funny all my Italian friends and teachers pronouce it the French way as well. It's too late now. People will think I'm weird if I insist they start calling me Arlène (Arlen or as the Italian say, Arrrlen) instead of Arlene (Arlean). I do have one or two friends who call me Arlen but more as a joke.

Anyway, I am very excited about getting my EU citizenship. If I had savings and way to make a living, I would be on the next flight to Rome. In the meantime I am looking foward to next year. I will finish my novel and work wise we have a few interesting projects coming out. Hopefully I will get a little raise. Having paid off all debt this year, I cannot wait to live below my means for a change.

I know I said only a couple days ago I would stay in this dumpy ass apartment and deal with my insane landlord for a while since my rent is stablished. That might be unhealthy. I spend 48 weeks a year here, I should have home, not just a place I sleep. I think 2007 will be my last year here. I do want to save money but I can't be sad every time I walk into my apartment.

Friday, November 24, 2006

It's the day after Thanksgiving

I know for many it's the beginning of the shopping frenzy but for me it means I can take out my Christmas music.

It's time for Nat King Cole's Christmas album. My sister tracked down the Mario Lanza CD for me a couple years ago. That one was a favorite of our Dad's and he played that one, Nat's and a few others every single Christmas. I have a few contemporary ones from my Sony days; Mariah, Luther and Manhattan Transfer (okay that one is random but it's good) but it's the ones I grew up with that mean the most to me. Many years ago our dad bought the Motown Christmas album because he knew how much I loved the Jackson 5.

Sound of Music is not technically holiday music but I think the movie used to air around the holidays. Speaking of the Sound Of Music, Gwen Stefani's new single (with a sample from The Lonely Goatherd)is just wrong. She needs to stop sampling Broadway classics.

To hear a rendition of a SOM single that will not make your ears bleed, I recommend John Coltrane's, "My Favorite Things". Even if you don't like jazz, it's pretty special.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone has a safe and wonderful holiday.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Robert Altman died yesterday

A true artist.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Brothel for women?

I read a book a couple years ago by writer Jill Nelson about two women who open a "spa with benefits". The book was fiction. On the news there was a report that Heidi Fleiss is going to open a brothel for women in Nevada. Who is the audience for such a place?

Mike Tyson is going to be one of the men at said brothel. I don't know about anyone else but I just can't see paying a lot of money (or any money) for a tumble in the sack with him. I can't deal with the high pitched voice, face tattoo and oh yeah that rape conviction a couple years ago. He is not known as being a gentle lover (heard that from a good source but the friend of a friend was into that kind of thing).

I have a male friend here who told me he does know of women in Hollywood, busy execs who pay for sex. I think he is pulling my leg. I mean when would they have the time?

Maybe Heidi's idea will work. I just don't see it. There will be no fantasy, emotional or romantic element. So many women have sexual hang ups as it is. Are they really going to fly to Nevada to get their freak on? Where is Heidi going to find the guys, out of work actors, pornstars? Charlie Sheen famously said he paid prositutes (over 40 thousand dollars) so the women would leave after sex. Most women want men to stay. I have never been to a bachlorette party with male strippers or gone to Vegas to see Thunder from Down Under. Women may go and scream throw underwear and grind with the guys but that's it. It's a big leap to go to from looking to having sex.

I don't get the male stripper thing either. The waxed chests, the cheesiness, those men are not sexy.

Monday, November 20, 2006

French birth certificate and Daniel Craig

The two really have nothing to do with each. However, I received a copy of my French birth certificate with nice note from the French Embassy in NYC and saw Casino Royale this weekend.

First let me say all the Craig haters need to shut it down. He is the best Bond since Connery and closer to the Fleming books. Movie was a little long but very entertaining.

I am going to try to get to the French Consulate this week.

So looking forward to the long Thanksgiving weekend. I didn't write a damn thing this weekend I was so busy. Very frustrating. I am looking forward to working on the novel this week.

I'm done with my Christmas shoppping and won't have to brave the crowds on Friday. I might bake a apple crumble but other than that, I will be writing all day.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Why couldn't TomKat have a nice small wedding?

You know since their love for one another is so real, they don't need all this publicity.

Re: Oprah. Girlfriend, don't be upset. I wasn't invited to the wedding either. :)

What happened to Katie? I met her a couple years ago and have a friend who was friends with her (post Tom she changed all her numbers, agents, managers etc.) I'm sure her devout Catholic parents are thrilled she is marrying a twice divorced older man who seems devoid of any human emotions. I don't like how he pressured her to workout twice a day so she wouldn't be "fat" on her wedding day.

Tom is lucky I'm not marrying his asexual ass. I just had a baby and you're telling me to lose weight faster? As Whitney Houston would say, "Hell to the no!"

The weird thing is Tom Terrific never seemed old to me until he started "dating" Katie. Being with her is not helping him gain a younger fan base,if anything, it's turning them off. (I'm sure everyone has heard the rumor about him auditioning his next girlfriend. Jessica Alba, Lindsay Lohan, Scarlett Johannson all passed. Katie said yes.)

I'm used to men in their late 30s/early 40s (esp. out here) only wanting to date women in their early to mid 20s. My expiration date has come and gone. I guess I could date a much younger guy but most of the 20 something men I meet are straight up knuckleheads. I mean what are we going to talk about? Again this could be because of what I do/live but I don't want to talk about Playstation and comic book movies all the time.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Jamie Olivier's Great Italian Escape

I love this series. Last night he stayed with some monks. They had a herb garden that was over 1500 years old! Unfortunately it had seen some better days. As his gift, Jamie replanted it.

Food aside, the whole Monk experience was interesting. One of the monks had lived there since WWII another for over 50 years, since he was 10. I wonder how he ended up at the monestary. Did someone drop him off at 10? There used to be 80 monks now there are only 7. The grounds were stunning.

Jamie then went to Le Marche to stay with a hunting family. I had a hard time watching him kill a cute little lamb. Later he was entered into a pasta contest, the only man up against the Nonnas (the grandmothers) of the village. So they had to hunt a boar for his ragu sauce. The wife of one of the hunters was ready with her own gun. Those boars are no joke. Back at the house the kids would just look at the boar hanging upside (I assume to drain the blood) like it was no biggie. Talk about being close to your food source.

Jamie is trying to figure out how everyone he meets rich to poor, old to young knows so much about food. He is going to visit an elementary school next week in Puglia and then on to the Amalfi coast for his 30th birthday.

If you love food, Italia or both, check out the Travel Channel on Wednesday nights.

Today is going to be crazy busy. So looking forward to the weekend.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A nice call from the French Embassy

The French Embassy in NYC called to tell me a copy of my French birth certificate is in the mail. Yes!

I have six months from the date stamped on it to get my passport. I hope it's not too painful a process.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I freaking hate my landlord

This bitch has lost her damn mind. She calls me today saying I underpaid my rent. She said left a notice on my door a week ago, before the first (hello today is the 14th). Even if the notice (which I never saw) was left when she said it was, why can't she understand she is supposed to give me 30 days notice?

I have a migrane so I didn't want to deal with her dumb fucking ass. I am sending a check for the difference and will start paying more rent in December. I wish she would be diligent about taking care of her apartments and not just collecting rent.

I'm going to ask her next year to replace the carpet. We'll see what happens. She wants me and a couple of the other tenants out so she can jack up the rent by at least $500.

Also talked to my car insurance company. The stronzo that hit my car (and let his insurance laspe), still hasn't paid anything. My accident was in March and who knows when I will get reimbursed for my deductible?

Okay, I just have to hold on until Dec. 20.

Rigatoni con Salsiccia , artificial deadlines and Bachelor Rome

Yesterday I truly woke up on the wrong side of the bed. My neighbor and her child did their usual 1:00, 3:00 a.m. thing. I started riding the crimson wave (a CLUELESS reference for you) and I was frustrated because I wanted to write so badly but I had too much work to do.

I felt a little better after going to the gym, but all day my phone was ringing. We are trying to set up a pitch at work before the holidays and time is running out. Last week I finally had an "aha moment" regarding the novel. One of the notes said at times it reads more like a script, all action and dialogue and not enough POV. Without the protangonist's internal voice some of the emotional beats are missing.

I was so excited to get back into the book but I realized I was putting too much pressure on myself to "finish" by a certain date. It's good to be disciplined but I can't let the rest of my life fall apart. One, I need to work so I can keep a roof over my head. I like my job but I have to read so much for it and it's not a 9-5 kind of gig. Two, everyone writes at their own pace. Some writers brag about finishing a novel in a couple of months, some take years. I really started writing the book in February. Trying to get everything done by Thanskgiving is not realistic given the amount of hours I have to spend on my day job.

I have been trying to cut back on carbs and lose some weight. I happened to write a line in the book about food and I thought life is too short to have bad/unsatisfying meals all the time. I went to Bristol Farms and bought some sausage and arugula and made Rigatoni with Sausage. It was so good with a nice glass of red wine.

re: Bachelor Rome. Why was Lisa crying? She should have left weeks ago. The resort in Sicily looked amazing.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Little Black Book: Rome by Erica Firpo & Christel Brenting

Blogger Erica Firpo (her Moscerina link is on the right) and Christel Brenting have put together a great little guide to dining and entertainment.

This is not a guidebook with maps and photos but an excellent supplement to an Eyewitness, Fodors or Rick Steves. The book is group by main piazzas and neighborhoods. There are places listed only locals know about. There are also bonus sections listing places like Aveda, internet cafes, nail salons etc.

The book was published in 2005, not sure how often they plan to update it. Overall this thin guide is a fantastic buy. You can find it on Amazon.com.

Speaking of entertaining, I went to a great dinner party Saturday night. Just five of us having excellent food (P. is quite the cook and hostess), wine and conversation. It was such a cool group of smart, funny women (my fellow diners left their menfolk at home). I love to cook and would have people over if I liked my apt. I am too crazed right now to deal with it anymore but once I'm done with the book I have to get back to making some improvements. I talked to my sister about moving. My rent is stablished and my goal to move out of L.A. she agreed it doesn't make sense to pay almost double the rent instead of keeping my expenses low. I can suck it up for a couple more years.

What did I say?

Ray Charles could see that Ms. Ray with Batali by her side was going to win. If she said "I'm not a chef" one more time I was going to scream.

It's Sunday so I'm going to keep my snarky comments to myself. LOL

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Ed Bradley died this morning.

I don't believe it. He was 65 and had leukemia. Sad.

Iron Chef America: Rachael Ray vs. Giada De Laurentiis

This is it folks. The show down is on Sunday at 9:00 p.m. This battle is right up there with the "Thirller in Manila" (Ali vs. Frazier), Knicks vs. Bulls (circa Ewing and Jordan), Red Soxs vs. Yankees.

Rachael will be teamed up with Mario Batali and Giada with Bobby Flay. Unfortunately Jeffrey Steingarten (sp?) the tough food critic from Vogue will not be one of the judges.

I think Rachael will win. She is the most popular personality on the Food Network, her daytime show is produced by Oprah, and technically she is the underdog so of course she will win. Giada is a trained chef, worked on the line at a very busy restaurant and can actually cook. I wish they had teamed her up with Batali. Flay is fine but I love Batali and now will have to root against him.

It should be Rachael vs. Sandra Lee of Semi-homemade. This seems more like a P.R. stunt ( a very good and effective one at that. Hello, I will be watching).

Speaking of food, last night on the Travel Channel they started airing a series Jamie Oliver shot in Italy for British Television. He spent a month traveling around the country in a van, eating and cooking. Last night he left London for Sicily and the second show he was on a small island off the coast of sicily where he worked in the kitchen.

Seriously, I want to just sell my crap and go. I would love to be back in a place where people enjoy eating and food is not just a means to an end. A meal doesn't have to be fancy or expensive. Some of the dishes from last night were very, simple. Jamie was told that some of his spices were overwhelming the flavors of the fish.

Some of my happiest moments in Rome had to do with eating. I would wake up the morning some days and the most pressing question was "Where to eat today?". I could sit on the fountain of Santa Maria in Trastevere and eat gelato all day. The pizza bianca (pizza with just olive oil and a little salt) from the Forno in Campo dei Fioro is worth standing in line for. I still think about the fava bean, truffle oil fava bean dish and Le Mani in Pasta. I also dropped a size in Italy. Let's see, now I eat less but I weight more. Something is not right. :)

In a few weeks I will be in another place where food is very important. I remember last year at Christmas my dad and I had to drive all over the island to find fresh mushrooms for a dish I wanted to make for dinner that. So much has to be imported and if you do not get to the supermarket early, the veggies will be sold out, or look very wilted. I learned my lesson. This time I will see what is available then cook with that. It's the same with the markets. My mom would rush out of the house so she could get to the outdoor market in Marigot before her favorite stand sold out of the yams, plantains and other food she needed.

Cannot wait until December 20th.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Jamie Oliver: Jamie's Italy

How excited am I? I received his cookbook I ordered from Amazon.com. I cannot wait to try some of these recipes this weekend (diet be damned, at least for a day or so).

Speaking of Italy two of my friends are going to Florence next week. Sono molto gelosa. ( I am very jealous).

Being spontaneous

As you know I am trying to have a better attitude about living in the City of Angels. One thing that has helped is avoiding people who complain about it non-stop. Seriously, if it's that bad they need to move or make an effort to make some changes in their lives.

The other thing is, I am being more spontaneous. I was on the phone yesterday with a friend and we decided to get together for brunch this Sunday, not next year. She is an actress but we met through Italian class so when we do get together with our other classmates, a lawyer and a teacher, we do not talk about the biz.

This business is brutal on friendships. I haven't seen one of my good friends in 2 months, she is so busy as a studio exec. Another friend moved back to NYC and we see each other more often than when she lived within walking distance.

Last night I held my provisional neighborhood meeting at Bandera in Brentwood. I went to say good-bye to some of the ladies and bumped into a colleague and an agent I know eating at the bar. I was going to come home and eat some rabbit foodish salad and read scripts, but instead accepted their invite to join them. I had one of the best burger and fries ever and a nice glass of Cabernet. So scandalous for a Tuesday night. Kidding.

It has been less than 24 hours and already I am sick of hear about the Federline divorce. Who cares? The Dems just won control of the house, Arnold won in a landslide and yet they still found time during the news to talk about this couple divorcing, like it's suprising information. Britney is going to put out an CD next year. I wonder who is going to buy it? Hasn't her audience moved on?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Ho dimenticato tutto (I have forgotten everything)

I was trying to speak with a friend of mine the other day and couldn't remember basic words. I didn't take classes this summer or fall and I'm very rusty.

I am going to review the Prego textbook starting from the beginning. I can't show up in Intermediate lev. 2 next year and not know things from Beginning Italian.

Off to vote.

Monday, November 06, 2006

In the zone with Seal, Squeeze, Sade, Joss Stone and Stevie Wonder

This was a great weekend, for writing that is. I was so stressed out about the book, esp. the first act. I had a freak moment of "What am I doing? Who am I to think I can write a novel?"

I had dinner with a screenwriter friend on Friday. She started out as a development exec. She finally wrote a script,it sold and she started to write full time. I met her when the production company I used to work for hired her to do a page one re-write. She took a dead project and made it sing. An a-list actress is attached and the writer went on to do very well. She is incredibly talented.

I felt so much better after my dinner. I have to say the generousity of time, advice and just encouragement from the community of writers I know is amazing.

I wrote all day Saturday and most of the day on Sunday. I took a break yesterday and went to the Grove to buy some jeans. I only have one pair that fits. It was 91 degrees. Too hot to shop and nothing fit. I returned to my dumpy apartment (which looks crazy. I have so much going on I haven't had time to clean.) with a stank attitude. Then something pretty cool happened, I started to work on certain chapters and my mood completely changed. I was thrilled Matteo's voice is becoming clearer, I cut nine pages out of the first act and don't miss them, and the opening paragraph is a zillion times better.

Yesterday I didn't stop until dinner. I was in the zone for at least six hours. I changed up my music and listened to CDs I haven't heard in a while.

A friend gave me The four disc Stevie Wonder box set AT THE CLOSE OF A CENTURY for my birthday a couple years ago. I have most of his CDs pre-Lady in Red but this is an essential CD for any Stevie fan. CD number 4 is okay but the first three? Incredible.

SQUEEZE SINGLES. I love this CD. Brings me back to early - mid 80s. Great British Pop. Speaking of British, I was big on the Brits yesterday.

SEAL IV - Excellent. He has such a beautiful voice and the songs are gorgeous.

THE BEST OF SADE - This is not easy listening. The musicianship is outstanding and Sade is a bad ass. I wore out STRONGER THAN PRIDE, PROMISE (there is a track called "You're Not the Man" which was not released as a single, that is devastating, seriously.) and LOVE DELUXE back in the day.

Joss Stone, MIND BODY & SOUL - I think she was 17 when she made this record. Crazy. Great voice and music.

The "S" thing was not intentional but maybe I should stick with what works. Today might be a "P" day; Prince, The Police and Public Enemy.

Off to write.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Chicken Cacciatore, national novel writing month

Last night for dinner I made Chicken Cacciatore (Cacciare means to hunt in Italian) from a recipe in the Dean and Deluca cookbook. This is one of the first cookbooks I bought and I love it. There are no photos but over the past nine years I have used it countless times.

There is a great wine shop on Larchmont Blvd. and they recommended a great half bottle of wine, Benton-Lane Pinot Noir from Oregon, 2002. The recipe, which I cut in half, calls for wine but to buy a whole bottle of red made no sense. A half bottle is perfect for one person. I had a glass while cooking last night and will have the rest of it with dinner tonight. Dinner was delicious.

A friend told me it's National Novel Writing Month. Good luck to all the writers out there. I have a lot of work ahead of me. My first act is too slow and long. Damn. As a film exec I have discussions all the time with writers who can't bring themselves to edit words that they have fallen in love with. Now I'm doing the same thing. I'd hate to lose certain jokes or lines of dialogue but I need to be ruthless. If the word, sentence, paragraph is not moving the story forward it has to go.

I wish I had taken a creative writing class recently (I did in college but that was back in the stone age). I would have a little more confidence about what the hell I'm doing. I am going really focus on my first act this weekend.

Okay, it's 6:00 a.m.. Waiting for the sun to rise a litte before going to Runyon Canyon to hike. It will be good to relax and just think about the book. On Wednesday I was getting frustrated because I kept coming up with dialogue for book number 2 as I walked up the mountian. Very annoying. I must finish book number 1 first.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Sweetwater by Roxana Robinson and L'America by Martha McPhee

I really enjoyed SWEETWATER. Thanks Nichelle for the recommendation. A widow, Isabel Green disconnects from her life until she meets Paul Simmons. She marries him quickly and visits his family's summer lodge in the Adirondacks. While deal with his WASPY family she has to confront issues in her current marriage and issues from her first marriage. To say there is some family tension would be an understatement. I thought the writing was beautiful, very descriptive. The last third of the book was so tense I couldn't put it down. There were some very funny moments, esp. with her mother-in-law.

L'AMERICA is the second book I have read this year about a dysfunctional relationship between an American woman and an Italian man. Beth and Cesare, 18, meet in Greece during summer vacation in the early 80s. The book follows their relationship to 9/11 with some comments on the next generation. Beth is the daughter of a man who started a commune after her mother died. Cesare is the son of a powerful Northern Italian banking family. The relationship is off and on for years. Beth and Cesare at times are very cruel to each other. They taunt each other with the stories of their affairs. The things that they loved about each other; Beth fearlessness and casualness, Cesare family's history, start to annoy them.

This is supposed to be an epic tale of love, history, loss, old world versus new, etc. However, both characters are so self-absorbed I really didn't care about them.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Runyon Canyon, John Kerry needs to stop telling jokes

I made it up the Canyon this morning without passing out. yes.

Last night half a million people were expected in my neighborhood for the annual Halloween Parade. I walked up a couple blocks to check out some of the costumes. Hilarious.

Also not to get all political but someone please tell Senator John Kerry to stop talking. He is not helping anyone with his elitist comments. I saw the news. He did put his foot in his mouth. What a stupid (pun intended) thing to say. He is not funny therefore he should refrain from telling any more "jokes" until after the 2006, 2008 and yes the 2012 elections.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Bachelor Rome: WTF!?, Raul Bouva

Yesterday was not a good day for Italians on ABC. First Agnese got the boot and then Raul Bouva's character was killed off on WHAT ABOUT BRIAN?

Agnese was upset but Lorenzo is a stronzo (shithead). If he liked her so much, he could have made some effort to learn more of her language. He was born in Italy and his parents are fluent. What's the problem? How could he pick Lisa instead, the psycho timeline girl? I think the ratings or producers had some influence. God forbid he picks a foreign chick. I like Sadie but she like the other two is pretty young and not very mature. I don't think he's getting married to any of these women. I did hear he is actually a nice guy from a friend. That may be but he should not have sent Agnese home. Perhaps she was too classy and grounded.

Poor Raul, the only reason I was watching this wanna be THIRTY SOMETHING was for him. I'm done. For some reason although the show deals with some heavy issues, it feels like play acting. Sorry Dave and (forgot the wife's character's name) you are no Hope and Michael Stedman.

I finished two books but need to leave for bootcamp class. I'll try to post about them tomorrow.

Monday, October 30, 2006

shock and awe

I finally step on a scale yesterday. I don't own one and I'm not one of those women who weight myself everyday. I could tell I was getting heavier since my clothes were not fitting and I seem to be a little sluggish lately.

I decided to weight myself at the gym yesterday, just to see what I am working with. As I kept pushing the bar further up the scale, I was shocked then awed. How the heck can I be this heavy? Folks we are at Defcon 5.

I hiked Runyon this morning and was very winded. Not a good sign. Runyon is one of the easier hikes. I have to be in the Caribbean, in a bathing suit in less than two months. I am motivated to get back into shape.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Luther Vandross, Madonna and the Santa Ana winds

The song of the month has been Luther's "Shine". I heard the Freemason's mix at the gym and I thought it sounded like him but I wasn't sure. Then I heard the CD version on the radio. The single is new and released as part of a greatest hits CD for the late singer. I heard the CD is not great. Many of of classics are not on it and some of the songs are cut short. I know I have another greatest hits CD, released a couple years ago, somewhere in my collection.

I didn't know Luther used to sing back up for Chic. I do remember him singing back up on David Bowie's "Young Americans" single. Luther had one of the best voices ever. He did sing alot of covers but made them his own. I wasn't crazy about his later material. To me the 80s-early 90s were my favorite Luther years. So talented. Sorry he had to go too soon.

Re: Madonna. I have a ton of work to do today and want to get some writing done. I don't have time to really get into the whole Madonna adoption scandal. I did watch her on Oprah. My co-worker came in (she has two young children) and we both were crying when we saw and heard where David was living. What really got me was the orphanage said no one had visited him since he was dropped off at 2 weeks old. He is only 13 months but has had malaria, TB and pnuemonia. For a year I worked with the Hollygrove foster home in Hollywood (what we used to call an orphanage has since closed. LA county has shut down all their homes) and sees what happens to kids who don't get adopted, placed with a family member, or a good foster family. At least in America, until they are 18 they will go to school (the quality of the education is another story) and might have a shot at a decent life. David's other siblings are dead. If he had not been adopted, the chances of him making it to age five were slim.

I know Madonna is controversial and loves to court the press, etc. I don't think she did this a publicity stunt. The adoption is not final and won't be for 18 months. I feel bad for the dad who is probably having family members cursing him out for not getting some money or something and has press from around the world at his front door. It must be overwhelming. He had no idea who Madonna was. He put his son in the orphanage because he did not want to bury him in the village. I think the mom died at child birth. Anyway, the photo of David laughing with Guy is touching. He is a beautiful baby.

The Santa Ana winds are back. It's going to be 90 degrees today. Some asshole started a fire near Cabazon (about 40 minutes from Palm Springs). The fire started yesterday and has killed 4 firefighters. The wind shifted the flames and a wall of fire engulfed them. Over 38 miles and 23,500 acres are burning. The winds are making a terrible situation worse. Homes have been destroyed and only 5% of the fire is contained.I hope they find the arsonist who is now wanted for murder.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

french passport speed bump, bachelor Rome

Zut allors!! I met with a French teacher today to fill out my forms only to realize that I need to contact the French Embassy in New York to get a more recent stamp on my French birth certificate. We are supposed to apply for a passport within 6 months of receiving said document. My stamp has a date from last year.

Work is crazy busy and I have a slew of jr. league meetings next week. I just have to hang on until thanksgiving, then it will slow down.

Re: the Bachelor Rome. I'm not going to lie, this show is hilarious. I'm glad he picked Agnese just so we can see shots of Venice next week. That Lisa chick, the one with the timeline? Someone needs to school Lorenzo quickly. She has to go.

I assume he's going to pick the Sadie the virgin but I could be wrong.

Okay I have a ton of work to do and need to make something for dinner. ET is on in the background. I'm going to turn it off. Can someone please tell me the fascination with Anna-Nicole Smith's drama and Barry Manilow's hip replacement surgery?

Monday, October 23, 2006

Perhaps I have turned a corner

Friday night I went to the fun birthday party of a good friend. It was sit down dinner at a restaurant and her parents flew in. I bumped into a friend and former co-worker of hers. A couple months ago the birthday girl had a party to celebrate her new job. I was so tired after work, I really wanted to go home, sit on my couch and eat junk. Not go to a hotel bar and hang out with agents. In keeping with doing the opposite (ala George Costanza) I took a shower and went to the party.

On Friday birthday girl's friend asked me if things were still going well since the last time she saw me I was in such a great mood and full of postive energy. I have to say I was suprised. I was in the middle of my bad summer funk and was avoiding social gatherings because my attitude was so stank. Clearly taking a shower and getting out of the apartment had done wonders for my mood that evening.

This weekend was busy. I worked on the book all weekend. I had a great time. I accomplished a lot and cracked myself up in the process. Okay so no one else may find the things I wrote funny but I did. I will be working on it today until my destist appointment this afternoon. Matteo's dialogue is getting better.

One of my friends returned from Italy and bought me some books that I might be able to read: Atlantis-L'impero Perduto (from Disney Junior), Cappucetto Rosso (Little Red Riding Hood), I Capolavori-Cenerentola (Cinerella)
and Il Viaggio In Italia di Valentina (Valentina's Italian Vacation).

I don't know why I am feeling better these days. I'm not on medication and nothing has really changed (still broke, still single). It could be because in less than 2 months I will be home for Christmas. I cannot wait to go to St. Martin. Getting back into volunteering helps (we don't meet during the summer). I spoke to another friend yesterday who finished giving me her notes (she started to a couple weeks ago) and she had some excellent feedback. Her criticism was helpful and I realized that no matter what happens I should be proud of finishing what I started. So many people I know in the business say things like "I should be writing, all these scripts suck. I would write a book/script but you know, I'm , like busy." as if it's so easy. Did I like getting up at 4 or 5 a.m. and writing before work? Not really. Or listening to negative notes after working on something for this long? No, but I'm glad I did it.

Maybe I have turned a corner because I feel pro-active. I know I am going to change my situation, somehow, so I don't let things get to me as much. I will be leaving L.A. so I'm going to try to enjoy the rest of the time I'm here. Hopefully it will only be a couple of years. :)

On the kids front. It is what is it, I can't be depressed about it. I'm not freezing my eggs or wallowing in self-pity anymore. I'm done with that. Everyone has a different path (that sounds so cali), I can fulfill my maternal feelings in other ways.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Marc Anthony, "Todo A Su Tiempo". Writing and more writing

Yes, it's Friday and I am thrilled. I started reading the novel last night and I'm working the red pen like there is no tomorrow. I need to make the first act tighter. The book is about Rome and I should try to get my protagonist on the plane sooner. Still having some trouble with the male lead. I know what he looks like, what is his interests are, his family, friends and how he sounds, but his dialogue is a different story. It would help if I were sitting in La Mani in Pasta in Trastevere listening to men speak. The things we must do in the name of research. Ha.

I like to write to music and I have been playing the same CDs over and over again. I wanted to mix it up and play something I haven't in a while. I try to trade or sell CDs I never listen to but there are a couple that I hold on to for some reason.

Marc Anthony is a great singer. I liked his English language CD but his first two CDs are amazing. I have his second one "Todo A Su Tiempo". I don't think I have listened to this CD since I moved here from NYC.

I put it on and now I remember why I bought it in the first place (tracks number 4,5 &8 are my favorites). While he gets more press these days as Mr. Jennifer Lopez, Marc is huge in the Salsa world. I remember maybe six words of Spanish but it doesn't matter, I dare anyone to sit still while listening to this CD. I assume "Te Conozco Bien", means I know you well? It's very similar to "te conosco bene", which is Italian for I know you well.

Salsa music always brings me back to my pre-suburbs days. I would hear this music on the way to school (P.S. 104), the bodega around the corner from our apartment, at home and from one of the neighbors. They had two kids as well and the mom was a great cook. I do remember going over one day and she was making some dish with octopus. I couldn't wrap my 8 year old head around that. I can still see it on the kitchen counter. It freaked me out. She was from Puerto Rico and spoke mostly Spanish at home. I used to be able to speak some Spanish, now I'm down to those six words.

When we moved to Verona there was only one Hispanic family in town. My brother went to school with my classmate's younger sister. She tried to front like they were Italian-American. I get kids wanting to fit in but that is just crazy. Everybody knew they weren't Italian.

Tonight have a friend's birthday party. During the next five weeks I have 8 friends celebrating birthdays. Then we roll into the holiday season. Man, this year is flying by. Other than the party tonight, I cleared my schedule for today. No conference calls and I'm turning off my phones until later this afternoon. The next four days I am devoting to working on my book. This is the biggest chunk of consecutive days I have had in months. If I can get Matteo's dialogue down, I will be a very happy person.

Ciao tutti. (good bye everyone) Have a great weekend.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Project Runway: Finale

What happened to Michael? It seems once Uli took his muse, everything fell apart.

I have mixed feelings on Jeffrey's win. His was the most fashion forward but I didn't like his stank attitude during the season. He kept referring to the other designers as amateurs. I don't know why someone with a successful line and full staff is allowed to compete. Jeffrey probably would have made it to Fashion Week without the show. He is a L.A. based designer who works with celebs. Some how with his connections he would have had a shot. I'm not sure the other three finalists would have had the same opportunity.

I appreciate the craftsmanship of Jeffrey's clothes (esp. the green/white striped dress), but only 1 percent of the population could actually wear them. When it was down to the final two, although I knew Jeffrey had it in the bag (oooo, he is so edgy!) I was rooting for Uli. I liked her collection and her model was a bad ass. Hopefully she'll get some work. I don't really remember Jeffrey's model.

Some of Laura's dresses were stunning. I think she did get the most applause from the audience. I don't know what happened to the two previous Runway winners but I think we will be seeing more from the finalists last night.

Sfashionista sent me some link saying Brandy and Michael were "together". I don't gossip (ha) so I can't even comment.

In the trades yesterday were articles on how the ratings for the Flavor of Love finale broke all kinds of records. Again can't comment.

I cannot wait until the weekend. It has been crazy busy this week. My committee chair told me yesterday we might get some additional volunteer advisors. I hope so. I am constantly on the phone or sending emails to the women in my group trying to answer their questions.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Bachelor Rome: Under a Tuscan Sun

How beautiful did Tuscany look last night? I have been to Florence and Siena but at some point I do want to explore the countryside. One of the women on my committee is in Cortona with her husband this week.

Regarding the women who are crying. Didn't they just meet this guy? How can their hearts be broken so quickly? He's cute but come on.

I am so busy at work, I'm a little overwhelmed. Yesterday was not a productive writing day. I made some typo corrections my sister pointed out but that was about it. I had too much work to do.

I will block out four days 9-5, friday-monday this week to work on the book plus, get up super early maybe 4 or 5 to get some writing in before work. I tried writing after work, can't do it, my brain is fried.

I also need to get it together on the health front. I feel so sluggish. This is not good. So starting today, I am going to eat, better. I can't gain all this winter weight already it's only October and I have to be in a bathing suit in two months.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Flavor of Love, I Vitelloni, bus tour

I feel so ashamed. Why did I watch that train wreck of a finale instead of reading a script? Why is Miss New York's weave so jacked up? I read in the NYTs there is going to be a Flavorette with her own show looking for Mr. Right. God help us all.

I watched Fellini's I VITELLONI b/w 1956. Great movie about a group of directionless young men living in a boring seaside village. It's probably the most accessible Fellini movie I have seen. The movie is gorgeous and moving. I can see how this movie influenced so many filmmakers.

Speaking of films I am so behind on my movies. There are four movies playing now I really want to see.

I was on a League bus tour all day Saturday. I had to be at the Venice Boys and Girls Club at 7:30 a.m. This is the tour we do for our new members to show them some of the non-profits we work with. This is such a large provisional class, we needed four buses.

After Venice we drove to the Downtown Women Center. Once the DWC exec director spoke, she introduced one of the women who lives there. This lady had been living on the streets three months ago. As she spoke about what she liked about the Center, I and some of the women in my group started tearing up. The League has an eight week workshop that meets on Saturdays. The League committe chair spoke as well. One of the girls asked if it was safe (we were not far from Skid Row) and I had to chuckle to myself as the chair said yes. She was wearing a pair of diamond earrings the size of a nickel.

I spent time on the bus talking to the other advisors. One (a former agent) has been dating her man for three years, one at 26, just had a baby and the other is expecting her first child. I am still trying to work out this whole funk about being this age and not having a family. It was good to spend time with women who do have babies and hear about their joys and struggles. The expectant mom, is no longer working (her husband is a banker) and she can barely find time in the day to get anything done. How on earth could I have a baby as a single parent? Even if I could afford to adopt, my work is so unstable. If the production company I work for shut down, there is no other income. Sooner or later I will feel better about all this and just look forward to be a very cool Auntie.

We stopped by the Hollywood Boys and Girls club where I volunteered last year. I saw three women from that committee who are still working with the club. One just got married in Tuscany. It was like a little reunion. I also saw my former committee chair from Chrysalis (a group that helps homeless people enter back into the work force) who is doing Boys and Girl club this year.

Last time I saw three of these women, we were sitting on the 18th floor terrace at one of their homes after a Jr. League meeting. We were drinking wine and they were trying to give me advice on dating. It was hilarious. All of them were engaged. I don't think they could relate to my situation but I appreicated the effort.

File under sometimes it's better to pay more:

My face has looked horrible (to me) since I got back from the Caribbean. I thought it was only stress and that is why I was getting really dry patches. In an effort to save money, I have been cutting back on some expenses. I still spend money on bath gel but thought why use Kiehl's when the Neutrogena foaming face cleanser at Target is one-third the price? I happened to be at the Aveda store yesterday. I decided to break down and spent $20 on the face cleasner. I used it last night before bed. This morning I was shocked. My skin looks so much better already.

I think the other cleanser was too harsh. I use Aveda shampoos because they are gentle and full of natural incredients. I have always spent decent on money on face cleanser, using either Origins, Kiehl's, Aveada or Prescriptives. Not sure why at this age (when you really need to pay attention) I decided to skimp on my face. There are certain brands that are all about hype and marketing and others that are worth the extra money. I still love some of Neutrogena's other products (like the sun block) but will hold off on the foaming face cleanser for now.

I'm excited to write today. Received some excellent feedback yesterday from two readers who read an earlier draft. They noticed a big improvement. This made me feel better after getting lukewarm feedback earlier in the week from someone who read it for the first time. I thought I had thicker skin, but I found myself getting very defensive. It's hard to be on this side of notes. I have to give notes all the time for work and I try to be careful with how I express my issues with a script. The goal is to make the script better not make the writer more depressed.

I not sure how one knows when they are "finished". I'm sure I could work on this for years and always find things that I don't like about the book. The structure, plot and characters are there. I am really going to zero in on dialogue and description during this next rewrite. The second best tool for me (the first are the notes) is to continue reading books.

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Marianne Pearl casting drama

I finally saw a photo of Angelina Jolie as Marianne Pearl. She looks like her. I didn't know what to expect. One of my friends told me on Gawker someone asked if the studio was going to break out the "Max Factor light Egyptian" make-up. All jokes aside, some people are very upset about this.

I was talking to an exec who is working on the project and they have received all these irate calls. "How dare hollywood cast a white woman to play an African-American." "It's an outrage. I'm going to write the L.A. times." "They should have cast Halle."

Okay. Let's back up. Warner Bros. orginally bought the memoir for Jen Aniston. Think about that for a minute. In what universe is Jen (not a strong dramatic actress) believable as a worldly French woman of Cuban and Dutch descent? Anyway, news flash. Mrs. Pearl is not African-American. She does she consider herself as a woman of color but clearly she had no issue with casting since the book could not have been sold to Warners without her consent. She really wants this story to get out into the world and is probably relieved they cast someone who can actually identify Pakistan on a map.

re Halle: She has something like three movies (including one based on a true story and that woman is white. Another is based on a remake where the lead actress in the orginal was white. So should Halle not have been cast in those movies?) shooting back to back. Who knows if they approached her and what she said? Oscar aside, Halle is American as apple pie, not sure about her doing an accent. Thandie, passed. I do know what Angelina's dad looks like but not her mom. Angelina is doing this role with a French accent. Her mom is French. I wonder if the people complaining to my friend would have been upset if J.Lo was cast? She is Latina. Why can't she play someone of Cuban descent...because she is Puerto Rican?

My friend Susan used to live near Marianne in NYC. We saw her and her baby at a local bakery. She was very friendly. Marianne is beautiful and her son is gorgeous. We were in downtown Manhattan and I couldn't help but think about how many people in that bakery were directly impacted by terrorism.

Re: the people who are outraged. I really can't get that worked up about which $12 million per film actress wasn't cast. This is not some popcorn movie. I just hope the movie turns out well. Perhaps they should write the L.A. Times, about the people who lost everything because the wealthiest country in the world cut money from the budget to improve the leavies in New Orleans. Or how we are the only industrialized nation that has these kinds of school shootings. I think it's an outrage that many pensions are being cut, that millions of working people in this country cannot afford health care and that we are spending billions of dollars in Iraq and yet Osama is chilling in Afganistan five years after 9/11.

I think the message of what Marianne is trying to say is very important and I hope this issue doesn't distract from that.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Project Runway, Sur La Table cooking class

The plot thickens. I have tried not to look at any photos from the shows during Fashion Week. Does Jeffrey get the boot? I'm not mad at Laura. Michael thought Jeffrey's collection was suspect as well. If Jeffrey cheated, he needs to go. Jeffrey had no sympathy for Keith Michael (who was kicked off the show for cheating) so why would he expect some from the other three designers? I wonder, how can they prove he had help?

I'm worried about Michael's collection. "Sfashionista" told me it was a mess. Laura's apartment is huge. How does she get anything done being a working mom with five kids? I can barely keep it together and I live by myself.

Last night after work I took a cooking class at Sur La Table by the Grove. It was a birthday gift. Most of my fellow students were novice cooks (or don't cook at all). We made an Olive Oil cake and the woman on my team/table, was too impatient to finish shifting the dry incredients. When I tasted the cake it was delicious until I bit into pieces full of salt. Everyone kept asking what was broccoli rabe? (it's like a mustard green)

The chef was great and the food excellent. The Fall Tuscan Dinner menu was: wild mushroom pizza with caramelized onions and fontina cheese, roasted figs with gorgonzola and prosciutto di parma, mashed parmesan potatos, baked pork loin with quinces (he used cactus fruit instead) sauteed broccoli rabe, the olive oil cake, a pear tart (I had to leave before the tart was done).

They gave us a ten minute break so we could shop with our discounts. Not to worry I wasn't cheating on Williams-Sonoma. This class was a gift. I know the W/S in Beverly Hills has classes also but they start too early. I have a bunch of left over basil, maybe I will make pesto this weekend.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Little Children, Cancer Vixen, Bachelor Rome

My boss let me borrow her copy of Tom Perrotta's LITTLE CHILDREN. I wanted to read the book before seeing the film, which received excellent reviews. Not sure how long this film will be in theaters. I work in the biz and have no idea what is going on with this movie. There has been hardly any marketing for it.

LC is about a nice suburban town and what happens beneath the surface. It's not AMERICAN BEAUTY. Perrotta has more compasion for his characters and there are some very funny moments. Two thirty something stay-at-home parents begin an affair and a convicted child molester moves back home with his mom. Both these events pop the balloon of the typical lazy days of summer.

Once I started reading it, I couldn't see Kate Winslet playing a mousy, frustrated suburban mom. My boss said she was angry when she heard about the casting but Kate was amazing. I am a big Perrotta fan. ELECTION was great but my first love is probably his short story college, BAD HAIR DAYS, Tales from the Seventies. There were set in Jersey and I laughed my ass off when I read this book 9 years ago. I was still living in NYC then and went to a friend's beach house for the weekend. A novelist/filmmaker was raving about Perrotta and gave me his copy. I still need to read Perrotta's JOE COLLEGE which is sitting in pile a with about 15 other books.


CANCER VIXEN by Marisa Acocella Marchetto.
I am not a comic book fan. I used to read them as a kid but other than the graphic novels I need to read for work, I don't seek them out.

CV is a graphic novel about Marchetto's battle with breast cancer. At 43, a terminal bachelorette is about to get married in 3 weeks to the one and only Silvano Marchetto, the very popular and dynamic owner of long time hot spot Da Silvano. She has found true love and her career is picking up when THE NEW YORKER hires her for more cartoons.

In the middle of all this bliss she finds out she has breast cancer and her health insurance has lasped. I have always been a fan of her work in THE NEW YORKER, and the late great magazine MIRABELLA. At times her book is very in your face and while there is nothing funny about a disease that kills over 40,000 women a year, Machetto's story brings some laughs along with the tears.

I loved her cartoons. The way she described and drew the catty women talking smack about her, after her engagement, as sour grapes on a vine was hilarious. Her mother (aka Smother, the Sophia Loren of New Jersey) needs her own book. I liked how it didn't sugarcoat anything. Marchetto does get angry, wonders if walking around for days in the ash of 9/11 has anything to do with it and if her larger than life fidanzato (he's very italian, so she refused to say fiancee, because it's french) will bolt when he hears the news. She takes a hard look at her pre-cancer anger and superficial life. She still loves her shoes and lipstick but doesn't let things get to her the way they used to.

A portion of the sales are going to cancer research.

BACHELOR ROME. I love that there is an Italian woman, Agnese, living with these crazy American girls. She can't understand why the girls are always screaming/cheering. I wonder the same thing myself. I belong to a volunteer group with hundreds of women from recent college grads to grandmothers. We never scream like that. And there are quite a few ex-sorority girls and cheerleaders in my group.

Lorenzo needs to find about the girl (he gave her the diamonds) that has her timeline. She all about the ring. I don't think she cares about him.

Borghese Park looked so beautiful. All weekend I have been thinking about booking a quick trip during Thanksgiving. American Airlines and Lufthansa are having winter sales. Two of my friends are going to be in Florence. One, is going to see her boyfriend, the other it will be her first trip to Italy. Since I am broke and will be spending almost $2,000 to be home at Christmas, I need to sit tight. I meet with my accountant in February. I want to see how much I will own in taxes. before spending any of my birthday money (thanks mom and dad) on a trip.

Allora, back to my so-called life.

Friday, October 06, 2006

T.G.I.F.

Off to write. That's all.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Bachelor - Rome

Hahahahahaaa! I laughed my ass off last night. It was a much needed chuckle after the last 48 hours. My dad was supposed to have surgery on Thursday but my uncle died over the weekend. My parents are headed back to the island for the funeral. My uncle was in his late 80's and had a great life. It's sad but not unexpected. I didn't know him that well. He didn't come to the U.S. to visit and we were closer to my dad's other siblings.

I have not watch this show since Trista married Ryan. I had major issues with the premise in the first place. All these women competing with each other over one man? This is not good for the sisterhood. I believe none of the Bachelors have married or maintained a relationship with the women they proposed to. Meanwhile the first Bachelorette is still married. Hmmmm.

So after receiving several emails about this season from my friends, I had to watch. I don't know where to begin. I think the New York Times said it best. They keep hyping the show about this Italian prince and how the show is set in Rome but with American people. Prince Lorenzo Borghese doesn't speak Italian (born in Milan but he grew up in NY/NJ) and there is no monarchy ruling Italy.

Where did they find these women? I'm feminine and I like the color pink but never once in my life did I want to marry a prince. Michael Jackson (pre-thriller), Sting (when he was with the Police), Bob Marley, Seal, Andy Gibb, Bobby D (Godfather 2 era), Mark Sandemeno (he was a year a head of me at Verona High) Denzel, my youth group minister Rev. Cadmus, these were some of men I imagined myself walking down the aisle with. I don't get this Cinderella crap. Oh yeah I forgot about Donald (The Art of the Deal) Trump back in the mid-80s. I would not date him now but back then I thought he was the shit. I did not like his decorating taste but I liked his drive and he fixed the skating ring in Central Park. My college roommate thought my love for The Donald was weird.

Every single woman on the show last night was saying how it's EVERY woman's dream to be a princess. Some of the women are supposed to be smart and with the exception of one "dancer/model" and a socialite they all have jobs. I'm not sure why eighty percent of these women talk like this:

"Oh.my.god. His name is, like, all, like, over Rome. He, is like, from, like, a really really important family."

Rome looked great. There was a shot of the piazza where I stayed in Trastevere. I miss it so much.

The Prince is cute but I'm sensing some knucklehead tendencies. I could be wrong.

I must thank Mike Fleiss (producer of the Bachelor,and yes he is related to Heidi, they're cousins) for providing some needed Roman eye candy. I am talking about the city, not the Prince.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Rococo by Adriana Trigiani and The Known World by Edward P. Jones

ROCOCO is a fun, breezy book that was a little frustrating. I read THE BIG STONE GAP years ago for work and enjoyed it. ROCOCO takes place in a small wealthy New Jersey town by the shore during the 1970s. Our protagonist is Bartolomeo di Crespi "aka B" who is the most famous interior decorator in town. His company is called "The House of B." He was a wacky family and is distraught when the local priest hires an outside firm (Wasps from Philly) to renovate Our Lady of Fatima.

I subscribe to a bunch of shelter magazine and love shows about design but Trigiani goes way overboard with the descriptions. I don't know a single man gay or straight who gets that turned on by trim (no pun intended. I'm talking about fabric). The biggest problem I had with the book was B. He did not ring true to me at all. She wrote him as a very flamboyant gay man but yet tell us he's straight. Okay. Toward the end she implies he might be bi.

Nobody in this small town thought it was strange that at 40 he was still engaged to a woman he never went out with. This is the groovvy 70s not the Eisenhower 50s. I didn't feel like I was back in the 70s or in a small Italian-American town by the "shora". We moved to a town just like this in the mid 70s (we were close to NYC not the shore). I liked how close the family was and how they all looked out for each other. There was some romance and some laugh out loud moments. I read Mario Cantone did the audio version and was hilarious.


THE KNOWN WORLD by Edward P. Jones. This book won the Pulitzer in 2004 and there have been many comparisons to Morrison and Faulkner.

A young screenwriter I had a meeting with, told me it was one of his favorite books. He sent this book to me as a thank you. It had been on my list and I was excited and touched to receive it. This was not an quick read. There are many well developed characters and the story is non-linear at times.

Jones sets the story 20 years before the Civil War in the fictional county of Manchester, Virgina. Augustus Townsend has bought his freedom from William Robbins, the most powerful and richest man in the county. Eventually, Townsend is able to buy his wife and his son's freedom as well.

His son, Henry, buys his own slaves and runs a successful plantation. When he dies, his widow Caldonia, is not as disciplined and things quickly fall apart.
This book was difficult to read at times. How could Henry purchase slaves? His father was devestated when Henry told him.

The book is about the Townsends, Robbins, the slaves, the sheriff, the patrollers and every single person who is touched by this "most peculiar" institution.

(semi-spoiler)
There is something that happens to Augustus that is heart breaking. I know this is fiction but things like this did happen. The sheer inhumanity and disregard for another human being is something I cannot understand.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

To blog or not to blog

First thanks to all my friends and bloggers who called or emailed me about my dad. He is going to be okay.

I was debating posting about the cancer the first place. I know there are some blogs where every detail of the blogger's life is on display. My former assistant was the first person I knew that had a blog. I thought it was so weird. Why would someone post an online diary? I have keep journals since high school but only I read them. My assistant was more than 10 years younger than me and all her friends had blogs. It didn't seem weird or self-absorbed to them.

I don't know how many blogs there are but I have to watch myself. Some of them are so informative and/or entertaining I could spend all day reading them. I have spoken to writers and other bloggers and they told me to write what I want. I grew up in a culture where people do not "put their business out on the street." Also my life is so freaking boring, if I were to write about my personal life all the time the posts would be very short.

This blog is not a Hollywood version of Wonkette (again, I'm not sleeping with anyone so nothing to post about. Althougth I did stand next to Brad Pitt on the Oceans 13 set. He's not a bad looking guy...ha). I don't talk about the inner workings of the biz or how one can break in. There are other blogs for that.

I started the blog after the crazy year I had. I know I post about nonsense most of the time. Feel like your life is going nowhere and you might be depressed? Blog about Project Runway and why Rachel Ray gets on your nerves. I don't think I will start blogging about the things that keep me up at night anytime soon. Everyone says writing can be cathartic but we'll see.

I have to admit I did feel better after I blogged about my car drama. I received the bad news while I was in Rome. I was with my fried Max. I was so pissed and told her I shouldn't blog while angry. She disagreed and told me to let it rip. Despite every other word in that post being with a "f" and ending with a "k", I'm was able to enjoy the rest of my trip, once I got that off my chest.

I'm glad I started this blog. I would not have started writing again were it not for this blog. I don't know what will happen with my novel but writing it has been one of the most creatively fulfilling things have done in my life. Through the blog I am able to keep up with my friends who live all over the world. We don't feel as disconnected anymore.

I have "met" some incredible people because of our shared interests in writing or Italy. Los Angeles can be an very lonely place, especially if you are not from here and work 24/7. It's easy to get "caught up" in the shallowness of celebrity culture. Reading my favorite blogs remind me it's a big world out there. I'm happy to be a part of it.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Cancer. A word I don't like to hear.

I spoke to my sister at work today. Our dad has cancer. My sister and my parents told me not to worry, they caught it early. How could I not worry?

I called my dad. He sounded fine. He said the doctor is excellent and the biopsy didn't hurt too much. They were supposed to return to St. Martin on Saturday but will stay in the States for a small operation. His doctors on the island will share info with the doctors here.

My dad asked about me, the job, the book and how my Italian lessons were coming along. He loves to pratice speaking "Italian" with me. It's more Spanish. He grew up speaking French, Dutch, Spanish and Papimento. Not sure where he learned these random Italian words, maybe on his job.

Speaking of Italy, he said he wants to meet me the next time I go. My mom is not a fan of flying but I hope she'll come too. My brother laughed and said "Italy is not ready for Dad." My dad has two very good friends, both are younger, who are not doing well. One had a stroke and the other (a veteran) is suffering from dementia. Dad said he doesn't want to wait to travel more. He has the time and means, he wants to go to Italy before he's too old.

My parents had us late in life (for their generation and my dad is 7 years older than my mom) so they are older than most of my friend's parents. Dad is almost 80. He looks 20 years younger but cancer doesn't care about that shit.

They are so at ease about their lives and getting older. My mom keeps trying to talk to me about their will but I always change the subject. I worry about them getting older and living so far away. I keep telling them to take it easy. Last time I was in St. Martin Dad was moving heavy wet cement for a wall they were building. It's good to stay active but they shouldn't over do it. My dad is constantly driving relatives around. He said he didn't retire so he could "drive Miss Daisy" refering to my aunt who doesn't drive but has a million errands.

Yes it's good the cancer was caught early. I'm glad my parents do not mess around regarding their health and get yearly check-ups. I was told not to get upset but the tears keep coming.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Project Runway and the art of not writing.

I am looking forward to the runway show. These four designers could not be more different. Ulie (sp) is lucky she won last night or she would have been sent home. I didn't think it was cool for her to choose Michael's model but the blue dress did look great on her.

Feeling very anxious. I haven't worked on my novel in a week. Things are very hectic at work. We are getting ready to pitch a couple of projects and post-Toronto have been receiving more material from agents. I'm still trying to get over this cold, so my whole routine is off. I'm not working out and I have been waking up at 7:00 a.m. instead of 5:00 a.m.

This weekend I will get back in it. I have a pile of post-its, loose leaf paper and buck slips with random notes, lines of dialogue, quotes etc. on them. When I am driving, at the gym, in the shower or at work and I think of something for my book I write it down. I hate when I think of something right before I go to sleep and forget about it the next morning. I usually re-write the items in the composition book I am using for this novel. I will do that tomorrow.

Stopped by Williams-Sonoma in Beverly Hills after a lunch meeting yesterday. I love that store. I want the Kitchen-Aid mixer, several different cookbooks and they sell this pasta brand I bought in Italy. I'm on a strict budget so all I bought was some dish detergent.

To help me get back into the proper head space, I am going to make pizza this weekend. The dough I will buy from Trader Joe's but the sauce I will make from scratch. It's pretty simple. I will also make some bellini, look at my photos from my Rome/Positano trips, play some music, watch a movie or two and hopefully I will feel inspired to put pen to paper (or fingers to computer).

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

VW Ad. Holy ....Safe Happens

I had my first meeting with my provisional group last night. It took me 45 minutes to get to Santa Monica. After the meeting, 12 minutes to get home. Gotta love that L.A. traffic. I do love Casa Del Mar. Nice hotel lobby bar and I pulled up as the sun was setting. It was great being by the ocean.

I saw the newest VW ad last night. These ads are very jarring and memorable. The agency is Cripin Porter & Bogusky out of Miami. They are also the agency responsible for those creepy Burger King ads.

The spots are interesting. Usually car safety ads are geared towards families and older adults. These ads are so realistic. None of that slow motion, pretty stuff. Plus until the crash happens they are funny. Last night's ad had three guys in the car commenting on a Viagra radio ad. "Four hours that is a problem? Call your doctor? I'd hold all my calls."

Best line on last night's Nip/Tuck:

Christian Troy to Sanaa's character while he is prepping for surgery.

"Your chocolate cupcakes are looking very tasty today."

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Il Ritorno Del Gatto Col Cappello (The Return of the Cat in the Hat)

Had a great time at dinner the other night at my Italian professor's house. One of my friends is leaving for Italy today for three weeks. Very jealous.

I called Inna at the Instituto and told her I'm not taking classes this fall. It is too busy at work, volunteering and I need to finish my book. There is no way I would have time to study. She suggested I repeat Intermediate Level 2. I agree. I'm not ready for Advance Italian. There are people in that class who have been speaking it for years.

I bought the Dr. Seuss book at Feltrelli (sp) in Rome. Our professor suggested buying the Italian versions of books we know to help us practice. My friend picked up "Il Dario di Bridget Jones" as a gift for me last year when she was in Italy. Not ready for that book. So I bought a kid's book. I thought it would be a breeze. I mean what reading level is this book?

I'm going to Barnes and Noble before work to get the English version. I have read this book thousands of times to my younger siblings and during my suburban babysitting years. Yet the Italian verson was difficult for me. I did not know several of the verbs. I don't understand why there is the Passato Remoto tense in a kid's book. I am going to go online and start printing articles from Corriere Della Sera, and buying Italian Vanity Fair at the newstands. I must read a little Italian everyday. I cannot forget everything I learned just because I haven't been in a classroom since June.

I asked "the Contessa" to see if she can fix me up with any guys here who speak the language. That way I can kill two birds with one stone. I'm sick of this damn strike. There seems to be no end in sight. Really the two sides are not even speaking at this point. I am in my prime, it's just sad.

Monday, September 25, 2006

World, Hold On by Bob Sinclair, Timberland, Reggae and Eros

I just got his CD WESTERN DREAM from Amazon. It's an import from Australia, so it was a little pricey. I heard the single "Love Generation" at the gym and "World, Hold On" in Italy. Blogger Sara in Milan told me the latter was one of the songs of the World Cup.

I have the Sony Dream system. I bought it three years ago after I started a new job and an executive on the Sony lot let me use her employee discount. I have surround sound, which is great for DVDs and CDs.

I played this CD so loud, I felt like I was back at the Palladium circa late 80's. I love this CD esp. those two tracks. Jamaican Gary "Nesta" Pine sings the lead vocals on "Love Generation" and I love his voice and the message of this song. "World" I listen to it and I forget for five minutes about everything that is stressing me out.

Timberland (aka Tim Mosley) is the producer of the year. I have been a fan of his work since the day he teamed up with his classmate Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliot". I am so feeling Justin Timberlake's CD. "Damn Girl" is very Sly Stone, and "My Love" is a track that would make Prince proud. I can't believe this is the same guy who was in N'Sync. I'm not mad at Justin at least he tries different things. I know some of his fans really dislike "Sexyback". I love the beat (lyrics are whatever) and it's a great song to work out to. I am feeling so not sexy so maybe this song can inspire me to get "my sexy on."

The other new CD I can't get enough of, is a b-day CD JC in NYC (thanks J) burned for me. I thought I knew my reggae. Some of these artists I have never heard of. I love Delroy Wilson, Toots and the Maytals, The Ethiopians and Laurel Aitken. I am counting down the days to my arrival at Princess Julianna Airport, SXM. My sister and I have vowed to go to the beach the first day we arrive, if only for a minute. Le Gaillion, Baie Rouge, Friars Bay, any of those beaches work for me.

Eros Ramazotti's NINE another birthday gift (thanks fe), is one of my favorite CDs to write to. I understand maybe fifty percent of the lyrics. I googled them and tried to translate them on my own, then pulled up the English versions. I wonder if that is his real first name. I have to add he is very attractive.

I don't know what I would do without music.

I was two minutes from throwing my computer out the window.

I was finally able to get on the internet ten minutes ago. All weekend everytime I tried to get on, my computer would freeze. I broke down and called SBC support (at $139) and after hours of being on the phone, running to the computer store (which was useless), getting my laptop from the office (again, useless) we were able to find out the problem. My whole day was shot. I didn't write a damn thing today or go to the gym. I feel very blah.

I do need to get a new computer at some point. Seeing how my trip home for Christmas will cost almost $2,000, not happening anytime soon.

I did hike in Tesmescal Canyon yesterday with a friend and we bumped into another friend of mine on the way out. I'm still getting over this cold, so I took a long ass nap yesterday afternoon, made some soup and watched GOODFELLAS.

I need to pull myself together before my dinner tonight. My Italian professor invited me and another classmate to dinner. His girlfriend is American so I will not be the only person speaking English tonight. It's casual but I don't want to show up looking crazy. Taking a shower would be a step in the right direction.

Friday, September 22, 2006

T.G.I.F.

I was looking forward to writing this morning but one of my new neighbors is doing construction on their house. Even with the windows closed I can hear the saws, banging etc. sigh.

Instead I will get organized. My phone log is on my home computer so at the office I just write down my calls (so analog) I need to update my log which I haven't done in two weeks. I usually update the log daily.

I must deal with my living room and desk which are a mess. I have been so busy writing, I let things get a little cluttered. I hate clutter. It's the Virgo in me and growing up in a very neat household. My mom was the super neat one but after over 40 years of marriage she got my dad on her program. All his messiness was assigned to a drawer and the shed in the backyard. Even the garage and basement were organized. I am not as hardcore as my mom.

Last night met two of the "italian donne" from class. "The Countessa" just returned from over a month in Italy. My other friend is leaving on Tuesday for three weeks. The four member of our group is a prosecuter and in the middle of a trial, so she could not meet us. I cannot wait to her about her month long trip to Florence. She returned last week.

Let me get started on cleaning, returning calls and emails, paying bills, reading scripts etc. What a great way to start the weekend. Not.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Rachael Ray is everywhere

Why? I don't get it. Billboards, her new magazine, her new daytime show, "cooking" shows on Food Network, "travel shows" on Food Network.

She is really popular with men, as a girl you can have a beer with type person. They don't feel that way about Giada.

I tried to watch her shows. Cannot do it. I don't want to sound like I'm full of hateraid but she works my last nerve. She is not a good chef let alone cook, recipes are not that great and she is an awful tipper. Have you notice on those $40 a day or less shows how little she tips for those meals? As a former waitress I find it outrageous. She cannot help her voice so I will not comment on it.

Congrats to her for doing well but the whole golly gee whiz persona is a little fake (things are not what they seem according to a friend who would know). Oprah is the producer of her show and clearly they are going for some kind of Martha Stewart type dominance.

I think next week is the finale of Project Runway. Cannot wait.

Looking forward to getting back to writing this weekend. Very busy at work this week so did not get to write that much.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Sarah Phillips, If You Want to Write, La Bella Figura and Nip/Tuck

I read three books this past week.

SARAH PHILLIPS by Andrea Lee. I ordered this book after reading LOST HEARTS and an agent at ICM suggested I check it out. I wished I had read this back at S.U.

The book is a collection of stories that ran in the New Yorker. Since this book was published there have been other books sent in this world but Sarah broke the mold. Lee's protagonist is a black woman born in the 50's to a well off family in Philly. Sarah attended a prep school, lived abroad and has a P.O.V. different from most of her peers.

If this book had been required reading in my AAS (afro-american studies) class at Syracuse back in the late 80's, Sarah would have been dismissed as a confused Oreo. She doesn't fit in any boxes. I like that she is a complex character. Not sure why in this country (though it's changing a little, see Kayne West and Pharell), the only authenic black expericence is the urban and/or poor one. I remember when the Cosby show first came out, one of the big complaints was that it was unrealistic. They weren't really black. I have heard people say that. What the fuck does that mean? I'm sure when Dr. Huxtable tried to get a cab, they still passed him by. The only thing only unrealistic about the show was that a family with five kids and two parents working full-time had no maid. The Jefferson's had one, and Lionel was grown.


IF YOU WANT TO WRITE by Brenda Ueland. I received this book as a birthday gift (thanks Jc in NYC). It was very postive and helpful. Brenda was born in 1891 so it's a trip to read about her writing classes and the students in them. Some of the advice is a little dated but at its core the book is about taping into your creativity.

LA BELLA FIGURA, A Field Guide to the Italian Mind by Beppe Severgnini. This was another birthday gift (thanks Corrina) I wasn't crazy about the format of the book but found parts of it very funny and true. For example in America a red light means stop. An Italian red light is an invitation for reflection. "Let's think about this red light. What kind of red is it? A pedestrian red? But it's seven in the morning. There are no pedestrians about this early. that means it's a negotiable red; it's a not-quite red. So we can go." Another line I liked was "Italy has too much style to be hell but is too disorderly to be heaven." If you have spent any time in Italy pick up this book.


Nip/Tuck, hello old friend. I stopped watching this last season. I thought the whole carver story line was over the top and I really disliked Sean and Julia's freaky son. It seem like all the humanity was sucked out of the characters last season. I happened to watch it last night. I remember reading in the trades that Sanaa was going to be on the show this season and I wanted to see what her character was about. I might have to start watching again. Christian Troy is still vain but I laughed out several times last night. As always, the music selection was outstanding.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Excuse me miss. Do you have any spare change?

Said by a homeless man on 3rd and 37th, NYC.

me: No, sorry I don't have any change.

homeless man: That's okay, I take dollar bills.


A few blocks later.

Frederick Douglass looking man talking with some friends on a stoop near Union Square: Well, hello there pretty lady! You have a nice day.

me: Thanks. You too.

It was jarring to be back in NYC. I miss it. The energy, the diversity, the sense of style, the sense of communtity, the creativity. It's an amazing city.

I read a couple of books on the plane. I have to read a script before work so I'll post about them later.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Back in L.A.

Yesterday I saw a wild turkey in my brother's backyard.

I did not get a chance to work with my mom and fill out the French citizenship forms. We only got to see each other on Friday and I did not bring them with me. There is a french women on my JLLA committee and she said she would help me.

Friday my sister and I went to pick up our parents and then went to Short Hills Mall. I was so excited to see them. I miss them already. I won't see them again until Christmas.

I am not a mall person but I loooooove Short Hills. There is no sales tax on clothes in NJ. My friend, who lives in Chatman came and met us at the mall. I haven't seen her since she moved from L.A. to NYC. She was an agent, was sick of Hollywood, moved to the city and within months met the man who became her husband. It was so good to see her and catch up.

We dropped off my parents, went to Wegmans and then back to my brothers. He made dinner and my nephew went to bed. We stayed up for a while talking and tried to come up with baby names. My sister in law is due early next year. I don't think I have laughed so hard in months.

Sat. went to the city. It took me almost an hour and a half by train. I went to MOMA. It's the first time I have been there since the renovation. I love that museum. It was good to see some of my favorite works of art, and I enjoyed the design exhibits, which I don't remember visiting before. The sculpture garden is beautiful. It had rained all week but Sat. was perfect.

I walked around Central Park then met another friend for lunch. I was telling her how happy I was to be back east. I walked up 6th Ave. to MOMA and there was a street fair going on. So many people were wearing Yankee gear (there was a double header that day against the Red Sox). All the bars, pubs and restaurants were full with people watching the game. I had a great time at lunch. She was so positive and had some good, solid advice.

I walked over to the east side. Went into Bloomies then Dylan's Candy Bar. It was packed. I walked downtown toward the Flatiron buidling. Went into Jo Malone. I have a Saks gift certificate and was thinking of getting her Pomegranate noir scent. The Lime, Basil one i have is more of a spring/summer scent.

Walked down Broadway, past my old gym, Equinox on Broadway and 19th, my old farmer's market at Union Square, The Coffee Shop. There has been so much construction since I left, a Whole Foods and a Trader Joes. Now there are Jamba Juices in the city.

I continued walking downtown and went all over Soho. Met another friend for dinner at Barolo. We sat outside in the courtyard. She also lived in L.A. for over 11 years moved back NYC last year. She looks great and is happy. I told her within three years I do not want to be living in L.A. full time. Not sure how I will make this goal.

I read my book on the flight back. I addressed the notes I received. I hope I executed them well. I did enjoy this last re-write. I went from around 65,000 to 77,000 words.

I left my car at the airport. It was 8:45 so I took the freeway back. Big mistake. I got off the 405 at Venice. The 405 was backed up for miles. Why on a Sunday night at almost 9:00 p.m.?

Last night I woke up at 12:30 a.m. because my neighbor and her child were loud again. Why is this girl drinking apple juice so late at night?

It was hard to come back to my apartment after this weekend. My brother's kitchen is probably bigger than my living room and the laundry room is around the same size as my bathroom. I loved the guest bathroom. They have a big Kohler shower head. So relaxing. I look forward to the day I move out of this apartment.

I'm going to put on some music and start writing.