Friday, October 31, 2008

Flashback Friday – Rocky Horror Picture Show - "Let's Do The Time Warp"

When I was in college one of our friends played the lead in the VPA (School of the Visual Arts) production. Our entire dorm floor went to support her.

It was my first "experience" with this show and we all had a great time.

The movie is a cult classic. I don't think it should be remade.

Happy Halloween and have a great weekend.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Six random facts.

I’ve been tagged by Megan.

For those who might like to participate here, are the rules:

1. Linked to the person who tagged you
2. Post the rules on your blog
3. Write six random things about yourself
4. Tag six people at the end of the post and link to them
5. Let each person know they have been tagged and leave a comment
6. Let the tagger know when you entry is up

Okay so I am breaking a few rules. Ha. I’m not linking to anyone because the people I would link to have told me there are not doing memes anymore. I haven’t done one of these in a while so here goes:

Six random things

• I say the word random a lot. As in “that is so random”. I’m trying to stop.
• I watch the Italian news every morning even though I only understand 50% of what is being said.
• I used to play piano, flute, sax (tenor and alto).
• However I can no longer play or read music. ☹
• I like to dance to music in my apartment.
• In junior high school I had a crush on Michael Jackson (pre-Thriller, hello!) and our minister, Rev. Cadmus. He was young (mid/late 20s) and very good-looking. So Thornbirds

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What’s Cooking Wednesday: Spicy Caribbean Black Beans

There are more recipes over at Shan's place.

Perfect for serving with white rice, I found this traditional recipe in the book HOT & SPICY CARIBBEAN. This recipe isn’t that spicy. You can add more peppers to taste. Note: The salt is added at the end of cooking time; adding it sooner will make the beans tough.

The beans taste even better the next day.

1 pound black beans. Water to cover
10 cups water
2 green bell peppers, diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 ½ teaspoons oregano
1 bay leaf
1 habanero chile, seeds and stem removed, minced
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons white wine
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt

Wash the beans and place them in a pot. Add cold water to cover, and bring the beans to a boil and boil them for 2 minutes, uncovered. Remove the pot from the heat, cover, and allow the beans to sit for 1 hour. Then drain the beans, rinse them, add 10 cups of hot water, half of the diced green peppers, and bring the beans to a full boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer.

In a saucepan heat the 3 tablespoons olive oil and sauté the onion, garlic, and the remaining diced bell pepper. Add this sautéed mixture to the simmering beans, along with the black pepper, oregano, bay leaf, habanero pepper, and the sugar. Cover the pot and simmer for 45 minutes.

Stir the simmering bean and add the vinegar and the wine and simmer, covered, for an additional 45 minutes. At the end of the cooking time, stir in 2 tablespoons olive oil and the salt.

Serves 6 to 8

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Learning from failure

Funny I read screenwriter David Botrell's post yesterday morning. He wrote about what happens when you write something and it's a flop.

Last night my manager called me and told me my new script, the one with the bigger story, hook, higher concept, didn't sound like my voice at all. That was a bad thing. This script which I spent months writing, will not be going out as a spec script and will probably never see the light of day. It wouldn't be a cheap movie (there is action in it) so for a studio to buy it, they would have to really be into the concept. It was Legally Blondish meets Mr. and Mrs Smith.

After staying up all night and going through the usual "I suck. I should have never quit my day job, etc. , this morning I said to myself, "Alright. On to the next script."

I had fun writing my action movie. It was a good experiment trying to write something out of my comfort zone. After hearing the first script had good characters and dialogue but where was the hook (this makes it hard to sell), I wanted to write something that was a "bigger" movie.

What I have learned from this failure is I can't try to predict what is marketable. I know mainstream Hollywood is all about high concept, teen boys, shit blowing up and Indie Hollywood is a mess. Trying to write something in order to "fit" into the narrow boxes of studio movies will not serve me well as a writer. I need to write stories I really want to tell and let the chips fall where they may. Who knows what will happen?

What I do know is I can't sit around today a funk. I felt like crap last night. I have to squash the negative thinking right now.

I'm going on a walk around the Historic Center.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Ciao, Mr. Bus Drive who looks like Daniel Day Lewis. I've missed my stop.

Was there a time change this weekend in Italy? My computer and TV had a different time than my watch and I was had no idea. Good thing I double checked or I would have been an hour early for an appointment.

Yesterday was another glorious day so I decided to talk a walk on the Appia Antica. The walk to and from my apartment takes over four hours so I was going to take a bus from the Circus Maximus to what I thought was where the old road began.

I didn't realize there were only three stops on Via Appia and ended up being on the bus to the end of the line. Doh!

In my butchered Italian I asked if I could stay on the bus for the return trip and which stop should I get off at?

He answered. I had no idea what the heck he said.

After people got on the bus and his cigarette break, he said , "I tell you stop. Okay?" And he did.

There were a lot of people out. Families on bikes, groups of serious bikers, joggers, and a few horse back riders. It's such a beautiful place. It reminds of the road to my parents place in St. Martin. It hard to believe you are only a few miles away from the center.

This weekend was my first weekend "off" in months. I have turned in the last two rewrites and I'm waiting for feedback. I have already started to do character breakdowns for spec script number 3 but still working on the plot.

Tomorrow it's back to work. I have to keep writing so I don't lose my mojo. God knows when it would come back.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Flashback Friday – Des'ree - "You Gotta Be"

I haven't heard this song in ages. It did get played to death when it came out.

However, given yesterday's post I think it's perfect for today's Flashback Friday song.

Have a kick butt weekend.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Life is over for women after 44?

I was reading this story in yesterday. Suicide rates in the U.S. are going up and leading the rise are middle-aged women.

In past, most suicide prevention programs focused on the young. Now they need to start looking at these numbers. In the Jezebel article they linked to some survey out of the UK where 80% of women polled said they felt their life was over at 44. Wow.

I’m not 44 yet but I’m getting there soon. After living in L.A. for ten years, I do understand why some women would feel this way. Youth rules.

This is the first time there are so many women who are not married and/or don’t have kids. What is our role in a society that devalues women who are not in traditional roles?

Like what's your purpose in America if you aren’t married/have kids? How many movies, TV shows, books, show single childless women over 40 as being miserable, or ball-busting men hating shrews, or just crazy (i.e. Fatal Attraction)

Successful men over 40 are a catch. They have character, experience, etc. etc. What about the women?

I have met quite a few “women of a certain age” who are expats here. Many of them had similar stories. They were about to turn 35/40/45 plus, single, moved to Rome. It’s not all Under a Tuscan Sun, the majority are still single but they are much happier here. Their lives are full.

In the States at this age, and especially in L.A. women (vs. girls), are invisible. I’m not talking about men flirting with you, while it’s nice. I’m talking about being a non person just because you are no longer 25, feeling like you have to get Botox or butcher your face to look 20 years younger because in America’s youth driven culture people are offended by the very thought of aging.

Moving to Rome changed everything. I’m not invisible here. It’s an older culture, which might be frustrating to a 20 something. It takes so long for people to reach certain levels in their careers here, 45 is not old. The priorities and what defines success here are different. My landlady is 80 and a bad ass. La signora is respected and part of a community that values her. She was not shoved off to some retirement home somewhere and forgotten. Same thing where my parents live. People on the islands are not obsessed with this superficial crap.

It’s sad a woman would feel her life was over at 44. With good health she could live another 30-40 years. What is she going to do? Stay in her house with a bunch of cats?

I look at my older friends and they are fierce. I wish my financial situation was better but I’m thankful for my birthdays. I don’t take them for granted. I have too many friends battling cancer or who have lost a parent recently. Life is so bloody short.

Each year on this imperfect earth is a freaking gift and I plan to enjoy my 40s and beyond the as best I can.

So Bloggers over 44 how do you feel about this, is life over? Younger Bloggers how do the older women in your family or friends feel? Any tips? Advice?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

You’ve Got Mail!

I’m a straight up geek. I literally jumped up and down when the Postman rang my buzzer yesterday. I was also relieved I didn’t have to pay any customs.

I knew two friends in the States were sending care packages that would be in boxes not envelopes. Then I started to get worried. I’ve heard many tales of packages arriving with things missing or people having to pay some serious customs fees.

On one Yahoo Expat Group site, a woman said her parents sent her a box of clothes she had left at their house along with some small items. She had to pay 130 euros. When she complained the post office said fine, the box would just be returned to sender.

Another person wrote in and said she left something at her dad’s. He sent it to her she had to pay 90 euros for a small package.

With the holidays soon approaching I’m a little concerned. Was this past week a fluke? What should my family or friends write on the U.S. Postal Service customs declaration? Both of my friends said the packages were gifts.

Receiving a Macbook? I would expect to pay customs on that but why did that woman have to pay customs on her own used clothes?

I am very happy that it’s October and I’m still receiving birthday gifts. Thanks S.D. for the mad money.

The other gift had (among other things, like Halloween stickers. ha):

I like the new layout of Bon Appetit.

I cannot WAIT to read these (thanks S.R). I shouldn’t have let my DOMINO subscription run out. I thought moving to Rome, it’s not like I can buy anything they feature. Now I realize I could still find inspiration in the magazine.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I’m so glad the election is only two weeks away.

I can’t take it anymore.

What’s up with McCain/Palin and Co. saying a vote for Obama/Biden is a vote for socialism? Didn’t Bush just sign a bailout costing 700 Billion dollars? AIG? Halliburton’s no bid contracts? The deficit skyrocketing? Now we have 1% of Americans controlling 21% of the wealth? Why is it bad that people making over 250k might have to pay a little more in taxes? Trickle down economics don’t work. I don’t understand all this socialism talk. So are they saying it’s okay to bail out huge financial companies who took bad risks (and paid their senior execs a ton of money) but not people who have no health care or crappy public schools? I’m confused.

What is Congresswoman Michele Bachman (R- Minnesota) smoking? She said the following on MSNBC:

"What I would say is that the news media should do a penetrating expose and take a look. I wish they would. I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out if they are pro-America or anti-America," she said.

This sounds a little McCarthy-like to me. Oh I know, I should be quiet. Obviously as an expat I must be anti-American. I mean why else would I have left the GREATEST country ever! First of all, I doubt any member of Congress is “anti-America”. Second, what does her party want…people to ignore the major problems and only shop, play video games, and watch Fox News?

Also who gets to decide who is anti-American? Is this related to the belief that only small towns are pro-American? So that means everyone who lives in a town of over 15,000 is anti-American? How so? I lived in a small town of 12,000. It's nothing like Palin's. Her small town has 46 crystal meth labs and one of the highest high school dropout rates in the state. Why does she keep talking about small town values?

I thought in order for a democracy to function it’s citizens have to be involved. I don’t think it’s anti-American to ask what the heck happened during the last eight years.

Rush said Powell only endorsed Obama because of race. Did Rush hear Powell’s full statement? Does Rush only support McCain/Palin because they are white? I voted for Kerry, Gore, Clinton, Clinton, but not Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton. I thought Powell laid his case out very well and I’m glad he said something about the anti Arab/Muslim rhetoric. It’s wrong and not very American.

Monday, October 20, 2008

I’m not mad at Penèlope Cruz for dating my man.

I get it.

I saw VICKY CHRISTINA BARCELONA over the weekend. Javier Bardem and Penèlope were fantastic. Without them the movie would have been zzzzzzzz.

“ScarJo” is beautiful but I don’t know, something about her in this movie seemed flat. I got nothing from her. Maybe that was intentional? Rebecca Hall as Vicky was great. Her American accent was flawless.

Here is a little clip of my man. Nice way to start my Monday. Thank you Javier.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Flashback Friday – Gerardo - "Rico Suave"

Last week we went down memory lane with MC Hammer.

I remembered this song after walking in Rome with my friend Sara and noticing that a model in an Armani ad looked a little “Rico Suave”.

Like “Can’t Touch This” this wonderful song was also a hit in 1990. This led to me to ask, “What the heck was going on in 1990?” This song and video are beyond cheesy.

I read that 90s fashions are come back. I pray that is not true. I wasn’t a fan of those gets up the first time around.

Enjoy and have a great weekend.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Oh no! First Hef and Holly, now Madonna and Guy?

Okay all jokes aside while eight years of marriage is like forty years by Hollywood standards, I feel bad for the kids. Hopefully that split won't become ugly. Why are they breaking up?

* I had to edit this. I just read pre-nups are not legally binding in the U.K. and that is where they got married.

When I lived in L.A. my gym used to have E! showing on one of the TV monitors. There is the E! channel here in Italy and I happened to catch an episode of the "The Girls Next Door." I wonder what Italians think of this show.

One of the "girls", Holly, has broken up with Hugh Hefner (aka Hef). He made it clear he wasn't interested in getting married again or having more children. I'm not sure why she is shocked. Hef is 80, is still legally married and has grown children almost twice the age of the 20 something Holly. Hef said he was sad, they were sharing the same bed only a few days ago. The show is scheduled for a sixth season and Hef is looking for another live-in love. I don't understand why. I know with the plastic surgery and Viagra he would like to think he's still 30 but he's not. He still has two other girlfriends in their 20s, Kendra and Bridget, why add a third?

Would you become Hef's new girlfriend? Why or why not?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What’s Cooking Wednesday – A kick butt marinara sauce from Giada De Laurentiis

There are more What's Cooking recipes at Shan's place.

I agree with Ms. De Laurentiis every cook needs one. I have made different ones over the last couple of years and this is the one I like the best. It’s easy and I usually make a big batch and freeze a few portions.

I used to buy jar sauces (I know, I know) until a few years ago. Once I start making my own, I couldn’t go back. Now the jarred stuff seems too sweet, esp. Prego.

This sauce is a good base for other recipes. I got it from Giada’s book EVERYDAY PASTA. This is a fantastic cookbook. I use it a lot. Not only are the recipes excellent, I like the layout.

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 small onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes (I couldn’t find crushed tomatoes here I bought whole one and squished them with my hands.)
2 dried bay leaves

In a large pot, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, and 1/2 teaspoon of each salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Season the sauce with more salt and pepper, to taste. (The sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, then cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium heat before using.)

Buon Appetito!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Something I have not heard since I’ve moved to Italy….

“You are so melodramatic!”

One of my closest friends in the States used to say this to me all the time. Funny in Italy on a scale of 1 to 10, I’m a 2 at the most.

Perhaps growing up in a Caribbean household is the reason I can be overly expressive at times. I never even thought I was melodramatic until it was brought to my attention.

Then I moved to a country where a company describes its potato chips like this:

Double thickness,
twice as much flavour. 

The flavour of the countryside, vital and sumptuous.
The pleasure takes you away 
in waves of flavour.
 A truly traditional sensation that nibbles away without letting go. 

Folks, they are talking about chips! Vital and sumptuous? Pleasure taking me away in waves? Ha. This sounds like it should be about my future boyfriend.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Vatican Museum

After three visits to Rome in two years and living here for six months, I finally made it to the Vatican Museum. I visited St. Peter’s Basilica during my first trip to Rome. I live within walking distance of the Vatican but after hearing how overwhelming the Museum was and crowded it could be, I kept putting it off. It was worth the wait.

I went on a Context tour. These tours are pricey but as with most things in life, you get what you pay for. There were two older married American couples in my group. That’s it; just five of us and a kick butt docent from England named Hilary.

To be honest I would rather stick hot knifes in my eyes than be on a tour with a large group of people. You can’t hear the guide and you're shoved quickly one space to another.

However, going on a small tour to see something specific can be rewarding. I know I would not have enjoyed the Vatican Museum as much if I had done it on my own. We could ask questions and our guide was very knowledgeable and entertaining. After the tour I wanted to return to school and study the Reformation and the Counter Reformation again. As someone who tells stories for a living, I loved hearing about, Nero, the Sack of Rome, some of the outrageous Popes, the lives (and deaths) of Caravaggio and Raphael, Greek mythology, etc.

The tour was three hours and it felt like we were in there for only 30 minutes. It was gorgeous outside on Saturday and the museum wasn’t too crowded. The tour started at 2:30 so maybe we lucked out with our timing. Once we ended up in the Sistine Chapel it was packed (I could write several posts about Chapel.) I think a lot of people skip major parts of the museum and just head to the Chapel. It’s a shame because the grounds are beautiful and there are some incredible paintings in the Pinacoteca Gallery.

Hilary had a binder with her and showed us close ups of several works of art while we sat outside in a courtyard. She explained the different panels of the Sistine Chapel.

I’ve seen Michelangelo's Pieta. It’s behind bulletproof glass after a mentally disturbed man attacked the statue in the 70s. You can’t get close to the statue and see the details of Michelangelo’s work. It’s the only work he signed (look on the sash) because no one believed he did it.

As Hilary showed us the close up photographs, she said this is what Michelangelo was put on earth to do. I can’t believe he was only 23. To have that kind of talent at any age really staggers me.

I’ve mentioned before I do have some issues with organized religion (again, I'm happy my parents don’t have zee Internets) and struggle with questions of faith. I stood there and looking at the Pieta and felt moved. Where does that kind of talent come from? I feel the same way when I hear some of my favorite composers and singers. You can’t teach someone to sing, paint, or sculpt like that. They have to have some talent to begin with; maybe a teacher can help bring out the best in them.

I’m not a mother but when Hilary (who has two sons) was describing how Mary looks at her son, I seriously almost broke out in tears. The only thing that saved me from being completely embarrassed was everyone our group was in awe of this work. It’s just strange to me that something created from a block of stone can convey emotion. Freaking amazing.

When my family and friends come to Rome I will suggest this or another one of Context's tour. One of the husbands said the tours they went on in Florence were amazing and worth every penny. The professor who did the screenwriting workshop I went to a few weeks ago was raving about them as well

Here is the Context website.

The Map Room was one of my favorites.

Raphael's Transfiguration. Photos without flash are allowed in the Museum. However no photos are allowed in the Sistine Chapel. Of course people kept trying to take photos and ignored the guards asking them not to. I thought that was beyond rude. It was dark so not sure how their photos were going to turn out any way.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Flashback Friday – MC Hammer - "Can't Touch This"

When I first started doing Flashback Fridays someone reminded me not to forgot MC Hammer. Of course how could I forget this song? It was a monster hit in 1990. Song was corny as hell but thank to the great Rick James sample it was catchy.

Once Gangsta Rap became popular the days of fun hip-hop like Will Smith, MC Hammer, Sir Mix A Lot etc. were over. Mc Hammer even tried to go "hard". It didn't work.

MC Hammer went from earning millions to being broke. There was a movie on VH1 about his rise and fall. Things seem to be going better him these days.

Have a great weekend.

It's Hammer Time!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Help…I’m addicted to San Carlo’s Rustica potato chips.


I have had two bags (not the little snack size either) so far this week. I went to the supermarket closest to my house. They had only the Classica flavor. I HAD to have the Rustica so I walked several long blocks to another supermarket and bought just one bag.

Now I should probably buy more than one bag at a time but I worry I’ll eat them too quickly.

I’m trying to limit this treat to once a week, maybe during the weekend. I like to eat the chips while drinking a nice glass of Coke with lots of ice.

These Rustica chips are the bomb. They’re thick cut with the right bit of salt. Love, love, love them.

I feel the description below from the website captures the essence of this wonderful "food".

Double thickness,
twice as much flavour.

The flavour of the countryside,
vital and sumptuous.
The pleasure takes you away
in waves of flavour.
A truly traditional sensation
that nibbles away without letting go.

Here is the website. The company is based in Milano.

What are you addicted to these days?

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Ab Fab - Another Hollywood remake

Variety has reported that Fox is going to remake this classic British show. It will be set in L.A.

How will this work? The original is very un-PC and the Eddy and Patsy are train wrecks. ha

The women are over 40. Hello, are there any actresses, other than Diane Lane, who haven't had so much work done they look around their age and not like creepy women trying to look 25?

Any fans of the show? Do you think this remake could work? Who would star in it?

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Giovanni Bellini Exhibit Rome

If you are in or going to be in Rome anytime from now until Janary 11 2009, this is a great show to check out. It’s the first major retrospective of Bellini’s work in 60 years.

I went yesterday around 5:30 and it wasn’t too crowded. The show opened September 30th. One of the guards said the exhibit was very popular during the weekend.

It’s at the Scuderie del Quirinale. This building is fantastic. It used to be the stables for the Papal Palace.

The collection showcases work on loan from several international museums. Of course the Accademia in Venice loaned several works, along with works from the Met in NYC, The National Gallery in London, The Louvre, The Washington National Gallery, The Uffizi and The Staatliche in Berlin, etc. There are also a few pieces from private collections.

Here is some more info on Bellini and the exhibit from International Herald Tribune.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Then We Came To The End by Joshua Ferris, Brick Lane by Monica Ali and Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

THEN WE CAME TO END - received a bunch of buzz when it was published. I happened to be at Feltrinelli and saw it in the English language section. The hype is dead on. This fictional account of a mid-size advertising going through downsizing is hilarious and sad. Ferris nails the work place dynamic. If you have ever had co-workers, this book’s for you.

BRICK LANE - is about an 18 year-old woman, Nazneen, from Bangladesh who is sent in an arraigned marriage to London. She struggles to make sense of her new world, where she doesn’t speak the language and has a very traditional husband who is 20 years older than her. The characters really come alive. I like how the husband is a well-rounded antagonist. You do feel for him, he is struggling as much as his wife. I zipped through this book. I had to know if Nazeen was going to be okay.

HALF A YELLOW MOON – I have been meaning to read this book after hearing my friends rave about it. It’s a fictional account of two sisters in Nigeria during Biafra’s fight for Independence. The POV is a young boy from a village who has been sent to be a houseboy for a University professor. The professor is love with one of the sisters. This might sound like it’s a very heavy or an inaccessible novel. It’s not. It’s a beautifully written novel with moments of heartbreaking sorrow, yet at times it’s quite funny. Like Ferris and Ali, Adichie received much critical acclaim for her book. She’s a powerful writer entwining politics, love and family in a way few novelists can.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Flashback Friday – Carlton Banks + Tom Jones = a funny clip

Foreclosures, bail outs, debate drama, etc., I needed a break.

I was never a fan of Will Smith's "rapping". I thought his flow was kinda wack. However, his show was pretty funny at times.

Carlton Banks was/is one of the best known geeks on the planet. This short compilation cracked me up. Go on Carlton, bust a move.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

It's hard not to take things personally.

A few people have asked me what was going on with my novel. Nothing. Every book agent my literary manager and the film agent he teamed-up with sent it to, passed. Some said they like the writing but they couldn’t sell it. The commercial fiction market is brutal. Except of course for Lauren Conrad from THE HILLS who just scored a multi-book deal.

I know I should let these things roll off my back. However, when someone says, “She’s a good writer but I don’t care about this story”, it stings. Then yesterday the first thing I saw in the morning was an email from my manager regarding a producer passing on one of my scripts.

I tried not to spiral into the “I’m going to end up a bag lady. Why did I leave my job? Will I be broke forever?” malaise. I had been writing all morning. I finally walked over to Trastevere to run an errand. It felt good to get out.

That is until I started watching some show on the Discovery Channel about British people who buy houses overseas and renovate them. I starting thinking about if I don’t sell a script in Hollywood I won’t be able to pay my rent, much less buy a house. This led to the whole “I can’t believe I’m this old and I don’t own a home.” That led to “Why am I still single? Will I have a boyfriend this century?” Then I was glad I didn’t do drugs and wasn’t an alcoholic because I would have gotten messed up.

My manager and I had our weekly conference call last night. He told me to keep on writing and moving forward. He said I don’t want to become one of those bitter, jealous, struggling Hollywood screenwriters. Those folks don’t last.

He’s right. So this morning I got up and went to work, instead of wallowing in self pity. I owe the Italian film company another draft of my treatment. I took a break, went to the park (now it’s too dark to work out before I start writing) and will get back to work after breakfast. I had a cold all week. This was the first morning I was able to work out. My mood is much better.

Writing is a strange profession. You have to be sensitive enough to put pen to paper yet have tough enough skin to not let rejection break you. This dichotomy is the one of the reasons why many creative people are freaking nuts.

How do you deal with professional setbacks?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

My first “What’s Cooking Wednesday” post – Rigatoni with Sausage

For now I will try to do one on the first Wednesday of the month, then increase to twice a month. I do love to cook but it takes me forever for to write the recipes down. Check out Shan's Place" for more recipes.

This dish is one of my favorite go to hearty dishes. I found the recipe in “Tastes of Italia” magazine back in the States.

RIGATONI CON SALSICCIA/Rigatoni con Salsiccia

1 pound rigatoni
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 pinch crushed dried red chile flakes
1 pound Italian sausage, cashing removed and crumbled
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 (14 oz) can tomatoes, drained and chopped (or I cup diced fresh roma tomatoes)
Salt and pepper to taste
4 bunches arugula, washed, stems removed and coarsely chopped
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Cook the rigatoni according to package directions. Reserve ¼- ½ cup of pasta water. Do not over cook.

Meanwhile in a large skillet, heat the olive oil on medium for 5 minutes. Add the chile flakes and the sausage and cook until nicely browned. Add the vinegar and scrape bits off bottom of pan. Add garlic and tomatoes and cook about 4 minutes on medium-low, being careful not to brown the garlic. Add salt and pepper to taste

When pasta is done, drain the pasta and add it to the skillet along with the reserved pasta water. Add the arugula and cook until liquid is mostly absorbed.

Sprinkle with cheese and serve immediately.

Serves 4

I like a Nero D’Avola with this dish. I never had this Sicilian red wine until I moved here. It’s a good everyday wine.