Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Goodnight Irene

Yeah I am in the Northeast and my area got walloped badly.  Not me so much but I had to drive 50 miles to get to power/a computer/the internet this morning.  The power company is saying it'll be next week before we have power restored.

I have read a lot, catching up on what I wasn't getting to.  Most of it was research/background for various projects.  I read several biographies and I'd like to talk about them at length later but let me just say there is great tragedy in squandered talent.  It's not cute, funny, noble or brave.  It's just stupid and pathetic.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Amazon's $99 Tablet

The Price Is Right

Well.  LOL.  What did I say?  I said the minute I got the Nook Color Bezos would bring out a cheaper tab and here we go.

Amazon is poised to enter the tablet fray with an Android-powered tablet in late September or October, a source with knowledge of the plans said yesterday.
The device will sell for hundreds less than the entry-point $499 iPad, a feat few tablet makers have accomplished, the source said.

Amazon can take a loss, the point is moving books.  And is Amazon ever going to move tablets and in turn books.  Even in a bad economy $99 for a tablet computer is a fantastic deal.  $99 for a reader that's a 1-trick pony is a "good" deal but not an exciting one.  This changes Christmas big time.

Newsflash: Downloads of Angry Birds soars.

After test driving the NC for about 6 months now, it's plenty big for anything I want to do with it.  I think the iPad is probably swell and great and fun.  But it's big.  Where do you put it.  And does it really replace a desktop or a laptop/something with an actual keyboard.  I'm not writing a book on the Nook or an iPad.  Ain't happening.  I want to be at the PC and type.  Maybe I'm a dinosaur, maybe you "can" write a book or format a magazine or a newspaper on an iPhone but if we're to be reasonable adults no you can't.  The resolution isn't there, you need to see things big.  Maybe in another 5 or 10 years people won't say that.  As a photographer, I will be very surprised to SEE that happen.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Old, the Dying Off and the New

This postcard was something I worked on yesterday in Photoshop and Lightroom.

Is Konrath really correct that the deal John Locke just signed with Simon & Schuster marks the death knell for legacy publishing?   I'm not as sure as he is.  That S&S gave up the erights is a big deal but will this hasten the demise or are we going to see them struggling along, flailing out for years?  There's a part of me saying "Just die already".  But what does it have to do with me?  Nothing at all.

I suppose some paper books will always have a utility.  I got a couple cookbooks in digital format and really hated it.  Maybe I can get used to it.  And yes, I formatted the Verrine book to not be as bloody annoying as the other cookbooks--it's more like a novel.  And it's not in PDF which is horrid always to begin with.

I'm going to be OCRing one of my backlist books in the coming weeks.   It's a quite intensive process so I expect to be quite cranky about it.  And OCR isn't perfect so you have to do a concentrated proofread to find the mistakes.  That's why I wasn't going to do it at all.  I do have other books in my backlist and it's hard to start working on them for any reason without doing a rewrite/update.  It becomes so involved.  Good for anyone who can avoid all this hassle with it!  That's not me, though.  But since this book is now in another language that I don't speak, rewriting is impossible.

Forget the Hindu translations.  That ain't happening.  Amazon India or not.

Update--The heck with that time waster.  The OCR program couldn't read what was near the gutter even though it scanned it perfectly well.  I'm not going through 163 pages in a foreign language line by line trying to figure out what wasn't scanned correctly.  I have real things to do.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Whole ISBN Issue

By now, this is a scam or at the very least a monopoly by Bowker.  You can only buy ISBNs from them.  And they are highway robbers.  I think they're free in Canada (they used to be free here, I knew someone who had a hundred of them) and Bowker will charge you about $125 for one here.

What's an ISBN?  From Wikipedia

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a unique[1][2] numeric commercial book identifier based upon the 9-digit Standard Book Numbering (SBN) code created by Gordon Foster, Emeritus Professor of Statistics at Trinity College, Dublin,[3] for the booksellers and stationers W.H. Smith and others in 1966.

But Amazon and BN have their own identification system.  They don't use ISBN for digital books.
It's true other sites do like iBooks.  They require them.
I say the heck with you, iBooks.  Everyone knows Amazon stocks the most books (most of everything) so everyone already goes there.  The few who don't, so what.  Self-publishers can't even get into iBooks, you have to go through another entity and often pay for the privilege of being listed there.  Big whoop.  I don't pay for anything I can do myself.

Q: Why do you need an ISBN?
A: AFAIC you don't

Q: I WANT one, I won't be happy until I have one.  How do I get one?
A: The problem (monopoly) is that for every version, every edition of your book you need a different ISBN.  If you want a paper book, you have 1 number.  If you have a digital book, you have another.  Ka-Ching!  For Bowker.  (A block of 10 will cost about $300, see how they do that?)

Q: You still haven't told me how to get one.
A: Go to Smashwords and publish your book through them and pay $10.  Done.  That ISBN goes with the book wherever you sell it.  You can unpublish at Smashwords at that point if you want, who cares?  If you want to print, buy it for $10 at CreateSpace.  Done.  This is not that complicated.

Q: That's it?  Why does everyone make such a fuss?
A: No idea.  But what you don't want to do is take the free ISBN offered to you at Smashwords or other such sites.  They will be the publisher of your book until the end of time.  If you don't object to that, do it.

Q: Do you object?  You're the Queen of Free.  The goddess of penny pinching.
A: And I am so proprietary.  I publish my books.  So, yeah, I object.  $10 is the bargain price to pay for something I don't think you need.

Q: I'm so confused.  Maybe you don't know what you're talking about.
A: I can confirm your initial concerns about yourself.  You are confused. 

Are we living beneath the volcano?
The great Jack Bruce

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Maybe I Shouldn't Read AutoBios Anymore

Here's a couple thoughts on Lips Unsealed.
Belinda Carlisle--Who knew a human could ingest such vast quantities of drugs and not die.
Morgan Mason-What a mensch!
I think she outpaced Steven Tyler.

Anything more to say than that would be inappropriate.

Writing thought, not tip, of the day.  I think it's very difficult to redeem a character if you've taken it perhaps a notch too far.  I just finished a novel recently (nevermind which one) and I found myself commenting throughout "Idiot!"  "Moron!"  That's the main character.  Someone you might say has very little to no character at all.  Now there's a companion volume and once I started that I found myself saying "Schmuck!"  I read the first couple chapters and then I read the last chapter, but doubt if I'll bother with the middle.  I don't care about the character and the arc anymore.  Any compassion or interest I had in that character was lost.

I think the writer has to give the character something for the audience to hang onto.  Something substantial so you can say "They behaved badly there, but you know there's goodness because of fill-in-the-blank"  I don't want to read about unremitting stupidity, self-centeredness, narcissism and cruelty.  I'm sure those things don't bother many people but I'm sure they bother many people.

I don't know if anything makes a difference anymore.  If at some point everyone who could possibly have a device to read on has one, the audience is so vast if you're found by your audience, what do you care if other people don't like what you do?

You certainly can't write to the drunk troll reviews because every single one of them complains about something else.

I got a nice note from someone who read Not Low Maintenance and thought she had identified the town I based it on.  And even the district of the town.  Bravo, Michelle!  Old Field is not strictly a real town, though.  There are elements of several towns in it as well as fantasy out of necessity.

This is an old photo, 100 years, that I found.  It was handtinted and I kept to that.  I may try to fool around with it some more to increase my knowledge of Photoshop.  Can I make the sky blue and make it look real.  Sure it's possible to fill the sky area with blue but it won't look like the sky.  I think the solution is a gradient.

Well, that wasn't hard at all.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Already Gone

Bright and early Monday morning handwringing session.

Will January 1, 2013, Be Doomsday for Publishers?

As Don Henley told the New York Times, what's at stake is "fairness" and "parity." The Eagles lead singer, who also heads a group called the Recording Artists Coalition, was referring to a revision to copyright law, made in the 1970s, that could drastically affect the ownership of some of the cornerstones of classic rock. As the Times explored last week, a "termination right," written into copyright law more than 30 years ago, is now putting certain songs back on the rights block, allowing artists to renegotiate royalty rates on their works or reclaim ownership entirely. The termination right could also create some waves for print publishers, as authors seek to do the same thing as songwriters....

Agent Gail Hochman, head of the Association of Authors' Representatives, said she is "sure that literary agents are watching this news story regarding musicians' rights" and that her group has been sponsoring a number of seminars on the topic. Another agent who sees a storm brewing is Robert Gottlieb. The chairman of Trident Media Group thinks the termination right will especially come into play on the digital front. "Publishers need to come up with effective strategies to convince authors to keep their backlist business with them given the fast changes in e-book publishing occurring in today's market. One way is to offer additional advances with limited rights."

Yeah, Let's have some seminars.  Let's put together a SuperCommittee to study the issue!  And take bribes and reassure each other that all is not as grim as the "Tea Party Faction" of publishing (that would be wild-eyed self-publishers, the yucky kind of people who like freedom and want the heavy boot of the "elites" off our necks) is making it out to be.  Bezos is an outlier!!! 

Screw off, Bobby.  Yeah, find a way to convince us to stay with the dolts who've been  stiffing us all these years.  Wait, maybe they just recognized our value.  It took them, what, 30 years???  Midlist writers have been maligned and mistreated for the last half century.   Now you can have my backlist?   "What am I dumb or sumthin?" to quote Lina Lamont.

I'm already gone.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

I Used To Love Going To The Movies

I don't go anymore.  It all seems like crap to me.  I don't even have premium channels on the satellite dish.  Every time they have a free weekend, they run movies that are 20 years old or whatever.  Then I say "I'm not paying for that."  I know they do spiffy new programming about undertakers, mass murderers or vampires.  And someone with cancer.  Ah, gee, no thanks.  I can watch the news if I want to be scared or depressed.

Don't worry, there's a writing tip coming up.

I'm sending the Tokina lens back; you won't have to hear about it anymore.  I know some photographers rely on 1 lens, often a prime, a 50mm or something.  Their go-to lens.  I've always gone with a zoom.  So the 55-200 seems to have great utility for me and perfectly adequate results.  It's hard to break these habits.  The Tokina was fine and terrific but I have the zoom so don't need a lens hanging around in a drawer.  I really love the D7K and the only thing worth changing would be a split screen viewfinder.  When I called Nikon some years back about this the support guy practically laughed at me.  Yeah, that's the kind of attitude you want in your help staff.  Anyway I guess they don't do that anymore.  But it would make the D7K perfect.

Here's the writing tip.  It never ceases to amaze me that someone will over-use certain words and never notice.  Using the same word like say beautiful on the page twice is bad.  Using it twice in the same paragraph is awful.  And I've seen it happen in the same sentence.  Don't do that.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Friday, August 19, 2011

Again, It's The End of The World

Amazon publishing is rolling out its first book under Larry Kirschbaum and again we have the handwringing.  And weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth and so forth. Crown couldn't match the offer.  Amazon has tentacles everywhere blah blah blah.

"Traditional publishers do not necessarily believe that. Some are downright nervous about the intentions of Amazon, with its deep pockets and a unparalleled distribution system into tens of millions of living rooms and onto electronic devices.
Some independent bookstores have already said they do not intend to carry any books from the retailer, not wanting to give a dollar to a company they feel is putting them out of business."

That's a smart business move since the whole bookselling thing is like totally 20th century and bookstores are closing faster than you can scarf down a bag of Doritos.  Let's have a bookstore and don't sell books!  That's a novel idea!

Fear On A Stick

Before I started to hate Tom Hanks, I watched You've Got Mail so many times I can repeat the dialog.  It's a cute movie, isn't it.    But the part I didn't understand was why Blondie didn't set up a website for selling her damn vintage kid's books.

I lucked out, won't bore you with the details I'll bore you with more camera stuff later, and got a private library of quite nice books going to the dump some years back.  I sold them on the internet INTERNATIONALLY and made thousands of dollars without trying at all.  I just listed them at and on ebay.  This isn't rocket science (which is good because rocket scientists have become really stupid lately and are talking about alien invasions to save the planet from "global warming".  Have you guys READ the emails from the East Anglia scientists???)

So why didn't Blondie put down Pride and Prejudice for a couple minutes, come up with a website and start selling those books?  Well because I guess there was no internet in Shop Around the Corner, the movie this was based on.  If she actually expanded her business she couldn't keep whining "It's not just business.  It was personal TO ME."  But all is well because the deadtree publishing industry was going to publish the book she wrote.  So she's a freaking writer?  Gimme a break.   (And one final, no really, comment.  She gets into bed wearing her street clothes??  She sat on a bus or a subway after a homeless person sat in that same seat in their clothes that they pooped in.  Now she gets into bed in those clothes?)

All I'm saying is keep up with the times.  There are plenty of opportunities and whining just proves you're not serious about getting on with life.

For me, given where I live--out in the middle of nowhere--I thank Jeff Bezos every time a smiling box balances precariously on my mailbox.  He makes my life easier.

Onto the lens which I have to admit is like sort of a Christmas Eve scenario when you know in a couple hours you're getting presents.  But I tracked the thing and it's in the FedEx hub city.  Sure you could easily make that long drive and get the lens here by the end of the day but with UPS by this point on delivery day there would be a notification "Out For Delivery".  So my Tokina isn't even on the van to be delivered?  How are they going to do this?

UPDATE I don't know if they drove it or flew it but it's "Out For Delivery".  Oh Christmas Morning!  Santa left presents!

UPDATE 2 The FedEx man arrived before noon and gave me my Christmas.  That I couldn't make work for about an hour.  I'm still not convinced this is the greatest thing since macaroni in amusing shapes but here's the first image that I think is visually pretty darn interesting.  (No special effects.  This is the image.)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Nothing Serious

I just did a new cover for my novel, Nothing Serious, so that's quite exciting.

The book was originally, and rightfully so, titled Disconnected.  I think it should still be called Disconnected but that word is too long for me to design onto a space 1000 x 1500 pixels and be understood in thumbnail size.  That's the issue.  There's lots of creative things you *can* do but whether they work in a bookstore or on the net are two very different things.

I did what I could.  It was cute.   It didn't sell.  I did a new cover with a vintage postcard.  The sales picked up but I still think it's laboring under that "dated" perception.

So here's the new cover.  I would have liked the hat to be purple but  after getting halfway there I decided I'd had enough for one afternoon and packed it in.  It's something for the future.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Cover Art Disasters

I was checking some of my books at BN yesterday and they now have the same kind of ribbon that Amazon does "Readers also bought" or whatever it says.  There were a couple books there, obviously self-published.  How am I so sure?  Because they looked like someone who didn't have a clue about anatomy drew the people used in the artwork.

Years ago I knew 2 people who claimed to be psychics.  I won't challenge them on that claim.  Okay.  Whatever.  But he was a "professional artist".  He also didn't know anything about anatomy.  I suppose if being an artist these days is draping orange fabric over everything in sight, you don't need to know about anatomy the way artists of old did.  He illustrated all their books, did all their cover art.  Disaster.  Worse than prawn chips.

I can only say one thing--Don't do this.  Spend $15 and buy a photo.

I'm not sure at all about the thinking that goes into this decision.  Do they actually believe that's good artwork?  Do they not care?  Have they no ability to discriminate?  I think it's a hard sell to have an amateurish cover.  Even if you were Hemingway, I don't think it would work.  Maybe I'm wrong.  Why risk it? 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

New Cover for Fling

I loved the original cover, the Russian postcard, but I suspect people perceived it as "dated".  So then I got the photo of the wild geranium and I loved that but changing was more for me than thinking it would actually improve sales.  Why?  Because it was too soft.

As I was looking at photos in one of the stock image sites, I happened on a couple vector graphics that I thought could be made to work.  I bought one and I've probably put 20 hours in on it to get it right for my purposes.  The original had a horrible grey sort of background so I needed to lift the girl off that.  Then her skin tone needed to be adjusted, change her hair color and you get the picture.  It was very labor intensive.

Now I can go back to my novel.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Let's Try To Get It Right

I'm researching for my next novel and found a book I thought might be moderately informative.  The writing is disoriented, all over the place, jumping from one year to the next, one person to the next.  I started to think "What's this book about?"  And given that it's nonfiction, that doesn't seem like a good sign.

But when the writer got the name of a prominent actress of the day wrong, that's when I gave up.

This is Mary Miles Minter.  Not Minton.  It seems to me that anyone who was writing a book and doing tons of research would have found this image on the net.  Not to mention that Mary Miles Minter was involved in one of the most publicized scandals of the era and silent film buffs are still talking about it.  It's not like she's obscure and her name is difficult in the way that Jerzy Kosinski might be.  (He wrote Being There and if you ever hear Chauncey Gardiner referred to, that's where it's from.)

I should have been tipped off when the writer got Adela Rogers wrong.  It's Adela Rogers St. John.  That's her name.  The later in the book it's Adela St. John.  No it's not.  It's still Adela Rogers St. John.

And no, Anita Loos was never a child star in early silents.  While she did do a few turns on stage, she always knew she wanted to be a writer.  Her bio A Girl Like I  is on my bookshelf,  so I think I know a little about her, apparently a whole lot more than the writer of this nonfiction book.

Anita did write The New York Hat in 1912 for D.W. Griffith and she did write the memorable novel in the mid 1920s Gentlemen Prefer Blondes much later turned into a movie (yes, the one that starred Marilyn Monroe). 

When I started writing, it was almost impossible to do research.  It meant going to the library and  the struggle to find a tidbit was daunting.  To find some things, you might have to go to a college library.  I spent hours one winter at the library of Arizona State.  Now you go to Wikipedia.  It takes the amount of time it takes to type the search words.  There's no excuse for making these kinds of mistakes anymore.

But legacy publishing is professional and they do everything so much better than unprofessional, wild-eyed self-publishing numbskulls.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

99 Cent Price Point (It's The End of The World As We Know It....)

Oh geez, I forgot the embed alert.  I'm posting copyrighted music.  Are we even allowed to listen to this???  Turn your ears off!  The aural police are coming for you.

Here's an article/rant  TheCrisisDocument that maybe you could get thru, I couldn't.  The gist of it is amid the great lamentations and gnashing of teeth--heck, the guy's a musician not a writer, but it could have been said in a quick paragraph--people don't value music anymore.

Well since most of what's currently pushed at us is total crap, he's right, I don't value it. there more to say?

Oh yeah and what's partially to blame is iTunes.  With their 99 cent price point.

I've already said I don't like the 99 cent price point.  I already said I think it devalues books in general, mine in specific.  But it's reality, it's what we have to deal with.  If you're not a commercial writer, and I'm not, then this is not the best of all possible worlds.  If you're a commercial writer, you will make your fortune in volume.

This is the free market system.  There are not equal outcomes.  Life is not fair.  You can't legislate it into fairness.  No human is wise enough to do it, although they keep trying as demonstrated by any number of governments around the world in various stages of collapse even as I type this.  You want equal outcomes go to North Korea--everyone eats bark for breakfast and they're all starving.  And none of them have electricity.

Satellite photo at night North Korea at top South Korea at bottom

I'll stop before I get into a philosophical/religious discussion.  The bottom line is you can't put toothpaste back in the tube.  Deal with it.  Make music people will want to buy.  Write books people will want to buy.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Yes, I changed the Verrine cover already.  And I'll change it again if I feel like it.

I rarely hear the word changes that I don't think of Phil Ochs.  He was a talented and misguided young man.  May have been bipolar, I don't know that he was diagnosed that before he killed himself.  The suicide note said something like "I have no more words".  A loss. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Verrines: Sweet and Savory Parfaits Made Easy

I got it done.  It seemed like it took forever to get the formatting.  When you're doing something like this, I feel like I'm having an out-of-body experience.  It's overload. 

Barnes and Noble got it live in a couple hours.  Amazon mocked me and said 24 but I know it'll be more like 36 or 48.

Here's the blurb.  I hate writing them.  It's almost as bad as writing a synopsis which I just realized I will never have to do again in my life.  So YIPPEE!

Have you ever wanted just a little something to eat that was delicious and probably sinfully fattening? Don't we all? Some years ago the French invented verrines. A verrine is a sweet or savory delectable. Like the familiar parfait, it's served in a glass but a small one making it the ultimate in portion control. While most of us want to eat well, most of us aren't trained chefs and we rarely have access to exotic ingredients readily available elsewhere. VERRINES: Sweet and Savory Parfaits Made Easy makes it possible for everyone to create luscious treats quickly and with a budget in mind. You don't need a kitchen full of special tools, and you don't need expensive ingredients. You need some small glasses, a sharp knife and a trip to the grocery store. Whether you need intriguing appetizers for a party, a light lunch or dessert, you will find something in this book to help you achieve your goal.

So now I can devote my thinking to purchasing the wrong items on ebay (come on guy, you think I don't know what I'm talking about but French White isn't stovetop safe), fighting with the Amazon Marketplace sellers who didn't ship the book I really really need for my new book, and in general bothering everyone I come in contact with.  C'est la vie.

I think I will probably change the cover since I did this over a month ago and took a lot of photos that I...I'm fickle.  I can like you one day, Miss Photo, and the next day I've moved on emotionally.  Sorry.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Thinking Bigger

Mindrelic - Manhattan in motion from Mindrelic on Vimeo.

Formatting With Images-- Centering Issue

The cookbook is quite image heavy so I've been putting a lot of hours (contrary to everything the drunk trolls will say--I had to add that) into trying to get everything centered.

You think that center means center.  You think that if you click the center icon, you're done.  I don't know why this isn't true but it's not true for me.

Here's my suspicion of the morning and if someone knows better, please let us know.
In Expression Web, it's not considering the center of the page.
It's thinking of the image as text.  Because the image stands alone like the beginning of a paragraph, Ex Web is applying an indent.

Here's the code for the images from the document.  I've put the code in red so you can discern it from the other stuff but blogger thinks I'm trying to write code so I had to turn it into an image.  Sheesh!

Since it's not text, the program shouldn't be indenting it.  But when I converted the document in Word to html, that's what you get.

What I did was leave the Design mode and go into Code and delete that line in red when it referred to an image.
Then I went back to Design.  Centered and reCentered.

That solved the problem of images not being centered.  I think it also explains why other things aren't truly centered as well but I'm not going back and reformatting everything already published.  Sorry.  Still it's nothing anyone has complained about.  YET.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Magical Heresy

I read the Harry Potter books with the same enthusiasm as did most of the world.  I ordered them from Amazon and received each with that special first wave, none earlier, delivery.  There is no doubt it was a unique literary achievement that will probably never be duplicated and I'm glad to have experienced it.

But.  I just started reading Lev Grossman's The Magicians.

Some years ago there was a spate of body-switching movies (it's a whole genre at this point, I think there's a new one out now that's being panned).  It began with the book Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers in 1972.  That was turned into a movie with a young Jodie Foster and so we began.  Then one day I heard of a movie, Big, that was coming out.  I had a long discussion with my friend, Allen, the fantasy illustrator about it.  Why did we need another stupid movie like this.  It's been done before.  And not well.

Then we saw Big and understood.  This is what thinking things through does for an idea.  An idea may be good, it may be great, but it can't stand on its own.  The writer is there for a reason.  And contrary to the Peter Gallagher character in The Player these things really do not write themselves.

Grossman's The Magicians is the demonstration of that.  Of thought and skill, ability to handle the language, the ability to see into character not just see character.  To read the first page is to know you are in the presence of someone who can write.

Someone will say hey, Potter is for kids and The Magicians is for adults.
And I say So what's your point?

Update:  Interesting, if dated, piece Lev Grossman wrote on Amazon reviews Eaten Alive At Amazon (I rewrote the article title, so ding me down)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Roasted Peaches

It's really easy.
Preheat oven to 350
Cut the peaches in half.
Put in a shallow baking dish.
Sprinkle with sugar.  Dab with butter.
Bake approx. 1 hour.
Do not let juices burn.
Serve warm or chilled with whipped cream or ice cream or something full fat.

Peachy Keen

Every week I think the cookbook will be done and every week I get sidetracked.  That's my news on that.

Here's how I solved the problem of Aldiko not working on my Nook Android Tab.  Try to follow me on this.  I downloaded Moon Reader.  It worked.  I uninstalled Aldiko.  And felt better about it.  The support guy at Nook2Android aka N2A is really nice so I'm totally satisfied with them and not bothering with the hassle of rooting it myself was smart.  Nook2Android

They think I'm crazy at the farm market.  The owner even jokes with me every time I buy an eggplant.  He remembers that I once remarked how shiny it was.  Then he says "Why, you can almost see your face in it!"  He adds the orders up outloud.  It's a remarkable performance.  So yesterday I bought the coolest radishes to take pictures of.  They are just gorgeous.  I also bought peaches.  I forgot to roast one yesterday for the cookbook.  Yeah I thought I was done coming up with new recipes but come on, roasted peaches?  Those are fantastic!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The White Shadow Once Lost Now Found

The first 3 reels of The White Shadow, a silent film made in 1923 by Alfred Hitchcock have been found in a vault in New Zealand.  I know not many people will care, some probably don't know who Alfred Hitchcock was, some have never seen a silent movie.  It's a major find.  It's a big deal to those who care about film history--which leaves out about 98% of the people in the film business now.

There was great variety in silent films (unlike today).  There were comedies, dramas, mysteries, adventure, westerns.  Some were very simple, some were very complex and intellectually challenging.  Nothing that comes out of Hollywood is intellectually challenging today.  Some filmmakers thought it was a lark, some took it very seriously.  True art was created and The White Shadow might be good, it might be great, it might be trash, but it's a piece of film history and to regain what was lost is always cause for celebration.

Monday, August 1, 2011

So Many Of Everything

There are so many good photographers.  I was looking around at their websites yesterday.
There are so many good singers.  You see them show up at auditions for X Factor or America's Got Talent or American Idol.
There are so many pretty girls.  They go to NYC to be models.  They go to Hollywood to get in the movies.  (They still make movies??)  Or be on television, there's still television.

There are so many people who think they can write.  And actually they're pretty much correct.
What's his name--sorry---Charles Grodin wrote an interesting book about the life of an actor called It Would Be So Nice If You Weren't Here.  You can get it at amazon for a penny--it's an old book already.  It's worth reading.
He made some good points that the entertainment business is survival of the fittest not necessarily the best.  The "best" may be too tender to withstand the blatant message of "It would be so nice if you weren't here".
I had some friends at one point who I thought were quite talented musicians/singers/performers but they didn't make it.  They got the breaks, they had the connections, but still they failed.  Now I think they weren't nearly as good as I thought they were.  They were like thousands of others who play and sing reasonably well and perform engagingly.  Something elevates people out of the crowd.  What?

Now there is no one to tell writers (besides the drunk trolls) "It would be so nice if you weren't here cluttering up the place".  I didn't realize all those years that's what editors and agents were saying to most of us.