Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Fowl Most Fresh

On the Eve of Turkey Day many cash-stuffed folk will turn their thoughts, and forks, to their favorite festive bird - usually one that is fully dressed, shrink-wrapped, and frozen to Kelvin scale depths. For the more upscale, there are heirloom birds, such as those reported in this week's LA Weekly by Jonathan Gold.

But, for the more adventuresome, the LA Times gave morning readers a nice shock with a report on a thriving slaughterhouse serving a mostly immigrant clientele, who prefer to pick and choose from the winged offerings. Five minutes from pen to plastic bag - try that at a Honey Baked Ham store tonight! And for those of you getting squeamish, remember I ate bugs during my fieldwork. Get over it. Besides, the old Angelino families remember when Sunday dinner required killing a chicken from the coop - my father did that most of his childhood life in Pomona. Now a days you only get to count the chickens riding the Gold Line to Union Station.

Before you take a bite of the chemically-enriched Butterball tomorrow, take a peek at the article. Too bad it wasn't included in the Times Food section, something about advertising revenue....

But if you won't read it for the ethnographic background, read it for the honed rhetoric like this:

Today, Samy Morsy is so deft with his 12-inch chef knife that it seems that he could turn a turkey into a hood ornament if he were asked to.

Soon coming to a fashionable vehicle near you.

Friday, November 18, 2005

The Need and the Loathing

It's late on a Friday aftenoon, the college has gone to bed before the sun is down, and I'm not going to let Warren, David, Joel, Kira, and the others have all the fun with a little Google-magic (all the better to procrastinate and put off finishing another scene).

Here are some results for "Formosus needs" in Google:

The disinterred corpose of Pope Formosus (891-894) was brought before the...

Phosphorous needs of some Australian Plants. Swainsona, canescens, colutoides, formosus, tephrotricha...

Joseph, Ras, Neal, and Formosus. Chris, Trish, and Andie... (Wait a minute! That's from Warren's site - and he suggested this excercise. Hmmm...)

Red Cone Flower (lsopogon formosus): see it and grow it...

Scientific name: Oporornis formosus...

When switched off, the Scleropages Formsous are not moving at all of course...

The main plot deals with the trick of Formosus to obtain 3000 crowns from his miserly father Amadeus...

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Dances with Screenwriters

Spent last weekend nursing a lingering cough, and attending the 4th Annual Screenwriting Expo, sponsored by Creative Screenwriting magazine. It was my first time attending and it was rather surprising to be amidst almost 4,000 writers, but then I was surprised to be among 5,000 anthropologists the first time I attended the AAA gathering. Lots of sights, lots of people, and even more stories, which usually constitute the most informative aspect of conventions, and the most entertaining.

Like other writing get-togethers, the Expo was a great venue for the usually solitary to get support, learn that there are actually other people out there who are just as geeky as you think you are, and commiserate with fellow writers over rejection - preferably with an 80 proof libation in hand.

I attended some classes, a panel or two, and many of the Guest of Honor sessions, but more about that later. As I was walking around the trade show, scanning through the xeroxed detritus strewn over abandoned tables, I had this lingering thought....

Am I the only one who thinks that the market for writing products and services is strangely similiar to the market for sex products and services? There are hundreds of companies offering magazines, videos, and "coverage or feedback" (usually in the back of cheap magazines) offering “secrets” (for a price) that purport to make you a "better practitioner," allowing you to "write longer, better, with more passion, all leading to a strong finish." The place was rife with psychoanalytic subtext. But then, after too many years of graduate school I can never look at any social gathering without some weird theoretical interpretation.

If you want to glance at some photos, take a peek at the collection from Warren, Joel, and Shawna.

Instead of the rundown of classes and panels, here are some of the more colorful quotes I heart at Expo 4:

William Goldman: “What I want you to come away from this Expo is this – All critics are failures and whores.”

David Koepp: “Everyone in this business has to be told what to do, directors, actors, so on, except for the writer. We can go home tonight, open a new file on our computer and start to work on a new project – no one has to tell us to do it. And that’s why they hate us.”

Marc & Elaine Zicree: “If you hear the following: ‘Thanks for coming in’, ‘Interesting…’, or ‘Call my agent’, you’re toast.” On the other hand, “If they say, ‘Who’s your agent?’ they want your script.”

Richard Walter: (quoting someone else) “It is actions that define character, and not the other way around.”

Richard Walter: (again) “There are only two things in scripts: The stuff that’s seen – the wide margins; and the stuff that’s said – the narrow margins.”

David Freeman: “I wasn’t born with an Earth Mother gene…”

But the best was probably at the blogger rendezvous Sunday night: “Yes, I was a Pumpkin Princess” from Shawna.