Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Michelangelo Antonioni and Ingmar Bergman

Two giants in the arts died on the same day. Both of these directors, the Italian Antonioni and the Swedish Bergman are considered two of the most influential artists of the 20th Century.

I was reading Hollywood-elsewhere.com and several of the comments said their co-workers said "I thought she was dead already".

I don't know why I'm surprised a Hollywood executive wouldn't know or care who Bergman is. After all it's not like he could blow stuff up like Michael Bay.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Toronto, two weeks from today


I haven't done most of the things on my to-do-list because work has been insane.

Several friends and colleagues have asked "are you excited to go?" Once I'm on the plane it will seem real to me. There were no major hiccups during the last week. I am feeling good about the movie as of 3:01 p.m. today.

The production coordinator has been sending me photos of possible apartments. I bought some guide books on Toronto so I can get a sense of where things are. One building had a gym which is great. I am determined not to gain 10-15 "production pounds".

Sunday, July 29, 2007

My first blog award!


Grazie mille, Avery.

She has nominated me for a schmooze award. No, this has nothing to do with Hollywood. So what is the schmooze award?

It goes to bloggers "who effortlessly weave their way in and out of the blogosphere, leaving friendly trails and smiles, happily making new friends along the way. They don’t limit their visits to only the rich and successful, but spend some time to say hello to new blogs as well. They are the ones who engage others in meaningful conversations, refusing to let it end at a mere hello - all the while fostering a sense of closeness and friendship."

I am touched to receive such an honor and appreciate all the people who stop by. Now I get to pick five fellow bloggers. I assume I can't pick the Blogger who nomimated me...but check out Avery's La Dolce Vita blog.

Yes, there is a theme. In no particular order:

1) Shelley in Rome gives interesting insight into my favorite city, complete with photos. She also has a great way of communicating. You feel like you are sitting outside in Piazza Navona sharing a gelato and catching up.

2) Sara's blog was one of the first I started reading. Amazing photography and a fun blog esp. if you love food and to travel. I love seeing Milan and other places through her eyes.

3) Michelle's Bleeding Espresso, is probably one of the more interactive blogs. She, like Sara, also posts recipes. Her POV of living in a small villiage is very interesting and entertaining.

4) Giulia's From Head to Boot is a newer blog for me. This fellow Jersey Girl is hilarious and look forward to seeing what she and her family are up to.

5) Okay, technically they are not expats yet, but Chris and Erin,The Olive Notes, will be in Florence shortly. They also take great photos and their positivity is infectous. I can't wait to hear about their adventures in Italy.


I was also going to give a shout out to Jess in St. Maarten but she already had "blog homework" to do. ha.


Here are the directions to participate:

1. Write a post with links to 5 blogs that have schmoozed you into submission.
2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the award.
3. Optional: Proudly display the ‘Power of Schmooze Award’ with a link to the post that you wrote.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

I am finally digital, lime granita recipe

I put my gym membership on hold for a couple months. Using that money along with some from my parents (aka, the liquidated wedding fund) I bought a digital camera.

My old Pentax 35m took some great photos. I am still learning about the features of my new camera.

I made the lime granita again. It was very, very hot today and this was perfect for a blazing day. I wanted to put a sprig of mint on top but I only had cilantro. This is not as photogenic as I would like but I'm happy I was able download photos no problem.


Lime Granita adapted from Bon Appetit

6 servings

2 cups water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh lime juice

Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 5 minutes. Cool the syrup. Stir in the lime juice.

Transfer to a 11x7x2-inch glass baking dish. Cover and place in freezer. Use a fork and scrape every 45 minutes until frozen, about 3 hours. I used a Tupperware dish and that worked as well. You can make it 2 days ahead. Cover and keep frozen.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Moaning meme




Wanderlust Scarlett tagged me with this meme. I am finally getting to it:

The Moaning Meme

5 people who will be annoyed you tagged them.
Okay, I am only picking one person because all the other bloggers I know have done this one or stopped doing memes.
*Jess, an American in St. Maarten.


4 things that should go into room 101 and be removed from the face of the earth.
*hunger
*racism
*intolerance
*britney spears


3 things people do that make you want to shake them violently.
*when they are passive-aggressive
*say "like" every other word
*make promises they can't/or have no intention of keeping (wait, that might fall under passive-aggressive)


2 things you find yourself moaning about.
*Los Angeles
*Not having a single date in '06 and so far not in '07

1 thing the above answers tell you about yourself.
*I need to move.


RULES
Link to the original meme at freelancecynic.com so people know what it's all about!
Be as honest as possible. This is about letting people get to know the real you!
Try not to insult anyone - unless they really deserve it or are very, very ugly!
Post these rules at the end of every meme!

The number one topic in Hollywood today

Was not the possibility of a strike for a change but Ms. Lohan's latest DUI arrest. This is not funny. The woman just got out of rehab 11 days ago. She could have killed herself and/or someone else.

It's sad to see someone fall apart. Her acting career for the time being is over because no company will insure her.

I hope she can get it together like Drew Barrymore or Robert Downey Jr. Maybe she should go to a non-Hollywood type rehab place, take a few years off and go to school, travel or something. This atmosphere is toxic even for those with strong family ties and confidence. For those who don't have a foundation it can be deadly.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A beach next to a runway?

Today my sister is leaving for St. Martin to meet up with my brother, my sister-in-law and my two little nephews. My parents will be meeting their latest grandchild for the first time.

My dad has no idea my sister is coming. I wish I could be there to see the look on his face.

There is a bar on the Dutch side we like to go to and watch the planes fly over the beach. When you see one of the big American Airlines, KLM or Air France planes fly over you have to wonder why anyone would "relax" on that beach.

Planes do come in quite low but this is bananas.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Una cena troppo tardi (A very late dinner)

It was very difficult to not read scripts this weekend. I kept looking at the pile and feeling guilty. On the other hand I'm almost done with one of the four books I'm reading. When I was at my friend's house on Thursday, she lent me two books I have to read. I had a great time on Thursday sitting out in their backyard, talking and drinking wine until almost midnight.

I am on pins and needles waiting to hear back from my editor. Trying to be patient, which is not one of my strong suits. In the meantime I am going to start going throught the ms again, to look for the dreaded typos.

Last night my former Italian professor had us over for dinner. The invitation was for 8:00 p.m. we left at almost 1:00 a.m. I go to bed at 10:00 maybe 11:00 p.m. if I'm living on the edge. Dinner was amazing! Anti-pasti, salad, pasta (rigatoni with eggplant and tomatoes), wine, bread, etc.

The night started out a little rusty for me since one of my classmates just spent two weeks in Italy and was speaking so fast. The other two are at a level higher but I was able to at least understand the conversation. I would freeze when it was mine time to speak. I just need to practice more. I read Italian much better since I'm constantly getting emails from one of my friends (we met in another class two years ago) who refuses to send me emails in English, I read Italian newspapers and magazines when I can, and I'm reviewing my text book.

Our professor's husband came home from work and joined us. He's an American, a musician and very, very funny. We could have stayed and talked for another hour or so.

Now it's back to work. As of 8:00 a.m. today, the movie is still on track. Hopefully there will be no major hiccups this week.

Friday, July 20, 2007

I am going to start my weekend right now

Leaving the office to meet friends at their new house for some vino and food. They are actors I met in my first Italian class, very sweet and not crazy. I do have a business lunch with a studio executive tomorrow. She is fantastic so it's something I'm looking forward to.

A couple of friends have suggested that my stank attitude might have something to do with working seven days a week. I have decided I'm not reading any scripts this weekend. I am giving myself a break from work for 48 hours.

I heard this song the first night I was in Rome last year. My former spinning teacher, the incredible David, used to play this song in class. Through him I met one of my closest friends in Rome. Thanks to Sara in Milan (Ms. Adventures) I finally tracked down the name and artist. Let the weekend begin.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

It all makes sense now! Thank you, Us Magazine.


I was walking past the newstand with my boss and we started cracking up over this cover. Please. Like I'm supposed to shed a tear. My ass has never been married to anyone much less Brad Pitt or Nick Lachey. I told my boss if I were on the cover it would say something different. For example, out of shape, broke and alone.

That said, I am glad this national magazine is bringing attention to the drama that is dating in Hollywood.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Therapy and Journey

"You need a therapist!"

This is what a friend said to me earlier tonight. I just got in from drinks at the wonderful Four Seasons in Beverly Hills. My friend who has known me for almost 20 years, is in L.A. for business. She was staying at the hotel and it was easier to meet there.

I haven't been there since my dinner with Clive. I forget how trippy it can be. I saw Al Sharpton. WTF? My friend is married with kids and lives in the NYC suburbs. She finds Los Angeles very interesting, like a science experiment.

She works on the corporate side of a big entertainment company but wants to move over to the creative side. After listening to me rant about the business, she said I needed to see a professional.

Okay stress about the movie aside, I am thankful I work with some very talented (and stable people). I have to keep reminding myself why I came out here in the first place. I need to keep believing.

Which brings me to today's musical selection. Not only was it the song Tony picked during the Sopranos finale, but it was on Scrubs, Family Guy, one of those MTV reality shows, the movie Monster, etc. This video cracks me up. Steve Perry's pants are so tight. One thing that is serious though, is his voice. This is live, no backing vocals or lip synching, like some so-called singers.

I don't know if I really need therapy. I might be one of only four people in Hollywood not seeing a therapist. I do know songs like this lift my spirits. This song is so Jersey. I love it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Sade, helping make a crappy Monday better.

I always thought she was cool as hell. Great video. The black and white photography is stunning. It's sad to see the towers



I am in the middle of downloading my CDs to my iPod. I can only download 2000 songs so I won't be able to download everything. I am almost done with "S". Seal, Sting, The Stones, Jill Scott, Shalamar (!), along with some others and of course Sade.

I am having a tough week/month/year maybe decade really (okay, perhaps I'm being melodramatic) and listening to these songs made me a little sad. I should have stopped listening but sometimes, in a warped way, listening to love songs while single can be a good thing.

I was talking to a very good friend over the weekend and her dating stories were just horrific. I can't understand all the baggage and game playing. My friend is a beautiful, talented, divorced woman in her early 30s. She isn't trying to snag a man or looking for one to "complete" her. She, like many of us, would just like to meet a nice, smart, non-crazy, not trying to break into the entertainment business, man in his 30s/40s who doesn't hate his mom/ex-wife/, isn't looking for a model/actress, not addicted to drugs/sex/alcohol and doesn't have anger management issues. Is this too freaking much to ask for?

I was down on love then listened to "Nothing Could Come Between Us." Sade is one of my favorite singer/songwriters. Her band was excellent. I'm sure if she was starting her career now, the record labels would say she was too boring and classy.

I listen to these songs and I think it would be nice to feel this way about someone. :(

I've always loved the base line in this song.


Words: sade adu
Music: sade adu, andrew hale and stuart matthewman

I always hope that you remember
We'll never really learn the meaning of it all
What we have is strong and tender
So hold on
In the middle of the madness

When the time is running out and you're left alone
All I want is you to know that
It's strong still
Cant pull us apart

Nothing can come
Between us
Nothing can pull us apart
Can come
Between us

I always hope that you remember
What we have is strong and tender
In the middle of the madness
Hold on

So it truly is a good thing
And I always wanted you to know
There is always this
And this is everlasting
Hold on

It's about faith
It's about trust, yeah yeah
It's about faith
It's about trust

Nothing can come
Nothing can come
Nothing can come between us
Nothing can come
Nothing can come
Nothing can come between us

Monday, July 16, 2007

Weird Godzilla dream thanks to my non-relaxing weekend


Back in the day, WABC the local NYC station used to show movies before the local news. This was pre-Oprah, Sally and other syndicated shows. My younger brother and I loved "Godzilla Week". My favorite battles were with Mothra and anything featuring the son of Godzilla, Godzuki. Ask any person of a certain age from the Tri-State (New York, New Jersey, Conn.) about little Godzilla and they will do the impression including upper body movements.

Given this "history" with Godzilla I don't find him scary (the same cannot be said for that horrible remake a few years ago). Imagine my surprise when I had a crazy nightmare last night. I dreamt I was running from him and found shelter in a basement. My mom was there talking on a cellphone. I was worried because the monster could detect the signal and find us. She turned it off. I don't remember who the other person there was. The three of us heard the monster stomp past us. After a while thinking the coast was clear, we stepped outside to investigate. Another monster was coming right at us. He had a head shaped like a rack of lamb. I was freaked the $%*@ out and we started running.

That is all I remember and I had a hard time getting back to sleep.

I was trying to have a restful weekend, when I had a conversation yesterday with one of the other producers regarding some recent movie drama. Ugh!!! Tomorrow is not going to be a fun day.

I drove out to Malibu this morning. If I was going to read scripts all day might as well do it some place nice. I went to Zuma beach. It's the first time I've been to the beach in L.A. this year. The sand was kind of dirty, which reminded me why I usually drove a few more miles north. The drive on PCH was very pretty.

I have some Chianti wine left over from last night's dinner. I am going to try a new grilled chicken recipe later and I bought some apple pie for dessert. Hopefully a good meal will help me sleep better tonight.

Friday, July 13, 2007

scripts, books and T.G.I.F.


Our casting session for today was held on Wednesday instead so I have this afternoon free to get some work done. I have so many scripts to catch up on. Last week was so hectic I fell behind. Agents know I'm in pre-production so I am cutting way back on reading sample scripts from this point on.

I ususally like to read one book at a time. I am reading four now. I have a sickness. I cannot walk past a magazine stand without stopping and now that habit is slipping into my book world. I ordered a bunch of books from Amazon. I would just quickly look at the first paragraph and next I knew, I was a couple chapters in. I am going to try and finish the following this week.

MARGHERITA DOLCE VITA by Stefano Benni. I am reading the english translation because I have a tough enough time trying to read CAPPUCETTO ROSSO (Litte Red Riding Hood) in Italian. Book was a hit in Italy and has received great reviews stateside. It's told from the POV of a young girl as mysterious new neighbors move into a McMansion next door, disrupting their little town. Very funny so far.

DRINKING COFFEE ELSEWHERE by ZZ Packer. This short story collection was a PEN/Faulkner finalist. Many of the stories first appeared in the New Yorker and Harpers. Brillant writer, great storyteller, with stories that touch on race, family, friendship and life in the U.S. of A. There were some passages that were so funny and/or insightful, I had to read them again and again.

GOODBYE, COLUMBUS by Philip Roth. I have read some of his later works and there is a reason he is considered one of the most gifted writers of our time. This short story collection debuted in 1959. His first book put him on the map. The story "Goodbye, Columbus", (adapted into a movie starting Ali McGraw and Richard Benjamin) is about a poor kid from Newark, NJ in love with a rich girl from Short Hills, NJ. Although they share the same ethnicity and culture (Jewish) they pretty much have nothing in common. Many of Roth's novels are set in Essex County, New Jersey (as was that other great work...The Sopranos) and I like reading about this area where I went to jr high and high school.

FALLING PALACE: A ROMANCE OF NAPLES by Dan Hofstadter. He was a contributor to the New Yorker and has written books on art. This is a more literary verson of a travel memoir. He is in love with Naples and a beautiful women but finds both very confusing. I was only able to spend one day in Naples. I would like to go back and see more of it. It was truly one of the most incredible, crazy, beautiful, messy cities I have ever been to.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Age of Love; Kittens vs Cougars


When I first heard about this show I was horrified. What kind of sexist nonsense was this? Now I feel sorry for the 20 somethings (the kittens). Where did casting find these women? When they are not saying the 40 somethings (the cougars) are old, have sagging breasts, wrinkles etc. they are crying.

The man in the middle 30 year old, Austrailian tennis pro Mark Phippoussis was at first freaked out when he met the older women. In the past he has only dated women younger than him. After he went out on his group date with the 20 somethings, who had nothing to say to him or each other, he said "I have to be honest I miss the older women." haha.

My last two assistants were both hired right out of college. Smart, hard working and 22/23. I don't know if the producers of the show picked only wanna be actresses for the younger group. These women are clueless and they look so much older. There was one girl Tessa who was wore so much make-up she could have used a spatula. At 23 that is not necessary.

The 40 somethings all have jobs, are more with it, can hold a conversation and have confidence. Unless Mark wants to have kids right away, I have no idea why he would pick one of the women from the 20 something group.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Very funny post from David Lebovitz regarding returning to the U.S.A.

Mr. Lebovitz is the author of my favorite new cookbook "The Perfect Scoop." He is an American pastry chef living in Paris. His blog is hilarious and the observations on this list made me laugh.

My friend Sfashionista and I were just talking about some of these things the other day. I'll admit it, I don't think twice about going to the supermarket after the gym. Yes, I'm sweaty, bandana on my head but at least I'm not rolling up to Pavilions in my pajama bottoms. I have seen people at brunch wearing PJ bottoms as well.

L.A. is more casual than New York. I do remember making an effort on the East Coast. I'm not saying men need to start wearing fedoras again but this sloppy dressing has gone too far. What the hell is up with wearing flip-flops everywhere? There were some members of a women's NCAA championship team who went to their White House ceremony in flip-flops. I don't care what your politics are, you do not wear freaking beach shoes to the White House.

My sister and I talked about the "skintern" thing happening in DC. These are interns who dress like they are going to strip at Crazy Girls. I worked on Capitol Hill after college and our interns wore suits most of the time. I am positive the Congressman's Chief of Staff would have sent any intern home who walked in dressed to party.

When I went to the Ocean's 13 premiere there was a producer in dockers-ish pants and converse sneakers. He is in his late 30s. My co-worker said "he doesn't look cool, just tacky". This was a big old school Hollywood, we are shutting down Hollywood blvd. type premiere.

I crack up reading travel boards where many of my fellow Americans whine about not being allowed to dress how they want at the Vatican (no shorts, shoulders covered). Uhm, hello it's a church and you are visiting another country, respect their rules. You are not at Walmart.

I'm curious how the expats view their countrymen as tourists and what do they notice when they come back to the States?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

It's almost mid-July, how is that possible?


Living in Los Angeles really warps your sense of time passing. The difference in seasons here is very subtle. It's easy to wake up and ask "what month is this?"

I can't believe we are past the half way mark for '07. It doesn't feel like summer at all to me. Yes, it's hot but I'm not feeling the summer vibe. Part of it is because work is crazy hectic instead of slowing down. If everything works out with the movie it will be worth it.

I won't be able to meet my siblings and nephews (one is almost three and the another is 5 months old) in St. Martin. They are leaving in a couple of weeks.

The movie is scheduled to wrap in early December. After production you are wiped out. A nice litte trip to the Amalfi coast might be good way to decompress after a long and tough shoot. It will be off season and nice and quiet. Something to look forward to.

Monday, July 09, 2007

A little italian, lime granita, Charm School, a 124 mph serve and some Ramazotti

I sent my ms to my editor over the weekend. I have my mornings back for the next few weeks. Time to get back on track with my workouts and Italian.

I couldn't sign up for Italian this summer because of the movie schedule. I was supposed to be in Advanced Italian, (hahaha), instead I started to review from the very beginning. I'm in the middle of Pimsleur Level One. So far no c'è male (not too bad). I started Chapter One of my Prego textbook. My goal is to finish a chapter a week (well until I get to the dreaded Passato Remoto and the other more difficult verb tenses).

On Saturday I met a friend from class to practice. I stopped by Bay Cities Italian deli in Santa Monica which was packed at 4:00 in the afternoon. I couldn't believe how much traffic there was at the beach. Crazy. The bread there is so good I was tempted to start eating it while I sat in traffic on Lincoln Blvd. I had a good time on Saturday, a nice bottle of wine, salad from her garden and great if (somewhat butchered) converstion. I bought two books to help me get up to speed: "Better Reading Italian" and "Mastering Italian Vocabulary".

I made a fantastic and super easy Lime Granita...perfect for another hot weekend. I have been looking throught "The Perfect Scoop" cookbook and there are so many recipes I want to try.

The Flavor of Love, Charm School Reunion. Larissa might want to sign up for anger management. One day she is going to say something to the wrong person and get a serious beat down.

Venus Williams entered Wimbledon ranked number 31. She won helped by a serve clocking in at 124 miles per hour! Jesus. How does someone even return a serve like that? I miss playing tennis.

While at my friend's house she was playing Eros's CD "Eros". I know, I know. One of my friends cannot stand his voice...too nasally and yes some of the songs are cheesy. Well, since I usually have no idea what he is saying, the lyrics don't bother me.
There is one song on this CD I love "Memorie". It has a great melody. The last verse is:

e riscoprire come un dolore
senza capire perché
ricostruire un’emozione
fino a morire per te...

fino a morire per te...

Sounds molto bello in Italian. I looked up the translation on the web. I think the person did a literal one. Hmm seems a little intense in English.

and I rediscover
an unexplainable pain
I reconstruct an emotion
until I die for you...

until I die for you...

Friday, July 06, 2007

Yo I'll tell you wanna want, what I really, really want


Feeling down...don't. The Spice Girls are back!

Zigzig ha indeed. I remember the first time I saw the video for the song "Wannabe", I was like "WTF?". Against my better judgement I couldn't get the damn catchy song out of my head. I'm not going to lie. I like the first two Spice Girls CDs. It's good fun pop. I will say I was annoyed Mel. B the Black Spice Girl had to be Scary Spice. I'm glad she got that situation with Eddie Murphy worked out.

I hope everyone has a great weekend.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Finito!

With the latest draft of zee book. I am going to use the next few days to clean up typos and then send it off to my editor.

Yesterday was a great writing day. The gym didn't open until 7:00 a.m. (holiday hours) so I went on a walk instead. I wrote from 7:30-12:30 broke for lunch, then 1:30 to 4:30. It was fantastic to have a full day to do my thing.

I am feeling a little sluggish, one it's crazy hot and two I didn't go to the gym a couple of days last week. I felt like I was in a writing groove so I would get up at 4:30 a.m., skip the gym and get 4 hours of writing done before going to the office.

It will take a few weeks to receive notes on this draft so I will have time to work out again.

Had the weirdest dream last night. I was waiting in line at the post office...in Rome. I don't remember if I was speaking Italian in the dream. Not sure what I was doing there.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

More cookbooks!




I know I said I was going to stop buying them but I swear this is it (for the next few months anyway). I came into the office today and waiting for me was THE PERFECT SCOOP and CHOCOLATE AND ZUCCHINI. I cannot wait to read them cover to cover and make something delicious this weekend.

Speaking of food, 85% of my clothes don't fit. I can't stop eating. Okay I'm going to get some candy then back to work.

Hope everyone has a safe 4th. I'll be writing all day.

It's too hot.


Too hot to even blog.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Writing, watermelon granita and Giada in Capri

So these things might not seem to have anything in common. Well, they were the highlights of my very non-social weekend.

I had a very productive and fun time writing Friday, yesterday and this morning. I took a break early afternoon yesterday to make the recipe, Sara posted here. It was delicious, perfect for a hot weekend.

Rose mentioned Giada De Laurentiis did a special on Capri. I saw her Santorini one and just happened to catch the Capri one. Sigh. I hear it's better to go during off season. I have to get there some day. The food, the views, the ruins, wow.

I can't believe today is July 1. My siblings are going to visit our parents in St. Martin later this month. I can't go because everything is on hold until I find out what is going on with the movie.