July 11th, 2007


Just Flew In from L.A....

I have a new appreciation for L.A. The last time I was out there was in 1988, and I had such a not-fun time that I swore I'd never return. But this time was different, and now I like it a lot!

The development meetings went very well. I think we've got a great idea for a short horror film, and we'll continue to bounce things off each other via email until it's all set. Raiya Corsiglia is a very talented filmmaker and I'm happy to be working with her. I worked with her once before (in an acting, not writing, capacity) back in the late '90s on a short film called "Blue Dreams Downtown". She showed me the final cut while I was there, and though I was disturbed to see that my character had been left on the cutting room floor like Kevin Costner in The Big Chill, it turned into a fine film nonetheless, one that's been accepted to a lot of fancy-schmancy film festivals.

It wasn't all work, though. Raiya understood I was a tourist and took me to lots of fun places. On Saturday, we ate a late lunch at a restaurant in Glendale called Alcove, which was delish but included way too much food on each plate for one person. Then, that night, we went to a big outdoor mall called City Walk right by Universal, which was completely insane. However, we did find a nice place to sit and drink gigantic margaritas.

Sunday we visited Huntington Gardens, which was one of the best botanical gardens I've ever been to. My favorite parts were the Cactus Garden, which made you feel like you were on another planet, and the little rain forest tucked away inside what appears to be an old mausoleum, filled almost entirely with carnivorous plants! Then we drove back to Burbank and visited Dark Delicacies, an all-horror bookstore that I've always wanted to see. I reintroduced myself to Del and spent an hour looking around the store. If I lived out there, I'd go every day! I love that place! I wound up leaving with a cool shirt ("Zombie Island Cocktail Lounge") and three out-of-print Douglas Clegg novels I've been looking for. Unfortunately, Del told us that cinriter doesn't work at the nearby Iliad Bookstore on Sundays, so we didn't get to hook up with her. (The days were pretty filled up, so we didn't get to hang out with karenetaylor either, nor moschus, who I remembered too late is also out in L.A.)

Sunday continued with a late lunch at the world famous In-N-Out Burger, which was delicious and apparently features a secret menu only the select few know about. Order something "animal style" and see what happens! Then it was off to the Santa Monica Pier to ride the roller coaster there. Dinner at a Thai place in downtown Burbank (where you can't even smoke outside on the sidewalk!) and a drive into downtown L.A. rounded out the evening. I wanted to see the big Hollywood sign -- I've never seen it in real life, only in pictures -- but it was too dark by the time we got over there, so we just drove around the hills and looked at all the pretty houses.

We were nowhere near coastered out after the pier, though, so on Monday we decided to forego all other plans and take a trip to Disneyland. The new Indiana Jones ride is my new all-time favorite. You have to go on it when you get the chance! It's crazy! Also, I discovered I can go on any ride without getting sick -- from Space Mountain to the Matterhorn to Big Thunder Mountain -- except for the tea cups. That's the ride that almost made me hurl. Go figure.

My time in L.A. felt like it was over before it started, and I was sad to leave. I hope I get to go back soon.
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    ...and boy are my arms tired!

Another General Slocum Review

When it rains it pours. Just a few weeks ago I was lamenting the lack of ink for General Slocum's Gold, and now another review has popped up. This time it's a positive -- if somewhat confused* -- review at Tangent Online.

"Like a racecar, once you’ve stripped away the roll cage and the safety harness, this story carries very little excess weight; there’s really nothing between you and the speeding asphalt. The author has deftly constructed a tale that is scary without being gory. Not that there’s anything intrinsically wrong with being gory, but so many stories attempt to substitute an avalanche of intestines for any real horror; General Slocum’s Gold is far better than that....Find a copy and read it. It’s good stuff."

* I say confused because A) the reviewer calls the gold cursed and it's not, it's the opposite of cursed, B) it's about 11,000 words too long for Chizine, though I appreciate the compliment, and C) the connection between characters that is echoed by the use of hands seems to elude the reviewer. But still, it's a good review and I ain't complaining!