Wednesday, November 11, 2009

It's all about meme.

Daylight Savings Time, health, weather shifts, and raking the yard have conspired to leave me a shell of my usual chipper, outgoing self. Rather than moan about all of that, though, I'm going to do a memething, just so I can keep my Internet Blogger card.

• Leave me a comment saying "Resistance is Futile."
• I'll respond by asking you five questions so I can satisfy my curiosity
• Update your journal with the answers to the questions
• Include this explanation in the post and offer to ask other people questions

(Questions from frabjousdave)

1. I notice you use index cards when breaking down your scripts. What is it you like about them over an electronic outline or screenwriting program?

Mostly it’s that, nine times out of ten, I’m capable of successfully pinning a card to a bulletin board. I’m ridiculously, comically slow on the uptake when it comes to learning anything remotely tech-oriented. So while my word processor and screenwriting programs probably have the capacity to do outlines in a comparable format (grid with moveable “cards”) as well as any number of other useful tasks, I haven’t figured out how to make them do it yet and probably won’t unless it somehow becomes vitally important that I do so. And even then I probably won’t figure it out in time for it to matter.

As I sit here thinking about it, I realize that the cards and board is the closest thing in my current writing practice to painting--a full-body activity that creates a (somewhat) visual impression of a story that’s accessible in one lump. So maybe there’s a bit of a nostalgic buzz to physically moving the cards around, creating new bits, editing unnecessary ones, arranging everything in an order that (for awhile at least) works.

2. You seem not to get out very often for social affairs, yet you seem very social when you do. What gives? Who needs to kick you in the ass to get you out more often?

Answering the last question first: pretty much everyone.

As for what gives, well, there’s a variety of different things that play into my not going out very often. Money’s a big one; I have a theory that I’m not a cheap bastard, just someone who’s not comfortable shelling out for dinner, a movie and drinks when winter’s coming and the heating bill’s about to go up. Scheduling’s another--the dayjob knocks out three days a week, more or less. And for going out and possibly meeting new people, I need a fair amount of lead time to get in the proper mindset. Used to be I’d just drink heavily to get in the mood, but I don’t do that much anymore. I spend a lot of time just not feeling well enough to leave the house if I don’t absolutely have to, especially this time of year, when the weather changes and my sinuses start acting up. Also, your and Lindy’s hospitality aside, I don’t get invited out that often.

If I seem social when I’m not in the house…well, good. It took a lot of effort to not be a complete boob when interacting with new people. But even if I’m managing to not give that impression, more often than not I feel terribly awkward trying to find something to talk about with people I don’t know.

3. How much do you indulge in your drawing these days? Has it become a sideline, or do you think you'll pursue it more seriously again?

Drawing is something I putter around with because I can’t afford to do what I really want, artistically-speaking, which is paint. I do plan to get back to it someday, though I don’t anticipate it ever being anything other than a hobby. Four years of having my artistic whims indulged, even encouraged, made painting into something I’d hate to do under anyone’s terms but my own.

I frequently tell the story of the gallery curator who came to my studio a couple years after art college. He told me several things I should do that would make him more favourably disposed to display them, which was fairly generous of him, really. But hearing this guy tell me what I should do with my paintings absolutely infuriated me. After he left (without me throwing him out the window, a scene I visualized repeatedly during the course of his visit), I calmed down and said to myself, “Well, I better find something else I can do where I won’t want to viciously assault people who can help me make money for trying to help me make money.”

Though I haven’t done it in any serious fashion for probably more than a dozen years now, painting, and the freedom to do whatever I want and nothing else while painting, is still deeply important to me.

4. Werewolves or vampires?

Depends on what’s being done with them. Taken entirely in the abstract, I’d have to go with vampires, even though vampire stories almost inevitably disappoint. Conceptually, werewolves strike me as much more limited--off the top of my head I can’t think of more than a couple werewolf stories that didn’t involve the horror of changing into a monster/losing control of oneself (actually, I can’t think of more than one at the moment: Dog Soldiers). Vampire stories outnumber werewolf pieces by what, 20 to 1?--for much the same reason I think superhero stories outnumber straight fantasy or sci-fi in comics: because vampires are more flexible than lycanthropes. Too flexible, really, if people will buy vampires wandering in sunlight glittering instead of burning, but at least with them you’ve got room to move around. So yeah, vampires.

5. What is that cheese dip recipe you once shared with me? We need it posted for posterity.

It’s a slightly modified kopanisti (feta cheese dip) recipe. I’ve been making it so long I don’t know the exact quantities anymore (if I ever did).
Ingredients are:
-One small container of feta cheese (the smallest one you can buy at Safeway that’s in brine rather than wrapped)
-Four pickled pepperoncini peppers (you could do more if you can handle it--if it’s just T and I, I might go up to double that)
-One clove of garlic (more if you like that sort of thing)
-Some olive oil (maybe a quarter of a cup?--it’s more of a texture thing, so personal taste plays in)
-Juice of a lemon
-Greek seasoning, to taste
-half a brick of low-fat cream cheese (or not low-fat, though I personally can’t detect the difference when everything’s mixed together.)

Toss everything in the food processor and blend until you have the desired consistency. Double everything if you’re going to have more than three or four people eating it (that’s what I do for parties.)

The cream cheese is my tweak to the recipe--it smoothes the texture a bit and cuts the sharpness of the pepperoncinis. Which may be a violation of the general intent--for our anniversary, T and I had some kopanisti at Cosmos for the first time in a couple years, and theirs was definitely hotter than mine tends to be.


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