Zhadi's Den

Random essays on wine, writing, moving to San Francisco, surfing, cats (exotic and otherwise) and zombies...depending on my mood.

Monday, July 24, 2006


It's hot. It's muggy. I have very little consistent email access. I'm cheerful enough, except for the sweat dripping from the back of my legs. This is not San Diego weather. Ick.

At any rate, I will probably be out of email communication for the next week. I may surprise you and do a random post this week, but don't look for me before next Tuesday! Lots of surfing to be done...and lots of relaxing. I want to come back from this trip in a happy, relaxed, boneless cat sort of state!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Lost Weekend

While I haven't been battling with non-existent bats or bugs in an alcoholic haze or anything that dramatic, this weekend has pretty much been a bust for me. Aside from a migraine that's just now started to concede defeat in the wake of four (FOUR) Zomig, leaving me drowsy, dopey (more so than usual), and completely lacking in motivation, I was hit by a depression that knocked me on my ass and still hasn't let me get up.

I could see it coming.


It's like getting caught in just the wrong spot the break zone when you're surfing. You see this nasty ass wave rising up in front of you. If you try to paddle over it, you'll get caught at the lip and go over the falls. You could try and dive underneath or turn and paddle like hell for shore, but it breaks right on top of you and it's one of those waves that closes out in one big WHUMP. Knocks the wind out of you, rips your board out of your hands, spins you, pounds you till you don't know up from down. You're sure you're gonna drown. Then you finally pop to the surface and WHAM, your board rebounds and hits you in the head. And oh look, that was just the first wave of a four wave set.

By the time you've finished getting worked over and have crawled back to shore, you're so disoriented and exhausted, all you can do is lie on the beach until you start to feel halfway normal.

I'm still lying on my metaphorical beach, not feeling anywhere near normal. I feel isolated, locked behind an invisible wall, distanced from everyone and everything. Why would anyone want to be around me anyway?

I don't feel like me. And I don't like the person that's currently inhabiting my body.
I've gotten no writing done other than a half-assed post. I've read two books and don't remember a thing about them. I've walked on the beach and wanted to walk out in the water, except it was too cold and I'm a wuss when it comes to temperature extremes. I feel like a fake, like I'm living someone else's life, like I missed an important turn (left instead of right?) at some juncture. I feel dull, boring, unattractive. I want to curl up in bed with my cats and stay there. They'd love it. So at least I'd be making someone happy. And their purrs are very soothing. Except I wish that Beezle would not get these sudden urges to head butt me when I'm sleeping. For a little cat, he has a very hard head.

Did I mention that Zomig is a depressant? It ain't helping. I've made myself hang up clothes and get a few things done, but the self-loathing that comes with feeling like I've wasted two days is creating a very annoying bout of circular thinking. Self-loathing, angry thoughts. I mean, look at the headlines. We might be on the verge of a major war (I'm so sick of militaristic bully boys), the death toll in Iraq climbs every day, earthquakes, floods, global warming... What the hell do my problems matter in the face of all this? And yet, how do we go about our day to day lives if we DON'T deal with our problems?

I am going to try and dig out old Army of Darkness photos so that I can keep my promise to Malnurtured Snay at some point this week. I'll just wait till I'm a little peppier in mood to write about it. Otherwise it'll be Army of Darkness as seen through the eyes of Dana Allen Poe. And in the meantime, I'm gonna go find a cat to hold.

Saturday, July 15, 2006


This is Tsavo. He is the only kitten I've ever bottle-fed...and kept. Cute little thing, ain't he? And yes, I'm carrying him by his scruff. He liked it. I spoiled him rotten...

And he turned into the Machiavellian feline you see in the last picture. He's a big baby too. Screams like a baby when one of the other cats looks at him funny.

His sister, Madelaine, who is sitting behind him in his otter picture, staring up at the camera, is currently sitting on my shoulders, in between my head and the back of my rocking chair. I won't let her on my lap right now 'cause it's currently occupied by my iBook. I'm getting a stiff neck here, Maddie...

Why am I posting these pictures?

I am determined to get some writing on my book done today and don't want to spend a lot of time blogging. And I'm curious as to who thinks it's gross to carry a kitten around in one's mouth by the scruff of their neck. I did not, however, clean him in traditional momma cat fashion. I just know someone was gonna bring that up...

Okay. Time to get to work. Tomorrow I'll have more time to write, so I'll have a more interesting post. Although I think Tsavo is pretty interesting.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Random Posting

Heh...I told Mr. Fabulous that he could blog about his grocery list and people would still efuse over it...so he took me up on it and posted his grocery list. And said some VERY nice things about me as well. Started my day out on a good note, thank you, Mr. Fab!

Didn't post anything yesterday 'cause I had a busy work day, a headache on top of it, and my internet connection at home is being very wonky. Something to do with the ethernet cable or router port. Not sure. So I'm trying a USB wireless thingee - ordered it for 20 bucks, plus a 10 dollar rebate. I'll let ya know if it works or not.

Still busy at work, so I'm gonna post a picture of me and Mo in our heyday (salad days? Does that mean the days when we were thin?).

This is one of our Murder for Hire publicity photos that we used as our Christmas card that year. Murder for Hire, y'see, is not just the name of my mystery novel. It's also the name of the theatrical troupe that Mo and I had for several years. We used to do walking tours in La Jolla for the Raymond Chandler Festival, as well as performances of The Peruvian Pigeon, our pastiche/parody of...

Oh, come on, do I really need to spell it out?

Anyway, more on MFH later. It's worth a post or two...as is my stint as a Deadite in ARMY OF DARKNESS. I promised Malnurtured Snay that I'd post a picture of my sword...and I will! Patience, Snay...patience!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Adopting a Soldier

Having reached the number of felines that will co-exist comfortably in the house, I adopted a soldier Monday.

Inspired by a post written by my sister, I went to the website, Soldiers Angels (the link is up above), read the requirements and decided to do it. I'm against the war in Iraq, but I do support our troops. Our brother was in the first Gulf War. It was the first time in my life that I actively watched the news, hoping every day that it'd be over and he'd come home. We were lucky; he came home to us relatively quickly. I can only try to picture what it's like for the families and friends of soldiers over in Iraq now, waiting and wondering when -- or even if -- they'll be coming home.

The requirements are simple: you commit to writing a letter to your soldier once a week and to send at least two care packages a month. I love giving presents and I love writing letters. I hope I don't bore the pants off my soldier.

You may or may not get a letter back from your soldier, so don't go into it with expectations of a steady pen pal. The site also stresses that this is for serious people; not for people looking for a dating service. Heh. Don't worry, kid. You're safe in that regard.

I already sent off a letter and have a care package ready to go. I just have to heft it over to the post office and hope that I filled out the customs form correctly. I hate those things. But I want this package to get there as quickly as possible. It was fun picking stuff out for him (although it would have been easier if I'd gotten a female soldier). cookies, candy, snack bars, beef jerky, books, magazines, pens and writing tablets, tea bags, little mini toiletry items, and two rolls of toilet paper. I'd bake cookie, but I've been told that it takes up to three weeks for packages to reach their recipients, which would make for some stale homemade cookies. Hopefully Trader Joe's brand will be acceptable.

I hope that my soldier writes back, if just to give me a better idea of what he'd like to get in his packages, what he's interested in so I can make my letters more entertaining for him. Actually, I hope that I won't have to send too many packages, just because it'll mean that the troops are finally coming home.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Hao Wu Freed! Woo hoo!!!

Considering that this comes several days after the Wall Street Journal article mentioned in my previous post, I think it's at least somewhat safe to assume that the article may have had something to do with his release. Whatever the reason, this is great news!

English / français11 July 2006 Reporters Without Borders / Internet Freedom desk


Reporters Without Borders voiced "immense relief" at the news of the release today of blogger and documentary filmmaker Hao Wu after nearly five months in detention. His release was reported by his sister, Na Wu. "

Let us not forget, however, that Hao was kidnapped by the Chinese security services, which violated his most basic rights by claiming that his case was a matter of national security," the press freedom organisation said. " At the same time, 50 other people are currently in prison in China for writing about 'subversive' subjects online," Reporters Without Borders continued. "China is by far the world's biggest prison for bloggers and cyber-dissidents. We would also like to pay tribute to the courage of this blogger's sister, who battled relentlessly for his release."

Hao was arrested on 22 February while preparing a report about an underground Protestant church. He was held in isolation for 140 days, during which he was never allowed to receive the help of a lawyer. The Beijing Public Security Bureau (PSB) never revealed the reasons for his arrest. He was said to be "under house arrest" but he was never allowed to receive a visit from his relatives or to telephone them. The PSB said this was necessary because there had been a "breach of national security."

Reporters Without Borders wrote to Chinese President Hu Jintao in March asking him to intercede on Hao's behalf. The organisation also addressed requests for help to the European Union, including a 10 July letter to European Parliament president Josep Borrell asking him to raise the cases of Hao and two other imprisoned cyber-dissidents during his 8-14 July visit to China. This request was made just four days after the European Parliament adopted a resolution about online free expression that mentioned Hao.

Hao had a blog called Beijing or Bust in which he wrote under the pseudonym of Beijing Loafer. His sister, Na, kept a blog all the time he was detained in which she reported on her fight to have him freed.

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Monday, July 10, 2006

No more lip smacking!

Lip smacking noises. Doesn't really matter what makes 'em, they just gross me out.


My dog doing that doggy lip-smacking thing. Or licking her private parts. They both sound the same. The sound makes me want to throw up. She does it in her sleep, and won't sleep unless she's on the floor below the bed, so I now wear ear plugs. What is the sound of one dog smacking? Yuck!

People who call me up and talk while chewing gum. First of all, how rude. I don't call someone up when I'm eating. And I sure as hell wouldn't call 'em up if I were in the middle of masticating a big old wad of gum. Lip smacky noises are amplified when they're done into the business end of a phone. Augh! Gross!

Spit stringy kisses on tv shows or movies. Hey, I'm not a prude. I like to kiss. I like a good sexy scene as much as anyone. But dagnabbit, I do NOT wanna hear all the slurping, smacking and so on that seem to come with most on screen smooching these days. Give me LAST OF THE MOHICANS style screen kissing. Daniel Day Lewis and Madelaine Stowe generated more sensuality than any slurping face eating scene with nasty old spit strings connecting the two leads.

Euww! I just grossed myself out. And i haven't even mentioned the scene in ORIGINAL SIN where Thomas Jane spits in Angelina Jolie's mouth. Yeah, sexy. Thanks a hell of a lot.

People chewing with their mouths open and talking. Manners, folks! Didn't your mother ever teach you that it's considered bad form to send food particles flying across the table? No? Well, a pox upon your house then!

I like cats. They're quiet no matter what they're licking.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Gene Kelly's legs, Part Two

After I wrote my post yesterday, the movie stopped RIGHT before the pirate ballet, my favorite scene in THE PIRATE. Gene Kelly in shorts in a pirate fantasy...grrrrowf!

I was not happy.

Okay, considering that I was in the midst of evil cramps and hormonal fluctuations, I was PISSED AS HELL.

But it was time to go (dinner and poker night at Rick & Jen's, plus we did watch the rest of the pilot for BATTLESTAR GALACTICA - two thumbs up!), so I didn't have time to futz with the DVD and figure out if it was dirt on the disk or what.

Today, I'm happy to say, I figured out that there were two disks (this was a dub from a tape). Very cleverly did I figure this out. Something about the words 'Part One' on the DVD that clued me in...

So today I got to watch the pirate ballet and indulge in nostalgia (and lust for Gene Kelly's extremely well built thighs).

When our parents divorced, one of the things that made life seem okay were the nights when Mom, Lisa and I would make Appian Way boxed pizza, homemade fudge (the type that you have to test by dropping a little bit in cold water), have ice cold Coke, and watch an MGM musical. AMERICAN IN PARIS, GIGI, SINGING IN THE RAIN, SUMMER STOCK, THE PIRATE... Pizza, Coke and fudge. Comfort food. Special evenings when it didn't matter that Dad had left (this was an era when divorce was still something that happened to OTHER people's parents, not your own), leaving my sister and me angry, bewildered and confused, and my mom to deal with to pre-pubescent girls on her own.

Mom told us that our Aunt Joan used to refer to Gene Kelly as 'that stupid grinning Irishman.' I love my aunt, but gotta wonder what the heck her problem was with grinning Irishmen. Gene Kelly's smile, like his thighs, were -- and still are -- a great cure for whatever ails me. Including the melancholy that generally accompanies cramps.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Lazy Day...

I'm puttering on the computer, but I don't really feel like writing. I have hideous cramps (fear me, male creatures!) and I'm watching The Pirate, with Gene Kelly and Judy Garland. A very underrated film, directed by Judy's husband Vincent Minnelli...and with many wonderful shots of Gene Kelly's fine legs. Especially in the number The Pirate Ballet....grrrrowf!

Anyway...more tomorrow. We're about to go over to Rick and Jen's for poker.

Yes. Poker. I'm hoping to sneak in a few episodes of Buffy while we're there 'cause now we're into Second Season and it's Spike time!

But for a few more minutes...Gene Kelly's legs. Grrrowwff!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Hao Wu Article in the Wall Street Journal!

I'm referring you to a post in the Paper Tiger for a comprehensive update. But I was so excited to see Hao Wu's picture on the FRONT PAGE of the Wall Street Journal, with a great article by journalist Geoffrey Fowler detailing Hao Wu's plight.

According to one of my colleagues, who is from China, this sort of international publicity is potentially embarrassing to the Chinese government and, unless there's more to Hao Wu's detainment than has been brought to light so far, might be the impetus for his release.

Here's hoping!

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Thursday, July 06, 2006

Pale Dreamer

Sigh...One of those projects I've worked on that came just soooo close...but couldn't quite go the distance. Brian and I wrote the script, a dark-humored sci-fi horror, in a couple of weeks for a friend and producer, Jeff Varga. He'd gotten a connection with a guy who had a spacecraft set, and Jeff wanted to film something cheap and easy. So...Pale Dreamer evolved.

Quick and dirty synospis: A pair of spacefaring junk dealers discover a mysterious derelict ship in deep space, bearing a female android with a hidden past and a pair of sinister aliens intent on playing a deadly game of cat and mouse with their ‘rescuers.’

Status: Originally optioned by Soldiers of Light Productions. One sheet and short trailer made with cult horror stars: Ken Foree (Dawn of the Dead, From Beyond, Texas Chainsaw III); Josef Pilato (Day of the Dead); and Brinke Stevens (scream queen). Rights reverted to writers.

Look at my curly dark hair...can you say 'perm?' Hey, I was playing a 'New Israeli.' Plus I liked having permed hair 'cause it was no fuss, no bother.

The gal in between Ken Foree and Josef Pilato is Angel Boris, who some of you might recognize as a former Playboy Playmate. She was our original Zoe, the android, but dropped out of the project when her manager decided that she should move away from low budget sci-fi and horror. Thank goodness Leprauchan 3 was there to help her career. Meow.

I liked Angel quite a bit, actually. She was a sweetheart to work with and it was a real pisser when she left the project. The original cast had fantastic chemistry. Everything worked. Her replacement, someone that Jeff got for the trailer, was damn good. I don't have any pictures of her and I'm ashamed to say that I don't remember her name.

I think if there's one project in my life that I would have chosen to achieve completion, Pale Dreamer would have been it. Writer/actress...getting to work with three of the nicest cult horror movie stars ever...

I mean, you all know I'm a zombie fan. Peter (Ken Foree) from Dawn of the Dead. Captain Rhodes (Josef Pilato) from Day of the Dead. For someone like me that aces out working with Johnny Depp any day.

Not that I don't like Johnny Depp. I think he's brilliant. But he hasn't done any zombie movies yet, so he still has some chops to prove to yours truly.

Ken called me Spaghetti Arms. He made me work out at the gym at 5:30 in the morning. I did it 'cause it was Ken, even though I truly wanted to punch his lights out some of the time. "Stop whining," he'd say when I didn't want to try and free-lfit 20 pound barbells. I'd threaten to hit him with one. The off-screen wrangling translated perfectly to the contentious onscreen relationship of Jake and Jeanette. And...well...c'mon! Peter from Dawn of the Dead! Geek out time for Dana!

Josef was (is) probably one of the best improvisors I've ever worked with. The greatest compliment Brian and I got as a writing team was that Josef rarely felt the need to try to improve on our dialogue.

He also did a bit part in one of the lowest budget movies ever (Bloodbath, vampires running a film studio in Hollywood) for one of the cheesiest productions company ever (VistaStreet) for practically no pay because I'd written the script. He did add to his part (the cantankerous police detective), but that was okay with me. I'd written it in about a week while temping at Disney, had to follow the insane directions of the executive producer ("let's have a b-story with one of the characters obsessed by vitamins...yeah! And let's have the hero be a werewolf who has a magic sword that can kill vampires! Yeah! oh...and more titties!'), and saw about a third of the script go unfilmed because a: we had 6 days to shoot it, $3,000 to film it with, and a director (I love the man dearly, but I swear he's a vampire) who hated to get up in the mornings. He also played the werewolf. Not a good idea to play the lead when it's your first directing gig. But it was a fun shoot, much wine was drunk during the filming (we had no stage blood...) and I got to work with Josef, along with a pretty much 100 percent fun cast and crew. Never mind that it has lower production values than the original Dark Shadows or that you can see the boom mike in shots...that's not the point!

But I digress. This is about Pale Dreamer.

Brinke Stevens. The most down-to-earth, steadily working scream queen in the world. I've only gotten to work with her on the trailer of Pale Dreamer, more's the pity...but we became friends during the shoot and we've shared many a bottle of red wine. My favorite of her movies will always be Slavegirls from Beyond Infinity, just for her delivery of the line 'You're an inhuman fiend.'

So we made a trailer. I still have it. Have the one-sheet too. But the movie never got financed. Another casualty in Hollywoods graveyard of Scripts That Got Optioned, But Not Made. It's next to Forest Lawn, in case you're wondering.

Ah well. Great memories. Great people. Great script. Hey, I don't have to be modest. It's my damn blog!

Sigh. I don't want to perm my hair again. But I wouldn't mind my old waist-size.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Tiger & Piglets


According to this link, the tiger was born in captivity and nursed by a pig...and vice versa!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

When I die...

I'm always reading or hearing about these people who, after they died, left behind a house filled with stacks of old newspapers and magazines ( I do believe that one person actually died when stacks of the magazines finally toppled down on him/her), basements filled with hundreds of empty jars (you never know when you might need them), coupons, rubberbands, junk mail...you name it.

Well, when I die, they're gonna have to dig for body amidst piles of shells, rocks and beach glass. In fact, word to my family, you might as well just toss 'em on top of my corpse and erect a nice cairn where I finally croak - it'll save you money and trouble. And if the cats want to gnaw on my flesh for a few days before my body is discovered, that's okay too. Don't hold it against them. After all, they have to eat. I want to make sure they have good homes when I'm gone and I don't want to be hearing any rumors about Tsavo developing a taste for human flesh.

He already has one, y'know.

Where did this morbid thought come from? Well, every day this long holiday weekend I've taken Boska for two, two and a half hour walks (today actually hit three hours) and have come home each day with a canvas Trader Joe's bag filled with beach treasures. I have empty plastic cat little containers in the garage that are rapidly filling up with sand dollars, scallop shells, drift wood and interesting beach rocks. I have large shells filled with beach glass scattered throughout the house. I have jars and vases filled with beach glass sorted by color on the shelf up above the stove.

True, I have plans for some of my treasures. I've made some ginchy ornaments with sand dollars and scallop shells by coating them with a layer of hot water and Elmer's glue to make them more durable, then putting a sheer irridescent gold or pearly paint on 'em. Add some ribbon, hang it on your Christmas tree. Put a selection of beach glass in one of the scallop shells, wrap it in holiday cellophane and sent it to like-minded beach glass obsessed friends and family. I've got other plans as well, but my family reads this blog and I'd be spoiling my mother's birthday surprise if I said much more.

Point being, that I still have a buttload of shells, etc. And I show no signs of being able to resist the impulse to add to my collection.

I'm not sure if there's a 12 step program for this sort of addiction. Just promise me that if you're the one that finds my corpse, you'll make sure I'm buried with my treasure. And don't try and steal any. I've read EC Comics and I WILL come after you.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Worst Movie Score Ever

Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things, a 1972 zombie flick. Also deserves dishonorable mention for ugliest pants, worn by Alan Ormsby.

I defy anyone to come up with a suckier movie score OR uglier pants. I tried to find a photo from the movie showing the pants. None available. Just think '70s tight polyster, tri-color horizontal stripes. No, make that FOUR different colors of stripes, topped with an orange polyster shirt. Or...possibly quiana.

Someone else watch this so I can share the horror.


...but not a work day! Shweeet.....

I am so enjoying this four day weekend. With the exception of going to Rick and Jen's Saturday, the entire weekend has been spent within a four mile radius of the house (those beach walks) and I have no real agenda.

The weather in the mornings is misty and cool, which makes walking for a couple of hours a pleasure, especially when I stop for a nice hot cappuccino along the way. I've collected a ton of beach glass and shells, and have figured out how to do squats when I pick each piece up (I read somewhere that the one exercise that's supposed to be best for women is the squat), so my legs are getting one heck of a workout.

Boska's loving the beach walks. Her hearing is definitely not what it was, but aside from some momentious farts (no doubt from eating clandestine crab claws on the beach when I'm not looking), she's doing really well. And she probably doesn't mind the farts. The glucosomine seems to be helping with the arthritis; she proved several times this weekend that she can outrun me without even trying. Wearing two pound weights around each ankle doesn't help with my sprinting speed either. I'm giving her valerian for anxiety, melatonin to help her sleep patterns, and gingko biloba to help with...I believe the homeopathic canine care book said 'cognitive reasoning.' Or something like that.

I wish there was something for the farts, though. Stinky!

I started my new book last night. Officially started chapter one on the iBook. I'd scribbled four pages of rough notes for the opening, but it's not really a new project for me until I have the opening lines. My goal is to keep it relatively short and fast-paced. I have a bad habit of overwriting, trying to include everything, the kitchen sink and all the crap in the cupboard underneath in my books. And these days the attention span of either the publishing industry or the reading public is pretty much set on Koontz, Clancy, King and Steele. I feel guilty including King in that list, actually. Even his substandard books, the ones that feel like he wrote 'em while watching reality TV or sitcoms, are written with more care to attention to detail and description than most airport books. I should be able to phone in a writing job half as good.

Also did research for my new horror script. I have decided as much as I love tigers that I don't want to live in the Sundarbans of Bangladesh. Too many crocodiles. I'd rather get killed by a tiger than a crocodile. But only if I actually had to choose between one or the other.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Sunday Post

Nothing specific to talk about; just putting something up 'cause I'm trying to post every day and already missed yesterday due to:

A. Slept in as long as possible so the cats could have Momma time
B. Had my hair done (my bangs took the color way too well, so I have very coppery bangs that almost, but not quite, blend in with the rest of my hair. I look kinda like a calico cat.
C. Took Boska for a 2 hour walk on the beach and collected many shells and pieces of sea glass.
D. Went over to Rick and Jen's for the rest of the day.

Jen and I watched PERSUASION (most excellent Jane Austin film, dudes!) while Dave & Rick did some gaming. Jen and I had baguette, cheddar cheese, Branston pickle, scones and tea, and made sure to extend our pinkies while drinking.

The first two of hours of the pilot for BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (the new one) was next on the agenda. Not bad at all, although I was leery of the show when I first heard about it. We would have watched the final two hours, except yours truly was promised that we'd crack open the second season of BUFFY. We made taco salad in between BSG & BVS, huge salads full of beefy, cheesy, beany goodness mixed with tons of lettuce, tomato and avocado. Filled with food and red wine, I fulfilled my role in Buffy Night and fell asleep halfway through the second episode.

Eeewww...Boska just farted. Dang, dog farts are foul. Especially when they've been eating crab claws (against their mother's wishes!) scavanged off the beach. Stinky old pup.

Anyway, time to get down to writing. This was a nice little warm-up. Except for the dog fart. I feel kinda woozy here...
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