Zhadi's Den

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

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Promo for a Pal

When I met Mark, we were both working on a very low budget movie. The movie, PRINCESS WARRIOR, was my first lead role in a film. The fact that I was paid the grand sum of $25 a day paled beside my excitement at being cast as the villainess in a Hollywood film. Never mind that the budget was $100,000 for pre-production, production AND post-production. I was jazzed.

But this post isn't about PRINCESS WARRIOR. It's about Mark Adams, who was one of the very small crew working on PW. He also had the distinct thrill of playing one my concubines (in the film, people!). He got to wear blue lipstick, a loin cloth and not much else. Lucky Mark.

Despite this career set-back, Mark went on to pursue a career in filmmaking. This link will take you to his website. I urge you to take a look - it's a fascinating and humorous diary of his career in low budget and independent films. If you're interested in Princess Warrior (yes, there are some pictures of me and quotes from an article I wrote about making the film that was published in Morbid Curiosity), go here.

And even more exciting, Mark just finished a documentary about World War II and the remembrances of South Carolina veterans who fought in it. This link will take you to a two minute promo. Hopefully we'll be seeing the entire documentary soon!

It sounds silly considering I only knew Mark for the few weeks during the filming of a very bad movie, but I'm really proud of him. I'm sorry I sent you to the mines with the other concubines, Mark. I should've kept ya!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

One of the things I like about my co-workers

They assume I know what they're talking about even when I don't necessarily have a clue.

Yup, in a world of condescending jerks, I work with people who assume I'm smart instead of assuming I'm stupid.

Mind you, sometimes I really have no clue what they're talking about because, while I do have a high IQ (142 or something along those lines), my background does not include much of a scientific nature. Nor do I understand the ins and outs of venture capital. But I'm learning, largely because when I ask questions, they take the time to sit down and answer them thoughtfully and in language I can understand. They give me reading material (kind of like VC or Science for Dummies). They ask me my opinion on things that I didn't necessarily think I had any valid opinions to offer. But surprisingly, I now find that I do.

I find I'm stretching my brain in ways that I haven't in a long time. I'm great at studying things that interest me (zombies, swordfighting, etc.), but now I'm becoming interested in subjects that I disdained in school.

There's something about the assumption that I'm intelligent enough to get these things that makes me want to prove that this assumption is correct.

Very sneaky.

I really love my job.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

AOD Sword

Okay, M. Snay, this post is for you!

To your left is the sword (one of two) that I used when playing a Deadite in ARMY OF DARKNESS, the third in Sam Raimi's EVIL DEAD trilogy. If you've seen it, then the description 'Three Stooges Meets Demons in Medieval Times' will make perfect sense.

These aluminum swords were originally made for the second HIGHLANDER film, for the infamous Zeist scenes.

Zeist. What were they thinking?

I intend to do a more detailed 'what it was like to work on AOD' (including the factoid that in person Bruce Campbell is a lot like Ash, the character he plays in the movie. A lot.), but I'm in the middle of getting my mystery novel ready to send back out in the world (still quivering and raw from its last rejection) and have to get cracking on it. I spent an inordinate amount of time this weekend on the beach with Boska or reading whilst pinned down by felines demanding love time.

And I'm also still searching for my AOD photos, which will need to be scanned and uploaded to my computer. But the original promise I made my fellow blogger Malnurtured Snay, that I'd post a picture of my sword, has been fulfilled!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Things I'm going to post about

In no particular order...

1. Army of Darkness - as soon as I find my photos from the shoot. I have a promise to keep.
2. A promo for my pal Adam and his career in independent films and documentary filmmaking...and why he once wore blue lipstick.
3. Sigh. Princess Warrior. I guess I have to.
4. Why guys on the Muni have to sit with their legs wide open in that 'bury me in a 'Y' shaped coffin' posture that leaves little room for those sitting next to them.
5. Dunno. I'll have to think about it.


Originally uploaded by zhadi.
Bye, baby girl...

Memorial to Loki

I got home Monday evening to sad news; while I was driving home from L.A. and Dave was at work, Loki died. We're not sure why...she was lethargic after her vaccinations a week ago Saturday and that same day, the two little boy kittens went off to their new home. We figured the lethargy was a normal reaction to the stress of the vet visit, the vaccines, and losing two of her playmates. I'd seen it before with kittens and they normally pulled out of it in a few days, going back to their normal, destructive-as-only-kittens-can-be selves.

Loki, however, also had the remnants of a cold. So when she didn't bounce back by the weekend, we weren't particularly worried because even though she didn't seem too interested in playing, she was eating (a mixture of expensive baby food, kitten food and Pedialyte) and liked to wander around the house. The only worrisome thing to me was her occasional coughing and rapid breathing...but since I'd also seen that in cats with colds before (all seven of mine went down with kitty colds a few years back and it took them several weeks to recover) my alarms didn't go off. After all, her appetite was much better than my cats' had been when they had their colds.

Dave promised to keep a close watch on her over the weekend while I was gone. When I talked to him Saturday night, he said she still hadn't changed or improved, so I asked him to make an appointment at the vet's for her Monday afternoon. I'd take the quick route home and get her in for a check-up. The vet, however, was jam-packed. No appointments for two weeks. Which is crazy, in my opinion. Okay, I'd deal with it when I got back, take her into another vet. And when I talked to Dave again Sunday evening, he reported that Loki was poking around the house exploring and seemed to be feeling better. No worries. At least not too many.

So the last thing I expected when I walked up to the front door was to be told that she was dead. Dave had gotten home right before me and discovered our poor little girl stretched out on the office floor, cold and stiff. It looked as though she'd died in her sleep...but it broke my heart that she died alone. Maybe Raven was with her...cats have a sense for these things.

When another of my cats had to be put to sleep, Brian and I had the vet come to the house so she could die in comfortable and familiar surroundings. We pet Luna as the vet gave her the injection. Then Beezle, who had enjoyed Luna's mothering nature, jumped up on the bed and curled up around her as if to keep her warm on her way out. I hope that Raven was with Loki at the end.

I wrapped Loki in one of my shirts while Dave dug a grave in the backyard next to Tabitha, our old roommate's cat who died last year. We put a cairn of brick and shells on the grave, then toasted her with buffalo grass vodka, one sip each, the rest poured onto the cairn to send her off to Kitty Valhalla.

We think it was a congenital heart defect triggered by stress. I read up on feline symptoms in the Natural Cat and the only thing that matched up with the shallow, rapid breathing and coughing combined with a healthy appetite was heart problems. It's comforting to think that there's nothing that could have been done even if we'd taken her to the vet's last week...but both Dave and I are still wondering if we dropped the ball and cost Loki her life.

I'm trying not to beat myself up, but I'm pretty good at doing just that when an animal is involved. But I'm trying. We remind ourselves that if we hadn't taken her in, Loki would have died over a month ago in a cold, sterile environment. With us, she got warmth, love, and a chance to be a kitten for at least a few weeks.

That all being said...it just really hurts.

Raven is due to go to her home in a few days. Loki was going to go with her. That made the pain of giving them up a lot easier to think about. The family assures me that they'll get another kitten so Raven isn't on her own. But I know there'll be as many tears when Raven leaves as there was when we buried Loki. She likes to get on my lap, kiss my face, then climb up on my shoulder and drape like a mink stole.

Why do I do this foster mother thing again? Someone please remind me.

I was going to post a picture of Loki, but fucking Blogger isn't cooperating. So I'll put one up later.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Away for the Weekend

The last Twilight Tour of the year at EFBC/FCC is tomorrow, so yet another drive down to Southern California to emcee the fund raiser. After that, I'm going to do a kamikaze trip to San Diego Sunday morning to visit Mo, Mumsy and Bill for a couple of hours, then back up to L.A that evening to hang with the sister-unit, and then back to San Francisco Monday. Brian is going to co-emcee with me, so I'm looking forward to sitting back and letting him do most of the talking, which he will happily do.

Anyway, I won't be online till Tuesday, so have a fun-filled weekend, all!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

On Hold

I really want to take a break here, but I'm currently on hold with Sprint/Nextel. You know, the kind of 'hold' where it alternates supposedly soothing music with an automated voice telling the listener just how very important the call is to them, but why don't we go online and use the automated system instead.

I hate them.

I've been on hold for 20 minutes. And ironically, the minute I typed '20', the representative picked up. She's very nice, which eases the pain of holding. But 20 minutes of hold time? Feh!

I really need to get myself a wireless headset to wear at work 'cause I hate using speaker phone, which means I tuck the receiver between my ear and my neck and end up needing a visit to the chiropracter because I screw up the alignment and get a migraine. In fact...


That's the sound of my neck popping back into place after a few careful head tilts from side to side. I can do that if I catch it right away before everything locks up.

And now I'm off hold, off the phone and off to take a break!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Blue Sky Studio - Jewelry Extraordinaire!

I love supporting artists. Especially when they're friends! Check out these beautiful necklaces, made by Petaluma artist Kathleen Walter. And visit her website for more gorgeous pieces and information on each one!

Monday, September 11, 2006

The Cure for All That Ails Ya...

The Buffy Musical.

At least it's MY cure-all. Mind you, some of the songs make me bawl my eyes out - Giles' song to Buffy when he's watching her train, about wishing he could stay and guide her...well, it pretty much sums up my ambivalence when I left Brian. And Tara's love song to Willow? One of the most beautiful love songs I've ever heard.

And then there's Buffy's 'Give me something to sing about' refrain. Tell me you haven't felt like that at one point or another in your life.

It's okay, Buffy. Two episodes from now you'll boink Spike. And that's GOTTA help.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Two Down...

Two of our foster babies found a good home today with one of my managing directors and his family. They took Serafin and Ghengis (now renamed 'Sinbad' by my MD's son). Ghengis had a bout of runny kitten poop, got some stuck on his bottom, and did the little dragging of the butt across the floor at top speed...and they STILL wanted to take him home. I've no doubt that these two have won the kitten lottery in terms of a loving family that will spoil them rotten. So the usual tears that accompany the adoption of one of my fosters were kept at a minimum.

All four of them had their tests and vaccinations this morning; clean bills of health for all, including the other five that my friend Maureen took to foster, and all were very brave. Loki and Raven, the little girls, are now curled up sleeping, overcome by the excitement and the vaccinations. My cats, now allowed to check out the little rugrats, are alternately intrigued and annoyed.

Now the question is, how long will it be before Raven and Loki find good homes? Stay tuned for another episode of As The Kittens Poop.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Cute Overload and Things of an Undead Nature

Yeah, I know...I've been in kitten mode the last few blogs...when not rhapsodizing over Sacred Stone wine. A glass of which, by the way, sits beside me on the coffee table.

But...look at this picture. C'mon, could you concentrate on anything else if these cute little munchkins were in YOUR house? I think not!

From left to right: Loki, Raven, Ghengis, and Serafin.

I'm actually working on an outline for my mystery novel, MURDER FOR HIRE. It's going back out again to another publisher and I have to give them a synopsis AND an outline. You'd think that writing an outline for something you've already finished wouldn't be an issue. But it is. I HATE writing outlines.

I'd rather play with kittens and sip my wine.

Did I mention I'm really happy? Kittens, wine and another possibility to get my novel published? Oh, and MONDO ZOMBIE finally came out. MONDO ZOMBIE, for those of you who haven't had to listen to my whining over the last few years, is an anthology of zombie stories, actually the third of the BOOK OF THE DEAD series, edited by John Skipp and Craig Spector. Except John and Craig stopped working together after book number two, so John decided to edit Book Three on his own and changed the name. Anyway, I have a story in MONDO ZOMBIE and I've been waiting to see it published for over four years. The story, YOU'll NEVER BE LUNCH IN THIS TOWN AGAIN, is the touching tale of a first time film director trying to get his movie made while the dead come back to life. Here's a review from Hellnotes, a book review website for horror fans:

Book Review: Mondo Zombie

Mondo Zombie edited by John Skipp
Artwork: Alan Clark
Trade Hardcover: $35.00
Publisher: Cemetery Dance
Reviewed by Nickolas Cook

Okay, so ten years is a looooong time to wait to sink your teeth into another zombie anthology. But when you’ve got half of the genius zombie-editing duo known as Skipp and Spector doing duty, even ten years is worth the wait.Take a look at the table of contents page. The names alone should make you hungry for its bloody, pulsing contents. And when you find that not one of the stories is anything less than brilliant and respectful to the Romero-esque vision of a living dead Hell, then you know you’ve got something close to a ‘new classic’ in your hands.

The authors’ takes on the zombie end world theme in Mondo Zombie are many and varied. The internal cover blurb says it all “samurai zombies, wrestling chainsaw zombies, political zombies, sex with zombies, heartbreaking zombies, hardcore zombies, celebrity zombies, wannabe zombies, zombies in love, zombies in pieces, zombies in power, over a world turned to dust…”

With “the rising” of renewed interest in zombie fiction, Skipp brings together some of the genre’s best, but also manages to throw a variety of new voices into the mix, all of which most certainly hold their own against the veterans of horror.

There are stories of gory, knee slapping hilarity alongside tales of emotive brilliance. There’s even previously unpublished stories from two of the genre’s masters whom have passed on: Richard Laymon and Robert Bloch. Reading them reminds one of the heyday of horror, and what a master can do with so few words.

Some of the highlights for me?

Caitlin R. Kiernan’s “Two Worlds. And In Between” (dig that awesome borrowed title from The Sisters of Mercy!) was an exceptionally gruesome take on the end of the world, as seen through the eyes of a pair of very lost Goth young adults. I admit it: I’m a sucker for her work, novel or short. She has such a textural power in her words that I was actually a nauseous by story’s end.

Adam-Troy Castro’s story of a zombie penis, “From Hell It Came”, was just good B-movie fun- maybe one of the funniest stories I’ve ever read. He hits the over-the-top buttons with abandon and takes no prisoners.
As does the great (and where the hell have you been?) Del James with “Eye-Gouge”, a story of chainsaw welding zombies that makes you want to take a hot shower.

Dana Fredsti’s “You’ll Never Be Lunch In This Town Again” is Hollywood satire at its best, as a young director reassesses his real priorities as tinsel town collapses around him and his dwindling cast and crew.

(That's me! Isn't that cool?!)

John Skipp & Marc Levinthal’s “God Save The Queen” does more than justice to their adaptation of Clive Barker’s 1993 graphic novel partnership with Steve Niles, “Night of the Living Dead, London”. That ending is pure sublime beauty.

Robert Devereaux’s “Holy Fast, Holy Feast” is the best literary take on the concept of infinite possibilities I’ve ever had the pleasure to read. His skill in weaving and bobbing the multiple parallel stories is stunning.

Douglas E. Winter really digs deep and opens his soul in “The Zombies Of Madison County”, a tearjerker of a tale that examines the concept of lost true love.

Lisa Morton’s “Sparks Fly Upward” takes on the political/religious topic of abortion in a world of the living dead and limited resources for its survivors.

Brian Hodge’s “Naked Lunchmeat” is a drug-addled junkie’s prayer- something Hunter S. Thompson and William Burroughs would have loved. What will be the drug of choice in the living dead future? As usual Hodge makes it all look so simple, but the power of his style is deceptive. This guy is a master of words and image and this story will haunt you.

And M. Christian’s “The Buried And The Dead” is a nasty little ditty that leaves no hope for humanity.

But this by no means delineates the other stories as less than great. Let’s put it this way: I finished this almost 500-page book in less than a day. This is gore, and blood, and all things zombie that we’ve been waiting for. The anthology manages to encompass all of the various schools of style in horror- splatter, erotica, quiet, humorous, slipstream, and some I’d even be tempted to classify as Bizarro. Editorially speaking, finding such a range, with such quality, seems easy, but it isn’t. If there was any doubt about how well Skipp does solo, let this collection end all future uncertainty. This is the anthology your children will be slavering for in ten years’ time. This is classic zombie fiction as its best.

My only complaint is about Alan M. Clarke’s art. It’s good, but there’s not enough of it to really standout, something the publisher might want to re-think in future anthologies, especially one with stories so good that they each deserved their own art plate.

Bottom line: Skipp and Cemetery Dance Press deliver the goods in Mondo Zombie. But do us a favor, guys … try not to wait another ten years for the next one, huh? Some of are very hungry, indeed.

My other zombie story, A MAN'S GOTTA EAT WHAT A MAN'S GOTTA EAT, is in DANGER CITY, published by Contemporary Press, a small publishing company based in New York.

Yeah, I like zombies. And kittens. And wine.

Does this make me weird? Or just eclectic?

Monday, September 04, 2006

Wine Recommendation

I know not all of you are into wine the way that I am, but if you are, or you're interested in expanding your horizons, I have a newly discovered (by me) red wine bargain for you to try - Sacred Stone Master's Red Blend.

Imagine chocolate, blackberries, and a hint of underlying earthiness, all tied together in a rich, smoky finish.

Or, if you think I'm full of shit what with the hyperbole, just imagine liquid yumminess.

This is for fans of Tempranillo who also like cool labels.

Currently on sale for $6.99 at Cost Plus. Normally $8.99, which is still a bargain for a wine this complex in this price range.

I would drink some right now if I didn't have a sore throat and a bit of an achy head leftover from whatever grunge illness attacked me Friday morning, just in time for my three day weekend.
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