Sunday, June 27, 2010

Ana Welcomes All the People of Earth!

Ana almost never comments on the posts made to her blog. As we have noted several times before, she is by nature a private person. Even so, she has let us know that she has been amazed, pleasantly so, by the visitors who have come here. Many visitors do so intentionally, of course, interested in matters concerning her life and her stories, maps, cooking possibilities, literary and musical enthusiasms, and so forth. Others come less directly, by chance, perhaps searching for a poem about a cat, or a poem about caring for others, or simply for cats, or servals or caracals (particular kinds of cats).

No one who knows anything about her, however, would be surprised at her pleasure in having international visitors to her blog, quite literally from all around the globe. Ana was not born on Earth and didn't spend her formative years here. She's not invested in any of Earth's cultures or nations, or indeed, even the idea of nationhood. She sees people primarily as people, only secondarily connected to others by an often baffling number of ties.

Ana is far too intelligent and experienced to repeat the old cliche "Why can't we just all get along?" Still, much of what she believes and how she acts does not contradict that bit of hopeful idealism. She is delighted to be able to contact the people of an entire planet through her blog, no matter how humble.

And so she would like to warmly welcome all the people of Earth to her little blog: from Trinidad, from Cameroon, from Ireland, England, and France, from Australia and Japan, from Mexico and Russia, Canada, Bulgaria, Argentina, and from one end of the United States to the other: to all, a wholehearted greeting from Ana Darcy Méndez! She invites comments or questions from all!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Would Distant Cousin Make a Good Movie?

Many and many a reader have told us Distant Cousin would make an outstanding movie. More than a few have claimed that the whole set of books would make a terrific television series. If you have read any of them, you too are entitled to an opinion.

As it happens, one agent in Hollywood has read them and agrees. (He says not to call him an agent. The term has legal implications in California. Call him a literary representative instead.) This literary representative can give you chapter and verse on the incredibly long odds of any given story reaching the silver screen.

Most of the odds have nothing to do with how great a movie a given story might make. They have to do with people: what people get hold of what story and how they feel about it at the time. Perhaps they have just had a good lunch, or a bad lunch. Perhaps they know someone who is looking for a certain kind of story. Or perhaps they find a story that suggests certain actors to them. After that it may depend on whether or not the actors are available, or interested, or whether their agents like or do not like the story. Or it could depend on any one of six dozen other variables.

This gentleman points out that many movies are made for which there seems to be no rational explanation. Often these movies are inexplicably bad, as in how-could-they-not-have-known bad. Sometimes a gem of a movie comes out of nowhere, but this is rare, he says, very rare.

The bottom line is that almost no movies get made without someone, or a number of someones, being willing to gamble immense sums of money on it. In the case of Distant Cousin, this literary representative gave $100,000,000 as a ballpark figure. Why, you ask? Not to spoil anything, but mainly because of the crowd scenes. He made this statement some years ago, before digital crowds became common. (Has anyone seen Gladiator?) Perhaps digitized crowds entitle a movie producer to a discount.

In any case, if any readers out there happen to know a person or several persons with $100,000,000 or so who might be willing to risk it on making a movie of Distant Cousin, we will be happy to inform our literary representative.

But no matter what happens or doesn't happen movie-wise, we can point out one thing for certain right now: almost no movie ever made is as good as the book it came from. The best way to experience the world of an absorbing story is on the screen between your ears. And in so doing, you save $99,999,995. Now, that's value!

For the WheelChair Mommy's opinion on the movie possibility, see her guest post!

This just in: film & television rights to the Distant Cousin stories have been purchased by an agent in Hollywood!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Pizza Experiment #4!

As promised several days ago, here are two more gourmet-quality pizzas, made using Ana's special pizza dough and sauce from boiled down garden fresh vine-ripened tomatoes. The first one looks conventional, though the sauce and dough are exceptional. It also uses fresh mozzarella and, for effect, small pieces of broccoli. Why not? You might also notice the Italian sausage on one segment, just in case there were a meat lover at the table.

The second pizza is the true star of the batch: half cooked thin potato slices, smoked gouda cheese, and lightly sauteed scallions...and no tomato sauce, only a light brushing with good quality olive oil. And yes, there's garlic. If you think this is too weird, or might not taste great, you are wrong! This is a terrific, prize-winning pizza!

More on pizza:

Experiment #1

Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Bad Cat, a Very Bad Cat

Even though she was born on another planet (bless her heart), it's well known that Ana and cats share a special wavelength. Ana has even taken to the family's dogs, despite initially being afraid of dogs, and despite the dogs, when puppies, eating an entire rose bush. But you may not know that Ana's relations with cats are not always smooth, either. There is the cat, for instance, in Distant Cousin: Reincarnation (DC3) that disobeyed her and made a bed on her prize blue cloak. leaving a thick mat of white hair behind. That was a major annoyance.

A more recent example of cat perfidy occurred when the family's two new rescue kittens came to live with them. If you know cats, you know that they are playful, especially when young. These two Siamese were teenagers--half grown--when Ana discovered one of their stunts, particularly aggravating to her, you may be sure. Neither kitten would confess, and since Ana was never one to punish the innocent, the only solution was to remove all music books from their access, and to store them securely out of reach in a cabinet. It would be one thing to ruin a book of music like the first one above, perhaps even proper, but the SECOND! That was a tragedy!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Pizza Brainstorm Ahead!

Ana finally has settled on her perfect recipe for pizza dough, a dough that produces a crunchy yet chewy pizza. We're told the particulars probably won't apply elsewhere around the world, since the recipe is fine-tuned for the altitude, temperature, and humidity where she lives. Most likely, a serious pizza lover will already have a good recipe worked out.

Ana's second innovation is to boil down fresh garden tomatos to make the sauce. Like most people who raise tomatos, her plants yield more fruit than her family can consume in a short time, before they stop bearing so much. She's found that rather than filling the freezer with bags of tomatos, the sauce can be frozen instead, saving much freezer space, yet it retains that wonderful fresh tomato tang when it's thawed for use.

Above are pictures of the dough, about ready to be punched down for the second time, and the sauce, about half boiled down. That's a bay leaf in with it, and there's some garlic, too. Ana also boils down enchilada sauce!

In the next post, we'll show several of the pizzas that resulted.

Other pizza posts:

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Bride's Complaint about Distant Cousin

Just the other day, we were contacted by a newlywed bride with a bone to pick. She had been involved in planning her wedding for months, and naturally the last few days before it was to take place were especially hectic--so much so that one of her closest friends traveled to stay with her for those days, the better to assist with the many preparations.

Both young women are high energy people, but the bride complained to us that her friend was tiring early, and not as productive as she had expected. Two nights before the wedding she was at home brushing her teeth before bed when she saw her friend sneaking from the guest bedroom to the living room and back. A little investigation revealed that her friend had happened upon a copy of Distant Cousin and begun reading it before she went to sleep. She finished it late one night and could not help herself: she tip-toed to the living room to exchange the book for Distant Cousin: Repatriation, volume 2, thus explaining her less-than-bustling work habits during the day. She was tired!

We are torn between the notion of inserting a disclaimer at the beginning of each volume and the idea of insisting upon personal responsibility, one of the prime principles which lead to success in life, after all. For the moment, however, we will merely extend our most humble apologies, and very best wishes, to the new bride and groom!

Other unusual comments: