Writer’s Conferences are AWESOME!

A few weeks ago, I attended the Southern California Writer’s Conference in Newport Beach, and I had a ball.  Worth every penny I spent in fees and hotels, I learned so much and met a lot of cool people.  I would like to share with you some thoughts for those of you who write or are thinking of writing books.

First, some plugs:

  • Marla Miller: She runs a site called “Marketing the Muse” and ran a query letter seminar at the conference.  A query letter is your opening salvo in obtaining representation, and her advice, intelligence and all around good cheer was invaluable.  Check out her site.
  • Marilyn Friedman: Another wonderful lady, her seminar was the last I did before the conference ended, and what a wonderful way to go out.  She gave us several useful tips to get over writer’s block, and was an absolute bundle of positive energy.  Check out her site here, and she knows as well as all of us that writing is a debt of honor.
  • Maralys Wills: Author of “A Circus Without Elephants,” she gave a seminar about the fundamentals of novel writing, meaning grammar and sentence structure, that was invaluable.  I have an English degree from an Ivy League school, plus an MFA in writing.  I thought I knew everything.  I was wrong.  More on that right below.

Now, the lessons and stories:

  • Socrates (pronounced “so-crates”, of course) said that the only wisdom was knowing that he knew nothing.  Very true.  In life, you never stop learning, you can always learn something new, and that is one of life’s greatest pleasures.
  • Just about everyone was not only super-nice, but super-talented.  Not one single person was wasting their time.  Everyone who read their work had something to say.  Everyone had talent, everyone had something interesting to say.  Everyone thinks they can write, most cannot.  Everyone has a screenplay and thinks that it’s the next Chinatown, most likely, it’s not.  To make the commitment, both in time and finances, you better have your act together.  Just about everyone did, and then some.
  • Once again, everyone was very sweet, supportive and cool.  I went into this thing expecting to find a bunch of back-stabbing assholes.  I was there for an hour before I realized, I’m in Orange County, not Hollywood.  Everyone was interesting in everyone else.  Everyone was supportive.  We all backed each other up, and when the writing awards were announced on the last day, everyone ERRUPTED in enthusiastic cheer.  No passive-aggressive bullshit, only sincere admiration and praise.  I have grown cynical through my years in Hollywood, but one weekend with these fine folks just about pushed me in the other direction.
  • Well, almost everyone.  I would be lying if I said it was completely positive, I only had two negative experiences, and here they are:
    • Sharks: These pricks are EVERYWHERE in Hollywood.  They were at AFI, and they are everywhere in life.  In short, they believe that they will only find success by stomping on everyone else.  Therefore, they passive-aggressively try to mess with you, by telling you your idea won’t work, it’s already been done, what have you.  They might even tell you your idea works when it doesn’t, or doesn’t when it does.  They will suppress laughter when something is funny, laugh when something isn’t funny, you get the idea.  I only met one of these guys at the conference.  I explained that one of my projects was aimed at men and he responded MEN DON’T BUY BOOKS.  Nothing else, just a lame attempt to shoot me down.  He spent the rest of the weekend avoiding me, and I him.  I can spot these guys a mile away.  My advice is to avoid them, as I did.
    • Benevolent Morons: These folks mean well, but their advice, though given with the best of attentions, if followed, will lead you down the wrong path.  As many of you know, the brand I have is “the sensitive nice guy” show.  I was advised by someone to drop the “sensitive”.  Um, THAT’S THE ENTIRE BRAND!  A lot of people give advice because they feel a need to, again, they mean well, but they are dead wrong.  Bare no ill will towards these folks, just don’t listen to them.  And about that…
  • You will get LOTS of advice and feedback.  It is up to you to decide what is good advice, and what is not.  This is often what separates the successful from the not-so successful; being able to extract the gold from the clutter of crap.
  • Issues: Many writers use their out to settle their personal hash.  I heard one story called, “I know what the devil looks like” which was a memoir about the author’s ex-husband, and what a complete sociopath he was.  I say, good for her, writing can be quite therapeutic, and if you can turn a profit with it, awesome!   And what a great title, right?  Again, a LOT of talent came to that conference.
  • Agents are your friends: Believe it or not, agents attend these events in order to find new talent.  Just about all of them were cool as can be (shout out to @dananewman, what up?!?!) and again, they do not attend these things for shits and giggles.  They are there to find new writers!  Granted, they are not there to, uh, work the casting couch (again, banging your way to the top is not the way to go, don’t be like her!).  Indeed, there is sleaze in Hollywood, but not one single agent at the event could be called anything but honorable, intelligent, and kind.
  • Friends: It was said that you will make many friends at conferences, and indeed, that is true.  I’m taking my new buddy Briana to the Hollywood Expo this weekend, we saw “Easy A” last week.  When you have something in common, and share it with people who not only do what you do, but are really good people, you’ll make friends for life.

Final analysis: it was money well spent, time spent even better, and you better believe I’ll be attending the next one in San Diego.  Thanks to all who attended…even you few sharks, I learned from you as well.

My Bolognese Sauce Recipe (aka my “Seduction Sauce”)

I wanted to share with you all some recipes of mine, my favorite ones, since I just put together a menu for any of you who are lucky enough to come into my home.  Some of you already have experienced the “cuisine d’Jordan), so, by all means, please sound off and say how awesome it is, because as you know, cooking is one of my stronger suits.

I thought about just putting up a recipe, but then I thought, that would be boring.  Why not have some fun with it?  Ladies, take the following with a grain of salt (or Creole Seasoning, which I prefer) and fellas, well, this is for you.  Enjoy!

So…boys…you wanna impress a lady tonight.  Good.  Don’t apologize for that; food is the lubricant on the way to bliss.

Women fall in love with their ears, indeed, but also through their stomachs.  They love a man who can cook.  And tonight, I’m going to show you how.

1) Go meet a girl.  Make sure that she is sweet, nice, laughs at your jokes, tugs at her earlobe and touches your hand on occasion.  Ask her out.  Take her to drinks (NOT dinner), and dazzle her with your sense of humor, to be certain, but listen to her too.  Follow the 80/20 rule that college admissions people follow, and let her talk. Kiss her goodnight, because you are a man. If you ask her permission to kiss her, you are a little boy and are no longer worthy to read this. In life, ask for forgiveness, not permission.  That is what separates the men from the boys.

2) Dates #2,3, and 4 should contain dinner and a movie, maybe a trip to Disneyland, some first base action. Keep your cool, maybe see other girls so that you are not a complete chump.  This is why they call it interviewing, this dating thing.

3) Okay, time to have her over to your place. You are going to cook for her. Check and make sure she’s not allergic to what you are cooking for, which will be Spaghetti Bolognese with a nice dry Chianti.  I don’t know, allergies present themselves all over the place.  Just double check and make sure that you will send her to paradise instead not to the ER.

4) She is coming over at 8pm.  Keep this time in mind.

5) At 5:30 PM, you will go to the Grocery Store, and buy the following:

  1. ½ pound ground beef
  2. ½ Italian Sausage
  3. olive oil
  4. carrots
  5. onions
  6. SPICES: Basil, Creole Seasoning (you heard me), Red Pepper, Regular Pepper, Oregano, Garlic Salt
  7. Parmesan Cheese
  8. Pack of Spaghetti
  9. Lowfat milk
  10. 3 28-ounce Cans of Crushed Tomatoes
  11. 2 Bottles of Chianti (you’re spending at least 25 bones on this for each bottle, don’t get this shit that only costs six bucks.  It’s going to serve multiple purposes.
    • Big Pot, with lid
    • Wooden Spoon
    • Digital timer
    • Can opener
    • Strainer
    • Teaspoon/Tablespoon measure
    • Big ass carving knife
    • Medium-size pot for the pasta

6) You may notice that you will have ingredients (the milk, cans of tomatoes) in more quantities than you need for the dish.  Not to worry, you will cook this again, it’s THAT good.

7) At the supermarket, when you are at the check out line, and the over-worked single Mom (sorry) asks you who you are cooking this for, you look at her and (hopefully) the hot chick standing behind you and say, “….a lady.”  Have a little smile, and look into the horizon with hope and glory.

8)  Once you are home, it will be about 6:30.  Unpack your groceries and go take a shower. Women like it when you don’t smell.

9) Set two places on your dining room table.  Two table-mats, fork and knife for each, and two plates.

10) By now, it’s about 7:15.  You are a dude, and therefore you are procrastinating. I’ve padded the schedule a bit.  When it counts, I’ll snap you to reality.

11) Lower some lights, light some candles (get them at the mall, NOT at Urban Outfitters like a douche), and put on Frank Sinatra’s “A Swinging Affair.”  The first track is my theme song, “Night and Day.”  You’ll get fired up.  Trust me.

12) Set out two wine glasses, and open the bottle of Chianti to let it breathe, and set it somewhere nearby.  Wine, good wine, needs to to breathe a bit first.

13) Take a large pot and put it on the stove.  Pour in about 4 tablespoons of Olive oil and heat over medium high heat until it’s fragrant, about three minutes or so.  Get fired up, this is just the beginning.

14) While this is happening, take a carrot and skin the heck out of it (you know, like Mom did when she made you salads as a kid. You know how your Dad got your Mom?   Probably like this. Keep reading

15) Take one onion and with a big-ass knife, slice the tar out of it in little thin slices.

16) Throw the onion and carrot into the pot and sauté it for 10 minutes, until they are no longer hard, but nice and loose. Use a wooden spoon to mix it around.

17) While the onion and carrots are cooking, you will take the ground beef and the Italian sausage, and mix them together. Get your hands in this, feel it, love it, mix ‘em up, have some fun!

18) Look at the TIME! It’s 7:45. She’ll be a bit late (girls always are). Let her in, and trust me, the timing works here, because it’s already starting to smell good in here, oh yeah.  And And AND AND AND she sees you cooking, which is the money move because you are awesome, and she’ll be impressed.

19) Wash off your hands (from the meat), kiss her hello, and pour her a glass of Chianti.  Raise a toast to the SNG, show some respect.

20) By now, Frank is singing, and you have some Dean Martin ready to rock. Either your ipod is hooked up, or you have itunes hooked to your stereo, figure this part out on your own. She’ll ask, “Why the Rat Pack,” and you’ll reply, uh, because they are awesome? It’s old school, think Vegas circa 1962. The good old days, when men were fellas and women were dames.

21) As she sips her Chianti and watches you work your magic, you put the meat in with the onions/carrots, and put in the following with the meat for 5 minutes:

  1. Basil – 1 tablespoon
  2. Creole Seasoning – 1 Tablespoon
  3. Red Pepper – ½ tablespoon
  4. Regular Pepper – ½ tablespoon
  5. Oregano – 1 tablespoon
  6. Garlic Salt – 1 tablespoon

22) Dump all that in.  As you use a big wooden spoon to mix it all around, you will ask her about her day, and she’ll do her best to speak to you because the scent of the cuisine is so seductive and intoxicating and she’s so impressed with you that DAMN. You rock. And you are smooth. YOU ARE THE MAN.

23) When the meat is no longer pink, add ¾ cup of the milk and mix it in, for about four minutes (the milk acts as a kind of glue that keeps the meat and spices all together).  At the same time, take a little bit of the Chianti (1/4 cup) and dump it into the pot with the milk.  Oh yeah.

24) After the four minutes are up, open 1 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes and dump it in, and reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot with the lid and slow cook it for one hour, occasionally stirring with the wooden spoon.

25) In the medium-sized pot, fill it with water up 4/5ths and boil it on high (will take about 15 minutes to get going, give or take).

26) When that’s done, take out about half of the spaghetti (that’ll be enough for the two of you) snap it into thirds, and dump it in the boiling water. Cook for 11 minutes.

27) When the pasta is done, dump it and the water into a strainer and let it sit for a few minutes.

28) Spoon out the pasta equally to two plates that you have set out. Smile. Don’t forget to smile. A smile means that you are having fun, and you are always having fun. While everything is cooking, sit with her, sip wine, go back and forth between her and the kitchen.

29) When the hour is up, spoon out the sauce equally.  Refill the two of you with a bit more of the red stuff (Chianti).

30) Sit down, put on “Ring a Ding Ding” by Sinatra, and enjoy your meal. Nod and smile when she compliments the chef (you).

31) The Chianti will compliment the food, so you’re going to have to open a second bottle.

32) As long as you follow the directions, both of you will clean your plates. And maybe go back for seconds. By now, you two have a good witty banter that is now reinforced by your (newfound) awesome cooking skills.

33) Everything now is up to you. You must give and take, follow her lead, let her follow your lead, and if you play your cards right…

3D and Porn

You ready for a major confession?

First of all, my loyal readers and fans know that the SNG loves the ladies.

I am dating, but technically single, and I’m not quite ready to allow my single life to circle the drain JUST yet.  That is, until the right lady comes along and convinces me to do otherwise.  I’m not saying it’s impossible, in fact I know it’s likely.  I am just going to enjoy myself until I get tranked and tagged and wake up next to the love of my life. I know she’s out there somewhere, looking for me.  Perhaps I’ve already met her.  Perhaps I went to the movies with her last week, I have no idea, the possibilities are endless and that’s part of the fun.

Oh wait, we’re talking about Porn here.  I digressed, I can’t help it, I’m a die-hard romantic.

Back to Porn. Porn Porn Porn.

The Internet is for porn, PORN PORN, thank you Trekkie-Monster.  But my major confession is unlike most guys, Porn really doesn’t do it for me.  Indeed, I have a CD-ROM with “Productivity Software” in my CD case, but I never look at it.  Seriously.  Just as women are issued, along with their breasts, emotional roller-coasters and the Season DVD’s for “Grey’s Anatomy” when they are born, there are a few women out there, I’m quite certain, that have no interest in McDreamy or McSteamy or whatever bullshit they call television these days.

Likewise, porn does nothing for me really.  For once, I agree with the feminists; it’s not sexy, and can be quite demeaning to women.  This coming from the dude who just wrote an article about breasts, you might want to take what I’m saying here with more than a grain of salt.

I have never encountered a woman who wanted a money shot to the face.  I simply cannot imagine that, nor could I imagine ever dating or marrying a woman who wanted me to do that.  The producers of porn know their audience, and so do I; my buddies and I once stumbled into the Porn Convention in Vegas a few years back.  It was fucking disgusting.  A lot of sleazeballs and truck drivers, who bang hookers and don’t even know how to string together the words, “I love your work,” to Misty Canyon or Chastity Jones or whatever chick with daddy issues and fake tits is signing her new DVD of “Anal Pleasure Injuries 7; Revenge of the Anus.”  The fans just drool and stroke their penises as well as their goatees.  My friends and I lasted an hour, got the hell out of there and ran to the Star Trek Bar.  Man I miss that place.

So no, I’m not into Porn, but with the advent of 3D, will seeing people bang in three dimensions be a game changer?  Perhaps, and not just for the world at large, but for me.  I’ll have to try it once, I suppose, once I get my 3D TV (my PS3 just uploaded the firmware for 3D, all I need is the new display).

It was interesting, reading this article from last year’s CES, how the Porn industry is being cautious.  I’m surprised.  Having seen Kelly Brook naked in “Piranha 3D”, that was but a sneak preview of the possibilities (and how, my review of the underwater swimming scene, two boners up).

But since men who enjoy porn at home tend to, uh, molest themselves, while watching porn, I wonder what the glasses and the possible headaches will do in the way of the “releases” that happen while ah fuck it Masturbating to porn.  Again, I don’t do that, but I’m the minority here.

In the past, Porn tends to be the game changer with new technologies.  It sank Beta when they refused to support Porn, and VHS won that battle.  Ditto Blu-Ray (if I’m not mistaken).  These sleezeballs know they have a billion dollar loyal industry, so accusations of exploitation aside, there is money to be made.  As long as the tech goes along, I cannot imagine why porn would not dive vagina first into this new world of three-dimensional boobies and cock.  Why not?

If the SNG would consider giving it a try, they must be on to something.

Check out this video, an Avatar Porn parody, it made me laugh.  Thank you Gizmodo.

Also, here is yours truly at the porn convention from a few years ago.  Surprised?

Says it all, doesn't it?