19 November 2008

Let's See...

...I'm getting even more writing work from the day-job these days, i.e., today, which is why I'm blogging right now (deadline is sundown, basically, and I can't take it) and why the God of writing is going to SMITE ME HARD in the next hour or so, and why I've made ZERO PROGRESS on the 4GrownUpsTV spec scripts (which may be pointless anyway)...

...the potatoes have all been harvested and they positively MELT IN YOUR MOUTH...

...the goats haven't had their bedding changed or been let out in the yard in about three weeks (which means GPS--Goat Protection Services--is going to be on my goat-stinky a** any day now because they monitor their goats using, well, you know)...

...and big beautiful fluffy flakes are falling through the late-afternoon-sunlight right now, making for a pre-Thanksgiving Christmas-postcard-from-back-home-on-the-farm (or maybe that should be a timely over-the-river-and-through-the-woods Thanksgiving postcard?).

Did I mention my inner city-boy almost bought a house in a village closer to where my daughters study ballet (and that they both have multiple parts in the school's production of The Nutcracker, which means they're going to have to buy cots and start sleeping over in the smells-like-never-been-washed-point-shoe-gel-inserts locker-room in a week or two)?

Or that the greenhouse film hasn't been put up yet, or that the ground it's sited on is mercifully-not-yet-but-soon-will-be frozen, or that the woodpile is almost gone and I have yet to call back either the cheaper-because-unsplit-wood guy or the people from whom I almost bought the Volvo XC60 of wood inserts to tell them that, no, I'm not actually moving, so get your highly-capable butts back here and make my hearth?

I didn't?

That's because I don't have time.

I'm writing right now.

16 September 2008

Cooler than New York Magazine.

That's THF.

The proof:

Dunst told the October issue of Harper's Bazaar that [the rumors of romance between her and Justin Long] "are the funniest thing on planet Earth. I don't know him from Adam. I met him once and he and his friend were kind enough to walk me home. I've never seen him since." Bizarre old-lady expression aside, that clears that up. On her future plans, Kirsten says she won't always live in NYC. "I want to have kids and a farm with lots of animals on a lake," she said, presumably brushing her waist-length hair and buttoning her prairie dress.
"Bizarre old-lady expression"? You mean "traditional expression"? As in "not-born-yesterday" expression? Is it hip to be illiterate?

Actually, NYMag...THF doesn't want to hear your answer to that. Don't know that farming's not just for the Amish anymore, but rather for anybody who's awake? Don't know that more and more celebs are waking up all the time? Don't know that this is good news? Then you don't know. We know, though. But don't worry. We'll send you a link.

15 September 2008

Everyone Loves A Music Video.

I know I do.

This is his best yet. It's also the most insane. That's why.

Burn, Baby.

I knew there was a reason why I love this show. Sure, Jeffrey Donovan, Bruce Campbell and super-smart creator-writer Matt Nix are all great reasons to love Burn Notice, but at the moment I'm excited about the fact that there are apparently not one but two ag-types in the cast:

Burn Notice, a breezy summer spy romp on the USA Network, is the kind of regular gig Mr. Campbell long ago stopped pursuing, deciding that instead of chasing stardom in Los Angeles he’d rather make his own movies, write a few books and basically not get involved in anything that would interfere with his ability to hang out on his middle-of-nowhere property, a lavender farm outside Ashland, Oregon. "I’m a fairly antisocial hermit type," he confesses. "So I like it up there."
But Campbell hasn’t been there much lately. Besides working on “Burn Notice” in Miami (where, he claims, he’s prone to “projectile sweating”), he’s been out on the hustings, finishing postproduction and greasing the promotional wheels for his next film, an indie horror-comedy called “My Name Is Bruce,” scheduled to open in October. He directed it and stars as a legendary B-movie actor named Bruce Campbell, who turns out to be a liquored-up jerk who ends up battling a nine-foot-tall sword-wielding Chinese god of war (and of bean curd) to save a small town. It is not a true story.

A recent screening of footage from the film, which has been long delayed (“because,” he explained, “low-budget movies aren’t released, they escape”), drew roars of approval at Comic-Con International in San Diego, with one fan loudly proclaiming Mr. Campbell his favorite actor, ever. After which Mr. Campbell opened his wallet and gave the guy $2.

So now I like him not only because he's hilarious, but because of his apparently equal love for film and farm. But that's not the only thing we have in common. We also both projectile-sweat.

UPDATE: Farmers are sleepy at the end of the day, which may be why I didn't notice my Burn Notice star here is THF's first American celebrity-ag tag! Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

14 September 2008


They still made movies during the Great Depression, right?

WSJ writers who see it coming, unite.

I predict that every field (not just mine) will come to be split between people who recognized some kind of farming was necessary and did it--even though it made their lives insane--and people who scoffed and now are scraping.

OK, my oracle is done now. Time to pass out.

UPDATE: Well, this is some consolation, I suppose.

Country. City.

Went to a barn-dance.

Went to the Flatiron District.

The first was about tradition. The second was about writing for TV.

Hello, I'm The Hollywood Farmer. Sometimes I'm afraid I'm not sustainable.

Because I have to be.

05 September 2008

Again with the U.K.

This from Gabrielle Anwar, the lovely lass from Burn Notice (which actually has an online clothing store that sells what's seen on the show):

I was just reading one of these magazines about nothing in particular...you know, about what everyone's wearing. And I guess I now have a sudden interest in what's hot and what's not. I discovered that I actually am interested in fashion. I don't know if I would actually incorporate that into my everyday existence. It's just not something that's as interesting to me as...growing a vegetable patch. [laughs]

The embarrassed laugh either indicates that she knows she sounds quaint or that she's bullshitting. If the latter, could it be that vegetable gardening is some sort of universally-acknowledged Activity of Fundamental Import (AFI)? As in "Of course I garden. I care, don't I?"

P.S.: Still listening for soundings from Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Shame on me for treating the U.K. without distinction. I'm rather Irish, so I really ought to know better.

04 September 2008

OK, That's It

We've now heard from from the last remaining English-speaking country that's not this one (see here and here, and here): Nicole Kidman sings the garden organic in Vogue:

I’ve been in Tennessee, just sitting. We have a farm there, and I have an organic vegetable garden. This is a path I’d not taken before. My mum’s always gardened. My sister gardens. And I’ve now conformed to the Kidman women’s hobby of gardening. And it is just a hobby. I’m not feeding the troops. [laughs]

Yeah, but...you were thinking it. Anybody's who paying attention would be.

Nicole is also pregnant for the first time. Some cute bits:

"Would you like to touch it?" asks Nicole Kidman.

I lower my hand onto the rounded curve of her stomach. It's as firm to the touch as a melon. "I just felt some kicking," she says, giving me the look of unbridled delight you might expect from a 40-year-old woman who's soon to bear her first child.

"The whole experience is so primal," she says.

"Just look at how I'm sitting here with my legs apart"—her knees splay out at a 45-degree angle. "This is the way you have to sit when you're pregnant."

"When I first saw the baby on the ultrasound, I started crying. I didn't think I'd get to experience that in my lifetime," she says. "I like the unpredictable nature of it. To feel life growing with you is something very, very special, and I'm going to embrace that completely. I don't believe in flittering around the edges of things. You're either going to walk through life and experience it fully or you're going to be a voyeur. And I'm not a voyeur."

Visceral, yet clinical; immersed, yet self-conscious to a point just this side of detachment. No, not a voyeur. An actor.

03 September 2008

With Love, From Hollywood.

My brother from out H'wood way sent these pics. He was location-scouting here for the upcoming "Beauty and Tranquility" from Touchstone. His old high-school buddy heard he was going to be headed back east for the annual family vaca and called in a favor. I hear Bruckheimer will be helming this one. It's going to kick beautiful, tranquil ass.

26 August 2008

Ready For My Close-Up

Just as soon as they call me. Cuz you know I had to nominate myself. I mean, c'mon...a guy who does hilarious commentary on showbiz minutiae for his vlog while milking a goat? That's what I call "unique."

Wonder if a farmer-filmmaker filming the farmer-filmmakers filming the aforementioned farmer-filmmaker would be too, eh, meta. I don't get too many opportunities to use the camera these days, though, so they just might have to deal.

The fact that Ian Cheney is helping to make this film seems a good reason to finally link here.

25 August 2008

Here's a particularly pleasing adaptation:

I'm in it for the revolution. But mostly I'm in it for the food.

24 August 2008

I Don't Blog

because I'm too busy farming.

That either makes me extremely authentic/attractive or extremely disappointing.

27 June 2008

Learning Curve.

acre = amount of hay a man can scythe in a day

schmacre = amount of hay a schmuck scythe in a day

one schmacre <<< one acre

I'll get the hang of it. I'd better. Because while our tractor is the kind you can hook a sickle bar up to, it's also the kind that runs on oil.

UPDATE: I am, in fact, getting the hang of it. "Before and after" pics soon.

16 June 2008

Best. Agricultural Movie Line. Ever.

You know what they do to these cows? They cut off their tits. They do. Zzzt, gone. Bye. Only leave four. Four tits fits the machine. It’s wacko. Why not make machines that suck eight titties, eh?

Speaking of milking multiple titties, I now have as many goats as I have kids. And yet I do not have as many kids as I have goats. Because some of my goats are moms. Hey, you'd be easily amused too if you were as brain-dead as I am. I feel like I just ran a weekend-long caprine birth marathon. Because I did.

Speaking of cows, Rosebud the Bruiser (bred shortly before this vid) has an udder like one. And because she's been separated from her babies (she kept trying to head-butt them), before long we'll be getting two ginormous milkings a day all to ourselves, once babies are off the bottle, i.e., off milk for good. Quite unlike Daisy's baby, Hyacinth (who was bred shortly before this vid), who was never separated from her mom and nursed right up till the day she started nursing her own, which she now does beautifully. Much to our surprise, since in every other way she takes after her aunt Rosebud, probably because her aunt never missed an opportunity to give her young niece a lesson in goat-fu.

In other words, we'll be filling the pool with goat's milk this summer. It should be good for the skin. Like the soap we'll be making from it next year. Unless cheese comes first. Which it will if we can't find a spot for the pool in the shade.

07 June 2008

Coming Home to Roost

Here's the official story. My question is: Has anybody raised the possibility of foul (or should I say fowl) play? In other words, do the chickens want their lot back? Or at least their own parking space, as in days of old?

In 1915, a movie pioneer named Carl Laemmle bought the 230-acre Taylor chicken ranch on the north side of the Hollywood Hills. He set up a motion picture studio on the ranch, but he kept the chickens. Laemmle figured movies might go out of fashion, but eggs wouldn't.

To help defray the cost of movie making, he decided to sell tickets to people who wanted to see his movies being made. He charged them 25 cents, which included a box lunch with chicken and egg salad sandwiches. The spectators watched from bleachers where they were encouraged to cheer the heroes and boo the villains. The directors told the crowds that the actors usually did a better job if they were given noisy encouragement. Of course, the movies being made were silent. As the spectators were leaving the studio, they were offered a good deal on eggs and many bought.
Maybe they could give the territorial clucks this house on Colonial Street. Only seems fitting. I hear that something like 95% of hens prefer Desperate Housewives over these chicks. There's something about Teri Hatcher they seem to relate to...

Cooking With Gas

Petrol, that is.

Actual horsepower may be our destiny. Our friends at Cold Brook Farm have horses now; "Astonishing animals," said the city boy. Though our eleven horses don't eat all that much, so for the moment, it makes sense.

Fun fact: James Watt used a (strong) Dray horse working a cotton gin for 8 hours and estimated an average of 22,00 foot-pounds per minute (which he then increased by 50%) to create the horsepower-unit. The 50% increase was based on the output that he expected would eventually be achieved in the future by robot (i.e., auto-motive, or to use Mr. Watt's term, "horseless") horses.

06 June 2008

Another Canuck Talks Turkey

From Paste Vision (a podcast on Paste Station [on Paste Magazine]):

Ellen Page: I've been kind of obsessing about being self-sustainable [laughs nervously] before the shit hits the fan?

Josh Jackson (Editor-in-Chief): That's a nice place to be.

Ellen Page: My friends and I have been thinking of buying a farm and becoming self-sustainable.

Diablo Cody: That's a good idea.

Ellen Page: You're welcome.
This was in December, shortly before Not-Juno was voted Best Picture of 2007. Wonder if Ms. Page has made any progress since then. Wonder if she’ll actually do it at all. She doesn’t live in the desert -- she still calls Halifax home, keeps herself “grounded” there -- so maybe she’s actually familiar enough with reality to find farming (i.e., health, beauty, etc.) attractive. Somehow, though, I have a feeling that nobody (not even Ellen Page) is going to make any drastic changes in lifestyle until the shit hits the fan.

Then again, maybe it already has. Or is. A little at a time. Making a kind of steady spray. Sorry. They’re spreading manure down the road.

Lessee, so on The Hollywood Farmer Scoreboard now that’s a Brit and two Canucks, one talkin’ the talk and one startin' to walk…now how about an American celeb? Otherwise I might start to suspect I really haven’t hit upon the newest Hollywood trend…

20 May 2008

Let Them Drink Pee.

I hear it's a way you can stay alive in the desert.

No, seriously, it sounds like a great plan. All it takes is a billion dollars and enough time for the "purer-than-tap" ex-pee-and-poo water to make its way to the ground table -- which may or may not happen before you die of thirst.

Then again maybe y'all should just move:

Sun Belters, you have a choice: get used to the droughts, or move to Detroit -- or Cleveland, or Syracuse, or Chicago, or Duluth -- and get used to the winters. They're not as tough as they used to be. As you may have noticed, the climate is changing.
Hey, you'll like it here, Hollywood. Really. Promise.

P.S.: When it starts getting hotter, maybe our almost-near-constant cloud-cover will move it on over from the minus to the plus column, thus restoring our former cinematic glory. And everybody knows how lovely a big silk in the sky makes your pictures look...

P.P.S.: Did I mention that the whole damn thing started here? I mean, film? As in, the stuff that goes through the camera?

The story begins with George Eastman tinkering in his mother's kitchen. Do we need to come full circle? As in, home-made motion picture stock? Sustainable film production? Movies after oil? I'm on it.

05 May 2008

Irony, Man

Apparently some parents are worried that this $100,000,000+ film may be too intense for kids. (What, even for Generation Zed?) Well, phooey on PG-13; I just treated my kids to O Brother, Where Art Thou to make up to my birthday girl that her Mommy was out of town this weekend. ("Gee, Daddy, is it OK if I talk like that?" "Sure, sweetie. Though some folks might look at you a little funny. You see, that's a Southern accent.")

Oh, hell...what's a little moral corruption when you have a chance to treat your kids to irony as rich and subtle as this:

Yessir, the South is gonna change. Everything's gonna be put on electricity and run on a payin' basis. Out with the old spiritual mumbo-jumbo, the superstitions and the backward ways. We're gonna see a brave new world where they run everyone a wire and hook us all up to a grid. Yessir, a veritable age of reason - like the one they had in France - and not a moment too soon...

The Matrix and Madame Guillotine. Sounds like somebody's pop-culture studies dissertation. It also sounds like another reason to look forward to the end of oil: No oil, no grid! Unless the machines adapt. In which case we blot out the sun. Which we might end up doing anyway. (Part Four: Feed Me Your World.)

UPDATE: Then again, maybe not.

01 May 2008


Remember South Central Farm? (Here's the printable version, in case you are not now, nor will ever be, a member of nytimes.com.)

This, as you may recall, was the end of that.

This is the latest update.

Choicest "you-just-don't-get-it" moment from NYT's Randal C. Archibold in June 2006 (first link):

Schools in Los Angeles are deteriorating. Gang warfare has increased in some areas. Many people can scarcely afford homes. But for a certain set of celebrity environmental activists, it is the farm, and the threat of a developer's bulldozer clearing away the cactuses, corn, squash, medicinal herbs and other plantings of mostly Latino squatters on a nearly 14-acre verdant area surrounded by a patchwork of warehouses, that commands their intervention.
Ms. Hannah's seemingly anticipatory response:
Ms. Hannah said the cause has drawn so much star power because more is at stake than the fate of what organizers call "the largest urban farm in the country." The farm, she said, has come to symbolize a lost way of life, a joining of community against the urban tide. "It's great for community," Ms. Hannah said, the howl and clanging of nearby trains breaking the idyllic air. "And one thing responsible for the breakdown of society is a lack of community."
Ms. Hannah may be a bit flaky, but this only makes her simple rightness here all the more embarrassing for all the "socially-conscious" Randal C.'s out there.

Would it help the farmers change the world if they won in court? Probably not. Law is not attractive. Health and beauty are.

UPDATE: Meanwhile, back east...

The Other Side of the Pond

Anybody know to whom can I pitch the American re-make of this ?

P.S.: Even if that show wasn't edited here, of course it should have been. See, that's where I should have ended up working. If I had been born somewhere else. Or maybe gone to school here. (I went here.) And of course England is where this "ex"-celebrity's new farm is. See how it all fits together?

P.P.S.: There must be a sniglet for "a random collection of favored links which must then be forcibly related by means of several ham-handed segues to conceal their randomness." Because just like "a child's kiss-ass announcement that he/she is not at this moment engaged in the behavior another child is currently being scolded for," this sort of thing happens all the time.

Do You Want To Know...

You should.

The All-Consuming Car

Part One: Feed Me Your Treasure.

"This is not about downsizing. It's about needing gas money," said Nancy Baughman, founder of eBizAuctions.
(Wipe that smile off your face, honey. A semblance of humility is what's called for when you're making money off the desperate. It's just good manners.)

Part Two: Feed Me Your Food.
Rapid economic growth in China and India has increased demand for meat there, and exports of U.S. products, such as corn, have set records as the weak dollar has made them cheaper. That's lowered the supply of corn available for sale in the U.S., raising prices here. Ethanol production has also diverted corn from dinner tables and into fuel tanks. Soybean prices have gone up as farmers switched more of their acreage to corn.
Part Three: Feed Me Your Life.

BREAKING NEWS: Guess someone figured out that it's hazardous to drive while starving. Not that we need to keep up our national consumption of Doritos...but maybe it's a sign that we as a nation are actually aware of non-automotive entities. Of course, if you can't drive to the job where you earn the money to buy what little food you can afford...do you still get a choice of hand-basket?

BONUS DOOM: Move over, hormones.

28 April 2008

Someone Out Standing in My Field

This is what happens when you go Googling for friends: You find someone who seems for all the world like he/she would be sympathetic to your particular bent (in a nice way, I mean), only to find that this person appears to be committed to not talking to you or anyone else. (Actually, in the blogosphere, this may be a sign of health.)

Somehow I doubt this particular person checks Technorati, so linking to her probably isn't going to sow the seeds of love either. Que sera.

UPDATE: Like this post. Favorite graf starts with "i think of it like this..." Nice bit:

tv can be poison. video games are poison. screens are unneccessary for so many. children need to feel what's real: leaves, dirt, wood... they don't need to climb on rubber play sets and fade into a world of screens and bells and whistles.

throw your tv out. play a game with your kid. make your kid get bored- boredom breeds creativity. otherwise, give 'em screens, buy them games, and teach them to live in a world of un-reality.
(Full disclosure: I have a TV, write for TV and own a playset. But we only watch videos, we only watch the episodes of the show I write for on DVD or online, and the timbers of the playset are all made from the cores of cedar trees. So that takes at least half the curse off, right?)

25 April 2008

Anakin Skywalker Buys The Farm

Not this farm.

This one.

Here's something about it from somewhere else:

"I recently acquired a farm north of Toronto,” Christensen announces, “and I just bought a big excavator and a dump truck and a bobcat – construction toys. I plan to start building soon. I can’t wait to go out there and move dirt and get my hands dirty.” He bought his heavy-duty vehicles at an auction in Southern Ontario, where to his immense pleasure the people were far more intent on ogling gear than celebrities. “It’s currently a hay farm, but I want it to be a working farm. I want to fill the barn with livestock. First pigs, then cattle and horses."
Most provocative line from the Cele|bitchy post:
Lots of celebs live on cute, trendy farms. But I’m pretty sure none of them own dump trucks that they use to move dirt around their property. And if they do, they must be hip enough to keep quiet about it.
Apparently they're also "hip enough to keep quiet" about their trendiness. Farm life all the rage in Hollywood? Who knew?

Is there an RSS feed for outings of covert celeb farmers (faux or no)? Or is that my job?

UPDATE: I don't think this counts, as she's apparently not working anymore. But then, maybe what this shows is that Hollywood and non-faux farming are like vegetable oil and bottled water?...

13 April 2008

A Ballad Mourning Tradition

UPDATE: Looping this in your head helps you to keep working. I don't what that says, but I think it's good.

07 April 2008

Bringing Down Ben

This is Ben Mezrich.

This is Ben Mezrich on Hollywood.

Any questions?

There should be.

Like about Ben's answer to this question:

tbc: You got the movie deal even after exposing Hollywood's tracking boards in your Wired piece?

BM: That worked in a positive way. They like any kind of publicity. I didn't say anything people didn't already know: that Hollywood is a big game.
Actually, what he said in that piece were things like:
If the rumors are true, it means that the fix is in: major collusions between studios, arbitrary blackballing, a system that mocks any standard of fair play.
Opinions are one thing. But collusive behavior, or manipulative lies - like the pumping and dumping on an Internet stock board - these are more complicated issues. With no regulation, there's just no way to know how dirty the system really is.
I've seen how the system works, and can no longer pretend that projects are considered purely on their own merits. I am an insider now, reeling from a week that started in Utah, passed through LA, and ended in Sin City. I'm not starstruck anymore. I'm angry.
Guess schmooze, booze and flooze have a way of taking the edge off.

04 April 2008

News from the Come-Back-Home Front

Ran out of hay yesterday, called our pals at Cold Brook Farm who usually hook us up, but they're out 'till the next cutting at the farm next door (i.e., June). So in desperation I took myself to the top of the south hill overlooking Cortland to a certain venerable establishment (farm founded 1810) for a) a couple of emergency bales of the grassiest horse/cow hay they had (goats are picky, picky, picky) and b) info on what seeds we should use to start growing hay that our goats will deign to eat.

I got to chatting with Dave, long-time business partner and friend of the family, and learned that the boy who broke that family's generations-long chain of farmers and headed for Hollywood (he got into USC film school--plus the barns aggravated his asthma) was coming home for a commencement speech at his high-school alma mater. (This local boy made good, you see, and is now helming pictures like Enchanted and National Treasure: Book of Secrets.) Moreover, this same local boy has reportedly been making noises about taking up residence in a house on the family farm. This after finally buying a house in the Hills--or somewhere equally astonishing, I can't remember--the top of Mount Olympus? Anyway, he's never there, says Dave. Is the "original Hollywood Farmer" looking to settle down back east?

Small talk travels fast in a small town. Updates as I get them.

01 April 2008

The Latest Casualty of the Iraq War:

Jessica Queller's breasts.

Because an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of flesh. Or something.

Little known fact: The likelihood of Saddam Hussein developing WMDs from that great big nuclear stockpile of his was figured at 85.9 percent. So it actually makes perfect sense that Jessica declared war on her boobs.

In other news, come to the farm. For one thing, I need to fill a few stalls in the writers' barn. Writers' room. I need to fill a few seats in the writers' room. I also need fewer than two lives. Even if one is only imaginary.

30 March 2008


A vlog is a blog.

"Wow...that is so much less work," said my lazy ass.

14 February 2008


The end is the best part.

23 January 2008

Why we are here.

12 January 2008

Goat love. Alien love.

08 January 2008

Sex. Babies. Reality.

Oh yes. We are, in fact, keeping it real.

05 January 2008

Fertile mucous. Box office.

Teething troubles.

01 January 2008


The one that started it all. Whatever it is.