Saturday, December 29, 2007

I'm nursing a cold that my mom gave to me via her plane trip to Los Angeles. Has to be where she got it, as planes are airtight germ tubes. I sacked out at around 9:00 PM last night and woke at around 7:00 AM this morning. It's the first time I've actually awoke feeling rested and ready for the day. As I type, Atticus is trying to find a way onto my lap. Bullseye. He's on. Now he's jostling for the best position and flop, he's down and happy.

I hate colds. Hate them. I rarely get them but still. Hopefully I've seen the worst of this one. I hate the not being able to taste or smell, and the stuffiness. The fatigue before them and the watery eyes. I worked on Thursday and Friday and just sucked it up. Sure, my bed was whispering in my ear to stay and snuggle in its cocoon, but I got up anyway. After making a minimal effort to look human, I walked out to a way too bright and chilly morning.

So now that I can sleep in, I'm up. I plan to go back to bed as soon as I finish this post. What can I say? My bed has many alluring traits.

It was fun to have my mom and Jack here and tour around Los Angeles. They stayed in the Marriott hotel not far from me and that worked out just fine. The first night they were here, I went to see them after work and we had a great dinner down in the restaurant. It was fun to be back together like we'd done so many times in Baltimore. I was happy though, that we weren't in Baltimore.

We went to Christmas Eve service at a wonderful church in Beverly Hills. I knew about it when I started to go to church when I was first dealing with my downfall into depression several years ago. Though I've never been overly religious, I just felt that I needed it, and it was near by. It was a great antidote to my feelings of shrinking into obscurity and invisibility at the time, and had the perfect uplifting message that I needed. During the service, which was beautiful, my mom pointed out Hal Holbrook and his wife Dixie Carter, whom I immediately recognized once she said his name. I didn't recognize her at all. After the service, the night was windy and cold, offering an atmosphere unlike Los Angeles. The sky was ink black and crystal clear, and a full moon hung in the sky. The stars sparkled like diamonds.

Ad for The Wire Season 5 on Sunset

On the way home, we saw a huge ad for The Wire on Sunset. The three of us got excited about that, and I pulled over. Closing in on 1AM, Christmas, all in church clothes, Jack (the only smart one in the group) stood watch while mom and I ran out in the middle of Sunset Blvd. where I took this shiteous picture. It was the best I could do under the circumstances with shaky hands and a digital camera which is in dire need of upgrading. The fact that it was Christmas was the only reason we were able to stand in the middle of the street and do this. As you see, traffic was light.

A week before, I'd emailed another picture of a bill board to David Simon that was on Sunset going the other way, and he wrote me back to thank me for it. So, I sent him this one as well saying that I was glad that the show was getting the prime advertising that it deserves. The show's opening episode premieres on HBO on January 6th, for those of you who are curious. I didn't work on this season, so I have no idea of the story except that it revolves around the Baltimore Sun. I'm very much looking forward to it.

Collage Tree For Christmas, since I didn't have a tree, I made one. Yeah, made one. I brought out my art supplies and put a collage tree together. It was an idea that came to me last minute, as I couldn't justify having Christmas without a tree of some sort. I already had large sheets of art stock paper, so I cut the shape of the tree out of a couple pieces. Turns out that Vons had the right color gradated green on their brochures, so I took about thirty of them and used them for the tree. For the ornaments, I cut out jewelry from magazine and pasted them on top. I used my painting easel to hold up the tree and placed the presents around it. Perfect. The project took a couple days, don't ask me where I got the energy, but was well worth it. I worked on it after my mom and Jack had gone back to the hotel for the evening. They loved it and were totally surprised. It's the first Christmas I've ever "hosted" and I think it went off well.

There are many reasons that I like Christmas. Sure, it's stressful, but it offers time for quiet and contemplation. Everything in the outside world, no matter where I've been, seems to take a break for a couple days. I had time to work on my tree, have a movie on and just be in the moment. There was no traffic outside when I finally made it to bed, and it was just perfect. It's as if everyone has taken some time to breathe, including the buildings, trees, roads and earth around us. It's almost a perfect moment of clarity, at least for me because that's exactly what I allow it to be. I had to get a little older to learn and appreciate that.

For Christmas dinner, we ate a fabulous "family style" dinner at The Peninsula Hotel. Not only that, scored street parking right in front of the place. I was afraid it would be stuffy, but it was anything but. Our waiter, a Bulgarian named Emil, was excellent and the bread pudding was to die for. The champagne was free flowing as were the deserts. Beside us, an odd couple sat and were mostly quiet. I'm guessing the woman was in her sixties and took two huge platefuls of deserts back to her table. She was white, her husband was Asian and they were mostly finished when we arrived, but not soon enough that both my mom and I had summed up that the woman was bulimic. Among several other telltale signs, she was rail thin, not in a natural way, and the skin on her face clung to her bones by sheer will. She disappeared for twenty minutes after dinner while her husband sat and waited as if he were used to the ritual. She came back, her eyes watery and a fresh layer of lipstick applied. Things that make you go "hmm."

Shannon met my mom and me for a coffee on the 26th. There was a funny caveat to that meeting, in that the last time I'd introduced Shannon to my mom was about fifteen years ago when I'd first arrived in Los Angeles. A bad habit that she has is not paying attention when I introduce her to people and she can come off aloof, even when that's so far from her personality. Well, fourteen years ago, Shannon was no exception and when I introduced her, she barely acknowledged him, something for which I've chided her for ever since. On the flip side, about ten years back I played a dirty message that Shannon left for me, mentioning a certain sexual act that he wanted to do with the both of us when my mom was visiting. Of course, the message was a joke, completely funny and was meant just for my ears, but it was just too good not to play to my mom. She laughed, and when I told Shannon I'd played it for her, he was completely horrified and told me that he could never meet my mom. Well, the both of them met on December 26th, 2007 and did just fine. We joked about both incidents and had many belly laughs. I was glad that my mom finally got to meet and talk with the Shannon, and likewise for Shannon. He brought a really cool Christmas gift for me which was called a "Liquid Lunch Martini Set for Two." Totally cool gift and I loved it. The inside contains recipes for different martinis. Cosmos are included.

But of course.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas to you all. I'm sitting here filled with coffee, scrambled eggs, bacon, orange danish and champagne, having just opened presents with my mom and Jack. It's all good, and I'm about to nap.

I hope you are all having a good one, with plenty of cheer.

Friday, December 21, 2007

A post will come soon, but I don't know how soon. I've been so busy with working, holidays, holiday parties and other outings. And, getting ready for my mom and Jack's visit. Now, they are here and we had dinner tonight. It's great to have them in Los Angeles and they are staying in a hotel. My place is just too small and it's a one bedroom. Plus, it doesn't have us on top of each other all the time.

Time for bed though.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

In keeping with my promise to take advantage of what Los Angeles offers, I found myself at a great event on Thursday, December 6th. Focus Features had a screening of Eastern Promises at the Laemmle theater for free. Even cooler was that after the movie, Viggo Mortensen would be on hand for a Q & A. How cool is that?

Not wanting to go by myself, I cajoled Cathy, my friend who is a member of the DGA into going with in case credentials were needed. Plus, it was a good excuse to have a girl's night out with her which was way overdue since I'd gotten back. She came, DGA card in hand and we were through the door. Most of the people who were there were SAG. I'd spoken to the publicist a few days earlier to make sure my name was on the RSVP list. Cathy hadn't seen the movie before, and I'd warned her that it was violent. Turns out that she did much better than I did during some of the scenes.

It was weird watching the movie knowing that the person I was watching on screen was going to materialize in the room afterward, all Purple Rose of Cairo style. Shannon and I had been to a similar event with the Nick Drake documentary. Of course, the late Nick Drake didn't appear, but his sister and colleagues did and answered questions. What is so neat about events like these is that it gives you a deeper appreciation for what you have just seen on screen and the people who put it together or were a part of it.

Viggo Mortensen at Eastern Promises screeningIn this case, Viggo Mortensen appeared as himself after we had just watched his character Nikolai, the Russian "driver/undertaker" for the mob. It took a couple seconds to adjust from the tattooed, heavy-accented, intimidating and mysterious character to the understated man who walked into the theater holding a plastic bag from his purchase at the Virgin Megastore, which was at the same complex. The theater in which it was held was small, as it is an independent art house theater, so it was an intimate setting. (This Wireimage picture was taken at the event.) Also interesting was how soft spoken Viggo Mortensen is. He seemed intelligent though, and handled it well when an obvious uber-fan stood up to congratulate him on a few of his personal projects outside of the movie and offered him a gift. It was awkward for the rest of us in the theater, as you don't want her or the actor to be embarrassed. She was a really big woman, first to thrust her hand into the air when the moderator took the questions to the audience. She went on for a couple minutes, and Cathy whispered to me that she thought they were supposed to ask questions about the movie. I agreed. Time and place, people. When you are attending an event in this sort of forum that is clearly geared toward a group, the event isn't about your moment, but about enhancing the experience for the group. Luckily, she was able to walk up and give him the gift and got a kiss on the cheek from the actor. It could have gone south, but thankfully it didn't. It was one of those thick syrupy moments where you're just rooting for both sides to come out ok.

Afterward, many people went up for meet and greet but Cathy and I headed out of the theater, starving. On our way out we passed a woman who looked in her 40's, standing and clutching what looked like a box of chocolates, waiting for Viggo Mortensen to make his way back up the aisle. He had another screening to go to at a much bigger venue after ours and his people were encouraging him to keep moving. I thought about both women and the other grown adult women who had plopped themselves in the first row in order to be close when he was being interviewed. I wondered what they were looking for and hoped they got it. A moment of acknowledgment, to leave a piece of themselves with the object of their admiration and maybe just for one moment, to register with and matter to them. It was completely fascinating and a little unsettling.

I don't know if it makes sense, but I didn't feel like attempting a meet and greet in this setting. The event wasn't really meant for one, but there was a short window of opportunity for it. In some similar situations, I do, but in this case I felt I'd gotten what I'd come for. I knew that was okay with Cathy, as she works with stars of huge caliber all the time.

If you're a creative person, I think it's beneficial to see creative people speak about their work in person. Or, to see their works in person. So much is on television, the internet, whatever, but to see someone or like the last weekend where I went to the galleries, art in a personal setting makes much more of an impact. It makes it real, tangible and accessible, and in their words I see similarities in my own goals or creative processes. In the case of Nick Drake, hearing his sister and colleagues speak about his depression and the effects of it on others struck an uncomfortable chord with me. A necessary chord though, to know that I wasn't the only one who had traveled that road, especially when things got their darkest. Viggo Mortensen struck the creative process chord in an unpretentious, matter of fact way that for lack of a better way to put it, made the thought of taking a risk creatively not such a big deal. This was a guy that all of us had just watched naked in a bathhouse fight. Incredible scene.

Anyway, even though he's a very handsome man who looks way younger than his years, he had a very disarming personality that didn't appear fake or rehearsed. I kept having to remind myself that he'd been Aragorn in Lord of the Rings. However, in person he seemed like some guy you might end up talking to at a bohemian coffee shop.

It was a great opportunity and I'll definitely be going to more like them in the future. There are many with directors, actors, writers, the works.

And no, I won't be bringing chocolates. ;)

UPDATE: Holy referrals! Looks like the Viggo fan sites found me. You guys are quick! I posted that last night! Welcome to the blog. From what I've heard, Viggo's a good egg. My friend, who doesn't suffer fools lightly, was the sword master on Alatriste and spent months with him. He spoke very highly of Viggo.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

I did something I wasn't particularly in the mood to do last Saturday and almost ended up not going. I've learned over time that when I feel like that it's a sign that I should especially go.

Today was no exception.

When I last lived in Los Angeles I'd heard about an artist's area called Bergamot Station in Santa Monica. It dates back to 1875, when it was a stop for the Pacific Electric rail system which served the Los Angeles area from 1875 to 1953. It has several warehouses which were converted into galleries in the 90's, I think. The result was a great way to spend my afternoon looking at art. Incredible art.

Painting by Cameron GrayThis artist, Cameron Gray had incredible work. The paintings were made up of tiny paintings on cut art board squares and then mounted to form a larger picture which contradicted the larger one. They were very colorful and way cool. There are more examples of this artist's work on my Flickr page, as are these, and they can be viewed much larger in all their detail there. Below is a close up detail of the above painting. You can see the different pieces of artboard. For a larger view, go to my Flickr page.

Detail of Nuke Painting by Cameron Gray

A couple months ago, I went to the downtown gallery show and it wasn't as varied and good as this space. Here, the galleries are impeccable and spacious and the artists had clear vision and skill. It was easily up there with New York galleries, but lacked the pretentiousness of them. Meaning, you got to enjoy why you were there in the first place, to see art. New York art galleries are filled with people who don't even seem to appreciate art, but see it as more of a scene or fashion label. Sure, this place was a scene too, but it felt more alive, warm and real. The shows were about the art and making it accessible to those who wanted to see it. Both buyers and appreciators.

Bergamot Station - Collateral Damage

This artist, Ellwood T. Risk used target practice papers for his figures. Again, the work was incredible.

That night, several of the galleries were having show openings. I milled around in the spaces, in some cases listening to the artist talk to patrons about their work, other times just walking around in the large spaces by myself, standing in front of giant canvases as a hired musician sang songs of yearning. At one of them a man who had bought several of an artist's paintings showed me around the gallery and talked about the artist's work. It was then that I realized I'd put myself in yet another situation because I simply wanted to see it. Now, I was in it. In an art space, looking at top rate work, talking to art people about...well...art. In Los Angeles. Who knew the art scene was so active here? I sure didn't. And it sounds odd to say so, but welcoming.

It was way beyond my expectations and I will certainly be going back.

Bergamot Cafe They even have a cafe called Bergamot Cafe. Before I gallery hopped, I sat down and had a mocha and chicken quesadilla under some metal art that was posted on the wall. I took this photo, and caught the woman on the right mid-lipstick application. It was chilly outside and until the warm coffee hit me, the same inside. Out of picture, two artists talked about the goings on in their galleries and the people within it.

On other notes, the job is still going really well. I like the people which includes my boss, it takes me all of seven minutes to get to work, and I like the work. It's non-stop once I get there and that's the way I like it. When I work, I can't stand downtime. I like to have a lunch hour, of course but when I'm at work I like it when it moves at a fast pace. I'm more creative and effective that way because of my constant need for stimulation. And, the people, like I said are really funny, sharp, talented and nice. Sounds cliché, but they are team players who work well together and want each other to do well. That's so important. I also like being a vital member of the team and getting to work with so many of them on a face to face basis.

I have a couple posts due here. One from Thanksgiving and others, but I've been keeping busy in both personal and work life. It's a good thing, and I think once I ramp back up I won't take so much time between posts. Also, it's the Holidays. Yep, add that to the mix, as I'm sure it's affecting those of you who read this blog.

The main thing is that I'm taking advantage of being back in LA.

Even when I don't feel like it.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A post is coming soon, I promise. I've been busy and just haven't gotten a chance to sit down and blog. Mental space is required and I'm still in a new phase which has taken up a lot of room.

I had Thanksgiving at Cathy and Reese's house, and Reese's parents were there as was of course Alexander, C & R's adorable five-year-old son. It was great food, great company and a perfect night all together. Not much beats a having a five-year-old when asked what he's thankful for look across the table at me and say, "I'm thankful for Annie." Melted my heart.

Well Alexander, I'm thankful for you too. And your parents, their parents and for precious moments like that.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Lots of updates, but this post will be short because I must get to bed.

The job interview that I went to on Tuesday turned out well. I got the job, and a really well-paying one at that. I beat out at least ten other candidates for a copywriting job at a major studio. Though I know my skills and experience are worth the salary, it's weird to be back in that playing field all of a sudden. It will be especially weird to get that first week's paycheck which will more than cover my entire month's rent. Jeez. How did that happen? Before the holidays even.

At my new gig, I'm not an employee but working as a contractor through my temp agency on a long term open-ended assignment. My first day went really well, as did my second. The people there are incredibly sweet and have great senses of humor. My boss is a total sweetheart and sharp, too. And again, it's close by to where I live.

I'm realistic though. I always prepare for the floor to drop out from underneath me without notice. Not because of anything I'll do, but because I've been at this a long time and know that anything can happen. Though this has been a wonderful turn of events, I'm keeping everything in perspective. Every day, I ask for strength to do my best at work.

And most important, they have a Starbucks in the commissary in the building across the street.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

To everyone who reads this blog. Please send good thoughts, prayers, supreme mojo, positive vibes, well wishes, the best karma, fast healing, encouragement for Lorna who has just undergone a double mastectomy. I link to her on my blog, and she's been an inspiration with the strength she has demonstrated since she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

If you want to send any of the above to her directly, contact her through her blog.

Those who inspire can use inspiration as well. Get well fast Lorna. You are in my prayers.

Monday, November 12, 2007

I had a flurry of job leads come my way through the creative agencies I'm with, one which resulted in an interview on Tuesday for a freelance copywriting gig. The leads are when they call you and ask if they can submit you to a client. I'm still working at the advertising firm proofreading the movie collateral. It's been kind of cool to see how that whole process works and to proof something that's going on the side of a building. I'm still doing that Monday and Friday, and the women that I work with are all very nice and interesting people. That's the great thing about temping; the souls that you come across. I enjoy meeting people and knowing who's out there, if that makes sense. The more I do it, the more of a soul network I make, meaning that I've alerted them that I'm out here as well. It really is a privilege when I think about it.

WGA Strike

Since the studio is right across the street from me, I'm privy to the writer's strike. Every week day, they are out and the honking begins. Note in the above photo, the "Honk for Unions" sign which is one of many prompting passersby to honk. On Friday, some guy had an air horn he was blowing. That was put to a stop immediately by my neighbor who was as irritated as I was. They do it to interrupt filming and make their point. However, this person, paired with the drummer whom I dubbed "the little drummer cunt" in my half wakefulness were promptly silenced.

The thing is, I support the writers %100. Just take a look at Google and You Tube's revenues, and you understand why the people who create the content want a their fair residuals when their work is shown through via the internet. It's become a very important venue for entertainment, and when internet companies are done correctly it's an incredibly profitable and visible medium. And, what they are asking for isn't much. Just to be compensated like everyone else. I do worry about the "below the line" people. They are getting killed by this. Grips, ADs, PA's, make up, sets people.

wga_strikeI wandered down to the strikers area and took a few pictures. They are congregated at all gates at Warner Bros. so it's like a big party every day outside my apartment. There's an energy in the air and a sense of purpose and change. Based on the honking, the writers have a lot of support. Everyone from regular drivers, motorcycles, delivery trucks, catering coaches, buses, fire trucks, ambulances, and eighteen wheelers whose horns bellow and echo. The writers march back and forth across the street. The hours for the strike are 9-6, I think but I've heard action much earlier. Each person must strike for four hours.

Actor from MoonlightPeriodically, actors from the shows come out and join the strikers. When I was there, Jason Dohring from Moonlight showed his support. I wouldn't have recognized him from the show, as he looks different, but there were some fans of the show there who made a bee line toward him. He was very nice to them, taking pictures with them and talking to them for a long time. Some of the writers from Moonlight also thanked them for their support. I've watched it a couple times and thought it was good.


WGA Strike - Jerry O'Connell?I also think I inadvertently photographed Jerry O'Connell without realizing it at the time. Is this him? You can view a larger picture by clicking on it. Someone saw it on Flickr and told me it was. He's the guy in the blue sweatshirt in the foreground. Hard to believe, if this is him that he was the chubby kid in Stand By Me. Since I've posted these, I've gotten a lot of emails from writers thanking me for the photos. I guess a lot of them are scanning Flickr to look for themselves or people they know. For me, it's yet again another way that souls let me know they are out there.

On Saturday, Gary, Becca and I went to see American Gangster at the Hollywood and Highland complex. Well, the movie was playing at the Mann Chinese, but it's right next to the complex and even more important has parking that the theater validates. We had dinner before and it was great to catch up and chat, laugh, reminisce but it went by too fast. After the movie, we were on our way out and I saw celebrity blogger Perez Hilton going up the escalator in all his fuchsia-haired glory. Becca and Gary, to their immense credit, had no idea who he was. However, I now admit to you dear blog readers, that he's been a guilty pleasure of mine for quite a long time. Way before his blog took off. A few months ago, I actually sent him an email requesting that he mention Brooke Astor's passing in his blog and he not only took me up on it, but "borrowed" a few verbatim sentences from my email as well without asking. I didn't mind on this occasion.

Bed is calling. Time to enjoy the silence before the writers start up again. At least I won't oversleep on work days.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

On Sunday, I partied on a work night. Yes, I'm still working, for all of you who asked. Not at Warner, but at an entertainment advertising agency doing the exact same thing for the exact same money. Thing is, I only work two days a week so I'm going to have to fill in the other three days with something. Luckily, today someone called in sick so I got an extra day out of it this week. I've thought of seasonal Barnes and Noble work because of two things. The writers have gone on strike and it's before the holidays. Can we say...double whammy.

When I was dog sitting for Cathy and Reese, I stopped in my old store and saw my manager that I'd worked for in the Calabassas store. He told me without prompting, "You were one of my best employees."

I was touched by that. One, because of my supercalafragalisticsadomasochistic last day experience at the Baltimore store, a tale I still haven't told that makes his statement so poignant. Like I said before...at some time I'll tell that story. In short, this woman got in trouble from corporate for not dealing with a very serious issue that I brought to her attention several times. She did nothing about it, the issue worsened, and I finally had to go up. It was an issue that could have put money in my pocket were I litigious. If fact, when I told the story to the people at "The Wire," they asked me why I didn't sue. As luck had it, she was the manager on my last day there and let's just say handled it poorly and well weird. However, in my quest for employment, publicly spilling the beans on the gross misdeeds of others isn't the best thing to do.

I probably won't try to work at that store even though I really enjoyed it there. I'll most likely try for somewhere closer to home to fill the gaps while I'm looking for full-time work. It will keep me busy, certainly provide lots of interesting stories for this blog, and to be honest I really like the work as long as it never takes place again in White Marsh, Maryland. The customers there are some of the most vile, stupid, gross and negative human beings I've ever come across.

So, about partying on a work night. Los Angeles offers many options and I decided to take one up tonight. LAX has Banana Split Sundae, which is a pairing of two of the top DJ's in Los Angeles spinning records. I've always been a fan of club music...let me clarify that. Good club music of the heard on KCRW ambient electronica kind. It was fun dancing, the place makes a damn good cosmo and it was fun to see all the kids dancing to great beats spun by Steve Aoki and others. And yeah, I danced too and had a great time. You couldn't resist the beat and the scene was great, bodies dancing everywhere, moving in time to the music. While getting my groove on, a few club kids/boys grabbed me to dance with them, quite a bit younger than me. One of the mod haired hipsters yelled at me, "You're so awesome!" then hugged me. Cracked me the hell up. I had been half and half about going, got dressed for it, did a drive by and then decided to go for it. I'm glad I did. A great show, and intimately laid out where I could watch the DJ's spin up close. On the way home from the club, a thick mist moved in capping the ending to a very surreal night, one where I had many David Byrne "How did I get here?" moments.

Most importantly, the place makes great Cosmos.

Since I'm fresh back in Los Angeles, at times I want to experience a "nightlife" sort of night out. That's the great thing about being here. Everything is here if you want it on every night of the week. To find the good clubs on a good night, I've made sure I'm up on the scene and am on the mailing lists. From there, gravy. Luckily, my work day starts at 10:00AM and we gained an hour in the day. However, it was still tough on Monday. At lunch time, I was both ravenous and tired.

It's been beautiful here, with fall settling in and offering crisp days. My spirits are still up, and before going out on the town I took a walk through the neighborhood.

Thanks to all who wrote concerned about my job situation. Really, I expected this my first year or so here, for there to be fits and starts of employment. Sure, I'd much rather have had a great job as soon as I put my foot on LA soil, but I'm a lot more realistic now. And patient.

As long as I can go dance it off once and a while.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

If you need to get in the Halloween spirit, or just want to learn some scary things about and going on in Los Angeles, David Markland from blogging.la has a Halloween blog about all things creepy, haunted, chilling, and just plain weird in the City of Angeles. It's called Creepy LA.

Even if you aren't from LA, it's a great blog, detailing the creepiness that is LA and those that make it so. Check it out. It rocks. Or haunts.

Monday, October 22, 2007

I mentioned a couple posts back that I'd received some semi-bad news. That news was that the company that I'm working for now, has hired a full-time person for the job that I've been doing for the last four months. I'd applied for the job, and was doing well at it. The job was proofreading DVD packaging for Warner Bros. new releases. It was actually very interesting and I got a great peek into the world of movie marketing and creative services production for a major studio. I also met lots of great people. My last day is October 29th, unless they can find something else for me there. I have low hopes for that.

The reason that I said it was semi-bad news, was that I'd been having second thoughts about the position. I wondered if I was playing it too safe so soon to coming out here. Yes, the job totally worked for me. But I was starting to examine the reasons why it worked and wondered if they were in my best interest. The person who they hired for the job had a straight proofreading resume, where mine is a writing resume. They felt someone who had a strict proofreading copy editing experience was better long run for the department. Though any form of rejection never feels good, I think they are probably right. They said it was a close call, and my boss said she'd give me a recommendation and facilitate meetings with people in editorial. The thing that is irritating is it has me job searching right before the holidays, the worst time in the world to try to find a job.

So, I went out. Shannon and I went to Green Door in Hollywood where he snapped this picture of me.

Me at Green Door in Hollywood

I was wearing a thigh-length new dress straight out of the late '60s, early '70s at a store I just discovered in Hollywood with the coolest clothes EVER. I wore my skinny knee-high Ferragamo boots and matching purse. Shannon looked awesome, embroidered shirt under a cool blazer, totally hipster. We saw David Spade there, who mingled among the crowd. Dude is shorter than I am. There were other famous people there but I have no idea who they were.

We ate, drank, talked, laughed and had a great time. It was a really cool place, French baroque decor with chandeliers and velvet drapes. Total scene, but that's exactly what I wanted. Somewhere to get dressed up and enjoy what LA can offer in that capacity. I'd discovered it when I'd driven by it one night and noted the cool door. After a little research I found the name and away we went. A little past 1 AM, when we left, there was a huge crowd of people waiting to get beyond the velvet rope. The bouncers had to part them to let us out.

Next to it was a huge club with a totally different vibe. We walked around a little before getting the car and passed a man carrying a passed out Asian girl in his arms. We looked, noticed, kept on walking. I'd had three cosmos but was holding my liquor. The ones they made there were smaller and weaker than how Jack makes them. Had I had three of his, Shannon would have been in that guy's position.

There are so many great clubs in Hollywood. Some old, some new. I can't wait to explore more of them. It's definitely the place to go out, offering a noir feel that Sunset doesn't. Sunset hops in its own way, but lacks the edginess of the Hollywood clubs. Perhaps it's the age and art deco architecture of the buildings, and the smaller blocks with so many streets. You can walk around there and feel the history of the place. A couple months ago, one bar that Shannon and I visited, Boardners, was one of the Black Dahlia's haunts. Sure, there are some tacky clubs there for sure. You just have to know where to go to avoid the drunk fighting sorority girls in ass high dresses (well...unless you're into that kind of thing) and guys who are total douche nozzles. It's pretty obvious which ones to avoid.

All aside, I'm still feeling good and look at this as a door opening rather than one closing. I'm trusting my gut, which was already sending me signals before I got the news. Funny how that happens.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

This is just so completely awful, senseless and tragic. Who could do such a thing? How can you look into a crowd of people who did NOTHING to you, walk among them, knowing you are their death?

I'm not going to pretend that I know anything about the politics here. I don't. The truth is, it doesn't fucking matter because acts like this are done by soul-less monsters. This horrific event won't get the coverage that it deserves. We won't learn about the families who lost loved ones and the holes that it rips in their lives. There will be no year anniversary follow ups showing the empty beds, places at the dinner table, the silence of their voices at work. Why? Because these were mostly Muslims and this happened in a Muslim country. The people in Pakistan dress differently than us and speak a language that has no combination of consonants or vowel sounds that most of us can remotely identify as familiar words. Had this happened in a mall in America it would be first page news on every newspaper around the world. We'd be shocked by images of people that look like us, and bloodied familiar icons. Gap basics, Juicy Couture warm-up jackets, T-shirts with familiar movie icons on them, Nikes, iPods, iPhones, skateboards, hand-held video game consoles, baby strollers, shopping bags with every label imaginable, credit cards, purses, Starbucks cups and the pristine surfaces and mall decor a stark contrast to the carnage.

I just don't understand that level of monstrosity. How can one think that anything will come of it except for heartbreak, shock and pain? And no, just because it looks different there doesn't make it any less close to home us in the rest of the world.
I can't sleep. It's 3:07 AM and I'm up on a work night. I got some semi-bad news today and I think that's why. Nothing life threatening, it's just that I'm going to once again, have to endure changes and disruptions. In a way, I was sort of prepared for it because of the thinking that I've been doing the last couple of weeks and I think in the long run it's going to be more of a good thing. Right now though, it sucks.

I'm drinking Amaretto to lull me into a false sleepiness. Luckily, it doesn't take much when I'm actively trying to take the edge off or get sleepy. What's irritating, is I can fall asleep at the drop of a hat during the day. It's when I should sleep is when I can't.

I'll elaborate more on the news, but just don't feel like it right now.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Last weekend I went to the Brewery art walk. As usual, I took some really shitty pictures, mainly because I wasn't that moved to photograph that day. Plus, my pictures have been of major suckage lately, and I think it's because my little camera is getting old and is low mega pixel. It's an awesome camera, just not for more artistic photographs. It's one with a screen instead of a viewfinder, which has always thrown off my composition and focus when shooting pictures. The show took place in an artist's colony where the artists live and work. It used to be you guessed it, a brewery.

This was one that I took inside a gallery. I liked it because it was the number three, and I was born August 3rd.

Three

I was thinking today that things are going well and how that made for much less interesting blogging. I look at my older posts, so introspective and descriptive of my battle with depression. It's also weird to be older in a place where I was much younger and volatile. I'm driving down the Caheunga Pass and can almost see myself in my mid-twenties speeding past me. I would have been speeding past me, too with the passive way that I drive now. I was quick to anger but also quick to be excited and inspired. I only miss the good parts of her, that ghost of my twenties whom I see everywhere. In ballet class, her hand resting on the very same barre as mine, driving on streets, in friend's houses and apartments, in restaurants and coffee places that are still there. I'll see her again in the hair place that I'm going to on the weekend. All these places are hip to go to almost to a point where it ruins what I liked about them in the first place. They were hip before, but that hidden kind of hip. It was a fantastic time to be in my mid-twenties in Los Angeles. It was happening and raw, and that odd sort of cool that I've only experienced here. So many pockets of activity.

I don't miss the bad parts of her. The undiagnosed clinically depressed person who kept running into walls and not knowing why. The raw anger and need to prove myself that so frequently misguided me. There were great parts of her but I'm glad I'm in this mental space now and not on such a learning curve. I think there's a bunch more to discover and open up now that I've gotten her out of the way and manageable. I let her roam every now and then, but she knows who's boss.

Last Friday, Shannon and I went to see a documentary on Nick Drake at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood. If you don't know who he is, you should. Shannon told me that he thinks I was Nick Drake in another life. He suffered from depression and eventually his getting in his own way and feeling so intensely led him to taking his own life. Thankfully, it wasn't the suicide that made Shannon make the comparison, but the sensibility and struggle with the black beast. It was a little unnerving watching it, because after it his sister, producer and friend answered questions. I felt like some of it was indeed very familiar, and the first documentary, the way they filmed it was spot on. No footage of him exists, so it was all done in pictures and interviews. You may know his music from the Volkswagen commercial a few years back. That song was Pink Moon. He only recorded three albums. Too bad, a brilliant musician and so talented. But, he did leave us with the gift he was able to give.

Here is the commercial. When I saw it I completely related with it. I'd done the same thing countless times when I had a convertible, driven under the stars letting the world in.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Huge coup on Saturday.

wardrobeOn a whim, I advertised my Ikea wardrobe on Craigslist at a super cheap price. I've been wanting to part with it since Baltimore. Yes, since Baltimore, meaning I moved it across country when I couldn't unload it there. On Thursdsay, I called Salvation Army to come pick it up on Tuesday. It's a really nice wardrobe. Cost me a few hundred, but it was just too big. On Friday, I put the ad on Craigslist. This morning, a woman and her friend who happened to be a mover with a big truck, came and picked it up. I sold it for get this, $75. I love LA for that. So many lives going so many directions. Like the free monitor, what you want to unload, someone else needs. It wasn't about the money. Sure, if I could get some money for it great. However, it was about unloading it for me and putting something within reach for someone who needed it. I was happy to give her a "steal."

The woman who bought it was here from Mississippi to be an actress. She lived six minutes from me by car. Immediately likable, and I told her I was glad the wardrobe was going to a good home. I spent the day at Michael's buying supplies for my next project, which is scrap booking all the mementos I've kept since grade school. Right now, I'm just organizing them. I felt like such an old fart, shopping with all the scrapbooking ladies. I did notice that many of them were young, but it didn't help me. And yes, I did buy some Martha Stewart scrap booking supplies.

Shut up. The woman and me were both born on August 3rd, so it's excusable. At least that's what I kept telling myself. I'm not going to make a cheesy scrapbook, just a nicely organized one.

Speaking of Craigslist, I bought a razor scooter from a couple in Glendale who had advertised one. It was brand new in the box, just never used. After practicing through the wide streets in the neighborhood behind me, then moving to narrower and more rugged sidewalks, I rode it to and from work after lunch on Friday and managed not to bust my skull open. It's actually more exercise than I thought. I had to keep pushing with my other foot to get any kind of speed up. I feel like a big kid on it but it works. I wish it went faster, but with the small wheels on it I'm not going to be breaking any speed records. People at work were incredibly amused when I brought it in, and the guards thought it was great.

I realized though that I need a back pack. My purse sliding off my arm isn't good for balance or speed.

Carson from Queer EyeLast weekend, after babysitting the dog I went shopping. Upon walking into BeBe I was startled by three men with big cameras on their shoulders. I'd been so intensely shopping that I'd failed to notice them and almost walked right into one. I wondered what on earth they were doing, then saw the familiar face of Carson from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. They were filming an episode for the new show of the same name except it's for the Straight Girl. Bigger pics are of course available at Flickr.
Carson from Queer Eye

Earlier in the day, I'd been at the Calabassas Avenue where I saw Travis Barker, a paparazzi favorite who had one of his sons in tow. I was impressed that he was kind to the fans who approached him, though I have no idea why he's famous. I know he was on an MTV show or something like that, but he's hard to miss in a crowd. Especially in Calabassas.

I may be going to see Crystal Method on Tuesday with friends. Should be a
great show.

No surprise, I'm sipping a cosmo. I've been so jazzed about offloading the wardrobe that it sent me on a cleaning and organizing frenzy. I'm so proud of myself for just deciding to do it and also for continuing to downsize. It's put me in a happy energetic state and it's been hard to shut down today. My place is looking super nice, especially for it being a very vanilla apartment. I'll have to take some pictures of it soon. I'm so glad I moved here. It's not only opened a lot of doors but enabled me to close some others. It's easier to get rid of things now. They don't have the hold on me that they once did. I'm donating another batch of clothing tomorrow. Between that, the monitor and the wardrobe it's left me feeling really good.

And much, much lighter.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Note: If you haven't seen Superman Returns, don't read this post. Contains spoilers.

Okay, I warned you.


It's not every workplace that you can run into the son of Superman and Lois Lane in the ladies room. I made a routine, um...pit stop at work and a mother and what appeared to be a kid were in the two stalls next to me. As I was washing my hands, I noticed the kid was reluctant to come out and standing, peeking out at me through the stall door. I could see what were clearly boys pants and shoes in the stall so I turned around and smiled at my Witness. For those of you older than 25, you'll get the reference. Mom, pretty, tanned, toned and blond, emerged, and so did the boy. I said, "I thought that was a little boy in there!" He smiled, busted but clearly seeing I was cool with it and the three of us got to chatting. The mom told me that they'd been caught in a forest fire that had crossed the freeway on the way here. At some point, I crossed my eyes at the kid and he did it back, but I can't remember what led up to that. He was a sweet kid, and completely at ease with strangers. I'm guessing he was around eight or nine years old, but I have no idea.

I took the work I'd set on the glass shelf, which was a mechanical for Superman packaging, and his mom noticed it right away. She mentioned something about her son and Superman, and I clearly didn't get the connection. At first, I thought she said he was a big fan of Superman but then she said he was in Superman Returns. Believe it or not, I haven't seen the movie, but have caught parts of it on HBO. I remember of the parts that I did see, I thought the boy was really good. I explained to them that I hadn't seen it but had wanted to, and that every time I caught it on HBO it had already started so I turned it off because I wanted to watch it from the beginning.

I asked the boy, whose name is Tristan, if he was in Australia for a long time. His mom told me he was there for eight and a half months, and I asked him if he was going to be in the next one. He said, thrusting up his fingers for each number, that he was going to be in "two and three." I told him he had quite a career, and how much fun he must be having. I told him he could have used Superman today to blow out that fire.

The two were there for an audition for Supernatural. There's a "super" connection so maybe he'll get it. He seemed like a normal happy kid and that's always good to see. In fact, so much that he reminded me a little of Alec, my nephew. However, this kid was clearly more polished in dealing with adults. Alec is comfortable with them because he's been around a ton of them, but this boy was seasoned and a little more loose. However, very much still a kid, hence the eye crossing moment...even though I did it first.

Shut up.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Hi Cathy and Reese,

I'm blogging this from Cathy's computer, a glass of white wine at my side. Pinkerton is in bed, but seemed a little wound because his mommy and daddy weren't home. I had to walk him up the stairs and he reluctantly followed. Once he was in the spot however, his routine kicked in. I left him sniffing around his bed.

I'm doggy sitting for one night at my friends house for a little Schipperke named Pinkerton. It rained buckets today and I wasn't sure if I was going to get to walk him, but once I was here it cleared up and we went shopping. He was a big hit at the upscale outdoor shopping plaza in Calabassas. The fun part was watching the kids with him, particularly the twin toddlers, one of them whose mother had to pry her hand from the leash, and the other a little girl about the same age that kept saying, "goggy." Their little hands would pat his head and Pinkerton was gentle and patient. Of course, before the moms let their kids in touching range I let them know he was good with children. And, he is. I've watched him with them and Cathy and Reese have said how good he is with the little ones. He's patient, sits still for them and lets their little clumsy hands explore and touch. There are few things cuter than watching little kids with animals.

It was absolutely gorgeous outside, with huge puffy clouds against a deep blue sky. This morning it rained and the clouds crept over the mountains splitting in tendrils. It looked like a giant ghost's hand curling his grey fingers over them. It was awesome. I snapped this picture in between downpours. If you want to see a bigger version, click on it to go to my Flickr page.

Los Angeles Storm

This evening, the sunset that the clouds produced was nothing short of spectacular.

It's odd, but when I'm in someone else's house, my biorhythms become more normal. I'm tired earlier and not fighting bed like I do when I'm at home. Last night my dreams weren't good, mostly because I've missed a few days of my medication and intense dreams are a side effect. My prescription is out and I'll have to wait until Monday to get it transferred to an LA pharmacy and filled.

Shannon and I went to Toi on Thursday night and had great Thai food. That place is prime for people watching and didn't disappoint that night. As I looked at some of the patrons, all hipstered out, I told Shannon that a part of me misses my twenties when we'd go out in huge groups and have a great time. And yes, we were all hipstered out as well, as most of my friends were artists or hipster nerds. Don't get me wrong, I still can turn on the hip but in a different, less transparent way. There's a nice advantage to being older and wiser. Back then group outings were a regular thing, two to three times a week and the people and places always provided a story. Too bad blogs weren't available to me then. However, it's all in my journals. Including Timothy Leary's last birthday party at his house before his death. At the same time, I told Shannon, there's a part of me that is really glad I'm not there anymore, at least in that head space. Most of those friends I made through work, when the Web was young and a place for rebels and misfits. Now it's mainstream and I don't think the same vibe could be repeated as it wouldn't attract the same mentality. Thankfully, I kept the friends. They are true originals and completely authentic.

Los Angeles is also a fantastic place to see music and I plan to do that more. However, I want to get my life a little more oriented before I start gallivanting around. The beautiful thing about being here is that it's all available to me. And while going on outings takes a little more planning now, so are my friends.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

It's about time that I changed that horrid looking title. It's not going to win any ID awards, but it's better than the pixely mess that was there before. Sometimes it's hard to believe I went to design school. I went before the Web hit, and a year before our school got a computer lab. While at school, I was complaining that we were entering the job market unprepared. A fancy label, but no substance that showed we were cutting edge. Of course, I had other issues when I graduated. I thought for one, that I had to know absolutely everything. I didn't go on one interview after college that was in my field out of fear that I wasn't going to live up to the school that I went to. Now, I'm content to let a pixely title exist on my blog that for some reason gets a lot of traffic. Oh, how far I have come.

Yesterday, I was leaving work when I saw a squirrel peering into the lobby. She was standing there, peering in at all of us through the glass door. Because the door has a metal kick plate, only her head was visible which was completely adorable. I couldn't believe it, but apparently she's somewhat of a mascot who has befriended the guards and many employees. They gave me some peanuts for her, and she could barely contain herself with excitement. She tried to get inside, and followed me to every door as I tried to get out without her darting past me inside. She's made a few trips into the lobby, but if one has food she follows them right back out. I went for it, and she danced around me as I walked away from the door, the pied piper of one squirrel. I can't even begin to describe the adorable quotient as she took a nut from my hand with such gentleness and precision that I swore she was being polite. I'll try to get pictures of her. She's incredibly tame, and ate inches away from me as I squatted down beside her.

Today the President of the television arm of the company hosted a meeting about new releases. It was incredibly interesting and I went with two coworkers and sat in the front row. I had a moment of being proud of myself for making the trip back to Los Angeles and already being in a situation like that after only a few months. There is more going on, but I'll keep that close to the vest for now. I was sitting in between two very nice people and listening to a Hollywood heavyweight talk to us like he was having us over for dinner, making a setting with several hundred people feel like a couple dozen. It's a first class company, and I'm proud to be a part of it, even though I'm just a contractor. After the event, we went to the commissary to pick up lunch and saw Maura Tierney from ER. About that time, all the shows break for lunch. One time, when I took my mom on the lot for a set visit Cathy had arranged for us to watch them film ER, we passed the entire cast of Friends on the way to the set. Cathy was working on ER, which is why we got to visit. When we got there, George Clooney and Noah Wiley were shooting hoops outside with an old looking dirty basketball. I turned to my mom and said, "They need a new ball," and George Clooney turned around and said to me, "Yeah, I know," and laughed, shooting me his winning grin. I had no idea he'd heard me, and turned several colors of pink, I'm sure. However, I managed to just smile back.

I'm finding myself looking forward to Eastern Promises, the new Viggo Mortenson movie. I think there's something wrong with me, but in the previews I'm finding the sleazed up tattooed Russian accented criminal Viggo incredibly hot. Now, I've always thought he was hot, but Jeez, when I saw him like this he just tapped into some dark fantasies of mine.

It's 2:06AM, and I'm having my cosmo. It's the weekend, and that's the beauty of weekends. I can feel the drink sinking in, and I love it. And, I still have half of it to go.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Playing in shadowsI took this yesterday while the sun set. Had been a while since I did a self portrait. The sun was coming in the house through the blinds and hitting my face in interesting light patterns, so I grabbed my little point and shoot digital camera and this was the result. I have on sunscreen, which all of you should wear daily, regardless of weather and season, and in the photo it sort of gave my skin a shimmery effect. Easier seen in the larger versions. It looks really dark in the room, but it wasn't. Just the effects of the light.

underworldOn Sunday night, I went to see Paul Oakenfold and Underworld at the Hollywood Bowl. I took Shannon for his birthday. What a show. Base thumping in the Hollywood Hills out in the stars, bodies silhouetted against the light of the stage, and freaking Underworld, man! If you've seen Trainspotting, you've heard their music. Barely. And yeah, they go that far back and even more so. Way ahead of the pack in the electronica movement. Worth exploration if you aren't familiar. I got nicely buzzed, let my senses take everything in, noise surround my skin, dancing, being, experiencing. The next day, I found out that my boss had been to the concert, as another woman down a couple cubes from her. I knew I liked the place. All these closet ravers.

I've started back with ballet and was greeted by a big hug from my teacher, who hadn't seen me in years. I'd checked the website and was thrilled that she was still teaching. Many of the same students were there as well. One of them, who is really good said to me in class, "It's so good to have you back." Wow, what a nice reception. Even more because it felt good to be back. I've got my work cut out for me in the catch-up department. Wobbly shaky legs, out of breath, dizzy on the turns, but it's all good. I know it will take some time. It's great to get the body working again, and so fun because of the energy of that place. An artistic, alive energy. Next door, a ballroom class takes place, and people of all colors, ages, backgrounds dancing. The same with our ballet class. Even though I'm out of shape, my body is responding. I already feel better, and I can tell it's up for the task.

I'm contemplating a cosmo before bed. Speaking of bed, last night I had a dream that the boy I had a mad crush on in middle school was walking past me as an adult. I said his name, and he turned, not recognizing me. I said my name and he remembered. I was with someone, and he was alone. I asked him for his email address to catch up and he wouldn't give it to me. Stung, I walked off, reverting into that shy twelve-year-old when it came to liking boys. Then, I remembered I was an adult and got angry. I turned around, went looking for him to scold him for not being receptive. I must have been thrashing or moving some way in my sleep, because just as I was about to tell him how rude he was, I heard meowing.

ME: (fighting to not lose focus of the dream) Shut up, Atticus.

ATTICUS: MEOW Mrrr. MEOW mrrrr. meOWW.

ME: (dream fading. Man/boy in front of me, looking at me, fading.) Shut up Atticus. I have unfinished business.

ATTICUS: MEOOOOOOOW.

ME: (Awake. Still pissed at the man/boy in my dreams.) Could you have waited five minutes?

ATTICUS: MEOW. prrrrrrrr.

I pet Atticus, who flops on his side, euphoric.

ME: (Staring up at ceiling, to the man/boy somewhere in the ether.) Dick.

Monday, September 03, 2007

It's 105 degrees outside at 5:45PM. Just sayin'.
We had more shaking today. Sitting at my computer, felt the ground shake under my chair, saw and heard my monitor wobbling. Just a little wobble, a little shaking for about ten seconds. I'm never sure if it was actually a quake, unless of course it's obvious, until the news breaks confirming it. This one was a 4.7 out somewhere. Had it been a 4.7 near us, it would have definitely felt stronger. We were having what Los Angelenos, and many Californians refer to as earthquake weather. Sounds ludicrous, but I wondered if we'd have one because yep, felt like earthquake weather. Hot, a tad of humidity to the air, oppressive. Heavy air, if that makes sense.

It was ludicrous hot today, still is. Got in the high hundreds. Supposed to be the same tomorrow. Before bed each night I've taken a cold shower and stood in front of the fan or air conditioner to get really cold. I hate sleeping in warm rooms. I like to burrow, and warm rooms don't allow for that.

I went to West Hollywood to eat at Urth Caffe and it was stifling hot there as well. It was the first time that people were fighting for inside tables over the ones outside. I actually wrote in my journal, one that I have had for several years. Before blogging, I'd go through them every few months. This one records slices of life from before I left Los Angeles for Baltimore, to coming back. After that I went to Z Gallery to pick up a second vase that I should have bought when I got its mate. I'm watching my budget, so it was great to finally find a vase that looks expensive, but isn't. The stores were dead today. Too hot, and everyone was on vacation somewhere else.

My mom sent me a beautiful necklace from Thailand and I was complimented on it twice in BH today, my first time wearing it. One, at Teuscher, and the second at Z Gallery. I'll tell her that she did well. Jeez, Urth and Teuscher, how Entourage am I? If you watch the show, you'll get it. I was going to both way before either were hip. After I picked up my vase, I went to the Farmer's Market. I need faux pretty um, fauna for the vases, but didn't find any. I'm opting for the more artistic than real looking stuff. Perhaps Michaels will have them, but I'm picky.

On Saturday at Starbucks near my house, I was typing away on the laptop trying not to breathe in the drift of a hygienically challenged man when Morgan Fairchild walked in. I don't know who her plastic surgeon is, but the man/woman is an artist. She looked phenomenal.

Still enjoying the job and the people. They are a great group and very funny. It's a really cohesive environment which is exactly what I need right now.

Next weekend, I'm taking Shannon to see Underworld and Paul Paul Oakenfold at the Hollywood Bowl. Should be a killer concert, and the Bowl is incredible anyway. We're going to have a blast and he was incredibly excited. The love of music is something that we share a thousand times. Many times we'd see live shows in LA, which I'd love to get back into doing.

Letting the cosmo sink in. It's three in the morning and I just finished watching A Clockwork Orange. Brilliant film. We've been working on Kubrick packaging and that is one of the titles. Still holds up today. I must have seen it over 15 years ago, at least, and in bits at that on pay cable. Doing the packaging made me want to see it, and now I have. Good old NetFlix.

Off to bed. I've taken the cold shower, and am sitting in front of the fan to get cold. Well, cool. After I finish my cosmo, time to sink into my pillows and let the sleigh bed be my world for the next several hours.

Friday, August 31, 2007

It's 103 degrees out right now at 5:30pm. I'm inside, off work due to a half day and about to lie on my couch to take a nap. AC is on, but it's a wall AC. I have on two fans, just took a cool shower and I'm still warm.

Oh, but it's a dry heat.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

It has been so humid here as of late. Yes, I know that you on the east coast and south would see this as dry as a bone, but having lived in humid climates this is ranking pretty up there. This is LA. LA is not supposed to be humid. But, on my walk tonight I actually saw haze around the street lamps. I also saw a huge spider hanging above the sidewalk in a giant web. Word for the wise. If you live in Los Angeles and want to take walks after dark, walk on the street. If you have a palm tree lined street, you should be okay, but if any branches overhang the sidewalk you can count on walking into a web with a big fat spider right in the middle of it.

Tonight, the one that I saw was extra big. Sent chills up my arms kind of big. He/she sat there in the middle of his giant web that stretched from a street sign, over the sidewalk and into a tree, daring me to walk under it.

SHELOB: Go ahead, walk under. I'm holding on reeeeeal tight. I promise.

ME: Oh hell no.

For the next block, anything that felt like a web sent me into a spider dance. If you don't know what that is, the next time someone says to you, "Don't freak out, but you've got a big spider on your shirt." The said dance you do is the spider dance. Everyone's is unique. I have the most terrifying spider story from my childhood days. Horror movie cliche kind of story. I'll tell it sometime. Still, when I think about it my skin crawls and I wrap my arms around my rib cage.

The kind of spiders we get are orb spiders, and they can get pretty big. Cathy was way out in the valley on location with Jericho, and said she had to cue this big battle scene in a thicket right next to a tarantula's nest. Yeah, we get those too. Luckily not very many sightings in populated areas. Cathy had to be in the thicket because she had to be camouflaged (pun very intended) from the camera. She knew that's what it was because one of the crew had pointed out others to her during the day.

These spiders are most of what you'll find in Los Angeles. The one that I'm talking about that build the big webs, including the mutant that I saw tonight are most likely common orb weavers.

The bravest of my friends has to be Malcolm, who was the stand-in for Jeff Daniels in Arachnophobia. The scene at the end where that giant spider crawls up "Jeff's" leg, is actually my friend Malcolm. That scene was extra pay, of course. Apparently Jeff had some last minute jitters of having a Goliath bird-eating tarantula crawl on him (10-12 inch leg span) and Malcolm came to the rescue. Sorry, you couldn't have paid me enough.

On that pleasant note, if you're reading this before bed...sweet dreams.

Monday, August 20, 2007

A few days ago this was stuck to our wall above the mailboxes. CSI is going to film right next door tomorrow.

CSI Filming Notice

When I came home for lunch today, the set dressers were already moving the furniture into the apartment. This is the not so glamorous side of Hollywood, of which there are many.

CSI Set dressing

I took my own "CSI" photos the other day after hearing about an accident right across the street from me. It happened on Friday night/Saturday morning around 2:30am. I even heard it, but because I have fans on at night it sounded much further away than it was. It was a long squeal of tires on road and I remember thinking, "Hope you made the turn."

He didn't.

My neighbor was the first one on scene and called 911. I was told this by another neighbor who asked me if I'd seen it.

Thankfully, I hadn't. It was then that I remembered after the squeal I'd heard helicopters flying low. Normal for LA, but these hung around a long time.

A driver was speeding 80 miles an hour down the hill from Hollywood couldn't make the turn between the Warner Bros. lot and Triangle building. He went over a median, flipped his car, went airborne, pin-balled between two huge palm trees, one of which he took out, yes...took it out, damaged the Warner Bros. short wall as he flew over that, then landed in the yard of the Triangle building. Some of the occupants were ejected and there was one fatality, a 24-year-old kid who died at the scene.

The 22-year-old driver who was drunk, is going to be charged with 2nd-degree murder, possibly. This is what the aftermath looks like:

Drunk Driving Crash - Bloody Handprint

Drunk driving Crash Pants

Drunk Driving Crash - Blood

And this is the cost:

In Memory

Apparently the kid who died was a vet tech who loved animals. A senseless, sad loss.

There are more photos on my Flickr that are marked with "Drunk Driving Crash." Explanations are there.

Had he tried to go left, he would have probably slammed into our building. There was an article about it here.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

I'm praying for all you people in Jamaica. That is one hell of a storm coming your way. It could turn into a category 5 by landfall. The news has been rife with natural disasters, and my same sentiments to all the people affected in Peru by the earthquake. It's so scary that one minute, you have a house and home and the next complete displacement and chaos.

I look at hurricane Dean and just can't help thinking that someone alive right now, breathing, living, thinking is going to die because of this hurricane. They have no idea that they are living the last few hours on earth. I remember thinking the same thing when Katrina was bearing down on New Orleans. Sure, it could happen to any of us anywhere. In traffic, a freak accident, whatever. I was walking around Ikea today in the self service areas, where at least three stories of merchandise was on palettes on huge shelves. I thought that I wouldn't want to be here when an earthquake hit. What a way to go. Crushed by a stack of unassembled Billy bookshelves.

Anyway, hold on tight Jamaica. Hell is coming to paradise.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I changed the picture to this placeholder. Knowing me, I don't know how long of a placeholder it will be. I chose this because it's LA based, and well, I'm in LA now.

I'm at home on my lunch break. This weekend I hung out in Beverly Hills, shopped at my old places and scored incredible deals. I got $200 jeans for $50 at Barney's New York. Yep. I got a Elie Tahari jacket and a Saks Signature collection shirt for a fraction and I mean, fraction of the price. I think I was paying 20% of the price when it came down to it. And I'm not talking not 20% off, but 80% off. When it comes to scoring at expensive department stores, I'm usually unmatched in my abilities to find the killer deal. Even the guy at Barney's said about the jeans, "Wow. I didn't know we still had any left at this price. You scored."

Indeed.

Truth is, I'm keeping a tight budget because my future is uncertain. However, my clothing situation was not what it should be. We can dress casually at work, but I didn't have a large casual wardrobe that I felt was presentable and varied. I also donated off a ton of clothing at the 24 hour dry cleaners just down the street from me because they have a program to give to charity. So awesome to know that. They did an fantastic job on clothing that I'd been lugging around in a bag for over a year, meaning to dry clean. I'm wearing one of the shirts now, and glad to have in back in my wardrobe. It was like getting a bunch of new clothes. I'm in the process of a slow molting of the wardrobe because I need to. Now that I'm near the big fashion places I can put my deal-keen nose to work.

Now, off to drop some bills into the mailbox and then back to work.

Friday, August 10, 2007

We had a little shaking the other night.

I was reading in bed, and it started shaking. Then, so did the walls and ceiling. I turned on the radio, and they were just going to news. The guy says, "Looks like we just had some shaking there," and it was confirmed. The radio station is located near me, so they'd felt what I had.

About a half hour earlier, Scout had been scratching at the door to get out. She doesn't do that often, so I'm wondering if she sensed something coming. Weird, but I've been thinking that it's only time before California gets a good shake. They are happening all over the world, big ones. This one was centered in Chatsworth, and not part of the San Andreas fault. So, no pressure was released on that fault. People are always talking about "the big one," in California. Well, the Northridge one was pretty damn big, but again, not related to the the San Andreas which is 150 years overdue for its shift. LA has been quiet of pretty late, considering. The one this week was a 4.6, and shallow. However, it was short.

It's always weird to feel the earth shake underneath you, and hear the roof over your head and surrounding walls resist the ride that its host is giving it.

On a funny note, I got carded getting liquor on my birthday. The man looked at my ID and said, "impossible." No, not impossible, but certainly flattered.

Friday, August 03, 2007

It's my birthday today. I made it through another year.

Happy birthday to me.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Got my Harry at 1:00 AM on the dot, according to my receipt. Going to read now.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Yes, a lot has happened since my last post which is why I haven't posted.

One, I landed a job right across the street in the entertainment industry. Go, me. It came as a last minute thing where I called a staffing agency, and they happened to need someone with my skills for that very job. Pay is decent, the hours are normal, and I am three minutes away from where I work. The only reason I drive is so that I have enough time to go home for lunch. Otherwise, were I willing to get up fifteen minutes earlier I'd walk. I'm not willing to get up fifteen minutes earlier and that would kill the amount of time I could spend at home for lunch.

The company consists of several buildings, and the one that I work in is on the other side of the lot. I'm proofreading movie and DVD collateral for a major studio. It's not creative, but it's within a creative department and the chances for moving around to a more creative position are probably pretty good. I'm a contractor, not an employee.

The boss is great, and there is a Starbucks in the lobby. What can I say?

It's been interesting work and I'm catching on pretty quickly. I've done this kind of work before, not for collateral but proofreading, so it's learning the systems and style guide. And like I said, I can go home for lunch and pet my cats, nap on the couch, have some "me" time in the middle of the day.

Speaking of "me" time, I must get to bed.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

I usually don't tout things on this blog, but in this case it was completely necessary. If you are looking for a great summer read, hell, a great read no matter what time of the year it is. Kristen Buckley, who brought you The Parker Grey Show, which I posted about a while back, has a new novel, TRAMPS LIKE US: A Suburban Confession'. And this time it's a memoir. For those of you who have written me to let me know how much you enjoy my musings about childhood or whatever on this blog, get this book. The stories are ripe, funny, touching, and completely insane.

Here's the book description:
New Jersey native Kristen Buckley travels through a series of catastrophic detours she calls childhood—one that was anything but normal. Set adrift after her parents divorce, Buckley embarks upon an emotional odyssey through the eerie underworld of northern New Jersey, where perverted gym teachers are as big a threat as the local mobsters, and timbale-playing orangutans wield the power to shape the future. Among the colorful cast of chracaters vividly portrayed are her brilliantlly wry mother; two deaf, adopted siblings from Korea; two Jewish stepsisters; and one pot-smoking runaway. After a childhood spent searching for a place to call home, she ultimately finds it and emerges as a truly unforgettable heroine.

And, order it from Amazon.com on Friday. Um, that means now, damnit. Why Amazon, and why Friday? Because the publishing world will be watching Amazon.com on Friday, looking for spikes and trends in sales, and I'm all about supporting authors who in one short sentence, are fucking great, not afraid to let it all hang out in a way that we can all relate, and make me laugh, feel and say, "I thought I was the only one..." And this book does it. An inspiration to those of us who strive to keep the narrative alive, to express...not to call attention to ourselves, but for the art of expression itself, to further intertwine the threads that make us all laugh, cry, and remind us of the Tramps in ourselves that we thought branded us outcasts.

Get the book. Now.

And if you want to learn more about Kristen and the book, visit her MySpace Page.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Went to the Hollywood Bowl tonight with Cathy and Reese. A beautiful thing, to be with friends and drink wine, eat food and sing along to the Sound of Music. Yes, sounds strange, but was so good to let go, look at Venus to the left and the full moon rising to the right. Hear voices talking, singing, see so many people enjoying themselves. To be with friends, laugh, eat, drink. This is what life is all about.

Spending time with friends, being so glad that you met them and that they are a part of your life. To be near them again. I had my first star sighting at the concert. The first since being back in Los Angeles. Marg Helgenberger, from CSI was dressed in habit with about ten friends. Reese was the one to spot her walking in front of our seats, and she sat two sections from us where she then took off the habit. Clever disguise, and kudos to Reese for spotting her. Reese had worked on CSI, and therefore had trained eyes. Lots of people were in costume, dressed as characters or you name it from the movie. There was a grand prize for the best costume, won by a cute little boy who dressed as a "Moonbeam in your hand." I loved it. Totally original.

After the concert, warmed with wine I took the bus to the parking lot in the LA Zoo in Griffith Park. Listened to voices of children, men and women, sat next to a woman in the dark. Both of us were silent, I was pleasantly buzzed from three glasses of red wine, thinking how lucky I was to be near wonderful friends and back where I belonged. The bus driver had killed the lights so silhouettes and the passing lights and traffic were all I saw on the way home. The bus dropped us off at the Parking Lot in the LA Zoo. I thought of all the animals sleeping so near to us. Got in my car, rolled down the windows and smelled the pine, road and earth as I drove home on Forest Lane Drive. The moon hung brightly in the sky to my left, hills passed, the road winded and led me home. I was happy. Content. My senses lapping it all up as I drove. I came to my street, turned and parked.

Now it's time to sleep. A good sleep. One where I don't have to get up in the morning. One coming after spending time with good friends. A happy sleep. One high on knowing that coming back was right.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Shannon and I went out for drinks, then at 2:00 in the morning, nicely warmed by our drinks, went over to Bob's Big Boy, a 24 hour 50's diner to settle our hunger. We were one of many who had emptied the bars and flooded into Bob's. I had pancakes and bacon, Shannon had a double burger. Beside us an old man replete with grandpa shorts, loafers, and calf-high ribbed socks sat by himself. We wondered about him, alone at a table at almost three in the morning. Perhaps he couldn't sleep, and couldn't stand the solitude so he went to Bob's where he knew there would be an abundance of activity. He looked too comfortable to be a one timer, but it was certainly curious.

After Shannon dropped me off, I entered my apartment and went to the bathroom. I was looking forward to a nice warm face wash and brushing my teeth, then settling into bed and letting sleep take me. I turned on the light, and movement above me to my right caught my eye. I looked up, and that's when I saw it.

An enormous cockroach.

No, not a little one. And not a medium one. This one was huge, at least the size of my thumb. It's inch and a half long antennae twitched back and forth as we stared at each other. Behind me, the cats looked at it, then at me like, "this one's all yours." I backed up, closed the door. Instead of getting to wash my face in warm water, brush my teeth and sink into bed, I was now dealing with man's ancient enemy.

My second week in this apartment, I'd forgotten something about California. One morning before going to work I was most rudely reminded of it. I fed the cats and looked to see them trying to eat from their bowls but flinching back from them. I watched them a few seconds and they kept doing it, then backed away from their bowls and sat back and stared at them, watching something that wasn't right with them. I picked up one of the food bowls to see that it was infested with ants. Aware of the movement, several ants marched up my arm and I quickly turned to the sink and dumped out the food, then blasted the water on my arm to get the little buggers off me. I turned back to the cats, and once again, that's when I saw it.

The ant superhighway.

I followed it out the door, hundreds of ants coming and going from underneath my front door, outside the apartment and into a plant bed. It was a scene out of It Happened at Lakewood Manor, except these ants weren't toxic and angry because of chemical dumping. They just smelled a buffet of cat food and wanted their take. Disgusted, I grabbed the Windex and went to work. After emptying the other dish and sending the food and more ants down the garbage disposal, I sprayed that highway and created one hell of a traffic jam. Then, I vacuumed up the carcasses. After work, I bought ant repellent and bait to put outside my door. So far, no more ants.

But back to the freak of nature in my bathroom.

Luckily, I'd remembered the Raid ant spray. I grabbed it from under the kitchen sink and entered the bathroom, still in my strappy heels, skinny jeans, push up bra, sparkly top and beaded shawl. I took a deep breath, aimed and fired. A forceful stream of insect nerve gas made a direct hit, and my adversary launched himself off the wall and landed on the counter with a thud. I cringed, jumped back, fired again. He flailed, climbed back up the wall toward the bath tub. He was so big he made the noise a mouse would had it suddenly gained Spidey capabilities. Scratch, scratch, tap tap. I fired again, he fell into the tub and I watched in revulsion as he scaled the other side of the glass sliding door. I waited for him to come out, but he went in between the two doors. I could hear him inside, scratch, scratch, tap tap. I feared he would hide there but I saw the long antennae stick out and feel around. I readied myself, arm extended, stance firm, Raid locked and loaded. A prickly arm emerged, then the fat big body. I fired, he launched to the floor and scurried under a clear plastic bag on the floor, thrashing around in panic inside. I can't describe the sound of it.I kept thinking that this was an insect making this noise. Not a mammal, an insect.

Though I'd wanted to avoid it, I decided to try and stomp on it. It was under the plastic, it wouldn't get on my shoe and toes. I just didn't think I could take the sound. It thrashed around some more, and without thinking, I covered my ears, stomped on the plastic and jumped back.

I'd missed. He still thrashed angrily inside. I wasn't up for another try.

Behind me, the cats watched.

Finally, the bug made its way out of the bag and limped toward me. It was finally showing signs of the effects of the Raid but was still moving fast. It turned a corner and hid behind a plastic storage tub, and I blasted it again. Finally, it rolled on its back and died.

Now, I had a whole other problem on my hands. I called Shannon. Told him of my battle. He spoke to me as I tried to figure out how I was going to get the roach off the floor and into the toilet. I wasn't picking it up. Oh HELL no. Finally, I found a padded envelope sturdy enough to support his weight. Shannon listened as I tried to get the beast onto the envelope. I was cringing over the phone. It's body was juicy, fat and had give, and wouldn't slide easily onto the envelope. It was like pushing against a big gummi roach. Finally, I got it and pitched it into the toilet. I flushed, three times. I didn't want it floating up and greeting me in the morning.

After that, I cleaned up a little, washed my face, brushed my teeth and sank into bed like I'd wanted. I wasn't worried about another one. I'd lived there for a month and not seen anything more than the ants, a couple spiders, and a cricket that met an unfortunate end in the cat's water dish.

The next day, I saw two of my neighbors in the courtyard and asked about my visitor. They nodded their heads, and said the roach came from outside. They said not to worry as they aren't from in the building, and told me to check for holes in my screens. Sure enough, when I went to my bathroom I noticed the screen in the window over the tub was loose. They also told me that the cats would get them. That is probably true. Atticus loves to bug chase, and now that he's seen one and my expert and calm finesse in handling one, he'll step up.

In the meantime, I'll be trying to get that screen secure.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

There's a whole nightlife that goes down just a couple blocks from my apartment at the 24 hour Kinkos. I walked in at around 10:00 PM, expecting my choice of computer stations and was surprised to see all but one taken. Before I left for LA, my printer kicked the bucket and I've had to go down there to print when I can't do it at work. These were color documents of my writing work as they appeared on the advertisements magazines, web sites, catalogs, or CD ROM's that I've done. Among me were screen writers, teachers, three people working on some huge project and most notably the odd little older man that brings in enough computer equipment, complete with DVD player to watch Alias while working, that he has to wheel it all in in a wheelchair. After setting up, he sits in his wheelchair, headphones over his mop of grey hair and works on something that I haven't been able to figure out. So of course, being me...I pulled over a Kinko's employee.

ME: (motions with finger at Kinko's dude.)

KINKOS DUDE: (Walks over) Do you need something?

ME: (Surreptitiously) What's up with the dude in the wheelchair with all the equipment? Is he launching the space shuttle or something?

KINKOS DUDE: I don't know what he works on, but he's a Fed.

ME: Shut up.

KINKOS DUDE: Yeah, the manager saw his ID for something.

ME: You sure it was real?

KINKOS DUDE: Yep, but we don't know what he works on. He's here every night.

ME: But why does he come here to work?

KINKOS DUDE: (Shrugs shoulders and does a "beats me" gesture.)

I asked him if he was putting one over on me, and he swore he wasn't. Who knows, but he's an interesting character to say the least.

I interviewed at another creative temp agency with a great woman recruiter who really seemed to "get" my experience and who I was. I presented my Kinko's created portfolio to her and she asked me really interesting questions about the work. It showed she was really trying to understand what I did on these projects instead of "oh, that's great" and not even digging deeper. She was very perceptive and I feel safe in her hands. She introduced me around the office and told the other recruiting agents about my experience better than I ever could have explained it. She also gave me some great tips on my resume. And, it was she who suggested that I print the stuff out in the first place. Good call, and much easier than pointing to a monitor.

I'm still working at the non-creative temp agency as positions in my field flirt with me. The other creative staffing agency keeps sending out job notices and I throw my hat in. Like I said, it's only a matter of time before I land something full time. I'm growing impatient though. While I like the people at my "pay the bills" job, the job isn't stimulating creatively. It does however, allow me to look for jobs while there, and they allowed me time off today for the interview. If I have an interview for a real job, that comes first and they know that as long as I give them a day or two's notice. So, I can't complain on that front.

Shannon and I went out to eat tonight and talked about where we were. We ate a place in Hollywood near a coffee shop where I'd done plenty of life assessing and journal writing. I saw people that reminded me of me and my friends as we'd sit outside it and chat over coffee, and was glad that I wasn't "there" anymore. At the bar, we even talked to a girl who said she lived on Beachwood Canyon. I threw my old address at her and she said, "Oh my God, that's my building." Unbelievable. She lives in 104, I lived in 114. The connections keep happening, and are novel still. It's like I'm reading my past journals, but they've sucked me into their pages and I'm now living among the memories.

On Sunday night, I dragged Shannon out to a bar and we drank until closing time. I needed some cosmos, and he picked me up and we hung out at a cool looking place lit as red as the drink in my martini glass. The place was surprisingly busy for a school night, but I think that was the whole point. Everyone, like me was in the mood to be a little bad. It was hard to get up in the morning but worth it.

I still have moments of confusion. I think I'm going to run into people that I know from Baltimore, usually triggered by someone who looks like them. Then I realize where I am and shake it off. It doesn't feel like I'm that far from family, maybe because of all the trips back and forth while I was there. Really, they are but a few hours away. Plus, my other family is here in the form of my dear friends. The ones I was missing the entire time I was in Baltimore and am thrilled to be able to grab on a bar run or like Cathy, who when she found herself in my neighborhood called me up and all of a sudden I've got a Saturday playmate. Two in fact, as she brought her four year old son Alexander who was fascinated by my cats. They in turn, were terrified of him and hid.

I'll try to post more, but I'm still letting all this sink in.