Saturday, July 24, 2010

I had to move to a sunny spot, as I'd found myself in a chilly wind tunnel. Because I haven't posted in such an abysmally long time, I'm going to do vignettes.

Shannon and I worked a charity a couple weeks ago for Concern Foundation. It was on the Paramount Studios "New York" lot, and guests paid a minimum of $350 to attend. It was a blast, and continuous on-your-feet work from 4:00PM until almost 11:30PM. My bookstore training served me well there. I worked a photo booth, stuffing photos into paper frames and giving them to the guests as Shannon and Brian Kramer photographed the guests with a red and white striped backdrop and funny props. It was Brian's gig, and he brought his friend Dakota who manned the computer and printed out the shots, while I and one of Brian's photo assistants manned the table. We were inside a ceiling-less glass storefront which had several stories of open stage above for filming purposes. Concern Foundation BenefitA labyrinth of walk ways, catwalks, ladders, electrical cables and storage area was above us and when we needed light as day faded into dusk, one of the organizers gave the command over walkie talkie. Minutes later, a young lighting grip appeared two stories above, rigged a movie spotlight and shined it down on us. Hooray for Hollywood. There were a few thousand people there I would guess and our photo booth was a huge hit, with Brian and Shannon snapping non-stop. It was really fun to meet all the people and put that part of me to work, and to see their reactions when they got their pictures. As the drinks got flowing, the pictures got more hilarious. The event was circus themed with awesome acrobats and performing artists, and 50 of Los Angeles top restaurants offering free food. And, we were invited to eat to our heart's content. Good God.

Toluca Lake Country Club July 4, 2010For the fourth, I was invited to go to Marina Del Rey for a boat and dock party for fireworks, but opted to stay home and take it easy. I've seen the show there before, too. Our neighborhood has its own fireworks show, thanks to Lakeside Golf Club. Neighbors gather in a spot to watch, and one even provided patriotic music which she blasted from speakers she'd placed on top of her car. It was a fun, mellow night, with glorious fireworks and a chance to meet people who live in walking distance of you.

I've been shaping up in the last few weeks. There were a couple reasons for this, other than general vanity. One, I wasn't eating properly or enough during the day. This caused my blood sugar to drop and I'd end up eating too late and craving all the wrong things. This has been happening over a loooooong period of time and gradually gotten worse, with lethargy creeping in, day tiredness and insomnia. And, a soft middle. Finally, I just got sick of how I've felt for the last few years. So, I went for help to learn how to eat again. Funny thing is, I'm eating more than I ever have, haven't been to the gym once since I started and have lost almost 11 pounds. I'm never hungry. I am blessed with a fast metabolism and thanks to an athletic childhood, have a good "base." My whole thing is that I hate to cook so these prepared meals work perfectly. I also have a schedule that I follow, which tells me when to eat and what, so I don't have to think about it. I didn't look fat, but I was teetering on the edge of looking a way that I wasn't comfortable with. I gain in my middle, which is the most dangerous place to gain for heart health, so I decided to nip it in the bud. I also wasn't comfortable in my body and clothes anymore, and knew that the way I was eating, or in my case, not eating enough, wasn't healthy for someone my age. So, I made the leap and am thrilled with the results. The weight loss is a bonus. I feel a thousand times better, and can give my talent of being the "master of hiding disaster" a rest. My PMS is less severe, and I hardly get bloated before it. I'm also falling asleep a lot faster and sleeping better when I do. However, mornings will always blow the big one for me. I hate them.

I've taken on a little home project to make my living space a little more personal. My furniture and art on the wall does a pretty good job of that, but I decided to take it a little further with an accent wall. However, since I'm in an apartment, I'm limited as to what I can do. I took a trip to the fabric store and picked up some burlap. Nice burlap, to put on my wall. I was looking for regular fabric, but noticed the burlap when I saw that the store had cleverly used it to cover a storage space, and it looked really nice. It also offered me an idea of how to hide my kitty litters. Well, once I got home, that sparked another idea, and I stapled it onto my wall just to see how it would look. Fabulous. When a neighbor saw me taking it inside, he mentioned how flammable it was. I tested some out in the kitchen sink and sure enough, it lit right up and smoked like you wouldn't believe. I searched the Web for fireproof spray, but surprisingly the only products were mail order. So, I called around, and stores like Home Depot or Joann's Fabric didn't have any either. Nor, did they know of any brands. Since I live near almost every motion picture studio in Los Angeles, I knew there had to be somewhere that sold fabric fireproofing. Finally, I got the idea to call the Fire Department, and they told me that my best bet was to have it done professionally. They gave me some search parameters and I was able to locate Fabric Flameproofing, which was a five minute drive from my work. Score. I took my few yards of burlap to them, about 12 square yards total, and they told me that since they weren't busy (most TV shows are on hiatus) they could have it to me by the next day. It was a small order, but I was more than glad to pay the $75 minimum. I knew that it was out of the ordinary for them to do a home order, since they do most of their work for events and the studios. In fact, they had several clothing items hanging up that needed flameproofing for a TV show that was going to be using fire in a scene. It never occurred to me that everyone in the scene, including extras, needs flame resistant clothing, not just the stuntman when fire is involved.

They called me the next day to tell me my order was ready, and when I picked it up, the man who was there stunned me when he said, "No charge." At first I thought I didn't hear him correctly, but then realized what he'd said. The look on my face must have shown it, because he told me that they weren't charging me because it was such a small order, and that they really appreciated that I was taking fire safety in my home so seriously. Wow. Blew me away. What a kind and generous gesture, as this is their livelihood and I came there fully expecting to pay, and more than willing to pay their minimum job price for peace of mind and safety. Small order or not, they still used their chemicals and manpower to do it, and got it to me the very next day! Another reminder that there are kind, selfless souls in this world.

Now, for those of you reading this who live in the Los Angeles area, don't go there asking for a free job because you read about this here! Go there if you have anything to be fire-proofed, or please refer them to your entertainment or event industry people who handle getting fabric fireproofed to meet the fire safety code. They are authorized to give a certificate and clearly are very people oriented and care about their work. These are the type of people we want to keep in business. So, remember the name, Fabric Flameproofing in Glendale, CA.

I've put the first panel on the wall, and all is looking good. Pictures to come when I'm finished, but bed is calling now.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Holy shit. I had no idea I hadn't posted since the first. What kind of Mickey Mouse operation am I running, after all? Time has flown this month, and I promise I'll get to it.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

I finally caved and claimed one of the storage units in my apartment building. I've been avoiding it for three years because I have a huge fear of spiders, and the storage units are rife for spiders to make their home, including black widows. Widows though, tend to stick to corners near the ground. Last year, I had a big black widow back corner my parking area and just left her alone, even though the sight of her terrified me. She wasn't hurting anyone and just because I was scared of her, didn't mean she didn't have a right to exist. Now, if she were in my house...different story. Same with those freakish palmetto bugs.

I realized that my lack of storage in my apartment...even after several purges, outweighed my fear of spiders. I pulled all my plastic tubs, some filled, most not and everything else that had been crowding my closets and cabinets for the last three years. It was organized, but cramped and stupid to have in my apartment.

So, last week I started going through the full bins, picking through them and pruning what I didn't need to hold on to anymore. When you open your "stored" items, it's always interesting to see what's in there--these items that I just felt needed to be kept because they triggered some memory or represented me at a certain time in my life. Now, I don't. I remember these times anyway without the trigger object, and now they are just taking up space. Some of them are projects I did in college, while a student at Parsons School of Design. I really, really don't need them. And no, they are too weird to be hang worthy in my apartment. Assignments are just that. Weird concepts from the teacher to trigger your brain into thinking about how you'll visually represent that concept. These are from my freshman year, and while I appreciate them, I don't need them to retain what I learned. If these were paintings, or finished fine art pieces worthy of a wall, that would be an entirely different story. But, I was a graphic design major who ended up being a copywriter. I've taken painting classes later on in life. Those, I hang onto because they represent artistic growth. I was also a better student when I took those classes.

We have three days off this weekend. Since the 4th falls on the weekend, we get Monday off. And the shit is going down as far as clutter clearance. I'm even tossing a bunch of clothes, giving them to charity. Good clothes, that I thought I'd bring to a second hand store, but it's been too long, so out they go. Like I've mentioned before, or maybe I haven't here, but I've been on a cleaning frenzy, making the place feel like mine and not the countless other people's who have lived there before me. We're talking deep grime cleansing. Now that most of that is finished, it's time for Operation Clutter Sweep.

On another note, I had a couple star sightings. One was in the parking lot of my grocery store, where I saw Steven R. Schirripa, who played Bobby "Bacala" Baccalieri on "The Sopranos." He was carrying some clothes to the dry cleaner. Guess he had some "cleaning" to do. The other was yet another vampire. My hair colorist was doing my hair and Bryce Dallas Howard's at the same time. She is the new Victoria, a vampire with zero capacity to let bygones be bygones, in the Twilight series. But even cooler, she personally witnessed Christian Bale's epic meltdown. I didn't recognize her when I was there, but realized it after. I laughed, because I'd told them both my story of being on the john during our last earthquake. We were talking about quakes and well, the conversation just progressed.

I'm finishing this post on Saturday, the first day of the three-day-weekend. I'm up and ready to go, but first... coffee.