Friday, November 01, 2002


For the first time in a week I'm back at work, temping at New Line Cinema. This time I'm at a satellite location in the production finance department and there isn't much for me to do. It's extremely quiet here. Basically, I'm just a warm body occupying this desk in case the phone rings, which it has only three times so far today. My cell phone just rang for the third time since I've been here, equaling the total number of calls coming into this office. And answering the phone those few times has been the extent of my duties. Luckily, I ran into a friendly face, one whose house I've been to many times for little dinner parties. At lunchtime, we walked down Santa Monica Boulevard to Baja Buds, which I haven't had in a long time, and I got myself a delicious Quesadilla Grande. After being called in at the last minute this morning, I arrived here and realized by looking at the pictures on the cubicle walls that I know the woman I'm filling in for. So, although I'm in foreign territory, I'm never far from friends in the New Line Universe.

I've passed most of the time today reading news stories about Israeli politics and Jam Master Jay. I've also been doing the blog rounds, spending most of my time reading Tony Pierce, who posts more actually writing per day than any blogger I've found so far. He seems to love blogging more than anyone else, myself included. And I'm talking about the kind of blogging where the person actually writes stuff, not just comments on stuff other people have written and links to it. I have no idea what's going on with Ken Layne, as all the text seems to have disappeared from his blog. And let's face it, the text is the best part. His lovely wife seems to have abandoned her home in cyberspace as well. Hopefully, I'll get a chance to catch up with them this evening at their post-Halloween Day of the Dead party.

Thursday, October 31, 2002


As viciously as critics and movie audiences rejected Madonna and hubby Guy Ritchie's new film "Swept Away", those big bad networks have begun slashing struggling shows from their schedules as November sweeps approaches. Heavy-handed TV hitmaker David E. Kelley's new show "girls club" got the ax yesterday by Fox. Today, CBS killed off their Sunday night sitcom "Bram and Alice". Neither show was given much of a chance to find an audience, as "girls club" aired twice and "Bram and Alice" ran only four episodes. The cancellation of "Bram and Alice" is more painful on a personal level because a friend of mine got his first staff writing gig on that show and he and his wife just had their first child. I hope the wicked television tide turns in his favor and he surfaces on another show soon.

As far as good television goes, on Tuesday I watched the season two premiere of "24" and an outstanding episode of "The West Wing" last night. The premise for the new season-long day of "24" involving the threat of a rogue terrorist group setting off a nuclear weapon in Los Angeles is instantly riveting. The show has added a couple of new characters and the ensemble acting seems better already now that Jack Bauer's wife has been killed off. I had mixed feelings about watching the special season premiere episode presented without commercial interruption. On one hand, I love good television without commercials because it makes it feel more like a movie, (see The Sopranos and Six Feet Under) and I could easily see enjoying this show even more on a premium cable station. On the other hand, I like the breather that commercials give you while watching such an intense program, and "24" has that great gimmick of the ticking clock counting down the last few seconds to a commercial break.

Boo! Happy Halloween.

Wednesday, October 30, 2002


Finally, I had a chance to break out those dancing shoes my horoscope promised several weeks ago I would get to use. My Girl and I flew up to Seattle for yet another wedding weekend. Mercifully, this is the last scheduled wedding I will attend this year. I was invited to seven, went to five, and feel guilty about the two I missed, which were held in Oklahoma City and Cancun.

This one was another wacky affair, 70s-themed with a relatively silly ceremony and karaoke during the party. Each table was named after a different cereal and was represented by the corresponding bobble-head doll. Although I was seated at Cap’n Crunch, I staged a major coup by walking away with Count Chocula. The ceremony was brief and performed by a friend of the couple who they paid to take an online certification course to become an ordained minister of the universal consciousness, or something like that. At the beginning of the ceremony, the groom’s group of close college friends, ironically nicknamed The Stupids being that they’re all smart and attractive and eloquent and successful, stood up to say a few words. Their charismatic leader announced they would be reciting a hymn and the audience was asked to participate by joining in on the refrain “Skyrockets in flight, afternoon delight.” Each member of The Stupids read a verse, which consisted of the lyrics to a song from the 70s, and the tone for the wedding was set. The ordained friend shared a few humorous anecdotes about the couple, and then, like the wedding the week before, the bride and groom exchanged romantic vows they had written, then the rings, and within minutes they were married. The majority of the cocktail hour was spent seeking out the hors d’oeuvres trays and commenting on the ridiculous outfits, one of which I was wearing. Having realized I forgot my tuxedo as we were waiting to board our flight out of Los Angeles, My Girl and I had to scramble around Seattle’s vintage shops the day of the wedding to find something for me to wear. I settled on a tight silky shirt with a wide collar showcasing my chest hair. The detailed print features a scene from the shores of Venice, Italy. I found some polyester paints that blended nicely and we high-tailed it back to our lovely and quaint room at the Marqueen Hotel in the historic Queen Anne district of Seattle. We were a little late to the wedding, as the groom had told us it started at 6:30 when it was actually called for 6:00, but luckily when we got there, everyone was mingling and the ceremony hadn’t started yet. My outfit/costume was easily outdone by some of The Stupids. One wore a baby blue tuxedo with an orange ruffled shirt and had let his hair grow out for eight months so he could go with the afro for the outrageous occasion. A few of The Stupids grew mustaches and I even saw one person with a fake mustache. And, of course, many of The Stupids sang songs during the karaoke portion of the party, and they sang them well. Seemingly, The Stupids do everything well, unlike your favorite Piker, who chose "Luck Be a Lady" to showcase his lack of musical talent. Let me just say that the arrangement wasn't the Sinatra arrangement I was used to and threw me off my game immediately. After a verse and a half, the groom stood up and came towards me and mercifully cut the song short. In that moment, I identified with all of those losers who were gonged before they completed their act on The Gong Show. But, the groom gave me a chance to redeem myself with another song and I very appropriately chose "That's Life." Thank the karaoke lord that this arrangement was indeed the Sinatra one I was used to because I belted that thing out, not particularly well, mind you, but with enough gusto to get the wedding party audience back on my side using the subtext of having sucked up the joint on my first attempt to give the performance a dimension it would not have had otherwise. Kudos also go to My Girl, who volunteered for the always difficult task of singing the very first song, choosing Blondie's "The Tide is High," which is a fun song, but not a singer's song, and My Girl has a great voice that she didn't really get to use. But we did get to use those dancing shoes, as the band had us grooving to one soulful seventies tune after another, and the bar consistently fueled our buzzes to the bitter end while never getting us wasted. This allowed us the privelege of being among the faithful few left at the end to usher the blushing bride and glowing groom out the door and into the crisp Seattle night to begin their life together as a married couple.


Here's a little something I wrote on the plane Monday night flying back to LA from Seattle:

At the moment I'm at a cruising altitude of 37,000 feet on Southwest Airlines. This airline brings out the worst in people. But, in all honesty, it doesn't take much to accomplish that. Most people have no regard for other human beings. It's evidenced by the way the drive, the way they obliviously push their shopping carts around the supermarket with no concept of their bodies in space, and on Southwest Airlines, by the ruthless way they shove themselves into position to board the plane. Southwest does not assign seats. They divide passengers up into A, B, and C groups and board them in that order. First on, first choice of seats. I suppose the premise is designed to save time and hassle, but the reality is that it pits people against one another. This policy is a spiritually bankrupt one. Here in the supposed New Age, the idea, theoretically, is to learn to coexist peacefully and help each other out in order to come together as a people. But, there aren't too many folks who buy into that philosophy, certainly not the majority of those who fly Southwest Airlines. Here at Southwest you will find the ugliest American attitude of "I'll get mine... no matter how many people I have to step on" permanently on display. The Golden Rule is very simple: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." I wish the person kicking My Girl's seat would think about those words for just a moment. How would they like it if the person behind them were doing the same thing to their seat? I'd also like the person next to me to be fair and let me have the armrest for a little while. Does he not know that there is one armrest for us to share? Of course he knows, but he doesn't care. He got there first and he's not budging. That's the Southwest Airlines way. People at their worst.