Friday, December 30, 2011

Good Gift, Warner Brothers!

Here's my Birthday treat to myself:  Yes, it's an obnoxiously large (TEN DOLLAR) ring from the "Harry Potter" Collection.  (Temporary employee discount!!!)

With love and a big faux rock on my finger (which is making this REALLY hard to type and why there aren't four more pages for you to read...),

~First-time ever succinct P!  :)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Have Yourself a Merry (Little?) Christmas!

Look at all the lovely Christmas lights decorating my neighborhood!!!
Oh wait...
That's traffic clogging my residential street...

I already missed my merry band of misfits…
It was our last day (possibly forever) on our highly rated Network sitcom, and I’d splurged on high-end bottles of vodka as a thankful, albeit teary goodbye to my ADs, our Stage PA and my fellow Second Teamers.   I’d also purchased a few extra Kettle Ones for friends come Christmas Day, and spending an evening over the weekend with a Criminal Minds marathon (hey, some people like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, I happen to enjoy serial killers), I was filled with the Spirit of the Season as I gleefully tied ribbons on the bottles, scissored said ribbons into festive curlicues and sat back to admire my generosity and extravagance!

$$$  SUCH EXTRAVAGANCE!  $$$
After all, that’s the whole point of Christmas, right?  I mean, I had the money, so why not spend as much as possible in a month and rack up as much credit card debt as I could manage in order to buy the affections of people who already like me?
Well... Maybe not SUCH extravagance when photographed to scale!
OK, so I’m a lousy liar and you didn’t believe my story for a second (although the Criminal Minds part is true), but I WAS filled with the Joy of Christmas and celebrating in my own special way, I hung up a cheery holiday wreath!

Sooo FESTIVE!!!
I even nearly broke into a sweat trying to erect my Christmas tree! 
(In my defense, it was all the way in the back of a crowded shelf…)


Whilst perhaps small in stature, the joy is infinite!
And delightful as it stands on its own, it’s actually usually accompanied by a lovely skirt, a strand of red tinsel and a box of teeny tiny ornament balls and doves that my Mom and sister bought for me!  

But at my kitty’s elderly age and with her lack of teeth, those are now shiny, tantalizing choking hazards.  And whilst I used to also display a delightful miniature crèche (wherein as I don’t have a DGA card, I could still Direct each Yuletide as to which side of the stage I wanted the principle players Mary, Joseph and the Magi to enter); that bit of Holiday bliss ended years ago when Pretty began batting the Baby Jesus around the living room floor with her paw…  (Hadn’t He been through enough?!)
But I digress!
Handing out the “airplane-sized” glass bottles wrapped in their protective tissue paper at work, I was thanked with smiles, hugs and the gratitude that at any given stressful moment, one simple shot of voddy was but an arm’s length away.  (And for a bunch of soon-to-be unemployed people, my humble gift was waaay better than frankincense or myrrh!)
>>><<<
Already booked on my next gig with an 8am call time at Warner Bros. the next morning, I was feeling rather reluctant to stay for what could only be labeled as my Last Supper.
“You have to stay for dinner” my co-workers encouraged me.  “They usually take over and lavishly decorate a different sound stage; the food is always phenomenal, and even though this is probably our last episode, you’ve got to stick around and eat with us!  There’s gonna be lobster and Chateaubriand!”
(Mmm…  Steak…)
Succumbing to the gentle urging, I followed in step to await the presumably ostentatious Network festivities awaiting our salivating palates as we fell into line.  
Certainly, this would be a day and a dinner to remember!
>>><<<
But rather than finding ourselves enveloped in a warm well-heated welcoming environment, we found ourselves shuffled into an outdoor tent, crowded around tables, swarming elbow to elbow under heat lamps wondering who got food from where.  There was a sushi bar?  There were sterno-heated vats with lobster claws?  There were grilled chickens and cactus leaves?  (Allergic, allergic, grossed out, and um, ICK!) 
Eventually settling down with my Second Teamers and a box of tortellini with Alfredo sauce, I couldn’t help but take the following picture of the (?) pooling inside:

OK…  So it wasn’t my best Last Supper, but who was I to complain?
>>><<<
OOH, but I was one to complain in the solitude of my bat-cave at the “dinner to remember”!
Speaking on behalf of the, uh, lower GI area; I didn’t think I’d even make it to my new job the next morning, let alone my car.  Heck, I’d barely made it to the parking structure at Sony with only one bathroom stop on stage, and frankly, it was a Christmas Miracle that I’d made it home “accident-free” before taking a hearty swig of Pepto.  (OOF.)
>>><<<
Suffice it to say however, I did indeed make it to my next multi-camera (extremely raunchy) sit-com the next morning; and although it’s not a series I would necessarily care to work on for more than a few days at a time, at least I have a few wonderful friends there to help make the days that much brighter.  After all, that really IS a part of the true Christmas Spirit – being blessed to spend time with the ones you love!
>>><<<
Friday, December 9, 2011; 5pm-ish:
Quietly plotting how to bludgeon and dismember the drivers in front of me, I sat festering in stand-still traffic for roughly two hours on Santa Monica Boulevard wondering why I hadn’t purchased a stainless steel machete and a box of latex gloves during my last trip to Rite Aid in order to hide my fingerprints before whacking the bloody life out of everyone on the f**king road.
I’d eventually made it onto my residential street; I had the turn signal on to pull into my parking space, but with the string of cars lined up to my left all honking belligerently at the vehicle in front of them, I sat patiently (well, patiently FESTERING), waiting for just ONE kind soul on their frantic drive to Best Buy down the Boulevard to allow me safe passage home only thirty feet away.
And then:  The Magic of Christmas.  As if on cue (for whatever indiscernible reason), a driver stopped short, flashed his brights and allowed me to creep up the hill to park at my bat cave.
>>><<<
Perhaps the spirit of the holidays will always be a mystery that I’ll forever try to make sense of, and never be able to truly figure out (though not for lack of trying!). 
But for now, I’m choosing to believe that Santa Claus really does exist – he just has to assume many different identities.  :)
>>><<<
Wishing you all the happiest of holidays,
Machete-free, Elf Miss P
(And my Christmas bag-o-kitty!)

Hey, whatever brings her JOY!
*****
Author’s Addendum:  Should you wish to see actual extravagance in Hollywood, have a gander at the Two and a Half Men “trailer” deposited on the Warner Bros. lot for Actor Ashton Kutcher:

ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME???!!!
(Yes, that would be a crew member’s Dodge Durango SUV parked next to the bi-level chrome monster for your visual comparison.) 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Path of Least Resistance (2)


As a self-appointed non-narcotic Olympic Gold Medalist in the highly competitive world of “Sleeping Like the Dead”, I tossed and turned on my pillow uncomfortably. 
My usual six to seven hours were always a given for work purposes; my eight to ten hours were a bonus on weekends; and on an occasionally rainy day in usually sunny Southern California, I could easily REM myself to the moon and back with a drizzly fourteen hour slumber under a comfy blanket curled up next to my kitty!
But once again in my (generally kind) Universe, I couldn’t shake The Yang…
The envelope sitting in my mailbox (with my name misspelled as always), had churned my stomach prior to even opening it; but fearing no challenge too steep and tearing the sucker open from my Landlord (i.e., “The Yang” who loathes me for having a rent-controlled apartment in his building), I read the dreadful following:
“DEAR TENANTS:
“For insurance renewal purposes there will be an inspection of the building and possibly an inspection of each apartment between 10:00 AM and 12:00 NOON on Monday, November 28th.  If you are home at that time please be prepared to allow access to your apartment for the inspector who will be accompanied by myself.  If you are not going to be home this memo will serve as notice that I may need to gain access to your apartment  in your absence between 10:00 AM and 12:00 NOON on Monday, November 28th.”
Less than thrilled at the idea of my seemingly bi-polar Landlord traipsing willy-nilly through my home with some other stranger looking for God knows what, both either tracking street dirt into my home, or dare I say taking off their shoes before stepping onto my carpet, I choked back some spittle at both of the potential visuals.
After all, I’d been feeling a lot of pressure lately:
“HAVE A HAPPY THANKSGIVING!” people had threatened me (in the nicest way of course) to live up to their expectations of how to define a holiday.
“ENJOY YOUR HIATUS WEEK!” co-workers beamed (knowing full well that we only had one more episode to shoot before going on the dole at Christmas time).
“HERE’S A GAZILLION MORE DVD SCREENERS FOR YOU TO WATCH BEFORE THE SECOND WEEK OF DECEMBER!” shipping companies bombarded me with daily phone calls and deliveries, as well as multiple United States Postal Service packets propped against my front door spilling into the living room.  (YEESH!)
And as if that wasn’t quite enough, there remained The Yang…
>>><<<
Having enjoyed Thanksgiving on my own terms, I was well into my happy hiatus of unorthodox sleeping hours, when the horror of The Yang and his unknown sidekick “The Inspector” crept into my aforementioned pillow tossing; causing me to bolt upright and blindly scan my apartment for whatever could be held against me in a court of law lest they be in evil cahoots to conspiratorially EVICT me for any possible reason and potentially double The Yang’s income on my bat cave!
First of all, certainly a Building Inspector would have nominal interest in a kitchen’s cleanliness, but even if he/she did, I nearly broke my arm patting myself on the back at the spotlessness!  (Well… it kinda helps if you don’t cook.)
Secondly, if there was to be an evaluation of any sort of fire-hazard clutter, then “thank you very much!” to “1-800-Got-Junk?” for assisting me a few months ago in the proper recycling and disposing of clothing, electronics and paperwork!
Yet lastly, I supposed there might be an inspection of the bathroom plumbing.
Granted I live in an older building which has had its share of pipe problems, so it wouldn’t be out of the question that an Inspector might desire to snoop around the waterways…
But living my Zen life and choosing a “path of least resistance”, I admit to having fallen short as to maintaining what might properly be considered as a completely sterile shower environment.
“Ahh; the elusive red pigment”, my expensive West Hollywood hairdresser had commented years ago (when I could afford him) as he tackled my cranium with a bowl of professional-grade whipped-up chemicals.  “No hair color fades faster” he had sighed with a hint of joy (were those dollar signs in his eyes?).
“Ahh; the bastard red pigment”, I sighed a decade later, staring at the crimson-non-fading soap scum lurking about my shower from a fiscally-responsible approach to tending to my own roots.
Ahh; but I was armed and prepared!
I had elbow-length latex gloves!  I had “Mr. Clean Magic Eraser pads”!  I had a bristled toilet bowl scrubber for the hard-to-reach spots in my shower, and above all I had some sort of Oxi-Clean thingamajig! 
Oh, there would be no stopping me and my eco-friendly attempt to make my home presentable beyond rebuke!  I’d “Swiffered” every wall in my bat-cave; I’d “Mr. Clean erased” every spot on a door, ledge or cabinet; and using almost every chemical cleaner under my sink, I’d inhaled just enough fumes over six hours in two days to knock out a small country!
(“WHEEEEE!!!  Wait, why is there still soap scum?  WHEEEEE!!!”)
>>><<<
But then… a moment of Zen… (Or, you know, possibly a temporary loss of consciousness from all the heady toxins wafting through my apartment).
In truth, the path of least resistance has not misguided me thus far; and filling my tub with a few inches of hot water and half a gallon of plain old bleach, I awoke ridiculously early the next morning to a sparkling clean bath (thank you very much, Clorox).
And with The Yang hovering outside my open window making jokes with The Inspector, I crawled atop my well-made-up bed awaiting the inevitable knock.
But then… Nothing.
>>><<<
Oh, the glorious victorious loveliness of Olympic power-napping with my kitty until 3pm on an overcast day!  The deadline had passed!  The day was Yang-Free!  My path of least resistance had not failed me, and once again The Universe cradled me in its pressure-free soothing arms!!!
Until…
*Knock, knock, knock* (UPS, FedEx and USPS)
*sigh*
I believe I now have something along the lines of 52 DVD screeners to watch; all embedded with my SAG ID# to prevent loaning, selling or piracy of any kind; all hoping for my consideration to be nominated; and thus far, all greeting me with a very scary FBI logo at the beginning of each film threatening to send me to a FEDERAL PRISON for five years and fine me $250,000.00 should I not keep to myself, return to sender or destroy said DVD.  (HOLY CRAP!  WAY TO INVOKE MY PREVIOUS PTSD!!!)
>>><<<
But then…  A moment of Zen… (Or, you know, maybe a leftover waft of my friend Clorox bleach).
Looking at the Big Picture, my humble obstacles in The Universe were miniscule.
I’d had a lovely Thanksgiving; my Unemployment Form had arrived in a timely manner ensuring me a few dollars for the Holidays; and if my whiniest complaints were that I had to clean the bath and watch movies, well then frankly I should’ve be beaten senseless over the head with a stick.
And as if on cue (I’m learning that The Universe seldom ignores an opportunity for comedic irony), my cell phone alerted me to a text message:
“Hi Pen!  Are you available Wed. Thurs. and Fri?”
Working (for only my second time!) at Warner Bros. Studios this week (and maybe next week too!), I texted back the only reply necessary:
“I’m all yours!”
Grateful for the job, happily setting my alarm clock for 5:30AM, and hoping to see DREAMY “The Mentalist” star Simon Baker *sigh!* on the lot again,
~Zen Master P

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Spilling the Beans: A Hollywood Tale of Giving Thanks



With a long-established history of, well, let’s just say less than ideal Thanksgiving dinners away from my family back in Indiana, I couldn’t have been more thrilled to have my friends RJ and Richard fly out from New York to Los Angeles! 
RJ had already asked me to select a restaurant that doesn’t necessarily have a “set” menu for the holiday (maybe a nice steakhouse?), and I had leapt at the challenge.  “Maybe even a place where Richard might get to see a celebrity?” RJ added thoughtfully, as his life partner had never been to LA before.  “Oh, and if you don’t mind Pen, I’d like to treat us for Thanksgiving dinner if that’s OK with you.”
(Well, slap my ass and call me Thankful Sally!!!)
With a few days of computer research, telephone calls and some delicate probing of my co-workers on the set for their input, I was confident that I’d nailed the perfect place for us to celebrate the holiday; not a far drive from my friends’ hotel, and with the options of both traditional turkey as well as filet mignon and other steaks, I was certain that this would be a Thanksgiving to end my cruel trend!!!
But alas, as The Universe would have it, RJ’s postponed work-related trip to Brazil the week before had been pushed to the week of Thanksgiving; and with Richard’s reinstatement at his University, they had no choice but to cancel their trip to the West Coast…
>>><<<
As always, however, I looked for the sunny side of making a proper holiday for myself and my feline companion!
>>><<< 
Whilst turkey may be the traditional staple in American households for the once-a-year belly-busting extravaganza, I’ve always been more of a side dish gal myself.  And finding a few items at my local Rite-Aid, I prided myself in my ability to prepare a week in advance for the Feast.
Oh, I would be the Galloping Gourmet on my High Horse named “Resilient”!  There would be macaroni and cheese!  There would be corn!  There would be fluffy mashed potatoes (made from a packet), but with REAL BUTTER!

(MMMMM!)
Well, that is, until I turned over the box and read that I actually needed to ADD real butter  (What’s up with THAT, Betty Crocker?)

But hey, certainly I had some sort of oleo or margarine in my fridge, somewhere:

(Not too sure about expiration dates...)
Still, I was determined to make the situation work.  Four foil wrapped packets are almost like two whole tablespoons, right?  I mean, they may have actually been even larger than whatever precise measurable tablespoon appliance thingies usually recommend; so if my mashed potatoes happened to not fluff up to the potential whipped, um, desired ‘whippy-ness’ suggested by Little-Miss-Know-It-All “Betty C.”, then, well, all the more buttery savory-esque-ness for me! 
But I had already gotten ahead of myself.
I hadn’t even started with Step One of my actual Holiday cooking challenge!
And reining in “Resilient” who was snorting like a wild Mustang pinned inside an acre of fenced-in farm land, I attempted to focus my gnat-like attention span to the task at hand.
STOVE-TOP DIRECTIONS:
“Heat one and a half cups of water…” (OOH!  I actually still possess a real measuring cup from my condo at Indiana University that I used to use to drink beer from our keg parties, so good start, Betty Crocker!  I’m with you so far!)
“…and two tablespoons butter or margarine…”  (Pfft!)
“…to a rapid boil in 2-quart saucepan.”
Two quart sauce pan, two quart sauce pan, two quart sauce pan…  I knew I had one somewhere, but when had I used it last? 
Hmm…
Beans?
Vaguely remembering that I had warmed up a can of barbeque baked beans sometime around the Fourth of July, I thought to myself “well I can get a few more meals out of this.  Beans last forever!”  And recalling stuffing the extras inside the lower depths of the refriger… 
(Well, let’s just say, that was a compartment I didn’t look forward to opening…)
Oh my:

(So long, two quart sauce pan... Not eating anything in the future out of THAT!)
Let this be a health warning that we all need to check that OFTEN IGNORED bottom level in the fridge now and again!!!
>>><<<
So this Thanksgiving holiday, I choose to embrace my ridiculous inability to provide a Cornucopia of fruits and vegetables…

(Not really sure how watermelon, grapes and strawberries putrify into yellow liquid)
…acknowledge my equally inept talents at preparing a proper meal…

(Hmm... And yet, it looks a little bit like a turkey with red wings!)
…and revel in utter JOY at my kitty making “yummy” noises whilst slurping a simple saucer of milk to wash down our shared McDonalds Angus burger; purchased with my Unemployment Debit card!  :)

Feeling particularly thankful in my own unconventional way,
~A Happy Charlie Brown P

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Don't Burst My Bubble!

Whose time?

Finding an unexpected FedEx door tag slapped on my outer security gate with the missive “We’re sorry we missed you”, I reveled in the thoughts of what might be on its way! 
I’d just appeared on-camera on my Network sitcom the night before, so naturally I assumed that whatever item was to be delivered must have had something to do with my job as it required my personal signature.
Flowers?
Chocolates?
A congratulatory bottle of Champagne?
Ooh, I could hardly wait!!!
And carefully reading the door tag info, I showed up like a salivating puppy at 7:20pm half way across town with a Government issued photo ID to retrieve my FedEx package, clearly available after 7pm.  (See below.)

Fun fact!  FedEx closes at 7:00pm!
Just TRY to step through the mechanical security doors and be mocked for your own apparent stupidity at attempting to walk through glass!  (Color me embarrassed…)  
But hey, Pollyanna Penny that I strive to be, I sloughed it off, knowing that heroic wanna-be Santa Clause aka FedEx would make two more attempts at doing their job and actually enthusiastically transport my parcel as their current blockbuster-esque commercials have been advertising of late.  :)
>>><<<
Blissfully working ten and a half hours the next Monday night, I pulled into my parking spot anticipating yet another FedEx door tag notice on my security gate with a 2nd attempt, and yet one more “We’re sorry we missed you” wherein I had an excellent reason for not being available.  (Call me crazy, but I kinda doubt that I’m the only person with a job who isn’t home between 9am and 5pm.) 
Yet amazingly, no such tag existed…
>>><<<
With nearly half of our television episode pre-shot the day before and very few scenes left to camera-refresh on Tuesday, I barreled like a mad woman (at almost 30 miles per hour!) through the crowded streets of LA. 
Ooh, I could be home by 2:30pm!  Ooh, there was every likelihood that I’d receive my gift only four days after its scheduled arrival date!  Ooh, what would I write in my thank you note to the sender?!?!
Yet, once again, no FedEx…
>>><<<
By 5pm (and the end of scheduled delivery hours), I’d become thoroughly annoyed.  Someone, somewhere in the world had taken the time and effort to ship something to me, and I’d be hard pressed to waste any more precious gas tooling around town, trying to accommodate the company that supposedly SPECIALIZES IN SHIPPING.
So scooping up the phone, I tackled the 1-800 phone number to track my container, which after THREE frustrating computer messages of the equivalent to ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t quite get that’; I was finally patched over to an actual human being.
“This call may be monitored for quality-control purposes”.
Well hell’s bells, thank God for that!
Taking a few deep breaths to center myself and not express any negative emotions to whatever innocent person would be saddled with my incoming call (no reason to make their day crappy too!) I explained the door tag situation from Friday and asked when I might receive said numbered item.
“That’s scheduled for sometime tomorrow” the ‘helpful’ apologetic tech advised me.
(???)
“May I ask why there was a door tag on Friday, which said I could pick up my package after 7pm, when you’re actually closed at 7pm?”
“My apologies again, but our records show that the truck returned to that FedEx location at 6:10pm, and you could have picked up the article after then.”
“And yet, I couldn’t have really known that, could I?” I nudged gently.
(Who’s on First?)
“So, I’ve had no delivery attempts either yesterday or today?” I confirmed quizzically.
“Again, my apologies, but if you’d like to pick up your packet today, you may do so at approximately 6:10pm this evening.”
(APPROXIMATELY 6:10???)
“You know what; it’s fine.  I’ll just wait until tomorrow!” I added ‘cheerily’.
“Oh and our records show that you’ll need to sign for it personally” the tech continued as I assured him that I would indeed be at home.  *sigh*
>>><<<
Feeling like a hostage in my apartment waiting for the driver, my kitty eyed me hungrily as both our bellies were seriously looking forward to our usual Angus burger treat when I’ve got a day off.  Hours had passed since she’d meowed me awake; and hours continued to pass as the land-line sat quietly…
Oh, our tummies were digesting their own linings!
Oh, we were in desperate need of sustenance!
Oh, we were weakened, frail, hapless carcasses of our current selves!
*Ring*
(FINALLY!)
“Are you Penny?” he asked as I nodded wide-eyed, not so much from the debilitating hunger, but at the um, unpleasantness looming before me. 
“Sign here please” he offered the stylus as I stared most uncomfortably at the implement moving toward me in a bizarre Hitchcock-type ‘racking the zoom lens whilst adjusting the camera whilst maintaining focus’ on what should have been a completely innocuous object…
Now, as my humble talents don’t happen to encompass the vast science of dermatology, I’m not entirely certain as to the distinction between psoriasis and eczema, of for that manner, leprosy. 
However, it didn’t take a Ph.D. to notice the physical signs of enormous patchy red blotches and white scales on this man’s hands and arms…
And frankly it was all I could stomach to pinch two fingers together to scribble my name, tweeze the envelope from his flaky molting paws and bolt the door shut!
>>><<<
Whilst some things cannot be “unseen”, at least some unseen things can be mentally scrubbed away with loads of soap, hot water and egregious amounts of anti-bacterial sanitizers!  And I must say, it was only after proper disinfecting (and donning latex gloves) that I was finally able to open my “gift”.
>>><<<
If this was a publicity stunt, I applaud you, Warner Bros.  WELL DONE!!!  Clearly he couldn’t have been a real FedEx driver, right?!?!  I mean, FedEx employees don’t actually slack off for days and then distribute parcels at random intervals with disturbing flesh-eating skin diseases, right?!?!
RIGHT?????
And as to scissoring open the “Padded Pak” wearing a surgical mask just in case? 
Yes, kind readers, I found precisely one item inside:  a gift that had absolutely nothing to do with my premiere, but a gift nonetheless:  a DVD movie screener for my nominating consideration, most aptly titled “Contagion”.  (EEK!)
Determined to one day construct and dwell inside my very own sterile bubble,
~Soon-to-be-hermetically-sealed P

Sunday, November 13, 2011

It's Been Fun!




Pumped full of giddy adrenaline like a child who grew a crucial inch taller over the summer and finally met the height chart for the humongous-est rollercoaster in the Amusement Park known as Hollywood Television, I buckled up securely for the long-anticipated ascent to the top of the crest and waited breathlessly for my premiere on my Network sit-com!
The tram seemed to take forever to get there, but with every moment approaching the apex, one or two (hundred) arm hairs stood at attention, ready to shriek with glee as I prepared to squeal in exhilaration!
Oh, I would be seen by approximately 12 million viewers!
Oh, my “STARmeter” on IMDb.com had already jumped up by 54,117!  (I don’t really know what that means, but it seemed exciting at the time...)
Oh, and my two scenes were just minutes away from airing on national TV!!!
And as every well-constructed carnival ride in Tinsel Town is prone to do, I experienced the sensation of glory slash nausea while watching my telecasted performance…
>>><<<
Not particularly fond of my on-camera presentation (I have serious control issues), and choosing to beat myself up ala “Whac-A-Mole” with an imaginary mallet, I braced myself for the flood of displeased email responses from about sixty friends who had promised to watch and/or record and watch later.
Dreading logging onto the poot with a full on Tilt-A-Whirl upset belly, I must say I was equally surprised and emotionally overwhelmed by the loving support, congratulations and well wishes from dozens of people;  as was my antiquated flip phone overwhelmed at receiving extended congratulatory text messages sent from Smart Phones with full qwerty capabilities!
Not only had I passed the height requirement, but I’d made it to the top of the rollercoaster and had nothing more than the thrill ride ahead!!!
>>><<<
*Ring*
Now whilst my antiquated cell phone may not possess all the hoo-ha apps available to the “I” world, nor can it revel in a game of angry birds or landing artificial aircrafts, it can at least discern a restricted caller’s ID with a unique ringtone – a thoughtful tool which has thus far prevented me from stupidly answering only once with “What’s up, Buttercup?” to a Producer.  (Oops!)
“Hi Pen” my UPM called with some unfortunate news.  “The Network has cut down their order to 13 episodes of our show; so our last day of production will be December 6th” she added sadly.  “Just wanted to give you a heads up so you can start making calls” she continued, thanking me for my work and apologizing that we wouldn’t be finishing the anticipated full season together in March.
And there it was…
The thrill was gone…
So long, Network:  Hello, Unemployment…
The rollercoaster had settled into its Tinsel Town Carnival housing, and I’d been given the time to unbuckle, embrace and kiss the sweet ride goodbye.
Frankly, there was only one thing left to do…
>>><<<
Shooting off an email to the first Producer to ever hire me in this crazy cotton-candy world with my newest availability should he need me on any production after December 6th, I sat weepy, dejected, and all around forlorn. 
*Ting!*
‘Yes, welcome back to our last series!  It starts Jan. 16.’  (I’m paraphrasing, but it looks like I’ve booked my next job!!!!!)
Strapping in for my next rollercoaster, but enjoying the current ride for now,
~Hands in the air P :)

(And THANK YOU my friends!)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Monday, October 31, 2011

Anybody Got Any Garlic?


Moderately disappointed not to find a spooky marathon of serial killers on “Criminal Minds” anywhere on the TiVo on a Saturday before Halloween, I scanned the on-screen viewing guide in search of something appropriately eerie.  And clicking on the History Channel for a potentially interesting nugget titled “Vampire Secrets”, I hit the pause button before cleaning up the carnage that had been the McDonald’s Angus Burger shared with my feline carnivore side-kick Pretty on our 16th Anniversary together.  :)
Sure a lot of the show was familiar enough, recounting the usual folklore surrounding the Transylvanian- born Vlad III Dracula “The Impaler” and his notorious blood-lust, as well as his likely inspiration for Bram Stoker’s most famous novel.  Creepy, of course, yet strangely so deeply-embedded in our current books and movie culture that there seemed little to add that could deign to shock or scare me.
Well…
Until…

Admittedly unfamiliar with Hungarian-born Romanian Aristocracy of the 16th century, I nearly barfed up my lunch at the History Channel’s reenactment of perhaps the most prolific female serial killer of all time, Elizabeth Bathory aka “The Blood Countess” wallowing in a tub of thick red goo, the likes of which she sponged wickedly on her body in an effort to retain her youth, before biting a chunk out of the arm of one of her (possibly as many as 650) virgin peasant servants brought to the castle under the guise of being taught how to become “proper ladies”.
“It’s just a reenactment!  It’s just Hollywood fake sugar syrup!  The servant is just a Background Actor!” I cringed to my intuitive kitty who had already heard quite enough and had surreptitiously disappeared into her favorite plastic baggie for comfort.

(GENIUS!)
But with the introduction of Certified Forensic Biologist Dr. Mark Benecke (Ph.D.), who offered scientific explanations for all things “vampire-esque”, I managed to crawl back into my skin (and out of a fetal position). 
Yes!  Science!  Logic!
Apparently the whole “wooden stake in the heart” lore came from the excavation of buried bodies, wherein the villagers would see the corpse with red fluids coming out of the mouth or nose; the “seemingly dead” would appear bloated as if having fed on something; hair and nails continued to grow, and as ‘the earth would not reclaim the flesh nor the heavens accept the soul’, the body was nailed to the ground and the head decapitated.
*click TiVo pause!*
Snugly tucked once again back into a comforting fetal position clutching my bag-o-kitty for fifteen minutes or so, I eventually tackled watching the last half hour of the show (remote control at the ready should anything more become too gruesome).
As it turns out, a decaying body that may appear slim at burial eventually expands as all inner gases make their way out, which may often include the expulsion of reddish fluids from the face.  Plus, human beings are made up mostly of water, and as the water dissipates, the skin tends to shrink revealing the hair and fingernails that are already in existence.
And, um, “icky” as the explanations were, I was profoundly proud of myself for taking a logically scientific approach to the matter, lending an open ear to the higher pursuit of knowledge!!!
Well…
Until…
Intent on sharing his expositions, Dr. Benecke appeared once again to visually prove his findings; with a few fresh REALLY DEAD CORPSES ON AUTOPSY TABLES.  (*gag*)
*click TiVo off!*
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A sincere “thank you” to the History Channel for imparting chronological information previously unknown to me (that will likely give me nightmares for weeks…)
And as to the High Holy Holiday of Halloween, well, you successfully vampirifically sucked the living joy out of my marrow!!!
Humbly reduced to buying cheerful socks at my local Rite-Aid store on sale for $1.99,

~Spine-tingled P