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!

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!

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:

(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:
“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!!!
*Knock, knock, knock* (UPS, FedEx and USPS)
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