Saturday, December 21, 2013

What, no Kraken?

Ever-so-professionally refraining from squealing like a mud-caked pig in a poke whose hungry snout sensed that her empty trough had just been filled, I graciously thanked the Casting Company for my call time to stand-in on a Sit-Com pilot.
Granted, I had many chores to tackle before dutifully reporting to my work assignment after my many months of hibernation (the most challenging task perhaps being that of disencumbering my slightly atrophied limbs from what had become a spectacularly woven warm cocoon of bedding); but come Hell or high water, I would BE THERE!

Color-resistant gray roots of hair on head properly returned to dazzling copper/auburn hues for High-Def camera lighting?  Check!  Full tray of miniature ice cubes frozen and placed in water bottle for necessary hydration on stage?  Check!  Pens and pencils in trusty skull-and-bones backpack for paperwork and most necessary script notations?  Check!
Meanwhile, logging on to my poot that afternoon, I was both delighted and appreciative that the Production Company had included our humble team of Stand-Ins with a PDF file of the script.  (Vital to us, yet often baffling to the production companies as they seem to know not what we do.)

And arrogantly assuming (when will I learn?) that I had successfully tackled every unforeseen obstacle in my path (aside from actually READING the file at the moment), I cut myself some slack and opted to chill in front of the TiVo and TV for a couple of hours.  Heck, I could peruse the script around dinner time, right?

For no apparent reason whatsoever, my PC refused to acknowledge neither the DSL modem nor the Wi-Fi signal before I could open up the emailed script.  “Pfft!” I tut-tutted, reaching for my wireless Kindle; only to discover that it too (the little bastard), refused to recognize its own Wi-Fi signal, which was registering as “connected”, “100% strength” and “Excellent” in reception; yet also denied me access to the world wide web and the one and only email that I really, really, REALLY needed to read! 

I hadn’t smelled the stalwart snorting breath of my stealthy High Horse “Resilient” in quite a while; but I’ll be darned if that particularly belligerent equine wasn’t pawing at the ground, “snarfling” me awake and demanding that I tackle my day with as much mighty force as I could muster.  (I’m not sure how he busted through the gate, but don’t look a gift horse in the eye, right?)

With seven hours of sleep under my belt, the usual expected blended amount of curiosity, minor anxiety and excitement of going back to work in Tinsel Town after my hibernation,  and clambering atop the saddle upon “Resilient”, I phoned the official “Geek Squad” company to help me resolve my tech troubles. 
Unfortunately, the collective high-tech representatives were apparently suffering from an equally challenging morning, as they accidentally hung up on me twice before I eventually reached a third Agent.

“Oh dear, I’m so sorry, but my computer just froze up.  Would you mind holding while I go get someone to help me with this?” she apologized.  (Oh, the irony!)

Sturdy, proud and refusing to begin my first day of work on a pilot feeling defeated, I whipped open my Kindle once more and tappy-tapping on the web thingie icon that showed the contradictions of itself, my valiant High Horse “Resilient” stomped a hoof on a different Wi-Fi connection as my email magically appeared.  What the...?  (Gift horse, I tell you.)
But, YES!  I was able to read the script!  I had a grasp of the show!  And scanning through our Crew List, I was positively delighted to see so many wonderful people that I couldn’t wait to work with again; as well as the unfettered joy of seeing my name blissfully listed at the bottom of the Second Team.  

Now, this, in itself, would not generally connote anything in particular to anyone else:  but from my experience over the last 20-whatever years, The Universe had deemed me the last to be hired, the last body allowed under the budget, and therefore more than likely a “Utility” Stand-In just to cover the occasional “Under Five” line speaker here and there.  (Sooo easy-peasy!)
Oh, the equine snarfling had indeed paid off!  With my preliminary work accomplished in the morning, I could truly savor the arrival at the familiar gate of the Studio; the exhilaration I always feel when striding in the steps of Hollywood Legends; the warmth and greetings of embracing faces I’ve missed, and the ‘unbridled’ (run free, “Resilient”!) gathering of collective creative minds sharing ideas over plates of food from Craft Services!

Nay (neigh?), nothing could stop me now!


Wheeling Cecilia (my 1997 Toyota) to the parking structure about an hour and a half before our call time on set, we both puttered abruptly to see that the gate was closed.


Having seen one of my fellow Second Teamers walking down the street, I could only assume (again, when will I learn?) that the only alternative for working on a Saturday was to nestle Cecilia into a parking spot somewhere in the neighborhood:  so angling her into what might be perceived as perhaps not exactly Beverly Hills, I locked “The Club” onto her steering wheel, and headed on foot to the Studio.  (Fret not, members of Cecilia’s fan base (she’ll have a Facebook page long before I ever do); as sans two hub caps on her right tires (I totally suck at parallel parking), she’s got hard-core street cred.)

Yet at least, I still had “Resilient” to guide me safely to my final destination.  And slinging my skull-and-crossbones atop his saddle, we trotted confidently to the usual Security Gate a few blocks away, only to peer through the darkened window of the locked door.

Well, tut-tut and pshaw, how much further could the next open gate at a massive Studio Lot possibly be?
(Author’s aside:  Should you need to postpone your reading of this post in order to run some errands, throw in a load of laundry, discover the cure for Cancer, etc. please feel free to do so, as I was probably still walking...)

To say the least, by the time “Resilient” and I hit Melrose Avenue and the Main Gate - where only the VIPs enter the lot - my horsey had kind of lost his stamina...

But ponying up to my side, a twenty-something, wide-eyed pimply-faced boy who was equally lost, asked if I might be doing Background work on his particular stage. 
“Actually, I’m just standing-in on a pilot over there” I pointed.

“I did a pilot last week too!” he beamed.  “I was even kinda ‘featured’ in a shot!  That was sooo cool!” he giggled happily.  “I hope my parents get to see it!” he trotted off with stars in his eyes.  (I can still relate to that feeling!)

Miraculously still arriving a few minutes before my call time on stage, I breezed through the open elephant doors fresh as a daisy (yeah..., no, that’s not exactly it...) I elegantly pirouetted on stage like an etoile in a tutu (no, you’re never gonna buy that one either), I spectacularly, acrobatically somersaulted my way across the cat-walk grid, landing in a feline posture with a “meow” and a... and a... um... oh, who am I kidding?  Let’s try this again:
Miraculously somehow still arriving a few minutes before my call time on stage, I wheezed like a drowning sailor with a life belt around my waist as my friends gently pulled me to safety with welcoming hugs.

“You’ll be covering **** all week” my friend Dev informed me per the ADs as he handed me the script.
“Um, you don’t mean the young (maybe 10 year old?) girl whose name appears FIRST in the slugs of every single scene, and who also has dialogue on every single page?” I double-checked with him, as clearly someone had made a horridly laughable albeit forgivable mistake.

“No, I’m sure!” he confirmed sunnily.

As I’m a “big picture” person despite my chosen “small screen” career, I have to say that in my ongoing quest to make sense of The Universe and my place therein, I absolutely admire the fact that I am consistently baffled on any given day. 
Despite my ridiculously rocky start to the work week rehearsal day, the uphill battles our crew faced working with a handful of small children - who have the attention span of gnats, and get bored very, very quickly; despite the fact that amongst our brilliant Second Team, not one of us is 4 foot 6 inches tall and therefore somewhat ineffectual during camera blocking; and despite the on-going demand for tots exchanging goopy Special Effects fluids, as well as choreographed foam-bat battles (two kids accidentally got bopped in the face which abruptly brought filming to a screeching halt); despite all of these challenges, yet blissfully guided by a Director with the patience of a Saint, we pulled together as a crew and managed to shoot what felt like a phenomenally tedious, yet adorable feature film over the course of only three days.

Indeed, The Universe may enjoy playing the occasional Cosmic Obstacle Joke on us now and again (although the barricade of the outer Studio walls seemed a tad too “on-the-nose” blatantly obvious for my sense of humor), but I stood up to the challenges! 

Nay (neigh?), when I put my mind to it, there is absolutely nothing that my High Horse “Resilient” and I cannot achieve!


“NOTICE OF DETERMINATION:  YOU ARE NOT ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE BENEFITS UNDER CALIFORNIA UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE CODE SECTION 1253A BEGINNING 09/01/13 AND ENDING 09/07/13.”  (And all this time, EDD was sending me triplicate forms for the week after?  Who ever knew there was a problem prior to THAT?)

Well played, Universe...  Well played...
Happy to be afloat and keeping a weather eye,

~Persevering P


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Just What the Devil is Going On in There?

Alice Pearce aka "Gladys Kravitz" on Bewitched, 1964 - 1966
Not particularly adept at hiding my, shall we say idiosyncrasies, I toddled outside late one night, swaddled in my Wonder Woman “Snuggie” (the bottom part of which I had thrown over my shoulder ala a Grecian toga) to respect the planet and deposit two bags full of recyclables into the proper receptacles.

What I hadn’t counted on however the next day was the fact that my Landlords had recently installed a camera over the front gate (I do like the security!), nor the idea that the wife of Deceased Landlord Yang is now filling her days by watching closed camera circuitry as if our humble apartment building were private stories in her own personal soap opera.

*tap, tap tap* my front door echoed as I rolled over in my sleep.

*knock, knock, knock* the affront continued, as I ignored it and most justifiably could be simply out for an occasional walk in the neighborhood.
*BAM, BAM, BAM* a loud assault escalated, as I rushed to the door in a panic.

“Oh, so sorry to bother you:  You move car for gardeners?  I hire them to trim, trim!” Mrs. Deceased Landlord repeatedly bowed humbly as the tiny wisp of a woman mimicked “snip, snip, snip” with her fingers.
(Seriously???  I mean I DO work in Hollywood, and no Casting Agent worth his or her merit would buy that stereotypical performance.)

“Move car now, OK?” she prattled on, feigning a ridiculous inability to comprehend the English Language despite nearly aggressively beating the bejesus out of my front door with her fists.

And standing atop our parking hill ala a Hollywood Director, Mrs. Deceased Landlord proceeded to wave her arms maniacally to where she precisely wished me to temporarily park my beloved Toyota – a most bizarre scenario wherein I calmly followed her frantic movements as she attempted to guide me like a fighter pilot landing on battleship carrier. (Um, yeah; two places to the left.  Got it.  No need to break out the pinafore flags!)
(May I once again insert a “Yeesh”?)

With the gardeners long gone after an hour or so later, I once again pulled Cecilia into our proper parking spot, only to find a note from one of Mrs. Deceased Landlord’s sons on the windshield, “thoughtfully” reminding me to turn on the water and run my kitchen garbage disposal at least once a week.  (Really?)

And with one more “Yeesh” and an eye-roll to myself, I was beginning to feel a wee bit violated by my nosey neighbors. 
Oh, but of course my pea-brain had to be exaggerating, right?  After all, the life of an unemployed Actor is far from exciting.  Mostly (and I’m speaking broadly of course), from my experience, we simply hibernate until our next gig. 

Yet as a Holiday gift arrived at my security gate, I buzzed in the delivery man, only to find Mrs. Deceased Landlord trooping along in tow, peering pointedly at the package.  And unable to see what might be inside, she actually feigned her hovering presence as a pretense to let me know that I could move my car back to my spot.  
“I already did that a few hours ago” I smiled with a cheery thumbs-up, grabbing my package and bolting the door shut.  (Good grief!  Mind your own business, lady!) 

In her defense, was it so wrong of me to believe that “Samantha” had mystical powers on Bewitched when I was only six years old camped out in front of the television?  Was I not also a voyeur way back then, peeking through the window into someone else’s “everyday life”?  And had I not fell in love with Sit-Coms at such a formative age, would I’ve never even dared to dream that I might contribute my own eye of newt to the Hollywood magic cauldron?

With the understanding that I’ve been unemployed for so long, yet there is now a camera hovering over my front gate, my friend RJ recommended that I make the most of the lurking eye for whatever audience may be glued to the monitor.

“I’m just saying, limp in one day, or wear a floppy hat, or play any character that strikes your fancy!  You’ve got a camera, so you might as well play to it!” he giggled wickedly. 
But genius as his brilliant brain may be with delightful mind-fuckery, I continued to hole myself up in the apartment; an ongoing elusive maneuver to avoid any further “Gladys Kravitz” invasions.

Wonder Woman “Snuggie” wrapped once again around my torso like a toga, I lugged a bag of trash to the bin on Thanksgiving night.

I really didn’t mean to stare, but the back patio across the giant fence over the walkway was lit up most festively with red and white Christmas lights.  A small bonfire was burning; one lone soul hunched over the pyre, and as I kind of peered through the metal fence and hedges out of curiosity, I heard some rustling.
“Hi, how are you?” a sultry (possibly Transvestite?) voice asked from the dark.

“I’m fine.  How are you?” I replied, acutely aware that I was now suddenly “Gladys” and for all I could see, I might be speaking to an enchanted tree. 
“I’m good” the alto/tenor voice responded.

“I like the backyard lights!” I piped up cheerfully, reaching for my keys.

“Thank you” the throaty voice sighed as he (or she?) poked at a few forlorn burning embers with a stick.

In hindsight, I think The Universe was subtly telling me to butt out of other people’s business. 
But to be honest, I think I was feeling left out of my OWN business.  I missed the joy of reporting to a Hollywood Studio!  I missed the camaraderie of laughter and friendship with co-workers!  (And darnit, I missed the free food!)

And as I’ve come to understand that The Universe is both compassionate AND “persnickety” (if you will), I swaddled myself once again and curled up for yet another bout of hibernation.

What I hadn’t counted on however - was the “persnickety part” outright, cosmically, metaphorically punching me in the face.
Suffice it to say (in an attempt to compensate for our currently cold and windy dry weather in Los Angeles???) my very own “nosey” nose proceeded to bleed EPICALLY like something out of a Hitchcock horror film.  (Yikes!  Must The Universe make such a graphic point?!)

Sandra Gould aka "Gladys Kravitz" on Bewitched, 1966-1971

But as to the kind-hearted compassionate part of The Universe, I’m blessed to announce that I’ll be starting on a pilot this Saturday!  No details at this point other than (minus production on Sunday) I believe I’ll score four days of employment at Paramount Studios!

Oh, perhaps “Samantha” had twitched her nose; my bewitching hours were coming to a close; and my days of being Gladys Kravitz would be those of yore!
Until... (Cue the irony...)

In yet perhaps their most spectacular twist of tormenting me endlessly and poking around in my business, I’ve once AGAIN been scheduled for a telephone interview on my home phone with the Unemployment Department next week, on a day when I’ll actually be EMPLOYED.

Wishing you all a magical week,
~Forever your EDD-"Derwood"-challenged P


Monday, November 25, 2013

Locum Tenens

Second from the right is Joan O'Donnell.
She was Vivien Leigh's Stand-In for the epic movie "Gone With the Wind". 
Photo taken in 1940 with Joan's mother and brothers. 

Aside from the occasional bouts of mid-day narcolepsy wherein I’m either dreaming that I’m toiling away on a television show (oh, sooo close to tonging a donut at Craft Services!), or lost in Las Vegas unable to find my purse (don’t need a psychiatrist to interpret that particular recurring nightmare); I’m expanding on my last blog post, as I’ve since chosen to don a plethora of metaphorical hats.
Of late, lured by the intoxicating promise of winning $5,000.00 a week for life by the Publishers Clearing House emails which threaten me with “DO NOT IGNORE!” warnings lest I use any other search engine, I’d kind of run out of things to look up.  I don’t suffer from any medical issues (hey, my parents take mid-day naps too!), I couldn’t give a crap about what’s “trending” in pop culture (I weep for our currently wildly illiterate children); nor did anything (aside from getting back to work in January!) peak my interest.  

Ergo and Q.E.D. (I’m being redundant to make a point,) I donned an imaginary professorial mortarboard and typed “stand-in” into the research engine to determine just what the intellectual world might think of my chosen career.
Apparently (as cited by the Merriam-Webster database), the following synonyms apply:  “Backup, cover, designated hitter, fill-in, substitute, reserve, sub, alternate, understudy, apology (WHAT???), makeshift, stopgap.” 

Also, if I read the website correctly, a “Locum Tenens” (aka “stand-in”) dates as far back to Medieval Latin circa 1641.  (Good Heavens!  In lieu of busses, were we all thrown under chariots???)
With my imaginary mortarboard still atop my red-headed ponytail intact as PCH on the following evening once again terrorized me with menacing “AT RISK IF YOU DO NOT RESPOND!” warnings, I benignly entered the date “1641” into the parameters to appease the theoretical cash mongers.

Turns out, King Charles I of England, Scotland and Ireland was actually beheaded in 1641...  (Thanks for that cheery info, PCH.)
Ergo and Q.E.D., clearly I needed a new hat on my noggin whilst I still had a head.

Donning an imaginary powdery blue wig with ringlets, strutting about the bat-cave with an occasional “Pip, pip”, “Cheerio” or “How’s about a spot-o-tea?” (incredibly lame) British accent, I settled me-self down for a proper inspection as a Tory Barrister to contemplate the litigation of my on-going embattlement with the EDD (Unemployment Dept.).  A triplicate form had arrived via snail mail (TRIPLICATE!), once again demanding to know my earnings for a week back in September, wherein I had declared my whopping earnings of a “Saved by the Bell” residual check for all of $6.34.    

And just like that (*whistle*), this faux Tory embraced her American Indiana Hoosier heritage, strapped on a metaphorical cowgirl Stetson and hopped upon her mighty High Horse named “Righteous Indignation”.   If I had to dig my spurs into the Government one more time, by golly, they were in for some serious whupping! 

Ergo and Q.E.D., I once again needed a cooler head to prevail (despite my endless range of acting diversity), as a better brim with which to view the bigger picture could certainly “behoove” me. 


My triplicate EDD form filled out, my oath of authenticity duly signed with my signature for the third time (FFS), and heading to the bank a few days later to deposit a (literally, one year ago) reimbursement check for a “free” flu shot last November from the Motion Picture Television Fund, I opted for a new imaginary cap to crown my cranium.
Stopped at a red street light at the intersection of Santa Monica Blvd. and Fairfax, I sat in my car and glanced at the patrons waiting for a bus.  I clearly remembered my prior forlorn days of public transit seven years ago (not anything I’m proud of, but some lessons are hard-earned and well worth the outcome!); and coddled in the comfort of my Toyota “Cecilia”, I tried to strap on blinders to avoid recalling any further unpleasant sense memories.

Yet before I could even begin to rein in any acutely absurd observations, I found myself already sporting a Sheriff’s hat, my inner Barney Fife once again welling up to the task and eager to prove my current worth as a some sort of valuable contributing member of society!
And whilst I certainly didn’t mean to stare, one gentleman in particular immediately caught my stealthy eye.  He didn’t see me of course, nor was he one of those deranged ding-dongs who stand in the middle of the road looking for the giant orange metro liner. (It’s the size of a HOUSE, people!  Trouncing into the street won’t make you see the bus any sooner, nor make the driver arrive any quicker.  And did I mention that it’s ORANGE?) 

But I digress!  
Instead, this unique (maybe 80 year old gentleman?) public transit patron worked quite diligently to surreptitiously stuff his ziplock of narcotics (?) deep into the sole of his right lavender striped sock, casually lowered his pant leg for concealment, popped open a silver can of Fresca, took one sip, poured half of the soda out behind the bench, and proceeded to refill the container with a half pint of liquor pulled from a brown paper bag.  (Well, at least he wasn’t driving under the influence!)

“Ergo” and all “Q.E.D”s aside, the likelihood of me without an official Barney Fife tin star pulling to the side of the road to summon police seemed preposterous, as two black and white patrol cars had already barreled past me with full lights and sirens blaring down the boulevard obviously in pursuit of a significantly more dangerous criminal.

I also no longer needed my cowgirl Stetson, as much to my shock, awe and overall disbelief in urban myths, my bank drafted an email to alert me that a wire transfer from EDD was in effect to wrangle, lasso and eventually deposit $317.00 into my checking account.  WOO-HOO!!!  (And ta-ta, Tory Barrister wig, you mawkish magpie!) 
And while I shall always sport my imaginary professorial mortarboard in search of my ongoing quest for knowledge, this Locum Tenens was due to don the annual bonnet that has yet to ONCE ever comfortably rest upon my big old Charlie Brown head:  i.e., the Thanksgiving cook’s toque...

For your dining pleasure my friends, would you care to preview this year’s potential menu?
Certainly I’d enjoy some appetizers:

And what’s a fabulous holiday feast without spuds? 
(Just add water to the fill line, nuke the granules and in about two minutes you get fluffy “mashed potatoes”!) 

I even sort of had a festive dessert!

(Is a half-eaten maple bar donut supposed to lose its glaze in a plastic bag like that?)

Yet as to the main course?  Hmmm...  That might take a bit of creativity as any kind of fowl generally creeps me out... 
But A-HA! 

Like a beacon of light on a miner’s helmet in the darkness, one item shone brightly on the shelves at my local 7/11!  After all, how could I POSSIBLY go wrong with a microwaveable “Ultimate Cheeseburger Mac” bowl of beef, elbow pasta and a creamy Velveeta cheese packet, co-mingling like family gathered at Thanksgiving dinner?   

Hmmm...  (I’m by no means slandering Kraft Foods for a well-intended idea for those of us who so often dine alone on holidays, but 1020 mg of sodium???  Did you put the salt-lick in with the cow?  And why am I having sense memory flashbacks to the smell of opening up a can of Alpo for my childhood dog “Poppy”???)

As Thanksgiving grows near, I must say that I’m mostly grateful for all of my family and friends who’ve stood fiercely by my side during a challenging year.  For your love, laughter and support, I thank you from the bottom of my heart to the tip of my bonnet!
And as to the looming day of obligatory feasting?  Well, what can I say...  Sometimes you just need a talented stand-in.  (Or, you know, a McDonald's drive-thru!)

~Pumpkin pie P

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Barking Up the Wrong Tree?


With far too many months of Tinsel Town shunning my brilliant abilities as both and Actor and a Stand-In in the world of television Sit-Coms, I was becoming rather disheartened.

“You always have the option of relocating to our winter condo in Florida!” my Mom cheerfully motivated me; the likes of which would substantially decrease my financial output vis-à-vis living in Los Angeles.  “You could even go back to school if you want to!” she rallied enthusiastically.

Contemplating her best of well-meaning, heartfelt good intentions, my pea-brain paused to envision my potentially glorious future.  Might I earn a Master’s Degree?  Could I possibly delve into the realm of Academia and hurl all of my mental processes away from Hollywood and into the promised land of eventually achieving a most coveted PhD?
“Paging Dr. Penny”...     

Oh, I quite liked the sound of that!
Unfortunately, my pea-brain also contemplated the following drearier scenario:

(Well, I DO know how to type, and I DID learn how to capitalize letters in a phone text just a few months ago...)

But whilst I couldn’t be sure precisely which road my pea-brain was rooting for (aside from my current routine rut of unemployment), I certainly had a host of other skills in my quiver of opportunity arrows that didn’t involve three years of grad school, nor a time-travel machine back to the 1950’s.
After all, I could follow the path of religious enlightenment and become a nun (well... I actually played a nun on TV and the wimple was kind of itchy on my head, plus they frowned on my use of mascara); or I could pursue a career working with Kindergarten children (well... I’ve played a teacher on TV too, and quite frankly I can’t deal with all of their pre-adolescent germs); but certainly I could learn a trade and get hired as a receptionist (well... I also did that on TV, and real life as well, wherein I was dubbed “world’s worst receptionist” since I kept hanging up on clients calling ‘collect’ from prison to the real live law firm – (hey, I saved the attorneys a lot of money that day!).  But surely I could get a job as a waitress (well... I played that role on TV too, and it turns out that Producers aren’t terribly comfortable with my inexperienced lack of ability at attempting to handle food on camera in front of highly-paid Actors’ faces). 

But certainly I could find an alternate niche in the world if need be.
And delving through the care-package of goodies from my Federal Special Agent friend “Rose” who works for the Department of Justice (no lie!), I gasped in awe at my potential future career...

Yes my friends, I am now the proud owner of two grey shirts, which designate me as a (very unofficial) ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) Agent in basic training!!!

Ooh, I had so much to learn if I were to successfully make it through the Academy!  Granted, I’ve not held any sort of weaponry in my hands since taking a fun class on trap and skeet shooting in college wherein we also had to qualify with rifles in a target range (standing, kneeling and prone); but pouring a cocktail (Alcohol) and lighting up a cigarette (Tobacco), I was two-thirds on my way to graduation!

“Code 4” I announced to HQ (that’s “Head Quarters”, for you civilians), signifying ‘no further assistance needed’ as I had successfully channel-surfed my television and located a marathon of the reality show “Cops” on Spike TV.  “Code 4, code 4; roger that, affirmative, copy” I nodded ever-so officiously to my make-believe walkie-talkie, adding a “Kksshh” noise for authenticity into my t-shirt sleeve.
Within the first half hour of the “Cops” marathon, my future had become crystal clear.  I was absolutely destined to become a K-9 Special Agent!  Yes, my imaginary fearless four-legged German Shepherd companion “Thor” and I would tackle the Academy together, devote our lives to sniffing out bombs, tackling bad guys and enjoy celebratory biscuits after having saved the day!  Good boy! 

Yet the more I watched the marathon, the more real “me” crept into the picture...
Granted, the high speed chases got my adrenaline running (I think Cecilia – my 1997 Toyota – and I once hit 35mph on the mean streets of LA to which afterward we both could have used a mild sedative); and yes, there was no end to my joy at watching highly trained Officers armed with Tasers zapping the crap out of 400 pounds of aggressive criminals (Replay!  Replay!  Replay!).

But as my official boot-camp into the work-force has forever been the seductive Hollywood allure of the random 30 minute escape from “reality” into Comedy, I simply couldn’t ignore my inherent Tinsel Town training.
Number One:  Could the Audio technicians possibly consider decreasing the volume after a foot pursuit, so as not make every chivalrous take-down sound like our Heroes in Law Enforcement are gasping for their final breath?  They’ve got the burden of carrying a gazillion pounds of equipment around their waists whilst simultaneously attempting to cuff scrawny, seriously sweaty meth-addicts who squirm! 

Number Two:  How, on God’s green Earth, is there not ONE single channel devoted ENTIRELY to the reality footage of K-9 police dogs on patrol?  “Show your hands, or we will deploy the dog, and the dog WILL bite you...”  (Replay!  Replay!  Replay!)  Good Boy!  And as a further thought, after chomping down on a drug addict’s thigh for a solid twenty minutes, must the K-9 attend rehab to detox?  (Sure the aggressive pooch can lick himself, but I doubt that even THAT would get rid of the stench in his highly trained nostrils.)
Number Three:  This one is more of a mathematical poser.  As the marathon continued and I absorbed as much Law Enforcement as possible, I became acutely aware (well, I AM an unofficial ATF Agent in training!) of an uncertain amount of anomalies.  How is it, that despite living in a house on wheels (not judging, just observing) so many “persons of interest” who apparently cannot afford dental care (again, not judging), are equipped to possess an excess of money with which to purchase not only military grade AK-14 machine guns that fit snugly into one’s underwear, but the additional financial perspicacity to afford a $200.00 tattoo of a marijuana leaf on the shoulder, and a $400.00 tattoo portrait of Jesus on the neck?

Lastly (and maybe I’m just splitting hairs at this point), how in the world, despite my comedic training in the land of Sit-Coms, could I possibly keep a straight face when the junkie who’s just been arrested, swears that he didn’t know anything about a capped needle full of whatever drug he’d hidden between his butt cheeks?  (Yes, I’m judging now!)

To say the least, after a riveting twelve or so hours of Tasers, take-downs and transports to jail, my inner Barney Fife was officially quashed. 
As much as I admire and respect my friend “Rose” and her multitudes of fellow Law Enforcement compadres for the difficulties they face each and every day, I have absolutely no patience for such drama...

...And so, back to the drawing board for me...

“Hi Pen!  If you would be willing to join our crew, I’d love to invite you to Season Three of our show!” one of my favorite ADs cheerfully welcomed me into the fold as I whole-heartedly, gratefully accepted her offer back into the comfortable safety zone of my Sit-Com world.  (Seriously, I almost cried!)

Whilst our show won’t begin production on-stage until January, I must say that I’m beyond thrilled to be booked for 13 episodes!  I’ve worked with this extraordinary Second Team before, as well as the fabulous ADs; and for reasons known to a handful of people, I suspect that The Universe is smiling.

“Kksshh: All units; Code 4.  Kksshh.”  (!!!)

Blessed to be recruited back to where I truly belong,
~Hollywood K-9 P


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Thus Spake the Halloween Pooh

With a mere few days left leading up to my High Holy Holiday of Halloween, I beamed like a fiend at all of the dark and devious decorations adorning my darling of a delightful neighborhood.  There were Jack-o-Lanterns on doorsteps!  There were tombstones in front yards!  There was even a home-spun ghost dangling from a tree across the street from my local McDonalds!
Yes, these are the moments when my world truly makes sense!

Having read my latest entry here, my beloved friend C2 wanted to contribute a “family photo” to add to my previously posted picturesque gallery.  And so with great joy, I’m heartened to present her most awesome Halloween addition to my personal collection:
Hmm...  She could be a relative... 

Yet I couldn’t quite place her face...!


And as the enervation continued to build, I surveyed my bat-cave for whatever else I could ghoulishly embrace to celebrate the best ever macabre holiday, before the world becomes overrun with the “Fa-La-La-La” commercial hoopla that inevitably ensues the next morning and pummels us mercilessly for the next three months.  
Granted, there was “Mabel” (if I haven’t mentioned this recently, all kitchen corner-dwelling spiders are named “Mable” – so sagely sayeth my Aunt G when I was young and impressionable); and whilst I have the highest tolerance for spindly-legged arachnids who dangle quietly in a niche (ASIDE FROM THE BATHROOM, BEDROOM OR CEILING!), I absolutely will NOT tolerate ANY sort of aggression, movement or artistic web-weaving beyond a two inch perimeter past the dishwasher.  (Sorry Mabel.  But a double-ply wet paper towel trumps your freeloading antics.)

Ah, but there were still plenty of spooky delights hovering about my world to keep the spirits up!  A wart-nosed witch hag doll snarling on her broom, lurking over the 50’s themed jukebox which offers a lot of Elvis Presley music (‘Nuf said?) at my nearest Astro Burger (I took a picture with my not-very-smart cell phone); a monstrous black velvet three foot wide bendy spider looming ominously over the ATM machine (I took a picture of that too!); and of course the horrifying realization on my walk home from said restaurant that if I chose to upload the photos from my Frankenstein cell, a metaphorical financial wooden stake would be driven through my checking account since I don’t actually have a data plan...  (YIKES!)
But as The Universe is collectively never One to let me down during the brief time of the year when I’m blessed with the gruesome, the morbid and the grisly, I snuggled under the covers for a delightfully wonderful mid-day cat nap –- the autumnal winds billowing noisily outside my window; the occasional “Dun-Dun” of Law and Order on the television cradling me into a soft sleep, as well as one very gentle eco-friendly lamp still lit to guide me back from the delicious depths of dreams.


Something was wrong.  Oh, something was very, very wrong indeed.  And bolting awake to the most unnerving silence – the likes of which I’d not heard (not sure how to quantify “not hearing” here), I sat rather paralyzed in the deafening quiet of a power outage.
“But, but, but, my TV is my noise and companion!” I whimpered.  “And, and, and, my clock is blinking midnight, so I have no idea what time it is!” I fretted helplessly.  “Plus, I’m kind of hungry!” my belly growled aggressively. 

Oh, bother...
Whilst I could certainly make my way in the dark of my bat-cave to the kitchen for a PBJ and a glass of milk, just what fresh Hell might that bring about?  Good Heavens, not only could I risk exposing refrigerated perishables, but what if Mabel had “connections”?!

And yes, I could always open up my Kindle tablet for local information, but, um, I may or may not have chosen to play an online game for a few (SIX) hours the night before and didn’t remember to plug Mr. Kindle back into the charger...
But as The Universe never dishes out more than you can handle, I actually enjoyed the solitude of doing nothing more than solving a crossword puzzle by candlelight!  (Kind of spooky and fun for me!  And YES, I could’ve just opened the blinds to let in the sunshine, but where’s the challenge there?)

Meanwhile, still adamantly determined to milk the last of my High Holy Holiday to the max, I toddled well-refreshed into the light yesterday at 7am in search of a breakfast burrito and some apple juice as “Son of Deceased Landlord Yang” politely held the gate for me. 

And despite my probably unlikely illogical angst of asking for any assistance in my rent controlled bat-cave - lest they find some reason to evict me and charge double what my apartment is worth, wherein I end up a creepy bag lady on the street, living in a cardboard box, trying to stay warm as I cuddle with my deceased kitty’s urn of cremains – The Universe saw fit to provide me with an actual spine, perhaps in honor of my “spine-tingling” holiday!
“My kitchen garbage disposal isn’t working” I informed the Son of Deceased Landlord.  “The sink isn’t bad, but it’s just not draining properly and I don’t want anyone else’s plumbing to get backed up.  I don’t even cook!” I apologized profusely, contemplating just how many plates of McDonald’s ketchup might be curdling about in the ancient underbelly of the building.  And despite a wee bit of unsuccessful mechanical fiddling, I was promised a professional plumber the next morning to replace the disposal altogether.  Yay! 

What I hadn’t entirely thought through however, was the fact that a complete stranger would be escorted by SDL through the security gate, presented at my front door at 8am and set loose upon my sanctuary to bang noisily around the kitchen pipes for over an hour.  (Years and years of online shopping under my belt, and it never ONCE occurred to me to purchase a poison ring and a cyanide capsule?  Tsk!)
What I’d also not properly mentally processed, was the fact that SDL possesses technical aptitudes which would likely be equivalent to a chimpanzee with a monkey wrench.  (If you will.)  So frankly, I really shouldn’t have been terribly surprised that SDL hired an early-to-rise eager day laborer saturated in ‘no-I’ve-not-yet-bathed-today-cologne’ to refurbish my medieval laboratory’s basin.

Oh, bother...
And yet surprisingly, the horror of the morning had yet to reach its ultimate pinnacle.

“Ahem!” the wafting gentleman’s aromatic cloud filtered down the hall.  “I’m all done out here!” he beamed happily, shaking my hand. 
My hand!  Dear Lord!  My HAND!!!

(Granted, I’ve spent the usual girlie amount of time clawing the occasional gag-inducing wet hair ball out of my shower drain (with perhaps more double-ply paper towels than necessary accompanied by neon orange elbow-length rubber gloves); but the guy had just spent 72 minutes touching God only knows what with his bare paws in the depths of my building’s intestines, and he SHOOK my HAND???)
But hang onto your seats people, as The Universe had YET to execute perhaps its most frightening Halloween experience thus far in my life:

“May I use your restroom before I leave?” the odoriferous plumber wondered, wafting his way in his sturdy work boots as he trounced down the carpeted hall to urinate in my toilet.
(Sometimes there are no words.)

To my friend C2:  Thank you so much for your most excellent and thoughtful photo to add to my collection!

To my friend “Rose”:  Your box of Halloween treats arrived today!  I shall feast on “The Day” like Winnie the Pooh with my head stuck in a jar of “hunny”!
And to The Universe:  I’m still petrified at your cosmic proficiency in your ability to find infinite new ways to properly terrorize me during the celebration of our High Holy Holiday.  I think I used up an entire bottle of hand sanitizer, a full can of Febreze Air Effects, and a massive vat of Lysol Disinfecting Wipes to allow me to scour all potentially touched surfaces and finally eventually lower the raised toilet seat after the plumber vacated his bladder.  (Goodbye, terry cloth hand towel on the dowel.  I can’t be sure that you were used; but in the trash you go.  Give my regards to Mabel.)

Wishing you all Halloween hugs (pay no mind to my sanitary neon orange rubber gloves!),
~Penny the Boo
p.s. Convinced that having survived my anxiety-riddled morning with SDL and the oblivious-to-potential-malarial-disorders plumber, I deemed myself worthy of purchasing some groceries to celebrate the afternoon.  After all, with what could The Universe possibly scare me at this point?

Oh bother...