25 July 2006

Sucked into the Vortex

As I write this, I am 4 hours into a non-existent day off. I haven't had a day off since July 4 and even on that day (prior to going to the clambake - see below) I went into the office to allow wardrobe to conduct fittings for a movie that was going to get pushed a week.

Today, on my day off, I have called 30 crew members to let them know the call time on Wednesday is moved up, I have been handling the new caterer we're bringing on in hopes of staving off a meal-time mutiny, I've been back and forth with the DP about the fact that while he needs the 2d camera for tomorrow, he can't seem to get the Producers to understand that it's a lock-off and a 2d camera operator is unnecessary. I've been dealing with transpo about the drops for tomorrow and whether or not they can get to the equipment that is supposed to go back .... huh? Also, filling in as a location assistant because we lost our LM two days ago and while we've hired a new one, he hasn't had time to call in an assistant.

I've dropped the SAG check at EP and was on my way to pick up a sound CD that needs to get to telecine and, what the hey, while I'm there, pick up the dailies because we don't want some poor PA to miss his day off today when the Line Producer calls and tells me they are a day behind and I should enjoy my day off instead.

Copy that...

04 July 2006

A Merry Little 4th

Every year I go to the same July 4th celebration, a clambake hosted by 3 of my favorite gays (thank you Kathy Griffin for allowing me to borrow the term). None of them are with the other although I don't know that that was always the case since, in the 12 years I have known them, I have never asked the dating/friendship history.

This year, just before my husband and I left, I excused myself to use the restroom. True to the mix of folks, there were four boys and one chick ahead of me in line. I waited my turn and as I came out, I realized that Judy was on the stereo...singing her signature song....have yourself a merry little christmas....I smiled to myself and went and stood in the dim living room - everyone else was in the amazing backyard (that was now illuminated with tall candles placed strategically in the ground by the caterers) - so I was alone with Judy singing about faithful friends dear to us and it suddenly struck me how fast time passes and how it does seem these days that when we're in the dead heat of summer, we're shaking our heads and saying "I can't believe it's already July...where did the year go? and how long has it been since we sat and talked?" Indeed, where did the year go?

If I didn't see you at the clambake, I hope you are doing well, that your new year's resolutions still resonate and that your troubles are miles away...

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Let your heart be light
From now on,
our troubles will be out of sight

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Make the Yule-tide gay,
From now on,
our troubles will be miles away.

Here we are as in olden days,
Happy golden days of yore.
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more.

Through the years
We all will be together,
If the Fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.
And have yourself A merry little Christmas now.

01 July 2006

The Artist's Way taking the back alley

A week or so ago I picked up my copy of The Artist's Way just to give my creative self a little zap to the rear end and, as I'm sure some of you know, there's that little contract in the first few pages...I re-filled it in (I made my way through the contract originally in 1995 so it had been awhile) and prepared to write my 3 pages every morning and to take myself on my artist's date every week (hence, the Norton Simon entry).

But then suddenly life (or a little world we like to call movie making) interrupted. Yes I got a job! On the downside it is lowish budget (Meatloaf and Dean Cain are two of the principals) and right now it will take an act of god to start on the actual shoot date (next Wednesday, July 6) but as a result of my efforts around the office helping with prep, my position has changed from Key Set PA to Production Coordinator and the woman who was the Production Coordinator is now Production Supervisor. I'm a little disappointed not to be going onto the set in a few days, but am digging the whole organizational, keeping the crew happy part of the job. I like knowing what everyone is doing and buying and wanting (I'm nosy that way...) Anyway, I love the people and the crew keys are cool so I'm excited to finally be productive and getting paid for it.

22 June 2006

Norton Simon Museum

I fell in love yesterday. First of all, I went to the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena. I have to admit that in the nearly 20 years I've lived in L.A., I had never been. Sad but true. One amazing thing was that I thought it would cost me $8 but since I have my USC student i.d., I got in for free!!!

After about a half an hour of wandering around, I was in the 14th to 16th century wing and accosted by a polite woman wearing a radio head piece who told me that my bag was oversized and that I'd have to check it with the desk and get a "museum bag" to carry my stuff in. The funny thing was that the museum bag was a book bag from the museum store and wasn't that much smaller than my
LAwritersgroup.com yellow messenger bag. Go figure.

I really dug the
South Asian wing which is downstairs in the museum. I wandered around that exhibit for almost an hour.

I did go out to the sculpture garden but, on a Wednesday afternoon in late June, is pretty freakin' hot and, unfortunately, you can hear the freeway that is right next to the museum but cleverly camouflaged by bamboo trees. I also got the feeling that I wasn't seeing all of the sculpture garden because one part of the path was coned off and while I was in the South Asian wing I had seen this lovely large Buddha statue out the window but then, once outside, couldn't figure out how to get to it.

Finally, I realized that I had completely missed the 20th Century wing so I wandered back inside. That's when I fell in love.

Kandinsky rules.

13 June 2006

What the bleep!?!

I have a friend who "has a relationship with God" and speaks of that connection whenever she's getting ready to make a move in life .... Now, I'm not religious but I try to be a good person and keep my karmic nose clean and in general am more apt to give than to take. Having said all that, for years, I thought of my friend as the most spiritual person I knew. Always "trusting that God" was listening....I recently realized she also meant "and placing her in the most opportune place and time and giving her things that served her goals"....huh?

I don't know about you but that sounds less like God and more like a "universal goodie bag". It also got me thinking ... every once in awhile, I'll talk to that universal energy that I believe is swirling around and I will send my intentions and aspirations into the wind. I think it's good to say things out loud and own them. My friend, who I have loved for a very long time, has a tendency to not only say things out loud but to ask anyone who happens to be in earshot if they can help her. Now, I guess that kind of falls into the "god helps those who help themselves" if you amend the line to read "help themselves to everyone else's energy and time". See, it just suddenly hit me this week that this was her m.o. and as sweet as she is, as wonderfully talented, as amazingly driven....I just felt that I had been part of some master plan that didn't include reciprocity.

I don't want to sound bitter and I wish her well in her forward movement in life but I did just want to take a moment and ask.....is it "god" or a "universal goodie bag" that people are reaching for and if it is spiritual then why is it attached to what have you done for me lately?

06 June 2006

The Dream

You grabbed my arm, hissed I love you then bent your body to kiss me so hard I could feel the cliff of bone holding your perfect bottom teeth. I had no choice but to fall back, open my mouth to yours and hear in that yawn of lips, myself opening, hear the full rush of the Irish Sea pounding against a shore of rock and fortress.

And – as suddenly – it was over.
I was standing upright – alone –
the water still ringing in my ears.

If Gestalt is right and every figure in our dreams is merely an extension of self, then why did my mind reach half way around the world to a shore I have seen only once? Why not the Pacific – where you, as myself, are – warm and blue? And why would I choose you, as myself, to love me, to force me into a kiss I cannot give back? And why did you, as myself, say I love you at all, without waiting for my response?

I have thought of you, as yourself, all day, wondering at your dreams, wondering if I appeared, as yourself, to take you to the Irish Sea….

22 May 2006

With parents like these....

I have refrained from talking about the birthday card I received on Saturday from my parents until today...appropriate since today is the day I am no longer celebrating. I had been thinking about whether or not to celebrate or let people in on my age for a while. The card from my parents made the decision for me.

At this point, I wish I had a digital camera in order to share their sense of humor with you but instead, I am reduced to simply describing the lovely hallmark moment in text.

The photo on the front of the card is either circa 1930s or cleverly made to look it with a woman standing next to a basket of fruit outside of a general store complete with vintage 7-up advertisement on the side of the building. There is a price placard sticking up out of the fruit that says .39@ (pretend that is a cents sign). When you open the card, it says:

"Looks like your melons are a little lower this year."

Yeah...birthdays are great....

19 May 2006

Hollywood Typos

So, got home from a romantic lunch with Carl yesterday (his first day off in a heck of a long time), picked up the mail and as we chatted Carl opened the American Film magazine we get along with my membership and Carl's alumnus status with AFI. Lo' and behold on page 13 is a picture of Carl and me at a party last winter. (Okay, it's the AFI rag but still it's glossy.) Anywho, here we are on the same page as George "cutting edge of politics" Clooney and damn if its not one of the best pictures ever taken of us as a couple - seriously, we're thinking of getting hold of the photographer for a personal copy. So here's the stickler....They have us as Sandra and Carl Bartels - (the photographer probably wrote my name all in caps and someone mistook the his "o" as a "d"). (I would appreciate it if my family would refrain from comment on this particular theory....)

Here's the problem, I'm not important enough for them to get my name wrong. If they misspelled Clooney, everyone would know they're idiots, but on my caption, they just assume I'm Sandra and don't bother to get all annoyed. It's just wrong.

As a side note, they identify Carl as an AFI Alumus [sic].

17 May 2006

Letter to my cat, Henley

Dear Henley:

The birds have become our common enemy. They gather in threes as you come trotting toward me, toward safety. I watch them swoop from the roof, from the wire, from the top of the cactus. Their cries are prehistoric as they screech in their kamikaze assault. They dive toward your head, your back, your tail that you pull down as the avian missile with its nuclear beak comes within inches of your hindquarters. I promise this will last only a few months, long enough to feed the young in their nest. At least you are not the dog next door who must passively cower while the biggest in the flock dives into his food bowl for nuggets. Perhaps this is why they are such aggressive little f&*ks, because they have been subsisting on beef by-products. One of them has a bent wing that I imagine is the result of coming too close to one of your kind....was it you?

A word of advice or cautionary tale, however you want to take it -- a few years back, I watched a now deceased friend leap five feet into the air and like a MEADS, end an aerial assault. It was four months before he could venture out again - for him, they created a posse of five. It was not pretty.

I'll leave the back door ajar in case you want to come inside and hang out in relative peace....

12 May 2006

Pompous Circumstances

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (UCLA Bruin alumni) was given an honorary doctorate today by USC. Then he delivered the commencement address. It was all about the rivalry that Bruins have with the Trojans and how it's actually based on respect and then he segued into the shame of our country's division of political parties and that we should have a mutual respect for each other. Not that I don't disagree with Mr. Villaraigosa but a commencement speech based on "can't we all just get along?" was, I have to say, fairly lame and uninspiring. I also found it irritating to be reminded of the undergrads' youth and how that's their main advantage .... of course, maybe that was just me.... being an older student and all - oh, and if one more person asked me to thank my parents who paid for this wonderful education, I was going to scream. No offense, Mom & Dad, but this time, it's my 2d mortgage, not yours.

11 May 2006

Porn Coordination

So have been sending my resume out and trying to become gainfully employed. Not many responses as yet and am just this side of panicked. I did get one interesting nibble and it came out of the blue. Apparently, a guy I worked with on a corporate video is about to shoot a pilot/series for Larry Flynt and was wondering if I would be the 1st A.D./Production Coordinator for it - now even I know that normally those are two separate positions but apparently they like to keep the crew to a minimum on these sorts of projects. I've been thinking it over - I have a few weeks before he's up and running and the first thing that comes to mind is that as Production Coordinator, would I be calling the usual list in L.A. and asking if we can use their home for the "plumber" scene? And then of course, the second thing that comes to mind is that as 1st A.D., I'd be responsible for moving the shot-list along. I don't even want to think about Shot 23 - you know - shudder - the close-up ...

Did I really pay all that money to USC to do this? Of course, you know the next thing that leaps to mind....this could be the source of some really good material....

Yeah, just call me a "material girl".

05 May 2006

Forgive me Blogger Father for I have sinned

It has been nearly three months since my last confession. In that time, I have coveted my neighbor's new Prius; wished to murder the man who whizzes by my house several times a night on his revved up, louder than a leaf blower, scooter; have lapsed into a state of sloth after completing my poetry manuscript/thesis and turning it in for departmental approval and generally lied about my productivity in the last several days. Oh, and in relation to the coveting, I have spouted profane language while filling my gas-guzzling Xterra at the pump.

Finally, I have toyed with the idea of simply starting an anonymous blog since one of the things that has been offered to me in the name of employment has been, shall we say, below the line and somewhat below the belt. Yes, Blogger Father, I am considering it....

18 February 2006

When Do You Mention You're Married?

A few weeks ago Carl was in New York working on color correction of Another Gay Movie. I, at the same time, was working on the second draft of my poetry manuscript. Since I'd been holed up all day in my home office, I decided to take the manuscript to my favorite bar, have some dinner and just read through it cover to cover. As a side note, the bar used to be called Duffy's and truth be told about half of the poems in it had been written in a booth in Duffy's from 1998 until 2000. It was a prolific time for me.

Usually, on a Wednesday night, there aren't many people at the bar but, on this particular night, not only was the bar quite populated, but the booths were full. I sat at one end of the bar and Frankie greeted me by pouring my glass of wine before I ordered it and telling me that the soup special that night was my favorite. I ordered it. While I read, the 20 something boys on my right chatted with me about the soup that they wished they'd ordered instead of the hot wings and generally flirted with me which wasn't unpleasant. Before they left, a very sweet, handsome man sat to my left. I continued reading my manuscript. During the course of the few hours I was there, he asked me questions, told me he was a restaurantuer and that he was Greek of Greek and Armenian parentage. It was pleasant but at last I said that I really enjoyed talking with him but needed to get back to the task at hand. Before he left, he invited me to come to his cafe the following Sunday and hear him play the bouzouki. I told him I would try but that I had a reading to attend. He left. That's when I started to feel bad.

I never told him I was married. The truth is, it never came up. I wear a wedding ring, a unique band that is tough not to notice. I figured he was sitting to my left, he should have noted it. I also remember that at some point in the conversation about his busy life, I asked if he was married and he said no. He never asked me if I was married but I suppose at that point, I should have said "I am."

The truth is, if you're a chick alone at a bar, I think guys assume (a) you're single; or (b) you're not happily married. Neither of those are true of me. What is true of me is that I enjoy going to my favorite bar to hang out and either write or read. I've never been a coffee shop kind of girl. That said, if a guy starts talking to me, is it my responsibility to tell him that I'm a waste of time? I like meeting new people. I enjoy conversation. I figure if he wants to know whether it's a waste of his precious "meet a chick" time, he should probably check the left hand and/or ask if I'm with someone.

So, guys, I guess I'm asking....should I, if it's obvious I'm being "chatted up", turn to the chatter and say I'm married? Do I have to do the "we" thing in conversation? I hate the "we" thing, it suggests that I am not an individual in my tastes and opinions which is actually a pet peeve of mine with married couples "We think the price of gas is outrageous!" What is the proper thing to do? Is it my responsibility or should guys stop assuming a woman alone in a bar is automatically single? Oh, and if you answer stay away from bars when Carl is out of town, I'm going to have to go into a whole diatribe on men who are married who go to bars all the time after work or while the little woman is travelling and they don't have to deal with this because we don't assume a guy is single if he's alone at a bar.

01 February 2006

Divine Intervention

A few weeks back, I was in my Tuesday night poetry workshop and my cell phone rang. I had forgotten to mute it, so it was a little embarrassing. At the break, I returned the call from Carl. Now, Carl never calls me during my workshop so I was thinking it was an emergency and it was in a way. The computer had frozen, created a little memory dump message and he couldn't get it to shut down. I walked him through it and told him I'd look at it when I got home. I went back into my workshop and exchanged computer horror stories with the others while on break. Linda, bless her "tech support" heart, told me I needed to get a USB unit (it plugs into your UCB port on your computer) and PRONTO! I went home, got the computer working again and vowed that on Thursday, I'd go to Office Depot (I had to work on Wednesday and wouldn't be able to take care of it until Thursday.) True to my word, I went to Office Depot and had one of the most amazingly easy, pleasant, may I help you, oh, you need that and we're out of stock? let me check on that....two minutes later, here it is and guess what it's on sale 50% off. I was out of the store in less than 10 minutes. THAT NEVER HAPPENS.

So, I dutifully went home and backed up all of My Documents. I worked for several hours on my thesis that weekend and did not re-back up the work, but I did print out a hard copy. You can see where all of this is going can't you?

A week to the day later, I woke up to entirely crashed computer. Thankfully it wasn't the mother board and because of my handy-dandy USB unit, Mr. Computer Geek was only here for a mere two hours trashing everything, updating my windows to XP from 2000 and re-installing all of my documents and a few programs. It took me another week to sort through what else I was missing and dig through various programs in my closet for re-installation. Today, I learned that my McAfee is out of date and I need to just break down and buy version 10.

All of this said, it (1) explains my low profile for a while; and (2) gives a nod to those wonderful little synchronistic moments. If Carl hadn't called that Tuesday night, I would not have learned about USB units (which, by the way, if you lack a back up system, are cheap, small, ultra fast and you feel like James Bond when you plug them into your computer port....literally, it takes about 3 minutes to back your entire My Documents data) and I would not have had a nearly complete back up.

I say nearly complete because I need to go back and re-do the work I did on my thesis but I have the hard copy so I have a map and I'm ready to travel again. I think I'll go in search of the divine.

17 January 2006

Hidden Talents

Your Hidden Talent

You have the natural talent of rocking the boat, thwarting the system.
And while this may not seem big, it can be.
It's people like you who serve as the catalysts to major cultural changes.
You're just a bit behind the scenes, so no one really notices.

Feeling a bit blah today, the short I was supposed to help Line Produce and 2d AD isn't happening, I'm stuck trying to figure out whether my section breaks are working in my poetry manuscript. I still don't have a title for it yet (any suggestions are welcome and no, I don't think you have to read it to be qualified to come up with something clever). The good news is that the running continues to go well, Nicole's and my writers' group starts this week and I only have 16 weeks until I receive my Masters degree (a mere four months).

In the meantime, I think I'll concentrate on my hidden talent and see what kind of trouble I can get into.

14 January 2006

Singles or Partners?

Nicole wrote an interesting blog about relationships and committment. It got me thinking about being single. It's been nearly 6 years since I was "out there" but I relate to the frustration at wanting something more and running up against the wall of "maybe".

The thing is, I think you have to simply live your truth, whether it's monogamy or playing the field. Relationships aren't scientific, don't follow logic and can't be run in a sort of "playing chicken" fashion - first to blink, loses or conversely first to blink, wins. If you're the kind of person who, when you care for someone deeply, wants to concentrate on that one person, great. If you're the kind of person who, when you care for someone deeply, still wants to leave yourself open to other options, great -- as long as the other person is aware of your particular need and agrees to the arrangement.

The trouble starts when you aren't on the same page of the "rule book".

Be who you are, live according to your own needs and your truth and you will attract someone else who feels the same truth.

13 January 2006

Gastronomic Hints from Gmail

If you are a "gmail" user, you know that when you open an email, it picks up on words and phrases and on the sidebar offers links that are related to it. I used to think this was kind of big brother spooky but now know it's just an automatron program thing (right? right?)

Anyway, at the top of the Spam folder, the links are getting a little scary. I offer you:

                           SPAM SKILLET CASSEROLE

Recipe By :
Serving Size : 6 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Casseroles Main dish

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
2 Baking potatoes, cut into
-1/8" slices
1 cn SPAM Luncheon Meat, cubed
-(12 oz)
1 c Thinly sliced carrots
1 c Thinly sliced onions
1/2 c Thinly sliced celery
2 Garlic cloves, minced
2 tb Flour
1 t Coarsely ground pepper
3/4 t Dried whole thyme
1 cn No-salt-added green beans,
-drained (16 oz)
1 cn No-salt-added whole
-tomatoes, drained and
-chopped (16 oz)
1 cn No-salt-added vegetable
-juice cocktail (5 1/2 oz)
Butter-flavor vegetable
-cooking spray

Cook potatoes in boiling water 3 minutes or until crisp-tender.
Drain. In skillet, cook SPAM until browned; remove from skillet. Add
carrots to skillet and saute 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add
onion, celery, and garlic; saute until vegetables are tender. Combine
flour, pepper, and thyme. Stir flour mixture into vegetable mixture;
cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add SPAM, green beans, tomato,
and vegetable juice cocktail. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer
5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove skillet from heat; arrange
potato slices over SPAM mixture to cover completely. Spray potato
slices with vegetable cooking spray. Broil 6" from heat source 10
minutes or until golden.

Retropolitan, let me know how that works out for you at the next dinner party.

04 January 2006

And miles to go...

After trying out three different pairs of running shoes (finally have the ones just right) and much to the amazement of friends and family, today marks a month of running.

My butt feels higher, my breathing is easier and my skin has taken on an oxygenated glow. This weekend I begin training with the Pasadena Pacers to run the 2007 Los Angeles marathon (and half marathons in between).

Now, if I could just kick the cigarettes....

Thanks to all who sent emails and called and talked me through the process of the right gear, the right stretches and just basically have supported me in my new venture.