Sunday, December 30, 2007

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Just figuring out how to post video. Here we go:
video

Not very interesting.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

I Love the Potentail of a Full Martini

I was sitting on my couch trying to decide whether or not to read my book or to post. As I tried to figure out which to do I looked over at the coffee table and saw the full martini I had poured a few minutes earlier. I thought to myself, damn I love the potential of a full martini. (I'm sure many an AA speech has started the same way.)

A full martini means the night can go either way. It can be just that one and then onto making dinner and having a cozy night in with Sam watching some boob tube. Or it can mean; Holy Shit! This is a delicious slippery slope, do you think I could find someone who wants to go out and have 16 more of these with me?

It's hard when you feel like you're on vacation even though you're really on strike. However, being that we aren't picketing, I am kind of on vacation. But since it's been a partying kind of few days with Christmas and all, I think I'll stick to my one martini maximum. Being the lone martini of the evening only enhances my potential for savoring every drop.

Tomorrow Sam and I are traveling to Hollister Ranch to visit our friend Eric, his wife Dottie and their son Evan. It's a remote, gorgeous area on the coast, north of Santa Barbara. There's no internet so I won't be blogging for the next couple of days. We return on Saturday when my mother flies in from Boston. On Sunday I'm having a little open house to celebrate my mother's arrival and my birthday. It's a jam packed rest of the week that I'll be sure to document with my new camera.

I need a minute to sit down and post about our Christmas Day World Class Yankee Swap Party at the Groels'. I'm not kidding when I say it was one of the best Christmas Days I've had in 10 years.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve

It's Christmas Eve and instead of gathering 'round the beef tenderloin at my brother Chris' house, I am 3000 miles away, sitting in my living room, sipping a Mexican coffee (tequila & Kahlua & lowfat whipped cream out of the can from Trader Joe's). I'm getting ready to work my first Christmas Eve shift at Vito. It's supposed to be crazy busy there tonight. My guess is there will be a wicked rush early and then everyone will be home and in bed with visions of the Fettucini Burino (cream sauce, mushrooms, peas & pancetta) dancing in their heads. At least that's what I'm hoping for because I don't want to leave my husband alone for too long on Christmas Eve. Sam will, of course, come up for part of my shift but I don't expect him to stay too long because he'll have visions of his Wii dancing in his head. Yep, you heard me right, Sam got a Wii for Christmas from Uncle Balls. Nate and Ivy are gonna be so jealous!

Last night Uncle Balls and his girlfriend Beth came over and showered us with presents. In true Bean/Johnson form, we had nothing to give them. We actually did get Paul a present it just hasn't come yet. He got us some incredibly thoughtful gifts: a Wii, Bumble & Bumble Surf Spray for my hair (for that just-stepped-off-the-beach look), an awesome pair of fancy khakis for Sam, and a camera for me! We got Paul a full body unitard with a hood that looks like this:


My old camera died. Just stopped working. I took it someplace and they said water had gotten in it and the inside was all rusted. This was really bad news as buying a new camera now with the strike and all seemed like a frivolous investment even though I like pictures to be the driving force behind this blog. I had been relying on my Treo for all my pictures or on the kindness of others with I know was growing old. But Paul totally saved me. He loves electronics and buys a new camera about every three weeks. He parted with one of his old favorites and I couldn't be happier. So at last I present to you a couple of pictures from last night's Giftfest 2007.


Sam opens his Wii.


Paul, Beth and Kerri watch Sam open his Wii accessories.


Sam and Paul both looking happy. This is minutes before Paul drops the Wii on Sam. He knows how hard it's gonna rock Sam's world hence his ear to ear smile. I don't think I've ever seen Paul look this happy and he should, he gave us one of our best Christmases yet.

I miss my family and my usual Christmas traditions but it's nice to shake it up a little as well. Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Drink That Never Dies.

I'm referring to the Brandy Alexander, of course! Pam, friend to my sister-in-law Michelle and hopeful matchmaker to my cousin Paul, finally had the fabled Brandy Alexander. Apparently there is this doctor at Harvard Medical School who has been kicking off his holiday season with a Brandy Alexander party for the past several years. Here's Pam account of her first taste of heaven.

So yesterday, I finally got to try the storied Brandy Alexander. As mixed by Dr. Arky, longtime faculty member at Harvard Medical School, this nog-like cocktail consisted of light creme de cacao, brandy (about 3:1), whipping cream, and a sprinkling of nutmeg. On a snowy day it was a festive and delicious way to blow off work, and a tradition Dr. Arky has observed since he was a resident at Boston City Hospital, in the year ought-something. Attached is a picture of Dr. Arky and my friend Jean happily contemplating the upcoming holiday break, and more Brandy Alexanders...



That dude looks like he makes a bad ass Brandy A. And Jean looks like she might make a bad ass date for my cousin Paul. Developing....

Thursday, December 20, 2007

No More Sony

One thing we found out at Monday's Strike Rally was that the WGA has decided to consolidate the picketing. Instead of being spread thin in the New Year, all writers will focus on picketing at just a few studios. I don't know if this is because the numbers on the line are dropping or because there is no more production happening. (I heard on NPR yesterday that there are only 2 television shows still in production and one of them ends on Friday.) Either way, it's with a heavy heart that I bid adieu to Sony Gate 2. I will miss all the boys who held down the 6am - 9am shift with me. It was like having eight new boyfriends, my husband included. This line really taught me a few things about myself; the most important being that I like being the only woman in the crowd. So to the men of Sony Gate 2, I say thank you! Thank you for keeping me honest and keeping other women away.

Here are a few more pictures from the line. If there had to be a soundtrack to these photos it would be "Racing In The Streets" by Bruce Springsteen off his greatest album Darkness On The Edge Of Town. My favorite album in 7th grade. My brother Chris won tickets to see Bruce at the Boston Garden that year and took his girlfriend Gina instead of me. I'm still mad at him for that. Anyway, we discussed a lot of Springsteen on the line due to the return Sirius' E Street Radio. Good times.

Cue music:

Me & Lew ponder life on the line.


Rick & Mike embody the rage of the striking writer.



Lew fraternizes with the enemy. (Actually he was a very nice security guard who put up with Lew's bit of "going to the other side" every day.) Never did get Security dude's name.


This is a picture of an old writer. He wasn't on our line at Sony. This is a left over picture from my days at Radford. I posted it for my sister-in-law Michelle who didn't believe there were any old writers out here. Now that I look at the picture, he might of just been a homeless looking to get a free donut. Or he could be the Ghost of Striking Future: that's how old we're all gonna be when this strike finally ends.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

It's Been Over a Week...

...since my last post. Not sure why. Part of was exhaustion -- between picketing everyday and working 5 nights last week, I was a wreck. Maybe it's the fact that I'm a full-time bartender and a very-part-time writer now. Not sure. So instead of waiting for inspiration to write something specific I've decided to just make myself write something everyday no matter how long, how short or how boring. My apologies up front.

Last night Sam & I went to the Santa Monica Civic Center where a rally for the WGA was being held. It was a check in for all members before everyone goes away for the holidays. We won't be picketing again until January 7th! Los Angeles shuts down for about 3 weeks around Christmas time. Agents, producers and fancy-pants writers who haven't taken a hit from being out of work for 6 weeks, all go to Hawaii. The rest of us stay here and try and figure out what to do with ourselves.

Usually Sam & I go home to Boston to visit my family and his father and wife. Unfortunately this year that trip was cost prohibitive. So for the first time in many years, I am not going home for Christmas. After I made this decision, I spent the first half hour crying and feeling bad for myself. Sam, sick of my whining, suggested I go alone. That's ridiculous, I couldn't leave him here. (Although I know a few days of uninterrupted video game play might be the best present I could give him.) He then thought it might be a nice idea to have my mother come out here. Knowing that my mother would want to spend Christmas with all the crazy grandkids, I thought the week after Christmas might work. That way she could spend my birthday and New Years here with us and all the dogs. I'm happy to report that this year's plan has all come together quite nicely. In fact, my mother will get to see me in all my bartending glory New Years Eve. Sam, Kerri & my mother will have front row seats ringing in the New Year at Vito. You never know with the old frisky crowd they have up there, my mother might be the only one to get lucky.

And just for shits and giggles, here's a picture of who I spent my Thanksgiving with. I know it's a bit belated but these are the people I will be spending Christmas with as well. Looking at this photo I think how stupid I was to cry over not going home for Christmas when I get to spend it with fabulous people like Rick and Penny Groel.

Friday, December 07, 2007

All About Eve

Awhile ago I posted about my trip to NYC to visit my step-daughter Ivy. I mentioned her and her friends being a Fierce Foursome. Well apparently that number is up for debate. There could possibly be a Fierce Five even a Sonic Six but for now I'll just talk about number Five, Eve.

Eve is a junior just like Ivy. They play lacrosse together. I didn't get the chance to meet Eve but I hear she's the kind of girl I'd like -- goofy, athletic and smart. Eve is embroiled in the classic high school relationship: a Junior who dates a Senior and is worried about next year when he goes off to college and she stays behind. Remember those days? Well, I actually don't because I didn't go on a date until second semester freshman year in college but I know the agita it caused most of my friends.

All I can say is, hang in there, Eve. Because the heartbreak when he goes sucks until you get to college your own self and realize there are many, many more cute sharks in the ocean to go chummin' for.

Here's a picture so you can get a look at Ivy and Eve in action, popping collars. To the left of Ivy is Nicole looking apologetic while her friends act like goons. Cute goons.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Rumors

It seems that the picket lines are filled with rumors these days. Rumors about when the strike will end, what happened at the latest negotiations, who's picketing, who isn't picketing, who is crossing the line, etc. I mean, it's understandable, we are walking around in circles for 3 hours and hearsay is far more interesting than one's resume, development deal, or pilot idea. Hot goss rocks!

So my friend Joe, who is still towing the line over at CBS/Radford, left me a message tonight telling me that he heard gossip on the line today and my name was mentioned. I tried to call him back but had to wait an excruciating hour to find out what was said about me. I won't make you wait that long. Here it is: Apparently there is a lack of The Game writers at the Colfax gate while all the Girlfriends writers show up each and every day. So Mark, the Strike Captain from Girlfriends was grilling Elaine, my Strike Captain, about where people were. Joe heard this, (snarky tone) "And what about Julie Bean? Where is she?" Joe, who only heard this because he was between Howard Stern shows on his portable Sirius, was about to say something when Elaine stuck up for me. She told Mark that I was picketing at Sony with my husband. Mark then asked about a few more people and then claimed that we were all liars.

My reaction to Joe's gossip was complex. At first I was sick to my stomach when I couldn't reach him and had no idea what the gossip was. Once I heard what it was I was pissed that Mark would be checking for me. Who the f*ck is he to wonder where I am? But then I was sad because the reaction Mark was having about people not showing up is the same one I had about people not showing up and I know it's a shitty was to feel. The only way to get over those bad feelings is to accept that you can only account for yourself and hope that everyone else has the integrity to be honest about where and when they are picketing. If not, you'll lose your hope in humanity and possibly your mind. Thinking about that is one rabbit hole you do not want to go down when you got nothing but three hour of walking ahead of you. Trust me, mark, I know. Depression is anger turned inward.

Maybe what Mark needs is evidence that I'm doing what I say I'm doing (although knowing that Elaine trusts me is probably enough evidence for him). Maybe he needs, heck, the WORLD needs it's first peek at people from Sony Gate 2, 6am to 9 am shift. Here you go, World!



From left to right that's Lew (hiding a blemish), Sam (being super cute and not even trying), Joe (who I don't know so well), Me (looking like a dude with no make-up), Rick (the man, the legend). Missing from the picture are mainstays Wally (who is taking the picture), Mike, another Mike, and Chris. They're a motley crew but I do love them.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Clean Up Day

Last Friday it rained like mad here in Los Angeles. It's the first significant rainfall we've had in about a year. But like that great Albert Hammond 70's song "It never rains in California, girl, don't they warn ya, it pours, man it pours." It's wicked when it does because it a f*ing deluge all day. I went for a walk on the beach while it was raining and the crap pouring out of the storm drains onto the beach was heartbreaking and stomach turning. When I got home I had an email from my friend Susan who was wondering if I wanted to grab a garbage bag and do some beach-y clean up. I was in.

After a rain they say it's not safe to go in the water for about three days. After seeing what I saw on Saturday I'd say three years. Kerri and I met Susan at the beach at about 11am. We were dressed in homemade haz-mat suits. It was not attractive. Once again, Kerri and I go out looking like leaping lesbians. See pictures.




Susan got to the beach first. She was envisioning large piles of trash on the sand and was a little disappointed when there weren't any. She learned from a lifeguard that the city basically rakes up all the trash with a sand Zamboni after a rain. But they don't get everything, especially right by the storm drains where most of the trash accumulates. Susan got in her car and drove down to the Pico storm drain. Still not seeing the mountains of trash she was hoping for, she went to One Life for some chocolate.

In the meantime, Kerri and I started walking toward Pico on the shoreline. It wasn't as bad as it had been the day of the rain but there was still plenty to pick up. We quickly filled a trash bag. Which was not easy because the wind was blowing like mad and we had rubber gloves on. Trying to untwist the garbage bag with garbage in your hands was time consuming and frustrating. Kerri was better at it than me.

We were about halfway to Pico when Susan rejoined the task force. The closer we got to Pico the nastier it got. Tons of crap. We finally reached the outskirts of the storm drain and it seemed like endless amounts of trash. We focused on picking up the bigger stuff because you could spend all day hovering over the same small seaweed/styrofoam peanut pile trying to clear it out. A quick rundown of what we found:
ABOUT A DOZEN TENNIS BALLS
CONDOMS
CONDOM WRAPPERS
CANDY WRAPPERS (One for something called "Peanutopolis." It's wrapper was suspiciously similar to a Snickers Bar. Upon further investigation I have found out that Peanutopolis and Nougatocity are the new campaign slogans for Snickers. I told Kerri I thought it might be that because a Snickers bar has so many peanuts living in it it could be it's own peanut city. But Snickers claims it's a "state-of-mind making you feel very powerful and strong, almost mayor-like." I like my definition better.)
BIRTH CONTROL PILL CONTAINERS
KIDS SAND CASTLE TOYS
FLIP FLOPS (We left those for the homeless, although we should have put them on Susan who was barefoot. I hope to God I'm not posting about her raging staph infection in a few weeks.)
TIN TAKE-OUT CONTAINERS
STYROFOAM TAKE-OUT CONTAINERS
STYROFOAM PEANUTS (The lifeguard told Susan styrofoam was a good thing to pick-up because it just floats along forever.)
ASSLOADS OF PLASTIC BOTTLES
TAMPON APPLICATORS (Please, ladies, if you need an applicator go cardboard. it's so gross.)
PLASTIC GROCERY BAGS

The list goes on and on. The bonus to all this? It was excellent exercise. Walking in the wind and crouching every 2 feet or so is a better work-out than you think. My friend Lesli thinks I should start and Garbage-a-cize class. If I could make that work anywhere it'd be here in LA.

Monday, December 03, 2007

RIP Mr. E. Knievel

My brother Chris called me today to tell me he was completely disgusted that it's been three days now and I have posted nothing about the passing of Evel Knievel. I think I'm just a little young to really remember Evel. I know I thought he was foxy even at my young age. He reminded me of my other crush, Steve Austin. I was looking on You Tube for a proper video tribute to post and I found this from Wide World of Sports and it reminded me of how much I used to love that show.


Rest In Peace, Motorcycle Jumping Man.

God, I loved the opening of WWOS. -- Jim McKay's voice, the nasty fall that skier takes in the beginning. I also used to love to eat a an egg, pepper and onion sandwich covered in ketchup while I watched WWOS.



Chris, thanks for keeping me honest.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Amendment to the Walk Of Shame

I was thinking about my advice for ladies who find themselves on the Walk of Shame and I forgot one thing -- Do all I said and then maybe cut one on the way out.

The Walk of Shame

My brother Chris replied to an earlier post where I talked about thefact that I'm starting to like getting up at 5am for my shift at Sony. I think Chris gets up at 4:30am everyday. He's at his desk by like 5:15am or something insane. He wrote this:

I find the best part of the early early morning commute to Boston (especially on Fridays) is when you are so early you are touching the end of night and can occasionally see the late late night partier sheepishly trying to make their way home before the sun rises. This morning just I saw a “business man” sitting on the bench in front of the statue of Sam Adams (the man not the beer) brief case at his side, neck tie undone, shirt unbuttoned, hair looked like it was combed with a shoe, one sock, and two more shoes. I wish I had a camera.

That is what we typically call the Walk of Shame. When I was training for a marathon, we used to run down the back alley to all the beachfront apartments in Marina del Rey. Around Saturday morning at about 7:30am, we'd inevitably see a girl in her Friday night's clothes, stilettos in hand, mascara smeared raccoon-like all around her eyes, tip-toeing down the back steps of some dudes place. We've all had those mornings. Some more than others. And you ladies know who you are. Next time throw those heels on, wipe your face clean, and stomp down those stairs with pride!

PICKET LINE ENVY

I was just finishing up an email to my sister in law Michelle explaining how one's picket line has become a real point of pride. Where you picket and who you're picketing with has become sort of a sport or at the very least a passive aggressive competition. Exemplifying how we here in Hollywood can turn anything into high school.

Anyway, I had sent off my email and then opened another from my friend Eric which contained this piece written by a guy named Jonathan Schmok. It's a little inside but pretty accurate Zagat-like reviews of each studio.

2007 STRIKERS GUIDE TO LOS ANGELES STUDIOS

CBS RADFORD
Once the "ultimate destination” for the “proletarian struggle,” now this “no frills” “bunker” is a “safe bet” for avoiding anyone you’ve “slept with.” “Ample construction dust” and “non-specific anxiety” make visiting the MacDonald’s bathroom a “high point” at this “bland”, “very casual” locale. “A gem.”

DISNEY STUDIOS
When it comes to “waving cardboard” at the shadow of a “frozen, Nazi-loving ghost,” the sine quo non is this “stand-by”, “folksy” institution. “A slice of Fascism” proclaiming “free air” and “live squirrels,” the Disney Imagineers seem to have “worked overtime” in providing “the feeling you are being recorded,” but more “for retribution than for pay.”

FOX STUDIOS
“Prius drivers and black women always honk” has never seemed truer than at this “one-of-a-kind” “propaganda stockyard.” You’ll “come for the principle” but you’ll “stay for the guilt” as host Rupert Murdoch serves up “no easy sneak out routes” and keeps “residual-philes” “hanging in till three.” Although CAA agents no longer “hand out pastry on trays,” those “in the Biz” may entertain the notion of “leaping into the fountain for a penny.”

NBC BURBANK
Getting a school bus to honk has never seemed so “chic” as at the “legendary” Burbank “chez Leno.” “Enthusiastic die-hards” stand in “long lines” to “stand in a long line” as stories of “touching John Edwards” and “creepy Ambassador Hotel premonitions” make striking at NBC Burbank the West Coast answer to “yelling at any New York office building.”

PARAMOUNT MELROSE GATE
Memories of Myrna Loy and Star Trek mingle with the aroma of “feet” and “that guy from that pilot” at this “clubby”, “old-school” “bastion of the corporate over-lord.” “Six miles of aerobic walking” and a view of “Mathew Modine in a sweater” seem a “nifty trade off“ for “your career.” Haute amenities include “shade” and “sitting on a planter.”

SONY PICTURES
Enjoy the visual ambiance of “a plating company” and “people with jobs” as you “make eye contact” with “sassy moguls.” When I say “Union,” you’ll say “Kill Me“ as you “trudge” around this “larger than it looks” “Deco whale.” “How’s that iPhone?” and “What have you heard?” pepper the banter on this “seemingly endless death march.” Locals recommend the Paul Haggis.


UNIVERSAL BARHAM GATE
Don’t let “searing asphalt” and “noxious fumes” deter you from this “centrally located” “barren intersection” which insiders have dubbed “Universal’s hind end.” Make sure you try the “sunscreen” as a defense against “le sol dangereuse.” “Bright” and “minimal”, Barham boasts of proximity to a “furnished apartment complex” as well as a “graveyard,” so “ingrate picketers” can see not only where they’re headed, but also where they’re ultimately headed.

WARNER BROS
“Kick back” as an “Asian girl” makes you “chant like a Marine” and crew guys give you that “hey fag” look as you sample the many entrances to this “lavish, animation-geared sweatshop.” “Giant, plentiful, life-like murals” of “other people’s hits” make you feel as if you are “walking in a circle in the sun.” “Free Pizza” and “limitless In and Out Burgers” have recently given way to “water” and “whatever’s in your pockets.”

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Clarification

In a previous post regarding my recent trip to NY, I referred to Ivy's friend Maggie as "the hottie of (Ivy's) group." It has been brought to my attention that this may have hurt Ivy's feelings. Even though I referred to Ivy being the brains and the glue of her circle of friends, no teenage girl wants to hear that her friend is hotter. I did not mean this as a comparison of Ivy's and Maggie's hotness. My step-daughter is plenty foxy. She's the type of girl you always envied in high school -- hair conditioner commercial perfect hair (no blow drying neccessary), blue eyes, picture perfect without a stitch of make-up, etc. She's the girl who is the best friend to all guys in high school. The girl that gives all her guy "friends" advice about dating. (When they're really probably in love with her.) This is the girl that really comes into her own in college and then gets a marriage proposal about every other week. That is how hot my Dogger is. So make no mistake people, the girl is hot. But don't tell her father I said so. Here's a picture to prove it.

That's her with the braids. Did I mention style? Cuz yeah, she's got that, too. I guess the apple didn't fall far away from my tree.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A New Strike Routine

As most of you know I have given up picketing at CBS/Radford. I did so for a number of reasons, one of them being I was sick of driving to the Valley everyday. It's about twenty miles each way. Although our car isn't a gas guzzler, filling up for gas every week and a half when there is no money coming in seemed senseless, especially when I had other options. (No, spending money on food and booze every night doesn't seem senseless to me. But thanks for asking.)

Sam had been riding his bike down to Raleigh Manhattan Beach Studios for the first few weeks of the strike. Once all productions shut down there he was reassigned to Sony. My strike Captain gave me her blessing to picket with my husband. Being that Sony is only about 7 miles from our house, I knew Sam would insist we bike there so over the Thanksgiving Picket Break I turned my road/racing bike into a commuter bike.

A few years back I was really into racing triathlons. When you get into a sport like that, you suddenly find yourself getting all the tricked out gear so you can be faster: aero-bars, clip-in pedals, granny gears (for hills), computer for measuring your RPMs. (For maximum efficiency, one is supposed to pedal 90 rotations per minute -- apparently that's what Lance Armstrong did to revolutionize bike racing.) Guess what? I ain't no Lance Armstrong and I was never going to be faster. My ass is just too big. I could fit Lance's head inside one of my butt cheeks.
So I got rid of the aero-bars and exchanged them for uprights and had my pedals changed back into a pedal with a clip-in option (for when I need the extra pull going up hill. Sometimes pushing down isn't enough). When I picked the bike up from the lovely people at Bike Attack, I fell in love. My bike was perfect! I could pedal home without those stupid shoes and I wasn't hunched over the bike like one of those cartoon characters from the Triplets of Belleville.
So yesterday, Sam and I took our inaugural ride to our shift at Sony. The only problem was our shift started at 6am. SIX IN THE MORNING!!! This meant getting up at 5am so we could leave by 5:30am. I was successful at getting up but I'm not sure I actually woke up until I was about halfway there. It was at that point that I started to sweat, then I started to enjoy the ride and then I stopped and picked up a Starbucks and the whole day turn a turn for the better.

It's fun riding around the dark and cold city streets with my husband. We are sweaty and wide awake by the time we put our bikes away and pick up our signs. Before you know it, our three hours are over and we're headed home.

I never thought I'd say this but I like getting up that early. Now the only problem is when I get home the minute I step in the door I fall asleep for an hour. Maybe a little more. I'm working on that.

Oh and if you haven't seen the Triplets of Belleville, you have to rent it. It's whole family friendly and just about the sweetest movie in the world. Here's a picture of two of the characters who are so cute, you'll run out and rent it tonight.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Back On The Line

Today was my first day back on the line in a bit. 5:15 am certainly came early this morning, but as always once you get there, it's never as bad as you imagined it would be. Today Danny Zucker was on our line. He's kind of a celebrity comedy writer. Everyone knows him and loves him. Turns out he made this video about the strike with another writer I sort of know, Zach Rosenblatt. Zach is married to this fantastic woman, Kourtney Kang who is also a comedy writer. And being that she a woman AND a comedy writer AND I like her -- you know she's gotta be great. So without further ado, here's Zach and Danny's video.

Friday, November 23, 2007

My Trip To NYC

As promised, here is the fantastic view from Paul's apartment.

His apartment is on Howard Street and this is his view looking north up Crosby. Pretty fantastic, huh? I just emailed Maura for some pictures of her view, too. In the meantime, I'll post some pictures of my time spent with my step-daughter ("Dogger" for short), Ivy.

That's Ivy on the right. The other chick is Maggie, Ivy's best friend. We were at Balthazar celebrating Paul's (Uncle Balls') birthday on Saturday afternoon. Friday night was all about Ivy. It was my belated sweet sixteen present to her. We went out to dinner in the city and then had a sleepover at Uncle Balls' house. But before all that I got to meet her crew.

Like most 16 year olds, Ivy travels in a pack. Maggie and Ivy make up one half of that pack. Here's the other half. That's Peter on the left and Jared on the right. They're not as retarded as they look. I don't think. I was actually pretty impressed with all of Ivy's friends. They try and make conversation with adults and look them in the eye when they do. That right there is half the battle with any teenager, right? These kids were smart, funny and gracious. Maggie is the hottie of the group even though she's coming in at just about 5 feet tall. Ivy is the brains and the glue. Without her, there might not be a fierce foursome. She keeps them focused. Jared is the personality and Peter is the male hottie. Although as I told the girls, focus will switch from Peter to Jared very soon, that kid's got swagger. And girls love swagger.

Here's a picture of the king of swagger.
Yep, that's my step-son, Nate. This dude is funny, good-looking, (getting) tall, and can dance his ass off. He's nice to girls and boys alike. He's the guy everyone wants to be best friends with. Thoughts of him at 18 terrify me.

All in all the trip was a success, I spent some quality time spent with the kids, with Paul, with Maura... the one thing I didn't get to do was walk the picket line. Thursday was my only opportunity and I slept through it. Sometimes that city takes hold of you, plies you full of drink and then spits you out nude on the wrong side of 3am. Good times, indeed.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Another Link For Strike News

Here's another link for strike stuff that's pretty interesting; United Hollywood. I put it up a while ago when the strike was just a rumor. It was my agent who reminded me to look at this blog. She prefers this one to Nikki Finke because she says Ms. Finke hates agents. Welcome to the "Hated On" club, Kath. Second only to agents are writers. I'll put it under my permalinks to the right so you'll always have it.

Here's some Daily Show writers doing their thing from the picket lines. I think those dudes can't help themselves. They have to work everyday no matter what. Wish I was like that.

Long Distance Blogging

I'm in New York and have been since Wednesday. It's so great to be in the city. I came here because I promised my step-daughter that I'd have "girl's weekend" to celebrate her 16th birthday (which was in September).

Wednesday I got in a little late and spent the night with Maura who is renovating her awesome brownstone in the West Village. This apartment has the best roof deck in the world. It's not very big and if you lean over the edge a little you can see the Empire State Building but it is cozy and comfy and full of green plants. They are all dying at the moment but you get the feeling. Being in that apartment for five minutes makes me want to live in NYC again. Of course, I don't think I can afford the million dollar brownstone on one of the greatest block in the city. I think Gwenyth Paltrow used to live on the block. Sarah Jessica Parker, too. You get the idea. It's amazing. Then I got to Paul's place. A whole different amazing.

Paul lives in Soho at Crosby and Howard. I wasn't sure where that was so I found Crosby between Broadway and Lafayette and walked south. To my surprise Crosby ended at Howard. I found Paul's apartment directly in front of me. A quintessential Soho building; diamond pattern metal stairs that lead to the front door of building and all the precious stores that have one item like a twisted piece of cardboard shaped like a turd and dipped in and costs $5 thousand dollars. I get buzzed into Paul's apartment, head up to the second floor and walk into a palatial two bedroom loft with the most gorgeous floor to ceiling windows that have an unobstructed view that looks north up Crosby Street. it's the kind of apartment you only see in movies. This is living, people.

Paul promises to send me pictures of the view from his apartment. I won't hold my breath. And I know Maura has some lovely ones of her deck that I'll try to get my hands on so you can see what real New York living is all about. And when I say real I mean rich.

More to come... I need to make some garlic bread for the kids while the oven is hot. Here's a picture of my hungry birds.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Best Strike Blog Out There

There's a lot of reporting going on out there about the strike. When I talk to people on the picket lines about fair reporting one name keeps coming up: Nikki Finke. Her Deadline Hollywood Daily blog is devoted to what is going on between writers and producers. Right now, it's the best place to get information. Also, it's amazing how many times a day she updates her site. Check her out. I'll keep her link on my "Places To Procrastinate" section to your right.

In other news, I'm going to NYC tomorrow. I'll be picketing there on Thursday and Friday. I'm kind of looking forward to it. I'll see how easy we have it picketing in the warm sun all day. I'm back on Monday and then I believe I work Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at Vito next week. My hands are going to be a scaly mess.

A Little Inspiration

During the last half hour of four hours on the picket line, you really start to lose it. No one is funny to you anymore and nothing anyone has to say seems interesting. You just want to go home and nap. But from now on, I'll think about this video when negative thoughts like, "Why the f*ck are we doing this?" start to creep into my head.
I picketed today at Sony with Sam. We did the 6am to 10am shift. By the time I actually woke up, it was about 8:30am. I'll post more about today's line later, after a nap.

Monday, November 12, 2007

DAY 6 (or 8 if you're counting weekends)

It was an all time low turnout for The Game writers today. There was a new schedule set by the WGA for all the studios. Two shifts: 6am - 10am then 10am - 2pm. At CBS Radford, the studio where I have been picketing, they broke the day down into three 3 hour shifts: 6am - 9am, 9am - 12pm, 12pm - 3pm. I thought I might be able to make the early shift but then I realized I'd be in the height of traffic on the way home from the Valley. And traffic in that direction if horrible in the morning. I see it when I'm going to work and often think, I'd kill myself if I was stuck in that every day. So I decided I'd do my own thing; 10am - 1pm. Sam, however, got up at 4:45am and rode his bike to his newly assigned studio, Sony. Turns out there were a lot of people we knew at Sony working the early shift. I was envious when I heard because no one from my show, except Sara, showed up at my gate. I guess they figure they've done enough picketing or someone else will do the picketing for them. Erica texted me and told me that her dog walker called in sick so she'd have to do a "double" tomorrow. Yeah, right. Jeni told me she "ditched" at Paramount. That means she went to Paramount, signed in, and then left. Little does she know the WGA is onto her kind, we now have to sign in and sign out with a time attached. Kenya claims he went to another studio although he lives about two minutes away from CBS Radford so I highly doubt he went anywhere but the movies. Joe (who doesn't work with me but is an honorary member of my show's picketing staff) showed up at 1pm with a massive hangover. I was done with my shift and, after complaining to Sam that Joe didn't show up, I took Joe away from the picket line and fed him a beer and some sushi. He was looking like he might throw up, I knew a beer would help and Katsu-Ya (some of the best sushi in LA) is spitting distance from my line. I know stealing picketers doesn't help the eroding lines but Joe was in such a state he would have been worthless anyway. There was no way he could have gotten even a single car to honk this afternoon.

Tomorrow I'm going to Sony for the early shift with Sam. I definitely looking for some inspiration since I'm so disgusted with my co-workers. After that I'm headed to NYC. I will fulfill my picket obligations while in New York. Apparently the WGA East is so small they picket en masse. Thursday they are picketing at the Disney Store on 5th Avenue. It seems kind of weird to me to picket at a store but I'd show up at the Pottery Barn and picket pillow shams if they asked me to -- I'm determined to give the WGA the 20 hours a week they are asking of every member.

As you all know I like to always have a picture to go along with my post. I don't have any pictures from today but I do have this video. It's how I feel on the picket line sometimes. And it's only week two.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A Few More Pictures From Day 5

Jeni, one of my co-workers, sent me a couple of pictures of our writing staff at yesterday's big rally for the WGA strike. From left to right is: Hale, Kenya, Jeni, me, Sara.

And who is this foxy middle-aged couple?

Here's another picture of Jeni and Hale but what I'd like you to really notice is the small man over Jeni's shoulder. Yes, that's Booger from Revenge of the Nerds.

My favorite Booger roles were when he played second banana to John Cusack in all those Savage Steve Holland movies from the 80's.
These movies still kind of hold up. Savage Steve Holland might have been ahead of his time with the animation and live action integration part of these movies. Find some time some rainy afternoon to treat yourself to a Cusack/Holland/Booger Fest sometime soon.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Day 5 -- The Big Rally

Today was the big rally for the WGA strike. It was held outside of Fox Studios, actually more accurately, outside of Fox Plaza which was the building called Nakatomi Plaza in the first Die Hard movie. 4,000 writers showed up. Most of them wearing the red strike t-shirts. With all these writers it seemed more like the parting of the red bad body sea. Wow, we are an ugly union. We should have hired some stand-ins to protest for us.

Sam and I took the bus up to Fox. It was the first bus ride I have ever taken in the 13 years I have lived in L.A. I liked it fine although waiting for the bus brought up some stress reminiscent of waiting for the bus for high school after I took the stand not to ride with my father. (Who dropped me off in the same spot as the bus anyway and the bus driver didn't light up a heater at 7:15 in the morning.)

Anyway the rally was sort of like a really fun high school reunion. Walking down the closed streets of Century City I saw people I haven't seen in years. Larry Jacobson was a writer I knew at Letterman. He was the first guy to "go west" to succeed. He worked on Married With Children for a few years, then had a development deal for a few more and has spent the last 11 years working on Leno. He went "west" to do the same thing he did 13 years ago. It was good to see him nonetheless.

Kelsey Grammar spent a few minutes walking beside the entire writing staff of The Game and Girlfriends -- both shows on which he is an Executive Producer -- he had no idea that millions of his dollars were striking beside him. When I told my boss Mara that I saw him she said that if I had introduced myself as a writer from The Game he would have said, "What's that?" His two "urban comedies" on the CW are basically money printing machines for him. He don't need to know the serial number of those machines.

Patrick Verrone, president of the WGA West looked alarming like Hitler minus the mustache. He told us we were winning this fight. I have to say it felt a little like Bush on the Aircraft Carrier pronouncing "Mission Accomplished!"

I ran into my old bosses from Veritas: The Quest, my first job writing when I had a partner. (Holla, Steph!) Patrick Masset and Jon Zinman are now on Friday Night Lights (and you all know how I feel about that show) which means I got to gush all over the writers from that staff. They had no women representing them besides Jon's hot wife Amy who only seemed to be tolerating these boys. I think they might need the lady touch on staff. Look no further, boys. Although I am sure that show will be a real casualty of this strike. It's doing so poorly in the rating I doubt it'll come back even if we do. Shouldn't keep you from watching it, though. I'm just saying.

Monday it's back to the picket lines. Everyone is ready to move around to different studios and walk around in circles for 4 hours with different people. I will be sure to do the same but I'm not going anywhere without Joe.

This is a picture I took of myself and Hale, one of my co-workers. He's dressed in all black cashmere. It was 80 degrees today. That's Sam over the man with the green sweat shirt's right shoulder. He has on a beige cap and is wearing a full beard. And that's a zit on my chin.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Day 4

Day 4 was more uneventful than day 3. Joe didn't show up until later in the day and Erica decided that after her doctor's appointment, she'd strike at NBC Universal where it was rumored that Ellen Degeneres was going to cross the picket line to film two of her shows. Well, Ellen showed up but I'm not sure Erica did.

Anyway turns out that I spent some nice time chanting like a fool with my boss Mara. (This is her. Yes, my boss is hot.) The mornings at the Colfax Gate are nice and rowdy. The woman who run the room at Girlfriends, Mara's other show, take charge of the megaphones and chant and sing for 4 hours straight. When they leave at 1pm it's time for the afternoon shift to take over. Mara and I saw that no one else was going to do it so we did. It's all fun until the old angry men who are picketing with you won't respond to your chants -- ME: "When I say Union, you say Power! Union! Them: (silence) Me: Union! Them: (silence). -- but these guys demand to hear certain ones. A favorite of one 75 yr old gentleman who was working the line (and the 50 something lovely next to him) was: "We are the writers, we tell the story, we"ll tell the whole damn world this is Union territory!" I think he liked the curse word. It all seemed like a great thing.

Then you stop for a minute and you realize that someone cooler than you or someone who just knows you through your husband has entered the line and you kinda just sound like a dick.

Since I have no pictures of me chanting, here's a picture of Lew and Joe chanting. p.s. I made Joe's sign. Yesterday he added the red line under "Honk" after holding the sign for about an hour. I'm so happy the sign made it through the night. Joe is the official favorite striker of The Game writers. Today when he wasn't there, they stood on the corner in honor of him. In fact, this one woman I work with, Sara, said: "Your friend Joe is onto something with this honking thing." That's right, Professor Honkenstein, you sure are.

From The Front Lines

Okay, so everything Jimmy said about a strike is true. No one wins. This is not fun. not fun at all. I didn't expect it to be all shits and giggles, I didn't know what to expect. But walking in a very small circle (think about the length of your driveway) for four straight hours trying to make small talk with other people walking in small circles for four straight hours is a f*cking drag!

The first day everyone was more curious than anything. That feeling lasted about 15 minutes. Then the complaining set in. "My legs hurt." "Do we really have to do this tomorrow too?" "This sign is heavy." "The wood handle hurts my hands." The list goes on and on. I served margaritas on the first day but we quickly realized that that buzz that was fantastic at 2:30pm? Not so great at 5:00pm. Nothing like picketing straight through the buzz into the hangover.

Day two I decided to throw myself into it. Joe didn't. (As you can see from his picture.) I made him his own "HONK FOR A WRITER" sign and let him stand on the corner by himself asking cars to make some noise. Amazingly enough, Joe's little tactic of noise paid off. CSI:NY which shoots inside the studio we were picketing was shut down due to "traffic noise." Very satisfying.

Day three I went out and made coolers for each gate at the studio and dropped them off before my shift. I was amazed to see how sedate the other picketers were. They were like fat little red t-shirted lemmings quietly following one another in circles. Our gate, Colfax Gate, is the loudest and the proudest. Which is good because we're the gate that the actors and the teamsters have to cross all day long. By the end of the day yesterday, I was assigned the bullhorn to lead the chants. Instead of the usual "Hey hey, ho ho, we won't write your TV show." I decided to get creative. "Crossing or line is the pits, Jimmy Smits" was my favorite. Although Joe's "We won't write a script for you, David Caruso" was a close second.

So I go back today and try and find ways to entertain myself for another long stretch. We may all lose our minds if this goes on as long as predicted.

One more thing: striking in the morning and bartending at night equals 12 hours on your feet. HOLY SHIT! I can't believe some people actually stand for that long for a living. It really knocks it out of you. That's why the blog hasn't been updated in so long. I had no idea what was coming my way. I'll be pissed if I get varicose veins after all this.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

The Shock Settles In

At about 2pm on Friday, the Writer's Guild of America called for a strike against the American Motion Picture and Television Producers. It begins on Monday at 12:01am. This means no writer shows up to work on Monday or any day after that until a deal between the two is agreed upon.

I've been a bit cavalier in talking about the strike on my blog. I think I've been trying to avoid really considering what being out of work for an indeterminate amount of time means. I guess the truth is, I don't know how I feel about it or what to expect. Part of not knowing is what is exciting to me. It might push me to do something different, find something new, shake me out of this sitcom stupor I've been in for a couple of years.

My brother Jimmy sent me a very astute email regarding strike situations. Apparently negotiating contracts between laborers and UPenn is what Jimmy does for a living. Now I knew he worked at Penn and I knew he was head of all Operations there but I was never quite sure what that meant. And being totally self-involved, never bothered to ask. Turns out my brother is kind of a big wig over there. Oh, and he's wicked smaht. Here's his email:

Julie,

I just saw the blog, boy I hope you're wrong. Nobody really wins in a strike. Hopefully if it happens, it will be like most and be settled within 7-10 days. It all depends on how smart the negotiators are; they have to separate themselves from the celebrity of carrying the flag for the cause and realize that in order to settle any labor issue both sides have to have some give to them Probably the biggest part of my job is dealing with labor contract interpretation and negotiations. The negotiations are always tough, mostly because people do not understand how to place themselves in the other side's shoes. I've learned that even a win is not a win unless both parties can walk away with some level of self respect. The problem on the Left Coast is that everyone is an actor in some regard, so this gives them a stage to parade on.

It sounds like your battle is about the changing paradigm of entertainment payment and compensation (pretty Ivy League - huh?). I was going to delete this but after a few VO's I decided to leave it in.

Do you think your side has identified clear money trail that can be better distributed? Has they quantified the value? If so, what are the growth estimates?

What term is the Guild looking for?

Sorry for the quiz, but this is what I do for a living - believe it or not, its like a fight without the sore hands and bruised nose.

Don't worry, how many reruns of "Dancing with the Stars" can America stand?

Jim.

I've read Jimmy's email a few times to see if I can answer these questions, because f*ck, if I have to walk the picket line everyday this week, I should be able to.

1) Do you think your side has identified clear money trail that can be better distributed? Has they quantified the value? If so, what are the growth estimates?
The quantified money trail and it's growth estimates is the deepest issue up for negotiation. The "new money" trail begins with Internet downloads (or "new media" as they call it). The producers are claiming that they have no way of quantifying how many downloads or viewings a product might have on the Internet. They view the Internet as a strictly promotional tool. And they believe they have the right to put anything we write for them on the Internet for free and then charge you for it or make you watch commercials at every break. Commercials you can't fast forward over. So they are making money from either the advertisers or a straight charge (like iTunes) but are telling us that they can't quantify downloads. Hmm... well you seem to be able to quantify it when you're telling Target how much they have to pay you for advertising on their site. And I can tell how many people look at my blog everyday. Seems like they might have an idea how to quantify their new media. The Writer's Guild knows that the second we fold on this bullet point, the producers will go, "Oops, we just figured it out! Sorry, suckers!" I believe the Guild is right.

2) What term is the Guild looking for?
The Guild would like to increase the percentage of money made off DVD's and New Media. A few years back the Guild folded to a shitty deal regarding DVD's. Off every DVD sold the writers make like .3% (point three!). It costs about 50 cents to manufacture a DVD. Everything above and beyond that is profit. The Guild estimates that by not making the deal they wanted last time around writers lost about 1.5 billion dollars. BILLION! They'd like to try and amend that deal somewhat and get a fair percentage of the profits being made off Internet downloads and viewing. Remember, it costs nothing, not even 50 cents, to put something on the Internet once it's produced.

People watch "TV" in a totally different way now. I download entire seasons of shows I missed and watch them on my computer. I slip on my headphones and snuggle in front of the fire with my computer and a martini. It really puts the "Friday" in Friday Night Lights (Which is the best show on television bar none. Download the first season or get the DVD's. You will not be disappointed. See?! I can't help myself. I promoting against the cause!! But is sooooo good.)

That's all for now. Sorry for all the heavy stuff, but I wanted to answer Jimmy's questions the best I could. I'm sure I'm missing some really important facts but these are the ones I know and these are the ones that'll get me to the picket line every day this week. Well, that and it's mandatory. Everyone has to do four hours a day, five days a week. Should be very interesting.


Friday, November 02, 2007

The Strike Meeting

I went to the strike meeting last night at the L.A. Convention Center. I parked at the Holiday Inn and met Sam at the bar so we could walk over together. I had a margarita and some nachos. For those of you who, like me, love a margarita but suffer from terrible heartburn, I found a solution: no sweet and sour mix! What? Yep, yep. No mix, here's what you do instead. Ask for a margarita made with Patron and Cointreau (Grand Marnier will do if no big C) and then tell them that instead of mix you'd like it made with orange juice and cranberry juice. The sweet and tart of the combination makes for a really lovely margarita. I hear you skeptics already, "I don't like orange juice, blah, blah, blah..." I'm telling you, you don't even know your sipping on the O.J.


So the meeting. It was by turns inspiring (in the turnout - an estimated 3,000 members), horrifying (we are going to strike - it will be announced today for Monday most likely -- in true White House form, you bury news on Friday not announce it) and infuriating. Infuriating because you look around and you understand why everyone in Hollywood hates us. A lot of posturing, a lot of schmoozing, and a little more posturing. There was this one guy who just kept sort of pacing in the middle aisle looking around making sure everyone was looking at him. I would have thought he was security if it wasn't for his douche-required uniform: corduroy blazer, crumpled button down shirt, over priced khakis and the sneaker/shoe hybrids on his feet. Yes, D-bag, everyone saw you. NOW SIT DOWN.

Here's a picture that'll give you an idea of what 90% of the room looked like:
Seriously, this is who I have to picket with??!! I've told a few people who'll be picketing at CBS Radford that I'm going pull my car up close to the picket line and have a fully stocked bar running out the back. Coffee cups and lids provided to hide the roadies.

See? Every cloud does have a silver lining.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Strike News

Well, it looks like we writers are going to strike. Tonight there is a big meeting downtown at the Convention Center for all members of the Writer's Guild. Initially I wasn't going to go as we are shooting a show tonight but then I really thought about it and realized, how could I not go? This is the only time in my life I'll ever be part of a union. And, hopefully, the only time in my life I'll go on strike. I curious to see the machinations of a union when it's about to take an action. I mean, isn't this kind of mobilization of members for a purpose the exact reason a union is formed?

We've been told to pack up our offices tonight in case a strike is called at the end of the day. I look around my office and I see nothing of real importance except of few photographs from my wedding and of course, pictures of the dogs. The rest I am completely happy to walk away from.

Sam & I will probably lose our house if this strike goes too long. I can't imagine the ripple effect it will have on people who are making less than us: the PA's, the Writer's Assistants, shit, even the people who clean the offices! Ugh.

If you're interested here are a few links to websites that have been talking about what's going on in a fair or, at least, understandable way.

The Artful Writer
United Hollywood
The Huffington Post

On the bright side, I will be able to pick up a few more shifts at Vito! It won't pay the mortgage but I'll certainly have more time to blog and pour.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Biggest Turnout Ever!

I'm sorry it's taken me so long to update the blog. I won't bore you with excuses.

This past Saturday was SPECTACULAR at Vito. Get a load of who showed up:

Sam (of course)
Kerri (naturally)
Susan (not as much a regular as she used to be)
Jen & Leamy (fantastic)
Russ & Ann (virgin tour)
Liam (also his first Vito flight)
Holly (semi regular looking hottie tottie in a black sequined top)
Alison (who even though she works in the Liver ICU always fights the good fight)
Kim (Holly's friend who drank Grey Goose Orange on the rocks with a lime -- yum)
Kathy (even though our nutritionist warns her against coming)
Kerry (her labs love when she comes -- she always brings home leftovers for them)
Amy (Kerry's sister on her inaugural visit, too)


To all my first timers, thank you. I do hope you'll come back again. It was absolutely a fantastic night. The bar turned into Red Sox Nation West while the game was on. I think Kerri's obnoxiously loud whistling broke Florence Henderson's wine glass. If not, Kerri surely busted a few hearing aids. (Yes, Mrs. Brady is a regular. She looks good. Just the right amount of plastic surgery.)

Liam and Russ threw down. Four, that's right FOUR martinis each. If they had chosen beer backs instead of water, Rick Groel's record would be in serious jeopardy. Your PR is safe for now, Rick.

I need to get my camera fixed and bring it into the bar so when we do have a showing like we had last Saturday, I can post the motley crew here. Next time. And there will be a next time. Right, people?

As you all know I like to make the blog as interactive as possible. So here's my latest favorite You Tube clip:

Friday, October 26, 2007

Go Sox, part 2.

Man, oh man I love a victory! But even more than that, I love people who want to contribute to the blog. Critics, writers, and photographers? You're all welcome here.

Today's contributor is Pam, my sister-in-law Michelle's friend, who reminded me where I had first fell in love with the Brandy Alexander. Pam is also a full-time mother and writer. She can now add photographer to her CV. (See that? CV instead of resume. All class, people.)

In honor of the impending triumph of the red sox, here's a picture I took yesterday leaving work. I was on Longwood Ave by Children's hospital and heard the plane above. I think by the time I was there the "Sox" and the "Surrender Rockies" signs had evaporated

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Happy Birthday, Jimmy!

Today is my brother Jimmy's birthday. At least I think it is. I'm not very good with dates although I can usually guess your birthday within a three day window. So Jimmy's birthday is either the 24th, the 25th, or the 26th. Writing this now I'm beginning to feel like it's the 26th because my brother Larry's birthday is also in the twenties but in January. The 23rd, 24th or 25th. I did get the day right once when I called my brother Chris to wish him a happy birthday. You know, sang the song and everything. He let me run through the entire serenade, thanked me and then told me his birthday was actually in six months. Oh well, the sentiment is the same.

Happy Birthday, Jimmy! This is what I'd give you if I saw you today, or tomorrow, or the next day:

GO SOX!!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Go Sox!

In honor of tonight's game, I'm posting a little ditty that I'm sure all East Coasters are sick of seeing but I can't get enough of.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Brandy Alexander Part 2

I was reminded by Michelle's friend Pam of where I first heard of a Brandy Alexander -- The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

I tried to find a clip of the scene on You Tube but 20th Century Fox has pulled all clips from the site. (Something I think all companies will start doing thus making us pay for clips in the future which is another reason why writers should strike. But I digress.)

So here's a picture of the greatest cast of the greatest show EVER followed by a transcript of the scene. Lou: Look, miss, I was just about to have a drink and I wouldn't mind some company. Want one?
Mary: No, thank you.
Lou: I said I wouldn't mind some company!
Mary: Well, all right. I'll have a Brandy Alexander.
Lou (dumbfounded): How 'bout some coffee?


And just for fun, the greatest scene ever written:

Mary: Has the job been filled?
Lou: Yeah.
Mary: Oh.
Lou: But there is another job.
Mary: Oh?
Lou: I figured I'd hire a man for it.
Mary: Oh.
Lou: We can talk about it.
Mary: Well good.
Lou: How old are you?
Mary: Thirty.
Lou: No hedging! No 'how old do I look'?
Mary (smiles and shrugs her shoulders): Why hedge?
Lou: Yeah.
Mary: How old do I look?
Lou (pauses): Thirty. (opens booze bottle in his desk drawer) What religion are you?
Mary: Uh, Mr. Grant, I don't quite know how to say this, but, uh, you're not allowed to ask that when someone's applying for a job. It's against the law.
Lou: Wanna call a cop?
Mary (sweetly): No.
Lou: Good! Would you think I was violating your civil rights if I asked if you're married?
Mary: Presbyterian. (Lou stares at her.) Uh, well I, I, I decided I would answer your religion question.
Lou: Divorced?
Mary: No.
Lou: Never married!
Mary: No.
Lou: Why?
Mary: Why?
Lou: Do you type?
Mary: Mr. Grant, there's no simple answer to that question!
Lou: Yes there is! How 'bout 'no I can't type' or 'yes I can'?
Mary: There's no simple answer to why a person isn't married.
Lou: How many reasons can there be?
Mary (nervously): 65.
Lou (exasperated): Words per minute. My typing question!!
Mary: Yes.
Lou (gets up off his chair): Look miss! Would you try answering the questions as I ask them?
Mary (stands up): Yes, Mr. Grant, I will, but it does seem that you've been asking a lot of very personal questions that don't have a thing to do with my qualifications for this job.

If I could write like that I wouldn't need 10 milligrams of Adderall every time I sit down to write a script. And I wouldn't waste the first half hour of my Adderall induced concentration posting to my blog. Oh well.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Return of Maniac Mommy

I'm again going to take a backseat to my sister in law, Michelle. No, she isn't really a maniac mother but I think sometimes she feels she is. In reality, she's an excellent mother. And when I first met her, she really didn't seem the type who'd have kids. But man, she jumped into the deep end and hasn't looked back since. This is one of the f*ing funniest things I've ever read. And, yes, those are diapers on the kids' heads. Take it away, Michelle:

So, the other night I was putting out toothbrushes for the kids and listening to them giggle in the next room. Then I heard one of them say to the other one, "OK, now you smell my butt." I rounded the corner to find pretty much what you'd expect: both of them naked and bent over, one presenting and the other inhaling.

This is how I found myself standing in my own home, shouting "No Butt Sniffing" with great vehemence. My two children cocked their heads at me, bemused. Smiles twitched at the corners of their mouths. Mommy is so funny when the veins stick out in her neck. "No butt sniffing." I said it again, like it might be less absurd, more serious the second time. "It's a rule."

That really is the bottom of the barrel, in parenting terms. Announcing that something's a rule. That's what I do all day, I make up rules. Don't pee on your sister. No fingers in the butt. Don't break that, don't throw that, don't touch that, don't lick that. (An admonition that is always, invariably followed by: STOP licking
that.) Sometimes I hear a commotion in the next room and I start shouting KNOCK IT OFF and waving my arms in the air, even though I can't see what's going on. I run toward them yelling, no, no, no, and
secretly I'm steeling myself. How grossed out am I prepared to be
right now? How much wine is left in the fridge? And then when I find
them spitting down the necks of the dolls they've behedded, and I
yank the toys away, the kids are truly mystified. Sammie says, "Oh,
all right," which she says just as Elmer Fudd would.
Yep, that's my job around here, bringing the party down.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day

Apparently today was Blog Action Day. Everyone who publishes a blog was encouraged to write about something that relates to the environment. Since I'm late to today's game, and I'm sure there have been a zillion posts that are more clever and more informed than mine could ever be, I'm going to write about the Brandy Alexander.

I was asked to make this a few weeks back at Vito on a Saturday night. I wasn't sure how to make it but George, one of the waiters (the gruffest of the bunch), used to be a bartender so he walked me through it. There was much discussion about whether or not to use the light or the dark Creme de Cacao. As I look it up on the web now, it seems to go either way. That night I made it with dark Creme de Cacao. Also, I didn't shake and strain it, but put a few ice cubes in alcohol and milk and blended it! All in all, it tasted kind of like a coffee shake.

We don't make many blended drinks at Vito. Mostly martinis and wine. I'm pretty sure my Brandy Alexander customer's first few sips were nothing but dust and old margarita mix. Maybe that's why she ordered three.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A Philly Wedding

I mentioned a few weeks back that I was too busy to post due to work, weddings, etc. Well, at long last, here are some pictures from my niece Krista's, wedding. All pictures are courtesy of my sister in law and renowned family photographer, Colleen.

Krista is my oldest brother Jim's oldest daughter. Here they both are trying not to cry as they walk down the aisle.
Here they are in a more relaxed moment before the reception.
Before the wedding I went to my mother's room to borrow some hairspray. She was tucked into her full-body girdle/body armor and was rolling around like a full tick trying to get her even more control top pantyhose on.

Once she got dressed, we slid her into the limo where she sat waiting to be pushed out. Here we are in the back seat of the limo.
My mother's date for the weekend was my cousin Paul. He was a good sport all weekend long doing whatever my mother wanted. However, in this picture he looks like he's being hijacked by my mobster brothers.
Colleen insists that the next picture is of one of the Baldwins, Chris Noth and George Clooney. I see the three dorks who tortured me most in my youth.
In all my pictures I try to keep my chin down, my cheeks in and my head tilted to minimize any double chin-ature. Here are Colleen and my mother not succeeding at the pose.
The Wedding Party.
The Bride and Groom (after a few cocktails, obviously).
The Bridesmaids rolled up to the church in a stretch Hummer. Here's me & Sam pretending like it's ours.
By the end of the night, I finally got to dance with the bride. I taught her the "Crank That" dance by Souljah Boy. It could catch on to be the new chicken dance.
For those of you who don't know the "Crank That" dance. It's time to learn.