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.