Procrastination (But I Digress)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

New Speech

The purpose of this speech is to give an after dinner talk. I'm to use humor, drama and insight all in the same speech. The title of my speech is "This is a Factory" "This is a factory. The people who come to work here are coming to WORK at a factory." This was the introduction that I was given when I got my dream job at the ripe old age of 19. It didn't sound promising..a factory? I grew up in Detroit. I come all the way to California--to work in a factory? The factory was the old MGM Studio. When you enter the Studio, you go through a guard gate. They have to have your name on a list or you have to have a pass. The first time is very cool--my name was on the list. After a while, though, not so much--there was always a line at the gate making me late for work. The old MGM lot is huge and you have to be a pretty big muckity muck to park next to your office. Peons like me parked in the "structure". Most of the Production calls were at 6 a.m., which means that office workers, like me, started work after all the parking spaces were taken. Sometimes the parking structure was full and we would be diverted to park at the "back lot". Doesn't that sound cool--the back lot of the MGM studios. This is where they filmed many famous movies like "Singing in the Rain". I saw a street that looked like it could have been from Singing in the Rain and I thought, oh wow, this is soo cool. I was totally ready to be filled with magic. Except that I was blocks from my office building and it was really muddy and I was late. The back lot was a bunch of debrie and hollow shell fronts of non-descript buildings--way to take the magic out. My office--my first office was in the "gym". It was the gym that they shot "The Champ" --that movie with Jon Voight. It didn't look like a gym though. It looked like four walls filled with little offices. I was directed to a white pre-fab desk with a bright orange swival chair in a row of white pre-fab desks. I had a typewritter and a phone with 20 lines. I faced a wall. My first job was to type numbers on a page. This was before computers, but after xerox machines. Xerox machines were new enough that it was a totally big deal that we had one in the building and I was supposed to be grateful. I was too young to remember how awful carbon paper was as I was repeatedly told those first few years. The numbers I was typing were the budgets for the television shows that we produced. Later I realized that I was typing everyone's salarys, so I knew what all the famous actors and actresses made. [Women were extremely poorly paid in those days was my take when I realized what I was typing.] On my first day of work, I went to lunch at the commissary. I had seen movies that showcased the commissary at the studio and I was ready to be so jazzed. There were going to be stars, just having lunch like regular people. I was once again admonished that this is a factory. If I see any stars, I was to remember that they are coming to work at the factory, just like me and they don't want to deal with "fans" at work in the factory. No one was dressed glamerous, there were no big stars, everyone was just in a big hurry to get their food and get back to work. I did see one famous person (but I didn't know her name) across the room. Mainly I fought the crowds to pay more than I could afford for food I didn't like very much. No magic. I saw Larry Hagman's parking space everyday when I walked across the lot to my offices (in the gym). I tried to picture Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney skipping down the alley ways between the huge sound stages on the lot, but in fact, the alleys were pretty dreary--the buildings were so tall that there were long shadows over the alleyways between them. And it wasn't like there was a buzz of activity outside the sound stages--filming is a tedious business of blocking, lighting, sound checks--it can take hours and hours to film one scene--usually seven to ten days to shoot a one hour episode. The crew starts at six a.m. and often works into the night. The unions have 12 hour rules and the Unit Production Manager would get in a lot of trouble if they went over, so most of the tv production stuff was over by 4 or 5, but movies--that was something else. People were tired and cranky and always in a rush. No, there was no skipping (except a little bit by me trying to force the magic--that never worked). I don't want you to think that I never saw any stars--sure, they were few and far between since I worked in the office and not on the crew, but one time I was walking across the lot (I was low man on the totem pole, so if there was anything to be delivered to the executive offices at the other end of the studio, I got the job). I was walking up a pretty long alley way when I noticed Patrick Duffy at the end of the lane walking in my direction. I was totally and completely in love with Patrick Duffy and for a moment my total adoration must have registered on my face, but I covered it immediately--I work in a factory I told myself. I looked down and walked resolutely to do my job of delivering. Just as we were about to pass each other, Patrick Duffy jumped in front of me and said HI really big. I rewarded him with a huge smile and he went on his way chuckling. I wish that was my only celebrity moment, but I also almost ran over Mark Linn Baker. I was late as usual and rounded a corner in the parking structure too fast just as Mark Linn Baker was rushing out. At first I gave him a big smile because I recognized him, but I didn't realize why I recognized him. Then I realized that he was extremely angry at almost being run over and then I realized who he was. Yikes. It was actually pretty rare to see any stars, but in the 10 years that I worked there I did see Janet Jackson from a distance once and I rode in an elevator with Steve Martin. I almost fainted from that one, but when I told my friend who it was in the elevator with us, she practically shouted "who's Steve Martin". I was mortified. This was after the Jerk, but well before Father of the Bride. Just another day at the factory. All in all, it wasn't magic, but it was a good place to work. I worked there through college and law school and I left the studio--the factory, for my real dream job, my real passion, being a lawyer. I made it out of the factory.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Indian Wells--the Fifth Major

On my twitter, I had signed up for the US Open twitter feed. Somehow that also signed me up for BNP Paribas Open--they are very prolific. So I have known about the tennis match at Indian Wells like having a front row seat. They tweet much more than the US Open (they tweet more than Adrienne, but Megan took me off, so I don't know if they tweet more than Megan).

In years past, I have been tempted to get in the car and go to Indian Wells--it is close enough to drive, but I would probably not want to go both ways in one day--it's probably less than 1/2 way to Vegas. However, after my experience at UCLA (near sun poisoning), I hesitated. Each year I would hear a friend say how they saw amazing matches and how he watched Nadal, Federer and Djokovic play in person. I'm jealous, but ultimately not willing to drive (yet).

All of this front row seat information when I am not going to go personally, has been difficult, because most of the tournament is not televised. Except this weekend. It started Friday night on ESPN2--Sharapova v. Wozniacki. Caroline beat Maria pretty soundly, but Maria is always exciting to see, as is Caroline Wozniacki. She is far more consistant than Petrova or Jankovic, so without the Williams sisters, she is the player to watch. She's playing the finals today (unless it is raining there--it is pouring here) against Bartoli. That should be no contest for Caroline. Bartoli is a solid player, but I wouldn't drive 40 miles to see her.

Television yesterday was on ABC for the Men's semifinals. And they were some blockbusters: Nadal v. Del Potro (still not 100% coming off of an injury so Nadal didn't have too much trouble taking care of him) and Federer v. Djokovic. I don't know what is with Fed--he knows how to win--he knows how to handle Djok's game, but he didn't execute. Djok played really well, so that probably didn't hurt his changes. So the final is going to be Nadal and Djok. [Now I wish I were willing to drive so far (and could still get tickets).]

So this should be great that tennis is on ABC, but I actually would rather just see it on ESPN2. ABC was interupted for news breaks. I'm not saying the news wasn't important, but I taped the tennis--I had already heard the news. Next, the matches went over the time. Luckily I anticipated this and taped the following show also. But ABC was going to throw it over to ESPN2 or ESPN Classic when they ran out of time. I can't anticipate that and tape every channel. [Although that is my new plan for taping tennis--que up all the sports channels where it could get thrown after the scheduled end time just in case.]

One thing I didn't get to see much (very little tv coverage) that makes this event unusual is that all the singles stars play doubles. I was so excited when the Williams sisters started playing doubles. Doubles is a lot of fun to watch and I love the Bryans, so I was hoping to see Nadal play doubles. Unfortuneately, he lost on Friday, but tv did show the final set. It was Nadal/Lopez v. Federer and Wadrinka (sp wrong, oh well). Fed won, but seeing Nadal's big smile of congratulations at the end was worth the price of admission. He went out just to have fun and he clearly enjoyed himself.

A very rich fellow who loves tennis bought this event and I guess was the reason that the semi's and the final were televised. I'm glad that there's a great event in the US (just in case, someday, I am willing to drive--the fact that I can, makes it that much more exciting), because from the sound of it, the other big events that attract all the best players thoughout the year that are not at the four majors are in Saudi Arabia--I'm really not going there. I'm such a girl.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

"You Have A Cold"

That is my latest diagnosis. I have a cold. For nine weeks??? The doctor's theory is that I am just getting successive colds and that each one hits and weakens my immune system so I am even more likely to get another one. Doesn't make much sense unless something else is attacking my immune system, but hey, she went to medical school, not me. I've had blood tests, test for whopping cough (really not fun), x-rays--she's looked up my nose, down my throat--I've had my blood pressure and pulse and weight checked a lot. So I have a cold. It is getting worse, not better. I'm taking vitamin C.

On the bright side, I did get out of going to the dentist--didn't want to risk coughing on him. I'm just thinking of his well being. I'm very selfis..less that way. Always thinking about others and never taking care of myself--maybe I should go to Hawaii early to recover from my cold. That sounds really prudent in my present state.