Monday, May 24, 2004

Notarized

Today I officially completed the last task on my way to becoming a Notary Public. So as of today, I'm official! I went to the County Clerk's Office, took my oath, and... taa daaa.... I am a Notary! Now, going into this endeavor was really motivated by boredom. I don't expect to make a career of it, though I completed the coursework while I was unemployed, hoping for a little spare income. However, after the course fee, the State fee, the supplies, the insurance, and everything else that goes along with it, it may be a while before I recoup my investment.

The good news, however, was going into work today. Now mind you, going into work is not usually good news other than the benefit of the ultimate reward - the paycheck. And it certainly isn't good news to arrive late to be greeted with the news of the deaths of 3 people related to your show. (See the "Sick of Being Sick" post). Anyway, back to the good news.

My boss had some personal business to take care of, but the day got busy. See, these deaths have turned our whole schedule upside down and now we're all going to be busy for quite some time. But then I heard him say it. "I don't know how I'm going to make it to the notary and back to deal with blah blah blah." I didn't hear him after that. "Notary? You need a notary?" "Yeah," he said, "so blah blah blah...." "I'm a notary!!!"

And so it was. The rest was not so glamorous. A thumbprint, a signature. But a mere hour after becoming an official notary, I had my first client. I'm still in the notary red, but building takes time.

Sick of Being Sick... Life's Too Short

So, I was on my way to work thinking about how much I hate being sick. I can have the most minor of colds, but I have this horrible post nasal thing and before you know it, the entire cold has centralized right in the middle of my head. And there it sits until finally (and usually suddenly) my body decides it's done with this cold thing and is ready to expel it from my system. The results aren't pretty. And they aren't quick. So sad is this state of affairs that it usually takes a good week AFTER my illness before people start to become really worried about my well-being. "You sound awful!" "Maybe you should go home?" "You look like you're going to die." Gee, thanks body. So, for the privilege of usually only getting sick in 1-4 day bursts, I often pay for it for months at a time. And really, I am pretty thankful that it isn't as serious as it seems. It's just frustrating that maybe I'm not at top game, not able expend my energy in more meaningful ways to take advantage of this life while I have it.

OK, I know that last bit sounds perhaps morbid. But one of those trifectas happened to me once I arrived at work today, and as these things tend to do, it made me think about how important it is to enjoy life while you've got it.

What's the trifecta? It's how things tend to happen in 3's, particularly deaths. A co-worker friend of mine and I sometimes IM each other after 2 celebrities have passed away. "Beware the trifecta!" Then we guess who is next. Fun game. But today at work, the trifecta hit... all at once. It started when I arrived late (see my "Notarized" post). My boss came over and I expected him to mention my tardiness. Instead he asked "Has anyone spoken to you yet?" No,they hadn't. Well, the (not-so-unexpected) passing of our Exec. Producer's mother finally happened over the weekend. Bad news, indeed. Oh, and the grandfather of one of the actors passed away as well. Sad, awful timing. Ironically, last week my boss and I were creating the first "In Memory of" card for our show in its 4+ year run. A crafts service person died during prep for our 5th season. I asked him if we should save the template for the dedication card, god forbid we should need it again. He said he didn't want to plan for that possibility. Sad to say, but I guess we should have planned.

Oh, yeah, and I forgot to mention... one of our actors died, too. What? Really? All this weekend? Heart attack. He was only 43. He was healthy. And he had young children.

A young, healthy, happy man of 43 years old should not just drop dead. And I'm sure given the opportunity, he wouldn't let a cold stop him from living if he had the chance again. Even if you SOUND like death,it doesn't mean you're not still alive. Life's too short. Live it fully, and don't regret a minute of it.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

The title of this entry is not a summary, but a request. Really. Please. Take me out to the ballgame. I just went to see the Dodgers kick butt over the Cubs the other night. And I'm a Cubs fan. And it was fun. Yes, even though the Cubs lost, it was fun.

Before I tell you about the game, let me get my usual grumblings out of the way. Although one of the most reasonably priced family activities in Los Angeles, I did find the mandatory "service charge" (because the internet IS a service though it arguably takes less man-power to operate) and the "handling fee" (for when they "hand" the ticket to you at Will Call) to be enough to jack up the price just below the city's average cost for fun. And if you're hungry, DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT!

OK, now that that's done, let's get on with it.

What I really enjoyed about the game (and I'm NOT a baseball fan) was doing something different, in a social setting, seeing how the city can come together and gather in one place. It seemed so unusual in Los Angeles, but fit nicely with the subheading of my writings. Yes, the hermit ventured outward and I had a good time. It was even worth foregoing "24" during broadcast and watching it later on tape.

We sat in the bleachers, which I had never done before. The first thing I noticed when I sat down was "Wow, it looks like we're in the game." The second thing I noticed is that the ball could come flying at my face any second... which could be either an unexpected treat, or the cause of a lot of pain. Fortunately, I had my grandfather's baseball mitt. I was sure that would protect me from anything, even though it is falling apart at the seams. If it survived into antiquedom, it had to have some special powers. I put on my tough girl face and was ready for any flies. And of course Tracy was all pumped up, cheering the Cubs with no regard for our personal safety. But we were having fun.

The ball never did fly into our section, but occasionally one of the players would toss one near by. And then, it happened. The harmony of the baseball game started to disappear. One flew right toward my dad, my mom cowered and covered her head, afraid everyone behind her was going to jump her (which they did), my dad tried catch the ball, then tried to cover my mom. And then the verbal abuses started to fly. Cubs fans taunting Dodgers fans, Dodgers fans booing Cubs fans, posturing for fights, throwing of food, yelling at the players, tossing back balls from opposite teams. What a game!

My parents looked less than thrilled. Yet still, they seemed happy to be outdoors for a change. They couldn't comprehend, however, how people could come to the game just to yell at each other throughout gameplay. And while I agree that it does seem to miss the point of going to the game if you're a baseball fan, for me that was part of the enjoyment. Tracy was depressed the Cubs lost (and they lost again last night, too), but I still had a good time. Being immersed in the culture, however crude it has become over the years, we were in it. And it was good.

Friday, May 07, 2004

The Thing That Pissed Me Off Today

Having gone through 4+ months of unemployment at the same precise moment as my spouse has made me particularly sensitive to selfish rich people who have no clue. Today, for example, one of my editors was complaining how poorly he is paid because 4-camera sitcom editors get way more money than drama editors, even though single-camera drama editing is much more difficult. That may be true, and in all fairness, he said they were paid "relatively" low. I, of course, couldn't contain myself. Yeah, relatively, I said. I mean, sure you might be paid less than one editor, but in the scheme of things, it isn't so bad. Look at police and firefighters, I said. No offense, but I believe their job is more difficult AND more important, and they're paid less. He said, most firefighters spend most of their time sitting and hanging out at the station, not working, and they get paid great. Well, for starters, they get paid great because they're putting in a ton of overtime. My editor shows up after me and often leaves before me every day. He doesn't have to come in if there is no work, but gets paid for it. They give him extra paid days off because he's been working hard... like ooh, a 10-hour shift! I said police don't sit around all day, and he acknowledged they work hard. Thankfully he acknowledged that much before I ripped off his head knowing that my wife works her butt off as a cop when not being forced to sit at home after a pattern of workplace discrimination encouraged by the laws of this "great" nation. But he's got it rough. He just bought a 3-story home south of Ventura Blvd. built into the side of a hill, and he has barely made more than a couple of hundred extra dollars per week in over 10 years because his union stinks... You know what that says to me? That says to me they were paid EVEN MORE STINKING WAY TOO MUCH MONEY 10 years ago! Shoot, I don't even get a union, I said. I don't have benefits, like he does. I don't get collective bargaining agreements for my wages, and I usually work much longer days without extra compensation or time off. Then he said, he wasn't comparing himself to me... he wouldn't want my job. No shit!

This exchange came on the heels of two other lovely work exchanges this week. One involving my boss telling me how I really should hurry up and buy a house cause it's just getting harder and harder to get into the market... He just sold his 3rd house (and by 3rd, I mean owning 3 at a time, not 3rd in succession) after two offers in 1 day for an ungodly sum they were asking for. He figures it must be hard to get a house if you don't have one so I should hurry. Didn't he read in the paper that unless you're making AT LEAST $100K yearly (and I'm not even guaranteed my job for a year, let alone that salary), you aren't even in the market for a median priced home in Los Angeles now? He DID hire me for the job. He DOES know what I make. He DID make me want to crawl into a hole and die.

But not as much as the actress with the attitude who, upon me asking if she could stay an extra 5 minutes after her scene was done so we could get her to say one sentence into the microphone, practically ripped my head off for making her stay late without at least 24 hours notice. I'm sorry. I know you think you're important. But acting is your profession, right? Your chosen career? I mean, it is your JOB, just like working my ass off is my job. So you mean to tell me that you're probably making close to 6 figures A WEEK (I am ROUGHLY guessing here) and the 5 minutes of "overtime" to SPEAK A SENTENCE, for Pete's sake!!!, is really unfair of me to ask. I apologize. Here, let me bend over to kiss your feet. And while I'm down there, why don't you kiss my ___!

I know what you're thinking. I should become an editor or actress so I can have it better. That's what most people in my position who bitch about this industry strive for. But really, is that what I want? To be so full of myself and my wealth that I've forgotten how the other "half" lives? OK, so having money wouldn't be so bad... but NO, I don't want to become these people. I don't want to forget that others might not have it so easy, even if I am fortunate enough to get out of this hole some day. I can't stand that the conversations all day long about the new houses, new additions, renovations, new cars and stuff people have been buying for themselves is all there is to talk about to the minimum wage PA who they force to use personal cell phone time while putting excessive miles on their 12-year-old beat up car every day. That is, if they bother to talk to the PA (aka Person Anonymous). I'm not a PA anymore, haven't been for a while, but I haven't forgotten that they ARE people. I don't want to be the person in DSW who I overheard the other day (while I was shopping, mind you, to replace the 8-year old shoes I have because the soles were getting a little worn) asking her friend "Do you ever forget what you have?" Um, no. I know exactly how many pairs of shoes I have and exactly what they look like. They might not be stylish or trendy, but they don't hurt my feet and they match most anything. I don't need to be trendy. I just want to be a good person surrounded by other good people. And I want to be wearing comfortable, practical shoes. Who gives a shit about the rest? Sure I want to own a house, sure I'd like to not have to worry that my car insurance is through the roof because of an accident I had almost 2 years ago. I am not saying I don't want money, but please, PLEASE, don't let me forget what it is to be a human being with compassion.