Friday, October 8, 2010

Note to future lazy self

Dear lazy me,
Running is awesome. You might not like it right now, or even during the act for that matter, but you feel amazing after. Don't forget that, lazy pants.

So get up, put your shoes on and hit the road.

Me who ran today (and it only took 40 minutes to feel awesome)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The living situation - or rather, the case of the lying liar and the passive aggressive slovenian

The Craigslist ad sounded great -
Quiet and clean room for rent closer to the director. One bedroom with storage and a private shower attached to bedroom. Washer & dryer, separate entrance, kitchenette with mini-fridge, microwave, toaster, A/C, Furnished, DSL (no charge, wired to room), includes all utilities.

I thought, "Wow. Quiet (no Skid Row sirens or Shouty McTrick-Turners all through the night), A/C, closer to the director and producer? And if I can prorate it for the time I'm in town, I can save a few bucks? Sign me up!" So I reply to the ad, give a brief description of myself, the dates I'll be in town, and ask if the place can be prorated.

The woman writes back. P seems very nice and obliges. We agree to meet Sunday, after I pick up the rental car. I arrive at her house. The neighborhood seems ok. Well, it's at least better than Skid Row. I can park my car on the street and not worry about parking fees.

She lets me in. She seems really nice, though she reminds me of this girl Courtney I knew in NY that turned out to be very two-faced. Courtney and this woman are both very slow - the kind of slow that comes with doing too many mind-altering drugs. They both have long strawberry blondish hair and annoying voices. I like P's 4 her cats. They make me miss mine even more. They also make her place smell like cat pee. (If my place ever smells like cat pee, for the love of GODS please tell me. I will be thankful!)

She takes me downstairs to show me the room. I meet M, the Slovenian roommate who will be staying in the room next to me. He seems ok. The room has a bed, and there is a private shower, a mini fridge and a microwave. She shows me how to turn on the A/C. I tell her I'll take it. We decide on $25 a night for the time I'm here ($400 total.) She asks me to pay her upfront. This makes me nervous. This woman could take my money and lock me out. I ask if PayPal is OK. I like the idea of a paper trail. She says yes. I feel better. I move my stuff in and go grocery shopping.

That night, I'm eating dinner outside in the garden. It's nice there. M is outside. I told him I feel safer in this neighborhood than on Skid Row. He mocks me and tells me there are gangs everywhere. I ask what gangs. He says mostly Latin. He tells me bad things happen to people who feel safe. I realize he is a jerk and stop talking to him.

That night it's stifling, so I turn the A/C on. Apparently LA is enduring a heat wave with higher than usual temperatures reaching the upper 90's. I sleep ok except that there are roosters (yes, more than one) and chickens in the neighbors back yard. There are also dogs. And when the dogs bark, the roosters coo or howl or whatever it is that roosters do (I don't know what it's called because I live in a suburb and we don't fucking have ROOSTERS). The roosters don't care what time it is. They make their rooster noises when ever the fuck they hear the dogs. And there have to be at least twenty dogs. I. Am. Not. Kidding. Granted, I have to give the roosters some credit. Part of me wonders if they are yelling at the dogs, telling them "shut the fuck up - we are trying to sleep." But the roosters don't disappoint. They begin to scream without any hindrance, unprovoked by the dogs at 4:30 am, alerting me that the sun is going to come in a few hours. I wonder if they are on East Coast time. Oh, and by the way, it's very hot. And I realize that it's because M turned the A/C off. And I can't sleep because of all these things combined. Even with a pillow over my head. One night wasted sleep.

I mention the night long aural assaults to M the next morning. He blows me off and says he does not hear the sounds. (I discover later that is because he does not sleep. He is literally up at night painting the walls for P. It is fucking weird.) I think to myself that if I could just close the windows, keep the A/C on, I might be able to sleep. And so that is my plan for the coming night.

Through interactions with M, I deduct that he is a complete ass, a dick wad, and I conclude he hates women. He is even mean to the woman he is subletting from, but she blows it off and thinks he is kidding. But I can assure you, he is a fucking prick. He moves things of mine if he doesn't like where they are, like my bagels. He leaves the dish and silverware I used in the dish rack, even though they are dry and he just put his plate away. He lectures me and tells me to leave the light on in the common area, instead of just turning it on when he needs it. I tell him to feel free and eat anything of mine that he likes, and he says, "oh no. No, I will not eat your food." He basically has an issue with everything I do. And he makes me uncomfortable.

The second night, I ask if I can turn on the A/C (since he turned it off on me the night before). I explain that I can't sleep with the window open because of the roosters and the dogs. He says OK, then tells me that I need to talk to P tomorrow. "It expensive to keep running the conditioning. I know P told you it ok, but we try to keep the bill down and I have to pay for the energy you know." He says in the most dickish way possible. "Turn it on, sure, but talk to P tomorrow." Of course I am confused by this. The ad clearly states central A/C, but it also used the word "quiet." I decide to write her an email right at that moment so that I don't forget. I turn the A/C on and close the windows and go to bed.

I discover that the glass is so thin it doesn't matter if they are closed or not. The roosters and the dogs yell at each other all night. In the morning, I finally give up on the idea of sleep and decide to get ready. I realize the air is off again and the front door is wide open. This time, it's P. She is outside the door and apologizes, "oh I thought you were gone." I check my email. In her email response back to me, she says, "I guess we all just tend to watch the bills here as they are very high - I have to pay water, gas, electric and phone/dsl... If you need the A/C because you are hot at night, then OK, but no one here has ever run the A/C here all night long because it's cold down there already." She offers a fan, and I oblige, hoping that it will block out the sound. She is full of shit though. It's hot. She wouldn't know - she doesn't stay down here. She runs the upstairs A/C all the time. Also, she should revise her ad a bit. This is clearly not right.

One morning, I decide that I'm going to use the toaster and make a bagel. It's early, so when I can't find an outlet, I take the toaster into my room and plug it in. For a "furnished" room, it's slim pickings. There is nothing except a bed. There are no tables I place the toaster on the floor near the door. I thought I was being courteous by doing this all on my own - I didn't want to wake M up and ask him where the outlet was. Besides, the space is so small, I know he doesn't have anything to toast and can't imagine he would need it. So after I'm done making my bagel, I decide it's no big deal if I just leave the toaster to cool in my room, near the door that I can only lock if I'm inside. I don't want to touch a hot toaster, much less put it back in a closed cabinet. I figure that I'll just put it back in the cabinet when I get back later.

I had a long day and got back at 9pm. I immediately jumped on the phone to call Matt before he went to bed. It was late for him and I didn't want to keep him too long. I also didn't want to have to talk to M the Slovenian douche bag, so I locked my door and stayed in for the night.

When I woke in the morning, I found this precious little note on the counter in the kitchen:

Confused by this, I immediately put the toaster back. I wondered - did he think I was trying to steal the toaster? Did he think I was going to bring it home with me? That I wanted to hang on to it for a week an a half until I left? That I wanted to somehow shove this toaster into my carry on? What was he planning on toasting? And why a note? Why is this so urgent that he felt he needed to leave a note?

Anyway, realizing that I'm miserable here, I changed my flight to come home two days earlier than scheduled. Turns out that I won't be working those days, so I payed an extra $180 thinking that I'll at least get back $50 for the two days I won't be here. I write P and tell her that I'm leaving Sunday morning and ask If I can get a refund for the two days. She writes me back and says...

"Re: the room for rent, I generally sublet the downstairs as an apartment on a month-to-month basis up to a year lease, like a normal roommate or apartment rental in any city. I'm not a b&b or an inn. This is why I insisted on payment in advance for the 16 days, a cash and carry plan, with no security deposit. I delayed the paint job and offered you the place because you seemed liked a very nice person from your emails and website and I had a good feeling about you (and i was right!) I hope this hasn't confused you - you asked if i would consider you for a very short term and I agreed based on two conditions (one, the money upfront and two, the OK to access the room for repairs which hasn't even been done yet.) (Mathematically, it works out to be $3.50 more a day if spread the total amount over the 14 day term - for the $400 you paid me, your daily rate averaged out to be $25 a day, so the extra $3.50 per day isn't that much and is still more than fair for the price of a furnished room and kitchenette.)"

And I realize at this point she is a Certainly Unfair, Nasty Theif. She thinks it's ok to steal from me. And this is why I am glad that I went through PayPal and kept my correspondence with her in writing. I'm also glad she mentioned to me that the landlords aren't aware of all the changes she's made to the house. They probably also don't know that she has subletters. I can't imagine they would be happy with any of this news. When I am back home, be sure to look for the upcoming post entitled, "This is what happens when you fuck a stranger in the ass, Donny." It will be a hoot.

So, for the next week, I'm stuck in this hell hole, with only a bed in this "furnished" room, unable to use the A/C, and avoiding this place at all costs during my waking hours.

I think my next post will be more upbeat and will focus on the great experiences I've had while here. Or it might be another rant about how I might have lost my day job. Either way, don't let these last two posts get you down. I swear I've still had some good times here. I just feel like I needed to get these experiences out so that I can move on.

Sometimes, even though it can be hard to read, this blog is more therapeutic for me than entertaining for you.

The first 48

Brace yourself, this is going to get ugly real quick.

I know I'm supposed to be having the time of my life right now. I'm L.A., I'm working on a film, life is good, right? It's funny how the things you take for granted can go to shit real fucking quick.

I got to Los Angeles last Thursday. Plane arrived a little after 10 am - right on time. Waited for the Flyaway bus for over an hour to take me to Union Station so I could save money on a cab. Bus was $7.50. Cab to my hotel was $12 (including tip). Not too bad, except when I finally got to my hotel just before 2 they tell me check in isn't til 3 whatever. Except that the hotel is in Skid Row. I'm not talking about the cool hairband, but the place where the homeless who are sick, chemically dependent, and mentally ill go to set up camp. Yeah, that Skid Row.

Friday I'm asked to come document a table reading. It's going to be really exciting because the cast is together for the first time and I just know the chemistry is going to be great. I'm supposed to be there at 5pm to help set up before the cast gets there. I'm so excited about this that I check and double check the bus schedules. Take the 81 to Townsend and Colorado, I repeat to myself. I should get there 15 minutes early. That will make a good impression, right?

The bus is only a buck fifty. Awesome! So much cheaper than a cab! A cab would have been $40. I just can't afford that every day. When I get on the bus, I realize that I have a 20, a 5 dollar bill, one single, and 35 cents. I inserted my fiver, thinking it would give me back change. I mention this to the bus driver and he treats me like an idiot. "It don't give back change." I ask what can I do? Get a voucher or something? I'm going to have to come back on a bus in a few hours. "No voucher. You don't have a pass, no credit, no voucher." For fucks sake. I've just been robbed. Well, I guess it's cheaper than taking a cab right?

So after 45 minutes when the bus driver says "last stop" and I'm at some kind of weird and scary place I ask "is this Townsend and Colorado?" Only to find out that I got on the bus going the opposite direction. He says, "get out here, I'll swing around and won't charge you for the fair." That's nice of him, I think and get out, cross the road and wait terrified in a part of town I have a feeling isn't all that safe, lugging over 5 thousand dollars worth of video equipment and electronics. When the bus pulls up, he's not on it. I panic and wonder how the hell I'm going to pay for this bus ride. I'm not putting a twenty in the slot knowing there will be no change in return. I must have looked in distress because a fellow bus stop person asked me if I needed some change. The bus starts to pull away and I snatch a quarter from the nice man and chase the bus down with all my equipment.

When I'm on the bus, I am a little relieved to be out of that place and on the right track, but really stressed out because I'm going to be an hour and a half late now. I text Jeremy and he says not to worry.

An hour and a twenty minutes later, it's the same scenario again. The bus stops and there's an awkward eye exchange between me, the driver, and one other passenger - a pregnant lady who is just as confused as I am. I find the all too familiar phrase leaving my lips again. "What about Townsend and Colorado??" "This bus doesn't go there. You need to get off this bus cross the street and take the next one." Huh??

So I get off the bus. The pregnant passenger crosses the street and waits at another bus stop. I google map the Director's address and I'm literally 15 walking minutes away, but I have all of my equipment with me and and I'm already so late that I'm beginning to panic. Again. In the middle of shits creek. The great unknown. I call Matt. And I start sobbing. "If I wasn't working for free, I'm certain they'd fire me," I tell him. I call a cab, afraid that my phone battery will die before I can give my address. The driver takes f.o.r.e.v.e.r to arrive, and then passes me. I chase him down with my gear in tow.

When I'm finally in the cab, he doesn't know how to get where I need to go. "I usually work in Hollywood, but they sent me here. I don't know where I am," he says as he keeps punching in the wrong address to the director's house. For fucks sake. I show him the map on my phone and explain it's only five minutes away. He plugs it in to his car charger and I verbally direct him. Finally, I will get there.

I show up at 7pm. Two hours late and an hour after the reading started. I am a fuck up. I feel like an ass, but I instinctively grab my camera and start recording the reading. And the actors are good. Really good. And it really helps me take my mind off the three hour journey I just had. I'm in my mode now. This is why I'm here.

Toward the end, when Jason, the director, is reading what is happening on screen as the movie comes to an end, my phone alerts me that I've just received a text message. Then it rings. And god help me, there's another message. The cast all hear this too. I already know that it's Matt worried that I've been raped, murdered, mugged, and sold to some pimp, but I can't answer the phone because I'm recording. And this is just one more time when I realize that I'm a fuck up. Always put it on vibrate.

After the reading, the DP offers to take me back to the hotel. She is awesome and kind and my saviour, and I will forever be indebted to her. We chat a little in the car about how she used to live in Charlotte working on Nascar and moved out here to work in motion pictures. She's an assistant camera and has decided to make the plunge to be a full on Director of Photography. I immediately adore her and know that she one of those genuine people that are hard to come by. She drops me off directly in front of the hotel. I am grateful.

That night I decide to get a rental car via priceline. This will not happen again. I also decide to get the fuck out of downtown. I search Craigslist for a sublet and find one that sounds great.

Saturday, I hang out with some LA family, Maria and Trever, and finally meet Sean, Matt's brother. It's wonderful to be with such nice people, especially after the fucked up day I just had. They feed me, make me laugh, and show me all he touristy sights. I am thankful for their kindness and amazed at how much Sean looks like Seamus. Maria is so wonderful. If she wasn't family, I'd still want to be her friend. And Trever is really just as cute as a little boy can be. And he's obsessed with King Kong.

Because she is so nice, Maria offers to drive me to the airport to get my rental the next day. Fearful of the bus system, I take her up on that.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I'm going to Hollywood!

I'm working on a friend's movie, "Plans," in Hollywood next month (no, I'm totally serious!) and I couldn't be more stoked. It's an Indy - which means funds are limited. Of course, there is no pay. It's a labour of love, and a great opportunity to work with others who are just as passionate about movies as I am.

I'll be the 2nd Assistant Director, which basically means assisting the Assistant Director, wrangling actors, and doing whatever else is needed to make the movie a success. I'm paying for my travel, room and most of my food. Adding this up, it's a bit expensive.

I decided to stay in a really cute hostel named "Stay." For a hostel, it's very clean and private. I get my own room (which screams IKEA) and I share a bathroom. There is Wifi, free breakfast and it's very secure. Oh, and there's a BED. An actual bed. (Some places in my budget didn't even have a stinking bed!) It's a little on the pricey side for a hostel, but I think totally worth it.

I could use your help (money). I hate to ask for help, but this was recommended by my very smart sister and the more I think about it, the better it sounds. I've created a ChipIn widget where family, friends and special folks I cant't categorize can chip in for the Send Carol To Hollywood Fund. I know the economy is in a bad place right now - so please don't feel pressured to donate. But if you have some extra scratch and want to contribute to my fund, by all means, click the CHIP IN button! It works with PayPal, so you can use your PayPal account or credit card to donate. And it's very secure.

And THANK YOU for reading!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Go fuck yourself, 2010

I've about had it with 2010. this is my second cold of the year and I've already lost an organ. what's next 2010? seriously? what is next. this is not cool and your stupid little games are getting old. you need to grow up and stop acting like a child. I'm not sure why you think its ok to treat me like this. I had nothing but high hopes for you, but now you've gone and blew it. You re going to have to prove yourself to me now. Show me that you aren't the ass I think you are. You're going to have to convince me that I shouldn't just punch you in the dick, 2010 because at this point I have had just about enough of your shenanigans. And you haven't just been an asshole to me, and that makes me really angry. What up with all that rumble bumble earth quake bullshit you been pulling? You don't think I've seen that? Have you heard of the internet, fucker? Yeah, shit gets around. And what the fuck is up with all that health care reform bullshit??? I blame you, 2010. Just fucking pass it already! You are a fucking slacker! Your are acting like such a douche and I can tell you this much, if this crap keeps up, I'm going to ignore you. It will be like you never existed. I'm going to date EVERYTHING 2011. That's right - I said it. You want to act like a turd, I'm just going to pass right over you, and I'm going to urge everyone else to do the same. You know what else? I'm going create a 2011 calendar and put it on my desk. Yup, it's a big FUCK YOU, isn't it? I bet you didn't even think of that, did? I can be a really fucked up bitch, 2010, so don't forget it. You're on notice, asshole.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

It's soap time, bitches!

I made some soap. Well, I made a lot of soap. This batch is Grapefruit, Raspberry & Melon glycerin with chunks of olive oil glycerin. It's to remind myself that Spring is coming. Some day.

If you want some, hit me up!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Brilliant commercial.

You ever see that Pristiq Commercial? Man, that song is awesome. I'm sorry creepy wind-up doll, I can't pay attention to what you're talking about cause that piano music is ballin'!

In case you don't know what I'm talking about, here's the commercial:

I know the sound on this video is really low, but I love it because of the awesome notes added to the video.