Saturday, November 24, 2007

every minute

If the drive south didn't suck so much on Sunday I think we'd stay up north longer. As it is we try & eek out every minute we can and then struggle home in the middle of the night. On Sat, after fun at camp, we went to Jackson. To the fabu kitchen store & the best used book store (now with movies!). Eventually H&J left for home but we lingered on. We wandered down main street, which was open later than usual for the tree lighting. And we had some dinner at Rosebuds Classic Cafe. They are always so sweet there & happy. Our waitress said we won the prize for prettiest couple. After yummy food we went next door to The Celtic Knot. As Ireland is one of our favorite places there was plenty we could buy, but we restrained ourselves (sort of) and got some x-mas prezzies & a couple other things. Then we made our way back up main street where Santa had been & the tree was now lit. There was a live creche (with a real baby!) and lost of treats & hot cider. We drove all the way Sonora so we could wind down our trip with a sundae at Legends. Finally, we had to turn the car South. Boo. It was late but we switched off (and lost my new hat & found it again) & made it home in the wee hours of sunday. Phew!
What to do next year?

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round house

The round house in the meadow is one of the best things in Indian Grinding Rock. Many photos taken every year of it.

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Friday, November 23, 2007

tradition

Thanksgiving Friday we followed our (the Hill's) tradition and went to Sonora for the annual christmas parade. Very fun. Then we headed down the hill to the RTP for our annual pizza dinner. Yummmmmm. Rich & his family headed back to camp & Howard, Jan & us went to Legends for an evening coffee/hot chocolate. Alex & I love this place so much. They are a coffee shop, soda fountain, used book store, antique store & downstairs in the back is a little mining museum. Weird, but we love it.

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river stop


On the way to town we stopped by a river that Jan & Howard had picnicked at the day before. The fish were spawning and fascinating to watch in the water. A boy swung out over the river on a rope swing. I was sure he was going to fall in, but he didn't. I played around with my new toy (digital SLR) and we tried to take some group shots with the remote. It was too heavy for the tripod but we eventually go a fun shot. Alex, as usual, took some amazing photos with his camera and it was so quiet & tranquil there. I'd love to go back. Soon.

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camp with the hills


Around the fire. What a fun place. It's fun to see Alex's family. We figured out that the Hills have been coming here for about 35 years. This is the best part of the trip, the camping. None of us were very impressed with the dinner last night so we're not sure what will happen next year. This year the weather is beautiful! Clear & crisp, but still warm enough when playing frisbee in the meadow. Way cold at night though! Eek. It does make me want to go camping in the spring/summer when I don't have to be totally bundled all night.

We brought enough wood to keep the fire going for days!

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

t-giving dinner


We are back at the yearly haunt of the St. George in Volcano. We got to the camp site in time to pitch the tent & have a short chat before coming down the hill.

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gee, thanks

Happy Turkey Day all!

We're on our way up north to go camping with the Hills, as is the annual tradition. We forgot some things but I'll try & survive the cold with my thin LA blood.

Hope you & yours have a wonderful day and I'm thankful to know you all.

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Monday, November 19, 2007

london or la?


It was sooooo foggy today I wondered if it was London here. =) I like it when it's cold and that's one thing I miss in LA is the winter season. Fog will do for now.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

bank/heist


We wanted to go to dinner and decided to try out a new place in our neighbourhood, The Bank Heist. We've seen it when we go to Panda Express (which is WAY too often) as it is across the street. It was so fun! Turns out Bank is the restaurant & Heist is the club in back. The food was great as was the service. We will definitely be back. And it's nice to know there is a nearby place to take visitors.

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little people

This whole writer's strike going on here in "Hollywood" is a weird, complicated matter (even though writers, understandably, might say it's not). As I am in animation I am a little distant from it & it's effects as this industry generally doesn't use WGA people, so we just keep going. But the strike doesn't effect only the poor writers (whom I "side" with by the way) or the mean Producers it plays a part on so many lives. Some people in our building have been laid off because the show they're working on had to stop shooting because of lack of scripts. And then there's the "little people" at the studios who will be some of the first to go when the layoffs get bigger. I found the letter below on HuffingtonPost.com and it really struck a chord with me. I have been an executive assistant (and it is a thankless job) and I've been the PA that was fired because the movie was going over budget (when I made less than $450/week - before taxes) and the producers didn't give up anything.

This is a crazy, out of balance business and if there's one word for it it's "unfair". But, we still can't think of anything else to do with our lives, so we're kind of stuck.


Dear Writer on Strike:

Hi, it's me Assistant. The faceless voice you used to speak to every week. I'm pretty sure you don't have my name down, but that's ok, I know It's my Evil Studio Executive boss's name that is important. Anyway, I saw you this morning in your red shirt outside my office and it got me thinking about the times we shared together. I mean, even though we have never had a real face to face conversation, you have had a pretty big impact on my career and now, on my life.

I remember the first time I heard your voice, it was your answering machine, but still, it was the voice of a person I professionally admired. I left a message & I remember thinking my favorite writer has my voice on their home machine. When you did call back, I connected you to my boss and I listened on mute as I hung on your every word. Remember when Evil Studio Executive said "Assistant send writer the script" and I replied "Of course" like a voice from the heavens?

Remember how you jumped a little and said you were spooked? You thought you were on that call alone. that was a funny moment wasn't it writer? I'm on all the calls you have with Evil Studio Executive. I take notes, write down dates & numbers and make sure that anything Evil Studio Executive offers to you, you get without him having to ask me. I remember calling you back to get your address so I could send that script to you. At the end of the call you said, "thank you Kassistant." I didn't have the courage to tell you my
name is actually "Assistant", but I didn't mind, I was talking to one of the people who inspired me to be where I am today. So I printed the script, and I bound the script and I drafted a cover letter. I remember bringing the letter to Evil Studio Executive to sign and he called me a "stupid fuck tart" because I forgot to CC your agent. It hurt my ego a little but it was ok, this is what I put up with in order to work with creative genius like you. I called the courier and pulled up the writers list and changed your status from "interested" to "reading."

From then on, you became a bigger part of my working day. Soon I was coordinating meetings with you and the Evil Executive and even some Greedy Producers. I walked you from lobbies, to conference rooms and offices. I brought you water and I brought you coffee.

I ordered your lunch when you had to meet here anytime between the hours of 12:30-2:00pm. I would call and apologize when we had to cancel meeting last minute.

Remember how frustrated I would get when you didn't have a drive-on at the studio gate, after I swore I called it in twice? That was so funny.

Next thing you knew, I threw away the writer list I updated five times a day as you had been the chosen one to work on our project. Boy was I excited. I remember eagerly awaiting your first draft because I wanted to see what you applied. At least 50 hours of my time on the phone was spent discussing some aspect of you. I would listen in on conference calls with you pitching ideas and the evil executive saying it wouldn't work. I was even on calls you weren't a part of (that's right, we know you slipped a copy to greedy producers). I even more fondly remember your agent asking me where your "fucking commencement check" was after I had referred his assistant to business affairs for the third time. I mean, really writer, doesn't he know that I don't cut the check myself silly agent. I won't accumulate that amount of money for at least two years.

Anyway, I remember when the 1st draft of your script was delivered. It was around 9:30pm on a Friday night.

As soon as it hit my inbox, I printed 7 copies (For Evil executives, greedy producers, your agent, your manager, and some extras for you because you don't have that much toner & paper at home). I bound the copies, stuffed them in envelopes, printed out the fancy labels. I personally drove them to everyone's houses because courier costs are more expensive after hours. I don't think I ever told you this, but I was a little bummed that I had to miss a birthday dinner that night. I'm not saying this to make you feel guilty, that was a sacrifice I was willing to make in order to be a proactive member of the studio system. I never did get reimbursed for gas as I don't have an expense account.

Anyway, after that bundle of paper arrived the cycle continued. I arranged meetings, conference call ports, sent your script to other agents for talent to read soon we were on to draft 2.

Only, there is no 2nd draft.

I'm really bummed about that. I was really looking forward to seeing if any of the notes I had given to Evil Studio Executive would be poached and passed off as his own and implemented into your script. (It's fine writer, I don't mind, as long as I know in my heart who was responsible, it doesn't matter who gets the credit). The thing is, I now have a lot more free time to try to read your script. Due to your strike, all my overtime has been
eliminated. This basically translates into about a 50% pay cut. I did the numbers, I will be taking home about $400 a week- I may have to quit or try to find a second job. I guess it's not so bad writer, my friend who just graduated, who works in the story department for $13 an hour, she actually got fired. And I have another friend, who is a reader (I think he did coverage on your script), well, he was also given the axe. It sucks, but, we know how it goes. We are the little guys, the ones at the bottom of the totem pole who suffer. I guess I should be happy that the evil executive is ok right?

Well writer we may not get to speak again so I just wanted to thank you for inspiring me to go to film school, & inspiring me to aggressively fight for a minumim wage assistant job, and inspiring me to put up with demoralizing and abusive people. I really did it all because working with creative and smart people like you, was the real payment- not the crappy paycheck. Don't get me wrong, I am not blaming you for my decision to be an assistant, I just think it's ironic that the writer who inspired me to be proactive in the business is turning to be the one responsible for my departure. I know you are fighting for what you believe is right, but just know that the longer you stand out there, more people like me, are left jobless, confused, and somewhat let down by their creative motivators. I mean writer, think of all the good times we had together, we can still have those back!

I still respect you, I still admire you and you will always be my favorite writer. I hope you get what you are fighting for and I hope it's worth it.

Love always

Assistant

PS- I saw you chumming it up with Katherine Heigl as I left the lot. That was really sweet of her to bring you Sprinkles. doesn't she make something like 100k an episode?

PSS- I'm the one who ordered and delivered the Fred Segal basket for your first born, just thought you should know since your thank you card was addressed to the Evil one.

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

pane repair


We have an ongoing list of household improvements and we got some accomplished! We finally hung the old windows that Alex had had hanging on his Pasadena home. We got a glue gun & sealed the glass in there as it was a little loose and we didn't want it falling all the way down the stairs. They look awesome!

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mdk

Happy Happy Birthday Melster. you are truly the world's greatest sister. I hope you are having fun w/Mr. Monks & the gang & Bunny at her home. We miss you down here but will take you out when you get back.

Huge hugs & love!!!!

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

swell season


We went to the Wiltern to see the Swell Season in concert. This is a group tan include the two leads from my favorite film of the year, Once, and some guys from the Frames (Glen's other band). Martha Wainwright opened up for them. She was good but didn't talk much. And they, Swell Season, were FABULOUS! If you haven't seen it go see or rent/buy Once & if the Swell Season comes to your area, check them out too. Well worth it.

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Sunday, November 04, 2007

gettin organized


We went to the Container Store in Pasadena to stock up on containers (go figure) for our kitchen. We found some little bugs in our rice the other day & figured our shelves needed an overhaul anyway. So... now they are all organized, sealed & clear. Beautiful

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Friday, November 02, 2007

meeting again

Last night I met up with some people from Germany, Sophia & Achim, who were visiting California & Nevada for a few days. Apparently, according to our mothers, Sophia & I used to "know" each other when we were little. But I can't remember much from that long ago, so we'll take their word for it. :) We met at Kate Mantilini for dinner. It was great fun! Good food, good company. I'm really glad I got to see them. I'm bummed that Alex couldn't meet them (he was at class) and that it was their last day in town. We do hope to keep in touch. And, since A & I are planning a visit to that part of the world (someday) we will definitely try to see them again.

Thanks guys! Safe travels.

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candidate '08

According to THIS SITE I should be voting for Mike Gravel or Dennis Kucinich. I have to say I'd never even heard of Gravel but Kucinich I could really vote for. If only they would win... Sigh.

How bout you?

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lonnnnnnnng

Why does today feel so long? Some days go by so fast but this is not one of them. Bummer.

jungle gym

After all the candy was dumped out onto the floor & looked at enough, the girls changes out of their (so cute) costumes, and procededs immediately to climb all over Alex. Too cute.

trick or treat!

We went to the neighbor's house for Halloween night. Hung out, talked while Kate handed out candy, Mel & Alex went out with E & the girls to the neighborhood houses. It's crasy there. People bus (or van) groups of kids in because it's such a great "score". The thing that gets me is tween or teen kids, not even dressed up and with a grocery store bag. Whatever. Why should we give you candy? if you're "too old" you can at least make an effort to dress up.

It was great to see the girls & the parents :) and we had a smashing treat filled night! Yea!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

200K!

Today my car passed the 200,000 miles! woo hoo! Alex & I did a little jig around the car, just like we did at 100K in the middle of Yellowstone Park. What a great car. We've really gotten our money's worth with it. And it's still going strong! Go Adventur-mobile!