Saturday, January 30, 2010

Go buy yourself a DSLR.

So, I bought myself a Canon 7D for Xmas (because I REALLY like me) and I can't put it down. You can find a bunch of my photos on my Flickr page, but I'll try to upload a few here as well.

Up next, I'll be trying my hand at some headshots because I live in Los Angeles and it's a rule.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Radio Silence 2: Podcast Boogaloo

As some of you may remember, I was pretty torn up about losing 97.1 FM Talk back in February. I went through a dark time after that and I found myself listening to NPR podcasts (Car Talk, Fresh Air, and This American Life) as a way to ease the pain. When they got too NPR-y for me, I would turn on one of the music stations just to mix things up. One day, I found myself singing along to a Daughtry song. It was a bleak, bleak time for me.

Then I heard something about an Adam Carolla Podcast, and things took a turn.

Faster than anyone else at 97.1, the Aceman embraced his new place in the universe. He set up a studio in his cavernous garage and started bringing in guests, engaging in long form interviews ranging from personal masturbatory techniques to nitty gritty, let's get really real, smack-down dish sessions. He was born for this type of ranting, and the thing took off for him. I had part of my radio family back, so I started looking around for the rest of them.

Somewhere along the way, Frosty, Heidi and Frank decided to put together a little thing called Frosty, Heidi and Frank Uncensored. Free of FCC restrictions, they were all free to be themselves. Again, their blend of current events and private declarations rang true, quickly building a following. They started podcasting every day, Frosty built a studio in his home and the gang settled in for a long, destitute summer. Eventually, they landed real jobs at TalkRadio 790 KABC weekdays 9-Noon. Now they record the podcast at the ABC studios and get to be raw at the end of the day. Everybody wins.

Let's take a break for a second.

So, I spend all day driving to different medical buildings trying to make a sale. I'm in and out the car constantly, which makes listening to anything stimulating on the radio a bit of a professional gamble. If I hear something interesting, it's very tempting to stay in the car... and I don't make any money in the car. Podcasts, however, give me the best of both worlds. I get the programming I want AND I get to pause it whenever I get out of the car. This is the game that's called, "I Win."

Okay, so I have the best parts of my radio family back and I'm pretty happy with my NPR/Adam/FHFU repertoire when I start noticing people plugging their own podcasts on Twitter.


Live From a Shoebox and You Look Nice Today turned out to be great little finds. You also get the added benefit of being able to follow these people and really get inside their terrifying heads.

Now I've really got the podcast bug and I decide to start rooting around iTunes. I am, at heart, a movie geek. If that's you, drop what you're doing and subscribe to Creative Screenwriting's podcast right now. Jeff Goldsmith manages to pull down some heavy hitters and he's not afraid to ask them the tough questions. If you want to hear Doug Benson talk about movies with a bunch of comedians, check out I Love Movies (just look it up). The list goes on.

I found another great podcast while listening to the This American Life podcast! Podcasts were giving birth to podcasts, and my head almost exploded. Nonetheless, you should download The Moth and listen to all kinds of people telling stories about their lives on stage. Brilliant, hilarious and touching. Just get it already.

Enough, right? There are hundreds of these things.

Here's the good news: All you have to do to listen to all of this fantastic material as you go on trips, run on the treadmill or sit in traffic on the 405 is subscribe in iTunes, sync it with your iPod of choice and let your computer do the rest.

And, oh yeah, it's all free. I'll say that again: FREE!

Remember "Pump Up the Volume" with Christian Slater? The part where he's driving around in a Jeep with a shortwave radio hooked up so the FCC can't triangulate his location and he drives down on the football field and tells everybody to steal the air? Yeah. It's happening and it's called podcasts. Check it out.

Or, go right back to your Daughtry cover of that Lady Gaga song on that computerized radio station and forget I said anything. Shame on you for knowing what I'm talking about.

Okay, fine. Shame on me too.

Friday, July 17, 2009

You wouldn't happen to have six fingers...

Stay away from Inigo Montoya and you should be fine.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Tales from an Elevator

I spend a lot of time in elevators. As a drug rep in Los Angeles, I ride up and down huge medical towers in search of doctors who have time to talk between patients. I've seen celebrities, politicians, sick people, new mothers, dead bodies, delivery people and plenty of caterers. I have been stuck on two separate elevators. I know every maintenance man in every building, I recognize frequent flyers and I always hold the doors open for little old ladies trying to get on at the last minute. I feel very comfortable in this weird little microcosm and I see myself as a bit of a concierge.

Today, I'd like to share a few of my adventures with you.

1. Starr Gazing

One time I was at the top of a building waiting to get on. The doors opened and Ringo Starr was standing there with Barbara Bach. My knees locked and I almost didn't get on.


Sorry, but it's not every day you get to ride fourteen floors with a living legend. I pulled myself together and got on, giving them a nod. They knew I knew them.

I stood there, not staring at him in the mirrored wall. He started fumbling with the buttons and obviously didn't know what he was doing. When I asked if he needed help, (Yes, I initiated conversation with a Beatle about elevator buttons. I'm the concierge, damn it!) he said he couldn't remember where he left the car. I helped him out and he was very gracious about the whole thing.

As we rode, he looked down at my rolling cart full of samples. "Now, what do you do?"

"I'm a drug dealer." He looked me over and gave me a Ringo smile. You know the one.

"I could use a guy like you," he said. Then we both laughed. There was more to the conversation, but that's between me and Ringo.

2. Love in an Elevator

People get frisky in elevators. I blame that Aerosmith song, that Sharon Stone movie and just about every trashy romance novel ever written. There's something sexy about a private place in public, not unlike department store dressing rooms, and it makes people touch each other.

A few weeks ago, I got onto an elevator with about five floors to go. The smell hit me first. I'm not trying to be insensitive, it's just that sex has a certain odor and I was swimming in it. I looked over at the worming couple to my right only to find them with tongues down throats and hands down pants. There was some mutual masturbation happening not three feet from me and the door had just closed.


You're probably thinking you would've said something or gotten off (stop it) as soon as possible. Maybe you would've, but I didn't. There was a certain sweet immediacy to the scene and I couldn't help but feel a little jealous of them, if only for a moment. Also, they were a damn fine looking couple. To be more accurate, they were a Dolce & Gabbana advertisement come to shimmering life, so it's not like I was looking for the eye bleach. When I got off on my floor, they didn't even notice.

Now I think I'm pregnant.

(I have something to say to you elevator sex people: there are cameras. Unless, of course, that adds to the allure for you, then there are no cameras but many strains of bacteria. Knock it off and spend some quality time at home, where there are disinfectants, drapes and lockable doors to contain your passion. Unless you're a young, gorgeous couple in the throes of barely concealed foreplay, then by all means carry on.)

3. Did that Just Happen?

Last week I was at Cedars Sinai riding the elevators. I pushed my button and wedged myself into the back corner as the rest of the car filled up. A man in his mid-sixties got on, but only halfway. The door closed on his elbow and then reopened.

"Sorry about that, little elevator," he said, patting the stainless steel door as it closed again. A few of us exchanged glances. He chuckled. "Uh-oh. I'm hungry and talkin' to the elevator."

The quickest way to win over any elevator crowd is to whine about being tired, being hungry or the weather. Everybody in the car smiled, all of us feeling the drain of the day.

The young woman in front of me said, "Here, have a taco," before pulling one out of her purse and handing it to him.

Hold on a minute.

I'm not talking about an individually wrapped, soft taco from Taco Bell. I'm talking about a homemade, hard shell taco with ground beef, crisp lettuce, sour cream and perky tomatoes. It was wrapped in a paper towel and it looked friggin' AWESOME.

"You don't mind?" She shook her head, smiling. "Please."

He looked it over and then ate it as the elevator beeped at every new floor. A few of us exchanged glances again. I looked down at the purse. Looked pretty empty, but you never know.

"I like ice cream," I said.

Scary-ass PSA

If I had seen this as a child I would still be having nightmares.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Who needs two engines anyway?

We were flying to Sioux Falls, South Dakota by way of Denver for a wedding. The plane smelled of feet and iron. The Captain came on and said something like "We have reached cruising altitude and it should be smooth sailing from here on out" when there was a loud BANG to my right.

You can't make this stuff up.

After a minute or two, the Captain came back on and told us the right engine had "substantial damage" and had to be shut down. He then explained that the plane handles just fine with only one engine and we would be heading back to Denver to switch planes.

For my part, I wasn't really that worried. I have been on some pretty dicey flights to and from Michigan in the dead of winter, so I figured they would tell us if we had to worry. The Captain seemed calm and upbeat and the crew kept serving drinks. Fine. Then I realized Jenna had a death-grip on my arm and tears running down her face. I leaned in close to her and tried to say reassuring things as she had her first full-on panic attack.

From this point on, every little wobble and hiccup meant we were all going to die in a huge ball of fire.

The woman behind Jenna started talking about how she was seventy years old and was ready to go if that's what needed to happen. The guy behind me was praying out loud. The couple to our right was holding hands and talking about pounding martinis if we made it out alive. The women in front of us were talking about every plane crash they could ever remember.

It is REALLY difficult to be reassuring when that is going on around you.

"Take control. It's not time to worry yet." And then her breathing slowed. She was repeating a mantra and the only thing I could make out was "I have so much left to do" and something about seeing Gypsy again. I don't think my own words made much of a difference, but they made me feel less impotent.

It was time to land. The plane started bucking all over. There was another BANG.

In this situation, your brain is not your friend. It flashes all kinds of nasty images in front of you and you concoct entire conversations that your friends will have about you and your untimely demise. Your screenplays go unproduced, your family name dies with you and your dog goes unfed. Thanks, brain.

When the wheels touched down I saw a huge fireball come hurtling down the middle of the cabin and wash over me. I watched the seats melt and the bodies vaporize as I stretched my hands out in front of me, a feeble gesture to hold it all back. Then I blinked and everyone was breathing easy, grateful to be down on the ground again.

I turned to find Jenna smiling at me, her face dry now. I kissed her on the head, and everything was okay.

The flight attendant, Melodie, said that none of the crew had ever been through anything like this. She said they train for it and everything went exactly the way it was supposed to. The Captain's name, for the record, was Brad Frost. If you ever meet him, buy him a beer for me. I would look for him myself but I'm going to be too busy producing movies, making babies and feeding my dog.

United Airlines has given each of us a "Sorry You Almost Died, Come Back Any Time" voucher. We might take them up on it as soon as we figure out Captain Frost's schedule. We have so much left to do.