Thursday, November 29, 2007

Affecting Change

Dena is quite involved philanthropy speaking, she donates to quite a number of charities both religious and non-religious. She's been doing it for a number of years and I applaud her for that. Me on the other hand, don't really believe in giving money to people or charities. If I can help, I'll help but I'm not giving money. If I give them money then I have no idea where it goes and how it's being used and whose pockets it's lining. Cynical yes, but that's me. A cynic, born and bred. I do my own thing regarding charities, I've been involved in the past 7 years with a women's shelter here in Los Angeles, I fix their computers, their phones, bring all kinds of clothes and furniture over there and the like. I've turned many people onto this group but due to the nature of the charity and because they have to protect the battered women, mostly I'll pick up stuff and bring it there myself. They prefer that no one knows where they are or who they are. So that's my thing.

But the other night there was a 20/20 special on regarding Camden, New Jersey, the poverty there and the affect it's had on children. The episode was a follow on to a previous one and it discussed the changes that people have made in these kids lives and it got me to thinking. By the way, if you're interested in that 20/20 episode, there is much on the web about it, start here.

So I contacted this kid mentoring program. It focuses on kids in the Los Angeles foster care system, not the ones in trouble but before they get in trouble. Which is good because I don't think I'm ready to handle some kid who has already been in Juvenile Hall. But I do know that I could benefit a kid needing some confidence building, homework help, fun time and someone cool to talk to. I think I'm cool. So, I've already taken the first 2 steps, I've applied and been pre-screened and have been passed up to the next phase. You have to go through training, a criminal background check, etc. Makes sense, can't have a child molester mentoring kids, that would be bad.

Stay tuned, I'll let you know how it goes.....

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Horror Films

These type of movies have never been my cup of tea. Frankly, they freak me out. They are however, the biggest money makers in Hollywood, netting significantly more cash than other genres. Think about it, you can use B or C actors(resses), special effects are really at a minimum and really, how much does fake blood and a chainsaw cost?

Speaking of freaking out, in my mind's eye I have several images of horror films etched in there. There is one in particular that is so ingrained in my pysche I think about it every week. I'm pretty sure it's from the original Friday the 13th where Jason Voorhees and the gang of soon to be murdered high schoolers are at some camp and he chases them around. The movie was released in 1980 and if I remember correctly, my cousin Robin and I snuck into the film, he convinced me to go, it was rated R of course, and we were both under 18, me just barely. I remember being scared out of my wits and scenes from that movie are with me today, 27 years later......ooooo I hated typing that number. Let me set up the scene for you......

The scene is the bathroom scene. So I walk into the bathroom at 10:00 at night at the UCLA campus after my class, and I walk into the stall and for some reason look up and around. There it is again, that feeling that someone is in the next stall, with a big ice pick and when I sit down to pee they are going to reach over the stall and stick that looped ice pick into my chin and drag me up to the top of the stall screaming, the blood catching in my throat, the breath leaving through the wrong hole........ah the horror of it all. How'd you like to have that scene play in your head everytime you went to a public bathroom at night?

Another scene from a movie that pops into my head at random moments is that scene from Aliens (I think it's the original Aliens wtih Sigourney Weaver) where the alien pops out of someones mouth or stomache. It's the alien baby from the momma's mouth. AAAARRRRGGGHHHHHHHHH!!! That movie freaks me out, too!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Miscellaneous Stuff

We drove through Santa Monica today and it's always the Farmer's Market on Sunday. A wildly successful market that recently expanded to include Valet bicycle parking. Read this bloggers report on it

Almost every morning (except when I go to the gym) I'm walking the neighborhood and I usually take the same route. Usually I see this older woman (I'm hoping she's older than me) power walking the same route. Picture this: she's about 5' nothing, with short little legs and I'm hoping about 10 - 15 years older than me. Well, maybe I shouldn't hope that. One morning she was behind me, and in my true competitive spirit I silently vowed not to let her catch up. She did, in no distance at all and smoked me. The next week, I found myself behind her as I turned the corner, I silently vowed I wouldn't let her get any further away, but off she went, smoking me again. It's kind of depressing really. I was walking as fast as humanly possible in my world.....

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Human Rights Campaign

This last Saturday night we went out on a fundraiser for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). It was a "women's only" cocktail and Hor'dourves affair hosted at a couple's house. I knew we were in for a treat when I pulled up the address on Google and it was in the Mt. Olympus area in the Hollywood Hills. I've ALWAYS wanted to go up into the area of mansions and see one inside, in person. Normally you can't really see what the house is all about because they are gated, or walled, hedged or whatever. So, I was thrilled. We pull up for the party and were greeted by female (cute I might add) valet parkers. They were very friendly and a nice change from the usual Hispanic valet guys that don't speak to you. They probably can't speak English anyways, but I digress.... If you ever want to hire a bunch of cute, young chicks to valet your party, go to Valet of the Dolls.

We walked in and made our way through this gorgeous house with the biggest kitchen I've ever seen and out into the back yard. The backyard consisted of a beautiful pool with a nice little waterfall and an incredible view of Hollywood and downtown Los Angeles. Spectacular. The whole thing was awesome. What I felt when I was there was that this is where I belong....hobnobbing with Jane Lynch (of Two and a Half Men + and other fame ) and MSNBC pundit Hilary Rosen and the two minister ladies from Amazing Race. Who unfortunately got booted recently, but we didn't know that at the time, and of course, chatting with them, they are forbidden by contract from telling you anything. Must have been hard for them to sit there while everyone congratulated them and wished them good luck, meanwhile they didn't even make it thru the 2nd show.

As I stood at the railing watching as the fog rolled in from the west to blanket downtown Los Angeles, I thought to myself, this is where I'm supposed to be. Hobnobbing with the rich and famous. Why aren't I rich? What did I miss? What opportunity knocked that I didn't hear?

Launching the Dawn

Yes people that's right, I've got a spaceship named after me. HAHAHAHA The Dawn spacecraft is a direct dichotomy of it's namesake -- me. It's slow, actually, ultra slow (thus ultra efficient) and is very feeble, thus making it ultra light. It is scheduled to launch in September and is destined for anything but greatness.....another dichotomy for sure. It's mission is to explore the asteroid Vesta and the dwarf planet Ceres (which circle the sun between Mars and Venus). This spacecraft is propelled by Ion propulsion system that uses xenon gas (light compared to regular fuels). A stream of charged atoms shoots out the ass of the ship propelling the craft but its acceleration with patience. It'll take 4 days to get to 60 mph. You can read about the mission, it's propulsion system, etc here

Monday, November 05, 2007


Where a video game can become a block buster movie and traffic patterns are affected by whether or not it's a Jewish Holiday. Today is strike day. On one hand you have to empathize with the writer's, after all, they are paid based on their showing airing and are paid every time their show airs. Keep in mind however, that let's say you were a writer for Seinfeld, you'd think you'd be rich right? Wrong. Your residuals or paychecks drop in half for every airing down to a minimum of $1. So, for those writer's on the original Seinfeld series, they are getting one dollar for every episode that airs now, but they get nothing for every Season DVD package that is sold. You can empathize with that complaint.

Hollywood payment schedules and policies have not kept pace with technology and the Internet. That's understandable, technology moves very quickly and why would the studios want to give up $$ they don't have to. This is why unions are important. Also, writer's have suffered on their bottom line due to the proliferation of reality TV. Dancing with the Stars doesn't really need a team of writer's does it? It probably just needs one writer (and a crappy one at that) to write basic copy for the judges. But, it's hard to empathize with a group of people that can make a living working from a Starbucks for 5 hours a day.....

As far as what the viewers at home will be seeing, the impact will likely immediately affect some of the nighttime talk shows, like "The Tonight Show" and "The Daily Show" on Comedy Central. Those are shows that rely on writers for everyday producing of programming.
The movie studios have stockpiled films in anticipation of a strike. Television networks have a lot of prime time programming ready, and should be okay for a little while -- but it depends on how long the strike lasts.

The strike will have a broad reaching effect if it lasts very long. I wonder how traffic will be today?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Mirror Mirror on the wall...

Who is the scariest of them all? Well, that answer is obvious!