Wednesday, September 27, 2006

My Life in Music (according to my music player)

What's Your Soundtrack?

OK ~ I put my music player on shuffle. The first song is the song for my Opening Scene. Skip to the next song, this is the next category. Sometimes, the songs actually fit the scene, which is a little creepy. Yeah, like my music player knows what I'm doing...

Opening Scene: Here You Come Again ~ Dolly Parton
Wake Up Scene: Fields of Gold ~ Sting
Average Day: You Don't Treat Me No Good ~ Soniadada
1st Date: I'll Be Alright Without You ~ Journey
Falling in Love: Dancing in the Dark ~ Bruce Springsteen
Fight Scene: Say You'll Be There ~ The Spice Girls
Break Up Scene: I Know You Love Me ~ Trinere
Back together: Black Money ~ Culture Club
Secret Love: Hard to Say I'm Sorry ~ Chicago
Life's OK: Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) ~ Eurythmics
Mental Breakdown: Walk This Way ~ Run DMC/Aerosmith
Driving: Let Her Cry ~ Hootie and the Blowfish
Learning a Lesson: Breakaway ~ Kelly Clarkson
Deep Thought: Back to Life ~ Soul II Soul
Flashback: Only Wanna Be With You ~ Hootie and the Blowfish
Partying: Clampdown ~ The Clash
Happy Dance: Brand New Lover ~ Dead or Alive
Regretting: Underneath it All ~ No Doubt
Long Night Alone: Wounds ~ Route 7

Death Scene: Jukebox (Don't Put Another Dime) ~ the Flirts
Closing Credits: Somewhere Down the Road ~ Barry Manilow


Monday, September 25, 2006

Studio 60/Sting and ME!

One of the best things about working for the Company is, undoubtedly, the perks ~ movie screenings before public release, celebrity sightings any day of the week, the Love Rocks concert at the Kodak Theatre, "Friends" tapings, etc. Nothin' but love!

Last week, the Company held a lottery for employees to be an audience member on the new Matthew Perry/Bradley Whitford show "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" with Sting as the special guest. Um. Hellooooo! Firing off an email to enter while still reading the announcement, I kept thinking "Sting AND Matthew Perry. Sting AND Matthew Perry." This doesn't happen all the time, People! Wouldnyaknowit - I'm a weener! Woo hooo! Mandy too! BFFs on TV with Matthew Perry (he's on our laminated cards)?! What do we do? We go shopping. Of course!

Because production has no set schedule, and we were at their mercy, our call time changed right up until the day before the shoot. I'd heard a lot of people complained and canceled because production couldn't say *when* the taping would be finished. Whatever! It's a unique opportunity - take advantage and enjoy! Don't get me wrong - it was a long effing day. It's Sting, People. Sting! *sigh*

I got to Stage 25 @ 11:35 a.m. There were several tables & chairs, with small groups of people scattered all around. I filled out my release, sat down and waited. M&I looked *totally* fabulous - she in her gray tunic, me in red & black & pearls! Food services had a huge spread - donuts, bagels, bags of chips, granola bars, water, soda, cereal & milk, oatmeal & raisins, peanut butter and jelly - "Help yourself!" Around 2:15 p.m. there was some movement near the door. I saw Fusske make a I pulled Mandy up to the door. Chatting up the security guard, the Producer came in and asked Fusske "are you background?" He said "Yes! We are!" She told him to go. All 7 of us from the table fell in step behind the Producer and walked across to Stage 19. As we walked in, there was definitely a buzz in the air...though it was dark and smoky, the air was electric - you knew this was something special. The set had a stage w/candleabras and stools placed toward the back of Stage 19 ~ a very gothic, romantic feel/look. Three gorgeous tapestries were hung from the ceiling as backdrop for Sting's stage setting. Rotating lights with cut cels shone on the tapestries, making it look like clouds were moving across them; really beautiful. Three rows of seats were directly in front of the stage (these people would be facing Sting) with 2 risers/bleachers positioned off to the left and right. Five or six rows of seats were placed on either side of the stage - this is where we were seated. As we waited to be seated, Sting was standing there. Just standing. There. Umm. Hi. You're Sting. He was backlit - not for show, he just stood right there, in the light. Nice. We're sitting, gawking, watching, waiting, staring, etc. The Producer walked over, standing at the end of my row. I leaned over to her "Thank you very much!" She looked at me - a bit startled and surprised. "Thank *you*! And just for that, when he gets up (she's pointing to Sting's accompanist who's sitting in the first seat of the first row), you can sit there." Yeah I can! Yippeee! She goes to talk with him, he moves and she points to me. I abandon Mandy without reservation or hesitation (Sorry! LYMI!!). I wind up sitting directly behind Sting, next to my former boss, in the camera shot. I am less than 6 feet from Sting. Less than 6 feet. From Sting! Umm. Helloooo! You're Sting and you're standing. There. I'm a bit giddy and giggly at this point (no duh). Sting and his accompanist take the stage with their lutes (sooo...does that make them loutists?) - loud applause, lots of "wooooo"-ing and smiles all around. Umm. Helloooo! It's STING! Lauren Graham introduces Sting for the "Studio 60" show and he performs. He sounded beautiful! Mind you, I'm looking at his back (nice suit, BTW)...but staring up at him in total adulation. We tape that scene a couple of times, then we're released for lunch (again, kudos to Food Services for a great lunch spread - mac n cheese, chicken, fish, steamed broccoli, lots of cakes and pies). After a couple more hours, we're called back into the studio to tape a scene with Matthew Perry (swoon!) and Sarah Paulson on the balcony above the performance area. Again, totally in the camera shot! It was weird to watch Sting, who is just pretending to sing, while MP and SP are conversing. I did sneak a couple of sidelong glances at Mister Matthew Perry, my supersecret boyfriend. No Bradley Whitford, though.
When all was said and done, we'd watched Sting perform the song 4 times through. We were finally released from the production around 9:30 or so. What a long effing day! But soooo worth it!

Look for me on "Studio 60" Monday October 16th (check your local listings)!

Friday, September 15, 2006


"Taxi! You need taxi? I got taxi!"

He´s got M&M´s bags, loading them onto a dolly and reaching for mine. I figured M secured a taxi, but his expression clearly said WTC?! I pulled my bag away just in time for some purple-vested guy to say "Come with me!" He´s asking where we´re staying while guiding us through the gauntlet of purple-vested people to a huge desk. Behind the desk, the most courteous, wide-toothed grinning guy starts firing questions. I´m thinking he´s from the Allegro property with a shuttle to take us there. Nope. Bastard is trying to railroad us into a timeshare brainwash presentation. Dude - give me my map and my paper and get me the hell out of here! FINALLY we get outside with the sketchy bag-grabbing "You need taxi? I got taxi!" guy. Mind you, there are no other taxis out here. It´s a van. Mandy & I look at each other - WTC?! My insides, once again, have become liquid. What else can we do but climb aboard. Turns out, we were ripped off on the fare. But, we arrived safely - that says something. And, we had a great driver! JoseMiguelManuelErnesto recommended which places to eat at in town, which tours were the best, showed us the new property called the Mayan Resort (ohhhh more on THIS to come), and stopped in front of the wildlife reserve to see the crocodiles.

We pull up in front of the Allegro Nuevo Vallarta resort - gorgeous property! And sitting in a huge overstuffed chair in the open reception area is a dark-haired guy wearing a white shirt, khaki shorts and a huge smile. It´s Marc! :)


The passport fiasco solved, we re-board. The flight was less-than-full and quite uneventful - unless you count the amount of vodka tonics being consumed by us...but I digress...
The aeropuerto is set amid a gorgeous lush green jungle. I must admit to fleeting thoughts of WTC have I gotten myself into, but the area was really beautiful. The aeropuerto in PV is similar to Burbank´s - disembark outside of the airport itself. As I stepped out of the plane, I was smothered by the heat and humidity; my hair instantly frizzy. Fantastic - I´ll be frizzy and oily all week long. Woo hoooo.

We make our way into the building to Immagracion. Papers are filled out and (the best thing, by far) my passport gets stamped! :) I know, it´s only Mexico. But I got a passport stamp, baby! We follow the crowd toward baggage claim. M&M get their bags immediately. I wander around the conveyor thingy. And around. And around. And around. It doesn´t help that a) my bag is black, b) so are all the others coming off the plane, and c) it´s borrowed luggage so I´m not too familiar with it. Bags are being pulled off the conveyor and piled next to it. My insides turn liquid once again. (And mind you, they hadn´t quite gelled and reset from the passport in Vegas!) A million thoughts are running through my mind...but somewhere in there I vaguely hear - Riss-sa Dode-son? Riss-sa Dode-son? That could be my name, right? I turn to see my bag with some random dude in a purple vest standing next to a different conveyor thingy! WTC?! I run over, grab my bag and begin to settle down.

Then, we´re assaulted by a swarm of purple vested people and men yelling "Taxi! Taxi!" And it only gets better from here...


Slightly weary, completely sticky, sweaty & shiny (the freakin' humidity made me frizzy and shiny all week - how appealing), and in desperate need of a drink, M&M&M&I head off to register. Marc leads us down a covered, wood-arched breezeway. To the left were the pools (one kiddie and one not-so-kiddie) surrounded by blue chaises and umbrellas; just past the pools was where we would come to take up residence every night - the bar! Spread out in front of us was the beach. With hundreds of lounge chairs and dozens of grass-covered umbrellas perfectly aligned in the sand, how could I not begin to feel relaxed? Just the sound of the waves was enough for me. Crossing the courtyard, we approach the VIP services office ~ affectionately dubbed "Little House en la playa" by Michael. As we enter, we're greeted by Israel - our afternoon host. The Little House en la playa is windowed bungalow at the edge of the resort. Inside there's a desk with computer; 2 dark wood tables set with gorgeous china, silver, glasses and fancy-folded napkins; overstuffed chairs, a sofa and loveseat; and, in the far right corner? A bar, baby! Through the beveled glass French doors was the jacuzzi (which didn't work until our last day - BOO!) and padded chaise lounges for VIP. Still in the middle of all the hand-shaking formalities and customer service niceties, we're offered champagne. Hell yeah I want champagne! VIP. That's how we rock it! Well, for the whole week, that's how we'll rock it. Registered, braceleted and reveling in the champagne we trudge up the stairs to the 5th floor. Why the hell is the elevator on the other side of the resort? It's the 5th floor, so our legs will get a great work-out, for sure; but the late drunken nights? That ain't right. Marc tells us we have a 3 room unit with a king size bed and 2 smaller beds in another room (Marc to M&M - "I was going to let you 2 have the king bed, but when I saw it, I said 'it's mine!' Sorry!" LOL) Enter room 559 - there's a bathroom, faux-kitchen thing, sitting area with TV, through the folded partition is the king sized bed, another bathroom and a small sitting area, which is next to the adjoining room with 2 more beds, small sitting area and a third bathroom. Sweet! Huge picture windows offered views of the property next door, the Little House en la playa and much of our resort. Mandy & I had our cameras out, taking it all in. I crossed the room, out the sliding glass door to the balcony. What an incredible view! No matter the oppressive heat or humidity, I felt all the crap and the recent stresses of work fall completely away. I think I even felt my blood pressure drop. With 2 chairs, a chaise lounge and table, I knew the balcony would be my journaling space. I couldn't stop looking at the ocean, the dark storm clouds gathering and the ray of sunshine hitting the water. It was really beautiful and peaceful and just what I needed.

After some chill time, we headed down for dinner. The al fresco dining area was tiered with tables on all 3 levels. As if one, we headed straight for the same table - the one closest to the water. I have no idea what we ate that night. But I remember our visitor. I kept seeing things move in my peripheral vision. Now, being the quintessential near-sighted girl, I've got those floaty things in my eyes. So, I tend to see things that may - or may not- be there. M&M&M bring to my attention **the Godzilla-sized gecko crawling on the wall above our table** Are you effing kidding me with this?! OK, I recognize this is an irrational fear. No matter, it's a huge crawly thing *above the table where I'm eating dinner* Oh, make no mistake that my so-called friends seized the moment and took full advantage of every opportunity to make fun of me. Hey, it's all fun and games until someone gets hurt. At which point, Michael says, it become A LOT MORE FUN. Ha! I'm vacationing with these people all week?! Fantastic. We dined with our new friend, Gordon, and/or some member of his family every night. I didn't sign up for the dining in the wild experience...

Laughing, drinking, talking and having a great time, the storm started to move in. The thunder & lightning, the smell of the air and the rain just fell. What an amazing sight! Born and raised in Southern California, rainstorms are an incredible nuisance to me. On vacation, however, it's a totally different story.

And that was only Night One.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Puerto Vallarta, Baby!

Vacation, all I ever wanted. Vacation, have to get away...

Just getting to PV turned out to be an adventure. At the airport, the lines were tolerably long. And that was just to check in. Once we figured out the whole kiosk-ticket-typing it all in thing, we were good to another line to hand over our luggage. Riddle me this - why is the line to hand over our luggage a longer wait than getting our tickets? Couldn´t tell ya. Let´s skip ahead - shops, books, wait, board, pictures, take off, land, Vegas. Flight Attendant Girl says "all you need is your boarding pass" to get back onto our flight to Puerto Vallarta, baby! We run off, hit the bathrooms, get some food, run back to the gate (we only had 15 minutes to accomplish this). Mister Gate Keeper said uhhh...not so much - you need your passports to get back on the plane. M&M look at each other. Passports on the plane. Collectively, our insides went liquid. You should have seen Mandy´s face! OMG! She was about to be ill. Wait - I have mine, I´ll get onboard and bring your bags out to you! Problem solved! Ta-da. Mister Gate Keeper Man said uhhhh...not so much. Thankfully, he went onto the plane and got the bags which held the passports. OMG! OMG! What a huge relief! Mandy´s face didn´t get much better after that...our insides were still liquid from the neck down...