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Monthly Archives: October 2004

On my way home

I’ve had it with LA. I’m leaving. I just can’t take the pressure any more.
OK, well, it is true that I am leaving, but only for the weekend. I’m going home because my grandma is hosting a Halloween party this weekend. Her Halloween parties are always great fun, so I am looking forward to the party.
An update on my job: The thing I like least about my job is the commute. I have to travel 17.55 miles each way. While this distance wouldn’t be too bad, the traffic in LA makes it almost unbearable at times. It isn’t uncommon for me to spent at least 60 minutes driving to work every morning. Unfortunately, I have to take the I-405 every morning, which is notorious for being one of the world’s busiest freeways. Despite the fact that it is 6 lanes wide just southbound, my average speed on the 405 is probably about 15 miles per hour, which isn’t very good. Driving home is really unpredictable. Some nights the road is really open and other nights it’s bumper to bumper traffic. Because there are just so many people out here, it is almost impossible to predict traffic patterns accurately.
Well, it’s time for me to get to bed. I’ve got to be on an 8:15 a.m. flight in the morning, so I need to get some rest before that. See you on the flip side…

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Good news from the land of Oz

OK, so maybe I don’t get the Oz Daily Herald, but I have been given some good news from another land that I care about slightly more than Oz – Notre Dame. As most of my avid readers will know, I was the founding Executive Producer of NDtv – Notre Dame Television – during a good portion of my time at ND. Anyway, I left control of the show in the very capable hands of Mr. Adam Fairholm, who has taken NDtv to a new level this year. With the invaluable aid of Laurie McFadden, SAO Advisor for NDtv, the seeds that I planted have been nurtured by Adam and now NDtv has been given not only their own station on which to broadcast, but they have also been told that come spring semester, they will have their own studio in Washington Hall! Now, you have to admit that this is great news, particularly considering that NDtv is only in its third year. And the first year can hardly be counted, as we were battling SAO for most of that time trying to get funding.
Oh, and if that isn’t news enough for you, I am also happy to report that I picked up Chris Columbus at the airport on Monday. Chris is actually a really nice guy. He sat in the front seat of the car and we talked for a brief period of time on the drive. I had to take him from LAX to his hotel in Beverly Hills. Not much else to report on this, but interesting news all the same.

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It’s a sad day when you lose a friend

I’ve been pretty damn lucky in my life when it comes to losing people that have been important in my life. In fact, I’ve only had to deal with death once – when my Grandma Al died in 2002. But aside from that, I’ve never really had friends or family pass away. Unfortunately, though, I must now add a friend’s name to the list of those gone before me: Raeanin Simpson.
I haven’t actually seen her since – oh – 1990 or so when we acted in the movie “Little Heroes” together. After that, I would sometimes wonder if our paths would ever cross again, but they never did. I learned just today that Raeanin died in San Diego of a drug overdose on August 23, 2004. It is thought that the overdose was intentional… suicide. Raeanin was apparently very alone in San Diego because her body wasn’t found until possibly two weeks after she died. It is a very sad story. Oddly, just this past June I had a sudden urge to reconnect with Raeanin. I didn’t know anything about what she had done after “Little Heroes” except that she did another film called “Wind Dancer” just a few years later. I searched for her on the internet, I called and e-mailed different schools, I even called Craig Clyde, the director of both “Little Heroes” and “Wind Dancer” to see if he knew her whereabouts. But nobody knew and I never found her. Now I learn that it was only two months after I looked for her that she died, and part of me can’t help but feel a little guilty. What if I had only been more persistent in my search to find her? Could I have done anything to make a difference in her life? Was my sudden urge to find her a call from God to help her – a call that I didn’t really take seriously? Of course, I know that her death isn’t my fault, but I still have this feeling that I might have been able to play a role in preventing it.
If you want to read a news story about Raeanin’s death, you can find it here. But be warned, if you are an emotional person, it may well make you cry – particularly the letter to Raeanin from her mother.

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Star Sightings

The Sony Pictures Studio lot was the place to be today if you wanted to see almost as many stars as stud the Oscars. OK, well, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but I did see quite a few celebrities today. Headlining the list of celebrities was Jamie Lee Curtis who came to the Westside Children’s Center charity event to read from her new children’s book. Due to the recent passing of her mother, “Psycho” shower vic Janet Leigh, Jamie Lee only came, did the reading and promptly left. Other stars in attendance included Jason Ritter (son of the late John Ritter), Shelley Morrison, Joe Mantegna, Steven Anthony Lawrence, Sarah Ramos, Ethan Dampf, Vanessa Lengies, Arlen Escarpeta, Keith Robinson, Duff McKagan (of Guns N’ Roses fame, now with Velvet Revolver), Christine Lahti, Rami Jaffee (Wallflowers), and the beautiful Lauren Birkell.
It was my distinct honor to greet almost all of these various celebrities as they arrived to park their cars and then escorted them to the check in table. I was actually assigned to show Lauren Birkell around the event, which was definitely my good fortune.
Overall, the event was very nice. Hosted on the backlot of Sony Pictures, the tickets cost $65 for adults and $35 for children, with all proceeds going to benefit the Westside Children’s Center in Culver City. In addition to hosting the celebs, I also volulnteered for the final hour and a half or so at one of the craft booths where children could come and design their own “Tic-Tac-Toe” boards. Mostly, though, the kids just decorated them without regard to the fact that they were intended for “Tic-Tac-Toe” use.

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Rent gets the Green Light

For those of you who have been anxiously awaiting news about my status, I am pleased to inform you that RENT has been given the green light by Revolution Studios. I am now working as the Assistant to the Executive Producer, Lata Ryan. Up until November 8 I will be working at Revolution Studios in Santa Monica, but beginning November 8 we are moving the production office up to San Francisco. But, to be honest, I wouldn’t have been getting paid just sitting around the apartment all day, either, so I don’t mind doing a little work for free.
Actually, I am getting paid to work, but not at Revolution. I have a temp job, just for four days, at this production company called Martin-Calvert. A friend of mine, Elias, usually works as their office PA, but he is out of town this weekend for his brother’s wedding, so he needed someone to fill in him this past Thursday and Friday and this coming Monday and Tuesday, so I said I would do it. I don’t even know how much I am getting paid, I just know that I am. I’ll be back to work at Revolution on Wednesday.
OH – I just bought a new laptop! For work at the Rent office I need a computer and have to provide my own. While I did already have a laptop, it is almost four years old and really isn’t working the way it used to (surprise, surprise). So I went by the Apple Store in Santa Monica and picked up a new iBook G4. I actually saw the new G5 iMacs there and really want one of those, but I knew that a laptop would be the more practical option for a computer that I need at work. It’s convenient and versatile – and portable, of course. I might still get the new G5 iMac, but not right away.
So, I have to admit, I have finally seen a Walmart commercial that I like. Until today, I had never seen a good Walmart commercial, but that has all changed now. In this particular commercial a little girl is talking about how she is going to be a princess for Halloween. She then goes on to say that she isn’t a real princess, she just dresses up like one. She also talks about how much she loves to go Trick-or-Treating, and then she demonstrates her best scary face, which is far cuter than it is scary. I’ve done a cursory search online trying to find the commercial, but have yet to find one, so I can’t provide you with a link to it. But you should try to catch it on TV if you can. (Note: This commercial has not made me want to shop at Walmart – a place I really dislike going – I just really like the commercial.)
Until next time…

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