This is an ever-evolving story of a girl writer and her two greatest loves, the movies and travel. As she hikes the trenches of Hollywood, you're brought along for the ride.

Friday, May 23, 2008

With A Thunderous Clap And A Funnel Cloud...

Mudslides. Wildfires. Earthquakes. Flash Floods. Tornadoes?

Anytime California weather makes the news--or alternatively Jay Leno--my grandmother, a Leno fan who in my home state of Nebraska, calls me.

"Is that at all affecting YOU?" she'll ask, her voice quivering.

Yesterday, leaving the Encino library with my arms full of books (and 3 DVDs that I'll never get to in the span of a 2- day loan) I got caught in an unexpected rain shower. It doesn't rain in Los Angeles...not in May. Then, suddenly I spied a long, narrow shock of lightning flash in the sky and just a moment later, a thunderous clap roared.

THUNDERSTORM!!! Yeah!!! With my childish excitement, you would've thought that I'd just caught a falling star (the subject matter of the only library DVD I got to--"Stardust.") I ran to my car and looked over in pity at a carnival trying to set-up in the park across the street. Later, after a stop at good ol' trusty Trader Joe's, I heard reports of funnel cloud sightings--aka tornadoes. TORNADOES???!!!

In Nebraska, I grew up on thunderstorms and I genuinely miss them. I love the rain and the electricity in the air whenever a T-storm comes storming in. Here we may get a sprinkle here--and an occasionally downpour, but a thunderstorm? Hardly ever. And reports of tornado warnings in the Southland gave me thoughts of home.

Of course, I don't wish for tornadoes--but there's something about them. The freakish hail, the pink and purplish sky, the stillness right before, and the amazement of seeing a black snake rising from the earth. Aaaahh...tornadoes bring back memories: Memories of dancing in the hail as a funnel cloud formed just miles away, squatting in a basement closet--clutching a battery-powered radio, eating KFC with my family underneath our pool table, sneaking looks at approaching funnel clouds while being scolded by my parents to stay away from the windows.

The adventurer inside of me loves the excitement mixed with danger. Nature in all its glory reminds us that as humans, we are not nearly as important or as powerful as we'd like to think we are. Sometimes, we need those reminders from nature. Often they bring destruction and pain along with them, but there's still something fascinating and humbling about watching nature in action.

With reports of thunderstorms, flash floods, and tornadoes yesterday in California, oddly enough, I did not get a call from Grandma. Tornadoes and T-storms are nothing new for her--it's tornado season there, after all. But the next time there's an earthquake or a wildfire anywhere within the state's borders, my phone will ring and a familiar, quivering voice will ask

"Is that at all affecting YOU?"
I will now take a literary bow--
as this concludes my 100th blog post in just over a year!!!

Copyright © 2008 KLiedle
Photo credit:

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Office Vs. Hollywood

My brother worked for quite awhile in database management. He had great benefits and paid time off accumulating quicker than he could plan vacations. However, he spent most of his time envisioning his future 401K nest egg, sending me links to cool websites ( and and counting the minutes until he could go home. Needless to say, he was bored. Now, he's searching for something-- a better job, more meaning in life.

"You are soooo lucky!!!, " proclaimed a fellow bridesmaid when I was summoned to the Midwest for a whirlwind wedding a few years ago. "I always wanted to work in entertainment," she continued, "but I live in, you know, Missouri." [Therefore, she's doomed??] I think not.

A high school classmate recently found me on Facebook. I asked her what she was up to. Her answer, "working in government. Being boring."

It's bad enough to declare your job boring yet infinitely more disastrous to declare yourself boring just based on the occupational hazard of your job title.

Working in the film industry, outsiders [even some friends and family] wrongly believe that I lead some glamorous, well-paying, fantasy life. Sure, it's probably more interesting sometimes than your average office job, but as I tell most people, "You'd be surprised at how boring and unappealing my job can really can be."

That's why, I now present today's 10 brainstorms comparing:

The Office Vs. Hollywood

1)~Your commute sucks, but you've done it so many times that your car could drive there on its own. (The Office)

~My commute changes everyday, Angelenos as a group cannot drive worth crap, and my Thomas Guide [ the THICKER than the Bible, L.A. book of streets and maps] is a permanent fixture underneath my front seat. (Hollywood)

2) ~You love FREE food... glazed donuts, cocoa in the office cabinet, instant coffee, leftover Girl Scout cookies that overzealous co-workers bought a month ago, birthday cakes... bean dip...cheese dip...guacamole... Christmas cookies. (The Office)

~I love FREE food (and drinks)... in the form of catered food on-set and craft services [when and if it's good.] FYI:Protein bars, fresh fruit, trail mix, veggies/dip, PB&J, and an espresso bar [good] Stale bagels, unrefrigerated cream cheese after more than 4 hours, donuts after nightfall, crusty cheddar cheese cubes solidified to toothpicks [bad] (Hollywood)

3) ~You minimize windows by clicking the "x" on your personal e-mail, Tetris, iTunes, your Facebook account,, and anything else you aren't supposed to be doing. (The Office)

~We minimize windows by blacking them out with gels so we can completely control the light while we're shooting. But we still play Tetris on our cell phone- as to appear that we're working, when we're really just trying to distract our brains from the Red Bull that just landed at the craft service table.

4)~Your day begins once you park your car in the lot, enter the building, trudge up the stairs, and turn on your computer. (The Office)

~I've spent hours never leaving the parking lot/ parking structure/crew parking... or basecamp [i.e. wherever we've decided to put our trucks and trailers.] (Hollywood)

5) ~You probably actually have an employee break room or an in-house cafe at work.
(The Office)

~ Sure, we get catering--but we could get stuck eating that lunch in any number of places: parking lots, underneath tents in the blazing sun, cemeteries, church basements...the possibilities are endless and couldn't be less ambient. (Hollywood)

6) ~You often wonder how it's possible that your superiors and CEOs earn so much money and yet seem to know so little (The Office)

~I often wonder the same thing about studio and network executives (as well as agents, managers, and seemingly clueless directors.) (Hollywood)

7)~ These days, you dread being laid off, but know it's inevitable no matter how valued you are.
(The Office)

~ I simultaneously look forward to (and dread) being laid off, but know it's inevitable.
P.S. I'm valued? News to me.

8) ~If you're still at work well after 12 hours, you're either raking in the overtime or you're a CPA the week before the tax deadline.

~If I'm still at work well after 12 hours, it's nothing new... they've pretty well got me for as long as they want to do camera set-ups.

9) ~You can strike, but no one will listen--and it probably won't make headlines. You're better off giving 2-week's notice and booking it for Jamaica before that vacation time evaporates.

~When Hollywood unions strike, it makes the National Enquirer and Deadline Hollywood Daily [an L.A. Weekly column] goes into overdrive giving us the play-by-play, whether we like it or not. And if we're below-the-line, we're reading Deadline Hollywood Daily because we are probably unemployed due to some Hollywood union strike. (Hollywood)

10) ~When you leave work, you pull into the driveway, walk into your house, and engage in a casual "hello, how was work?" dialogue with your spouse. Then you spend quality time with your kids while watching the 3-hour finale of "Survivor" and dreading work the next day. (The Office)

~First off, I don't have a driveway--let alone a house. Plus, Hollywood and marriage? Now, there's an oxymoron that many a Hollywooder has tried to defy. And kids? Let's not get too ambitious. But, yes, I've had my days when I dread going to work just as much as you do. But, "I'm living the dream..." I tell myself, as I merge onto another L.A. freeway. (Hollywood)

Copyright © 2008 KLiedle

Monday, May 5, 2008

Mail from Mom [And The Delight Of Rejection By Phone]

My mother loves sending manila envelopes. These envelopes are usually a treasure trove of clippings from the hometown newspaper, coupons (courtesy of my grandma), supermarket recipe books, and loads and loads of junk mail.

I've given her the authority to throw away the *obvious* junk mail, but she forwards it to me anyway. Recently, she told me that my high school was looking for me. They should ask my college-- the university foundation has had no problem finding me no matter how much I try to escape. Nonetheless, the latest manila envelope treasure trove arrives. Inside, among other *obvious* junk mail/solicitations is a postcard from my high school. There's an 800 number and it's marked urgent. [After all, don't all urgent notices arrive in pre-sorted bulk mail postcard form?]

I call the number. Why not? The guy on the other end of the line sounds like an older gentleman and so not from my high school. He works for a company in Virginia that was hired to sell high school directories to nostalgic people for the knock-out price of (2) installments of $44.99. It sounds like the Bradford Exchange, only I don't get a ceramic plate. Before he gives me the hard sell though, he asks for some information. (They can't sell directories if alumni don't list their information.)

Fine. I give him my name. He then asks for my telephone address... I tell him that I do not wish to list that information. He sounds surprised. I feel like I should give a reason for trying to go incognito via phone.

"I work in the entertainment industry," I tell him, "and for some reason, no matter what facet of the industry you work in, that fact alone brings people out of the woodwork."

[This is so true, by the way... Everyone also seems to think that my "entertainment" work is amazingly exciting compared to their doldrum, yet benefits-laden jobs--something that is also generally not the case.]

The phone guy seems to understand, but his next response confirms that he wasn't really listening to me at all.

"Oh. Are you an actress?" he asks. I can feel him smiling slyly on the other end of the line. "No, " I reply... annoyed.

Before he can give me some story about how his niece wants to get in the business or how he, too, has an idea for a movie, I quickly give him my occupation. I also let him put down that I'm currently in Los Angeles which isn't revealing much. I feel like I'm trying to be "nice" to some guy that's asking me out [and that I have zero interest in.] After some ho-humming, I volunteer an old hotmail e-mail address that I never really use. Then comes the hard sell, but I'm prepared.

"No, is my answer on the book," I tell him before he asks.


"Thanks, but I don't really want the book," I explain.

"Well...we only print as many books as reservations. If you don't reserve a directory now, you won't be able to get one.

I think back to high school and all the years that I passed in which I've managed to survive without their encyclopedic directory of high school alumni.

"No, I'm sure--but thanks."

His friendly demeanor sags and he blurbs out the 800 number again "in case I change my mind before their deadline" [which won't happen, by the way.]

It's been a few days now, and I haven't had any regrets. My mother says there's another manila envelope on its way. I can barely contain my squeals of delight. BUT, seriously I look forward to mail from mom just as much as I did back in college...

Photo credit: flickrway
Copyright © 2008 KLiedle