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.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Poetically Moving Forward

There are days, weeks, months when nothing goes wrong. Every day unfolds like the one before it and tomorrows awaken as they always have. Nothing miraculous, nothing disastrous.

We all have luck-- I believe in it-- but luck comes in waves that are both good and bad-- yin and yang, positive and negative. The good luck and the bad luck interact with each other to bless me with experiences that make me as I am.

This has been a hectic and emotional roller-coaster of a week. I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed by work and the prospects of finding another job in this "blast-off-bottle rocket"economy. I've been moving forward with our show, "It's Always Smoggy In L.A." working in post on a couple of episodes, developing marketing/publicity ideas and beginning pre-production on another episode slated to shoot next month.

Then, an external hard drive failed. "Grrreeattt....," I thought-- "less than a year old" with video files, raw footage, the works. We were able to recover some files and put the data onto another hard drive that awesomely failed two days later for no reason whatsoever. It just no longer "mounted" onto my desktop and seemed corrupted in some way. I left it alone. I just didn't want to deal with it. Whatever. Pissy mood.

Then, Saturday, July 18-- as I wished one friend a happy birthday I learned I'd lost another friend: Christine Niemi. Just 32, she'd been diagnosed with colon cancer only a handful of years ago. She'd been feisty against it, doing all she could to fight her illness while spreading the word about cancer prevention and cancer research through her blog and her activism with C3: Colorectal Cancer Coalition

Suddenly, stupid little annoyances didn't seem like much anymore. Christine in life [and in death] taught me a lot: Seize the moment. Reach toward your goals-- what have you got to lose? Keep a positive attitude. Find yourself and be yourself. Don't compromise. Never take your health or body for granted. Laugh whenever you can. Cry when you need to. And above all, be kind to yourself and to others.

Sure, the external hard drive crashes still piss me off and I'm still figuring that out. Disk Warrior?? I don't know. I have a job--though it may not be the most ideal one for now. I've got other challenging projects on the horizon that are sometimes stressful, yet always rewarding and helping me to develop as a person. Life will go on. Things will fall into place.

That day [Saturday], thoughts started circulating, words started formulating. I put other things aside and allowed myself to think. I wrote a poem called No Longer Of This World (and though I'm a writer, I don't normally write poetry. I stopped at the library and got a book called Meditation For Beginners and another one on how to write a living will. Because there will always be things in life that are difficult, but necessary. And though I don't look forward to those things, when faced with them, I want to be prepared and calm and know that I did the best I could.

No Longer Of This World
Christine Niemi's Blog: Colon Cancer Sucks Ass

Copyright 2009 by KLiedle
Flower photo credit: Ban Mae Raem

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Thespian Jesus-- "Sure I enjoy the craft and lunching with Tom Hanks..."

Here is one of our latest episodes of "It's Always Smoggy In L.A."

Check out all other episodes and vote for your favorites on Funny or Die.

It's Always Smoggy In L.A.

Copyright 2009 by KLiedle
Creative Commons Licensing

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Neverland Best Left To Imagination

A week ago, I was sitting as I am today when the news broke that Michael Jackson had been rushed to UCLA Medical Center and then pronounced dead.

News spread like a California wildfire. In the next several hours, I heard dozens of helicopters overhead-- enough that I had to close my windows to block out the noise. Media outlets and fans from all over Los Angeles and the world descended on the scene. They came by land and by air and even by foot.

I remembered my 1984 Michael Jackson AM/FM radio-- still sitting on a shelf at my parents' house. With two AA batteries, it still catches some stations, but mostly it's static. And that's how things are right now: static-- as the Jackson family tries to figure out how to honorably and respectfully memorialize Michael. Michael's family and friends are mourning privately. Yet, fans have a connection to Michael and a collective need to express themselves and commemorate him in a public way. In that, lies the complication.

Two or three days ago, the plan had been to have a 30-car motorcade escort the body to Neverland Ranch in Santa Barbara County, CA for a public memorial this coming Friday.

"Authorities in Santa Barbara County had been preparing for tens of thousands of fans to descend on the 2,500-acre ranch after media reports that a public viewing would take place later this week." (AP)

Today those plans have been dismissed and I'm relieved-- totally and completely. Helicopters overhead is one thing, but a media circus following a motorcade to a sleepy little town called Los Olivos is quite another. The area is not prepared for a public event of this magnitude. And in a word, it would be hellish.

I spent some time living in the area not too far from Neverland Ranch. It was a world away from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles and that's what I appreciated most about it. Locals in Los Olivos, Santa Ynez, and surrounding areas enjoy simplicity, rolling hills, vineyards, and the overall serenity they garner from the sun and the air and the beauty around them. I suspect that Michael relished many of the same things about the area.

As a private residence, Neverland Ranch is tucked away on a rather isolated country road. Of course, it has its mystique and sometimes people whisper about its existence. A few years back, a friend of mine was commissioned to do some mural artwork there. She never saw Michael yet she spoke of the experience of being there and the high level of security-- a necessity for an estate associated with someone like Michael Jackson.

I'd driven past the wrought-iron gates before. Along the road to Neverland, there are narrow, winding views of fields and pastures and an occasional horse or two. It's glowing and peaceful and private there. It's not for tourists or prepared for mass processions of people.

In 2005, when child molestation allegations rose once again, half a dozen satellite news vans and a mini-Michael Jackson circus of fans camped outside the gates. There they waited persistently for a news break or a Michael sighting. I don't have the patience for such things. And I found them annoying because I, too, was a local myself at that time. I just wanted the attention to pass so life could get back to normal.

I believe a place like Neverland should remain mystical. Michael wouldn't want Neverland to be stampeded by fans on the occasion of his death or thereafter if it were to become a museum like Graceland. To locals, a public memorial or worse, a Neverland Ranch Museum, would change their serene lifestyle and the landscape of the area dramatically. Cars would be piled up for miles along the little road... or lands of great beauty would be cleared for acres of parking and concrete. The area would become commercialized as Michael Jackson County and that's the least that would happen.

If Neverland is sold, so be it. When an era is over, we mourn and move on. We have our memories and our own ideas of what Neverland, Michael Jackson, and the Land of Oz means to us personally. We hold on to what we can and let go of the rest.

Thankfully, the Neverland memorial plans have been dropped. However, if a public memorial is still sought, and the idea has not been completely scrapped, plan it at a venue that can withstand such an event.

Copyright 2009 by KLiedle
Photo credits: susanneleasure/flickr and svanes/flickr