Wednesday, August 30, 2006

the tv edition

The elevator guy came and fixed the elevator today. Then Jim and Big Eric rode down with him to the first floor and they let him leave the building. I would’ve chained him to the elevator until we moved all our stuff in. But no, Jim and Big Eric let him go, then came back up to our floor, at which point the elevator broke again. Did I mention that we don’t have Internet access at our new pad yet? If I want the Internets, I have to navigate seven flights of stairs and two blocks to my old pad or Lost Souls. With all those obstacles, you’d think I’d have something more substantial to say other than I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck.

At least we have DirecTV. So after a full day of writing and not moving my stuff in because our elevator still isn’t working, I watch television. We also have two DVRs for optimum TV watching capabilities. What have I been watching? With the exception of Psych and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, nothing but guilty pleasures. Entourage, which I'm sure everyone already knows about, is one show I don't miss. But the silliest show of them all, the one that makes me scream, is Pants Off Dance Off. You've probably never heard of it, but it's brilliant. All sorts of people, all ethnicities, young old, gay, straight, male, female - they go in-studio to dance to their favorite video, while they take their clothes off. They also run a commentary by the stripping dancer. They compete against others doing the same, and you can vote via phone or online. Just before they strip down to their naughty bits, they stop the video and direct them online to see the final reveal. Brilliant. I think I watched six hours of it.

With the new fall lineup just around the corner, I need to figure out what I'm going to watch this season, what I'll TiVo, which new shows I'll consider, etc. After all, you never when you're going to find another Pants Off Dance Off.

I Netflixed the pilot for Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and loved it. Amanda Peet and Matthew Perry are very funny, the characters are well-drawn, and the writing is very snappy. I really miss West Wing, but hopefully this will help me get over it. So with Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations on the Travel Channel, my Monday night is set. Tuesday night I just might give Friday Night Lights a chance. I loved the movie, saw it about 30 times. I don't know why, I'm a sucker for inspirational sports movies (Rudy, Remember the Titans, Brian's Song, Major League 1 & 2, Bad News Bears, The Benchwarmers)

Of course, Lost remains on my viewing schedule. J.J. Abrams is brilliant. He creates such rich, compelling characters, from all the kids in Felicity, to Sydney et al in Alias, and to damn near everyone on the island. I don't speculate about the meaning or delve too deeply into the show. For me, it’s just pure escapist fun.

But when it comes to escapism and guilty pleasures, I think Fashion House and Desire take the cake. Long ago, back in the 90’s, my friends would gather on a Monday night and watch Melrose Place together. In the 80's, it was Dallas and Falcon Crest. I haven’t watched soap operas in years, but every now and then I’ll watch Korean, Filipino and Hispanic telenovelas with the sound off. Now, MyNetworkTV is programming telenovelas for American audiences with the launch of Fashion House starring Bo Derek and Morgan Fairchild and a second show, Desire, starring pretty people you’ve ever heard of. I've seen the pilot (through a friend who works at Fox) for both shows and funny enough, both shows start with two people in bed the morning after having had raucous sex. While Desire has guns, a Mafia plotline, and things blowing up, Fashion House has Bo and Morgan in at least three catfights. Meow.

I need to get out more.

day 3 - elevator still inoperable

Jim and I didn’t want to deal with finding our kitchen stuff, so yesterday we ventured out into our new neighborhood for breakfast. We’d been there countless times before, but since we’re in much closer proximity, Angelique Cafe is our new neighborhood café. We sat out on the patio enjoying the lazy morning, our bustling neighborhood, and the yummy food.

Halfway through our meal, I noticed someone taking a lot of camera equipment out of his car parked at the loading zone. “Hey Jim, isn’t that Gary Leonard?” I asked between heaping mouthfuls of Croque Madame. Jim stopped chewing on his prosciutto sandwich long enough to take a long look at Gary and say, “Yeah.” As if on cue, Gary came over and said hi and mentioned the pictures were to accompany a review of Angelique for the Downtown News.

We chatted about the fate of the Alexandria Hotel, the changes that I’ve noticed just in the short time since the sale, and the pictures I want to take of the place before I leave, before they change everything. Gary snapped pics of Jim dining against the backdrop of Angelique Café’s window. I hope some of those pictures end up in the paper this Friday. I took some pics with my phone, but I still haven't figured out how to get them onto my computer.

Monday, August 28, 2006

going, going, not yet gone

The elevator in our new pad isn't working. Seven flights up is a long way when you've got to haul all your belongings with you. I've been chained to my laptop for the past four months, unable to work out because of crazy deadlines, so factor in having to haul an extra 15-20 pounds (overweight writer's ass) and my carpal-tunnel syndrome-plagued hands unable to grip much and you can understand why I feel like I've been hit by a truck this morning.

We moved most of Jim's stuff out, but only managed to get my bed, a few boxes and the bar out of the old penthouse. My mom came over Saturday to help me pack. She looked at something like four five-foot stacks of shoes and said, "You have a lot of shoes." Sigh. Yes, I have a lot of shoes.

Speaking of shoes, the other weekend Jim was nice enough to accompany me to the Bridal Expo at the convention center. I went in hopes of being picked to participate in the Cake Dive (where five women slog through a six-foot tall, four-foot wide cake to find a $5,000 diamond), but no luck. Jim said if they had picked me it would've been game over. But why shoes? At the fashion show, they offered a sapphire necklace to the first guy onstage wearing a pair of women's shoes on their feet. So Jim threw his five sizes too big feet into my shoes and ran up. I wish I had a camera, Jim was hilarious. So now I have a sapphire necklace and stretched-out shoes. Thank you Jim!

And a big thank you to our friends who helped with the move - Albert and Lisa, James, Angel, Wayne, Tastypants and my mom - you guys are lifesavers and we can't thank you enough.

But now, the move continues. And the elevator is still not working.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

the new pad

Jim and I are moving into our first pad together. It's downtown, two blocks away from Jim's pad and my current pad. It's the penthouse where we first met, where my sister was married, where we held the blood drives, where Jim drunkenly disrobed and posed for pictures wearing a towel, and where we had our engagement party a few months ago. I feel like we won the lottery.

Our dear friend and wedding coordinator Adam, the previous tenant, decided to quit his job and spend a year traveling around the world. By the way, we need a new wedding coordinator. So Adam called us with his good news and asked if we were interested in taking over his lease. We jumped at the chance, jumped through some hoops for the landlord, and yesterday, we picked up the keys to our new pad.

More to come.

favorite alexandria penthouse memories

I wish blogger existed back in 1991 when I first moved downtown, to South Park. Or when I first moved into the Alexandria nine years ago. I've managed to write about a few events and characters I've run across and interacted with, but it was nothing like the first few years.

We used to throw huge parties in the penthouse. Imagine having a thousand people over at your house for a party that didn't end until the sun came up. The first party I threw with my new loftmates resulted in one guy throwing himself off my roof and impaling himself on a parking meter on 5th Street. My then-boss saw him jump. A co-worker at the time was in his car, waiting to get into my parking garage when the body hit the ground. He called me and I was in my bedroom answering the phone when another co-worker ran in and said, "Celia, someone just jumped off your roof". The cops came, interviewed the witnesses, about 50 of them, in my bedroom while the party raged on outside. I asked the cops if I should break up the party. They said no emphatically, smoked my cigars and hit on my girlfriends while conducting the investigation. Multi-taskers, all of them. The last reveler left the party around 6AM. The security guard stationed outside Charley O's when the body dropped quit the next day.

We've had lots of parties since where we didn't have a body count, but that seems to be the one that people remember most. Even more than the one where about people on the dance floor took their clothes off. The security guards tried to get them to put their clothes back on, until jet-set roommate and I told them it was okay. Even more than the vintage porn projected onto neighboring abandoned buildings, people remember the party with the dead guy.

Chris the Magician moved out so that I could move in. He took his pet pig, snakes, rats, and cages full of crows with him. I remember pulling up to the curb to move stuff in, just as he was trying to get the pig in his car.

Jet-set roommate Kedric had been there almost a year when I moved in. He wasn't jet-set back then. As I wrote out the check to loftmate Bob, he promised that he wouldn't run around the place naked now that I was moving in. I assured him I didn't want him to change his behavior just on my account. I've never seen him naked. But I did hear his ex-girlfriends Emily and Helena fake orgams badly from out in the hallway, but not at the same time. Ah, Emily. Now she was crazy.

Sculptor Taft Green lived there at the time. He was always in his room, or in one of the five artists' studios, or in our living room working on a sculpture or something. I've run into Taft at the Bounty, I wonder if he gets nostalgic for the penthouse.

I'm sure more memories will come to mind as the month progresses. I'll try to scribble them down as I pack.

leaving 5th and spring

After nine years of living in the penthouse of the Alexandria Hotel, I am moving. I just got a chill. Even though I'm only moving two blocks away, it feels like a much bigger move. Living here the past nine years has been such an amazing experience, full of absolute standout memories - good and bad.

Before I could blog about the impending move, I had to tell my loftmate Bob, who, according to his postcard, was in Nya Tryckeriet, Lycksele (otherwise known as Lappland). I drafted an email giving notice, then called Jim over to ask his opinion. I read the email to him and was crying by the end. I'm such a sap. Bob came back this weekend but hadn't read my email when he called yesterday. So I had to rely on my amazing powers of recall and deliver the sensitive, well-crafted and finely-honed message orally, without crying. My memory sucks. I left out most of the good stuff. But at least I didn't cry.

I turned my screenplay in to bigshot producer at 1:23AM Monday morning. Since then I've been waxing nostalgic about the penthouse and daydreaming about the other penthouse that Jim and I will soon call home. I'm sad and excited, happy and anxious about saying goodbye to this place and saying hello to the new.