Tuesday, November 20, 2007

my feet feel like bloody stumps

Sorry for the scarcity of blog posts, but when I get home from walking the WGA picket line, all I want to do is sit on my sofa. BTW, I've been picketing at Univesal Studios from 6am to 10am and will continue to do so. Wonton guilts me into taking him out for a walk when I get home, but Jim has been doing all the heavy lifting there while I just shuffle along for the ride.

I've met a lot of really nice people on the line. Unfortunately, feature writers don't get to meet or socialize with other writers the way that television writers do, so it was good to be able to connect with other writers. I didn't see anyone I knew crossing our picket line into Universal. My husband says that if I am able to keep just those I used to date from entering the lot, then the picket line will be a success.

I'll have more stories from the picket line, but right now I have to get going. I'm heading out to Hollywood Blvd. for the big WGA labor solidarity rally. Hope to see you out there!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

november downtown dogwalk

What does it mean when my puppy, Wonton, has a more active social calendar than mine? Hope to see a lot of other downtown dogs and their owners tonight.

Friday, November 09, 2007

fellatio, first floor

Something happened in the lobby of my building the other night that reminded me of the elevators and the stairwell outside my front door when I lived at the Alexandria Hotel. I don't remember if I ever wrote about it, but I often joked that the 8th floor stairwell outside my front door was the best place to score a $5 handjob from Cheryl the coke whore. I never saw anything, but when I'd pass by late at night, I'd often hear things.

So there I was, headed out with Wonton for his second walk of the day. Jim said he'd hop in the shower and meet us on the way back. Wonton and I rode down the elevator and when we got to the front door, it was broken, completely off its hinge. I didn't want to leave the door unlocked and hanging open, not in my neighborhood, but Wonton kept pulling at his leash. I saw that Ken the Handyman's office door was open and I heard his voice. He was probably on the phone trying to get someone to come out and fix the door. I figured, Jim's right behind me, Ken's right there in the lobby, it was probably okay to head out.

Later, as planned, Jim joined us as we headed back home on Main Street. We approached the front door - it was still hanging off its hinge. Obviously, we didn't have to punch in our entry code, so I heaved the door open, let Wonton and Jim inside, then tried to heave the door in place behind us. It wasn't happening, the door wouldn't close. I noticed that Ken's office door was closed and wondered if he was at Home Depot, trying to get a new door.

I walk over to the elevator and saw the display, indicating it was still on the lobby level. I hit the button and the doors opened. The first thing I saw was a homeless man, his shirt pulled up to expose his big dirty belly, and his pants dropped around his ankles. I didn't see his genitals, because there was a woman on her knees in front of him, blocking the view with her mouth.

"Oh, f*ck no!" I yelled. Caught by surprise, she scrambles to her feet. He fastens his pants and pulls down his shirt, laughing to himself the entire time. I'm livid. I pull out my cell phone and dial my landlord's office. While I wait for it to connect, I'm ushering them out the door, "Get the f*ck out of here!" Jim sits at the desk by the door, Wonton beside him, shocked into good behavior by my raised voice - directed at someone else.

Jim asks, "So what were they doing in the elevator?"

I get voicemail and leave a terse message, recounting what I saw in vivid detail for the landlord's office and Jim. I hang up and dial again.

"Are you calling Ken?" asks Jim.

I nod. Ken answers and I tell him that I just got back from walking Wonton and found the door off its hinge. He interrupts me, "I just left there about a half hour ago. Don't worry, I'm trying to get someone to come in early tomorrow morning to fix the door."

I interrupt him right back, "I haven't even told you the best part, Ken. I pressed the elevator button, the doors opened, and there was a homeless man getting a blow job in the elevator."

"What? I locked all the floors on the elevator. There's no way anyone could get up without a key."

"They weren't headed anywhere, the elevator car was still in the lobby. They were just inside getting off."

I waited for Ken's reaction. Silence, then, "I'm on my way back right now."

"What about the front door?"

"I'll call one of the guys on the sixth floor to come down and watch the door until I return."

We hang up and I tell Jim of Ken's plan. Just then, one of our neighbors from the third floor walks up to the keypad outside, punches in his entry code, and realizes the door is broken. I open it for him and we tell him what just happened. He suggest we use a padlock on the door, one used for the deliveries cabinet in the lobby.

I'm skeptical, "If we put it on the outside of the door, people inside can't get out. If we put it on the inside..."

He nods. Then another neighbor from the third floor exits the elevator. I don't know his name, we just refer to him as "the Smarmy Attorney who keeps trying to sneak onto our rooftop patio with his ugly dates no matter how many times we tell him that it's a private patio and he's not welcome". Smarmy Attorney (SA) asks what's going on with the door, so I tell the story again.

SA asks, "What was she charging?"

My inner voice says,"Fifty bucks, same as your mama." But in the interest of being neighborly, I just grimace and roll my eyes. SA tries to throw his shoulder into the door. It doesn't budge. I tell him to lift it, then push. No, don't thank me, please just make another lame joke before you go.

"Hey, maybe we can get her back in here and get a cut for using our elevator."

What a tool. No one laughs, so he leaves and doesn't bother trying to close the door.

Jim offers to sit at the door and stand watch until the guy from the sixth floor comes down. Problems solved for now, third floor neighbor gets in one elevator (the one not harboring horny street people), waving goodbye. I take Wonton and we head upstairs to get dinner started while Jim stands sentry at the door.

A few minutes later, Jim comes up. One of the guys from six is standing guard at the front door with a large black dog. He didn't think to ask the guy's name, but the dog's name is Souldog.

After dinner, Jim goes downstairs to throw out the trash and to check on the door situation. Jim had been very quiet throughout dinner and I asked if anything was wrong.

"The more I think about what happened with the elevator, the more upset I get. Sure, they couldn't get upstairs because all the floors were locked. But what if you were alone at home, called the elevator and those two wound up on our floor? What would you do then? What if they had been hostile?"

At first I make the argument that I'd be fine, I wouldn't be scared and besides, I'm a seething cauldron of anger, ready to kick ass when provoked. But I stopped, I knew he was right. What if it had been two men, not having sex in the elevator, but ready to rape and pillage whichever lucky resident called the elevator up?

Jim continued, "What if any of the other women in this building called the elevator up?"

I didn't want to think about it, didn't want to admit that we live on a dangerous street full of desperate people, that there was fresh gang graffiti on the building next door. I didn't want to think of any number of close calls I might've had, how badly things could've turned out.

Later that night, I looked out our windows at the quiet city below. A siren shattered the stillness of the night and I thanked my lucky stars that I wasn't riding in that ambulance, or waiting for it to arrive. Lucky that Jim was with me, that they weren't hostile, and that Ken was willing to stay at the door all night.

Oh yeah, we got a new door installed the next day. Now Jim is wondering how long before someone tags it. Such a pessimist. Here I was, wondering if I could put some Hello Kitty stickers on it.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

busy days ahead

I haven't written much about what's really been going on with me, there's been so much "doing" rather than reflecting, and unfortunately the lack of activity on my blog shows that. As the WGA strike continues and we head into the holiday season, I'm afraid it's not going to get any easier.

Tonight is the Downtown Art Walk, which means Jim and I will take Wonton to The Lofty Dog for Yappy Hour. We've been taking Wonton on twice-daily walks and anytime we head north on Main or Spring past 4th Street, Wonton assumes he's headed for The Lofty Dog and damn near runs the whole way. I hope we'll have time to check out a few galleries and MOCA's Murakami exhibit, but I look at my pile of things to get done and I don't think it'll happen.

Every morning, I check Wonton's eyes, clean out any schmutz and apply the ointment that his veterinary opthalmologist gave us. Yes, our vet referred us to a specialist for Wonton's eye troubles. Yes, I realize this ups my ridiculousness rating considerably (as if it weren't high enough, what with Wonton blogging). At least I don't take him to a psychic or a therapist, but I'm getting off the subject. This morning, Wonton threw up on my comforter and his Hello Kitty blanket. Might have something to do with him trying to hoover up whatever he finds on our floors, or his eating the orchids off my orchid plant, or chewing the monkey sock slippers Jim's mom gave me last Christmas. I threw the bedding in the wash and Jim took Wonton out for his morning walk. He was probably trying to keep me from insisting on taking Wonton to the vet in a panic, like I did last time. Now he's napping (Wonton, not Jim), nestled inside the wooden basket that he normally tries to chew apart.

wonton in a basket

I was on a conference call with a WGA strike captain the other night. That, and some questions aimed at an entertainment attorney and a few producers, helped to clear up a few things as regards what I can and cannot do during the strike. I'll write about that in a separate post, it deserves more, um, reflection.

In other writing news, I'm working on a graphic novel. I'm in the outlining stage right now, but I do have a few panels written and have been lucky enough to get some sage advice from a friend and a seasoned pro in the field. I'll post more on my progress as work, um, progresses.

I've been meaning to check out one of those $15/hour foot massage places in San Gabriel, on Valley Boulevard. I'll probably need it after walking the picket line. Who wants to check it out with me? Anybody?

Oops, look at the time. If you're out Art Walking, stop by The Lofty Dog and say hi to me, Jim and Wonton (and other downtown dogs)!

i'm a picketer's pal

Wired News' Jenna Wortham wrote a story about Dave Bullock's Downtown Locations Filming Map and how it's being used during the WGA strike to picket downtown location shoots. It mentions me briefly, and how Dave's traffic has spiked since the strike started. Check it out here.

Monday, November 05, 2007

what does a strike mean to me?

The WGA strike is on, I'm reading Shawn Ryan's reasons for striking on Nikki Finke's blog (I heart you Shawn Ryan), and I'm trying hard to not be annoyed by the Fox production that's shooting on location below my window. The phone rings, it's our location rep asking if they can send a location scout over this afternoon to look at our loft. My husband Jim asks me if we'd rent out our space to a prodco that's shooting a scripted production. I finish chewing my bagel and calmly say, "Hell to the no." My puppy Wonton stretches out on the sofa beside me and yawns in solidarity. Jim nods in agreement.

I've had friends and strangers ask how and if this strike affects me. I'm not yet a member of the WGA. The producer who optioned my screenplay and has been developing it for the past year is a WGA signatory. He won't go forward and shoot this without a writer on the set, so the project has been effectively derailed until the strike is over. This project would've made me eligible to join the guild, it would've put me in the game. It would've also put a decent production bonus in our bank account and paid for Wonton's eye surgery. Do I support the strike? You bet I do.

I attended Creative Screenwriting's Expo the other week and was amazed at how few attendees understood the issues and what's at stake. If you haven't been following the WGA strike and the ramp-up to it, John August writes a short summary of the situation here and Nikki Finke's DHD has the best coverage. I heard that in addition to picketing the studios and the signatory companies, the WGA will also be striking at location shoots. If so, may I suggest using the Downtown Locations Filming Map as a resource? And if you will be picketing at any downtown filming locations, please let me know so I can 1) offer my support and 2) blog about it so that my readers who support the strike can also offer their support.

Here's a list of the picketing locations and schedule, a list of struck companies (WGA signatories), and again, the Downtown Locations Filming Map.