Ah Bugger

The vapid utterings of a neurotic mind.

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Location: DC, United States

I ain't too proud to bug.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

It's the posh posh travelling life, the travelling life for me.

I am on my way home from New York City. Second weekend in a row. Why, you ask? Because I was responsible for getting the hotel room for the girl's weekend in NY. Which I did...for the wrong weekend. So rather than tossing $270 to the wind, I tossed a hundred more and came back to the city.

It is convenient to get to NYC from DC these days. There are a multitude of busses that range from awesomely fancy to downright scary. Let me tell you about the scary. That was the bus line I took yesterday. While I am at it, I will tell you why I spent a hundred+ bucks to travel to and fro.

I bought my ticket to leave from Dupont circle at 9:15am yesterday. I think I was going to take the Washington Deluxe Bus. For some bizarre reason, I decided to drive and then leave the car in a lot overnight. I figured it could not be more expensive than taking a cab. Boy, was I wrong. I couldn't find parking! I drove and drove and found only one open lot which was closed on both Sunday and Monday. So I commenced to looking for valet parking at a hotel. I mean, c'mon! It's Dupont. There has to be something. Nothing. Frack. So time is ticking away and I am freaking out. I parked at my church (which is way uncool as we have something like six spaces). I ran, hoping a cab would come by. One did and just waved at me, his backseat filled with lucky tourists. I gave up. Never would have made it. Stopped into the lamest Starbucks in the world, (Marci knows which one I am talking about) and got myself a pity latte. It only took them half an hour to take my order, make my drink, let me pay, and give me my drink.

I went home, booked a ticket for the noon Chinatown bus. I then had some breakfast and called a cab when it was time. Actually I called a cab before it was time and they dispatched it right away forcing me to call and cancel the cab which then got me lectured by the dispatcher. I still love RedTop, though. So, now I have paid $21 for the missed bus, $30 for the Chinatown bus, and $20 for the cab.

My driver is awesome. His name is Rafiq and he is from Afghanistan. He also owns a framing store which may be the location I finally get my super cute drawing of a bunch of birds that I got in Oregon framed. He is going to Afghanistan to help out. I thought he was cool.

I get to the bus locale and see a bus. So, even though it is 11:15 am, I figure I will see if I can get on an earlier bus. There is a guy who is yelling because he has been there for three hours and has just watched all of the full busses leave without him. The guy yells at him to get out of line. I am nervous because I too bought my ticket on line. But the guy stamps my receipt and we both sign it. That bus I saw is the 10 am bus that has not left yet. Yikes. Everyone is stressed out. I go and get in line. The guy who had been told to get out of line is now in line in front of me. Some Asian guy walks by and tells us to get on the bus. So the guy tries and is yelled at so hard by the Asian girl on the bus. I am scared to say anything. But I get on without any drama directed at me. Dunno what happens to that guy, but now I am sitting with all these people who are so grateful to be on this expensive and decrepit bus. I get on my iPhone to rebook my trip for Sunday because I had booked my return on the Chinatown bus which I have no plans to ever be found on again. So original home ticket $30 and new ticket on DC2NY bus $25. Gah!

Until we get to Philly, I am sitting next to a young Asian girl who is sound asleep before we leave. Her head rolls as if on a swivel and I am afraid it might break off. We get to Philly and she gets out and I am forced to sit next to this young black girl who is chatting with her friend across the aisle and she keeps elbowing me. Grr. Then the bus randomly stops when the driver sees three Asian people standing on a corner (not a usual stop, I'm sure) and gets them. Weird. This happened somewhere on our way out of Philly, back to the NJ turnpike. Then I am dumped out in Chinatown. Crap. I hail a cab and $20 later I am at my hotel.

There are two St. Giles next to one another on 39th. I tried to check into the wrong one. Sheesh. I move over to the right one. The hotel room I booked had two beds, which I told them I didn't need. They upgraded me to an awesome king suite. Rock on! Finally something goes right. So I put some makeup on and head to the Gerschwin Theatre with Defying Gravity playing on repeat in my head. Alas, they are sold out. I wander about, but no one else has tickets for me either, so I return. I wait in the extra tickets line. I wait...and wait. Nope. Nothing for me. But the ticket guy gave me the box office number and his name, so I can call and get tickets.

Sauntering around outside, I must look desperate because a fortune teller seeks me out. I must BE desperate because I actually pay her to tell me my fortune. Which basically turns out to be that I am creative (Yay) and lonely. I don't sleep well and she sees numbers. Sigh. I blame this turn of events on my old company that gave me tickets to see Marvin Hamlisch who introduced me to Kristin Chenoweth at a NSO Concert at the Kennedy Center, who then turned out to be awesome and star in Wicked! which I could not see.

I went to a shoe store to buy pity shoes. As I stood in line to buy them, this Russian girl kept hitting me with the body bag she was carrying. Seriously, the thing was huge, but not so huge as to justify hitting me when we where the only people in the store and I was a good ten feet behind her. Then her credit card did not work and they had to call it in and I was ready to walk out, sexy pity shoes be damned. But I was so sad, I needed them. So I just snarled in silence. I was ready to punch her though.

I went and had myself some dinner (yum) while eavesdropping on a couple who were married either to each other, or others. Did not quite get it straight. The woman was haranguing the guy in a massive way, but whenever I looked up at her, she had a pleasant look on her face.

I then moved on to the hotel and had a beverage at the bar while chatting to some boys from Ottawa. (That place!). They asked me to come along and I said thanks but no thanks. I went to my room and crashed while watching Maxim's hottest 100 on E!

This morning I had breakfast at some random place. Then I stopped into Pink Berry and had a mango/original fro-yo cone and it was delicious. Now I am on a fancy bus that left on time and is showing 500 Days of Summer. I don't even have a seat mate! Yay. And I have internet. It's madness!

Last week the bus we were on just suddenly stopped on the highway. We were concerned, but the driver said nothing. He just looked repeatedly into the rearview mirror. We were sure that we were gonna be robbed, or sold into slavery. We were all too chicken to ask what was up. After 10 minutes, someone finally yelled about it. The driver, in his best pissy voice, said, "for those of you who HAVE to know why we stopped, I am resetting the bus's computer". Seriously? He couldn't have just said that?

Naptime. (Or maybe I will watch Up! I won it at the Oscar party and brought it along).

Thursday, May 27, 2010


I had watched a documentary about a season of Broadway and in it they showed the making of "Wicked". I remember being rather underwhelmed with Idina Menzel in the film. Next to Kristin Chenoweth's huge voice, she just came out rather muted. I think I read somewhere that she was not the greatest actress. So I subscribed to the idea that she was not that great and I vocalized this opinion to my friend.
After this past episode of Glee, the Gaga episode, with Idina finally getting a solo (she sings Funny Girl), I am in love with her. I owe her an apology for dismissing her talents without ever truly investigating them. She has such a gorgeous voice with this fantastic range. But what I love most is her vibrato. Fabulous. I wish I could sing a tenth as good.

Dear Ms. Menzel, you are truly awesome. Please forgive me for being a jerk.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Obligation fulfilled

I have nothing to say. Okay, we all know that is not true. I just have nothing I wanna talk about. That list of junk I procrastinated on is just getting bigger, but my house is still a mess and I still have a ton of editing to do that I simply don't want to do. I did, however, clean out the litter box. Small victory! Woo.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Goethe Institute

I spent the evening at the Goethe Institute in Washington, DC. I have been there before, last year. My mother and I attended the German film "Stolpersteine" (Stumbling Stones). I would like to talk to the director, because they mention my great-uncle in the film but misspelled his name in the subtitles. In any case, the Institute hosted a blogger happy hour today in order to get the word out on the cool things they offer.

It was fun. I met all sorts of local bloggers.
This one is a job blog. Then I met a girl who writes about free events in DC. This one is about public transit in DC. This writes about planning events. Two people write this promising green blog. And this fella and I decided we are the only ones who were in attendance who had no major theme, that we just shoot from the hip.

They gave us booze and good food and we chatted for a while prior to watching a short presentation on the Institute. They gave a brief German lesson, but I was not allowed to attend. My guess is that they spoke to my High School German teacher who allowed me to spend most of my time in the hallway.

Go check it out. The Goethe Institute is located on 812 Seventh Street, NW, near the Verizon Center. They have films, great events, and language courses. The films are shown every Monday night and cost a cheap $6. Go learn German so we can hang out and make fun of others together.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

My list

This was my list of things to do today:
1. Have coffee with Marci and Harms.
2. See Harm's new home.
3. Go to IKEA and get the ice cream cone Marci bribed me with to go to IKEA with her.
4. Put laundry away.
5. Clean the house.
6. Do some editing.
7. Other very important stuff.

What I got done:
1. Have coffee with Marci and Harms.
2. See Harm's new home.
3. Go to IKEA and get the ice cream cone Marci bribed me with to go to IKEA with her.
4. Nap on sofa.

Geez! The list is pushed to tomorrow. Which sucks because there is new stuff on that list. Being a grown up is hard.

Almost forgot...

I almost forgot about my promise to write something every day. How quickly good intentions float away into the atmosphere. But I grasped onto the string of that balloon and firmly yanked it back down to earth and am writing to you now. I worked a 13.5 hour shift at my bar today. I am tired. However, I have a little story about getting old for you.

A few days ago, I got a coffee. I held it in my left hand and my left hand started to shake like crazy. I could not control it at all. It was freaky and exhausting. I thought holy cow, I am getting Parkinsons. So scary. I held the coffee in my right hand and it was still, but the left hand had a little coffee dance to do. I went and did some work and tried to not think about it.
Later than evening, I realized my forearm muscle was on fire. Then I thought back about how I had hit golfballs the day before. Then I thought about how I have not really exercised much lately. Then I thought about my Parkinsons. Then I realized I need to work out more. I don't have Parkinsons, I have an arm muscle that is shaking in confusion as to what the heck happened to it.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Here's something... sorta

Well, hello there. I've missed you. I have decided to write every day. Even if it is just a word, something every day. I have promised this before, and I know you have no reason to believe me. I am going to try to regain your trust and your love.

I have ideas that I need you to consider and tell me if they are worth fleshing out. Well, I don't have any ideas at this moment, and that is why you are being subjected to my verbal diarrhea, but I want you ready when I am.

Okay, talk to you tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Making TV

I like watching TV. This should not come as a surprise to anyone. It is amazing how much time can easily be wasted watching things on a screen. The images are accepted without question even though in the span of 30 seconds we will have seen the two characters we are watching converse from every which angle. Honestly, how often do you run behind your friend to see the back of their head, then run back to catch their profile, then squat to see them from below when you are having a conversation with them? Yet we accept, nay we demand! these erratic changes in angle from our televised pals. Otherwise we get bored.

What's crazy to me, as I learn this about filmmaking, is how much work goes into a 22 or 44 minute show. Next time you watch your favorite sitcom, watch to see how many camera angles they use. Most comedies use what is known as a single camera setup. Each angle is at least one take, though most get at least 3 takes. Then there is the editing. They have to take all of that footage and craft that seamless story for the viewer. Hopefully the lighting and the sound is consistent as well as the actor's movements. Editing takes time, my friends. Lots of time. Tedious time. Then, if you are anything like me, you tweak each little thing over and over again. Then you add in music, and sound effects (known as foley). You add in special effects and dissolves and in the case of shows like Ugly Betty, you add in some wacky transitions.

There are a bazillion people involved, too. First you have the writers. There is a team that gets together and pitches ideas. Then one writer takes the story home and creates the first script which will then be revisited by the team until it is perfect for shooting. There is a table read with the actors, then they shoot it. There is a director, assistant directors, director of photography, producers, gaffers, camera operators, grips, and my favorite people, the craft service people (they provide the eats). Prior to filming, the director draws out each scene with a storyboard. The camera angles are decided on. The lighting scheme is created. There is a person on hand just to make sure that there is continuity, meaning that if "Bob" picks the coffee cup up in his left hand, that he keeps it in his left hand for the following scene.

There are makeup and hair and costume people. There are production assistants who make sure to take the chewed gum out of an actor's mouth. In addition to key actors, there are extras. Please watch the background actors next time you watch a show. They are fantastic. These are comprised of various types of people: they are friends of people on the show, or people who want to become key actors. In any case, they are always fun to watch because they get bored and they want to be seen. They are also not allowed to make any noise, so while they may look like they are talking or carrying on in a mad way, they are actually mouthing their words. Usually they are overacting in an immense way. No one throws their head back that far. Watch them. I swear it is worth your time.

Speaking of actors, watch the actor who does not have the lines. It's fascinating.

Now you know. Watching a show is easy, but making it is hard. Appreciate the work that goes into it.