Friday, February 29, 2008
In honor of leap year, I made strawberry cupcakes with lemon frosting. I printed out little frogs on the computer, and put them on the top of each one. (Get it, leap year, leap...frog?)
They turned out quite nice. I called Mom-Mom and told her as much.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Today was my third of three days, and since I spent 6 years working in Food Service at Six Flags Great Adventure, the manager let me run the front area while she did orders in the back office. At lunch time this conversation went down:
Drive-Thru Guy: Kara, the guest wants to speak to you.
Me: Okay. Hi ma'am, how may I help you?
Psycho Lady (driving a BMW SUV): Your employee is treating me very rudely and not giving me what I want. I'm the customer and customers are always right.
Me: I'm sorry for that. What can I do to make this right? How can I help you?
PLDBMWSUV: I want a bag of French Toast sticks with my order.
Me to Drive-Thru Guy: Let's get these for her...
PLDBMWSUV: Don't talk to him! You're only to talk to me right now! Erase him from the conversation!
Me: Ma'am, I'm trying to help you here. I want you to be happy. So you would like another order of French Toast sticks.
PLDBMWSUV: No, I want a bag of them!
Me: Okay. I can sell you an order of them.
PLDBMWSUV: Could you be any ruder to me? I said I want a bag of them, so you should give me a bag of them!
And this is where it gets golden:
PLDBMWSUV: Are you educated enough to understand what F-R-E-N-C-H TOAST STICKS are?
Me: I have a masters degree, so I'm pretty sure I get the concept of french toast sticks.
Am I educated enough to discuss in intricacies of lightly sugared crispy pieces of battered bread? Seriously?
I finally asked her if she wanted two or four sticks, to which she replied, "Two." We made them for her, and when we walked outside to give them to her she'd vanished.
After 32 years on this Earth, many of which contained some time in some type of customer-oriented positions (Bath & Body Works, bartending at a pub in England, Six Flags, etc.), I now have an addendum to "The Customer is Always Right:"
Yes, the customer is always right; but being right does NOT give you the right to be a bully or belligerent to employees.
"Educated enough!" To understand effing French Toast sticks! Dear God...
Friday, February 22, 2008
Never heard of the PaleyFest? From the Paley Center for Media site:
The Paley Center for Media, with locations in New York and Los Angeles, leads the discussion about the cultural, creative, and social significance of television and radio...and examines the intersections between media and society. The general public can access the collection (like Archie Bunker's chair!) and participate in programs that explore and celebrate the creativity, the innovations, the personalities, and the leaders who are shaping media. Previously known as The Museum of Television & Radio, the Paley Center was founded in 1975 by William S. Paley, a pioneering innovator in the industry.
Blah, blah, blah. In normal person-speak: once a year they round up the entire cast of a show and put them in a room to talk to fans (and semi-crazed, wonderfully fabulous entertainment reporters...like TV Guide's Ausiello or E!'s Kristin). This year it's March 14-27.
So all in all, pretty cool, and the kind of thing Coreen and I liked covering for ScoopMe.com (plug the now-dead entertainment website where we reviewed TV shows and movies). While my editor days are long-gone, it'll be fun to jump back into that world for a night.
The discussion starts at 7 p.m. (California time), and scheduled to appear are:
Amber Benson, "Tara Maclay"
Seth Green, "Oz"
If getting to chat with the stars of one of your favorite shows sounds like something you'd like to do, the other shows in the fest this year include: Pushing Daisies, Chuck, Friday Night Lights, Gossip Girl, Damages, Dirty Sexy Money, and Mad Men. Visit The Paley Center site for more info.
See you there!
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
I saw Enchanted on Thanksgiving day with my best friend Michael, and if you haven't seen this lovely little Disney homage to, well, Disney, I highly recommend it. Amy Adams (as Giselle/Princess) and Patrick Dempsey (Robert/Prince) are pitch-perfect, and Idina Menzel (Robert's girlfried) is wonderful. You'll be humming the tunes on your way out of the theatre - my only regret in the film is Menzel, who won a Tony for Wicked and was in the original Broadway cast of Rent, didn't get to sing.
If you can't make it to the theatre, at least tune into the Oscars this weekend and watch three songs from the film performed on the show, as Alan Menken (music, award-winning scribe from songs from Beauty & the Beast, Little Mermaid, etc.) and Stephen Schwartz (lyrics, also did a little Broadway show called Wicked) are nominated three times - in the same category of Best Song.
For you Disney-philes out there, enjoy the list below (courtesy of EmpireOnline.com) of all the inserted Disney references:
- Like most Disney animations of yore (anything before about 1960), Enchanted starts with the opening of a storybook. The hall the book is in is inspired by Evind Eryle's artwork for Sleeping Beauty.
- The ogre captured by Prince Edward wears a loincloth made from scraps of the dresses of Disney princesses. It's made of the costumes of Snow White, Belle (Beauty And The Beast), Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. He also wears Ariel's (The Little Mermaid) shell bra as earrings.
- Edward dances with his sidekick Nathaniel in the same way that Prince Philip danced with his father in Sleeping Beauty.
- When the troll is catapulted into the next kingdom, his scream is Goofy's.
- The rose in a bell jar from Beauty and the Beast can be seen in Giselle's tree house.
- Giselle and Edward ride into the sunset in the same way as Snow White and Prince Charming at the end of Snow White And The Seven Dwarves.
Giselle: Why are you staring at me?
Robert: I don't know. It's just that... it's like
you escaped from a Hallmark card or something.
Giselle: Is that a bad thing?
- The Queen disguises herself as an old hag to trick Giselle, just as the wicked Queen did in Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.
- The Queen attempts to kill Giselle with a poisoned apple, just as the Queen does in Snow White And The Seven Dwarves.
- During the film's climax The Queen turns into a purple dragon, just as Maleficent did in Sleeping Beauty.
- The last name of the divorcing couple that Robert (Patrick Dempsey) is working for is Banks, in reference to the bickering husband and wife from Mary Poppins.
- Sam, Robert Philip's assistant, is played by Jodi Benson, who voiced Ariel in The Little Mermaid. She is also named Sam, after Prince Philip's trusty steed in Sleeping Beauty.
- A muzak version of the The Little Mermaid song 'Part of Your World' plays in the office while Giselle looks at the fish tank.
- Robert works for the law firm Churchill, Harline and Smith. These are the surnames of the songwriters of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves: Frank Churchill, Leigh Harline and Paul J. Smith.A pregnant mum in Robert's apartment building is played by Judy Kuhn, the voice of Pocahontas.
- Giselle arrives for her wedding in a carriage reminiscent of the pumpkin carriage used by Cinderella.
- During Giselle's performance of Happy Working Song, which is written to directly mimic 'Whistle While You Work' from Snow White, the following references occur: Birds make Giselle's dress into an apron, as birds put on Cinderella's apron in Cinderella; Giselle's reflection appears in bubbles as Cinderella's do in Cinderella; Animals wash the dishes as they do in Snow White.
- The ending mimics the endings of 'Under The Sea' from The Little Mermaid and 'Be Our Guest' from Beauty and the Beast.
- Giselle makes a dress out of curtains, just as the mice help Cinderella make a dress out of household items in Cinderella.
- In Times Square, a woman with a bag of seed can be seen in homage to the bird woman in Mary Poppins. She also appears later in the movie feeding birds in Central Park.
- The bus driver who confronts Edward has hair styled like Mickey Mouse ears.
- Billboards can be seen for the Broadway versions of Tarzan and Beauty and the Beast.
- The restaurant, The Bella Notte, is named after the song in Lady and the Tramp that is sung while the dogs eat at an Italian restaurant.
- Rapunzel is being performed in the park when Giselle dances past. Rapunzel is an upcoming Disney animation. The square trees in the production are reminiscent of Eyvind Earle's designs for Beauty and the Beast.
- Giselle and Robert take a boat ride in a scene framed in a way reminiscent of Kiss The Girl from The Little Mermaid.
- A group of old men dance in the same kicky way as the chimney sweeps in Mary Poppins.
- Giselle runs up the hill in a shot that is almost identical to a shot of Belle running up a hill in Beauty and the Beast, which is itself a reference to The Sound of Music.
- Prince Nathaniel (James Marsden) refers to the TV as 'Magic Mirror' in direct reference to Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.
- The soap opera shown on the TV stars Paige O'Hara who voiced Belle in Beauty and the Beast. Her character is called Angela after Angela Lansbury who voiced Mrs Potts in the same movie. She's having an affair with Ogden, named for David Ogden Stiers who voiced Cogsworth. The male soap star is named Jerry after Jerry Orbach who voiced Lumiere. The soap is scored with music from Beauty and the Beast and is set up to look like the bandaging scene from the movie.
- The TV newswoman is called Mary Ilene Caselotti. This is a combination of Mary Costa, Ilene Woods and Adriana Caselotti, who voiced Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and Snow White respectively.
- The song 'So Close' is based on the title song from Beauty and the Beast.
- Giselle and Robert's eyes lock in the same way as Cinderella and Charming's in Cinderella.
- During the dance sequence there is a sweeping overhead shot that directly copies one from the ballroom scene in Beauty and the Beast.
- Robert and Giselle dance in the stars, which is a tribute to Snow White and Cinderella.
- The sequence where Giselle eats the poisoned apple directly mimics the editing of the same sequence in Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.
- Giselle can only be woken by true love's kiss, as in Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, and must happen before midnight, as in Cinderella.
- Giselle pulls a sword from the floor, as in The Sword in the Stone.
- Giselle loses her glass slipper, as in Cinderella.
- The glass slipper fits Nancy (Idina Menzel) perfectly, just as it did Cinderella.
- The battle on the tower that takes place in a thunderstorm takes inspiration from Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast.
- Giselle and Robert enjoy true love's kiss, as in every Disney animation ever.
Monday, February 18, 2008
- I live in San Diego again.
- I'm married.
- I have a dog.
- I'm gainfully employed working in Training/Learning & Development again.
- Did I mention I got to marry the boy I had the whole Dawson/Joey thing with?
"Little Miss Juno Crashes Sideways Into , Where There Will Be Blood"
It was a great experience back in '03, I worked on the post-production crew, which meant I ran tapes from Chainsaw in Santa Monica to the director's house in the Hollywood Hills above Sunset Strip to the Kodak Theatre and back. And again, and again, and back again. Though the most fun trip was when I was told to get one of the nomination packages from Santa Monica to Hollywood in 23 minutes. And Sunset was flooded. And there were 40+ miles per hour winds.
But now I'm happily making more than $80/day (not an hour, my contract was $80 a day...behold the somewhat-less-than-exciting life of a P.A.). But this Sunday will be different. No Jack Nicholson asking me if I have a light. Or Barbra Streisand and her bitchy assistants in an elevator. Or (literally) running into Ben Affleck in the restroom. Or, most cooly, watching the final dress rehearsal as U2, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Queen Latifah practice their songs on the Oscar stage.
One of the cool things about moving back West is that no matter how long Gil makes the show run, it's shown live here, so I'll be in bed at a decent time (I say it's over at 8:24 p.m. PT this year).
Friday, February 15, 2008
Yep, that's right folks, there's snow on the road. When I got into work this morning, a co-worker said, "So how crazy was that weather last night?"
Not knowing of the coating of white, I replied, "Yeah, it was really windy at the beach last night. We had to take down our patio curtains."
Turns out there was up to 12 inches of snow in some parts of East County, so much so that they closed down Interstate 8 in both directions.
So I'm trolling the internet for an old article from my editor days at ScoopMe.com (an entertainment website where we reviewed TV shows - like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dawson's Creek, Angel, Felicity, etc. - and movies.), and I come across this Lost-related post by an old friend and former writer of mine, Hunter Maxin.
Upon reading it, I'm reminded of how brilliant his writing was for ScoopMe and I wonder how it is that Entertainment Weekly hasn't picked him up yet as a staffer.
This piece certainly does make you think...as he often does.
Let’s go back to shortly after the turn of the Twentieth century, the days of Einstein and other early theoretical physicists. This was the dawn of the age of quantum mechanics, which provided new understanding and insight into physics at the sub-atomic level. New mathematics described the behavior of the tiny particles that make up all of matter in the universe. The math was clearly described in terms of numbers, symbols, formulas… however the application to nature as we know it was strange, weird, bizarre.
It was very difficult to wrap the human brain around many of the concepts of quantum mechanics, and the math alone was inadequate to explain the problems. Thus, physicists and mathematicians turned to “Gedanken Experiments,” German for Thought Experiments. Applying the known concepts of quantum mechanics to situations in the “real world” allowed a conversation to take place in a way most anybody could (sort of) understand.
Before I lose you, here is an example. In the mathematics of quantum physics, time travel is THEORETICALLY possible. One of the most famous Gedanken Experiments is the Grandfather Paradox. If you could travel back in time, could you kill your grandfather? Logic tells you that no, you could not, for if you did, you would not exist. (Pause here and consider why Locke insists that “he can’t” kill his father, he needs somebody else to do it.) The beautiful thing about Gedanken Experiments is that they are both scientific and philosophical, perfect fodder for a creative writer. In the case of the Grandfather Paradox, while they logic is clear, the actual experience of it is a mystery. Imagine actually standing there in the past, holding a loaded gun to the head of your grandfather… what would actually prevent you? “Something” would, some unknown mechanism of physics… and that is where the writers of “Lost” imagine for us.
“Lost” is a grand Gedanken Experiment, a test of science and philosophy. It asks the question, What if time travel were not only possible, but real, with technology developed in a manner as realistic and consistent with known theoretical physics as possible? And to make it even more dramatic, What if you could travel back in time, AND NOT KNOW IT? The passengers of Flight 815 have done exactly that, and the writers have made the audience go along with them, sharing the same sense of confusion and mystery.
Let’s talk about what we know about time travel today. We are not talking about cheesy movies of the past, where one can travel back to the age of dinosaurs or the middle ages. In fact, in the “real” science of time travel, a few things are known by the constraints of physics and quantum mechanics.
There is a conceptual model of a real time machine, and it works something like this:
A time machine must have two parts, essentially two portals, connected by a wormhole (or black hole or whatever you want to call it). Door #1 is built alongside Door #2. Door #1 is allowed to continue along the “present”
timeline, while Door #2 is encapsulated in a bubble within space-time, thus separated from the present timeline. This would require a great amount of energy and technology obviously unknown today… but thanks to the writers of “Lost,” it has been solved by Dharma Industries. The amount of separation would be only slight to begin with… say, 108 minutes. Since Door #1 exists in the present timeline, it can safely be located anywhere (Dharma headquarters?). Door #2, now operating in a different place in space-time, in the past, must be safely located in a remote location, for any type of interaction with it from the outside could be catastrophic.
There is a very important concept in time travel here, which is that you can NEVER travel back further in time than the creation of your time machine; Hence the impossibility of visiting the dinosaurs, etc. Now, if the two doors of your time machine were separated by only 108 minutes at the initial “event”, but then allowed to just sit there, then both timelines would progress at the same pace, forever separated by only 108 minutes. Traveling to the past, but only by 108 minutes, would not be very interesting. Much more exciting would be to keep Door #2 back at the original time of its inception, while Door #1 continues to move forward in time. You could do this by continually “resetting” the clock on Door #2. Over time, the separation between the two doors would grow and grow, from minutes, to hours, to days, to years.
If you actually had the technology to achieve time travel in this manner, there are MANY profound questions you would have to test and answer in order to be confident that you could safely operate the time machine without catastrophically altering the future. The Grandfather Paradox is the most obvious, but actually only one of many questions.
ANSWER #1: What is the Dharma Initiative? It is the building and testing of a time machine, as described above. Door #1 is at the Dharma Headquarters, Door #2 is on the Island in the remote South Pacific.
The question isn’t, Where is the Island? The question is, When is the Island? The answer to that depends on how long ago, in the present timeline, the time machine was created… approximately 14 years ago, I believe.
ANSWER #2: Why must the button be pushed every 108 minutes? This “resets”
the clock of Door #2 of the time machine, essentially holding it at the time of its inception in the relative past. If allowed to pass 108 minutes on the clock, then the time machine will lose the ability to reset itself. Why, then, must it be pressed by a person, and not just programmed to reset itself? This is because the controllers at Door #1 do not have control over Door #2 in the past, and should disaster strike, and nobody is left alive in the past at Door #2, it should be allowed to pass 108 minutes and no longer reset.
ANSWER #3: What happened when the clock was allowed to pass 108 minutes? Door #2 of the time machine lost the ability to reset, and will now continue to progress along a timeline into the future, locked at approximately 14 years separation from Door #1.
What are some of the other critical questions, like the Grandfather Paradox, that must be answered when considering time travel? Here is a great one:
What if a childless woman travels back in time and conceives a child?
#4: A childless woman cannot travel to the past and conceive a child, because if she did, she would not have been a childless woman. In “Lost”, both mother and child die before the birth, thus preserving the timeline and laws of nature. Perhaps the Others do not fully understand this, and brought in fertility doctor Juliet to see if they can overcome this obstacle.
What if a child travels back to a time before he or she was born? Perhaps nothing… but what if the child dies in the past, before being born? Again, impossible.
ANSWER #5: The Others abduct children on the Island to protect them at all costs, for they cannot allow the catastrophic violation of the laws of nature of a child dying before being conceived.
And yet another:
If you travel to the past, will you be the “you” of the present timeline when you arrive, or the younger “you” of the past, or some combination of the two? I do not know, but I believe this offers insight into why John Locke can walk on the Island despite being paralyzed.
ANSWER #6: Locke can walk not because the Island has powers to cure, but because he has traveled back to a time BEFORE he was ever paralyzed. He is somehow a blend of the Locke of the present and the Locke of the past.
The Others are living in the time-space bubble around the Island and Door #2 of the time machine in the “past.” They are managing it and testing the effects of time travel, and strictly controlling who exits this bubble into the outside world.
How does one arrive at the Island? There are two methods of traveling to the site (and time) of the Island. First is the controlled method via Door #1 at Dharma Headquarters. It is not via plane, submarine, or any other traditional method of transportation.
The other method is in the accidental collision with the time-space bubble that surrounds the Island, as happened with Oceanic Flight 815, the Portuguese woman’s helicopter, etc. Despite the many theories that abound in online forums, the Others did not know that Flight 815 was coming or going to crash at the Island. It was a chance encounter. It was a disaster that created a paradox… what happens to a plane that crashes in the present, while entering the past? This leads to the question of whether the passengers are alive or dead, answered by talking about a cat.
Schrodinger’s cat, to be specific. Again, quantum mechanics can be very strange. One of the strangest behaviors in particle physics is known as Superposition, which is the ability of a particle to occupy two different states simultaneously (like up and down, left and right, here and there, etc.). In the world we know, you cannot be both here and there, but in particle physics, a world of probability, chance, and duality, you can. How can one imagine this? Another great Gedanken Experiment was conceived, as follows:
Place a cat in a sealed, steel box, along with a bottle of poison. In addition, a radioactive element is placed within the steel box. The decay of this radioactive element triggers a hammer, which breaks the bottle, releasing the poison and killing the cat. For the observer, outside of the box, you do not know when this radioactive decay happens. Because of the laws of Superposition, the radioactive element can occupy both states simultaneously, for the briefest moment. For that blink in time, the bottle is both broken and intact… the cat is both dead and alive, at the same time. This is a puzzle of science, but more important perhaps is the philosophical question of what does it mean to be both dead and alive?
ANSWER #7: The passengers of Oceanic Flight 815 are dead at the bottom of the ocean. AND they are ALIVE on the Island. They are both dead and alive. I told you that you would love this one. Since they are alive in the “past” of the Island’s timeline, can they return to the present in which they are dead? I guess that is the ultimate question that we will have to watch the show to find out.
A suggestion of an answer is found in Locke’s/Sawyer’s father. We were led to believe that he died in a car accident, and finds himself here on the Island. Of course he would think he’s in hell! We believe that somehow Locke “willed” him here, but that was actually never said on the show. In fact, Ben said to Locke, “you brought him here.” Perhaps what he means is this:
ANSWER #8: Locke’s father did not die in the accident. I believe that we will find soon that Locke is going to leave the Island. The question that nobody asked Locke’s father was when did the accident happen? See, Locke is going to return to the “present” timeline, and is going to pursue his father. He is going to find him, perhaps he is even going to cause his accident. He is going to drug and kidnap him, unable or unwilling to kill him by himself. He is somehow going to get him to Door #1 of the time machine and send him to the Island, where he already knows that Sawyer will kill him. Locke is going to “bring him here” to the Island… he just hasn’t done it yet. When he is on the “outside” in the present, why is he going to do this? Because he has to, because it is destiny… for on the Island, it has already happened. You know Locke loves destiny.
I could go on and on. Why is there a zoo with polar bears?
ANSWER #9: The animals are on the Island for testing the effects of the various paradoxes associated with time travel. Perhaps another reason is that by keeping and preserving endangered animals, like polar bears, within this bubble in the past, there is a resource for their recovery should they become extinct in the future. Consider it a Noah’s Ark.
How do the Others know so much about the passengers of Flight 815?
ANSWER #10: The Others have had perhaps years, with Dharma Industries in the present timeline at Door #1, to research each of the individuals, and transmit this information to the Island. To the audience and the survivors of 815, it seemed like the Others instantly knew about them. However, it likely required years of research to compile the files.
There are still mysteries that remain, and stories that we do not know how they will play out. With this explanation, though, the behavior of the Others is understood. They must protect the timeline AT ALL COSTS. That makes them seem evil to the survivors of 815, but in reality their intentions are to prevent catastrophe.
There are many other stories I haven’t touched, but they are all consistent with this basic theory. This includes Desmond’s apparent “time loop” he is experiencing, and many others.
So there it is. Or, I’m out of my mind. Time will tell.
See? Told you he's a brilliant writer. Though, of course, as his former editor, there are some edits I would have made to the above. ;-) - Kara
postscript @ 8:43 a.m.: Turns out Hunter didn't write the above, he reposted it from another site. Still, it's worth the read!
Monday, February 11, 2008
Maybe it's karma because I've always said DFW is the worst airport in the world (and I've been to a lot of them). My personal hatred stems from an near-impossible attempt to make a connection there in the late '90s when I was a national instructor for CompUSA. Even Charles de Gaulle in Paris pales in comparison to this poorly organized behemoth.
On a positive note, I did get to eat at Pappasitos Mexican Cantina tonight. I grew fond of the Pappas chains, especially Pappasitos and Pappadeux (Creole), while staying in Houston for eight weeks during my aforementioned CompUSA stint. The salsa was tasty, as always, and the quesadilla was just enough to fill me up.
Now I just have to remember to give myself an extra half hour more than I planned to get back to the airport Thursday morning...
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
With a Scantron.
Full-on, fill in the oval, take me back to junior year of high school, SAT-style voting. After voting in Pennsylvania with the old, heavy machines, this "official" ballot caught me off guard at first, but then proved to be quite usable and easy to fill out.
So this is what Super Tuesday in California looks like. A SCANTRON. Dude.
(And yes, I voted for Hillary Clinton.)
Monday, February 4, 2008
Saturday, February 2, 2008
I was browsing through some pictures from my grandmother's 90th birthday party on my Flickr account and found this one. I love it because it shows them so happy...just hanging out and fishing together. He passed in 1991, but she's still going strong back in Burlington, NJ. Aren't they just so cute?
Friday, February 1, 2008
A group of Montana high school students decided to play a prank on their school. They let three goats loose in the school. Before they let them go, however, they painted numbers on the sides of the goats: 1, 2 and 4.
Local school administrators spent most of the day looking for #3.