Re: Striking in a Virtual World

Here is the latest information on the Writer’s Guild strike from the Associated Press:

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Hollywood studios have put a new contract offer on the table for striking film and TV writers. Producers say the offer would pay writers millions more for work that’s shown on the Internet. The split over Web-based revenue has been a central issue in negotiations.

Writers want a break in talks until Tuesday so they can study the plan. Meanwhile, the union is calling on its members to continue their nearly month-long walkout.

The studio plan offers writers $130 million more in extra Internet-based cash over a three-year period. The writers have countered with a plan that would up that number to just over $150 million.

Writers protested outside the studios of NBC’s “Last Call with Carson Daly” last night. It’s the first late-night talk show to resume production since the strike began November 5th.

Meanwhile, the stagehands’ strike on Broadway has ended.

NEW YORK (AP) — Broadway tickets that normally sell for more than $100 are going for less than $30 today, as the Great White Way celebrates the end of a 19-day stagehands strike.

Theatergoers have been lining up and Broadway has been tuning up. As one producer put it, “You can imagine the adrenaline.”

Details of the five-year contract deal — reached late Wednesday night — have not been disclosed. It must still be approved by union members.

But now, after nearly three weeks, most plays and musicals shut down during the walkout are expected to be up and running Thursday night.

The strike couldn’t have happened at a worse time, coming during the lucrative Thanksgiving holiday week. And it wasn’t just producers and stagehands who were affected. The walkout took a big financial bite out of New York, with businesses like restaurants, stores, hotels — even hot dog vendors — losing a total of about $2 million a day.

Striking in a Virtual World

As I write this, talks are supposedly underway between striking writers and Hollywood studios. Granted though no one has heard anything yet either way.  Which makes me wonder –  is anything going on?  

A co-worker asked me the other day, ‘why aren’t you in L.A. striking?’ First, of all I don’t belong per-say to the Writers Guild; I hope to one day because that’ll mean I’m a paid writer. Even if it is just enough to buy a Starbucks, I’m getting paid for what I love.

 

Yes, I hope to actually make more than that, but you get my point.

 

Second, I live 500 miles away in Reno so I’m dependent on web articles, blogs and newspapers for information.

 

I fully wholeheartedly support the strike. And yet also am still confused on the rules. I may not belong, but I obviously don’t want to mess up my chances for future membership.

 

Anyway, belong are some links to more on what is happening in sunny Southern California.  

I’m still new to this blog thing so you’ll see the links below.

   

http://strikeswag.com/?gclid=CK2fjpyR3Y8CFRIUagodA2HN7g

 

http://getbackinthatroom.blogspot.com/  

http://www.mediabistro.com/fishbowlla/

 

http://www.eonline.com/gossip/kristin/detail/index.jsp?uuid=c782924a-d96c-4e9a-9375-fcb56b89b118&sid=fd-hot1-txt

 

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/la-et-saturday19nov19,1,2597576.story?coll=la-headlines-calendar

 

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/showtracker/

 

http://lateshowwritersonstrike.com/

 

http://www.newsweek.com/id/70948 

http://wga.org/

 

http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,1684419,00.html

 

http://www.amptp.org/negotiations.html

 

http://speechlesswithoutwriters.com/

 

http://deadlinehollywooddaily.com/

 

http://unitedhollywood.blogspot.com/2007/11/so-this-strike-thing-is-all-over-right.html

 

www.tvweek.com/wga-strike/

 

http://laist.com/2007/11/27/writers_strike_10.php

 

http://dailynightly.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2007/11/28/485509.aspx

 

http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/CA6498384.html

 

http://www.variety.com/VR1117977354.html

Re: Friends Don’t Let Friends Grow Old

In reference to my earlier post about me facing the inevitable inconvenience of aging, I stand before you corrected.

 

The below paragraph from the Associated Press I found dated November 27th takes the cake for inadequate feelings of human antiquity.

 WARNING LABELS ON SESAME STREET DVDS   NEW YORK (AP) — Parents who grew up watching the first episodes of “Sesame Street” will be shocked to hear that they’re now for adults only. The first two DVDs of the earliest episodes have warning labels on them that say they’re “intended for grown-ups, and may not suit the needs of today’s preschool child.” Executive producer Carol-Lynn Parente tells the New York Times that some things that were OK then, are not now. Like the Cookie Monster eating all those unhealthy cookies or smoking a pipe while playing Alistair Cookie. And what about Oscar the Grouch being so mean to everyone? She says they might not create a character like him now. Remember when Big Bird was the only one who could see Snuffleupagus? Suggests hallucinations. A no-no. Even in the first episode ever aired, Gordon befriends a lonely girl named Sally, holds her hand and takes her home to meet his wife and eat milk and cookies. 

So let me you ask you again – how old do you feel?!

In Memory: Michael Hutchence

inxs.jpg 

A decade ago today an energetic and unique voice was silenced. Michael Hutchence died at the young age of 37 in a Sydney hotel room …alone.

A decade later this week his fellow INXS band mates paid tribute to him on its website.

“Michael will always be remembered as a young, vibrant, gifted and passionate person. Age will not weary him as it gradually does his band mates,” wrote drummer Jon Farriss.

Farriss’ older brother, songwriter and keyboardist Andrew added, “I miss him very much. I miss his sense of humour, his intelligence and cheeky smile.”

I had the good fortune of meeting Hutchence while on the band’s X World Tour in 1991. It was part of a meet and greet inside Arco Arena’s men’s locker room. I distinctively remember facing my parents when a strange feeling erupted inside me. Seconds later I slowly muttered, ‘he’s here’ and turned my head to face eight men in suits. In the middle stood Michael Hutchence. Leather pants and partially unbuttoned green shirt with an odd rash looking mark on his chest.  

Michael was nice and gracious. My father on the other hand, coerced me to kiss him on his right cheek. (A few minutes later I realized I had his cologne on my face.)

While talking to a girl next to me, I became fascinated with his opened shirt and the fact that it was revealing a nice part of his chest. Suddenly he turned to me; I looked up and then again turned my gaze downward when he turned away. Again he looked me, this time catching me in the act. I jerked my head up and smiled.

When it came to my turn, he looked at me and quickly averted his eyes to his right. I looked over there. “So?” I thought. I looked back at him, he did it again. I looked again to my left. “What is he doing?” He looks again straight at me and does it again this time purposely widening his eyes. “Oh! Oh….these are just my parents.”

They were annoyed with me to say the least.

Later, I handed him a black and white poster I had bought in a Reno mall years earlier. He signed it ‘Michael Hutchence 1992.’ Didn’t have the heart to tell him it was really 1991.

I also gave him a 2’X2’ yellow album cover concept I created in my high school art class. I remember how proud I felt following through on a promise I made myself just months earlier. The paper depicted two crossed barbwire lines underneath two giant red roses. In the middle of that, moon cycle calendar.

The last time I saw it, he was cradling it in his hands walking out of the room.  

I first saw INXS play at Sacramento’s Cal Expo in June 1988. It was before they had a limit on how many people could be let into the outdoor arena. While waiting for the show my parents and I learned 5,000 tickets alone were sold just 24 hours earlier.

“New Sensation” was their big hit on mainstream radio at that time. When they played that song, from where I was sitting I could actually see steam rising above the jumping crowd huddled before the two-level stage.

The last song played that night was “Don’t Change.” Later, I learned it’s their signature encore. Every concert I saw from then on also ended the same way.

The last time I saw the original lineup was again in Sacramento in April 1994. Sentiments Michael made to the crowd that night would eerily emerge after his untimely death.

It was the day after singer Kurt Cobain’s body was found in Seattle. A few songs into INXS’ set, Michael loudly proclaimed, “He’s a fucking idiot for killing himself.”

The irony here is that a coroner ruled Michael’s death a suicide three years later.

The next time I saw them was in Reno in June 2002 with semi-permanent singer Jon Stevens. After some begging, a concert worker let me go backstage and meet the rest of them.

I was in awe my childhood idols were my height! I grew up thinking they were six giants.

I handed Andrew the same black and white poster to sign. He unfurled it to see his dead best friend’s signature. “How did you get this?”

“He (Michael) signed it.” Then he surprised me by forging his brother Jon’s signature on my poster after I complained missing him. “Think it looks like that.”

Andrew’s brother, guitarists Tim and Kirk Pengilly also signed it for me. Even singer Jon Stevens signed it; he dated it 2002. And once again, Jon Farriss eluded me.

As a side note, I also gave Axl Rose the same hand drawn yellow poster. I scribbled it on the night of my junior prom; no one had asked me to go so instead I watched the Headbanger’s Ball and drew another copy of my art class drawing.

I remember thinking how terrified I would be if I was asked if that was an original. But what would be the chances of that? Actually pretty damn good.

I ended up meeting him also. He actually sounded somewhat surprised when I told him my secret artwork.  

Last I heard of that copy, it toured the world on a tour speaker case then apparently ended up in his home.

To this day, I haven’t seen either copy. No matter, I am forever thankful for what I contributed to rock n’ roll history.

Friends Don’t Let Friends Grow Old

 

“I hope I die before I get old.”

My Generation , The Who, 1967

 

When did I officially become old?

 

Was it when the TENTH anniversary of Tickle Me Elmo was released? Was it when Wal-Mart and Target started selling shirts emblazoned with Guns n’ Roses and Rolling Stones logos? Or was it when my 20-year-old co-worker declared he had no idea what Cheers or Married with Children was?

 

No, my official ’old moment’ came on an ordinary Tuesday night while watching a commercial. I heard dozens of children singing a happy sounding tune for Xbox.

 

“This is what I say/It don’t mean nothing’ but a good time/How can I resist…..” Oh my God. They were singing Poison!

 

I don’t think the glam rockers had computer games in mind when they recorded that, now, two decades ago. Gulp.

 

I sat stunned. Then I was offended. And then I became offended at the thought I was offended. And then I realized how much my parents would relish this moment that I had turned into them. 

As a result I designed a quiz to help others who may be in same position as me.

 

I made it even simplier by making it multiple choice.

 

1. What event happened right before you were born?

      A. moon landing

      B. America’s bicentennial 

      C. the release of Madonna’s Like a Virgin

 

2. What’s the ‘coolest’ invention or toy you owned growing up?

       A. Atari

       B. beanie babies   

       C. the iphone

     

3. Which TV show premise is real?

       A. dancing crime scene investigators

       B. singing New York cops

       C. comedian accountants

 

4. Which movie was the butt of jokes while growing up?

       A. Howard the Duck

       B. Ishtar

       C. Gigli

 

5. Whom do you most identify with age-wise?

       A. Britney Spears

       B. George Clooney

       C. Walter Kronkite

 

Bonus Question: True or False

        The phrase ‘your door is ajar’ brings back bad robotic sounding memories.

 

If the above didn’t give you an ageism crisis yet, you can always turn to gettingolderstinks.com. Articles there include, ‘Drugs and Your Insurance Company,’ ‘Why Did I Start Smoking?’ and ‘Is it so Bad to be a Girlie Man?’ 

It also doesn’t help I’m one on the older spectrum of workers in my place of employment.

 

But then I started to think positively. I’ve passed my awkward teens and 20s and now am staring down my mid-30s. Yes, I’m only really 32. But I look 23. That counts right?

 

America is youth obsessed, but growing older should also be considered culturally accepted too. Japan, on the other hand, reveres its older citizens. If we could just accept age not as a disability but as a privilege we’d all be a little bit better of (and maybe a little wiser!)

 

Since writing this quiz I’ve realized that getting older isn’t necessarily bad, it’s just the death part I’m still having a hard time accepting.

 

Only if I could just find a way to live forever – and stay young at the same time! Wait, how much does Botox cost again?

Clean the Clutter, Cleanse the Soul

The headline reads, “Thousands Evacuate, Widespread Destruction Predicted.” 

No, it’s not from the recent devastating southern California fires, but from a newspaper dating back to Hurricane Katrina. I found it on my bedroom floor along with many other historic looking artifacts. Namely to-do lists, old concert ticket stubs and the occasional receipt for – you know what? Let’s just move on….. 

I promptly decided after seeing my past life scattered across rugs and under blankets that I needed to clean up my living space pronto!  

Introducing Project Life. The new reality starring Kellene Stockwell (and many trash bags.) 

With the help of my two curious pawing and pouncing cats, I snap on some latex gloves and get to work. I discover items once thought lost forever: small cut out recipes, historical newspapers (“Vote Today!” as in the ‘04 Presidential election) and old bank statements. Who remembers the last time I had $1,000 in savings? I don’t!  

Not since the unearthing of Pompeii has there been such an extensive project. 

I categorize stuff into three piles: the throw away, stow away and get away.  I also had the ‘think about later’ pile just to please my indecisive side. Really, who would keep a copy of the lyrics to D**k in a Box? That fad was over faster than a relationship I had back in college. 

As my throw away pile got larger and larger I started to take stock in my accomplishment. Only an hour into it and I had three paper bags full of just plain crap.  

Now don’t confuse the throw away with the get away. Oh no, intricate delicate wording I explained to my boyfriend stated the get away was only for donation purposes. Like a small bon voyage to a newer life to somewhere else with someone who deserves/needs those items. Maybe that brand new glass set (that I just couldn’t live without) would make a nice gift for someone’s party.  

The thing that amazed me the most though was how could I collect all this stuff? My God. We live in a society where stuff is king. Imagine, someone out there really is making a buck off that single coffee pod machine I spied in a Macy’s ad I just tossed. Why can’t people just use instant and a pot of boiled hot water? Because Americans want — check that ‘need’ the latest and greatest thing out on the market. But if you think about it – when do you see yourself using a salad leaf separater? 

Floor space comes with a high price. But sometimes it’s worth chucking the dozens of used Time magazines for a more tranquil setting. Or so I read in one of those Time magazines. 

Stuff can also be used as a measure of age. For instance, I collect sentimental items like a 1990’s quiz I saw in USA Weekend magazine. I placed it inside my senior high school yearbook. When I look back, I want to see what OTHER events happened outside of my own selfish teenage world. Like did OJ do something bad? Other than that sports robbery in Vegas? I didn’t pay attention.  

As for my stow away items, well, who can really part with a limited edition Britney Spears perfume? It smells ultra sexy. (Perfume doesn’t go bad doesn’t it?) Other items include a writing job rejection letter from the Late Show with David Letterman dated 1995 (it gives me motivation to continue), and three magazines detailing how lead is tainting children worldwide (even though I don’t have children!). They each had small articles on how great American Gangster was ok?     

And being the news junkie I am, I actually started a collection of 9/11 items. Six years later I have five binders full of articles and pictures. Ironically it wasn’t until 2002 that I realized I had amassed a historical document. My grandfather even asked me, ‘does Donald Rumsfeld know you have this stuff?’ It was a defining moment in my collecting life.  

But now it’s cluttering my closet and turning into kitty chew toys. (“I can’t replace that. Stop it!”) After wrestling one of those 9/11 papers from Sushi’s mouth, I turned around and saw it – the most precious site of them all, stuff only I’ve heard stories about – the carpet! It was tan. And surprisingly still clean from the last time I saw it way back in…..hmm…..

I felt great seeing the massive bags of trash I had accumulated. My cats loved them too; they played inside and ripped up more papers. Most importantly though I had taken a weight off my shoulders. I had proven to myself that I can still live in a somewhat organized and clean place. 

But for now you’ll have to excuse me. I have to clean up the vomit the cat hurled from eating a used Kleenex. 

No Supervision Here! Caution – Scary Adults at Play!

 

“Which one do you think makes me look oobra-slutty? The French maid costume, Playboy bunny or Catwoman?”

 

Besides the obvious that you’ll probably never hear this question in real life – it does bring up an interesting point. When did Halloween become so sophisticated or involved for adults?

 

Most of us grew up wearing innocent looking costumes as kids, and now thanks to geeky loner psychologists saying young adults aren’t mentally mature until they’re 25, we don’t have to grow up EVER!

 

Yes, no more giant white pillow cases for adults. Oh no, we want glamour and most importantly attention for wearing the least amount of clothing possible.

 

When was the last time you saw a normal (read: boring) looking pirate costume for women? Or a genie or anything for that matter? Who needs taste when Halloween-related companies can cash in and cater to your inner sex kitten?

 

Men, however, seem to be the opposite when fulfilling their selfish fantasies. They clamor for oversized beer kegs and Fart-O-Meters.

 

So what does that say? Men are simple while women want to feel sexy? Isn’t this already an ongoing argument between married couples?

 

Answer this – how many women do you see wear enormous “God’s Gift” costumes?

 

This yearly decision on what to wear is becoming almost as important as whether to watch Must See TV or what to name a child. Ok, maybe not that far, but you get my point.

 

Costume shops everywhere seem to be turning up the heat. The New York Times is even taking notice saying women’s costumes “are more strip than storybook.” Yes, now once a year women can intentionally look like hookers and not even have work in a Nevada brothel!

 

I think we put too much emphasize on Halloween and to be truthful, it’s holiday discrimination. What about Talk Like a Pirate Day or Dictionary Day? None of us rush out and buy thousands of dictionaries on that day. Course it would make us a more literate nation and more competitive with the world’s super education countries.

 

But who wants that?

 

We could be on the verge of an underground sexual revolution here complete with home wreckers, sexy scholars and racy Little Red Riding Hoods!

 

Halloween is now about our inner ravenous witch or pirate; we can’t be suppressed forever as a sexually charged nation. It’s our First Amendment right!

 

One thing still holds true. It’s almost over and then we can focus on real issues like Hot Toddys vs. Eggnog.