Friday, January 30, 2015

Work, Eat, Sleep. Repeat.

The past few days have been fairly normal.  As I said in my last post, I've begun to settle into a routine.  I went to Karga Seven on Tuesday and had a decent day there.  If anything, the unpredictable elements in my life right now are my internships.  I haven't really done the same thing twice!  At Karga Seven on Tuesday, they sent me up to postproduction again.  I sat there for a while as they looked for something for me to do.  Eventually they had me writing character bios for a TV episode.  After about an hour, they took me back down to the main office where I got an assignment that I was about 3/5 of the way through at the end of the day.  They had me transcribe a 50-minute interview!  My job was basically to type up every word a guy said in the video.  That takes a ton of time!  You can't type nearly as fast as people speak, so it requires a lot of pausing and rewinding.  It's pretty nuts!  I'm glad I didn't have to transcribe what the interviewer said!  I worked at it steadily from about 11:00 to 5:00 (with a lunch break in the middle, of course).  At the end, I think I had right around 30 minutes worth transcribed.  Another one of the interns did the rest.  After I got back, I stuck a frozen dinner in the oven and went over to the South Clubhouse to claim the package my mom sent me.  It had my Page-a-day calendar, my flash drives, and some gift cards in it.  Then I ate my dinner and relaxed for a while.  Before long, it was time to head over to the UTLA Center to watch "The Grand Budapest Hotel".  At first I wasn't really sure I wanted to see the movie.  I kind of judged it by its name beforehand, but I decided to look up a review.  The review portrayed it as a pretty funny movie that I would really like.  I had never seen a Wes Anderson movie before this one, but I had heard a lot about his movies.  Overall, I thought it was okay.  There were definitely some funny scenes and elements, but it wasn't particularly engaging to me.  It didn't exactly grip me or cause me to have a laugh attack.  I can see why people like it, but I don't understand why it got so many Oscar nominations.  Anyway, I returned home and just relaxed after it was over.  Yesterday was a really exciting, fun day at Glassman Media!  I can't really tell a lot of details, but I know I want to stay there!  I started out the day making copies and stapling papers.  The next big chunk of time was devoted to helping my supervisor prepare a couple packages for a FedEx shipment.  After lunch, we continued working on that a little, and I did some other random things for her.  I really had some authentic intern work there!  For a while after that, she had me sit back in the postproduction area and observe what they were doing.  Once she was ready to run some errands, she had me check the mail, drop some stuff in the mailbox, and sit at the front desk.  I ended up sitting at the front desk for a long time!  She was very busy, so I had to stay longer than I would have liked.  However, I got to continue helping them out with the development of a show.  I also met Andrew Glassman, the founder of Glassman Media!  When she finally returned to the office and let me go, I didn't have enough time to eat dinner.  I had to rush home, grab some stuff for my New Media and Emerging Entertainment class, and rush back to the same building.  The class was pretty great and interesting!  We talked a bit about our final project, and we got to watch a lot of fun videos too!  As I said before, I think I will really love that class!  Since I hadn't eaten dinner yet, I got home pretty quickly.  For some reason, I was particularly sweaty and hot.  Before long, it got to the point where I wasn't feeling good at all.  I went into the bathroom, and...well, let's just say the toilet got a little taste of what I had for lunch!  I think it was because I was hot and a little exhausted from the combination of exercise and long clothes.  I had also been working most of the day.  I obviously didn't want to eat immediately after that, but I had a little personal pizza later on.  Then it was time to call it a day!  Today I woke up for another day at Karga Seven.  Once I had sat around for a good while, they had me go down to storage and help out there.  I helped a guy sort some t-shirts and sweatshirts and put them into bins.  After that, we brought some food and drinks up to the main office.  I really didn't do much after that.  I ate lunch, and then I went to postproduction and watched some stuff that hasn't aired yet.  That's all they wanted me to do - just watch their shows!  I was okay with that!  That's fun!  However, I felt guilty because some of my fellow interns were actually working.  They were doing character bios and whatnot.  After Karga Seven, I claimed another package on my way back to the apartment.  I had no clue what this one contained.  It held a book I had asked my mom to mail me, but I was surprised it had come so soon.  It also contained my prescription, a chocolate cake, a little stuffed dog, and a big bag of Crispy M&M's!  It was a bunch of early birthday/Valentine's Day presents!  Mom, you're the best!  Once I had opened that, I ate a quick dinner and headed over to the Line Production class tonight.  I'm not enrolled in the class, but I decided I would audit it.  It was pretty interesting, and the professor only kept us for just over an hour!  Then I came back, took care of a few small tasks, and just relaxed.  I'm excited for tomorrow - after my half day at Karga Seven, it's time for the UTLA Bowling Night!  Free bowling, pizza, chips and salsa, and pop are less than 24 hours away!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Settling Into a Routine

Since my last blog post, I've worked a little more and begun to settle into a routine.  Friday was definitely an adventure - I had to get to Karga Seven all by myself!  Nobody else in the UTLA program interns there on Fridays, so I don't have a ride one day a week.  I thought I gave myself plenty of time to get there, but I didn't anticipate getting horribly lost on the way from the subway station to the building.  I doubted myself early in my walk there, and I ended up turning back when I shouldn't have.  That, combined with other mistakes, made me half an hour late.  However, nobody really noticed - the internship program at Karga Seven seems to be a bit disorganized.  Right after I arrived, they took me up to the postproduction area and I helped out there.  I didn't really sign up for postproduction, but I got to do some cool stuff!  I just worked there for about 4 hours, and then it was time for me to go - I only work until 2:00 on Fridays!  Unfortunately, my journey home ended up being much more grueling than my journey there!  I got horribly lost on my way back to the subway station - much worse than my trip the other way!  It took forever, but I did manage to get back to the subway station.  When I boarded the subway, I thought everything was perfect.  That's when the automated voice said, "Welcome to the Metro Purple Line!"  D'oh!  I needed the Red Line!  I got off at the next stop and found the Red Line subway that was going in the right direction.  THEN, and only then, was I good to go.  I didn't have any problems with buses, so I got on the right bus and headed home once I got off the subway at Hollywood and Vine.  It took me longer than I would have liked to get home, but I survived!  Woo hoo!  After I got home, I made myself some dinner and cooled off for a while.  I think my roommates went to some karaoke bar with some other UTLA students - it's hard to remember what happened when, but I think that was Friday night.  While they were gone, I relaxed in the hot tub for a while.  I came back around 10:00, and when I got back, my roommates and some of their friends were in the apartment.  They were all holding wine glasses, and they seemed to be having a good time!  They knew they wanted to go back out and do something, so they decided to walk to a bar close by.  Again, I just stayed back and did my own thing.  Just before 1:00 in the morning, I was about to get ready for bed.  I was about a minute away from getting in the shower when my roommates and their friends got back from the bar.  All of them (except the one girl in the group) seemed to be a little "buzzed" at the very least.  They were even crazier than they were earlier in the night!  They said that they wanted me to host a "game show" for them, and one of them set up a camera, so I "hosted" a very improvised "episode" of Match Game.  Although there were quite a few distractions, we managed to get through the whole episode.  They seemed to enjoy it!  After that, we somehow got to talking about Nickelodeon game shows.  I mentioned that my favorite Nick game show was Legends of the Hidden Temple, so we pulled up an episode on YouTube and watched it.  Thankfully, the team that made it to the bonus round (the Orange Iguanas) won!  Soon after the episode ended, all the guests left.  I went to bed pretty quickly after that.  On Saturday we slept in and just lazed around for a while.  Since it was such a nice day (low 80s - ha ha, Illinois people!), we all went out to the pool in the afternoon.  It was a good day for a swim!  In the evening, my roommates and I went to check out a gym close to the apartments, and then we did a big shopping trip at Target.  We put some money towards a cheap Crock Pot - now, we can make some nice meals!  On Sunday morning, I woke up and caught a bus that took me to a spot close to Victory Baptist Church.  My mom found the church online and suggested it.  I wasn't a huge fan of it - the worship was good, but the pastor was one of those "screamy" pastors that really beats a point to death.  The sermon lasted almost 2 hours altogether!  Next week I'll check out a church that a Facebook friend recommended.  After the service let out, I went over to a nearby restaurant called The Dog Haus.  I ordered "The Pig Lebowski", which was a Polish kielbasa topped with slaw, fries, and BBQ sauce.  It was delicious!  I've heard they have good corn dogs, so I'm definitely going back!  Once I got home, I watched some GSN and did my reading homework for one of my classes.  Other than writing assignments, most of our homework for that class is watching movies!  By next week, we have to watch "The Godfather".  I'm excited - everyone says that's a great movie!  Today was another day of classes, so it was pretty standard.  Tonight we ordered some tasty pizza and watched a movie.  Also, we went on another grocery store trip.  I didn't find what I was looking for, but I did find "Groundhog Day" in the discount DVD section!  I just had to buy it!  I've heard it's great, and Groundhog Day is my birthday!  My 20th birthday shall be my first viewing of that movie!  Tomorrow I'm going back to Karga Seven.  I'm grateful for the rides I have there on Tuesdays and Thursdays!  This should be my first "regular" week here!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Hardly Workin'

The past couple days have the first days at my 2 internships.  Yesterday (Wednesday) was my first day as an intern at Glassman Media.  I woke up nice and early in the morning so I could arrive by 9:30, the time my supervisor had originally told me.  However, after I was mostly ready to go, I saw an e-mail from her telling me to come in at 10:00 because she had some errands to run.  It was sweet!  I had some extra time on my hands, and I used it to watch part of an episode Press Your Luck!  When it was finally time to leave, I got up and walked over to the building where Glassman Media is located - it's the one that's in the same building my classes are in!  That's very convenient!  Once I got there, Barbara (my supervisor) told me to sit behind her desk for a while.  She didn't really have anything for me to do at the time, so I just relaxed.  I got to meet some of the other people working there.  Apparently, a bunch of new employees just started on Monday!  I also signed a form that was basically just a confidentiality agreement.  I'm going to see and hear a lot of things that are top secret (for now, anyway)!  I got familiar with the place, and then I just sat down behind Barbara's desk.  She just got a new MacBook Air a few weeks ago, and she was having trouble opening Microsoft Office on it.  Since everybody else was busy and didn't have anything for me to do, I just tried to help her figure that out.  It was wanting her to enter in a product key, but she said she already did that.  I tried a couple things that might have helped but didn't quite do the trick.  She called another employee in, and he just recommended entering the product key one more time.  Sure enough, that worked!  Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel were ready to go!  However, Outlook still wanted a product key.  Before too long, I figured out that the package she bought didn't include Outlook.  She had it on her old Mac, and she wanted to see if she could get it on her new computer.  She made some calls to Microsoft, and they told her they would refund her for the package she bought and sell her a new one with Outlook.  She was okay with that, but she was still concerned with how much it cost.  She said she never remembered having to buy Outlook for her old computer.  After that, she called another guy who works at a company that operates a server for Glassman Media.  He told her that she could just download Outlook from the server.  She tried downloading the file, but it wouldn't open properly.  The computer brought up a strange error message I had never seen before.  I did lots of research and tried a bunch of weird tricks, but nothing worked.  After several hours of laboring over it, she called again and figured out that the server had the wrong file type.  It was incompatible with her computers because it was too new or something like that.  She might just have to buy Outlook for her computer after all.  Those couple problems ended up consuming our whole day!  Nobody ever pulled me aside to do real work!  I know that I'll be doing some cool stuff with them eventually, but my first day at Glassman was just tech support!  She said they were in a slow period and just starting up with something, so I should be right in the action when I go back next Wednesday!  After my internship, I walked back home and made myself some dinner.  At 7:00, it was time for my first session of New Media & Emerging Entertainment.  I think I'm really going to enjoy that class!  It seems exciting and fun!  It's all about exploring storytelling on new platforms and technologies.  We're going to be learning about stuff so new that it's not even in textbooks!  The professor started out by telling us his story and his experiences, and he also explained what the class would look like.  I'm looking forward to the field trips!  He told us about many places we'll visit, and he says we could be going to the Jim Henson Studios!  You don't know how happy that would make me!  I'm a huge Jim Henson fan, and what the professor described sounded so neat!  We introduced ourselves, and then he gave us a basic introduction to the class.  We talked about old media vs. new media, aspects of good stories, etc.  It was all really engaging stuff, and we got out of the class a little over an hour early!  That class is gonna rock!  Today (Thursday) was my first day at Karga Seven Pictures.  I met the other guys in my carpool around 9:00 this morning, and we took off.  We got there a little early, so we sat around for a while and then signed some paperwork.  Our supervisor took us around and showed us all the important stuff.  Karga Seven is much bigger - they have a bunch of different offices on two floors, and it's located in a huge place!  It's called the Los Angeles Center Studios, and the whole place is big and fancy!  There are a few buildings that are all kind of interconnected, and it's like a miniature city!  After our tour, we went off to our separate departments and got to work.  They had me do some research, but it was pretty relaxed.  I got through all my assigned work with plenty of time to spare!  During my lunch break, I got together with some of the other UTLA people and ate at a nice outside table.  Including me, there are 5 UTLA people interning at Karga Seven!  Just before 5:00, I added some finishing details to my research and turned everything in to the lady I was working with.  It was neat getting to walk around the whole place and meet new people!  I think I'll enjoy both of these internships!  I did considerably more work today than I did yesterday, but I still feel like I'm hardly workin'!  Tomorrow is just a short 4-hour day back at Karga.  Navigating the public transportation will probably be the biggest challenge!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I've Had My Phil

The last couple days have marked the transition from free time in L.A. to the actual Hollywood Semester program.  Monday was our last day of no classes because of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  Instead of sleeping in like a lot of people probably did, I rose early in the morning to begin the journey over to the Paramount Studios.  I made my way there so I could see a taping of Dr. Phil!  I took all the right buses on the way there, and I arrived half an hour early as the instructions advised, but they turned me away!  They said they were at capacity but that I was guaranteed a seat in the next show.  I had an hour or so to wait, so I walked down the street and found a restaurant that was serving breakfast.  It was pretty tasty!  After I ate breakfast and just sat around for a while, I walked back there and got right in line.  I gave up my cell phone and then went through the metal detector, but there was another period of waiting after that.  It's weird that they make you wait the longest after you prove that you're not dangerous!  I signed a form they gave me, and eventually I got into the studio.  Soon after I took my seat, some guy came up on stage and began warming us up.  They got some nice dance music on, and he called some of his favorite dancers in the audience down onto the stage to do their thing.  He gave them all Dr. Phil coffee mugs!  They continued playing dance music even after he stopped calling people down to the stage.  He gave out the last few coffee mugs and threw some hearts out into the audience!  I caught one (it's pictured below)!  After that, Dr. Phil came out onto the stage, and the show was on!  Boy, was it a doozie!  It would take a whole day to explain all that went on!  Basically, suspicious dad who's away from home a lot + cheating, jealous, lying mom + 6 children who are tired of their fighting = A big fat mess!  The dad also had another child from a previous marriage!  They all had a lot to work out!  As a side note, I thought it was interesting how they filmed the show - they did it continuously!  They didn't stop during the commercial breaks, so the whole show was basically one long take!  At all the game shows, they took lengthy commercial breaks!  However, they did have Dr. Phil and his wife do a little promo after the episode was over, and I think Dr. Phil might have also rerecorded one thing.  Anyway, after the show let out, the real "fun" began.  I went back to the 210 bus stop where I got off in the morning.  According to the bus schedule, the bus should have been there around 2:00 or 2:06.  I got there several minutes before 2:00, and there was nothing for a long time.  Eventually, at 2:16, a 210 bus pulled up on the other side of the road.  Since it was already 10 minutes past when I was expecting a bus, I crossed the road and got on.  It was someone's genius idea to put two 210 bus stops on opposite sides of the same intersection!  So, naturally, I started going in the wrong direction.  After a while, I realized that I was not headed towards Hollywood and Vine.  By the time I got the chance to ask the bus driver what I should do, I was in a bad part of town.  Since I didn't want to go even farther in the wrong direction, I got off the bus.  It was daytime, so I figured I was fine.  I got back on the website I use to figure out bus routes, and I was able to figure out the right way home.  When the "good bus" came around, traffic had started building up because of a construction project.  It took a long time because of the horrid traffic jams, but I got back to the Hollywood and Vine bus station in due time.  From there, I got on the bus that took me back to the stop closest to my apartment.  All in all, I arrived home about 4 hours after I got out of Dr. Phil, and it could have taken half an hour.  I should have paid more attention to the signs at the bus stops - if I would have, I could have avoided the mess!  The fact that the bus was so late just completely threw me off!  Sometimes the L.A. buses can be early, and if they're late, they're no more than 3 minutes late!  I was confused, and my confusion led to panic!  After I finally got back to the apartment, I just relaxed for the rest of the night.  At this point, I've had my "Phil" of TV show tapings and bus rides around L,A.  Now that I've had my "Phil" of free time, it's time to get down to business.  (I apologize for the puns - well, kind of!)  Today (Tuesday) was my first day of classes at the UTLA Center.  My first class was Development Process of Film & TV.  The main drawback about the class is that there's a lot of writing.  Based on what we talked about today, I think I have a lot to learn!  I'm excited, though - I love learning about this kind of thing!  During the hour break in between classes, I grabbed some lunch in the little deli.  My second and final class for the day was How Hollywood Works.  It was a lot of fun!  I like the professor a lot, and I think I'll love the class!  (I like my other professor too, but this one is particularly energetic and enthusiastic.)  After my classes were over, I just came home and chilled.  Tomorrow is my first day of internships!  I'm working at Glassman Media tomorrow, and my first day at Karga Seven is Thursday.  I also have my third class, New Media & Emerging Entertainment, at 7:00 in the evening tomorrow.  I'm ready to start doing real Hollywood business!

Here's my Dr. Phil heart!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

All I Wanna Do

Today marked a week since my arrival in California.  What a week it's been!  I slept in a little bit today (although I still got up a couple hours before anyone else did).  Since I didn't really find a church to go to here, I watched one of my pastor's old sermons on the Internet.  After that, I made myself some brunch and lazed around for a while.  My roommates played video games and watched the NFL games today, so I just played on my computer and my phone.  I wasn't particularly thrilled about either of the outcomes today, but I don't follow football enough to really care.  Right around 3:00, we packed up our trunks and then left for Santa Monica!  We had a great time there!  After we arrived and parked, we made our way down to the beach.  We never actually put on our trunks and got in the water, but we walked along the beach for a while.  I'm pretty sure I didn't pack any flip-flops, and in any case, I didn't wear them to the beach today.  I took off my tennis shoes and carried them, and I put my socks in my pocket.  I need to go buy a cheap pair of flip-flops!  It was really a nice day to go to the beach!  It was sunny, but it wasn't too hot, and we didn't get burnt.  You know you're not in Illinois when you go to a beach in January!  After we were done walking along the beach, we went over to the pier and walked up and down the whole thing.  When we got to the very end, we waited for the sun to set.  Watching the sunset on Santa Monica pier is pretty amazing!  I didn't bring my cell phone, but my roommates all got pretty good pictures.  I'll make sure to post more of them!  After the sun had fallen below the horizon, we made our way back.  We found a really good seafood restaurant near the end of the pier and stopped for dinner.  It was so delicious!  Their fish and chips were so much better than Long John Silver's!  After we hung out there for a while, we made our way to the car and came back.  My roommates immediately prepared to go on the City Walk, but I just settled in for the evening - once again, it's a 21+ thing only!  Ugh!  Just after they left, I decided that I wanted to actually put on my trunks and go down to the hot tub near my apartment.  There were so many people there!  I didn't expect to see a crowd!  I stayed for a while, and then I came on back.  My day is just about over, but tomorrow I'm going to see a taping of Dr. Phil (as long as I can get myself up early enough)!  It's my last day before classes start!

The photo is courtesy of my roommate, Matt Malabonga.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Let's Get (a Little) Serious

The past few days have been much more slowly paced than my first few days in Hollywood.  The biggest thing I did on Friday was my UTLA orientation.  My roommates and I walked together to the orientation at noon.  After getting my picture taken, I got some of the delicious catered food and then found my seat.  There to greet me was a UT Austin hat and a welcome packet.  As I ate my lunch, I acquainted myself with the other people at my table.  One of the UTLA staff members came around to all the tables to give us raffle tickets and tape names to our backs.  As an icebreaker, we played the classic game where you have a famous person's name on your back and you have to figure out who it is with yes and no questions.  We went around the table asking one question at a time, so I never figured out who my person was before the game was over.  Later on, I took the name off my back and learned who it was.  What I had determined during the game was that the person was a European woman who is not a movie star, a musician, or a supermodel.  I also knew she was in the entertainment business and not old (I defined "old" as 60+).  If anyone wants to take a guess, you're more than welcome to!  Anyway, it was a pretty typical orientation - we learned some ground rules and some emergency procedures.  Then we heard a little bit about all the classes that were offered and looked at the semester calendar.  We also talked about fun events and activities that are available.  All throughout the orientation, they drew tickets and gave away a bunch of raffle prizes.  The final raffle prize they gave away was 2 tickets to the Magic Castle, a fancy and exclusive place in L.A. where they have magic shows.  They called my number to win the prize!  The only problem is, you have to be 21+ to get in!  Imagine my luck!  I ended up trading it away for a Bradley t-shirt, and somebody else got those tickets.  I would have liked one of the pairs of movie tickets they were giving away!  After we got all the important information out of the way, we played one last game - the classic "Two Truths and a Lie".  The people at my table figured out my lie, but it took them a while!  They debated it for a long time!  I usually feel like I'm bad at that game, so I felt a little better about it!  After orientation, we returned to the apartment.  For the next several hours, I was in extremely bored/couch potato mode.  However, I knew my roommates and I were planning on going to a movie later on, so I looked forward to that.  When night came around, we went out to see "Foxcatcher".  It was a pretty good movie, but I wasn't a huge fan of the ending.  It was also one of the mildest R-rated movies I've ever seen.  Steve Carell was fantastic, and I think it'd be cool if he won the Best Actor Oscar!  I would also like to see Mark Ruffalo win Best Supporting Actor!  We returned to the apartment after seeing the movie, and the rest of the day was pretty typical.  Today I slept in a little bit and hung around the apartment for a while.  Just before 2:00, my roommates went out to see another movie and then hang out on Sunset Blvd.  I didn't think I would enjoy the movie, so I stayed back.  I hung around the apartment, watched GSN, and did other (mostly) unproductive stuff.  Later in the afternoon, I got on a bus headed for Hollywood and Vine.  When I got there, I ate at a place called Juicy Burger.  I had seen that it got excellent reviews, and I was in the mood for a burger, so I went for it.  It was so delicious!  The burger I ate tonight was one of the best I've ever had!  I would definitely recommend it!  After I was done, my goal was to reload my TAP card (which pays for bus and subway rides) and get on the bus leaving at 5:41.  The problem is, I walked in the wrong direction as I left the restaurant!  By the time I turned around and started actually heading for the Metro station, the bus was already there.  Since I couldn't pay for it, I had no choice but to take the next bus.  The buses don't come around very often, so I was stuck for a while.  On the bright side, I found Pat Sajak's star on the Walk of Fame when I was in the wrong place!  After I reloaded my card, I had to wait until 6:36 for the next bus.  I found a store along Hollywood Blvd that had a whole bunch of t-shirts and other souvenirs, so I hung around there for a long time.  When it was time for the bus to come around, I found the station, boarded the bus, and finally came home.  Since then, I've just been sitting around listening to music and watching GSN.  I believe my roommates want to go to the beach tomorrow, so I'll definitely join them!  I'm not sure which beach they want to go to - they said Santa Monica at first, but not everyone likes that idea.  I was a fan of Santa Monica Beach when I went there in July 2013.  No matter what happens tomorrow, it should be fun!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

A Party Fit for a King

Today was quite a spectacular day all the way around!  I rose early in the morning so I could get ready for my second trip over to Glassman Media.  Once I arrived there, I talked with the lady I had previously communicated with.  She told me the basics of what I would be doing there, and she said I would probably be working there one day a week.  It was nice to hear that I definitely have a position!  After I got back to my apartment, I turned on GSN and watched some classic game shows.  I hardly ever watch GSN when the older shows are on in the morning, but I had the chance to today!  I saw part of an episode of Press Your Luck and full episodes of $ale of the Century and $25,000 Pyramid.  I had never seen a full episode of $ale of the Century before today!  After watching those shows and taking care of a few orders of business, I made myself some lunch and then turned back into a couch potato.  I'm so bored with no actual work to do!  I've been watching way too much GSN!  Eventually I got up to turn in some forms to the UTLA Center.  After that, I just turned on some SpongeBob and chilled for a while.  Just before 5:00, the lady from Glassman Media called and told me that I would be working every Wednesday.  My first day is this coming Wednesday!  After 5:00, I started calling around to make sure I had a ride to the gala at the Skirball Center tonight!  All the Hollywood Semester students and a bunch of people from Bradley's college of Communication and Fine Arts were out there to recruit interested high school students.  It was also a good opportunity for current students like me to network!  My Bradley roommate and I left a little late, and we also didn't anticipate the awful traffic and the fact that we were headed to the wrong place.  The first place we ended up was the location of a different event that had already occurred.  Once we found the Skirball Center, we were much later than they wanted us to be.  However, we were there with plenty of time to spare before the big announcement at 8:00.  I had seen in an e-mail a long time ago that there would be a big announcement, and I had no clue what to expect.  Things got a lot more interesting, however, when Larry King walked in the door!  I didn't know why he was there, but I was excited!  Every once in a while, I hovered around where he was.  When he came a little closer to the middle of the room, I stood in line to meet him.  I continued to creepily hover, and eventually I was able to approach him, say hi, and shake his hand!  It was the most shameless thing I've ever done, but I don't regret it a bit!  At 8:00, it was time for the big announcement.  We learned that Charley Steiner, a Bradley alumnus who became a famous sports broadcaster, was being honored.  Bradley's Sports Communication program has been renamed the Charley Steiner School of Sports Communication!  Larry King came up on stage, talked a little about himself, and then explained that he is good friends with Charley.  Larry was pretty funny!  After that, Charley himself came up on stage and told his story.  It was pretty interesting and inspirational!  He talked about how his biggest inspiration was Vin Scully.  He said that when he was about 6 or 7 years old, he decided he wanted to be like Vin Scully, who broadcasted all the Brooklyn Dodgers games.  In 2004, Charley got the opportunity to become the main broadcaster for the L.A. Dodgers.  After he learned that he had achieved his dream, Vin Scully called him on his cell phone to congratulate him and welcome him to the Dodgers organization!  That's incredible!  After all the speakers were finished, we lingered around for a long time.  We all made sure to take home official MLB baseballs signed by Charley Steiner!  He literally signed hundreds of baseballs!  I wondered why Vin Scully wasn't there as well, and I heard that he was sick and couldn't make it.  What a bummer!  It would have been so neat to meet Larry King and Vin Scully in the same night!  He hosted a game show, you know!  Anyway, we went back home after the party had died down.  Tomorrow is the UTLA orientation!  It should be fun!

Wheel! Of! Failure!

Today I finally had some time to breathe!  We did several things today, but they didn't take up quite the whole day.  We started out the day by going over to the building where my classes will take place.  I checked out the UTLA Center, and then I went up to the 4th floor of the building.  Conveniently enough, Glassman Media (one of the places I might intern) is right there!  I would only have to walk across the street to go to my classes and my internship!  After scoping out that building, we grabbed a quick early lunch at McDonald's and then set off for Culver City once again!  The traffic was particularly rough today - my mom thinks there might have been a big accident.  In any case, we arrived considerably later than we wanted to even though we left early.  Thankfully, we still made it.  We had VIP tickets for the Wheel of Fortune taping today, but we didn't get the best seats (probably because we were a little late).  Nevertheless, it was pretty neat!  They were taping for a Disney-themed week on the show, and I just so happened to be wearing my Monsters University t-shirt!  I had no clue about the Disney theme until I got there!  Some of the pages came around and gave everyone a pair of Mickey ears!  They had all different designs on them!  Mine had a Buzz Lightyear design!  Before the shows began taping, the announcer, Jim Thornton, came around to chat with us and warm us up.  He told some great Disney jokes and asked us some trivia questions!  I never knew how much game show announcers actually do - they interact with the studio audience a lot, and Jim Thornton was fantastic!  Because of the Disney theme, Mickey introduced Pat and Vanna.  They came out onto the stage with their arms linked with other Disney characters!  It's not often that Pat and Vanna walk onstage disconnected from each other!  Then they did their thing, and it was pretty neat!  After 3 days of game show tapings, I'm kind of running out of things to say.  Simply enough, it was interesting and fun to see the show live and watch all the action behind the scenes!  I particularly liked watching the contestants practice before the show!  It was also cool when they changed out the wheel wedges between rounds!  What I didn't know when we got there was that we were in for 3 episodes!  We got to see 2 episodes at the Jeopardy! taping yesterday, but it was 3 at Wheel of Fortune today!  I guess it's best to go with the earlier time!  I named this post "Wheel!  Of!  Failure!" because there were plenty of screwups.  All 3 winners lost in the Bonus Round!  I was hoping that out of 3 shows, there would be at least one winner!  I thought the first Bonus Round puzzle was easy!  Also, there was one time that a contestant who had collected around $16,700 in the round hit bankrupt!  The puzzle was mostly filled in, but apparently she was still struggling!  In addition, one lady who had somewhere over $10,000 had a bad missolve!  She could have banked quite a lot, but she didn't solve the puzzle correctly!  In general, it seemed like there were a lot of bankrupts in the 3 shows we saw.  That being said, the winners of all 3 episodes won over $20,000 in the maingame - it wasn't a complete failure!  Sadly, Pat and Vanna didn't really come over and talk to us.  Pat reminded the audience not to whisper any letters or puzzle solutions, but that was about it.  The stage was always really busy during the commercial breaks, so I can understand why it didn't work out.  Fortunately, Jim Thornton was always there to entertain us between shows.  He gave out little prizes to people who answered his trivia questions!  I answered a bunch of his questions, so I won 4 "blinky pins"!  He also gave some people autographed $1 bills!  After I had accumulated my blinky pins, my mom asked him if we could trade one of those for a $1 bill.  He just gave one to me!  It was sweet!  At one point when he was interacting with me, he noticed my Monsters University shirt.  He brought up the fact that he was a voice in Monsters, Inc.  Apparently, he's the guy who narrates the commercial that Mike and Sulley watch at the beginning of the movie!  My mind was blown!  I had never known that, and I was unintentionally wearing the perfect shirt!  After the third show concluded and we were all done, we asked Jim if he would sign my shirt!  He gladly did!  It was so neat interacting with him!  We eventually hit the road and headed back to the apartment.  The traffic was still bad on the way back, but it wasn't as bad as it was on the way there.  Once we got back, my mom and I said our goodbyes.  She immediately had to turn around and head for the airport, so I was on my own.  I certainly appreciate all she did for me in the few days she was here!  At 5:00, I had to go over to the UTLA Center again for a quick meeting with an advisor.  We just discussed my internship search, my classes, and my résumé.  I have a lot of improvements to make!  Once I got back from that meeting, I just made some dinner and unwound.  It feels nice to sit back and relax!  Unfortunately, I believe I might have lost my autographed $1 bill from Jim Thornton.  It had his name, W.O.F. (Wheel of Fortune), and the date on it.  He also drew a microphone near George Washington's mouth and several stars all around the bill.  It figures that I lost it (at least for now) - it just adds to the "failure" theme!  Since I never took a picture of it, I decided to post a picture of Vanna White's star on the Walk of Fame.  Tomorrow I'm going to check out Glassman Media again and attend a party for the Bradley students at the Skirball Center!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

I'll Take "Crazy Days" for $1000, Alex!

Today was yet another jampacked, hectic day!  We rose early in the morning so we could start to figure out the public transportation here in L.A.  My mom had already figured out quite a bit by the time she woke me up!  She found a nice website that helps you find and plan routes using the bus and metro systems.  After we continued scoping out the facilities within the apartment complex, we set off for a trip to the offices of Karga Seven Pictures, one of the places where I have an internship this semester.  Boy, was that a crazy trip!  First my mom and I got on the wrong bus.  Thankfully, we realized our mistake and got off before too long.  Once we found the right bus stop, we were on our way to Hollywood & Vine.  When we got off the bus there, we made our way to the Metro station.  The Metro took us all the way to 7th St., but the studio is on 5th St.  We soon ran into problems finding our way there, and we figured out the only walking route that could get us there was very exhausting!  We had to walk up a steep hill overlooking a major highway!  Eventually we got there, but we couldn't stay very long.  I know I won't want to take that route every day I have to intern, so I'll try to figure out something else.  One of my roommates might be able to give me rides.  Anyway, we had to leave for Culver City right when we got back to the apartments so we could attend our Jeopardy! taping!  It was my favorite one so far!  Once we got through the security and the Jeopardy! Hall of Fame, we found our seats.  Immediately after that, we watched a quick video about Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune.  Then the announcer, Johnny Gilbert, greeted us and got us ready.  In no time at all, the show was on!  Alex Trebek came out and did his thing!  It was so neat to see Johnny and Alex at work, and the show was exciting too!  During the commercial breaks, Alex would come over to the audience to do Q&A sessions.  I asked him a question, and he talked to me for a while!  He's so chill, laid back, and funny!  Johnny is also very entertaining!  A little while through the first show, we learned that we were going to see two shows!  There was a short break in between, and then they did it all over again!  I can't express how cool it all was!  As I said before, it was my favorite game show taping yet!  My mom agrees!  After we came back to L.A., we had a nice dinner at Outback Steakhouse and did one more shopping trip.  Tomorrow we're going to check out the building where my classes (and another possible internship) are.  Then we'll go to a Wheel of Fortune taping, and my mom will fly home in the evening!

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Price is (Almost) Right

Today was a day I've been awaiting for many years - my first Price is Right taping!  My mom and I woke up nice and early this morning to hit the road for CBS Television City.  Once we found the studio, it took us a while to figure out parking.  Thankfully, we made our way to the entrance just before 8:30, the time listed on our priority tickets.  We presented our tickets and our IDs, and then we got our contestant numbers.  After that, the waiting began.  The process of attending a taping of The Price is Right is very long and involved, so I would recommend doing it only if you're seriously committed to doing it.  My mom and I found our place in the long line of potential contestants getting their pictures taken.  We were #186 and #187!  After we waited patiently to get our nametags on and our pictures taken, we moved on to the second phase of waiting.  We sat in a long line of people going through contestant interviews!  They called us up in large groups where we got a quick interview.  It was so cool to be in the presence of Stan Blits, who has been the main contestant coordinator for The Price is Right for many years!  He was so great at his job!  He started out by asking the whole group if we wanted to win a car so he could see our excitement.  Then he went down the line and asked everyone a few basic questions.  He's funny and very smooth!  I think being a contestant coordinator would be a wonderful job!  After the interviews, we entered the third and final phase of waiting.  We gave up our cell phones and went through the metal detectors, and then we just waited until it was time to file into the studio.  We had some lunch right there outside the studio!  They sell pizza, burgers, and quesadillas named after pricing games!  I don't remember what the burgers and quesadillas were called, but my mom and I had the Plinko Pizza!  After our lunch, it was just a short wait to get into the studio.  Once we got in the studio, it wasn't long before the show started!  That was a refreshing change from the Let's Make a Deal taping I attended in July 2013!  The announcer, George Gray, came onto the stage to warm us up, and soon enough the show began!  I won't try to build up any suspense or keep you wondering - I wasn't on the show!  My name wasn't called, and that's that!  However, the experience of being there was great!  As usual, I learned that the studio is much smaller than it looks like on TV!  One surprising thing about the taping was that it was hard to hear just about anything!  It was okay in the moments when George was announcing and the audience was silent, but most of the time it was hard to hear what Drew Carey or the contestants were saying!  Whenever George called someone to "Come on down!", they held up a card with the person's name on it.  Those cards were definitely necessary!  Other than that problem and the fact that we had crappy seats (in terms of what we could see), it was a fun time!  It was great to see people win prizes, play games, and spin the big wheel!  However, my favorite parts of the taping were the commercial breaks!  During the commercial breaks, Drew would interact with the audience and just chat!  George often jumped in, too!  It was really neat!  Drew actually read the back of my t-shirt, too!  (He and George probably noticed me because I was one of the only people standing up.)  They liked it!  Another neat thing was that the showcase winner came from the row in front of us!  The episode airs April 9, just in case anyone wants to look out for me and my mom in the audience.  After the show was done taping, they did a neat thing where they put all the contestant numbers in a big basket and drew a random number.  That person got their own "Come on down!", and they got to run onstage and collect $100.  The sad part:  I was #186, and the guy drew #185!  So close!  After everything was done, I stopped to talk to George for a little bit, and he signed my shirt!  He's such a cool guy!  Then my mom and I drove to downtown Hollywood for a stroll down the Walk of Fame!  I took way too many pictures, but I also feel like I didn't take enough!  There are just so many cool celebrities on there!  I obviously didn't see every star, but I'm going back there later to see more!  After that, we went out for dinner and a big grocery shopping trip.  I'm set for a while!  Today was another long day, but it was all very worth it!  Tomorrow we'll be figuring out public transportation and seeing a taping of Jeopardy!!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Getting There is Half the Fun

Today was a really long day - and that's not just because we went back two timezones!  My mom and I woke up around 4:30 this morning to get ourselves ready, and we hit the road just after 5:00.  Shortly before 7:00, we arrived at the hotel near Joliet where my mom will be staying after she flies back on Wednesday.  We boarded the hotel shuttle to Midway airport, and soon enough we were on the plane headed for Los Angeles!  The flight was about 4 hours actual time.  That's relatively long compared to most flights I go on, but it could have been up to 40 minutes longer!  I like flying on Southwest Airlines, too, so it was okay.  We took off at about 9:00 a.m. Central time at arrived at LAX at about 11:00 a.m. Pacific time!  Once we got off the plane, we made our way to the baggage claim area.  I tried to do some celebrity spotting along the way, but I had no luck.  There was a bit of a backup at baggage claim, so it took a while to claim all our stuff.  After we had everything, we got on the shuttle that took us to our rental car agency.  We had to wait a while there and get some help because the self-service kiosk was about to charge my mom way too much.  After everything was settled, we got in our rental car and took off for the Oakwood Apartments.  I signed in and got my key and other important stuff, and then we left to get some lunch - by that point, it was past 2:00 p.m. local time!  Much to our delight, we discovered that Bob's Big Boy is very close to the apartments!  We stopped there to eat some delicious burgers.  We saw a really nice old car parked there, so I thought maybe Jay Leno was eating there.  I looked all around the restaurant, but I didn't see him or any other famous people!  Mark my words, I will spot a celebrity sometime during this semester!  Anyway, I took a picture next to Big Boy after we were done (as you can see below).  After lunch, we drove around a little bit and shopped at Target.  Then we got some Krispy Kreme donuts and decided to call it a night!  My mom ended up going to bed before 7:00!  So far, I've met one of my roommates from Texas.  I'll probably stay up for a couple more hours, but I need to get some good sleep, too!  Tomorrow is the day we see The Price is Right!  I'm very excited!

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

Yesterday was a fun day hanging out with family and friends, but it was hard to say goodbye for the next 4 months.  Of everyone I left behind, it was hardest to say goodbye to Cooper Ray, my beloved dog.  I'm afraid he might die while I'm away.  He's approaching 16 years of age, and there's no way he should have lived this long anyway!  He was born in May 1999, and we took him home in July of that year.  Coopie has been around since I was 4, and he's been one of my best buddies for most of my life!  We've done a lot of growing together!  He wasn't always so fond of me (he bit me on the nose pretty good when I was 5), but we've bonded a lot over the years.  At this point, I'm basically infatuated with him!  As I said, he shouldn't still be alive - he's been obese almost his whole life, he barely exercises, and he physically looks terrible!  His vitality and zeal for life are remarkable, and he's living purely on the will to live!  I really hope I get to greet him when I return in May, but if I don''s been great, Cooper!  You're the best dog ever!  I don't plan on getting too sentimental with my posts, and this will probably be the worst one!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Night Before

This is some of the luggage my mom and I will be taking tomorrow.  One suitcase and my laptop bag are still missing from that pile.  I'd like to thank my mom for packing all that stuff!  She did most of the work!  (That's completely normal, but still appreciated!)