Donna in Hollywoodland

The blog from Los Angeles and Hollywood by Donna Grayson

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Syriana and The Matador

A friend and I did one of our "Movie Marathons."
We met at The Arclight and saw "Syriana" followed by "The Matador" .
And today was the day for weird Arclight Employees.

The Arclight is a very upscale movie theatre. Its pricey, $14 usually. But the theatres are absolutely perfect.
Huge screens. Seats on a perfect upward incline.
Reserved seating, so you pick your seat when you buy your ticket.
And the staff is always wonderfully helpful.

But today was just an "Off" day.

When we bought our tickets, we went up together as we usually do.
We want two tickets to two separate movies.
We want to sit together.
And we want to pay separately.

"I can't guarantee that." said the grumpy Ticket person.
"Huh, what?" We were shocked, because we had never heard an Arclight employee say anything negative before.

"But they've done it other times for us." I insisted.
"Yeah, I can try it. But there is no guarantee. A ticket could sell in between your two transactions."
"Okay, whatever."

The ticket process went smoothly, like it always does.

Except the Ticket Guy didn't validate my parking.
I asked him to check, and he said "I validated it."
I know he didn't because I had watched him.
(And sure enough, when we left I had problems because it wasn't validated.)

We got into our first movie, Syriana, just fine.

Syriana is definitely a political movie. Another friend of mine had told me "In Syriana a whole bunch of stuff happens. And then the movie ends. And you really never understand why all the stuff happened."

Okay, well ... I understood it alot better than that.
But maybe since I knew it was a confusing political movie, I paid closer attention than I normally would have.
So, yes, I did understand the political messages in the movie.
And that was pretty good considering that I consider myself so very unpolitically minded.
So if you go to see "Syriana", just pay close attention and you will understand it.

Then the second movie, "The Matador".

First, my friend had all sorts of problems at the concession stand.
She bought a gourmet chicken pesto sausage. But the Concession stand person forgot to swipe her Arclight membership card before my friend paid.
And to give her the points with out a swipe, would require a Manager.

My friends solution to the problem was to just delete the transaction.
She meant Delete the transaction, give her the money back, and then re-ring it back up.
Start all over from scratch.

Well, the Arclight employee thought she was returning the chicken sausage.
He un-did the transaction in the cash register and gave her the money back.
Then he said "You might as well keep the sausage because I'm just going to have to throw it out."

So she got her Chicken Pesto Sausage with Watermelon BBQ sauce for free.

Then, Problem Number 2. "The Matador" was in the corner theatre, next to the Bar area. And it was a "21 and Over" screening where they were serving alcohol.
We had no intention to buy drinks. But we still had to show our Drivers License to get into the Theatre.

Now, they didn't ask for our Drivers License when we bought the tickets. We had to show it at the door to the theatre.

That took forever. We had to dig around in our purses.
One doesn't expect to have show one's ID to actually get into the movie.
They should have asked us back when we bought our tickets in the first place.
Its a good thing we had our licenses with us.

(I later heard a story from a friend who said he bought his ticket, then once at the door of the "21 and Over Screening" they would not let him in. He had to run out the door, and rush home to get his drivers license in order to join his friends for the movie that he already had a ticket for. Luckily, he lived 10 minutes from the theatre.)

I really loved "The Matador". Pierce Bronson is so hysterical in this movie. He plays the drunk so well.
And Greg Kinnear, is always so sweet, and such a good guy. Hope Davis is also really comical in this.
Its funny watching Greg Kinnear's and Hope Davis' characters get so wrapped up in the glamorous side of Pierce Bronson's hit man. They are just so in awe of it.

As we left my friend and I talked about why we think Pierce Bronson is so sexy.
Well, first his wife looks alittle on the plus-sized side. And if he married a "real" woman like that, then I certainly do admire him.
We started talking about his rough skin. And how men with that kind of rough skin can end up being really sexy.

A funny story about "rough skin" men. I went out once - only once - with a blond Pierce Bronson type.
He had figured that I was definitely over 30. As the dinner went along he mentioned "Oh, I know you are over 30."

I looked at him "Um, I am so over 30, that I'm already over 40."

He looked at me. "You are over 40 ?!?!?"

Turns out I saw his rough "Pierce Bronson" skin type, and I figured him to be around 35.
Turned out he was only 28.

We were both way off in guessing the other persons age.
He guessed me as younger.
I guessed him as older.
Only in Hollywood.

So much for the Blond Pierce Bronson.
No, we never went out again.
I even felt guilty when he paid for the dinner.

Saturday Painters

First, my day started out with the Painters painting the next door apartment at 7 am.
Yes, it woke me up.

They were also supposed to paint the section of my wall near the Air conditioner, where it leaked during the last rain.
They already stucco'd it up. It just needed paint.

The painter ended up arguing with the Landlord for a good half-hour.
Even though he and his supplies were there, he wanted to paint my little section of wall on another day.
And he actually wanted to paint the entire wall, not just the section.

The Painter and My Landlord stood in front of the bare stucco section of wall.
"Just paint the repaired area." said my landlady.
"We have to do the whole wall. The paint won't match." Said the painter.
"I don't care ! All I want is the un-painted area, painted." I said.

The idea of moving all my stuff to the other side of the room, so that they could paint the entire wall, was not a pleasant one.
Just paint the spot, please.

Finally after the half hour argument, he painted the section we wanted.
I think it took him only 10 minutes.

Argue 30 minutes.
Work 10 minutes.

They must get paid hourly.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Palermos Los Feliz

After work, I met the Stephens Minister from my Church for dinner.
We met a Palermo's Italian in Los Feliz.

After living 5 years in East Hollywood, this was my first time eating there.
Traditional Italian.
I got Spaghetti and Meatballs. I haven't had that in ages.
You even get to select a "small" or "large" serving. It came with a salad.

I even let myself have some garlic bread with a little bit of sprinkled cheese on top.
And a glass of red wine.
It was alittle treat.

Even though, I ordered the "small" portion, I ended up taking spaghetti home with me.

The place was really buzzing with lots of people.
Hip Los Feliz types. Italian Types. The local Police, who eat there often.

By the time we left, the front lobby was packed with people who were waiting for a table.
People in line at the front door, along the wall of the restaurant - they give you a glass of wine if you
will wait there in line outside.
And a row of Police Motorcycles out front.

This was such a fun dining experience, I will definitely be back.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Blood Test?

Before the holidays, my Breast Surgeon scheduled a follow-up CT scan of my lung.
There is a spec on my right lung. My family doctor and I feel it is probably scar tissue from when I had pneumonia in December 2004. But the Cancer Doctor, being a cancer doctor, wants follow-up pictures of it.

Gee... do you believe its been 6 months since my last toxic CT scans and tests ?
Time flies when you are having fun.

To prepare for the CT scan, I must have a blood test. They were sending me the forms in the mail.
Well, it was getting close to my appointment and still no forms in the mail.
So I called them. And all this time, my mailing address has been off by one digit in their computer.

So I finally got the forms. And today I took a long lunch break and drove into Glendale again.
To be poked and prodded by a little old lady who couldn't find my veins.

I admit that I have little tiny baby veins. And they are very shy. They hide when they see a needle.
And when we do find them, they tend to roll around. Rolling away from the needle.

So the little old lady technician was having a horrible time finding any veins to poke.
She poked me once.
When that failed, she called over her co-workers to help her.

At one time, I had 5 technicians leaning over me trying to find a vein.

One said "Oh, Sandra will find a vein. She was named one of the top 10 blood-drawers last quarter."

Ok, so the Laboratory honors its employees by choosing "The Top 10 Blood-Drawers".
Kind of like being "Employee of The Month".

Yes, Sandra found a good vein to use. They got their blood.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Monday Holiday

For some dumb reason, I made a 9 am appointment with The Physical Therapist - on a Monday holiday.
I could have slept in.
Silly silly me.

The good thing about the appointment was it was the last appointment.
Unless I need her help to see if the compression glove I order over the internet fits correctly.
Since it was the last appointment, I asked her to go over the Stretching exercise she showed me one more time.

All the lymph nodes massages they showed me, and the pumping finger exercises .... And I think the Stretching Exercises help the swelling in my fingers more that anything.
Especially since I am at a computer all day at work, and I the computer is one of my hobbies.
Stretching out the shoulders and arms really does seem to help with the lymph node flow.

Since I had made myself wake-up so early on a holiday, I decided to treat myself to breakfast.
I drove to Eat Well .
Typical breakfast - eggs, toast but I got the vegetarian bacon. And the vegetarian bacon was pretty good, it didn't taste weird.

Since having Breast Cancer, real Bacon is off my list forever - its not even a "splurge" or "special treat" food anymore.
I will never taste real bacon again. Sausage too. To many weird things in it.
And for all their lack of nutrition, that is one thing the Doctors actually mentioned. "Limit processed meats."
Well, I will just do away with them all together.
Of course, Soy is also now a big question for woman who have had breast cancer. Now "they" think it may not be a good idea to eat soy for BC survivors. I will leave soy on the "special treat" list.

After breakfast, I was off to distribute a few more of My CDs .
I drove to both "Out of the Closet" Thrift stores in Glendale.

My first stop was the one on 3160 Glendale Blvd in Atwater Village.
And I donated 5 CDs.
I didn't realize it was such a cute area, with such cute little stores.
I ended spending some time walking around and taking pictures of the area.
I am posting them up on . But I have a large amount, because there were so many cool things to take pics of. So keep checking my flickr page, because there will be more.
I put a few at the bottom of this post.

Since I decided to walk around Atwater Village, now I was running late to get to the movie.
So I will have to run to the next Out of the Closet, after the movie is over.

I drove to the Glendale Market Place to see "Chronicles of Narnia" .
The only place in Hollywood where it is playing is The El Capitan Theatre. And it is usually sold out there because they have a performance by Cartoon characters before the show. Its a great place to take the kids. But it is just a crazy place
to go if you just want to run in and see the movie.

I was expecting alot of Children at the movie anyway. Its a holiday, and its mainly for children.
Watching "Chronicles of Narnia" I wondered how many people actually knew that the Lion represented Christ and the Crucifixion story. If you don't know that, I wonder how much sense the movie would make to you.

The movie was good, and most of the kids were very well-behaved.
I was worried about the one little boy who sat behind me though.
Through-out the War battle scenes, he pounded on his seat with both fists chanting "Attack Attack Attack Attack".

Ok - so he likes the War scenes.
But even after the war scenes were over he still pounded with both fists "Attack Attack Attack."
As if he wanted more War scenes.
I finally had to turn around in my seat and look at him.
His mother quieted him down.

I stopped into Starbucks on my way out.
It was freezing cold, the wind was blowing. And I was thinking a hot cup of coffee would warm me up.
Instead, I treated myself to an absolutely gigantic coffee mug that said "Los Angeles" on it.

Finally, last stop at The Out of the closet Thrift Store at 2425 N San Fernando Road.
Its considered a "Super Store", and it was kind of hard to get to, because it was off a weird little One-way side street that ran along-side the main street.
I drove around the block a few times and managed to find parking. It was a pretty industrial area, alot of Car Repair places.
I ran in and donated 5 CDs.

I then finished off my Monday holiday, by taking a long nap. It wasn't even 3 o'clock yet.
And I was pretty tired from getting up so early on a day where I could have slept in.


Here are a few pics from my day. But its just a few of many. So keep checking back.


Red Bricks

Bills Liquor & Market

Bird Mural

Building & PalmTree

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Indiana Jones

Tonight was a double-feature.
Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom And Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

First, I could not find my name badge.
And they had made that especially for me. It had my name on it, instead of just the word "Volunteer". And I had it over 2 years.

I think somehow in all the wind and the rain thats been happening, it just blew away.
I was frantic, but could not find it.

My philosophy is if and when you screw up, just admit it. And it always seems to make the situation better.
And I hate being the bad guy, or the irresponsible one. So I always try to fix things when they are my fault.

First thing I did when I walked in for my volunteer shift was I went straight up to the Manager.
"Excuse me, are you the Manager?"
"Hi, I'm Donna, and I volunteered last night. And I volunteered over at the other theatre this morning. And while I was there this morning one of the staff members mentioned to me about the problem that I sat in the theatre even though it
was sold out. I am sooooo sorry. I drove in an hour and 15 minutes to volunteer last night, and I really wanted to see the movie. But now I realize that if a movie is sold out, then maybe I shouldn't come over here to volunteer. Since thats a rule, and its a problem for me with the drive, I now know that for the future. I've been a volunteer for 6 years, and I would never want to do anything to break and rules - so I will definitely keep this into consideration. And I just wanted to apologize for
the problem."

He went on to say that since the movie sold out, he had to give an answer to the office as to why every seat was not sold.
So its up to the office because they make the rules. And in those situations, he has to account for every seat.

I told him for tonight, I had a voucher for a free movie and I would use that. He said no, just keep it. They weren't expecting tonight to sell out.
(Free movie vouchers are given to volunteers for doing something that doesn't include a movie. If you are Captain, and can't see the film, volunteering at the Award Presentations etc... I have a bunch of them.)

Then, I asked if anyone had turned in my Name Badge. And no, no one did.
So its been lost forever.

Once the other volunteer arrived via her County Provided Transportation for the Disabled, she sat in the chair and did the same thing she did yesterday.
I whispered to her "I think we got into a little trouble last night. I can't save a seat in the back. You might want to see what you can do, since I know you can only sit towards the back."

When the manager went by, she explained her situation. She uses the Walker, and she can't sit in the middle seats.
Best for her is an aisle seat in the back. And she said she knew we could not save seats, so what did they want her to do ?

So the Manager, put a "reserved" sign on the back of one of the theatre seats for her.
I thought that was very nice of them.
And it kind of showed me, that even though we had gotten ourselves into Trouble the night before, things were going to be cool.
Maybe I will be making the long journey from Hollywood to Santa Monica to volunteer up here again.

I have to say, the theatre patrons over here are really fun. Or maybe its just all the Indiana Jones fans that were thrilled about the weekend of Indiana Jones movies.
But it did end up being a really good weekend after all.

I drove the other volunteer home again. We both said we had great fun over the weekend.
And it turned out she is a really big Indiana Jones fans. She explained to me that one of the Sequels is actually a Prequel.
And they weren't really shot in order.
I did not know that. So that explained alot to me.

Driving home, around the tree branches and palm tree fronds on the road was very dangerous. The wind was blowing, and the weather was really cold.

Errands In Between

My first stop was VP Vitamins in Beverly Hills.
I was running low on Co-Vitamin Q10 and Grapeseed Extract.
And I am also adding Vitamin D3 and Curcumin Extract to my vitamins regimen.
When I left the store, I had a $65 hole in my pocket.

Its funny. I mentioned to a few friends that I had to go to The Vitamin Store because I had run out of some of my Vitamins.
They looked at me like they had seen a ghost.
I might as well have said "I was bitten by a deadly snake, and I need to go get some venom antidote." Thats the way they reacted. A wide eyed, shocked look.
I guess when I say "vitamins" - they think how badly I must need them. And brings back to their mind that I have had Breast Cancer.

Then, I wanted to nice lunch. And a place to sit to mull over Being in Trouble.
I stopped off at Literari Cafe on Wilshire and Bundy.
Great Chicken Pesto sandwich.
Organic coffee.
Happening crowd of people.

So I sat, had a really nice lunch, and thought.

In Trouble Now

This morning at the Movie Theatre in Hollywood they were having a panel discussion of the Directors of the Foreign Film Golden Globe Nominees.
How often, can I volunteer ? Two times in one day, well this was that day.

They showed the trailers for each Foreign Film nominated. And then each Director was speaking on a Panel discussion.

Before the Event started, I was in the lobby doing my duties.
One of the staff members came up to me.
"Donna, What happened at the other theatre last night? The manager sent me an email that the show had completely sold out. And that the volunteers were weird. They saved seats and sat in the movie even though they weren't supposed to because it was sold out."

I looked at him: "Okay, if there was a weird volunteer there - I was the weird one. I drove an hour and 15 minutes to get there to see the movie, and I really didn't want to turn around and go home. And So-and-So is on public transportation for the Disabled, and thats how she got there. But if anyone is in trouble, or Weird - its me. Its my fault. I didn't want to turn around a drive home another hour without
seeing the movie. And I'm not going to drive all the way out to Santa Monica if I can't see the movie, so now I will just keep that into consideration. Thats just me."

There wasn't much else for him to say. So that was pretty much the end of the discussion.

But now I was in Trouble.
Don't you just hate it when you break the Rules, and get caught ?
I know so many people, who break rules and misbehave in all areas of their life - and they never get caught.
Me ? One little boo-boo, and I am in deep water.

So I tried to go in at listen to the Panel Discussion.
But I was too upset.
I couldn't concentrate.

I had to leave early. So I could run some errands.
But mostly to go sit somewhere, and think about what to do.
I don't like being the one who screwed up.


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