Friday, July 30, 2010

RIP: Theo Albrecht

Trader Joe's co-owner died today at age 88.  Here's hoping they have TJ's three-layer hummos waiting for him in heaven.

Unemployee of the Week -- Richard Charney

Unemployee of the Week time again.  If you'd like to be considered, please send your resume (as a pdf) and a blurb about you to [Note: Be smart with your contact info as your resume will be posted for all to see.]

Today's candidate is Richard Charney.  Richard is a 2009 Ohio University grad with a B.A. in Video Production and a Minor in Film.  He's currently doing freelance editing and production management.  He's had internships with Evolution Entertainment/Twisted Pictures and Asylum Entertainment. Richard is looking toward positions in Marketing and Production for a large studio.  Please help him out.  Thanks.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Day 8: Temp X and Trader Joe's Project

[The following was originally written last Sunday.  But then I quit my absurd job and had to write about that.]

Dinner:  Raisin Bran

Raisin Bran: $2.69 (20 oz.)
Soy Milk: $3.49 (half gallon)

As was well documented last week, I pretty much ran out of food.  So I scurried off to Trader Joe's on Sunday morning to restock the cupboards and reclaim them from the dust bunnies that had moved in.  You might have recognized me.  I was the only one taking pictures of the Trader Joe's sign much to the confusion of the old Russian couple standing in front.  But after dropping $77.16, I have enough food to last me until the end of this ridiculous blog stunt.  By the way, did I mention I'm going to do a drink/blog along with the Teen Choice Award on August 9.  Stay tuned.

Oh, and regular milk makes me toot.  That's why I get soy milk.

Something weird that happens every time I go grocery shopping.  No matter how fancy I get in terms of what food I buy or how determined I am to have a dinner that suggests I'm a grown up, I some how always revert back to cereal for dinner. Perhaps it reminds me of my youth when I had fewer responsibilities and pressures.  Perhaps it's because it's the easiest thing to prepare short of just ordering out pizza.

It doesn't help worth a shit.  Seemingly nothing I do helps me in Hollywood.  I go to networking events -- nothing happens.  I periodically go to drinks with other underlings -- nothing happens.   I write a bunch of scripts -- nothing happens.  I suck up to execs -- nothing happens.  I attempt reverse psychology and decide to "leave" Hollywood in hopes that the Fates will then throw some good fortune my way -- nothing happens.  I do nothing -- nothing happens.  So I decided to try eating raisin bran.  Wanna guess what happened?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Jews in the News

Oliver Stone says there's "Jewish domination of the media" on the same day Dick Wolf (sorta Jew) and Temp X (non-observant Jew) get written up in LA Observed.  I guess he knows what he's talking about?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Spy Photo: Pirates of the Caribbean 4

Here's Captain Jack's ship.  Thanks to my Hawaii correspondent for this.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Comic Con = Nappy Time

When the cat's away at Comic Con, the mice...well, they take a nap.  The phone has only rung (Rang?  Ringed?) three times today, and two of them were telemarketers.  Fatigue comes in handy every once in a while. 



How can you not like this song? Seriously. If you don't there's something wrong with you.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Day 7: Temp X and Trader Joe's Project

Dinner:  Pizza, Beer and Mojo Potatoes at Shakey's 

Cost: $0
It tastes like it looks

This meal works because I didn't have to pay for it. All I had to do was help my friend move a couple pieces of furniture and plug in a DVD player.  Also, it's significantly better than whatever brown, circular meal I had planned. I believe it was going to be tuna tacos or something equally semi-appetising.

I'll help anyone move provided they supply me with food and liquor as a reward.  That said the quality of comestibles and beverages must be commensurate with the amount of labor involved. Need me to move a few small things?  Then a Egg McMuffin and a MGD will work just fine as a reward.  Want help moving a grand piano and a the contents of a three-bedroom house?  Better hit the ATM first because we're going to Ortolan.  Turns out last night's efforts are the equivalent of mushroom pizza, beer and potatoes.

I have a lot of practice saying "Will work for food."  Potential employers, please keep that in mind.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Day 6: Temp X and Trader Joe's Project

Dinner:  Tofu scramble with salsa on a flour tortilla

Tofu:  $1.19 (19 oz.).  Use half the package.  
Salsa:  Use about $0.15 worth.
Flour Tortillas:  Maybe $0.25 each.  Maybe less.

Tofu is the Eric Bana of food.  That is to say no matter what you surround it with or how much you tinker with it, it's still bland, forgettable and a poor substitute for the real thing.  On the plus side, it's cheap, easy to obtain and will tide you over for a while.

As for cooking the meal, lop off a hunk of tofu, chop it into little pieces and cook it like you would scrambled eggs.  It takes longer than eggs because you want the tofu to dry up and brown before you add the salsa.  Then cook a little longer, pour the contents into a heated tortilla and serve.

When I resort to eating tofu for dinner, it's time to go grocery shopping again.

Everyone in this town has some sort of weird dietary thing going on, whether it's Veganism, Fruitarianism, Lacto-ovo-Vegetarianism, Lacto Vegetarianism, Ovo Vegetarianism, Pescatarianism, Flexitarianism, Pollo-Vegetarianism, Raw Veganism, Freeganism, Macrobiotic-ism or BDSM.  So a meal like this should help me join the in crowd quickly.  I just need to remember not to ask for a side order of manatee veal when I'm out with these people.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Day 5: Temp X and Trader Joe's Project

Dinner:  Nothing
Nothing -- $0

I'd say I worked until 8 p.m. last night, but the reality is I didn't really work.  I sat at work until 8 p.m.  A Hollywood assistant is never allowed to leave before the executive does regardless of how much time the aforementioned exec wastes discussing how drunk they're going to get at Comic Con.  Does is matter that business is dead and the phone hasn't rung since 4:30?  No.  This needlessly long day has a tendency to spoil one's appetite.

As for dinner, the plus side of not eating is it's cheap, requires minimal preparation time and no clean up.

I learned I'm frustrated about having a go-nowhere job that actually pays less than my temp gigs.  I learned that I'd rather get stuck in traffic at 6 p.m. than have no traffic at 8 p.m.  I learned that an economy stuck in neutral preys on my anxiety about my professional aspirations.  I learned that my boss can waste time on a conference call better than anyone.

I also learned that maybe my old therapist was right -- I'm not cured.

If I lose enough weight, I could be a stand-in for Keira Knightley.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Day 4: Temp X and Trader Joe's Project

Dinner:  Scrambled eggs with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Extra Large Eggs -- $1.49/dozen
Sun-dried Tomatoes -- $2.99 (7.5 oz)*
Multi-grain English Muffins -- $1.69/half dozen

* Product discontinued due to low sales.  Crap. 
Guess what's in here.  Nope.  It's eggs.
I love breakfast food.  But my fondness for the eggs, muffins and the like is not simply related to the tap dance it does on my taste buds.  When served as dinner, breakfast food is basically time travel with your palate.  See if you can follow my logic.

If I have breakfast for dinner, I can imagine it's still the morning.  I'm essentially tricking my brain into thinking I didn't spend the last 11 hours (with no overtime pay) doing my boss's job while watching her decide she's ill-suited to run the company she co-founded.  After dinner, I quickly go to bed and hope I dream about going fishing, taking a bike ride or laying on the couch.  If this occurs, it's like it's like the weekend just started or a secret vacation.

They're better than they look
I learned that have a fondness for brown-tinged, circular objects with red accents.  Turkey burger -- brown and round with a little red (BBQ sauce).  Slightly overcooked eggs -- brown and round with a little red (sun-dried tomatoes).  Even the sushi isn't far off from this color scheme.  I wonder if I was a cow patty in a former life.

Same color scheme, different meal.
If I can satisfy the consumer by delivering bland products that look pretty much alike while exerting minimum effort, I'd be the perfect studio executive.  Or if that doesn't work, I'll keep working on time travel with eggs.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Unemployee of the Week -- Kathleen Barth

Unemployee of the Week time again.  If you'd like to be considered, please send your resume (as a pdf) and a blurb about you to [Note: Be smart with the contact info you make available as your resume will be posted for all to see.]

Today's candidate is Kathleen Barth.  Kathleen is an Emerson grad with a variety of skills, including casting and digital marketing.  She worked as a PA on The Mentalist and as casting coordinator for shows like Disaster Date.  She would like to work at an agency or management company, preferably in the lit department. Please help her out.  Thanks.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Day 3: Temp X and Trader Joe's Project

Wednesday's Dinner:  Turkey burger on an English Muffin

Ground Turkey -- $2.99/lb
Multi-grain English Muffins -- $1.69/half dozen

After a 10-hour work day and an L.A. traffic jam, the last thing I wanted to do was spend what was left of my day cooking dinner.  I would have done drive through, but the only place that's on my route home is Burger King.  And their food sucks.  Plus I knew my fixins for turkey burgers were a day or two away from going bad.  So I figured I'd prepare another simple, semi-satisfying meal and park my butt in front of the air conditioner.

I'm going to offer the briefest of cooking instructions because I was surprised when my college roommate told me he didn't know how to make a burger.  That said, he tested a tomato's freshness like he was about to throw a four-seam fastball.  But on the off chance you're in this same boat, take the meat, ball it, flatten it, fry it, flip it, fry it and eat it.

Turkey, regardless of its form, always means Thanksgiving to me.  And as an aspiring TV writer, I have so much to be thankful for, like The Mrs. Les Moonves Show (a.k.a. Big Brother 12), America's Got Useless Talent and Yelling at Crying, Fat People with Jillian.  Because without these shows, I'd have to own up to my lack of Hollywood accomplishments.  At least I can say "It's reality TV's fault" that I can't get a writer's assistant gig.  I also learned that my cooking skills haven't improved any since junior high.

When my career goes nowhere, I can fall back on my deftness at making round pieces of meat and frying them until they reach an optimum temperature.  "Welcome to McDonald's.  Can I take your order please?"  With any luck, I'll get to serve them to my college roommate who is making gobs of money as a lawyer in Chicago.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Day 2: Temp X and Trader Joe's Project

Tuesday's Dinner:  Organic Creamy Tomato Soup (Low Sodium) $2.29 for 32 oz.
Estimated serving size -- 8 oz.

Pour into a sauce pan and heat.  Wait for the bubbles to emerge.  Eat.  Like Trader Joe's sushi, it's pretty much idiot-proof -- or as I like to call it "Hollywood Executive-proof."  To be honest, I'm not sure why I got the Organic version rather than the regular, tomato-killing version.  It was probably to impress the cute cashier or because I didn't have my glasses on and I thought it said "Orgasmic."  I also like to throw in some crushed up nachos just to fill space and so I can pretend I didn't just have soup for dinner.

Pretty sad, eh?
Every Tuesday my employer get bagels for the staff meeting.  Since I'm Jewish, I have to eat a bunch of them and then complain these bagels aren't nearly as good as the ones from H&H.  So now I'm stuffed for the rest of the day.  When I get home, I'm tired and barely hungry.  Thus I make soup and watch Wipeout just to kill some time before falling asleep on the couch.  I learned that I need a hobby as eating tomato soup and watching people get hit in the face isn't the life in the Hollywood fast lane I'd been promised.

There are so many types of diets: South Beach, Atkins, Rhubarb just to name a few.  My weight control plan, which I like to call the "I-can-barely-afford-my-rent-because-I-make-$22k-a-year,-so-food-is-a-luxury Diet," is based on the principle that the less you eat now, the less you need to throw up later.  This is especially handy for the aspiring actor/actress who needs to look good during the audition for "Crowd Member #526" in Transformers 3.  Also, try not to think about the fact that Michael Bay makes more money in an hour than you do all year.  That's enough to make you lose your lunch too.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Nikki Finke forgets what being "Editor in Chief" means

Apparently the Village Voice decided to follow my lead pointing out Nikki Finke's been writing just a little too much about a show based on Nikki Finke.  So today she put out some absurd statement about the show, the article and herself.

Let's assume the above statement is true.  That she has no involvement in the show and that any coverage through her site is simply coincidental.  Now look at the following posting from Deadline dated June 5.

Again, assuming Nikki's statement today to be true, and considering the June 5 posting above, then we have to also conclude one of the following:
  • Nikki has lost editorial control over her own publication,
  • Nikki hires hack reporters with no editorial judgment whatsoever, or
  • Nikki thinks coverage of Culver City traffic jams is important.

Which one do you think it is?

The Temp X and Trader Joe's Project

Not my kitchen.
I kind of remember watching the Golden Globes.  As you might recall, I got exceedingly drunk while watching celebs get exceedingly drunk.  The one thing I do recollect was feeling a tinge of jealousy as Meryl Streep winning for her portrayal of Julia Child in the blog-inspired film Julie and Julia.  I just kept thinking, "I have a blog. I've been written up in the New York Times. I eat.  Where's my trophy?"

I considered hatching my own scheme to achieve international fame where I would follow a cookbook and learn life's lessons. But there were some problems with this idea
  1. I barely know how to cook.
  2. I don't have time to cook.
  3. I don't make enough money to buy ingredients in your average cookbook.
  4. "Me too" projects never work in Hollywood. 
Momentarily flummoxed, I thought about what makes Julie and Julia work. And then it hit me. Alliteration. Thus I present to you...

The Temp X and Trader Joe's Project

For the next month, I will only eat food from Trader Joe's for dinner.  With a little luck, I'll not only survive, but I will learn a few life lessons along the way.  Feel free to play along at home.

Monday's Dinner: Spicy California Rolls ($2.99)

It's ready made.  There's no room for error...unless you leave it out the fridge too long or it gets past the expiration date.  Those could both pose a problem.  The rolls (manufactured by Okami) have a lot of rice, so it's filling.  They're not terribly spicy for something called "Spicy," but I suppose that's what the wasabi is for.  And when you put low-sodium soy sauce on them, it masks the fact that you're eating pre-packaged sushi from a plastic container.  On the plus side, it's cheap and the pain ends quickly.

I'm reminded that I like finger food, which is convenient because that means I don't have to do dishes after I'm done.  Living a disposable existence does have an upside.

I can easily dupe people into thinking I'm more important than I am when I tell them, "I've had sushi last night with ABC."  They'll think I've been having important dinners Katsuya with Steve McPherson when the reality is I'm eating TJ's "fishy parts" while watching Extreme Makeover: Home Edition in my underwear.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Random Thoughts (a.k.a. Larry King Monday)

If I dream at night about work, is it ok to put in for overtime on my time sheet?

My boss's schedule for last Friday consisted of a two-hour lunch, a two-hour massage and a three-hour session with a personal trainer.  My boss made maybe four phone calls and spent the rest of the time doodling.  Yet my boss often comments, "I just don't have enough time."  I often think, "To do what?"

2D movies are $10.  3D movies are $18.  So if I pay another $8 can pay for the 4th dimension and time travel through the 30 minutes of previews?

Yet another vampire movie is going into development.  This one is called Vampire Academy (read: Harry Potter with Fangs).  Can someone drive a stake through the heart of this fad? 

No one should be surprised that LeBron James went to Miami.  In fact, ESPN's "The Decision" was basically scooped by Miami Hoops Gear, the official Miami Heat clothing/retail site hours before the announcement with the following ad...

How is it that five days in Brooklyn is more fun than five years in LA?

Should I be offended or relieved that my boss suggested taking an intern to Comic Con before thinking of taking me?

Who is creepier:  Roman Polanski, Mel Gibson or Woody Allen?

It's only two more months until the 2010 Brown List nomination process begins.  For those of you who don't know what the Brown List is, this should help...

Larry King didn't retire from CNN.  He was forced out.  I don't have any proof of this other than to point to CNN's crappy ratings and the growth of MSNBC and Fox News.  Anyone who believes otherwise is as confused as Larry King.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Steaming Pile of Hollywood -- Industry Gossip with Temp Z

Hollywood assistants are asked to do absurd errands all the time.  Walk my dog.  Wash my car.  Dump my girlfriend.  But this blind item offers a new level of ewwww!  Read on...

I've been told a certain movie exec sent his/her assistant out to fill his/her Valtrex prescription.  Yep.  That's the same Valtrex that is a leading medicine for treating genital herpes.  TMI!  Was this South of the Border problem terminated?  No, as there is no cure for herpes, and even with treatment, it may be possible to spread herpes. Valtrex may not prevent all recurrences.  Common side effects (of Valtrex as well as working in Hollywood) include headache, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, dizziness, cold, and sore throat.

You may now start guessing who it is.

Got dirt to share with Temp Z?  Send an anonymous tip through the box labeled "Got Juicy Gossip About A Hollywood Exec?"

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

SOURCE: ESPN has too many sources

Why do I say this? See below as ESPN has free agent PF Carlos Boozer talking to the New York Knicks at the same time he's signing with the Chicago Bulls.  Pick one guys.  Seriously.  You can do it.

Outside the Bubble

Temp X periodically travels outside the Hollywood Bubble on what is known as "Unpaid Vacation" (ŭn-pād' vā-kā'shən).  I find these times to be liberating and enlightening.  Because of our surroundings, we (or maybe it's just me) forget there's a whole world out there filled with people who talk about other subjects and do other things.  In my most recent trip outside the Bubble, Temp X went to Fort Greene, Brooklyn for a few days of sweating and hamburgers.

Here's what I learned...

Many Don't Care About TV At All: A conversation with a well-educated, successful Internet marketing executive yielded this tidbit.  She likes spending time with friends, going on bike rides and seeing concerts.  She's never watched The Office and only recently rented Season 1 of Curb Your Enthusiasm.  I met many more people just like her.  The lesson here Hollywood is, despite what your overinflated ego may tell you, you're not the center of everyone's universe.  You're only one of many entertainment options.  And if you keep making crappy stuff, the audience that does like you might go away too.

Rose Smelling Is Good, Even If They Smell Like Cigars: We spend so much of our days thinking "I wonder if [random event that just happened/person we met] could be the basis for a movie/TV show," that we miss out on the moment entirely.  So here's a tip: enjoy hanging out at a cigar bar with the 6'5" dreadlocked, Jewish guy who owns the place and DJs on the side, and stop trying to figure out how to make a sitcom out of it.  Just sit back, smoke the cigar, have a drink and talk.  It's significantly less stressful.

There's Great Barbecue In Brooklyn -- Too many years ago, I wrote restaurant reviews for my high school newspaper.  I will channel my past ever so briefly when I say that The Smoke Joint (87 S Elliott Place, Brooklyn, NY 11217) offers cramped seating, uncomfortably warm surroundings and the best barbecue I've had in years.  The Chopped Beef falls apart perfectly and has less fat than Nicole Richie.  When combined with their spicy (not the mild) BBQ sauce, this meal is a 4th of July in your mouth.  My dining partner was left underwhelmed by the Tender Smoked Chicken.  But I consider this partly her fault, as one should never order chicken when you can order meat.  The prizes on the menu are the side orders, most notably the Barbecued Beans and the Mac and Cheese.  The beans (which come with chunks of beef mixed in) are closer to tangy than sweet.  They are so exceptional that any resultant fart should be considered a treasure.  The macaroni is made with four different cheeses and baked for your delight.  Just make sure to add a little salt because it'll make the flavor pop.  And don't forget about their fun selection of microbrews.  After a couple of those, you'll forget all about there's no pecan pie on the dessert menu.  Go there.  Eat a lot.  Send me the leftovers.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

"My life in Hollywood sucks" - July Calendar

Think your experience in Tinseltown is worse than everyone else's? Tell me how on the "My Life In Hollywood Sucks Because..." entry. Your tale of woe might just make it to the monthly calendar.