Sunday, February 26, 2012

Adventures of a Seat Filler

I didn't watch the beginning of the Oscars this year, but from what I can gather by looking at Twitter, someone said something about seat fillers.

I was once a seat filler.

For those of you who are unaware, awards shows hire seat fillers to sit in the theater seats whenever someone gets up to go to the bathroom or get an award or whatever.  Apparently, empty seats look bad on TV...or, at least, someone at some point thought that they did and nobody ever questioned the logic as the years went by.  I think it's silly, personally.

Anyway, this is an actual job: keeping a seat warm.  And I did it.

When The Hubby and I first moved to L.A. in 2000, we knew someone who knew someone who was in charge of staffing seat fillers.  Although the gig only paid $50, we had to dress the part, which meant that The Hubby needed a tux and I needed a fancy dress.  After a trip to Macy's (and a call by a sales person to increase our credit limit), we were all decked out and ready to part-ay.

Were were going to the Oscars?


The Grammys?


The SAG Awards?


We were assigned to fill seats at the American Comedy Awards.  Yes, this is a real awards show.  Or at least, it was.  I had never seen it televised before and I haven't seen it since, but for whatever reason it was on Comedy Central or some channel that year, so of course seat fillers were required.

The day arrived and we showed up in our formal wear, looking very fancy indeed.  Our first assignment was to sit in the bleachers on the side of the red carpet and cheer whenever people got out of their limos.  Each time a car pulled up, an announcer came over a loud speaker and told us who it was and we were expected to go crazy for everyone--be it Kate Hudson (who was actually there, but she wasn't really famous yet) or the guy from that one movie whose name you've never actually known.

After the important people were in the building, we peons were herded into a dark corner and given quick instructions:

1. don't talk to any of the real guests
2. move when someone taps you on the shoulder
3. don't talk to any of the real guests
4. don't do anything to draw attention to yourself

And then the lights went out entirely.  Pitch black.  It was very disorienting, especially when a woman with a flashlight came up to me and whispered, "are you free?" to which I said, "huh?" and then she proceeded to drag me by the arm through the dark crowd, all the way to the very front table, right next to the stage.  She pushed me down in a chair and left.

The lights came up, Steve Martin began his hosting duties, and I was sitting at a table with a bunch of famous people staring at me.  Ed McMahon looked particularly annoyed by my presence.

Who the f*ck does this chick think she is?

I was so confused.

A very handsome and friendly man seated next to me introduced himself as Al Joyner, the Olympic gold medalist.  He explained to me that he didn't have a date for the evening, and so that seat needed to be filled permanently for the entirety of the show.  He welcomed me and made me feel right at home, keeping a running commentary of who he thought would win each category and making small talk during the breaks.

He was dressed a bit more formally when we met.

So, basically, I was Al Joyner's date for the American Comedy Awards in 2000.

When the show was finally over, he turned to me and asked if I wanted to go with him to the after-party at The Comedy Store.  I explained that I was engaged and my fiancee was there with me, so it probably wasn't a good idea.  We said our goodbyes, he gave me a gift bag and the place card that said "guest of Al Joyner", and I set out to find The (future) Hubby in the chaos.

The Hubby had done the typical seat-filler duties, moving around from table to table and sitting next to a bunch of famous people.  He reported back that Kelsey Grammer has a HUGE head.

As the crowd was dispersing, I walked up to Joan Cusak and started a conversation about her pregnancy or something like that.  She was just lovely, and didn't seem to mind that I was 20 years old with a seat-filler bracelet on my wrist, distinguishing me from the important people.

We left the Shrine Auditorium giddy and amused by what we'd just been through.  Only in L.A.

We never did another stint as seat fillers, but we'll always have our stories from that night...and our formal wear:

circa 2004

Friday, February 24, 2012

Spartacus is stupid.

The Hubby loves the show Spartacus on Starz.  Sometimes he'll watch it while I'm doing other things on my computer, so I'll unwillingly be subjected to it as well.


Do I hate it because it's so incredibly, disgustingly violent?


Do I hate it because women are treated as objects and they show lots and lots of gratuitous nudity and sex?


The reason I so hate Spartacus is thus:  historical inaccuracy.

Yes, I know it's a television show and it's a highly stylized dramatization. I understand that it's probably irrational that I hate it so much for such a stupid reason.  Humor me.


1.  It's set in the Roman Empire, but everyone has English (or AMERICAN) accents.  This is fairly common in movies, and it bothers me every time.  British accents are the go-to accents for movies set in other countries, it seems.  Does anybody know the reason for this?  Is it too difficult to find actors who can speak other dialects?  Does nobody teach ancient Latin accents?  It's a mystery.  The thing that annoys me most about this phenomenon is that nobody seems to notice, or care. 

"Is it time for my chest wax and beard trim?"
2.  None of the men have body hair.  They're naked and/or topless a LOT, and there is nary a strand of hair to be seen below the neck.  Even on the Gladiator slaves.  Who are prisoners.

3.  ...but they all have stubble beards!  Those guys with the smooth, hairless chests?  They all have perfectly manicured 2-day old facial hair.  Not one beard contains a hair longer than a centimeter.  I've measured.*

4. The slave men have short buzz cuts or shaved heads.  While we're on the subject of hair...what's that all about?  They keep these dudes shackled up, but they cut their hair daily?  All the non-slave men have Caesar haircuts.  Shouldn't the slaves have long, unruly hair?  I mean, really?

"If this sex object thing doesn't work out, we can always sign with Elite."
5.  Every character looks like a model.  Okay, I don't actually know what ancient Roman women looked like.  Maybe they all did have perfect ringlets formed into intricate hair styles that never ever ever fell, even though hairspray was hundreds of years away from being invented.  And maybe they did have gorgeous makeup done in exactly the same style as we do ours today.  And all the men had perfectly chiseled bodies and strong jaws.  That's probably what it was like.

6.  TEETH.  Whiter-than-white, straight teeth.  Every.  Last.  One of them.  That wouldn't even be accurate if it were set in modern-day Missouri--forget about the Roman empire, before Crest Whitestrips were invented.

So, yeah.  I hate this show.  I cannot suspend my reality long enough to watch it, because all of those things I mentioned get in the way.  Also, I DO hate the gratuitous sex and extreme violence--but I hate the white teeth even more.

Call me crazy.  I'm used to it.

*Okay, I haven't actually measured.  It's more of a rough estimate.  You get what I'm saying though, right?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Search Term Thursday 2.23.2012

Just when I start to lose all faith in humanity, someone searches for "Mickey Mouse recipe cards"

Since today's search terms aren't very exciting, I was going to use photoshop to create a picture of a "fat justin beiber with ugly face" (if you're confused, click here), but that was kind of hard so I quit halfway through.  Sorry Googlers.  You're going to have to find your altered JB photos elsewhere.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Hail and Wonder Woman and all that jazz

I don't think all these thoughts go together, so I'm just going to put bullet points in front of all of them and that will make it all okay.  Okay?  Good.

Here we go!

-Tomorrow it's going to be 65 degrees, and I'm psyched:  it's almost SPRING!! 

-There should be songs for spring.  Christmas is alright and all, but it's certainly NOT "the most wonderful time of the year" in my book, so why does it get all the good songs?  I'm going to start a movement of people writing songs about spring, and in a few years, people will be complaining on New Year's Day, saying, "Oh my GOD, they've already started playing the spring songs on the radio??? 

-Until then, enjoy this one, from one of my favorite movies, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers:

-Speaking of spring, it's about time to pull out my seasonal movies and watch them on a loop.  That means Twister and Where the Heart is and The Wizard of Oz.  Come to think of it, those are all tornado movies.  Hm.  I guess I've always equated spring with tornado season since I'm from the Midwest.  I love tornado season.  It's so exciting!  I'm sure I'd have a different perspective if my home or a loved one had been directly hit by one, but I love me a good tornado warning.  And thunderstorms?  Fuggetaboudit.  Best things EVER.  Unless there's hail.  I hate hail.  It ruins everything.  We've had some pretty big hail storms since we've lived here in Kansas, but luckily we've never gotten anything bigger than golf ball-sized stones.  I've seen pictures of softball-size hail that fell less than a hundred miles from here, and that terrifies me.  Our cars would be toast.  So would our roof.  I guess that's what insurance is for, but still.

Spring 2008.  It still haunts me.
-The Kid has been STUPID ADORABLE lately.  He needs his own reality show.  Not that I would ever subject him to that, but oh my GOD, he's sweet.  Here he is making up "nice" knock knock jokes with my mom:

-The Hubby got me a Wonder Woman sleep set for Christmas off of my Amazon Wishlist, so I took full advantage of it and made a new avatar for my Twitter account.  Unfortunately,I don't like it much and I want to change it again already.  Don't get me wrong--it's super-cool--but I look very...square in it.  Should have stood at an angle, like Linda Carter did.  Also, I wish I'd winked.  Maybe after a few months I'll change it again.  It's a .gif, so if you don't see it moving, click on it:

I am a very serious crime-fighter!  ...or am I?

-A LOT of people search YouTube for videos of double jointed people.  Way more than I would have thought.  I've got over 600 views on one of my videos, and I'm eligible to put a banner ad at the bottom, but I can't decide if I should do it or not.  Does anyone even click on those?  Is it worth annoying people for?  What do you guys think?

-I went with The Kid yesterday to help out The Hubby at a soup kitchen he volunteers at regularly.  He's on the board and may possibly be taking over the Presidency this summer, so he's basically Jesus now.  The Kid and I handed out cookies to the hungry people.  It was nice.

-If I don't finish this blog post and feed my child, he's liable to eat the dog, so I'd better go. 

Thank you all for tolerating my randomness!  :)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Art in my heart

My friend Brandi posted about painting recently and it got me to thinking about how much I miss it. 

I'm not a great artist, but who's to say what makes a piece of art great, anyway?  There are few things in this world more subjective than art, be it in the form of a painting, a sculpture, a film, or a song.  If you're not creating art because you're afraid of failing, then you're not creating it for all the wrong reasons.  There is no failing in art; the only failure would be if you failed to create anything at all.

Today, I had the chance to paint.  I love to paint.  I don't do it often, maybe because supplies are so expensive, but those were supplied today by Unity Temple (my church), and so I took full advantage of their generosity and got to work.

I would advise against painting in church clothes, if at all possible.

I think I'll call it "Ant Shelter".
I started with my favorite shade of green and built from there.  I think it looks a bit like what an ant might see on a daily basis.  After I pick it up next Sunday, it's going on my living room wall, over my couch.  Or maybe in my bedroom.  I haven't quite decided yet.

The Kid and The Hubby made a little art of their own, and even my mom, who was visiting from out of town, got in on the action:

(L) Thunderstorm, by The Kid , (R) Eye by The Hubby

The Hubby cut it out, The Kid painted it.

Mom's work.  I like it!

Writing is great, but it's wonderful to use my hands for something other than typing every once in a while.  I almost forgot what it was like, but now I've got paint on the brain and art in my heart.  Stay tuned.  :)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Search Term Thursday 2.16.2012

Since I've been offline for much of the last week, I haven't had a chance to screenshot my search terms.  Luckily, these little jewels showed up just now when I inquired about this week's stats:

If the dishwasher melts *your* bottom, please go directly to the hospital, not to Google.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

So Emotional

So, that didn't last long.

Sorry, guys.  I hate it when someone does this huge announcement, "I AM TAKING A BREAK!" and then they're back in four days, so feel free to hate me when I do it.  I won't blame you.

The thing is, on the very day that I decided to go off social networking, Whitney Houston died.  I was all, MUST...TWEET...MUST...BLOG, but I resisted the urge.  I guess I'm less of a social networking addict than I thought, huh? 

Now that I've had some time to gather my thoughts, I'd like to say a few words about Whitney Houston.

As I type this, I'm listening to "So Emotional" on my Spotify Whitney playlist, which has been running almost nonstop since Saturday night.  This hit me hard.  I've cried a few times, and I'm fighting back tears now.

I loved those earrings.  I loved them so much.
Whitney Houston played a huge part in my childhood.  I remember sitting in the back of a moving pickup truck with my sisters, singing "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" at the top of our lungs.  We would watch hours of VH1 just so that we could catch the video for "The Greatest Love of All".  "One Moment In Time" was nearly my moment, when my choir director almost chose me to do a solo at the beginning of the song for the concert (I didn't project enough back then--I was too shy).

Basically, through repeated rewinding and playing, Whitney Houston taught me to sing.  No, I will never sing as well as she did, but by attempting to sing each note of every one of her songs in the exact way she did it, Whitney was my very own vocal coach.  I still know all the words to all of her early songs.

I can't get "Didn't We Almost Have it All" out of my head.  While most of the tributes I've seen have referenced "I Will Always Love You", I think this one is more suitable mainly because of these lines:

Didn't we almost have it all?
When love was all we had worth giving
The ride with you was worth the fall, my friend
Loving you makes life worth living

The ride with Whitney Houston was worth the fall.  She may have lived a too-short, tumultuous life, but her beautiful voice will live on forever, and will continue to bring joy to generations of music lovers for years to come.  That's priceless.

Rest in peace, Whitney Houston.  Thank you for the music.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


I'm taking a break.  See ya when I see ya!

Friday, February 10, 2012

How to View your Stats

Since I've been doing Search Term Thursdays, I've had a few people ask me how I gather this information.  Being a nice person and all, I thought I'd make a little tutorial for those people.  If you don't know how to view your stats, observe:

NOTE:  This is for people who use blogger in draft as their dashboard.  I'm sorry, but I don't know how to get mine back to the old settings, or I'd illustrate that as well.

1.  From your Blogger dashboard, click on the graph/number of pageviews (circled in yellow) to bring you directly to the stats page.  Alternatively, you can click on the drop down menu (circled in blue) and click on "stats" from there.

 2.  If you only have one blog, or if you clicked on your blog's name, your dashboard may look like this:

In that case, just click on the "stats" link.

3.  Once on the Stats page, to view your search terms, click on "traffic sources".

4.  Enjoy (or be horrified)!

Now, this is the simplest way to view your statistics, and it works well if you don't want or need a lot of detailed information.  If you DO want a lot of detailed information, I'd suggest installing Google Analytics on your site.  It's a little complicated, but you can do a lot more with it.

Happy viewing!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Search Term Thursday 2.9.2012

Thankfully, Tony Lucca's appearance on The Voice knocked out any chance of that horrible search term showing up in my stats.  Try harder, troll!  (actually, please don't)

Thank you, Tony!  I'm rooting for you to win!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Happy stuff.

So, apparently nobody else remembers Rock N Roll Mom.  Who'd a thunk?

That's okay.  Even though I feel like a complete outsider now, I still had a pretty good day.  Why, you ask?  Let's see...

Things that made me happy today:

*The case of Sugar-free Red Bull I just bought at Costco.

*Thinking I left half my reusable grocery bags at the grocery store, only to find them at the bottom of another bag when I got home.

*The way The Kid looked when he got up from his nap (which he never really took):

*Planning what I'll wear and how I'll do my hair for (early) Valentine's Day dinner this weekend.

*Finishing a re-write of my screenplay Coma Lady last night.

*The realization that it's already February 8th and we probably will escape this winter without suffering through a big winter storm this year.

*Realizing, after 2 1/2 years of growing it out, that my hair is now down to my bra strap, which is the length at which I officially consider it long.

I have long hair!  ...but apparently I lost a hand.

*Wearing the perfect shade of red lipstick that I got as a sample at Sephora, but will soon be buying in the full-sized version.

*Having a conversation with The Kid in the pasta aisle of the grocery store that started with the question, "How long do vampires live?".

*Finding a musical twin to share playlists with on Spotify.

*Making plans to see a friend I haven't spent time with in months.

So you see, my happiness isn't dependent on a single other person in the world sharing my affinity for horrible made-for-tv 80's movies.

It's dependent on Red Bull and lipstick.

So there.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

1988 Brain

For some reason, as I was curling my hair in preparation for a day of staying home with The Kid (seriously, why do I bother?), a song popped into my head.  Nothing new--I almost always have a song in my head.  The odd part?  This song is from a TV Movie from 1988 called Rock N Roll Mom with Dyan Cannon.  A TV MOVIE.  From 1988.  And I know the WHOLE SONG*.  Man, I'm weird.

Do any of you remember this movie at all?  I don't think I had it on VHS, but I do remember watching it a few times, so someone I know must have had a copy. 

The premise was that Dyan Cannon was a single mom who was a songwriter and closet singer.  Her song somehow got into the hands of a record producer who was going to have a big-named rockstar diva record it, but when the diva didn't show up for the recording session, he had Dyan Cannon sing it instead, thus shooting her to superstardom. 

Of course, since she was a mom (gross!), they had to dress her up in disguise and give her a fake name so that nobody found out her true identity.  She had giant, mesmerizing hair in this movie, and she dressed in lots of lace and denim, from what I recall.

Aren't you DYING to see it now?  Unfortunately, I don't have a copy, but thanks to the miracle of YouTube, I do have a very grainy, wavy sample to share with you!  Here's the song I'll probably be singing for the next three days:

If anyone out there has a full-length digital or DVD copy of this movie, I'd love you forever if you'd share it with me!  I know it exists, because on this site, I found this:

...but it's not for sale on Amazon.  Weird.

In return, I'll send you a copy of She's Out of Control, because I'm nice like that and that movie is underrated.  Deal?  Sweet.

*Actually by my estimation, 1988 takes up about 1/4 of my memory power.  I guess age 9 was a pretty formative year.

Monday, February 6, 2012

How rude!

Search terms are considerably less fun to peruse when people are searching specifically for the name of your blog along with the words "ugly" and "whore".

What is wrong with you people?


To this person, I say:

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Search Term Thursday 2.2.2012

That poor Googler's sister.  Also...THE NERDS ARE ON TO US!  THIS IS NOT A DRILL!

I think the question should have been how are you NOT purging?  Gross.

This person was sorely disappointed.

I KNEW there was a network of these guys!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

How to be awesome on Twitter

A long time ago (okay, a year and a half), I started a Twitter account.  Tweetdom can be confusing at first, and I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. 

Now that I'm an experienced tweeter (and an admitted Twitter addict), I thought it would be a good idea to share my experience and knowledge.  After all, what good is this bevy of knowledge doing just sitting around in my brain?

I know, I know--I'm too kind.  If you want to send me chocolates or tea for my troubles, I've got a public Amazon wishlist waiting.

Let's get started!

First of all, to join in the fun, you have to make an account.

Crazy, I know.

When making a Twitter account, you're gonna want to make yourself look as appealing as possible.  This means two things:  1) pick a good picture and 2) write a good  bio.

Now, what constitutes a "good" bio depends on what you're going to be using your Twitter account for.  For example, here's what mine looks like:

I'll probably change my photo to something less fancy when awards season is over.

I like to use my Twitter to network with other bloggers and people in the entertainment industry.  Since I'm not famous, I have to tell people how talented I am.  If you're a famous person already, you can get away with no bio, like Jason Segel here:

Yeah Segel, we get it--you're friends with Kermit!  Stop bragging.  Jeesh.

If you're funny, write something funny or witty in your bio.  If you have an interesting job, tell people about it.  Make people want to follow you!

Don't underestimate the importance of a good profile picture--it shows up next to every tweet you make.  If you're attractive, show us!  If you aren't good-looking, that's okay.  Just put up a picture that says something about YOU.  Make people want to click on it.  Twitter is only fun if you have people reading what you say, and your first impression is paramount to collecting followers.

Next, you're gonna want to follow some people.  Don't know who to follow?

Start with a friend or a fellow blogger.

Follow some celebrities you like.

Are you interested in politics?  Follow CNN Politics or President Obama.

Big fan of 90s sitcoms?  Jodie Sweetin and Mark-Paul Gosselaar are on Twitter.

Follow people who do things that you're interested in.  I follow a lot of writers and directors because that's the field I want to be in.  I follow a lot of other bloggers because I'm a blogger.  See what I'm getting at here?  Twitter:  follow your interests.  It's not just a catchy slogan.

Now, TWEET!  Following some people?  Great!  Now, tweet!  It's amazing how many people miss this step.  If you want people to follow you on Twitter (and why wouldn't you?), then you're going to have to say stuff on Twitter.

Don't know what to say?  Respond to someone else's tweet.  Like this:

By responding to Kati's tweet, I started a conversation that went on for about thirty minutes, all about John Stamos.  It's like a chat room, only public, and since I tagged Stamos by putting an @ in front of his name, he was able to see that tweet as well.

Now, does John Stamos actually look at his @ mentions?  I couldn't say.  I do know that I tweet him all the time, and I've never gotten a response, but then again, I probably make him uncomfortable with my constant adoration and quasisexual innuendo.

That's not to say that celebrities won't respond.  One of the biggest draws of Twitter is that famous people interact with non-famous people all the time.  Observe:

See?  How fun is THAT?

Tagging the people you're talking about (as long as it's not mean) is always a good thing because it opens up the conversation to more people  Last week I tweeted about Andrew Zimmern from Bizarre Foods.  Yesterday his assistant followed me because of that tweet, and today @AndrewZimmern himself started following me!  Yes, the guy who goes around the world eating disgusting local delicacies can now see when I tweet about how I cut my finger on a potato peeler.  How's that for bizarre?

After a while, you won't have any trouble finding things to tweet about.  In fact, you'll have a hard time keeping yourself from tweeting--or at least, that's been my own experience.  Every thought in my head goes through a filter now:  would it make a good tweet?  Usually the answer is no, but sometimes it's a yes, and then I'll tweet it. 

Another good tip:  tweet photos.  People like pictures, and Twitter was pretty much made for smart phones.  Why not take a picture of what you're doing at that very moment (if it's photo-worthy) and tweet it?  I had my landmark 5000th tweet the other night, and I couldn't think of anything profound to say, so instead, I tweeted this photo to commemorate it:

Silly?  Sure.  But it shows you that there is a real person behind the tweets, and that's fun.

Now that you know what to do on Twitter, here's a quick list of what NOT to do:

*Don't constantly tweet celebrities asking them to follow you or to re-tweet you.  It's annoying, not only to them, but also to your followers who follow those people as well.  It makes you look desperate.

*Don't overuse hashtags (#).  Hashtags are used on twitter to identify subjects that people want to talk about, or to get people started talking about something.  You can usually see a list of them on the right of your screen under "trending topics".  Like, right now #questionsIhatehearing is trending, so people are throwing in their two cents on that subject.  That's fine, whatever.  I use them sometimes if I run out of characters for my tweet and I have to squish a bunch of words together to make it fit.  What's REALLY annoying is when people write tweets that look like this:

 That is super-hard to read, and I hate that I even tweeted it.  It's even worse when there are lots of @ mentions and links in the tweet as well.  I usually skip reading those, so don't do that please.

*Don't spam.  Yes, Twitter is fast.  People may miss something you said or a link you put up to your blog.  It's okay to re-post it a few hours later or the next day, just in case.  What is NOT okay is posting the exact same link fourteen times in an hour.  Sometimes this is due to third-party applications auto-posting a link to someone's twitter feed, but sometimes people just REALLY want you to see the same picture of their cat over and over and over and over and over.  Enough!

*Don't #FF every single one of your followers.  #FF means Follow Friday, and it's a hashtag people use to tell other people who they ought to be following.  Some people will post SO many #FF tweets that I'm fairly certain they don't leave out even one of their followers.  Stop that!  It's spamming!

*Don't be mean.  This seems like a given, but a lot of people seem to forget that real humans are actually reading the tweets they send.  If you tweet to Alec Baldwin and tell him that he's got no talent and his kid is ugly, he's going to go ballistic on your ass.  I've seen it happen.  Yes, you may get a reply, but you'll also get flagged for abuse and very likely lose your Twitter account.  Don't be a douche.  Treat people on Twitter as you would treat them if they were standing in front of you.

*Don't be a porn bot.  Seriously, what's up with all the porn bots on Twitter? 

So, that should about cover it.  What are you all waiting for?  Get to Tweetin'!  Just try not to get addicted like I am.  It's becoming a problem.

In fact, maybe you should disregard everything I just said and stay off of Twitter altogether.  Yeah, never mind--save yourself while there's still time!

 (but if you don't, make sure and follow me @terilynnbrown)
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