Monday, June 14, 2010

One hand in the air for the big city

Back in February I got fired from my post office job. I couldn't type fast enough to meet the standard, in part because I only use two fingers on each hand when I type, and in part because I was working graveyard shifts and couldn't stay awake. It's the only time I've ever been fired, and it was kind of a bummer.

Fortunately, at that point I already had a job lined up doing reservations with jetBlue (I had been hoping to do both part-time, but now I'm a full-time airline employee). I'm getting paid much less than I was by USPS, but there are some very nice perks: I have health insurance, I get to work from my apartment, and I get to fly for free!

A couple of weeks ago I finally got enough time off to take my first free flight. Not surprisingly, I jetted off to New York. Standby travel is more stressful than I anticipated, but I don't like to complain, and I did get on the flights on the days that I wanted to, so I won't go into detail about that.

It doesn't seem like it's already been about ten months since I moved back to Utah. It felt so good to be back. As I stepped off of the plane and began walking through the terminal, the Glenn Frey song "You Belong to the City" was playing. I don't like that song, but it seemed very appropriate.

It did feel like I was coming back home, rather than just visiting. As such, I didn't really do any touristy things. My goals for the trip were to spend time with friends, eat good food, and watch TV. That's right--I had been wanting to return to New York ever since I left it, but I chose that particular weekend because of a TV show. (Is anyone actually surprised by that?)

This was the weekend, of course, of the Lost series finale. I had watched many episodes with Erin, Jill, Tricia, and other friends, and wanted to rejoin them to say goodbye to the show. To prepare myself, my friend Laura and I went to the Paley Center (formerly the Museum of Television and Radio) the day before to attend a Lost party of sorts. We joined about 200 other fans in trivia contests, watching an "enhanced" version of the 2004 pilot episode, and listening to a panel discussion. I thought the panel was going to be producers and cast members from the show, but it turned out to be six TV critics. Not what I had hoped for, but still interesting.

Sunday night I joined Erin, Laura, and a few others to watch the finale. There were several emotionally satisfying moments, but I felt a little unfulfilled intellectually. I won't give any more details in case some of you haven't seen it yet, but I do have some things I want to say about TV finales in a later post.

I filled the rest of that weekend by going to church, helping sort donations for the stake tag sale, wandering around midtown and Union Square, and hanging out with friends. Oh, and as I mentioned, eating. Here's a list of most of the places I ate:

--A Salt and Battery (an authentic British fish and chip place. Yes, I had a fried Mars bar)

--Nuts4Nuts (but not Nuts5Nuts; that's just too many nuts)

--Gray's Papaya

--I got a piece of chocolate from Max Brenner but didn't have time to stay for a whole dessert

--Dinosaur BBQ (I had heard of it but never been there; it's outstanding)

--I also got a slice of pizza from the dumpy deli I used to frequent when working at Columbia. Sadly, the nearby church is still not selling burritos.

That's about it. It was a super fun, super fast trip. I only spent about $100 total, including subway passes. A big shout out to Joel for letting me sleep on his couch. Thanks Joel! Hopefully I'll be back for another visit soon.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Long in the tooth

I have a friend named Spencer. We met in high school. We have many shared media experiences from those days, mainly from our time as staff members on the school paper. In fact, Spencer was heavily involved in an incident that pushed my interests fully away from "journalism" per se and towards writing to entertain. But that's a story for another time.

Spencer and I have hardly seen each other since high school, but we're still sharing media adventures. He works for a local health insurer, and was heavily involved in creating some promotional videos for their dental plan.

But they weren't the first ones to come up with a tooth mascot named, well, Toothy. My younger sister works with Spencer's wife at the public library, and I had her drop off a video of a class project my family helped me make in 4th grade. Ashamed of his inadvertent intellectual property theft, Spencer posted part of the video online.

This was the first script I ever wrote, and the first time I was involved in any kind of video project. Not a bad debut, eh? There's so much to love about this video:

--just the fact that Spencer set up his camera to record the tape playing on his TV. So old school.

--my awesome family stepping up at the last minute. A bunch of my friends had volunteered to help out, but all bailed.

--our old school TV, one where you could say "don't touch that dial" and it would actually make sense.

--my sister's big hair underneath her chef's hat.

--my brother seeming WAY too happy when he hears that "Toothy's in trouble."

--the funky positioning of my arms and hands during my brief cameo.

--my mom's great camera work and truly amazing costumes.

--most of all, my dad's tour de force performance as Mr. Cavity. For one thing, after his double knee replacement surgery last year, it would take him at least five minutes now to get up from a fall like that. And his acting was deliciously over the top. I had no idea my dad was a fan of Paul Lynde.

This was only a small portion of the entire video. I think the whole thing is about four minutes long, featuring an extended scene with the chef developing the secret Cavity Busters recipe, and me promoting the stores that sell it with a very crudely drawn poster.

Perhaps someday the entire production will find its way to the Interwebs, where it can be come back to haunt me if I ever become really famous. Thanks for posting, Spencer.