Moving on. Kinda

Friends, after surviving in the music business for over 20 years, I am embarking on a new career path.

I am going into being Independently Wealthy. It’s the Perfect job for me! You will agree: I would look fetching in a Top Hat. Also, a cane. (Gotta have a cane.)

I’m still working on the logistics, and haven’t quite told my current boss, yet. (I’m sure he’ll understand.)

Fingers crossed! Wish me luck. Look for me on Kickstarter.

One Direction

On the Eastbound 134 in LA, the traffic sign flashes “Heavy Traffic Ahead. One Direction. Use Alt Route through Pasadena.”

This puzzles me. I’m going in One Direction like everyone else, eastbound. Through Pasadena. Is there an Alternate Route?

Then, slowly, ever so slowly, it dons on me… “One Direction” is a Band! (Or at least a bunch of good-looking singer boy-types playing at the Rose Bowl. In Pasadena.)

Pre-teeeeeeeens!!!

I m stuck in “One Direction” traffic.

Crap.

I worm my may over to the next-over lane and make an exit onto the Last Ditch Road to Get Over Before Being Crushed Against the Side-Rail Forever.

I’m Calm. I make my way to the Glendale Avenue.

Me: Girls, this trip was Horrific! Do you even like One Direction?

Julianna (she’s 10): Um… Like… No…. Like, YesterYear…

Iz: One What?

J: No one likes One Direction anymore. You’re so old.

Me: You don’t care about how much I struggled to get here.

J: No.. Because you don’t care about your anytime hours.

Playlists

My poor Prius. I crank the factory-installed radio more than it should be pushed.

But, don’t judge me. After dropping off the girls at school, here’s my back-to-back-to-back playlist:

Born to Run.
Stayin’ Alive. (Oh, yes! Falsetto and all. That’s how I roll.)
We Got the Beat.
19th Nervous Breakdown.
Hound Dog.
Roar.

Now, tell me… Who wants to go on a road trip with me to Vegas? (Though, you may have to hear me sing…) I dare you.

Front Seat Driver

After months and months of pleading to ride in the front seat of the car, Julianna has worn us down. She’s 10. And, I remember standing (asleep) in the wheel well of a VW Bug at 3. So, who am I to point fingers? (Except, you know, the Highway Transportation Safety Board.)

So finally…

Me: Julianna (again, she’s 10), I need you to go with me to get Isabella from Gymnastics so I can use the carpool lane.

Julianna: I don’t want to! (a defense also known as: What’s in it for me?)

Mommy and Daddy share a look.

Mommy: You can ride in the front seat.

I Googled the law. She’s 10. Tall enough. Heavy enough. Shit.

Me: Ok.

She climbs into the front seat even before I’ve put on my pants. (Editor’s note: My “lounging at home” pants are different from my “seeing other gymnastics parents” pants.)

Julianna, in the front seat for the first time. On the highway!

J: Daddy! This is Awesome!

She can’t stop giggling.

J: Everything is closer! Everything moves faster!

Me: Well, no, not really, Honey…

J: Whoa! Our car just went past that tree! Superfast! And we can see soooo much farther. To the Horizon!

Me: Like we always do.

J: Yeah, but, Daddy. It’s different for those of us in the back.

(I can’t tell you how much I appreciate her grammatically put-down of me.)

J: But, there’s the radio and the mirror and and the sun blocker thingy!

Me: Yes.

J: And, the Best Part of All?

Me: What, Honey?

J: We’ll get there BEFORE the back seat!

Me: Technically yeah, but… Never mind… YAY! Before the Back Seat! LOSERS!

Prime Time Emmy Recap, 2014

Aside from a few goofy pictures of me, there’s a story somewhere in here…

Last year, I missed the Emmy Awards Big Show having had major surgery on my shoulder two days earlier. And, really, who needs another drugged up Hollywood type on the Red Carpet? So, instead, our good friend Gretchen* (http://secondblooming.typepad.com/) went in my place. This year, Gretchen is out of town, but our friend Eileen is On Deck should anything untoward happen to me. (There’s a long list of people wishing me ill-well, and that’s just for the Emmys.) I am sorry to disappoint her. I’m good to go.

As you may know by now, my beautiful, smart, and talented wife Lynn does Consulting work for the Television Academy. In recognition of her many hours of toiling away they comp her a couple of tickets to the show.

The Academy moved the Awards show to Monday at Rush Hour (this is important later on. Make a mental note), which also happened to be the first day of school. We need to be at the Nokia Theater by mid-afternoon, much too early for us to get the girls and then get downtown. So, Lynn has made arrangements for our neighbor friends to pick up the girls and deliver them to our house.

Our baby sitter is Kay. She is a spry 80-year-old English woman, who is also a Ninja. (I am not kidding:* https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2dknW8DGMHA). Lynn lets Kay know that she will put the key under the front door mat in an envelope. (This is also important for later.)

Meanwhile I make a Facebook joke about someone trying to kidnap our children while protected by a Ninja. Then I go off and practice my selfie technique:

I feel Kardashtastic.  Text your favorite to American Idol.  Normal text and data charges apply.

I feel Kardashtastic. Text your favorite to American Idol. Normal text and data charges apply.

We are ready to go.

My new favorite picture.  Prettiest Date Ever.  (I think I've got that whole selfie thing down to a science.)

My new favorite picture. Prettiest Date Ever. (I think I’ve got that whole selfie thing down to a science.)

We leave at around 3:00 for the 5:00 start (East Coast 8:00). We take the 170 to 134 to the 5 to the 110. 15 miles in about an hour and fifteen minutes. Sounds about right.

Because we are considered “Crew,” they direct us to special parking and avoid all the gridlock on the streets around the Nokia. And, we have sweet parking, literally underneath the Theater. One short ride up the escalator, and we are in the lobby. The bad news is: We don’t have a chance to walk the red carpet. (So, no, if you think you saw me on ABC’s pre-show gala, that was probably just Jon Hamm. I get that all the time.)

A quick touch-up of the makeup (Lynn, too), and we make our way to our seats. Stage right, row MM. Not too bad, considering the tickets cost $600 each. (As I said, they were comped.)

Oh look, they are flashing the lights and calling everyone to take their seats.

Did I mention, Prettiest Date Ever?

Did I mention, Prettiest Date Ever?

It’s at about this time when things get interesting…

Things Get Interesting

I get a weird text message:

“There was no key in the envelope.”

I show it to Lynn, who replies: “Ha! Take what you want, but leave the kids.”

Then, Lynn’s phone rings: “Seriously, there’s no key. The envelope is empty.”

Lynn scurries out of the row and heads to the back of the theater, swimming against the stream of Julia Robertses.

She returns.

The key is not in the envelope. The envelope is under the mat, but not where Lynn left it. And, if I didn’t mention this, there is no key. Also, it is not on our keychains. The key is gone.

So, with about 5 minutes to go before Seth Meyers comes out to do his schtick, we have only one choice to make:

Home.

You see that smiling picture of Lynn up above. Decidedly not that now.

Now, if you will remember, I mentioned that the Academy has moved the ceremony to 5:00pm on a Monday. And, it is taking place downtown. Off of the 110, the 5, the 134, and the 170. On a good day, that could cost you 2 hours. I get us home in less time than it took to get the the damn theater in the first place.

Because, Ain’t no dingo gonna eat my baby, Bitch! (a Meryl Streep reference by way of Seinfeld and channeled through Breaking Bad? Yes? Anyone?)

We get home. No one is there. But, that’s good, because babysitter Kay has whisked the girls off to Denny’s for crappy pizza and nachos. And, some souvenir cups.

We pull back the mat. The envelope is in a different location. There is no key. We look around on the porch, the grass, the flower pots. No key.

I take my key, and put it in the dead bolt. It is unlocked. I open the door, rush in, and look around for anything missing. Nothing is disturbed. The TV, the computers, and the (well, those are the only things of value).

Merlin the Magician must have scared away the would-be breaker-inners! (At least, that’s our best working theory right now.)

On Guard!

On Guard!

We alert our next door neighbors, and try to sort things out as Kay returns with the girls.

Things calm down. Lynn wants to go back to the show. And to the Governors Ball after-party. (Another $600 a pop. Comped.)

I make the bold decree: I must stay home and protect my family!

Crickets.

Every light is on. The TV is blasting. And, the Ninja is on the job.

I am convinced to return to the ceremony.

We make our way back to the Nokia, sweet talk the ushers to let us back inside, and get to our seats for the last 20 minutes. Bryan Cranston, Modern Family, and Breaking Bad.

I need a drink.

Oh, how convenient, they are handing out champagne on the walk into the Governors Ball. I’ll take two thank you.

And, now it is time to name drop.

I almost step on Sarah Silverman’s dress. Twice.

I did not take this picture since I was protecting my children from the dingoes.

I did not take this picture since I was protecting my children from the dingoes.

On the way in, Lynn dances with Jon Voight.

He's Micky Donovan.  From "Ray Donovan."  Tough Guy.  Brad Pitt's father-in-law.

He’s Micky Donovan. From “Ray Donovan.” Tough Guy. Brad Pitt’s father-in-law.

And, cast members from Orange is the New Black:

Really, it's a Comedy.  Like Prison Break, or Oz, or The Wire.

Really, it’s a Comedy. Like Prison Break, or Oz, or The Wire.

And look! A selfie with Stephen Colbert! He grabs my iPhone, poses and click.

If only he would have let me take the shot.  Because, as you know, I am a self-taught self-taking expert.  (Plus, I know how to use a flash.)

If only he would have let me take the shot. Because, as you know, I am a self-taught self-taking expert. (Plus, I know how to use a flash.)

We eat our dinners, have some champagne, and don’t bother the stars (who, by the way, vanish after about 25 minutes because their own networks have special extravaganzas.) Lynn can’t find Louis CK, McConaughey, Hamm, Louis-Dreyfus, Pohler. They’re all gone.

So, at around midnight, we manage to find the car and get home. There’s a chair under the front doorknob. Kay has a baseball bat. Merlin is dead asleep. Everyone is safe.

At the crack of dawn (and by that, I mean two days later), I buy a new door knob and dead bolt. I install them.

Then, Lynn gets a call from Kay to say that…

Kay: Lynn, was your key silver, with a little ring?

Lynn: Yes.

Kay: Oh, dear.

Ooops, the key was in the bottom of her bag all the time. Looks like the key slipped out of the envelope as Kay picked it up. And, the dead bolt wasn’t thrown because we were in such a rush to get in the car that I forgot it.

[*Editor's Note: I have never been able to get WordPress (as hosted by GoDaddy) to allow me to insert links to other pages. It never works. (And, no, it's not just click the Link button and type in the address. That simply doesn't work. So, copy and paste these URLs into your browser and enjoy.]

Creative Arts Emmy Recap, 2014

Here’s the fun, Creative Arts Emmy story.

These Emmy Awards are given out the week before the Prime Time TV Awards. Don’t misunderstand, these are actual, valid, genuine Emmy Awards. It’s fun. But, it’s 6 hours too long. And, do you really care who won Best Reality Program Non-Scripted but Structured Starring Pretty People in a Hot Tub? (That’s an actual category. Sort of.)

Because of my sway with the TV Academy (aka, my wife Lynn, who is the Consultant on the Music categories), we are actually sitting two rows in front of the crab fishermen Captains from The Dangerous Catch and one row in front of my favorite Mythbusters (you know, the three second-tier Busters).

Unfortunately, the Mythbusters lose out in their category. I turn, and offer condolences. I tell Kari, the only girl: My Daughter Loves Science and wants to be You when she grows up!

Kari: Me Too!

I’m puzzled, but Ok.

After the last award is (Thank God) handed out, we retire across the street to the LA Convention Center for the big, fancy dinner. Lynn and I have a tradition each year where we get our table mates and others to sign the Emmy menu.

I go on a fishing expedition.

Appropriately enough, I track down Johnathan Hillstrand, Captain of The Deadliest Catch’s Time Bandit crab boat at his table.

Me: Did you you have the steak or the seafood?

Him (More than Proudly): I Had the Steak!

We engage in about two minutes of conversation. He’s really a friendly, friendly guy. Lynn says he was hitting on me. Maybe she misinterprets Bro-hugs. Or, maybe he was. (No one has hit on me in 25 years, so I don’t know. Plus he’s married. To a woman. So, whatever)

Look for me in Port, Johnathan….

I head over to the Mythbusters table and strike up conversations with all three of the junior Busters: Grant, Tori, and Kari. They each seem to be genuinely interested in talking with me. But a few martinis will do that to a person.

With Grant Imahara:

How much are you digging my new Tux with the purple silk tie?

How much are you digging my new Tux with the purple silk tie?

And Kari Byron:

The cute one.  Also, there's a girl.

The cute one. Also, there’s a girl.

(And, sadly enough, a couple days after the ceremony, the three “Fan Favorites” were “let go” from the show. Maybe Kari was vaguely alluding to that when she said “Me Too!”…)

I make my way over to the Cosmos table and rudely interrupt this generation’s Einstein, Neil DeGrasse Tyson. And, of course, I gush about how much I love the show and Science and how much Carl Sagan’s original Cosmos series meant to me in the 8th Grade.

Neil: Then you need to talk to Annie. Plus, I’m still eating. (Ok, he didn’t say that last bit.)

He is referring to Ann Druyan, Sagan’s widow, also a co-creator of both of the Cosmos series. More gushing from me. A few martinis will do that to a person.

Allison Janney, who was being ushered out the door by her handler takes the time to talk with me. Allie and I go way back to my days as Extra #152 on the set of The West Wing. Surely she remembers me. No? No.

But, she is exceedingly gracious, gorgeous, and very, very tall.

We also bump into Community’s Joel McHale, who, when he tries to sign the menu tells us, “Your pen sucks!” A few martinis will do that to a person.

So, here’s the menu. We had everyone from our table as well as Music colleagues (Bill Ross, Mark Watters, Michael Levine, Mark Adler, Joanie Diener) and Emmy staff sign. And, some famous people: Captain Johnathan on top, under him is Dr. Cosmos Tyson (who insisted on signing with his own genuine ink pen. “Make sure to let that dry, it’s wet.) Then, McHale smudges everything. Martinis… Ann Druyan signs right under my name. Allison Janney is in there somewhere, as are the Mythbusters.

You could order fish or a vegetarian pasta dish.  But, like Captain Johnathan, I had the steak!

You could order fish or a vegetarian pasta dish. But, like Captain Johnathan, I had the steak!

Dumbo

Isabella (she’s 7) is calling our puppy dog, Merlin.

Iz: Merlin… Merliiin… There’s my Dumbo. There he is!

Me: Why do you call him “Dumbo?” He’s not fat.

Iz: Daddy, it’s because he has big floppy ears.

Me: Oh… But, you call me “Dumbo, too.” And, I don’t have big ears.

She scoops him up and leaves the room without saying a word.

Me: Honey… Isabella! Honey…….. I don’t have big ears.

Oh, I get it.

I be done seen about everything, when I see a chihuahua fly.

I be done seen about everything, when I see a chihuahua fly.

Kicking the Bucket

Like everyone else in America, I also did the Bucket Challenge. Though, I may not have read the instructions correctly.

Finger-Licking Good!

Finger-Licking Good!

Not to get too preachy, but ALS is a terrible condition that has visited my family. And, if you have to dump a bucket of chicken on your head to help find a cure, then do it. And, I’ll even bring the mashed potatoes and gravy.

Wake Up, Little Susie

So, my magical playlist of Classic Rock songs that the girls should know comes on the blue-toothified radio. While we are tooling down the freeway at 65mph. (I know! 65! In LA! A great day indeed.)

“Wake Up, Little Susie.” Everly Brothers.

Me: Oh, Girls, this is a Great song. You need to know this song.

Isabella (she’s 7): Is this a Great song, or just a Good song?

Me: Well, Honey. I don’t know that I need to hear this song everyday, but it is a very important song.

Iz: But, is it a Great song, or an Important song?

Me: Honey, you are splitting hairs.

Iz: I don’t know what that means. I’m 7.

Me: Sometimes a Great song is an Important song. And, sometimes an Important song is a Great song.

Iz: Then, is this a Great song or an Important song?

Me: Sweetie, without this song, we would have no Lennon-McCartney, Simon-Garfunkle, Bowie-Mercury. Or whenever any two people sing together.

Iz: So, it’s an Important song.

Me: Yes, and it’s Great!

Iz: Wait, go back.

FU

Julianna (she’s 10, calling from a distant room): Daaaddyyy… How do you spell “Furnace? Or the video game monster will kill me!”

Me: Monster?

Isabella (7): Daddy, can I tell her? I know how to spell it!

Me: Really, you do? I don’t think so…

Iz: F-U..

Me: Ok, I guess I had that coming. How old are you?

Iz: 7. No, Daddy… F-u-n… No, wait.

Me: Oh, this will be Fun.

Iz: Daddy! Stop! Furcsace. No. Funscaser. Wait. Furcnsae.

Me (shouting Letters of encouragement: Furn…)

Iz: Fcnrseae.

J: Quick! I need to know!

Wha-Wha…. You’ve been eaten.

J: Daddy, this is all your fault.

Iz: Yeah, Daddy! Your fault.

Me: You never asked me how to spell “fir-ness,” the quality of a fir tree.