2006 March at John Mackey's Blog



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  • How I Spent My Teen Years
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  • March 29, 2006

    Deal or No Deal taping …

    … sucked. Wow, wow, wow, I have gone from loving “Deal or No Deal” to hating it. Howie Mandel was funny, and when we were watching the actual game (as opposed to sitting around between takes), it was, for the most part, entertaining. (One contestant was fantastic. Funny, charming — a lot of fun to watch.)

    But long (longer than it should be, really — much, much longer)… sorry… long story short, we arrived at the taping at 2:45. What time did we get home, after attending the taping of ONE EPISODE of the show?

    We got home at 11:15pm. That’s right. We were at the taping from 2:45 PM until 10:50 PM. That’s when we finally just got up and left; the audience hadn’t even been released yet.

    How can a television production crew on a major prime time show be so completely inept?! EIGHT HOURS to tape one episode of a GAME SHOW?! We’ve attended tapings before — Letterman, Conan, The Daily Show — and they take a long time. I get that. But once the cameras start rolling, you might expect to be there two hours for a 1-hour show. Hell, maybe three hours if it’s technically extremely complicated. But EIGHT? WTF?! If they ran The Price is Right this way, Bob Barker would have died half-way through the fourth season.

    Please, if you’re considering requesting Deal or No Deal tickets, please, please, please STAY AWAY. I was excited about the whole thing when I got there — and for several hours into the experience. But after 5, 6, 7 hours — without even being offered water (and “snack time” — consisting of a mini-bag of Fritos and nasty-ass fruit punch in a box — that was at 5PM) — well, with no food, minimal fun (I’m sorry, the “let’s have an audience dancing contest during the 75-minute ‘commercial break’ ” crap was asinine), and no drinks (liquor would have helped), the whole experience became miserable.

    A large part of the crowd was clearly upset by the end. It would have been quite different had they posted a warning on their ticket site — something to the effect, “taping of a single episode can take up to eight hours.” But no, they never said how long it would take. Scratch that — when we arrived at 3pm, they said we might not be done until 7pm. We thought that was crazy, but we were already there, so we stayed — until, again — not 7pm, but 10:50 PM.

    When we get back from Vegas, AEJ is going to write a very nasty letter. (She’s a good writer. The last time she wrote one of these letters, we got free Starbucks coffee for almost a year.)

    “Deal or No Deal” — your crew sucks.


    March 25, 2006

    Deal… Or No Deal?

    There’s a movie coming out about Flight 93. I won’t comment on my take on the film, but for a truly priceless reaction, please read this blurb on one of my new favorite sites, IWatchStuff.com.

    Next week will be uber-fun. I already mentioned that we’re going to Vegas on Wednesday, but first, on Tuesday, we’re going to a taping of “Deal or No Deal!” Woo hoo! Our first LA television taping — and we get to see Howie Mandel live!!!

    LA rules.


    March 23, 2006

    Mount Wilson

    AEJ and I had my college friend, Wataru Hokoyama, over for dinner last night. It was a lot of fun. I knew Wataru back at CIM — he was a composition major as well, but a few years younger than I — and after CIM, he attended the USC Film Scoring program. He has written several band pieces, too — and they’re unlike anything I’ve heard for band. Imagine the score for an unmade Batman movie — played entirely by winds, brass, and percussion. Wataru studied with Danny Elfman’s orchestrator, and holy crap, you can tell. It’s amazing. I stole several of his orchestration techniques when I was orchestrating “Turbine.” I’m a little scared to send you to his site — for fear that I’ll never get any work again once people in the US discover Wataru — but check this stuff out — especially “Spiritual Planet.”

    It was a beautiful day in LA today. The temperature hadn’t reached 70 since February, and it’s been in the upper 50’s for most of the past month. Today, though, was crystal-clear, smog-free, 74 degrees, no humidity — perfect. AEJ and I started the day with brunch at one of our favorite places, Alcove, then headed out on a little excursion to Mount Wilson. We’ve never been there, but our friend Nag told us about it. He said that 30 minutes from us, there was a huge mountain. Seemed hard to believe, but I Googlemap’d it, and we headed out.

    Mount Wilson isn’t 30 minutes from our house — it’s more like 15. Within 20 minutes of our place, this was the view. (Those tiny buildings in the distance in the right-center part of the picture — that’s downtown LA.)

    We drove up the mountain for about 20 more minutes, and we found SNOW! Okay, this won’t seem weird to a lot of you, but this is LOS ANGELES! Mount Wilson is actually in Los Angeles County — and there was real snow. Not movie snow — but real snow! We thought that was very fun. AEJ made the tiniest snowman you’ve ever seen.

    Hey, what was she writing in the snow in that last picture? Ahh…

    A bit more driving up the mountain, and we reached this fun place. AEJ is tall.

    We’re not sure what the snow-capped mountain range is off in the distance, but wow — we want to go there next. Is that Big Bear? Anybody know?

    Here’s the view in the other direction — towards the city. I’d love to see this view after dark.

    Here I am, next to a big rock.

    And while we’re posing, here’s a picture of our car — complete with snow-capped mountain background. If Volkswagen would like to use this in an ad, please contact me.

    Here’s a cool shot of the distant mountain range as seen through the rear-view mirror.

    We drove up a little higher, parked again, and went on a trail walk.

    Here is a mountain bee. (I don’t know that it’s any different than a regular bee. Well, except it gets a better view.)

    Along the mountain path, there was this crazy tunnel drilled through the rock.

    Fortunately, it did have an opening at the end.

    Here’s some crazy metal post, used, we think, for the railway that used to go up the mountain.

    This tree looks pissed somehow.

    And finally, here is the lovely AEJ, enjoying the view of LA waaaay in the distance.

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    March 21, 2006

    Vegas, baby. Vegas.

    My mom was here over the weekend, and we talked about Vegas — and that put Vegas in our heads. AEJ and I have never been, and had been wanting to go. Then, out of nowhere, I received an unexpected check yesterday from ASCAP, and AEJ and I decided to put a little of it towards a sort of “rejuvenating getaway” — to Las Vegas.

    We are SO excited about this. It’ll be a quick trip (3 days, 2 nights), but jam-packed. We’ll leave LA on Wednesday morning, and we’re going to drive. (We can get there in a little over 4 hours, and that saves me the stress of flying.) We’ll check in to the hotel (we’re staying at the Venetian, which seems both nice and cartoonish all at once), then grab some dinner, and then…

    that night…

    we’re going to see BARRY MANILOW! I am a HUGE Barry Manilow fan — HUGE! He’s performing almost exclusively in Vegas now, and seriously, he’s a big draw in getting me there. I haven’t seen him live since around 1995, so this will be Quite. A. Treat.

    What will we do on Thursday and Friday? We don’t know, but we’re so excited to figure it out. Maybe we’ll do a gondola ride. What we’re DEFINITELY doing, though, is visiting Star Trek: The Experience. Set phasers to AWESOME.

    And you can bet that there is going to be a SWEET photo blog entry when we get back! Just imagine…


    March 20, 2006

    Snakes on a Plane

    I am crazy-excited about the upcoming Samuel L. Jackson film, “Snakes on a Plane.” (I was going to link directly to the trailer, but the IWatchStuff.com blurb is equally priceless.)

    AEJ and I had a really nice weekend with my mom in town. Lots of tasty dinners out, as well as some delicious Mom Cooking. Nothing beats that. Not even Snakes on a Plane.

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