AV Guy: Watch Out!

So, we are in the midst of preparing for our big move. Now, the reasons behind the move and the details of the actual move itself are many and mundane enough for a few blogs of their own. But presently, my world is rocked because my husband just told my daughter and I that “There won’t be any TV for several days.” EXCUSE me?

I’m not ashamed  to say how much I need TV. First night in the new place is Thursday, and Mark says “Probably no TV till Tuesday.”  And he will be out of town ALL weekend. So just me and the kids for 3 days with boxes and NO TV? What kind of fresh hell is this? I tried to remain calm and think; OK, we will watch lots of DVDs ’cause I need to park that kid in front of the boob tube now and then for a little mental R&R. No, that might not work either. And that is when I got a little irate. “What kind of cockamamy AV guys have you hired?”

Mark went into a whole thing about complicated it is; yeah, for me, but isn’t that why we hired a pro?  ‘Cause we don’t know what we are doing?  I said, “Tell him it HAS to be  working by the weekend.” Blank face. “Do I have to call him?”

He gave me his number.  Okay, you don’t want to do it? Well, I will. I need my cartoons.

Sprout Spots

This is one of the ones I banged out before delivering. Note the large belly and peek-a-boo bra. Why does Sprout have commercials? Isn’t PBS? This vid talks about the ones we saw on there.

I don’t like my daughter to see commercials in general. I TiVo and fast-forward through most of them, but sometimes they creep in… what do these ones tell her about the world we live in?

Will I Get on the Oprah Show?

Update:  The show airs Monday, April 6, 2009!

Okay, I’ve got to tell you about how I was almost NOT on the Oprah show. It was days in the making. The producers were planning a show called “Real Moms Confess.” They were having various moms and mom bloggers send in videotaped bits. First, I got a call from a producer asking me questions about motherhood for about 45 minutes. I did a full nursing while we chatted.  I said, “I work in TV. I know this all is distilled down to a 30 sec bit.” She’s like, “Uh, huh.” Then more questions. At this point, it wasn’t for sure they would pick me to be on the show. Later, I got a call that they did want me to be on the show and were sending me a camera to record some of the things I said and instructions on how to upload them. Figuring all that out was another day.

I kept thinking, “Do I get to go to Chicago?” But no, they had other people destined for Chicago, but maybe I would be Skyped in. I waited. Then the call came: Yes, they wanted me to Skype in and was sending the equipment. Got the laptop, mic, cables, etc. and instructions on how to assemble it. Then a call to make a date to test equipment. Check and check; it all worked.  I left it set up in the husband office/playroom since there is a window there and thought the natural light would give me Oprah-like light. I was doing this largely so they would mention Cool Mom. I was told no by the nice producer that they weren’t plugging websites on the show in a sort of “This is the Oprah show; we are not negotiating” way. And what was I going to say? “Well, then I’m going to go on a bigger show!”  American Idol wasn’t going to have me on. The other reason I wanted to go on was just to say, “I was on Oprah!!”

A day or two before, I was told by the show that they needed me to fax my children’s birth certificates and my marriage certificate. Huh? It was required. I made my own assumption that after that author said he had written his memoir and then it turned out it wasn’t true, they weren’t messing around anymore and just taking people’s word for it. I could have invented some family just to get on Oprah. I could have pretended to have 8 kids and put on big fake lips. Oh, wait, someone really did that. So, fax I did.

Next day: do I have my stepson’s birth certificate? No. Is he on my taxes? The fact that I had neither handy made me think, maybe I have made this kid up? Who am I fooling? Then I said, “I have his report cards.” Crickets.  I have a copy of his passport…. Oh, but then I couldn’t find that either. Crap, I did make him up. Then I said to the producers, go to www.campanilerestaurant.com. Look at my husband’s bio.  All of his children are listed there. That sufficed. If the Oprah show says I have stepchildren. then I will believe it too.

The plan was that we would tape at 7 a.m. I had to get up at 6 a.m., turn on the Skype, and then I could go and have my coffee and put on makeup. I am not banking a lot of sleep these day,s so I hired a baby nurse to spend the night with Rex. She’s a doll, and in more prosperous times I would have had her 6 days a week. These are NOT these times, but Oprah needed me (or I needed Oprah), and I needed my rest. I still had to get up to pump, but it’s much easier than nursing and then getting Rex burped and back to sleep. At 5:45, the phone rang: “Get up; this is the Oprah show.” I slurred into the phone something and staggered downstairs in my bathrobe. I took the steps to turn on the Skype like before, and nothing happened. I was on the phone with their engineer who (I appreciated) kept his cool as I slowly started to panic. There was much advice and troubleshooting, and still it wasn’t working. He said, “Call Time Warner.” Oh, great, why don’t I call the DMV while I’m at it? I said, “They will not help.” The engineer said, “Tell them you are trying to get on for the Oprah show; that should speed them up.” I ran and got my husband, who (bless his heart) got up right away. He may be a man, but he knows Oprah is a big deal. I spoke to two people at Time Warner as the clock ticked to 7:00 and every passing minute a smaller chance I would get on Oprah. “I’m trying to get on Oprah”  No reaction. “Yes, ma’am, can you restart your computer?” I thought how bummed I would be when I later saw the show and there were other moms and mom bloggers on there and I wasn’t. Time Warner said that I didn’t have an active modem and asked when would l like to schedule a service appointment. I practically screamed, “I don’t want an appointment; I’m supposed to be on Oprah.” They didn’t care. Then at 6:51a.m., I said to the engineer and producer who were on the line, “My husband’s work is only a mile away; would there be time if I went there?”  Yes, they said.  I was so glad they hadn’t already bumped me. They must have like my anecdotes.

Oliver was eating his morning cereal Mark told him to grab the Skype and throw it in the car. Mark had gotten dressed and drove. I was getting calls from the show every 3 minutes asking, “Are you there yet?” Had I not hired the baby nurse, I would have had to call it quits. Mark could not have left, and I can’t figure out all the keys to get into his office. We went through the service entrance, up the stairs to his small, dingy office that he shares with half his staff. It has god-awful florescent lighting overhead (not Oprah lighting) and chef’s jackets hand about. But zip, zang, the Skype worked here. I had thrown on a bright orange top before we left and a pulled on sweat pants on my unwashed body. I slapped on some makeup as the Oprah staff said things like, “Can your husband get ride of those aprons?”  It was strange, ’cause they could see me, but I couldn’t see them. Another voice from Chicago said, “Can you do something about the light?”  I knew overhead fluorescent would not be a good idea for national TV. I grabbed a small desk lamp that was nearby and tried my best to aim it at my under eye as I had seen professional lighting people do with professional lights. The voice from Cchicago gave me enouragement: “That’s good. Now move the camera.” The camera is a tiny one hooked on the top of the laptop. Amazing that a big show has such primitive technology and amazing it all works!  I was thinking later, hey what to those reporters do who are stationed in Iraq and places like that? They have to wing it all the time.

As I waited, my dream hubby brought up a freshly made espresso from the bar. As I took my first sip I suddenly heard a woman say, “Put that down!”. Then the show came on my laptop. They had started late (apparently waiting for me, I was so honored). I could see the show, but there was no sound. During the second segment Oprah suddenly spoke to me. I was startled. Talking on Skype makes one very insecure because while you are talking you can’t see people’s reactions or hear if people are laughing. So whenever I spoke I thought, Am I making an ass of myself? Is Oprah going to be glowering at me?

Well, I have to leave the cliffhanger there because they asked us not to talk about the body of the show till it airs (made me write in my blood). I will say this, once it got rolling, it went well.  The whole staff was very nice to me even when I was holding up their production, and I now have more respect for Oprah than before. She is at ease and in charge and very good at connecting. It’s one thing to see it but another to experience it.  Also, being a host myself, I know that to have that many elements to interview and probably different producers talking can make a person jittery, but she is cool as can be.  As was I… in my dumpy office!

“24”

For the last few years I’ve been doing an online show for Fox.com called “24 inside.” It’s for the fans of “24.” We shoot a few shows a year where I interview the cast and crew of the suspense-filled show. Sometimes we go on the set, and the other night I went to their premiere. Now, I might be in danger for saying this, but I have already watched 21 out of the 24 hours of the new season! I think it is the best season since season 4. They are finally out of LA; how many times can terrorist threaten Van Nuys?

The cast and crew are always nice to me. If you go to the website, you can see me interviewing back to season 3. The first show I did was with Carlos Bernard and his onscreen wife. We were doing our own studio show in the valley, in the heat of the summer, and the AC was not up and running. So, you will notice the actors and me starting to melt.

At the red carpet event the other night, the producers were all, “Hey you are pregnant again, congrats!” My opening line with Kiefer was that he was a parent at the school my stepson attends. Little parental ice breaker. Mary Lynn Rajskub (Chloe) looked great. She has a five month old, and she couldn’t believe I was so close to delivering. We were gabbing mom talk in this junket room full impatient publicists clicking away on their Blackberrys. I finally had to start asking her about the show.

Daphne and Jon Voight

Later at the red carpet for the show debut I had to play fan with Jon Voight, Oscar winner. I told him how much I loved Coming Home. He was very nice and asked me how many kids I have. “Good for you,” he said as we parted. I was not one of the tacky reporters who asked him about Angelina. He was there to promote his show, and it just seemed childish and invasive.

As I drove from one interview location to the party with my makeup artist TC, we realized we were having fun. I was so glad to be working again after weeks of no work, and I NEVER get out. TC agreed, “I’d be home with my dogs.” Great to get dolled up even if it’s to only go to the outside of a party.

Halloween at the Fashion Team

When Viv was younger (under 3) she was happy to be a model on my TV Guide show, The Fashion Team – or at least, she tolerated it. Now, not so much. It’s nice when she does the Halloween show, like she did last week, because the producers get her a costume and lazy mom (me) doesn’t have more work to do for the big day. But this year, Viv had really had it – and showed it on camera.

Don’t Wake Me, I’m Having Sex with Someone Else

I have to share an incident from the other night. I am preparing to host a show called 24 Inside. I do a few every year; it’s a web show about the Kiefer Sutherland show “24.” I interview the writers, actors, producers (though, ironically, in all the years I have been doing the show, we have never been able to interview Kiefer).  Anyway, I love “24,” and “24 Inside” is fun to do, as I get to work with cool people.

Kiefer Sutherland
Creative Commons License photo credit: ertarantiniano

To help me prepare for the upcoming shows, they sent me some of the already-filmed episodes. If you are a “24” fan, this could make you salivate. I have to say I felt like I had gotten something coveted, like a picture of Brangelina’s twins, or the inside track on who Obama and McCain are picking as their VPs, or Botox for life (hmm, maybe not that good).

Anyway, back to the sex. So I have been watching an episode or two before I go to sleep (can’t watch it with Viv in the room, as it’s way too intense). The other night, I am having a happy dream where I have a pretty little home, I feel good, and I realize Jack Bauer is on my bed, ready for some loving. But he is making a goose sound and I worry he is about to kill or die, because that’s the threat on “24.” I slowly realize it’s the actor playing Jack in my bed, and now I’m really psyched.

So I am starting our big makeout, but the goose sound is still going. I say, “Kiefer, I am about to lick your backside, but you’re making a goose sound. Cut it out.” He is laughing and saying, “I’m not doing it.” Then my third eye kicks in, and I realize it’s my husband. I wake up and uncharacteristically, Mark is snoring like a friggin’ goose! I whack him: “You are snoring.” He shifts: “Oh, sorry”

But I couldn’t yell the other thing in my head, which was, “You have ruined my erotic dream with Kiefer Sutherland!” I fumed for twenty minutes before I finally went back to sleep.

It’s fun when you have a delicious dream that you wish to elongate… so to speak.

Guilty Pleasure: Super Nanny

Lately Vivien has started to call herself Super Vivien. By extension I am Super Mommy, which I love. Mark is Super Dad. It is empowering for everyone involved. She has gotten this moniker because one of the books I read her is SuperCat. A great story, about a SuperCat who helps little animal people (you know they are animals, but they have human qualities like in all children’s books and cartoons) find their blankies or… I don’t want to give away the ending.

If you are Super like Vivien or Super Nanny, I think it means you are powerful, self-assured and can fix any situation. I’m glad Vivien feels like that. I must not, or why else would I like Super Nanny?