Friday, August 29, 2008

My Fig Tree is a Fica

Fica means fig in Italian. It's also an Italian slang term for women who look and act like Paris Hilton. Fig leaves have been used for centuries by prudish church types to cover the goodie-bits of famous statues. Connect the linguistic dots...

Today I picked five pounds of figs off the tree in my backyard. Not only is fig juice harder to get off your skin than beach tar, it appears that I'm allergic to the sticky goo as well. I have an itchy rash all over my arms. So maybe there's another reason why fica has a second meaning...

I drove the figs over to my Psychic Friend who will turn the purple fruits into her Blue Ribbon-winning Caravan Fig Spread. I don't waste my apparently very expensive and fancy variety of figs by letting them rot on the ground, and my friend gets free food.

She informs me of something I already know--that she's giving a canning lesson to Ellen, a fellow exchange for a donation.

A donation? My friends are really too nice, which is why not many of them are rich. My Psychic Friend has problems charging money for teaching what she considers, "A life skill."

"Do you think $40 is fair?" I ask her. "Because that's what I'm going to tell people it costs to come over and assist your canning efforts. You can give them a free jar in return for their work if you feel guilty about opening your home to total strangers for $40."

So far, including myself, I've got 10 people signed up for her next "class." Canning is the new knitting.

But she insists on comping me the $40 class fee in exchange for more figs.

Was I complaining about figs? Figs are awesome.


August 30, 2008

Today I mailed my old eyeglasses to the Lions Club who will forward my very wacky prescription on to my eyeball twin somewhere in the Third World.

And by old I mean my glasses from college that I stopped wearing in the last century.

I hope there's not a time limit on random acts of kindness. I've only been thinking about donating those glasses since 1999.


August 31, 2008

I took the huge shipping crate containing my new bike (Yay! My bike) to the Bike Oven, my local bike co-operative, today for expert advice on reassembling it. I discovered two things:

1. A lot of guys who are into biking and neighborhood co-ops are really cute. I must file this information away to dispense to all my single girlfriends.

2. Bike fetishists (even the cute ones) are just like every other kind of geek--90% male and obsessed with gadgets and dragons. " that a Brooks saddle?" "Can I look at your disc brake assembly?" "That Shimano gear hub must have set you back a pretty penny. Can I touch it?"

It took me and Mr. Foxypants four hours of constant question and answering with all the guys working away on their own custom bikes to get my bike together. And, wow, is she adorable! I took her for a test ride around the block before biking home. Even the homeless guys on the corner whistled and shouted, "Hey! Cute bike!" Who care about having 8 gears and a hub-powered headlight when you've got the swankiest bike in the neighborhood? Yes. I'm shallow. At any rate, Harv, the resident guru at the Bike Oven was only going to charge me for three hours (they ask for a donation of $5 an hour for rent and community outreach) but I paid him for the full four hours and as my nice act of the day gave him a utility knife I'd brought from home to add to the community toolbox since they didn't have one on hand.

I'd really like to get my life together so I can learn how to be a bike mechanic and volunteer at the Bike Oven. Being a bike activist in Los Angeles is something to strive for...and not just because I'd be the lone girl in a sea of cute boys.


September 1, 2008

The production designer for one of my films emailed me out of the blue today. He just realized, two years after the fact, that he'd never received a DVD copy of the film which was part of his contract. He appealed to me for help in getting one from the studio. Since that film was a particularly miserable experience, made miserable by a power-hungry, yet talentless executive with not-so-secret director yearnings, he was hesitant to call the studio for his rightful DVD copy, as he was sure his call would be forwarded to the executive who never, ever failed to be totally abusive toward him. Naturally, since this is Hollywood where casual cruelty is a fact of life, this executive, whose middle name is Crotch, still has a job even though her lack of professionalism is legendary.

Did I call her? No. She is someone I don't mind badmouthing to anyone who asks, but I just didn't feel like being in a rotten mood today--which is the mood I'd be in if I called her because she is that ding dang unpleasant.

Instead I offered the production designer my personal copy, and instantly felt pangs of regret...or maybe OCD craziness. That DVD is physical proof of my work. It's evidence that I actually do work as a film producer, and not just pretend that I have that job description which seems to be a fib that's reached epidemic levels in Los Angeles County.

I hadn't actually seen the film since the premiere. The DVD was still in its original shrink wrap. Why was I bummed that I'd offered my copy to the production designer who actually will use it to update his reel and his website? It's a movie, not a sculpture. It's not like any of my films are so obscure that I can't walk into my neighborhood video store and rent a copy any time I want to watch them...which has happened exactly never in 20 years.

I fretted over my decision to give away my personal copy of my movie all the way to the post office.

But now, looking at the half inch gap on my office bookcase where that DVD used to sit, I'm elated. I did something nice for someone on my crew who worked really hard for me under thankless conditions. More importantly, this experience has opened my brain to the following thought:

I am a dinosaur. I'm the last generation of producers whose work will be seen mainly in movie theaters and not on the web, or a cell phone or an ipod. For me, the theater is the movie going experience. Watching a movie, in even the scrungiest theater, with a bunch of strangers who want to laugh and cry along with me in the dark will never get old. It's one of my very favorite things to do.

I don't know if I'd have had this recognition of what makes me happy about my job without the nutty preamble as to whether or not I should be stingy with a DVD.

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