Monthly Archives: April, 2015

Back to business

I know, so much for the every couple of days thing, but…

Tomorrow marks the day that I get back to business, trying to get a new job! Actually got 2 proper interviews tomorrow, of the face to face kind, quite a delight nowadays! The snag is, one is in Leeds tomorrow morning, the other one just outside Wakefield tomorrow afternoon, so an interesting logistic exercise. Oh, and the getting up before 6.00 tomorrow morning is going to be a bit of a shock too!

Both are for call centre work, both would be different for me, as they will be outbound calling jobs, albeit neither of them would be cold calling people, so fine by me. The one in Leeds appeals to me more, I must say, sounds quite interesting work, and an interesting place to work.

A company doing medical trials, basically you contact the people who have applied to take part in trials, to see if they are suitable, and if so, to check their details, and if all is fine, sign them up for the course. Only going to get fun if there is a trial for female hormones, lets face it! Of course, the sci-fi writer in me comes up with other ideas about medical trials, but lets not go down that road! OK, fine, those I might be interested in taking part in, but anyway…

The other is for an insurance company, dealing with union members, who get a certain level of free insurance, to see if they want to take up any more. I have the distinct feeling this might involve more of a hard sell attitude, which really isnt my thing, but we will see…Also, with it not being in central Wakefield (a fact I only discovered after going for this), it might be more, err, fun, getting to and from work, as a non driver in all honesty. But I can get an idea on that tomorrow, might be a no go before I even get started!

Then on Friday, that time has come when the notice period payment is up, and I have to report to the Job Centre, and sign on, to get my Job Seekers allowance. Not a fortune, but better than nothing! Ironically, they wanted to have the interview tomorrow, but were quite happy to delay it, given I had 2 job interviews lined up!

There is one other thing I’m tempted to do Friday, but its that question of how long the Job Centre thing is going to take, as to how practical it is. A salon type place over Bradford wants to have an afternoon of fun, basically a before, and after session of photos, and possibly some modelling, starting about 12.00. Now, it would be fun, but I have no idea how long I’ll be at the job centre (last signed on in 2002, different name, different gender!) or anything, so its tricky to commit to. So under the circumstances, I’ll probably pass on it, and regret the fact afterwards!

Oh right, a tongue in cheek video. Given its a medical research place, and its a 2 hour interview, I’m wondering just what will be involved. I’m just assuming that their method of finding the perfect candidate for the role doesnt involve research of the human mind? But…

Networking in Hollywood

As promised, the tale of the last 2 days of the holiday, though strictly, I didnt get back here until this morning, but anyway…

Friday, there was a march in Los Angeles, to mark the centenary of the Armenian genocide in Turkey, so the bus services around town were a bit chaotic, to say the least. So, I decided I was going to go down town by Metro, and see what central L.A looked like. I did consider going further afield, but because I wanted to have pretty much everything packed before I went out Friday evening, I took the easy option. Nice, but nothing exciting. I then turned around, headed back to Hollywood, and a late lunch, my last big meal in town. So yes, I ended up back at that nice Italian restaurant, eating pizza, and admiring the Hollywood sign, which was a good way to end things. After that, back along the boulevard, said goodbye to Jean’s prints at the Chinese Theatre, and at her star, then back to base.

Then, with all I could pack, packed, I headed out for a movie, and some networking. A wonderful pair of ladies I git to know through Twitter, invited me to their birthday party, and movie, and to do a little networking beforehand. So, there I was, in my grey, clingy dress, selling myself to other folk. Yes, it was fun, and even if I get no more out of it than a couple of book sales, it will have been worth it. The movie was good fun, Dance, Girl, Dance, starring a young Lucille Ball, and Maureen O’Hara, and I had a wonderful time.

I got back late, only to discover that Prime Time had let me know my shuttle would be arriving 30 minutes earlier than expected. So, a very early morning on Saturday, just as well, as the shuttle showed up 10 minutes before the revised time! Which then drove down Hollywood Boulevard, so I said goodbye to Jean again.

The flights back were fine, and in all honesty, nothing really to tell. Tomorrow, I get back to normal, a bit of job hunting, a phone interview, and other general things. Thursday, two actual job interviews, face to face, though one of those has yet to send me minor details, like where I’m going, so…rolls eyes. The other thing I need to do is arrange to sign on at the Job Centre (or whatever its called nowadays), as my notice period payment runs out next Sunday, so then I will officially be unemployed!

And thats it! The few who know about both blogs will get 2 different pieces, the rest of you, depends which side of the fence you fall lol!

The video, well, it almost matches that film title

The highlight, well, I guess it has to be Forest Lawn, doesnt it? 😉

If at first you don’t succeed, try again!

Yesterday morning, I set off with the intention of heading for Beverly Hills, to walk up and down the Rodeo Drive area, and not buy anything more than a coffee! Ah well, best laid plans…

You see, what I did with Google maps, is not specify Rodeo Drive, but just a general hit on Beverly Hills. So back it came, catch the bus at the stop just down the hill from here, and a piece of cake. Yes, that bus did pass through Beverly Hills, but nowhere near where I wanted to be! But rather than admit defeat, or turn around, I stayed on the bus for the ride, and the scenery. Just when I was gasping for a drink, and a bit of lunch, we pull into a shopping centre, I had no idea where. Soon found out, Pacific Palisades, in fact.

Nice lunch, then ran into a lovely old man who tried to sell me some kind of exercise equipment, in his shop, when I went walk about, who I had a lovely chat with, but no sale made. Then, just as I was considering getting back home, I spotted this sign for a massage parlour, charging very reasonable rates. So fine, by the time you add on the ‘compulsory’ 15% tip over here, not so cheap, but anyway… Despite the more luxurious seats when flying out here, the length of the flights, plus the wrenching the knee took when running for that plane in Atlanta, well, I was a bit stiff. Note I said, was. I thought Linda was good, but compared to the lady who worked on me yesterday, oh wow!

So today, with a more accurate routing from Google Maps, I tried again. Got there fine, eventually, due to road works on Wilshire Boulevard (building metro extension, or something) slowing things down a lot. Yes, it was fun walking around the area, especially given that all of Jean’s homes were in that area, though not down town, as I was. Saw a gorgeous dress in a boutique, she would have loved, but I didnt want to know the price!

After that, I headed back into town, and headed out to the Universal Studios lot. No, I did not pay $95 to go where the rides are, nothing of interest to me (at my age) in there. But I had a look round the City Walk shops, before heading back into town, and did my souvenir shopping. Before you ask, and I rip your head off, no, there is very little Golden Age related stuff, Monroe (and Betty Boop, if she counts?) being about the only non modern stars you can find much for. So I’ve got 3 movie stills (Harlow, West, and Brooks), but thats it!

Tomorrow, daytime, not sure. I had an idea of going down to Long Beach, on the Metro, but then realised its quite a trip, and I pretty much have to have everything I can pack, packed before I go out tomorrow evening, as I have an early start on Saturday. Yes, sadly, the holiday is almost over. 😦 I am out tomorrow evening, a ‘Women In Media’ evening, and a film from 1940, but its going to be a latish night, so…ah well, I’ll catch up on sleep Sunday, and Monday! So just saying, this is your last Hollywood blog, the tale of tomorrow, and Saturday will get posted at some point after I get back.

The video, well, when you mention Beverly Hills, this TV theme tune comes instantly to mind!

Monday, Monday, so good to me

But before you under think this through, that isnt the video! 😛 The video, well, thats for today, so…lets take one step back, for now.

I’d read online, that getting much joy out of a visit to Forest Lawn, at Glendale, was a rare thing. So, when I set out yesterday morning to head there, I was sort of saying to myself, I’ll get as close to Jean as I can, and pay my respects from that point.

The moment I enter the grounds, I start to wonder how recent that bad posting was? Because the Great Mausoleum was decently signposted, and to be honest, beyond one sign respectfully saying not to take photos, I was welcomed in with a smile. Inside, there were no clues as to who was where, but I’d checked a map beforehand (on this less than cheery report), so I had a rough idea which direction to turn. Lo, and behold, the right aisle, and the gate is open, I can walk down it. And yes, there she was, more or less at the far end, resting peacefully (well I assume so) lay Jean Harlow, hidden from view, in an impressive casket, with the words ‘Our Baby’ written on it, and I was stood about 10 feet away. And yes, I stayed there for about 30 minutes or so, ‘talking’ to her, and security walked by, and were fine!

So alright, I thought this was the highlight of my day, my holiday, and everything else, and then I came back into town. The chance to look at historical censuses of Los Angeles, the sign said. I went for 1930, because I had this feeling that ‘someone’ would be there, and I was right. Yes, of course Jean Harlow was there, I’m sure, but thats not who I was looking for.

And with a computer search engine, there she was. Clara E Johnson, born in Texas in 1906, moved to LA in 1925, profession, actress! Yes, my previous life! The only other member of the family with her seemed to be a younger brother, Frank, born in 1912. What happened to her parents, no idea. Might still have been in Texas, might have been dead, it didnt say.

No, I couldnt find her in a check on the 1940 one, but according to my regression, she was married by then, so would have a different surname, of course. So I still dont know a lot more about her, but my knowledge has grown. Clearly I cant track her actual death date, for the same reason.

If the Harlow moment was wow, then this was Wow!

After that, today was a gentle breeze, took a trip down to Santa Monica by bus, saw the beach, and the ocean. A lovely day, slightly cooler (not complaining), but still pleasantly warm.

Tomorrow, the plan is to go down to Beverly Hills for a while. No, I’m not planning on seeing any of Jean’s former homes, though 2 of them are not that far off the bus route, so that plan might change. Unfortunately the one I’d really love to see, the home she shared with Paul Bern, is 3.5 miles from the nearest bus stop, and I’m not doing a 7 mile round walk, just to see it from the outside!

As I said, the video, well it mentions Santa Monica (Boulevard) in the song, so…

The story of the weekend

OK, and now for part 2, the long weekend, Friday through today.

Friday started off with a tour of the city, on one of those open air tourist bus things. Alright, all the stars homes they were taking you to see were the modern ones, not those from the golden era, but lets face it, I’m the awkward customer on that front. As one of the guys doing the trade said to me today, there are people on those trips who dont know who Eddie Murphy was, let alone Jean Harlow, Clara Bow and Myrna Loy!

But it enabled me to get a good view of the Hollywood sign, to be able to get down to Beverly Hills with ease, and other things, so was well worth doing. On my return, I managed to get in front of the Chinese Theatre, and find this

Digital Camera

I tell you something, I havent got large hands, but compared to hers…as to her feet, well, miniature isnt the word!

Friday evening was my baseball fix, down at Dodgers stadium. I went down by standard bus, thankfully the stadium is well signposted, so I knew where to get off. Quite a haul, up a hill, but anyway, I got there. Game was good, and at least I can now say I’ve seen Kershaw pitch, even if I was pretty much up ‘in the gods’ to do so. I thought I’d be clever coming back, and get the special bus into LA, and then get the metro out of town, far easier. Well, it was until we hit a road blocked off, and chaos ensued. But eventually, I got to Union Station, found the metro, and got home.

Saturday morning started off at the same point where the big event of the day would happen, the Egyptian Theatre, with a guided tour around the building, and the surroundings. Then a film about the history of Hollywood followed that. Well worth doing, should you get the chance.

Yesterday teatime, I went to a salon, just across the road from the hotel, and had my hair curled, 30’s style, by a delightful woman named Elizabeth, at the EA Salon. Then back to the theatre, for the evenings big events. The film had a wonderful twist at the end, that I certainly didnt see coming, though it wont be winning any awards. But it was only recently restored so that the public could see it, much appreciated.

Then to the party, which was great fun, and I had a wonderful evening. OK, for those who want it, a picture of me dressed to the 9’s!

Digital Camera

Apologies for the quality, but I didnt take it, obviously.

At the end of the evening, I did a crazy thing. I was in high heels, and it was just under a mile back to the hotel, so I walked it! Yes, my feet complained (especially as I had been on them, in heels for nearly 6 hours) but I made it, quite easily.

Today, I got to meet up with someone who I’ve known on Twitter for quite a while, but never met, a delightful lady named April. Together we went to the Hollywood Museum, and she showed me around the many Harlow mementos stored there. Oh, and the Max Factor rooms where her hair, and make up was done. I hadnt got this photo, so very quietly I took this photo of Jean, at home in bed

Digital Camera

This is her, actually at home, not from a film shoot.

And now at least, you’re up to date. Tomorrow, the plan is to go up to Forest Lawn, and pay my respects, as close to Jean as I can, which depending on how fortunate I am, might be very close, or nowhere near! It seems from reports to be very pot luck as to who you get, but fingers are crossed!

Lastly, the video. Well, the film last night was called The Guilty, so this came to mind

The start of the holiday

Right, firstly, as is tradition now, when on holiday, the 2 blogs align, this time for 10 days or so, so no point reading both, as a message to the few who know both!

Secondly, and I think this an age thing, as like me, this laptop is getting old, and so its not working as well. As far as I can tell (and I am not an expert, it seems to be a card issue, mainly graphics, but the sound doesnt seem too bright either), its had enough, and I will replace it with the one I bought 18 months ago off Dave, when I get back. I hate change, mainly because of all the log ins I have to suddenly write down, or remember, and aargh!

So if things stop completely, do not panic, its more likely the computer than me. Especially as the shutdown button no longer works, along with the image thing that appears in the right hand corner when new emails arrive. But enough of my woes…

Fine, the holiday!

Yesterday was travel day, and I reminded myself why I’ve cut right back on West Coast trips, the body (like this computer) really isnt up to it anymore. Even travelling in relative luxury for me (not basic economy), my knees were screaming for relief at the end of the flights, though my back was surviving better. Ah well, swings and roundabouts, as they say.

As to Virgin Atlantic, cant say enough in praise, good staff all around, and more than enough food to feed me for quite a while. Then we got to Atlanta!

Last time, I got through immigration, customs, and security there in a whir, about 15 minutes. Yesterday, when I had less time to spare, 80!I literally ran half the length of terminal A at Atlanta (and it felt a long way, with a laptop bag in hand), expecting to have just missed the plane to LA, but instead, the last couple were boarding, and I, along with another very delayed lady, just about got on.

To be honest, thats the end of the bad news, apart from a misdirection at baggage claim here in LA, where I rashly assumed the people in front of me knew where they were going, but they didnt! Soon in the right place, soon got the bags, and the shuttle was an absolute stroll! Good staff at the airport, good driver, and…Oh, the hotel room is seriously large!

Therefore today, I decided I was going to get the knees loose, with a nice long walk along, and then back along Hollywood Boulevard. It seems to have worked, though the back is complaining a bit more, so…

Ah, the camera, when I switched it on here this morning, 2 bars out of 3, so I left the batteries in. Snag was, after 1 photo, it was down to 1 bar, and after a couple more, it stopped working altogether…just as I was trying to get a photo of Jean’s star! So fine, I will go back and get it, even if my friend, April had already sent me one, but to have one, I took…

I did the tour of the wax museum, but most of them were modern names, not really what I was hoping for, especially as Monroe was featured everywhere in the entrance, I was hoping for more older stars, but…

It says it all, it hit 80 today, and I wilted. Mainly because I was out in the sun a lot, and being April, things havent really warmed up at home yet. So about 2.30, I called it quits, and came back to the hotel for a while. Beyond going out for dinner, thats it.

Tomorrow, I’ll do the guided tour thing, just to get all my bearings, before I set out on my own. But again, it will mainly be the modern stars, so, I’ll just live with it. Plan, if I can get there, is Dodgers baseball tomorrow night, so you might either get an early one tomorrow, or nothing until Saturday, before the big event.

Well, thats let you catch up on things, so for now, I’ll leave you in peace! The video, what I nearly didnt have enough of, yesterday

Looking forward, into the past

So, yes, fine, its time to stop concerning myself with job hunting, and the like, for a couple of weeks, and look forward to what happens on Wednesday, the flight to Los Angeles, and even more so for me, the stay in Hollywood. Yes, I know, Jean preferred to live in Beverly Hills, but anyway…

Strictly, there is one more job thing before then, got a phone interview at some point tomorrow, but that will be it. One face to face interview on the 30th, after I get back, hopefully after tomorrow, that will be 2!

But yes, when most tourists fly into L.A for a movie related holiday, they are thinking Disneyland, and Universal Studios, and I have no great plans to visit either, far too modern for me. Now, if I could visit MGM, in the 1930’s lol!

So yes, as things stand, with the exception of the baseball game (and Vin Scully is pretty vintage there!), I will be looking back into the past on my trip. The walk of fame stars, the most modern one I’ll be looking for, is Doris Day! The oldest, Mary Pickford, and Clara Bow, I should think. Yes, one or two in between, especially Jean’s!

The Hollywood Museum, as things stand, with a Twitter friend, who knows my love of Harlow, and wants to be there when I see all her stuff, and swoon probably. April is wonderful, and why I already have a picture of Jean’s star, but want to see it for myself. Jean was tiny though, couldnt get into her stuff, even if I was allowed, or tried!

I also plan to get up to Forest Lawns, where she is buried, and pay my respects, though by all accounts I’m unlikely to get that close to her last resting place.

There is one more golden moment I’m looking forward to, a chance to meet the actor, Bruce Glover while out there. Yes, anyone who remembers ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ has seen Bruce, plus lots of other work too, but thats probably the most famous one. I was going to go to one of the acting classes he runs, but have got invited to a private meet instead, which is just a total wow moment for me. The idea I’m going to ring, speak to, and meet a movie star, as I say, just wow!

But no disrespect to anyone (unless Jean’s spirit wants to arrange a meet), the thing that has me most excited, is a party next Saturday, this one.

Yes, that amazing birthday present from James, and Kate. Feel free to say hi, if you are there, and see me.

I have the dress, or I will have, assuming I can be zipped into it, at least. Its a back zip, and with my hands, there is no way I can fully pull up a zip behind my back. So, when she returns tomorrow, I’m going to see if Nicole can zip me into it, and if so, I’ll rig something so I can zip it up myself. Fingers are ‘so’ crossed that works. My plan is to go for the Mae West look (not far off Harlow, only fuller figured, like myself) for the evening, hair, and make up, care of a local salon that has good reports.

One last thing, where the movie is old, but the surroundings are modern, that I’ve been invited to

Celebrate! One Year of SoS w/ Nibbles, Networking, and Dance, Girl, Dance!

Friday, Apr 24, 2015, 6:00 PM

MiMoDa STUDIO @ Paper or Plastik Café
5772 West Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90019 Los Angeles, CA

22 LAFREEBEES Attending

6:00pm Nibbles and unofficial networking.7 – 8pm Networking: We’ll be doing above and below the line introductions and wants/needs/projects (such as “I’m a director looking for a script supervisor”, or “I’m a script supervisor looking for work”). It’s a great way to meet people looking for crew, let people know you’re available, or tell folks abou…

Check out this Meetup →

Yes, it will be last, its the evening before I fly back! Well, unless I make the right contacts, and then…lol! I guess, Jean Harlow, or Mae West mark 2 might happen, but seriously? But look how Jean got her big break, so…!

The video, great artist, and summing up how I plan to see LA, Beverly Hills, and Hollywood

A different type of pre interview speech

Firstly, let me go back to the last blog, and update matters, and in a good way.

That technical issue, I got a call the next morning from the company doing the interview tests, to tell me that my account had been reset, with another password, and that I was now able to take the test again,at my leisure. It worked, I passed, and seemingly passed the personality test afterwards as well, because they now want to do a phone interview with me, for the thing I ‘really love’, the competency tests.

As I say, its a modern thing, something I personally hate, but it has to be done. But hey, I’m now back in the running for the job, so mustn’t complain.

So fine, when I found out this afternoon by email that I had passed the early stages for another job, and saw I had to make a phone call, I was expecting more of the same. But no, something a little different. I have got to ring what I assume is an answering machine/tape recorder of some kind, leaving all my basic details, and then,

And telling us about something you are passionate about and why.

So not the usual, when did you do exceptional service, something out of the extra to help colleagues, and all that, when my mind tends to go blank, even if I’ve thought it all out in advance, which I do… but this!

At this point, I’m not sure if they expect it to be something work related, or just anything that you feel passionate about, but hopefully the latter, because I will be fine on that.

How does Pre-Code movies, and the Golden age of Hollywood sound?

What, I can hear you saying from here!

Well, in the early days of silent movies, some of them were downright saucy. In the early days of talkies, it was much the same. To say the early Mae West movies were suggestive, would be to put it diplomatically. Jean Harlow wasnt much more of a ‘good girl’ either, back then. A prostitute, a gangsters moll, and a money grabbing, easy going wife were just 3 of her pre code roles.

Then in 1934, the moralists had enough of all this hanky-panky, and brought in something called the Hays Code. This tamed things down considerably, shall we say? For example, that role where Jean was a prostitute, well she ends the film as the moralistic, good girl, despite her nature of work. Post code, a bad girl had to stay bad!

Jean pretty much moved into romantic comedies, became a golden blonde, instead of a platinum one, and charmed audiences that way, which in all truth suited her nature better, and her acting quality improved accordingly.

It wasnt in fact until well into the 1960’s before things became ‘more relaxed’ again moral wise, and indeed, compared to some modern stuff, pre code is almost tame!

So yes, I dont think I’ll have many problems with this challenge, I must say.

The video, what Mae West definitely was, in those wonderful Pre Code days,

I remember when interviews were a straightforward 1 to 1!

Yes, fine, this blog has been inspired by a modern day interview thing that went wrong today, and cost me any chance of a job. Technology, you have to love it? Maybe not?

When I first did a job interview just over 40 years ago, it was a straightforward affair, an interview was arranged, you met your prospective employees, they asked you questions, you answered them, and then asked them a few back. And that was it, pure and simple, you passed or failed, easy as that.

The first time I had an interview that didnt follow this formula was in 2005, my first one back up in Yorkshire. Given I’d done a couple of ‘normal’ interviews up here before this one, I discovered the joys of a group interview thing. I must have done alright, as I got invited back for a more standard interview, and then was, in good time, offered the job.

2009 followed the same route, with a group thing, but that was it, I was offered the job on the back of that, though I did do a solo interview after the group thing was over.

Now, in 2015, the computer era has kicked in, it seems quite a challenge to actually see a human being. Assessment tests and the like, before you even talk to anyone seems the norm nowadays! Then its generally just a phone interview, and then…a human being? Of course, being as old as me doesnt help your job prospects nowadays anyway!

OK, this is the moment of rant. I was doing one of these online test things this afternoon, and basically, it didnt work. I was meant to be hearing ‘orders’ being placed, and had to input them accurately, presumably to see if I could do it. Thing is, the tape, or whatever it is didnt work, just got a lot of garbled noise. So I tried to go back, and start again, but the test decided I’d finished, and the test failed me, as of course, I hadnt got anything right! Within minutes I’d got the email telling me I’d been unsuccessful, shock horror.

I did write and tell them that it wasnt my fault, but I suspect the email just hit an automated system, and wasnt noticed. I havent heard back anyway. So there you go, I lost out on a job, and it wasnt even my fault!

Technology, err, you have to love it, maybe?

OK, the video. No connection to this whatsoever. But what this record was, was Number 1 in the UK, on the day I started work!

Spring is here (supposedly), and that means…

…that the Baseball season is back!

Strictly, depending on your time zone, it started last night, though here in the UK, it was actually 1.00 this morning. But anyway…And no, I didnt stay up to watch it!

But today is the first full day of baseball, and as I type this, I’m having the pleasure of watching the New York Yankees getting thumped by Toronto, oh heaven. After this, I’ll take in a little of the other New York team, the Mets, playing in Washington. There will be more, but given my time zone, that will do for me tonight!

The strangest thing though with watching the Yankees tonight, is after all these years, no Derek Jeter. Hey, if anyone is a certainty for the Hall of Fame, first time around, its him!

As for me, I keep hearing tales that the Seattle Mariners are going to do really well this year, but I’ll believe it when I see it, been supporting them far too long for that!

Me, I’m planning on watching the Dodgers play the weekend after next (17th, or 19th) which will be great fun, and my 9th Stadium I will have seen baseball at. I have already visited 9, having done the tour of Seattle, but not having seen a game there yet. If I can find a way, as a non driver to get to Anaheim for an Angels game, then I will, but not sure how easy that would be?

September? Depends where I end up. New England, then maybe. Idaho, then no!

But care of ESPN, and BT Sport, I suspect I will get a decent fix of baseball this year, all the same.

Well actually, it finally felt like spring today, and if its the same tomorrow, I might go over to Leeds, and take in some cricket. Just a friendly, between Yorkshire, and the local university team, but if its a day out in the sun, watching cricket, I’ll take it!

Regardless, I’m looking forward to the warmth of California, for sure!

The video, a piece of baseball history. Yes, the obvious song, but a far longer version than what is sung at games. This recording is incredibly from 1908, hows that!