Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Say Goodbye To Hollywood

[Other possible titles for this post: Califo.rnication (just as a joke, I promise!), California Girl, and California Dreamin'. There are lots of songs about this state.]

So I was at a big book trade show in Los Angeles this past weekend with work. The weekend, for me, has been broken down into two parts: great moments and bonehead moments. (Wait, I think that could be said about most weekends, but anyway...) Bonehead might be a stretch, but there were certainly lessons learned during this trip.

So here you have it:

Favorite Moments

5. Just cruising around town (in the pimp'n ride you see below.) No, I wouldn't choose LA as a place to live, but there is a certain amount of excitement to drive down Sunset Boulevard and spot the Hollywood letters up in the mountains.

4. In N' Out Burger, baby! I managed to get in two meals in the four days I was in town. About a month ago I had a severe craving for one of these guys, but alas, there were none closer than Utah. I got my fix this weekend, however.

3. Star-spotting! BEA is a place for actors/television personalities-turned-authors to show up and promote their new books. I saw Ty Pen.nington (very perma-tan, perma-grin) and Alec Ba.ldwin (who even looked at me!) while strolling around. Saturday night I even got to go to a party where many more stars showed up. I was like, what AM I doing here? This is nuts!

2. Getting to know my co-workers. Yes, I realize this sounds kind-of weird, but I now work offsite and don't get the chance to get to know people. There were a few there that I hadn't even met before. I think it is important for me to get to know work people on a quasi-social level. It helps me to understand what they do (and vice-versa) and I think can lead to working better together.

1. Meeting my cousin Rebecca and her cute fiancee out for dinner! They selected a great french steakhouse in a trendy part of LA, and I loved getting to spend time chatting with them over our delicious food. I hadn't had the chance to meet Mike before this, and I really like the guy. What a catch, Bec! Can't wait for the wedding later this summer.

Bonehead Moments/Lessons Learned

5. How to say "we're not interested in your book" to wanna-be authors. It sounds mean, I realize, but there are lots of people (some crazy, some not-quite-as-much) that want to publish books. Not all of them will work for us - actually most probably won't. One guy from a fellow publishing house relayed how conversations sometimes go, and he hit the nail on the head.

First of all, they're super excited to talk to you and make immediate eye contact. This is how you know they're not a bookseller in the first place. Then:

Wanna-be Author: I'm looking for someone to publish my new ero.tic novel.
Us: Do you realize this is a Evangelical Christian publishing company?
[awkward silence]
Wanna-be Author: Well, this a very spiritual ero.tic novel.

Yeah, not so much.

4. Always bring cash with you when you travel. You'll need it for parking, tolls, tips, valet parking, and cab fare. How did I miss this, or think $20 would cover me when I made my first ATM stop?

I took the fiscally responsible route of parking my rental car in the garage across the street from the hotel (which cost $16 per day instead of $40). So far so good, right? Until I was 3 minutes away from needing to pick up my boss and his boss for an important party, and the attendant wouldn't let me out of the garage because I didn't have cash to pay for the parking. Seriously people - who doesn't take a credit card in this day and age? So, on the verge of panic, I called my boss and asked if he would just meet me down there. Embarrassing enough. But then who comes to bail me out? His boss. *Sigh*

On a related note, it WAS pretty funny to drive up to this posh party in a Cobalt, sandwiched between Rolls Royces and BMWs.

3. Ask your female co-workers what to wear. I had asked about dress code to only guys, and was told to wear a suit the entire weekend. I didn't bring anything else, and was bummed to see my female co-workers in cute dresses and skirts all weekend.

2. Leave in plenty of time to get to LAX to catch your return flight. I had three hours before my flight left and thought, hey, I have time for one more In N' Out! See #4 in the last list. Well then I got caught in LA traffic (who'd have thought?) on my way to the airport. After a completely exhausting four days I didn't handle the stress well. Here I was, pulling off the expressway just an hour before my flight was scheduled to leave. After filling up the car with gas, getting yelled at by a guy after I refused to give him money, returning the car, and hopping on the shuttle bus, I was greeted by the sight one NEVER wants to see when running late:

A super long check-in line.

But, praise the Lord, the plane was delayed and both me and my luggage made it on no problem.

1. Bring flats when you know you'll have to stand a lot. Remember these shoes? Well, they sure were cute - for about 4 hours. By about 2pm on the first day of the show I was DYING. Yup, they were terribly, terribly painful. And of course, I had failed to bring back-up shoes. So on a break from booth duty I took a cab to the nearest shopping center (after walking an additional 3 blocks to find an ATM) and bought myself a pair of cheap $20 black flats. Pure bliss.


Lynn said...

Great review of your weekend. I am laughing at the "always check with your FEMALE coworkers about what to wear" comment. So, so true.

Marlene said...

This is regards to the In & Out. If you ever come visit your favorite Aunt in the wonderful city of Modesto, you will be pleased to know we also have an In & Out very close by. I, as well as the rest of my family, agree that the burgers are great.

p + j + g buurstra said...

How many times have we all suffered for fashion over function?!

Glad you had fun and learned a few things while travelling...that's the best trip when both happen in my opinion!

Say, any idea yet if you'll be in our neck of the woods next weekend??

Dave and Jenni said...

Oh Dave loves In & Out - he used to eat there every time he was in CA on business. I laughed at the commentary on Ty - that seems very typical. Sounds like a trip with a LOT of memories. Glad you made it back!

Erika said...

Poor, Jess, thanks for letting us share in the fun and the pain. Hopefully we learn from your 'troubles' and remember to bring more money, shoes, and clothes :) and time...

Short Stop said...

I'm mental. I thought I already commented on this.

Two words: HOW FUN!! I love In & Out...so, so good.

Shoes that hurt my feet: ICK. But, I bet you looked hot in them!

YAY for celebrity sightings. I saw Sigourney Weaver in Philly once.

Rebecca said...

I'm glad I made the list... one thing to ask. How can you like In n out burgers?