Friday, July 22, 2011

Where my heart and head have been...

This is a picture of a person who's been on my mind a lot this past week. As of last Friday, he's one of the luckiest people I know, though the picture might suggest otherwise. Every year, my cousin Jesse goes to Madeline Island with some friends. This year's activities included taking some mopeds for a spin. If you'd describe him as looking like he got in a fight with a car....and the car'd be right. While enjoying a ride and minding his own business, Jesse got in a pretty bad collision.

While I didn't learn about any of this until the next day, the prognosis on Saturday didn't seem that great. Having had a friend in the ICU for a far too similar situation (and the sad reality of that friend never leaving ICU) put my brain into overdrive, so I did the only productive thing that I could think to do....start soliciting prayers for Jesse. Unless you were at my wedding, and you were one of the more outgoing people there, you have probably never met Jesse, but there were and are countless people praying for him...thank you.

A couple days ago, I got to chat with Jesse for a while on Facebook. As impersonal as Facebook chat (or any online messenger) can be, it was the first time that I've been literally overwhelmed with emotion just to be "talking" to someone. My husband asked me, when I told him that I cried, why. I said...I'm just so happy that Jesse is alive. After losing someone who, while I considered him a good friend, wasn't nearly as much a part of my life as Jesse, this one hit even more close to home. Just the fact that he was home, and awake, and on Facebook...all those things are a HUGE blessing. I was trying to, no pun intended, put all the pieces together, and all I can credit for what seems like a miraculous outcome is the grace of God and the prayers of all of you.

Jesse is having surgery on monday. Having one of my good friends from college going through far too similar of an operation about five years ago, but also knowing how great God was to her through all of that, I have faith that God will do the same for him. Because I'm not so good at praying sometimes, period, and knowing that Jesse could definitely use more prayer than I am able to offer up, I'm again asking for your prayers. Pray for him, that he would heal quickly. Pray for his doctors, that their hands may be guided, that they get plenty of sleep Sunday night, and that they are able to put him back together as flawlessly as possible. Pray for Jesse's parents, as he's their only child, and all this hospital stuff is scary...especially when this is one of their only experiences with it (and he's only about a year and a half younger than me).

We have all learned a lot about love through this experience. A lot. Thank you so much for all your love, support, friendship, and most of all, prayer. You are all great.


Friday, July 15, 2011

Making the Most of Hollywood

My friend Fia said to me, the other day, "You certainly are taking advantage of living there, aren't you?" By there, she meant close to LA. By taking advantage of, she was referring to my adventures in TV show audiences. Thus far, I've made it to "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno", "Hell's Kitchen", and most recently "America's Got Talent."

Ever since some friends of mine from our church back home were chosen for "Extreme Makeover:Home Edition" (Not more than a couple weeks after we had moved away, I might add. Talk about making someone homesick), I've been intrigued by how shows are produced. Hearing all the background details, seeing pictures and tweets, and learning about what goes into making a show like EMHE made me fascinated about what Hollywood calls "The magic of television". (I call it "fake," but I guess it is magic that so many people buy into it :-p.

My grandparents will be the first to tell you that it's not just the cast and crew of a show that put in a big commitment. More times than not, being in the audience can seem like a big job in itself. When my mom and I went to Jay Leno (because that seemed more interesting...and cheaper...than the $9 "studio tour"), we waited in a line in a holding area for an hour. Then they moved us like cattle to another holding area (at least this one had benches) for another hour. Afterwards, you get to go to your seat in the studio, but there was still an hour before the show began. The show itself lasted about an hour. Then they filmed a few promo pieces and we were released shortly after. This doesn't at all include the one to two hours it takes each way to get to the tapings, either. For some of them, you also usually would arrive even earlier to ensure you get a seat, as they issue more tickets than they have spots available. So, in total, the experience can take any where from 6-12 hours, I suppose, depending on what show or event you're going to.

Thus far, though, I've found it to be worthwhile. I wouldn't go weekly, or anything, but the shows that I've been to, it's been very interesting to see how they're put together and the "secrets" they use to make them the way you see them on television. In an effort not to spoil anything, I'll only give you details on that if you ask :). However, one secret I will tell you ('cause it's not really a secret) is that, if you want to be on TV, you need to be a standard Hollywood beauty. If you are ever in an audience, it won't take you long to figure out how they decide who sits where. On Jay Leno, my mom and I were shoved all the way to the right. Granted, we were in the front row, and we were only feet away from the band (Bright Eyes, that night), but we never made it on camera. At Hell's Kitchen, we were 10th and 11th in line, and yet, we were put up in the balcony. (That episode won't air until next month, so I'll let you know if we ever made it on screen once it does.)

Yesterday, I went with my friend Carol to America's Got Talent. Because she's technically handicapped, she got us a parking spot in the studio lot (AWESOME since the last time we had to pay for parking!) and to the front of the line. This is the first show that seated first come first served (though they did have the pretty people section behind the judges that they pulled people from line for), so we got front row seats. I DID make it on camera, though you'd never know it was me unless I told you :). But for the sake of sharing that with my adoring fans, here's some screen shots from the show:
This first one is of the back of my head watching Avril Lavigne sign. Good thing my hair looked alright :). I'm the one all the way to the right.
As you can see on this one, I'm one of the very few (the other ones aren't pictured) that actually stood up and rocked out to Avril. I may look dumb, but what fun is it to sit down when you're at a rock show?
That's me at the top left, clapping away...probably also looking at the teleprompter, but we'll pretend I was listening to the j

This last one is so that you can get a perspective of where I was among the audience, should you want to go back and look for me in the show. That's me under the red me :). If you missed the show or just want to watch it again knowing that your good friend Erin was on it, here's a link:

So, that's about it, for now. We have our friends Trevor and Heather Little coming in with their daughter Audrey for a few days starting tomorrow, so I have plenty to do to get ready for guests. I just wanted to put a little something out in the "blogosphere" as I've heard it coined since it had been a while. Happy Birthday to my mom, Deb! Peace.