Monday, September 22, 2008

Could life get any better?

A few weeks ago, my Journalism instructor told us that we'd be having a guest speaker come in to our class. She said that before his arrival, we'd get into two groups and would work together on asking him questions. One group would take on the task of asking him professional questions, while the other group was going to ask him more personal questions. I got stuck in the group where we asked the personal questions. Mind you, I'm one of three students, who happens to be older than everyone else there, so I got stuck with someone close to my age and a bunch of young 20somethings! I actually contributed two questions, which two of my classmates were going to ask the guest speaker.

Alas, last Thursday, our guest speaker, J, who is a reporter for the major newspaper in my area, came in to our class. As he walked towards where I sat, he said to me, "You look familiar." I, who's actually a little rusty at practicing my flirting skills, mumbled something like, "I don't think so." Honestly, I am good at remembering faces and I think I would've remembered if I had met him before! Ok, let's just say that he's not bad to look at! ;)

So J takes a chair within arms reach of me and the other group starts questioning him first. They asked pretty decent questions about his career as a reporter and the stories he's covered. After about 20 minutes, it was now my group's turn to ask him more personal questions. As I said before, I was in arms reach of him, so I could've easily volunteered to ask the questions, but two younger classmates took turns asking him things that I actually would've liked to have asked, which are: What is your status (Single or Married) and do you have kids? So sad to say this, but he is married and has two kids! Oh well. Also, they asked him his age (he's 41. Hmm...that's still fairly young!) and what inspired him to get into this career (I actually submitted this question to my group, but the wording got changed around)? The poor guy had a bout of laryngitis, but we could easily understand or hear his responses. I just started rolling my eyes when it was my group's turn and when my classmates started asking him the off-the-wall, outlandish questions like: How much did your jacket cost? Do you prefer boxers or briefs? And which Harry Potter book is your favorite? I know my classmates were just having some fun, but sometimes you have to be serious.

Overall, I think J did a pretty good job at being interrogated by us would-be reporters/writers. Class was now over and as I was gathering my belongings to leave, he asked if I knew where such-and-such department was and I told him I'd take him there. Hey, I'm gracious to show any cute reporter guy, who doesn't know his way around, where he needs to go. Besides, I work on-campus and I know it like the back of my hand! Anyway, as we approached the elevator, he told me again that I looked familiar. He asked me about my family & I told him I had two siblings and that they both worked in the public sector. I even mentioned my brother's name, not like it would mean anything, but my brother can be pretty outspoken! So I made idle conversation with him {under normal circumstances & when meeting someone new, I don't usually do this, especially if it's a cute guy} about the fact that he dropped out of college. He said he did it because of the enormous loans he had. However, he was very lucky to get into his line of work without a degree. He told us that that he used to work for another newspaper several years ago, which got him "his foot in the door."

As we walked towards the other side of campus, we just started talking about random stuff that had to do with his line of work and then we talked about my instructor & her classes. I then mentioned what my major was and minor things about my background. He asked if I knew another language or if I had a family (i.e. spouse or children), in which I answered yes and no. He said that those things right there are a step-up and/or advantages I have. In other words, I could easily get into any career I wanted to and live just about anywhere [I told him I was anxious to move out of my area, eventually]. I briefly mentioned the article I got published and the fact that I'm interning at the publication. I told him that I have a few assignments to write for class and that I may have the opportunity to write another story or two for the publication I'm working at. He actually gave me a tip on a story that hasn't been covered--not even by his newspaper--that I could easily market to several publications under the business category.

Well, we finally arrived to his destination, which was inside the building next to my work. This is where I thanked him for coming to speak to our class and that's when I asked him for his business card. Then he thanked me for showing him where he needed to go and I told him I'd definitely be in touch.

I plan on e-mailing J as soon as I have some time to do so. I was just happy to have met someone new and who shares my similar interest or background, who I could possibly network with in the future. This whole networking thing is still sort of new and tough for me. I've always been a little on the shy side, but am gradually working on getting better. Also, my immediate area is really not the best place to do any networking. Ideally, I'm hoping to meet more people either through the publication I'm at or through friends.

Right now my mind is on finishing up a paper for my class and then starting on another assignment, which I'm not looking forward to. In the midst of it all, I've got other things on my plate and still have faith that everything will get done!

Good fortune

I was lucky to find a little bit of money on the ground just recently. Ok, so it wasn't like I found a $20 bill like I did a few years back when I visited Knott's Berry Farm in So Cal. Anyway, one day last week, I found a penny on the street at school. And yes, I am not ashamed to pick up a penny because I don't care how much it's worth! A penny is a penny afterall. So then the next day, I had to go buy some groceries. When I came out of the store, I noticed three shiny coins in my path. Immediately, I picked up a quarter, which was then followed by two dimes. As I looked a little further, I saw a penny too, so I picked it up!

It's funny that I'm suddenly "falling into money." You see, several years ago, I had this dream where I crossed the street to my neighbor's house and saw all these coins (I'm talking lots here) lying on the ground. As I went to pick one or two up, suddenly more started appearing. I've never been superstitiuous or anything, but I wonder if the fact that I've been finding money (i.e. coins) means that I might be coming in to some good fortune soon! In the last few months, I've been trying to put all my positive energy into everything I do, especially after having been in a funk earlier this year. Whatever it means to have found this real small fortune, I have faith that something good will come out of it.

Speaking of good fortune, I got evaluated at work last week and it went well. In fact, I got a 40 cent raise!! I know it isn't much, but at least it's something. After the evaluation, my supervisor asked if I wanted to add anything. I briefly mentioned one or two things that had bothered me when I first started, but for the most part didn't have any complaints. However, I told her that as much as I enjoy working here, I need to be making more money. She agreed that what they pay me is definitely not enough. She said that she would assist me if she heard of any new openings that become available in other departments.

Well today when I arrived at work, my supervisor told me about a job that just opened up in another department. I read the description and found that this job is right up my alley and it pays very close to what I was making before. My supervisor, as well as my co-workers, actually thought I'd be a perfect fit since it involves writing and because my major falls into a similar category. We'll see what happens!

Friday, September 19, 2008

My Night with New Kids on the Block

Sorry I haven't blogged in a while. I've been a little occupied, but I was also trying to gather my thoughts so that I can put them into words. You see, a dream of mine finally came true on August 28th! And btw, the above pic was not taken by me. It was taken at another event in NY a few days later.

Here's my story of my 3-day excursion in Burbank, where my friend & I were on a mission to meet our favorite group and to meet my crush! I'm trying to remember every little detail so that I don't leave anything out. I'll just say that it was all a blur because it happened so fast! Oh, and if you've read my blogs, you know by now that I sometimes write novels!

On August 27th, my friend M--who I hadn't seen since we graduated high school (but who I've known since grade school)--and I left our area at about 5:30 am and didn't arrive in Burbank until 1:30 pm. Needless to say, we drove for 8 hours & we were tired, but again, we were on a mission! We went to check-in at our hotel was & then we went to scope out the Best Buy, which was about 1 mile from our hotel, and where the event would be taking place. All was quiet and no one was in line--yet. I was going to call 2 new friends to let them know I was already in town, but decided to wait because they were both at work and I knew M and I would find something to do in La-La land. We ended up driving to Santa Monica and were caught in traffic (just a typical day for Los Angelenos) on the freeway. As we drove, my new friend, L, called me to see if I wanted to meet her and her mother-in-law for dinner. Unfortunately, M & I had already made plans, so I asked if we could take a raincheck. We ended up going to Santa Monica Pier & hung out there for about an hour or so.

I decided to play tour guide, so we ended up heading in to Hollywood. M had never been to the Griffith Observatory, so we made our way there. The observatory has been seen in many movies and was most visible in the 1955 movie Rebel Without a Cause with James Dean and (one of) my favorite actresses, Natalie Wood. After making it up the hill, we couldn't find any parking (the lot was full), so we just parked M's car on the side of the road and decided to check out the (smoggy) view of LA & the Hollywood Hills. As we were making our way downhill, I received a text message from my friend J and she tells me that there's about 40 people already lined up. Then I get a call from L telling me there's more people starting to line up! Ok, so there's no way we're coming back in the early morning, so we're going to have to camp out!! We hurried up & left Hollywood for Burbank (which is about a 15 min drive), got some stuff from our hotel room and then arrived @ the Best Buy a few minutes later, at around 8:00 pm. The camp out gave me the opportunity to finally meet my fellow Blockheads, who I had been corresponding with over the Net.

A new friend named T was going to fly in Wednesday evening, so I called her when I found out that people were starting to camp out. She said she'd contact me when she got in. At this point, we didn't have anywhere to sit & we forgot to bring our lawn chairs from home, so M walked to Target & bought two chairs. T finally arrived by cab to where we were sitting & we started chatting about different things, but the majority of the conversation was about the New Kids & how many people we thought were already here. I think there was close to 150-200 by maybe 11:00 pm. I think others started dwindling in in the wee hours to get in line.

So all of us pretty much got maybe like 3-4 hours of sleep and it was a very cold Thursday morning. And I'm usually very good at being prepared, but didn't realize that it gets cold in the San Fernando Valley just like it gets cold in my area. I thought to myself, "I can do this and make it 'til 10:00 am," which is when Best Buy was opening to give away 500 wristbands and lanyards/laminates. So 14 hours later, we make our way inside the store and found out that the regular CD would cost us $10 + tax, so we all made our purchases. Then we come to find out that we would have to come back in-person on Tuesday to pick-up your CD. Um, hello, we can't do this because we're going driving back home tomorrow/Friday. We immediately talked to the store manager & asked her if we could just pick up our CDs at our nearest Best Buy store & show them our receipts. She said we could try, but it wasn't guaranteed that we'd receive our CDs. What a bunch of crock! They definitely have some stupid store policies! I don't know why I just didn't ask one of my L.A. friends to mail me the CDs (ok, so the lack of sleep and exhaustion got to my brain). Anyway, so M asked this nice Blockhead, who had camped out right behind us, if she could mail us the CDs (she lives in the L.A. area). She obliged, which we were grateful for! Oh, and it turns out there's 3 versions of the new CD and yes, I wound up with all 3 somehow!

By now, it's probably about 10:30 or 11:00 am, so we decide to go have some breakfast since we really didn't have much time to eat the night before and we were so exhausted! We had a hard time finding a place to eat in Burbank & were relying on my friend, Garmin GPS, to help! After brunch, T, M and I headed back to our hotel rooms & planned on resting for a bit. The girls ended up taking a nap, but for some reason or another, I wasn't able to take one. Maybe it was because I was feeling anxious/nervous of what was going to happen within the next few hours. I ended up going downstairs by the pool & decided to re-write the letter I had always intended on giving to Jonathan if I ever got the chance to meet him. It was NOT a love letter. It was a letter basically saying thank you for having appeared on Oprah in 2001 to discuss his problems with panic attacks/anxiety. I don't know if he knows this, but he's inspired others to seek help and/or ways to deal with their own problems. I can totally relate to what he went through since I've also suffered with anxiety since childhood. I didn't really suffer from panic attacks persay, but I've always been a nervous/anxious person, which I believe stems from some traumatic experiences I endured.

So we agreed that we were going to head down to Best Buy at 7:00 pm, which was the time the signing was to start. We sort of wanted them to "save the best for last", so that's why we got in back of the line. A few minutes later, T & M went inside the store because T had to get a sticker placed on her camera so they'd know it was her own personal camera that she brought in. Well, they were gone for about 20 mins and I began wondering what happened to them. Then M calls me and says to get my butt inside the store immediately because the guys are making their way into the store from the back entrance and they want to see them come in! So I hurried past the crowd, where the line was around the entire store, and entered inside. I was trying to look inconspicuous, even though I tried hiding my (old) NKOTB poster book.

At one point, I heard Donnie was stuck in the men's restroom for like 10 mins because there was just so many people inside the store trying to see him. They'd bring him down one aisle & then would have to retreat down another one. Unfortunately, I couldn't see much because I'm height challenged, but I managed a few peeks here & there. About 15-20mins later, you finally see the guys making their way towards the table. Despite there being tons of people there, I was able to take a good shot of Donnie, who was immediately followed by Danny. Then you see Joey making his way, who was immediately followed by Jordan. However, as Jon made his way, I wasn't able to get a clear shot of him alone (so many dang people). :( Then we decided it was time for us to go back outside & get in line again.

L.A.'s KIIS-fm was filming the crowd inside and outside the store, after having interviewed the guys just mins ago. I found the video, which I've posted here! Look out for someone holding a poster book with a pic of the guys in tuxedos. Yep, that's me behind the book (at 2:55)! Also, some woman interviewed me and a few other people and told us she would post it on When I finally found the video link, I noticed my interview--as well as another girl's interview--were left on the cutting room floor. Oh well. There goes my 2 minutes of fame!

At various times, the Kids' bodyguard, Robo, comes out with a few Best Buy & Interscope Records employees to count the number of fans left in line. They made sure we held up our laminates and wristbands & made it clear that no one was going to get in back of the line twice. There were a few people who thought it'd be clever to do this and did! Robo said something like if we all behaved or played by the rules, then the guys would "show us some love"! ;) Here's the actual play-by-play of my encounter with the Five Bad Brothers from Beantown land:

I was trying to take as many pics as I could, but there were just so many people in line & everyone was in my way, so it was impossible to snap some decent photos of each guy, especially Jon. As I'm waiting in line, I noticed this familiar looking face to the right of me and sitting not too far from Jon. It was his mother (Marlene)! I really wanted to say something to her like, "Thank you for giving birth to this gorgeous man" {J/K!}, but I didn't because I felt like I'd be holding up the line. Heck, I should've just said something to her and then made my way towards the very back! I also saw this blond-haired guy sitting next to Jon and it turned out it was his nephew (Matthew), who turned into a fine, young man.

Anyway, so it didn't dawn on me to pull out my camera phone or my digital camera as I waited in line because I figured all these people would be in my way. Well, now I find myself right in front of my crush, Jonathan Knight!! He looks right up at me, says hello, smiles and then shakes my hands. Can I just say that this man is so HOT!! I didn't want to let go of his hand! This was about the time that I should've asked for a hug {Note to self: next time--and there will be a next time--ask him politely for a hug!}, but I didn't. Of course I forgot to introduce myself, but I handed him the Thank You card with a short 2 page letter and my business card inside, and told him that this was to thank him for something he did [as explained in a previous paragraph] a few years back. The letter basically explained how I could relate to what he's experienced for years & that he's inspired others--like myself--to seek help or a way to deal with our own issues. I really wanted to lean forward so that I could hear him clearly, but it was way too loud inside & there were just so many people around. I felt like if I had really leaned in, I'd be invading his space. So he took my Thank You card & put it inside his jacket pocket (where his sweaty chest would be touching it). Then I handed him my poster book & he signed his photo. The pic that one of the BB employees took of us really made my (k)night and year!!

So then I make my way towards Jordan & he looks up and smiles & signs my book. I really wanted to say something to him like, "Nice seeing you again" {I met him back in Dec. '05 when he performed near my hometown}, but I didn't think he'd remember this encounter, so I didn't say anything except hello & shook his hand. Then I made my way towards Joey, who has those piercing (baby) blue eyes! He's looking for his pic in the poster book & when he finds it, he says something to Jordan and pokes fun of their hairstyles from back then. As Joey's signing my book, Danny leans forward & signs his pic. I then move over in front of Danny and wait for him to look up. When he does, I asked him how he was doing & he asks me the same question! I think I might've said thank you to him, but I don't remember! After I shook Danny's hand, then Joey looks up towards me, shakes my hand too, and then smiles.

Finally, I make my way towards Donnie, who was sitting at the opposite end. And yes, I got some "FACE TIME" (if you're not already a Blockhead, 'get your mind right' and look it up) with him! Donnie has clearly stated that he wants to give quality time to all the fans! I didn't think what happened next was going to happen because all I was thinking about was what I'd say to Jon, but not much came out of me since I was so mesmerized by his hazel eyes & smile! Anyway, I said to Donnie something like, "Thank you for everything" and he leans over to let me give him a hug & then he moves his face towards mine and let's me give him a peck on his right cheek, which I NEVER expected to do! If I knew I was going to do this, I'd have actually given Jon the peck! LOL :) There's just something about Jon & Donnie that makes you smile and want to be surrounded by their presence!! ;) In fact, I hear Danny's a really nice guy too! And those "guns" he's carrying around these days! Wow! Actually, all the guys have been working out in preparation for the tour and they all look HOT!

As soon as the event was over, my friends and I went to the back of the building because we knew the guys were going to come out that way. Some other girls were peeking through the store's back window and notice the guys are ready to leave. As the white van pulls out at about 11:00 pm-ish or so, we all wave bye to the guys (mind you, we can't see them clearly because it's dark outside & the windows are tinted) and they're off. We noticed a couple other women drive off, who began following the van carrying the guys. As this is happening, we ran into Donnie's assistant, who said what these women did was so wrong. Well, it was too late and we all know that they were just living out their childhood/teenage fantasy. As soon as we left, T asked if we wanted to drive to Pasadena to grab a late meal with a few of her friends/co-workers, who were also at this event. Little did we know that we had more in common with T's friends!

Well, it's now 7:30 am on Friday and M and I only got 5 hours of sleep each. M decides to check her email on her laptop and notices a new message that Donnie has posted. It's the guys' first video blog (ok, so they're actually reading the comments we leave on the community boards), so we watched it. We heard Joey & Donnie "invite" the fans to come down to the rehearsal studios to watch them rehearse. So I got this idea to go over there after brunch to see if perhaps they were still there (the blog was taped the day of the Burbank event, but wasn't released until the next day/Friday).

We finally headed over there about noonish & to "stalk"…oops, I mean look for the guys. Hey, after all, they did invite us! So before we headed to their rehearsal studio, we went back to Best Buy & were literally standing in front of 3 TVs (at the store's entrance) for 30 mins just mesmerized by the footage on the screen, which we later find out is on the DVD that came with the Deluxe Edition CD. For those who don't have the CD, you can probably find this footage on YouTube! So we proceeded to park out in front of the studio & waited for about 45 mins. We didn't see anyone, so we drove to the back of the studio & noticed the white van the guys left in after the Burbank. T asked this one guy who worked there if the guys were rehearsing & he said yes, in Soundstage One.

So 45 mins eventually turned into 2 1/2 hours. While waiting, I just kept thinking that they're probably not here, so T went to go ask another guy, who was coming out of the soundstage she was told they were in, and he told us that the guys finished up yesterday and the only person who was rehearsing there now was singer Lindsey Buckingham (from Fleetwood Mac fame). We got conflicting stories. We even pulled into the soundstages across the street, but saw no one. Our hotel room was so close to the rehearsal studio that we could've probably have gone over there on Wed. or Thurs. & could've met the guys if I had remembered the name of the studio! If only I had taken the info with me! After we left, I totally felt like "Marcia Brady" in that episode of the Brady Bunch when she went to the studio to find Davy Jones of The Monkees (one of my other favorite groups) & wanted him to sing at her prom, but she missed him because he had taped the show the day before.

This is finally the end of my story. Wish I could've chatted with Jon more. I had this whole speech planned out of what I was going to say or talk to him about, but then I drew a blank. :) He definitely doesn't know the power he has over women! I'm so excited for October!

One last thing. I really didn't give it much thought that the guys would ever reunite. I mean, after having watched VH1's Band Reunited episode 4 years ago, I just didn't think this would ever happen. Regardless, I just wanted to say that I'm glad The Block is back and I'm grateful that these guys have brought many more Blockheads into my life! I heard a rumor that they may be coming out with another album next year & possibly a summer tour. If this is all true, then you know my friends and I will be there! But for now, enjoy the video and see if you can spot me! ;)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

More updates soon!

Sorry I haven't updated in a while, but I've been a little occupied. I had something happen to me about 3 weeks ago that I can't wait to share with you! Also, there are a few other things happening around me right now and will tell you all about it very soon, so stay tuned. But in the meantime, I'm going to leave you with some clues: NKOTB, money and networking with a cute journalist! ;)