Wednesday, July 09, 2003

My One Second Of Fame

Today while I was walking down 2nd Ave. after having dinner at an overpriced and not-too-tasty Italian restaurant, I saw some camera guy, probably from a television station, taping an interview. It reminded me of a little adventure I had a couple of weeks ago. At the time I had just finished moving all of my stuff into the new apartment and was walking toward it after getting some cash from an ATM to pay the movers. I was merrily strolling along 49th St. and before I knew it, I had somehow stumbled onto a filming location. There were 3 huge 18-wheelers parked on the sides of the street. Miles and miles of A/V cables snaked along the ground. Men and women wearing baseball caps and union badges scurried around. When I got to the 49th/Madison intersection, I noticed that there were a few underling/intern-looking individuals stationed at each of the 4 corners. Their sole responsibility was to beg people to stay away from the filming area. For some reason, I was able to slip onto the set unintentionally.

When I realized what had just occurred, I decided to stick around and see what happens, since I've never been in a movie before, or even witnessed a shooting. To avoid being caught, I leaned against a pole and pretended to stare at my watch impatiently whenever I felt the gaze from the "sentry" across the street. I even pulled out the cell and started talking to Dad in order to pass some time. Twenty minutes passed. I still haven't seen anyone famous. There wasn't even a camera. There was a lot of yelling but less action than I usually get on a Friday night.

After another 10 minutes of feigning impatience, I decided to walk toward the other end of the street and go around the corner, which is where I suspected the action was. I drifted nonchalantly toward the other corner. After I had walked about a third of the way there, my eyes met with those of a woman who appeared to be hiding outside of a recessed store entrance. Before I could turn my head away and pretend I hadn't noticed her, she asked me with some hesitation, "Are you with us?" Since I have long known that I can't lie to save my life, I knew it was futile to bullshit her: "No," I replied, "Why?"

The next thing I heard from her was a loud and clear "Cut!!"

I looked around left and right and still couldn't find any cameras anywhere. "Are you making a movie?" I asked. "Yes, and I don't think this scene called for someone wearing a Stanford shirt, " she smiled. I was somewhat surprised by her friendly reaction. "Why?" I asked. She responded, "Hey, I'm not saying it's the right decision, but that's the way it is."

Unfortunately, I never found out what movie they were filming. If someone reading this happens to catch a movie with a shot of a clueless Asian guy wearing an Stanford Basketball "Dominate Your Space" T-shirt and shorts in a crowd of sharply dressed extras, please let me know what movie it is so I can savior my one second of fame.

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Why don't we have this?

Unsurprisingly, Tony Blair is being grilled by the British Parliament about possibly misleading the people on the Iraqi War. It reminds me of that time when I saw him debating the leader of the Conservative Party (I think), Iain Duncan Smith. I watched this video clip on, of all places, Comedy Central's "The Daily Show." This clip first showed Smith giving Blair a verbal thumping (or boxing of the ears, in the English parlance I guess) accusing him of distorting intelligence. Then we cut to Blair giving his rebuttal. I don't even remember what they were saying, but it was one of the most visceral segments I have watched recently on TV. The set up was so simple: Blair and Smith standing opposite each other, separated by a single table in between them. They seemed to be locked into a duel to the death, mano a mano, with words as their weapons, attacking and parrying. None of this wimpy Jim Lehur-moderated presidential debate. None of this hiding-behind-evasive-Whitehouse-spokesperson bullshit. None of this verbal constipation that's exhibited by Dubya every time he opens his mouth. Just good old-fashioned, bare-knuckled forceful debating. Why isn't our government like this?