Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Hell's Kitchen Experience - Part Deux

To continue with what happened at the Hell's Kitchen filming on Sunday...

So we finally made it in to the restaurant, and we're seated at the table, looking at our menus. And this is where it gets sticky. It's hard for me to say what happened next without giving too much away (and revealing my identity), but what I can tell you is this:

~ There is a 95% possibility that I will be on TV.
~ There is a 100% possibility that if I am on TV I'll be shown complaining.
~ I know who lost that episode's challenge and who's probably going home.
~ Jean Phillipe came by to talk to our table a couple times. He's hilarious.
~ The food, for the most part, was fantastic -- except for what happened that made me complain.
~ It will be an interesting dinner service -- for the diners and the competitors.

Most interesting was that my wine glass was being filled continually. Dyno kept getting beer after beer...and at the end of the night, we weren't presented with any bill, just comment cards to fill out. So despite what the producer told us, it was not a cash bar, and I believe they encouraged drinking to make the show better. I'll admit I talk more when I drink, and I ended up forgetting about the cameras after a couple glasses of good Chardonnay.

The best part of the experience was watching Gordon bark out orders and yell at Jean Pierre. Ramsay was leaning over the way that he does just screaming at people. I was in the front of the house far from the kitchen and I could still hear him. It was exciting to watch.

The worst part of the evening was that if you needed to use the restroom you had to exit the restaurant and walk across the parking lot to some bathroom trailers. Also bad was the long wait just to be seated. my hair went from fab to flat by the time we walked in, and I'm sure it won't look good on TV.

Once the show airs, I'll be able to do a really detailed recap! Look for the Hell's Kitchen season 3 to start in March -- and I was at the second episode!

Puppy Bowl III

Last year we talked about the second annual Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet. Well it's back! During the Super Bowl on February 4th, Animal Planet will be showing puppies playing on a large football-themed area nonstop! It's the cutest thing ever, and a great alternative to the bone-crunching of football players.

Can't wait till then? Get all your puppy lapping and yapping action at the Puppy Bowl Website.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Hell's Kitchen Experience - Part 1

So I went to a Hell's Kitchen filming on Sunday as a diner at the "restaurant." It was for Season 3's second episode. Got $40 for it too which was nice. But I don't know how much I can say, seeing as how I signed a disclosure agreement. So I'll try to steer around what was happening with the actual show as much as I can...

Hell's Kitchen is filmed at 915 North La Brea Avenue at the corner Willoughby Avenue in Los Angeles. It's pretty much in the middle of nowhere, amid industrial parks and train tracks, surrounded by security and gates. Dyno and I were the first one's there at 4 PM. A valet took my car and we were led up some stairs in to a building. They had us go into a small room with a lot of folding chairs to sign a bunch of paperwork. Disclosure agreements, liability papers, basically anything to cover their butt. Essentially: "I agree I'm not allergic to any foods and I realize that I'll be on TV." They took our picture and then we sat there for another hour and a half as more people poured in. Finally some PA's set out some snacks, and it reminded me that some dinner patrons don't get to eat anything until 10:00 -- if at all if Gordon screams to "shut it down." I filled a couple cups with pretzels and vegetables, worried I'd never get to eat.

A producer told us the rules at 5:10. Please keep conversation focused on the restaurant, "not the Super Bowl," she said, much to Dyno's chagrin. There will be a cash bar, but she warned for us to refrain from becoming too intoxicated, as "drunk and beligerant does not make good TV." I scoffed. Had she never seen The Real World? or Bad Girls Club? Then contradicting herself she said that cabs were available free of charge if we were too drunk to drive home.

At 5:30 Dyno and I were called up front along with 3 other couples. We were taken to the "restaurant" which was located across an industrial-type parking lot. We waited out front for 10 minutes in the cold until a producer told us to go in.

Jean Phillipe, the Matre d' - and Gordon's sort of sidekick on the show - greeted us and led us to our table. The restaurant inside is more beautiful in person than on TV. High ceilings (with tons of lighting and cameras) overlook huge mirror-paneled walls with colorful and intricate tilework. Merely feet away, Gordon was barking orders to the red and blue teams who were rushing around the kitchen. I could hear the expletives from here.

Cameras on high booms swung around to see us, and cameramen on foot, followed by men with boom mikes, swarmed towards us. We sat at the table and were welcomed by our waiter, who handed us our menus. We were finally in.

(Stay tune for more later!)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Sorry...'s been so slow around here. Work's becoming a bind, I'm packing up all my stuff to move, and it's been generally a stressful last couple of weeks. This weekend I'm finally moving in to the new pad. The whole coordinating process of people, utilities, and things is mind-blowing.

I'm especially excited because Dyno and I are going to a filming of Hell's Kitchen this weekend for the new season. We get to see Gordon Ramsay in all of his bloody donkey goodness! Of course we may sit there starving the entire evening, but it'll be worth it. I'll try to sneak some pictures or video if I can. And I'll definitely give a recap.

Just be patient and I'll be back soon...

Love, Sweepea

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Home Sweet Home?

So I'm moving! I finally found a new apartment after being given notice to move out (condo conversion). Here's the new place. It's closer to work, has a hot tub, and a walk-in closet.I have to say that next to a death in the family, moving has to be the most stressful thing ever. Coordinating the whole process, timing it with the utilities setup and the cable guy, all the paperwork and money exchanging...Arggh!! I hate just thinking about it.

Am I too young to get an ulcer?

Sweepea-TV: Fluke Cold Snap

Uncharacteristic in Southern California (especially the Valley), a cold chill has caused overnight temperatures to reach the upper 20's, causing some ice to form in the gutters. I had to get a picture to commemorate this unusual weather phenom.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Sweepea-TV: Happy Hour

God bless this woman for making me a fine margarita...or two, or three...Adrienne, the bartender
The Hamlet in Brentwood
last Friday night

Monday, January 08, 2007

Where are you, dream home?

Apartment hunting was a real pain this weekend. I wanted to sit on the couch and watch movies or go out in the sunshine and go shopping at 3rd Street, but noooooo...I had to drive all over Los Angeles to find a stupid apartment.

First I went to the Valley to see what was close to work. I saw a pretty nice place; it was a bit small but it had a huge walk-in closet. (Just enough for my shoes.) The only downside is I have to pay an application fee and a holding fee. I took an application form and said I'd get back to them.

Then I drove to the other side of town to look for the "charming 1 BR" advertised. It was in such a ghetto, scary neighborhood that I didn't even get out of the car; I drove right past it and went to the next one on the list.

This apartment advertised that it was in the "heart of Hollywood," which sounds like some trendy area full of bohemians and artsy restaurants. Wrong! It was a great building, but it was in the most run-down part of Hollywood. There was even a protest in the middle of the street. Not that quiet, old Hollywood apartment I had hoped for.

I'm getting so frustrated with this whole process of filling out applications, writing checks for various fees, and looking and looking... Argh!! It's driving me crazy.

Friday, January 05, 2007

New Year's Resolutions

This year I resolve to:

1. Eat more
2. Drink more
3. Exercise less

I did that resolution last year and it worked out so well, I thought I'd aim for it again.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Sweepea-TV: Weekend Recap

Finally here it is. Saturday I looked for apartments (seeing as how my time is limited at the Lounge). Then I went to Hollywood to see "Lion King" at the Pantages Theater. It was my second time going, but I still enjoyed it. On the way I spotted Audrey Hepburn's star and I had to stop to snap a pic.There it is! The big marquee. And hardly any traffic. Huh.
My New Year's was spent with Dyno, Guitar Joe, and his gal in a cabin at Big Bear. Relaxed, easy-going New Year's. Hope you have a great 2007! Cheers.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy 2007!

Flip the Frog

Happy New Year! I'll have a Sweepea-TV and brief holiday recap up soon...

In the meantime, here's this Flip The Frog Cartoon called "Techno Cracked." It's done by Ub Iwerks, one of Walt Disney's oldest and closest friends who eventually joined the Disney company in its early stages. So fun to see how animation has progressed through the generations...