Two items today that together are a real great way to kick off the week:
First, last night there were some serious Santa Ana winds blowing, and my power (and the power to the rest of my block) went out. To SoCal Edison’s credit, it was back on within the hour.
However, one key item in my apartment building seems to have been permanently injured by the flickering of the power before it finally died: The hot water heater.
That’s right, my apartment building has NO hot water. I lived with having cold water for laundry, figuring the soap was fine for most dirt, and the heat from the dryer would kill just about everything else.
The real problem occurred when I first discovered the lack of hot water…when I jumped in the shower after I came home from the gym, and thought I was about to freeze solid.
I shower at home when I go to the gym because the showers at my gym are horror-movie level disgusting. After freezing my ass off, waiting in vain for the water to warm up, I briefly reconsidered going back to the gym. Then I decided it was better to freeze.
After considering options (although forgetting a few: I thought of a couple people I could have called later to beg for the use of their unfrozen showers), I decided to run a bath, and then boil a bunch of water in the hopes of at least making things livably lukewarm.
That worked decently, except for the fact that my bathtub doesn’t really seal off too well, so there was a slow draining that caused a minor race against the clock in terms of completing my ablutions.
I still had to gut out a minute of rinsing in the ice-cold shower water, but all in all, it could have been a lot worse.
Secondly, this story went up (and continues to go up in pieces), which makes me rather pessimistic about the strike. Nikki Finke, who runs Deadline Hollywood, can be rather full of herself, but she’s also usually right on the money in terms of predicting what’s going to happen.
The gist of that story for those who don’t feel like reading the inside-baseball account is that a large number of the moguls are willing to let the writers walk, losses at the box office and the ratings be damned.
The whole thing is shaping up to be a clusterfuck of epic proportions, although I can’t imagine that either the Governator or Mayor Villaraigosa won’t step in and try to smack some sense into these people, given how fiscally disastrous a strike would be for the L.A. economy.
The last big Hollywood strike, a 22 week writers’ strike in ’88, cost the studios alone over $500 million, and the ripple effect into the local economy was well over a billion.
I don’t think it’s a stretch at all to say between inflation and the significantly larger entertainment business, this strike could cost L.A. a billion dollars a month.
As for me, I’m stocking up on Ramen and canned goods and cat food, and battening down the hatches.
I’m lucky enough that I think my bosses will have enough for me to do (and enough reserve funds) to keep me at least partially employed through the end of the year. But if the strike drags on for four or five months, I don’t know how long they can continue to justify paying me.
The sad thing is, I’m far better off than most. If the writers walk November 1st, most of my friends will be out of work by Thanksgiving. And accepted wisdom is if they walk then, there’s no way they’re back before the first of the year.
There will be some feature production, as anything that’s already got a script is going to get made, but it’s not going to be nearly enough to make up for the huge number of TV people who suddenly become unemployed.
I keep hearing the argument that I shouldn’t stress about it because there’s nothing I can do about it. While it’s true that I have no control over this mess, that just makes me stress about it even more.
I tend to get more worried about things I can’t control because I can’t do anything about them. If I can do something, then I get up and do it and it’s done. All I can do now is sit on the sidelines and hope these guys don’t wind up driving this whole industry over a cliff.
Sadly, the consensus seems to be that both sides are so pissed off at each other that they don’t realize they’re about to do just that.