Tom Hanks Filming at Local K-Mart

I had heard through the proverbial grapevine that Tom Hanks would be at our local K-Mart today, so I decided to go and check it out to see if the grapevine was right.

And right it was.

(Click on any image to embiggen):


See the man in the red shirt? As blurry as the image may be, I can assure you that that’s Tom Hanks right there, taking a sip of something between takes. (Note that security was tight and I had to sneak in this cropped-at-home shot with my phone—real spy stuff). Right after each take, Hanks ran immediately back to view what had just been shot. He is the director, according to IMDB, which also summarizes (working title) Larry Crowne as:

After losing his job, a middle-aged man reinvents himself by going back to college.

In the scene they were shooting, the crowd of U-Mart (as it is called in the movie) employees is engaged in a rousing cheer about their products and prices:

“[Fill in the blank with product name] for only [fill in the blank with price]!” and so on and so forth.

Kind of reminded me of the Wal-Mart Cheer that I was subjected to during my years working there only with real enthusiasm.

I guess the title also explains the name on the sign at the entrance (which means they can use my likeness forever and I can never ask for payment):


…and this one near the rear of the store:


And in this day and age, the movie is no real secret if you follow Twitpic or other forms of social media. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time, and follow a hunch that this would be happening right down the street.

I get the feeling, however, that the “commercial” (as I was told) they were filming in the toy department at that same store last week was just a preparation for what I saw today. Just a hunch but I could be wrong.

Either way, there you have my celebrity sighting for the day. Cool stuff, and the crew was a class act–even when we unknowingly almost walked into the background of the hot set! In fact, according to Anthony, this is the best day ever for the following reasons:

  • His second round of golf lessons start today
  • He got a cool Matchbox car while at U-Mart…um, K-Mart
  • He got to see (and hear) Woody 🙂

He also told the cashier that they were filming in the store today.

“I bet you didn’t know that, did you,” I said.

“No, I didn’t,” she replied. She then asked Anthony, “Do you know who’s going to be in it?”

“WOODY!” he yelled.

All the cashiers laughed–and Tom Hanks himself probably heard him all the way at the back of the store.

Well, time to go play LEGOs with Anthony for a bit then golf lessons. It’s gonna be a busy summer!

UPDATE: I ended up working at that same Kmart later in the year and they had this prop hanging in the manager’s office:

To see all of my blog entries that are related to filming in my area, click this link.


Congrats, Tony!


September 9, 2009: Anthony’s first day of kindergarten. If that look isn’t the deer-in-the-headlights then I don’t know what is.

Anthony's Graduation 064

June 17, 2010: Anthony’s last day of kindergarten. His expression is definitely not the same as his first day. Where in the world has the time gone?

Either way, we’re extremely proud of our little guy for coming a long way in such a short time. I’d like to take a moment to thank his teacher, Ms. Shipp, for putting up with Anthony, for being such a great role model, and instilling positive traits and habits that will last a lifetime. And with Long Beach Unified School District facing massive cuts across the board, there’s no telling if she will be returning next year.

With that in mind, I gave her a great, big hug before we left for lunch. She deserved it.

I had made a promise to Anthony that I wouldn’t start seriously looking for a job until he was out of school, that way he can honestly say that I was there for most of his first year of school. And aside from that brief period of time I was working at that one particular hellhole (that Anthony boos each time we pass), I was there for everything and even attended his class picnic this last Wednesday:

Anthony's Picnic 106

I did all of this for him, and it’s something I’ll never forget.

Anthony, you made it! You brought your grades up from the last report card and I’m sure you won’t disappoint us the rest of the way.

We love you, kid. Congratulations!

I’ve been kind of quite lately but with reason: I’ve had two interviews and some tests at a place I’m quite familiar with, and I should be getting a call next week with their decision.

Things are working out as planned—strangely, but as planned.

I’ll post the news either way, along with more details, once it all goes down. I gotta admit that it’s a little odd but hopefully it will work out.


So Long, Emmett


The man you see smiling in the picture to the left is Emmett Clark, a fantastic guy whom I had the pleasure of working with for a few years at Learning Tree.

Today I received the awful news that my fellow proofreader slipped the surly bonds of earth and went to that Big—wherever it is proofreaders go—in the Sky on June 3, 2010.

Emmett wasn’t a man of too many words. He quietly plugged away at his desk marking up everything that was handed to him, but we’d often hear him chuckle at e-mails we blasted to him.

And when something was incredibly funny, he’d laugh like it was the most hysterical thing he’d ever heard. I’ll miss that laugh.

To show you his dedication to the job, he drove daily from his home in Anaheim Hills to work in El Segundo. Now in case you’re not familiar with that kind of distance, here’s a map from an arbitrary location in Anaheim Hills to Learning Tree. Daily, people. And from 1994 to 2008. In a Datsun, not a Nissan.

The picture above was taken at one of our politically correct-titled Annual Year-End Celebrations, the one time when you’d see Emmett wearing a little more color. At one of the parties, he was selected to win a prize but in order to take it home, he had to sing a karaoke song of his choice. He was told that he could ask for help so he pointed to all of us in the Proofing Department to step up and help.

We did and sounding much like an extremely inebriated version of Mitch Miller and His Gang, we all sang a rousing rendition of “New York, New York” and Emmett went home with his iPod Nano.

And knowing Emmett, that thing either went unused or back to Costco for a refund.

He was a fantastic co-worker and will be missed by everyone. His wit, dedication to the job, and his overall presence left a lasting impression on all of us.

And he said in his final e-mail to the company, “This bull goes out to pasture.”

Requiem in pace, good sir.


Emmett’s cubicle, taken the day after he retired in 2008.



douchebag-1 You know, I don’t watch much TV. I have no real desire to because nothing really interests me these days. Hell, I can’t recall watching a new episode of anything from the last few years.

(puts on slippers, adjusts onion on belt)

I’m so far out of—and I use that term very loosely—the “entertainment” loop that I clicked a link to the MTV Movie Awards just to see what’s passing for…entertainment these days.

And that’s when I saw these dickbags staring back at me. These fellows, who look like metrosexual rejects from Making the Band, are apparently in yet another one of those ever-so-popular “reality shows” called Jersey Shore. So essentially, they’re famous for nothing other than looking and acting like douchebags.

Image courtesy eMpTyV

I know, I know, I shouldn’t be so judgmental and base those statements just on their personal appearance which, as is obvious in the photo above, they have fucking perfected.

Ah, but I digress—I’m sure that they are perfect gentlemen and will gladly hold doors open for women and treat them with the utmost respect.

I did some Googling and while I didn’t want to watch any of the clips because, in the unlikely event of me having a heart-attack at the time, I wouldn’t want to have these twatwaffles on my monitor when the coroner arrived. Kind of like tentacle porn which I know nothing about, but “thank” Fark users for piquing my curiosity and…Googling…

Wow, I’m all over the place, aren’t I? So what’s the point of this post? I dunno. Maybe I just wanted to call these guys a bunch of douchebags.


So It’s Come to This

218270 So…how you all doin’ this fine Saturday evening? I’m good, thanks for asking.

Aren’t you going to ask me what happened today? Because I’d be more than happy to tell you. It really is a nice story.

This morning while I was getting ready to take Anthony to his t-ball league’s Closing Ceremonies by loading all of the equipment in the truck, a Long Beach police unit come rolling down the street and parked in front of my next door neighbor’s house. The officer sits and waits.

A few minutes later another unit arrives. By now, another neighbor across the street, Sherry, is out and wondering what’s going on. Her grandkids then arrive and ask to play with Anthony.

As I walk across the street to take Anthony to Sherry’s, I approach one of the officers and ask if everything was okay.

“We just need to go talk to your neighbor,” he says.

“Oh, okay. I’m just asking because there’s been a lot of activity on the street lately and we’re a bit concerned.” He nods and both officers head to Dick’s* house, aka Mr. “Happy Birthday Jesus Sign 365/24/7.”

They are in his house for some time and our curiosity is getting stronger. Did he beat his wife again, much like he did years ago and served time for? Did they have a little spat that needed police intervention? Inquiring minds wanted to know!

Well, as we all stood and wondered what exactly they were doing there, we see the officers exit the house and slowly walk down their driveway—then slowly head up ours. I excuse myself, walk to the house and wave over to them.

Here’s the part when Dave SHOULD have lost it BUT for the sake of all involved and keeping my reputation intact, I didn’t.

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