Wednesday, August 13, 2008

So, What Does An Assistant Do, Anyway?

Boss is off to China now for the next five weeks, and I am left alone with Dog, Bengals, Cats and Fish, in a big old house, in the middle of nowhere.

Not a bad plan for someone who is learning to play the Bagpipes. eh?

Not, mind you, that there won't be a lot of work, hardly, No lying around eating Bon-bons for this Assistant. Doesn't stop just because he is gone. I've been meaning for some time, since Boss told me I ought to one day after I lost my cool at an idiot, to do a Post on Assistanting.

Coupled with the fact that I got a mention on the most wonderfully cool site ever, Save the Assistants , I thought now would be as good a time as any. And there are things I can talk about that I couldn't before.

(Do you have ANY idea how hard it was not to tell the world that Bela Fleck was recording Dans Macabre, and how amazing it turned out? When he wrote and Boss told me he wanted to, I said, when I could speak, "YOU SAID YES, RIGHT????" I am SO a fan of his)

(or that I have been considering getting Boss's Chinese VISA application published as my first Novelette? They now know more about him than I do. That was the House of Cards that kept collapsing, over and over...)

There's a lot people don't know about Personal Assistants and what they do, and go thru, daily. And yes, for me, it is the best job ever. And if you want something from my Boss, you should read this.

The Assistant is your best friend. Or your worst enemy. Don't piss them off. In fact, go out of your way to please them. Do you have any IDEA how many requests they get, and that are passed onto them by their Boss's?

They control the schedules. They say Yea or Nay, when asked "Should I do this?"

If they tell you a you can have an interview, or a quote or whatever, but not sure when, it means they DO NOT know when. Travel for the Boss changes daily. Sometimes hourly.

If you try and do an end run around to the Boss, you will not like what happens.

Personal Assistants work long hours. All hours. They don't start nine, end at five Monday thru Friday. And they very often don't sit in an office all day.

I run errands, manage the day to day of the house, shop, cook, drive to the airport, take care of pets, make the garden grows. and am the person who everyone comes to saying "Quiche, what, where or how..." and dozens of other things, to numerous to list. And don't get me started on the amount of books, cd's and paper that comes in.

I make tea, make him get places on time (despite his best efforts) and actually did tell him the other day that he was still wearing the store pants. Sometimes I transcribe from tape, or what is written in notebooks. Sometimes the sound quality is very bad and the handwriting not to be spoken of.

And take care of travel, trips, schedules both at home and away, get an insane amount of e--mail, all of which is important. I make sure contracts are signed and sent off (me and the post office, Fed Ex and UPS are tight) I sort the mail every day. (It does come in a tub)

I make cars, hotels and planes happen. I am very good with airlines. And I make sure the tickets are changeable. Because, oh yes, they will change.

Every time he travels, I sign off on the schedule, the travel, hotel, and what is happening when, and make sure it goes right. When it goes wrong, I fix it. And it will go wrong.

When we do interview days, I set them up, slot them a time and stack them up like air traffic control, making sure each ends exactly when it has to.

I think the most important tip I can give you, is if you are writing with Boss, and he has agreed to something, copy me, tell me, feel free to (Very nicely) write back and keep it on the radar. Not to sound puffed up, or as we used to say "Act Big" but if I know what's going on, you will have a far better chance of it happening.

That's my job, I make it happen.

Boss once told me that the indicator of how well I was doing my job, was in how much time he had to write, which is what he does best.

No day is ever dull. If you want to be a Personal Assistant, check your ego at the door. You are not the one who is ending up on the cover of the magazine.

But your Boss would not be there, if you didn't make it happen. In the sense of you were the one who arranged the interview, got them the shots, scheduled the shoot....

And you will get blindsided every day and think "Well, sure didn't see that one coming..." Deal with it.

I've never talked about my job before here at this blog, simply because at the end of the day, when I have some me time, I want to talk about the other things I do, and be done with the job. (And PA's who talk too much are out of a job) But reading on Save the Assistants gave me something to think about, and how I think people don't know what we do all day, and just how much it is. And how important.

I'll answer questions about my job, and talk about it for the duration of this post. can't promise I will tell you everything, but I will be as honest as I can.

I can tell you I haven't told the half of it, and if you are a PA too, you know. Yes. You do know.

And if you need something, drop me an e-mail.

I love my job and am not going anywhere.

Love and Assistanting,

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

One Small Thing, On One Sad Evening

Sometimes really wonderful things happen at just exactly the perfect moment. I was feeling pretty sad, as you might expect, last night, but as far as something that would be guaranteed to cheer a person up goes, what happened next qualified.

Do you remember the story of Mim and The Mouse and the Lady with the Big Dog, from my Take Your Dog to Your Gig day post (In the comments)? Well, last night, as I was taking out the trash, a car stopped and a Lady asked if I was the one with the cat from the night before.

We had another good laugh about it and I met her husband. We chatted for a bit, and I invited them in to read the Story and chat some more. They read, love music, and adore the Bengals. Clearly of the same tribe as us.

They mentioned their son, now grown and away in the army was a bagpiper, and I mentioned one of the things I have always wanted to do most was learn to play Uilleann Pipes.

They mentioned their son had some, that they had gotten from a Pipemaker in Cornwall, but he didn't play them and they had been sitting in their basement unused forever, and would I like them?


They left, and The Nice Lady returned 20 minutes later with these....

Here's another view....

I suspect I have them in the nature of kind of a permanent loan, and would give them back if ever they were wanted, but what a wonderful thing to do for someone! Especially someone you only just met the night before, holding a cat AND a mouse, yelling at you to keep your dog away!!!!!

They made me so very happy when I needed it most. Making new friends would have been enough, but now having a chance to do something I have always wanted for years to do, makes me feel kind of weak. Overwhelmed. Such kindness from strangers, who aren't strangers anymore, means so much.

Sometimes Magic is very, very real.

I suspect, as I learn them, you will all be very glad you live far away. My neighbours are not so lucky...They won't be easy, but I think I can do it.

Here is one more shot that turned up. I think the Bengal/Bee Alliance is Plotting something......

Thank you ALL again for your love and support yesterday, in the death of my friend. It's going to be hard to go out there on Sunday but I think it is something I need to do.

And oh, Mim caught another Mouse last night....

Love and Irish Pipes,

Monday, August 11, 2008

Very Sad News.

A friend of mine just died. Just like that, all in a moment.

Not many of you know him, or perhaps you do, and if you are finding this out now, I am sorry to be the one to tell you, but he was Snot, of Puke and Snot at our Renn Faire.

His name was Joe Kudla.

Paul and I opened for them for three years. They were the biggest act at the festival and so many people would show up so early to see him, and his partner, Mark Seive, that they needed an opening act.

Everything I know about comedy, I learned in those three years, working with Joe and Mark, watching them, learning from them.

I learned what made a joke funny. That it wasn't the joke, it was the way you told it.
I learned about timing, and that when you did something, and how, was as important as what. I learned that doing Nothing with the right expression or your face, or the right look at the audience at the right time, was as effective as doing Something.

I learned that performing in front of a huge audience was very different than a pub audience. And I learned how to do it.

I learned when to improv, and when to stick to the script. I learned that when improv was funny, you put it in the script.

Today I learned that something really, really cool is gone, and won't be happening again. The show would have started in 5 days, and I was so looking forward to seeing them again. Now I am sitting here thinking that people just can't die, for no reason, just like that. It wasn't something I thought would ever end, tho Paul and I had moved on from performing there. Not like this.

There's a lesson there, too, to be learned.

I would send my love and sympathy out to Joe's family, to his daughter, (our "Ice Maiden") and to his partner in comedy, Mark.

Damm. I will miss him.

Love, Lorraine

Sunday, August 10, 2008

In Which Cabel the Dog Goes To His First Concert...

Cabel got to go to his first concert today, and he had a wonderful time! I am a big fan of "Take Your Dog to Your Gig" day. It was at The Brookside, a lovely little spot about 10 miles north of Stillwater, in a town, whimsicly named Marine on St Croix. There was no lack of willing people to tend him while I played, tho he didn't LIKE it that he was not welcomed on stage. This is what I call his "Laughing Face" it means he is really happy.

Here he is with Paul and Judy, one of the owners. I am pretty sure it was love at first site with her....(Er, her and Cabel, not her and Paul)

Oh, I almost forgot! Happy Birthday to Karrin! Karrin is Johnny's most excellently wonderful fiance, we adore her! This was, after all, HER party! Yes, that IS a cow and a pig beside the stage, no one seems to know WHY, but there you have them..I love this place!

I played second set with the Bedlam Boys, and had some wild fun. I forget how good they are, and it is much more like playing with a rock band than what Paul and I do. Full on loud energy it is, you can feel the bass thru the floor all the way up your spine, and it definitely un-leashes something....

I made the remark at one point of how this "Used to be my band" and they all three replied in unison " Still is!!!!" As Johnny put it, "It's still your band, it just went sailing off on it's own for a while"

There's nothing quite so satisfying as great friends, lovely pub, outdoors, a stage and all the time one could wish to ROCK. I feel really, really lucky to have this.

Here's the Boys..

I will have to get pics from Karrin of me up there with them, didn't think that far ahead. Paul got up and took Johnny's guitar for a few songs too. Full on big band it was.

I learned an interesting fact from Paul, and that is we have a gig next weekend and he will be gone. He CLAIMS he told me of this, and I claim he was vague and was sure it would work out. Or not. Trying to get another partner, but my first picks, Johnny, Adam and Lojo (Hellos to Susan, whom I hear is lurking about and keeping Lojo up to date. Lojo says "You ARE a wacky bunch." I think this is a good thing) are all using the lame excuse that they are already gigging. Hmmph. I am sure my new friends in the Shondes would help out, but not sure flying them in from New York is economically viable. (tho it sure as heck would be some fun, from what I have heard of them)

Going to have to think on this one...

I will leave you with a nice shot of Dr Score on his Bike, as, what's not to love?

Love and Outdoor Music,