A friend of mine asked me to write this blog entry, although I’m unsure as to whether or not I will leave it posted. It catalogues my recent, non-academic, adventures in Southern California involving several radio personalities, potential serial killers, and comedians/photographers.
So, if you have known me for any length of time, then you know two things about me. One, I’m a huge fan of technology and online networking. Second, I’ve been in love with Dr. Drew for twenty years (since my formative teens when I stayed up late to listen to him on Loveline); on a side note, you would also know that I cannot act ‘normal’ when I meet celebrities in real life and instead become awkward, nerdy, and weird (see my in-life meeting with Eddie Izzard).
Over the course of the last few years, I have been listening to several podcasts. I’ll admit, I like to listen to them while playing World of Warcraft, elevating myself to a whole other special kind of nerd. I can’t explain that one away or justify it in any real way and I’m not even going to try. You will just have to accept it, as have I. In the course of my podcast cruising, I discovered a few that I absolutely love and the two most relevant here are the Film Vault and the After Disaster (both directly connected to Loveline via personalities and piggy-backing). These two feature a series of charming guys, but the two pertinent here are a certain sardonic, lovable curmudgeon named “Engineer” Anderson and a brilliantly funny comedian/professional photographer, Mike Carano. Over the course of the last year or so, I’ve been listening to their podcasts and commentary, as well as exchanging twitter comments and conversations on a variety of topics (none of which are truly germane to my focus on this blog).
Recently, I attended a Global Education conference in San Diego. A casual comment on that to Carano finagled a spontaneous invite to Loveline. Now, I’m sure that it was the type of invitation that was entirely meant to be a polite offering that no one anticipates the other will take them up on. However, clearly, as an academic I am not familiar with standard forms of common courtesy or social interaction and, much to his chagrin I’m sure, I readily accepted the invitation.
Now, in spite of my excitement and yearning to see Loveline, meet the lovely Drew Pinsky, and eagerness to meet Anderson & Mike in real life, I’ll admit that I had some apprehension. What if these guys were serial killers and this was an elaborate plot laid out over the course of several years and intricate computer hacking? In spite of the unlikeness, I decided to invite my friend Katy to attend with me. I figured that, worst case scenario, I could trip her while making a speedy exit. After all, what else are friends for if not to take your place in a bizarre, dungeon torture chamber? So, on a Wednesday evening, we loaded into the car and began our journey of 2.5 hours to the Westwood One studios in Los Angeles.
During the course of the drive, I began preparing and planning for the worst case scenario – we would be the weirdo stalker girls, Drew would be absent, Anderson & Mike would be skinning us alive and wearing our removed epidermises as a creepy new L.A. fashion statement… essential avoid disappointment by not setting expectations too high. To make myself feel better for potentially offering Katy up as a serial killer sacrifice, I paid for gas and bought her some In N’ Out as a pseudo last meal. What followed can only be described as one of the greatest adventures in my life!
We pulled into Westwood one, cleverly disguised as a run-down building in a potential serial killer warehouse. We were greeted by what we thought was a homeless man wanting to petition us for beer money, before realizing that it was the famed security guard Reggie (that I’ll admit, until that night, I had assumed was a made up character). He escorted us inside to the studio where low and behold I was greeted by a group of familiar, smiling, and friendly faces!
Mike and Anderson immediately jumped forward to make introductions and made us feel immediately welcome, and not at all stalkerish (well, just less so). Even more so, I was immediately introduced to the good Doctor and his cohost, Mike Catherwood. Drew was more than gracious, as well as ridiculously handsome, and it was all could do to not squeal like a teenage girl at a Jonas brothers concert. He immediately began a conversation with me about my study of Architecture (confused from Archaeology) and a star-struck, doe-eyed girl, I just went with it (I think at some point someone corrected him, but to be honest, the adrenaline and awkwardness leaves a bit of memory gap). I believe that he attempted to have some type of mutual conversation, but all I could do was focus my thoughts on “Don’t scream, Drew I love you!!” I should also add that Psycho Mike was quite the charmer as well, making us feel immediately welcome. At the end of the night, one photo (and a possible restraining order) later, I did get a great memento. Throughout the show, our wonderful hosts, Mike & Anderson, allowed us to get a closer view of the inner-workings of the studio and made a serious effort to put as at ease (and not in a serial killer, we’re trying to get your guard down kind of way).
As the night went on, Loveline came to a close and Anderson and Mike truly showed us the ropes of a radio studio (which believe me was magical to me – who is more familiar with the insides of libraries and museums). There was a green button that did something techy and another one that either accentuated coughing noises or muted your mic… don’t remember. I was a bit overwhelmed. The aftershow started, hosted by Mike & Anderson, and we eagerly watched as they ad-libbed a hilarious live feed. At one point, completely out of the blue and much to our surprise, they actually invited us into the studio to have a bit of a participating role – something I’m sure that they immediately regretted with my stilted, unfunny, and awkward commentary.
The night ended quite late – with hugs, goodbyes, and a gift of five hour energy to help the 2.5 hour drive at 2:00am back to San Diego. At one point, Anderson repeated Mike’s original mistake of inviting me back to the studio any time I found myself back in So Cal (will he ever learn)? The night was full of laughs, thrills, and absolutely no serial murder. I can honestly say, it was one of the best trips I’ve taken in my life (in the top five – up there with the token American voyage to Cambridge and the Friday night booking/boarding faery ride to the Netherlands).
So, what did I learn from this trip? Sometimes, people can be as awesome and gracious in real life as they are on the radio and via their online personalities. Dr. Drew is more handsome in person. And, always bring a friend in case you have to make a hasty escape and need someone to take your place in the basement grave.