Extra! Extra!

I have a Life List of things I want to accomplish during my lifetime.  One of the things on my list is to be an extra in a movie. Last summer, a coworker told me in passing that she got an email about a casting call and I asked that she forward it to me.  Mr. Fiancé and I went to the casting call, where we learned the movie title and some of the cast members.  We were also told that most the extras would be in hazmat suits and thus unrecognizable.  I thought, well doesn’t that figure? The one time I have the opportunity to be an extra, I won’t even have a chance to be seen. (cue: Alanis Morissette’s song Ironic.) A few months passed and I finally heard back.

I am an extra in a movie!!! And as a survivor!! No hazmat suit for me!  Look out for me in Contagion due out September 9, 2011 starring Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, and Lawrence Fishburne, directed by Steven Soderbergh.   I haven’t seen any trailers for it yet, but I’m guessing they should be starting soon!

The movie is about a contagious disease that wipes out the planet. Kind of like Outbreak. IMDB says, “An action-thriller centered on the threat posed by a deadly disease and an international team of doctors contracted by the CDC to deal with the outbreak.”  As you will see in the movie trailer, Gwyneth contracts the disease and it spreads like wildfire.  The opening clip talks about how germs spread so easily and how often we touch bacteria and grossness to our face.  I might just become a germ-aphobe after watching this movie. But I have to go see it, I might be in it!

Mr. Fiancé couldn’t take that day off work that we were summoned for, so being determined to mark something off my list, I went to the filming all by myself. When I arrived on set, on Dec 10th, 2010, I had absolutely no idea what to expect.   The holding room had long cafeteria style tables that were all completely full.  and I even got a, “sorry that seat is taken,” snide comment. I felt like a little school girl trying to find a seat at the lunch table. A group of really great girls my age over heard this and made room just for me. The four of us strangers spent the whole day together as if we were long time friends. We had a blast!  We made friends with other extras and set crew.  People even asked if we came together. We made friends with a guy who looked identical to Professor Snape.  Seriously, if he ever needs a body double, I found his match.

After over an hour of standing outside in the cold, half asleep without moving, we found out that the directors were creating a plan B.  The original plan was to have an air drop of food to the survivors, but they couldn’t get the fans (simulating helicopters) to work properly so  the directors, right there on set the reworked it to be a food truck delivery.

We were instructed not to wear anything bright, neon or something that would stand out. I had put on eyeliner that day (if I was going to be in a movie, I wanted to look good!) but the crew made me take it off.  They didn’t even want me to have on nail polish (even under my mittens!)  They wanted us to look cold and like sick, tired and starving survivors.  We didn’t have to act real hard to look cold and we didn’t need makeup to make us look sick! Being out in the cold did that for us naturally!  Instead of hazmat suits we all had on heavy winter gear and medical masks “to protect us from germs.” The girls and I realized we were in the line that kept getting shafted. We kept being moved further and further and at one point our line was behind bushes! We all decided, we went there to be extras so after lunch we very slyly ditched our group and made our way closer to the set.

I am in the scene where Matt (yes, I’m on first name basis now) gets in a fight with a fellow survivor. Then Randy, one of the survivors, shouts that there is another truck that might have food over yonder and everyone makes a mad dash for the truck. Be sure to look for him because I was right beside him during some of the takes.  Depending on your birthday month, it determined if you ran for the truck or if you leisurely walked towards the food. This scene was filmed for probably 3 hours because it just didn’t look right. Finally, they told everyone to just run for it. I am very interested to see how these scenes turn out and what clip they use! After being out there for so many hours, I was legit cold.  I kept to the earthy colors all day, but eventually I needed my thicker scarf!  I took out my blue scarf to try to warm up. Plus, I kind of ripped my medical mask, so I needed to cover my mouth (from the contamination germs of course!).  If you see a blue scarf, that might be me!  Check out the trailer on IMDB and check out the scene at 1:33!!

Despite standing outside in the dead of winter for 7 hours straight with only a break for lunch (which was brought outside to us), I think we were pretty lucky.  It was 30 degrees instead of 10 below zero and the sun was shinning.  Even with snow boots, two layers of wool socks and winter gear, our toes were completely frozen. The celeb on site that day was none other than Matt Damon! (read: Matt DAAAMON) It was a long day, I’m not going to lie. But definitely one for the memory books.

I will admit, Matt  was outside with us, in the cold, for nearly the entire day.  Major kudos and respect for him now.  Actually, I have a new respect for actors and the whole process.  It can’t be easy to do the same one minute clip over and over and over again.  It took us 7 hours to get probably literally one minute of film.  He must have gotten in that fight for 30 takes. Can you imagine ‘being beaten up’ by Matt Damon?  That would be AMAZING! To think this movie has been in the works for over a year now – the process takes so long! It was supposed to come out in late October, but I just found out that it got bumped up to September! No complaints here.

At the end of the day, everyone started packing up and walking away.  One of the girls noticed Matt Damon still out and interacting with the extras.  He so kindly took this photo with us!

I am glad to see my scene in the trailer!  At least now I know it should be in the movie. So many scenes get deleted, I didn’t know what would happen!  They took so many takes, I am very curious to know what clip winds up in the movie.  I even have a lady date with one of the girls from the set to go see ourselves star in the movie!  GO SEE IT!! 

Question, so if you can’t see me in the movie, or they don’t use my scene, does that still count as being an extra? Would you still mark it off your Life List?

Have you ever been an extra in a movie? What was your experience like?  If you see Contagion and you spot me, let me know!

Wonders Of The Web Wednesday

Happy Hump Day! Since Wednesday is smack dab in the middle of the work week, people often need a pick me up to help them get through the rest of the week.  So here are a few links that I want to share with you.  Hope they make you smile too! 
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  • Everything is Amazing and Nobody’s Happy: This is a clip from when Louis C.K. was a guest on Conan.  Our generation takes everything for granted and sometimes we need this reminder to step back and appreciate all that we have.
  • Trojan sex census – Interesting study done by Trojan.  Sidenote:  If Chicago is the “least satisfied” why are Boston’s and San Francisco’s percentage lower? Fact check?
And two of my favorite blogger posts this week:
  • The thing about girls by Terra.  She is a terrific writer and this is an honest post.  I relate to a lot of what she writes about.  If you don’t read her blog already, I suggest you check it out.
  • Life is Such a Weird Little Playground by Amber Just like Louis C.K. reminding us not to take things for granted, Amber reminds us that we are given only one body.  And while it can do so much, sometimes we just need to stop and blow bubbles occasionally.
*If you come across any coollinks you want to share with me, please do! Or if you want to participate in Wonders of the Web Wednesday on your own site please feel free but link back to me. Thanks and Enjoy!
** I am working on a new photo that is my own for this as well as a way to link up.

I’m Engaged to the Man of My Dreams!

It was the fall of 2006, my senior year in college. I had just returned from a fabulous semester abroad and was adamant about not dating anyone and continuing my new-found freedom.  I wanted to enjoy my senior year without the stress of a boy. Early in the fall of my senior year, I had become really good friends with this one particular boy who was sweet, thoughtful, and genuine and he made me feel free to be myself. We would stay up all hours of the night talking on my porch swing.  We went to see The Departed, our first of many movies together, strictly as friends. Neither of us considered it to be a date but convincing my mother wasn’t as easy. The conversation went like this: “Mom, We’re just friends. No, he didn’t pay. No Mom, it wasn’t a date. Yes, I’m sure…”

During my sorority live-in years (Sophomore & Junior year), we had waiters who helped the kitchen staff with dinner. Most, if not all the boys, lived in the fraternity next door.  Our house mom didn’t want the boys interacting with us (lame) so I didn’t get to know the boys all that well, until I moved out. Turns out that this boy I had become friendly with was one of our waiters and remembered me because according to him, I always said, “Please and Thank you”.

Our friendship was developing into something special and I was starting to have feelings for him.  I debated if I wanted to be single for senior year as I originally intended or if I should give this boy a chance.  For the first time in my life, I hadn’t been looking to date anyone.  After all, I had just told another friend who I thought was interested how I intended to be single for senior year. (I laugh now because literally two days later I started dating Mr. Boyfriend.)  I didn’t need to be told twice that it was a good idea to go for it, but always liking a second opinion, I asked my friend Laurie what she thought. She encouraged me to follow my gut and go for it.

Little did I know at the time, that guy who used to live next door and whom I almost didn’t date because I thought I wanted to be single, would be my future husband.

We broke up twice along the way, but both times made us stronger and learn about ourselves as well as each other.  Both times we fell more in love upon our return.  While they were hard times, we wouldn’t change anything.

On July 9, 2011 – after close to 5 years of dating, the day had come that would change my life forever.  Here is the story of the day that my best friend, the man I love, asked me to spend the rest of my life with him.  

A little more history: Back in April, Mr. Boyfriend went home to Texas to visit his parents, but I knew he actually went home to go ring shopping with his mom.  When he returned, he made comments hinting that he had to be more cautious with spending.  I could put two and two together. I knew he had to have The Ring but I did not know when or how he was going to propose.

Jump forward to this past weekend. On Friday, he got home from work around 2pm. He told me he sat on the couch all afternoon, but I insisted he must have done something because the weather that day was gorgeous. I can read him like a book, so I knew he was up to something. I also saw the start of a note to me in his backpack but he grabbed it from me before I could read more.

On Saturday, we had plans to have brunch with another couple. Mr. Boyfriend suggested we could go for a walk along the beach after lunch, so we dressed accordingly.  He insisted on bringing a sports bag with us. I didn’t understand why he needed such a big bag, so I incessantly asked why he was taking it. Who would want to carry it on our walk along the lakefront? Why not just take my little tiny backpack? He wouldn’t let me touch the bag or tell me anything. Knowing he was up to something, I put in my contacts.  Even at brunch, he made a stink about me not touching the bag. During the meal, while he was in the bathroom, I told the other couple that I thought he might propose to me that day.  Then at the end of the meal, he excused himself and he went to the bathroom again. This is nothing new; he ALWAYS uses the bathroom after a meal, so I didn’t think anything of it. After a little while and a couple of jokes about him possibly flushing himself down the toilet, the other couple insisted that I open the bag.  I was stubborn and refused. I didn’t know if they knew something that I didn’t, or if they were just trying to peer pressure me because they wanted to know what was up with the bag. I didn’t want to go in the bag and find something I wasn’t supposed to see, AKA The Ring.  Eventually, I realized he wasn’t coming back, and I opened the bag.  In it was sunscreen, my gym shoes, water, the tiny backpack and an envelope with a letter.  It was the start of the scavenger hunt. I had clues to get me to my next destination and instructions to take pictures everywhere I went.

I quickly figured out the first clue and headed over to Bobby’s Bike hikeThis scavenger hunt was a complete surprise to me, so I didn’t know what they had for me.  I was alone and didn’t know if I was supposed to get on a bike or the boat that was boarding on the dock right outside the shop.  It took the employees a while to figure out what I needed because I didn’t know what to ask for. I decided to ditch the bike idea and take a cab because I was afraid I was taking too long. Finally they found my next clue and I made my way to the Lincoln statue in Lincoln Park. This was one of the stops on the bike hike, so it was easy to figure out.  In the cab I tweeted:

The boyfriend has me on a scavenger hunt through the city! Already running behind. I think he’s up to something! 🙂

Once there, one of Mr. Boyfriend’s coworkers was waiting there with another envelope and clue for me. I took my picture and headed over to the camels at Lincoln Park Zoo. Last year we saw the camels having sex, and now there are three. Because I had ditched the bike, I had to run to the zoo. It was so hot, I was nearly dying. It was then that I realized the purpose of the bike.  I arrived to find my sorority daughter sitting there at the camels, waiting for me, with another clue.

All the clues were really well planned out and executed.  The next clue sent me to The Bean at Millenium Park. Sweating profusely when I arrived, I walked in circles because I had absolutely zero idea who I was looking for. Finally, after seeing brides, tourists and Quinceañeras, I spotted one of my closest friends. She gave me my next clue which led me to the W Hotel.  I later found out that none of the people who helped knew any detail of the day except the part that they took part in.  He wanted to make sure no one told anyone anything, and that it was as much of a surprise as possible.

I was hot and sweaty, and I had no idea what to expect when I arrived at the hotel.  Would our friends and family be waiting in the hotel? Was he going to propose while I looked like a drowned rat? But when I arrived, I checked in as per my latest clue and was given a key to a hotel room.  I went upstairs and of course managed to get lost. A sign said Steam Room #301. I was alone and followed the sign to a workout room, thinking the steam room was Room #301.  Once in, I wondered if this was correct. Why was he sending me to a workout room? So I decided to call him to be sure and quickly realized I needed to find a hotel room instead. The room was gorgeous and huge – a suite with a Jacuzzi. (The inspiring words in the sideshow below were on the wall unit in the hotel room).

There was one final clue in the room. It told me to rinse off and be ready for a visitor at 430pm and be ready to go at 715pm. The 430pm visitor was a masseuse! It was Ah-maz-ing!  Mr. Boyfriend took care of everything, every little detail and possible situation. He had come by earlier in the day and dropped of my nice black dress, heals, makeup, purse, hairdryer, flat-iron; everything I could possibly need to get ready for dinner. I got ready for dinner and made my way downstairs. I was thankful I was able to clean up after the long hot day of running around.

He had arranged for a car to take me to dinner.  Once again, I didn’t know what to expect when I arrived at dinner.  Was my family going to be there? Was his? Where were we eating? Was this even the dinner location? Upon arrival, I realized dinner was at Everest, one of the most elegant and classiest restaurants in all of Chicago and definitely the nicest restaurant I have ever dined at. According to the website it is one of the country’s most premier dining experiences.  I felt special and beautiful and a bit out-of-place.  I do have good manners but I realized it is a different world when it comes to high-class dining etiquette.   I walked in to see Mr. Boyfriend sitting there with a rose and we talked about the day.  I do not like scallops but they were absolutely divine.  I thought he was going to propose at dinner but dinner came and went and still nothing. Again, after the meal was over, he went to the bathroom.  I thought, “Maybe he isn’t actually going to the bathroom. Maybe when he returns, he will ask?” But after dinner we got up and headed back to the hotel.  Now I was really confused.  Maybe he wasn’t going to propose after all this? Maybe this was just an elaborate ploy to throw me off?

When I opened the door to the hotel room, the lights were dim, candles lit, In My Life by the Beatles was playing, chocolate covered strawberries sat on the table, champagne and wine on the desk, and there were red and white rose pedals on the floor leading to and all over the bed. I thought, OH MY GOSH, THIS IS IT! HE IS GOING TO PROPOSE!  He instructed me to go over to the bed, where there was a present lying there. First instinct, “is The Ring on the bed? No, the box is too big. Is it a lingerie box?”  I opened the box and it was a photo album of our relationship together. I love photographs and photo albums. We looked through it, and when we got to the end, he got down on one knee and said this adorable, sweet, heart melting speech and asked, “Will you marry me?” Even before I saw The Ring, I practically tackled him and said YES!!

We had gone shopping months before to see what I liked. I am a bit indecisive about things like this, and this was too much money to be indecisive. I liked bits and pieces from various rings, so he designed The Ring based on what he knew I liked.  He designed it for me.  It is stunning and beautiful and I couldn’t be any happier.  He pulled out all the stops on this and I love it!  I can’t stop looking at my hand, to remind myself this is real!  He chose me! I love adventures like this and he was original in a way that was special to us. The scavenger was unique to experiences we have shared together. He was romantic, thoughtful, and sweet and I’m overcome with so much excitement, joy, happiness.

He is smart, funny, generous, loyal, honest, genuine, loving and handsome. He is my best friend and now my Fiancé. Mr. Boyfriend will now be known as Mr. Fiancé, and yes this still sounds weird to me.

I look at the stunning ring on my finger and it all feels so surreal.  But it is real. I still can’t believe that I am engaged to marry my best friend, the man of my dreams next year.

**If you are in a reader, be sure to click-through to see the slide show of photos.**

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Wonders Of The Web Wednesday

Happy Hump Day! Since Wednesday is smack dab in the middle of the work week, people often need a pick me up to help them get through the rest of the week.  So here are a few links that I want to share with you.  Hope they make you smile too! 
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Northern Lights: I have always dreamed of seeing this in person. Ever wonder what causes it? If you geek out about astronomy like me – this is really fascinating and beautiful.

NFL lockout video: Ever see the movie Field Of Dreams? Watch this funny video featuring Taylor Lautner and NFL players mock the current NFL lockout situation.

10 commonly misused words in the English languageThe grammar dork in me loves this. Did you get all of them correct?

Dogs surfboardingneed I really say more?

The Great Debate as seen on Shatterbox:  Awesome illustration. Do you prefer over or under?

*If you come across any cool links you want to share with me, please do! Or if you want to participate in Wonders of the Web Wednesday on your own site please feel free but link back to me. Thanks and Enjoy!

** EXCITING ANNOUNCEMENT: I HAVE CHANGED THE NAME OF WACKY WEDNESDAYS! IT IS NOW WONDERS OF THE WEB WEDNESDAY!

***I am working on a new photo that is my own for this, as well as a way to link up.

Wacky Wednesday

**Sorry this weeks Wacky Wednesday got posted on Thursday.  This week has been super busy and has flown by.  There is just too much cute to wait till next week! 

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**This weeks Wacky Wednesday is heavily inspired by favorite Tumblr/friend over at Oops Sorry!  (Thanks for sharing all of this, I love it!)