Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Doughnuts and sticker shock

My weekend started early. 7:15 Saturday morning, to be exact – which is when I had to be at the MRI place in Beverly Hills.

Perhaps I’ve just got the Simpsons movie on the brain, but an MRI machine looks a lot like a giant doughnut.

I’m serious.

It’s round with a hole in the center, and the patient lies on a stretcher which slides into the center of the doughnut. I didn’t go all the way in, so I sort of felt like a misplaced sprinkle.

We use MRI machines as set dressing sometimes, so although I’ve seen them before, I’ve never heard one before. An MRI makes a really loud buzzing noise that sounds like the airlock alarms in a bad 60’s sci-fi movie, and it keeps buzzing for most of the time that you’re in there. Good thing the tech gave me some earplugs – but if I ever have to have another MRI, I’m bringing a pair of those noise canceling headphones that are given out out on set when they’re using machine guns.

Also, after reading pages and pages of strongly worded warnings about removing all metal from my body to avoid dire yet unspecified consequences, I didn’t go far enough into the machine to even need to take off my pants (metal zipper) or bra (metal underwire).

Talk about anti-climactic.

After my MRI, my main mission of the day was to buy a new hairdryer.

When I was drying my hair Friday night, my hairdryer made an awful grinding noise and smoke came out of the back end. Luckily, I was able to put my years of experience with electrical power to work and quickly deduced that it was somehow fucked up and I would need to replace it. I figured this would take about 10 minutes – waltz into Target, pick out a hairdryer, then go home and watch the cat do battle with the packaging.

Wrong.

The problem is that I live in a building which was constructed in the early 1920’s – a time when folks didn’t have that many electrical things, so 100 amps of power for an entire 2 bedroom house was seen as more than enough.

Note: If you have a house that’s been built in the last 10 or 15 years, you probably have close to 100 amps of power just for your kitchen.

So when I stood in the hair dryer aisle at Target and perused the selection – every single hair dryer there was 1875 watts (or higher – one of them was 1900 watts).

That’s fucking insane. That’s almost two thousand watts*. That eats my entire bathroom circuit, especially if I want to, say, have a light on while I dry my hair.

So I tried the discount beauty emporium next door to Target, and was confronted with the exact same thing – nothing under 1875 watts. I asked the salesperson if she knew of anywhere to buy a lower-wattage hair dryer and she looked at me like I’d lost my mind. “Why? More is better, right?”

Not for me and my old, crappy wiring, it’s not.

After looking around for a couple of hours seeing nothing but dryers I couldn’t use, I finally found a 1200 watt model in a “premium” beauty supply store in nearby Larchmont Village – for the low, low price of 100 bucks.

That’s right – A fucking C-note for a hairdryer.

I must have looked shocked because the saleslady started into some pitch about some mineral in the dryer that would make my hair extra fabulous and then people would love me (or something), but what I was thinking about was that she really had me over a barrel.

I could spent four weeks looking for a dryer on Craig’s list and probably not find one under 1800 watts (which I’m to understand has been the norm for a while), or if I did I’d have to drive out to east bumfuck and wade my way through a sea of ravenous pit bulls only to find out that the owner didn’t read the wattage correctly and I couldn’t use the dryer anyway, or I could just suck it the fuck up and buy the one that was so expensive it was giving me hives just thinking about it.

Turns out, this particular beauty supply store has a 15 day return policy, so if I don’t like the dryer (or can find a cheap one somewhere else within that time frame), I can return it for a full refund.

Since I doubt I’m going to find one (although I’m looking), this thing better get my hair really fucking dry.

* The highest-wattage lamp that we use which can plug into a normal household plug is 2,000 watts. These lamps are notorious for popping breakers and blowing fuses when they’re plugged into the wall on locations.

Most household circuits are two thousand watts each – the exceptions being the bigger 3,000 watt circuits designed for the fridge and the clothes dryer. You can spot appliances that use more than 2,000 watts – they’ll have a funny-looking plug on them that won’t plug into a regular receptacle.

Filed under: life in LA, Non-Work, Off-Topic, rants, , , , , , , , , , , ,

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