The number 1 actress all over heaven, and it might not be Harlow?

Trying to work around other potential events, which now look like they’re not going to happen, I took the chance yesterday to visit Glendale, and most significantly Forest Lawn, where someone I have a bit of a link to is buried. Strictly, yes, I mean Jean Harlow, at rest there for now fast coming up on 80 years, but call it a feeling, or otherwise, whenever I visit, I just have this instinct that Clara Johnson may be at rest somewhere in those large grounds as well. As I say, no evidence, impossible given I dont know her married name, but just something calls me when I’m there, and though that might be Jean, I do just wonder. But anyway…

As for all the best laid plans…The 2 previous visits, I’d found a pleasant little fast food restaurant near to where I get off the bus, and therefore I planned to go there for lunch, before going on to pay my respects. Only snag is, sometime in the last 18 months or so, it closed! Anyway, I knew I’d seen a few shops on the road leading to Forest Lawn, in the opposite direction at the junction, so hoped I’d find something there. Yes, I did. Its not glamorous or anything, but I found one of these roadside buildings with a few tables, and took my chance. To be honest, under $9 around LA, for a burger, fries, and a drink is hard to find. To find it cooked to order at that price, even more so! If anyone around that area wants to know the name of it, shout, and I’ll work it out on Google Maps, if I can.

After that, I walked down to Forest Lawn, to see a stunning layout of US Flags in the grounds, for Memorial Day on Monday. I gather something is happening there then (think it was 1.00, but check?) to respect the occasion. Fine, not for the first time, I entered the actual grounds, hoping for 2 things to happen. Firstly, some signal from ‘above’ that would lead me to Clara’s resting place. The second, that the gate in the mausoleum where Jean is at rest would be open, as it was the first time I visited, but not the second.

No, neither happened! I didnt really expect the first, somehow, and no, the gate was very firmly shut across the passageway where Harlow rests. In truth, I think the first time was sheer fluke, whether that was divine intervention, or just Jean ‘fixing it’, I have no idea? But yes, shut is the norm, according to everything I’ve read online about the place.

So fine, I said a few words, from as close as I could get, and said my farewell, as I’m pretty sure this is my last visit here for a number of years, if ever again. And whether at that point my body will be capable of climbing the hill up to the mausoleum, I doubt it somehow! Also, at the top of the hill, before dropping down to the exit, I did the same to Clara, not knowing where she was in that huge area, or strictly, if she really is there, but job done.

Then finally, as I passed back those flags, all set up for Memorial Day, I paid my respects to all those brave military folk, who had died in our, and other generation’s service.

Today, really not much to tell, so lets throw it in briefly now. Really just a stroll up the Boulevard, to do some souvenir shopping, for me, and others at home. One gift I couldnt find, so tripped off to Universal Studios to get in the shop out there, which I knew would have it. If she reads this, she’ll know whose gift that was! Tomorrow, I get to walk along Hollywood Boulevard again, this time on a guided walk, run by a friend I know from Twitter, and have met before. Should be fun, especially as she knows the whole Harlow thing with me! I think I have the place planned for my last big meal in town, unless someone wants to treat me to Musso and Frank’s lol?

After that? No idea, in truth. I’ll sort of say goodbye to an old friend on the walk in the morning, so where I go after that, will think on it at the time. I will get out at some point Saturday morning, but wont get far, thats for sure. I have a feeling I might do a little walk along Beachwood, just for old time, and admire the famous sign, one last time, without annoying the locals!

Right, video time. Not that Jean could sing (well proven), and though Clara was a decent dancer, she was no star. Besides which, this group is from LA, and the song fits in from yesterday. So all in all…

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The insularity of the USA

Before anyone thinks otherwise, this is not about politics! Its about owning credit cards, and phones not registered in the US, and trying to use them over there! I know, I havent got a mobile phone anyway, but…

The first time I discovered this anomaly was a few years back, when I was trying to slyly buy a small thank you gift for Kate, for the way she’d treated me that week. I knew one of her favorite stores, because we’d visited one in a mall, so I had the advantage there, but…I went online to arrange a gift card to be delivered to her home address, only to discover that there was seemingly no way to use a UK credit card on the site, as it rejected firmly a postcode, as a variation on a zip code. So I contacted their customer service, and yes, you’ve guessed it, unless you had a US registered credit card, you couldnt use it!

The next time this faced me, I was trying to top up my little AT&T cell phone over the phone, and the automated system wouldnt accept it without a zip code! Fortunately I managed to get through to a human, and he managed to do it, by using the zip code 00000! So the next time I needed it, to order in food in my LA apartment, I tried that trick, but no go! So I had to ring through the order, and that worked fine!

But yes, this time its not the card thats the issue, its the lack of a US cellphone. Yes, I have one, but the Sim Card expires after 90 days, and its more like 500 days since I last used it. So yes, I’m going to need to get a new one after arrival, but I knew that. Anyway, in the past, I’ve been able to book my shuttle out of LA airport, into town online, with Prime Time Shuttle. Unfortunately, like so many websites, they’ve changed it recently, and now you need a US cellphone number, to get an activation code, to make a booking. Yes, fine, unless you’re an International customer, and then…rolls eyes! I suppose they wont lose that many bookings, because most users are North American, but…thankfully Supershuttle arent as demanding, so I’ll probably book with them. The other option is to be online with my friend in the US, give them her mobile phone number, she pass me the activation code, but seriously…?

USA, there’s a big world out there you know, beyond your shores, though Trump, and his cronies might like to wish otherwise. Well, other than Russia…Sorry, I said no politics, but…yes, frustrating.

Of course, if someone wants to pair up with this old lady, and give her a US address of her own…Just dont tell Donald just yet lol!

Right, video moment. No, absolutely nothing to do with the blog! When I was a teenager, a ‘different’ US group called Sparks burst on the scene, remarkably, over 40 years later, they’re still going strong, and indeed will be issuing a new album shortly, and supposedly doing a world tour. Would I love to see them, especially in LA, their home town, you bet I would. Shame I probably wouldnt be able to use my credit card to do so, even if I got the chance! This will be their new single, as quirky as ever!

A Shocking New Story

Oh please, dont just pass on by, its not like I inflict lots of ads for my stuff on you. Besides which, doing it this way, you still get 2 more blogs this weekend, which wont be adverts for my new book!

Yes, I’ve been writing again, and this time, its something a little bit different. No light and fluffy here, though fine, the ending is pretty sweet, all the same. But just gets a bit grittier, and thought provoking along the way.

Oh, right, the link. https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/667260 is where you need to go. Yes, it is also up at Amazon, and will be up at Barnes And Noble, and a few other places soon, but at the moment, its just those two, and Kobo, so…Yes, fine, I’ll admit it, Smashwords pay far better commission than Amazon, which is why I’m featuring them. But if you love Amazon, just go there, search on Merry Brooks, and you’ll find it there too.

Yes, as mentioned, this isnt your sort of cute story that ‘Miss Brooks’ has written before, because it tackles a subject that interests, and intrigues me, but has the same effect on people as Marmite, seemingly you love it, or hate it, only in this case, it seems more fall into the latter. So, my positive look at ECT (Electro Convulsive Therapy) is going to annoy some folk, for sure! Hopefully some will agree with me though. As to the modern style of treatment, its very different to what you see in the movies! Best example I can come up with, is this one. I know, its in Dutch, but I cant do everything. Let me make a film in English, with me as the patient, and I’ll do it, willingly!

I know what you might be saying, she’s putting forward a positive case for it, but if she had to have it herself… Sorry, I would, happily, though fine, ideally, at first at least, I might prefer a lower voltage passing through my mind than a standard treatment, but if that was the only choice, then yes, I would, definitely! In fact, if anyone is offering…?

Anyway, the story, though you can read it in the synopsis on the link, a quick resume. Susan is a great believer in method acting, and likes to know how her roles would react to events. So when she is offered the chance to play a wealthy lady, whose children want her out of the way, in a psychiatric unit, while they blow her money, she needs to find out what that would be like, for real. And fine, because the children dont want her out too soon, they plan on getting her ‘treated’ in a way that will keep her there for a while. So, a stay is booked, though Susan plans to avoid the treatment, but…

Yes, its a role, yes, its fiction, and no actresses were harmed in the making of this story lol! Fine, I wouldnt mind being ‘harmed’ that way, but anyway…

So yes, if you want to make me happy, go give the book a try. Better, buy it, its only $2.99, and you have no idea how good it is to see your books sell a few copies. If not for you, go check out my other books, and maybe buy one of those instead?

OK, publicity moment over, which means its time for the video! Or tonight, two videos! Yes, same group, same song, so take your pick. Firstly, the original video

Then, a recent live performance, which proves that they can still do it live, about 40 years later!

Yes, you like the name of the group, which is why I used it? An amazing pair of brothers, it has to be said.

If you want to become a robot, prepare to be zapped!

Generally in stories where someone is turned into a robot, it involves one of two methods. The trendy, and more modern method, generally involves an injection of specially created nanites, that work on the human mind, and body, turning someone from flesh and bones, into metal, and circuitry. As far as I know, currently, said nanites only exist in fictional works, though agreed, if they did, it would probably be the most effective way of transforming someone.

The other popular method used for said transformation, and which always the one used in the classic movies of the past, involves the use of electricity, to transform said person. Back in the B Movies, this was also used for creating all sorts of monsters as well. And yes, I’d be remiss if I didnt mention that amazing scene in Metropolis, at this point. Technically, that wasnt so much a robotization, as a mental download into a robot body, as Maria was, err, well relatively fine, afterwards! Mind, it gives the impression that quite a lot of electrical activity might have been passing through her mind to create this!

But in things like the Bride of Frankenstein and the like, then the whole body gets quite a delicious amount of electricity through her whole self. Yes, fine, I might enjoy that experience.

Of course, strictly, in the real world, that much electricity passing through the human mind, and body, tends to be fatal. Of course, in theory, I guess that the idea is that you become a robot before that moment kicks in, and of course robots love to be charged up by a good dose of electricity! Sometimes of course, those nanites get activated by said charge of electricity, which gets around the death issue, I guess, as the body has been adapted to enjoy that effect. How either of these option work in reality, who knows at present, as its beyond the realms of current technology, as far as I know?

Of course, back then, and indeed, until recent times, electricity was actually used to kill people, the good old electric chair! For an article re this, follow the link at http://weburbanist.com/2011/03/20/old-sparky-the-shocking-history-of-the-electric-chair/ to discover more. Oh fine, I’d love to sit in one of those chairs, and be connected up as they were, though ideally while the mains leading to the chair is very much switched off! Fine, I might not say no, if it wasnt connected up, but I know which I would prefer!

The only electric chair I’ve actually had close contact with, was many years ago, in an amusement arcade. Yes, thats right, an electric chair in an amusement arcade. No, it wasnt real, just a seat that you sat in, put your head into the cap, and placed your hands on the two metal bars, and got shocked! No, not really, as far as I can tell, though it definitely made your hands tingle. But given the vibration in the bars, I assume it was a device, and not real electricity. Anyway, what happened was, the vibration just got stronger, and stronger, until your hand came off, that broke the ‘circuit’ and you got your reading.

I assume none of these machines still exist, but if someone knows one that does, I’d love to do it again, believe me! No, sadly, I cant remember what they were actually called. Equally, I have no idea if they were only a UK, or a worldwide thing.

But yes, one of those, or something even more inventive, then yes, I’d love to, and I wouldnt mind electricity actually being used, err, relatively safely, on me! So if you want to do that to me, let me know, please!

Right, video time. You could say the group are apt, for this blog, and you could say this might be where you end up, after the electricity has finished you off. Unless of course, that electrical charge has turned you into a robot…bleep

And so, the (holiday) end is very near

And so, the end is near, though the video isnt going to be My Way…well, not the one you’re expecting at least!

Yesterday, as I’m sure everyone knows by now, was Thanksgiving Day, here in the US. And for the first time in my life, I got to experience what that magical day is like.

It started off with what I gather is another US tradition nowadays, the Macy’s parade in New York City. Lots of hype, lots of over exuberance from the commentators, so I kept the volume low, and survived. Then, a little NFL, a phone call to start getting ready (into dress, and low heels), and then over to the home of my wonderful host, James.

The afternoon was wonderful, the conversation, his family, and the meal, all of them. If, and when I repeat this delight, no idea, but I’m so glad I’ve done it once in my life now, at least. Put it this way, I had absolutely no need to eat again after that until this morning!

Black Friday is a crazy shopping extravaganza, that now seems to start at 6 pm, on Thursday! Yes, I know, but thats the way of life nowadays, seemingly. Anyway, I ignored it completely, both last night, and today. So I headed off down town by bus, and went to the New York State Museum, for a very interesting visit. Then back into town, via the State Plaza, and a lunch break, and then finally back to the hotel.

Yes, with all the snow still on the ground, I didnt go out to eat tonight. I know, I’ll probably regret it, but… and tomorrow, I head back to the UK, James very kindly running me back to the airport. Hard to believe, its less than 2 weeks to the Work Christmas dinner.

Not only that, but by the next time I return to the US (Hollywood, next April, if all goes to plan), I should look even more stunning than now, as I will be a beautifully made up lady, looking even more like Jean Harlow, I suspect.

Last, but not least, I’d like to thank my 2 wonderful hosts on this trip, James, for letting me fulfil that dream of celebrating Thanksgiving, and to S, for letting me discover that I was indeed a Hollywood actress in a previous life, and for letting me find out how much fun life as ‘Jean’ can be.

The next blog, probably a jet lagged one from the UK, on Monday.

As I said, the video isnt ‘My Way’, but…