Turn Smile Shift Repeat

I’ve increased my collection of laniards and hotel pens by exactly one each.

The MTV News team stormed the Grammy red (green, actually) carpet today. In t-minus 20 hours, we will be live on air. And I will age exactly one year for every minute elapsed. Here’s the day in a nutshell.

8:01 AM – I go for a run in Beverly Hills. The rain has stopped. The clouds have broken. The well-manicured lawns positively glow green.

8:49 AM – Room service.

10:18 AM – Robert and I wait for valet. Two tour busses are parked outside the hotel. Members of Soulfly mill about, including guitaris Mark Rizzo who wears blacks shorts and moon boots. I suggest to Robert that he adopt the look for our next Cockfight record.

11:17 AM – We arrive at Staples Center and locate the truck farm. (What grows in a truck farm? More trucks?) The MTV News Online office is a narrow, wood-pannelled trailer crammed with iMacs, PCs, monitors, and flimsy folding chairs. We settle in.

12:34 PM – Lunch break in the catering tent. LA pizza? Not that good. My boss tells me to “be thinking about how what we’d do for broadband.” Remote video production for the internet. In one second, I age another year.

12:36 PM – I tell MTV SVP Dave Sirulnick that MTV News Online is “Locked and loaded. Ready to go.” He just smiles.

1:42 PM – The Academy gives us our walk through. The green carpet is wrapped in plastic. Everything is tented, which is weird ‘cuz it’s beautiful outside. The walls are brown with white Grammy logos, except where someone’s broken in and torn one away. We pause at our various camera drops — limo drop, fan pit, green carpet — check out our “home base” (where my boss nearly knocks over a set piece), then pass through metal detectors into the big house. The one-on-one space is unfinished pipe and drape. The stage looks small (the VMAs spoiled us) and, awash in gray, a little boring. The symphony is rehearsing. It’s feels a little too Lawrence Welk. Not very rock-n-roll.

2:46 PM – Robert, Michael, Corey and I get credentialed. E!’s Leon Hall rushes in and politely brushes me out of the way. “Excuse me.” Robert points at his badge and whispers, “You know what this photo says? ‘Take me home.'”

6:03 PM – MTV News Online is done for the day. The web site is fully Grammy-ized. Robert and I load into his rented Impala, cranks Queens of the Stone Age, and head home.

7:33 PM – Robert and I stop into a liquor store on Sunset. I pick up a six pack of Harp. I’m $.06 short. Robert hooks me up.

8:12 PM – Room service arrives: turkey burger with cheddar cheese, mustard on the side. Apple pie a la mode for desert.

8:13 PM – I purchase “The Incredibles” on demand.

And so it is. From my balcony I can see the spotlights swirling amongst the clouds above the Staples Center. The anticipation is building. I’m due on site at nine in the morning. My two “Instant Fashion Profile” crews go out around noon. And it’s go time at four. in between? Well, lots of worrying, and a few moments of panic. Afterwards? Hours of internet production, worrying, panic, carpel tunnel, bleary eyes, and skull crushing headaches.

It’ll be good.

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