Almost as quick as Ryan Seacrest could say "Taylor Hicks is the next American Idol," reality set in for your humble Grrr! guy.
Returning after a full week in La-La Land will do that. Even when you're not working The Kodak Theater or another entertainment event, the whole town has a showbiz feel about it.
The Starbucks by the Beverly Hilton was packed with agents (or agents' assistants, more probably) from the world-famous Creative Artists Agency every morning.
Here's a clue for you: if you're a screenwriter, aspiring actor or a director, get a job as a barista at that location and start making friends by doling out a free Frappuccino every once in a while.
Hollywood is a business of connections and favors, after all.
At a Beverly Hills restaurant I met a movie producer at the bar who is working on the next "Rounders" flick. He was extremely affable, regaling me with stories about his foreign distribution business, his first producing experiences and even a brutal mugging he survived while attending Vince Neil's wedding in Las Vegas.
He ended up helping me and a buddy from FOX get a table at Crustacean, a seafood eatery with a great wine list and a "secret kitchen" that is well worth visiting, if you're ever out here.
No, I have not gone all Hollywood on you.
I'm just stating some observations here, and how often are you in Beverly Hills, anyway?
Taylor Hicks, the winner of "American Idol," summed up the whole Hollywood experience pretty well when I interviewed him last Thursday.
"You can get lost in the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, and as soon as that appreciation gets lost, then it can be taken away from you like that," Hicks said. Video: Watch The Interview
And it can.
Keeping on the "AI" theme, does anyone even remember who Brian Dunkleman is? He is the former co-host of the hit reality show, in case you needed a reminder. That is just one example of the thousands and thousands who went to Hollywood only to be chewed up and spit out.
But as big as "AI" is in the country, it's not so big in the town it originates from.
In fact, Seacrest himself seemed busier with his radio show than he was on the finale. Paula Abdul was busy selling jewelry on QVC and Simon just closed on a Beverly Hills mansion that — get this — he plans to use as an office!
I don't know what Randy Jackson is up to.
At LAX, reality kicked in pretty fast. All of my production tapes put me over the weight limit, so I paid the extra freight for my luggage. My flight was delayed because of an air conditioning leak, and after two hours of fixing that, air traffic control held us another 30 minutes.
Fog in New York forced the flight onto a different traffic pattern, adding yet another 30 minutes to the ordeal. If being delayed wasn't bad enough, I had an aisle seat next to a couple, one of whom had a bladder problem.
I offered to switch seats with her so that she could be on the aisle (she had a window seat), but she refused. The other half of the couple kept having fits of uncontrollable laughter while watching various offerings of in-flight entertainment.
The entire coach section jumped every time this guy felt the need for a hearty laugh.
As annoying as these folks were, however, they still weren't as bad as the kid a few seats forward who was playing his PlayStation Portable at full volume, sans headphones.
Not even blasting my own earphones could drown out the beeping and other sound effects, and I was longing for the noise cancellation headphones that I lost a few weeks ago.
Why didn't I just buy another pair?
Airline Grrrs are as certain as season six of "American Idol" and taxes every April. Sadly, there is nothing we can do about that. Except buy noise canceling earphones, that is.
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