January 11th, 2009
07:04 PM ET
"ACCESS DENIED." There it was, on the computer screen - in RED CAPITAL LETTERS - with a photo of my smiling mug above the offending words.
The four security guards at the checkpoint eyed me suspiciously. "Step aside, ma'am."
Was I trying to break into the Pentagon? Fort Knox? No ... I was just trying to get down a hallway at the Beverly Hilton so I can cover the Golden Globes.
This year, our laminated press credentials include some sort of invisible barcode device. Security guards can swipe it - like a loaf of bread at the supermarket - and your picture comes up on a laptop, along with the words "Access Granted" or "Access Denied." At the moment, I am falling into the latter category - along with groupies and possible terrorists.
"If you feel there's been a mistake, you need to go to the credentialing office," the guards tell me. "No problem," I say. The only drawback is the credentialing office is past the checkpoint they won't let me cross.
Now I walk around the exterior of the hotel to the credentialing office. I go inside, explain my situation, and they re-swipe my credential, telling me the problem has been rectified. I walk back to the security checkpoint. Again, my mug comes up on the screen with the words: "ACCESS DENIED." This is getting embarrassing.
I con someone into letting me past the checkpoint. "I'm just going to go to the Deadline Press Room. You can watch me as I walk there," I say. I get to the Press Room, expecting to locate Space 48, which has been assigned to CNN. Bad news. The spots aren't numbered - and there isn't one that says "CNN" on it. There's E! Entertainment, there's the Detroit News - heck, there's even a spot for the Chinese Daily News.
A nice woman with a clipboard named Susan says, "Maybe you're in the Rodeo Gallery." We walk down the hall and try to enter the Rodeo Gallery. They swipe my credential. "ACCESS DENIED."
Have I mentioned this is getting embarrassing?
We go back to the Deadline Press Room - which is where I shall sit for the next five hours. I cannot leave the room to eat or use the ladies' room, because if I do, I won't be let back in. In the meantime, promos for the Golden Globes are running continuously on NBC calling the event the best party in town. For now, I beg to differ.
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