Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Names is for tombstones, baby! Y'all take this honkey out and WASTE HIM! NOW!

Chocolate News is a must see. David Alan Greer is fucking brilliant and his diatribes about the election is amazing. Check him out every Wednesday night. Right now he's playing a professor trying to de-wigger a 50 year old wigger. Hilarious! This isn't that clip but check this out anyway, it's great:
Anyway, just spent the whole day at Panavision, prepping cameras and dealing with the madness that is anamorphic film making. If you don't know what anamorphic is that's cool, I'm a fucking professional and I'm still not sure what it is. An anamorphic lens is a lens that bends light so that you can shoot really wide panoramas and still fit the image on a regular piece of 35mm film. Think of the beauty of Lawrence of Arabia and the vistas that Freddie Young shot. They look great but they're sort of a bitch to deal with because they're all different sizes, really old, and sort of fucked up. It took forever to get all of the various little bits and pieces that you need to make movies but hey, at least I got paid. We're going to do a night shoot Thursday night into Friday morning and then we come back and finish up all next week. Good times. Oh, funny thing, it's a commercial for Crown Royale. That's right, Crown Royale, the ghetto fabulous drink of champions. I hope it's funny.

Peace out, bitches!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Oh, don't worry about the critics! You got a smash hit! It's in the air, kid! It's in the air! You can't stop anything that's in the air!

Happy days are here again! I voted today, early voting here in the Southland, none of that waiting around shit for us! I might end up in a photo in the Los Angeles Sentinel. They had a very stylish young man out photographing, as far as I could gather, groups of black people voting early. If I make it I'll be in the background, scowling and reading the LA Times front page. I was standing behind a very annoying group of older black men and women, well, three women and one very annoying man. He was some sort of ex-cop or detective who does consulting now and had a very officious tone and a hell of a lot to say about his radness and what young people need to be doing today and blah, blah, blah. The lard-ass behind me was infinitely less annoying although no less vapid as she babbled quite audibly into her earpiece. By the way, if you're really fat don't get the smallest earpiece you can find, it ends up looking like you're trying to talk to the last bit of Oreo stuck to your cheek. Alas, there were no voluble McCain supporters to clown. Everywhere you looked there were people of different ages and ethnicities chatting each other up about how far the country has come and how happy they are that they're alive to witness the first black president of these here United States. I must admit to feeling quite proud myself although the imbecilic skinheads who got caught before they could launch their racial holy war ("rahowa" to the skins apparently) gives one pause. How many more are out there like that? Can we start a lottery system where you can get tags and go out and hunt them down? Will racism finally be considered a traitorous offense, punishable by death? I wonder.

In less exciting but somewhat related news, I went to Bass Pro Shop today and had fun. I'm going hunting up near King City, CA for my birthday in November and I needed some supplies. Goddammit, I love that store even though there are some mounted heads of animals I would never in a million years think of killing. Too bad all hunters aren't as humane and cool as my family and pals. Bakum! Bakum!

Peace out, bitches!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

I've seen guns, guns too, they don't mean shit. But that's when you gotta watch yourself.

Random images of an afternoon downtown in Chinatown's arts district. The only one that really needs explaining, I would think, is the photo of the sodas. If you look closely, you'll see that this is a photo of Jones Cola bottles bearing McCain's image. Jones makes really good soda that has a lot less weird shit in it than the big soda companies. It's still not good for you but less so than a Coke. Anyway, they made Obama soda and McCain soda and sold them in mixed four packs. This photo was taken downtown at Pitfire Pizza and the checker told us that when people realized the soda packs were mixed they would walk back in and swap out the McCain bottles. Pitfire now has nothing but McCain bottles and no one, and I do mean no one, is buying them. Ha! It's the same damn soda in both bottles but I guess no one believes in Grampy enough to even buy a bottle of soda with his old mug on the label. I think it's safe to say that the election is fucking over. The phot next to that is of a video installation which showed the Washington monument violating the Pentagon. Odd.

Peace out, bitches!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Gentlemen, please rest your sphincters.

This was brought to my attention by Melah and is the funniest thing I've seen in a while. Eat shit and die, ignorant people! I'm looking at you neo-cons!

In other less funny Arab-guy news, I'm about to begin a very nice long run of work with fun little bits of dicking around interspersed throughout. First up, Axe deodorant has a new hair care product and we're going to advertise it by annoying innocent idiot tourists out by the Santa Monica Pier. Goof balls galore! Wish me luck.

Peace out, bitches!

Monday, October 20, 2008

There's always a way to blow up explosives. The trick is not to be around when they go off.

Today I skated a mini-ramp for the first time in ten years. I completely and utterly sucked ass and I don't care. Full-on old guys session with the owner of the ramp, Panzer, and his buddy Bob. Those guys could actually skate but my ass took forever to get warmed up and rockin'. I got a few basic tricks back but the real point of the whole thing was that I fell a bunch and banged myself up and I loved every moment of the whole deal. I've got my first masonite burn in ten years, my ankles hurt, and I'm exhausted. Sweet. I know I'm an old fart in skateboard terms but I feel like a teenager again after skating. We had the punk rock/hip hop mix roaring, the sun was beating us up, and everyone kept trying to push everyone else to get broke. Good times. If I'm not totally in traction by Sunday I'm going back for more.

Peace out, bitches!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

This sho' enuf a bizarre sight in the middle-a all this shit!

I have a confession- I shot an innocent bird today. He was beautiful, too, orange feathers under his wings, blood red cheeks, and a sleek and stunning look about him. He popped up and looked exactly like a damn alpha male quail out scouting for the rest of the covey. I popped him from about thirty yards out and clearly I should have waited. I felt really bad about shooting him but as Ani said, there's nothing you can do about it now. Poor little guy. Sorry Bird God, I shall make amends some how.

We didn't actually find any quail out in the middle of nowhere but we did see some incredible vistas and I got to watch Ghost completely fail at being a bird dog. Nowhere to go but up from here, I guess. I did bag a huge jackrabbit but upon further examination I found out he was completely and utterly infested with both grubs and ticks. I'm talking gigantic desert ticks, not the little goof balls you see in town. Scared the shit out of me when I picked him up. All in all it was a lovely long walk in the high desert for no good reason. I personally loved being out there under the big blue sky, wandering around and enjoying the air and the land. Sigh. I think the next trip is going to be either down along the Mexican border or possibly up in the Central Valley. Maybe after the Valley I'll head out to Doug's for a little gourmet meal and some coastal living. It could happen.

Hope all is well with whoever might be reading this crap.

Peace out, bitches!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

There's only one proper way for a professional soldier to die: the last bullet of the last battle of the last war.

It is now time for some serious ranting as it is 4am and I'm just getting home from a "freebie." Yep, worked three days in a row for just above minimum wage, as a favor, and got served. Showed up for work, dropped my pants and grabbed my ankles for 2o hours! Why? What the hell is up with these people?

Geek Squad has something to do with Best Buy, the discount electronics mega-corporation, and we had something to do with making a commercial for these smug bastards. For some gawd awful reason Local 600, my union, my labor relations representative, decided it would be OK to drop my rate from $55/hour to $8/hour but still give me my union hours, of which I now have a ton, and hey, why not? I mean, who the fuck wants to get paid their actual rate by a company who is shitting money left and right? I guess Best Buy isn't weathering the financial crisis so well. Boo-hoo, I'd better help them out by dropping my rate? Yeah, I could have said no but the DP and director are great guys and I did just make a crap load of money off of them although I did work for every dollar of said funds. I don't mind doing freebies but I do mind when everyone in charge shows up with no fucking idea of what they want to do. As a testament to the professionalism of LA crews, we worked. We worked very hard for at least 14 hours a fucking day while the creatives (two twenty-somethings with zits and bad haircuts) and the agency (four fat chicks in designer fat chick clothes) all dicked around and kept inventing shots. Good times. I can't wait for the economy to really hit the shitter if only so that people like this get shit canned and swept into the dustbin of the country's memory. "Hey, lookie here, I found a whole dumpster full of ad dicks! Looks like someone threw away a bunch of useless jackasses." 

What really made it painful was that we were doing special effects shots: shoot a tv and then make a scaled up green screen version of the TV out of pipe and what not so you can shoot the actors interacting with the TV. Comp it together later and it should look great if you shoot all of the separate elements correctly. For some reason our thoroughly useless Post Supervisor who, in a curious twist, was old, kept insisting on shooting the plates, or real stuff, first. This led to the rather annoying discovery that we needed to shoot most of our green screen stuff from 150 feet away (I knew right away this would happen but didn't say anything because I'm a jerk). Good thing the stage had other sets built on it. To get the proper distance away took some serious fucking rigging and maneuvering and basically added a ton of time on to our day. In addition, I had to keep rigging the camera into a scissor lift and then back to dolly over and over again because no one could figure any of our shots out ahead of time. The DP and I started loosing it and eventually began pelting everyone we could with racist slurs and jellybeans. Who says educated people can't have fun?

I am so very tired of this kind of dumb-ass, amateur hour shit. I'm also just really tired. Ghost is asleep and brushed out and happy. I'm going to pass out now and in the morning we're going quail hunting. I don't even care if I even see a quail or a rabbit, I just don't want to be anywhere near Hollywood for a little while. I want to walk around in the high desert and enjoy the air and the smells and the big blue sky and my dog's company. If we're lucky I'll murder a few critters and Ghost will retrieve them and we both will feel very happy and at one with the world. Hallelujah.

Peace out, bitches!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

If he'd just pay me what he's spending to make me stop robbing him, I'd stop robbing him.

It is Tuesday night, around 11pm and I need to get up early and go to work on a Geek Squad commercial for significantly less than my normal rate. Shades of Stockholm, I can't sleep and have been perusing the Intrawebs for the curious, the stupid, the redundant, and the non-porn. I am once again reminded of both the ridiculous nature of commercial making and the sublime joy to be found in said film making.

For what I hope are clearly obvious reasons, making commercials should be considered one of the biggest wastes of time that humanity has ever devised. Yes, I make the bulk of my "fortune" by working on these 60 and 30 second gems of American consumer culture but that doesn't mean I think they are anything other than  what they are: emotionally disruptive and manipulative bits of throwaway pop culture. It doesn't help that I work on them here, in LA, the center of it all. "It all"? What the fuck do people mean when they say that? If LA's commercial output is any indicator then LA is the home to some of the most uncreative minds ever to slouch over a laptop at Starbucks. Sure, many of the spots we end up shooting were the "brainchild" of some dickless  wonder at an ad agency on the East Coast or in the Midwest but they still get put together here and a lot of homegrown crackpots end up writing this drivel as well. I know I complain all the time but a simple search of the Internets will quickly establish that I write the truth: Americans like boring commercials. Ever see a European car commercial? You don't even see the car usually. The VW spots we did awhile back were great: a fucking trebuchet!
There are a lot of fun things about making commercials. Namely, the schedules are usually nice and relaxed and doable. None of that music video shit where we try to shoot a feature in two days. The pay is usually better, too. And the food. But all of this has nothing to do with the actual commercial, ya know. The finished bit of work will still suck, like the KMart spots we just did. Dull. By dullards. Who obsessed over the color of the rug three hours after we had already started shooting. Ah, it's a good thing I'm not drinking this month or I'd be in a lot of trouble by now. Whatever.

Off to sleep. Must be relaxed and ready for a day of green screen special effects shots on the Geek Squad commercial. For $8 an hour. My day rate is $55 an hour. Why do I feel like a crane is going to drop on me again?

Peace out, bitches!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Did you know if you mixed equal parts of gasoline and frozen orange juice concentrate you can make napalm?

Ah Sunday. Football. Looking up BLM maps for next weeks opening of quail season. Purposely ignoring the news and the disaster looming on the horizon like an avalanche of shit. I just paid my bills and have some spare change left over, worthless really but it makes me happy. I worked my ass off for a week and a half and now I am going to sit on my ass some more and watch football. Yeah, I'm going to take my first day off and watch millionaires beat the shit out of each other while wearing tights and really ugly jerseys. Ha! Football is so damn gay and it doesn't even know it!

I finished two books and read three magazines while working on the KMart job. Good lord, those people are dumber than a bag of rocks and because of that we wasted so much damn time that I had plenty of time to sit and read. It's funny, pull out a book and people think you're some sort of fucking genius. One of the PAs took a photo of the camera crews while we were waiting for the client types to find their asses with both hands. In the photo everyone except me is dicking around with their iPhone. I'm sitting off to the side reading the museum book I mentioned a couple of posts back. The PA found this very profound. Funny, books used to be fairly common place but I guess smart and educated is now gay in the Bush-era. I hope that changes when Obama wins. I hope that as a country we return to investing in education and looking to educated people for ideas and leadership as opposed to going with whatever the superstitious believe or going with the guy you'd like to have a beer with. Hope. I hope it will be better after it is worse.

Peace out, bitches!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Alas, poor country, almost afraid to know itself. It cannot be called our mother, but our grave...

And so it starts, the blame begins to shift from the majority white perpetrators to the minorities who are the victims of the whole thing. Nice. What is it about white people that they feel a need, almost a genetic imperative, to shift the blame to minorities? Apparently, the economic problems we are all facing as a country are the fault of blacks and Latinos who were given loans that they shouldn't have been given. They got the loans, the argument goes, because of a THIRTY year old law that was created to abolish racist lending practices. Oh, the only banks it applied to were FDIC insured. Also, it's interesting that this law took thirty years to fuck us all. I guess the next thing they'll do is to blame the Jews since this whole thing involves money. Just watch. It's always the fault of someone other than the fucking assholes in charge: rich, white, boy's club bastards from both political parties. If we don't stop this now the base elements of America, the ugly underside of this shit hole, are going to start some craziness and catch most people by surprise. I know, I sound paranoid and ridiculous but sit back for a minute and think about the usual suspects when shit goes wrong for white people and try to remember how those people get treated. Civil War, New York, mobs kill black people for "causing" the Civil War. Depression, who got fucked for "taking jobs"? Right now, how easy is it to make racist comments in polite society when one is talking about "immigrants"? Yeah, I'm fucking paranoid.

Peace out, bitches!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Human beings were not meant to sit in little cubicles staring at computer screens all day.

It's Wednesday, I'm making a good bit of money, and I'm broke. I love freelance work. You know, that special self-imposed torture of waiting for paychecks as you slowly spend all your money on food and gas and credit card debt accrued over a tumultuous marriage. Nothing beats the financial reminder of one's failures at Life. Ho hum, at least I'm not a fat bastard bilking millions from the American taxpayer. Actually, that doesn't sound half-bad right about now! Ha! So anyway, here are some random photos from several days of work and stupidity.

Monday, October 6, 2008

My dear, sweet brother Numsie!

Ah, Monday night and I'm not on a dumb music video getting my ass kicked! Just finished day one of six of a super easy KMart commercial and it felt like a vacation. I may have missed the Vikings beating the Saints but at least they one and we did a bunch of overtime at full rate so the world is once again back to good. Added bonus: my girlfriend made me fried chicken and is now curled up around me as I type and watch ESPN. Does it get better? Oh yeah, it does! Doc and Lil Sleepy are back from Spain! Hoorah.

Peace out, bitches!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Small town, not much to do in the evenin'.

Today was incredibly productive and I'm very happy right now. I started the morning by sleeping in because I'm sick and dying. Then a little yoga followed by some dog walking (two dogs, the stuck up Lady and the retard Ghost, match made in WWF heaven) and a sensible breakfast. I needed to get some errands done and then swing by a camera house to prepare for next weeks job, this weekends having been prepped yesterday afternoon into night (ah, never let the boss stop by for a visit). Before anything could happen I got a ticket for not coming to a complete stop one block from the new cave. How fun. The officer tape recorded the whole thing and wouldn't listen to any of my pleading. I'm going to egg his car in about a week, should be fun as he clearly had no sense of humor. By the way, if an officer tapes your conversation without telling you he's going to do so, does that render the tape itself inadmissible in court? Just curious.

Anyway, after all was said and done and Johnny Law gave me his little lecture about kids and pedestrians with dogs (see how the smart cop tied in his speech with my dogs, he gets a donut!) I proceeded to get everything I wanted to do done in a timely fashion. That kind of stuff makes me happy. I only sat in traffic for a minute, I had a really good street dog for lunch, and the waves weren't as good as they would have been in the morning but who cares? I got to surf while most people were still at work. Fuck it, that's a good day for me.

As I write, my dog is asleep by the door, the newspaper is half-read, and I'm almost done with a really good book by the name of Dry Storeroom No. 1: The Secret Life of the Natural History Museum. If you like science or esoteric writing you should pick this up, it's very good. I've been trying to read it for the longest but life keeps getting in the way. You know, dumb dog, girlfriend, Bog, work, sickness, moving, the whole gamut of bullshit. Point is, through it all this book has kept my attention. I plan on finishing it tonight just to spite the universe. Then I'm really going to have a fun read by picking up Ishmael Reed's "Mixing It Up." Love that guy. I hope I'm that interesting and grumpy and right when I'm that old.

Off to Yang Chow for a time-tested LA cure for the common cold: Yang Chow's Spicy Won Ton Soup. Throw in a little hot sauce and voila! You'll either burn the cold bugs right out of you or fry your skull so you won't notice you're sick anywho. Good times and I think I'll take the girl and Bog with me. And Ghost because he really can't do anything without me as he starts whining and drinkin' gin to excess.

Peace out, bitches!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time like tears in rain.

I'm fighting a cold but need to work and it's one hundred fucking degrees around LaLa lately, lame! I think my head is fixing to explode and I know my balls are about to melt out the bottom of my shorts. The only way to fix any of this is to go jump in the mighty Pacific and sink into her cooling folds. Possibly while riding a longboard.

I surfed yesterday afternoon at El Porto. It was amazing. The waves were crap but I took a nice long paddle up the coast from midway through Manhattan Beach and stopped at the breakwater just north of El Porto. There's an oil processing plant there, on the shore, with two towers rising out of the main mass of machinery. Everything hums along quite nicely and the squat behemoth in beige belches out precious little plumes of white smoke every so often. As beige and boring as the thing looks it really is surprisingly tranquil when the light hits it and the beach and the waves just right. Yesterday afternoon was one of those times and I was struck with how relaxing the whole thing was. I rode a few little peelers off the breakwater and took a walk back afterward, along the shore at a negative tide is a great time for this. I found a sand dollar that was still alive and furry and squirming so I put him out to sea, hopefully to remain furry and squirmy for some time to come. I should look up their life cycle. I watched a variety of sea birds peeling overhead, cackling and chasing each other along the waterline and above. All in all, it was the time of moment that reminds me of why I love it here so much and why I'd very much enjoy it if most of the people around here would just go back home. LA could be so much nicer if everyone and their tragically hip buddy weren't clogging the joint up all the time.

On that sour note I'm off to sea and then into the bowels of Hollywood for some camera prepping time at Panavision. I'm going to pull focus on yet another horrible hip hop video for yet another group of horrible no-talent kids who'll probably get tricked out of all of their money before they hit thirty. Idiots. No hunting trip for me. Following that it's a week of K-Mart commercials. Yeah, take the money and run, that's the new motto until January when the motto becomes "Do it for the reel." Burn Hollywood, burn indeed.

Peace out, bitches!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A vendetta, held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous.

Today is October 1st and it is a great day indeed. Why? Because this is the first 1st on which I have not had to write a rent check in thirteen years. Or one hundred and fifty-six months. It feels both liberating and vaguely uncomfortable to not be paying rent for the first time in forever. Liberating for the obvious reasons and uncomfortable because I'm not living in my own space. It's nice, it's free, the neighborhood is great but it's all temporary, gone at any moment really as I have no idea what my Turkish friend is actually up to with the renovation. Heaven gone without any warning. So typical of an Angeleno, living on the seam of Heaven and Hell and not really caring too much. I truly hope this works out and I'm not living like a couch surfing bum for nothing. Time will tell.

On another note, I saw another thing so very typical of Los Angeles: a Hummer H3 with the words "God is good" written on the back. What the fuck is wrong with people around here? A gas guzzling, accident prone hunk of junk that the driver probably can't afford is considered a status symbol by the type of jackass that would write "God is good." Not "awesome," not "great," not "holy," not anything that really conveys one's love of God. Just the mundane and idiotic "good," as if the holy was sort of kind of whatever, ya know? Call me crazy but shit like this really bugs me because it is indicative of what I feel is the slow death of intellectualism in America today. Give it up to Gawd! Got milk? It's all good! What the fuck, people!? Anyone else notice the number of soft-core porns masquerading as teen flicks? Spoof movies that are as unfunny as anything ever created, almost as if the creators of said fiascoes concocted some calculus by which the movie is inversely funny in relation to the idiocy of the overall concept. The Republican's new favorite is calling Obama an "elitist" because he speaks in full sentences and can answer a reporter's questions. Palin couldn't even answer softball questions thrown at her by Katie Couric who is by no means one of the nation's intellectual giants. I mean, she's on TV! How fucking smart could she really be? And Palin couldn't deal? No wonder the ex-leader of Singapore called her a hick.  Good lord, what's to become of us?

Peace out, bitches!