Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Holy poker! You son of a double-eyed whore from the reeking gutters of Rotterdam!

It finally happened: I went duck hunting and shot a goddamn duck! Yep, things are looking up around these here parts. I shot a Ruddy duck through the neck at about 40 yards and I'm very, very happy about it. Aww, yeah!
I had a good time hanging out with Ghost and taking it all in from the anonymity of me blind. I got a bunch of birds to turn around and a flight of three Gadwalls came in to my 30 yard marker but I somehow missed all three shots. Weird, huh? You miss the easy ones and make the long hail mary. The best part, aside from knocking a duck silly at long range, was that I got birds to turn and check out my dekes. So rewarding. I'm getting better I guess or the ducks today were total idiots.

Well, if anyone is actually reading this, Happy Fucking New Year!

Peace out, bitches!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

We find if we gift them with a past...

So Christmas has come and gone and I can't be happier. It is always a season of weirdness for me and it now has the added bonus of being tinged with bittersweet memories of my failed marriage. Ah yes, it would be all too easy to spend the Christmas bit of the year holed up at Tortuga, nursing one gin and tonic after another while pretending to peruse the LA Times. Nope, not this year. This year I cooked and was social and it wasn't bad. I did ruin the oyster stuffing but hey, shit happens. The duck came out great and the wild rice was good and who doesn't like green beans?

Since then I've been up to Kern National Wildlife Refuge and gotten skunked on ducks. Melah and I didn't even get called in the sweat line until almost 10am. We walked a mile and found the crappiest blind I've ever seen. It looked like Ghost made it. As a joke. We posted up and called and called but to no avail. I got one high crossing shot on a Shoveler but the blind was so small and piss poorly made that maneuvering for a shot was well nigh impossible. A couple of canvassbacks came through but hey, you still can't kill 'em! All in all, interesting and I'll head up there again in the hope of getting a good spot.

What else? Saw Slumdog Millionaire and loved it even though it's got problems. I'm heading out to San Jacinto tomorrow morning to try and shoot a duck before the year ends. We'll see, we'll see. 

Peace out, bitches!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Energy, energy? Energy is, is, it's nothing more than a lot of new age hokum masquerading as spirituality.

The following is a true account of my 26 hour day. Well, it's about as true as I can make it in its retelling as the details are getting a little hazy, even at only a few hours removed from the experience. It's so odd how memory turns to mercury as soon as it's made and events that seemed certain to be seared into the old cerebral cortex begin to run away and blend and separate. I suppose countering that process is the point of a journal or a blog or any art form although I think, in the end, it's pointless. You'll never really catch the mercury, it'll just go wherever it wants to go and probably end up poisoning you if you mess with it too much. Ah, the tenuous structure of this particular metaphor has snapped! On with the telling of the tale.

12am- wake up after a fitful night of sleep and dreams of drowning in waders.
12:30am- almost open up Melah's present from me- an electric water heater for tea. Why? Because at 12:30am making tea in a sauce pan is annoying.
1am- Out the door!
1:15am- Out of gas! Limp into the Chevron and buy a homeless guy a Whopper and myself ten chicken nuggets and wonder if this is going to affect my shooting ability. (Spoiler: it didn't. I ruined my shooting ability the first time I picked up a gun.)
2:35am- Made it to San Jacinto Wildlife Area in record time! Speed metal and mate are a brutally affective combination when one needs to drive a long way in the wee hours of the night/morning.
2:45am- Tenth guy through the gate. Behind me are approximately one hundred crazed duck hunters. How big is this place anyway?
3am- Let the chaos begin! Reserved spots first. Did all fifty show up? Hope not as there are a ton of us in the "sweat line" anxiously praying that no one on the res list showed up.
4am- Res list done! Thirty-two spots are open! Hazzah! Oh wait, there are seriously two hundred guys in Realtree Duckblind Camo behind me. This could get ugly.
4:15am- Seventh guy called out of the sweat line! Score! I am going to blast some damn ducks today! Well, eventually. You can't actually start shooting until 6:15am. What time is it?
4:17am- I. Have. No. Cash. Crushing blow. Wait! There's an ATM at the gas station down the road! 
4:25am- It's amazing how fast you drive down a pitch black dirt "road" in an Element when you're properly motivated. No one can believe I'm back so fast. They all begin looking at me a little differently.
4:28am- "Ohhhh, Walker 8. Yeah, good luck. That's a tough pit blind. I'm sure you'll be fine." I hear someone behind me chuckle.
5am- On the road, looking for my blind. It's dark and there are three foot deep potholes and mud baths for the car. Cuidado, piso mojado.
5:15am- Park. Scout. Half mile to the pit. Water everywhere and no light. Good times. I slip into the waders, put on all the clothes I have and still shiver. Hoist the decoys onto my back, pick up the Stoeger and the blind bag and away we go. 
5:17am- Where are the keys? Good thing I have a dork light on my head. Keys are underneath the car somehow but all is well.
5:45am- Did I really just spend half an hour humping all of this crap out to a little dark island only to find my pit blind is half full of what is probably rancid, bug infested water? Yes. Yes I did. God help me, I'm having fun.
6am- Decoys set up in a very convincing crescent with the open end facing... oops, facing me not the wind.
6:15am- After the mad dash to reconfigure the decoy spread I fall flat on my face trying to run through shin deep mud while wearing waders. Momentarily consider that I've crushed my iPhone but am roused to get into my pit as every gun around me simultaneously opens up at precisely 6:15am. It almost sounds rehearsed. 
6:20am- Fired two shots at ghost like images screeching past me and was blinded by my own muzzle flash. It occurs to me that I can't really see so I probably should stop shooting and enjoy the sounds of the guns of Navarone around me. Are these guys using night vision goggles?
7am- Almost lulled to sleep by the incessant sound of Black Cloud rounds going off. The sun is coming up and I can now see that I'm surrounded. There are shooting positions at a safe distance from me but I am surrounded. No wonder you don't get too many shots from this damn blind! Fuck! Oh well, I'm here so I might as well get comfortable and see what happens. While adjusting my face mask I realize it doesn't work with glasses- they fog up instantly. I pull the mask off and promptly drop my duck calls into the pit blind "soup." They are done for the day.
7:12am- What am I doing here again? No calls, no shots, no where dry to sit. I think I've gone mad as I'm still enjoying myself. Sip some mate, watch birds get knocked down all around me and wonder what it's like to be a duck hunter.
7:30am- Mate makes me pee. A lot. I don't know how I forgot that but now I find myself in desperate need of a urinal. Ah, I'm standing in one! Perfect.
7:47am- Finally out of the waders, camo jacket, sweater, long sleeve shirt, Under Armor, and everything else in the way. Sweet relief. Good thing I didn't try to use my calls as I'm positive I'm not the first one to pee in the pit blind of shame.
8:30am- Two beautiful birds pull up right in the middle of the spread! So gorgeous! I can't possibly be allowed to shoot these things, right?! Camo helps in opening blind bag and getting the Field Guide to North American Ducks that I just bought. It's laminated so it can go where the ducks go! By the time I realize I'm looking at an easy double on a pair of Greenwing Teal they've both didi'd. They went from an easy 15 yard double to an impossible 60 yard dream deferred. Wonder again what it's like to be a duck hunter.
8:45am- Ducks on the wire at 40 yards and more. No hope in hell but rounds are fired anyway just to show the other guys that the idiot in Walker 8 is serious. Serious but not good.
9:30am- Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's a flight of endangered Canvassbacks headed straight for my head! If I hadn't waved them off they would have landed right on me. Too bad you can't shoot them.
9:45am- Crazed looking duck plops into spread. Again, can't decide what to do and must consult Guide. In the meantime the Northern Shoveler that I should have popped has bailed out for greener and safer pastures. Fuck!
10am- Begin thinking about bailing but don't as everyone else is leaving. This might work to my advantage.
11am- It didn't.
11:30am- Decoys in bag, gun and gear on back. Faceplant on the way off the island. Wonder if iPhone is now crushed and wet. Also, what is it really like to be a duck hunter?
12pm- In my car. iPhone is dry and intact. Gun is stowed away. Gear is stowed away. Ego has been kept firmly in check.
1pm- Still driving. Will continue until I reach home or pass out from being oddly exhausted for having sat on my ass all morning in a wet pit.
2pm- Home! Sweet baby Jesus, it is good to be home. Except I can't stay as there is a Christmas party/birthday party for Vincent tonight. Damn. Quick tuna fish sandwich and some Peligrino and I'm out.
4pm- Showered finally! Happy and warm at Melah's house. Where's the party? Ah, one block away from my house, where I just was. Traffic is so bad it's kind of funny. Melah is off to her weird friend's house and we'll meet up later. Cool.
5pm- Driving and contemplating never coming back to civilization again. Was actually happier in the pit blind not shooting at ducks.
6pm- At the party! At this point I've been up way too long but oh well, must have a tequila shot with the Frenchman. It is his birthday, after all.
7pm- Stuffed. So stuffed. And getting drunk. Must apply brakes. Melah shows up at the same time I'm getting ready to pass out.
7:30pm- Rally! Hey, it's a party! Someone kill me, I am too tired for this.
9pm- No, seriously, the only thing keeping me on my feet is that I'm in constant motion grabbing beers, playing with the kids, anything to stay awake.
10pm- Oh joy of joys! Vinnie Vodka is in the house and too drunk to carry his invalid mother in law down the stairs so Jeff (hurt ribs) and me (exhausted) are volunteered to help out. In the rain. Good times. We carry her down the stairs, get her into the car, and then follow it to Vincent's house. So glad I have all my hunting gear in the car as I'm now wearing a super fashionable Mossy Oak New Break Up camo rain pullover. Keeps you dry and doesn't spook the game!
11pm- Saying goodbyes to Melah and Little Half-Dead Ani. For some reason I'm staying on for "one more beer." I have missed all of these people.

12am-Done. Off to Melah's and sleep. Oh wait, must pick up dogs at my house. Left them inside while at party so they wouldn't hang out in the rain in Melah's backyard.
12:15am- Dog puke is so cool.
12:45am- Pull up to Popeye's. Why? I don't know. I'm part black?
1:20am- Fast food? Not in the hood. These motherfuckers don't give a fuck. Slowest fast food experience ever and I think, if they could've, they would have thrown the food at all of us as we drove up.
2am- Pass out finally while watching Melah wrap presents. Wonder how long the midget will believe in Santa Claus. Sleep is nice.

Peace out, bitches!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Say, boy - does you do this constantly?

It's 5:30pm and I'm going to sleep in about half an hour. Yep, I'm going to sleep super early because I am getting up super early and going duck hunting. Christmas Eve? Bah humbug! Awaking at midnight and driving through the dark for an hour? Yeah, so what? Freezing cold duck blind in the dark? Hey, I get to watch the sun come up from a muddy marsh! I think it's official: I've gone bonkers. All I think about lately are duck decoys, warm camo jackets, and duck call practice. Well, I also dream about surfing almost every night as it has been raining and/or flat out here in Cali for ages. I've got ducks on the brain and am going to try to hunt as much as possible in the coming weeks. San Jacinto Wildlife Area in Riverside County tomorrow and up to Kern National Wildlife Area for the weekend. Ducks on Saturday and quail on Sunday, sounds good, yeah? I'll even wear some aluminum foil on my head so the CIA can't scan my brain!

Check this out, it's funny and Peace out, bitches!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Well, you can tell Lt. Dickinson from me, he couldn't hit a bull in the butt with a bass fiddle.

Oh rainy Monday morning and two dogs! Not a particularly good way to start a week but so be it, bro. I'm watching Sibel's dog Lady for the week and she and Ghost get on like, well, Ghost and anyone else I guess. It'll be quiet for a little while and then the hounds of hell go all yappy and barky and I start looking for my gun but eventually they quiet down again. No one gets hurt but I have lost several plants and glasses in the past.

I went duck hunting on Sunday. No that's not true. I drove out to a duck hunting spot and found out that you can't shoot waterfowl on Sunday. Nice leisurely drive at 5 in the morning with a knocked out girlfriend in the front seat and we can't shoot? Awesome. I should get my own column in Field & Stream with the amount of silly shit that has happened this season. Head to head with Bill Heavey for who is the worst urban hunter on Earth. He'll beat me but not for lack of trying on my part. Anywhat, we got out there and it was drop dead gorgeous. Sun coming up on the mountain, low lying fog beginning to cook off, ducks everywhere, and you couldn't really tell you were smack dab in the middle of horrible suburban development. We set up decoys and sat in a blind and talked and called ducks and ate salami and Manchego and bread while sipping matte. I totally love Melah. She's the first woman I've ever been with who would ever dream of doing something like that. She even shot photos of me getting stuck in the mud and almost falling over. She tried to scare the birds into flying. She looked so cute in her ghilli jacket. She never ceases to amaze me.

I'm going to go out Wednesday morning. I hear it's some sort of holiday so I'm expecting the hunting pressure to be low so maybe this time I'll actually get a duck. Fuck.

Peace out, bitches!

Friday, December 19, 2008

I feel you will have to deal with this matter in the harshest possible way, Mr. Torrance.

What a week! What a fucking week! As of the last entry in this collection of bullshit and mendacity I went to Las Vegas for one night and didn't die, operated on a big budget commercial and didn't get fired, and successfully navigated a slightly drunken conversation with a very drunk agent (who might rep me one day). Be-fucking-zare!

There are no photos from Vegas as no one, myself included, was in any shape or mood to document the depravity that we both instigated and observed. Suffice it to say, booze was boozed and banned substances were consumed and transported across state lines. No firearms, explosives, or hookers were utilized but according to my sources, immediately preceding my arrival several strippers were somewhat amused. Seacrest out.

The first photo is of me reacting to the news that I was going to spend part of my operating day watching paint dry. Damn paint company commercials. The second photo is of me actually watching, and photographing, paint drying. Only in America, my friends! Only in America! The next photo is only amusing to camera assistants. I think. I dunno, it seems universally funny but what the hell do I know. Anyway, we bashed two cameras together and shot a guy talking about the glories of Sherwin Williams paint and had to take various parts of the cameras apart to get them this close. Good times.

The final photo shows me in the Oval Office. What? You thought a Creole wouldn't get there first?

Peace out, bitches!

Friday, December 12, 2008

NIce moves, Rosewood. You're some kind of cop!

Surfed all morning and loved it! Chest high waves and my 9' long board and hardly any one out. So nice, so very nice. And so very remote a memory now that we're stuck here at Panavision after-hours. Yep, camera order was called in late and has been continually changing as we're trying to prep everything. We just added a camera at 6pm because we're total idiots. No, not really, we just follow orders like good little numb-nut mullets. It's a pointless job but someones got to do it. Even Ghost is bored.

Anyway, I spent the last two days operating a camera while being paid as a first AC. Difference in day rate? About $600. A day. Yeah, I'm "production friendly" as they say. I think I'm just a sap with a tool belt and I end up agreeing to shit just so I can get through the job at hand and hopefully get the next job. I had three cameras worth of shit (that's a lot, sort of the ten pounds of shit in a five pound bag type of thing) and two cameras worth of crew. Then I got stuck operating, which is cool and shows that my boss trusts me, but that made us even more shorthanded. We ran around like lunatics and my two seconds lost their goddamn minds and started making really dumb mistakes but we somehow muddled through. I wigged out on day two because we had to loose a first AC and a second because we lost our third camera. We still didn't have enough guys so at lunch I walked into the production office and told them they were in violation of their contract with Local 600 since 1) they had me operating but were paying me as a 1st AC, 2) they had the loader working as a first while being paid as a loader (he is actually a 1st AC but was bored so took the loader job), 3) two cameras means two 1st ACs and we really only had one, and finally 4) we're on a unionized lot (Warner Bros) and would they like me to call the shop steward or would they prefer to bump my loader up to a 1st AC rate and get me a loader? My leverage was that not only would I not report them but I'd forgo my rate hike. I'm a nice boss, huh? No, I'm an idiot but at least I got my guys paid and got the manpower we needed. For my troubles I got sent up into the freezing night sky in a Condor to shoot an overhead shot that took about an hour to set up. I had to hang halfway out of the Condor to operate and then my buddy and I smoked cigarettes and tried not to fall asleep or freeze while they set up the shot. Good times. It's great being a 1st AC and afraid of heights and constantly "volunteered" to go up high. Like I said, it's a pointless job but someones got to do it or else the terrorists will win.

Headed to Vegas in the morning for some fear and loathing with my boy T-Money. He turns 40 and we're all going big and dumb in the desert. I'm bringing a Koran, a Bible, the Torah, some sayings of the Buddha, and all manner of talismans and lucky rabbits feet in an effort to ward off the bad juju I can see on the horizon. Kalima, shakti day!

Peace out, bitches!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Wheat... lots of wheat... fields of wheat... a tremendous amount of wheat...

Six shots were fired, four quail and a cottontail rabbit narrowly escaped death while one quail met his maker. Several miles both horizontal and vertical were traversed and one of the three didn't fire his weapon at all. Not bad for our first time out in several years. In the end everyone, especially the dog, had a good time even though the museum that looked like Jabba's crib was closed. Off to work for the next few days and then a 40th birthday party in Las Vegas with a crew of dangerous pirates and gadflys. No good shall come of this but the photos might be worthwhile.

Peace out, bitches!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

What's the use of worrying about your beard when your head's about to be taken?

Too bad this wasn't done right away and then put out everywhere. Why anyone thinks Web delivery is actually effective is beyond me. Anyway, went hunting today and took Ani and it was hilarious. Saw a bunch of birds but it's a little tough to run down hardcore desert birds with a seven year old in tow. I'll be back on Sunday though, with some proper criminals.

Peace out, bitches!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Rrrrrrringspot! One-sa, two-sa, zig-zag-zav, poptie, gimmega, tin-lie, tav, harem, scarem, moychan, tarem, tare, tore...

So the report said it was going to be head high surf and nice conditions. The reality, the real reality of it, was overcast to the point of being nighttime and the waves were about knee high. About. Bitterly disappointed, I walked the dog and tried to decide what to do with my truncated day. The problem was/is/will be that I have a 3am call for a K-Mart commercial tomorrow so not a lot of time in the day as I need to be asleep now (it's 5:30pm). I did come up with a brilliant plan: I drove an hour out of my way to Bass Pro Shop and dicked around for awhile in the hunting department. I talked every one's ears off about duck hunting and came away with this realization: most of what I knew about duck hunting was bullshit. You totally don't need a million decoys, a boat, a dog, bags, game carriers, decoy leads, and all of the other shite I was being hawked at Bass. You really just need some good camo, patience, and a duck call. So I bought a duck call and I can't stop fucking with it. It's so fun! I had no idea that making duck sounds could be so rewarding. Not only is it loud and somewhat obnoxious, but the dog loves it and I look like a lunatic doing it. We went down to the LA River while doing laundry, that's right, Ghost and I do laundry together, and I tried talking to the resident LA dirtbag mallards and they actually responded. I just got this thing! I seriously can't wait to try it out for real on Wednesday. I think I'm going to drive down to San Jacinto and scout the duck ponds and maybe try to call some ducks and figure out if I actually need to invest sixty-some dollars in decoys and their assorted accoutrements. Damn, I ain't shot shit this season but I'm learning a ton and getting more days in the field than I have in the last couple of years. Who says you have to grow up?

Oh yeah, best thing ever: Los Hermanos Abdul-Wahid are going quail hunting this Sunday. Booyah!
Peace out, bitches!