A day in the woods and turkeys spotted but not shot. Quail for days. Deer around every corner. Foxes and coyotes cavorting with an army of groundhogs and squirrels and always the incessant chatter of the non-game warblers and finches and who knows what else. I love being out of town and in the woods. Gets you back to normal. Yeah, the ex wants a gang of money she totally doesn't deserve and I don't really have but hey, fuck it, I'm in the woods with my girl. Just booked a few days of work for next week and maybe I'll go turkey hunting after that, right? Fuck it, I'm in the woods! I wish you all could experience this as it makes my heart soar like an eagle being out here. When I die, if I die, I don't know yet if I really want to, bury me in the Los Padres National Forest with no marker. The only way to visit will be to wander around in the great outdoors wondering if you've pissed on my grave.
Outstanding. Ex-wife emails- I want three months of alimony right now. If I pay her, I'm broke. Recession, people! Not much work. Good times.
Drive for hours, arrive at ranger station. Good news? Nope, forest burnt then it rained so 75% of the forest is closed. Closed to everything including busting turkeys except for one tiny little bit. Near King City. Not near Monterey. Good times.
Went to the Monterey Aquarium instead of driving around looking for BLM property. Here are some photos of things that made me feel better.
Who knew? A nice new pair of Anthony Van Englen skate shoes from Vans and all of a sudden I'm skating all over creation. Good times! A new pair of shoes and I'm finally out of my skate doldrums. Here's to breaking a board on a railslide!
In other news, off to shoot a turkey tomorrow morning. Got my gear together in the front room and it's off to King City to pick up a quad map atlas of the northern part of the Los Padres National Forest. Hopefully by around noon tomorrow I'll be happily sitting in the woods with Melah, calling for turkeys. Hell yeah.
Ah yes, the joy and the pain of being around other people: yesterday ex-pro surfer Brad Gerlach surfed crappy waves at El Porto right next to me. He rips. He inspired me to rip. Joy. A seven year old and a ten year old tried my patience all day by asking me annoying questions and fighting over kid-crap. Pain. What a strange day. Went to a high school play of Moliere's "The Learned Ladies" and it was really good and made me believe in the power of art in kid's lives. Joy.
Today is off to a good start but still keeping in the joy/pain dichotomy: longboards at dawn with every kook and old fart in the southland. The waves were fun and the sun was shining and the water was nice and cold. Perfect for longboarding except for the numerous menaces who shouldn't have been anywhere near anyone else and the old bastards who paddled for every wave but never caught any. Joy and pain so closely intertwined it was actually invigorating. I got several really good set waves and some smaller goof-ball waves and had fun. Call it a day and now I get to go to a afternoon party and then off to a free show to shoot photos. Art fags away! I think I'll buy a new pair of skate shoes, too. That might be the thing I need to get me back on my board pushing around like an old fat fuck. Good times.
This time Monday and I'm sitting in the woods trying to pop a turkey. I'm sure Buddha will provide.
I fucking hate AT&T and all things corporate related: dehumanized and dehumanizing, automated and ridiculous, unhelpful unless it comes to separating you from your money. In short: I closed my account with the assurance that my beloved email address (nah, it's just an address but still!) would remain unchanged. This was a boldfaced lie. I now have to change my email address and then let everyone I know that I've changed the address. This includes Blogger, Facebook, BofA, every magazine I deal with online, several vendors, all of my credit cards, blah, blah, blah. This is so time-consuming and annoying and petty. Had they just told me it would have been a lot easier, I could have said no, I'll keep things the same or at least I wouldn't have been expecting things to be easy. The other thing is, no one at AT&T "customer service" seemed to know why, exactly, I couldn't just keep the address the same. Whatever. Fuck AT&T and AIG and any other corporate entity with an A in their name. Especially those cunts over at BofA! Fuck those guys! And Citibank! Especially those cunts! I'm mad as hell and not going to take it anymore?
Spring Turkey season starts on Saturday and I think my head is going to explode. For the last two months I've been watching and re-watching Primo's "Mastering the Art: Turkey" DVD. For the last two months I've been practicing my mouth calls whenever I'm in my car. For the last two months I've been practicing my friction calls (box and two different slates). For the last two months I've been practicing my locator calls (owl and crow). For the last two months I've been scouring the Internet for info, info, info on tactics and locations and every detail about the habitat and behavior of the Rio Grande subspecies of turkey. My brain is overflowing with information about the wild turkey and I think I'm going crazy. I just want to get out into the woods and see whats what and either fail miserably or bag a turkey. One will do but you can shoot three over the course of the season. It's the suspense that's killing me right now: Will I or won't I get a turkey? Have I actually learned anything with all of this suspect book learnin' or am I going to walk into the spring woods of Monterey and be made a fool of? Who knows? Who cares! I've got full camo, a good gun, and all the turkey gear I need, including a really hilarious decoy set. Stay tuned and we'll all see what happens between March 30th and April 1st. Melah and I are going up to Monterey next week for three days to sit in the woods and make a bunch of turkey noise that will hopefully culminate with a load blast from the FNG and some death flapping from a turkey. Goddammit I'm excited!
Peace out, bitches!
Late night update:
The LA City Council is possibly entertaining the idea of making it impossible to shoot commercials or music videos in LA... in the middle of a recession. Brilliant, fucking-A brilliant! We'll see, we'll see. In the meantime, chew on this courtesy of one K.Hayes et. al.:
I went out last night with my friend Pete the Korean bear and goddammit I want my brain cells back! Par for the course, we drank a little more than we should have and talked about a bunch of serious and stupid shit and had fun. We started at a bar within walking distance of our friend's house but left because this really ridiculously dressed asshole decided he needed more room at the bar. He kept slowly backing into the Korean bear who, thankfully, has turned a new leaf and is a bear of peace. Me, I was down for at least some lemon wedges to the back of the guy's skull but hey, what the fuck do I know? We took off and ended up at the Lodge for Rock and Roll Bingo and ran into the usual cast of ne'er-do-wells and what what and managed to have a really silly time. The only drawback is that we stayed up talking until around 3am and then I had to drive across town and finally, finally I got to sleep. Needless to say today was a total bust- absolute waste of a day but I did manage to clean more of the house up. Ah, the bear is a handful but such a good guy that you just can't say no. That said, I'm going on the wagon and losing weight and joining up with a gym nearby. Time to get back on track, people!
So I found this and thought it was pretty ridiculous:
Seven year olds are not good at challenges and as such The Midget shall no longer be given rental snowboards and boots. Watching a kid cry because they're too lazy or tired or ridiculous to put their own bindings on is about as fun as a root canal. Not up to the challenge? No problem, more than happy to leave you at home or rent you a pair of skis... next season. We talked to one of the snowboard teachers and realized that The Midget needs some serious stamina training over the next few months. Swim lessons? Check. She seems to like that. Dance lessons? Check. You don't have to be that athletict to have fun running around like a jackass. Gymnastics? Personally, I don't see it happening but hey, I'll happily be proven wrong. Either way this kid needs to stop watching TV and sitting on her ass complaining. Seven is a perfectly good time to start getting in some semblance of shape.
The basic problem is that The Midget is not really into "challenges." If it's hard she pretty much doesn't want to do it or she cries until someone does it for her. She doesn't have that general attitude of trying to overcome things so much as she wants it all to be easy. Interesting as she's not old enough to have done enough to have decided that that's how it should be. I guess some people are genetically lazy or predisposed to being spoiled. I just don't know but it is bizarre to watch.
On a more interesting note: My pal Lisa sent me something very funny from the maker of "Drinking out of cups." Behold the genius of Dan Deacon!
Music videos are the stupidest things in the world and how they get funded in this day and age is beyond me. At least Mandy Moore was nice and easy to work with. She's actually attractive in real life and tall, both unusual for famous people. We shot in a dojo owned by the best martial arts goofball in the US of A. Nice guy but a little self-absorbed. Apparently he helped Robert Downey Jr. get out of the various bottles he was stuck in so there's that. Anywhat, the video was shot on a Phantom HD camera which is a digital camera designed to shoot at ridiculous speed. It's not too good when you're trying to shoot a bunch of shots at 24fps: the camera needs constant babying and heats up and doesn't have a lot of the features that a real camera needs. Overall the camera is cool but not for this application so the day was made longer than need be and we were underpaid and I was short a guy. Nice. The director was a bit of a spazz but too young to really be of any threat. He was shocked when I told him, roughly, how many videos I'd worked on. I love doing that to directors, making them realize that there are people out there who have a shitload more experience than them. Keeps them honest or at least out of my way.
In other news, my friend's father is dying soon. My friend left this morning for New Orleans to say goodbye. The fact of this makes all of my problems seem rather silly.
Hi to all two or three of you who read this shitty little collection of mediocrity. It's Wednesday, it's sunny, the surf is horrible, the house is still a mess, and I've got a job. It ain't a good job. I don't really need the money. It's a fucking Mandy Moore video fer Chrissakes! The only reason I'm putting up with what is going to be amateur hour video making is that the DP is a good guy and I like working with him. Ho hum, go for lame. They're paying me cut rate and only a half day today and I have to basically teach myself how to use a high speed HD camera. The guy who'd normally handle all of the computer end of this process can't be bothered to show up. Cool, now I get to do two people's jobs for the price of half of one.
Sunday morning and it's grey and crappy and Mr. Moose was supposed to surf but no one knows where he is and the house is still a mess and the pirate bar ain't even up yet and I don't have any work on the horizon.
Ahhhh! I awoke to Melah and the midget getting ready for school and thought, "How sweet, domestic tranquility." I then proceeded to do my usual morning yoga and decided to start rearranging stuff so I could fully move in. All I can say is I am now more than a little frustrated and I'm going for a surf.
I mean really! Video cassettes with no cases and DVDs from Netflix of movies that came out two years ago and were probably ordered two years ago. DVDs sitting around scratched to hell, dust everywhere. Papers everywhere. Pens! There are enough pens stuck into every nook and cranny in this place to open a fucking Staples. And everywhere little notes and piles of obvious recyclable papers. I don't even know where to start. It makes no sense.
I have stomped on the terra! Also, I've trod upon some recycling, skipped along some junked furniture, and generally began rearranging this mess into a co-mingling of households and sensibilities. The garage doesn't look like much right now but soon, real soon Ralph, it will be a clubhouse. What do you think, pirate theme or hunting lodge theme? Also, Jitlada Thai Food is straight from heaven and if you're in LA go there immediately and order... anything? It's very good and captain insane-o hot. The Mad Turk took me there so you know it's gotta be good.
I woke up at 3am and thought, "What the fuck am I doing with my life?" Yep, early call this morning for a project of eminent cultural import: the president of El Pollo Loco was available for a commercial! Hoorah! Up with America! Damn the recession? Yeah, this was one of those jobs where you show up and realize that you're a fucking mercenary and as long as the kroners/doubloons/pesos/francs/marks/dollars are flowing you will stay. You will stay and jump through flaming hoops, run through a mine field, or jump around like a monkey as the only 1st AC with four cameras. Thank me lucky charms, J-Boogie was there and made it all bearable. It wasn't the worst day but it certainly did blow having to get up before the sun so we could load in and get lit. I personally don't think we needed to be there that early but what the fuck do I know. We came, we saw, and we kicked out a commercial in just under ten hours and I bailed.
Sucks to be me: got home after picking up and dropping off various and sundry bits and pieces of gear and came back to my new home with girlfriend and promptly became depressed. The place is a mess and I have no idea where to start as my idea of firebombing the whole place and then moving my stuff in was met with resistance. I don't know what it is but Melah just didn't like my particular spin on integrating our design ideas. No matter. We sussed it out tonight while being seduced by Bourdain in Vietnam and I now have a nice little list of crap to move prior to going to work tomorrow afternoon. Yay! I have a mission! Like I said, sucks to be going out with me.
Working in an airport is the funniest thing. Everyone there is in transit and looks at a movie crew with the sort of bemused detachment that befits the harried traveler. By this I mean, what better to distract one from the unpleasantness of modern American air travel than a bunch of clowns with lights and cameras and action? We must look like monkeys, recently escaped mendicants, or possibly petty street thugs with nothing to do except muck it all up for everyone else. The people that work at the airport here in Seattle acted like we might be trying to smuggle uranium aboard an outbound flight. We're shooting in a bathroom for fuck's sake! Clearly none of us are of the caliber or in possession of the requisite contacts to even begin to dream about maybe one day doing something that crazy and lucrative. I push the green button and spin the white wheel and someday someone sees the results of this and maybe someone gets and award and maybe not but someone else definitely says, "Fucking boring commercials!"
Ah, at least it's beer-thirty and maybe I'll see something interesting. At the very least I made my shekels, saw some of Seattle, and stayed in a nice hotel. Not bad, not bad at all.
Last night was hilarious! I found a restaurant up here immediately after booking the job. It had received a glowing review in the LA Times food section so, fuck it, why not try it out? Right? Right. Genius move. Cascina Spinasse is one of those crazy finds that leave you feeling like maybe there is such a thing as God and maybe it likes me. Maybe it really likes me! The food was phenomenal! The space is small and cozy and the gaffer and I sat at the marble bar and proceeded to eat like Kings. The kitchen is open and mellow and staffed by several full-on culinary geniuses. I started off with a gin and tonic so good it made me want to slap myself. Aviation Gin, if you can find it, is worth it no matter what they're trying to charge you. Hook it up, for reals. We were given little toast points, two with rabbit liver pate and two with fontina and anchovy and while I normally don't really like anchovy these were so mouthwateringly good I was tempted to ask for another round. I ordered a glass of 2006 Gavi and was pleasantly surprised at its balance of fruitiness and crispness. Goddamn, a good glass of wine is such a wonderful thing and it went really well with the salami and roasted leeks I inhaled. The gaffer ordered a heirloom chicory salad with pheasant reggiano and aged balsamic vinegar and it was beyond good. Both of our starters were lick the plate good. Wine finished and onto a glass of 2007 Arneis that blew me away. Totally different taste than the Gavi of course, and equally well balanced and perfectly matched to the reason I was here: pasta! Wonderful, divine, beautiful handmade fresh pastas! The chef/owner, Justin Neidermeyer, trained in Italy for a year before embarking on becoming an amazing pasta chef. I don't know when he opened Spinasse but it is one of the best Italian joints I've ever been in as it's authentic. Light touches on everything, no heavy sauces and bullshit. It's pure. I ordered the ravioli stuffed with spinach and served up with sage butter and toasted pine nuts. The gaffer got the maltagliati with chickpeas and thick chunks of pancheta. We ate like Kings, I tell ya! At this point I was feeling well stuffed and happy and decided to get dessert: a small chocolate terrine that absolutely killed. Soft, moist, full of chocolate heaven.
Up to this point things were going great. Then this happened:
Yes, that's right, I went and ruined a perfectly good meal by drinking Pastis. It's not that the Pastis was bad or didn't go with the meal. It's more that drinking Pastis leads a man to make bad decisions, which we wholeheartedly proceeded to do. Witness the following photos and know this: we walked everywhere we went, covering some four miles, and we ended the night drinking with the bartenders at a place called The Funhouse. If you have any questions about the following photos please feel free to not ask me and simply make up your own answers.
It's 11am and I find myself in Seattle, Washington on the fifth floor of the Arctic Club Hotel in room 520. I am very pleased with all of this, of course, and am being paid to be here so I'm even financially pleased with all of this.
The Arctic Club is done up, not surprisingly, to look like an explorer's club: large leather seats, excessive black and white portraits of men with moustaches, dark wood, endless maps, etc. I love it, I want to come back here already and I just set foot in the place. I'm now going to explore downtown Seattle and find Pike's Place Market as I'd very much like to intercept a fish.
So Pike's Place Market is one of the coolest places to go if you're hungry and into good, locally made food and spirits. I walked around, fell instantly in love with the place and it's history (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pike_Place_Market), and couldn't decide where to eat. Seriously, you could spend a week, three meals a day, and never eat at the same place. So cool, so local, so good, so what? I decided I'd like to do a sample lunch so I bought a salami from a local producer, cheese made by a bunch of talented women, fresh baked bread, and a glass of PinotGrigio from upstate Washington, and one of the best apples I've ever had. Nice lunch. I sat in a coffee house and listened to some jazz and decided that if global warming helps this place out I might have to move.
So I saw this sign and started salivating but decided that patience was the better option. Perhaps I'll visit the pub a bit later. I do have reservations at an Italian joint later and was told by one of the barristas at one of the six Starbucks I passed that the Funhouse was the place to go. Music and booze in Seattle? What could go wrong?
On Saturday I attended the funeral of an 88 year old man who I had never met. He was a father, grandfather, great-grandfather, war hero, outdoorsman, painter, and a racist. An unrepentant racist, as far as I could tell. His equally old wife is also a racist but she will soon die as well. I was at the funeral because the dead man in question was my girlfriend's grandfather. He apparently never let my girlfriend's black father into his home or spoke to him or acknowledged the marriage and the two children it produced until the marriage ended. Interesting.
According to the people gathered in the hundred year old church in Santa Paula this man was a gentle angel. I wonder how many of them are also consumed by irrational hate.
I also went to a baby shower in Eagle Rock. Strange day, Saturday.