Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I realize how difficult it's going to be in this god-forsaken place where you can't find what you need, but there's the challenge.

My last post was on Monday last week and I haven't the faintest idea what's been happening since. Seriously, I know I worked my ass off for awhile but the specifics of it all are now lost to me. I guess most of it was boring to me and probably to everyone else involved. I'll have to ask next time I see anyone I just worked with. By way of explanation for this lapse in memory, all I can offer is that I've just come out of the forest. Literally. Yes, for the last few days I've been camping out in the Cleveland National Forest north east of San Diego. Camping and hiking and trying to kill a wild turkey, to no avail. I've seen things out there that made me very happy but I've also suffered some what at the hands of Mother Nature. A couple of gashes, severe dehydration, one night spent freezing because my tent is only a three season tent and apparently "spring" in SoCal isn't one of them, and I almost fell to my death after a misstep on a slippery rock overlooking a waterfall. It's funny how fast a ten yard slip while wearing full pack and carrying a shotgun is when compared to the time it takes to climb back up said ten yards when you're completely scared out of your mind and desperately trying not to slip again. I'm filthy, tired, and slightly depressed that so far this spring turkey season it's turkeys 3 and Captain 0. Good times!

On the plus side I had a hen so close to me I could have reached out and petted her if I'd been so inclined. I also caught a horned lizard as he tried to walk over my leg. I saw more humming birds up close and personal than I've ever seen in my life. I listened to songbirds greet the morning from the branches above my head. I've seen more mountain (the big guys) and valley (the slightly smaller but still sizeable guys) quail than I've seen in a long time. I hiked into areas that almost no one ever goes into and covered a shitload of miles and vertical feet. I even had a small herd of deer walk within ten yards and not even notice me. Yeah, I think my camo system is pretty fucking good and I also think I've become patient enough to just sit and let it all wash over me. Granted, one of these days I'm going to blast a turkey or a wild pig or a deer while communing with nature but hey, that's why I'm so quiet.

All in all I learned something: I am more of a woodsman than I thought and a lot tougher than most people know. I am also insanely fucking lucky I didn't fall off, through, or over any of the various dangerous things that came my way. 

I can't wait to do it again this weekend at Ft. Hunter-Liggett.

Here are some photos:

Peace out, bitches!

Monday, April 20, 2009

I'd rather be a cockroach on a baseboard up here than the Emperor of Mississippi.

I surfed two sessions today and that completely makes up for just about everything else in my life that ain't up to par. Perfect Cali long boarding day: sunny and hot, waist high peelers up and down the coast, and the water was crystal clear and 60°. The morning session waves weren't as good as the afternoon glass off but dammit if it weren't fun! I basically surfed the south side of the breakwater at El Porto by myself for two hours and enjoyed every single moment of the experience. If you aren't familiar with the breakwater at El Porto it's the spot with the crazy looking red and white smokestacks on the shoreline. Looks sketchy but it's consistently rated an A+ for water cleanliness. Nice, eh? Post-surf I walked the dog up and down the coast for a bit and then made the long, shirt-sticking-to-your-back drive to the deep valley to prep a camera. Good times. Production had called me on Sunday to let me know when to be at the camera house. Interesting, I've never had that happen before and it sort of foreshadowed the ineptitude of the production staff. They actually asked me what a remote camera control was, as if they'd never heard of one before. Not good, not good at all. We'll see what happens tomorrow. Anywhat, after waiting for a camera for two hours Kate v2.0 and I finally got through the camera package, despite the slowest prep tech in Hollywood gumming up the works. Dammit, that guy was slow.

Ghost and I drove off into the sunset and stopped just prior to hitting the water and surfed again. Well, I surfed and homeboy chilled out in the shade in the car. The waves were better and it was more crowded but I kind of rip these days so I basically out surfed everyone around me. Good times. Granted, the waves were only waist/chest high but at low tide they're kind of zippy at Porto and most of the people around me either had the wrong board or didn't know what they were doing. When it's like that, summer crowded, it's very satisfying to surf around and through a crowd of buffoons trying to get back onto their boards. Turn a 9' board on a dime so you don't hit someone? The look of terror in the eyes of the guy in front of you is hilarious. I am such a dick.

Anyway, off to make turkey tacos for dinner! Tomorrow it's off to surf for awhile and then I have an 11:30am call for a Target commercial. Yep, Target because when the economy is tanking and you just have to have that crappy plastic thing Target is there for you! Cheap stuff for sale! Stop at McDonald's on the way out! Drive a big SUV back to your soon to be repossessed house! America #1!

At least the check won't bounce.

Ha! Here's a really silly photo of me and Crille at work from Saturday. I think we look ridiculous.

Peace out, bitches!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

I'm not going to waste my time arguing with a man who's lining up to be a hot lunch.

I am exhausted and quite ready to launch a revolution of some sort against, well, whatever you've got. A million days of work in a row and most of it was really, really silly. I got home at 1:30am after having watched five fights while shooting downtown, spent a million hours lighting a green screen rig, and then I spent the day riding a surfboard and doing laundry and hanging by a pool. Not too fucking bad. The last hour has been spent madly trying to get the Midget fed and to bed and then there's laundry to put away and Melah to get slightly drunk so she'll relax. What a lovely life.

Four more days of hell work to go starting at 9am tomorrow and then I hope to be tucked into the shade of a tree somewhere in Ft. Hunter Liggett, killing a turkey.

Peace out, bitches.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Then the entertainment industry really *is* out to get Spike Lee? Come on man! Even Cher's won an Oscar! Cher!

Anyone else notice that as soon as the economy went bad Goldman Sachs was bailed out by its ex-Prez? Anyone else notice that the economy was "sailing smoothly" until right before it was time for Bush et. al. to get the boot? Anyone, anyone? I like that it's all Obama's fault and there are now a bunch of dumpy racists and assorted imbeciles out "teabagging"? Do they know what that means? Another question, not that I have any answers, do they understand that none of them are going to be affected by Obama's "tax hike" as they're all poor working class jackasses just like me? They're doing the work of the British Empire not the patriots, if we're going to keep going with the tortured analogy of this whole thing. Whatever, I love that Glenn Beck and the rest of the Klan members at Fox News have staged their own little pity party. What a bunch of dicks. Oh, and fuck Obama's dog, who really cares if the dog is a rescue or a fucking gift from the last in a long line of rum runners. (Nah, just kidding. The Kennedys, great bunch of uptight white pricks. Love 'em!) Seriously, how many of the assholes on the right and nut job left who are complaining about the fucking dog have a rescue dog or have given money to the SPCA? I'm willing to bet none of them, none of 'em!

OK, I made really good meatballs and marinara tonight and now I'm going to enjoy a bottle of Toad Hollow Chardonnay with Melah. Y'all can show yerselves out.

Peace out, bitches!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn.

Working is increasingly a source of humor for me. After ten years (Ten?! God, I'm old.) I've seen the same personality types, if not the same people, make the same damn mistakes over and over again. It's funny now but it used to be frustrating, back when I gave a shit. I know I'm good, I care when I care, and if I don't care I still compete with myself enough to stay focused (Ha! 1st AC humor) but honestly, I can see it coming but because I'm "just" an AC I can't say anything. Oh sure, I can talk to some DPs and directors but most of the time you have to sit there and grin and bare it while watching the captain drive the boat into the iceberg. Today wasn't any different. We had the hot new digital camera d'jour and everyone in charge spent most of the day freaking out about the thing. So stupid. If you don't know how to use something don't start worrying about it if the guy you hired isn't worried. The problem with digital cameras is that every jack ass with a Mac or an iPhone thinks he/she knows something. You know, it's all digital so it all works the same, right? My answer is usually something along the lines of "Go. Fuck. Yourself." At least this one didn't go for a million hours, just an annoyingly complicated twelve. On a very small stage. Green screen and boring. Anyway, it's done and I'm home and Melah is watching "Gone With the Wind." Please God or Satan or whoever, strike my TV down now.

Peace out, bitches!

Monday, April 13, 2009

You Americans, you're all the same. Always overdressing for the wrong occasions.

So I did a commercial on Thursday and Friday and somehow the production company lost the tapes. Or at least, I think they lost the tapes as the dupe house is calling me. My name is apparently the only one on any internal paperwork as our original dupe house gave the job to one of its subsidiaries and the subs have no idea what anyone wants or who gets the tapes or who is going to pay the bills. Interesting, very interesting. I ducked and let the shit roll further downhill. I shall now be ignoring all unknown numbers and emails until my check shows up. Yep, that's the plan, ignore and evade until paid.

I am now a Red Cam pro. I spent all day learning how the damn thing works and getting it all dialed in for tomorrow. Yay. I learned how to use a really annoying camera. Yay. I'm really putting my college education to use. Yay.

I come up for air on Wednesday. If you still believe in God (ya sap!), pray for me.

Peace out, bitches!

I said, do you think they give a damn about their bills in Russia!

Ha! I don't owe Uncle Sam a dime! Ha ha! Take that institution of marriage!

What else? Oh yeah, the Midget and Melah are back in school so the mutt and I have the run of the house. Yes! Punk rock and spicy cooking are back in effect. 

Doc and I went and shot clays yesterday and goddamn that kid can shoot! He hasn't fired a weapon in at least three years and he was knocking 'em down at a pretty good clip. We drove out into the Mojave near Palmtucky (aka Palmdale, CA) and were stunned at the amount of development in the area. So sad. Sprawl, environmental degradation, and tons of foreclosures. Good thinking, people. Build a bunch of shoddy houses out in an arid desert and then screw everyone out of their jobs and wonder why the area is wilting.

Off to work on another annoying Red camera job and then Swedish DP is back in town and we do a two day commercial. Yay! Hopefully this won't be as much of a ball buster week as last week was. Easy money is just so much more fun.

Ha! I'm going to clean my shotguns on the living room table right the fuck now! No one can stop me!

Peace out, bitches!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

You know, sometimes when a person don't know what to do, the best thing is to just stand still.

I've worked all week and all I can say is the money almost makes it worth the heartache. We made a video for the most plain-Jane-vanilla English girl I've ever met, changed camera packages a million times, worked with grumpy-ass Maria Sharapova on a shampoo commercial, and then couldn't find a non-crowded non-idiot filled bar. All in all this has been an incredibly long and annoying week of digital production. First two Red cameras on an all day music video and the problems that go with those damn cameras. Then the prep that wouldn't start and then wouldn't end as the director and the DP couldn't figure out what camera they wanted to use. Awesome. Film? Sure, oh no, wait, I meant digital. Not that digital camera, the other one! No the one next to it, yeah, sure, that one. What? Nevermind. Just get the biggest and oldest camera you can find. The only good part of the last three days is that we did a ton of OT, double time even and so I'm going to make quite a bit of money. Go for paying bills!

Tomorrow I'm off to the accountants solo-style for the first time in ages. No one else's fucking taxes to pay, just me. Maybe this time I won't owe any money. That would be nice. I think I'll go for a hike, too. If Melah doesn't keel over from eating at a sushi joint while I was at work I'll take her. Yeah, that's right, the woman who is allergic to fish insisted on going out and eating sushi and ate an eel. Poor thing. I suggest you all look her up and mock her all day tomorrow.

Peace out, bitches!

Monday, April 6, 2009

The world isn't run by weapons anymore, or energy, or money. It's run by little ones and zeroes, little bits of data. It's all just electrons.

Gosh what a wonderful world we live in!
Here's a quick recap of my week:
Wednesday- Wild Turkeys: 1, Hassan: 0. No turkey in the pot and no turkeys anywhere where we set up, twice. We saw some but they were, of course, where we couldn't shoot them. And people say turkeys are dumb, ha! Try hunting them on public land. No guide, no idea, no hope. C'est la vie. The hiking was fun and the scenery was awesome and I put a hot one down on a cotton tail but a turkey would have been nice. We tried going to a nice restaurant and got skunked. Monterey is not a good place to eat unless you want pizza (found a really nice family-owned joint named Gianni's) or fried seafood. Our food was so bad that we got our actual meal at Denny's, across the street. What the fuck?!

We got up, we packed, we bailed. The drive was nice but there was quite a bit of traffic and by the time we got to SF we were hungry. I used to live in SF and while I lived there I used to eat at a super amazing tapas place called Esperento. That was ten years ago. The place is still there and we ate there and it was amazing. Just as good as it used to be and we finally had good tapas.
Melah got a mimosa. We had to get Ani so off to Oakland airport we go. Not a problem, no traffic no worries and for the first time ever I didn't get lost in the East Bay! Go Google! We picked Ani up and she was glowing from her first solo flight ever. So funny. With Ani in tow we started off on the impossibly long drive to visit with Melah's cousins in Sebastopol. Traffic traffic traffic oh god the traffic. We pulled into town at around 6pm and lordy, we were tired. The town is cute and bucolic and artsy and safe and fun. There's an amazing sushi joint in Sebastopol called Sushi Tozai where we  gorged ourselves along with Mona and her man and Melah's cousin's wife. Turns out Ani is allergic to shrimp. Who knew? Bedtime!

I had planned to get up early and try to hunt turkey again before we headed out to SF but instead I dreamt that I drowned in the dark while duck hunting. It was cold and dark and my head lamp went out as I touched the bottom of a very deep lake. I was all alone and no one even knew where I was. I woke up at about 3am and was so freaked out that I decided to sleep in and stay safe in bed. Damn turkeys.


Awoke at a reasonable time and went out for breakfast in downtown Sebastopol and ate at East West Cafe. Good stuff but no kid's menu so Ani ordered too much food and didn't eat it, of course. I had lamb, hummus, and pita followed by french toast because I am a totally fat douche bag. Damn, the lamb was perfect! OK, enough food! We went wine tasting and ended up finding a bunch of really good wineries and bought some bottles. Beautiful countryside and lots of good architecture and windy roads and good times. We got back home at a relatively reasonable hour and I stuffed the rabbit with onions, prosciutto, and garlic and roasted the whole thing with some butter spread on the outside. Came out great and we brought it over to Melah's aunt and uncle's house across town. They were making homemade pizza and the rabbit didn't really go but everyone seemed to like it. God bless the rabbit. It was awesome hanging out and talking family history with everyone. Sort of felt like I was at my parent's house with all the sibs. Ah, memories!

Up and out, dammit! After a very late start we headed to SF and a good ol' fashioned Mission Burrito. We went to El Balazo in the Mission and I ordered a carne asada burrito the size of a football while Ani and Melah ended up getting nachos. Fools! When in the Mission on a burrito mission you order burritos! They lost but seemed ignorant of their loss. Odd but not my problem. It's funny, when I lived in SF I would eat a Mission Burrito for brunch, skate all day, get drunk, and not eat until the next day. That's what I miss about SF, the time frame of when I was there. Work, skate, drink, work, skate, drink. Good recipe for bliss when you're a twenty-something skate rat but I guess those days are over. Long live Slap!
 We went to the California Academy of the Sciences and I absolutely love that place! This is a photo of their super green, environmentally amazing roof. The windows open and close automatically depending on what the weather is doing. There's no air conditioning and the whole place is cooled and heated by wind and the sun. All the plants are native and low-water consumption and the whole place is surrounded by solar panels. Awesome! There's also a very persuasive global warming presentation and an aquarium exhibit with both coastal Cali environments and a tropical mangrove tank that is remarkable.
Here's Melah posing on the roof.

We also saw the Warhol exhibit across the way at the De Young. Interesting but not that interesting. We found Ani chilling out under some strobe lights watching a Factory movie. Foreshadowing?

We also met up with Melah's cousin Peter who just got out of the dotcom biz and is now doing volunteer work and generally lounging about SF. Good man.

The Korean Bear had the girls so we went out to Alameda and had dinner with him and his two girls and my pals Rachel and Brian showed with their kids. Yeah, five kids and Ani was the oldest at seven. I drank a lot of beer and ate a hot sausage sandwich and tried to steel myself for the mayhem. Five kids and they're all girls? Shoot me. Shoot me now. It was actually fine, I just wouldn't want to hang like that all the time. Sometimes a man's got to get out into the woods or a duck blind or into a bottle of tequila, nahmean?

Up later than we should have gotten up. Oh well, that's why it's a vacation. Into the city to meet Melah's friend Susu and off to breakfast. We wandered around in Hayes Valley for a bit and played on some jungle gym contraption. We also ate at Stacks, which was really good. I was somewhat surprised but hey, that's what makes not going back to a city for ten years so interesting. I managed to sneak away to the Deluxe Skate shop on Main and picked up a Stereo Skateboards video I'd been dying to see and some big, soft, blue wheels to cruise around on. Yay skateboarding!

Home again, home again, lickety-split. Good evening traffic! We took the scenic route along the 101 and had a good time seeing deer and turkey and other things we'd like to eat but couldn't quite get our hands on. To be honest, by the time we pulled in I was dead. I'd driven a billion miles, seen a good chunk of my beloved California, and was tired of the question "How many more minutes til we're there?" and the phrase "I'm just joking." Kids! Ya gotta not kill 'em or tell 'em to shut up!

Jeez! Jokes, people, jokes!

Anyway, we made it and then I woke up and surfed and cleaned the house and prepped a camera and now I'm typing a nice, juicy run on sentence of no great import. Off to work for the next two weeks then, hopefully, back into the woods for a Rio turkey. Wish me luck or I'll fucking kill you. I mean cry like a little baby. I mean...

Peace out, bitches!