Monday, August 31, 2009

The man is clear in his mind, but his soul is mad.

It so much nicer early in the morning. The sun isn't up but Ghost and the Darkness are up. We've eaten and stretched and even dipped our toes/paws into the Intrawebs. It has been decided that surfing is next on the agenda followed by a walk and possibly some sort of responsible cleaning type operation. Whatever happens, it is very quiet right now and the possibilities for the day seem endless. It's a nice feeling. It's what makes getting up early an addictive thing.

Saturday night was spent shooting a music video for a band called Speedbuggy. There were several girls in short shorts with big breasts and easy smiles. There were several guys in their best rockabilly attire. There was a keg and a grill with a seemingly endless supply of dogs. More importantly there was a kick ass crew of true professionals who let me see me in their eyes. It never occurred to me that I was a authority figure until Saturday night. Trained fucking mercenaries looked at me with respect and followed my orders as I placed lights and decided on camera moves. Fucking tension of it all made my shoulders hurt for a day. I know we got a video out of the whole thing and I'm happy about that.

Peace out, bitches!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

You gotta learn right and you gotta learn fast. And any man that doesn't want to cooperate, I'll make him wish he had never been born.

For the last week I've been spending my time of two minds: trying to live the life of the mind by fasting for Ramadan and working on a Butterfinger commercial helmed by a pack of halfwits with Ivy League pedigrees. If you were to sum up my week thus far in one word it would be "thankful."

Yes, thankful. I'm thankful that I've got work, such as it is, and thankful that I have a tattoo on my left wrist that quite simply says "patience." Were it not for this tattoo I suspect that I would have walked out of this job today. Aside from the director and the DP I am surrounded by the barely passable. The list of things left undone, half-done, and/or badly done is too long and bereft of any real comedy that I will simply leave it aside for now. To the uninitiated let me say this, I am working with a group of people who work on low budget films because they are unskilled and undisciplined and yet they wonder why they aren't being offered "bigger" jobs. I watched a man set a stand incorrectly and almost drop something mildly painful on our actor only to turn around and lash into someone else about their job performance. I am without an assistant and am doing the work of two while my DIT sits at his computer, back to the set, and plays backgammon and listens to whatever greasy pony-tail hipsters listen to these days. It is uninspiring work but at least I am being paid tomorrow when we're done.

It's weeks like this that make me truly appreciate my usual co-workers, people who, despite all outward appearances, kick ass and take names and know when to shut the fuck up. I want to quit, I want to get off this job, I want to be out in the woods sitting alone, looking for deer. I. Don't. Want. This. Shit.

Yet here I am and it's Ramadan for the first time in years. So far so good, being tested and maintaining even though all around me is mendacity and mediocrity. I do my breathing exercises and take a nap at lunch and forget for thirty lovely minutes that I am in a soundstage inhabited by a pack of braying asses.

You know, I've never eaten a Butterfinger.

Peace out, bitches!

Monday, August 17, 2009

If there's anything around here more important than my ego, I want it caught and shot now!

I drove four and a half hours to the trail head at the border of the Golden Trout Wilderness in the Sequoia National Forest for nothing.

First I was eaten alive by mosquitoes. My ear has cauliflowered. Actually, a mosquito the size of a Huey took a chunk out of my ear as soon as I stepped off of the parking lot pavement and into the woods. It still hurts.

Then there was the endless stream of hikers who had been in the area for days. Smelly hikers stinking up the woods, scarring the deer hither and thither. They were nice. They told me where they had seen deer tracks which was great as now I knew where the deer weren't.

The meadow I had so painstakingly researched and Googled and studied was gorgeous. It said "Kill deer here" in giant neon letters, forty feet high if an inch, right above the tree line. The only problem? Four hundred head of cattle were currently grazing in it and the surrounding meadows, including the enticingly named Beer Keg Meadow. Net result? No deer. The ranger and his wife were sorry I had walked three miles for nothing and helpfully pointed me in the direction of another set of meadows that were "chock full of all types of wonderful wildlife." How far away, eh? Oh, a simple nine miles further along the ridge line and hey, what's nine plus three? Anyone? Anyone? Twelve, it's twelve miles. One way. I opted to run the ridges surrounding the meadow just in case there were some deaf deer hanging around. There weren't.

Next I spotted a huge coyote that I initially thought was a wolf but only because I was at about 9,000'. It was actually a very uplifting moment as I spotted him on the edge of a clearing 100 yards out. I spotted and stalked him and could have killed him at 40 yards but opted not to do so. I mean, who the fuck kills a coyote? Not a real man, just ask the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

After watching sixteen mosquitoes land on my forearms (I counted!) I decided that running uphill to the car was better than walking as it would keep me from the meat grinder of winged vampires. Winded and tired and happy I walked the last couple of yards and lo and behold, I had a flat. I had somehow rolled over the Sharpest Rock Known To Man and it had done its job quite well. Nothing is as fun as changing a tire at 9,000' when you're tired, hungry, and the sun and temperature are dropping fast. The tire got changed and the gear got stowed and I decided that instead of spending the night I was going back down hill to get the tire fixed in the morning. Good bye deer. Good bye!

I am now in a crappy "river lodge" along the Kern River watching 48 Hours. I ate some of my dehydrated camping food while sitting on the floor and thinking of the opening of Apocalypse Now. I love hunting.

Peace out, bitches!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Monday, August 10, 2009

What the hell do you think Leona really puts in that pizza?

Homemade pizza and a bottle of white wine. I'm happy.

Peace out, bitches!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

You ever feel as if your mind had started to erode?

I think it will all work out in the end and by end I don't mean death. Yes, of course, it sort of works itself out when you die in that you no longer have to work at it any longer so by definition it's worked out but that's not what I mean. Hope. Faith. Words that I used to know but not understand, these are what I'm talking about. I have faith in myself and my family and my lover and my friends. I hope for happiness for all of them and for myself. I'm feeling like I've come to the end of a long and torturous leg of what I hope will be a long journey and I know more now. I understand. I'm not scared anymore of my own shadow or of someone really knowing me. I'm actually happy again!

So raise a glass with me and shout out in glory to God or the Universe or the Great White Stag or the Four Winds or Neptune or whatever your personal totem is and say, "Thank you for letting me be myself again!"

Peace out, bitches!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Yeah, but the thing is, I'm kinda like the leader. Kinda like the king of the dipshits.

John Hughes died. He had a heart attack while walking around in Manhattan. He was only 59. While I didn't know him personally his directorial work and writing during my formative years last century helped mold me into the asshole I am. I'm saddened by his passing for the same reason most people get worked up about someone they didn't know dying: it puts into stark relief the passing of my own time and brings into slightly better focus my eventual dirt nap. I'll be thirty-eight in a minute but I still feel like The Geek from "Sixteen Candles." Weird, isn't it? The way some things just stay with you despite your best efforts at changing them. One day I was sixteen and everything was hugely important and meaningful and possible. Then one day I was thirty-seven and wondering what lay on the other side of forty. The years in between are all marked and 'membered both physically and mentally and emotionally and yet they aren't. I think I've lived two lives and am embarking on a third. The first life was optimistic and naive and fueled by passion and curiosity and ended when I got married. The second life was being married and making a rather miserable go of it because I had quit breathing or thinking or seeing. The third life started when the second imploded and recently I've been able to see it clearly and I'm excited about it as it's got some of that first life to it but informed and tempered by the second. Will there be more lives in my future? Dunno. Don't care. There will or there won't but either way the Dude will abide.

Go out and watch "The Breakfast Club" today and contemplate Gen X and how we've turned out thus far. At some point, raise a glass to John Hughes and thank him for some fine work.
Peace out, bitches!

Monday, August 3, 2009

There is an endless supply of white men. There has always been a limited number of human beings.

I was driving back from the beach along Lincoln, trying to get to the 90 East freeway, when I saw him in the parking lot of a 7 Eleven. It was the hair I noticed first. It was shockingly blond, Renaissance painting blond, smiling cherub from on high blond and the mop of it popped out of the otherwise drab backdrop of a Southern California strip mall. He had the piercing blue eyes of the same angel-parting-the-clouds Michelangelo image and that's when I realized something was very, very wrong. He was quite clearly mad. Mad as in one hand was clenched in the way a child makes a gun while the other hand buzzed around his mop of shinning blond hair and across his lips every few seconds. He was disheveled in the way that the insane often are and filthy. He had a few days growth of beard on him and about twenty or thirty pounds over the legal limit for a cadaver. To say he was gaunt would be an insult to the gaunt. As I sat at the stoplight, exhausted from surfing and pleasantly stuffed with a carne asada quesadilla, he walked in a small agitated and seemingly random pattern. He never managed to make it out of the parking lot while I was at the light but as I drove away I sincerely hoped he would. I hoped he'd make it out of the parking lot and into the arms of a psychiatrist who'd put him somewhere where he could get his meds and a bath.

What really got me thinking was this: was this beautiful boy the poster child for getting people to finally fund mental health care? Crazy blacks and Latinos don't seem to make people care too much. Maybe a whole host of crazy, filthy, and psychotic white kids would motivate the powers that be to finally take care of the weakest amongst us. In LA we didn't officially have a gang problem until a woman was shot in Westwood, near UCLA. Odd isn't it? The poor are left to fend for themselves unless their problems begin to affect the monied classes.

God speed, crazy white boy, God speed.

Peace out, bitches!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The future, Mr. Gitts, the future.

I don't know how long the red tail hawk had been circling the valley before I noticed him. He'd probably been there as long as I'd been perched atop the canyon crest. We were both there for the same reason: to kill something. As I looked down on his effortless circling I realized we were both fucked. It was too hot for anything to be moving, not even the proverbial mouse but here we both were, looking for something to kill. I watched him through my binoculars for a bit, having long ago given up on finding a mule deer, and wished that I could get his perspective on things. I couldn't. I had climbed for about two hours and every bit of my body remembered every vertical foot of the climb. Lucky bird.

The sun was too high in the sky, the water that I thought would be flowing through the valley was barely a trickle and the whole endeavor was beginning to look like yet another long walk in the sun. Strangely enough I was perfectly content to sit and stare out into the valley and try to memorize every scrub brush and tree and rock. If something changed, if there were suddenly antlers where previously there had only been brush, I'd know. I kept saying that to myself as I slowly cut into an apple and watched the hawk. That's when I saw the black bear. I had seen his tracks at first light as I hiked into the valley. His massive paw prints along the same trail I was walking were what prompted me to make the climb up onto the valley rim a bit earlier than I had intended. He (she? it?) lumbered through the valley brush and up the walls with a bizarre ease and grace that one would not have suspected from a furry, clawed, VW bug. Watching that bear made me realize that I was out of my league and that had there been any deer in that valley they were long gone by now. I waited until he walked up hill on the other side of the valley and out of sight. Then I waited another hour and called it a day.

Hunting. Hiking. Not talking or making a sound for days on end. I love nature.

Peace out, bitches!