Monday, December 28, 2009

I am Bear Claw Chris Lapp; bloodkin to the grizzer that bit Jim Britcher's ass! YOU are molesting my hunt!

Happy little house in the hood. We're back and doing laundry, birds in the fridge awaiting some gutting. It's a bit of a let down, really, as we tried to kill some quail and rabbits but they didn't show up to the party. C'est la vie. I'll go again on Wednesday perhaps, or next year. Duck and quail aren't over until the end of January but I do have to get some work done. Work. What a crock of shit. I'm going to work on an Old Navy commercial. Yeah, Gap-lite as it were or rather, cheap clothes made by underpaid labor in various third world countries. Ho-fucking-ray for global capitalism and most of the mullets around here think it's OK because they can get cheap clothes. Cheap clothes that are killing their future and creating an unsustainable imbalance in the world economy and environment!

OK, OK, everyone calm down. Put the soap box away and have a beer. Ah, that's better, right? Now, let's all watch the Vikings game and maybe eat a few hot dogs, eh? Much better. Have some more soma.

Peace out, bitches!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Just get us up river!

Wister Unit, a part of the Imperial Wildlife Refuge located along the Salton Sea, is so much more amazing than San Jacinto. It's a revelation. Amazing. Eye opening. I've never seen so many birds in one place at one time. A flock of geese numbering in the thousands turned the sky salt and pepper. Birds went streaking by left and right all morning and into the evening. Melah took a couple of pot shots and the midget fidgeted and complained but blew a really good duck whistle. She'll be quite the hunter if she ever learns to calm down. (As I write she is doing splits in the hotel room, high as hell on sugar.) The best part of the day was shooting my first goose. I can't even describe how amazing it was to see it, take three long shots, and watch it fall. I had to walk about a hundred yards through a swamp to find the bugger but there was no way I was going to let him go.

A little cheeseburger action and now we're watching TV and getting ready to quail hunt tomorrow. It ain't Mexican food and beers with the boys but it's pretty close.
The happy couple and a mangy mutt. Notice the green wing teal around my neck, I'm quite proud of killing them dead.

This is going to be the cover of the new Vogue Wilderness edition. It's called Duck chic with dekes.
After lunch in the ol' duck blind.

My first snow goose and some random black kid.

Peace out, bitches!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

I slowly began to realize that I was not going to be destroyed.

Here are some things that happened recently:

On Wednesday I got up early and went duck hunting. It was a hard hunt as the weather was cold, the water was freezing, and the wind was still. This all meant that the ducks weren't flying. At all. At daybreak two ducks flew well overhead but that was it on the day. Oddly enough, though, I ended up shooting four birds but I worked my ass off for those birds. I kicked the tulies and almost went underwater a few times but dammit, I got my birds. I shot a pintail from the embankment and he spun in, no parachutes. By the time I got across the water to the reeds he had landed in I found out that he was only wounded. I had crossed over without Thumper, thinking that were I to go into the drink I didn't want him getting ruined. Stupid decision as the pintail took off right next to me and the rock I threw at him missed. It was a hard and sweaty day of hunting but I loved every minute of it.

I served the ducks to the sibs. Breasted out and lightly fried in olive oil and spices and served hot with a homemade chimchurri sauce. Seemed to go over well.

Christmas Eve and I'm lying on the couch with my dog asleep on my feet. Melah came over and laid down on top of me and we watched the rest of "It's A Wonderful Life." As the townspeople come in with money to bail George out of his mess I started crying, openly weeping with my girl on my chest. It was bizarre, I just couldn't take the happiness and started bawling. What a world, what a world. In touch with my feelings and crying over a movie I've seen a million times. I'm happy again and watching old George Bailey realize he's rich in friends made me appreciate what I have. Cue the waterworks.

Yesterday I made tomato bisque with wontons. It was good. You should have been there. Melah's mom made a really good lamb shank and I made scalloped potatoes with bleu cheese and Melah made perfectly cooked asparagus. Add in a cheese course and a few bottles of nice wine and we had quite the Christmas feast.

We're up now and at some point we'll clean the house and pack up for a couple days of duck hunting and quail on Monday. Melah now has her waders and the midget has some nice Wellies and a warm coat. I got gloves finally. Should be fun although I wish we were camping and not in a hotel but that's for another trip.

Peace out, bitches!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

No! No! I want an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle!

I've come to the realization that no matter what you do you'll get sucked into the vortex of consumption and inanity that is Christmas in America. Whinny, spoiled, self-centered kids whirling around whinny, spoiled, self-centered adults, all creating a feed ball for the greedheads to decimate down to the last whimpering bank account. Add in traffic, noise, and that goddamn Coke ad agency fat bastard Santa Claus everywhere you look and it's no wonder the Grinch went mad. Too bad he backed out in the end. I guess everyone does. I did. I went out and spent about $500 on gifts for the girls. Sure, it's all stuff that'll be around for awhile and will help them go hunting but still... It's annoying that even a guy who not only doesn't believe in God in the organized religion sense but also passionately loathes Christmas got sucked in anyway.

That said, I do like the smell of the tree and the lights but I suppose that's because I'd rather be out in the woods or the desert most days and I'm a cinematographer. Lights and trees, if only that were the extent of it all. To everyone who thinks Christmas is a load of bullshit, this drinks for you. To all the rest, I'll be calling you for Eid presents.

Peace out, bitches!

Monday, December 21, 2009

My God, I haven't been fucked like that since grade school.

One of the most dangerous things you can do in Hollywood is driving coverage. Putting a camera in a car and trying to shoot another car on the streets of Los Angeles is, on its face, asinine. Think about it for a minute: the director is going to push for crazier and crazier action, the DP is going to push for crazier and crazier angles, and the drivers are going to push for crazier and crazier speeds. All of this pushing is happening on actual streets in a crowded metropolis and absolutely no one is really conscious of the fact that we're not on a controlled backlot.

We took it a step further and got a rig called The Ultimate Arm. It's a souped up Mercede Benz SUV with a liquid mercury balanced articulated arm mounted to the roof. Inside there are controls to swing the arm around and control the three axis head attached to the end of the arm. I got to sit in the back, sideways and wedged between the batteries that power the arm, and pull focus with my little remote focus unit. It's cramped, everyone is constantly farting, and I'm pretty sure I was breathing pure exhaust the whole time. The whole thing is, from an engineering standpoint, pretty fucking amazing. It's also a complete ass fuck when you're in a rush as we were from the beginning of this job. See, the problem is that you can do too much too quickly with the thing and thus no one slows down long enough to do anything right. We almost hit a pizza delivery kid we were rushing around so much. We also almost rear ended one of the picture cars, almost hit a divider, almost ran head on into both picture cars at once, almost rolled over, and almost ran into a bus. I bruised my head, chin, and almost broke my hand. Rushing around and yelling a lot while trying to outrace the sun in downtown LA is no way to make a living.

In the end we got the shots we needed but it left me wondering, why in the hell do I put up with any of this shit? I really need to find another career. Maybe basket weaving.

Peace out, bitches!

Friday, December 18, 2009

"Do you know who's in charge, soldier?" "Yeah."

I came back from the light and space of Panama into a cramped room in the Chateau Marmont in Hollywood and it really put the zap on my head. To go from raw power and beauty and chaos to the tight and uptight confines of a commercial with Halle Berry was to experience true jet lag. By the by, Ms. Berry is a jackass ("I'm very sensitive to spirits.") and has a really bad tattoo on her right ass cheek of a sunflower, the stalk looks as if the flower is growing out of her asshole.

I've spent the last week doing night shoots for an Audi commercial posing as a movie. Justin Timberlake is the star. The schedule is insane: twenty set ups before lunch. No time for marks, no time for rehearsals, no time to light. Shoot shoot shootshootshoothsootshothsooahoshoot. Hacking it out like butchers but the money guys don't seem to care. Timberlake is funny and nice enough but dammit that boy don't know when to shut the fuck up about continuity. We talked about guns all night and it would appear I'm not only a better shot but far more knowledgeable about the whole deal. Take that Mr. Bring Sexy Back. At least he's not as short as I assumed he'd be.

The night shoot is a particularly brutal bit of Hollywood film making. You lose touch with friends and family and your dog forgets about you. The house stops feeling like yours and you greet the sunrise with joy and regret: joy as it means night is done and unless the tent in a five story wherehouse we're going home and regret as you realize everyone else is up and you're about to go down. Done long enough you can go mad or get divorced or realize that your kids are in college all of a sudden. I hate night shoots.

We're trying to shoot a movie in one week and the producer underbid the job. We don't have enough time or crew to get this done right. Nerves are frayed. People are yelling a lot. An extra had a seizure. An actor cut his head open. The B 1st got his foot run over by the dolly. I am doing my best to keep my head low and my powder dry. I will not get killed on a job. I will not get hurt as bad as Sweden on a job ever again. In short, I am going to get through this and call it a wrap on the year.

Call time is 5pm. Time to brush the dog out and get a goin'. I'm going to sleep at lunch and then go duck hunting at wrap, which should be 5am or so on Saturday. I'll miss the early morning shoot but maybe I'll get on a blind in the early afternoon. Nice. Work all night, drive like a banshee out to San Jacinto, and crash out in the car for a few hours before tossing out the dekes and blowing some calls. Not a bad Fraturday.

Peace out, bitches!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Blast all to carcasses, men! Forward clear to the powder magazine! And the rest of you, bring me that medallion!

Words will fail to express the depth and breadth of the torture and joy that was working in the San Blas Islands of Panama. Roy Batty's famous lines come to mind, "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe." In the end we did it, we humble men, we made the impossible happen despite the odds. There was some blood, actually, there was a lot of blood. There was a lot of sweat. There was more sweat than anything else really. There were even some tears but we're not supposed to speak of that.

Suffice it to say, it was tough.

Now look at some pretty photos.

Peace out, bitches!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Wrong! It's the most amazing, fabulous, sensational gum in the whole world.

The food here sucks. I ate it all, that's how bad it were.
Peace out, bitches!

For every action, there is a reaction. And a Pikey reaction... is quite a fucking thing.

I'm in Panama. It is hot. It is humid. It is 8am. We are going to prep gear today and shoot a scene on a beach. Following that we fly for an hour to the Caribbean side of the country and live on a yacht for a few days. What the fuck? Don't ask me, it ain't my money. Apparently we're hanging out with models and race car drivers and Izod has all the money in the world to spend on this shit. Go for broke. Coming from a Third World country like the post-Bush USA I was under the assumption the world was suffering from some sort of serious financial meltdown, Great Depression Part II. Apparently I was mistaken.

Peace out, bitches!