May 17, 2013 • 11:18 pm 0
May 15, 2013 • 5:02 pm 5
One of the most horrible feelings in the world is the nausea-inducing panic of losing something that’s necessary to function and is a pain in the ass to replace.
Note that anything necessary to function is usually a pain in the ass to replace, although the key to the shed in the back where you keep the ladder that you only need once a year is an exception.
Since gas prices are rising (again) here in Southern California, I’ve opted to commute on my bicycle whenever possible in order to avoid pump-induced nausea and anger.
I really do enjoy riding the bike. Not only is it more economical, but I see a lot more interesting stuff when I’m not sealed in the car singing along to a certain teenybopper pop icon who keeps putting his feet into his adorable almost post-adolescent mouth.
The downside of bike commuting is that, in a way, it’s not as easy as driving. Instead of picking up the purse and locking the doors, I have to dig the locks (plural, since I’d like to keep said bike) out of my panniers, find a place to secure the bike, make sure anything that can be stolen is removed (bike computer, water bottle, super expensive blinky headlight that can blind astronauts in space), and then schlep the whole mess into wherever it is I’m going.
Sometimes I forget a step and leave something on the bike. Usually it’s the computer, but sometimes it’s the water bottle – call me paranoid but I feel weird about drinking from it after it’s been out in the world unsupervised – and sometimes it’s something more important.
The other day, I ran errands for most of the day, making numerous stops to pay bills, grocery up, work in the garden, plot the demise of those goddamn squirrels, etc..
When I got home and discovered that I needed olives (hey, it’s not a martini without one), I dug in said panniers for my wallet.
Nothing. I dug again.
I did that thing where I slapped my pockets.
So, since I’m a sensible adult, I did the right thing and immediately called and cancelled my debit card.
I then sat a moment, thought about where I’d been and decided to retrace my steps.
First stop, the Whole Foods in Westwood.
Where the very nice lady at the customer service desk handed me the wallet that some kind person had turned in. Including the cards.
The worst part is that, since I technically did the right thing by cancelling the card, I couldn’t even be mad at myself. Just sheepish and grateful that there are still a few honest folks left in the cold, cruel world.
This morning, I went to the credit union and enquired about a replacement debit card, expecting to get the thing about waiting 10 days while they mailed it, etc.. Also, I wondered if they’d give me a refresher course in how to write a check, since it’s been so long I think I forgot.
“Sure thing!” the teller responded. “Fill out some paperwork and I’ll print one out right now.”
Turns out, they can print cards now. Actual credit cards. That work.
They didn’t even charge me a service fee.
February 12, 2013 • 7:40 pm 2
My garden, while only about a mile from where I used to live, is currently 8 miles away.
Interestingly, it takes the exact same amount of time to drive as it does to bike, and since the bike doesn’t burn $4 a gallon gas I usually prefer to ride than drive.
But lately I’ve had this shoulder issue, and it seems to cycle (no pun intended) between ‘getting better’ and ‘won’t this thing ever stop fucking hurting’.
Today’s physical therapy appointment wasn’t until noon, and since I’ve been in a ‘getting better’ phase, I decided to bike instead of drive. Hey, I’m unemployed and gas is expensive (for the US).
So I hopped on the bike and headed out. I swear I behaved – I didn’t lean on the handlebars and I stayed off of the drops. I got to the garden fine – no pain and I felt really good. I dumped my veggie scraps into my compost bin, watered the seedlings (leeks, rutabegas, parsnips, beets and celery that looks like it’s not going to come up), admired the out-of-control fava beans (looks like I’m in for another 50 lb harvest from my tiny plot), and weeded for a few minutes.
I then headed out as I needed to be at the PT place.
About a mile into the return trip, I started hurting. Bad.
I then, for the first time in my life, decided to do the sensible thing and catch a bus back home.
I found a bus stop and sat. And sat, and sat and sat.
With the clock ticking (can’t be late, don’t want to anger tiny Asian woman who is torturing me), I decided that I couldn’t wait any longer and started riding, figuring eventually a bus would catch up to me and then I could give my poor shoulder some rest.
Except no bus came. I kept looking over my shoulder, hoping I’d see something – anything. Any bus would do.
Normally, when I’m biking, I have to avoid being flattened by a bus approximately every five minutes, so the complete lack of buses just when I really needed one was maddening.
Every time I looked back and didn’t see a bus, I’d let loose with a torrent of language that would likely shock a sailor. At one traffic light, a police car pulled up beside me, and the nice officer asked me what the problem was.
“I’m hurting and need to catch a bus, but now I can’t find one.”
“So.. they’re just like cops, then?”
Yes, indeed. Just like cops. Only not on a frantic manhunt which involves several innocent drivers getting shot up.
I finally saw a bus two block from my apartment.
February 6, 2013 • 7:24 pm 2
As much as I’d like to panic about the lack of work, it’s pretty normal for January (ish), so I’ve been doing some physical therapy on my shoulder while I have the down time (I’m determined to be positive about the work prospects for this year).
Said physical therapy has me doing some strange-looking (and painful) exercises with one of those resistance bands.
I usually opt to do my exercises at the gym, mainly because I’m more likely to do them if I make myself get up and go somewhere that’s not my apartment. Also, while I’m there I can swim (sort of – mostly kick sets for now) and sit in the steam room.
My gym used to have resistance bands available for use, but they were removed a couple of years ago, presumably due to concerns about members using them to strangle the sweaty bastard who refuses to wipe down the equipment after use.
So I bring the bands that the physical therapist gave me, and work through my exercises, usually with no issues other than failure to keep the obscenities to a discreet volume.
Except today, when I got mansplained.
As I was doing the exercise that I like to call the Sieg Heil (exactly what you’d imagine, only with a resistance band), a man swathed in overpriced brand-name tech fabric offered some unsolicited advice after staring at me for a full five minutes.
“You really shouldn’t do that,” he began (whatever happened to ‘hello’) in that tone. “You could hurt yourself. If you like, I can show you how to work out.”
“It’s a physical therapy exercise. I’m pretty sure she told me to do it this way for a reason.”
“You see,” he continued “your shoulder is a very complicated joint and you have to be very careful, especially with those dangerous bands. You know the gym got rid of them.”
“The physical therapist told me to do this. I think she might have gone to college.”
“Maybe you could start with the easy pushups. You know, the ones on your knees.”
It became clear he wasn’t going to listen to me. As I tried to decide if I wanted to fart loudly, belch, or resume swearing (if you can’t reason with them, scare them off), I was saved by the swim coach, who ran up and jokingly yelled “Five more! Your butterfly sucks!” while holding her hand at a height that I wasn’t going to be able to reach without dropping the band (or maybe even if I did).
At the sight of my exercise being legitimized by an actual staff member, he slunk off… somewhere. I was laughing too hard to really pay much attention.
*I highly recommend River of Shadows, the book referenced in the article.
September 10, 2012 • 10:43 pm 18
This past weekend was a real eye-opener for me. I knew the industry was slow here in Los Angeles, but when I sat in a continuing education classroom at Contract Services with a bunch of guys who are usually always busy (and I mean always), all anyone could talk about was how thin work has gotten around here.
Yikes. If the heavy hitters aren’t making ends meet, what hope do the rest of us have? I’m currently getting enough work to keep the wolves at bay, but that, of course, can change at any time.
For those of you not familiar, over the past few years several other states (and countries) have been handing producers suitcases full of cash in order to lure film production away from California. I think the technical term is incentives, but really it’s a bribe.
And it’s worked very successfully. There is currently almost no production in California, but Louisiana and Georgia (the newcomer to the world of corporate kickbacks) are hopping.
I love my job and I’d like to keep doing it, but I’d rather drink poison than move to Georgia or Louisiana (nothing personal, you understand), so the question is how long I can hang on. An added complication is my being well past the age of being able to snag a rich husband.
Note to parents of girls: Look at my life. This is what happens when you teach your daughters self-reliance. They end up alone, without Botox, veneers, or overpriced sports cars and worrying about how to pay the bills.
I just have myself and the cat, so as long as I can get enough hours to keep my health insurance, I’ll tighten my belt and soldier on.
But what about the people with families?
One state ends their sop and another starts up. Since most of these subsidies actually cost the states money (currently for every dollar of film revenue that Louisiana brings in, it spends $7.30*), it’s baffling that they keep doing it, but I’m certainly not one to underestimate the capability of humans to not in any way, shape or form learn from our mistakes.
Most of us who have spent our entire working lives in the film industry have skills that don’t easily translate to the real world, and even if we do decide to branch out, we have resumes that are confusing and frightening to anyone not familiar with the transient nature of film production (“No, it’s the same job, for the same people.. just with a different name on the letter head”).
So Wednesday, I have a career counseling appointment at The Actors’ Fund to see if I have any chance of any sort of work at all once production in California dries up for good.
Or, even better, if I can manage to start some sort of business that legally appropriates taxpayer money just like the studios are doing.
I suspect not, but we’ll see.
August 1, 2012 • 9:07 pm 0
I will never understand traffic patterns in Los Angeles if I live to be 100.
Yesterday, as I was drinking my morning coffee and watching the amazing commercial-free BBC Olympics feed via a proxy server (NBC will never stop sucking, so why fight it?), the best boy of Doctors in Love texted me wanting to know if I could come in to cover someone who called in sick.
The answer, of course, was yes, but since Doctors in Love shoots almost, but not quite, all the way across the city, I figured I was in for an incredibly annoying two-hour drive.
Not so much.
I threw on some clothes, headed out the door and didn’t get stuck in any traffic at all.
I’m not kidding. 8 am – the height of rush hour in one of the most traffic-clogged cities on planet Earth and there was no traffic. At all.
I travelled from my house to the set in under an hour.
This, or course, made me nervously scan the sky for horsemen as I drove onto the lot.
Finding none, I parked, grabbed a walkie and proceeded to have a wonderful day working with people who I like a whole lot and don’t get to see nearly often enough.
Then, driving home at 10 pm on a Tuesday, I got stuck in traffic for an hour and a half.
July 26, 2012 • 1:58 pm 7
Once again, it’s the tail end of the ‘dry season’, and my savings haven’t quite managed to stretch (mostly due to some car issues), so I turned to the Motion Picture and Television Fund for an emergency grant so I can pay my rent and, you know, maintain a place to live.
The times I’ve had to use this option in the past, the Fund have been wonderful and compassionate, but this time I guess they’re dealing with more folks in trouble, because there’s very little compassion (or basic politeness) to be found.
The intake person cheerfully suggested I contact homeless shelters in case I got turned down for a grant (after asking if I had ‘any friends who would give me money’), and the social worker, in the initial phone call, sternly reminded me of all that I’ve ‘taken from’ the fund in the past and that he’d have to ‘carefully consider’ if the fund wanted to give me any more help.
Great job guys. Way to make me feel like less of a piece of crap. Appreciate it.
I’m fairly certain they’re going to turn me down this time – just a hunch, mind you.
With work not due to start up for a couple of more weeks (my work texts have yielded nothing but other people looking for work, too), I’m starting to go into panic mode.
Unemployment have been waiting as long as possible to pay out claims (although a friend who was having trouble with them last year says they’re being great this year – guess I’m just in the group they’re picking on this time), I may have to pay my landlord in two (or three) installments.
I hate doing this. I hate even having to think about doing this.
The last thing I want is for the guy who owns the building to start thinking I’m not good for the rent. That can’t go anywhere good.
Hopefully work will surprise me and pick up early. Work needs to pick up early.
Just not to end on such a maudlin tone, I have good news and an informal poll:
First, the good news – I may be just about destitute but at least I’ve got a date. Another broke deadbeat whom I met at one of LA’s numerous free movie screenings. Hooray me!
Also, I’ve been invited to a friend’s birthday party, then informed that I’ll be expected to pay about $70 ‘to help defray costs’. Times are tough all over, but my initial inclination is to be offended about this.
What do you think?
May 29, 2012 • 7:01 pm 0
Good News: I’ve got two days work – tomorrow and Thursday. This is extremely good news, as every little bit helps.
Bad News: It’s on the complete opposite end of Los Angeles county from my apartment. No, I’m not exaggerating. Hello, two-hour commute. If I’m lucky.
Good News: The crew I’m working with tomorrow are the nicest, most wonderful folks ever, so I’m guaranteed to have a fun day.
Bad News: When the best boy booked me, he warned me “wear your walking shoes” which means there’s going to be an awful lot of moving stuff from one end of the lot to the other, so I’ll probably be in horrible pain by, oh, say, lunch.
Good News: Episodes of the old A-Team TV show are on Netflix.
Bad News: Episodes of the old A-Team TV show are on Netflix.
Good News: After about a month of trying to live off my bi-weekly CSA box, I’ve lost about 15 lbs.
Bad News: It all seems to have come off my boobs. This is unfair.
Good News: My now quite elderly cat is still alive and very healthy.
Bad News: The shedding is out of control. I woke up this morning with cat hair in my sinus and both eyeballs. Gonna be a hot summer.
Good News: My newish digital camera is safe from harm.
Bad News: Because I don’t know where it is, so I can’t take it to work or on bike rides. Damn.
I’m sure it’ll turn up.
May 24, 2012 • 8:19 pm 6
It’s slow (of course), and while I scan the sky for the predicted light rain tomorrow and listen to the screams of panic coming from the streets, I thought I’d share someone else’s writing with you:
This is post, from a producer, about the hours we sometimes work. He interviews several crew members about the hours and the longest day they’ve had.
It’s funny – I’m so used to the long hours that I forget the rest of the world manages to make a living only working 8 hours a day and finds the concept of a routine 12 hour day to be shocking, inhumane even.
There was a group of people that were trying to pass legislation making it illegal to work more than 14 hours straight, but I think that’s stalled.
So we continue to work 15, 16, 17+ hours and we’re grateful to have any work at all.
And, for the record, the longest “day” I ever worked was 28 hours. I made enough money to pay for a hotel room across the street (because the production wouldn’t) from the downtown location because I was hallucinating and knew I wouldn’t be able to drive home without causing carnage – the bad kind, not the funny kind.
May 15, 2012 • 8:40 pm 0
There must be something going around.
I can assume this because all of a sudden everyone around me is completely paranoid about anyone being sick, even slightly.
Today, I spent an hour in the pool attempting to correct my piss-poor upper body position, which meant keeping my head down much further than I’m really used to, which resulted in an unfortunate amount of pool water filling my sinus cavity.
So much water got up there that I’m reasonably certain even my parietal lobe got some swimmies.
So, after sitting in the steam room and showering, I meandered back to my locker and began to get dressed and pack up my stuff.
Since I still had some water sloshing around in my skull, I was sniffling periodically, and the lady three lockers down would glare menacingly at me each time I did.
Finally, she turned to me and hissed “Stay home if you’re sick! What about the rest of us?”
I tried to assure her that it was just a sinus meets pool water issue, but since she hurriedly grabbed her stuff and moved across the locker room, glaring at me all the time, I’m guessing she didn’t believe me.
In other news, I’ve got two days of work this week due to a very good friend being a mensch and helping me out.
I love everyone right now. Even the angry lady.