Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

A very nasty surprise

I had a fairly easy day at work today – all on stage, and all in a confined set that one can’t get to crazy lighting. I’m back tomorrow, and it’s with a group of guys that I really like, so when I got home my good mood was shattered by the note taped to my front door.

My building’s been sold, and as of April 1st, I’m to pay rent to a management company.

I  screamed “Fuck” loudly enough to make my neighbor come running out.

The owner didn’t tell anyone that he was selling the building, so these notes are the first anyone is hearing about it, and I’m not the only one who’s confused, but I’m probably the only one who screamed.

A large part of the reason I rented this place is because there wasn’t a management company, and although logically, I know that this management company might not be as horrible as the one at the old place, I’m still concerned. Very, very concerned.

But I can’t afford to move, so my only choice is to sit and wait.

Great.

Filed under: Non-Work, Off-Topic, , , , , ,

What is it with me and fingers?

I need my hands to do my job. So one would imagine I’d be extra careful, but still it’s the body part I manage to mash and smash more than any other.

After waiting a week to get in the ocean after Los Angeles’ torrential skywater catastrophe, some friends and I decided to go for a swim. Our usual spot in Santa Monica wasn’t an option as it was parking for the LA Marathon – and near the street closures – so we went a bit south to Venice beach, thinking that we’d have an easier time with traffic and parking.

Which worked out very well. Plenty of parking, light traffic for those who drove (I rode my bike as I had to traverse the most congested part of Santa Monica to get to the beach).

And then we approached the water, and came face to face with 6 foot waves.

I’m not particularly fearful of the ocean once I get past the surf (if something gets me, it gets me. C’est la vie), but I get a little nervous in surf much higher than my head.

Okay, that’s an understatement. Any waves bigger than about three feet and I’m a panicky idiot who needs supervision to ensure I won’t do anything stupid.

Needless to say, I didn’t get past the surf, and the one swimmer who did had to come back because it took so long to get my heart rate down from ‘coked out hummingbird’ that we ran out of time.

I would have hung my head in shame, but my neck was too sore from getting tossed in the surf.

So, with my proverbial tail between my legs, I slunk off to breakfast and then decided, last-minute, to try to get some sort of workout in and make a yoga class at the gym.

As I was rushing out of the house and using my foot to keep the cat from running outside, I pulled the door shut and didn’t move my finger quite quickly enough.

So it got slammed in the door.

If you’ve never done this, I can assure you it’s excruciatingly painful.

After screaming a few choice words, I looked at said finger and saw the nail turning black.

I’m told that’s bad. There are numerous tutorials on the internet to deal with this in the comfort of your home, but since I am lucky enough to still have insurance, I can go have a doctor do that for me, for only the cost of a very pricey night out.

So instead of going to a yoga class, I went to urgent care.

Where the very nice doctor numbed up my finger (FOUR shots in the nerves) and drilled a hole through the nail to let the blood out.

If you’ve never had a doctor drill (actually, it’s a burn. They BURN a hole though the nail. The smell is… unfortunate. I may never eat again) into your nail, I can assure you it’s really gross and also – take the ‘digital block‘ option. You do NOT want the doctor burning through your fingernail with no pain meds. Trust me.

So now I have a hole in my fingernail. Surprisingly, it’s not that painful. It’s just gross, as we’re over 24 hours on and it’s still bleeding.

Eeeewwww.

Although I think the post-burning photo of the fingernail gushing blood is funny, I’ll be nice and post a photo taken today – the grossest thing about it now is how badly I need a manicure.

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Right now, it’s a pathetic excuse for pilot season here in Los Angeles, so although it’s busy, a day off isn’t a bad thing.

I’ll make work calls tomorrow.

Filed under: humor, life in LA, Los Angeles, mishaps, Non-Work, Off-Topic, Photos, , , , , , , ,

The Streets of Beverly Hills

For the past few months, I’ve been taking part in a visual survey documenting road hazards for cyclists in Los Angeles.

That translates into riding my bike around and taking pictures of the shitty roads crisscrossing our fair city.

I don’t understand when and why Los Angeles county decided that having usable roads was near the bottom of the priority list, but cycling here can be an adventure.

There’s a choice if one is going to commute by bike – road tires or fat knobby mountain tires? There are advantages to both. The road tires, which is what I ride on, roll easier so you can go further, faster with less effort, but the fat tires can roll over the city’s plentiful potholes with less of the breaking and crashing.

I like the lower rolling resistance of the road tires – I made my choice, and I’m happy with it, but I do have to worry more about pavement than do the mountain bikers.

Today, as I was riding home from the garden, I spotted this:

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And this:

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And this:

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Oh, and this:

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And last but not least, this beauty:

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These are not so much potholes as they are small canyons. All of them on the same 2 mile stretch of road in the glamorous metropolis of Beverly Hills.

I’m not even sure a mountain bike could roll over those top two, and while I can roll over the last one I’m not sure I’d be able to keep all of my fillings in my head.

So what I have to do – since this stretch of road has no sidewalks – is veer out around the potholes into the path of the luxury SUV driven by the guy talking on the cellphone and simmering road rage.

There’s a residential street just north which has better pavement, but since there’s a stop sign every block it’s slow and frustrating.

Happily, though, the roadway is due for a reconstruction project which will mean a complete repaving (not just shitty asphalt patches), and there seems to be support for bike lane striping.

This is especially wonderful news since Beverly Hills has historically been, um, resistant to bike lane striping (and bike racks, and people on bicycles), even though the city’s streets are wide enough to accommodate bike lanes without giving up traffic lanes or parking (both are legitimate concerns for motorists).

But of course, the consultants hired recommended some weird mixed use travel lane which will just put cyclists and other undesirables in a center lane and right in the path of angry drivers.

But until whatever happens happens, I’ll still marvel at the crappiness of the street right in the middle of Beverly Hills.

Filed under: life in LA, Los Angeles, Non-Work, Off-Topic, Photos, rants, , , , , , , , , ,

Good times are rolling

My job’s actually starting next week  – whoops!

Over the past few years, as work has gotten less plentiful I’ve become really conscious of cash outflow, but since I’ve got a job starting, I’ve been playing a bit fast and loose with the bank account.

I’ve been swimming in the ocean several times a week – the temperature is a balmy 59, but it’s not that bad once you get moving. Our swim group goes to a coffee shop after we get out (hey, we’re cold!), so I’ve been buying quite a few breakfasts.  I’ve also been paying to park in the beach lot, which I usually try to avoid at all costs.

We have a pile of new cat toys, I’ve been driving the car and burning gas,  I have a new wetsuit (and a thermal cap and booties. That water is cold), the fridge is well stocked with tasty stuff, and I’ve been drinking the good wine.

Later this year when it’s dead and I’m in panic mode, I’m going to regret the hell out of this money hemorrhage, and you all can feel free to let loose with a rousing chorus of “I told you so” but sometimes it’s really nice to not worry about anything and just live.

In case you’re wondering, swimming in the ocean in the winter is pretty awesome. The water is super clear (visibility in the Pacific is usually about three inches, but now we can see the bottom in 30+ feet of water), and there’s no one out there but the few of us who are, well, crazy. Or hardy. Pick your explanation.

I’ll worry later. I’m having fun right now.

 

Filed under: life in LA, Los Angeles, Non-Work, , , , , ,

It’s resolution time!

No, not mine.

At this stage of my life, I’ve given up all hope of self-improvement and am just aiming for remembering to brush my teeth.

No, no.. it’s that time of year when folks make a resolution to get in shape and descend on the gym like a horde of sweaty, confused locusts.

While I certainly want to encourage people to exercise, this time of year can be unpleasant for those of us who have become accustomed to the less-populated gym of the off months.

I realize it’s not possible for the staff to walk everyone through the basics of gym citizenship, so here’s a few points directed at the resolution crowd:

1. Re-rack your weights. For fuck’s sake – do you think those dumbbells are going to grow eyes and legs and show themselves back to the rack? Of course you don’t. Fucking pick them up and put them back. If I trip over them I’ll tie your shoelaces together while you’re sitting on a bench chatting.

2. Speaking of which, if you’re not actively using something, don’t fucking sit on it. It’s not your private garage fitness room, it’s a space you have to share with several hundred of your new best friends. Normally, I’d say watch the bodybuilders and do what they do, but those bastards plant their asses and proceed to gossip like fishwives, so in this regard, ignore them and keep the long involved conversations to the juice bar or the couches in the lounge area.

3. You might think that eau de mouffette dans un jardin smells divine. You might want to douse yourself with three bottles of it before you work out just to share. Please don’t.  This goes double and triple for the pool and the steam room. Do, however, feel free to liberally apply deodorant. Please, for the love of all that’s fucking holy, liberally apply deodorant.

4. Wipe your sweat off of the equipment. You’re carrying that towel around for a reason – it’s certainly not a fashion statement. If I have to scrub something down before I can use it, I’m going to find you and bill you.

5. The cardio areas and the pool get very, very crowded. Please, if you see people waiting, keep it to a half an hour. I know, I know. No one likes to have to get off the treadmill or out of the pool after only half an hour (personally, I hate it), but remember we’re sharing space here. If you stick it out, the gym will eventually be less crowded and you’ll be able to stay on for the full hour (or even more!)

6. Speaking of the pool, at various times of the day classes will reserve lanes. Although this particular gym has a masters swim program (and we’re pretty mellow), mostly they’re aqua exercise classes populated by sweet little old ladies who will gut you like a trout if you don’t get out of that lane three seconds ago. You’ve been warned.

7. If you don’t know how to use something, ask. One of the trainers will help you, or if you can’t find them, another gym member will be more than happy to walk you through how to properly use the kegelnator.

8. Please be nice to the locker room attendants. They’re very nice ladies (gentlemen on the guys’ side) and have to clean a bathroom all day, every day. Think about that before you scream at them.

9. This particular gym provides towels. It’s a very nice amenity, and we’d like the gym to continue to provide it and not decide it’s too much of a pain in the ass to bother with. So pick them up and place them in the hamper when you’re done with them. They’ll be happy to be with their friends.

10. Gentlemen, if you’re rocking those 70′s style running shorts, please wear an athletic supporter underneath. Sit ups and unsupported junk in tiny shorts is something I can’t unsee no matter how much I drink.

Happy New Year and have a great workout!

Filed under: cranky, humor, life in LA, Non-Work, Off-Topic, , , , , ,

Friday Photo

Where I live now, there just aren’t that many couches left out by the curb – or the trash collection are more efficient, but either way there’s not much to put on the couch blog anymore.

But every now and then, I see one.

Like today:

 

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It didn’t show up on the picture (damn iPhone), but that note reads ‘Free’.

No idea if the creepy naked doll is included.

 

You’re welcome.

Filed under: camera, couches, life in LA, Los Angeles, Non-Work, , , , , , ,

Sometimes I don’t want to be right

I was really hoping my prediction about getting all my week’s calls for the same day was going to be wrong.

Nope – four calls for Tuesday and then nothing for the rest of the week.  Not ideal, but not a bad thing, either, as yesterday it started to rain and, predictably, all of Los Angeles went into panic mode and the terrifyingly wet streets.

So I cleaned the apartment, did the laundry, did some work on a side project that’s been keeping me too busy to write posts as often as I’d like, brushed the cat and got my annual physical (my cholesterol is good but my blood pressure has me at death’s door in the next week or two. Damn parents. This is their fault).

Since next Thursday is a holiday, there will only be three work days next week so although I’ll be happy to get some work I’m not holding my breath.

Since I’ve been roped into doing some cooking for Thanksgiving (cornbread, herb rolls, carrot cranberry salad and kale chips), it might not be bad to at the very least have Wednesday off.  The cornbread’s my great-grandmother’s recipe and has to be started Tuesday as the cornmeal needs to ferment (I know, it sounds gross, but it’s really good).

We’ll see. I’ll be happy for any day I get.

Filed under: Los Angeles, Non-Work, Off-Topic, , , , ,

Write? I’m lucky I can stay awake

To say that it’s been a tough few weeks would be an understatement.

I’m in my last week of the dimmer board gig, and my brain still hurts when I come home at night – the three camera shows are a lot busier for board ops than are the single cameras.

The entire formula for a multi camera sitcom is entirely different from regular single cameras.

They only shoot two days a week – one ‘block and shoot’ day and one audience day.

The block and shoot days are usually swing sets and anything that’s got an effect that might go horribly wrong in front of an audience. On the block and shoot days, the crew standing around will laugh at the scripted jokes while the cameras (and sound) are rolling, which I swear I will never, ever manage to get used to.

The audience days are the really stressful days for me. We come in late morning, rehearse, do some more blocking and more lighting, and then they load in the audience and we run the show in sequence – meaning we start with scene A and go until the end. The stuff that was shot on the previous day is played on monitors while the lights in the sets are dimmed down. By me. In real time.

Usually with the video playback people yelling ‘playback’ in one ear and the gaffer yelling ‘playback’ in the other.

Lucky for me everyone has been remarkably patient with me, even when I melted down and threatened to fill a co-workers underpants with that bowl of mayonnaise that had been sitting, un-refrigerated, on the crafty table all day.

The other three days of the week are rigging – a brand new rig every week, with brand new cues and brand new opportunities to let it all get away from me.

At least I can say I really know this board now. Not well enough for theater, mind you, but well enough for what I’m going to need to use it for.

On the home front, the cat is unwell.

Her kidneys are starting to fail, so I’ve been having to give her fluids under the skin.

The vet made this look so very easy, but honestly I really need a third hand to manage it. One hand to hold the cat, one hand to manage the disturbingly large needle and one hand to fend off the claws.

It was only moderately difficult when she wasn’t feeling well, but now that she’s got some spunk back, it’s like trying to hang on to, well, a cat. A squirmy cat. With teeth. And claws. And a grudge.

She’s also decided that she will only eat liverwurst and canned salmon – not the cheap canned salmon, either. The Alaskan wild-caught $5 per can stuff.

And since I know she hasn’t got much time left, I can’t say no.

So I pay it and grumble about it and then I sit and praise her while she eats, as she’s down to 5.5 lbs (2.5 kilos) from 8.5 (3.8 kilos), so every bite counts.

Since a kitty picture is going to make me too sad, here’s a shot of an outdoor Zumba class from CicLAvia:

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Filed under: Los Angeles, Non-Work, Photos, studio lots, Work, , , , , , , , , ,

Slightly damp Friday Photo

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This is not my apartment building. It’s the building across the alley, who sometimes (often, actually) leave the pool gate open.

I see nothing wrong with taking advantage of this, especially on a hot night.  The pool’s not really heated, so it’s a very refreshing change from sweltering in my living room.

Filed under: life in LA, Los Angeles, Non-Work, Off-Topic, Photos, , , ,

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Halfway through a wrap day

Get something out of those jockey boxes, I dare you.

Electricity and water

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