Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Doctor Dreamboat to the rescue

A few years ago, my chiropractor retired.

Actually retired, mind you, not gave up the office and saw some patients on the side for barter.

I was concerned, as good chiropractors are incredibly hard to find.

Good chiropractors who take my insurance are like unicorns. I know they’re out there somewhere, it’s just a matter of what to use to bait the trap.

So, a month ago, when I went for a Groupon massage at a “wellness destination” in Santa Monica, I actually talked to the resident chiro and was impressed as he seemed very knowledgable about active people, plus he was super-duper cute.

Relax, ladies (and gents), he’s married. With kids.

He’s also the best chiropractor I’ve seen since Dr. Magic Fingers called it quits.

And, despite the Wellness Destination’s penchant for catering to the jet-setters, my co-pay after the insurance is shockingly affordable.

So, for the next few weeks, I’m going to be getting tortured by an incredibly fit and attractive man who knows just how to loosen up my hip flexors.

Sweet. I’m even hearing rumors of possible upcoming work.  Life is good.

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

Time flies when you’re busy

January has been crazy (the good kind, not the drama kind). I’m getting multiple work calls almost every day, which, as I’ve mentioned before, is unheard of this time of year.

Tuesday, I missed a work call for Wednesday as I was swimming when the call came. Since I have yet to figure out how to bring my phone into the lap pool with me, by the time I dried off and got back to the locker the job had been given to someone else who called back sooner.

“Oh, well” I thought “I’ll just clean the house and hopefully I’ll get a day near the end of the week”.

Wednesday  morning at 6:45, the phone rang and the best boy from Doctors in Love* asked if I could come in right then as someone had called in sick.

Normally, I don’t like to jump out of bed, throw on whatever clothing smells the least and haul ass out the door. I like to get up, have some coffee, putter around and generally make a leisurely exit, but since Doctors in Love shoots across town (literally all the way across the city) and it’s an hour drive with no traffic,  I hurried as waiting too much past 7-ish would result in a multi hour stop-and-go nightmare.

It turned out to be an easy day (one set, two actors) with a bunch of really awesome guys. The only bad part about working with this particular group of guys is that they use a bunch of custom rigged lights, and as such have odd names for them.

Normally, there’s a bit of variation in what stuff is called (some people call a 4 foot, four tube Kino Flo a ‘fat boy’, some call it a ‘tall boy’), but it’s all basically the same.

Custom lights, however, are, well, custom, so there’s no frame of reference.

When the gaffer gets on the walkie and asks for a “Long John Silver on a teeter totter**” I have no frame of reference and stand there, halfway between the staging area and the set, blinking rapidly and wondering if I want to ask for clarification on the walkie, thus making everyone think I’m a bit slow, or wait to ask a co-worker, making the gaffer think I’m lazy.

Awesome.

It all worked out well, though (crazy light names aside), and I got picked up for the next day as well, so I got to go back today.

Today as also an easy day with fun people, even if the work was a bit more complex (multiple actors, a stage move, etc..), but I was inside a heated stage all day – a good thing since it’s currently really cold here in Los Angeles. Objectively cold, not California cold.

During lunch today, I got a text from the best boy on Reluctant Porn Star* asking if I could work Friday and Saturday. Both days on the beach, both days splits (afternoon call so the day’s half day, half night).

I predict both nights to be cold and damp (and working on the beach sucks balls), but hey, it’s work, right?

*Not a real show name

** An LED strip in an aluminum housing with the ballasts rigged to hang off of it. It looks like a penis on a surfboard.

Filed under: crack of dawn, long long drives, studio lots, Work, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Extra gross Friday photo

Since the foot’s been bandaged since surgery, I didn’t have the opportunity to take a photo of the oft-requested disgusting looking stitches – until today, when the sadistic doctor cleaned and redressed the foot.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

white

foot

It’s bandaged again, and of course it hurts like hell since it got scrubbed.  Today, after the doctor’s office I ran some errands with a friend, had lunch, and picked up my handicapped placard for the car. Despite being dropped off curbside everywhere I went, this is the most physical activity I’ve done in almost 10 days.

I’m completely exhausted.

Filed under: Non-Work, Photos, , , ,

I’m feeling much better now, really.

This morning the doctor called just to check in, and during the course of the conversation he mentioned that I need to find a therapist.

Me: “Why do I need to see a therapist? You gave me pills.”

After a long silence (during which I could almost hear him contemplating a career change), he sighed heavily and told me that the pills (which are totally great, BTW) are a short-term solution and since I can’t take them for the rest of my life I’m going to have to actually deal with my problems.

Damn.

Although I promised I’d get to it eventually, I’m going to have to wait a few days because of The Oyster Incident.

There’s a lady at the weekly Hollywood farmer’s market who sells farm-raised oysters (actually, I think they’re ‘line-raised’ but I don’t know one from the other) for a very reasonable price and while most of the time I can pass without making a purchase every once in a while something in the universe shifts and I just can’t say no.

I got a dozen, iced them down, threw them in the fridge, and spent Monday afternoon on the back porch with my oysters and my fancy German-made oyster knife which is supposed to make shucking them an absolute breeze, but they must have designed it for big weakling German oysters because those little California ones put up one hell of a fight.

In addition to being difficult to pry apart, they’re small and have lightweight shells. Normally, with the bigger oysters, if you miss and the knife slips, a small chunk of shell will break off and then you just have to try again. With these little ones, if you don’t get the knife in at just the right angle, a bigger chip of shell breaks off and the knife skids across the top of the oyster and plunges into any bit of soft tissue. Since I use a dish towel for protection most of the almost-stabbings happen around the thumb area, but this time the knife grazed my wrist since I was stupidly holding the thing in my hand as I attempted to pry it open, and now I’ve got a really nasty-looking gash.

No one who has seen it has believed my story – they’ve all given me that narrow-eyed “yeah right” look when I tell them what happened and that there was no alcohol involved.

Now, while I’ll freely admit to having contemplated killing someone else more than once, I just can’t see any potential entertainment value in suicide.

Since it’s not something I’d even remotely begin to consider, I’d just love to avoid the inevitable accusation/denial/intervention cycle so I’m going to wait until the thing’s completely healed before seeking out any headshrinking services.

Thankfully, the cut’s not deep (it’s really more of a scratch) so it should heal fairly quickly.

I have to work tonight and I don’t want to wear long sleeves (it’s currently hotter than Satan’s balls here in Los Angeles), so maybe I’ll just wear some of those 70’s-era terrycloth wristbands and hope that people think I’m trying to be ironic.

Filed under: Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Friday Photo

Knee - side view Xray.

As much as I wanted to title this post “It’s not a too-mah”, that bump on my femur, is, in fact, a tumor.

The good news is that it’s a benign tumor, so they’re going to MRI it again in four months and if it’s not gotten any bigger, it gets to take a trip to the ‘ignore’ file.

In other good news, I won’t be needing surgery on my knee. As best I understand it, I fucked up the thing that goes over the kneecap, and as a result I’ll need physical therapy three times a week for the next four weeks, and I can’t do squats or lunges at the gym (but I can swim as much as I want to and bicycle as long as I raise the seat so the knee’s not bent too much). And – I’m able to work with the aid of the world’s largest knee brace.

Sweeeet.

As much as I might like to joke about sitting around on my ass collecting disability, the fact is that I don’t like being out of work when there’s work to be had.

I was so happy about not having to have surgery, that after I ran some other errands and went swimming for an hour (hey, the doctor said I could) I stopped at Mozza on the way home and had some pizza and a really excellent glass of wine (my last for the next 10 days, as I’m starting back onto the heavy-duty anti-inflammatory drugs).

The consequences I’m currently suffering because of the cheese are totally worth it.

Yay! No surgery!

Filed under: Non-Work, Photos, , , , , , , , ,

Back in the land of the living, at last.

I know I’ve said it before, but pulling all-nighters just kills me.

They didn’t used to – I’d run around all day, work all night and then the next day I’d just drink a lot of coffee and stay up until early evening and then sleep for 12 hours. The next morning, I’d wake up bright eyed and bushy tailed.

Not so much anymore.

I worked Tuesday night and couldn’t sleep during the day due to too much noise from the construction next door. Also, I had a two hour drive to where we were working (a mothballed children’s prison in Whittier, which should only be a 20 minute drive if the traffic around here weren’t so bad), so I had to leave really early to make my 7 pm call.

The night went pretty well – thankfully my boss put me in one of the lifts hanging lights so I didn’t have to walk on a concrete floor all night. My knee thanks him.

My appointment with the doctor was at 9 am Wednesday, so I rushed out of work (so quickly that I forgot to take my walkie off and now have to get it back to the best boy over the weekend. The really funny part was when it started making dying battery beeps later in the day and I couldn’t figure out what the noise was and went batty in sleep-deprived slow-mo) just in time to hit the morning rush hour gridlock. I did, however, manage get back to LA in time to take a quick shower before seeing the doctor, which was good because I’m sure I didn’t smell too great after sweating all night.

Oh, and the orthopedist did exactly what I thought he was going to do. He took one look at the xray and ordered an MRI, which I’ll get Saturday morning at 7 am.

The rest of the day is kind of a blur. At some point I did go to sleep and when I woke up Thursday, I was still tired and fuzzy – so I went to see the Harry Potter movie, which probably would have been confusing to me even if I’d been 100 percent. Unlike Fellini movies, Harry Potter does not improve with sleep deprivation – but I suppose that’s what you get when you try to condense a 700 page book into a movie.

I’m feeling much better today, and may even attempt to do some thinking (or go see the Simpsons movie). The knee’s better too – I can walk normally now instead of gimping around, leaning on a cane.

Filed under: crack of dawn, life in LA, locations, long long drives, Non-Work, up all night, Work, , , , , , , , , ,

I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up!

Thursday night was supposed to be a fun night – I was on a show that’s got a fantastic crew with whom I always have a great time. Plus, once they moved outside for the big night exterior, I was going up in the condor, which meant even if I couldn’t catch a nap I’d still be able to enjoy the cool breeze that blows 80 feet above the lot on summer nights.

But it didn’t work out like that.

I suppose at this point I should rewind about 10 years (or so).

One night (dark and stormy, of course) before I’d gotten into the union, after a 16 hour day on a low-budget nightmare, our truck broke down and we had to move all our equipment into a replacement truck after wrap but before we could go home (on locations camera, lighting and grip almost never get to go home at wrap – we have to shove all our crap back into our trucks and that can take a while).

The method for doing this is to back the trucks up so the rear ends face each other and the lift gates overlap (in the ‘up’ position about four feet off the ground), and just schlep the stuff from one truck to the other. If you put the trucks side-by-side and go up and down and up and down on the gates, it takes forever and your gates drain their batteries and die right before it’s time to load the really heavy stuff.

At some point during the transfer, I lost my footing on the wet lift gate and fell off the side. On the way down (or maybe when I fell on the surface of the parking lot) I seriously fucked up my left knee (as opposed to my right knee, which I only mildly fucked up) and spent the next couple of hours sitting on the ground, trying to keep from crying as my co-workers finished swapping trucks (I’d car pooled with my boss that day and had to sit there and wait. Not that I’d have been able to drive anyways – I had a stick shift at the time and my left knee wasn’t really working very well).

Production, of course, had sent the medic home at wrap as they didn’t want to keep paying him to sit around while those sweaty people worked.

The next day, I called in sick and went to a doctor who listened to the tale and took one look at my pitiful attempt to walk then started a workmen’s comp claim. He’d gotten to the point where he was ready to order MRIs and figure out exactly what was wrong, then the production company contested the claim (since heaven forbid they pay for an injury), and since I couldn’t afford health insurance, I couldn’t get it treated – I just iced it and stayed off of it for a couple of weeks, and then used a brace at work for a few months while I became better acquainted with over-the-counter painkillers.

After a while, it became normal – I just had a bad knee, and every so often it would act up and I’d have to stay home on the couch, with an ice pack and the remote control waiting for it to settle down. It’s amazing how quickly we learn to live with certain things.

Then, on Thursday night, the knee became incredibly painful – worse than it’s ever been before, and for the life of me I can’t remember doing anything to make it start. I didn’t fall, didn’t run up a bunch of steps, didn’t twist with my weight on it, didn’t kick anyone (hard). I just reported for work and it started hurting right before lunch.

Maybe my knee doesn’t like the commissary.

Lucky thing I went up in the condor because by that time I wasn’t sure if I could even finish out the night and getting off my feet for a few hours bought me some time (now would be a good time to mention that quite a few of us keep working when we’re injured, as we don’t want to be perceived as whiners or ‘high-maintenance’. Generally, the only time I’ll go home is if I’m vomiting so much that I can’t stand up).

It hurt even worse Friday, so I went to the doctor and he x-rayed it, became extremely agitated by said x-rays (he jabbed the image with his finger and said “What the hell is that?”) and then gave me a referral to go see an orthopedist.

My appointment’s Wednesday morning, and I’m going to strap a brace on the knee and try to work tomorrow night. I should be done by 7 am, and then it’s just a not-so-quick drive across town to the doc. Don’t bother telling me I’m nuts, I already know.

Hopefully I won’t have to climb any stairs.

Filed under: mishaps, studio lots, up all night, Work, , , , , , , , ,

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