It’s that time again – when Los Angeles will close streets for the use of cyclists, pedestrians, roller bladers, etc..
This year, it’s going out to the ocean, and I couldn’t be more excited!
April 19, 2013 • 5:12 pm 0
March 29, 2013 • 8:59 pm 3
Back in the old days, to get to the perms one would climb a rope ladder. Then, someone figured out that this was probably unsafe and something about which the dirty toolbelt people might be able to sue.
Enter the wall ladder.
If you’ve ever tried to climb a rope ladder, you will agree that a ladder fixed to a wall is much safer.
But still not that safe.
Enter the cage.
The cage prevents said ladder climber from falling to his or her death (or severe injury) and features a handy platform halfway – not for resting, but to allow more than one person to climb the ladder simultaneously. One person climbs the bottom half, and when that person steps off the lower ladder and onto the platform, the next person starts up.
Mostly for safety, but also because no one wants to see what’s up a co-worker’s shorts. Trust me on this one.
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.
November 14, 2012 • 8:00 pm 0
There are many reasons to shoot on location rather than build on a stage – usually it’s a cost factor, and in this case I think the house we’re shooting in would, indeed, have been too expensive to build.
It’s a modern home with a lot of glass throughout, including an entire wall of glass overlooking the garden. The wall has big sliding doors (probably 20 feet by 20 feet or 6 meters for you folks in the rest of the world) that open to let in the breeze. It’s a lovely feature except that when one is rushing into the house because one needs to get to set, it’s sometimes hard to tell if the doors are open or closed.
Four people (myself included) in two days have run into the glass due to not being able to tell if the door was closed.
Since even the biggest house is a bit tight space-wise, if one has to get into the set and one sees a clear path, one usually goes at a fairly fast pace to get to where one has to be before the crowd closes in. Although that ‘fast’ isn’t a flat-out run, it’s still fast enough to make it hurt when a pane of glass stops all forward progress.
At least I was lucky enough to hit the glass with my shoulder due to someone calling out my name and my turning my head to respond.
Another person wasn’t so lucky and hit the glass hard enough that the medic deemed an ER visit was in order (Don’t worry, it wasn’t too serious).
After that, the ADs put big strips of paper tape over the widows so they’d be a bit more visible. We keep having to peel them off if the window’s in the shot, but it seems to be working as there haven’t been any more collisions. Yet.
November 12, 2012 • 8:33 pm 9
Friday was all about being in the right place at the right time.
I was rigging on some re-shoots of a movie that shot back east (as most of them do now), and happened to be standing there when the best boy got a call asking if anyone knew of any lamp operators that were available.
Some people prefer just to rig for various reasons – shorter hours, less chaos, etc.. and some folks on rigging crews do not like to work set, but some of us are perfectly happy doing both.
So as I was standing there, gathering supplies I needed to run DMX in the perms, my name got thrown in the hat for a lamp operator on a movie that – wait for it – is actually shooting in Los Angeles.
Jaw, meet floor.
There are several totally awesome things about this particular movie - it’s crewed by a great group of folks that I really like to work with, and it’s running through the middle of December. And the main location is really close to the apartment so the morning commute is a breeze. Also, kickass caterer.
I’m not dayplaying, I’m actually full-time, and I can’t remember the last time that’s happened.
Today was my first day, and as usual, was spent getting acquainted with the set, where the power is, how the gaffer likes things done, etc..
About three hours into the day, the ADs announced that our main actor would not be in due to illness. Actual illness, mind you, not coked-out former starlet “illness”.
When things like this happen, the production company calls the insurance company*, informs them that they won’t be able to shoot that day and the insurance company has to cover the costs.
Production companies hate insurance days and try to never, ever use them, but sometimes your actor gets sick or your set burns down or no one can find the director because he went to Tijuana over the weekend with two of the extras and there’s nothing to be done about it other than to throw in the towel.
So, we spent some time cleaning up and organizing our carts, and then left. I went to a nearby restaurant and celebrated the full-time gig with a glass of wine and a fantastic lunch (chickpea and rosemary soup with a nice glass of wine. And bread), then came home, changed and went for a run.
Followed, finally, by a swim.
As of right now, we’re working tomorrow and I’m so happy about it.
*Every production has insurance. One can’t get permits or rent equipment without it.
September 25, 2012 • 7:08 pm 2
It’s been a thin year and not looking to get much better, so of course I’m eternally grateful for every day of work I get.
Even tomorrow, with a call time of 4 am in west bumfuck (take freeway until it ends, drive another 10 miles), which, since it’s a long commute, will require me to leave my house at 3 am, which means I have to get up at an hour I don’t want to think about.
Which means I should be in bed right now, except that it’s not dark yet and for some reason I have a real problem falling asleep when it’s still light out.
Also of course, I have zero idea of how long a day tomorrow will be, so I have to assume that I’ll need as much sleep as possible – which, if I’m lucky, will be about 6 hours.
Lucky for me I’m working with a group of guys that I really like so even though I have to be there at the crack of dark, I’ll still have a great time.
I’m off to bed.
April 25, 2012 • 7:01 pm 5
Oh, did I say ‘get a job’?
What I really meant was ‘send around a resume and make a million calls only to be told that film industry work experience doesn’t transfer over to the real world’, which I kind of already knew.
One person did tell me that I’d make a really good insurance salesperson, which I’m not sure if I should interpret as an insult or not.
For some reason I always thought jobs paying only commission were illegal, but there seem to be a whole lot of them listed. Or maybe it’s just Craig’s List.
Or maybe it’s just me.
I won’t take anything that’s going to pay less than unemployment, as the state’s UI is just barely more than my bills, so slinging fast food at the drooling masses isn’t on the card, and speaking of drooling masses, what the hell is up with people wanting a photo of applicants? Is that not also illegal?
Also, if you’re going to list a job for copywriters on the internet, the very least you could do is make sure your follow-up email is correctly spelled.
In other news, the entire town is currently in the grip of a rain related panic. Not only is the predicted hellstorm of skywater going to moisten the city like it’s never been moistened before, but it’s coming from the south so it’s warm. The good citizens of Los Angeles can’t seem to wrap our collective minds around the concept of warm rain.
“It’s sort of like a shower, right? Except outside tand I have to wear clothes. And it’s all sticky. Like humidity, but we’re in California so that can’t happen here.”
Save us all.
April 16, 2012 • 9:06 pm 4
I love CicLAvia.
I’d love it in any other city, but the fact that car-crazed Los Angeles actually closes streets to traffic so a bunch of bike-riding deadbeats can have fun is nothing short of amazing, and makes me giggle like some sort of a super-villian.
Every time the event is held, it gets bigger and bigger, so clearly I’m not the only one who enjoys it.
This year, it was really crowded, but still fun. Since pictures are supposedly worth a thousand words, please enjoy a novel:
Next event is October 14. Awesome.
March 16, 2012 • 10:15 pm 0
Sometimes, one wants to break up the light just a bit – either to give the impression of a window, or tree leaves, or just to make the background look more interesting, motivation be damned.
To achieve said neat-o pattern, one uses a cucaloris. Such as this one:
This is a ‘hard’ cucaloris, as it’s made of wood, and is, as such, hard. Duh, right? Some versions are varying degrees of opacity on a screen material, and those are called ‘soft’ cucalori (I’m not sure that’s the correct plural, but it looks better than ‘cucalorises’).
Obviously, the sharper the lines on the shadow, the more obvious the pattern is.
The classic example of breaking up the light for texture is the window blind pattern on a blank wall, but if you look at day exteriors, many of them have this cucaloris pattern.
When I googled “motivated lighting” to find an example, what came up number one in the image search? My photo from the Mind of Mencia ‘cockfight’ sketch. Awesome.
December 14, 2011 • 9:31 pm 3
There I was, expecting the usual not-so-busy December, and out of nowhere suddenly work is going gangbusters. Not that it’s a bad thing, it’s just… unexpected.
I’m bouncing back and forth between two shows crewed by awesome folks that I love to work with – a one-hour ensemble drama (let’s call it Been Done Before) and Yet Another Cop Show.
The two have been syncing up nicely. This week, I have four days rigging on Been Done Before, and Friday working the set on Yet Another Cop Show.
Since BDB is rigging, the hours are shorter (normally not over 10 hours), except today which was a bit longer because we had to rig at the world’s smallest loft. Had we a cat handy, there wouldn’t have been room to swing it. Seeing a largish production trying to cram a crew into the space was probably hilarious, but I’ve very glad I didn’t have to work the set.
After helping the shooting crew move to the loft (the day’s second location), we went back to wrap our first location at the old LA Times building. We were shooting in the currently unused Chandler-era executive offices on the top floor in a room called the Round Table – which features, unsurprisingly, a big round table. You’ve seen it in about a bazillion movies.
I really do believe that being honest (within reason) is the best way to live one’s life, but I have to tell you all – had there been a way for me to sneak the original Paul Horiuchi painting out of the building, I’d have done it. It’s just hanging on the wall in an empty office, making no one happy instead of inspiring joy and general well-being, which is a painting’s job.
Once we’d gotten the shooting crew moved and wrapped, it was right in the middle of rush hour, so a co-worker and I went and had some Pho at a place around the corner from the Times building. Hot noodle soup is perfect on a cold night.
By the time we finished eating, the traffic had died down enough for me to venture onto the freeway towards home.
Tomorrow, we’re wrapping the world’s smallest loft, which shouldn’t take very long, and then Friday, it’ll be a split on YACS.
Five days this week! Yay!!!