Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

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, , , , , ,

Some weeks are better than others

This week started out so well. Work’s picking up, the weather’s been gorgeous, etc…

Until Tuesday, when I decided to go to the grocery store, and because I needed some bulky stuff, I took the car.

Midway through my backing out of my parking space in the six-space carport, the neighbor’s little rat-dog ran across the alley and under my wheels, and in an attempt not to flatten said rat-dog, I swerved and hit the support post instead.

Which would have been fine, except my current car is apparently made of vacu-formed tinfoil as the low-speed oopsie resulted in the following:

One torn off driver’s side mirror

One severely dented front driver’s side door.

One fucked up front quarter panel.

One fucked up front bumper.

One $500 deductible.

One rat-dog owner refusing to admit that she’s at fault.

Awesome. So now, I’m on the hook for five Benjamins and my car has to go to the body shop for an undisclosed amount of time.

Also, I’ve spent eons on the phone with said insurance company and will now get a point on my license and jacked-up rates for the foreseeable future.

Lucky for me my insurance covers a portion of the rental car – not all of it, of course, but some of it.

Gods bless America.

So for the next week or so, I’ll be driving a Prius, which is what the rental car company gave me. Side of smug is on the house.

And five days of work turned into three.

How was your week?

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

Idle hands are some dude’s workshop.

In addition to an uncertain economy and a more annoying than usual election season, those of us in movie world have to worry about a potential actor’s strike. Projects which should be starting up right about now are on hold pending resolution of the SAG contract dispute, and what should be a very busy time of year is slow, so I’ve had the misfortune to see a lot more of the news than usual.  Also, it’s too hot to do anything other than sit on the couch in front of a fan.

Special note to media: Maybe investors wouldn’t panic if you’d stop scaring the hell out of them every three seconds.

Just something to think about.

While I can’t do anything about a SAG strike, heat, runaway production, bailouts, recessions, guys with douche bag hair or credit freezes, I have a proposal which will make many of us (okay, maybe just me) feel much, much better about the state of things.

Let’s get a couple of tanker trucks full of tar, a shitload of feathers and head for Wall Street. It would at least give the illusion that someone, somewhere got what was coming to them.

If we have any tar left over we can make a stop in Washington, too.

It’ll be fun!

Filed under: Uncategorized, , , , ,

Watch me try to stay awake

One of the things that still remains tough to adjust to after all this time is the unpredictable hours that I sometimes have to work.

Under normal circumstances, if I’m so tired that I feel I’m not safe I’ll turn down the call, but since my policy right now is to only turn down work if I’m dead, I’m taking anything at any time I can get, which means if I have to go without sleep I’m just going to have to deal, since the shadow of another potential work stoppage is still hanging over all our heads.

Thursday: 2 pm call time. I got to bed around 2 am and got up around 7 am in order to keep on a day schedule. I figured I’d stay up all day and just go to bed early.

Then, on Friday around noon I got a last minute call to report to work at 2 pm (missed seeing Nezza on her last day here, but a girl’s gotta pay the bills), so right out of the gate I was completely wiped out and the best boy will probably go to his grave being convinced that I’m either perpetually stoned or exceptionally slow on the uptake.

Monday: 7am call time, which adds up to one of those one-day weekends since I totally lost Saturday. I’m sure I did something, but I have no idea what that something was.

I was off today, and I got up early hoping to stay on a day schedule, but no such luck.

Tomorrow: 5 pm call time, so although I got up at 6 am today, I’ll have to try to stay up until at least midnight in the hopes that I’ll sleep until at least 8 am.

8, for me, is the magic number. I can’t seem to sleep much later unless I get home from work at 7 am.

What will probably happen is that I’ll fall asleep at 10, wake up at 6, be unable to get back to sleep and then be up until sunrise Friday morning, which means I’ll have to down enough coffee to kill Juan Valdez and his donkey in order to stay functional.

It’s all going to be fine. I’m just happy to be working, and worse comes to worse I’ll catch a nap in the back seat of my car after work. Wouldn’t be the first time I’ve done that.

On the bright side, I got my refund checks from the unemployment fracas:

Winning feels gooood.

I have big plans for this money. First, I’m going to trowel on enough makeup so that I topple over when I try to stand upright. Then, I’m going to don an obscenely tight dress, make a beeline to the trendiest nightclub in town and sit at the bar while I bat my eyelashes and fan myself with $2,000 in twenties before going home with four or five cheap male models. Or maybe one really expensive one.

Just kidding. I’m going to use it to pay bills and rent. Whatever’s left over goes in the savings account in case the actors decide to strike.

Although when I think about it, if I have four or five cheap male models, do I really need a place to live? Or food?

Filed under: Photos, Work, , , , , , , , ,

We have a winner!

Jon takes the canned swill  delicious beverage with 20 W2 forms!

Jon, shoot me an email at randomblogmail@yahoo.com and I’ll send it right out!

I’d also like to take this time to apologize for not being more interesting as of late – there’s just not that much going on right now. I get up, write a bit (I’m still behind schedule, though), go to the gym for a couple of hours (I’d be totally ripped right now if I didn’t like wine so much), come home, work on the scarf I’m knitting (it’s my first lace project so it’s taking a while), write some more, watch some bad TV, list stuff on ebay (I’m now listing stuff for people in exchange for a percentage of the sale. Tune in next week when I start dancing on the street corner for whatever spare change passersby chuck at my head) and then go to bed.

No going out, no dates, no movies, no trips anywhere, no social life to speak of and I don’t even have work to blame this time.

Guess I need another excuse, don’t I? 

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

Well, this is depressing, but it isn’t a surprise.

Today’s LA Times hit me like a hammer*, and it wasn’t so much of a surprise as it was a confirmation in my not having much faith in humanity these days:

Go Here and Here

Of course the suits looted the company. Of course.

You know, if I lose my health insurance** and pension qualifying hours and have to double pay taxes because one of these motherfuckers wanted a tacky $100,000 car and a mostly plastic bimbo, I’m going to scour the earth to find the guy.

When I do find him, I’m going to do things to him that will violate every single clause of the Geneva convention.

That’s all I have.

I’m just too angry right now to be clever. Maybe later.

*I stood in the coffee shop (I’ve cancelled my newspaper subscription to save money) shaking my scavenged paper and screaming “You motherfucker!” at the top of my lungs. I think I was asked not to return. Ever.

** Crew people’s health insurance is dependent upon our working a certain number of hours (currently 300 per semester). If we don’t work enough, and don’t have enough extra hours saved in our ‘bank’ to cover the shortfall, we lose our insurance. If Axium didn’t pay into the proper fund, some of use could lose our insurance.

Filed under: Uncategorized, , , , , , ,

And now for something none of us needed right now.

Over the weekend, the recent crash and burn of the Axium payroll company has been the subject of many panic-stricken phone calls and late nights spent rocking back and forth talking to oneself while clutching a bottle of cheap whiskey.

For tax and unemployment insurance purposes, when we work, we are technically employees of the payroll company instead of the production company. This is not a bad thing – it cuts down on the tax-season paperwork (16 W 2 forms instead of 138) and reduces instances of in-house rubber checkitis (back in the bad old days of tiny shows run by fly-by-night production companies, one would pick up one’s check at the office and then drive like a bat out of hell to the production company’s bank to cash it while there were hopefully still funds in the account. When everyone started using payroll companies, the checks, when they eventually arrived, were usually good).

Although I read the LA Times articles about Axium folding, I didn’t think much about it until this weekend, when we found out that they haven’t been paying the tax contributions on paychecks for “months and months”. Needless to say, these contributions were withheld from checks, but the money somehow just…disappeared.

As of right now, there’s some debate about if they’ve paid into the pension and health fund.

Did I mention that over half my work (and thus, over half my pay) last year was with companies that used Axium? Including the movie that I was on for months?

Which means, that although the taxes were deducted from my checks, as of right now there’s no way to know if I fall into the happy group who had the deducted monies actually paid to the gub’mint. Since I doubt the IRS cares that I had the money deducted, they’ll probably make me pay twice.

‘Cause that’s how the IRS rolls.

No one has exact numbers yet, so I’m desperately hoping to just get a little bit fucked instead of utterly and completely screwed sideways with sand in the Vaseline.

Great. Just my luck I’ll have to write the IRS a check right when I haven’t been working in months.

Filed under: cranky, mishaps, rants, Work, , , , , ,

And the days keep slipping by.

 Part of the problem of being totally unemployed with no work prospects coming down the pipe is inertia – seems that the less I have to do, the less I’m able to do. I sink into a sort of slug-like state where it’s a Herculean effort just to haul myself up off the couch at all, and going to the gym feels like a grueling expedition to some far-off place.

When there’s work, I get a lot of stuff done because I know I only have the one day (or two days) to squeeze in everything – I get up, get moving and start going down the list of stuff (gym, laundry, projects, etc…)

Since my immediate future is a blank slate of nothing there’s no urgency to do anything. That, and I’m broke.

Well, not completely broke yet, but unemployment are dragging their feet about cutting me a check so I can’t even go out and do anything that costs any money (a great source of amusement which costs money is hanging out in Z-list celeb infested holes on weeknights. It’s way more entertaining – in a train wrecky kind of way – than anything that’s on TV. Really, now. Who raises these people? Wolves?). I’ve got some movie passes to some theaters, but everything I want to see is playing somewhere that doesn’t take the passes I bought at Universal the last time I worked there. Dammit.

At some point the awards season screenings will start, but I’m not even sure how many of those I’m going to care about enough to haul my ass outside.

I’d start squawking about a deal between the writers and the producers needing to happen, but honestly at this point it doesn’t matter – by now just about everyone’s scrapped the remainder of the season (it’s just a 4th quarter loss, after all), so I, at least, am completely fucked and not in a happy way.

Speaking of fucked in a happy way, the only romantic prospect on the horizon is a guy who… get ready for it… is in jail for DUI.

Him: “Can I call you when I get out of jail?”

Me: (heavy sigh) “Sure, why not?”

Friend (after hearing this): “Are you insane? He’s a drunk!”

Me: “Yeah, but he’s got all his teeth. That counts for something, right?”

On the vacation recap, the next couple of days consist of us getting hopelessly lost and swearing a lot. Someone – and I think it might have been me – actually burst into tears at one point.

Here’s some photos:

This was the first sunny day of the trip at the Chateau Chenonceau

Clouds above Chenonceau

View of Chateau Chenonceau

This is the town of Montrichard. Everything was closed because it was lunchtime in November.

Montrichard was closed

Montrichard Fountain

Montrichard Roses

On the bright side, I just did all my holiday shopping by ordering prints off Flickr.

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

Why yes, I am an asshole. Thanks for noticing.

In a moment of spectacularly bad planning, I have a 5 pm call today (I’m the ‘8 hour guy’ who’s just coming in to help wrap), and I have no idea what time I’ll have to be at work tomorrow morning. If it’s 7 am, I’m totally screwed – rules about turnaround only apply when one is on the same show from day to day.

So I decided to spend the day running errands, and started out with a stop for coffee. While walking back to my car, an Indian (sub-continent, not North American) guy – complete with beads, turban, sandals and nearly incomprehensible accent – stopped me and said “You look happy on the outside, but you’re disturbed inside. You have too many thoughts. Let me see your right palm.”

Then he grabbed my hand and started examining it.

At this point, I figured I was being punked (or New-Age robbed) so I started frantically looking around for either a camera crew or Officer Friendly.

Personally, I think fortune-telling is bunk (I see claims of ‘seeing the future’ as a grave misunderstanding about the nature of time), but you can’t actually tell these people that, now can you?

I must have looked wary because he continued (still clutching my hand) more earnestly, “You have a very long life-line and will live a long time with happy life and successful. You will have three lucky news in December. There are two men who love you – one loves you too much and the other is bullshit but you won’t know it for some time.”

No, I think I can see the source of the bullshit just fine, but thanks.

“Now, if you will pay me $40, you will have happy life.”

I stared at his beads for a moment, idly wondering if they ever got caught in his chest hair and asked “Does that mean that I’m not going to have a happy life if I don’t pay you $40? ‘Cause I got some bad news for you, my friend.”

“Well how much do you have?”

“Nothing. I will pay you nothing. I resent being hustled.”

“Asshole.”

Awesome. I’m still going to live a long life, though. Everyone on both sides of my family has lived past 90 (except the ones that had accidents and died young, but for genetics purposes, they don’t count), so unless the asbestos exposure gets me first I’ve got every reasonable expectation of living far, far beyond my usefulness.

So there.

Later, as I was sitting in the laundromat waiting for the dryers to finish, a guy wearing a T-shirt expressing his patriotic disdain for anyone of Middle-Eastern ancestry, wandered in and demanded I give him money. “My phone ran out of minutes,” he said, shaking his pink Razr at me for emphasis. “I need ten bucks. Please, sir.”

Sir? You need to work on your panhandling skills, kid. Scoot.”

“Asshole!”

Actually, I was more of an asshole than he’d imagined. A few minutes later, after I watched him buy some meth from the tranny hooker who hangs out in front of the coffee shop (I guess he got someone to give him some money after all), I called the cops and gave them a very detailed description of him, his meth, and his t shirt.

My laundry done, I headed back home – only to arrive right as the school across the street was letting out and all the parking was being taken up by waiting parents.

Except one space, which I slipped into ahead of the lady who was trying to make an illegal U turn in her minivan despite the heavy traffic and nearby police cruiser.

“Hey!” she yelled out her window as I got out of the car and started to unload my laundry “I want that space!”

“I want one of those really ripped Calvin Klein models and a big tub of butter, but…” I trailed off with a gesture intended to convey my good-natured disappointment at the lack of condiment-covered male models roaming the streets of American cities.

Actually, I’m on a diet, so perhaps I should want a really ripped Calvin Klein model and a big tub of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter.

She glared at me for a moment and then yelled “Asshole!” before driving off.

Wow. Three times in one day and I’m not even wearing a costume.

Do I get a prize for that?

Oh, and happy Halloween.

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

Hooray for reduced traffic (I think).

It used to be, that when I wrote something about, say, refusing to take a cat across town to see a fucking kitty eye-doctor, I’d get hate mail from what seemed like every wacko with a pulse and a keyboard.

That was back in the Blogger days – when I moved the blog, I lost around 60 percent of my traffic, which, I’m told, is normal (so much for my thinking I was special and that people would love me enough to update their damn bookmarks), so after yesterday’s declaration of kitty-type hatefulness, I didn’t get one hate mail.

Not one.

I got a hate Meebo message, which I’m counting as about one-third of an actual email due to the extra lameness factor of trying to scold a total stranger in text-speak (“u r mean”).

I’m not sure if it’s just harder to email me via WordPress, or if no one cares anymore. Either way, I win.

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

September 2014
S M T W T F S
« Aug    
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
282930  

Flickr Photos

The space between the cells

Hallway in the afternoon

60s phone

More Photos

Categories

Random Quote

"If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better." -Anne Lamott

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 695 other followers

Twitter Updates

Blogroll

Not blogs, but cool

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 695 other followers

%d bloggers like this: