Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Friday Photo

Danger zone

The most dangerous part of having condors on an open street like this isn’t when the arms are extended and there are operators in the baskets – car vs. condor is catastrophic for the car and all it really does is give the condor operator a good shake.

The most dangerous time for us is when we’re preparing to go up and we’re on the ground with said cars.  Even with the cones  and police officers drivers sometimes get really close.


Filed under: hazardous, locations, Photos, Work

Open Letter to America*

*With all due apologies to R. Lee Ermey

It has come to my attention that some of you among this great nation are paying inflated prices for canned pumpkin due to some commie shortage or something.

I’m disappointed in you worthless pukes. Are you not the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the people who flipped the finger to the Great Depression and continued to live and thrive?

I think not. Seems to me the hardy stock of America has been replaced by crybabies from planet Piss-ant.

Pay attention, maggots:

First off, harden the fuck up.

Then, go buy a damned pumpkin. Most chi-chi ‘gourmet’ grocery stores will carry small pumpkins called ‘sugar pie’. You’ll need two of them.

If you can’t find those, go out to one of those insipid pretend pumpkin patches that I know you have in your city.

Go the day after Halloween, get an ugly one and haggle the dude down. Don’t tell me you can’t. My deaf crippled mother can haggle. Yes, the pumpkin will last three weeks if the rind is intact.

Take your ugly fucking pumpkin and go home.

Get a knife. Cut the pumpkin into bits.

Scrape out the seeds. Put your back into it, weakling.

Cut off the rind. Cook the chunks until they’re tender.

Put the cut-up pumpkin chunks into a blender.

I know you have a blender. My blind grandmother who’s been dead for twenty years has a goddamn blender.

Blend until smooth.

Follow the same recipe you’d use for your shitty canned pumpkin.


That’s not good enough for you?

Go to this site.

Or use this recipe, which is the one yours truly makes.

Absolutely can’t find any sort of pumpkin at all?  Make a sweet potato pie and tell your family they should be grateful they get anything at all because when you were a kid, you were so poor that all you got for Thanksgiving was a tin plate full of sand and you felt lucky to have that.

What? You weren’t poor as a kid? Who cares if it’s true. A generation of great Americans were raised listening to the exaggerations of how hard life was when our parents were young. Most of those stories weren’t true, either.

If they still complain, make them do push ups outside while you eat their piece of pie.  That’ll teach ’em.

You’re welcome, maggots.

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

Friday Photo

Bridge, with condor.

This is an 80 foot condor armed out over the 6th street bridge downtown, which, of course, makes it a 100+ foot condor.

One of the disadvantages of working in, under and around LA’s bridges is getting a really good look at just how worn they are. They have peeling paint, cracks, etc..

Makes me wonder how safe they are.

Filed under: camera, hazardous, locations, Photos, up all night, Work

This week’s installment of “The Best Laid Plans”

Friday, I didn’t take a nap before work as I thought I was going up in the condor all night, which would have meant at least some sleep.

Of course, my lift was only in play for one scene which, also of course,  was scheduled for  the very end of the night. Since I wasn’t scheduled to go up before 3 am (or so), I ended up on the ground, working the set all night.

At least I remembered to bring the semi-waterproof shoes as we were using rain bars – but sadly, I brought the ‘I’m going to be off my feet all night’ shoes and not the ‘I’m going to be standing for 13 hours’ shoes.

Of course.

By the time my lift went up in the air, my feet had (thankfully) numbed out – which was much better than the stabbing pain I’d been experiencing. Remind me never, ever to leave my house again without bringing everything I own.

Got home after the sun came up, passed out for a few hours, then failed to accomplish much of anything due to being way, way beyond tired.

I vaguely remember hanging some laundry out on the clothesline, which seemed like a fine idea at the time.

A friend had a Halloween party Saturday night, but as I was starting to see things that weren’t there I bowed out and went to bed early.

Also of course, I forgot to bring the laundry in before I passed out and woke up this morning to rain. Dammit.

I felt much better today, which was good as I had to re-do the laundry.

I’m off to bed early again tonight as I’ve got an early call in the morning.

Call time: 5 pm

Wrap time: 6 am

Filed under: crack of dawn, locations, up all night, Work


In theory, night shifts give one the opportunity to run errands and get stuff done during the day, but for me it’s hard to get moving when I’ve only gotten a few hours of sleep.

Due to my pathological inability to sleep past about 9, I was up after taking what seemed like the world’s shortest nap. Although I had big plans involving the gym and being productive today, so far all I’ve managed to do is skim the newspaper and struggle to keep up with the banter on the morning talk shows.

I’ve got one more night of work, but I’ll be in the condor so hopefully I’ll manage to catch enough of a nap to be able to function tomorrow. I really need to do laundry.

Filed under: crack of dawn, locations, up all night, Work

When will I ever learn?

It started out innocently enough.

We were rigging a location in one of Los Angeles’  more upscale neighborhoods. I’ve believe I’ve mentioned before that the more expensive the area, the more the residents hate film crews.

Since this was to be a night shoot, we had three condors to rig with BFLs (Big Fucking Lights).

Said condors were parked on the street – the bases didn’t block anyone’s ingress, but when we had the arms lowered to load them up, the basket of one of them was right in the middle of a driveway.

We figured that since it was the middle of the day, it wouldn’t be a problem as long as we worked quickly.

Oh, so wrong.

Just after we got the arm down, a woman came charging out at us like an angry hornet, yelling at us to get that damn thing off the street.

At first we thought she was trying to get her car out of the driveway, and we explained to her that we’d raise the arm back up for her to back out, but it turns out she was getting upset about the condor base parked in front of her house (and probably the whole shoot in general).

I can’t blame her. I hate it when a fucking film crew invades my neighborhood. Bastards. Who do they think they are?

The main problem was that she wanted us to move the base of the condor, which we’d put there because our boss the Rigging Gaffer told us to do so. The Rigging Gaffer was presumably informed of condor placement by the Gaffer, who was asked to have ‘some sort of big light’ in that place by the Director of Photography.

Me? I’m just following orders. I can’t move the condor to the next house over. I’ll get yelled at and likely beaten (or something) if I start to think for myself.

In any case, crew people are not encouraged to try to problem solve when it doesn’t involve inanimate objects, so any angry homeowners must be sent to the locations people, who are all much better  at dealing with umbrage than are rigging crews.

After being told that we were looking for the locations manager, she rolled her eyes, told us that wasn’t good enough and added “Get that thing out of here or I’ll have it towed!”

I couldn’t help myself.  She stood there, glowering at me while holding her auto club card and her cell phone, poised to dial, and I responded with “I’d like to see that.”

She turned purple and accused me of mocking her, but I was serious.

I would love to see Billy Joe from BJ’s towing show up, whistling a happy tune, expecting to hitch up some Honda and finding an elevated work platform with an 80 foot boom arm. Hell, besides ‘a shitload’ I don’t even know how much those things weigh. When the rental company pick them up and drop them off, they come in a 48 foot flatbed trailer with a full-sized tractor.

Somebody please video that and upload it to YouTube. I need a good laugh.

Eventually, it all got smoothed over, after the locations guy told her I wouldn’t be back the next day (I’m on a different show and was only on a one day call). She’ll look out at the shooting crew, not see me and feel a flush of beige triumph that she got that awful toolbelt person fired.

Joke’s on her, though. She’ll still have a condor parked in front of her house.

Filed under: locations, Work, , , , ,

Busy, busy, busy.

Sorry no post lately. Every day so far has been a long one with a short turnaround (the time between when we’re released and when we have to report back to work the next day), and by now (Thursday) I’m too wrecked to do much but curl up in a ball and fight for my five hours of sleep. Oh, wait. Tomorrow’s trash day.

Four and a half hours of sleep.

Work means money and money is good.

Hope your week’s going well.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Friday Photo


Play of light and shadow on a painted water tank in Griffith Park.

I’m too mentally fried to be clever today – I got the news yesterday that the building owner is going to pay me to move.

Which is good and bad.

Good because I probably do need a change, and rents are down at the moment.

Not all that down, though. At best, I’m looking at my rent to double, and normally I’d just treat myself to a tall frosty mug of ‘harden the fuck up, sissy’, but there’s that looming threat of yet another round of strikes next year.

Having a rent that is more than I can draw from unemployment could be problematic.

We’ll see.

I’ve got a couple of months before I have to move, so right now I’m just checking out what’s available (in my price range? Not fucking much but more than I’d expected)

What’s really making me stress is the idea that I’m going to have to downsize (I currently have a two bedroom and I’ll only be able to afford a one bedroom) – and by ‘downsize’ I mean get rid of approximately half my stuff. The main problem is books. I have so many books that they’ve formed a guerilla army and are threatening to stage a coup.

Today, I just stood in the middle of the living room, looked around, felt completely overwhelmed by the enormity of what I need to do and had to have a drink.

Knowing me as well as I do,  I suspect I’m going to save the ‘get me some pharmaceuticals’ freakout for when I’ve secured a new pad and actually have to move.

Tonight, I’m going to not think about any of it. I’m going to eat the last of the butternut squash from the garden and watch the stupidest comedy that I can stream off Netflix.

On top of everything else, work’s been insanely busy. Which is good, except that I’ve not had a chance to  blog about how great Blogger Prom was.


Happy fucking weekend to you, too.

Filed under: Non-Work

October 2010

Flickr Photos



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

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