Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Friday Photo and Apology

Stairway to the perms

This is the extra steep stairway to the perms – a few times up and down these and my knees will hurt for the rest of the day. At least it’s got good handrails. Some of the stairways have old wooden handrails which throw off weapons-grade splinters – which, of course, renders said handrails useless.

I’d also like to apologize for the disappearing act – I’ve been having car problems.

Not normal car problems, but car problems so teeth-grindingly annoying that when the tow truck finally drops me off at home all I can manage to do is drop to my knees, shake my fist and scream a word so bad  I’m actually afraid to type it.

The problem is that they can’t figure out what, exactly, is wrong with my car.  It’s started dying for no reason and the mechanic determined that it was a bad fuel pump, which he replaced.  The car ran fine for a couple of days and then died again – at a location 30 miles from my house. At 10 pm.

I had it towed to the mechanic (who was, of course, closed at 10 pm so I had to have the tow truck driver drop the car in a parking space in the street and push it in the next morning after they’d opened), who determined that they’d installed a bad fuel pump and put in another one.

The car ran fine for about a day, and then died again. At 2 am on the way home from work in the middle of a busy street. A kind policeman used the push bar on the front of his car to push me off to a side street and said pushbar tore off the rear bumper cover which might have really irritated me any other time but I was just too tired and beaten down to care.

Then, they decided that the aftermarket fuel pump was the problem and ordered one from the dealer.

The car went 20 miles before dying again, but at least this time it was during business hours. Okay, it died 40 minutes before the mechanic closed for the night, so I had to beg the auto club to get a tow truck there quickly and we barely made it.

At this point the mechanic sighed heavily and admitted that he hadn’t a clue what was wrong and was planning on opening the hood and replacing damn near everything he saw.

To date, they’ve replaced the fuel pump relay, the oil pressure sending something-or-other, a couple of other doodads and have scraped a shitload of carbon out of something called the EGR valve. At this point, he thinks he’s got it fixed, but he’s going to keep it and use it as his daily driver while I’m out of town in an effort to put this whole nasty mess behind us. For now.  He’s a nice guy and he’s trying his best, so I really do hope that he doesn’t get stranded in bumfuck in the middle of the night.

My friends and co-workers have been well-meaning but spectacularly unhelpful in informing me that I need a new car.

Tell me something I don’t know.

I know with every fiber of my being that I need to buy another car. I know it every time I cross my fingers and hope I’m going to get home. I know it every time I get stranded in some gas station parking lot in the middle of the night. I know it when I walk into the rental car place and the guys that work there greet me by name.

The problem is that until our friends at SAG get this strike business resolved, I can’t afford to buy anything more involved than groceries.

If the actors walk and I’m out of work for another four months, I’m going to be so broke I’m going to have to put McNuggets on layaway, so buying a car right now is completely out of the question.

I have to work tomorrow and the rental places are all out of cars (fucking holidays), so I’ve got to hitch a ride with a co-worker, which I hate because I always feel like I’m putting someone out.

The lack of car has foiled my plans to overeat at a few holiday parties Sunday, but on the bright side it gave me an excuse to turn down an invite to a screening of a truly dreadful movie.

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

Friday Photo

Italian water-bottle rest

A nice place to put a water bottle – on top of an expensive car that was being used in a scene that day.

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

How much has to happen before it’s officially a bad day?

My internet connection is like an indifferent lover – it dissapears for days at a time and despite my desperate pleas, doesn’t tell me where it’s gone, who it’s with or when it’s going to come back. I always swear I’m going to leave it for something more reliable, but I never do.

This latest outage was almost a full week, and service was just restored this evening. I think it’s the heat.

I’m just about ready to break up for good, though. There are some decent deals on other, more attentive companies offering faster and better connections. Now that I have internet again I can look around and see who’s offering what in my area.

Speaking of stuff that I just don’t need, this morning as I was on my way into work a guy cut me off on the freeway and I slammed on my brakes without bothering to slap my hand on top of my cup of coffee, which, of course, went flying and completely soaked the front of my car – most of the coffee fell into the center console, soaking the flotsam that happened to be living there (’cause I don’t clean out my car often enough) and my bluetooth headset ( I plugged it in to see if it’ll charge. Keep your fingers crossed).

When I got home tonight, I had to soak the entire front section of the carpet in cleaner and then wet vac the whole unhappy mess. I could still smell coffee afterwards, so I got the screw gun and removed the center console in order to spray underneath. I hope I got it all – it’s really unpleasant in there right now. I love coffee, so you’d think I’d be overjoyed to have my car reek of it. Not so much.

I also hurt my back at work today. This particular set has a super-shiny (and super-slippery) floor. While it would be nice if construction could wait to lay the floor until after we hang the lights, sometimes that’s just not possible, so we have to put layout board (which is a very thick cardboard) under the scissor lifts so the tires don’t mar the floor. Since we weren’t given enough board to be able to cover the entire floor, we weren’t able to tape the board down and we had to keep picking it up and moving it to where the lifts needed to go. In case you were wondering, thick cardboard laid down over a slick surface does not give the best footing in the world, so I slid a few times and now my back’s killing me.

I’m going to have to dig out the back belt just to get through the day at work tomorrow.

Aside from the lack of internet, the searing pain and the coffee soaked vehicle, this week hasn’t been too bad. I’ve had 7 am calls on a lot which is fairly close to my house, but I’ve had to be there by 6:15 as this particular lot has a trash truck which makes its rounds along the only drivable route from the ‘crew’ gate to the parking structure around 6:30 or 6:45. There’s no way around the trash truck and getting stuck behind it will result in being late to work despite being on the lot with plenty of time to park and walk to the stage.

Of course the parking structure has it’s own entrance, but only execs are allowed to use it. The rest of us have to come in the peon gate and drive across the lot to said structure while trying to outrun the delay causing trash truck. This has forced me to get to work very early, which means I’ve been able to sit on the tailgate while drinking my coffee and reading my paper before we’re called in, so I haven’t really minded.

I’ve also been working with some really wonderful people, so in that respect it’s been extra nice week.

Today I had a 6 am call and I would have been there around 5:45 but I had to stop and try to mop up spilled coffee, which, by the way, I didn’t cry over.

Oh, wait. That was milk. Never mind.

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

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