Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Well, that didn’t work out

Did I mention I was adopting a dog?

What I really meant was renting.

I’d been warned  that some of the rescues are… optimistic about the dog’s temperament, and this (nameless) rescue did just that.

It all started out so well. The foster person brought the dog over and we sat and chatted while the dog explored. The dog seemed friendly – tail wagging and everything. While said dog was wandering around my apartment sniffing everything, the foster person said she was going to sneak out since everything seemed to be going well.

And everything did, until the dog realized that she was in a strange place with a strange person.  She was sitting next to me chewing on some bit of animal carcass, and then she jumped away and bit me.

Not snapped. Bit. Hard.

Lucky for me I pulled my hand away and only got grazed, but the dog started growling, snapping and baring her teeth.

Look, I get being scared with a new person, but I didn’t sign up to adopt a miniature hell-hound.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I don’t enjoy being bitten. Or potentially sued.

“Oh, what a cute little.. OUCH!!!! I’m calling my lawyer!”

I’ve had enough experience with trying to get cats into carriers that I know the oven mitt trick – you sneak up behind the animal (WAY easier with dogs, BTW), grab them with the oven mitts and then deposit. In this case, a roomy crate that the dog was happy to enter.

I draped towels over the crate to make her feel more secure, and then decided to sleep on it instead of calling the foster person and telling her to turn around and come get the fucking dog.

In the morning, I lifted up the towel to check the dog’s food and water and she bared her teeth and snapped.

That was it.

I called the rescue and told them to come and remove the beast.

They sent the same foster person back to get the dog, and upon arrival, she blamed me for getting bitten. Apparently, it was all my fault because I put the dog in the crate.

When I mentioned that the dog bit me before I put her in the crate, she just turned her back and told me that they were going to have to board the dog at a vet where they’d keep the dog in a very small cage and force her to listen to Justin Bieber. Or something.  At that point, I just wanted the dog and the crazy lady out of my place.

Oh, and don’t even ask how I found out the dog wasn’t potty trained.

Cat people have a reputation as being crazy, but I have to say my experience with a dog rescue makes me think that dog people take the crazy cake. And the candles.

Since it’s Friday, here’s a photo of a calm blue ocean:

wpid-IMAG1154.jpg

Filed under: Non-Work, , , , ,

Guess I’m playing for the other team now.

I had a cat for a very, very long time. I got her when she was 6 weeks old and had her for 17 years. She was my best friend, and once-in-a-lifetime special.

Since she passed away, the house has seemed weird and empty, but every time I went to adoption events and looked at the kittens they didn’t measure up and it just hurt too damned much.

So now I’ve gone completely off the deep end and am getting a dog.

Actually, I’m technically just a foster home for the 10 lb terrier mix so I can figure out if this dog thing is for me or not.

I’m still not sure.

They do seem like an awful lot of fuss, and today, as I stood in the middle of Petco, I realized I have no idea what dogs like.

I know they like sniffing crotches and rolling in filth, but who doesn’t, really?

But toys? Once I get out of the squeaky mouse aisle I’m kind of lost.

Ditto chewy bones. Why the hell are there so many different kinds of fucking fake bones to chew? Are dogs really that picky?

Does the blue one taste like a different kind of ass than the red one?

And the clothes. For dogs.

Jesus tap-dancing Christ, people. We live in Southern California. The fucking dog has a fur coat. It does not in any way, shape, or form need a parka.

Or shoes.

Or sunglasses.
Or a novelty sombrero.

Okay, maybe the sombrero.

At the checkout, a fellow customer accused me of animal abuse because I mentioned I thought the dog would be fine without a wardrobe.

And I thought cat people were crazy.

Filed under: california, dog, life in LA, Los Angeles, Non-Work, pets, , , , ,

Have yourself a busy pre-Christmas

This has been an odd year. Totally dead, and then a completely frantic fourth quarter. I might have work between Christmas and New Years, which almost never happens.

No, I’m not complaining. Work is work and there’s nothing like an 8 month dry spell to really make one appreciate that paycheck (and the qualifying hours so I can keep my insurance. That’s nice, too).

I’d originally been booked (on a TV show featuring a former movie star who understandably likes the TV hours better) for three rigging days this week (Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday), which then became two (Tuesday, Friday). It happens. Things change.

Then, I got the call at 6 am Monday morning to come in and cover someone on first unit (the shooting crew) who had called in sick.

The only downside was that I’d been out the night before, and thinking I wasn’t working the next day, had a bowl of spicy ramen with extra garlic (and then grated more garlic over it – after all, the cat was the only one who was going to have to smell me) and sake.

The sake wasn’t the problem. It was the garlic. It was coming out of my pores, and whenever I exhaled, a malodorous cloud hung in front of my mouth.

So, I made my apologies about the way I smelled as soon as I got there, and then tried not to breathe on anyone for the rest of the day.

Originally the plan had been for me to work the rig Tuesday, but since there was still a sickness related opening on the crew, I stayed on the production unit and someone else was called in to rig.

Which was fine – the shooting crew are wonderful nice folks that I really enjoy working with, and we were on a stage – which, although overheated (our actress gets cold at any temperature below ‘brimstone’), is still nice.

Out of the sun, actual flush toilets handy, and a set that pretty much lights itself, so my biggest problem was finding power drops for the stinger-related needs of the crew.

My sick co-worker got better, so I was off today.

I rode the bike to the garden, did some digging and some hand-wringing over the raised-bed wood replacement I’m going to have to do very soon, and then headed home.

I’m off tomorrow, so I’m safe to eat garlic tonight.

Filed under: studio lots, Work, , , , , , , ,

Six different types of ouch!

Since most of the awards shows and all the accompanying parties (so far) have been cancelled this year (plus the whole unemployment thing), I now have nothing to do except dig up the garden.

I don’t mean dig a little hole here and there, I mean really dig – this last round of being busy at work has left me far, far behind in my war against the neighbor’s Bermuda grass, so I’m having to dig down 24 inches in all of the raised beds to pull up the big underground runners (and the big underground runners of the mint plant that I had no idea was going to go so crazy and be so hard to get rid of. Ditto the sweet potato that’s never produced anything edible but just. won’t. die.).

All I’ve been doing for the past two days has been digging. Get up, drink coffee, dig, lather, rinse, repeat.

This, of course, uses an entirely different set of muscles than my normal work does, so now I’m in a surprising amount of pain and am popping aspirin like candy – and I’m not finished yet.

I’ve got at least two more days of really hard work, including at least a full day to pull out the grapevine.

It’s not that I don’t like grapes, it’s just that I’m never able to get any because the birds eat them before they’re ripe, so I’d rather just get rid of the thing and plant something that I’ve got a snowball’s chance in hell of actually getting to eat. Or, failing that, something that looks pretty.

Really, what I need to do is remember to alternate feet when I’m digging, because right now just the left side of my ass is really sore (from pushing down on the shovel). The right side’s fine, which means my gait has taken on a serious tilt at this point. More so than usual.

This does, however, bring me to one of the reasons I really, really love Los Angeles.

Today I was too sore to make lunch, so I gimped on down the road to the salad bar at the local supermarket – without bothering to change my clothing. I was limping around the offerings while wearing rubber boots (not the cute J. Crew rain boots, either – Army surplus store heavy black rubber knee-highs), paint-splattered dirt-crusted red plaid pajama bottoms, a tank top with an obscenity printed across the chest, 80’s era Top Gun style mirrored sunglasses, and a lime green cowboy hat. Plus, a losing battle with a blackberry vine had left me oozing blood out of most of my forearms (If you’re interested in home defense but don’t want to shell out for an alarm, just plant blackberry vines all around your house. If someone does try to break in, you’ll be alerted by the screams of pain).

Not one person even raised an eyebrow. I had an entire conversation with a fellow shopper about how getting older sucks because you have to start eating vegetables again and he didn’t even say “So… you look kind of homeless. Everything all right?”

I do so love you, Los Angeles. I just forget to tell you sometimes.

Check back next time for an exciting episode of “I fought the old rotten trellis and the old rotten trellis won”.

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

I’ll be fine once the bleeding stops.

Since I had no work today (that’s not necessarily a bad thing – I worked all night Friday night so I lost Saturday. I know I got up, went out and did…something. I just don’t remember what that something was. Then, Sunday was the annual trip to the LA County Fair where I once again overindulged on strange and disturbing fried foods – so I needed a day to recover and maybe get some weekend-type stuff done), I got up bright and early and did my laundry, and then, because I felt like a challenge, I decided to take the cat to the vet.

This is never a decision to be made lightly. This particular cat, who is all of 7 lbs, can somehow manage to scream louder than an air-raid siren when she’s placed in the kitty carrier and driven anywhere. But lately she’s had this weird thing with her eye and I was starting to get worried about it. Basically, she scratches all the fur off the corner of the eye and then walks around the house shaking her head and crying. I figured since she usually sits on the back of the couch and glares at me silently or sits on my head while I’m trying to sleep, I should probably ask a trained professional if there might be something wrong with her.

So, when I got to the vet, he looked her over, took her temperature, thought for a moment, and then said “I don’t think there’s anything wrong, but I’m going to send you to an ophthalmologist just so he can have a look at the eye. They have some specialized equipment that we don’t.”

Dude. It’s a cat.

Right at the number one position on the list of things I am simply not going to do is stuff a fur-covered Klaxon into a cheap Chinese plastic box and then drive across town to a fucking kitty eye doctor in Santa Monica just because.

Hell, I don’t even think I’d take a quiet, well behaved cat that just sat there in the passenger seat and didn’t fuck with the radio or anything all the way out to Santa Monica just to see a specialist because the vet thought there wasn’t anything wrong, but still, let’s have a look. Or something.

No. I have to draw the line somewhere.

I held the fucking kitty eye doctor’s business card up, shook it, and said “Didn’t you just tell me you didn’t think anything was wrong?”

Clearly, this was not what he was used to hearing from clients.

Sometimes you can just tell that someone is used to dealing with post post-modern middle aged urban professionals (muppies? mappies? puppies?) who have pets instead of children.

“Well,” he stammered “I don’t think it’s really anything, no. I…I just thought you might… just want to be sure.”

Okay, fine. How about I take your word that it’s nothing, and then if something out-of-the-ordinary happens, like she grows a second head or starts oozing green goo or explodes I’ll think about giving the fucking kitty eye doctor a call.


At some point during the conversation, said kitty decided that a really great place to hide from the bastard who was torturing her was under the front of my shirt – in the process of her trying to climb in and my trying to pull her out so said bastard could give her a shot she shredded up a fairly significant portion of my skin.

Guess I should have had him trim her claws, too.

He gave me some eye-drops to put in her eye and I think I’m going to wait until tomorrow to start them. Discretion being the better part of valor (or so I’ve been told), I need to stop bleeding before I take on any more epic cat battles.

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

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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