Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Special Science Glasses

After a half-weekend (wrap at 6 am Saturday), I wasn’t really upset about having today off.  It’s nice to have one zombie day, and one day to do things while one’s brain is functioning.

So, I headed over to the garden to plant the last tomatoes of the season and do some weeding while waiting for Southern California’s lackluster version of the eclipse.

I’d planned to do the old-fashioned pinhole/cardboard combo that we used back in elementary school for the last eclipse, but as luck would have it, a show was shooting in the community garden and they were handing out special eclipse glasses. I didn’t get a pair, but the garden master who was working that day as the site representative did, and was more than willing to share.

Holy crap. Why didn’t they have these things back when I was a kid? I might have cared more about that eclipse if I’d been able to see that kind of detail instead of a fucking fuzzy blur on cardboard.

Even through the heavy-duty lenses, though, my eyes still started to hurt after a few minutes, so I was happy to hand them off. Since we didn’t get totality, it didn’t get dark, the light just looked…weird for a few minutes.

Since I didn’t know anyone on the crew, I headed back home to drop off the tomatoes I’d picked and then headed to the pool to swim before doing laundry while being crashed into by a sugar-addled second grader trying to run top speed while wearing eclipse glasses.

Turns out, they gave the kids the day off. Not so much for learning, but due to the fear that the teachers wouldn’t be able to stop the kids from staring at the sun.

Sounds reasonable.

I’ll make work calls tomorrow, and should get something by the end of the week.

It’s busy out there.

 

Filed under: california, life in LA, Los Angeles, Non-Work, Off-Topic, , , , ,

You lose some, you win some.

I love fava beans. Love them. Fresh much more so than dried.

So every year I plant them in my garden. Some years are better than others – but most of the time I get at least 20 lbs. of beans.

This year started off looking promising. In addition to the perennialized beans that come up year after year, I’d planted two other varieties that I’d purchased from Baker Creek Seed Company and things were growing well. I thought perhaps it was looking like a 50 lb. year.

Then, the weather turned dry. Dry for Southern California, which is very, very dry indeed.

The rats (they’re everywhere in the city – in the trees, in the hedges, in your crawl space. Don’t think you don’t have them because you do), understandably desperate for water, turned to my fava beans.

And destroyed them.

My total yield for the year? 12 lbs. I ate what I had and didn’t share (normally I can, dry, or give away as much as I keep) and was very, very disappointed indeed. I think there weren’t even enough beans left to seed  for next year, so I’m going to have to start fresh in the winter.

At the same time, I planted scarlet runner beans. I’d never planted them before, and they went crazy in my garden. Because I didn’t  trellis them properly (not enough room. The vines supposedly only grow to 6 feet, but mine are closer to 10), they’ve formed a sort of thicket (which is overtaking my garden – I’ve had to get the shears and cut back to save the life of an innocent tomato), and now the beans are getting ready to harvest.

I won’t get 50 lbs, but I’ll probably get 20.

Scarlet Runner Beans

These are the first of the beans. When  I was reaching into the plant to grab the pods,  I found a hummingbird nest – abandoned, as babies and mama have moved on, but still awesome.

I did have someone tell me that beans inhibit the growth of tomato plants, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. The tomatoes that are near the bean thicket are growing really quickly and are super healthy.

I have two weeks of work starting the 15th. It’s all the way across town, but it’s work and  I’m incredibly grateful for it.

Filed under: Los Angeles, Non-Work, Photos, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Technology Wigs Me Out

One of the most horrible feelings in the world is the nausea-inducing panic of losing something that’s necessary to function and is a pain in the ass to replace.

Note that anything necessary to function is usually a pain in the ass to replace, although the key to the shed in the back where you keep the ladder that you only need once a year is an exception.

Since gas prices are rising (again) here in Southern California, I’ve opted to commute on my bicycle whenever possible in order to avoid pump-induced nausea and anger.

I really do enjoy riding the bike. Not only is it more economical, but I see a lot more interesting stuff when I’m not sealed in the car singing along to a certain teenybopper pop icon who keeps putting his feet into his adorable almost post-adolescent mouth.

The downside of bike commuting is that, in a way, it’s not as easy as driving. Instead of picking up the purse and locking the doors, I have to dig the locks (plural, since I’d like to keep said bike) out of my panniers, find a place to secure the bike, make sure anything that can be stolen is removed (bike computer, water bottle, super expensive blinky headlight that can blind astronauts in space), and then schlep the whole mess into wherever it is I’m going.

Sometimes I forget a step and leave something on the bike. Usually it’s the computer, but sometimes it’s the water bottle – call me paranoid but I feel weird about drinking from it after it’s been out in the world unsupervised – and sometimes it’s something more important.

The other day, I ran errands for most of the day, making numerous stops to pay bills, grocery up,  work in the garden, plot the demise of those goddamn squirrels, etc..

When I got home and discovered that I needed olives (hey, it’s not a martini without one), I dug in said panniers for my wallet.

Nothing. I dug again.

Still nothing.

I did that thing where I slapped my pockets.

Nothing.

Fuck.

So,  since I’m a sensible adult, I did the right thing and immediately called and cancelled my debit card.

I then sat a moment, thought about where I’d been and decided to retrace my steps.

First stop, the Whole Foods in Westwood.

Where the very nice lady at the customer service desk handed me the wallet that some kind person had turned in. Including the cards.

Awesome.

The worst part is that, since I technically did the right thing by cancelling the card, I couldn’t even be mad at myself. Just sheepish and grateful that there are still a few honest folks left in the cold, cruel world.

This morning, I went to the credit union and enquired about a replacement debit card, expecting to get the thing about waiting 10 days while they mailed it, etc.. Also, I wondered if they’d give me a refresher course in how to write a check, since it’s been so long I think I forgot.

“Sure thing!” the teller responded. “Fill out some paperwork and I’ll print one out right now.”

Wait. Print?

Turns out, they can print cards now. Actual credit cards. That work.

New debit card

They didn’t even charge me a service fee.

Freaky.

Filed under: life in LA, Los Angeles, mishaps, Non-Work, Off-Topic, Photos, , , , , , , , ,

Whew!

After finally getting my garden weeded (now, of course I need to replace the rotten wood on the raised beds, but money’s now tight around here), I decided to go swim.

Doesn’t further the career, but it really makes me happy.

The pool where I have masters swim shares with several aqua aerobics groups, and aside from wanting the water way too hot, the aqua ladies all seem very nice.

Today’s swim was from 6 to 7 am, and instead of going home and watching the news rehash the same crap they’ve been airing forever, I turned to my lane-mate and suggested we try the aqua Zumba(tm) class that was starting just as we finished up.

After all, we were already wet.

“Oh, come on. She’s playing Pitbull. How hard can it be?”

So we slid over a few lanes and joined the fun. The instructor saw us, bared her perfect little teeth and said “oh, we have some… swimmers!”

Then, she started the workout. It didn’t just kick my ass, it kicked my whole body. I don’t understand how an aqua workout could possibly be that difficult.

Halfway through my lane-mate turned to me and growled “I’m going to kill you.”

“Make it soon, please.”

Since we were both afraid to get out and face the ire of the vicious sharp-toothed instructor (actually, she was very nice), we sandbagged through the rest of the workout and then limped to the showers.

I then went home and took a very gratifying early morning nap.

Without turning on the news.

 

 

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

Here’s to another year

20130103-100016.jpg

My garden might be one terrible mess, but at least there are some flowers to look at while I tackle the weeds.

My first January project is to clean up the apartment, which is almost as much of a disaster as the garden.

I also need to get the desktop back together – it’s currently in pieces under the desk, a pre-movie project that got sidelined.

I need to get the computer back together because typing on the phone really sucks.

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

Insert snappy title here

Normally, showing up to work late is a terrible thing in the film industry. The saying goes “15 minutes early is on time, right at call is late” (and much after call time without a really good reason means no more work calls from that show), but sometimes one gets a last minute call and then it’s okay to show up later.

I got called yesterday morning at 6:40 to be at work at 7 am, which was never going to happen (damn LA traffic), so it was just understood that I’d be there as soon as I could. Sure enough, I got stuck in traffic and didn’t get there until almost 8. There are some places in LA that, while they’re not all that geographically far away from me, take forever to reach because of traffic congestion and lack of side-street alternate routes.

When I finally got to work, we spent the day checking lights to make sure they worked – something you really should do before you’re on location and can’t get that light the gaffer wants now to fire up. Note – this only really happens with HMI lamps. Tungsten lamps do, on occasion, fail to work but since they only have two moving parts (flood/spot knob and on/off switch) it’s much easier and faster to troubleshoot and repair them right there on set before the boss starts screaming.  We generally don’t even attempt to fix HMI problems. We just send them back to the rental house and let them deal with it.

Hence the testing. The procedure to test HMI lamps is to set up the whole mess (head, feeder cables, ballast), globe it up (some of the lamps can’t travel with the globes installed due to breakage factor), turn it on and then wait to see if it flickers (which HMIs sometimes do) or if it’s putting out a really fucked up color and will need gel correction.  Then, we break everything down, label the heads which are putting out said fucked up color and load everything back onto the truck.

We did only do an 8 hour day, so we got done early enough that I was able to go vote and then do some work in the garden. Also, to check on the progress of Darth Tomato.

Having started out life as an innocent Sungold Cherry, Darth Tomato was somehow turned to the darkside (probably by my neighbor’s Home-Depot purchased plants – they’re nothing but trouble) and is now on a mission of intergalactic domination.

By using the Force and growing like crazy, Darth Tomato is now 10 feet tall and six feet wide and has only been in the ground since April. If this growth rate keeps up, Darth Tomato will blot out the sun to the entire western half of the US by next Thursday.

Darth Tomato currently has the grapevine in a sleeper hold and is shading all the surrounding plants, plus some poor light-starved hollyhocks next door.

Although I’m going to have to amputate some of Darth Tomato’s many diabolical limbs in order to keep peace with my neighbor (and salvage everything else in my garden, which is now being oppressed by shade), I’ll be sad when I do because all that evil makes Darth Tomato taste extra good.
The evil makes Darth Tomato extra yummy!

Mmmm.. evil makes a nice salad.

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

I never seem to learn

I have a birthday coming up and I’ve decided that the perfect gift for me (in case you’re shopping) is a Bad Idea Monkey.

Basically, I need a monkey to sit on my shoulder and hit me over the head with a blunt instrument whenever I have a really bad idea – which, this past weekend, occurred about every 10 minutes.

Friday: The news predicted a gradual warm-up over the weekend, so I figured it would be an excellent day to ride my bike out to Santa Monica so I could go to the ‘good’ gym (it’s not all that great, it just has a lower Band-Aid (TM) to pool water ratio than does the gym that’s close to my house). Needless to say, the warm-up was not, in fact, gradual and I got caught by the heat on the ride home. At one point I figured it was a great idea to find a bus and get on it as I was relatively certain I could feel my brain swelling (or shrinking, depending on your viewpoint), and sat in the shade for a few minutes while I failed to find any spare change anywhere on my person. I guess it was a win, though because I did find some electrolyte tablets which kept me conscious until I got home.

Saturday: I figured that since the weather had officially been set to ‘broil’, I needed some straw to use as mulch for my garden to keep the soil from turning into a hard dry wasteland (plants, I’m told, do not like this). Of course, the place to get straw is a feed store, and the feed stores in Los Angeles are all located in the hottest parts of the city, so I drove north until the air felt like a furnace, parked in a vast wasteland of blacktop, and then single-handedly wrestled two bales of straw into the cargo area of my carpeted SUV. Also of course, I hadn’t thought about any type of carpet/straw barrier method so the bales immediately started shedding straw bits all over the inside of my car. Since my air conditioning works but using it makes my fuel economy go from moderately bad to laughable, I stupidly got on the freeway with two bales of straw in the back and all the windows down. I’m still picking bits of straw out of my hair.

Bad Idea Monkey, where are you?

Sunday: I got up early to go throw the straw into the garden, but then realized it was the weekly farmer’s market so I went there first. Market starts at 8:30, I got home around 9:45 and didn’t get to the garden until after 10 am. Then, I had to wrestle two bales of straw out of the back of the truck and into a wheelbarrow (in case you were wondering, a bale of straw is much longer and wider than a wheelbarrow and as such must be placed in the wheelbarrow on the narrow side, making the wheelbarrow top and front heavy) and then push precariously overloaded wheelbarrow up a hill to the actual garden.

Once I got the straw there I had to cut the bales, break it (mostly) out of the flakes and lay it down. Then I had to pull out yet another tomato that got the ick, water, and then go and clean the three inches of straw leavings out of the back of the truck. All this in 100+ degree heat. I sweated off my sunblock and got burned, so of course I then went to an LAist barbecue where I continued to fry until it finally cooled off about 8 pm. My back’s now starting to itch and I’m betting it’s going to start peeling while I’m at work.

Wow. I really need that monkey.

I’ll be on an air conditioned stage tomorrow which is good, and the weather’s supposed to be 20 degrees cooler.

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

November 2017
S M T W T F S
« Oct    
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930  

Flickr Photos

Archives

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 867 other followers

Twitter Updates

Blogroll

Not blogs, but cool

%d bloggers like this: