Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

What is it with me and fingers?

I need my hands to do my job. So one would imagine I’d be extra careful, but still it’s the body part I manage to mash and smash more than any other.

After waiting a week to get in the ocean after Los Angeles’ torrential skywater catastrophe, some friends and I decided to go for a swim. Our usual spot in Santa Monica wasn’t an option as it was parking for the LA Marathon – and near the street closures – so we went a bit south to Venice beach, thinking that we’d have an easier time with traffic and parking.

Which worked out very well. Plenty of parking, light traffic for those who drove (I rode my bike as I had to traverse the most congested part of Santa Monica to get to the beach).

And then we approached the water, and came face to face with 6 foot waves.

I’m not particularly fearful of the ocean once I get past the surf (if something gets me, it gets me. C’est la vie), but I get a little nervous in surf much higher than my head.

Okay, that’s an understatement. Any waves bigger than about three feet and I’m a panicky idiot who needs supervision to ensure I won’t do anything stupid.

Needless to say, I didn’t get past the surf, and the one swimmer who did had to come back because it took so long to get my heart rate down from ‘coked out hummingbird’ that we ran out of time.

I would have hung my head in shame, but my neck was too sore from getting tossed in the surf.

So, with my proverbial tail between my legs, I slunk off to breakfast and then decided, last-minute, to try to get some sort of workout in and make a yoga class at the gym.

As I was rushing out of the house and using my foot to keep the cat from running outside, I pulled the door shut and didn’t move my finger quite quickly enough.

So it got slammed in the door.

If you’ve never done this, I can assure you it’s excruciatingly painful.

After screaming a few choice words, I looked at said finger and saw the nail turning black.

I’m told that’s bad. There are numerous tutorials on the internet to deal with this in the comfort of your home, but since I am lucky enough to still have insurance, I can go have a doctor do that for me, for only the cost of a very pricey night out.

So instead of going to a yoga class, I went to urgent care.

Where the very nice doctor numbed up my finger (FOUR shots in the nerves) and drilled a hole through the nail to let the blood out.

If you’ve never had a doctor drill (actually, it’s a burn. They BURN a hole though the nail. The smell is… unfortunate. I may never eat again) into your nail, I can assure you it’s really gross and also – take the ‘digital block‘ option. You do NOT want the doctor burning through your fingernail with no pain meds. Trust me.

So now I have a hole in my fingernail. Surprisingly, it’s not that painful. It’s just gross, as we’re over 24 hours on and it’s still bleeding.


Although I think the post-burning photo of the fingernail gushing blood is funny, I’ll be nice and post a photo taken today – the grossest thing about it now is how badly I need a manicure.

2014-03-10 18.39.38

Right now, it’s a pathetic excuse for pilot season here in Los Angeles, so although it’s busy, a day off isn’t a bad thing.

I’ll make work calls tomorrow.

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

A glove-ruining kind of day

Some things are better in the summer – the beach, outdoor barbecues, swimming pools, street fairs, fresh produce.

But one thing that’s decidedly not better in the summer is running cable in a downtown LA alley that doubles as a de facto relief station for the area.

Although the temptation is to blame the mess on the local homeless population, many of the people who we saw pissing in the alley (right in front of us) did not appear homeless. They just appeared to not want to walk the 50 yards or so to one of downtown LA’s  self-cleaning public toilets.

Guess that cable just screams “hey, come relieve yourself here!”

Depressingly enough, most of us are used to dealing with a certain amount of human filth – it’s just something that’s to be expected when one works in certain parts of Los Angeles (although we’ve been known to simply leave extremely heavily soiled cable right where it is and call it a loss), and it wasn’t any worse than any other downtown alley in the morning while it was still cool – sure, we had to watch for the fresh liquid (thankfully, there was much more liquid waste than solid waste) on the ground and on the walls, but as soon as the sun moved into a position to be able to hit the alley the smell got really bad, really fast.

Normally, the production company will pay to have downtown alleys steam cleaned and then block off access until we’re done shooting (in order to prevent re-pooing of said alley), but this particular alley wasn’t able to be blocked as it serves as the access driveway for some of those overpriced downtown ‘lofts’, so I guess production just didn’t see the point of cleaning it in the first place.

Of course, the center of most alleys are not all that gross (admittedly, though, after years of working in downtown alleyways most of us have a pretty high filth tolerance), but we run our cable down the very sides – up against a fence or a wall, and that’s where most folks choose to do their business, if you get my drift.

While I’ll spare you some of the gorier details, I will say that I’m not sure which smells worse after baking in the summer sun – shit, piss, vomit, or used tampons.

At least I was on the crew that was laying the cable. I feel for the poor bastards who will have to wrap the stuff after it’s been pissed on (and worse) for days. I won’t be there. That’s one circumstance under which I have no problem at all turning down work.

Filed under: Uncategorized, , , , , ,

Friday Photos

Things you find in old houses

Yesterday’s location was in a 1950’s era house that was being remodeled. While we were rigging the house for the night shot, we found these bottles that had been set outside by the construction crew.

I don’t even think they make this stuff anymore, do they? I seem to remember sneaking a taste at a grownups-type party when I was a kid, and I thought it tasted like carbonated radiator fluid.

Left on the patio to gather dust were not one, but two ‘vintage’ bottles of Cold Duck:

Fermented in the bottle!

Someone made a joke about giving it a home in the gold room (room on the stage where we have all our expendables, a couch and a place to stash personal items while at work), and most of us just looked at the bottle and shuddered.

You know it’s nasty when even construction workers and film crews won’t touch it.

In the “happy to be working but this is going to suck” category, I got to bed this morning around 2 ish (got off work at 12:30, came home, showered, etc.) and in an effort to keep myself on a day schedule, dragged my sorry ass out of bed at 7 am.

That, and I had to take the trash out because I hadn’t wanted to do it at 1 am.

Which would have been fine, I’d have just gone to bed early tonight, but then I got a call to work today with a 2 pm call time, which means I’ll be there until at least 3 am. I’m not about to turn down work with the SAG factor still floating around, so I’m just going to have to suck it up and guzzle coffee to stay awake.

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

Third time’s a charm, I guess

I hate getting sick at work – there’s this guilt at leaving the crew a ‘man down’ if you go home, but you’re no good to anyone if you stay and continue to be sick, so the crew’s a man down anyway so why not puke (or whatever else it is that you’re having to do) in the comfort of one’s home and not in a semi public restroom (or worse, the portable ‘shitters’ that we use on location)?

Guess what happened to me today?

We broke late for lunch, so they had to hold the commissary open for us (past their normal closing time of 3 pm), so I guess the food just sat there in the steam trays festering and growing… something.

It was so tempting, too. They were serving corned beef and cabbage. I love corned beef and cabbage, and it’s actually a good choice to hold for a while because you really have to work to dry out something with that much fat (an occupational hazard of ours is production telling the caterer that we’re going to break at a certain time, and then getting delayed and breaking an hour after the food’s mummified from sitting and waiting for us to break).

Right after they called us back from lunch (and as soon as we started lighting, of course) I started not feeling so great and had to go to the ladies room. Right when we really started lighting (and right when I really needed to be back on the set to help my co-workers), my lunch decided to come back up.  Yuck.

The one good thing is that it was over quickly, and once lunch came up I felt well enough that after a quick visit to the on-lot nurse (at the insistence of our lot best boy who’s a great guy and just has my best interests at heart) I was able to stay at work. The last couple of times I’ve eaten something bad and been sick at work it’s been much, much worse (here and here).

I still haven’t wanted to eat anything (it’s now almost midnight and this happened at around 5 pm), but at least I’m not defiling the plastic plants in my neighborhood food store.

Oh, shit. It’s almost midnight.

I have to be back at work (but on a different show this time so it’s damned lucky we wrapped when we did because all the rules about turnaround* don’t apply when one’s on a different show the next day) at 8 am.

*Turnaround is the time between when wrap is called on one day and the call time the next day. 12 hours is ideal, 10 hours is common and 9 hours, while allowed, is generally considered to be poor sportsmanship on the part of production.

Filed under: mishaps, Work, , , , ,

February 2020
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