Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Springtime flowers!

This is, by far, my favorite time of year to ride my bicycle. It’s not horribly hot (yet), the threat of rain has mostly passed, and the city has sprung into bloom.

Although it’s a bit too early in the year for the night-blooming jasmine (something I still really miss about Hollywood. There’s not nearly as much of it on the west side), the honeysuckle is flowering, so the city smells pretty good in places (in other places, not so much), and the hibiscus flowers hide the graffiti-covered walls.

Even my neighbor’s unpruned rose bushes are producing some spectacular flowers, waving in the wind like thorny antennae.

My favorite though, are the Jacaranda trees.

Jacaranda Trees

Most of the year, these trees are only remarkable for the terrible mess they make, but in the spring they’re transformed into Seussian purple clouds that make a very colorful terrible mess.

Sadly, the Jacaranda bloom for a very short time and  it’s just about over, so I’ve been trying to enjoy it while I can.

Untitled

Also, gas is really expensive (for America) and I’m unemployed, so more biking is better.

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

Weed faster!

Pilot season is officially at an end here in Los Angeles, so work’s getting a bit thin again.

I’ve been working on weeding the garden, but clearly I haven’t been weeding quickly enough as an irate garden master confronted me this morning.

I was surveying the broken stalks of my fava beans and wondering if I’d be allowed to set up some sort of squirrel catapult (google it yourselves – I gave up trying to find a video that didn’t have an excessively loud and annoying soundtrack), when the garden master snuck up behind me.

He’s from Russia, so his English isn’t the best but the gist that I got was that I need to get the weeds out of my plot because they ‘make seed’ and it’s ‘no more just this plot’.

I showed him that I’d been working at it and he shrugged and said ‘faster’.

Awesome. So now I’m on notice at the garden and am too broke to pay for help like the lady in the plot next to me has (no, really. She hired a gardener for her garden plot. At first I didn’t get it but now I totally understand).

Guess I know what I’m doing for the next few days.

Also, any tips about how to get rid of squirrels that doesn’t involve poison or a standing army?

 

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

It takes some getting used to

Last night was my first time going up in the condor in almost a year. Although I’m not normally too terribly afraid of heights, it does take me a bit to adjust to being in a lift after extensive periods of time spent on terra firma.

We were shooting on a Y-shaped studio lot street, so we used three condors. Mine was the lowest, armed out over the intersection, mimicking various streetlights. This had two advantages. It kept me lower, so there was less adjustment panic, and since I was a few feet below the tops of the facades, I was sheltered from the wind (spring has not yet sprung here in Los Angeles, so it’s still a bit brisk at night, especially up in the air).

The other two condors, at opposite ends of the street, were ‘full stick’ (meaning they were at full extension of 80 feet, almost straight up) and at the mercy of the wind and fog.

At least it didn’t rain, but the billowing clouds did make for some entertaining nighttime viewing:

Misty night in the air

The operators in the other two condors told me that the wind died down after about an hour, so everyone had an easy night.

Most terrifying night in a condor ever was the night I was armed out over the LA river for an elaborate car chase scene – my base was on one of the bridges and my bucket was full stick, so the distance to ground was about 200 feet. Adding to the terror spawned by an overactive imagination was a windy night and a very ‘bendy’ condor arm (some of the arms flex more than others).

At the end of the night I think I might have kissed the ground.

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

Precipocalypse!

Earlier in the week, the overly tanned weather bot had predicted a slight chance of rain, maybe but probably not.

So yesterday, I watered my garden (my celery children are sprouting! I can’t wait to devour them), and figured I’d have to come back Friday to water again if it stayed so unseasonably warm.

Then, this morning about 3 am, I started having dreams about the dog eating my homework. Odd, since I don’t have a dog and haven’t had to do homework in a number of years.

I woke up enough to ID the crunchy paper sound as water falling on the battered aluminum ladder that permanently resides in the alley behind the building and thought that I’d wasted a trip to the garden to water when, if I’d just procrastinated a bit longer, nature would have taken care of it for me. I hate it when that happens.

When I finally woke up at a more civilized hour, it was still raining, but lightly. A bit more than a drizzle, but not quite what one would call a rain.

Since any sort of dampness whatsoever throws the streets of Los Angeles into complete chaos, I opted to don my rain gear and walk the 1/2 mile to the physical therapist’s office instead of taking part in the gridlock.

As I was leaving, my neighbor walked by and  said “You’re venturing out into the storm? Be careful!”

When I got to the physical therapists office it had picked up a bit,  but was still not, by any means a heavy rain.

The receptionist asked “Oh, is it still storming out there? I can’t believe it!”

Welcome to Los Angeles.

After spending an hour having the physical therapist beat me about the head and shoulders with a Flintsone-type hammer (or at least that’s what it felt like), I headed out into the superstorm of light drizzle.

Spoiler alert: I got home okay.

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

Friday Photo

Full Moon

Balloon lights – one lit, one not. These are helium balloons with lights inside of them (hence the name) and they do a very good job of imitating moonlight.  You have to keep them away from trees on windy nights, though, or they pop.

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

But it’s a dry heat

“Someone said it might be too hot for the goat to work.”

Of course, we were shooting outdoors on what was predicted to be one of the hottest days of the year. In Griffith Park, which can be either nice and breezy or an intolerable furnace depending on one’s location.

Our first location was nice and breezy. No shade, but right in the wind so not too bad. Also, it was 7 am, and although it was getting warm, it wasn’t anywhere near scorching. Yet. All we were doing was rigging a process trailer, and then we’d leave the gaffer and one juicer to babysit while the rest of us went to rig.

Right after we got the process trailer on the road, we went  to another, less breezy location and rigged tomorrow’s set, which was shady but full of yellow jackets nesting in the muddy banks of the one creek that’s still running in the park.

Halfway through lunch is when it really started to get noticeably hot. We knew this because we were sitting outside in the heat while the network suits got to sit in the air-conditioned lunch trailer. Hey, they had a table read and had to concentrate.

After lunch we moved to our final location of the day, which was the side of a road right across from a cemetery. No shade, no wind and a construction site right next door so it was hot and dusty.  When I finally screwed up the courage to check the weather app on my phone, the temperature in downtown Burbank was 103.

The temperature at our roadside set? 107 – 41.666 C for those of you on metric.

That’s when the rumor started that the goat wouldn’t work because of the heat.

Which makes one wonder, if it’s too hot for a goat is to too hot for a film crew?  Of course, there’s no such thing as Humane Society monitors for the health and well-being of the dirty (and today, smelly) toolbelt people.

The heat felt like opening an oven door. The fans in the truck were blowing such hot air that they felt like standing in front of a heater. Even the cooling tents equipped with giant misters that production had rented weren’t really helping once a certain heat threshold had been passed, but I have no idea what the number was. 102? 105? 106? It all melted together into hot and miserable.

I started to fantasize about diving into the ocean off McMurdo Station. In the winter.

“But Peggy”, I hear you thinking “in the winter, the ocean there is frozen so you’d just lay there on the ice and get freezer burn with the penguins.”

Fine. That would be just fucking fine.  Throw me a goddamn Popsicle while I’m down there and I’ll be just ducky, thanks.

Lucky for us we didn’t have to do much lighting, so we could mostly cower in what little shade was cast by the trucks. I kept pouring water over my head to cool off and my hair would go from soaking wet to bone-dry in about two minutes. Also, for some reason, the sunblock washed off of my chin, but not the rest of my face, so now I’ve got what looks like a big red chin bindi. Or a giant pimple.

Awesome.

Then, right about 6 pm, on the last shot of the day when it had cooled down to a relatively brisk 102, the goat worked.

So I guess now we know at what temperature a goat can work.

I managed to get enough water in me that I kept having to pee, and took some electrolyte tablets every couple of hours so right now I don’t have that feeling like I’ve been beaten with a pillowcase full of doorknobs.

Lucky for me, I’m rigging on the stage tomorrow, so although it’ll still be hot (they don’t turn on the stage air conditioning if no one’s shooting), I’ll be out of the sun.

Filed under: hazardous, locations, Work, , , , , , , , ,

…and that’s why I have a cat.

My upstairs neighbors, despite the fact that they play bad guitar and clomp about like Budweiser Clydesdales, are really nice folks who have a very, very adorable French Bulldog.

Aside from being very sweet and somehow managing to smell like a wet dog even when she’s not wet, the dog needs enough attention that at least one of the neighbors must come home from work at lunch every day to let her out to do whatever it is that dogs do on the front lawn.

Said upstairs neighbors want to go to a party tomorrow night which may or may not go late, so just to be safe, they’ve had to line up a dog babysitter.

Yes, you read that correctly.

A babysitter. For the dog. Because apparently one can’t leave a dog alone for more than 15 seconds or they’ll start a land war in Central Asia. Or something.

To me, this seems awfully similar to having children. The difference,  I suppose, is that one can just throw the children in the hall closet and tell them if they move, the clown will eat them. But then they grow up and crash your car right after they borrow money from you, so  there’s that.

In contrast to needing a doggy baby-sitter, my cat, although she acknowledges that I am the one who pours the kibble in the bowl, is largely indifferent to my existence (except when she’s cold), and probably wouldn’t notice if I vanished from the face of the earth, as long as the food bowl was kept full.

I’m so thankful I don’t have to hire a sitter if I’m going to be out for one night.  Or two.

 

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

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