Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

A Man Explains Things to Me

As much as I’d like to panic about the lack of work, it’s pretty normal for January (ish), so I’ve been doing some physical therapy on my shoulder while I have the down time (I’m determined to be positive about the work prospects for this year).

Said physical therapy has me doing some strange-looking (and painful) exercises with one of those resistance bands.

I usually opt to do my exercises at the gym, mainly because I’m more likely to do them if I make myself get up and go somewhere that’s not my apartment. Also, while I’m there I can swim (sort of – mostly kick sets for now) and sit in the steam room.

My gym used to have resistance bands available for use, but they were removed a couple of years ago, presumably due to concerns about members using them to strangle the sweaty bastard who refuses to wipe down the equipment after use.

So I bring the bands that the physical therapist gave me, and work through my exercises, usually with no issues other than failure to keep the obscenities to a discreet volume.

Except today, when I got mansplained.

The phenomenon is recounted in this article* by the utterly brilliant Rebecca Solnit  (to whom I humbly offer hommage with the title of this post).

As I was doing the exercise that I like to call the Sieg Heil (exactly what you’d imagine, only with a resistance band), a man swathed in overpriced brand-name tech fabric offered some unsolicited advice after staring at me for a full five minutes.

“You really shouldn’t do that,” he began (whatever happened to ‘hello’) in that tone. “You could hurt yourself. If you like, I can show you how to work out.”

“It’s a physical therapy exercise. I’m pretty sure she told me to do it this way for a reason.”

“You see,” he continued “your shoulder is a very complicated joint and you have to be very  careful, especially with those dangerous bands. You know the gym got rid of them.”

“The physical therapist told me to do this. I think she might have gone to college.”

“Maybe you could start with the easy pushups. You know, the ones on your knees.”

It became clear he wasn’t going to listen to me. As I tried to decide if I wanted to fart loudly, belch, or resume swearing (if you can’t reason with them, scare them off), I was saved by the swim coach, who ran up and jokingly yelled “Five more! Your butterfly sucks!” while holding her hand at a height that I wasn’t going to be able to reach without dropping the band (or maybe even if I did).

At the sight of my exercise being legitimized by  an actual staff member, he slunk off… somewhere. I was laughing too hard to really pay much attention.

*I highly recommend River of Shadows, the book referenced in the article.

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

No work, but at least I have the interwebs

Finally, I got the computer working. Hooray! Unemployment doesn’t seem so bad when I can watch stupid human tricks on YouTube. The only minor problem still existing is that I had to get a new keyboard (this machine doesn’t have one of those dedicated keyboard ports and I couldn’t find an adaptor so I had to get a USB keyboard), and it’s just a tad bit smaller than the old one so it’s currently typo city around here.

I’m also currently going to physical therapy three times a week for my shoulder – the left one has been sore for quite some time, and I figured it was because the left side was the weaker one.

Imagine my surprise when the PT informed me that the left side is the stronger side as it’s been doing more of the work – meaning the right side is the weak slacker mooching off the hard work of the other shoulder.

Dammit.

I was also surprised to learn that I’ve got some mild disc compression in my spine, which is really odd because I don’t have any kind of back pain at all. I didn’t ask, but I’m assuming this means that my spine is also a moocher and forcing my shoulder to do even more work.

So I do the exercises (which could make suspects at Gitmo talk), and go to the PT, who advises me to ice and then puts that twitchy electric thing on my shoulder and tells me it’s looking better, which, for some reason, doesn’t make me or my shoulder feel any better.

The good news is that I can still swim, as long as I breathe to alternate sides, which does reduce oxygen intake, but I’m not going all that fast anyway, so it’s fine even if the coach does yell at me to speed up.

Apparently going to the Olympics a couple of times will make you all bossy-pants.

Hopefully some work will come along soon. I’m beginning to lose track of what day it is.

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

Well, at least it smells good now.

The knee brace (no longer the world’s largest – a guy that was in the PT office with me today has one that’s way bigger) is made of neoprene which, as any of you who have a passing familiarity with neoprene will know, doesn’t breathe so well. Combined with it being seasonally warm here in Los Angeles, at the end of the workday both my knee and the brace have been soaking wet and kind of funky-smelling.

Also, the brace is very snug, so there’s a real danger of my throwing my back out while pulling it on in the morning.

So Tuesday night, as I was digging around in my bathroom drawers, looking for something else, I came across a gag gift that I’d gotten for my birthday and then thrown in the drawer that I’m pretty certain leads to an alternate dimension (stuff goes in, but doesn’t come back out. To date, the drawer has swallowed at least five bottles of shampoo, twice that number of expensive foo-foo soaps, a curling iron and about a million condoms).

Someone made a deodorant that smells like vanilla chai and one of my sick, sick friends purchased a stick of it for me.

Now, while the idea of wandering around with my armpits smelling like a coffee drink is more than a little disturbing, for some reason I have no problem wandering around with my knee smelling like a coffee drink, so I used the stuff on the area of the knee that’s under the brace.

The deodorant really does smell like a coffee drink, and also made the knee brace easier to slide on. Later, when when I got to the physical therapist it slid off a bit easier than it did pre-deodorant, and although the knee and the brace were still soaking wet, they both smelled like, well, a coffee drink so I didn’t offend anyone nearby. Good thing, too – I don’t want to piss off that physical therapist. She’s what you would get if you tried splicing together a Kindergarten teacher and a really mean drill sergeant.

Some of her better lines while flitting from patient to patient were “I don’t care if it hurts! You have to give me 15!” and the ever popular “If you lose track, you have to start over!” all delivered in that happy Kindergarten teacher voice.

Fucking sadist.

All joking aside, though – she’s a nice lady (as sadists go), and gave me a lot more information than the doctor did about exactly what’s wrong with the knee and how to fix it – and she told me I don’t have to come three times a week (which would have been impossible). I just have to come back about once a week, do the surprisingly difficult exercises at home and ice the knee twice a day.

Although my knee doesn’t feel any better, the rest of my leg is hurting so much that I hardly notice.

That’s progress, right?

Filed under: Non-Work, Off-Topic, , , , , , , , , ,

I just knew this was going to happen.

This is what I foresee happening for the next four (or so) weeks:

I call the physical therapist and arrange to come in on, say, Wednesday and Friday.

(Phone rings) “Hello?”

Best boy: “Can you work Wednesday and Friday?”

Me: “Sure!”

I then reschedule my physical therapy for Tuesday and Thursday.

(Phone rings) “Hello?”

Best Boy: “Okay, you’re not working Wednesday and Friday now. They changed the shots. You’re now working Tuesday and Thursday.”

Me (under breath): “Dammit.”

It hasn’t happened yet, but it’s only a matter of time.

My first physical therapy appointment is Wednesday, so I took what I thought was a one day call today (Tuesday). Right after lunch, they asked me to work the rest of the week – I hemmed and hawed about the appointment (after having to tell them that I can’t work Friday because I’ve already been booked that day on a commercial) and was told that it was okay – they’ll just let me take a ‘long lunch’ and then I’ll be the person who stays after everyone else goes home to help the lamp dock guys count in the gear.

Now, it’s really bad form to decline work after concessions have been made for things like physical therapy appointments, so although I hadn’t wanted to work Wednesday (not because I don’t want to work; because I don’t want to show up for my first appointment all filthy, bedraggled, and smelly – which is an apt description of me after I’ve been wrapping cable in the perms all day), I kind of got backed into a corner since I like these guys and would love to not piss them off so much that they never call me again.

Hopefully the physical therapist will understand.

Today was the work test-drive for the world’s biggest knee brace, and it went pretty well. My problem sometimes with doctors is that I’m fairly certain they have no fucking idea what my workday’s really like, so when they say “sure, you can work”, they don’t realize that when at work, I’ll be picking up heavy things and twisting my body while holding them (throwing cable into carts: pick up cable, swing cable over to cart by pivoting at – you guessed it- the knee, drop cable coil into cart), climbing ladders (go up into the perms. Okay, it’s coffee. Come down out of the perms. Okay, break’s over. Go back up into the perms. Repeat at lunchtime, or when supervisor decides to rotate crew out of ‘up high’ to give them a break).

So far, the knee’s been fine, but we’re only in phase one – the ‘clearing the floor’ phase. When wrapping a stage, one wraps all the stuff that’s sitting on the floor first – normally it’s lamps (the most expensive item and the thing that production wants us to get off rental as soon as possible), then distro, and then cable. Only after the floor has been cleared of equipment does the stuff that’s up in the perms gets dropped out -the reason for this is that dropping equipment on top of equipment creates one hell of a mess.

We’ll see what happens tomorrow.

Filed under: Work, , , , ,

Friday Photo

Knee - side view Xray.

As much as I wanted to title this post “It’s not a too-mah”, that bump on my femur, is, in fact, a tumor.

The good news is that it’s a benign tumor, so they’re going to MRI it again in four months and if it’s not gotten any bigger, it gets to take a trip to the ‘ignore’ file.

In other good news, I won’t be needing surgery on my knee. As best I understand it, I fucked up the thing that goes over the kneecap, and as a result I’ll need physical therapy three times a week for the next four weeks, and I can’t do squats or lunges at the gym (but I can swim as much as I want to and bicycle as long as I raise the seat so the knee’s not bent too much). And – I’m able to work with the aid of the world’s largest knee brace.

Sweeeet.

As much as I might like to joke about sitting around on my ass collecting disability, the fact is that I don’t like being out of work when there’s work to be had.

I was so happy about not having to have surgery, that after I ran some other errands and went swimming for an hour (hey, the doctor said I could) I stopped at Mozza on the way home and had some pizza and a really excellent glass of wine (my last for the next 10 days, as I’m starting back onto the heavy-duty anti-inflammatory drugs).

The consequences I’m currently suffering because of the cheese are totally worth it.

Yay! No surgery!

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

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