Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sleep deprivation is fun!

Last week, I worked on a non-union flat rate (read: bend over, buddy, you're in for it) job which, of course, despite the promise to keep the hours reasonable, went long. Into the night.

Hands up who didn't see that one coming?

So I've been on a bit of a night schedule since then. Which is fine, except that I got a call from a very good friend to work on the rigging crew of some TV show shooting on a lot 100 yards from where I used to live (of course).

With a 6 am call and a crosstown drive, this meant the alarm went off at the crack of dark (4:30 am).

Which would have also been fine, had I not been awake and staring at the ceiling until about midnight.


So I was sleepy all day, and for some reason, dizzy. Which was also fine, since people on ladders need ground support (to fetch, hand things up, and help move the ladder).

We spent the afternoon putting color corrected tubes in fluorescent fixtures and then hanging said fixtures into the dropped ceiling of the set. Since some of the cable dropping down from the perms was a bit hard to reach, we had to adjust - usually by screaming at the top of our lungs (to overpower the sound of drills and three radios tuned to different stations) to the guys up on the perms. 

Tonight, my intention was to get off to bed about half an hour ago, except that I came home and found that for some reason, Wordpress.com has accused me of being a spammer/scammer/slog/content scraper and frozen the blog over there with no warning or anything.

Awesome. Because I needed that. Really, I did.

Here's the notice that's on the page that's normally the 'dashboard' of my blog:

This blog has been deactivated because we believe it does not comply with the WordPress.com Terms of Service or advertising policy.
If your blog is designed to promote affiliate links, get rich quick programs, banner ads, consists solely or mostly of duplicate or automatically generated material, or is part of a search engine marketing campaign, WordPress.com is not the place for you. Please use the Export feature to move your content to a more appropriate hosting service.

Content's not accessible, nor are links, comments, or anything else.

Right now, I just want them to release the content so I can move it.

I've always said that the blog shouldn't cost me money, but at this point, I think it's best to suck it up and pay for a domain name and self hosting.

For the time being, we'll be back here at Blogger.

Why, hello Blogger! It's been a while.

I'm having some issues with Wordpress, so here I am again.

If said issues don't get resolved, then we may be back here for good.

We'll see.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

One more reason for me not to see this movie.

Last night, I accompanied The Anonymous Source to a screening of The Pursuit of Happyness (highly recommended if you're looking for a warm fuzzy movie with a feel-good ending), and before the movie started The Anonymous Source told me that last week, there had been a Cinematographer's Guild sponsored screening of Apocolypto, after which the movie's Director of Photography gave a talk.

During this talk, he'd told the audience that during the shoot in Mexico, Mel Gibson had kept the actors - even the children - on set for up to 19 hours each day.

Several days later, The Anonymous Source is still steaming about it, and I completely understand why.

Have we learned nothing from that John Landis thing?

Child labor laws may make shooting more difficult, but they exist for a reason, and I suspect that if Gibson had one of his own children in the movie, he wouldn't have kept them on set that long.

Of course, I'm not sure that there are any child labor laws relating to film production in Mexico (a 'private jungle' in Veracruz, to be exact), but keeping kids on set that long is just fucking wrong.

Although I wasn't going to see it anyways (there's enough horrible violence outside my window. I don't need to pay to see more), this just seals the deal that I'll never, ever give Gibson any more money.

Care to comment? Hop on over to the new blog on Wordpress!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

I've got the RSS Blues

Until I can figure out this RSS thing (and there’s a myriad of new stuff on Wordpress that’s throwing me for a loop), you’re just going to have to subscribe to the new feed manually.

Here’s the feed link: http://filmhacks.wordpress.com/feed/

Enter that into your RSS reader and you can subscribe from there.

Many, many thanks to the wonderful commenters who were kind enough to share this information!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Friday Photo

Editorial Comment

Taken inside a facade on Warner's New York Street.

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Of all the things I've left at home, I miss my glasses the most.

Although I didn't expect to work at all in December, I'll end up getting three days this week.

Tuesday night, I got a call to work on second unit shoots for a TV show*. My call was 11 am at Warner Brothers in Burbank.

I don't work on the Warner Brothers lot very often, and in some way that's a good thing. Warner's contains the single biggest threat to my pocketbook in the entire city - The Mill Store.

All studio lots have stores where they sell discounted DVDs and various merchandise, but at Warner's, they have really deeply discounted stuff at the Mill Store. Super cheap DVDs, CDs, shirts, hats and various assorted work-related tchotckes are too much for me to resist, and every time I'm on the lot, I spend at least a third of my check in there.

Wednesday, I had a fairly typical day - 14 hours (11 am to 2 am), two stage moves, and the nicest bunch of guys I've met in a long time. I really hope I can get back on this crew because they're all terrific** and I had a great day.

It never rains but it pours - as I was standing on set, I got called to do a day on another TV show, right after the best boy had asked me back for tomorrow to help out on the fixture rigging crew (fixtures, or practicals, are the lights that you can see on the screen) .

The fixture crew ended up being an old friend of mine who I've not seen in two years, and another person who I work with every so often who I like a lot, so I had a great time Thursday as well.

The only problem Thursday was the short turnaround. They'd set my call for Thursday before lunch on Wednesday, and when we went late and it became obvious that I'd not make the call because I wouldn't get my minimum turnaround (9 hours for studio lots), they pushed my call so I ended up coming in at 11 am (the original call was 7 am).

I can't go right to sleep when I get home - I have to take a shower and wind down before I get into bed, so I ended up getting about 5 hours sleep and being a total zombie in the morning.

When I'm a total zombie I forget things - on Thursday, I forgot my glasses.

I have great long-distance vision. I can read the tail numbers of jumbo jets flying in the stratosphere, but up close, details are a blurry mess.

We were wiring sconces that had been hung on the outside of the facades of New York street, but had to be powered from the inside (remember that if you see a power cable on camera the world will end. Okay, maybe not, but I'll get fired), so I ended up spending the day with my face right up against the walls trying to see where I was sending the fish tape. So not a good thing. The last thing I wanted to do was get my face up close to the walls on the inside of the facades.

The reason I didn't want to put my face too close to the inside of those walls is spiders. Those facades have been there for 50 years, and the arachnid life inside have dug in and gotten fat and sassy - the last thing I need to do is stick my eyeball up to a hole in the wall and have a spider jump on me. I probably wouldn't be able to see it coming, either. I'd just scream like hell and scare my co-workers and the spider.

I'm back on the fixtures crew for tomorrow.

*I will only tell you what show it is if you promise not to charge up to me on set shouting "Hey, you're that blogger. Although I do like to hear that people are enjoying the blog, being confronted at work makes me very uncomfortable, and then I think the heat's on, freak out and start posting things about my shoe collection that nobody wants to read.
Trust me, I'm a lot more interesting when I think no one's watching.

** Easier said than done at Warner Bros. The set lighting department there are intensely loyal to their regular folks, and won't hesitate to lay off people they don't know well in order to make sure their own people keep working. In this day and age of corporations not giving a shit about dedicated workers, I think it's wonderful to see a company display this kind of loyalty to workers - even when it works against me.

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Okay, so some of you care.

Thanks for all the supportive comments! Following some excellent suggestions, I may make a change - I'll keep writing, but it's looking like I'm going to move over to Wordpress - I'm having issues with Blogger, and the evil corporate overlords at Google don't seem to be interested in customer service these days.

The new link is filmhacks.wordpress.com.

Right now the template's butt ugly and I'm still playing with it.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Two Years

Things I've learned in two years of writing a blog:

No matter how clear I think I've been that most of what I write is intended to be tongue-in-cheek, someone somewhere will take it seriously, and send me an email advising me of the best way to pull my own head out of my ass. Screw that. Having my head up my ass is what keeps my spine flexible.

There is always someone cleverer than me.

There is always someone eager to let me know that there is always someone cleverer than me.

Speaking of people cleverer than me, Josh Friedman needs to update his damn blog more often.

Although I was afraid of offending my co-workers, they have generally responded positively (except for the one who keeps sending me - anonymously, of course - threatening emails) and have respected my desire to remain anonymous. Through this blog I've really learned to appreciate the terrific group of people with whom I'm honored to work.

In a pinch, Google's search function makes a dandy spell-check.

Speaking of terrific groups of people, the commenters here have rountinely made my day by being funny, insightful and generally well worth the effort it takes me to clean up the coffee I've sprayed on my computer screen while laughing (with you, of course. Not at you).

In a truly Pavlovian turn of fate, I am no longer able to concentrate on what I'm writing unless I see a Blogger interface. Damn you, internets.

Many more people than I like to imagine simply do not give a shit about what I think.

In my struggle to frame my recollections of my days in such a way as to make them interesting to other people, I've had to learn to look at my world differently. If I get nothing else from blogging, this one thing has made the whole experiment worth it.

Things a blog won't get me:

Free drinks
Lavish gifts

Okay, that's not entirely true. I have, in fact, gotten free drinks because of the blog.

In two years, I've met some wonderful people and have had a great time balancing precariously on my little soapbox.

I've also noticed that two years is about when most blogs start to repeat themselves.

So, what do you think? Should I keep on doing the same old shit or pack in it while a few people out there still think I'm cool?

Friday, December 01, 2006

Friday Photo

Traffic Jam

Every year the city of Los Angeles begs people not to drive into Hollywood to see the annual Christmas Parade.

Here's why. This light changed three times and these cars didn't move (but they did all honk their horns incessantly).

On the work front, today I went by the lot to pick up my final check from the Christmas job. There's quite a lot of stuff shooting, but none of the people I usually work with are doing anything.

The perils of freelance, I guess.

Monday I've got to get on the phone and try to scare up some work for December.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

No work, but plenty of excitement.

Sometime in the past few days, I hurt my thumb. The joint's swollen and I can't bend it. I have absolutely no idea how it happened (although I'm tempted to blame Cam-Lok connectors) but since I do tend to use my thumbs quite a bit, I figured I'd get it checked out.

When I showed it to the doctor, he said, "You fucked something up. Take some Motrin and soak it in warm water. Maybe that'll clear it up."

All that medical school for a diagnosis of "fucked up"? That, I'd already figured out.

"Tell me something I don't know," I said.

He thought for a moment. "Buy low, sell high?"

I like my doctor, but sometimes I really want to kick him. Plus, I already knew that.

So, I've got a bottle of Motrin and official medical advice not to use my thumb for the next three days. Wish me luck with that one.

In more exciting news, yesterday, LA county mental health services hauled my landlady off to the nuthatch.

She's always been, um, eccentric.. but it's gotten worse in the past few weeks. It all started when her kids tried to get a power of attorney (which is a reasonable request when one's parent is 80, I think), and she freaked out. She interpreted it as an attempt at a pre-death asset grab and stopped eating or sleeping - she just cried all day and all night.

The lack of sleep turned into paranoia, and since my landlady lives next door, her pounding on my door at 1 am to tell me that the streetlight was watching her and that I should take my stove apart to make sure there weren't any electronic bugs in it. "Check your oven, too! They might be listening to everything you say!"

Honestly, I didn't realize how bad it had gotten. I'd heard pounding noises at night, but hadn't really worried about them. She's always been handy, so I figured she was boarding up the windows or installing shelves or something (sometimes I'll do stuff like that when I can't sleep). I'd offered to take her to the grocery store if she needed it, but she said she was fine.

Turns out, she's ripped out all the electrical wiring in her house (because it was listening to her, I guess) and there's a gas leak because in her zeal to find the 'bugs' - she knocked big holes in the walls and hit the gas line with a hammer.

The social workers who took her away yesterday were very nice, and implied that she'll be okay soon, once she's gotten some medical treatment.

I hope so. I haven't heard anything about how she's doing, but it's been less than 24 hours, so there may be no news yet.

Friday, November 24, 2006

'Tis the Season - it's official.

Beverly Hills has sprouted chandeliers in boxes.

Chandeliers in boxes

On Rodeo (remember, it's pronounced Row-DAY-oh) Drive, of course.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

To those of you outside the US, the Thanksgiving holiday is billed as a commemoration of... well, depending on who you ask, it's either the commemoration of the onset of a genocide or a happy fuzzy friendship party thrown by some people who were probably really glad to see land.

In reality, it's an excuse to pig out all day, fight with one's family around the table, and gossip on the way home about how fucked up everyone is since Grandma (who was, after all, the one keeping everyone in line) passed away.

Since I'm going to a friend's house, I'll miss the fights and the gossip, but the pig-out factor is certainly still there. We're doing potluck, and I'm attempting to bake the pumpkin muffins that I found on the faboo cupcake blog (although I'm not sure how well they're going to turn out. I probably should have told my hosts I was bringing a bottle of cheap whiskey or something and then surprised them - although whiskey's probably healthier than those cupcakes. I don't even want to see the calorie count on those fuckers).

So, in the spirit of things, here's a list of what I'm thankful for this year:

I'm thankful that I have a job which, although I bitch about it sometimes, I truly do enjoy.

I'm thankful that I have my health, and more importantly, that I continue to qualify for my health insurance (I have to work 300 hours per semester to keep it, and I'm unbelievably grateful that I've never lost it).

I'm thankful for all the wonderful folks who keep hiring me, and with whom I'd hang out even if they didn't just because I like them.

I'm thankful for my rent-controlled place to live.

I'm thankful that my pet loves me (hey, with cats that's not a given, you know).

I'm thankful for my family and friends, who put up with my shit and still seem to like me.

I'm thankful that I haven't had food poisoning in a while.

I'm thankful for this court decision. I've had to 86 some hilarious comments due to fear of legal action, and now everyone can snark away without fear. Huzzah!

I'm sure there's more, but right now I'm off to the gym. Hopefully I'll be able to pre-emptively burn off those cupcakes.

I hope all of you have a very happy holiday, too!