Monday, June 30, 2008

Oh. By The Way.

The "Design Nathan a New Avatar" Contest has been canceled due to extreme lack of interest. Yes, Jeri wanted a photo of me as raw material to work with. I, of course, never got around to providing said photo. Jeff, a week or two after the announcement said, "Contest? What contest?" That was the extent of commenting on, much less entering the contest.

I'll come up with some other contest during July and hopefully it will be one that inspires you all to ...oh...enter.

Jeri, I guess you're the winner since you're the only one who even said they wanted to participate. If you can remember what I said the prize would be, I'll send it post-haste! (I'm actually too apathetic about the whole thing to search my own archives and find out what I said it would be.)(And, no. I'm pretty sure it wasn't a matching Cooper Mini.)

And Another Thing.

I saw this abomination today! A man was driving it. I think that's even worse than wearing your pajamas to the air show.

Blatherations...Yeah, it's just stuff that popped into my head.

First, the car I'm driving on this show is a Hyundai Sonata. I would have never figured it would be such a nice car. It's a rocket, steers like it's on rails and it's really comfortable. It's got a sun roof, a place to plug in my iPod and cup holders out the ass! And it's got XM satellite radio. I'll admit, I'm never going to listen to 80% of those stations, but hey, they're there. It also has these stations dedicated to various decades, the 40's through the 90's, one for each decade. I want to know who decided the 30's didn't need a station. There's got to be somebody out there jonesing for some Fletcher Henderson or The Mills Brothers.

Anyway, the 70's station is my favorite. It's like once an hour, you can listen to rock music start out really cool then turn to shit and die!

Also, I've come to the realization that I probably will never come up with that killer idea that makes me my fortune. And I'm not talking flash in the pan crap like Pet Rocks or Mood Rings or even Chia Pets. I'm also not talking about anything from Ronco or Popiel.

I'm talking the big stuff. Why won't I come up with anything huge? Because if you described a number of things to me before someone invented them or organized them, I'd think you were nuts. If I'd been hanging out with Alexander Graham Bell when he wanted to "talk over wires", I'd have suggested he cut back on the Laudinum.

The first time I saw someone downloading a picture off the, my reaction was, "Yeah, that's gonna catch on".

I can imagine me having a cup of coffee with Fred Smith in 1973.

Me: Now let me get this straight you bought a bunch of airplanes and trucks and vans.

F.S.: Yup.

Me: And you're planning to pick up packages in 20-25 cities every day, and fly them all to Memphis.

F.S.: Yup.

Me: And then you're gonna fly all the stuff back out again and deliver them before 10 in the morning.

F.S.: That's the plan.

Me: Even if the package is only going 10 blocks?

F.S.: Everything goes to Memphis...every night. It's the simplicity that will make it work.

Me: Good luck with that, Fred.

Is it strange to make a living the way I do with such a staggering lack of imagination?

Oh, and I forgot to mention...Tom has posted Chapter Six for Charlotte Misner! Go read it!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Oh, And I Found This Amusing Too!

We'll get you some snags on the hairball, yet Ilya! Really, we'll figure that out.

Fun With Word Clouds!

I was catching up on some blogs I've neglected lately and dropped in on Paperback Writer. In addition to really liking her Science Fiction, I've also been introduced to a bunch of neat websites by her blog. So, last week, she put up the link to Wordle! This is a fun one.

I copied my rant about islands, on-ramps and waterfalls in with fairly predictable results. Click on it to see it full sized!

I deem this fun and worthy of the UCF Seal of Approval. (Do we have one of those yet?)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

I Am The Perfect Audience

Have you ever seen the trailer for a movie so many times that you end up being sure you actually saw the movie? Tonight's Netflix entree was We Are Marshall. Totally sure I'd seen it. Totally wrong.

Guess what? I bawled my eyes out about a dozen times starting about 10 minutes into the movie.

It was really manly bawling. Really!

As The Hairball Turns

All I can say is Wow...just Wow! I came home a couple of hours ago to find a package waiting in the mail. It was from Fairbanks, Alaska and it was addressed to Widget and her Trainees. It would appear that Tania's cats, Skulker and Orphelia decided to send Widget, LuLu & Teufel a catnip blanket. And a couple of little plushy toys. And a packet of Alaska-grown catnip, (known the world over as the most potent catnip grown anywhere on Earth).

Does this mean Janiece has to add an entirely new category for UCFer pets interacting behind their owners backs? I think it may.

Here's the little beasties enjoying their new toy. (Don't bother with the's just some guy on PBS nattering away about pearls.) LuLu's acting a little nonchalant, but don't let that fool you. She just doesn't like to act childish on video. Believe me. She just goes batshit as soon as the camera is off.

Thanks Tania! (Uh, I mean Skulker and Orphelia).

Friday, June 27, 2008

UCF Makes Everything Better.

The previous post may have given you the impression that I had a...challenging day. Actually, truth be told, most of today was just fine. The only crappy thing was that I had to stop by someone's set in Harlem, and every way I tried to go, I'd run into construction delays and two different accidents that had the cops closing parts of roads for a while. I ended up having to drive way out of my way to get there, but that's just another day in NY. Not that big of a deal.

No, I just saw those things I posted about and got myself worked up for a little rant. It was kinda fun.

But even if I had had a crappy day, UCF would have put a smile on my face. The mail came late today and there were a couple of nice surprises there.

First we have a post card from Jeri with a lovely pic of Yellowstone. If you can't tell, the picture is of Mammoth Hot Springs. On the card, Jeri says she's surprised there hasn't been more filming there. She asks if permits are a problem. Answer: I don't know. I haven't shot in many National Parks, but I didn't have any big problems with the ones I did use. (OK, the Park Rangers at Grant's Tomb threatened to have me arrested when we shot the scene of Howard Stern that was supposed to be on the steps of a Washington D.C. landmark. We had our permits in place but we may have neglected to mention the girls in bikinis who would be gushing all over Howard. They didn't find it amusing.) Actually, Jeri, I think you answer your own question when you mention the huge crowds and the backed up traffic.

Also in the loot from winning Week 1 of Todd Wheeler's Summer Reading Contest. Two book marks which will come in very handy. I'm not going to show you the dog-eared pages on the book I'm reading, but I really should be ashamed of myself. Anyway, one of them is the really nice cloth one you see on the right and the other is the one on heavy card stock.

BTW, I don't know whether or not Todd considers himself a UCFer (and as I've said, folks are free to opt out if we embarrass them too much), but I checked and he was commenting hear in my first two weeks, so he's absolutely in as far as I'm concerned.

Janiece...I think I'm owed another snag on the hairball.

I Don't Actually Give A Rat's Ass, But I've Never Let That Stop Me From Whining Before.

First of all, consider this fair warning that today's post will be liberally peppered with profanities! It starts right the fuck now! Why? I'm just in a pissy mood. Go read something else if you're such a delicate flower.

And while we're on the subject, yeah, I know that all of the pictures in this post suck. I took them out the window while doing 50mph on the FDR Drive. I risked my life to get you these fucking pictures. How dare you bitch about the lack of quality.

First, let's start with U Thant Island. U Thant was the 3rd Secretary-General of the United Nations. He served from 1961 to 1971. Now, I don't care what you think of the U.N., but becoming Secretary-General and holding the job for ten years is something of an accomplishment. And how did the city choose to honor U (or is it Mr. Thant)? They named a fucking rock in the middle of the East River after him.

My picture of the island sucks, (the island is toward the right side of the frame just left of the pillar), but the one on the Wicki link is much better. (I bet some overachieving asshole actually got out of his car to take that picture.)

OK, let's move on. I'm sure I've mentioned this in passing somewhere or other before, but now I have photo documentation. It's really shitty documentation, but documentation nonetheless.

In 1994, Ari Halberstam was shot while in a van full of teenagers about to go over the Brooklyn Bridge. My memory of the event was that the shooter was just a crazy person, but the website says it was a terrorist. I won't argue. Anyway, the city decided to memorialize naming the ramp leading from the FDR Drive onto the Brooklyn Bridge after him. I truly empathize with the wish to memorialize someone who's been murdered,...but a fucking ramp? I really think that's kind of those filthy teddybears and falling down crosses you see propped up along the highway where some yahoo fell asleep at the wheel and plowed into a tree. NYC has a couple of gazillion parks of varying sizes. They all need names. I think that might have been better.

The other thing that makes me crazy about this, though, is how many fucking times do they have to tell me that I'm on the Ari Halberstam Memorial Ramp.

Here's the first sign as you exit the FDR Drive. (The blue thing.)

Then there's another one as you proceed up the ramp.

Here's three more as you get close to the bridge. Enough already. I know where I am. Perhaps you could put up this many signs telling me where the fucking bridge is in the first place.

And what the fuck is up with the NYC Waterfalls? It's public art! There are four of these towers on the East River right now, one on a Manhattan pier (first picture), one under the Brooklyn tower of the Brooklyn Bridge, (second picture), one on a Brooklyn pier and a fourth on Governors Island. You don't get pictures of the last two, because weren't you listening when I told you I shot all of these while driving fast because I had an appointment to get to. Jeez, pay attention!

OK, so anyway, it's art and they light up at night and folks from out of town can Oooh & Ahhh and say pithy shit like, "Gosh, Gladys, we sure aint got nothin' like this back in Guthrieville". Well, I've got a couple of problems with this. First of all, setting them up and operating them for the next four months is going to cost $18 million dollars. Granted, most of that money is from private donors and who am I to tell anybody what they should be doing with their money. Go ahead, piss your money away any way you want. I don't give a shit. But $2 million dollars of this is being paid for by the City of NY. Why didn't I get a vote on this? I vote they reimburse me for getting my car towed a few weeks ago. Fuck waterfalls!

And the second thing. I got home the other day and guess what was waiting for me in my email? A notice from the office that issues Film Permits telling me that there are huge swathes of lower Manhattan and the Brooklyn waterfront where I won't be able to shoot until fucking October! (I have no idea why this turned into a negative when I converted it from a PDF to a JPG. Maybe the computer fairies didn't think it would match the crappy pictures if they didn't fuck it up a little. Maybe my couch is doing 50mph and I'm still risking my life for your edification. Ingrates!)

It's a good thing it's Friday.

On a kinder, gentler note, I wasn't able to make plans for the Fourth of July weekend because we weren't sure which days GF and I could take off. Now we know that we can go somewhere on the 3rd and come back to the city on the 5th, (thereby avoiding the worst traffic, I hope). Everywhere I've called, I haven't been able to get a room or cabin or somewhere else to stay.

Anybody got any suggestions on where we should go?

-It should be within about a 3 hour drive.
-It should include water (lake or beach).
-It can be a little on the rustic side, but not a dump.
-no Bed & Breakfasts...those creep me out, no end.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I Loathe Approximately 2.6 Million Of You! Yeah! You Know Who You Are!

The good news is that The Love Guru has grossed only $18.6 million dollars so far. It's getting its ass kicked by pretty much everything out there. The bad news is that its grossed $18.6 million dollars so far. That means that approximately 2.6 million of you have paid to see Mike Myers not be funny again. That means there are 2.6 million enabling asshats out there. When you spend your money on a Mike Myers movie, you are telling the studios that there should be more of them...and that's just not true.

I forgive the Austin Powers movies. I hated the one I saw and thought the character was just irredeemably creepy, but hey, it was somewhat original and I can see where some people might have thought they were funny. Guess what? Even Mike Myers knows this thing is a stinking steaming pile of shit. Guess what the only thing is that he has to say when he's out plugging the thing? He steeples his hands and gives the fake blessing "Mariska Hargitay". Yeah, that was almost funny once. Shut Up!

Mike Myers should be put in a sound-proofed room and only brought out when they need his voice for another Shrek movie. And those of you telling the studios we need more of his crap should be locked in a room showing The Love Guru over and over and over and over again.

If any UCFers shelled out to see this thing, please don't tell me. I'm not sure I'd respect you in the morning.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

No Spoilers; Don't Worry!

I'm reading Destroyermen - Into the Storm by Taylor Anderson. It's fairly clear that this is the first book in what will be a series. Just reading the dust cover will tell you that it's about a WWI-era Destroyer running from the Japanese after a battle in 1942 when suddenly, they find themselves in a strange new world. The geography is the same, but none of the inhabitants are.

After allying themselves to strange creatures, and starting to learn each others' languages, they are holding a war conference to decide how to proceed. One of the alien beings, newly fluent in English says, "However the Amer-i-caans came to us, it is clear only the Maker of All Things could have arranged it as they say. If that is so, then surely we must all either Shit, or Get Off the Pot."

If that's not reason enough to get you to read this book, I don't know what is.

The Tragic Sink-Cat Infestation Has Moved East!

So, a little while ago, I started hearing this amazing howling noise coming from the bathroom. Of course, I assumed one of the kitties had gotten themselves stuck in the toilet or pulled the window down on themselves or some other potential injurious event.

Nope! I was greeted by LuLu who looked at me accusingly and asked why I hadn't told her that there was a really nifty slidy bowl for her to play in. Really, she did!

"If you're hiding any other neat places around here, you better fess up now, mister!"

What's Nathan Up To?

I've been somewhat neglectful of the blog for a couple of days now. I feel bad about that. What have I been up to?

Well, on Monday morning I got the script for the Movie that shall remain un-named here. The first step when I get a script is to do a breakdown. I need to know which scenes (or parts of scenes) take place in which locations. For example, you might have a scene that includes a phone conversation. If the entire conversation takes place in one location, (i.e. you only see one character and you either get to hear or only infer the other half of the conversation), you only have to shoot the scene once in one location. If however, you keep cutting back and forth between the two characters on the phone or show both simultaneously in a split-screen, you've got to shoot the entire scene twice, once in each of two locations.

So anyway, now I have a document that details every location (Int. SoAnSo's Apt. Includes, Kitchen, living room, master bedroom, guest bedroom, etc.), which and how many scenes will shoot there, which scenes are day and which are night, which locations will be built as a set on a soundstage, and where each location will shoot. (Most of this movie will shoot in NY, but there will be a couple of days shot in Washington D.C.)

Since we're "cheating" most of the D.C. interiors here in NY, if they're known entities like a retail store, I've got to make sure it actually exists both in NY and D.C.

So what will I be looking for?
  • 4 apartments
  • a college campus with admissions office, classrooms and library
  • an indoor olympic sized swimming pool
  • a diner
  • a chinese restaurant
  • two synagogues
  • a medical center (with a bunch of various interiors there)
  • a couple of offices
  • a high-end retail outlet
  • a high-end salon
  • a top-of-the-line jeweler
  • a cinema
  • a gourmet market
  • a furniture store
  • a mansion for a diplomatic recpetion
  • some other stuff
One thing that complicates things is that this script has a number of locations that only have one scene scripted there. And some of those scenes are really short. That works fine if the place with the little "nothing" scene is around the corner from a place we're shooting for a full day or more. If you don't have to move the trucks, it's a do-able move. If, on the other hand, you've got to go across town to shoot a scene that'll take up 20 seconds in the movie...that's a problem.

I suspect I'll get a few re-writes and some of these locations will get consolidated out of existence, so I'm not really concentrating on any of the small stuff yet.

I have now spent enough time pretending I'm waiting for someone to return my call and I'll get back to trying to get them to answer their phones.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

More Stuff That Proves I'm Just Not Inspired Today!

This is my Screen Saver. Isn't it fabulous?

Nathan's Sure-fire Brat's Recipe!

Step One: Go to the Store and buy some Brats. They're available at a wide variety of stores all over the country.

Step Two: Put them on the grill and cook them 'til they're cooked.

Step Three: Eat them.

I hope it's not too obvious but I've been decidedly uninspired today.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Mini Meat Loaves For Our Neighbors To The North.

Actually, any of you might want to try this, but Kimby is the one who asked for the recipe. This is the one that Michelle tore out of a magazine and sent me the other day.

This makes 4 servings and takes 35 minutes to prepare.


  • Two 1/2-inch-thick slices of firm white bread, cut into 1/2-inch pieces.
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped basil
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (plus more for rubbing)
  • 1 pound ground beef chuck
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Four 1-1/2 inch cubes of fresh mozzarella
  • 4 medium tomatoes halved crosswise (salmonella optional)

1. In a food processor, pulse the bread, scallions, basil and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil until the bread is coarsely chopped.

2. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Add the gournd chuck, grated cheese, 1 tablespoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper and the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and blend well. Shape the meat into four thick 5-inch-long ovals. Make an indentation in the center of each meat loaf and tuck in a piece of mozzarella, then cover the cheese with the meat mixture to enclose it. Reshape the meat into ovals with slightly tapered ends.

3. Light the grill (duh). Rub meat loaves with olive oil and grill over high heat, turning until well browned all over and firm to the touch, about 8 minutes total; the loaves should still be slightly pink in the center.

4. Rub the cut sides of the tomatoes with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the tomatoes, cut side down, until slightly charred, about 1 minute. Turn and grill until the tomato juices begin bubbling, about 1 minute longer. Serve the meat loaves right away with the tomatoes.

Anyway...that's the recipe. I'm making this tonight and it's a recipe very unlike the meatloaf I usually make. I'll report back on what we think of them here.
And the results are in:

The short story: They're really tasty. I'll make this again.

The long story: As I mentioned, I just had to monkey with the recipe. I only had dried basil, so I used about a teaspoon of that and then completed the 1/2 cup with some chopped fresh parsley. I only used two scallions. Admittedly, they were large ones but four seemed like an awful lot. I also added some roasted sweet peppers to the bread mixture in step 1.

This all came out as the wettest meat loaf mixture I've ever seen. It was just dry enough to hold together. I'm used to using egg as the binder and then just adding bread crumbs until it's got the right consistency, so, since this was using olive oil, I figured 'that's just the way it's supposed to be'.

Most grilling recipes will tell you not to play with the stuff you're grilling. That's absolutely essential with this recipe. Try flipping them more than once or twice and they're definitely going to fall apart. Also, between the natural fat in the beef and the olive oil, don't even consider trying to use an open top grill. You need to be able to shut the vents to douse the flare-ups.

What I'll change next time:

1. I'll cut the salt (at least in half).
2. The mozzarella chunk in the middle just remains a mozzarella chunk in the middle. Next time I'll use shredded mozzarella. Whatever ends up on the outside of the loaf will just burn off, but the stuff in the middle will have some distribution.

Anyway, GF says thanks to Michelle for thinking of us. We'll definitely make this again!

Charlotte Misner Continues

Matt Warnock has posted Chapter Five over on our shared Write Blog. Or rather, he's posted a second Chapter Four, which I'm sure he'll rush right over there and change to Chapter Five.

Whatever the hell it is, the chapter is there now and waiting for you to read it.

It's Tom's turn now with Kimby in the wings.

Pointy Lethal Hairballs.

I'm sure you all remember that picture of a hairball I posted a few days ago to lampoon the various UCF Organizational Charts that were being created. The thing that brings me back to that is the fact that, with a hairball, it's really hard to find the end. I challenge you to indicate some point on it and say, "this is the front", or "this is the back side". It's a hairball. Pretty much the same all around.

Kittens, on the other hand, in spite of their resemblance to hairballs, have clearly delineated front ends and back ends. For you engineer-types, plumber-types, and flow-chart-making-types, the front end is the intake and the back end is outflow. Ingress and Egress...couldn't be easier. (The back end is also the end they choose to put in your face as often as possible. Pet a cat anywhere south of its shoulders and they have this instinct to present their hind-quarter.)

The next thing you'll discover about kittens is that knowing the difference between one end and the other is a fairly useless piece of information. Kittens are able to travel in all directions, change directions, and change orientation with such speed that they seem to be doing it all simultaneously. Kittens don't really have ends at all. They are Omni-endulous!

And guess what. They're sharp and pointy everywhere. They think we have tough leathery skin like they do and that we don't notice their lethal spikiness. As with many things, they're wrong about this. I'll admit that I'm only the victim of this kitty obliviousness about 10% as often as GF is, but at least, I can say I've experienced it and understand. You see, much like couples settle into who sleeps on which side of the bed, we have our own assigned spots on the couch. GF just happens to have the end of the couch closest to the window.

Now, granted, the kitties are big enough now that they can leap directly from the floor to the window sill, but when they discovered the window, they were about half the size they are now. At the time, it was really cute to watch them climb GF's back, make a leap to the arm of the couch, walk across the table and make the treacherous 8" leap to the window sill. It's not so cute anymore...because they do this at Warp Speed with all their pointy bits extended for added traction.

They don't seem to know their names yet. They think the word "No", screamed loudly, is just another endearment, proving that there's nothing they can do that doesn't make us love them more. I'm sure we'll be able to break them of this little piece of behavior, but I'm not sure we can do it before GF's back looks like Denzel Washington's back in that whipping scene from Glory. Clearly, that's not a good thing.

Yes, we have pointy, lethal, autonomous, light-speed hairballs in the house. Would it be animal cruelty to wrap them up in gaffer's tape? Wouldn't they be cute rolling around the house like it's an oversized pinball machine? I can even label them so we know which one's which. I'm pretty sure they'd learn their names in another two or three weeks, and I swear I'll leave little openings for the inflow and outflow.

Hey, it was just an idea!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Stolen Content.

I haven't been by Ken Levine's Blog in a few days so I missed this. I also didn't watch the Tony Awards... so I missed this. I'm laying odds most of you didn't watch the Tony Awards either so,...wait for it...wait for probably missed this.

Best Acceptance Speech Ever!

UCF Keeps On Delivering!

I neglected to mention that I got an envelope in the mail from (By God) West Virginia the other day. I opened it and found a card from Michelle. I have to admit I was having trouble making sense of it for a minute. The card described how she'd been reading a magazine on her recent trip, saw an article and thought of me.

The article contained a recipe for Pop-open Clams with Horseradish Tobasco Sauce. I only like clams minced in a white sauce for linguini. Why would Michelle think of me from looking at that. I went back to the card. The clue I hadn't internalized was "no cage seems to be required".

Look at the magazine page more closely. The second recipe (the one without the lovely photo), is for Grilled Mini Meat Loaves. Ahhhh! The recipe looks good and will be tried out later this week.

Thanks Michelle. And I think Janiece owes us a new line on the hairball chart! :D

There's A New Sheriff In Town.

Yesterday was my last day on Watching the Detectives before I move on to The Project that has no Name. (It's got a name; I'm just not telling yet.) Anyway, the biggest scene we had to do was a hostage siege involving a SWAT Team showing up. Hey, it was fun. We had a bunch of Police Cars (marked and unmarked), an ambulance and a bunch of prop weapons and armor to play around with.

It all got me to thinking. You may remember that one of my first jobs was Parking Coordinator on Crocodile Dundee II. That means I hired people who would put up "No Parking" signs, toss traffic cones in the spaces and watch the spaces to make sure nobody parked over night...all of this so that a bunch of trucks can pull in at 6:00 a.m. or whenever. It's actually important, because you want all of your equipment as close as you can get it to the work, but you also have to make sure none of the trucks are going to be in any of the shots. And it really sucks to have to move one or more of the trucks in the middle of the day.

We still hire Parking Coordinators here. "No Parking" signs, by themselves are completely useless. If there's no one there watching the spaces, New Yorkers will park there anyway. Sometimes, they won't even listen to the Parking P.A.'s who warn them that they'll be towed if they park on that block. I've even heard stories about a couple of Parking P.A.'s having guns pulled on them when they tried to chase cars away. Their authority consists of the permit (a piece of paper that anyone could have typed up), and an I.D. tag (often as not, some laminated piece of crap that says "Film Crew", issued by...nobody with any authority).

Anyway, what with all the Homeland Security we've gotten used to seeing around NYC, I'm thinking we should up the ante when it comes to demonstrating authority that we actually do have, but have no way of demonstrating. How about a new uniform for the Parking P.A.'s?

How about this:

"Dude! What part of "No Parking" don't you understand?"
I could be wrong, but I think this would be really effective.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The NY Post is a Fucking Hypocrite!

Yeah, I know. The NY Post isn't a single person, so that headline has more than a little wrong with it. Would you prefer, The NY Post are Fucking Hypocrites? The NY Post Editorial Board is populated with Hypocrites? The Folks Who Write, Edit, Print, & Distribute the NY Post are Fucking Hypocrites? The NY Post is a collection of Hypocritical Hypocrites who are Hypocrites?

Yeah, all those choices suck, so I just went with being declarative.

So what's got me all hot and bothered about the Post this morning. Here, take a look at a story they ran earlier this month when cigarette taxes soared in NY. The headline acknowledges that smokers are taking a hit, but the general tone is "Yeah, I feel your pain. There's an ad for Head-On headeache remedy on the next page. See ya later, dude." Overall, the story gives both sides their say and doesn't really come down on one side of the issue or the other...because smokers are pariahs and God Forbid, the paper actually come down as saying anything along the lines of "We're the supposed paper of the common guy and we don't think Government ought to be legislating your behavior when you're only hurting yourself." (Yeah Ilya, I know your response to that, so why don't you go over to Stonekettle Station and tell Jim why he should toss his PC and get a Mac. You'll get just as far. [I kid!])

Anyway, take a look at look at one of this morning's headlines (found in the Post's Top Three Stories of the day). Any question at all about how the Post feels about this? Please note that since Bloomberg took office on January 1st 2002, he's been nothing but consistent. If a tax might reduce usage of something he thinks should be reduced, he's for it. EVERY TIME! The Post, on the other hand doesn't have anything like a consistent stance on wasting fuel. This article (from yesterday's paper) thinks it might be OK to make drivers pay a little more if it will force them to drive a little less. Or maybe this article which takes a little jab at Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno for driving a big rig without a license, overall, it makes him look pretty heroic.

The Post just goes back and forth on the issue of fuel costs and what the answer might be (subsidizing the stuff or reducing use by keeping costs high). Fuck you NY Post! Make up your mind. Either fuel should be cheap and no one ought to have to find ways to reduce usage or you think it's OK to let costs force people to alter their behavior.

And whichever way you decide to go with fuel, you damned well ought to take a similar position on tobacco.

Oh, and Happy Saturday!

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Baconhenge Creatrix Revealed!

The origins if the great and mysterious Baconhenge are a mystery no more. Go here for the original post and the recipe. The picture I posted had been sent to me and had apparently been making the rounds without credit, and I had no idea where it had come from. Thanks to the miracles of the internet (or just plain magic, which is what I'm convinced the internet is anyway), I am able to rectify that.

Thanks Carin!

Sure It's Unimportant. Isn't That Why You Came Here?

There's important doings in the world. For instance, Congress is all set to give George Bush what he wanted by protecting the phone companies who helped him spy on us from any retroactive lawsuits. This pisses me off, but some of the sites we visit do pissed off invective so much better than I do, so I'll leave it to them.

I'll probably be doing a version of my Saturday Multi-posting today. I'm on location and I don't have time to do a long post, but I'm sure I can toss out a few brain farts every now and then today.

First thing that comes to mind...I mentioned something about this in someone's comments the other day. I've been spending a lot of time in the car lately, and since NY radio sucks, I mostly leave the radio on NPR. There's a female announcer who does the plugs for upcoming shows and for their website and stuff, and I'd swear she's a computer generated voice. She has that odd pronunciation and weird cadences you expect to hear from a computer. If she's a real person, though, I'd hate to have a conversation with her.

Also, I'm sure most of you have noticed Scalzi's "Hate Mail" Contest. My entry is #31 and even though it is technically "Crazy Person who doesn't get it" Mail, I quite liked it. Kate's "Die in a grease fire", had a nice ring to it too. I kind of stopped reading them when it got up over about 50 entries, 'cause frankly, some of them are scarier than they are funny. The contest last year to write bad reviews of fictional fiction were mostly really good. I'm not sure this contest is being as successful. If any of the rest of you entered, tell me in my comments what number comment yours is over there and I'll make a point of reading it. Otherwise, I'm just waiting to see who he decides the winners are.

OK, now I'm going to go do a little work. I'll check back in with you later and I'll post pretty much anything else that pops into my tiny little pin-head as the day goes on. (P.S. Expect typos and poor grammar today because I won't have time to do a lot of proofing.)

Happy Friday.

First Update of the Day:

It's old news by now, but we were all talking about Tiger Woods at the beginning of the week. I'm sure you've all heard that he's out for the rest of the season because he not only exacerbated his knee problem by playing against doctor's orders, he also managed to inflict stress fractures on his leg. I'm sorry, but did you hear that? He not only beat everyone else on a wonky knee, he did it playing on a fucking broken leg. What a wuss!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Perfectly Good Alarm Clock For Sale!

I don't need mine anymore. The baby cats take their duty seriously and wake me every morning. At first, it was around sunrise. Now, they're trying to involve me in their nocturnal games.

Yesterday, I was awakened by Teufel at 4:12 A.M. I woke up to find him sitting on my cheek and leaning over vulture-style to stare at me.

Honestly, I could live without this dedication.

More News About Me...

...and you know that's why you come here!

So, I told you I'm starting a new job next week. I also told you the interview had very little interview involved. I didn't tell you one of the ramifications of taking this job. Frankly, I left the interview after about 90 minutes and felt a little like I'd been run over by the Noon Acela to Philly.

Here's the deal. Once upon a time, in a comment thread, I responded to Janiece (I think) that I had once been a member of the Directors Guild of America...and had resigned...and that it was a long story I might tell somewhere else at some other time. Time and place seems to have arrived.

I joined the DGA in the mid-nineties. I had the documented qualifications by something like 1991, but I'd seen too many people join as soon as they were technically qualified...and then not work because they didn't have a strong resume yet. I decided I'd wait until I had a few Location Manager credits to beef up my resume before restricting myself to DGA jobs. For a few years, that seemed to work out fine. At the time, there was a thing called the "New York Area Amendment" in force. If you didn't look too closely, you'd read it as saying that when you're shooting in the New York area, you had to hire a DGA member to be your Location Manager. So, I joined the Guild under the mistaken impression that if I wanted to work on real movies, I had to be a Guild member.

About four years after joining, I started to see a rash of movies being shot under DGA contract that had Non-Guild Location Managers. And, most of these Non-Guild Location Managers were being hired by Production Managers who had started as Location Managers. A bit of research revealed that the "New York Area Amendment" said something along the lines of This amendment shall be in force for Producers who choose to sign it. WTF?

I had been told that I'd need to join the Guild if I wanted to work on real movies and then I discovered that the whole thing was voluntary. Suddenly, the folks who had risen through the ranks were impressing their bosses by knowing about the loophole that would let them save $1oo0 a week in salary, benefits and Pension payments by hiring some Non-Guild schlub. Needless to say...I felt betrayed.

I became active in the Assistant Director/Unit Production Manager Council for the Eastern Region. My CAUSE was getting Location Managers officially recognized. My fellow Council members were totally in my corner. They wanted the issue to be on the table for the next contract negotiation. Sadly, the staff was indifferent and the West Coast Council, where, (duh), all the power actually lies, was actively hostile to the idea. (Note: The chairperson for the West Coast Council at the time was the 1st Asst. Director of a very successful TV sitcom and in an illustrious 20+ year career, she'd never shot one single day on location outside of a studio. In other words, she had no idea what I do for a living.)

To make a really long story less agonizingly long than it could be, I spent three years beating my head bloody against a brick wall without any visible results. (Another side note: One question that I was repeatedly asked to try to justify my position was , "Just how many people are we talking about?" My answer was, "You've refused to grant me access to employment records, so I don't have a number for you, but you care about Production Managers, right? There's one of those for every project. Guess how many Location Managers there are. One for each project!") In the face of such arguments, I finally gave up.

In my own heroic fantasizing memory, I stood up in the middle of a Council meeting, pulled my membership card out of my wallet, tore it in half and threw it in the face of some executive. In reality, I'm pretty sure I left a meeting feeling more dejected than usual and just stopped paying my dues.

Well...AMPAS and the DGA completed their negotiation for a new contract a couple of months ago. Some of my fellow Location Managers took up the fight and....TA DA...they were successful. As of some time this month, when a Producer is shooting within 75 miles of NYC or Chicago, they're required to hire a DGA member as their Location Manager. This makes me happy. Really happy.

It also means that I have to rejoin the Guild to work on the job I've just been hired to manage. On the one hand, this is going to be fairly easy, because even though I resigned, I'm still on the Qualifications List to become a member. (Resigning does not remove the list of credits I documented to the Guild all those years ago.) On the other hand, I've been informed that I'll have to pay the initiation fee all over again...and the fee has gone up a bit since I joined the first time. If I recall, the first time, I paid in the neighborhood of $3,000 to join. The rate now is a little bit north of $5,300. Damn! The good news is that I can pay 10% as a down payment and then pay the rest during my first year of membership. Also, by the end of this first movie, I'll have earned enough to be vested in the Health Plan (which is a really excellent health plan). On the iffy side, when I resigned I was pretty close to having enough Credit Service Months (don't ask), to be vested in the retirement plan. As I understand it, because of the interruption in my Guild covered earning months, I'll need to double the amount of Credit Service Months to be vested. (Between Employer and Employee contributions to the fund, I've got a lot of my own money in there that I'd like to get back in my dotage.)

The other piece of good news? I spoke to another Location Manager who was on the negotiating committee that pushed this new clause through. He said that my name had come up a bunch of times when they were waging their war. It made me feel really good to know that the people who were carrying on acknowledged my part in the fight. When I told him I was rejoining, he said that he considered that to be the first good tangible result. That makes me feel totally shiny.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

And Another!

Behold...the glory that is Baconhenge!

When In Doubt, Put Up A Picture!

No idea where this came from. Credit will be cheerfully awarded to the first batshit crazy person who stomps in and claims it.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

This Should Get Interesting

I have news! But before I get to that, I just want to acknowledge the fantastically, awesomely whimsical logo that Random Michelle has designed for the U.C.F. which you can see right over there at the top of my sidebar. I have it linked to the full sized image and I think I'm gonna leave it there like forever. I like it a lot. I may also have to come up with the ultimate post defining the U.C.F. which, as we all know, is kind of hard to really pin down. But it would be nice if the logo linked to an explanation for newcomers. Well, that's for later.

Toward the end of last year, there was a thread on Whateveresque asking how bloggers kept at it. I responded that I didn't think I had it in me to be any kind of blogger, because, among other things, I can't really talk about projects I'm working on and that's what would be fun to talk know, juicy inside stuff. Well, about a month after saying that, Polybloggimous was born and well, you know...I've become a seriously dedicated blurter.

I've solved my "talking about movies" issues by either being generic, talking about stuff that happened long enough ago that nobody cares, or by talking about people who, if they didn't like what I was revealing, could, in my opinion, suck eggs anyway. Since starting this blog in January, I've only worked on a bunch of smaller jobs...folks coming to NY to shoot only a portion of their TV show or movie. And I've been doing the show I mentioned about NYPD Detectives.

Not to detract from any of these, but they are, in my mind, what I do between real jobs in order to eat. Well, today I went in to interview for a real movie. And the interview turned out to be not much of an interview, since the Producer, instead of asking me any questions or studying my resume, just started telling me which locations he'd like to see first. Turns out I had the job before I walked in the door. (In fairness, I've known the Production Manager for 20+ years so that might have had something to do with it.)

At any rate, I start a new movie next week. I'll be replacing myself on the Detective show.

Now, here's the part where it could get interesting. I'm going to have to be extremely selective figuring out what I can tell you about. For instance, I'm not going to tell you the name of the movie or what it's about yet, because it isn't even listed on IMDB yet. They haven't hired a Director and they haven't cast any of the roles yet. In fact, aside from the Production Manager, I'm the first person on the job.

I'm also going to read my Deal Memo very carefully to make sure I don't do anything stupid that might open me up to dire consequences like getting fired or sued.

Here's the little bit I can tell you about the movie:

  • In spite of the fact that no network has had a weekly movie in decades, we still call this type of project an MOW (Movie of the Week).
  • It will air on one of the broadcast networks so all of you will be able to see it for free!
  • It's a Romantic Comedy.
  • I read the script over the weekend and I liked it a lot.
I know that I'll feel comfortable telling you the title and some other innocuous details when they're readily available from other sources. I just don't know what other types of things I'll feel comfortable talking about. We'll just have to see, won't we. Like I said, this should get interesting.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Let's Chat.

I'm guessing a few of you were surprised yesterday when I started gushing about the U.S. Open. I never hit a golf ball (other than Putt-Putt) until I was about 30 years old. I was hooked immediately. Hooked? Yes. Any good? Nah!

The fact is, I really really suck. I've never broken 100, which is the milestone of improvement at my level. On the other hand, at least my golf scores would qualify as crappy bowling scores. Truth be told, my friends and I have decided that I can stop counting shots when I get up to whatever twice-par is on a hole.

Anyway, I was totally rapt by the playoff today. The first 18 holes were absolutely amazing. The lead went back and forth a couple of times and neither Rocco or Tiger was ever out of it. Unfortunately, I had to leave when it went to Sudden Death. I'm not upset that Tiger won the thing, but I am upset that Rocco ran out of gas after pacing Tiger for so long. It was a pretty anti-climactic ending.

But here's the thing that came to mind. I've decided that Tiger Woods is the only professional athlete in any sport who, without reservation, believes that he can win against anyone in any situation. He understands that he can blow it and lose to you, but unless he does something wrong, you can't beat him. Every other athlete in sports understands that they can be beaten. Tiger can't. Only Tiger can beat Tiger.

And I don't see this as some indictment of over-reaching ego. He's that fucking good. He's that fucking confident. It's confidence based on reality, so you can't really fault him on it. I don't think there's any other athlete in sports who just doesn't understand the concept of being nervous because they have to make a clutch play. Tiger has based his career on the clutch play.

I'll shut up about all of this because I know I can't do justice to how amazed I am at the guy.

And Rocco gets humongous props for an amazing playoff. The world thought he'd be blown out of the water and he only lost the tournament because of one bad hole. Otherwise, a magnificent performance.

Also, I've noticed a fairly large (by my standards), uptick in the number of lurkers showing up here. I'm seeing the same folks showing up with regularity in the last few weeks who don't comment. Consider this your invitation to say hello. We (in the Royal model), really like having new readers and you may have noticed the rest of the circus doesn't bite.

C'mon, join the gang. DeLurk and say hello!

UCF Chart of Meat-Space Interaction

Janiece has created what she calls the UCF Org Chart. She's on Version 2.0 and a bunch of us are still giving her shit; saying it needs more info added, more features. Well, I think she's done just a fine damned job.

It was also requested that there be an "Alternate Universe" version. I agree. With that in mind, I hereby present the UCF Org Chart Version It has every connection you can possibly imagine. It's a little tough to decipher, but in all fairness, this is complicated.

You're all welcome!

Blogging From The Pits of Doom.

Just two weeks ago a told you how Teufel had come down with a case of ringworm (really misnamed because it's a fungus). I told you how the treatment is a dip that leaves the kitty smelling horribly sulfurous. So, two days ago, I noticed a little spot of the stuff on LuLu's nose.

Yay, two diseased kitties!

So, we've just returned from a visit to the vet to have them both dipped. If you're like me, you'd think that twice the kitties = twice the stink. Well, you, like me, would be wrong. The stink increases geometrically. Yes, these cats stink at least four times as much as only one stinky kitty.

And, the vet says that when it's all clear up they should get all their fur back and no longer resemble this thing.

LuLu and Teufel are not posing for photos for the moment. Please respect their privacy in this trying time.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Wow! One Hell Of A U.S. Open!

Tiger Woods started the fourth round of the U.S. Open with the lead. In 13 previous occasions, when Tiger led a Major tournament after 3 rounds, he won all thirteen tournaments.

Rocco Mediate hasn't won a tournament in 6 years. He has never won a Major. He talks and jokes non-stop as he plays. He looks like he's having the time of his life.

Tiger is recovering from knee surgery and is in obvious pain. He guts it out and keeps making amazing shots to dig himself out of whatever trouble he gets into.

Rocco is 45 years old. No one that age has ever won the U.S. Open and no one that age has ever been a first-time winner in any of the Majors.

The last two players on the course, Tiger and Lee Westwood teed off at the 18th, both of them one stroke behind Rocco. The 18th is a par five and Eagles are definitely possible. Both of them teed off into fairway bunkers, which made it unlikely that either would get that eagle to take the win.

Both of them managed to get on the green with a possibility of birdie...which would force a playoff. Westwood missed. Tiger did not.

Tomorrow, Tiger and Rocco play an 18 hole playoff. I have no idea who to root for! Amazing!

Charlotte Misner

Michelle has posted Chapter four. The story can be found here. Matt's at bat and Tom is on deck.

Banksy is Banskied!

Hey, remember the first post ever here? Well, the town decided the stuff was just plain old graffiti and painted over them.


Chicken Little Was Right!

The sky is falling. The leading cause of death in NYC is having a crane fall on you. Not really, but it's starting to seem that way. Two of these big-ass cranes have collapsed within a two month period. Not too long before that, another crane dropped it's load onto a Midtown street with people diving under cars and one of the construction supervisors getting crushed as he sat in an office-trailer that took the brunt of the hit.

And it's not only in NYC that this is going on.

Last Tuesday, I was driving down E. 44th Street. A flagman stopped me so a crane could pick up a load off of a flatbed trailer in the middle of the street. The truck drove out from under its load and I watched a few dozen tons of steel start to rise over the street. As soon as the truck pulled away and the steel started to rise, the flagman waived me through and the cars behind me started to honk their horns.

Are you out of your fucking minds? Sorry, I sat there and waited until the steel was all the way up and swung in over the 35 story building they're putting up. At least in that case, I could kind-of count on any catastrophe to fall straight down. When the big cranes go, they tend to fall a bit sideways, so you don't know where it's safe to be standing other than really far away.

After one of the cranes collapsed here, an inspector was arrested for falsifying his reports to indicate that he'd inspected cranes in spite of the fact that he didn't really even come to work on those days. Another guy was arrested last week for taking bribes to sign off on projects without ever visiting them.

Look at some of these suckers!

This one's got huge steel plates rigged as counterweights. A few days ago when I was driving into the city, the counterweight end of it was swung out over the street. I'm sure they're securely fixed to the crane so that they'd never fall on anyone driving underneath and then unbalance the crane and make it snap like a twig and fall in the other direction and kill a bunch of other poor folks who made the mistake of walking down a street. Yeah, I'm totally sure of that.

I realize I'm supposed to have some deep final point...some insight that makes it worth me typing this and you reading it. Sorry. These things are scaring the crap out of me and I'm going to start altering my routes to avoid them. That's all I've got.

And since that bridge went down in Minneapolis, bridges have me a little jittery.

I think I'll stick to flying. At least we know TSA is keeping that safe by preventing those dangerous Air Marshals from boarding flights.

I'm going to take a nap now.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Return of Multi-Post Saturday!

I have no plans for today. None. The closest thing to a plan I've got is that I'm gonna make sure the dent in my couch fits my butt cheeks perfectly. I can, however, tell you most everything that pops into my head today. I'll start with two things. Then, as the day goes on, I expect there will be more. I suggest you check in often...otherwise, you might miss the latest inanity. Just sayin'.

Inanity the First: is mostly a good thing. The discussion threads are among the most lame things on the internet (behind the LOL-speak comments on ICANHASCHEEZBURGER, but lame nonetheless). Otherwise, it's actually a really useful and amazingly comprehensive site. I've updated my own listing, a couple of times, but more often than not, they know I'm working on something before I've been officially hired. It gives me credit for working on Jim Jarmusch's Night on Earth. Folks, I worked exactly one day on that movie. I had to look it up when I saw it on my listing because I had absolutely no memory of being involved. IMDB knows (practically) all. It's impressive. (Once, I was briefly detained by a machine-gun toting guard for taking pictures of the Federal Courthouse in Foley Square and then released because the guy on the other end of the walkie-talkies checked my IMDB listing and decided I was legit.)

On the other hand, there are things from early in my career that they've completely missed. They don't mention any of the times I worked on The Equalizer. There's nothing about me being a P.A. on the 1986 TV remake of The Saint. Actually, I can't find a listing for that show at all, so maybe it never aired. I also have a vague memory that in the early 90's, they were doing one of those Movie of the Week things where Columbo, Kojak, and (I'm blanking here...Which was the show with the Texas Ranger playing a fish out of water working with the NYPD? It starts with an "M", I think.), some show I can't remember, aired 1-1/2 hour episodes on a rotating weekly basis. Anyway, I worked on one episode of the temporarily revived Kojak. Where's my IMDB love for that?

Anyway, forget about the stuff they missed. My IMDB page lists 37 movies and TV shows I've worked on. Last night, I scanned through it and came to a realization. Of the 37 projects listed, I've never seen 19 of them! For anyone doing the math, that's slightly more than half.

I'm not entirely sure what that says about me, but surely, the word apathy is involved.

Inanity the Second:

For the third time, I'm gonna refer you guys to SubTropicalGal's new blog. She and her husband are friends in real life and I'm doing my best to suck her into UCFerness.

Anyway, a couple of days ago, she Jackson Pollacked her front porch and in the post showing the results, she included a link that we all (apparently), thought was going to take us to some boring art history page. Here, she chastises us for missing out on a cool link by making assumptions. I suggest you follow her link to discover your own inner-Jackson. It's actually a very fun link. (Hint: Your first reaction may be "Why the fuck am I looking at a blank page?" Move your cursor around a little and click your mouse and you'll get it.)

That's it for starters. Check back later for more shit off the top of my head.

Inanity the Third:

Hey! Did I tell you I'd be back with more or didn't I? I think I did. Mere minutes after posting, here I am adding crap to today's post. You're welcome.

Not that any of you are going to be terribly effected by this, but I thought I'd let you know.

NYC is full of neighborhoods where the neighborhoods are fairly well-known. Think of Soho and Tribeca in Manhattan. Brooklyn has Flatbush, and Coney Island. This is totally fine and useful. However, I made a discovery last week. Mapquest recognizes NY for Manhattan and Brooklyn, and Bronx for actual locations. If you want to find a location in Queens, though, you need to know the neighborhood.

Plug in Flushing or Astoria or Rego Park, and you'll get a nifty little map of what you're looking for. Plug in Queens, NY and you get nothing. Mapquest never heard of it!

I'm sorry....are you still here? Were you looking for some point to this little blatheration? Did you not see the title...Inanity the Third? It's just crap off the top of my head. No deeper point involved.

Uh...Happy Saturday?

And the Inanities just keep on coming:

If you click on the Charlotte Misner link at the top of the sidebar, you'll see the beginning of the character discussion we started a few days ago. I'll be doing a little bit of an edit/rewrite of Chapter One today to follow up on some things that were decided in the comments there.

It shouldn't have too much effect on what's already been written in Chapters Two and Three, but I suggest Kate and Jeri take a look later today to see if they need to adjust anything. I don't know if the site will let me post the changes in color or anything, but I'll try to find a way to make any changes really obvious and easy to find.

Vince should also go look so he'll know what changes to add to the Bible.
Stuff just keeps on happening!

I know I've mentioned that Teufel is being attacked by a pernicious fungus and that he's not at his...most beauteous right now. I've posted some pictures, but they really don't do justice to awfulness that's happening to his poor little face. It's been tugging at the back of my mind that he looks just like someone I've seen before...and then realization broke through.

This is what Teufel looks like right now...

I shall give him a sock!
Part which Captain Obvious is...Obvious.

A Bloody Mary with your everything bagel on a Saturday morning is a good thing.

More news later.
Part VII...a pleasant interlude.

It has been decided that the butt-cheek dent is just fine here at home and needs to be distributed to a nearby movie palace. When GF gets back from running a couple of errands, we'll be going to see Indiana Jones and the Temple of the lost Crystal Orbs of Narnia with magic whips and pistols and no more Nazis and beautiful foreign locales even though he's old and no one believes he can really outrun an infant much less the hordes of bad guys who have motorized transport. (Or something like that.)

Which reminds me...have I ever mentioned that I used to wear a fedora which, I was under the mistaken impression, made me incalculably cool? A Production Manager took one look at me and said, "Who the fuck is this? Indiana Schwartz?" The name stuck for an uncomfortably long time.
So, How Was The Movie?

Over long, overwrought, over impressed with itself. It wasn't bad, but every one of the chase scenes was way to long. Every time they discovered something, the camera lingered too long on all the Gee Whiz crap they'd built.

Last paragraph redacted for reasons of my very own.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Apparently, I'm Supposed To Show You My Cats On Friday! Who knew?

LuLu in a kindly voice: Show me where the food is and I'll be all cuddly and stuff!

Teufel: Fuck the cuddles! Have I shown you my claws?

This has been a presentation of Friday Night Cat-e-ry

Praise The Lord And Pass The Ammunition.

It has been brought to my attention, that today is BLITEOTWO8. Sadly, I have other plans, but I'd feel remiss if I didn't offer the rest of you some hope. The video below represents your best chance at evading the hordes of the undead. It's a proven fact that if you crank this sucker up to 11, nothing ambulatory, living, dead or in some freaky other state, will remain in the area.

If, by some strange chance, this doesn't work for you, here's another idea. If you don't have a goat handy, a small child will work fine too.

{{{The Video that was here broke. It was the scene from Jurassic Park where the tethered goat for the T-Rex came up on the little elevator}}}

Luckily for me, I live in NY where the Zombies aren't all that different from everybody else, so we just ignore them.

Good luck to the rest of you!

P.S. I have no idea why the second video starts playing the moment you open the page. I'll probably have to delete it at some point or add enough posts to get it knocked off of the front page. Otherwise, it'll definitely start to annoy me.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Followed By a Real Post!

(Look at the post below this if the title doesn't make any sense to you.)

Recently, I've asked you folks to go visit a couple of blogs, one kept by a real, live friend and one by a guy in the Biddness who I think is pretty entertaining. I know a lot of you dropped in on them, but I don't know if any of you have continued visiting. Well, if you haven't been keeping up with them, each of them blogged about something today that I thought was pretty nifty.

among other things, links a story informing us of something cooking in the town of Brattleboro, VT. Brattleboro is a really nice town. I've been there a few times and I'd love to visit again. But now, I've decided that Brattleboro rocks. The town voted to issue an indictment of George Bush for violating his oath of office. Now, town cops will be able to arrest him if he ever visits. (He hasn't set foot in the state of Vermont since taking office, but one can dream.)

Also, The Anonymous Production Assistant links a story about a group that is training wounded Marines to do tech jobs in film and video...and then getting them an I.A.T.S.E. Union Card. For those of you not in the film biz, (and that would be most of you), that's fucking huge.
The I.A. is an extremely powerful union who have always worked hard to make sure their membership didn't become...overpopulated. What that means is, if you've got an I.A. card and you want to're going to work. This is a program that will make a difference for its participants. Excellent!

Lookitmee, Lookitmee, Lookitmee!

Now witness my awesome, omnipotent, evil blogging powers. With the click of my mouse, I will now force my blog to rise to the top of Eric's blogroll.


Why Bother?

Between the news that the world is coming to an end today and the fact that I'm only drawing one paycheck again, it hardly seems worth getting out of bed.

Update, 7:15 a.m.: After setting up the new sidebar showing who's posted most recently on their blogs, I started looking at the most recent posts. Shawn, who needs to be reminded to feed his drug habit, had this to say yesterday:

I Last Took Medicine On

Wednesday. Wednesday is a fun word to spell, BTW.

You might also enjoy typing minimum. All the letters get typed by two fingers on your right hand. Go ahead and try it. Maximum fun typing minimum!

Update again, 7:22 a.m.: I mentioned yesterday and just a few minutes ago that I was putting that thing on my sidebar that shows recent posts on blogs I like. I also left up a separate set of links to some other sites I visit fairly regularly. First of all...Damn, I have too long a list of stuff to look at on a regular basis. Second, I've added a few blogs that I hadn't previously linked. My heartfelt apologies to anyone who feels slighted by not being included. Honestly, I stopped and looked at the list while I was doing it and just said, "Stop it, Nathan! Any more and the blog'll fall over on its side." (It also occurs to me that being included on my sidebar probably isn't going to have any kind of noticeable effect on your traffic, so, like, get over it.)

Still updating, 7:30 a.m.: I said something about being a 'blurting blogger' the other day...and this post is conclusive evidence. Who needs to Twitter when they can keep throwing inconsequential shit up on the blog?

Hmm, wouldn't a bagel be good right about now?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Double Dipping!

Early in my career, I got a phone call late on a Thursday night. There was a company coming to NY the following Monday and they needed a bunch of iconic establishing shots of NYC. The game plan was that I'd meet them at their hotel before sunrise and we'd hop in a van with 4 crew members, me and a camera and tripod. They'd say, "We need a shot down 42nd street with the sun rising in the background. Take us to a good spot to get that shot." So, the next day, I pulled an extremely vague permit (which was still possible to get in the early 90's). On Monday, I met them...we got maybe 7 or 8 shots they wanted...and at 11:00 a.m. they said, "We're done".

On the way back to drop them back at their hotel, my beeper went off twice in rapid succession. Returning the calls in the order they'd paged me, I was asked if I was available to scout immediately for a commercial the company was bidding. I said, "Why sure, I'm in Mid-town; I've got my camera and nothing but time." So, gainfully employed for the second time in one day, I returned the second call, fully expecting to have to tell someone that I wasn't available. The second person who had called was a little breathless when she got on the phone and wouldn't let me get a word in edgewise. She told me they had a rush job; they were bidding a commercial and needed possible locations by the end of the day. She went on to describe the exact same location and product as the folks I'd just spoken to.

"Hmm! They're both bidding the same commercial", thought I. Only one of them will be awarded the job...and whoever that is will only need one location. Furthermore, knowing Directors like I do, the chances that two directors would like the same location were pretty tiny. So, I proceeded to scout 3 or 4 possible locations. I went to the lab and had two sets of prints made for each location and I dropped them off to each company with an invoice for each company.

Three jobs in one day. Needless to say, I was pleased with myself.

Cut to June 11, 2008. I've mentioned that I'm working on a show for one of the Cable networks that has NYC Detectives telling stories about interesting cases they've worked on. I'm finding the locations to shoot re-enactments of the crimes. At first, I was just hired to work a couple of weeks and find some of the major locations they needed. Every time we were approaching the end of the time they said they'd need me, they extended my employment. Ultimately, they said they'd like me to stay on and manage the locations throughout their shooting schedule...until mid-August. "Excellent", I said, but just so you know, I have a prior commitment for a British movie that's shooting for one day in NY. "Fine", they said. "That won't be a problem."

So, here I am on two companies' payroll in one day. Needless to say, once again, I'm pleased with myself. I'm sitting parked beside the road looking across the Grand Central Parkway at Laguardia Airport waiting for them to arrive and meet up with us to do a variety of driving shots. The specifics of what they want are...vague. Once again, I've filed the most vague permit I could get away with and I've arranged for a cop to meet us with a cruiser to lead us around and otherwise help us get whatever shots these folks come up with once they're on the ground. Since we're going to spend most of the day running around in cars, I'll ride in the cop car and make phone calls for the other job I'm on. I won't feel the least bit guilty because I actually will get stuff done for each company and they each know I'm working for both of them.

Update posted at the end of the day: The day went great...very easy stuff and the cop we got was one of the good ones who actually sees it as his job to help us get our job done. (Have I mentioned that in NY, production companies aren't charged for police assistance and there's a unit of 25-30 cops who do nothing but work on movie sets?) At any rate, I sat in the front seat of the police car, blathered on the walkie talkie every once in a while, told said cop where we wanted to go next, emailed followup permits to the Film Office (it's magic, I tell you, magic!), and babbled a few times to the Producer on the other job.

I was home by 4:02 p.m. I am twice paid and utterly pleased with myself. I know. It's disgusting.

P.S. Eric did a post today about a nifty new feature for your sidebar on Blogger that not only links your bloggy friends, it also names and dates their most recent post. I am so replacing my blogroll with that. I think I'll have one for blogs I look at often and leave the plain old normal linky one for places I like...but less often. I know this is a thing that Blogger has produced for all of us, but I feel a little guilty...almost like I'm stealing Eric's idea. (Not guilty enough to not use it though.) Look for shiny new feature later tonight. Hot Damn!