Sunday, June 22, 2008

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.


vince said...

I think it would be very effective. It would also be very effective for other situations, such as "Dude! What part of 'I Don't Want to Go Out With You' don't you understand?" and "Dude! What part of 'You Can't Picket This Funeral' don't you understand?"

Ilya said...

If I'm out with an Uzi,
Every argument is won...
If instead the rake I carry,
That effect is mostly gone...

[translated from what I think is Igor Irtenyev]

Random Michelle K said...

To Mikhail T. Kalashnikov,
Who's done so much for bumping off
And made the automatic gun
Affordable as well as fun.

The methodology of strife,
Freed, through him, from club and knife, Achieved a new, mature reliance
Upon technology and science.

How fast you'll settle a dispute,
If you've Mikhail's gun to shoot:
Ain't no arguing with that!

Kalashnikov's great contribution
To modern conflic-resolution
Is, "Try negotiation first,
Then give the other guy a burst."

Nathan said...

So I read the first comments and my first thought was "This seems to have gone in a direction I hadn't expected". This was immediately followed by the thought, "With this bunch, what did you expect?"

Random Michelle K said...

I didn't write that by the way. It was sent to be (unattributed) by my friend Andy.

But it's the first thing that came to my mind when I saw that picture.

John the Scientist said...

Dude: what part of "don't grip your weapon by its front sight" don't you understand?

The barrel gets hot in a hurry, man. Not to mention you might have to re-sight the rifle.

And I'm afraid you an I are going to have to be mortal enemies on this score. I don't know how many times I've come in to drop off my FIL in Chinatown and some officious prick has half the available parking spaces in the area blocked off with "No Parking" signs. My FIL's 85. No, I'm not going to park 6 blocks away to drop him off.

It's not that I don't appreciate that you have to make a living. It's that NYC seems to hand out permits to block off the street like candy, and there's someone blocking the street every single friggin' time I go down there, and he or she always thinks he has a good reason. He or she doesn't - he or she is blocking the normal commerce of the city, and the shopkeeps are cussing at him or her, while warning me about where nto to park (shopkeepers in NYC have saved me $60 fines several times - NYers are not all rude assholes). If it were up to me, you'd all have to park your trucks out in Queens and port your equipment into Manhattan on Segways.

Those of us who come in to Manhattan from out of town have a hard enough time figuring out the street sweeping and "you can park here after 10:00 on alternate Tuesday" signage that's usually deliberaterly hidden behind trees or street lights. Add to that the fact that the parking authority pukes come around at 9:55 on those alternate Tuesdays to catch someone who's just a smidgin early, and parking in NYC gets to be a homicidal enterprise quite quickly.

The only thing that keeps me from decking the 9:55 jerks is that I'd get arrested for assaulting a city officer. If I knew that the idiot with the "No Parking" sign worked for a friggin' movie, you would find said idiot head-first in the smelliest dumpster in the neighborhood, with a few of the "No Parking" signs sporting them new-fangled rectal retro-fits.

If you ever find one of your parking co-ordinators in said situation, you know who to call first.

John the Scientist said...

And Michelle - Gospodin Kalashnikov is still alive and relatively well for his age in his retirement home near Ekaterinburg.

Random Michelle K said...

Y'know John, I was going to mention something about holding the rifle along the barrel, but figured as I'd never fired one maybe it would be dumb for me to comment. Good to know I was right.

Can you get your F-i-L a handicapped parking permit? My grandmother has one and it's very helpful when I need to drop her off somewhere, and that involves helping her out of the car and into a building.

John the Scientist said...

I live in a different state, so no dice on the permit.

Random Michelle K said...

That's annoying.

You'd think doctors would have some way of working around that (my grandmother had the same problem before she moved in with us)

Nathan said...


to take these things in order:

I know how to wield a stick. Otherwise I have no weapons proficiency at all. ---When I lived on a Kibbutz in 1978, in the event of an attack, I was expected to hide with the children (I was 18). However, to be prepared for the absolute worst case scenario, I was given the most basic of instructions on how to handle an UZI. "Point this end at the bad guys. This is the safety. This is how to load/release the magazine. Pull this to make bullets come out." This was all in preparation for "everyone else is already down and it can't get any worse if I pick up the gun".

As to the parking, yeah, the signs here are confusing as hell and sometimes seem to contradict each other for the same spot. Most (not all, but most) Parking P.A.'s have absolutely no problem with you pulling in to drop someone off (invalid or not) for 10 minutes unless the trucks are literally on their way at that moment, or the space in about to have a stunt car driving through it at 50mph. Most of them understand that a car they know will leave before they need the space is actually holding the space for them.

Ilya said...

It behooves me to note that Izhevsk, where G-n Kalashnikov has lived for the last 60 years, is about 400 miles away from Ekaterinburg. Of the few things that I am proud of in regards to the country of my birth, its size is certainly one. Yep, 400 miles qualifies as "near", by Russian standards :)