Bring your own fork

September 11, 2012 - Tuesday

 9/11 + 11

Never forget.


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September 11, 2011 - Sunday

 9/11 + 10

Ten years gone. It still hurts my heart. I think it always will.

9/11/01.  Remember.


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September 10, 2010 - Friday

 9/11 + 9

Never forget.

9/11/01.  Remember.


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November 4, 2008 - Tuesday

 Motor Voter

Motor Voter


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September 11, 2008 - Thursday

 9/11 + 7

Remember 9/11

Remember those who lost their lives on 9/11/01. Never forget.


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September 6, 2008 - Saturday

 Stupid Knife Tricks

Every time I’m cutting a bagel in half for Zoe for breakfast in the morning, I tell her that cutting bagels is one of the leading reasons people go to the ER with knife injuries.

“They hold the bagel in their hand, they start sawing at it with the serrated knife, something slips, and bam! They’re bleeding! So be careful with knives,” I like to tell her.

“I know, Dad, you told me last time,” she likes to tell me. “And you told me the time before that, and the time before that, and the time before that. Can I just have my bagel?” Not much on the repetition of life lessons, my daughter.

So imagine her blackhearted glee when I turned up with a sliced-up hand of my own today. (Fear not — I’ve blurred out the ookie parts in the thumbnails so nobody gets too skeeved out. Click on ’em to see them full-size in all their gory glory.)

I wasn’t cutting a bagel, I was cutting a zip tie off a stupid new dog poop scooper Beth had just bought, but I was sawing at it with my folding pocket knife, and something slipped, and Bam! I was bleeding like a stuck pig. Nice.

I hemmed and hawed for a little while about whether or not it needed stitching, and Beth thought (and probably still thinks) I was an idiot for sitting down to Google “when does a wound need stitches” with a bloody paper towel wadded up in my hand. I thought about trying to Krazy Glue it shut myself, but I finally went to the local urgent care center to get it looked at. They put three stitches in it, but as you can see from the picture below they didn’t do much better than I could have out in the garage.

The doctor seemed really nervous, and I got the feeling it was me making him that way. He kept screwing up the knots in the stitches, and took multiple attempts — with multiple needle sticks — to put each stitch in. First he put in a stitch, then decided the thread was too thin and cut the stitch out, then started over again with thicker thread. He put three stitches in, then noticed the second one had torn loose while he was doing the third one and redid #2. The bottom stitch is so loose he almost could have skipped doing it. Overall, I think the end result looks like a 1st year mortuary student did it — with a hangover.

I wish I had Krazy Glued it myself. I couldn’t have done much worse, and it would have made for a much better story…


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June 15, 2008 - Sunday

 Father’s Day

This is my second Father’s Day without a father. It still seems weird and wrong even now, a year and a half since his death. From time to time I still sit up with a start thinking, “Oh hell, I have to call Dad!” just like I used to because I wasn’t very good about keeping in touch. Then I remember that those days are gone.

I don’t feel sad that he’s gone, really, it’s sort of a sense of… Emptiness? Misplacement? I feel sort of un-anchored without my dad in the world. I miss him. I’ve been thinking of having a memorial tattoo done for him. I have a vague idea for a design, I know where I want it, I think I know who’s going to do it. I’ll probably have it done on or around his birthday at the end of July.

This is me and my Dad the last time I saw him in July of 2006. I think I knew then that it would be the last time. I think that’s why I brought my camera with me.

Dad & Me

With my dad gone Father’s Day is now about just me, and I celebrated it with my family. Beth and Zoe gave me a motorcycle helmet I’d been wanting, and Zoe gave me a copy of Richard Bach’s Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah. I had given her a copy of Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull recently and we talked about how reading it when I was her age had led me to Illusions and how much that meant to me when I was younger. So it was a really good gift. I’m halfway through it already and it’s holding up well.

Then Zoe and I went out for a ride along the coast. We took this picture in Malibu.

Father & Daughter


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June 14, 2008 - Saturday

 Near The Set

Phase 2.5 of my mission to change careers and get into working in studio transportation is under way … sort of. I’m on a little bit of a … detour? No, not quite a detour — it’s more like an access road paralleling the main highway. I’m traveling right next to the road I want to be on but there’s a fence separating me from it, but a few miles up the road there might be an on-ramp.

I’ve landed a long-term driving position on a major production, working with exactly the people I want to get in with — only I’m not on the call sheet, so it’s not a union position. So I’m on a union show — sort of — but I’m not getting my days toward union membership. I know I’m being cryptic and weird about it but I can’t go into any more detail about it than that.

The cool thing about it is that I’m meeting people who can (and I think/hope will) help me down the road get to where I want to be. It’s a stupid easy gig, too, and the paycheck beats Unemployment. The downside is that what I’m doing is a little impersonal, almost “don’t make eye contact with the bigwigs,” but the relationships I’m making more than make up for it. On the one hand I feel like I’m sort of just marking time doing this and not making any progress, but it’s putting me in the right environment to pay off later. A big part of getting lucky is being where the luck is.

Here’s a couple pictures from the set. This is one of the things I’ve always liked about working in production — going to places you’d never see under normal circumstances and getting paid to be there.

Flightline

Flightline set


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April 30, 2008 - Wednesday

 Back On The Set

Phase Two of my mission to change careers and get into working in studio transportation is under way. I just finished my first day as a driver on a low budget non-union feature shooting in and around L.A. It’s a tiny little show being shot very much on the cheap and there’s only two guys in the transportation department — me and the guy who hired me — but it’s a start.

One thing that hasn’t changed since my grip days is the long hours. My call time was 9:00 a.m. this morning and I didn’t finish my day and head for home until about 12:30 a.m. tonight. Something I hadn’t really thought much about as I planned this move into transportation but was blatantly called to my attention tonight is that grips may be among the last to leave the set after wrap is called, but transportation leaves last, after everyone else — and often drives every else’s trucks somewhere else before they’re done.

I’m tired, I’m beat, and I feel like I’ve been rode hard and put up wet. It’s good to be back.

My stakebed


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April 12, 2008 - Saturday

 10-4, Good Buddy

After getting laid off from yet another software training gig and having my years of experience pissed on by potential employers because I don’t happen to have the latest set of credentials that say I’ve spent X number of hours in a classroom learning what I taught myself how to do on my own… Well, after all that I decided “Fuck It” and I’m changing careers. So I’ve been back to school. Truck driving school.

Big Rig

Cab

The game plan is not, however, to be a long-haul trucker. I may do that if it comes to it, but the ultimate goal is Teamsters Local 399. These are the guys who drive for the TV and movie studios and that’s what I want to do. I’ve held a lot of jobs over the course of my life, and the most fun I had was when I worked on movies as a grip. I think I’m too old and my knees are too shot to try to get back in as a grip, but I think coming back in as a driver is an achievable goal. So… back to school.

I “graduated” yesterday after taking my driving test at the DMV. I now hold a Class A commercial drivers license with endorsements for air brakes, doubles and triples, tankers, and hazmat. That means I can drive anything on the road but a bus, and I’m going back in two weeks with a shuttle van to test for my passenger endorsement so I can do that too.

It’s not easy getting into 399. Hiring is done off their Industry Experience Roster, which has three different levels of seniority: Group 1, Group 2, and Group 3, and jobs are filled from the roster in that order. To get on the roster on Group 3, I’ll need to work 30 days on union shows in a one-year period. That only happens when the town is so busy that everyone’s working and they can’t fill the jobs from Groups 1, 2, or 3. They call that being “in permits,” and that’s when non-union people like me get our shot — when we’re “permitted” to work on 399’s shows without actually being members.

So I’m gambling a little bit in doing this. The writer’s strike crippled Hollywood over the year-end, and SAG’s contract is about to come up for renewal and there’s some fear that the actors will strike too. As a result of that, production is at a low ebb right now — nothing new is in production because nobody wants a strike to shut down their show. I’m gambling that production will spike when the actors sign and that things are going to get really busy — busy enough for me to get my shot to get in, and start a new career as a driver.

Wish me luck.


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