Monday, November 29, 2004

justification for a mistake

Mine is not a mind for
Things that make sense
The mathematic equation,
Or steps to a dance, let’s say
If given a chance to choose right or left
I can’t help but to flip the wrong way
If my intuition is counter-intuitive
Well, I can’t find a person to blame.

Mine is not a head for
Numbers and plans
And I never got much past 2-D
If I can put it on backwards, I will
But sometimes it looks better to me
So if I can’t make the same recipe twice
Next time will still turn out
More or less nice.

Mine is not the temper
For symbols and code.

But my own secret language
Is precious
And old.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

food coma

That's what I entered this weekend. I just might not come out of it. We had houseguests, and made our first Thanksgiving meal. It wasn't very hard, actually, and everything was muy delicioso. Plus german spice cookies and pumpkin pie for dessert. Friday was New Mexican for lunch (just before Terri and I went to the top of the courthouse for a look at the city. I don't think I've ever seen a more gorgeous Mediterranean stlye view. 70 degrees in November, to boot) and fresh seafood by the water for dinner. Yesterday we all went to Goleta, which is a ridiculous little Danish style town a bit north of here, where it rained while I had ableskiver with rasberry jam and sausages, and then we all had some totally uneccessary walnut fudge, and went wine tasting in the Santa Ynez Valley. Last night was this kick-ass Santa Barbara restaurant called The Palace, where I indulged further in crawfish etouffee and some cajun cocktails. This afternoon, Sam and I went for another round of the turkey and trimmings. And I'm hungry again. Burrito time. I am the picture of gluttony, and I like it. Can anyone top my list of indulgences? I'd love to hear about your holiday treats.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

I survived Horror Camp 2004!

I call it "Horror Camp" for several reasons:

1) It involved cabins.

2) Said cabins were part of numerous horror movies.

3) The experience was both hilarious and horrible, but mostly the latter.

About two weeks ago, I saw an ad for tv interns, including actors. However, when I called, they didn't need any more actors, they needed costume help, PA's, and grips. I offered to help wherever needed, but figured I'd end up in costumes, especially since they were going to film in 2 weeks and had only JUST gotten a costumer. This should have been my first clue that all was not quite right with this "production".

My 2nd clue should have been the 2 rehearsals I attended- both of which were in smelly hospital conference rooms, by the way. I was told I should watch a rehearsal, but was then unable to due to the fact that the poor costumer and I had to hang out in the hallway cutting and sewing costume pieces all night. The costumer was supplying a number of pre-made costumes, and the director had some, but neither the costumer nor I were ever given a cast of characters or a real list of who was wearing what or when. Or a script, for that matter. Nada. Ok, let's sew some shit.

3rd clue- the PM was 15 years old. It was her first time being a production manager and although ambitious, she had no idea what we were about to embark upon. I don't think any of us did. From what the producer told me briefly, the production company was founded on the idea of getting Santa Barbara area actors a vehicle where they could be showcased. The vehicle in question is a fantasy tv series (ala LOTR, but not any good, I think) that they hope to shop around. The actors paid a very reasonable fee for acting lessons along the way, which partially would fund the production. The actors and mostly volunteer crew would earn points which would translate to cash if the series got picked up. Not a terrible idea, right?

Now, trust me, I have been a part of some very very low budget productions before, and I have worked with many disorganized creative types. Heck, sometimes I'm even one of them. But this, this was to be an epic clusterfuck.

Saturday morning, I'm supposed to get a ride to be at the 2nd day of shooting for a 6:30 AM crew call. There's no way I want to drive from location to location in unfamiliar mountain terrain, especially with my terrible night-blindness-thingie. But I never get a call from the PM, the director, or the producer. Ok, maybe I'm off the hook. Perhaps in the chaos I have simply been forgotten? Nope. At about 10:30 AM, the director calls me, saying she has found me a ride, and can I please come up and do makeup as well as costumes, as their make-up person flaked?

Cool, sure. I was hoping to learn how to do some grip work, but whatever. I ride up with a nice young actor named Ryan to the first location, off of Paradise Road. We are at the director's boyfriend's home, filming a few scenes in his backyard, which is lovely. But I find out that the costumer is not going to be present at the affair until Monday, and that I am the only person doing costumes and make-up for the next two days. Should be interesting.

I ascertain that the 15 year old PM went home in frustration the night before, after taking the brunt of the justifiable abuse from 15 extras at Knapp's Castle, who were not fed, and had no shelter from the wicked cold. Kind of explained why she never found me a ride, I guess. The shooting was apparently 6 hours behind schedule the first night, and the Producer's van broke down on Highway 154 with most of the costumes inside it. Which means I don't have all of the costumes I need for the scenes scheduled to shoot, and the Producer is AWOL. Ok, now I am wishing I had driven after all, because I would have turned my ass around at this point.

Several hours later, after dressing and applying make-up to several actors, including the director's lovely but cranky children, who were being used in the episode, the Producer finally arrives with the costumes. We have about 10 minutes to dress a fairy and a wood nymph. I got to do the fairy, and did what I could with the materials at hand. She looked pretty good. Suddenly the wood nymph says,
"Ow, that's getting in my eye!" I look over and the Producer is applying green glitter craft glue to the poor girl's eye area. Ok. I step in and do what I can, and the scene gets shot. The poor wood nymph is "dressed" in skimpy panties, chemise, and some garlands of flowers, and the sun is going down. Yeah, a little cold. Plus all of the guys were unabashedly ogling her butt. At about 7, they finally bring out a bit of food, but not everyone is able to eat before we are heading off to Zaca Lake, for some night shots.

I won't get too into it, but the road was full of giant water filled ruts and numerous bears, one of which we nearly ran over. The shoot went on until about 3 AM in the dark and cold, with not even coffee or water for the cast and crew. The PM showed back up and did her best, but there was no prop master or set up crew or script advisor or Anything, so she and the director couldn't do much to get things set up in a timely manner. The tech crew mostly quit the project that night, as well as the leading actor and the PM. The arguments between those remaining went on until 6 AM. In my cabin, by the way, which I was also sharing with the director, her sick and surly kids, the producer, the PM, and one of the actors. Good times.

But it wasn't over. Suprisingly, the lead actor decided to stay until the next day, 1/2 of the crew came back, and the producer made sure we got some adequate food this time. The shooting only went onto 9:30 because other guests and the management required us to stop. The night before we had perhaps disrupted a few people's sleep, it seems. Although conditions still sucked, the main crisis was over. People started actually talking to each other, instead of just screaming. After the shoot, I helped Ryan celebrate his 21st B-day with some much needed vodka, and later talked with the Director and Producer in our cabin until about 2 AM. They were actually both good people, just terribly disorganized. I got to learn way too much personal information about both of them that night, as well as all of the dirt on the crew and actors. As ever, I was Camp Counselor.

They next day I pretty much filled in as PM for the Director, and we went back to the original location to finish up a few shots. I rode with the director and she and I did nearly everything, as the Producer could not get out of bed, and the poor crew and actors needed some rest. It was still cold, the food wasn't great, and people were tired. The extras waited around for hours. There were sound equipment problems. Since we had lost most of our equipment when the crew bailed, we didn't have enough lights to do all of the scenes we needed, so a number of the actors wasted thier entire weekend. I got out of there about 7 last night, and have never in my life been so happy to leave somewhere.

But I learned alot about what not to do on a shoot this weekend. That a little appreciation goes a long way. That creature comforts can make or break a crew. I also learned that with little knowledge or resources, you actually can convince people to go into the woods and make a movie- for free! And maybe, just maybe, if you can get all of the elements together and talk a pretty game, you can make something decent that might go somewhere.

Will I work with any of them again? Maybe. But I'd need to be in charge, and it would have to be a script I wrote. I think this weekend also made me realize how much I miss wearing many artistic and organizational hats. And that maybe, I don't need to get pigeonholed in one area for the rest of my life. There are inept people everywhere that need my help, after all!

But first, I'll need a bit of sleep.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

today a bird shit on me.

I laughed and mentioned that I'd heard it was lucky. I don't think anyone believed me. But it made me remember when I'd first heard it. I was 7 years old, and I'd been begging my mother for a fur coat You know, those fake fur coats that looked like rolls of mink, or bunny, or something, that terminated in elasticised cloth bands at the waist and cuffs that were popular in 1981? And if you had the matching fur muff (no jokes, please) you were the bomb. But back then you weren't known as the bomb, you were just plain old Cool. Or, at least, you could not have Cooties for some time. The jacket would make sure of that. Do you remember this era yet? Come on people, think two tone satin rollerskating zip up jackets with an embroidered flying skate on the back. This was that time, too. Michael Jackson and Donna Summer. Are you with me yet?

I'm seven. It's been Christmas break. Although we were very very poor, my mother had somehow managed to procure a geniune faux fur coat for me, and I was on my way to school. Jefferson Elementerary School in Pekin, Illinois. Yeah. I was finally about to be Cool. I would no longer be lumped into the same category with Colleen, the Cootie Queen. Colleen was at least 12 and seemed to be in 3rd grade. She also had a moustache and breasts. Anyway, I'm strutting down the icy sidewalks on January 2nd, with my coat, and my feathered hair. I didn't even care that my shoes were pretty beat up, or that I had to eat poor kid cafeteria food. I had Fur, baby, yeah.

And at that moment, a bird, like some sort of karmic messenger from beyond, dropped a huge shit down the left breast of my brand new jacket. Oh No! This was not Cool! Should I go home? I din't have time- I couldn't be late! The first day back after break? Inexcusable! I'd have to improvise. I pulled up a handful of leaves from under the nearest snowbank and rubbed furiously. Now the fur looked like, well, wet, shitty fur. Goddamnit! Nothing ever went right for me. My solution was to cry, of course. And when I got to my class, the teacher took me aside and asked what happened. When I told her, she told me that it was lucky. Maybe it was an ancient Chinese secret, huh?

I was lucky. And later when I got made fun of because of my matted new coat, I didn't care. I had been chosen to mark from the sky. This one. This one right here. She's extra special. Plop-o. And seven turned out to be a pretty good year in my white trash girlhood.

Today the bird poop landed on my right side. Full circle. And I know that I am indeed, a very lucky woman.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Yeah, check out my hub's new blog- he's a genius. He's also super cute.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Thank you Mary!

This made me alternately giggle and sob. Siggling gobs, actually. I, too, am Sorry.

Friday, November 05, 2004


So, my friend Mike made a fair comment about not thinking there was voting fraud in this election, but just that the division of the country really is that close, and has been for quite some time. While this is true, the conspiracy theorist in me still likes stories like this from Salon:


Bush's "mandate" shrinks by 4,000 votes in Ohio.

"An error with an electronic voting system gave President Bush 3,893 extra votes in suburban Columbus, elections officials said.

Franklin County's unofficial results had Bush receiving 4,258 votes to Democrat John Kerry's 260 votes in a precinct in Gahanna. Records show only 638 voters cast ballots in that precinct.

Bush actually received 365 votes in the precinct, Matthew Damschroder, director of the Franklin County Board of Elections, told The Columbus Dispatch.

State and county election officials did not immediately respond to requests by The Associated Press for more details about the voting system and its vendor, and whether the error, if repeated elsewhere in Ohio, could have affected the outcome."

-- Geraldine Sealey


Error, eh? Mighty interesting error. There was another programming "error" in machines in Florida that caused said machines to stop registering ballots after 32,767 and then start counting down. And apparently this was something that could have easily been fixed in the code, and had been known about by the manufacturer for years. Hmmm... No matter whether these errors served Bush or not, it is clear that we need a better electronic system, or at least one that is auditable and secure.

But then my husband has to go and send me a map like this:

Which makes it truly appears that it doesn't really matter if there was fraud or not- this is one of the scariest things I have seen in quite awhile. This is by county, and yes, yes, there are blue people in the red areas, and red people in the blue areas, and some of those blue areas are much more populated than the red, but STILL. Still.

I can't put a pretty face on this mess, and my objectivity has run quite dry. I just don't want to live for much longer in a country with this many homophobic Fundamentalists trawling about. This country was founded on people trying to escape several types of persecution. Where can the newly persecuted go- Canada?

Personally, Europe, Australia, or New Zealand are sounding mighty fine.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

ill wind

My friends.

I have never held much hope for a Kerry win, becasue of what I consider to be my own self-preserving pessimism. But last night, I ended up with pinched nerves in both shoulders watching another election stolen for Bush. Thank god for valium, or I would never have slept.

Why is it that no one has investigated the electronic voting machines put in place by Diebold, particularly in the most democratic counties of Ohio and Florida? How in the world could Kerry expect to be allowed his actual votes when the man who owns the machines promised "to deliver Ohio to Bush" and there is no paper trail? These are questions left unanswered from 4 years ago, and it seems that little to no action was taken to ensure anything different this time around.

Not to mention the gay marriage bans and other terrible propositions passed that bring us ever closer to squelching female reproductive rights, etc, etc, etc.

And yes, while it is theoretically possible that Bush won the election, that presents an even scarier picture of our country. Looking at all of the red states makes it look like we are getting squeezed further and further to the edges of this "democracy."

And while it is very tempting to leave this country, what happens to the world then? Do our voices matter anymore here?

Discouraged and nervous...