Sunday, October 30, 2005

Sunday, October 30, 2005
Waning Moon
Neptune Direct (as of last Wednesday)
Uranus Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I’m back, I’m wrapped, I’m exhausted, and everything hurts.

There’s a special poem by my friend and colleague Pamela K. Taylor up on Circadian poems today. Please check it out when you get a chance.

And check out my friend’s new blog: Costume Imp.

My pre-Breeders’ Cup is up at FemmeFan, but, since the BC was yesterday, you might as well wait until the wrap-up article goes up on Tuesday. I have two essays and an article to write today, plus today and tomorrow are my last days to work on Never Too Late until after NaNoWriMo starts.

Also, either today or tomorrow, I will put up a special set of NaNoWriMo links up just for the month – if you get a chance to check some of them out in the next 30 days, please do so.

I’m eager to start work on The Fix-It Girl on Tuesday.

Anyway, to fill you in on last week:

L.L. Bean came through. My coat arrived at ten minutes before ten, and I was able to get on the 10:26 train to get to work. I was so happy that I frightened the Fed Ex man, who tossed the package in my direction and ran away. I called LL Bean to thank them. The coat is great – and boy, was I grateful for it.

I indulged myself by taking a cab from the train station up to the show – I had a lot of luggage and the weather was dreadful. Day work was fine, although I felt completely detached. I got the work done, which is the important thing. I dropped my stuff off at my friend’s.

Then I headed down to Greenwich Village early. I was so happy wandering around down there. Just . . .plain . . .happy. In a way I hadn’t been for a long time. I even looked at an available apartment on MacDougal Street, and had to remind myself that I’m trying to get away from city life. But a Greenwich Village apartment is still tempting, even if the price is prohibitive, it’s too noisy, and I wouldn’t be able to get the work done. The Greenwich Village as a haven for poets and writers is long gone, I’m afraid, except for those with hefty private incomes.

I went to one of my favorite stores on Christopher Street, called Stick, Stone, and Bone. I found a great thank-you gift for my wonderful host, and a few items to set up for my NaNoWriMo altar. I also restocked on incense – my supply is severely depleted. Walking a bit along Bleecker Street, I stopped at a cigar store that also sold beautiful aromatherapy candles. I got a large pillar candle for NaNoWriMo, for harmony, that smells like basil and lime – heaven. The proprietor gave me a discount on it because “you smile on a rainy evening.”

I met my friend J. at Le Figaro Café, on the corner of Bleecker and MacDougal. During my college years and beyond, I spent many, many hours scribbling stories, diary entries, scripts, letters, and more in that café, drinking either wine or coffee.

Tonight, behind me sat a table of pretentious men talking in loud voices about television – making it painfully obvious how little they actually knew about the business. Since I’m working on the shoot of a television pilot, it was particularly ironic.

All the corner places on that block change frequently, but Le Figaro has been there since the 1960s. I hope it stays for a long, long time. It’s one of my NYC sanctuaries.

At one point, the annoying men behind me started calling me “Mrs. Peel”. If you don’t get that Avengers reference, bone up on your 1960s television. Finally, I turned around and said, “That’s right, sweetie, which means I can kick your asses without smearing my make-up or breaking a nail. So leave me alone.”

They shut up.

When J. showed up, we headed a block or so east on Bleecker to a Spanish restaurant – whose name escapes me right now. We had a lovely paella dinner and drank a bottle of wine with dinner. I hoped that Wednesday morning’s early shoot would be called on account of weather, but no such luck.

Which brings me to:

Up at 4 AM. Had a long wait for the subway, and barely made my 6 AM call all the way up in Spanish Harlem.

We had 85 background today, 50 of whom were children. The person hired to help me with them today made my job ten times harder with a bad attitude, refusal to hustle at all, no sense of responsibility towards the work, not even an attempt to assist with the continuity, wandering off when needed, and arguing when I asked her to do things. There were some major, major, major flaws – but I simply could NOT run around catching and fixing all of her mistakes. It was physically impossible.

Also, we had kids in short sleeves because we were shooting summer in 40 degree weather. Which meant before every shot, we had to run around and grab 50+ coats.
It would have been nice if I hadn’t had to carry 40 of them by myself each time. The DP nicknamed me “The Coat Maven.”

No matter how difficult, ultimately, the responsibility for the mistakes rests with me, because I’m in charge of the BG. I was absolutely beside myself by the end of the day. Knowing that I would have fired me, if a person I hired had been responsible for the mistakes that were made today. I even offered to take myself off the shoot. My boss, however, said that of course I was coming back, and mistakes happen and we do the best we can.

One of the mothers was horrible to her daughter – the girl wasn’t doing anything wrong and there was absolutely no reason to call her a “fat, lazy slut”. You don’t do that to a teenage girl. Some parents left their kids on set and wandered off – the company had to track them down and remind them that we are not a daycare service, and that, legally, the parent has to be present AT ALL TIMES. The company had to threaten to pull some kids and send them home (which means no paycheck) unless the parents came back.

There were a couple of positive moments in the day – with the emphasis on “moments”:

After about the 75th time I took one boy’s coat, he asked me, “Do I have to give you a tip at the end of the day? ‘Cause I need to call my dad for some money.” I told him, no, no tip was necessary, but thanks for the thought.

Another skinny little boy literally ate all day. He must have had at least twelve bowls of soup, and I don’t know how much of anything else. He walked back to the truck with his arm linked in mine telling me “Thank you. I had the funnest day ever. I don’t wanna go home.”

I picked up Chinese food and a beer on the way back to my friend’s place. I looked so pathetic in the restaurant that they opened the beer for me right there so I could start drinking while I waited.

I was as happy to see my friend’s cats as they were to see me.

Somehow, I managed to be dressed all in deep shades of green today. Getting in touch with my Inner Tree, I guess.

It’s pretty sad when getting up at 4:30 AM constitutes “sleeping in”.

On the subway back up to Spanish Harlem, there was an older, very overweight man, with his pants unzipped. At first, he seemed to be asleep. Later on, he’d get up and, on purpose, run headfirst into the subway poles.

I was glad to get off the train.

We had to match 20 of the kids from yesterday, which took some time. And, since the kids had to bring a change for another scene, two of them misunderstood and changed too early, so that held things up. Plus, the asst. designer who hadn’t been there to check kids in yesterday wanted to move faster, and got mad at me when I was polite to the kids. I’d rather take my time and do it right and I’m not going to be rude to them simply because they’re BG.

The BG was used in smaller groups today than yesterday, so I was mostly off the set, in holding with them. I got to talk to one of the kids brought in for the street hockey scene – he’s been an ice hockey player since he was 3. So we had a few good hours to talk hockey. And I spent some time talking with two of the stand-ins – who I really like – about the state of the country, politics, the upcoming holiday, and, believe it or not, NaNoWriMo. A group of one of the SI’s friends do it every year. So that was pretty funny.

Then, one of the featured BG from yesterday didn’t come back today and we had to match the shot, so the company had to track down the kid, the mother and do whatever it took to get them back on set.

It happened, but it cost us time.

And we were losing the light. It’s fall. The days are getting shorter.

And we were shooting summer.

Then there was chaos with a missing coat, which was eventually found, even though we all were looking for a different coat. Someone somewhere had not described it distinctly enough for us all to be on the same page. But we got there eventually.

It wasn’t as bad a day as yesterday, but I was ready for it to be OVER.

More Chinese food. And TWO beers.

And I hand-fed one of my friend’s cats because she was hungry, but wouldn’t eat when it was in the dish. So I fed her, kernel by kernel.

I didn’t have to be on set until 10:30 AM – what luxury. AND we were shooting down in the Village, in Washington Square Park. More coat-pulling, but these were adults. Whiny adults, but adults. We shot near the dog run, which was great, because I got to play with dogs coming and going in between shots.

We shot most of the afternoon in the Village, then moved up to Chelsea and broke for lunch. Most people would call it dinner time, but it was lunch for us. And then, after a few more bits and pieces, I was done! I helped restock, waited for my check, said my goodbyes, and off I went.

I walked back up to Hell’s Kitchen – I wanted to stop at Old Navy and buy those Halloween pajamas I’d set my sights on two weeks ago. Of course, all that was left, were the pants in XXL.

A disappointment, but, in the scheme of the universe, being denied a pair of Halloween pajamas is hardly a big deal.

I went back to my friend’s place – and the cats had been busy. Things tipped over, mats rolled, dishes everywhere, everything off the towel rack. I cleaned up. The cat I hand-fed yesterday flung her dish at me when I wouldn’t do it again, the spoiled little princess. I cleaned up, packed the rest of my stuff, and headed back to the train.

Artie is the best host in the world, and I had a wonderful time with him and with the cats, but it was good to be home.

And then I had to deal with my cranky kitties.

Hit the ground running. Made/ate a birthday breakfast with my mom. Ran errands – grocery shopping, post office, etc. Went on a mission to buy lamps – didn’t, because everything I saw was so unbearably ugly I don’t want it in my apartment.

Breeders’ Cup all afternoon. Plenty of upsets. Good racing. Very cold (thank goodness for body warmers and foot warmers strapped on – the positive aspect of wearing a sweater dress is that I could fasten the body warmer to the camisole under the dress and it wouldn’t ruin the line of the dress).

Immediately after horse racing, off to the Islanders-Sabres hockey game. Looked like the Islanders would do it, but Buffalo ended up winning. A plus was that I saw one of my 2003 draft players, Robert Nilsson, score his first NHL goal (for the Islanders).

I was wrecked by the time I got home, and it was hard to get up this morning.

I still have clocks to turn back and writing to do.

And a lot to think about.

Except for two days, I had a good time filming the TV pilot. But it made me realize how the choices of my life are in direct conflict with the needs of this kind of production. I want to live my life mindfully, and production is all about rushing, rushing, rushing and stress, stress, stress. That is not how I choose to live my life.

I have to figure out how to match the income I’d make by, literally, killing myself with stress, by doing what I love to do.

A lot to think about for next year’s Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions.

And now . . .

To get my life back in order. It’s been sorely neglected for the past three weeks.



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