Saturday, September 27, 2008

Paul Leonard Newman, January 26, 1925 – September 26, 2008

A great icon of film ( and racing, and philanthropy and just... life) died today. I was lucky enough to have had a few conversations with him in my own little career and I must say that the world has lost a truly wonderful human.

I met Mr. Newman working on an American Express / Super Bowl commercial many, many years ago. It happened to be one of the cushiest jobs of my professional life.

It was my job to get the film into the lab before cutoff. Cutoff is when they shut the lab down for the night in order to have dailies (exposed / printed film shot the day before) back to the production houses in the morning. If you miss cutoff and still want to see dailies that day, the company has to pony up some major bucks for the lab to do a daylight run.

As the commercial was shooting night shots a few hours north of L.A. in Bakersfield, this complicated the cutoff. If my memory serves, cutoff was around 4 a.m. And night in November meant the crew was shooting from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. This meant the production company and agency could not see dailies from the entire night's shoot. They would have to break the film around 2 a.m. for me to run it back to L.A.

Add to the fact that we had a celebrity (Mr. Newman) and it was SUPER BOWL COMMERCIAL - you have no idea how much money and pressure is involved with these little mini - films - it was a tense set at times.

Super Bowl commercials can attract all kinds of talent you would never see in the advertising arena on a regular basis. Celebrities like the quick and pricey paycheck but they also like that the ad won't be run ad infinitum on television.

And, these commercials also attract directors from features who may be trying to break into the lucrative short form or just trying to ad a prestige shoot to their repertoire.

With the Am/Ex job, it was a director I had worked with since he started in commercials, only he had just shot his first feature film - a B movie comedy with B level talent at best! But because he had broken into features, suddenly his ego wouldn't fit in the door! He was such an ass - par for the course with this guy but much worse.

He came in with all these demands...unheard of for a commercial director - but he was now spoiled from shooting features. His biggest demand was his own motorhome.

So here they are, shooting freezing cold nights on a race track in Bakersfield and every time he yells, "Cut," the director heads for the warmth of his trailer.

I was pretty much a bystander in all of this. I would appear on set around 1 a.m., help out if needed or just stand around and watch, have breakfast and hit the road.

But I was so amused my Mr. Bigshot director's behavior. Everyone was ready to start and then realize, "Where's [director]?" "In his trailer."

You would have expected Mr. Newman to be in his trailer all the time too. But he wasn't. He stayed on that freezing track with the crew, chatting them up, racing mini - motorbikes and just being one of the guys.

I've always thought Mr. Newman was a fantastic actor, but I cannot say he rocked my world. That is...until I found myself staring down into those mesmerizing baby blues! [Swoon!!!]

The crew had broken for breakfast - pancakes. [Director] skulking in his trailer, the agency also had a trailer for warmth, the crew had a big tent and most of us production folks ducked into the production trailer. Suddenly, there was a banging on the door. (We were all sort of surprised as NO one knocks on the production office door.) I was closest to it, so I opened it.

All I could see were those blue eyes. Mr. Newman, stood there holding a plate of steaming pancakes.

"It's too quiet in my trailer. Can I eat here?"

"Of course!"

He sat his plate down on the corner of the desk where I was eating and just joined in. He asked us about our lives and told us about his. He talked about his wife, his daughters and even the pain of losing his only son to drugs. He talked about racing and charity. You had no doubt what or who he loved.

Mr. Newman would join us for breakfast every night like that. I'm certain all of us understood why he was such a great man.

And I'm equally certain, the world is a bit dimmer without those blue eyes shining.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Another Photo I Wish I Had...

I was reading comments on Velvet's blog and was reminded of another photo op I missed last year when I was in Baton Rouge.

My sister and brother-in-law were driving Mabel and I from Baton Rouge to the New Orleans airport. I know I've written about Mabel's weird greyhound legs and how, when she sits, her knees grind on her ribcage. So she always looks for a way to sit higher than ground level so she can extend her hind legs. (That was what she was up to in the "Menu Please" section of my previous post.)

When loading the van, my brother-in-law forgot how she is and blocked off my luggage with her crate leaving her without a "seat." He had folded the remaining bucket seat down making it too high for Mabel.

We were a good thirty minutes out of Baton Rouge when Mabel starting looking around. I knew immediately she was trying to figure out where to sit. I knew I was in trouble when she looked my seat up and down and literally pushed me over toward the wall of the van with her booty!

In true dog mommy fashion, I rode the rest of the way with one (considerable) butt cheek hanging off the seat so that Mabel could share half the seat with me. And yes, my back needed an adjustment when I got home!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Just for Me

It's been pretty quiet out there in blogland for a few weeks now. My favorite bloggers have been otherwise occupied and since most of them are also my readers, it feels like no one is around. (You lurkers don't really count. You don't comment and it's like you're not really here cause all you do is...lurk.)

So this post is just for me.

Hey girl, it's been a real shame you haven't carried your camera everywhere for a few weeks and as your old brain is surly getting feeble, I thought you might like to remember the photos you missed.

Sunrise Angel
Rounding a bend in the creek before sunrise, Mabel is lying down. Is she hurt? She is lying on a golf tee mat someone has thrown in the creek and that head bob and tail wag are reserved only for tennis balls. As I approach closer, I can see her smile. She is gleeful and the sun begins to arc up the mountain behind her in big, bold stripes like a child's painting. She looks like an angel to me.

Menu Please!
At our Sunday morning, dog friendly breakfast joint, choosing a table is an art form when you have a dog with a lethal tail. I can't count the number of times a table changeover will occur and some dog lover leaves and a jerk arrives. And even though I tell them about said tail, as in you just might want to share the other side of the table with your dining partner if you don't want to be beat to death with a tail, they still sit and get indignant with me. Hey, we were here first and you had fair warning.

But on this particular Sunday, there is a guy dining alone and he's just arrived. If we sit at a table in front of him, we should have a peaceful breakie and still be a few spots away from the incessant smokers.

I sit and tie off Mabel (in case she spots a cat or squirrel across the busy street) and get my paper. Our waitress comes with coffee for me, cookies and a water bowl for the girl. As I read and turn the third page of my paper uninterrupted by Mabel wondering where our breakfast is, it suddenly occurs to me she's not right behind me. Envisioning her on top of the table behind me, robbing that nice guy of his breakfast, I slowly turn around.

There she is, sitting on his bench! Not like a dog but more like a person. Ass on the bench, hind legs dangling, front paws on the ground facing me! As I look up, I realize everyone inside the restaurant is staring at her. She sat there, looking as if she were patiently waiting for a menu until my breakfast arrived.

Sunset Dreams
Hiking the creek at sunset with the Rhodesians, Sue, ever nimble, jumps up and takes a seat on top of the levy wall. Mabel, wondering what was up, stands on her hind legs right beside her. From behind, they look like two doggie gal pals, dreaming in the sun.

But You Never Let Me...
Dealing with Thunder, the K9 lifetime criminal, was trying on all of us. After his third fight in the creek, I was summoned to pick up the Rhodies so Hiking Buddy could deal with the aftermath.
Hank jumped in the jeep and made a beeline to the front seat. Sue followed and promptly pushed Hank to the back. She sat with her bottom where the small of a human back would be in my front seat. I usually never have dogs up front, but it was an emergency. I let them work it out and off we went.

Later, Mabel jumped in the jeep to run errands with me. From her spot in the back, she sniffed where Sue's butt had been. She blew out her nostrils in disbelief and sniffed the spot again. She cocked her head and looked at me with an indignant look, exhaled heavily and sat down in her spot. I'm certain, it was her way of saying, "You don't let me sit there!"

Watching You Watching Me Watching Her Watching You
There's a wide muddy area of dirty creek that Mabel likes to run across. I wait there, stretching, enjoying the shade and listening to the poplars in the breeze. On this particular day, I suddenly feel like I'm being watched. I check the golf course; no one there. I look all around and finally up.

There on a limb is a baby hawk. He still has fuzzy feathers but already has an impressive wing span. As we eyed each other, a tiny little female humming bird landed a breath away from him.

She struck fear in my heart! She was so small and he was so huge. He could have knocked her silly and swooped in to eat her before she hit the ground. She sat there, unaffected, checking him out and simply flew away when she tired of him.

He and I spied one another for a few more minutes until I felt an insect biting my calf. I bent to swat it away and he vanished. It felt like a dream except that limb was quivering.

As I left, I would see him barely brushing the tree tops. He flew in front of me all the way out of the creek.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Martha Stewart's Blog Contest

[Originally posted on Holly's Folly Bead & Jewelery Blog]

Martha Stewart is hosting a blog contest to teach her viewers about blogging. Go post a link to your blog, post a link back to the contest blog and you could be chosen to be featured blog. There are thousands of entries but you never know!

Here's the link to Martha's blog.

And for all those newbies that this contest is going to bring to the blogosphere, a few words of advice:
1) Blog in the proper usage of your language. Slang is not fun to read.
2) Check your spelling and word use. Sure we all have an off moment but if you consistently use there when you mean their or then when you really mean than, people are going to think you are a dummy...rightly so.
3) If you start a blog, KEEP IT UP. I was shocked this week to find someone on a board I frequent was sending folks a post that was actually a month old. If you want to develop a following, you have to post and post and post. It's time consuming and in this busy world, it can start to feel like one more thing you HAVE to do instead of something fun.
4)If you want people to read your blogs, you have to read blogs. It's the age old writer's dilemma but it's true.

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And a note about our enemies at Bitacle.org, the website that steals content from hardworking bloggers and makes their own ad revenue off our words. As a professional writer, I feel so violated by this and that's why the message below has appeared at the bottom of every post.

I recently learned that the web spiders - those things that crawl the net looking for content for search engines - have figured out who is the original poster of the content and basically ignores duplicate posts on other sites!

So, today I checked. While Bitacle is still in business, updating their ICANN records less than two weeks ago, the site is DOWN! Therefore, today is the LAST post with the following footer...at least until Bitacle rises again.

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BITACLE.ORG steals content. JESUS GLEZ is a THIEF. If you are reading this post on BITACLE.ORG, you are supporting theft of intellectual property. This post was written and copyrighted by CREEKHIKER, who has not given consent for material to be reproduced. Please visit CREEKHIKER to enjoy this content LEGALLY.

If you want to know why this message is at the bottom of every post, read this post.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Screening the Sun

I've learned quite a bit about South Korean culture reading my friend Becky's blog. For instance, South Korean's actually think you can die sleeping under a fan. It's known as "fan death"... go ahead, Google it!

I've slept under a fan for most spring, summer and fall seasons my entire life. That would average out to around 33 years (3/4 of 44) and, at this moment, there are seven fans running in my house and studio. Most of those came on back in the spring and have not been shut off yet. I guess I'm still cheating death.

Another interesting tidbit is that South Korean women wear their bras outside their t-shirts. I'm a person that tries her very best to avoid a bra at all costs. I find them painful. I'm adept at taking one off while traveling at high speeds on a freeway. And I NEVER wear an underwire; I'm secretly convinced it has something to do with breast cancer. But I cannot imagine how uncomfortable it would be to wear a bra on top of my shirt!

But the one South Korean habit that confounds me the most is sunscreen. They wear it constantly, even under dark clothing while working indoors. When Becky first published a blog on this, she polled her American friends. Without fail, none of us wear it on a regular basis.

I started polling my friends. Same results, only I asked them Why don't you wear it? All had the same answer! The smell. We all hate the smell of sunscreen!

As someone who hikes outdoors daily, I know I should wear sunscreen. As a fair skinned, freckle faced red head of questionable Scotch-Irish descent, I have no doubts about what I should do. But, as a girl with a super sensitive nose, I just can't!

Wearing sunscreen has to meet two criteria: 1) Will I be outdoors long enough to burn? and 2) Do I have time to shower afterwards? If I don't have time to get the stench off of me, I will risk a burn. So will my friends.

That is, until I confessed all this to my ever resourceful BFF. She knew of a sunscreen that didn't smell! So now I can do the right thing... but I'm NOT wearing it indoors and under clothing!


{I know some of you will email so the product is Solbar Avo SPF 32. It's made by a local company in Glendale, CA. Here's the Link.}

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ahh...

It's been unusually cool lately... winter p.j. weather and Mabel and I have been lucky enough to see a few sunsets on cool nights in the creek. Thursday night, I finally remembered my camera. This video is shot from the top end of the levy wall. It's kinda far from the action but you'll get the idea. So sit back, relax and enjoy Sunset on the Big Tujunga.
video


And don't hate me for our cool weather... Monday is predicted to be over 100. UGH!




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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Fun with a Dyslexic

Ever since I developed the shopping cart system for my stamp business, it has always amazed me how frequently orders come in from customers with similar names.

This has been the source of much confusion and amusement, not only with me, but with everyone who has worked for me.

To demonstrate how easy it is for me to get confused filling an order, I'm going use the names of my blogger friends (instead of calling actual customers out) .

These three customers placed an order within minutes of each other:

Janet Becky
Janet Velvet
Star Velvet

You know, I don't take drugs but I'm starting to wonder if maybe I should...




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Monday, September 08, 2008

Gustav Redux

My family is still suffering down in Baton Rouge. Again, I am so amazed that there is no national news about this tragedy. Before I get to my tale, I want to share some photos from the Entergy website (Baton Rouge's main power supplier).

I know the power companies are working so hard. my own cousin has been working 16 hour days. But he gets to go home and sleep in his own bed and see his kids.

The fact that the power is so slow to come back on is a testament to how much damage there is.


Crews of linemen going to work.


This is where some of the hundreds of linemen that came to work from other states had to bunk. These men leave their homes and families, live in rough conditions and work extraordinarily long hours to help people get power.


One of my favorite photos of Hurricane Gustav damage. Not only did he have his way with this transmission line, he clearly mopped the grass with it!

While my mom has had power since 6 p.m. Saturday and the local news there has been claiming since Sunday that their whole neighborhood has power, in reality, my sister's area only had their power back about an hour ago.

Today, my sister had one of her annual PET scans. This test is always approached with a great deal of anxiety in my family. It can tell if there is cancer anywhere in her body. What would normally be a short drive to the hospital took them over an hour and a half because of downed power poles and malfunctioning lights... and idiot drivers who don't know the "if in doubt, STOP!" rule! While they were inside getting her test (all clear! YEAH!), someone punctured their wind shield.

My brother-in-law had to deal with paying for the two generators he picked up from a former client the last Tuesday. He expected they were "about $400." They were over $1300!!! My mother was having a cow! But, I did a quick search for their model number and found that's a more than fair price. They weren't being gouged. But it is an extra expense.

The generator itself was both a blessing and a curse. My mom found it to be so loud that it rattled her nerves. She took to running it off and on just to have some relative quiet. Not much quiet as all the neighbors seemed to have loud gennys too! And then both households spent close to $150 on fuel each ...not counting that they had to drive 25 - 30 miles at time and wait on line for more than an hour to buy the fuel.

But now that the power is back on, I'm hopeful that a little air conditioning, a well stocked fridge, a working electric stove will calm nerves and allow them all to heal.

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Saturday, September 06, 2008

Why I Hate Cleaning

I keep a very untidy house. Hey, I live alone and the dog doesn't complain (most of the time). As someone recently pointed out to me, I am basically the CEO, Head of Marketing, Art Director, Web Designer, Copy Writer, Stamp Designer, Head of Purchasing, Bead Maker, Jewelry Designer, Chief Cook and Dog Bowl Washer and Accountant for five different businesses! No wonder I'm tired.

(In case you are keeping track: I still produce and bid for production companies, I freelance write for other companies as well as my own, I teach community education, I design and sell rubber stamps and I make beads and jewelry. Count 'em...five jobs!)

If I have a choice between cleaning and doing something that might bring in some income, I choose the income. That's not to say if my choice were a nap or cleaning... I'd take the nap...but as I pointed out, I'm freaking tired!

With all of the above as a disclaimer, there's yet another reason I hate cleaning: I never get DONE! One thing ALWAYS leads to another. (OH MY GOD! I have become my mother!!!)

Example, a month ago, I went away to a bead show. Thanks to the earthquake we had the week before, when the power came back on, I failed to notice I set my bedroom clock exactly 12 hours off. So instead of waking up at 5:45 a.m., taking Mabel to the creek and getting on the road early and calmly, I was frantic from the time I awoke (8:30). And in my haste to get away, I locked Mabel in the house and forgot to take keys to both babysitters!

Both ended up breaking in my house. While the BFF left no trace of having broken in, my other babysitter opted to break in to my office, knowing that she could stand on my desk after climbing in a window.

This knocked my curtains off the wall and as my ceiling fan was on and it was dark, the curtain was on my desk when I returned.

As I went to hang it, I noticed how dusty it was and realized the last time it was washed was right after I moved in and my mother took on that chore. So I wash and dry and iron. Again, hanging the curtain, I notice the blinds... filthy. I vacuum. Still nasty.

I go to the paint store and buy TSP (trisodium phosphate... the wonderful ingredient in Mr. Clean but far cheaper at the paint store!). I fill my bathtub with warm water and soak and then scrub all four blinds. I hung them on my clothesline to dry. They look like new.

I'm about to hang a pair and notice cobwebs in the corner. I dust and vacuum the walls and ceiling. Only, now I think the paint looks dull... See where I'm going???

Quite frankly, I'd rather live with the mess! UGH!




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Thursday, September 04, 2008

Gustav Power Outages

I am so thoroughly pissed at the national media for the coverage of Hurricane Gustav. New Orleans, SchmooOrleans! Talk about Baton Rouge! They took the hit!

My satellite provider had been broadcasting 24/7 from a New Orleans station allowing me to keep abreast of news from there but stopped in the middle of the night. While I have been able to reach family - some have cell phones that work; others can only be reached on a land line - they are suffering. THERE IS NO FREAKING POWER! It's 90 degrees in their homes. They all have fences down and have suffered roof damage. (That is, except my uncle in New Orleans. No damage; but no power.)

I nearly hit the panic button tonight when Entergy, the local lack-of-power provider updated their website to say my mother's parish will be without power until the 24th! But the local news in Baton Rouge has been telling people when the power is estimated to come on neighborhood by neighborhood. It is predicted that "most" people in my immediate family's area should have power by the 7th.

I have several cousin's in areas that will be back up on the 8th and 9th.

And for those of you who read Velvet's blog, her area is predicted to be down for 10 - 14 more DAYS!

And this is America!!!???

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The Token Political Post

I hate politics. I hate that this damn election has taken up two YEARS of our lives and that in the end, a lot of people will be unhappy no matter who wins.

That being said, I'm a small town girl and I take great offense to James Carville {Advisor to many of the Democratic party's most powerful leaders} and others in the Obama camp making fun of the size of Sarah Palin's town and city hall. Knowing a bit about Carville, LA, where Mr. Carville is from, I simply couldn't resist sending him the following email today.

Mr. Carville,

As a fellow (undecided) Louisianian, how about you hold up a photo of the Carville City Hall the next time you talk about where Gov. Palin is from? Oh, that's right, Carville doesn't have one...maybe a photo of one of the many trailers there would make the point?

I just don't think he's going to win Mr. Obama any votes making fun of small town America.


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