Thursday, March 3, 2011

Farewell

Beautiful Black Bear

It is time to not only say farewell to this blog, but also to yet another beloved pet.

Black Bear, our wonderful resident communist, passed away on December 3rd. He appeared to have had a stroke and fell asleep in my arms in the afternoon sun. He never woke up, and while his passing wasn't entirely peaceful, he left this world like a gentleman. He is with his sister Junior now.

We miss our Commie :(

As if losing four members of our animal family in 8 months wasn't enough, Teyla, our four-year-old Aussie was suddenly paralyzed. One minute she was playing fetch and the next, she couldn't move her back legs and could hardly move her front right. We're 99% sure it was an FCE, which is a stroke-like event in the spine. She has been doing her best to recover, and we're doing all we can to help her, but the chances of her coming back 100% are slim. If any dog can beat the odds, though, it's our warrior Toot!

Teyla peeking while camping in the Sierras

I'm starting a new blog over at Wordpress for anyone who cares to join me. I began this one as a place where "fans" could receive news about our fan films, but since we haven't made many of those lately, I decided it was time to move on to a place with a bit more of a streamlined format.

Here is the link to my new blog: http://moldypumpkin.wordpress.com/

I hope you are all well!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

American IRA


The palm trees look like brachiasaurus necks!

I spent Friday through Tuesday of Labor Day Weekend in LA, shooting a short that I wrote titled "American IRA." The story is about an Irish immigrant who has recently become an American citizen. On his way to the park, he encounters several English immigrants, one of which refuses to sell him a donut when he realizes he's from Dublin. Convinced that he's the victim of racism and that the English are covertly retaking the colonies by infiltrating the population, our "hero" Steven decides to stop them by forming the American branch of the IRA, with the catch that he's the only member.

"Steven" and his Anarchist friend, "Philbert"

This film is a dark comedy, and so was production! Overall, the experience was great and I am happy that I flew out to help in any way that I could. However, the tension on the set was high because our producer/director is Dutch and had communication problems. Next to nothing is ever solved by losing one's temper, yet that's a lesson many young men don't learn until later in life than their twenties. As it was, there was frustration, shouting, substance abuse, and yes, a fistfight on set. Our team reached a pivotal breaking point, yet those of us less "involved" with the disagreements were able to keep the ball rolling and prove to our director that we could finish this.

So I'm happy to say that "American IRA" was completed and is in the can! Despite how uncomfortable I felt around the tension on set before and after the fight, I think the fact that we were all able to work together and pull ourselves up from rock bottom to finish the film to the best of our ability shows true strength of determination, character, and teamwork. None of us were being paid so sticking to the task at hand showed true grit. It also helped that by the end of the tense night and the following day, the fight and tension had become a joke that we could all laugh about. We all wish the camera had been rolling the whole time, for the behind the scenes would've made a better movie than the one we were shooting!

We're all just a little stressed

But with every bit of bad, there is also good, and we had plenty of wonderful moments full of laughter and success, and taken as a whole, the journey was a positive one. Aside from filming and watching my story come to life, I made some wonderful friendships, including the young lady I stayed with who I had never met until I arrived! She is wonderful and beautiful and I am so glad to call her a friend. Te quiero, Kiana!

Kiana and I are going nuts

I got to spend time in LA, Santa Monica, and Malibu, and while having breakfast at a cafe, I watched Cheryl Hines (who plays Larry David's wife in Curb Your Enthusiasm) dine with her daughter. Seeing celebrities going about their daily lives is strange, not because they are "normal," but because you are filled with a sense of recognition with no emotional connection, for you know the face and voice but have no compulsion to say hello because it isn't really someone you know. I find the situation fascinating.

Do these signs actually work?

Anyway, enough babble. On with the pictures and clips!

Downtown

Sunset in Santa Monica

Fog in Santa Monica

Playground set


Napoleon the Amazing as "Horrible Teeth" (English stereotype). This man is destined for greatness. You can catch him currently on Disney's "The Suite Life on Deck"

Kiana steals a moment for fun

Napoleon's amazing, nefarious laugh = genius

video

Malibu

Santa Monica Pier

Before riding the roller coaster on the pier with Kiana and her friend Alexis

Yum at Cafe Dana


So beautiful and quaint. I like Santa Monica.

Breakfast!

Apartment set


Donut shop set

Napoleon's Amazing Walk

video

Prepping to shoot the first donut shop scene

A take of the scene in which our scummy hero, Steven, is refused a donut
(Warning: contains foul language)

video

K&K

Tracie -- Will do, that would be awesome!

the other Amanda -- Yes, she is an adorable savage. ;)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Toot!

My older brother doesn't live with us anymore, but whenever he shows up for a visit, Teyla is beside herself with joy. Have a look for yourself at her excitement after he parked his truck and headed up the driveway.


video

I've written a short script that is being filmed in LA next weekend, so I'll be flying down soon to help with the production. It's definitely exciting! I'll borrow my sister's camera so that I can take some pictures while I'm there and will share my adventures upon my return. :) Our hope is for the film to make the rounds in the film festivals and gain some attention.

Tracie -- That's a long time to be in the navy, wow. That must have been really rough to have to work while being that sea sick. Nausea affects everything. You are one tough cookie!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Hawaiian Chieftain



Ages ago, I claimed I'd blog about Alex and my "nautical adventure," then kept forgetting. So finally, I present to you pictures from the Hawaiian Chieftain, a tall ship that came to port over Christmas! As part of Alex's Christmas present, I bought her and I tickets to sail on the ship the day after Christmas. The afternoon was threatening rain but our spirits were high and we had taken precautions against getting seasick by taking Dramamine and wearing pressure point bracelets.

Look at the beautiful ship!

Sails and rigging

Alex watching the sea

Mainmast

We had fun imagining that we were Isabel and Devon -- the two main characters from my book.

Jib sail

Heading out on the Pacific

video

Bow

video

The crashing sea!




video

Lowering the sails!

Freedom


video

As you can see in the video, there was much work to be done, and we were all invited to participate. Alex and I helped hoist a sail, making the mistake of turning our backs to the sea. That's when the seasickness kicked in. Despite bravely pretending I didn't feel nauseous, I soon had to sit down. Alex began to feel sick, too, and as it started to mist and then rain, we huddled under our raincoats and stared at the flat horizon, trying to keep our stomachs from churning. Alex was nobly able to keep her fish food down, but I wasn't. I puked five times, and on one occasion while hanging over the gunwale, I saw a cool dead jellyfish. It didn't help that the kids sitting across from us were having a booger war. As in wiping boogers on each other.

Here are some pictures my mom took of the ship as it came back to the harbor four hours later.





After spending about 3 1/2 of the four hours puking while being doused with rain in the growing cold, it's frightening just how quickly our bodies weaken. The shivering was uncontrollable. Both of our teeth were chattering, we couldn't feel our feet, and my jeans kept trying to fall off because they were heavy with water and I couldn't work my fingers enough to hike them back up. I have rarely been so miserable (except for the other time I sailed on the Hawaiian Chieftain and had the same thing happen) but I would do it again any day. Yes, being in the first stages of hypothermia sucks, but it's worth it to me if it means I get to be out on the open water. I must have been a privateer in a past life!

This was our view for about 3 hours.

video



Drowned rats

This picture is hilarious for many reasons, one of which being Alex's "I'm already dead" expression. Another is how well it shows one of the differences in our personalities. As much as we're similar, my sister has a tendency to show her emotions as she feels them while I am more reserved and put on a face for others. Like right then when I was actually about to collapse.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Camping Highlights

Scott's Flatt Lake

Here are some photographic highlights from our trip to the Sierra Nevadas in July.

Chee Chee finally decided that he likes his new bed.

A meadow


Swimming after a bike ride


Hydroelectric plant


We rode our bikes to the bottom of the dam, then were dumb enough to hike up the side of it with them. Imagine climbing up that with a 20 pound bike. At least none of us fell.

Tigerlilies at the river's edge

Siblings


Beautiful boy

And remember this adorable picture of Toot from last year?

This year... not so much. The poor pup looks traumatized.



Mist on the river


In the mist

video

Approaching the mist

video
Sunrise


Toot ate some spaghetti

Wet boy curled up

One of those awesome flying tubes

Wet Chee Chee toes

I have no idea who these people are

Geese!

Lots of fun bike rides

Lake

More Cheech on his bed



Beautiful little one

Teyla and Comanche were frustrated over not being able to play (since they always had to be on leashes) but as you can tell in this adorable video, Cheech put his bed to good use as a toy.

video

Thank you for your kind wishes for Alex's recovery. Her ankle is a grade 3 sprain, which means she tore the ligament. She has had it in a brace for two weeks so hopefully she'll continue to heal swiftly.

Tracie -- Yes, I did say "sweet little Commie" because he is one. ;)

Hammy -- Thank you for your well-wishes! :)