Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Library Is For Stupid People

This week Rich and I were working at the Garrett Public Library. On the west side of the library is a side entrance door and three adjoining windows that are in pretty bad shape; we spent the week stripping the old varnish off of the wood, steel wool-ing them smooth, sanding them, applying a coat of Cover Stain, and then a coat of paint (we'll be putting on the final coat of paint on next week). Although the side door is closest to the parking lot, the front entrance is only about 25 paces away.

As we worked, we encountered some local citizens that had questions and/or comments that on more than one occasion forced me to turn to Rich and say I thought only smart people went to the library. I would now like to share some of these brilliant insights with you.

* I am on a stepladder, dropcloth splayed out below me, in front of the side door, applying a coat of stripper. Approximately 435 people asked Can I get in this door? Either that, or they would just walk up behind me and stand there silently, apparently waiting for me to finish my work for the day, so they could go in. On all occasions, I would politely let them know the front door is open. Then I would make a sarcastic comment to Rich about their pink stretch pants.

* Rich and I were scrubbing the paint stripper off with steel wool. Scrubbing, scrubbing, scrubbing. Toiling away like good little Mexicans, not bothering anyone, and we are approached by an old man who asked us, Are you doing that by hand? No, genius, we're using solar-powered heat-seeking monkey-guided lasers.

*Rich was sanding the windows and was approached by a man he guesstimated was around 50 years old. The man asked him, Are you sanding them? I told Rich the proper response was No, I'm checking my email.

* A fat guy sitting on a scooter stared at us and watched us work while he ate a bag of Krispy Kreme donuts. He didn't say anything stupid to annoy me, but the fact that there was a fat guy parked on a scooter eating a bag of Krispy Kreme donuts made me want to laugh out loud. It was a picture like you wouldn't believe. I was impressed with my ability to keep a straight face.

* A skinhead in a pickup truck slowed down, drove by us, and yelled Are you ready for the rinse cycle? This didn't annoy us as much as it just confused us. Apparently the thing to do in Garrett is to yell out random phrases about household appliances. Next time I see him I'm going to shout out Are you ready to cook it on high for 3 minutes, rotate it 1/4 turn, stir it, and cook it for an additional minute-and-a-half?

Even though the hillbilly geniuses were out in full effect, it was still a fun week and Rich and I had a good time laughing at our predicament. It was Rich's last week working with us. He'll be heading off to Arizona in the Phoenix/Tempe area to go to school for sound engineering. I was glad for the chance to get to work with him this summer. His little section of our family always lived far away from us and they moved back to Garrett while I was living in California, so I never got a chance to hang out with them a lot in the past. I am definitely grateful for the chance to get to work with my cousin and get to know him a little better. I made him promise to be the sound man on all of my films from now on, and he conceded.


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Pitcher Perfect

The older people get, the more they tend to forget things and generally go insane. The trouble is most of them don't realize it; they usually think everyone else around them is to blame. If we were aware of that exact moment when we start to lose it then maybe it would help make the transition to senility a little easier.
Yesterday, I had my moment.

But at least I know it.

Piper, my sister-in-law, was going to do some grocery shopping and Ray asked me if I needed her to pick up anything for me. He asked me to email him a list of things she should look for. Because it's been so warm lately, I've really been in the mood for some Mexican summer fruit drinks I'm fond of making. However, I had nothing to make the drinks in and so I decided to put that on the list.

But when I sat down at the computer, I couldn't think of the word pitcher. And the thing that lets me know that I am going crazy is the fact that I didn't sit and rack my brain trying to think of the word. It didn't even occur to me that there was such a word. I remember thinking to myself That's so odd that thing doesn't have a name. And I just accepted it as fact.

So, on my email list to my brother, there are limes, oranges, grapefruit, sugar...and a big plastic container that you make drinks in like lemonade or Kool-Aid. All because I forgot the word pitcher existed.

Amazingly, Ray and Piper knew what I was talking about, and she got me a large plastic pitcher. And because they knew just what I meant, I guess they're going crazy, too.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

"The Office" Promo

If you watch NBC's The Office or ever swing by my YouTube site, you may have seen the promos for a new contest. Basically, they are asking people to make a promo for The Office, exactly 20 seconds long, and submit it to them. They'll pick 3 grand prize winners to air on NBC after an episode of the sitcom. No cash and prizes, but a chance for some real bragging rights.

I spent some time yesterday with my brother Ray, his wife Piper, my cousin Rich, and Dad. They were my cast for the project, and yes, I resisted the urge to put myself in it so I could concentrate on directing & editing, and it only took us about 30 minutes to film, (I mean come on, the finished project is only 20 seconds long)!

I sat down tonight to edit and, after assembling all of the footage I wanted to use, it clocked in at about two-and-a-half minutes. Zoinks! This was a lot tougher than I imagined. Shaving off two minutes and ten seconds, while still trying to keep the humor and the gist was quite a task. But I think I did OK.

So we'll see. Right now 96 people have submitted a video. If you think about it, that's really not a lot, so maybe we have a shot. You aren't allowed to view the other videos, but you can browse and see a still photo taken from the other entries. All I'm saying is, pretty much all of the other entries take place in an office. I took the opposite approach and we'll see if being a little different pays off.

After they declare a winner, if it ain't me, I'll make it available for everyone to see (right now the videos have to be marked "Private" so only the contest honchos can see them). I'll keep you posted. Wish us luck!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Why Factories Give Me A Headache

Ever try to wrap your mind around something that can't be completely understood? You know, like trying to fathom how huge the universe is. You sit there and think about it and pretty soon you have to stop or else you freak out and find you have converted to Scientology.

I have the same problem with factories.

Think about it. Everything in the world, everything, is made in a factory of some sort (you know, excluding rocks and shrubbery). Your cell phone, toilet paper tubes, clothes pins...they all come from factories. So that means obviously there are as many factories as there are different things. And then there are factories that make the machines that are in the factories.

Follow me on this. Let's take a factory that makes Playstation controllers. It's a fairly unique product with its own unique look and design. And because the factory needs specific equipment to make these unique products, it needs specific machinery and gadgets that other factories don't need. So then you need factories to make these specific factory machine parts. And then you need factories to make those parts and factories to make those factory parts, and so on down the line.

When does it freakin' end????????

That's why I hate factories. They make me think too hard. Can't we just go back to the days when cars were made of sticks and houses were made of twine?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A Quote From Jeff

I've never been the kind of person who was into quotes. Not that I don't like them, I just never remembered them, and reading a book of quotes was always like an amalgum of random thoughts that was hard for me to follow. When I think of quotes, I honestly think of one of those flowery day calendars that middle-aged women have on their office desks or on their window sill.

That being said, yesterday I was talking with my pal Jeff Jackson and he sent me a quote he said reminded him of me. I wasn't sure what to expect but I was definitely interested as Jeff is someone I really admire and respect.

And the quote killed me. It's like my life mindset only in better words than I could ever put it. I'll never have this quote memorized or be able to tell someone the quote at a party because I know I won't remember it correctly, but I wish I would. It's really cool. So I pass it along to you here.

"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both." -- Francois Auguste Rene Chateaubriand

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Wow, Auburn, That Was Fast

One of the things you have to do when you rent a new apartment is go through the hassle of having the utilities transferred over into your name. (You can't do it over the phone, you have to do it in person, and when they don't have weekend hours or hours past 5pm, it then becomes a hassle.) Because it rained today, we got off work a little early, and I figured I'd walk downtown and get it taken care of while I had the chance.

I got home and lo and behold, my power was turned off. Hm. Weird. Good thing I was heading down to the utility place, ya know? It's about 10 blocks away, give or take a few. It was slightly drizzling but I just came from New York so it was cake.

I got there, filled out the form, paid them my deposit, and she said I was good to go. I asked when the power would get turned back on and she said, "We show it's still on."

I politely informed her that it wasn't. She checked her paperwork and whaddya know, they goofed up. It seems the landlord asked them to turn the power off in the apartment downstairs and they flipped the wrong switch. The lady told me she wasn't sure if they could do it in time, since they were about to close (they close at four??). But then as I explained to her I live in the apartment upstairs and, you know, would like power, she told me she'd make a call.

By the time I got home, about 10 minutes later at most, the power was back on and all was well. I must admit, I was pretty impressed with how fast they made it out. I guess one of the nice things about being back in a small town, eh?

At any rate, I feel like I accomplished a lot in that hour, even though technically I really didn't. I just walked downtown and gave them a check. But I have power back. Whew. And to think I almost got stuck having to do the only thing one can do when there's no power: read. ;)

Sunday, July 09, 2006

The Devil Does Indeed Wear Ed-a

I've had some people ask me if I can be spotted in either of the two movies that are currently out that I worked on, The Break Up and The Devil Wears Prada, and the answer is yes and no.

I have been lazy and haven't gone out to the theaters yet to check them out and then realized I could download bootleg copies of them, review them, and find out. Now don't get yourself in a bunch, I didn't watch them, just skimmed them in 30-second intervals to look for the scenes I was in and then promptly deleted them.

I'm nowhere to be found in The Break Up. The roller blading scene and beach scene, in fact, didn't even make the final cut of the film, so all we can do is hope I make it in the deleted scenes on the DVD.

The Devil Wears Prada is a different story. You have to be fast on your toes to see me, but I can indeed be seen! About 2/3 of the way through the film, there is a short montage of models on the runway at different fashion shows. The camera moves from shots of Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci to the models doin' their runway thing. Immediately after that brief scene we cut to a party, and everything in the background is in white. The camera quickly pans back to reveal more of the party and there, right there, you can see me in the bottom right-hand portion of the screen.

And then I'm gone. Outta there.

Am I disappointed you don't see more of me in either of the two films? Not at all. I got my check. Thanks. Cha-ching. See ya.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Buzz! Smack! And when it's funny

Sometimes things happen that are, for lack of a better word, tragic. But for some reason the media will at times present them to me in a way that comes off as humorous.

Case in point:

I was reading the local newspaper yesterday and there was a story about some maniac running around in the New York City subway system. Seems he was carrying a cordless power saw with him, and for no particular reason, decided to slice up some guy's chest. Don't worry. The guy is OK. Shaken, of course, but the injury wasn't fatal.

They went on to interview the victim ("He didn't say anything! I think he was crazy!") and also obtain comments from witnesses ("He had a crazy look in his eyes!"). It went on to say the victim was OK and the attacker was in custody.

And then, the last sentence of the story is what killed me. After reading about this horrific incident, the writer of the story decided to wrap it all up with this classic line:

In an unrelated incident, earlier in the day the attacker punched a different man in the face.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!


Yesterday Dad, Rich, and I were returning from lunch in downtown Garrett and heading back to the worksite. We approached a corner and there were a couple of little girls there on the corner with signs, yelling at the passing cars. I assumed they were advertising a lemonade stand or yard sale or perhaps even a car wash.

We pulled up to the corner and couldn't believe what I read on their piece of posterboard, scrawled with crayon in little-kid writing:
honk if you like puppies or kittens!!!!!

honk twice if you like kittens!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And then they began to yell at us. "Honk if you like puppies or kittens!!! Honk if you like kittens!! Honk!!"

Well, I thought to myself, it sure doesn't get much more random than that.

Sure, it was a cute sight, but the cynic in me took over. Is this the best idea you guys have come up with to pass the time on a beautiful summer day? Getting cars to honk in support if puppies and/or kittens?

Have I mentioned I sometimes feel like I am living in Blaine, the city in Waiting for Guffman?

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Old Friends

Today I called JT. Hadn't talked to him in a long time (too long). It was really good to talk with him again and catch up. He's a good man, strong work ethic, and I admire him a lot (plus, he's freakin' hilarious). You know those people that you know and miss and love but never realize how much until you talk to them again? Same thing happened again today. I miss that guy.

I've also been chatting with my dear friend Edlyn as well. She works at Gotee and I kind of kick myself for leaving Nashville and not taking advantage of having such a cool friend nearby while I was there. I constantly ask myself why we didn't hang out more. I'm glad we've been talking more and getting to know each other. She rocks my world!

I single them out not because they are my favorite friends whom I miss, but because I spoke to both of them today, and it was on my mind how much I love all of my out-of-town buddies.

Warm fuzzies for everyone. Take two, they're small.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Terocus, Terocus, Terocus

Wow, what a weekend it's been. I feel like I've spent the entire time either filming or editing, and that's not stretching the truth much.

Ever since I decided to make my way back to Indiana and revive a corny home movie my brother and I filmed about 15 years ago, I've been in full movie-making mode and loving every bit of it.

Not only has it been a blast hamming it up with Ray, Piper, and Valencia (yes, her name is indeed Valencia Placencia!), I've also been in film editing boot camp. In the month since I've been home, we've filmed four episodes of Terocus (final total running time about 27 minutes) and I'm learning new tricks and shortcuts all the time.

We actually filmed Episodes 3 and 4 this weekend and last night about 3:30am I finished the editing. We're getting ready for the big premiere at the 4th of July festivities today, so swing on by if you get the chance!

Yay for fun!