Monday, September 27, 2010

The Best of Times and the Worst of Times: BIRTHDAY EDITION

So I thought it might be fun, since today is my something-somethingth birthday, to share a brief look back at what I can pretty well point to my "Best" and "Worst" birthdays.

I do mean best and worst actual days, not "parties near or around", which puts OKTOBERFEST out of the running.


Unilaterally, unquestionably, September 27, 2003 - my 19th birthday. I attended a double header at Wrigley Field in which the Chicago Cubs played the Pittsburgh Pirates. It was me, my dad, and Mike and Rob. The Cubs won both games of the double header which, combined with a LOSS by the Houston Astros, made the Cubs Central Division Champs.

The sun came out just as it was setting (it'd been a partly cloudy day) and the team ran around the field, spraying champagne on the bleacher bums. We cheered. They cheered.

It was my birthday. It was perfect. Hopes were higher than the Sears Tower.

Then we beat the Braves and played the Marlins and some shit went down that I don't want to talk about.

Which is actually a perfect segue to the.....


I don't know exactly what year it was, how old I was turning... I know it was one of the first few years we moved onto Montclair. So, 5 to 7 range I'm guessing.

My parents - wonderful, generous, loving people that they are - secured a dragon-shaped moon walk (big bouncy thing) for my birthday party. It was going to be awesome.

The guys came that morning and blew it up for the party that was to occur later that afternoon. Once finished, it was beautiful.... a sight to behold. A whole jumpy-dragon thing, all for me.

Too excited to wait, me and I believe some neighbors, guessing Dietzler, decided to preemptively go for a jump. And we did. And it was fun.

I was having the time of life, laughing and jumping - what a fun party this would be!

However, I started jumping a bit close to the entrance (a thin screen veil) and before you know it I was airborne and clear of the dragon.

I hit the lawn hard and, I think for the first time in my life, blacked out.

When I came to, I had the wind knocked out of me and was scared beyond belief.

As soon as friends and family came to my attention and made sure I was okay, I got as far away from that f#%*ing dragon as possible.

I think I stayed in Joey's room throughout the whole party, so that I could watch all my friends have fun on the dragon that nearly took my life.

Only came out for cake.


Oh well. Happy Birthday!

(to me)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Playing Catch Up

Yes, much like the slowly fading White Sox in the AL Central, I am finding myself in the unfortunate position of having to make up for many weeks of blog-neglect.

But the Twitter feed is kinda cool, right? Kind of like little blog' d'oeuvres before the main course?

(I am really enjoying this Twitter thing, BTW, and I'll explain why later this or another post)

I guess I've been procrastinating for so long mostly because there's SO MUCH to talk about and I wanted to make sure I could devote some significant time to at least graze what I've been up to.

Like I mentioned before, the big, monstrous project that cast a giant shadow over my summer like a spaceship from my favorite blockbuster ever was THE LEPIDOCTOR. The graduate thesis film that shot for ten days, had over 30 people on set everyday, and had a budget over $30,000. Compared to all the other projects I've done, this was Godzilla coming ashore.

Not to that it was a bad thing, just that it was big. This thesis film I produced this summer was one of the largest projects I've ever been a part of, and by far the biggest and most complex I've ever produced. I learned a semester's worth of information in less than one month - and not just the specific stuff like "How to Get a Film Permit in Pasadena" or "Where Do you park the cars of over 50 cast, crew and extras on a campus while 8,000 college freshman move in?"....that was an especially fun one.

But I definitely learned a lot about planning and managing a large scale production. I also became familiar behind the wheel of some rather large cargo vans and trucks. You learn very quickly why the TEAMSTERS are such a big part of the movie industry - because you've got all these trucks, carrying lighting gear, props, tables and chairs, etc and SOMEBODY has to drive them. Of course, in a student film, it ends up being the producer who is insured ie: me. I must say, though, I did enjoy my temporary time as a transo-guy. Definitely could have been a trucker in another life....or later in this one.

But yeah, overall THE LEPIDOCTOR taught me about problem solving, management, expecting the unexpected, endurance, and - perhaps most revealing - how many McGriddles it takes to keep a producer waking up at 5 am or earlier during a shoot. [The answer is FIVE McGriddles over a 10-day shoot - and I'm still alive!]

I also worked with and met a lot of great people, made new friends, and might have made an enemy with a USC film school alum from 1948.

Reminds me...I have an apology card to write.....

Anyway, barely got to breathe after we wrapped because we were already one day into the first week of classes when we had our last day. The first week is always a mess because I'm in some classes I don't want to be in and am waitlisted for other classes and all everybody does when you see them is want to go drinking.

Then I had a wedding in Ohio.

So for the past two weeks I've been doing essentially what I've done in this post now: catching up. Paying parking tickets from before the Blackhawks won the cup and cleaning new species of mold out of the neglected regions of our apartment (don't worry - everything is clean now).

There's also been some ch-ch-ch-changes: the apartment has a new roommate [Joe], USC has a new campus center, and I have a new pair of socks.

Okay, I may also have a brand new kick-ass completely awesome computer with complete HD editing capacity and a spectacular 1080i screen....but we'll get into that later.

But hey, after being on my feet for what seemed like the entire month of August, those socks were DAMN comfortable. Like my toes were drinking scotch or something....

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Back .....and Better than Ever?

So, yes: I completely missed August.

But hey: I wasn't just sitting around playing Chutes and Ladders and eating Skittles - I had a tiny little 10-day thesis shoot to produce.

Plus register and start classes.

Plus go to Ohio for a wedding.

Plus end all major combat operations in Iraq.

Okay, that last one I had very little to do with BUT STILL.

Anyway, school's back and when classes start up I'm usually a bit better at keeping this up-to-date. I've got some fun stories from the thesis shoot I hope to share.

In the meantime, I have added a super hip (for 2008) new feature for the blog:


Now, I only just reactivated my account today after not having used it for a year, but I'm thinking the twitter updates [TOP LEFT] --------->

can provide little "mini-blogs" for when I don't have time to sit down and write a more complete and competent composition.