Thursday, April 27, 2006

my grey matter

sigh..... i've had essays and thoughts and commentaries all that i wanted to write, and i smiled as i got to the fifth floor and saw it completely empty. after all, who in their right mind would come to the library on a day like today?

but i have gotten caught up in instant messaging and can't think much beyond a few lines. just talking with someone was enough of an emotional release that now i haven't the pressure to write well [i wasn't angry before, but i have lost the artistry to say what i was going to say].

so today is a post of shorts:

our 'scortday' party last night was of adequate success. we had four of the original ten members there last night. the first apple beer party was three years ago

i can't get enough oingo boingo. i'm fighting the temptation to unplug my headphones and just dance up here

my sister has been getting comments that she looks like 'kate' off 'lost'

i think the real reason for the honor code rule of not going back into girls' rooms is that it destroys the image we have that they are always clean and pretty. helping my sister clean and move out today, my ideals were shattered

our vegas trip will be fun tomorrw; i wish we could have found one more person to come

i shot baseball portraits for an hour or so last night; i don't know if i was out of the groove or if it was because the kids had been waiting too long, but i had a hard, hard time getting many good smiles

i just found out that paul reubens did do the voice for 'max' in 'flight of the navigator' and that he's a member of the church of the subgenius

we're going to japan in three weeks

why does 1+1=11?
why not 1+1=2

i want to buy a homsar t-shirt

looking over my posting titles, i think they suggest a more interesting essay than they usually deliver. there are some exception, though

i'm also thinking of buying a new pair of pumas with my next paycheck--what's happened to me?? what about that collection of samurai movies i wanted to buy??

there were two rare books on ebay that i've wanted to get for a long time, but with internet down at my place, i missed them entirely. life is hard, people

my favorite elvis song is 'burning love'

i hope this post shows a lack of quality from the rest. if it doesn't, i'm going to be a little disappointed.

final word: the first person to identify that 3-d image gets righteous pride and bragging rights for the rest of the weekend. i think it's one of the cooler ones i've seen.

post script:: i find it interesting that mle also posted today mostly in sentances [vs. paragraphing]. yet i cannot use the hormonal pregnant lady excuse.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

i fought the law and the law won

Now I'm gonna ask you a bunch of
quick questions I've come up with
that more of less tell me what kind

of person I'm having dinner with.

My theory is that when it comes to

important subjects, there's only

two ways a person can answer. For

instance, there's two kinds of

people in this world, Elvis people

and Beatles people. Now Beatles

people can like Elvis. And Elvis

people can like the Beatles. But

nobody likes them both equally.

Somewhere you have to make a

choice. And that choice tells me

who you are.

i'm a beatles person.

last night at 1:11 a.m. i saw an infomercial that i worked on last winter. with all that i've worked on, i rarely see the finished product, so it was fun to see this.
that shoot was rather insignificant except for one comment that changed a lot about how i work.
one of the electricians was a big guy named fritz, whom i haven't seen since.
he was carrying a light when i asked him for a 'stinger' for my monitor [that's what we call extension cords]. he set his light down and went to get me a stinger and i explained to him that i didn't need it right that instant.
he smiled and said, 'we're all working on the same movie.'

that has sculpted my view on working with people more than any other single phrase that i can think of, and i have tried to pass it along.
i don't think fritz even thought twice about what he said.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

don't breathe too deep, dive in to work

i'm not sure what a 'normal' day is for a camera assistant, but it would be nice if today were such.

if days like this were average and i worked so 3-4 days a week, man, i'd be the pride of the peaches.

i was up late last night cleaning the bathroom [success] and rebuilding a new diddy bag [partial success], and so spent longer in my comfy bed listening to the 101.9 morning show and so left later than planned and so got to cosmic later than planned.
no worries, whenever.

i spent the morning getting acquainted with the equipment, learning what all they have, how it al fits together, and where it all goes, as well as how the camera works. once you learn one camera, you can pick another without too much work, but each one has its nuances.

when i knew the basic ins and outs of the operation, i set to work on prepping for the shots this afternoon. rich loaned me his ipod to keep me happy-- i have gotten to the point where i can now do all the dark work on an aaton-III mag in roughly the same time as the final chorus on 'sheep go to heaven'; doing an entire mag, from air canning it out to taping and labeling takes roughly one 'like a prayer'.

i was given some petty cash for lunch and left to find a cool place in salt lake-- normally it seems there is an abundance of character-filled establishments, but i spent 20 minutes seeing nothing but wendy's and taco bell. then i found 'curry in a hurry' and an open parking meter out front. stellar, until i noticed that all but 17 cents of the change in my car had been used to buy a sundae a month ago. they promise curry in a hurry, so maybe i could get it done in 17 cents' time. i shoved my dime and nickel into the slot and saw that there was 30 minutes already there by some lovely grace.
the lamb curry combo was absolutely wonderful; more of a middle east variety, rather than a southeast asian style--like baba's used to make.

for the record, i think my 15 cents bought me 7 minutes.

i went over in my head several times all that i thought i would need for the shoot.
and i noticed a bit of a paradox in the general situation: i was brought on as a green 1st a.c. because this was a small shoot--just a few shots. yet we had roughly the same amount of equipment as we did last week and i didn't have an official assistant. so i was doing all the work of a 1st a.c. plus whatever jeff the talented 2nd a.c. usually does; and since we didn't have a gaffer, i was carrying the light meter and keeping track of how the sun changed over the afternoon.
light-ish work, yes. but two and a half jobs of light-ish work.

to be fair, our grip really hadn't much to do at all, and so helped out at a 2nd when needed, which was much appreciated. he pointed out that a grip's job really is 'camera support.'

so how did i do?

well, i think i did fine.
and i thinkt they think i did a good job.
[they don't know how many times i was thinking, 'i didn't bring a backup of ______, so if these don't last, that's gonna rot']

but we really won't know until we see if the footage is in focus.

and that's somewhat of a wild card.

we get out there for our first shot, in front of the wellsfargo building, and eager greenie jeff is laying out all of the cases, ready for anything.

'let's throw on the 200mm.'

trial by fire, i guess.

so we're shooting a guy coming out of the building coming at us from roughly 25' down to 12' with an f4.
now, for those of you who weren't in my 285 lectures, the skinny is that this means i have roughly a 1' plane in space that is in focus, and the rest is not. and it's my job to turn the focus on the lens as this dude is briskly walking toward me and keep him in that focused plane all the while.

one of my 1st a.c. skills that i need to practice is getting focus marks of where the talent is during the take while everone is rehearsing and planning without getting in the way.
that greg rehearses minimally and likes to shoot and go leaves me hoping there is enough of a moment of focus that he can use it in the commercial.

i'm nervous, but i think we've got something usable.

the rest of the shots weren't that bad--100mm and 50mm aren't so bad after that.
and later on, when we had a 16mm on at an f8/11, well, that meant everwhere from 1'9" to infinity was in focus.

we had an adventure with our actor getting on the train as it pulled up so that we could get shots of him getting off, only to have the door close finally on him and watch him get whisked off to the next stop.
this happened about five times.

at the end of the day, greg shook my hand and said it was great working with me.
by the end, i kind of knew what he wanted and how he worked, and it was kind of fun.
i wish i hadn't forgotten all the little things that i did [our last shot was a stop underexposed because i forgot to check the light even as we had waited there for 10 minutes...] and i'm praying that the focus will not be unacceptably horrendous, but all in all it was the best 12-hour day i've had in a while.

it's fun to try something new anyway.

final word: oingo boingo's 'not my slave' is my favorite song of the moment. i wish i could share it with all of you.

Monday, April 24, 2006

what's so amazing that keeps us stargazing?

i keep a notepad of blog ideas, thoughts that i would like to write up here as essays on days when i haven't anything else to say.

tonight as i sit in the crowded library amidst all the students working hard for the final days of the semester, i haven't anything to say, yet there is something anxious inside of me and i don't know what.

i'm working on a half day of pick-up shots for the trax commercial tomorrow, bumped up to 1st a.c., and am going in in the morning to familiarize myself with the equipment. both me and cosmic are happy to have me available as a 1st, should they need me again.
i don't think i'm nervous too much about that.

a friend's dad is coming to stay in beej's room for a week starting tomorrow. i need to finish cleaning the bathroom sometime tonight, but i don't think that's bothering me much, either.

maybe it's just that i had a list of things to do today [see above] and it all fell into this evening--currently it's 11:01 and i'm in the library because internet at my place is still defunct.

i feel off balance right now.
i feel like i had my balance but i've lost it.
i haven't fallen, but i'm working to keep from it.

did '24' stress me out tonight? maybe i just got caught up in it.
we are losing a few of our founding members, but we also gained another watcher or two tonight.

i recently thought of a proverb, 'you can't eat an unbaked cake', and i think it to be wise counsel, except that i was offered a partially baked cake last night from my former service co-chair who has an odd sort of luck with baking oddities, and this was pretty good.
but i still think the proverb holds.
proverbally speaking, that is.

i recently got oingo boingo's 'boi-ngo' cd and it is my current cd of the week.
it will probably be the last cd of theirs i buy, as those that i don't have are 'weird.'
for the record, i think 'dead man's party' is the quintessential oingo boingo cd.

and that's all i have to say.
so i will now probably head back to my place, finish cleaning the bathroom [i did the shower on saturday, and i will do a testimonial commercial stating my love for 'scrubbing bubbles.' they work miracles], and rebuild a diddy back to make sure i am prepared for tomorrow. it's only a few shots [i've been told 3-4 shots, i'm expecting 6-8] but i want to be prepared for anything--this is my first impression as a first.

our vegas trip this weekend is falling short on attendance, which is a little disheartening.

maybe it's because i had dinner at the malt shoppe tonight.
i'm glad i had a very healthy lunch.

i could use a hug from a girl other than my sister.

thank you for listening.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

does jack bauer ever lose his scriptures?

today felt like a sabbath version of '24'. i did much more than i am capable of, and at the end of this day, i feel very tired and very good. it was jam packed with so many adventures, answers, miracles, and moments.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

been thinking a lot today...

driving out to thanksgiving point, i attained a bit of personal nirvana:

maybe i'm not doing so bad.
i'm working and getting calls for more work, and that feels good.

and maybe it's alright that i don't have everything in my life ordered how i want right now.
i could do better, and there are some things i need to take care of, but i think i'm doing alright.

i enjoyed the tulip festival.
and left with a lot to think about.

Friday, April 21, 2006

a different sort of paper lanterns

i have never been able to understand why people stay in abusive relationships, yet there are some days when i think that the freelance camera assistant lifestyle is really pretty cool.
yesterday i realized that i am usually thinking that in the calm times, commonly during the earlier half of the day.

working with cosmic pictures is usually a happy time from start to finish, even when there are 15 hours between those two.

this time it was a u.t.a. trax spot, which i have learned are actually pretty convenient [the trains], particularly when i found out today that you can ride it around central slc for free. rad.

while i am here, i would like to state to the world that:
1. the aaton 35-III camera is the most difficult camera to load, excluding those weird super-high speed cameras.

2. i'm getting pretty good at it.

this commercial consisted of starting near the delta center on a parked train car, getting shots of some kids meet a real soccer player [the league or team or whatever they are, pronounced 'ray-all'] and me getting to toss the soccer ball into the shot for the soccer star to catch it with his foot [this 'toss' was later downgraded to a 'roll'], then a lot of hopping on the train, ride to another stop and film some more shots of the train being a train in all of its train glory and the kids looking at it in wonderment.

dinner was at z tejas and i enjoyed my blackened catfish burritos.

last night's work was a second trax spot, this time involving some happening-looking young women who show us that you can be attractively cool and ride trax, too.

the scene of them coming out of the abravenal hall downtown provided me with a fulfillment of a secret small wish i've held: i got to ride the dolly as a focus-puller for a shot.

i never really worked as a 1st a.c. much as a student, and while i did get to pull focus on discoveries, i was told it would work better if i just walked along the camera [when i watch the dvd, it does go a little soft...].
but last night i got to ride on the dolly with my own little seat and take measurements. and this wasn't some token pull; this was 20' to 7' on a 50mm at a t1.4, thank you.
and i did pretty good.

the rest of the night was spent on the train, riding it all around town as we got many, many shots of these girls changing from coming out of a symphony to spending a night on the town. personally, i would think that dressing up for the symphony would be where you deck yourself out, but they must have been going clubbing afterward, because the hair comes down, the glasses are off, and the trendy hat donned.
and you can do this all on trax, people.

despite us not being able to start on this until after 11:30 p.m. [when you're driving a train forwards and backwards at will, it helps to have all the other cars put away for the evening], this was rather fun. we had several more trendy-ish looking early 20's extras who were remarkably well behaved into the wee hours in the morning [nearly every guy had his arm around a girl, so maybe it's not that remarkable that they didn't complain, actually], our talent, a 10-person crew and a dolly and track and lights.

i just like climbing on things, and so all of the necessary climbing over seats and balancing on rails and other related gymnastics helped us forgive that 1 a.m. came and left without any real notice. i got to pull some more focus and was even asked to cross in front of the camera for the shot when my attempts get where i needed looked really cool on the monitor.

downtown slc looks strikingly different in the late hours of the night when you have been in a train for long periods of time and are rather disoriented.

today's highlights included some dude who evidently thought we were with star search, as he began rapping loudly from the platform across the street, hoping we would use him in our movie [shooting in downtown slc on a friday inevitably increases manyfold the number of people who ask if they can be in your 'movie'], and recalling the rule of thumb that 'you aren't a film maker if you aren't breaking the law'--this generally refers to traffic rules, and our city parking permits amazingly flexed in such a way that we parked
anywhere we saw most convenient.

the happiest moment came from last night, when i asked the associate producer what i had to do to get a 'cosmic pictures' hoodie sweatshirt.
he gave me one today. i wear it with happiness and pride [the good kind of pride].

final word: sitting down to lunch at cafe rio today, i had a weird sensation of deja vu; i had seen that scene before, but it was from a dream i had as a missionary in japan many years ago.
really gnarly. but the feeling soon passed, and now i wonder if it ever even happened.

post script: few things make me feel all dreamy and romantic inside like a big city lit up at night, and salt lake does it well.

*i think the library is playing a symphonic tribute to metallica in forcing me out of here.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

today is ruby tuesday

and dont' forget
to give me back
my black backpack!!

lamus, man.

i'm getting ready for another good two or three days with cosmic pictures [we're praying for three days], going through all of my gear and making sure everything is up to snuff and prepped [not as cool as it sounds--i make sure the tape rolls on my belt are full].
this forces me to finally get the boots and shizazz out of my car, which have been there since that morning i drove home half asleep from odgen.

piling it all into my room, i began straightening the piled mess, only to notice that my trusted diddy bag was gone.
the 'diddy bag' is the camera assistant's bag of tricks, all the odds and ends that aren't used immediately enough to warrant a spot on the belt, but nevertheless useful and precious.

and my bag is missing.
this really rots.

i searched all over and under my room, every possible spot in my honda, called and attempted to e-mail anyone on the 'unaccompanied minors' shoot who may have it.
and no avail.

does the 2nd unit producer have it?
did it get left in the camera trailer and wind up with the first unit camera guys?
or is it somewhere in my house?
maybe i've been staring at it without even recognizing it?
no clue.

i should fine for the shoot, but it stinks all the same.

fortunately, 'sheep go to heaven' is playing as i type, and that makes me feel better.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

oh l'amour

'but having someone and wondering isn't always the best feeling either'

that's really a good point.
and it made me think quite a bit once the '29' showings were done. [shame that these goofy movies were in some ways better than most of what it is at 'final cut', although copying a style is much easier than creating your own]

the stakes do get higher when you have someone in your life.

and from what i have heard, it's harder still once you are married [let me know if i'm off about this].

'and nothing can prepare you for that moment [when the kids come]. from that point on, your life, as you know it, is changed forever.'
'no one ever tells you things like that.'

is this all true?
does it only get harder?

yes, i think.

but does that mean its worse?

i give you a resounding 'no!'

when i was a d.p. on projects, it was more of a headache and carried more stress than as a camera assistant. but did i want to go back? of course not. it was much more fun as a cinematographer, despite having to deal with days so bad that the producer had to call me on the phone that night and assure me that we would make it through somehow [thanks, em].

i believe in love.
i believe that it is good and great.
i believe that it is undoubtedly worth all the work it takes to plant and cultivate it.

and i think it is good to take time and enjoy where i'm at, and not spend so much time looking backward or forward.

play what you can play.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

hitsville u.t.

while i have always known this, i have been more accutely aware of it lately::

i love to sing in my car.

i really do love it.

trips under an hour are highlights of my day no matter what else may be going on, as it gives me a chance to get on stage and perform.
travel longer than an hour generally starts to lose its lustre if i'm alone.

as far back as i can remember, i have had this attraction.

when we were assigned to do the dishes on certain nights way back in the day, i was fine as long as i had my little boombox and either that oldies tape or the 'ghostbusters 2' soundtrack. it took me roughly the length of the tape to finish the kitchen no matter how much work there was because that provided me with '[your love's lifting me] higher and higher' as a finale.

in junior high, the mirror in my room may as well have been an amphitheater of thousands.

in high school, for my 17th birthday i think, jamie made me a mixed tape called 'senor cow's extravaganza of fun.' it played
continuously in 'the millenium icebox', my '86 dodge caravan. that was when becky and i first became friends. it was where we gave rides to all who were going from seminary to moorhead senior high in the cold mornings, and all were encouraged to sing along as best they knew.

and now my honda is a glorious auditorium. usually i keep the volume at a casual level and sing as my mind ponders the impoderables. but there are times when i push the volume just a little more and give it all that's in me.
it is so choice.

it's one of the things that makes me happy.

you are welcome to sing along.

Monday, April 17, 2006

get in where you fit in

at 9 p.m. on saturday, easter wasn't looking very promising.
church was shortened to give more time with families for those who have them and was earlier in the day, which meant that i would be back home with nothing to do before i usually went to church.

it looked to be a long day.

dinner invitations came in.
church that morning was really great.
oh, why do i fret?

i had an easter dinner that included an easter egg hunt and a friend asking me if she could practice more self-defense techniques on me [this had happened earlier this year]. that she reminded me how such a gesture shows the trust she has in me made me willing to help; when she started looking around the room for a space large enough, i began to wonder what the worth of this 'trust' really was.

she decided that the deck out back was appropriately spacious and that nothing was in danger of getting broken.
as everyone gathered around, she lay on the ground and told me to sit on her, like i was trying to take her keys.

i don't know much about the psyche of a predator, but tackling someone and then sitting on them isn't the first thing i imagine when trying to get someone's keys.
i cautiously sat on her, feeling awkward as she reassured me that she trusted me.


i pretended to strangle her as commanded, and in a flurry of motion reminiscent of a feral attack on the serengetti, i found myself on my back with her about to kill me.

that was really cool!
everyone clapped and i lay there in amazement.

we had her try it again with a bigger guy [i'm not really of prime mugger build] and, defying the laws of physics, she threw him off her and on his back without any problem.

we got a quick lesson on how to do this, and now i plan to walk home at nights down dark roads in the nerdiest way possible with $20 bills hanging out of my pockets, just hoping someone will knock me down and try to strangle me.

she also told me to attack her from another way, only for me to get kicked in a leg nerve, elbowed in the stomach, my shin broke, and then she paused, summoning some inner power, and backhanded me in the face.
trust between friends is wonderful.

then i had another dinner at my sister's.
in a way, i'm getting a little tired of doing everything with my sister--i am looking to expand my circle of friends. i do not plan to date her roommates and in that sense things feel kind of stagnant sometimes.
but i am good friends with everyone in her apartment and they are all great and wonderful people [this includes two fringe members--not officially living there, but roommates by all accounts]. in a few weeks, everyone in 326 is going their seperate ways; thus it was great to spend the evening with them, even if becky wasn't there for much of the time.

throughout another great dinner, i:
  • learned that both the european and chinese zodiacs show that i am fated to be friends with one of the girls [and we have hit it off really well--that she is of the same sign as other girls i have been good friends with makes me wonder if astrology may have something to it....]
  • saw yet another friend and tried to talk her into giving me piano lessons [since i can't find anyone to teach me the accordion]
  • helped make a bunny cake
  • told plenty of stories and laughed a lot
  • took pictures as appropriate
  • dyed easter eggs--i don't much care for the speckling trend this year--vinegar dyes are where it's at, in my opinion
  • told more stories and laughed more
  • further discussed plans for a trip to vegas in a few weeks [now that becky isn't going to ghana this summer, we are going just about everywhere else]
  • taught several people how to tie a bowtie [my pink bowtie received more compliments than all my other bowties combined]
  • developed some sort of game involving a crystal ball
  • and in a moment that epitomized the holiday, we broke out in an energetic and spontaneous performance of 'moses supposes.'
now you can't beat that with a stick.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

who's got the looks, who's got the brains, who's got everything?

i have never met a cool person.

i have known several people whom i have initially thought were cool, but as i came to know them, i realized that they were indeed normal people.

cool people are always doing something fun and have friends who are similarly continually interesting. certainly, they are cooler than you.
and they don't exist.
at least, not for longer than a day or two.

after knowing a supposed 'cool' person for more than a momentary meeting, time shines upon them like the midnight moon of cinderella's story and they transform into a regular person, like you and me.

i find myself at times living a normal life with my friends and my gaze drifts to other groups of people.
'surely they are more exciting and having more adventures than us,' i think.
everyone is different, to be sure, but as i watch for a few moments more or eavesdrop for a minute, reality reminds that people are people, and that they are not much different from the friends i have found over the years.

friends are good.
your friends are great.
the wanderer, searching for people who are more exciting than those he has at home, is chasing a mirage.

i do think kindness is cool.

Friday, April 14, 2006

i bought a book

while jane austen mocks me...

years ago, the byu bookstore sold a nicely bound one-volume set of the collected works of jane austen in the bargain section. i considered buying it, as classy-looking cultured things attract me, but i was too busy making movies and reading harry potter.

after the jane austen festival at the international cinema earlier this year, i have been interested in reading the sources. unfortunately, the lovely edition was no longer to be seen in the bookstore. i asked the nice man at the desk and he said they were on back order, but would arrive at sometime.

this is why i generally buy something if i want it--i am disciplined enough in my spending that i find myself regretting
not buying something much more often than i regretting buying.

i waited a few more weeks to no avail. i should have bought it back in the day, as they now seemed out of print.
happily, i found a copy of the book from a third party seller on amazon, promising it to be 'new' and for roughly the same price at the bookstore, plus shipping.

so i bought it.

a few days later i noticed another 'like new' copy listed for a fraction of what i paid for it.

a little frustrating, but i didn't let it get to me.

and now i walk through the bookstore and see stacks of the collection, brand new, just as promised by the trustworthy bookman.

dang it.

but today my package came in the mail [in light of the snow boots incident a few weeks ago, i am continually amazed at how much can actually fit in that small mailbox].
my book is new and pristine, and i am smiling.

'the family of dashwood had been long settled in sussex...'

Thursday, April 13, 2006

i.o.u. a treasure

in my car cd player are the following:
1. the clash- the singles
2. green day- 1,039 smoothed out slappy hours
3. the beach boys- pet sounds
4. ben folds five- naked baby photos
5. simon and garfunkel- greatest hits
6. paul oakenfold- traveling, disc 2

on nearly all music top X lists, the beatles take #1 and most of the top 10.
however, number 2 is usually 'pet sounds' by the beach boys.

i wondered about that for years. i didn't recognize most of the songs on there, and those that i did recognize [wouldn't it be nice, sloop john b., God only knows] weren't their most fun songs anyway.
[i should have learned from the 'trainspotting' soundtrack that just because you don't recognize the songs is no reason to think it isn't any good]

the album has plenty of history surrounding it and came from one of the richest times in modern music history.
as i understand it, the beach boys were having fun singing about surfing when the beatles hit and proved that there really is always someone cooler than you.

the pop paradigm began to shift when the beatles released 'rubber soul', another famous album with plenty of good songs you don't know. the sounds and ideas amazed and inspired brian wilson, the creative force behind the boys of summer and he went to work on 'pet sounds'. this in turn showed the beatles what could be done and pushed them further into the studio. meanwhile, mr. wilson went to work on his next audio masterpiece, 'smile.'

but the fab four beat him to the release with 'sgt pepper', and when brian heard that, he declared it so good that all of his work was now for naught and went into a deep depression, about which the barenaked ladies wrote a song many decades later.

side note: 'smile' was released as it was intended a few years ago. it's much much more like 'the white album' than 'sgt. pepper.' weird but cool.

sometime last year, i was working in the camera room at the church's movie studio and the d.p. put in 'pet sounds'.
it really sounded good.
really good.

a few months later i was at big daddy's renting the cleanflix version of 'traffic' when i noticed that 'pet sounds' was playing over the speakers.
jokingly, i asked the nice girl working if it was for sale, figuring it was her own copy. she said it was, and i bought it immediately.

best $6.95 i ever spent.

it played over and over in my car for weeks. that the whole album is only forty-some minutes long doesn't hurt for repetition, and that it is on the cd twice, once in stereo and once in mono, makes it that much easier to listen to it over and over.

i don't know how something that was recorded 40 years ago and that has influenced
countless artists can sound so fresh and new, but this does.

the songs hold that quality similar to ben folds of being able to capture the three-dimensional emotions of life, yet there is no twinge [or saturation] of bitterness or the like. the whole album feels soft and kind and, like the child in all of us looking at the world with confusion in trying to find our place, holds no malice or hurt, but patience and love.

even the sad songs somehow make me feel happy without ignoring the sorrow.

i haven't made a top 10 cd list for a while, but i daresay that 'pet sounds' would be the one cd i would take to a deserted island.

i wanted to buy it for everyone i knew for Christmas.

nice to know that when you think you have heard it all, or that nothing will come along to amaze you anymore, that there are things like this out there.
very comforting.

final word: a special tip o' the hat goes to my roommate, who somehow managed to get today's picture, after i searched in vain for it.
i had the title, but not an appropriate jpeg. hoping inspiration would come, i bought a used boingo cd off amazon. and lo and behold, my wish was e-mailed to me.
i am very happy to have it.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

the code of the hat

i ran into dean duncan yesterday in the bookstore. we exchanged passing pleasantries, and then i remembered something i wanted to ask him. i called him back, only to watch him turn around and almost hit another girl. dean manages to be cool even when he's clumsy.
in fact, he's probably the coolest professor in the film department. the only who ever really intimidated me, anyway, and that was because he knew that i knew that he was smarter than me.

i asked his opinion on 'le samurai', as i had earlier expressed my feelings on another french-japanese movie, 'hiroshima mon amour', using the phrase 'hated, hated, hated.'

dean has surely seen every movie ever made. he can provide insights on movies that most of the other faculty have never heard of.
and in his oh-so-cool way he talked with me for a few minutes about 'le samurai', giving me his thoughts on it as well as some history on the director [i felt secretly but deeply validated when his observations resembled my own] . he even asked what i thought, and i daresay he was genuinely interested in what i had to say.
and when we parted, he said, 'it was good seeing you, jeff.'

what a cool guy.

final word: the nicest thing dean ever did for me was when he announced, in a class that i was neither present nor enrolled in, that 'jeff gustafson is a moron.'
he may have said 'idiot'; i forget the exact word.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

eddie walker

last night we had the byu 223rd ward academy awards.
our 'rps' documentary won best picture.
that was fun.

the trophy says 'utah deca 1983 state cdc delta epsilon chi advertising campaign' and is displayed proudly upon the tv.

Monday, April 10, 2006

afraid of the dark

i got my pictures back from the bookstore today.
as has been in my experience in shooting at night before, the pictures are actually brighter than i thought they'd be. i really should have underexposed by another stop. i was worried they'd be too dark and murky.

funny how much more difficult it is when you can't see the subject when you're shooting, even though the lighting doesn't change.

the other catch that comes with self-portraiture is focus.
in the conditions on my doorstep and in my car, the depth of field [the space that is actually in focus] is only a few inches. which means that when i focused to my empty car seat and then sat in it and leaned forward, i get a little soft.

the exposure isn't really a problem, and i can get away with the soft focus.
there are some compositions that i really like. in short, i have about 4-5 ok pictures out of the roll, which is what i was hoping for.

i think i will frame them in a set of 4.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

'i could try to be big in the eyes of the world...'

this has been on my mind lately, and i don't think i even fully understand the significance of it.

in the hogwarts school of wizardry, where harry potter and his friends study the arcane, there are four different 'houses', named for their founders: gondric gryffindor, rowena ravenclaw, helga hufflepuff, and salazar slytherin.
when the school was founded centuries ago, the founders themselves chose which students would be in their house. the four wizards and witches would not be around forever and they created a 'sorting hat' and each placed a part of themselves in the hat, so that it would make the correct decisions. it is said that the hat is never wrong.

each house has its own characteristics and virtues.

gryffindor values chivalry, courage, and boldness. it is associated with the element of fire.

hufflepuff values hard work and patience, loyalty and friendship, and justice and fair play rather than a particular aptitude in its members. the house corresponds roughly with the element of earth.

ravenclaw prizes intelligence, knowledge, and wit. they are associated with the wind.

slytherin admires ambition and cunning. they are linked with the element of water.

gryffindor and slytherin are the two houses described in most detail in the books, as harry, his circle friends, their family members, and even dumbledore belong to gryffindor. nearly all the antagonists, from draco malfoy to lord voldemort, come from slytherin. rumors among the students are that all wizards who went bad came from slytherin, but that is not true, and there are many good wizards from that house as well.
cunning and ambition can lead to corruption and evil, but are not innately negative attributes.

the sorting hat holds a sort of premonition, seeing not only the student's immediate and obvious strengths, but latent and future attributes that may not have yet developed. some students in gryffindor don't immediately stand out as prime candidates, and hermione even asked the hat years after she was sorted why her intelligence didn't put her in ravenclaw. the hat replied that it had "considered it, but decided on Gryffindor in the end."

when harry was placed under the hat, it saw in him all the qualities to be great in slytherin, and weighed heavily putting him there. the house would help him achieve greatness, he was told. but harry did not want to go to house that rivalled his father and friends, the house from which voldemort began.
the students' personal preference is a determining factor in where they are placed, and that says a great deal about their character and desires.

when harry meets the younger persona tom riddle, who would rise to become lord voldemort and kill his parents, he sees many similarities between himself and the most evil wizard. this becomes quite unsettling, as he is afraid that he may be fated for something contrary to what he wants to be.

"Suddenly, something that was nagging at Harry came tumbling out of his mouth.
'Professor Dumbledore...Riddle said I'm like him. Strange likenesses, he said....'

'Did he, now?' said Dumbledore, looking thoughtfully at Harry from under his thick silver eyebrows. 'And what do you think, Harry?'

'I don't think I'm like him!' said Harry, more loudly than he'd intended. 'I mean, I'm--I'm in Gryffindor, I'm...'

But he fell silent, a lurking doubt resurfacing in his mind.

'Professor,' he start again after a moment. 'The Sorting Hat told me I'd--I'd have done well in Slytherin. Everyone thought I was Slytherin's heir for a while...because I can speak Parseltongue....'

'You can speak Parseltongue, Harry,' said Dumbledore calmly, 'because Lord Voldemort--who is the last remaining ancestor of Salazar Slytherin--can speak Parseltongue. Unless I'm mistaken, he transferred some of his own powers to you the night he gave you that scar. Not something he intended to do, I'm sure....'

'Voldemort put a bit of himself in me?' Harry said, thunderstruck.

'It certainly seems so.'

'So I should be in Slytherin,' Harry said, looking desperately into Dumbledore's face. 'The Sorting Hat could see Slytherin's power in me, and it--'

'Put you in Gryffindor,' said Dumbledore calmly. 'Listen to me, Harry. You happen to have many qualities Salazar Slytherin prized in his hand-picked students. His own very rare gift, Parseltongue--resourcefulness--determination--a certain disregard for rules,' he added, his mustache quivering again. 'Yet the Sorting Hat placed you in Gryffindor. You know why that was. Think.'

'It only put me in Gryffindor,' said Harry in a defeated voice, 'because I asked not to go in Slytherin....'

'Exactly,' said Dumbledore, beaming once more. 'Which makes you very different from Tom Riddle. It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.'

(harry potter and the chamber of secrets, p. 332-333)

Saturday, April 08, 2006


this week really hasn't existed for me.
monday was a 'normal' day, i think. at least i was done with 'beyond' and had some semblance of reality. then tuesday i got called up to ogden in the middle of the day, worked all through the night, and slept all the next day: tuesday and wednesday are down.
thursday was spent at the temple and then editing our family home evening movie.

i really love editing. a friend of ours has a top of the line editing system that could just as easily handle a full-length feature and let us use it to edit our silly little fhe mockumentary. it's dumb and silly and is amusing to no one but those in our ward, but that's its only target.
and i had a ton of fun working until 2:30 in the morning, cuttig it all together, trimming every shot down to just the essentials, and adding music--i doubt this is the first time the beastie boys have played at a family home evening, and 'sabotage' really brought the energy that the scene needed.
we spent six more hours working on it on it yesterday.

and i left from editing [hoping our dvd was burning correctly] to meet my sister and our friends down at 'little sahara', somewhere near nephi, where they were going camping.
out in the middle of nowhere during the chaotic climax of oingo boingo's 'no one lives forever' i found myself really flying, hitting around 90 mph.
and then i wondered:
'i'm only a few mph's away from 100.....'
the music was perfect for it, but i didn't get it.

an hour and $8 down at little sahara, i wondered what we were thinking when we figured i would just 'find them' in a campground at night.

on the way home later that night, during the middle of paul oakenfold's 'traveling', i hit 101 mph. probably not a good habit to get into [and it was tempting to try it again], but i felt kind of cool.

today even flew by, as i was shooting baseball games most of the day. this is really a rad job. doing portraits requires more work and doesn't pay as well. but when it's just me out on the field with a big fatty lens, ton o' fun.
generally i try to get five good pictures of each kid at bat and five of them out in the field. pitchers are especially great, as you just get behind the catcher during a warm-up and fire off a burst of 7 as they throw: no mother can resist it.
the older kids [9+] are fun to do because they are actually getting semi-good at the sport, meaning there are cool plays to capture and all that jazz.
and to be honest, the younger groups have some fun stuff in there too.

doing the five-year olds is another world. here, you go for cuteness and nothing else. the games are an encyclopedic entry for 'organized chaos.'
but it's fun chaos, and some of the kids are so cute i think i might buy some of the pictures.

i have no idea why this post is all underlined. i can't get the function to turn off.

na-na na na-na na na way-0
na-na na na-na na na way-0

Thursday, April 06, 2006

april sixth

the origins of Christmas being celebrated on december 25 are fuzzy, but date back to the same place all interesting things come from, namely, the pagans.
every source i looked up gave me different information, so this is a synthesized cornocopia of it all.

way back in the day, the pagans noticed that december 21-22 had the least amount of daylight in the year. today we know that it's because the sun burns out, but they didn't know about astrophysics and so thought that it was because the sun god had died.
silly pagans.

thus, when it began to get lighter, they celebrated the rebirth of the sun god [that such a return to life was celebrated three days later is interesting in itself].
and so december 25 was the day of parties.
pagans like to throw parties, but i think they were different than the 104 apple beer parties [and i want an apple beer, for the record].

as the romans came about a-conquering, they learned that adopting conquered peoples' traditions helped keep them from becoming unruly, and so changed sun-god-day to saturnalia, named after saturn. gifts were given, people sang naked in the streets [later, clothes were added and carols were substituted for riotous vulgarities, but the general idea remains], and indulging of all the physical appetites commenced all around. in fact, roman law ceased to exist december 17-25. no law. no courts. you could kick people in the shins all you wanted.
this worked for the pagans, this worked for the romans; everyone was happy except for the poor people who were sacrificed on this day in hopes of destroying the lord of misrule, or the forces of darkness.
it never really worked.

in the 4th century, some say 336, mr. constantine decided that he could gain more converts to Christianity if he let the pagans and the romans celebrate saturnalia. the catch he faced was that this pre-mardi gras violated almost anything taught in any testament available at that time. so he did the best he could come up with and declared that the last day of the bedlam be in honor of the birth of Christ.
and so it was.

this changed and morphed over the centuries, and most of the customs we have today pre-date the birth of the Saviour and again come from pagan traditions: trees, holly, and all that.

as a side note, the puritans were aware of the profane origins of the holiday and banned it in massachusetts between 1659 and 1681.

i've heard that on the morning of April 6, the sunlight shines directly through the small circle of glass in the celestial room of the timpanogos temple.

Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

hey jude

driving home this morning, i saw venus in the sky and enjoyed a wonderful sunrise on the ogden mountains.

but let me first back up to the fifth floor of the library; i was reading a book because it was one of those days when my computer had chosen to not talk with byu's internet, thereby frustrating my plans of polishing some japan-trip concerns and studying what my roommate does for a living. i keep my phone on 'silent' in there for obvious reasons and noticed that i had missed a call. the message was from some dude named simon, asking if i was available that night for some 2nd unit work on that warner brothers movie that has been in slc for the past month.
i thought about this: i really didn't feel like working, especially a night shoot. on the other hand, it was 2nd unit stuff, which is usually pretty light work, and in a profession like this, a beggar like myself hasn't the luxury of being a lazy chooser.
so i called him back to get the info: up at snow basin in ogden, call is at 6 p.m. and will go until 2-3. and union rates.
sure, i can do that.

driving home to get ready, i heard a song on the radio called 'bad day'. not the underrated r.e.m. one, but a really great song that has an 'understanding' feel to it.

i was having a bad day.

good things were happening to me, but there was a lot welling up inside of me and this song brought those things to the surface. so i called my sister, who later sent me one of the kindest e-mails i have ever received in my life.

but a lot must have been on my mind when i left, because i as i was arriving at the snow basin resort, it occurred to me that i forgot my gloves, my hat, and about half of my equipment. lovely.

fortunately, this was indeed a light 2nd unit shoot, with everything on a steadicam, which really makes for an alleviated load on the camera crew. and it was a cloudy-ish night, so it wasn't that cold. some friends loaned me a hoodie and a beanie, and my biking gloves were sufficient for the night.

2nd unit crews require less people and there is less pressure; i saw some people from beyond last week, friends from school, a good natured camera crew, and an odd script girl who insisted on finding the most morbid words for the scene numbers. normally, shots in a scene are 23A, 23B, 23C, and so on. to avoid misunderstandings, when saying the scene number, you say 'twenty-three apple', 'twenty-three baker', as do most other institutions dealing with alpha-numerology. but haylie was insistant on 'twenty-three aneurysm', 'twenty-three blood', 'corpse', etcetera.

this movie is called unaccompanied minors and i heard it described as home alone meets the terminal. yeah.

apart from a shot of a kid walking through the forrest and wiping his nose on his sleeve, we spent the rest of the night getting nothing more than shots of trees whipping by as the steadicam was rigged to a snowmobile. over and over, first over here then over there. actually, we did get a little more than that. there was also a canoe rigged with a sort of motor in the middle of it so that it could drive around in the snow. riding in it was a guy running the motor, a dummy dressed up in a sort of eskimo costume, and haylie the script girl with a wig, presumably doubling for one of the eponymous children.

when i got the call for the job, i was told we'd wrap between 2-3. on set, i was hearing that we'd be out by 4.

4 o'clock came and went around many frustated takes involving a motorized land-canoe that wouldn't run very well on hard frozen snow, and wrap was called a few minutes after 6 a.m. an hour to clean up and i was on the road at 7.

the production offered to put us up in a hotel if we wanted. we were told to go there and tell them we were with the movie [i'll let you imagined the scenario of a tired and dirty guy arriving at the front desk and saying 'i'm here with unaccompanied minors']. besides, i was feeling rather chipper and didn't worry about the drive home.
and for the the first thirty minutes, i was great.
once i got to salt lake county and the glorious rush hour that most people have to endure everyday, i was starting to lose it. maybe i should have found out where that hotel was, but i had made my choice and i would live or die by it. i kept the radio on loud, slapped my face as needed, and tried to sing along as much as i could. after the point of the moutain into utah county, i was doing alright. i got home at 8:30 and slept until 3.
take a sad song and make it better
on my way up to snow basin, i heard 'hey jude' on the radio. i really needed that. that made me and the night awesome.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

we only come out at night

my mind loosens in the night hours, usually around 11 or midnight, depending. i become more emotional, which, obviously, brings with it both advantages and detractions. i have learned not to write e-mails during this time, although it is often when i write in my journal and also when i am more artistically inclined. a lot of my best photographs have come in the wee hours of the morning.

last night i came back from macy's around 11:30 and looked at the light on my doorstep and how it came into the car and got some ideas. i sat there for probably ten minutes, singing along to an unusual amount of good songs on the radio and thinking about what i could do with this.

i also wished i had either had some film in my house [i found some, but it was all black and white, and i wanted color], and contemplated the advantages to having a digital camera at a time like this.

a phone call to my confused neighbor across the street yielded no film, so i went back to macy's and debated whether the generic western family film was really $2 inferior to the kodak 'professional' stuff. i decided $2 was negligible when i comes to art.

and so me and my beloved light meter and my tiny little tripod were out shooting self-portaits on my doorstep from about 12:30-1:20 last night. i had to guess on focus and i worry that my exposure may not quite be what i wanted. while i can look at the light and take the readings, without the subject [me] sitting there, it's hard to know really what i'm aiming for.

the byu bookstore charges quite a bit more than wal-mart does and that isn't even for 1-hour.

so we'll find out tomorrow.

Monday, April 03, 2006

what it feels like for a 2nd a.c.

i get to the lovely fifth floor in good time this morning, there are open tables in view of the window, i pull out my computer, and realize i left my power cord at home.
on the trip back, i dream of someday being perfect.

now i have got myself caught up on blog reading that i missed last week, browsed ebay, and bought a used copy of the clash's singles off of amazon. i'm considering buying another talking heads cd, because i feel cool when i buy cds like that.

i also found a site talking about how awesome 'kim possible' is and that it's ending soon. it seems like a cool show. if i watched more tv, i would probably watch it.

beyond is finished shooting in utah and they resume working in l.a. on wednesday. i don't think my name will make the credits, but i am still interested to see something i was involved with on network tv this fall.

a day on set begins sometime before whatever the call sheet said that you got the night previous. on this one, we would look at our call times then decide to be there 30-45 minutes prior, so that we would have ample time to prep the camera. and then add another 20 minutes before that so you can eat.

thus, the day starts at the catering truck, waiting in line with other laborers and placing an order with the energetic cooks. they will make pretty much whatever you want, and i am partial to breakfast burritos. inside the tent there is a long table with all sorts of other breakfast foods. i have found that a bowl of hashbrowns helps pass the time while waiting for my burrito, and a bowl of fresh fruit afterward is probably good for me.

out of the tent, the next objective is to look for one of the shuttle vans that are constantly running between base camp and wherever the day's location is.
if you are ever asked to be on the transpo crew, say no; these guy are the first ones there are the last ones to leave. and yet while i worry about the toll being on the camera crew takes on my life, these guys have managed to do transpo for 20+ years.

on all the features that i have worked on, we have always had a camera truck [actually, outlaw trail started off in the back of a uhaul, which was a nightmare, but we got upgraded to a camera trailer that i really quite liked], but this is the biggest and nicest truck i have ever been in [given that this was also the biggest project i have worked on, that seems natural]--nice and new, a workbench for each camera crew, and shelf space for everything we needed.

i was usually later than we agreed on the night before, yet there were a few days where i got there before the 1sts, in which case i started unloading the carts off the truck: one or two for sound, two or three for camera, and another one that i really don't know where it belonged. on a standard production, you put all of your heavy cases and whatnot on carts and push those around. we were in 4+' of snow, and used sleds to get around.

the firsts come and their job is to begin building the cameras.
movie cameras have about a hundred and seventy parts to them, all precisioned to the point that they must fit exactly right otherwise they don't fit at all. my job is to remember where we put things the night before as we were hurridly wrapping to get home and have them ready to be back on the camera. then i load up the sled with the heavy zoom lens cases, two extra mags of film, a case of all the different filters, and two 'aks' cases ['all kinds of stuff'] that have a trillion little parts in them, and find the sound guys to get my slate from them.
and then we're off.

the start of the day can be fun, and i have learned that if you energetically say 'yeah! i'm great!' and give an occassional 'wa-hoo!' to everyone who asks how you feel that day, you eventually come believe yourself.
that can be a lifesaver.

the nice thing about being on b-camera is that our workload generally isn't too bad. a-camera is off on a tripod shooting something, and we were generally always on the crane. this brings with it some interesting conflicts.
the camera sits on a 'hothead' on the crane, a mount with lots of wires that go to gears and motors that all connect on to the camera at precise points so that the camera can zoom in/out and change its focus while it's flying through the air. after a fews days of setting this up, we got pretty good at doing this and calibrating all that needed to be calibrated. keeping the mess of cords from getting caught in the movement of the head is something to watch out for, but camera tape covers a multitude of sins [you cannot make a movie without tape--remember that].

where the paradox comes in is that sometimes the a-camera second a.c. would call me [sometimes very firmly] to come and give him a hand. while it is part of the b-camera's duty to help the a-camera when they can, i think this was exacerbated by the fact that i was his loader when he was the first on outlaw trail, and so the mindset remains that jeff is around to get whatever he needs whenever he needs [em's saying that 'nice guys not only finish last, they get clobbered' applies here in all its splendor]. so i am trying to wire our camera which really won't be used for a while and the a-camera is yelling at me to get him a [whatever] right now and i look at mr. iceberg who tells me that he needs me here. fair enough, as his authority over me supercedes that of the a-camera. and occasionally i get told by the a-2nd because i wasn't there or 'didn't have my * radio on' or whatever else it may be, despite me calling back and saying that i couldn't come.

the odd thing about mr. iceberg is that we would be hanging around not really doing anything immediate and i would ask if i could go to the truck to get a needed part or whatnot and he would tell me that he 'needs [me] here.'
i never really figured that out, but my job is to do what he asks, and i do it.

while we're doing this, grips are moving around are trying to move the crane into the right spot, the electricians are setting up lights for what may be needed, the snow crew is hurridly sweeping brooms over tracks of 50 people in hopes to make this look like a deserted inuit village, rachel our actor is sitting off to the side in her cdc bio-containment suit having a smoke, steve the assistant director is shouting cheers to the snow crew through the bullhorn, and david the d.p. is skipping through the snow in his coveralls saying it looks great.
and there's even a trained dog who goes and politely sits on the mark provided and will not move, and will bark on command. i smile at the contrast with 'astro' from my movie.....

once they move into whatever shot we're set up for, i check with paula the script supervisor to make sure i have the right scene number on my slate, try to take notes on what lens size we're on, the focus and exposure [although it is hard to keep up on this during the chaos, particularly when it's a cold night and you do not want to take your hands out of your gloves; i got to where i could do my report notes with them on, and i'm proud of that], go out and do the iconic slate clap, and try to keep track of the footage shot for each take--tricky sometimes when the camera is even on a tripod; flying around on the crane, necessity often dictates finding out after three or four takes what the footage is and dividing the difference.

the first half of the day usually goes nicely. six hours makes for some good work, and when they call lunch, we throw tarps over the cameras and pile into the vans that take us back to camp.
one of the rules we learned in college is that you feed your crews well. while student film crews usually are happy as long as you feed them something [em, your food on kimball's movie was great], bigger shows feed you pretty well.
i sit with the grips, because they are all of my friends from college or other projects, and it is a time to relax and laugh and bemoan that we are barely halfway done.

like any endurance sport, film making is hardest when you stop and realize how tired/hungry you are. during the free time at lunch between eating and a visit to the honeywagon, sitting in the parking lot and remembering that now the sun is gone down and it is dark and your hands are somehow cut and bleeding and your face is burned and sore and it will be getting colder and it would be nice to call a day and go home feeling good and tired, yet we still have six more hours of shooting and another 45 minutes of wrap to go.
that's when it's long.
but you suck it up and go back at it.

when the sun goes down, the nite lites go up. i've read about them, but never seen them until this shoot. these look like 15 giant stadium lights on the back of a truck that can be raised sixty feet into the air. these things throw a ton of light, which, when cast upon a frozen lake and barren snow-covered hills, is other-worldly beautiful. combine that with the expansive and clear stary sky, it's a shame there isn't much time to appreciate the beauty of it all [occasionally there is time, but with the sword of damoclese ever present, it doesn't offer much].
i wondered how much that guy operating the truck lights makes.

more work on the crane, more standing around waiting, trying to be prepared for whatever they may need, only to have them call for some fitting ring that you cannot find anywhere and watching people stress out and get tense. i have learned to not worry excessively about this, and that when people get frustrated, politeness and simply saying 'thank you' when they tell you things you already know and could do faster if they didn't spell everything out for you keeps things moving and you sane. that, and remembering that they're all under a lot of pressure, so when they do get after you to let it roll off and not think about it.
like a duck.

a stop at the craft service truck is a little oasis in this crazy world. there are all kinds of food for you like a store without price. the nature valley granola bars and the sweet and salty peanut bars the best to carry with you when things get busy. if you fill a few cups with fruit and candy, people think you're great. they don't say that, but i trust they feel that way.

film making is hours of sheer boredom punctuated by moments of panic, and that gives you a lot of time to think. as long as you keep 35% of your brain on the work at hand, the rest is free to do whatever you like. i wonder about how important a career really is, whether i should find something and attack it, or if as long as i'm doing something, that's all i need, and if i got more education if i could get a job that pays more and provides insurance and makes me only work 40 hours a week, and if it was not as cool but not as demanding; if i really went for it, could i make it up to 'operator', because they don't seem to do much apart from operate the camera, which would make for a good job, or if i would still hate myself for being away from my family for so long; why business students go to business school and then get recruited by business companies with signing bonuses and have a good job lined up, but film students go to film school and then are told 'you will make a difference' and the door hits us on the way out and we end up working 70 hour weeks next to guys who didn't go to school; i wonder how many people on the set have less strenuous jobs than me and yet make more money and how i can get over there, like those dudes at the monitors who don't say much; whether it would be better to have a girl back in provo whom i miss or whether it's good that i don't have someone to ache for up here in the frozen tundra; when i got really frustrated with things, i would sing hymns to myself. it kept the rest of my mind occupied anyway.

don't think about how late it is or how many hours until wrap; just work until they call wrap, because that's all that matters. it's best to just work until the work is finished.

then we throw everything into the sleds and haul it back to the truck, break down the cameras and put away everything, load up the carts and strap them in, and pile in the van to go back to base camp. i get in my honda, take off my boots that are just a little too small, put on my etnies, and sing along to whatever is in the cd player as i drive back to heber city.

when i used to work at sun-mart many years ago, i noticed that at nights i would be lying in my bed and would hear grocery totals scrolling through my head, like a spring unwinding. lying in the holiday inn express, i would hear the voices of the other camera crew, saying words that were not quite one word and not quite another, all sorts of camera terminology melted with other amorphous phrases. kind of weird.

last word: 'if you can't think of something quick, then sarcasm isn't very smart.' toby, the 2nd a.d.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

tragedy has struck downtown salt lake

if you have been around me in either early april or october in the past three years or so, you may know that we have a lovely general conference tradition: we drive up to salt lake early saturday morning where sometimes we wait in line and make it into the conference center, sometimes we end up in the tabernacle, and recently we've been going to the joseph smith memorial building. after the moring session, we walk down the street to 400 s. and 55 w. to a little afghanistani restaurant called 'baba's' and enjoy their lunch buffet. it's so good that some years we get excited for conference just because we know that baba's will follow.

well jeff and his friends were happily exiting off the freeway yesterday morning and working their way to the zcmi mall to park when jeff looked to his left and did not want to believe what he saw--baba's wasn't there.

this couldn't be.
i made a quick u-turn to be sure, and sadly but surely i was right.

baba's is gone.

i think i may have yelled and screamed in pain and heartbreak, yet, to be honest, i have taken this rather well.
it's gone, but we have our memories, and even have a picture from a few conferences ago.

we had to make some phone calls to other people who were going to meet us there and announce the passing of the great establishment. becky noticed a place called 'curry in a hurry', and since she has been a self-proclaimed curry fan since thailand, it was decided this would be the new meeting place.
except that when we met there shortly after 12, we found it was closed on weekends. we almost went in to a chilean place [i don't know a lot about south and central american cuisine], but seeing as the group had no real concensus on where to go and chile didn't sound exotic enough for me, we continued to wander. we almost went the 'star of india', which was where baba's used to be, but decided it was time to cut that loose and start afresh [too many good memories there], and so we ended up at 'the house of kabob', which offered dishes of 'greek, turkish, and persian' origin.
the food was great and they had a sort of arabian technon in the background.
everyone heartily approved.

a lesser tradition that has developed recently is to stop at mcdonald's at the mall across from temple square before the first session starts. my biscuit meal was good. i should not have gotten the mcgriddle. not that good and way too deadly.

this is one of the two times a year when i watch 10 hours of tv in one weekend and it was great. actually, we had tickets for the saturday afternoon session, which is especially awesome. it's wonderful to be in there, to see president hinckley and the apostles. plus we got to be there to hear elder bednar's talk on the Holy Ghost and elder nelson's words on marriage. those were my two favorite talks, along with elder hales's opening talk on agency.
this is really awesome stuff.

and while i think it is best to be dressed and alert even if you are watching it from home, i slept in this morning [daylight savings time + not sleeping for the past five days] and there is something quite endearing about watching conference in you pajamas with a bowl of cereal.

final word: cree-l kofford's prayer at the priesthood session a few years ago will always be the coolest prayer ever.