Friday, June 30, 2006

pretty much the best volunteer job ever

so last saturday i hardly got any sleep, getting home late from san jose and getting up early to volunteer at a baby contest. now, i'm not really sure what i think about the idea of a baby contest, where parents subject their infant children to the scrutiny of strangers [college kids with no formal human-classification training]. on the other hand, the kids are too little to understand whether they are judged to be a 'good egg' or otherwise, so it can't be too damaging. [reportedly, there were some 18-month olds who could do sign language....]
my job was help with the stroller congestion. i made myself a sign that i clipped on my back and a smaller one for my front, saying 'my name is jeff and i can take your stroller for you.'
may i say, i was a darn good stroller patroller.

now this weekend, i'm working with the stadium of fire. the same girl who got me involved in the baby event helped us sign up for the stadium of fire and promised us 'cool jobs'.
man, did she come through in spades.

i didn't get on as an assistant stage manager, but me and my friends are on the props crew. the morning was kind of slow, as we didn't really know each other or what we were supposed to be doing. but i did like the perks like having giant coolers all over the cougar stadium full of drinks for us to take at our heart's desires, the cool official passes that hung around our necks, and the occiasional golf cart drive.

the run-through rehearsal tonight, however, was aweseome.

me and mark [my new roommate] got ourselves some radios also, making us look that much cooler and official, so much that some teenage kids asked us how they could get passes like ours.

but we didn't have time to talk, as we made our way through the crowds down to the tank.
yes, a large, real tank.
we made sure it was able to move around without killing anyone as it drove onto the field to fire at the end of the opening patriotic number.
and to the credit of the adolescent dancers on the field right in front of it, only one girl lost her poise when that thing blasted.

from there we rush back to the other end of the stadium and help set up for the family competition, hosted by raven symone. on our way, american idol winner taylor hicks passes us in the hall, and he looks me in the eye. i've seen about a total of five minutes of the show that brought forth his fame, so i feel a little sheepish about bandwagonly thinking it's cool to see him,
but he does have one heck of a strut. i would have voted for him for that alone.
why he looks at me, i cannot say for sure. but i have been told for many years that i have a very distinctive walk [though i think it has changed over time] and i think he can sense that in me.....

the actually competing families will not be playing the games tonight, leaving the amazing props crew to enact the bedlam for the rehearsal.
raven comes out and is pretty cool, being a genuinely good sport while reading from her cue cards that seem rather inaccurate as she introduces the families.
game one has mom putting a hot dog in a bun, then having child #1 shooting 'ketchup' from a classic-style bottle across the stage onto said hot dog.
mom passes to dad, played byy me, child #2 repeats with 'mustard'. i then run over
to raven who slops 'relish' on the hot dog and places it on the tv tray.
whomever has the most at the end wins that game.

we won, and i left rather soaked. i'm very grateful that tonight was just water, and not the corn-syrupy condiment concoction that we will be making for tomorrow.

something happens on the main stage, but i forget what.

game two involves dad [again played by the author of 'sheep go to heaven'] being dressed in several layers of clothes, each family member adding a different layer. we again whalloped the other family, and got my picture with the former 'cosby show' actress.

attention then goes back to the main stage for battle of the oldies tribute bands. this exhibition is made up of 'majesty' the queen wannabes, 'still surfing', channeling the great beach boys, and 'almost abba', who are almost swedish.

what makes this really kind of fun is that each act also has a group of groupie-dancers down in front of their stage. while i have respect for queen and all those who try to be them, and the beach boys' 'pet sounds' is my #1 'desert island' cd, it's 'almost abba' who really does get me
dancing for all of this.
with 'dancing queen', 'waterloo', and 'mama mia',how can i resist you?

then mr. hicks comes out and sings his songs.
sure, whatever. i like some of kelly clarkson's music that i hear on the radio, but never have gotten into american idol.
this dude does play a mean harmonica, though. that's really cool.

us prop crew peoples are hoping he'll be a little more of an entertainer tomorrow night when there're actual people in the seats.

but we just hang out with raven on our little side stage.
now, i do feel a little guilty about this.
see, i know her mostly as that cute little girl who said cute little things to the legendary bill cosby on what is probably the greatest television show in history.
but she's done a lot since then, evidently even having some show where she has psychic powers [works for me....] and being friends with hilary duff. this means there are lots of cute teen and pre-teen dancer girls all around us who would give their right foot to talk with raven, yet the
security people keep them away from her. while we all sit and talk about american idol and how none of us really know much about it.

said she, 'for someone who's a tv personality, i don't watch much tv.'

i feel better for not having seen her eponymous show.

please don't imagine us sitting there in normal clothes. rather, picture me in a clear poncho, wearing safety goggles [raven gets trendier-looking safety glasses] and a hat that looks like a rather shallow bucket with large nails coming from it, for that is indeed what it be.
see, for game three, the family members throw water balloons at dad, who attempts to harpoon them and catch the water in the bucket-hat and dump it into another bucket.
as fun as it sounds, and our family won again, getting me on camera with raven all over the stadium's nu skin big screen in my goofy get-up.
you really don't imagine these moments in your life, but when they come, you treasure them forever.

we used water today, but for the actual event, it will be a goopy corn syrup mixture.
goo, indeed.

yes, i'm rather sad that i missed an invitation to go to lagoon, but this was a seriously dang evening.
i'm excited for tomorrow.

[i'm in the red shirt in the back, there....]

Monday, June 26, 2006


...her sick lullabyes...

and now that i sit down to write, nothing comes out.

every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end

p.s. you rock my world

Saturday, June 24, 2006

six days to heaven

i don't recommend shooting a feature-length movie in six days with non-actors, an improvised script, no budget and very slim pre-production; especially if you have minimal film production experience yourself.

yes, it was quite an experience.

it was a very frustrating and trying experience at times, to be sure, but the interesting thing about film production is that every project brings with it advantages and disadvantages. it was nice being the big guy again, fun working with people who had no egos and were simply interested in learning about making movies, and i do love teaching people what i know in those moments of down time.
and i love setting up a light and making a scene look better, even if i only have one kino and a bounce board....

and i met some really cool people who liked my work and asked me about working on other projects they are doing later, so this could be a springboard for bigger things.

i learned a few things about myself down there.

i learned that i will not give false praise. if i didn't think a scene was very interesting, i could not bring myself to tell the director otherwise. but i am also not one to speak unkind things [well, they do slip from time to time, but i try my best], and so work to say what good i can about a situation.

i also learned that i take my work seriously and do my best to do my best.

i learned that i will often not fight for attention, but will let others have it if they want it. that sounds like a good thing, but sometimes it doesn't feel like it.

i got to see 'newsies' on the car ride home and really enjoyed it. [making my sister very happy that i finally saw a movie that she thinks makes me more 'cultured'.]
i also saw the new 'pride and prejudice', although i couldn't hear it very well. i thoroughly enjoyed it and would be interested in knowing what they were saying.

i'd been to 'in and out burger' once before, and thought it was perhaps a little overhyped, seeing that they only had about four things on the menu; and while it was good, i couldn't see what all the fuss was.
we stopped at one in reno on the way home, and i loved it.
but that's because i learned something about it one the drive there;
there are 'codes' you can use to order.
for example, if you order a burger 'animal style', it comes with sauteed onions and some other goodies. 'protien style' comes wrapped in lettuce, sans the bun.
when we got to the cashier, my friend asked the girl what other styles there were.
her eyes darted, and she said 'that's all that there are'.
what a poor liar.
but a great marketing campaign.
because now i really want to know what other styles they have, so that i can be part of the inner circle.
we both got the 'animal style'--very delicious.

i learned something else interesting; kirk was pitching an idea for his dream movie and naming the actors he'd love to have play the roles. for his star, he mentioned someone i'd worked with before, and i groaned. i explained that this actor was, in my opinion, difficult to work with and not very disciplined, which kind of make kirk reconsider [this was just a dream list, but still....] what's interesting is that, on that project, i was just a lowly loader, quietly working in the background, and this actor never even knew my name. yet now i was in a more influential position, and my observations of this guy carried some weight.
so remember that people are watching you at all times.

driving back from san jose, we took a few wrong turns and got to see san francisco [pretty cool] and a town called 'cool, ca'.

final word:

police officer: 'i saw that you slowed down to 93 as you went around that curve, so i knew you weren't a speed-crazy. what were you doing, anyway?'

chelsea: 'singing along to newsies.....'

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

not the way i imagined it

long story short: i am leaving in a few hours to drive to san jose and shoot a feature-length movie on a video camera for seven days. this promises to be interesting.
if i can't post while i'm down there, i'll have a lot to say when i get back.

right now, i am just really tired.
i don't think i'll be sleeping much for a while.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

jeffrey g and the self-fulfilling prophecy

as i mentioned earlier, i've been reading the complete calvin and hobbes lately.

i grew up reading calvin and hobbes, their antics being an indespensible part of the morning, along with the far side, garfield, peanuts, cathy, blondie, hagar the horrible, beatle bailey, and pretty much most every other strip on the page that wasn't a 'dramatic' strip [i've always wondered, does anyone read 'mary worth'? what about 'rex morgan, m.d.'? maybe it's really suspenseful, were i to just give it a time to learn the characters....]. interestingly, i usually read 'the lockhorns', too, even though i didn't think of it as one of 'mine.' i never laughed at it, but then, i never really laughed at most of the strips apart from 'the far side' and 'calvin and hobbes'.

sadly, i think most of the strips exist on the page for that reason--we don't laugh at them, but they take roughly 23 seconds to read, and so become a habit small enough to maintain without demanding much result from it; it wasn't funny enough to warrant even a smile, but i have read 'blondie' for today.

i remember reading a sunday strip a few years ago that i wish i would have saved as an example. it was 'the born loser', one of those never-funny staples that only appeared on sunday.

first frame: man is standing in the open doorway, apparently coming home from work; his wife is standing inside.
text: 'hello gladys!'

second frame: looks the same as the first:
text: 'hello [whatever his name is]!

i imagine the cartoonist leaning back, relaxing--yes! two frames done already....

third frame: blocking of characters is roughly the same.
text, man: 'i doubled the value of our car today.'

fourth frame: again, little change.
text, wife: 'oh, what did you do?'

final frame:
text, man: 'i filled it with gas.'

and guffaws all around!

i use this only in contrast to reading calvin and hobbes.

bill watterson took the current condition of the comic strip and raised the bar far beyond where it was [and likely perhaps were it had ever been] to an outlet of artistic expression worthy of preservation along the apexes of any other medium. he cites 'peanuts', 'pogo', and 'krazy kat' as other great works and sources of inspiration. i am unfamiliar with the latter two, watterson himself lamenting that they are unavailable and unknown nowadays, and i know peanuts only from their waning twilight years.

the strip was not only very funny, but also insightful and thought-provoking. in fact, it was more-often intellectually stimulating than it was consistantly laugh-aloud funny. many episodes do not end with a timid attempt at a 'punchline' [as do nearly all other funny page series'], but with a smirk or a wink and a smile, as though watterson is being as humorous as he needs to be here, because you have been presented with a thought or conversation that is more rewarding than a laugh.
as the reader, we agree.

calvin and hobbes is a world full of ideas. occasionally, and especially in the later years, the three or four panels were melded into a one or two frames when conciseness was all that was needed. but there are no wasted words or wasted space. commentary and philosophy [both urban modern and neo-classical] abound in paragraphs within the tiny world.

that is not surprising, when both characters have as their namesakes notable thinkers of the recent few centuries. calvin's materialistic and cynical attitude comes from the great fatalist john calvin, while the outside-humanity observations of his tiger come from thomas hobbes, a philospher whose dim views of mankind are recorded in such writings as 'the leviathon', one of those great works so far down on my 'to read' list that i will never get there.

in addition to it's rich writing, 'calvin and hobbes' is a work of visual art. said robin williams, 'bill watterson draws chairs and lamps and tables that are fun to look at.' the writing is so engrossing that it is easy to fly from one frame to the next, yet there is so much to see and appreciate. no one ever remains in the same position; the characters are alive and move, sit down, stand up, adjust their glasses, rest an arm on a chair, or wave their hands as they pontificate. the sunday strip colors are equally impressive, sometimes delicate and brilliant in a landscape, and sometimes breaking into artistic monochrome for a single panel, using the attributes of the medium.

in a sense i cannot define, i think the strip and its ensuing world is so beloved because it rings true within each of us. i felt uneasy a few nights ago when i found some of calvin's rantings sounding a little too familiar in my own voice.
but calvin is only six years old: he isn't fully accountable for his actions yet, and is trying to figure out this world into which he is stepping. he knows that poll results are what make changes, although doesn't understand where those numbers come from; fantasizes of doing well in school and the accompanying warm glow of success, despite being a complete nightmare for ms. wormwood and the nameless principle, and he readily finds things more interesting than book reports; is perplexed by girls yet deep down seems to suspect they may be valuable at some point [that susie continues to say 'hi' to him throughout the years is itself a remarkable tribute to the kindness of girls everywhere]; loves his mom and really does trust her for everything despite kicking and screaming at nearly every attempt she gives to help; and at the end of the day, he is a little kid who just wants to be with his best friend and feel safe.

last night, calvin's dad was going through the mail they recieved, noting the fashion magazines which pointed out now imperfect we were and promised to supply products that would fufill the same needed it had created and thereby provide happiness and self-worth; magazines selling lifestyles contructed outside of reality that we did not know existed but now need.
and, since we live in a soceity based upon such free market consumerism, to throw away such capitalistic propoganda would make him some sort of terrorist [this was back when terrorist was a funnier word].

the series gives us commentary and observations on the exploding society in which we live; a world that is changing and growing faster and bigger than anyone can begin to understand; one in which we feel like six-year olds.

when we need to step back from the confusing reality and be with a friend, 'calvin and hobbes' is our stuffed tiger.

Monday, June 12, 2006

goats go to hell

em got me into this whole blogging thing.
[i've never called her 'em', but that's how she refers to herself, so i'm just trying to fit in; i think 'mle' is cooler, personally]

i got a Christmas card from her [probably hand-made, although it looked like something from a trendy downtown store] that had some web address stamped on the back.

being that this was in the barren winter months, i checked it out and found that it was a sort of journal she was keeping on-line; an amusing commentary on her evolving life that revolves around her husband, her job, and the bun in the oven. reading it, oh how i wished for a desk job from which i could muse about the oddities around me.

with all that time to think, i wondered if i could write something worth reading.
maybe, although i also really liked the look of her blog, with a cool layout and color-scheme, and i know nothing about web design or computer programming stuff.
i didn't know how to make a blog.

come to find out, that's all a template at the click of a button. my awe of mle remains unaltered [i think she's a super-hero, and all this stuff she writes is a just a clever front], and i'm am happy to find that i could have a neat-looking blog, too. [i sometimes see other peoples' blogs that are much more design-ish, having broken from the provided templates. i get a little envious and curious, but their content is generally so dull that my worry soon dissipates]
her wonderful choices of pictures was a big inspiration, too.

and thus began the end of my personal journal and the start of 'sheep go to heaven', which i think is a fine blog name, although i am very, very happy that my site address is what it is.

my personal journal, which i actually kept pretty faithfully for nigh a year or more, is somewhat bland. i hate the thought of crafting any sort of good or interesting writing in a place where it would most-likely be read only when i'm in the cold ground; it seems like a travesty. if i put work into something that i think is cool, i would like people to notice it.
so my decendants will all think great uncle jeff was a poor writer.

i really should be saving these postings somewhere of my own, just in case the servers get hit by a hurricane or a meteor or charging rhino [i have no idea where they are].

but i love writing in this far more than i ever imagined.
part of it is due to the medium, that i can write in an anonymous environment, then put it out for all the world to see. no deadlines, no editors demanding more public-pleasing material or that i 'be more funny', or even that i check my facts [though i do try to keep a sort of professional discipline here, for my own good].
i would like to think that there are scores of readers from around the world who have '' bookmarked as a part of their morning routine, and the occasional comment from an unknown screen name fuels such dreams. yet, i know that i have even half a dozen friends who like to hear about jeff, which is really a better audience that masses who don't know me. [and if jekakah doesn't get her new job, my readership extends into alaska....]

still, my goal is to one day be featured on the 'blogs of note' slot on the site's homepage.

...but those seem reserved for blogs with a theme, like the guy who ranked every single beatles song and provided commentary for why.
or m.c. hammer's blog.
i did like the blog that was written entirely in 'wookie.'

even in one post, there are multiple outlets of expression:
generally, the posting itself is an essay on some idea or theory, a journal entry with enough care to make it readable and hopefully entertaining, or sometimes just a piles of thoughts.
but i've also got a title from which to work, where i either set the tone for the following writings , or else express a completely different thought or emotion [the 'goat' stuff], often obscurely enough that only i know what it's referring to, so that i have emoted without any sort of unnecessary exposure that i may regret or blush at later on.
the picture goes the same. sometimes it reinforces one or both of the others, or sometimes it speaks from the more quiet chambers of the heart.

reading a lot of my old e-mails, i am often a little disappointed with myself. my ideas weren't very developed or well presented, or i was irrational and thoughtless in a moment, or i worried and fretted over that which was of little consequence a short time later. perhaps that means i have grown since that time.
as i re-read my postings here, i don't feel that way.
i feel pride [the good kind].
i'm happy with what i've written.
there have been days when i've wanted to write rain or heavy fog or hellfire, but i considered that this was going before all the world and history, and re-considered what i wanted to leave.
i've done alright.

here are nine postings i like:

wouldn't it be nice

the other first best picture

reason #256 why i love my sister

my movie

and maybe it's time to live

planet telex at the video store

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

only a lad

dead man's party

to all who have read my blog, whether you check it every day or just stumbled across it and read a post, thank you.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow. meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow; meow meow, meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow. meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow; meow meow meow meow meow me'ow meow meow. meow meow meow meow meow meow meow-meow meow meow. meow meow meow meow, meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow, meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow, meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow.

meow meow meow meow, meow, meow meow meow meow meow meow, meow meow meow meow 'meow meow' meow meow meow
meow meow meow [meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow], meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow; meow, meow meow, meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow? meow meow meow meow meow meow, meow.
meow meow meow meow meow meow meow. meow meow meow, meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow. meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow; meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow. meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow.... meow meow meow meow meow meow. meow meow meow meow 'meow meow meow meow meow meow'. meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow; meow, meow meow meow meow meow meow, meow meow meow, meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow. meow, meow meow. meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow.
meow meow meow [meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow] meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow? meow meow. meow meow meow me'ow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow; meow meow meow meow meow meow, meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow. meow.
meow meow meow.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

writer's blog

or would it be called 'blogger's block'?

whatever it is, i have a case of it.

i can't write.

i have composed numerous essays and possible themes from which to write in my mind, yet none do i feel are worth putting up here in blog #98.

i have considered quoting jane austen, discussing my senior year of high school ['98], or last night's incident of the towed car and the unsettling display of female talent that followed in obtaining the car; all ideas terminate in frustration or futility.

nothing to say.

nothing to comment on .

like a wet bottlerocket.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

declaration of principles

work can come out of nowhere in this freelance life.

today i turned on my phone to find a message from some guy in salt lake whom i knew by name only. he was looking for a loader on a movie in town next week. monday through friday, paying good rates with a good-sounding crew; three panavision cameras [easiest cameras to load] on a nice truck and shooting all days [no nights]. just what i needed, i called my baseball boss to see if he could part with me for a week. it turns out they had called him for the same job... he told me to go for it, so i called the guy back and said to count me in.
wow. maybe i could afford to ghana to next month.

when i gave him my e-mail address,, he asked if i was a byu student. i replied that i was a cougar, and he told me that this movie was rated-r, and asked if i was uncomfortable with that. i appreciated his consideration on that, i asked to have some time to think about it.

talking about it with a friend on the phone, the answer came more clearly than i thought it would.
most jobs outside of the mtc [which happens to be where my friend teaches] are going to bring with them a less than ideal environment. coarse language is unfortunately difficult to avoid. and i have worked on several projects where the crew members cursed so frequently that they may as well have been doing a scene from 'goodfellas.'

but the difference with doing an r-rated movie is that my name will be attached to it. i will be working to produce a product that will not be something i am pleased to be connected with [and i am speaking from a moral standpoint, not artistic; i did work on 'the r.m.', after all]. i try to take my job seriously, giving my effort and time to and end result that i feel is worthy to have 'jeff gustafson' appear at the end of it.

that understanding provided the answer and reasoning i was looking for.
the choice was no longer a question.

i went through nearly every camera-friend in my phone in trying to find someone to take my job--it did give me a chance to get caught up with some old school friends, and in the end i did find someone to take the job.

that has always been a bit of a question for me.
it feels good to have an answer now.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

talk of cicadian rhythms

i thought i had beat it.
getting back to my house on tuesday around 5:30, i was ready to collapse, but after a much-needed shower, i felt somewhat invigorated, and so finished out my day, with highlights including the two-hour season finale of '24' with some other friends who had missed it and were dying to see it.
yes, jack bauer did save the world.

i went to bed at 12:30 that night [a good time], and awoke to the sun shining in and
the sounds of childrens outside my window. no, it was not 10 or 11, but 2:13 p.m.
14 solid hours of sleep to complement the 32 that i enjoyed getting from east
to west. and when i was getting yawny later that evening, i thought i had pulled it off and was on occidental schedule.
but alas, i cannot beat my biology.

read 'the complete works of calvin and hobbes' [the comics, not the philosophy]
[actually, those classifications are rather inclusive....] until 1, tossed until 2, and must have slept for a few hours, because i next remember having dreamt and felt a severely 'asleep' left arm.
and so now i have a jump start on my next day.

i can write, read, and wal-mart and macy's are open 24 hours.

the catch is that i will be getting dead tired about the time i head to work.
i need the money, but crashing my car on i-15 might not be worth it.