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Monthly Archives: January 2005

And the award goes to…

Oh my… I don’t know what to say. First, I’d like to thank the Academy.
OK, so maybe I’m jumping the gun a little to be preparing my Oscar acceptance speech already, but it’s not too soon to start celebrating my nomination. Of course, when I say “my nomination” I mean the nomination of “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” for Best Visual Effects. If you’ve been following my life at all, you’ll know that in 2003 I worked as the Visual Effects Continuity Coordinator for the model unit on HP3. Since working on the film, I’ve been hoping that it would at least receive a nomination for VFX. Now all I have to do is wait for my invitation to the Oscars to show up in the mail. Hmm.. I wonder if the Academy has my current mailing address. I’ll have to look into that.
Oscar invitation or no Oscar invitation, things are going really well right now. I spent this last weekend in Los Angeles. The drive down to LA wasn’t that great because I got a flat tire, which delayed me by two hours and cost me $150. But, at least I got the flat while still in a civilized area. If any of you have ever driven on Interstate 5 between San Francisco and Los Angeles, you’ll know that there countless miles of absolute desolation. Flat tire aside, my trip was great. I got to see my LA friends for the first time since I left in November. That was awesome. When I first got into the LA area, I rolled down my window, and the first thing I thought was “it smells like Southern California.” You know they say the sense most strongly tied to memory is smell. Well, that So. Cal. smell was enough to make me really miss living in LA. Don’t get me wrong, San Francisco is an awesome city, but all of my friends are in LA, not to mention the much more bearable temperatures down south (it was about 80 over the weekend). So getting to hang out with my friends was awesome. I also took the DGA training program test. The test was administered on the USC campus, which I had never been to before this weekend. I always find college campuses fascinating. Even campuses in the middle of big cities tend to have a very isolated feel to them. Columbia in New York, USC in Los Angeles, Northwestern in Chicagoland, etc. You can just feel the academics. There were probably about 700-1000 people taking this DGA test, all competing for approximately 8-12 spots. I had been told that the test was extremely difficult, so I was prepared for the worst, and was pleasantly surprised when the test turned out to be a lot easier than I was expecting. While I did occasionally feel pressed for time, I was never completely stumped or without a clue. In fact, there were some questions that I found to be very fun and engaging. I won’t know how I did for 6-8 weeks, they say, but my first impression is that I did pretty well on the test. I just hope I make it to the next round – application Part B. I’ll keep you all posted on my progress.
Well, I think it’s getting to be about time for me to get to bed. I won’t lie – I’m excited that tomorrow is Friday. That means one more day of work before a well deserved weekend. While I absolutely love my job, I wouldn’t be able to get by without the weekends. We’ll see what I end up doing. Whatever it is, there had better be some Rolling Rock…

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I just can’t help myself…

I try to avoid being overly political in most situations. It’s not that I don’t have any political opinions or viewpoints, just that I don’t like it when people try to push their own politics on others, so I avoid trying to push my politics. But on a day like today, the Presidential Inauguration, I can’t help but feel disgusted by the way some people act. For example, the company that has started catering lunch at our office, Stella Nonna, decided that instead of working today they were going to take the day off to protest the inauguration. Alright, so it’s one thing to be unhappy with the president, but it’s a completely other thing to shut down for the day to protest a political event over which you have no control, not to mention the fact that it’s happening 3000 miles away in Washington, D.C. Four years ago, maybe there was a reason to protest Bush’s swearing in – it was a highly charged and contested election – but today when Bush won the popular vote? Why protest his inauguration when he was clearly chosen by the American public? People are really just protesting his policies, particularly the war in Iraq, but I’d like to know how John Kerry would have done anything better about the war.
OK, let’s look at this John Kerry fellow. Before the war in Iraq was ever started, John Kerry went on record as saying that he would support a war in the Middle East. He was IN FAVOR of the way, and anyone who suggests that John Kerry wouldn’t have taken the U.S. into war just as Bush did is trying to fool themselves. And what about those people who say that Kerry, if he had been elected this past year, would have put an end to the war in Iraq by pulling troops out? Totally false. Kerry openly said that his plan would be to send MORE troops in Iraq – not fewer. Did you read that – MORE troops. So Kerry’s brilliant plan to fix the problems Bush created would be to just send in more force to put a complete end to the opposition forces. Yah, that’s the solution, just kill all the bastards and make the problem go away.
Now, personally, I don’t support all of Bush’s policies, but I feel like he has done a damn good job as President considering everything he has faced in his first four years. OK, the national deficit is ridiculously high, but tell me with a straight face that a democrat could make the deficit go away, or even decrease substantially, while facing issues like September 11. I definitely don’t agree with a constitutional BAN on gay marriage. Do I personally support gay marriage? Not really, but I don’t think it’s right to implement a constitutional ban. But I do support Bush’s tax policies. The American tax system, with its tiered rates, is setup such that poorer people are taxes less than richer people. So what if we lower the tax rates in the higher tax brackets? We aren’t raising rates in the lower brackets, so it’s not like the poor are getting poorer. Maybe the rich get richer, but why is that necessarily a bad thing? The social and economic policies of the democrats encourage poor people to be lazy by just throwing free money at them. I am not against welfare programs, just against the bleeding heart programs that tax the rich at unbelievable rates so that money can be redistributed to people who sit at home all day. Should a doctor who saves lives and get paid $500,000 a year be taxed $250,000 each year so that an unemployed bum can get by without ever working another day in their life?
Well, I think that will end my political rant for the time being… like I said, I generally try to avoid being too political because I don’t want to insult anyone, but on a day like today, I just can’t help myself.

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Half-days and lots of parties

Good evening! So in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday we had a half day at work today. Despite the memo last Friday stating that we would all be leaving at 2 p.m. like it or not, doors locked behind you, etc. etc. I ended up working until about 3:30, and several people were still there when I left. But even though my departure was delayed beyond the 2 p.m. cutoff, 3:30 sure beats leaving at 10 p.m. which has become more or less the custom. After I got off work I decided that I would take advantage of having daylight and I took a nice walk through Golden Gate Park which is only a few blocks away from my house. I walked from about 34th Avenue and Lincoln to the Beach Chalet on the Ocean side of the park, then I walked along the beach back down to Lincoln, and then back through the park to my car at 34th Avenue. It was a beautiful day, so the walk was pleasant and took me about 45 minutes to an hour. Walking along the beach I was shocked at how many surfers I saw. It’s only been about 50-55 degrees here lately, so I can’t imagine how cold the water must be, yet there were the die hard surfers riding the waves.
So this past weekend was great. After work on Friday we had a wonderful “Peasant Feast” hosted by the Larson family (the surviving family of Jonathan Larson, writer of the broadway musical). Most of the cast and crew were at the party along with a group of 6 of Jonathan’s closest friends. Even though Jonathan passed away 9 years ago, all of his family and friends were still very emotional when it came to talking about him and the time they had spent with him. It was a very moving evening, complete with food and drink.
After the feast a group decided that the night was still young, so we went out to bar in the city. When we closed out that bar we moved across the street to another bar, which we also managed to close out. Once we closed out that bar we looked for somewhere else to go, but it turned out that the only nearby places still open were big dance clubs. I found that most interesting given that it was only 2 a.m. in a big city… seemed very Utah-like to close the bars down at 2 a.m. Not really interested in dancing, the group pretty much dispersed, but Emily (one of my co-workers) decided that the night shouldn’t end, so I went over to her place in Oakland to enjoy some wine and good conversation. Finally at around 4:15 she took my back to my car which was still parked on Treasure Island. I managed to get back home at about 5 a.m., and pretty much fell right into bed.
On Saturday, I slept until about 11 a.m. At about that time my phone rang and it was our production accountant, Stevie, asking if I could come by her apartment to help her get some of her electronics set up. I managed to get to her place in Pacific Heights around noon and got her situated. After getting things set up we walked down to her local bar and had some amazing hamburgers. I highly recommend the burgers at Harry’s Bar on Fillmore. All natural Montana beef and delicious. After eating lunch, I headed out and ran a couple more errands, and then walked around a cute little park in Pacific Heights. The views of the city from up there are pretty impressive – no wonder even a small apartment up there can run as much as $15,000 (no, I didn’t add too many zeroes there)! Now, as if that wasn’t enough for my Saturday, I also ended up going to another party in Pacific Heights on Saturday night. I was just doing a little rearranging in my room when Patrick and Christina knocked on my door and told me about this party they were going to that night – I decided to go along. It was a nice party, though with a much older crowd, and besides Patrick (Christina ended up not coming) there was only one other person there that I knew – coincidentally, someone I had met at a church function before Christmas. But it was a pretty good time none-the-less.
After such an active Friday and Saturday, you would probably think that I would try to have a nice relaxing Sunday – WRONG. Instead of sleeping in late and lounging around, I got up at 9 a.m., watched a movie, went to church, ate lunch and then took a little stroll (my first, in fact) through Golden Gate Park. Peaceful enough… but that’s where the leisure ends. After that, I decided to head out to IKEA to look for a futon cover. Huge mistake. The traffic around IKEA was terrible – it took me about 25 minutes just to get from the freeway off-ramp to a parking space at the store. The place was packed – so many people. I ended up not even finding a single futon cover for sale and walked out with only a 99 cent garbage can ($1.08 with tax). I then headed over to the Emeryville Best Buy and GameStop to do a little shopping, though I ended up not buying anything. I then headed home to freshen up before heading to…. yes, another party! I went to a Golden Globe watch party at Stevie’s place… good food and, of course, drinking. I have to say, it was a very different experience to watch the awards show with people in the business – the have a different perspective on the films, directors and actors that most people do. When the Golden Globes finally ended at 11, I drove home, watched an episode of South Park on TV, and then went to bed at 12.
A very busy weekend – thankfully today was a half-day so I wasn’t at work for 14 hours after an exhausting but great weekend.

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Welcome to my good friend, the year 2005!

I’m sure most of you have already met my good friend 2005, but just in case, I’d like to take this time to formally introduce you. I invited 2005 to come and visit for 365 days, and was greatly that my invitation was accepted. Anyway, everyone, this is 2005, and 2005 this is… well, everyone.
I was in Denver partying during the final days of 2004′s visit. I was hoping 2004 and 2005 would be able to meet, but in an unfortunate turn of events 2005 showed up literally an instant after 2004 departed. It always hate it when that happens. It’s funny, but I always seem to meet up with a large ND contingent while I’m in Denver, despite the fact that I’d never spend more than 2 days in the city before this past summer. My sister and I hosted a quaint New Year’s eve party at a beautiful apartment right in downtown Denver which was attended by no fewer that 5 other ND graduates, only two of whom I had ever met while actually at ND. Three other ND grads that I had a chance to hang out with in Denver this past week couldn’t make it to the party, which was a shame since the location was absolutely amazing. While the windows of the apartment overlook the 16th street mall, we decided to watch the fireworks display and welcome 2005 from the roof of the apartment building where the view was absolutely amazing.
Well, while 2005 is in town, I’ve got a lot of exciting plans. In fact as I write this I am actually flying from Denver back to San Francisco. It’s back to work for me tomorrow. Things should really start getting exciting now that 2005 is in town. When I told everyone at my office that 2005 was coming to stay for a while, they decided that it would be a good idea to make a movie while 2005 was around, so that’s what we’ll be focusing on primarily for the coming months. In addition, I’ve decided that while 2005 is around, “friend-turned-deadly poison” will be getting cut from my diet. This deadly poison of which I speak is of course SODA. Many of you probably don’t know that for three years during college I drank absolutely no soda – not one single drop. I even went so far as to inquire at parties whether punches had been made with SPRITE. Only around last May did I start to get back into the habit of drinking soda, and I definitely regret that. I need to get back to my days of water drinking with the occasional tea or hot chocolate. I went without soda for three years, so I don’t doubt that I’ll be able to go without again.
I hope you all had a very happy holiday season, and that you all enjoy the time you get to spend with my friend 2005. If you’d like to have 2005 over for dinner or something, just let me know and we’ll come by.

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