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Monthly Archives: October 2005

Orange & Black Sprinkles

It makes me happy when the smallest things can make me smile and feel like I’ve had a good day. Today while waiting at the airport, for example, I ate a glazed donut with chocolate icing and orange & black sprinkles. The donut didn’t even taste phenomenal – it was a fairly typical donut – but for some reason it just made me happy to be eating it. Here it is almost Halloween and I’m eating an orang & black sprinkled donut in the airport. It was just a nice life-moment.
Of course by the time I get this online I will have already made it back to Salt Lake City, but as I type this I am sitting here in the terminal in LaGuardia airport waiting for them to board my flight to Denver. Then I have an hour layover and will fly on to Salt Lake City. My grandma’s Halloween party is tonight, which I am looking forward to. I’m not sure why, but for some reason she chose Halloween as her very special holiday for which she always has a party. She plans these parties years in advance. I’m not even joking. She keeps all of the details a secret until she send out the invitations but she has the party completely planned at least a year in advance. She claims some of the parties are planned as early as 2 or 3 years in advance. With such advance planning you might think that the party is a lavish event complete with acrobatic spectacles and 200-member choirs with full pipe-organ accompaniment performing specially arranged selections from Faust, Frankenstein and Phantom of the Opera. In truth, though, the parties don’t quite reach this level of fanaticism. But they have a very special significance for the entire family and my grandma pours every ounce of herself into the party, and that’s what makes them superb. This year’s party has a pirate theme, but that’s the only detail I know at the moment. I don’t even know what my costume is yet – my mom and sister have apparently prepared something for me to wear once I make it back to Salt Lake City.
All in all, my time here in New York was decent. It helped me to better appreciate what NYC has to offer as a place to live, but at the same time it convinced me that it is not the type of place I want to work. Perhaps if I were in investment banking, making $50K a year and working more normal hours I wouldn’t mind working in the city, but it is waxing on intolerable for me in this industry, at least as a PA. Perhaps I wouldn’t mind working in NYC later in my career.

Not that you would know it for any other reason than for the fact that I am telling you, but I have just now boarded the plane that will take me from Denver to Salt Lake City. I only had about an hour on the ground in Denver. I managed to get connected to the internet by sitting under the Red Carpet Club. United’s clubs are T-Mobile HotSpots and I have HotSpot service through T-Mobile, so I was able to sign on that way. It was very convenient and allowed me to quickly check a few sports scores on ESPN. I’m hoping UCLA beats Stanford by at least 8 points in today’s match-up… I have a few dollars on UCLA to win by at least 7.5 points. That game should start shortly after I arrive in Salt Lake, giving me the opportunity to assess the situation and make any adjustments that might be necessary.

I am now in the air after being delayed by about 45 minutes on the ground. After they closed the aircraft door (thereby requiring all electronic devices be shut down) we sat for about 10 minutes before the captain came on and announced that they were having some difficulty communicating with the ground crew who were set to push us back. We had to wait 20 minutes for a mechanic to show up and then after he fixed the minor wiring problem we sat for another 10 minutes while they filed the required maintenance paperwork. Only then could we push back. Thankfully I will still make it back in time, though now I will have a little less time to prepare for the party than I had hoped.
I am extremely tired, you don’t even know. Over the past week and a half or so, I have been keeping a very bizarre schedule. Working days part of the week and nights another part of the week, then going back to days and then doing a 19 hour day & night shoot is just not easy. I am definitely operating on a sleep deficit at the moment, something I hope to at least partially correct while I am in Utah for a few days. Tomorrow morning I should be able to sleep in as late as I want, and likewise on Monday. Tuesday I am guest-speaking at my high school (Judge) and then on Wednesday, Nov. 2, I am heading for Los Angeles. I don’t know what Los Angeles has in store for me right now, but I know I will make something happen there.
So as I was just sitting on the plane on the ground, unable to use my computer or my iPod, and having no book to read, I was thumbing through United’s Hemispheres magazine. I wondered how long it would take before such a thing was available on an airplane, and I discovered in an ad that the Japanese airline ANA is now offering wireless internet access on their aircraft on transpacific flights. Of course, there is bound to be an access charge for that, but isn’t it amazing how much technology has progressed even in just the past few years? Now we can virtually be connected to the rest of the world no matter where on the planet we find ourselves. Cellular and satellite phones can keep us connected by voice, wireless broadband internet access keeps us up to date with news and e-mail – and all of these things are available even at 35,000 feet in the air.
Fame is a funny thing. Take a normal person and put them in a movie, pay them a lot of money and suddenly they are better than they used to be. Here’s an interesting anecdote from a recent day of shooting. We have several celebrity cameos in Across the Universe including Eddie Izzard, Bono and Joe Cocker. One day last week we were shooting with Joe Cocker in the Lower East Side. Of course, being Manhattan there were lots of pedestrians and many of them wanted to stop and watch what was going on. One particular group of three young boys (maybe 8-12 years old) was standing on the corner right by me across the street from Joe. One of the boys said to the others, “That’s Joe Cocker.” The youngest of them, who had previously been completely uninterested in the Joe’s presence, asked, “Is he famous?” Upon being informed that Joe Cocker was famous the boy couldn’t seem to get enough of the guy. I feel that this anecdote helps to illustrate that fame doesn’t really have anything to do with WHO a person is. It is purely an arbitrary assignment by popular culture. If simply saying that someone is famous is enough to entitle a person to the attention that fame gets, is there really any value to fame at all?
I’ve decided that I really miss San Francisco. Of all the places I have lived over the past year and a half, I think San Francisco has been by far my favorite. Being a major metropolitan area, it offered all of the benefits of a city, but at the same time is was neither as cruel as New York, nor as spread out and plastic as Los Angeles. I made some amazing friends in San Francisco, all of whom I miss terribly, and all of whom I am very much looking forward to seeing later this year if I am able to make it up to San Francisco for the RENT Cast & Crew screening in November. I really wish there were more work in San Francisco.
I’ve recently been trying to discern my vocation in life. As much as I love working in production, I have recently been feeling that there is something in my life that is missing. I considered leaving production and working for a studio, perhaps in studio finance, but after contemplating that, I am not convinced that would help fill the void I am feeling. I know that I can be extremely successful in my currently chosen line of work – I have yet to work on a job where I have not been told that directly by the people I work with – and yet, I still feel as if I haven’t found EXACTLY the right job. I hope that my move to LA will help me with my discernment. Perhaps I have just been experiencing this vacancy as a result of constantly being on the move and not really having a “place of my own.”
So the Captain has just announced that we would be landing in Salt Lake City in 20 minutes. I miss home. I miss the mountains and the desert air. I miss the crisp, clean winter mornings and that feeling you have when you wake up the morning after a snowfall. I miss the trees changing colors in the fall, painting the mountain sides. I miss my suburban lifestyle, my house with a yard, and my family. I miss the smell of the desert after a refreshing spring rain. Sadly, all of the places that I love are the places where it is hardest for me to make a career.
Well, it is now time to shut down my computer for landing… Soon enough you will all be reading this on

Categories: A Day in the Life | Comments Off

Oh Rejoice, All Ye Faithful

All Ye Faithful, Rejoice!
For neither rain nor wind,
Nor darkness nor anxiety
Can keep long from you that
Which brings you great comfort.
All Ye Faithful, Rejoice!
And keep close watch, for you
Know neither the day, nor the hour
That the veil will lift and
A new journal entry will await!!
All Ye Faithful, Rejoice!
That day is at hand!
All Ye Faithful, Rejoice!
Good morning troopers. It’s about 10 a.m. here on Tuesday morning, October 25. I’ve been keeping very busy working here in New York, which partially explains why I haven’t been keeping the journal as current as I like to. Work days typically are no shorter than 15 hours, leaving me generally with only 9-10 hours before I have to be to work the next day, so as you can imagine, my time is spent almost entirely working or sleeping. But I’ve been enjoying the job. Now, don’t mistake me, the job has an extreme stress level. Most of my job is to keep people from walking into our shot. For the most part, this means standing on busy New York City sidewalks and asking people to either stop and wait for about 5 minutes while we shoot or to walk a different direction. In New York, that is not easy. I have had more than one encounter with difficult people who have done such things as yell at me (a story which spread throughout the crew quite quickly, I might add) or run me straight over, nearly knocking me down. In part because of this level of stress, I have decided to leave New York at the end of this week. I decided that for the amount of money they are paying me, the level of stress is just not worth it. So I’m returning to Los Angeles where I can get paid about the same, have a lower cost of living, and work in less stressful conditions. To make the pot sweeter, the weather in LA is also better. So I will be leaving New York this Saturday and taking a few days in Salt Lake before I drive to Los Angeles.
Now, don’t misunderstand me. It’s not this job in particular that has caused me stress. As I understand it, basically every show is like this. The crew on Across the Universe is great. Everybody gets along and works well together. We’ve worked on some pretty cool shots, including a shot last week where we blew up a building. We didn’t demolish it, just blew out the front of the building and set the whole thing on fire.
The weather here in New York has been typical to the Northeast. A few days that are sunny and nice, followed by miserable, rainy days. Today is such a day. In fact, I was supposed to work today, but because of the weather, they decided to go to the sound stage, where I don’t work. This turns out to be a blessing, though, since I am totally not ready to leave on Saturday. So I will be spending the day getting ready to go. Then later on in the afternoon/evening, I will be getting together with Johnny who is in town from Harvard Law interviewing with some New York firms. I met up with him for dinner Sunday and last night, and hopefully we’ll get together again tonight for a bit. Coincidentally, he is going to Los Angeles for interviews from about Nov. 2-6, which is right at the same time that I am going to be getting there. So we’ll have seen each other in three major U.S. cities within a month (I visited him in Boston over Columbus Day weekend).
Well, I have a lot of preparing to do, but I didn’t want to keep all of my faithful waiting much longer. Stay tuned for more updates…

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Interesting birth information

I was watching Animal Planet today. The show was talking about the world’s most extreme births in the animal world. Apparently, the 9 banded armadillo always gives birth to identical quadruplets. In addition, the female 9 banded armadillo can choose to delay her pregnancy by up to three years. She can elect to prevent the embryo from implanting in her uterus if there is a drought or other environmental factor that could be detrimental to the life of her young.
Aphids, animals with some of the shortest life expectancies in the world, are virtually all female, and they are all born pregnant in the spring! Males of the species only “develop” later in the year during the summer. At this time, their sole purpose is to mate with the winged females who surived the summer. The autumn females lay the eggs which hatch the following spring – all female and all pregnant.
Interested in some information about the most prolific human breeders? What would you imagine the world record is for the most children mothered by one woman? If your guess is 69 children, you would be correct! That’s right, between 1725 and 1765, one woman in Russia gave birth to 69 children – 16 sets of twins, 7 sets of triplets and 4 sets of quadruplets. The woman’s first name is unknown, but she was the wife of Feodor Vassilyev.
The most prolific father of all time, you might not be surprised, was an emperor. By 1703 at the age of 57, the Sharifian Emperor of Morocco, Mulai Ismail fathered at least 352 daughters and 525 sons. By 1721, is is believed that he had over 700 sons, though the exact number is unknown.

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