Wednesday, April 30, 2014

STILL ALIVE!!

"What began it all was the bright bone of a dream I could hardly hold onto."
- Michael Ondaatje, Running in the Family
This was the accumulated pile of papers from the job.

Been quite a while since I have tried to write, although I did start this post the Saturday before last. More long, stressful days, but only four left now. This whole process has been so interesting, albeit painful psychologically at times. I think what I learned and observed made up for the discomfort and unreasonable pressure. 

There about about twelve us in total on the post-production end of this pilot. Only two females. But I cannot recall another time at work where gender was such a non-issue. A fantastic group of people to work with. No egos, not even at the top. Just a focus on getting the work done.

So, we wait for MC to come out of his edit long enough to approve VFX shots so that we can let the vendors know and go to final.


If you smelled it, you wouldn't think life was so great in the past.
- Michael Atkinson

Later that same lifetime ...

Well, writing is just one good habit with which I am currently out of step. My internal dialog is disrupted, which is not necessarily negative, but I have not resumed my observational vantage point. I did try to get out for a walk over the weekend, in the hopes of resuming my healthier lifestyle, but that has yet to fall into place. So, I am eating too much and exercising too little. Now that it is raining, I don't see that changing immediately.

I'm off to Brooklyn again for my book group, although I haven't read the requisite amount of Proust. I do feel like reading, but Proust is challenging at many pages or hours a day. I did knock off a fun book about those men (mostly) who were behind shows like The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, etc.  Difficult Men: From The Sopranos and The Wire to Mad Men and Breaking BadIt was a fun read, particularly after having worked on the recent project.

So, having tried to be in touch here, I am going to head for bed. The kitties have been completely delicious and very pleased to have me around. Mel and John have been around for the last few days, too, so they are getting lots and lots of attention. 

And as soon as I could, I was back at the stove cooking up a storm, it having been quite a while since I made a real meal. I had to stop so that we could eat it up, but I did make chicken andouille-three bean chili (black, black-eyed peas, and chickpeas), spaghetti sauce, and a nice chicken-vegetable soup. 



Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A LIFETIME OF WHENS


Wish I could get a more nuanced shot of the building on the left.




















Really. Six. Thirty. A.M.




Jackhammers

I hardly think that is fair or civilized. I did need to get up in 45 minutes, but those last minutes of sleep are the deepest, sweetest, most precious. And when you are tired and stressed, those minutes of relief really matter.

I had to move my car for street sweeping today, and I had to get in to the office to have a new budget underway should I be asked about money. I made coffee but I had no time to drink it. By the time I got to the highway-robbery caffeine establishment across the street, Le Pain Quotidien, I was stumbling. The barista over there is an effervescent hoot of brightness and charm. He took one look at me and added a fourth shot of espresso to my tall latte. That's how I wore my exhaustion.

I am hoping for an early night tonight. The rest of the crew is busy getting out the director's cut to the studio, so VFX is not high priority today. Tomorrow the heat will be back on. And hopefully, I will be more rested.

Last night I walked over to the Trader Joe's to get some fast food for dinner. I was so enjoying the city, the wet streets sparkling with lights and twinkling with rain drops, the distant camaraderie of similarly afflicted wet pedestrians rushing in the rain. I felt like a tourist for job a moment. I was just savoring New York. I bought a bottle of red wine at a liquor store I frequented on the way home from both Possible Worlds and FlickerLab, feeling a vague flash of rebirth and nostalgia.

This was all ruined, of course, by a hellish train ride home on the subway. Nothing like knowing your lime popsicles are melting. 

It's fun to be on the subway and look at what people are reading. Yes, there are some of us who still read books. I failed to bring to Brooklyn the volume of Proust I am woefully (yes! woefully!) behind on. I'm reading The Middlesteins which has some nice writing and is, all in all, a good work of fiction, if not literature.

I was musing in the shower this morning on the difference between fiction and literature. Haven't come up with anything yet.

"It has been a lifetime of whens." — Jami Attenberg, The Middlesteins

Great phrase. And something to think about at this birthday moment of reflection. Turning points, decisions, missed opportunities, new acquaintances ... when I went to college, when I moved to New York, when my brother died. Whens.



Monday, April 7, 2014

FLAIL AND RAVE

Ahhhh… An early spring afternoon. I’m having a couple of slices at Mama Lombardi’s, a Holbrook institution since 1976. There’s an open house at the Broadway abode for two hours, but as I have errands to run, it’s no big deal.

The cats always know when something is up, Emmylou especially. She’s very restless and concerned that I was rushing around this morning, cleaning and moving things around. I might try to get in short nap with them before I head back to Brooklyn this evening.

We were so out of it last night. I think I fell asleep at around 10 and couldn’t really get it together to get out of bed until 10. I’m still adjusting to the rigors of this gig. And probably by the time I am adjusted, it will be over. And who knows what’s next. There’s still a possibility of another job, the possibility that I would be assigned to this one, should it go to series. I do know I could use a little brain and spirit space, but I might not get it. And I will not complain. But I might note it.

What I am mostly doing is tracking the special effects shots, assigning them to studios to produce, making sure that they get from the film lab (although there is no film involved) and to those studios ASAP once they have been cut into the episode.  And then crunching numbers, squeezing numbers, massaging numbers, demanding numbers. I live on email and Excel. Better than reds, Vitamin C, and cocaine, I guess. 


Commuting to work on the subway is always a shock when you have been away from it. A young man had a psychotic breakdown on a crowded train one morning. He pushed his way onto a very crowded train, jerking his arms and head spasmodically, muttering things to Allah, and generally causing discomfort throughout the train, although he did not threaten anyone directly. By the time I got off at 23rd Street, he had cleared a good quarter of the car and had many seats to himself, no mean feat at that hour. He continued to flail and rave, showing no signs of recognizing his surroundings. I jumped off at 23rd Street and tried to run down the platform so that I could alert the conductor, but that was not really possible with that crowd. Fortunately, it was one of the stations that still had a human, so I could alert someone to get him help.

Back in Brooklyn and needing to head off to the film mines. Flail and rave, that sounds like my week last week.
So, I work on the third floor of the round building on the corner.My old gig at Possible Worlds was on the 19th floor of the tall building to the right of that. Not the one with the Apple sign, the one behind that.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

THE BEAUTY OF PYJAMAS

Did you know pyjamas is a Persian word? Did you know I am spelling it the British way? 

After another long and challenging day, I got back to Mel and John's and melted into a nice pair of (fashionable DKNY) sweatpants/pyjama bottoms and felt a dark-chocolate surge of comfort. 

My office looks out on the Flatiron Building and a patch of Madison Square or down onto Broadway. There's a two-tier Le Pain Quotidien out the window as well as one of the CitiBike stands. People and jackhammers come and go all the live long day. Not that I am particularly aware of my surroundings.

Looking toward Madison Square.
My typing speed is improving. I need to do a lynda.com Excel course, but I am fumbling along.

On the fun front, SC, the associate producer for the show, is married to one of the biggest music promoters in town. He runs my favorite venue. For my birthday, and because she couldn't go, SC gave me tickets to this, A Tribute to Paul Simon, at Carnegie Hall. Check on the line and check out the line-up. And we had fourth row aisle seats. 

And we got invited to the musicians after party at his venue. And I got to meet Bettye LaVette. Rock and roll.

Gotta scoot. 




Ye old Flatiron.

Cupcakes from the post-production crew.

And some sweet tulips.