Thursday, October 02, 2008

Ah, Those Summer Daze...Royal Pains & Life On Mars

Well, the summer is over and I finally have a few days off before the next job starts. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I spent the first part of the summer working on "Life On Mars", starring former Marine, and fellow madman, Harvey Keitel (Harvey Keitel, Once, Always Forever...). This was immediately followed by a television pilot called "Royal Pains". (No that doesn't refer to our bosses, they're Union guys too and our buddies. In this business, the guy you're working for today could well be working for you tomorrow.) While it's true I only enjoyed two weekends off since June, the work was challenging and most enjoyable. Of course, as I've always said, you can have the hardest job in the world, it's the people you work with who make it either easy or difficult, and our crew was topshelf.

The boys say goodbye to summer.
Union Brothers all, but not all on the same job, we met on the corner of Russell and Greenpoint every night after work for a little tailgating. From left to right, standing: Ronnie, myself, Indy and Manny. Kneeling: Digger and Bullfrog.

Ron Petagna Jr. led the charge as Construction Coordinator. He's a great guy who knows how to hire a crew and let them work - without micro-managing. (A trick a lot of guys much older with far more experience would do well to learn.) He always made sure we had everything we needed to get the job done, on time and under budget, even if he had to go out and get it himself. Working for Ron is both a pleasure and a privilege.

One of our locations on Royal Pains was at the Catalina Beach Club on Atlantic Beach, Long Island. As you can see, the weather was beautiful and the work went quickly and easily. Here we have Manny (General Foreman), myself and the Bullfrog relaxing on the veranda above the pool, with the Atlantic Ocean in the background, at lunch. Just over Froggy's shoulder you can make out two ships at anchor.

Right after this we wandered down to the beach itself where I found a set of keys half buried in the sand. All morning long, we had noticed a young woman walking up and down the beach with her little terrier. By the time we got there, she was 20 yards away, carrying her tired little pooch. I was the first to hit the beach, (Hell, aren't all Marines?). After Manny made some wisecrack about me being old enough to remember the landing at Normandy, I looked down, shaking my head, and there, half buried in the sand, was a set of keys. Picking them up I saw that there was a house key and a key to a Lexus. Turning to Manny and Froggy, I shouted that I had just found a new Lexus, all we had to do was hit the parking lots and see which car opened when I pressed the remote! Of course I was joking, but the young lady heard me and clutching her doggie ran up to me, shouting, "Keys? Did you say Keys? Lexus?" It seems she had dropped them hours ago while taking her pooch for a morning stroll on the beach and was about to give up and call a locksmith to get into her car, and her apartment! Silly girl, she didn't have a spare key to her abode which is where the spare key to her new Lexus SUV was! We were happy to be able to help her and we all declined the reward she offered, but you can bet we gently admonished her to get spares made asap. I can't tell you how many times I've locked my own keys in my truck, at times with the motor running, so I carry 2 spares and nail one to the wall of the toolroom on whatever job I'm on - doh! All in all, a great day at the beach - with a good deed thrown in to boot!

The only down side to the summer was that I didn't get to spend a lot of time with my Lady, the magnificent magster, but I can assure you that the time we had together was, uh, well spent, lol.

Looking forward, the prospect for work looks good. I work in a recession-proof industry- entertainment, although the Screen Actors Guild could still throw a major monkey wrench into the works. It seems the negotiators for the Guild have asked the National Board for a Strike Authorization and that ain't good. Could bring production to a screeching halt, in which case I'll have more time than I want to blog. Makes me glad I piled it on this summer! I have already turned down two jobs in Philly, they just wouldn't match my rate, but no matter, I expect to be on a new job in New York by Monday. In the meantime, I plan on doing some work on the house here in Philly and catching up on you, my online buds! Hope your summer was as good as mine.

Pax Tibi!


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