Saturday, March 01, 2008
Farewell for a while!
Well, now that the Writer's Strike has reached a successful conclusion, (Strike Officially Over - Contract Ratified With 93.6% Approval), it's time once again, for me to put down the "pen" and pick up the "hammer". In short, I am going back to work.
I am scheduled to begin at Steiner Studios in Brooklyn a week from Monday. I understand it's another Disney job. I say, "I understand", because when you've been doing this as long as I have all you need to know is the when and where. People ask me, "What are you working on?" I tell them, "A picture."
"Well, who's in it?"
"I don't know." "
What's it called?"
"I don't know."
"Do you know what it's about"
"Well, what do you know?"
"Where and when."
Anyway, to give the curious a better idea of what it is exactly, that I do, I have posted a few pictures from my last job for Disney, "Enchanted"
Enjoy. See you in a couple of months!
Yours truly, preparing to so some millwork on a Delta 10" cabinet table saw. One of the most useful tools in the shop, it is also the most dangerous. Your fingers are so close to the blade any distraction while operating it can earn you a nickname like 'Stubby"or "Digits" A friend of mine earned the nickname "Keyway" on one of these. He cut a perfect 1/8" grove through his thumb - hence keyway. Delta makes a fine machine, (I own three of them). They run almost continuously, 12 hours a day when in use and rarely fail.
A view of Stage 3 from the grid. The grid is exactly that, a "grid" just below the ceiling of the stage from which scenery and lightsw are hung. Note the steel cables attached to the tops of the walls on the Ballroom set below. The stages at Steiner are huge, with a floor to grid clearance of some 50' To give you an idea of the size, the white topped table in the center of the set is 6 feet wide by 10 feet long.
The Grand Staircase in the Grand Ballroom under construction. On the left is my buddy "Indy", who laid out the staircase and led the charge in it's construction. Barely visible on the right side is "one of the kids", Drew, a crazy bastard who jumps off of buildings, bridges and towers with a tiny parachute in his spare time. He's been trying to get me and Indy to join him. No thanks, kid, at my age you no longer bounce!
Not only did this staircase "fan" at the bottom, each tread grew in width as you progress down, from top to bottom. Tricky layout.
Riser detail on the completed staircase. Risers are the parts of a step at the back of the tread. This view is from the floor looking up to the mezzanine.
Yes, that's real 24 k gold leaf.
Close-up of the riser detail.
One of the newel posts is installed. We make everything, the newel posts, the handrail, everything. The mezzanine is coming along nicely also.
The newel posts are in and sceniced, (painted, although that hardly does justice to the work our Scenic Artists are capable of, more on that later.). Note the curved handrail, courtesy of yours truly, hand made, of course, from scratch. The steel framework for the metal cutout panels is in place under the handrail. The floor of the Ballroom is finished, as are the stairs themselves, so we have covered them to protect them.
This is another view from the grid. The mezzanine is well under way, as is the staircase. The floor has been "painted" and now only needs it's final finish.
The completed Grand Ballroom looking from the bottom of the Grand Staircase towards the Bandstand.
The mezzanine, dressed and ready for camera. The canopy is one of two over the "elevators". Note the filigree, again, hand cut and built.
The Pizza Oven from the pizza parlor. This oven was hand sculpted and painted by our fantastic Scenic Artists from United Scenic Artists, Local 829, a part of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.
This oven could fire a "pizza" 50 feet across the room, thanks to the SFX crew!
The veranda outside Robert and Morgan's apartment. The night city-scape to the left is actually a "translite". Imagine a 35 mm slide 30 feet tall and 100 feet wide, lit from behind, that's a translite and that's what you're looking at.
Most features will try to build everything in a studio for the control factor. No extraneous noise and since it's scenery, we can remove walls or ceilings or whatever, to allow the Director to film the shot he needs.
Well, there you have it. I have hundreds of pictures like these. Some are available for viewing in my photo album at Any Which Way. I've often thought of doing a photo-blog and linking it here, but, let me tell you, I had such a hard time editing just these few with bloggers editor that the effort is hardly worth it. It's a bitch to do multiple photos with blogger, half the time the editor just doesn't seem to respond, the other half it does what it wants, like deleting photo's etc. I'm a nut for layout and it is extremely difficult to format the layouts I want with this software. The preview is worthless, it can't take into account the template you're using and so I only know what this looks like on my machine using Firefox. I have no idea how it looks to you.
Anyway, just a short, visual journey into my world. I love it and honestly can't wait to get back. I have to be one of the luckiest people in the world. Imagine, folks are actually willing to pay me huge sums of money to do what I would do anyway!
Oh, and yes, I do take on private residential jobs. Along with my buddy, Young Ed Ferraro, I built Tom Fontana's house in New York City. The New York Times featured the completed renovation of the 19th century New York Public Library Tom bought in it's Sunday Magazine when it was finished. (Tom is the Creator, Producer and Showrunner for OZ and many other wonderful shows, many of which I have had the privilege of working on.)
So if you want work done, shoot me an e-mail, but you'd better want something totally out of the ordinary and you'd better have deep pockets - I don't negotiate and I won't "bid". Either you want my work or you don't. (Although I have been known to help out my friends for seriously discounted rates, or even for free from time to time. Hey, they're my friends...)
Have fun, love each other and take care of each other. I'll do updates from time to time. See you soon!
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Britain's Prince Harry in Afghanistan
By JILL LAWLESS, AP
7 minutes ago
LONDON — Prince Harry has been serving on the front line in Afghanistan with the British Army, calling in airstrikes on Taliban positions and going out on foot patrols, the Ministry of Defense announced Thursday.
Officials said the prince, a lieutenant in the Blues and Royals regiment, was still deployed in the country.
"His conduct on operations in Afghanistan has been exemplary," said the head of the army, Gen. Richard Dannatt. "He has been fully involved in operations and has run the same risks as everyone else in his battle group."
Harry, who is third in line to the throne, has been in Afghanistan since December.(In the photo, Britain's Prince Harry, strapped and ready, Walks the Walk)
The planned deployment had been disclosed to reporters, with no specific date, and was not reported previously under a pool agreement between the Ministry of Defense and all major news organizations operating in Britain, including The Associated Press. The news blackout was intended to reduce the risk to the prince and his regiment.
The news embargo was broken, however, after reports of the prince's deployment were leaked by an Australian magazine and a German newspaper, and then reported on a U.S. Web site, the Drudge Report.
Dannatt, the military commander, said he was "very disappointed" that the story had leaked.
Harry, 23, has been deployed in the restive Helmand province for 10 weeks, where most of the 7,800 British troops in Afghanistan are based, according to the military's statement.
In a recorded interview, Harry said he was happy to be standing shoulder-to- shoulder with his colleagues.
"It's nice just to be here with all the guys and just mucking in as one of the lads," said Harry, who had expressed bitter disappointment when he was banned from going to Iraq with his battalion last year. Army chiefs said publicity surrounding his deployment could put him and his unit at risk.
Pooled video footage of Harry in Afghanistan showed the prince dressed in camouflage fatigues patrolling arid and dusty terrain and firing a machine gun.
Harry graduated from Sandhurst military academy in 2006 and trained as a tank commander. After the decision not to send him to Iraq, he retrained as a battlefield air controller, the job he has been filling in Afghanistan.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Now compare that with the service
of our own Fearless Leader...
...or his glorious, well behaved, Christian raised, morally upright offspring.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words.
Born to Royalty, this man could have easily avoided this. Instead he chose to be with his"lads", as he calls them. That makes him a real man in my eyes, compared to our Chickenhawk Pres-idiot, who used his Daddy's influence to avoid any meaningful service in the Armed Forces of the United States.
Well done, Your Highness, this old Devil Dog sends a hearty OOH-fuckin'-RAH your way, Sir.
Show them how to Walk the Walk, not just Talk the Talk!
Semper Fidelis Sir!
Stay Klassy Florida.
Seems the knuckle-draggers are at it again.
Well, that led to this. The words aren't mine, I don't know who the author is, but I certainly share the sentiments. I realize that there are good people who live in the South, but this is the view the rest of the country, no, the rest of the world will always have of American Southerners until they get their shit together and stop doing stupid shit like this. Funny they should come out with this in a year when the first Black Candidate in our history is running for President. Coincidence?
You tell me.
And before I am inundated with furious posts from those of you south of the Mason-Dixon line, do a little soul-searching. Why do you allow the Neanderthals to get away with this shit? These are your elected representatives doing this. Key word here is representatives. If you don't like this post and what it represents, don't elect racist fuck-toads to represent you in government. Clean up your own backyard before you start worrying about mine.
Confederate Heritage, my ass! If you're proud of slavery and lynching Black people, you deserve the following post!
Nothing would make me laugh more than watching a couple of fat, middle-age, Republi-con Pinkys from Florida showing up here in Philly with those plates on their vehicle. Might lend a whole new meaning to the phrase, City of Brotherly Love!
Fuck the South
Fuck the South. Fuck 'em. We should have let them go when they wanted to leave. But no, we had to kill half a million people so they'd stay part of our special Union. Fighting for the right to keep slaves - yeah, those are states we want to keep.
And now what do we get? We're the fucking Arrogant Northeast Liberal Elite? How about this for arrogant: the South is the Real America? The Authentic America. Really?
Cause we fucking founded this country, assholes. Those Founding Fathers you keep going on and on about? All that bullshit about what you think they meant by the Second Amendment giving you the right to keep your assault weapons in the glove compartment because you didn't bother to read the first half of the fucking sentence? Who do you think those wig-wearing lacy-shirt sporting revolutionaries were? They were fucking blue-staters, dickhead. Boston? Philadelphia? New York? Hello? Think there might be a reason all the fucking monuments are up here in our backyard?
No, No. Get the fuck out. We're not letting you visit the Liberty Bell and fucking Plymouth Rock anymore until you get over your real American selves and start respecting those other nine amendments. Who do you think those fucking stripes on the flag are for? Nine are for fucking blue states. And it would be 10 if those Vermonters had gotten their fucking Subarus together and broken off from New York a little earlier. Get it? We started this shit, so don't get all uppity about how real you are you Johnny-come-lately "Oooooh I've been a state for almost a hundred years" dickheads. Fuck off.
Arrogant? You wanna talk about us Northeasterners being fucking arrogant? What's more American than arrogance? Hmmm? Maybe horsies? I don't think so. Arrogance is the fucking cornerstone of what it means to be American. And I wouldn't be so fucking arrogant if I wasn't paying for your fucking bridges, bitch.
All those Federal taxes you love to hate? It all comes from us and goes to you, so shut up and enjoy your fucking Tennessee Valley Authority electricity and your fancy highways that we paid for. And the next time Florida gets hit by a hurricane you can come crying to us if you want to, but you're the ones who built on a fucking swamp. "Let the Spanish keep it, it’s a shithole," we said, but you had to have your fucking orange juice.
The next dickwad who says, "It’s your money, not the government's money" is gonna get their ass kicked. Nine of the ten states that get the most federal fucking dollars and pay the least... can you guess? Go on, guess. That’s right, motherfucker, they're red states. And eight of the ten states that receive the least and pay the most? It’s too easy, asshole, they’re blue states. It’s not your money, assholes, it’s fucking our money. What was that Real American Value you were spouting a minute ago? Self reliance? Try this for self reliance: buy your own fucking stop signs, assholes.
Let’s talk about those values for a fucking minute. You and your Southern values can bite my ass because the blue states got the values over you fucking Real Americans every day of the goddamn week. Which state do you think has the lowest divorce rate you marriage-hyping dickwads? Well? Can you guess? It’s fucking Massachusetts, the fucking center of the gay marriage universe. Yes, that’s right, the state you love to tie around the neck of anyone to the left of Strom Thurmond has the lowest divorce rate in the fucking nation. Think that’s just some aberration? How about this: 9 of the 10 lowest divorce rates are fucking blue states, asshole, and most are in the Northeast, where our values suck so bad. And where are the highest divorce rates? Care to fucking guess? 10 of the top 10 are fucking red-ass we're-so-fucking-moral states. And while Nevada is the worst, the Bible Belt is doing its fucking part.
But two guys making out is going to fucking ruin marriage for you? Yeah? Seems like you're ruining it pretty well on your own, you little bastards. Oh, but that's ok because you go to church, right? I mean you do, right? Cause we fucking get to hear about it every goddamn year at election time. Yes, we're fascinated by how you get up every Sunday morning and sing, and then you're fucking towers of moral superiority. Yeah, that's a workable formula. Maybe us fucking Northerners don't talk about religion as much as you because we're not so busy sinning, hmmm? Ever think of that, you self-righteous assholes? No, you're too busy erecting giant stone tablets of the Ten Commandments in buildings paid for by the fucking Northeast Liberal Elite. And who has the highest murder rates in the nation? It ain't us up here in the North, assholes.
Well this gravy train is fucking over. Take your liberal-bashing, federal-tax-leaching, confederate-flag-waving, holier-than-thou, hypocritical bullshit and shove it up your ass.
And no, you can't have your fucking convention in New York next time. Fuck off.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
William F. Buckley Jr. Dies at 82
By HILLEL ITALIE, AP
58 minutes ago
NEW YORK — William F. Buckley Jr., the erudite Ivy Leaguer and conservative herald who showered huge and scornful words on liberalism as he observed, abetted and cheered on the right's post-World War II rise from the fringes to the White House, died Wednesday. He was 82.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
From Alternate Brain:
"I've written a couple times about war but I think people forget what it's all about. First off, I think you should read the article Gord posted on yesterday. I left a comment there:
We're learning the same way the Russians and the British did. We shoulda just gone in and killed 'em all.
And thinking about it, I think I should explain.
According to the narrative we've heard since 11 September 2001, the nation of Afghanistan harbored Osama bin Laden and facilitated the attacks on the US. Fine. Why did we go in there saying 'we'll take out the Taliban, but we're gonna go over there and win hearts and minds'?
Let me explain something. You don't go to war worrying about winning hearts and minds. You go to war to break the enemy, pound him far enough so he surrenders. War is ugly, dirty, and a last resort but if you're gonna go, you have to go ugly and dirty. Why in Hell do you think they call it 'war'?
We should have blown Afghanistan to shit, period..."
Go read the articles linked to in the above quote and you will understand what's got my knickers in such a fucking twist.
Fixer is right.
The United States Marine Corps has requested that they be withdrawn from Iraq and deployed in Afghanistan, ( Marines Press to Remove Their Forces From Iraq, New York Times ). The only reason I can see for not doing this would be to avoid killing Bin Laden and totally destroying the Taliban and Al Queda.
It's time to turn loose the Dogs of War on Bin Laden and Afghanistan! Else all of our efforts, all of our losses, will have been in vain!
Let's do this right people, and finish it once and for all!
Below is a comment I posted at the Brain. I am including it here as an addendum of sorts.
Listen, the last time we fought a war to win it was 60 fucking years ago and ended when we dropped the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Anybody sorry about that? I sure as shit ain't! I got relatives beneath the sea at Pearl Harbor and when they apologize for that and Bataan, then maybe I'll reconsider.
Anybody sorry we turned Dresden into a blast furnace? How about Berlin? Lots of "collateral damage". It's called "winning".
Sure 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi's and if I had my way they would pay dearly for that. Shit, Bush's boy Baker defended them against lawsuits by those who lost people in the Trade Towers. The fact remains tho, that Bin Laden was based in Afghanistan, had the support of the Taliban, ran training camps there for the hijackers and other operatives and has now reconstituted Al Queda and is supposedly stronger than ever. And where the fuck do you think he is? Brooklyn?
And what do we have there, at the tip of the spear, in the hottest AO in the country?
One company of Regular Army! One!
Let's do this right. Pull the troops out of Iraq and cut the Marines loose in Afghanistan. And if we have to go into Pakistan to get this prick, so be it.
That was the fucking mission, wasn't it?
I suggest that everyone read the entire article, then post your comments.
Look, I'm all for peace but I am not anti-war, just anti-stupid, illegal war.
Update! A Different Point of View
From House of The Rising Sons:
After reading this account of our soldiers in Afghanistan, I am reminded that the situation there is no less fucked up than in Iraq.
Fixer at Alternate Brain , who like me, is not one to mince words, posts today that we could have already won in Afghanistan if we would've have been more merciless. I understand the sentiment, really I do, and I always felt that Afghanistan was different from Iraq. I believed they deserved it. Why? Because Osama was there right? He was in charge, with the Taliban, right? Well, whatever. But also, I thought Afghanistan deserved what they got because, if nothing else, they seemed to be celebrating the 9-11 attacks. So, fuck em, right? But years past that knee jerk kill em all feeling- the one that also told me that sending our troops there was justified- I don't seem to believe my simple minded revenge horseshit anymore. Alternate Brain is one of my favorite spots- and I respect Fixer and his opinion on this matter, even though I disagree. He certainly isn't some neocon gasbag postulating emptily on this matter. It's understandable to wish "the enemy" was all dead so our soldiers could come home and get some relief from the never-ending hell that the Republican party has inflicted on them.
For the full post, go to d.
Monday, February 25, 2008
...we must make our voices heard.
We have lost two voices this month that spoke out against the insane policies of the Bush Administration and the damage they have caused the American people and the world.
It falls to us to fill the silence. To take up their voices with our own. To never forget why we fight, and who we fight for.
This will remind us of the who and why, at least as far as Iraq goes...
This will give us a way to fight:
Dear VoteVets.org Supporter,
I'm writing to let you know that we have a new television ad that starts airing this week - challenging John McCain to give America some straight talk, and tell us all the things that his plan for endless war in Iraq will make the American people sacrifice.
The ad features, for the first time, a female Iraq veteran and her small child. Rose Forrest served 12 months in Iraq, and gave birth to her little son, when she came home. In the ad, Rose challenges John McCain to tell the truth about what endless war means for her child, and all of our children. Senator McCain needs to give us some straight talk about how much endless war in Iraq is going to cost. We don't have an endless pot of money, or an endless supply of troops and equipment.
So what are Americans going to have to sacrifice if he has his way on Iraq? Health care? Decent jobs? Border security that all those National Guardsmen in Iraq could be performing? Rescue and cleanup after disasters like Katrina and tornados in Kansas and Tennessee? Are we going to have to sacrifice our chance to cripple Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda in Afghanistan? We can't do it all, but John McCain seems to pretend that we can.
We're airing this ad in the hopes that Senator McCain finally gets honest with the American people. We're putting it out there so that the media and power-brokers start to ask the same questions. Endless war in Iraq means drastic sacrifices for Americans in their everyday lives, and in terms of our own security.
It's all about priorities, and on this question, the wheels are falling off the Straight Talk Express.
This is just the beginning. In the coming months, we'll be on an all-out offensive, to expose the strategies that hurt us here at home and abroad in our fight against al Qaeda. We're going to challenge our leaders to get our global strategy right. You can count on us leading the way, but we cannot do it without you. So please, view our ad and pass it along to all of your friends and family. Together, we can change America's course.
Thanks for all of your support.
Iraq War Veteran
Our Sister, and fellow Scholar, Kitchen Window Woman, has posted an urgent plea for assistance in raising awareness and money for Iraq's children!
Please take a minute to read KWW's post!
These are pictures of children injured as a result of our invasion of Iraq. They could be yours!
Please help however you can, even if it's only to raise awareness!
I originally posted this after reading about Lurch's passing some 10 days ago at Alternate Brain. Explanations can be found at Main & Central.
This morning as I was making my rounds of the blogosphere, I found this at Alternate Brain.
Lurch, of Main & Central, has died.
I never really knew Lurch. I like the way the man thought though. His comments here were always well thought out and humorous.
I will miss your sharp wit. Until we meet again, I offer this for you:
The Trooper stood and faced his God
Which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining
Just as brightly as his brass.
Step forward now, oh, Airborne Troop,
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek?
To My Church have you been true?
The Trooper squared his shoulders... said,
"No, Lord, I guess I ain't,
'cause those of us who carry guns
Can't always be a saint.
I've had to work most Sundays
And at times my talk was tough,
And sometimes I've been violent,
'cause the world is awfully rough.
But, I never took a penny
That wasn't mine to keep...
Though I worked a lot of overtime
When the bills just got too steep,
And I never passed a cry for help,
Though at times I shook with fear,
And sometimes, God forgive me,
I've wept unmanly tears.
I know I don't deserve a place
Among the people here,
They never wanted me around
Except to calm their fear.
"If you've a place for me here, Lord,
It needn't be so grand,
I never expected or had too much,
So if you don't, I'll understand."
A silence fell all 'round the throne
Where Saints had often trod,
As the Trooper awaited quietly,
The judgment of his God.
Step forward now, My Fine Trooper,
You've borne your burdens well,
Walk your post on Heaven's streets,
You've served your time in Hell.
Sleep in Peace, Brother.