Thursday, December 8, 2011


You know you live in LA when you come home to find one of these taped to your garage...

Hmmmm.  What will this mean?

...well, two of them actually (one in English and one in Spanish):

So, I get free tickets to the movie?

From the notice, it looks like most of the filming will take place in two segments: first, tomorrow and Saturday, from 4pm-8am, and then again next Friday and Saturday at the same times.

Friday night, really?  And overnight to Saturday, from 4pm-8am?  Two weekends in a row?  Heaven forbid anyone around here be planning to have a quincea├▒era, or a kid's birthday party or any other celebration.  Why would anyone shoot anything at the absolute most congested time of LA's weekly congestionfest?  I mean, not that my neighborhood streets are super congested with traffic.  But they are pretty packed with street parking-- and from the description, it seems like there will be quite the influx movie people and their cars.  That whole middle chunk of the announcement is devoted to detail on where the Film Invaders will be parking.

The lower middle section of the notice is devoted to street closures.  Mmmmm.  Good, sure.  Close my streets to make your movie, fine.  But wouldn't it be nice if you gave me free tickets to your movie when it's done?

And just what will this movie be, I wonder?  This is the scene they are shooting, verbatim from the notice:

EXTERIOR SINGLE SHOT, 1/2 LOAD GUNFIRE & SIMULATED BULLET EFFECTS.  (location is listed in parenthesis-- it's very close) 12/09, 12/16-12/17, 4PM-8AM.

[What?  Are they going to survey me and ask me how I feel about simulated bullet effects?  Well, if they ask, I will tell them it'll just be like when my neighbors set off illegal fireworks on random Tuesday nights.  No different than that, really-- carry on.]

Driving scene, Driving shots, Intermittent pedestrian control, Intermittent traffic control- 2 minute standard (except 0700-0900 hrs & 1500-1900 hrs), Equipment on sidewalk, In curb lane & across street, Exterior Dialogue, Rain effects, Wetdown, Man running across street, Neatly stacked prop trash bags on sidewalk, Banners on street lamps, and newspaper boxes., Steam effects.  Generator.  Picture vehicles.

[So, in the film industry, we Capitalize everything that comes, After a comma?  Sometimes, we also have a period., Before a comma.  We also distinguish between 'rain effects' and 'wetdown,' which I am extremely curious about.  But thank heaven those prop trash bags will be 'neatly stacked'-- whew!]

Simulated bullet effects!  Wetdowns!  Men running across streets!  Banners on street lamps!  PICTURE VEHICLES?!  I am kind of excited, I have to admit.  Where on earth could this all be going?  What will this movie finally turn out to be?  The notice also makes reference to a 'base camp' for extras.  Extras!  I want to corner a bored extra and ask them what this is all about.  And., Ask how they have the audacity to not provide me free tickets!

Sunday, December 4, 2011


Los Angeles isn't the Windy City, obviously.  But last week, it was a windy city.  The Santa Ana winds usually crash the L.A. party scene in September, and manifest as That Guy You Wish You Didn't Have to Invite to the Party, Because That Guy Is Kind of Weird and Unpredictable and Is Always Trying to Set Things On Fire.  This year though, the Santa Ana winds came later that usual.  Or maybe they came on time, but just didn't get really crazy enough to wreak havoc until autumn's party was almost over?  Either way, the winds' speeds reached an amazing apex last week-- hurricane force winds, people!  Last Wednesday night, we had ourselves a Santa Ana windstorm, and I really thought a hurricane* was blowing through.  It was severe enough that I, like many other people in eastern LA and the San Gabriel Valley, had no power for a couple of days afterward.

Given Housenstein's precarious hilltop location and his vaguely illegal construction, I was a little worried that Santa Ana's party crashing would lead to something truly disastrous, like windows blowing out.  Or that the house would blow over, or come sailing off the hill, or just...I don't know.  That something really big would happen.

Luckily, that was not the case.  The new roof held up, and Housenstein stayed firmly in his place.  However...oh, my yard.  It was bad before, but it's a bit more expensively bad now.

east siiide

This is the rosebush along the east side of my house.  It used to stand up straight, in line with the fence, except-- whoops!  The wind blew both the bush and the bamboo lining free of their moorings against my chain link fence.  Now I have the Leaning Rosebush of Highland Park in my side yard.

Also in the side yard, on the other side--

west siiiide

This is the other side of the house, and you can see how the bamboo liner was blown off the fence on this side too.  I took that bamboo for granted until now.  At least the bamboo was nicer than just the metal, and it gave me privacy.  Now, with the bamboo blown free, I can see alllll my neighbors-- which means they can see me.  Hi, neighbors!

east siiide- used to see a rosebush!
west siiide-- used to see bamboo

How much will it cost to make the Leaning Tower of Rosebush stand up again, and restore my bamboo-based privacy?  Not sure.  But I'll need to find out.

The windows were kind of an issue, although a minor one considering how bad it could have been.  I reinforced my bedroom's cardboard filler before the winds were at their worst...

I am a DIY genius

...and my amazing cardboard fix stayed in place through the storm.  

Not oreo crumbs

Dirt did come in through the window though, which I discovered the next day.

The saddest outcome of the storm was the fate of the riesen-growing beanstalks that magically started growing in a planter box in the front yard, even though I hadn't planted them there:

 amaranth plants, before Santa Ana
amaranth plants, after Santa Ana

They're all broken now, their stalks snapped by the wind.  Who ever, in a million years, would have thought that I would buy a house where amaranth would magically grow, only to be cut down just before harvest by the clumsy Santa Ana winds?  I guess I was always going to take them out, but now, it needs to happen not just 'someday' or 'when I get to it' or 'after I find authentic Aztec amaranth recipes,' but soon-- it's not easy to get up those steps through the tangle of downed plant.

So, after the windows are done next week, I have my work cut out for me in making my yards habitable again, or at least not-visually-evocative-of-disaster.

*I really did think that.  And then I kind of thought-- but hurricanes only happen in the Atlantic?  How did this one get to the Pacific?  Unable to answer my own question on the migratory practices of hurricanes, I stopped there.  Oh well, I thought.  Guess it got over here somehow.  Maybe it's a lost cyclone, far from home.  On a separate note, I really think that if Herman Cain resurrects his presidential campaign, the word 'hurricane' should factor in to that somehow.  How has no one thought of that?  Where are his PR people?  Herman 'Hurricane' Cain, Blowing You Away in 2012!

Oh, wait-- I see this is obvious, and so someone has already thought of it.  Excellent.