Friday, December 23, 2005

Merry Christmas

To all my friends and family, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Love to you all. Thank you for your faith, help and good wishes.

It's been a great year, let's crank it up to 11 and go over the top in 2006!



Thursday, December 22, 2005

Strike Ends!

When we were coming back from lunch, the bunch of us, shooting a Sony Z1 HDV camera tutorial, we found out that the strike had ended. We were all very happy.

Me especially, because I had resigned myself to driving into Manhattan before the 5am no car curfew and then sleeping a few hours in my car, before shooting. I have to get all my lighting and camera gear out of the studio we're shooting in and get it back to Flushing. So, lucky me I will be able to drive into town and not wake up at three am.

Thanks God and the Transit workers and everyone else. Whew!

Transit Strike, Day 2

I had a shoot in Manhattan today, so I spent some time last night online, looking at my options for getting into town. I can't drive because: unless I have four humans in my car, I can't enter Manhattan from 5 am until 11am. Lucky for me the LIRR has a Hub at Main Street, Flushing. I was on the phone twice, at around one in the morning. The first time, to make sure I could get a ticket. I was pretty worried because according to the website, the ticket booth is closed for six weeks. Cue Tim Allen/Moto "HUH!??". WTF MF?

I wait for about fifteen minutes and finally talk to a human and he reassures me that I can get tickets from the ticket machine. Okay, great. Thanks.

A few minutes later, while looking at schedules, I click on the box in the schedule window that is flashing in red "Special Message". It opens and informs me that there is no service to Manhattan during peak rush hour, 6 am to 9 am. HUH!??WTF MF?!

I call again and fifteen minutes later, finally talk to a representative and find out I have to go EAST, to Bayside, get out and then get back on a WESTBOUND train, in order to go to Manhattan. WTF?

So, I wake up at about quarter to six in the morning, trying to get out of bed. Finally do, get in the shower- did I blog about my shower? No? My shower sucks! The water temperature is always going up and down. I'm freezing, or I'm getting scalded. I finally get out of the shower and get dressed, check email etc and head out the door a little before seven.

I walk down my street, west, towards Main street, it's about four blocks, but they're long blocks. I stop at one of the little coffee 'n' bagel carts on the way and get a croissant and a large coffee and make the next block to Main Street and the LIRR platform.

Thankfully, there is a ticket agent there, by the ticket vending machines helping people and he helps me get my round trip tickets and I'm all set, no transfer, no extra fare to go east before going west to Manhattan, I'm all set. I walk up the stairs to the elevated platform and mill about in the morning chill. The wind is pretty good and cuts any part of your body that isn't covered.

Finally, after about twenty minutes, a train finally comes and everyone gets on. It's pretty full, but not packed. The train goes to Bayside, everyone files out and walks up the stairs to the street and then walk back down the stairs on the other side to a waiting train.

I ended up sitting next to a nice woman, named Janice, who works as an archivist and proof reader for an advertising agency. I gave her one of my cards, she tells me that her boss could use someone like me for their video department. We'll see. Nice talk and a pleasant way to pass the time. Unfortunately her job is slowly being downsized, so she figures that she better hustle in to work, even though she's part time, but she wants to make a good showing, lest they scale her hours back even more.

I talked to her about going freelance and that she could make better money by being a freelancer, she was worried about healthcare. I told her to join the Chamber of Commerce. Then she remembered that there was a Librarian organization that had benefits. I hope I planted a seed of entrepreneurship in her that will expand her current situation. I will also pass her info on to my sister who works in publishing.

We get out at Penn Station and slowly slog our over the platform and up the stairs to street level. I feel like chattel, moving with the herd as we slowly approach Seventh Avenue. I bid Janice goodbye and we wish each other Happy Holidays.

I walked the few blocks to the studio where we were shooting and find that it's just a little after eight. I don't have to be in 'til nine and I'll probably arrive early, but I still have a lot of time to kill. So I read the script for this feature I might shoot in January.

But that's another story...

Oh Holy night the Tampon's brightly shining

Image hosted by
Tampon Crafts. What more do I have to say?

Thanks Candleblog and Silly Old Bear

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The good brother

So, this is day one of the New York Transit Workers Union strike. The city is in pretty bad shape, no buses, no subway. I talked to Nick, the shish-kabob guy, on Main Street in Flushing and he's suffering. Most of his business is foot traffic from people getting on and of the buses on Main street as well as the bus drivers and route managers. A lot of bad shit in general. I got two sticks and a Coke, plus I gave him a little Christmas tip. He's a good guy and there's usually a few regulars around to shoot the shit with, when I stop by. I didn't see Tommy, but I'm sure I'll see him soon enough.

That was around five O'clock, pm. Earlier, I called my sister, Ellen, who lives in BK and works in Midtown. I called her house, left a message and then called her office. No answer, so I figured she was en route. Boy was she ever- she walked the two miles from her apartment to Brooklyn Heights to get the LIRR (Long Island Railroad) which was running, but she had to wait in line for an hour, just to get inside. There was a line to get on the train so she did that and would pay the extra charge for getting on the train without a ticket. They never charged her. There were so many peopoe, that the LIRR system was overwhelmed. They just decided that it would be easier to just let people on and go. So she got a free ride, but it took her a long time to get into work. I think it was around 11 when she finally got to Rockefeller Ctr, taking the train and then walking from Penn Station.

She called me back and took me up on my offer to come into the city and pick her up. It would also be a good time to see each other, catch up and talk before she went to Mexico to see Karen for Christmas and I would go to Boston to see the parents for Xmas.

I left Queens at around 6pm. Normally at that time of day it takes about forty-five minutes to an hour to get to Midtown. I made pretty good time, until I hit Queens Plaza, the area before you get onto the 59th Street Bridge (Feelin' Groovy, if you're a Simon & Garfunkel fan). Traffic came to a screeching halt, so I got off the main road and took a shortcut to get closer to the bridge. That took a while, but I think I still got ahead of the game. I called Ellen to let her know I'd hit a snag, but I figured I'd keep pushing onward and see how far I got. that was about 6:39, according to my cell phone.

Things picked up. Initially I was going thirty feet every ten minutes, once I got back onto Queens Blvd, and the approach to the bridge, things were slow, but moving steadily. It was about ten after seven when I called her again to let her know I was on the bridge. A car had died in the middle of the bridge and was the reason traffic was so f-ed. I was on the phone with Ellen when I passed it and told her that I was speeding up to 45mph and heading over to the other side.

It all worked out. I waited for her while she got the last of her stuff done. Good thing I brought some work with me, I waited for about forty minutes, but it wasn't a big deal.

Ellen brought me some cheese cake and some hot cocoa from her office. The cheesecake was from a party and was very yummy. I pulled over next to Radio City to eat it and then drove off.

I had to take a hair cut, so I dove over to the side of 5th Ave in front of a McD's and went inside. there was a crowd of people in the men's room, apparently some girl was puking, so I knocked on the door of the ladies and entered, when no one answered. Moments later, I was back in the car and was able to drop Ellen off at her house in good time, maybe a half hour, forty minutes. It was about nine, so traffic was pretty much back to normal.

She would have had a hell of a time trying to take the LIRR. Apparently they closed parts of Penn Station because there were so many people. Even at that late time, I think there were still people waiting to get on trains.

Before dropping her off, Ellen gave me some cash for gas, which I tried to refuse, but she insisted and a blueberry Krispy Kreme donut, which I just ate and it's REALLY good. I'm such a lucky guy. She also gave me my Christmas gift. I can't wait to open it!


Weird thing I saw at Queensboro Plz: an MTA #7 subway train rolled by, on the elevated tracks, no passengers in it, but who was driving it and why? Very strange.

Traffic in town was about normal. I was surprised at how easy it was to get around.

AM radio, 1010 WINS, reported the Brooklyn Bridge being bumper to bumper and not moving, yet when we got there, it was flowing nicely and even the BQE (Brooklyn Queens Expressway) was flowing well in both directions.

I headed back to Queens from Brooklyn around 9, or 9:20 and traffic was pretty fast, no snags, seemed more like sunday traffic.
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