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June 2nd, 2003

Weekend of lost souls

Friday:
Peak day. A lot of stuff needed to be out to other people, and I had three projects reaching critical mass (delivery) all at one time. So getting stuck in rush-hour traffic was frustrating. Completely stop-n-go on 35 from around 494 on up.
About a mile south of 62, the car started acting up. No acceleration, gas pedal floored, and the pedal felt funny. I managed to make it up to the crosstown/Lyndale exit and creep up the hill enough to get the car up to about 30, then I tried the cruise control, which worked just fine. So on the good side, that meant that it wasn't the engine, but something in the throttle linkage from the gas pedal.
I made it to the stoplight, and finally got a chance to look down at the gas pedal to see if I could see anything obviously wrong.

The gas pedal was gone.

There was simply nothing there.

The light changed to green, and I idled through the stoplight and pulled over to the side of the road. Got out and looked: The gas pedal bracked had broken off the firewall, and the whole pedal assembly was tucked up under the dashboard. I pulled it out, and stood there on the side of the road, gas pedal in hand.

I managed to finagle the pedal back into place and temporarily hold it with a small branch long enough to limp back home on the back roads. A short trip to the local hardware store and a couple of hours of work, and my gas pedal is now firmly reattached to the firewall. Of course it was a couple of hours that I couldn't afford to lose, so I ended up working into the wee hours of the morning.

And around 9:00 that night, I got a call from my Mom. Arnold, her steady beau of over a decade had died early in the morning from complications due to a massive stroke. He had been in a nursing home for over a year deteriorating, so it wasn't entirely unexpected, but it is still a sad event. Arnold and my Mom had many adventures and traveled all over the world as well as being avid snowmobile and ATVers. She's pretty shook up, but handling it okay. I wish I knew what to do to make her feel better, but I know that she has to go through the grief.

She also told me not to come to the funeral. Practical considerations with not wanting me to be taking days off work. I may go up and see her over the coming weekend, but that will depend a lot on her.

Saturday:
8:30 A.M. call time for shooting the final episodes of Horror Inc. for the season. Including loading the equipment on the truck. Still made it in good time, and just about everyone else was late. On the good side, we were shooting about half as much as normal, so it was a fairly relaxed shoot and we got to do things a little more elaborately than otherwise. And it was a lot of fun. We have kind of hit stride now, with knowing what to set up where, and I've learned how to light gorillas so they actually show up, and everyone was there to *work*. And some very talented people-- it takes a lot of physical talent to pull off acting in a full-body costume, not to mention all the building and costuming and propping.

We were done and packed up by 3:30, and I went home with the sudden realization that I didn't have to have anything done rightfuckingnow, and it was glorious. I played with the dog, took a nap, and Barb and I went to dinner at Applebees (steak lots of steak lots of tender juicy steak) and talked about making movies, then we went over to Hollywood Video and picked up Ghost Ship as a rental. Turned out to be a pretty good movie, definitely Zemeckis, and better than Thirteen Ghosts or House on Haunted Hill. Way cool set design. Not an earth-shattering movie, and fairly predictable, but well-crafted. Just a word: if you rent it, do NOT watch any of the extras before the movie. Spoiler city.

Then came Morpheus, and off to bed I went.

Sunday:
Another 8:30 call for the last day of HI shooting. A day full of gorillas and sock monkeys from hell.

First, let me explain the gorillas. One of the regular characters on Horror Inc. is Gordon the Gorilla. Obviously it's someone in a gorilla suit (actually three different people depending on availability), but the suit is made primarily of black fur that sucks up light like a sponge. We have a standing joke on the set whenever Gordon is on set, I have to throw on a "monkey butt light", or else Gordon becomes this big mass of black.
Well, Sunday was the episode where Gordon invites a bunch of his friends over for a party.

Five gorillas. All black.

See Rob setting up a lot of extra lights.

And then there were the sock monkeys. Funny gag really, but there were something like 26 sock monkeys, all with teeth. Evil sock monkeys. Some of them flew.

And there were stunts. And special effects. It was all quite a blowout. And then it was over.

Much sadness and hugs (the hugs were good), and we packed up. Some of us went to dinner, and then Thom & Sheryl, Rick and I went over to Tony & Kristi's and started talking about the Horror Inc. Movie. Much laughter. And then we watched the rough-cut-in-progress of Pray for Daylight (the film that we've been working on), which was really pretty amazing looking. It's still very rough and there are scenes missing, and it needs postproduction work and music-- but it's really pretty damn good for a bunch of folks fooling around on weekends.

Some highlights:

  • Wolfie (the werewolf) is played by Lisa Bark. She's also a Snoopy. Turns out she's really nice, and I got to know her a little better.

  • Sasha (who plays 13) is really very funny. She also nearly scared the crap out of me when she screamed during a take. She is LOUD.

  • I got to play with my dog. :)

  • I got hugs from a lot of babes. :)

  • I feel validated as a filmmaker.


And I got a souvenier sock monkey.

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