Monday, May 31, 2010

An open letter to The New Jersey Unemployment Insurance Bureaucrats

You had denied my initial claim for unemployment. Your agency took the stand of my quitting of employment for personal reasons. My counter claim was based on the fact of economic realities, I could no longer afford to live in your over priced, over taxed and over rated state of New Jersey. The cost of living is less in New Orleans, La. If I have to be poor, let it be some place cheaper to live.

I was given a time and a date for a "hearing call" from your people. Renowned for being chop busting bureaucrats who make tax payers jump through hoops to get what they are owed. I was unable to take your call. Why? My telephone service has been disconnected. Why? Because you stingy pencil pushers refuse to give me some of what I have been paying into for the past 26 years of my life. Do you see the catch 22 here? I couldn't accept your call for an unemployment hearing because my phone was shut off. It was shut off because you refuse to give me money.

I'm not asking for a loan here, I am demanding back what I had entrusted in you (The State of New Jersey) to give back to me in case of unemployment. I am now unemployed, may I have back some of the money you took out of my paycheck each and every week? Now you expect me to grovel when my phone rings at your convenience? No. I have been unemployed now for over two months, been hungry and had to live in a Ford Escort on occasion because YOU DECIDE on whether or not I should get back my own money?

After paying into your system for 26 years, I make my first claim and you deny me? Don't think I can't make a stink for you from down here in New Orleans. I am unemployed, I have plenty of time to write to every known outlet to vent my frustrations. I will make my former state look like the bureaucratic mismanaged and corrupt system that it is.

If nothing else, use MY unemployment money toward my child support obligations.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

How's the weather?

When I left Jersey there was lots of days filled with drizzle. Day after day of annoying light rain. For the past two months or so down here mostly sunny and humid. Natives keep warning me of the summer to come. That's what weeds outs visitors from those who stay. Back in NJ I always dressed as if it was ten degrees colder than it was. Long johns when it was 50 degrees out, long sleeves when it was 70. My passengers would bitch because I seldom turned the air conditioner on in my cab during the summer. Of course they usually were 100 pounds over weight and had been drinking heavily for six hours.

Today rain, lots of hard driving rain blowing sideways with non stop thunder. Storms that creep in dump a ridiculous amount of water then roll off leaving things steamy and more humid. Every morning I crawl out to the deck with cigarettes, coffee and shades just to sit there in the sun like a reptile starting it's day. 8 am, 80 degrees and humid.

Predictions from the TV meteorologist seem to point to a very active Hurricane season. To make matters worse, a severe storm will push the oil slick far inland, perhaps into Lake Pontchartrain. The churning storm waters of the Gulf combined with high winds might send some of the oil airborne. This of course will coat everything inland with a thin slimy coat of crude oil.

Locals are angry, but resigned to this. Being the oldest city in America they roll with any punch that hits them. Four nations have flown flags over New Orleans, countless floods, wars, hurricanes have given this town the "F*ck it, let's party tonight, tomorrow we die" attitude. Most people I have met said they will not evacuate again. I can't say what I will do, probably face the Apocalyptic summer with a Hurricane in hand laughing because it still is better than New Jersey.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Butt Freaks From Outer Space

A video slide show of the story board art from Butt Freaks From Outer Space. I first had this idea last summer. Originally written as an animation project, it is now intended for low budget indy. I looked into costs for a high quality animation, about $3,500 per minute. I refuse to even pay that much for sex. So a live action film will be the cheapest way to go on this script. I have heard first hand how even crummy no budget films get scooped up by distributors for $20,000 to $30,000. It's the leading industry down here right now, why not try to jump on board?

Kind of a 1950's B monster movie meets 1970's exploitation meets parody. A disillusioned man in black rescues porn stars from a butt raping alien named Earl Grey. Romantic comedy.

Here is the YOUTUBE version because of copyright stuff. This was the best song I could get for nothing. Actually, I kind of dig this song on the video. Puts a different spin on the story.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Thanks George...

I am pleased to report that some one at the top must have gotten wind from somewhere and our meal was much better today. We ate with the cast & crew.

We received calls from the casting company on Friday for work on Monday and Wednesday of this week. Saturday I was contacted by a different casting company looking for extras to work on the film "Green Lantern" for about five days this week. That would've been more lucrative, but I stuck with my commitment on Memphis Beat. I overheard several other background extras make the same comment.

Monday we pissed and moaned about the quality of food served to us at lunch. Yes, we are only extras which places us in the category of cattle. The extra wranglers were cool and the day went well. This morning in the holding room you couldn't find craft services with a Geiger counter. My buddy and I went down the catering truck with a sign on it "Cast crew only, Extras go to holding" What's next, segregated drinking fountains for extras and crew? We grabbed our coffee from the catering truck, who's going to argue with two bad ass cowboys. Ok, one bad ass cowboy and an Amish dude.

On the walk back to holding, a homeless junky saw our hats and took us for easy out of town marks. "I haven't eaten in two days, can you spare seventy five cent so I can get a burger?" In unison, my buddy and I pointed back to the catering truck. "Go up to that truck, they'll feed you for free." "Yea, just tell them you're a production assistant." An hour later crafty showed up in the holding room with coffee and snacks. When lunch came around, we were herded into the same dining area as the crew. The food that was left was great.

Like any job, you have coworkers who whine and bitch all day. "It's too hot, we've been waiting for hours, when's lunch?" Shut up, it's the easiest most fun job you'll probably ever do. Be on your mark, do what you're told and shut up so the rest of us can hear the director. Where else can you go to work and be dressed up like a cowboy, a cop or a criminal and be fed?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Method Extra Acting

Lee J Lester, Country & Western's most under rated bad boy resides in Memphis when he is not on one of his many final tours. Three decades of classic hits and countless stays at rehabs around the world ensure Lester's legacy will live on.

During the Memphis Beat shoot everyone was so impressed by my buddy's wardrobe that he became a foreground extra. The scene was a memorial service for a country and western legend who passed away in Memphis. The service was attended by everyone who was anyone in the music industry. My buddy who looks like a Willie / Merle / Waylon Cash type got pushed to the front of the scene every time. Front row of the service, being snapped by paparazzi, and a back stage after party. The director also teamed him up with another background extra who was dressed to the nines. She had this gothic Cher look going. Kind of Stevie Nicks meets Elvira.

By the time we got home from the shoot, this background character had more back story than the rest of the show. My character is "Scratch" Goldblum.

How many background characters have their own FACEBOOK page?


Monday, May 24, 2010

Memphis Delta Beat Blues or something......

At 6:30 this morning I was dressed as a cowboy in a van with others dressed like Dwight Yokem heading to a Memphis Beat shoot. The TV show needed background extras for a scene involving a Country and Western memorial. I went on the shoot with my buddy "The Bobby DeNiro of background extras." This guy first appeared on TV when he was a kid on a local Krusty the Clown type of show. He's had the bug ever since, having worked in dozens of films and shows. Also behind the scenes, he was once dubbed "The Ray Harryhausen of New Orleans." Probably the most serious extra I have met so far.

You walk onto a set with him and gain creds with production people. I guess this makes me the Joe Pesci of extras. The angry guy from Jersey who knows it all. Bobby used his background skills of Mardi Gras costumer to dress to impress the wardrobe department. He loaned me my hat with the one he uses for yard work. I got a "cameo" out of it.

Man, Bobby was pissed about lunch.
There is a superstition among extras that if you talk to a star, bad things will befall you. It's like opening up a mummy's tomb, you don't want to be around if it happens. Sometimes it just happens to you. Jason Lee is cool. On some sets the background extras are forbidden to even look at the stars. I've heard first hand accounts of how extras are warned on a Tom Cruise set. "If you look at Tom you will be dismissed for the day and not called back." Don't tell me that. I'll pelt him with Mardi Gras beads and yell "SHOW ME YOUR TITS!"

Perhaps I shouldn't write that.

In the scene from an auditorium I somehow landed two rows behind Jason. I probably was in the shot. Some extras want "face time." To be seen in a shot. Not us, face time means they won't use you again for the rest of the series. You want to be as far from the camera as possible. If you are always a blur, you'll always be working. Jason comes in, smiles and jokes a lot. Seems pleasant and is quick with suggestions that carry weight.

So anyways, he takes position in front of me and looks around. "I like the hats, nice hats." He looks right at me "Nice hat, is it yours?" I reply: "No, an Amish rental." I got that blank look that my humor sometimes gets.

BTW That hat has appeared in the following:
Memphis Beat (twice)
Hurricane Season 2008
Final Destination 4 3-D - 2008
The Brooke Ellison Story -2004

It's the only hat with it's own IMDB page. Keep an eye open for me in episode 4 and 5.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

New Punch Lines

I wasn't totally happy with this punch line. If you have any ideas for alternates let me know.

1.) Dude, there is nothing "easy" about this job.

2.) I think he should hire the only guy without cum stains.

3.) I'M competing for a job with guys who have never seen a naked woman before.

4.) Hey, I know how to unknot G-strings.

The artist mission

Last week, my buddy who's a tattoo artist from California started my day. "Dude, I am so overbooked with work I can't get caught up. Everyone heard I'm moving back home and they want their art before I leave. I'm booked solid, can you help me out by doing some artwork. I mean I'll pay you and stuff." Let me get my art pad. We roll to the hood of his Vietnamese homies in his white Caddy with classic rock blasting. I felt like I was starting a GTA mission.

We stepped out at the flashing arrow in the driveway. Cris speaks: See this dude? It was under like 18 feet of water. There's where the levee broke." The neighborhood was scattered brick homes separated by empty slabs of concrete. "I guess that's where the wooden homes were."

Our hosts were super cool. Polite and gracious hosts. I did three sketches, two were used. The one client wanted a more serpent looking cobra snake. My style didn't jive. I always respected the art. I never got to deep into it. Tattoo artists are a cliche all of their own. I never claimed to be one. Back at the cab stand in Jersey the guys used to tell me I should do flash art. I never got around to it.

Bamboo was requested around a already drawn Tiger, my exact design was used. Incredible to see one's artwork on human canvas. More flattering than to have a yuppie buy it off a gallery wall. The second was panther and a cobra. The client didn't like the style of my work. He politely and with respect declined, I was equally gracious. The third design was revamped but mostly intact when the tattoo artist inked it on a few days later. A coi fish. I read up on the meaning of Coi in mythology and tattoos. I have explore this art more.

Many hours and a few long breaks later, we were treated to bar b Que. An entire meal of meat around a large tile table reading "WHO DAT" in a mosaic. The center of the table had a small grill burning for those who wanted it well done.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Unique look

Again I have been hired to work as a background extra on Monday. I'll give you the details and cartoons then. I asked my buddy who was also hired why I keep getting the work. Not that I mind. He responded that it must be that I have a "unique look" that they like. I had to send a head shot of me dressed in country and western. When asked if I had any western apparel I responded "I'm from friggin Jersey. Cowboy hats get your ass kicked up there." My buddy responds "Then they ain't had a Texan up there yet..."

I got a loaner outfit. I sent in this picture and got the work. Colleen in Seattle says that I look like an "Amish Clint Eastwood."

"Do you think I'm handsome?"
"You have a UNIQUE look...."
"Thanks mom."

Two months of cartoons in two minutes


Slide show of all of the cartoons that I have drawn since arriving in New Orleans. BP oil spill, looking for work on Bourbon Street, working as a background extra on films, being arrested by US Marshals in a case of mistaken identity.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Moon over Bourbon Street

The other day my landlord asked, "I know you have been looking for work, but have you applied anywhere besides strip clubs?" Well, yea, a few. My only call back so far has been from one of Larry Flynt's places on Bourbon Street. When I did show up to the interview appointment ten minutes early, the manager came out and asked for this other guy who was there. I explained that the other manager had set me up with an interview at that time, she said she would call me back again. A chubby sweaty guy with a stupid grin got the interview.I have networked on Bourbon Street with a couple of barkers who have given me some pointers. Barkers stand in front of the clubs yelling to pedestrians about what a great time they'll miss if they don't come in. Clint, who barks during the day told me don't give up. Be so constant in asking for work that they give me a job to shut me up. Another dude I met while juggling on Royal street where he sells Ice Cream during the day and barks at a sex club at night. Barking at the moon over Bourbon Street, ain't New Orleans a cool town?Why do I feel the need to work at one? It's not as superficial as it seems. I have driven cab at night on the Jersey shore for the past five years. Most jobs seem boring and tame in comparison. I have been dealing with every kind of hard core alcoholic, crack head, meth head, juice head and Guido at night that you could imagine. I listened on the dispatch radio as a fellow driver and buddy screamed he had been cut during a robbery. I have watch cops beat up drunks on the hood of my cab. I've seen naked women make out in the back seat. Am I suppose to work at Walmart now? I will take a job anywhere at this point. Nothing would please the ex wife more than to hear about me working in a 120 degree kitchen washing dishes for minimum wage. However, if she she found out I was working a strip club on Bourbon it would most likely ruin her day. Ruin the day of a born again Christian, I think Larry himself would smile at that.

NOTE: My landlord read this blog and said "Oh, you're trying to find work at a titty bar to piss off your ex wife? Best of luck, I support your career efforts 100% then."

Keep dreaming

I usually hate it when people I know start to tell me about some dream they had the night before. I find hearing about them to be tedious and boring. Generally I walk away analyzing it and realizing that it was way too much information about them. Sunday afternoon I laid down for a nap and woke up several hours later laughing. Seldom do I ever remember my dreams, nor should I. This one however made me chuckle for several hours so I started to draw cartoons about what I could remember of it. This may be way too much information.

I can't remember what I did exactly to get in trouble with the law. However, having my friend Waffle represent me in a Louisiana court room was probably not the best decision I ever made. My choice resulted in the stiffest penalty for littering in Louisiana history. After the judge examined my financial records, I was given thousands of hours of community service. Being an artist, my first duty was to paint a mural on the wall of a recreation room in a mental institution.

From what I remember in the dream, I painted a large hole on the wall opening up to the outside. My intention was to make it look so realistic that the patients would run into it like Wyle E. Coyote. Community disservice. While painting the mural this rather attractive looking female mental patient came up and started to flirt with me. She kind of looked like Sandra Bullock without make up on a bad hair day, but for a psych patient kind of hot. I figured she was going to bum cigarettes from me and that's why she was flirty.

The next thing I knew, she had talked me into helping her escape. On the way out, she grabs a huge bottle of pills off of a psychiatrist's desk and starts to eat them like popcorn. Evidently my only mode of transportation in my dream was one of those stupid little scooters that don't do over 30 mph with just one person on it. These scooters are real popular down here in New Orleans. I've seen 300 pound drag queens point to people on scooters and laugh.

Anyway, as we raced down a dirt road away from the institution for the criminally insane she's reaching around and starts to stuff pills in my mouth. I turn around to tell her that twenty of whatever are enough. I see an old school early 70's police car with a bubble gum machine light on top racing after us. She starts screaming 'Faster, faster, head for the bayou' BITCH! I'm from Jersey, I don't even know what a bayou is. I couldn't say anything because I had a mouthful of dissolving psychiatric meds. The cop car got closer and I heard a very angry 440 wanting to play bumper tag with my scooter....

Then my landlady started to scream at someone in the house and I woke up. As I was drawing these cartoons I had the TV on. One of those commercials for Progressive car insurance came on and it dawned on me. The nutty chick selling insurance was the girl from my dream who used me to bust out of the asylum. Was this way too much information?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Ok, I'll go back to doing editorials

If the oil spill had taken place off of Long Island or Seattle, there would've been some optimism from the residents. Some hope that our leadership would have a plan, and step up to the plate. Down here in New Orleans the overwhelming consensus was "We are f*cked" No optimism, no hope. Like a helpless cellmate when the lights go off just waiting to be violently rolled over. The Gulf Coast knows first hand what inaction useless leadership is capable of.About a year ago in New Jersey, I thought I would give editorial cartooning another try. The atmosphere was right. Heated and passionate debate over the direction of our leadership. I had become jaded and discouraged by the political process for the past few decades. I despised Bush and the Patriot Act, despised the knee jerk liberals for undermining our nation's well being.

To listen to Americans debate GOP over Dems is like listening to two fat people argue over whether Burger King is healthier than McDonalds. Two WWF fans debate what pro wrestler should win the match. I lean politically to the opposite direction of whoever is in power. They divide and manipulate, the two sides are nothing more than two buddies playing the good cop / bad cop routine on us. We fight amongst ourselves while they go on playing games behind closed doors.

Cool People

I won't say I didn't meet cool people in New Jersey, there were a few. For some reason New Orleans seems to attract interesting folks. Creativity in Jersey was viewed as a mostly useless talent. What do expect from a place where old Victorian homes would be torn down and replaced with plastic McMansions. Down here the homes with the most style have peeling paint and shutters slamming in the wind.
I've met people who have earned a living from building Mardi Gras floats and designing costumes. This is what they did when they went to work and saw it all as just another day at the office. I just applied for a job as a juggler, I never once saw an ad in Jersey for juggling. I drew this cartoon of a dude I met from California. A superb tattoo artist who cruises around in a sharp Cadillac with a cool little dog. Next Sunday I'm taking part in an event, the Chaos Carnival. I'll fill you in then on the details.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Walking In Memphis (sort of)

When I moved down to New Orleans, I had no idea what I would be doing to earn income. I was prepared to dig ditches or wash dishes. Somehow I ended up doing background extra work in films, more fun than digging ditches. Yesterday I worked on the TV show Memphis Beat as an extra. The scene was a Bar-B-Que festival set in Memphis, but filmed in NOLA. A twelve hour day in the sun, waiting and waiting. I didn't say it was an easy job, it's still a job. Being a Bar-B-Que festival the director wanted lots of smoke, he got it. Real BBQ wood smoke combined with the Hollywood smoke of crushed walnuts and church incense. By the time we finished, my friend Russel and I smelled like we had spent all day at mass.I haven't complained about the weather since I got here. Too many cold, damp nights driving cab in Jersey for me to be bitching about warmth and sunshine. It was warm when we worked. The first scene we performed in involved a streaker running through the street festival. That then transformed into a stabbing scene of Fat Red and eventually a gun shoot out. Twelve hours into our day we were sunburned, smokey and tired. Re shooting take after take of bystanders hiding behind BBQ grills dodging gunfire then having to run for cover. Over and over again. It was a great F*ckin day, I hope we get called back.

Professional Background

There is more to the craft of background extra than one might think. Even though I am relatively new to the craft, I see many who don't take it seriously. Yesterday I worked with a friend. This guy has been doing it for quite a while and has a lot of experience. He is the Bobby DeNiro of background actors. He takes it very seriously, and treats it as a talent. He has no tolerance for those who don't.
While on the set of Memphis Beat, episode four, my friend got into a bit of a yelling match with a man who did not treat being an extra as a job. From the very beginning this amateur was scoffing down the prop food, out of shot in the shade talking on his cell phone. He never was at the same mark twice when he was in the shot. Wandering around talking to people and looking for free Bar-B-Que. Most of the day he spent with his ass sitting on a cooler in the shade gnawing on ribs while telling his friends on the phone that he was an actor.

Bobby DeNiro of extras said they probably hired him to save money. The guy took up the room of five extras when he was in a shot. I said "Yea, but he ate as much as ten during lunch. What they saved in labor, they lost in catering costs." Even when they yelled "CUT" he kept eating. Amateur.

My name is Eric

The other day in my blog I mentioned that due to my ignorance of recent television and films, that I could be standing next to a celebrity and never know it. It happened, sort of. While on the set we saw the principals arrive and take positions. I hadn't heard of this show, and do to my lack of interest would probably never watch it. I don't have time to watch TV, I'm too busy writing my own scripts for an animated series to do so. I really don't give a crap about who's on the cover of People magazine, who's banging who or what big shot is in rehab. I am not impressed by fame.

The one guy looked kind of familiar, I didn't really care who he was, I just wanted to earn a day's pay. About half way through the day I found out who the actor was, Jason Lee. Wow, ok, I heard of him. When I first moved down to New Orleans two months ago and stayed with Waffle and Diane, they turned me onto a very funny show called 'My name is Earl.' I liked the show from the first time I saw it, it kind of had the feel that I wanted for my future animated show 'BiNGE.'

Ironically before I left New Jersey I sat down with a yellow legal pad and made a list of everyone that I owed money to. Personal, professional and credit card debt. I vowed that I would work my ass off to make good on all owed money. My name is Earl was about a shifty but lovable white trasher from NJ who finds out about Karma while watching a late night talk show. He makes a list on a yellow legal pad of all of the negative things he has done, and sets out to make up for them.
One background extra broke protocol by going up and chatting with the stars. Ordinarily this would lead to automatic dismissal from the set, but for some reason she got away with it.

Monday, May 10, 2010

When's Lunch?

My buddy Aaron in Seattle left me a phone message busting my chops: "Dude, I'm returning your call. I guess you're too busy hanging out on the set with Angelina to return my calls..." Ironically, I am so uninformed of celebrity pop culture that I could be standing next to a 'star' and not even know it. It's easily been over two years since I went to a movie theater. As far as television, I avoid it like the plague.

Doing extra work, I'm not in it for the celebrities, I'm in it for the calories.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

It ain't dead

You may remember me writing about my Ford Escort's transmission crapping out while driving it during a Killing Karma shoot. The transmission shop gave me an estimate of $1,200 to $1,800 to repair it. The blue book on my 1995 Escort is $900. It's been a great car and only has about 96,000 miles.
I was listing it on line for a parts car, it broke my heart. My housemate suggested that I place an ad on Craigslist for barter. I wasn't enthusiastic about it, I haven't heard too many success stories with CL. What the hell, every idea is a lottery ticket. Two hours later I got a call from some one looking for a web site for their start up business. He seems to be very competent mechanically and honest. I can't give you many details on his project yet. I will debut the finished project when it is time.

It involves bikers and Bourbon Street, sounds like a winner to me.

Combing Karma

Despite a little bit of a rough start of the day concerning my report time at the set, I had a great day working as a background extra on "Killing Karma." It was my first time having to go through make up. The artist earned her pay. When I left Jersey two months ago I was due for a hair cut. My solution has been glopping a handful of gel in it and slicking it back like Johny Bagodoughnuts. Yesterday I was to play a clean cut government office worker. The make up artist started by trimming my graying goatee.

Once she got the scissors out and started to trim my hair here and there, I suddenly felt like a million dollars. Free hair cut and lunch? Damn, this is better than the homeless shelter. I enthusiastically told her "Knock yourself out, cut as much as you want." She replied, "Not too much, tomorrow they may want you to play someone ratty and dirty, like a cab driver." I looked into the mirror with a smirk thinking "Yea, I could play a cab driver." The make up artist dragged a comb through the knotted gelled blanket covering my bald spot.

Extra work is not for the claustrophobic.

Most of the background extras look forward to "camera time." I'm here for the $80 and the free food. Being on screen is cool, I can't wait for my daughter Laura to see the film. Yesterday, I believe I was lined up for a shot so she can point and yell "THERE'S DAD!" I was pushing a mail cart through an office tossing envelopes onto desks. A steady-cam was following me then it roamed to the other office workers. The assistant director setting up the scene wanted energy and kept telling everyone to go faster. On the third take my mail cart clipped the corner of a cubicle causing laughter and a restart.

It was fun.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Hello, Mr. Styles?

At 7:00 this morning a credit card company called me to see if I found work yet. While trying to tell the cubical bound harpie to try back later so I could return to sleep she suddenly turned nasty. "Well, you did sign a contract, you do know what a contract is don't you?" Ok, bitch. "The contract that I SIGNED seven years ago was for 4.9% interest, NOT 32.9% interest." That little comment you just made moved your company down to the very bottom of my 'People to pay' list.

I love how they try to threaten me with a poor credit score. It's like the assistant principle back in High School threatening me with "This will go on your permanent record." In the past thirty years since High School not once has that record ever come back to haunt me. In fact, looking back I wish I had raised more hell in school. Don't give me any more credit, keep it. I've had to sleep in my car and have gone days without coffee, smokes or food. Do you think I really give a rat's ass about little things like credit ratings?

I've never seen a credit score on a tombstone.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Shut up, Stand There, Get Out Of My Way.

I thought I might blog about what it is like working as an extra in a film. It's not very interesting, but I needed a blog subject. In fact, it's an amazingly boring job. Hours and hours of sitting around waiting for someone to point to a location for you to sit or stand around for another hour. The best part of the job is how well they feed you. It's like going to work on a cruise ship. Except without the Legionnaire's disease.

Rule ONE: Extras are at the bottom of the food chain, lowest of the low. They let you to the buffet troth last. It's all good, there is always more than enough. Here is the social order: Producer, Directer, Caterer, Actors, Production Crew, Grips, Everyone Else, Background Extras, Parking spots.

Rule TWO: Shut up, Stand There, Get Out Of My Way. (Pretty self explanatory.)

Rule THREE: Be On Time.

Rule FOUR: Dress How They Tell You.

Rule FIVE: No Pictures. (So far, no one has said "no Cartoons")

Rule SIX: While on the set, NEVER throw Mardi Gras beads at the lead actress and scream "SHOW US YOUR TITS!"

(For the record, I won't be working as an extra again on any more Lindsay Lohan films anytime soon.

Well, I'm scheduled to do extra work tomorrow.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I don't miss driving taxi

I was telling my landlord Mr. Pollock some of the dysfunctional adventures driving cab at night on the Jersey Shore. Anyone who is out at three AM is up to no good. One night I had a drunk shoot through a stop sign and almost park his Tahoe in my lap. If I hadn't swerved three feet to the right, I would probably still be going for physical therapy. My next fare was one of our regulars who stumbled into my cab with the motor skills of a tranquilized water buffalo. "I probably could've driven home, but the cops are such ball busters around here...ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ" Yea, I guess the three times the courts revoked your license for D.U.I., it was just to bust your chops.

Hardcore alchies are manipulators, I've heard it all. We had this one regular woman who I refused to talk to when she was wasted. In order to pull me in, out of the blue she starts balling.
"Waaaaaaaaa, my husband beats me."
"Yea? How long has that been going on?"
"For years!"
"Shut up then. The first time it happens you have my sympathy. Every time afterwards it's your own damn fault. The fact you have kids at home and don't do anything to change the situation makes you as big of a dirt bag as your old man."
Feminists would play her as a victim caught in a cycle of abuse. My father hit my mother ONCE. After he was taken away in a police car he never set foot in the house again.

Across the river from Algiers

About a month after I came into New Orleans, I found myself across the river in Algiers. This is where Mardi Gras starts. The floats and the performers reside here the rest of the year. A mellow, diverse suburb of NOLA, still considered to be New Orleans. I took these photos while out for a walk on a muggy afternoon.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Missing my daughter


The funniest line I have heard in a while.

A buddy of mine received a UPS package with a small grill he had earned by smoking cigarettes. While unpacking it, he pulled out a long strip of large bubble packing. With out missing a beat he said "Hey, we can use this for an oil boom around the yard."

"Too soon?"

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Really cool people

I'm humbled when I meet a Katrina survivor. Every one is worthy of a TV series. One room mate tells upon returning he and a friend went to Home Depot and bought the last two chainsaws and managed to turn it into a business. The roomy said he had never even used a chainsaw before. In a short time he and his partner had turned it into a successful landscaping enterprise. Never had worked with sod before, they undertook repairing storm damaged lawns back to pre-Katrina conditions.

Seeing a shortage of places to eat, he and his partner then started up a sandwich shop catering to the returning workers into the city. One person I met spoke of eating M.R.E.'s (Meals ready to eat)for weeks. Waffle told of Red Cross wagons and Taco vendors being the only source of food in this city known for fine dining. The ones I have met have a great attitude seldom heard back in Jersey. "It's just stuff, it don't mean a thing." A live for today, don't waste your energy on collecting expensive stuff that can be gone tomorrow attitude.

Conversely Nola still has a very high suicide rate.

Things I don't like about NOLA

I have been raving about how much more I like New Orleans than New Jersey. I am not saying it's perfect. Here are a few of the things I don't like about the area:

* INFRASTRUCTURE The roads are so bad down here, I'm thinking about opening up a tire and shock garage. There are some roads that look like they belong in Baghdad, not Louisiana. Not far from here, there is a road leading to the bridge that looks like the San Andreas runs under it. I thought it might be a result of attention going to repairing the remaining Katrina damage. A native told me that the roads have always been this bad. Low taxes are great until they take out a tire. He did mention that the tax dollars did go to keeping the politicians driveways in great shape.

* COCKROACHES In Jersey we did have roaches, about the size of a cigarette butt. Down here I have seen some the size of my thumb. I know I heard one call me a "Damn Yankee" as I walked away.

* LITTLE GREEN LIZARDS Sure they are cute when they are trying to sell you car insurance. At first I thought the heat and humidly was causing hallucinations. Small green streaks darting about the lawn as I was mowing kept me questioning my decision to do drugs years ago. I don't care if you are Chuck Norris, the first time a green lizard darts across your shoe, you will scream like a girl.

* RACISM In New Jersey, most sides of race took everybody on a case by case basis. Sure you had racist members on both sides who decided they didn't like the other before they met. Down here, it's a given. I never felt such open hostility for no other reason than the color of my skin. Old times here are not forgotten.

* MUD BUGS When I was mowing the lawn, I would come across baseball size clumps of mud. At first I thought they were some sort of bee hive. My landlord Jackson told me they were Mudbugs. Do to the high water table these aquatic insects will build nests in the yard. By the way, when tourist come down here these bugs are sold to them as a delicacy known as CRAWFISH! New Orleans have been feeding bugs they find in their yards to tourists and making a fortune. Give you people enough booze, they will cook up and serve you the big ass cockroaches next.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Do I list under "ESCORTS"?

Ok, Cottman Transmissions called. $35o just to pull the tranny to see what's wrong. The mechanic said realistic estimate is about $1,200 to $1,800 to rebuild the transmission. The blue book value is about $1,000. So I guess my one small asset is gone. It will save me money on registration and insurance. I can survive here with public transportation. It will just limit me on where I can work. It was a good car, it was my mom's so there was a sentimental value on it. I'm listing it on Craigslist for parts. I may be able to get a few hundred for it.

1995 Ford Escort 2 door hatchback. ( About 98,000 original miles) Transmission failed, 1.9 engine is in strong good shape, A/C and rest of car works. Body in good shape, right front fender dented. Perfect for parts or if you can install transmission yourself. MUST TAKE ENTIRE AUTO, no bits and pieces. Best Offer.

Well, ironically my car died while it was being filmed in a movie called Killing Karma.

Second Craigslisting: NEEDED: Replacement transmission for a 1995 Ford Escort.

TO OFFER: Graphic Artist Services will include: Design and construction of a five page web site. ONE YEAR graphic artist services to include, Logo Design, business card design and layout, newspaper ad design, graphic design for signage and layout with truck letting layout. The auto can be held as collateral for WEB SITE until completion.

All Artist Labor Free. Mechanic or shop must cover: Internet hosting fees, domain registration, printing and advertising costs. Offer is for artist labor only.

Visit to see samples of work.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

CARma problems

I got called in again tonight to work background on 'Killing Karma' again. They wanted my Ford Escort, don't ask why, I guess they dig it. Tripple H plays 'AJ' in the film. He drives around in this funky old blue Ford station wagon with fake wood on the side. A guy his size can get away with it.

At the end of the night I had to run a couple of times down the road after a cop car takes off. During the second take my tranny started slipping. After the final take, all I had to push the car off of the road and onto the shoulder. I'm hoping it's just a fluid line that I can repair with my limited mechanical skills.