Wednesday, July 11, 2007

In exactly 2 months time, I have

1. gotten engaged (...'to be married', in case that wasn't clear). it's true. read on...
2. lost my job. most of you already knew that part.
3. started in a new line of work... and because of it and the above two,
4. become happier than you've probably ever seen me.

it's true.

The engagement: I'd had it planned already. Sort of. For those of you already married, you men at least¹ , you'll recognize this internal thought; that mental seed that grew on it's own, pushing itself into every corner of your conscious thought until it was bound to break the surface, ready or not: "oh my god, I'm going to ask her to marry me". It's thrilling and frightening, joyous and maddening. So much so that ... I uhh... didn't really do it right. I had a secret, bursting at the seams. Who better to tell than my lady? And so... I mentioned.. quite momentously that.. she might.. want to consider [pause] thinking about rings. Specifically, either the ring that I had from .. my prior engagement, or my grandmother's ring which, having been given to her in ~1931, was .. 'of that time' let's say (ie. it's not ostentaciously showy, it's not a solitaire and so it's not ultra-traditional, pictures soon, I'm sure). Obviously (or not) I knew that if I were to give the prior-engagement ring, that basically, we would just use the diamond and maybe recast the platinum. I'd hoped though that Esra would love the history and sentiment of it being my grandmothers ring more, which in fact she did, and does, and now (and then), truly loves the ring. And so that'd be the background on why I asked before I asked.
The proposal: There is a park near Esra that she and I had gone to on one of our first dozen or so dates. She was going to Turkey for two weeks and it was our first major break from each other after having just started dating. We had Puerto Rican sandwiches that day and sat and watched the koi swim & just chilled, admiring the beauty of the park. Every so often, we've gone back there & it's sort of become "our" unofficial park.
On June 9th, 2007, we'd had a fight. On the phone, before we met that day. I dont remember what it was about and it was a bit snarky. It certainly wouldn't normally be something that'd inspire one to ask another one to marry that first one. And yet.. love being that pair of damned horse blinders that it is, it didn't matter. It just didn't. Perspective. I saw it all. There would be fights to come, there'd be snarkiness galore, I was sure of it and yet.. there'd be a million billion more times that'd be happy and full of laughter and giddy, ridiculous love. And so we met, under the trellis, newly grown over with grapes. I was listening to a song on my mp3 player that I'm embarassed to admit that I've always liked (which Esra's also always loved) and so before I said anything, I put the earphones in her ears and handed her some flowers I'd just bought. She [wait for it, wait for it] got a bit teary. As I was putting away my mp3 player and she was admiring her flowers, I turned to her, then down on one knee and said .. "I should have done this a long time ago", opening the ring box. It was her first time seeing my grandmother's ring and so [wait for it], quite understandably, more tears did flow. As did champagne later in the evening.

Losing my .. job:
My company bought another, they merged offices, blah blah blah. I got laid off. If I didn't hate the fact that I kept myself in the telecom field for 10 freakin' years that should have been spent "following my bliss" (ie. tv/film related anything), I would thank my old peyton-manning-looking wanker of a boss for choosing me as one of the 26 people they let go. It gave me the kick in the pants that I never gave myself. But I wont, I cant, I will not do that. A. He looks too much like peyton manning (but uglier, if you can imagine that) B. He's 31 C. He's a former tech support manager who became an office manager and the power that went to his head from that will surely be his undoing. [insert maniacal cackling here]. Ahem. Ok.. now that I've vented the last of my bitterness about him (wait, one more: I researched the heck out of implementing a recycling program for our office, I volunteered to run it, to do any lugging around of recycling barrels and such, to basically do it all. His reply: "I dont have time to think about this".) Long story long (again, sorry) ... I'm out of telecom, I'm never going back and I am happier than ever because....

I have become an Art Department PA
(production assistant) for tv/film/commercials.
Two days into my new line of work, I was happier than I may have ever been in my life. (childhood birthdays and Oakland Raider victories excluded)
The first project I worked on was as a Set Designer PA for a Court TV pilot called Young And Reckless. We created a fake crime lab as a background for a voice over talent guy to be saying little interstitial 'host' type things into the camera (ie. "And that's when the murderers took things for granted.. and paid the price!"). Sadly, I lost all the pics I took on set as I just got a new phone and Sprint already shut down my old account. bastards. Among a million other things, I got to label about a hundred bankers boxes with the names of fake crime cases, to which, I had no end of fun doing & people kept laughing when they saw them (ie. Bardard Rubble, The Flintstone Family Massacre. Balky Bartakamous, the Fake Cousin Larry Suicide. He-Man, Murderer of the Universe (which of course led to) Sidartha, Destroyer of Worlds, Arrested for Breaking and Entering. etc, etc, etc. And then I got a bit silly, running out of crime cases, I went on to: Hatha Yoga With John MacEnroe. Jessica Simpson, Post Doctoral Thesis (take 47)). None of the labels were going to be big enough to see on camera so I was just going for laughs (a great way to be remembered by set designers, decorators, production coordinators possibly needing PA's down the road) My favorite of the labels was for these flat filing cabinets we had, the kind you'd keep large maps in. The set designer and our other PA were going to label them just with A, B, C, etc... so I suggested vegetables, instead. The idea that you could open up one flat filing drawer full of asparagus, one full of squash, one zucchini, bok choy, etc... in a crime lab no less.. was just too beautiful. The best part was when I'd be doing something and overhear someone laugh and say "HA! this drawer is full of green beans!". The Court TV job was 4 days.. the first of which was driving a 16' cube truck around to various prop houses & furniture rental places, picking up everything. The next day was unloading and setting up the set, the next day was filming & the next day was returning everything. The filming days (on both jobs so far) were both the most interesting and the most boring. Basically, once things are set up, there's not much to do but help any & everyone out that you possibly can with just about anything that needs done. As an art department PA, you don't have to help anyone out, especially as you get farther from the department you're assigned to, but I was eager to be learning & helping, making friends & contacts and frankly, it's just more rewarding to be doing something than to be getting by doing nothing.
The next job I did was as a (general) Art Department PA for 5 verizon commercials shot over 7 days. Again, day one (of our 8 days, actually) was picking up items needed on the set and our "hero prop", which was a cherry picker bucket and arm that'd raise and lower, extend and pull back a 'verizon worker' guy in the bucket as he'd pop into people's every day lives and give them status on their verizon internet security and whatnot. Being the "hero prop truck" PA's, we had to arrive on set an hour before everyone else and leave about an hour after everyone, as the bucket & arm would have to be loaded back on for transport to the next day's shoot. We shot in 3 locations (2 days at a lake in upstate NY, a Long Island mansion'y house and two side-by-side houses in NJ). Like I said, art department PA's have a lot of downtime once they load out so we more or less became production PA's & helped out with everything we could. We used walkie talkies with secret-service'y ear pieces, went on driving runs for various things they needed on set, brought a whole lotta things from A to B and back again and when there was absolutely nothing at all to do (directors & assistant directors or advertising agency folks discussing things) we read or got a little cat nap in our trucks. All in all, the responsibility, the fact that we're actually creating something that's.. well.. creative, the .. oh, did i mention the free food and drinks alllll day long? I honestly dont know if I've ever kept myself so hydrated. Something about free, ice cold water (or sodas or juices) will make you drink your suggested daily allotment - all of these things and more has made the switch to tv/film/commercial production so worth it, so rewarding, so fulfilling, it's not even funny. Actually, it is funny. I'm actually proud of what I do now. I get animatedly excited when I talk about it. I'm honestly not used to that. It actually interests me, what I'm doing. I knew there were people out there who had jobs they enjoyed, I just didn't know I could be one of them. I'll save any talk about the mild annoyances of 11 to 16 hour days for another email.. except to say that a 13 hour day felt like an 8 hour day in telecom. It took about the same out of me, long-day-wise. The beauty of being a PA (and knowing I'll someday be a set decorator or set designer or art director) though is the pride and self respect it instills in me.

VERY IMPORTANTE: If you know of anyone in the tv or film or commercial worlds who could get me on as a PA with them (or tv/film office work), it would be sooo very very very much appreciated. This freelance not-knowing-where-the-next-job is coming from is a little bit worrisome. Shout out to Marisa for coming through on the friend of a friend referral that got me my first two jobs. Seriously. may the gods bless yee.

ok, more later...

¹ or women, if the women did the proposing