I fly at forsaken

WEEKEND RECAP

FRIDAY
After a long day of meetings, I headed over to Uptown Espresso to meet with Team Gadzook and begin my portion of the 48-hour Film Challenge. On the way, I stopped at Ralph’s to get some Kettle Corn and chocolate-covered espresso beans for later. The writers were to be me, Faye, Cherry and a little fellow I will call Baz. Gevin, Pat and Amy were also there for a bit to lend their support and brainstorming ideas. Dom and Borgia ran off to Nimble for the genre drawing and to find out what our criteria would be. While we awaited our fate, we looked at some photos of our available locations on Dom’s lap top. We also briefly rocked out to one of three songs that Dom had in his i-tunes, “Cold as Ice”. (When Dom and I first started dating, I would probably hear that song once a day. Hearing it will remind me of Dom for the rest of my life). Shortly after 7, the phone rang and Jef read us our genre: Romance. Everyone groaned in unison. BORING. We had the option to take the “wild card” (which we asserted couldn’t have been much worse than “romance”) but we decided to suck it up and try to make it work. Our criteria (which each of the 24 Seattle teams has to incorporate into their film) was as follows: the character is “J. Ellepano, Fisherperson”. The prop was “doormat” and the line of dialogue was “Maybe, but not on my watch.” I suggested early on that we have the character deliver it “Maybe…but not on my watch.” Hopefully it won’t be done that way a dozen other times.

Anyway, we started brainstorming. Many good ideas came out and we wrote them all down. Then everyone but the official writers and Dom (the director) left to get some sleep. And here’s where we started to realize that we weren’t all on the same page creatively. We are all trying to make the best of the crappiness of the Romance genre by being as bizarre as possible with our ideas. We had a GREAT idea of doing a 4 minute Jane Austen-style story but it was becoming too complicated. We had several other ideas that were pretty out there and cool, but one of the writer’s just wasn’t having it. They kept pitching conventional romance story ideas and wanting us to provide logical, real-life explanations to the fantastical situations we were pitching.

We thought we had FINALLY come up with a compromise by having a somewhat conventional romance montage with a bizarre surprise ending. We had an outline and then moved locations to write the thing. But as we started to write, our defector kept trying to change the story and even START OVER with a new story. At this point, it was midnight and we just wanted to get something written. There wasn’t time to start over and there wasn’t time to explain 500 times why we didn’t need to exposit the reason that this magical thing happened or that happened. Who cares what the character’s back story is? It’s a 4-minute film challenge short. And it’s supposed to be FUN. It’s not going to be Felini. At 1:30 we finished what we THOUGHT was a pretty fun, tight script that we could all live with and went home to sleep. When I got home, I suddenly had a bad feeling that the defector would try to change the script in our absence, since he was going to be the only one of the writers on set the next day. But Dom was asleep and I didn’t want to bug him. He had a big day coming up.

SATURDAY
Dom woke me up a little before 7 to say goodbye. I groggily wished him good luck and then went back to sleep. Around 10:00 I got up and called Dom. I wanted to know what was happening. I wanted to make sure that they were using the script we all agreed on. When I called Dom, I expected to leave him a message, but instead he answered and said “we’re in the middle of a shot”. So I said, “Call me back when you get a break”. At this point, I was paranoid and making myself angry. “They’re using a different script, aren’t they?” I thought. “Those bastards! I was so annoyed that I tidied the hell out of the apartment. I should get annoyed more often. But then Dom called me back an hour or so later and told me that yes, another script was brought to the set, but they were using ours. Phew! He also said that little Baz would like to have his name taken off the writing credits. It’s pretty lame because he actually DID contribute to the script, however reluctantly. But alright. Whatever makes him happy. Sadly, we certainly won’t write with him ever again, but I hope this isn’t the beginning of a feud or any animosity be’twixt us. We really liked the guy. It’s just pretty clear that we do not, and will never see eye-to-eye when it comes to movies. Strange, though, that he was SO opposed to our ideas, when he actually worked on “Snow Day”. BLAAAH! I’m done.

So Faye and I sped off to SeaTac to pick up our friend “Mark from Hollywood”. We found him by the Alaska terminal with his L.A. sunglasses on. He hopped in and we settled on the Canterbury for lunch. We stopped at my now, un-embarrassing apartment so he could drop off his bag and meet the kitties, and then we strolled up the street for a nice, greasy lunch.

Unfortunately, Mark didn’t get to meet any of the sweet, cutie waitresses that The Canterbury is so famous for. Instead we got some grumpy new girl who didn’t even ask us what kind of toast we wanted and who took liberties with Faye’s grilled cheese. Mark was very kind to pay for lunch, especially considering the “Alice”-like service we received. We assured him that it was rare form. Then we decided to try and find the cemetery where Bruce and Brandon Lee are buried. We didn’t really know where it was. Only that it was in or around Volunteer Park. So we headed over there and just headed toward the end of the park not oft’ explored by us. On the way we passed a wedding party and a small gathering of Shakespearean actors. As a detour, we decided to check out the conservatory which was really neat and only $2. As we wandered through the plants in the wrong direction, we spotted the cemetery out the back window! What a fortunate detour! After petting some cacti, taunting the carnivorous plants and smelling the Corpse Flower, we moved toward our intended destination.

As we wandered through the cemetery, looking for the graves, I wondered allowed how many people visited them every day. Faye suggested “four…at least today”. We finally found them on a hill, by a tree, just as Mark had said. I was stupidly surprised to see several Chinese people there taking pictures. I had expected, if anything, to find a bunch of Robert Smith-looking fellows abound. I had forgotten completely that Bruce Lee was famous for, like, bringing kung-fu to America. Jesus Christ, I can be thick sometimes. Anyway, the graves were very beautiful and there were some cool little notes on them. It was pretty clear that more than four people visit in a day. On Brandon’s grave was his famous quote about life being fleeting and previous that he gave in his last ever interview. It was all very nice. A nice way to remember someone.

We walked back to my house for some water and to google directions to the Sound Garden. Mapquest was very helpful as usual by identifying it as being in Magnuson park somewhere. Thanks. Mark had been there before so we thought if we just journeyed over there, we would find it easily enough. I mean, it’s got to be well-marked, right? It’s THE Sound Garden. Wrong. We wandered and/or drove around the park for an hour looking for the damned thing. At this point, the sun was out in full force and we were wondering how our 48-hour friends were doing with the neutral density and skin protection. We FINALLY found a secured gate that Mark assured us “looked right”. But there was no guard on duty and no visible way to circumvent the gate. We sat there in the car looking dodgy for a few minutes before deciding to give up and drive back. I guess since it’s not 1994 anymore, they figure no one wants to see the Sound Garden.

On the way back, we stopped at 7-11 to get Mark some tissues and get us all Slurpees. I hadn’t enjoyed a Slurpee in a very long time and it was wonderful. At a stop light, we saw three suspicious-looking teenagers attempting to climb the side of an apartment building. Kids today. They know nothing of covert operations. We stared them down until the light turned green.

We parked Faye’s car back at her apartment, rested for a little bit, introduced Mark to the rats, and then began the journey down to the Crocodile. Faye needed some ATM action so we hit Broadway. Two people with mouths full of gold teeth stopped her and asked “Can I borrow $20?”. Count the things that are wrong with that sentence. 1) “borrow”? Since we don’t know you, when exactly are you going to pay Faye back? 2) What exactly do you need money for? Usually pan handler’s at least make an attempt to convince you that it will be spent wisely. Faye suggested that it was for more gold teeth. 3) $20??!!! Are you kidding me? Being the liberally-trained youth that we are, Faye’s response was “Sorry man, I don’t have any cash”. But instantly she realized that she should have said “What? Are you crazy? I’m not giving you twenty fucking dollars!”. She wished that they would come back and ask her again. Would that it were Groundhog Day. While she was at the ATM, an extremely tweaked man paced around me telling me that he really liked my skirt (what, this plain black one? Thanks) and that he was from San Diego and the weed was SOOOOO much better down there. Ok. Cool, man. I have to take this call. As we attempted to leave Broadway as quickly as possible, we saw the tweaker harassing the unfortunate souls who were dining outdoors with only a rope to protect them.

On the way to The Crocodile, Faye and I explained to Mark that it was owned by Mrs. Peter Buck and that many a celeb has been spotted there, including Peter Buck himself, David Cross and Deathcab for Cutie. Our delicious meal was served and Sherrard and Doug joined us. As we whooped it up trading poo and webcam boner stories (you’d be surprised how many of each we all have), we noticed someone being filmed in the corner. It was a woman I had never seen before. Every once in a while we would overhear part of her obviously scripted speech about the delicious eats at the Crocodile. “They’re filming a commercial for the Crocodile,” I said. But as the woman was leaving, Faye finally recognized her as some Food Network star. None of the rest of us had ever heard of her but we still wondered if we would be visible as extras in the show. Probably not. I wonder how many takes we ruined with our poo stories. Feeling guilty for not throwing some boobs into this supposed bachelor party for Mark, (as people shot down my suggestion to go “Poke our heads into the Lusty Lady”), I picked up one of those free postcards which depicted a sleazy-looking woman and a tiger. We all agreed that she was in no way attractive. Even when Faye made the postcard dance.

Next, we moved to Shorty’s for more drinking and possibly some video games. The sad bastard DJ from yore had been replaced by yet ANOTHER John Gulager look-alike in a Night of the Living Dead t-shirt. This guy rocked. He even played the Monkees! The riveting conversation and story-swapping continued as we downed the delicious drinks (Blackthorns!). Before long, nachos were in order. The very kind man behind the counter stuffed as many chips as he could into the paper bowl and scooped no less than FIVE scoops of cheese onto them. I gave the knight in indie armor a very nice tip.

Ben called around 9:45 and said that Team Gadzook was finally done shooting. He was headed home on account of his having to work at 3am. Dom was going straight into editing. Borgia and B-Rex were going to the Satellite for post-funking. We finished up at Shorty’s and got into Doug’s truck for the ride of a lifetime. Even though there was apparently plenty of room in the cab, Faye and I opted to ride in the covered back of the truck. We lay down on blankets to avoid being seen by the cops, and Doug sped off toward Capital Hill. He blasted some Polenesian music over his P.A. system. Every once in a while, we could hear Sherrard addressing the people, but we couldn’t hear what he said. On several occasions, we were bounced around like rag dolls. On one occasion, we actually both caught air. It was terrifying and exciting all at once. I attempted to take a picture of the view we had from the back of the truck.

We sauntered into the Satellite and found there was no room at the Team Gadzook table, so we set up in the corner booth. Borgia came over to visit and told us that they had been playing truth or dare. At this point, things were starting to get a little hazy. It as loud, the waiter forgot about us, and I don’t remember all of what was discussed. Needless to say, it was fun! At one point, Borgia slapped a man, in defense of Faye’s honor and beer. (Apparently, one of the dares was to steal Faye’s beer). We closed the place out and then meandered home. On the way, we ran into Ahe who was also very drunk, and friends. She identified Mark as “the guy who was sleeping with the rats”. I accidentally insulted her ankles when I meant to compliment her boots. Then we went our separate ways. When Mark and I got back to my place, Dom was (not surprisingly) sound asleep.

SUNDAY
Dom woke me up to say goodbye again, but this time I got up right away. He managed a quick hello to Mark before he had to be out the door and back to editing. Mark and I had a nice little morning chat over water and then organized a breakfast outing to Charlie’s with Sherrard and Faye. On the way, I photographed a creeply placed baby doll in a tree and a poor smashed television. We also posed for pictures in front of the poor little thing. At Charlie’s, the great conversation just kept on flowing! We played a few fun games including “the one where you add ‘the’ to movie titles” (i.e. The Starship Troopers) and “the titular line game” (i.e. “That sure is a lot of Office Space”). Faye also invented a modified version of “the one where you add ‘a’ to movie titles (i.e. “A Titanic”). Fun stuff. After, breakfast, Faye had to take off to go help the puppies and so Mark, Sherrard and I were left to wile away the afternoon. Eventually, we had to catch the bus to Ballard so that Mark could meet his dad, who was playing accordion at the Nordic Heritage Museum for their “Viking Days” festival. We tried to think of something cool to do in the meantime, but we ended up just shooting the breeze back at my place until it was time to go. That suited us just fine, methinks. As we waited for the #10, Sherrard told one of his lovely stories that starts with “One of the most horrible things I’ve ever seen…”. We got on the bus and sat in the back on account of Mark’s large bag. Things were going well until, a few stops later, the very picture of lunacy caught the bus in time and meandered immediately toward us. At first we thought nothing of it. Plenty of unfortunate people ride the bus, usually without incident. Sherrard began a describing the opening seen to the fairly obscure film “Eating Raoul”. It was then that the woman piped up. “Don’t talk about “Eating Raoul”! I saw that movie in the theatre and it was awful! I walked out and got my money back. Did you know that if you walk out in the first half an hour of a movie you can get your money back? I just want to pass this on to as many people as possible.” We all looked at each other and kindly dropped the subject, but another woman about 5 rows up loudly called back “What movie?” “EATING RAOUL,” said the crazy woman. She then turned back to us and we finally saw the full horrific site that was this woman. She was dressed in a black sleeveless blouse, with some sort of a bonnet/visor on her head. Her hair was short and gray and spiked straight up. She looked at us with her crazy, lazy eyes and exclaimed “I usually have the back of the bus to myself. I ride this bus all the time. This is my bus and I don’t want to hear about “Eating Raoul”. We said we would drop the subject and hope this would make her go away. It did not. It was at this point that I noticed her large, yellowed front teeth with the black tar around them. “So, where do we make our connection?” Sherrard asked me in a desperate tone. “Pine,” I noncommittally answered back. I didn’t want to reveal the fact that our destination wasn’t until 4th avenue, in case the situation escalated and we had to disembark earlier. “I usually have the back all to myself” the horrible woman said again and she stood directly in front of us with her arms outstretched, gripping the bars on either side. I couldn’t avert my gaze from her hairy armpits. “I like to do my gymnastics back here,” she said, and she pulled her feet off the ground and swung slightly. Mark, concerned, said of me “you should be careful or you might kick her in the face”. The woman said “Oh, I would never do that. I’m a dancer. I am very coordinated and graceful and I would never do anything like that”. Mark persisted that it had nothing to do with her being a dancer, simply that the bus jerks from time to time and it’s not the best idea to invite injury by swinging from the bars. The woman grew angry and sat RIGHT NEXT TO ME, saying to Mark “You haven’t heard a WORD I SAID”. Mark, having ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA how to respond to this, said “I thought I did”. “Well, you didn’t,” she said. It was then that I made a snap decision. We had to get off the bus at the next stop. I didn’t want to ride all the way downtown in such horrid, uncomfortable silence, and the woman clearly wasn’t going to leave us alone. The bus stopped at Broadway and we bolted for the front door. I didn’t know what time another bus was coming. It didn’t matter. Must. Get. Away. From. Crazy. Lady. She shouted something at us as we scurried off the bus. Now we know why she usually has the back all to herself.

Not long after, a 49 arrived and we still managed to make it to our connecting stop with one minute to spare. While we waited, we watched a cancer patient ride a stationary bicycle in the middle of Westlake Center and uncomfortably joked about the escalation of mental illness in Seattle. We rode to Ballard without further incident and found the Nordic Heritage Museum in the middle of a residential neighborhood. Apparently, the festival was almost over. We had about half an hour to scarf down the delicious traditional baked goods (thanks, Mark!) and find Mark’s father in Valhalla (a.k.a. the beer garden). Sherrard and I briefly met Mark’s dad and step-mother. Mark’s dad fulfilled his fatherly duties by making fun of his son’s haircut in front of new people, and then Mark watched us back to the bus stop. Thanks for the visit, Mark! We had a GREAT time. I haven’t had such fun non-stop conversation in ages. Come back soon!

Sherrard and I took our seats marveling at the strangeness of the weekend. A few stops later, a couple who looked (and dressed) suspiciously like dwarves (LOTR style) got on the bus and sat across from us. The man in the group was VERY OBVIOUSLY listening in on our conversation. I know because he was staring directly at us. I looked over at him once or twice and he just smiled. Did he want to JOIN the conversation? I don’t know. I just wanted a nice ride home with Sherrard. I ignored him as much as possible. We got off in downtown Ballard to grab some dinner and the dwarves got off at the same stop. The guy HELD THE DOOR OPEN for us. The BUS door. It doesn’t need to be held. I’m pretty sure he just did it so he could get right up in our faces and say “Have a great afternoon”. Er…thanks.

Sherrard and I had just about enough of eventful bus rides. After a quick Sushi dinner, we caught the 44 back home. The dwarves were on that bus too, but luckily, we were able to sit very far away from them and have a private conversation.

I got home around 7:00 and spent the rest of the evening watching Angel Season 5 commentaries. Wonderful. Best. Weekend. Ever. Until next weekend! (Also Longest. Post. Ever.)

PS: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, FAYE!!

PPS: See pictures from the weekend here.

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