Thursday, January 24, 2008

Am I a poparotsy?

Judy and I were back at the coast last week. As we drove through Depot Bay, we encountered quite a traffic jam. It seems they are filming for a movie produced and starred by Charlez Theron called "The Burning Plain".

We parked our car and walked back along the street taking pictures of the action on and around the set. We took a few pictures from right across the street and then noticed a few locals milling around the set so we walked across the road and mingled with them.

A man of authority walked up to me and informed me that they had purchased this entire area for their shoot and that no pictures were allowed. He said that it was OK to shoot from across the street but not on their set.

We stood and watched as they set up for their next shot. The same man came back to me minutes later and told me that I would last longer on the set if I put my camera in my pocket. He said that I was the talk of their radio. I thanked him and complied.

An actor came on the set and we watched as they did his final make up. I must admit that I did not recognize him at first but when he spoke, I realized who he was. I could not place his name so I asked one of the crew and they told me John Corbett.

We watched as John did a dress rehearsal of a scene where he is a chef and is having a smoke break with one of the waitresses.

Having seen enough, Judy and I retreated back to our car but as we walked, I called my daughter, Carrie, and told her what we had seen. "John Corbett!", She excitedly explained, "Dad, he was the guy in "A Big Fat Greek Wedding". You just have to get his picture for me.".

I thought about how the guy said that we could take pictures from across the road and Judy had her new camera with the mega zoom on it so I slipped back across the road as Judy went back to the car to stay warm.

I waited by some people that I had met earlier and we talked as they prepared for the take on John's scene. As John came out and took his position, I too took my position and lined up my zoom on him. With a shot of him taken, I lined up on the actress with him but noticed someone waving in my lens finder. I was being waved off. That same nice man earlier told me that they will wave you off if you are in the line of sight of the actor so I felt that was what was happening and moved over a little and prepared again to take the other shot.

A deputy sheriff then came running across the road. He ran over to me and angrily stated that I had been warned about my camera. I told him what I had been told of it being OK to shoot across the road and he said that they wanted me to stop shooting immediately. Now, I already had my shot and didn't want to make a scene or anything so I complied and walked back to the car.

As we drove back across the set, we noticed that they had lined up their vans on the side of the road blocking anyone else from taking one of those "across the street" shots. I called Carrie and told her that I had gotten in trouble with the Sheriff for taking her picture. "You see what I do for the women in my life?", I told her. Judy giggled as I retold the story and then made her own statement....."I am married to a Poparotsy!"

So, here is the picture for all of you John Corbett fans. By the way, Kim Bassinger is in the movie also.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Fun Times and Frozen Pipes

I came home yesterday evening to take a small break before the Monday night Holdem for Habitat. I had been thinking of it from time to time during the day. Tonight was going to be my opportunity to qualify for this years big tourney in the fall.

As I walked into the door, I heard a hissing coming from the area of one of the heating vents. Pulling off the vent, I checked to see if something was blocking the air but all seemed well. Judy was messing around with her new camera and taking pictures of me doing my work. I stood up as she started up the fireplace. She had felt the heating unit pulling cold air from the fireplace so she wanted stop the draft. We talked in front of the fireplace as she showed me her pictures.

I noticed a weird oder and looked down to see the flames pushing out into the room right under me. The draft was pushing against the heat of the fire. The heat won and the flames retreated back up the chimney but my left eye began to burn. I figured that it must have been from the gas emissions that had just flamed out at me but figured that it would just go away.

It didn't. It only got worse as I started up the game for the evening. I tried to ignore the eye but it gave me nothing but grief. Fortunately though, the cards did not. I was having one good hand after another and quickly was building up quite a stack of chips. My table quickly diminished and I split it up and combined the tables.

My luck then changed and my chip stack dwindled but allowed me to the final table. Three of us ended up in a lengthy battle. I was second in chips and had a Ace Ten suited in my pocket. The third stack guy could barely make the blinds so I pushed all in hoping that Big Bob (winner of the last two weeks) would wait while I took the other guy out. Bob did not. He followed me and I saw with glee that they both had only Jacks. Bob had a Jack Nine. So what comes up on the flop but two more Nines.

Crushed, Bob helped me clean up and I headed home. My eye was still really bothering me. As I came into the house, I heard the same hissing. It was then that it hit me. It was not heat but water that was making the sound. I rushed to the crawl space and threw it open to find water everywhere. I realized that the area was where the landscaper had set up my sprinkler system. I ran outside and took a closer look. I noticed that the pipes were plastic and had little insulation on them. I could hear the break just inside the foundation.

I ran out to the water main and tried to turn off the water but couldn't make it budge. I knew I needed something else. Some big Tool. Before I attempted it, however, I filled up one of the bath tubs for backup water. I found a large crescent wrench and a heavy duty set of pliers.

I went out while the bathtub filled and with a little ingenuity thought that I had turned off the water. I came inside only to hear the hiss still going strong. Going back to the meter, I made another startling discovery. I had just turned off the neighbors water! Fortunately for me, he never noticed as I, after some struggle got it back on.

I then called a plumber friend, Jake Firkus, and got him out of bed to make sure that I was doing the right thing. He told me that all I needed was a quarter turn to get the water off and that he would have someone out first thing in the morning. I managed to get my water off and came back inside and to bed.

But my eye would not let me rest. All night long it throbbed and watered. I did manage a little sleep in the early hours. True to his word, Jason (Jake's cousin) arrived at my house. He tried the crawl space but the area of the break was under water so we attempted to reach and fix it from the heat vent area to no avail. We could only come within inches of it. Jason crawled back under the house and found the pipe closer that headed towards the trouble area. He cut and capped it with the promise to come back in the spring to fix the shoddy work that had caused the break.

After he left, it seemed to all hit me and I told Judy I was going to stay home for a while and rest. A short nap was interrupted by a phone call. Checking the number, I realized who it was....the landscaper. Man, how news travels. I didn't feel up to the answer to I just put the phone on silence. I guess the man at the restaurant was right back last summer when we talked about my landscaping. "You will be sorry", He said, "You should at least pick someone who has his name on the side of his truck."

He is right. I should have. And, by the way, my eye still hurts.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

MOW update

It is increadible when you realize that we are twenty days into the month and our Clothing, Blanket, and Food drive is still going strong.

As a matter of fact, on Friday when I took my last load over to Salvation Army, I was asked how long I intended on keeping up the drive. I told them all winter long. "Well, do you think you can back off just a little?" was what I was asked.

It seems that they are overwhelmed with inner clothes such as sweaters and sweats. They have more than they can deal with. They asked me if I could maybe get it trimmed down to just outer wear, blankets, sleeping bags, and food. Another thing that I found out is that they cannot distribute any food that is out of date.

I posted signs in the collection area and by mid day Saturday, we already had another van full. Although there are a few inner-clothes most seem to be what they are looking for.

Thanks again, Z21 for giving us the rocket that took this years drive off of the pad with a bang and for the various radio stations, the Bulletin, and Mike Schmidt from the Chamber for their continuous reminders that have help keep it going strong. And especially to the people who have come out of their way to bring items in (one guys drove all the way from Terrebonne). May God bless you all.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

MOW and the power of the media

A few years ago, I saw a need. I watched as people went above and beyond to help the less fortunate at Christmas time and then seemingly forget about them in the months afterwards. It was an easy enough thing to do. It is the middle of winter, money is tight, you spend more time at home by the fire.....whatever the reason, we just don't seem to think of their plight.

I came up with an idea and shared it with a friend at a local helping agency and thus MOW was born. MOW stands for Middle Of the Winter. I had all sorts of catchy phrases go around in my head like, "Let's MOW down hunger and MOW down the cold". Anyway, I purchased three containers and began collecting warm clothes, blankets, sleeping bags, and food. The agreement with the local agency was that they would distribute all that I collected directly to the ones in need and that the items would not end up on their store shelves.

Originally, I had hoped that other restaurants would pick up on the idea and that it would be something that we could all do to better help the need. I even called a couple of other restaurants up and challanged them but no one took it up, so from year to year, I just continued doing what I could. The best that I recall was a couple of loads in one week (I had a small Chevy Blazer). I remember doing a little better when KBND ran a piece on it one year.

So, this year, I sat up the container yet again. I had already gotten some articles from people who remembered and ask if they could drop off early. I sent out the normal Public Service Announcement and waited. My friend Mike Schmidt from the chamber placed it in his weekly email which I was very grateful for. Then, around 10 AM, Z21 called and asked if they could run a piece on it. They sent a camera man right down and that evening (last Thursday), it was featured in the news and also Friday morning.

By noon on Friday, I had a van load and took it down to the Salvation Army. I was overwhelmed by the response. By 5PM, I had yet another van load. Since Salvation Army was closed for the weekend, we placed it in one of our storage sheds. Around noon on Saturday, I had yet another van load and when I left last night, I noticed that the front entry way at Jake's was loaded up again. I am sure that by Monday morning, we will have enough that Captain John from the Salvation Army will have to bring down his big truck and we will probably fill it.

It shows me two things. People watch the local news and they do care. Some have even gone out and purchased new items and brought them in. With that and an assurance that Salvation Army will distribute these to the ones who truely need it, I know that this winter, we will all be making a difference.

Thank you, Bend, for your response!