Tuesday, January 15, 2019

No "Home Sweet Home" for these two guys...

Hmm, being picked to be an Extra on a tv show does have its lighter moments.

My fellow retired Post and Courier newspaperman Prentiss Findlay  and I were slated to portray two "homeless men" in an upcoming production and we lugged satchels - and hanging bags -  of our clothing so Wardrobe could decide our "look."

The hair and makeup people had a blast as they kept bringing us back to the chair in front of the brightly-lit mirror.

They were really creative artists as they slowly painted and darkened our faces to reflect the tan look of guys who regularly were living outdoors and panhandling for an existence.

My hands were applied "Hollywood dirt" and my fingers and nails were painted to look grubby and unkempt.

Looked like I had NOT carefully washed my hands that morning with soap and water.

The wardrobe ladies heard me mention I was wearing a disposable shirt with a yellowed collar that I didn't care about and my worn pants already had a rip I had patched with some duct tape.

They whipped out sharp little scissors and went to town on our clothes, cutting and ripping. My shirt pocket was ripped half off and dangled.

I probably had encouraged them when they saw I had intentionally buttoned my shirt wrong. I left a creative opening there.

The banter between the craftspeople was good.

When wardrobe sprinkled some fake "blood" on my shirt - as if I had swiped a bleeding nose - they were reminded to NOT put any blood on my skin.

That was hair and makeup territory.

When the hair person started to add gel and muss my hair as they had done for Prentiss, I pulled out a Marine Corps black knit cap.

Wardrobe said that would work if I turned it inside out so the USMC logo was not shown. I am sure the Marines would appreciate that!

I pulled it on and she deftly tugged a white forelock down into view.

When I looked into the mirror, it reminded me of a 2004 Bill Murray movie called The Aquatic Life.

If it had been red, the cap would have looked more like the Murray image but he doesn't have my distinctive bushy white eyebrows.

Finally, we were taken upstairs to be included in a scene in a large "bus station"  with a ticket counter, seats in a waiting area and quite a few extras with suitcases, roller bags and purses.

Looked real to me.

I was positioned sitting on the floor, my back against the wall, in my tattered clothes while Prentiss ended up in a comfy waiting room chair.

He was handed a bedroll tied with a piece of rope as a prop and I also had a bedroll blanket next to me.  I splayed my feet out in front of me and concentrated on being a disheveled and grungy guy down on his luck, hanging out in a crowded bus station.

A prop guy came over and placed two metal crutches on top of my bedroll and handed me a cup with two dollars sticking out of it.

On the front was penciled "Thank you!"

My tip jar then had a bright yellow banana plopped in it and I settled down to let the action begin.

Prentiss was seated opposite me and later told me he quietly snapped some photos of my unsmiling face. Hope they turn out well.

I was totally in-the-role, serious and my eyes darted to everyone passing back and forth in front of me. None had been told to stop and add to my tip jar so they passed me by.

Earlier cast and crew had enjoyed a great lunch/dinner by Crafts Services. There even was a BBQ grill set up outside for cooking steaks.

Because I am pleased to be losing weight and eating healthy, I stuck with good diet choices of a small steak, some fish and a leafy salad topped with walnuts and diced ham.

A tall cup of ice water was my drink and I did not go near the enticing and tempting dessert table which always has an array of tasty treats!

As I ate I was careful not to smudge the applied "dirt" on my face and hands.

It was a pleasant drive down that morning and the conversation was great.

On the evening drive back home, we stopped so I could snap a photo of Prentiss standing by two life-size elephants in front of a fireworks store.

One of the elephants was pink.

(Click on the links and photos for more details.) I am being careful NOT to name the production.

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Friday, January 04, 2019

Hold the phone!

 My 3-year old cell phone has been "fading" for some time - not holding a battery charge -  and it finally died.

This telephonic tragedy happened while I was spending Christmas with my daughter and family in Oakland, in sunny - but chilly - California.

My sharp "take charge"  daughter sped us to a T-Mobile store where we were told my phone indeed was officially toasted and the battery could NOT be simply replaced. 

It had been a good 3-year run. Sigh. 

My buddy had found a "deal" and each of our phones had cost about $350.

BUT, the salesman added, they had a sale going on!
What are the odds of that happening? 

He showed me a comparable NEW LGQ7+ phone that would be only $275! 

Hmmm. I checked out the details and bought it. 

While the salesman went through a lengthy process of slipping in a new SIM card and moving ALL of my stored material to the new phone, the ladies and I engaged in delightful chit-chat. 

Soon we were on our way and I was snapping photos with my new phone.

That evening, at a park near her home, we walked her dog Scout who loved to chase after thrown rocks. No sticks for this one!

We stayed for a gorgeous sunset over downtown Oakland and, to the right, San Francisco.

The next day - Dec 27 - her mother was flying back to San Diego that evening.

We had a yummy brunch and all thoughts of my diet and counting carbs went out the window! 

I was ready to relax and enjoy the (tolerated) forbidden fruit... and LOTS of the sweet rolls, buttery Texas Toast, chocolate, whipped cream...well, you get the ghastly gourmand picture.

The holiday decorated diner was near my daughter's home so, after filling my plate and mouth, we headed into "the City by the Bay." 

Her spouse was preparing dinner that evening and checking new tenants into the Mod Cat Hotel*

A fun day in the city, great food and we arrived home just in time for dinner.

Stepping out of the car, my new phone slipped from the jacket I had draped over my arm and smashed into the brick walkway, shattering the screen!


Sitting on the porch was an Amazon package that had arrived that day with the $18 protective cover for the phone. 

I was numb and feeling really dumb. 

My daughter hugged me and assured me it would be good as new again and she called an Oakland phone repair store. The gentleman said he could be there in an hour to fix it ...but...he did not have the parts needed. He said Amazon could deliver what was needed on Saturday. 

I was flying out Friday the next morning so she thanked him and ordered the parts to be delivered to me at home on Saturday!

My flights back were scrambled because of nationwide stormy weather.

Delayed and/or canceled was the order of the day for the airlines all across the country that Friday. 

Eventually, I landed in Charleston at 12:45 Saturday morning instead of my 10:35 pm Friday scheduled arrival time.

My late departure was routed Oakland to Phoenix but I had to scramble to get on a flight from there to Charlotte, knowing that when I arrived there, I would have no seat to Charleston!

I was on standby but was lucky and got me a seat for the hour flight home. My checked luggage had made it as far as Dallas and would be delivered to my home "soon."

The needed parts arrived around 10 am and that afternoon I drove to the myPhone MD store downtown with my fingers crossed.

 The owner and I had chatted before I headed there and Taylor the repair technician quickly said I did have the correct parts.

He assured me I would have my fully repaired phone in less than an hour!

There was a convenient bar next door (of course) so I had a whiskey on the rocks and a grilled chicken and Swiss sandwich.

I chatted with the bartender and some fellows at the bar. and,  45-minutes later, I went back and picked up my phone!

The repair was only $70 because I furnished the parts.

When the owner heard I was going to blog about them, he gave me a free $20 USB-C battery charging cord. None of the ones I had for the dead phone would work so now I had one and a backup.

I immediately called my daughter to tell her that her vision of the phone good as new again was fulfilled! 

I like stories with a happy ending.

This is the sweater I bought so I would fit in with the others.

Hey, they own a Cat Hotel.

When I left, the sweater stayed behind. I was told it would be made into a cute pillow for the cattery.

A double "happy ending."

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