my first movie

Tomorrow marks an important day in my life in the entertainment industry. I am going to work on an independent film movie set as a production assistant. This basically means I’m the “goto boy” and I do whatever the heck they need me to do. I’ll probably be helping out with grip and audio as well.

The crew will probably consist of about 30-40 people total (at least that’s what I’ve been told) and we’re shooting the film in the backlot of Universal Studios. What is the backlot? Well, if you’ve ever been to Universal Studios in Universal City, California, you already know there’s a ride which I believe is called studio tour. It’s basically you and about 100 other people sitting on a little tram rolling down the hill into the backlot of Universal. You get to see the sound stages and sets from the tram in a 30+ minute ride. It’s pretty cool the first time you roll down there and see everything! So I’m going to be able to drive down to the actual gate to the lot, tell them I’m on the list, and they’ll let me into the backlot as if I work there!

The location at which we’re shooting is by the log cabin on top of the hill. This is the same log cabin used in the movie The Great Outdoors starring John Candy and Dan Aykroyd.

I’m not getting paid for my work, in fact I’m volunteering. My goal, however, is to learn what happens on a movie set as I’m totally inexperienced at this. It’s not always going to be fun and the hours will be long but I’m willing to put up with that this time because hopefully after the shooting is done, I’m going to be able to sit in on the post production audio part of it and possibly help out! This is the best way to get your name out there and network and I’d be stupid not to take this opportunity for that reason!

I’m obviously going to bring my camera and try to steal a few moments away to photograph some of the sets up close and personal, but because we’ll be limited on time and possibly access to different areas, we’ll see what happens. Oh, and I can’t remember what the movie is about, but I’m almost certain (at least hopefully certain) that it’s not pornography. I guess I’ll find out.

Reagan Presidential Library

A week ago, I took a trip to Simi Valley to visit the Reagan Presidential Library. It was a very nice day and interesting to see all the events and memorabilia about his life. The $7 trip through the museum took me a little over an hour. There was a 10 minute video in the first room containing photographs taken by his personal photographer and music pertaining to his funeral and memorial services. Then you go through to see, hear and experience stories and various items from his life and presidency.

If you’re out in this area and have interest, I recommend it! You can view my personal little photo gallery here.

Freaks and Geeks

Freaks and Geeks

edit: 4/25/05WOW! Thank you for visiting this page! I cannot believe how many hits I’ve received since the beginning of the year, but this page has become the most popular hit every month for the past few months because of my graphic above! I’ve tripled my bandwidth because of these hits! I hope that all of you Freaks and Geeks fans enjoy the photos. I might have to actually add more soon because there are a few that I haven’t posted. And, I have two videos that I could upload as well, but I don’t want my bandwidth to just go insane. So, if there’s enough interest, please let me know and I’ll consider adding more!! Again, thank you for your interest!

I will now take an opportunity to talk about one of my obsessions of the last 5 years. It was fall of 1999, the semester was back in full swing, and a promising amount of television premiered that fall season. Up until that time, I kept up with only a few television shows, such as The Simpsons or King of the Hill. 1999 changed all of that.

On NBC, there was this show called Freaks and Geeks which I instantly knew I had to check out. See, as many of you might know, I was such a nerd in school. In fact, I’d rather think I was a geek because nerd reminds me of someone who is book smart and I don’t believe I had much book smart with my mediocre grades. So this show was an instant draw to me just by its title. After seeing the first scene where Sam get picked on, I knew I found a new favorite show.

Five years have ever so rapidly passed since I first found out about this new show called “Freaks and Geeks”. Before the show even premiered, all of the commercials I watched eagerly compelled me to see the authenticity of the show, and the pilot proved my curiosity which secured my future love. Thus, I was completely hooked. I believe that just following the end of pilot show, I posted one of the first 10 entries on the wildly popular and still very active message board at the website for Freaks and Geeks. I have felt so many emotions because of what happened to the show since the announcement of its cancellation, but I religiously watched and recorded the show each Tuesday night when it was broadcasted on Fox Family Network starting September of 2000.

I don’t believe that I’ve ever seen a show with the quality caliber of Freaks and Geeks in my whole life of mindlessly watching television. Although I am only 25, I have never in my life seen a series that was so true to the American experience in high school. Not only did the creators, the directors, and most importantly the actors completely and thoroughly portray a group of kids going through the wayward years of adolescence, I can relate to Freaks and Geeks on many levels. If I were a teacher or professor, I would probably be inclined to use this show numerous times as a study or example to kids of how life can be harsh, how life can be wonderful, how life is very similar to this show.

If Freaks and Geeks was a book, I believe it would be deemed as a classic.
If Freaks and Geeks was a radio show, I believe it would have gone down in history for ratings.
If Freaks and Geeks was a music album, I believe it would go multiplatinum in sales.
If Freaks and Geeks was a movie, I believe it would be in the top 10 movies greatest movies of all time.
If Freaks and Geeks was real, I believe people would completely identify with it.
Unfortunately, Freaks and Geeks was none of these. It is simply a television show that had the utmost potential to become a strong running series. And that’s it. Potential.

Now, I’m left with memories… and a brand new DVD set! It took them 5 years but they released a DVD set, which I immediately preordered and since have watched all of the episodes again.

This past Thursday, I had the rare and awesome opportunity, probably the last of its kind for this show, to meet some of my favorite actors from the show. I missed the biggest opportunity back in April when almost every single actor from the series made a guest appearance in LA to promote the DVD set. So I knew a month ago that this event was an absolute must.

It was held at the San Diego Comic Con. Upon arriving to the room where the session would be held, I immediately recognized Paul Feig, the creator, walking with Steve Bannos, one of the teachers. It was then that I realized how amazing this was really going to be! We initially watched the last episode of the series “Discos and Dragons”. I must admit that watching the show with over 1000 people laughing at the same jokes and enjoying the same things really is a unique and incredible experience! So it was okay that I had already seen the episode many times before then.

my first view of everyone!!

Then it happened. Paul Feig, the writer and creator of the series, and the actors all walked up to the stage and Paul at the podium welcomed us there. Wow. I was just smiling because it was so surreal! Then began the F&Q. Most of the questions were directed to Paul who graciously answered questions but the rest of the cast finally answered a few questions. It was really awesome hearing their opinions about their roles as well as what they were up to now.

here they are all together!

While I took this photo above, there was a line forming for autographs just a few rooms away. When I went to get into line, they had already closed it off because it was overflowed. I was so upset because I even brought my DVD set to get it autographed. So, I decided that I wasn’t going to give up and blew off some time walking around the convention center. I headed back up a few times and still no luck. So, finally when the line was about 20 people long, I begged security people who kept saying no and I told them that I drove all the way from LA and had brought the DVD set for just this. I would even buy their last set if they let me in line! After talking with a few people, they let me in!! I was so happy!!! So I made it to the front and was able to talk to, take pictures of, make a little video of and thank the few members of the cast and crew that were sitting behind the table.

Natasha Melnick, John Francis Daley and Samm Levine
From left to right, Natasha Melnick, John Francis Daley, and Samm Levine.

Martin Starr and Natasha Melnick
From left to right, Me, Martin Starr, and Natasha Melnick.

What a wonderful day, a wonderful television show, and a wonderful memory I made! To conclude, here’s a little letter I wrote on a bulletin board on NBC.com in support of Freaks and Geeks.

Qualities that define a long lasting and successful television series:
1. strong plot
2. compelling story
3. well defined actors and actresses
4. *FAN SUPPORT*
NBC has overlooked such a strongly fan-supported series for their fall line-up. Not only have thousands of Americans scrutinized then embraced Freaks and Geeks, but to my pleasant surprise, the rest of the world has been tuning into this unobjectively irresistible series. NBC’s ignorance in canceling this more than entertaining show is a mistake by which the choice fan must pay. By the grace of the wisest man at NBC or any other television station that sees the light will this interminably awesome series be never-too-lately resurrected.

conservatives verses liberals

I don’t agree with everything said by either party; I’d like to think that I’m more middle of the road when it comes to politics. A friend of mine e-mailed me a forward that had some interesting points, mostly trying to express a more conservative point of view. I don’t agree with every point made, but more than a few of these comparisons are interesting points to bring up.

geez

Why did this make the news?

Santa Clarita Wildfire

Santa Clarita Wildfire - only a few minutes away from me!
On my way to Palmdale this past Saturday, I drove right past the exact spot which is now charred and where fires are raging out of control. In fact, I drove in that spot almost exactly an hour before it began. Then, just a couple of hours later, there was so much smoke in the air that you would have been amazed. Now, there are over 4000 acres torched by this ravage.

It was about 3pm. I had just finished watching Anchorman with my friend Wendy and decided to make my way back home. It usually takes about 45 minutes to drive from Palmdale to Sylmar. As soon as I got onto the freeway in Lancaster (Palmdale’s sister city), visibility was immensely decreased from the smoke that drifted east from the Lake Hughes fire in the Angeles National Forest.

I quickly made my way up into the range pass in between Santa Clarita and Palmdale and I could see a huge cloud. I wasn’t sure if I was seeing it right, but as I drove closer I could tell this wasn’t just a small fire. I didn’t know how severe it really was until I got to the outskirts of eastern Santa Clarita. There was so much smoke and ashes in the air that the whole eastern half of the city couldn’t see the sun. I got closer to the 14 and Interstate 5 intersection when I noticed a crowd of red lights ahead of me. That’s when I decided to cross through the city to the other side of town to try and go south on the 5. In the city, there was so much traffic heading the opposite direction of me that I couldn’t believe my eyes. Miles of backups.

I come to find out that they shut down highway 14 shortly after I exited for a stretch of a few miles and if I had tried to go any further south, I would have been just as stuck. Interstate 5 was backed up in both directions as drivers were looking out to see the smoke trying to catch just one glimpse of fire and smoke.

I’ve read about wildfires but it amazes me to actually see one so close to home. Our house in the valley is in no danger because it’s on the other side of the foothills and the winds are headed north and east. But conditions were/are so dry and hot this weekend and week that I really don’t expect this fire to die too soon. I hope they can contain it soon but winds keep picking up to about 20mph at certain times.

So what is the cause of such a disaster? Southern California is in the middle of a 5 year drought. The last rain shower it has received was the exact day that I moved here, March 1. Since then, it’s been almost nothing but hot and dry weather everyday with tons of sunshine. The other reason this fire started, according to one news source, is that a red-tailed hawk hit power lines and caught fire. It obviously fell to the ground and caught some brush on fire.

Hey Seattle, can we borrow some of your rain?

Firefox

firefox
I’ve been using Windows Internet Explorer since I bought my first ever computer way back in 1997 right before I started college. What a time of joy it was to be using such a great machine and looking at information from all over the world using this simple, easy to use browser. Even today through all the updates and changes, this browser packs a lot of punches for almost nothing and is almost completely unbeatable.

Recently, I don’t know if you’ve noticed all of the relatively negative attention Internet Explorer has gotten but because of it, there have been probably around 8 different patches released to the public through Windows Update that have all but fixed the problem. So, as a result of these very serious problems that have always plagued the browser but just recently came to the attention of the public, much attention has been given to a newer browser, one that is only a year old but has made a huge impact on Windows users. It’s called Mozilla Firefox.

I decided a few weeks ago that it might be worth my time to go ahead and trust the CERT’s warnings about these serious conditions which exist in IE because of the private and confidential data which I regularly obtain through the Internet, such as bank statements, credit card statements, e-mail, and similar info. Please realize this – I hate Netscape with a passion. I think it’s such a waste of time for anyone who uses it. It’s confusing, it’s slow, Internet Explorer can do the EXACT same things that Netscape can do, but much better. That said, Firefox is made from the same people who developed Netscape. So I had my doubts about it.

After downloading it and using it for a little while, I really couldn’t get into it. It was nothing different than IE and the layout and usability was way too similar to Netscape. However, I’ve been testing with it for a few weeks now. And surprisingly, I am much more of a fan. Yeah, I still can’t believe it myself. I modified it to work very similarly to my Internet Explorer and it’s almost exactly the same in terms of simplicity. So there are only a few quirks which I don’t like, but let’s go through the positives.

Firefox has a built-in pop-up blocker. You don’t have to download the google toolbar to block pop-up windows. It loads pages just as fast as IE if not a tad faster. The installation file is less than 5 megabytes. It has a very small, quick search toolbar which already uses google…and with this toolbar, you can add other search functions such as amazon, ebay, imdb, urban dictionary, and other cool sites. And now that I’ve discovered it as of a week ago, you can actually download a google toolbar that is much better than Internet Explorer’s in terms of functionality. And probably one of my favorite qualities is that you can right click on a banner or image advertisement and block them from showing up on your webpages! Wow, that’s a lot of positives. So what about the negatives?

Well, most of its downfalls are quirks. I am VERY used to pressing ctrl-o to open my websites, and with Mozilla, I can’t do that. Why do I use ctrl-o? Because it doesn’t leave a big mess in the address bar for all people to see. It keeps my browsing a little more private, especially to novices. I also don’t like the way it organizes my favorites. I’m used to all folders resting at the top of directories rather than alphabetically in the middle of all the links. The worst thing about it is that it doesn’t work with interactive macromedia flash files correctly like Internet Explorer does. Not only that, it won’t load many pages correctly especially if they’re optimized for IE or other browsers. I simply cannot use Firefox on certain websites because it’s way too messy for the browser to handle.

I’m sure I could add a lot more to this both of these lists but you get the general idea about my feelings. I will probably continue to use Firefox in the future and will be interested to see what kind of changes they make to it in the coming months. Version 1.0 is due in September which the current version is 0.9.2. So, in conclusion, continue using Internet Explorer for most of your browsing. It really shouldn’t affect you unless you get that virus. However, for those curious about this newer browser, I can safely recommend it to you and I do believe you will find some satisfaction in its abilities. I hope that the people at Microsoft are paying attention because the competition is finally heating up and very quickly!

Where’s Waldo? In Japan…

Bobby Fischer has been found.

Anchorman interview

I have yet to see the Anchorman at theaters, but I just read a hilarious interview from the cast and crew. I hope I can actually go see a movie soon!

houston sports changes

This has been a huge year for Houston sports, in fact all sports in general. In case anyone does or doesn’t keep up with it, I’ll restate what has happened in the last 365+ days for Houston sports.

Houston has
-signed Jeff Van Gundy as Rockets coach
-Texans become the first NFL expansion team to win two consecutive regular season openers (2003)
-traded Billy Wagner away from Astros
-signed Andy Pettite formerly of the NY Yankees
-RB Domanick Davis (Texans) is named NFL Rookie of the Year
-hosted the Superbowl
-signed Roger Clemens to the Astros team
-traded for Carlos Beltran to the Astros team
-traded away Steve Francis, Cuttino Mobley from Rockets for Tracy McGrady and Juwan Howard
-hosted the baseball all-star game
-fired Jimy Williams and hired Phil Garner as Astros coach

Who would have thought half of this would occur if you were asked about it a year ago?!!