Archive for August, 2007

Hi Everyone! Not much time for an entry tonight, but I had to let you know that I’m back in the workforce. I can’t give much in the way of details, but I’m working on an effects team for a feature film that will be released next summer IN THEATERS!


I have two stories to share today. The antagonist could be any one of my boys, but he isn’t.

I’m guessing the year was 1970. Could have been a year in either direction, I suppose. My mom hands over her son to her younger brother, perhaps in his early twenties, who has no interest in having children for years to come. Together, my uncle Larry and I went out to lunch. We had pizza at Schianos in Lawrence, NY, I believe.

Then comes the inevitable moment where I announce I have to use the bathroom. My uncle was probably very relieved to find out I could do it alone, being new to the game. Little did he know that I had a surprise up my sleeve. Once locked in the stall, I began a lecture the family now knows as “Where Poops Come From”. I don’t remember the lecture, but I remember quite clearly the imagery in my mind. Picture the plumbing animations from the opening titles of Monty Python’s Flying Circus. I can only figure I caught it on TV when Dad was watching it one night.

I know this story more from hearing than remembering, but to tell it right, it must have been the busiest possible time in the bathroom. My young uncle was totally embarrassed as the lecture unfolded, and I was out of reach behind a locked stall door.

That is story number one. Some time later, as I remember this one quite clearly, my mom took me to the Nescott Drugstore. I spotted a cheap plastic train, and through some form of manipulation got her to buy it. That night, poor Uncle Larry took me out again. This time to a stock car race / demolition derby. It was perhaps 30 minutes from home. Well, after whatever junk food I forced him to buy, I had to go again on the way home. As the trip progressed, need became “urgent need”. He was panicked, but still maintained his sense of humor. He turned on the alarm system in the car like a police siren, rushing as fast as he could toward my house.

In the end, we made it. I ran in, spotted the toy train, and commenced to play with it. “WHAT?? What about your ‘emergency’?!?” he asked. With gleeful innocence, I replied (can you guess?), “It went away.”

These stories have been recounted at so many Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners, and Memorial Day and Labor Day barbecues over the years. Uncle Larry had countless anecdotes, and all of them had us in stitches. I attribute a lot of my sense of humor to the times I spent with him. He passed away yesterday. Rather than dwell on what I’m feeling right now, I chose to share the stories he’d most likely have shared with you if I could introduce you to him.

I’ll miss you, Larry. After your illness, though, I know you’re in a better place. God Bless. You’ve left me so much to smile about.

OK… I don’t have time for a full post, but we’re in our new home. Like in “The Incredibles”, I suspect it will be three years before our last box is emptied. However, it’s nice to have a place to call home and a family with me living in it!


For our first jaunt in Los Angeles, we hit Griffith Observatory. As a huge fan of “The Rocketeer”, I’ve been interested in seeing this for many years now. It was featured as the scene where the Rocketeer, along with the FBI and the mob, battles the nazis. The younger crowd might remember the Transformers leaning against this structure discussing their options.

Griffith Observatory

So, I’ll suggest this… click on the pictures and look at the shots in Flickr. They’ll tell the story I don’t have time to post here.

Oh yeah… WISH ME LUCK!!! I interview for my preferred job tomorrow (Thursday) at 2pm!!!!

This was supposed to be a post with a bunch of pictures of our new house, but Flickr seems reluctant to let me upload at this point (the forums indicate this is a database issue at Flickr, so as soon as I can post pics, I will).

So, instead, I chose this moment to share some disappointing news. My contract came to an end, and I am currently without work. My final day was Friday. I should state that this happened with no negative feelings, and I still hope to maintain a great working relationship with the company in future contracts should the opportunity present itself.

However, on the positive side, I am in communication with three other effects houses, and two of them seem quite interested. One important thing to know is that job-hopping is very common in this industry. And the more companies for which I establish a reputation, the more likely I am to hop uninterrupted. In the meantime, we have funds set aside for just such an event, but were hoping not to use them so early in the game.

I haven’t shared this until now because right up until Friday, I was hoping to have something lined up immediately. I figured I might not need to share any negative news, but as it’s actually happened, I feel compelled. So many of you have been with me through this ride, I can’t leave parts out.

Now comes the other bit. Next week, an event called “Second Life Community Convention” happens in Chicago. I am currently enrolled and have plane tickets (non-refundable, mind you). The one job for which I’ve already interviewed is on a very tight schedule. If I get that offer, I will not be able to go to this convention and meet some very good friends I’ve known online now for about a year. So… if you’re thinking positive thoughts for me, please have them inlcude a start date of August 27th! That would leave me at home with the boys until school starts (which would really complicate the work schedule for Michelle and I) and allow me to keep my travel plans!

Still… work is work, and I’ll take it regardless of its impact on my social plans. Either way, I’ll be sharing.

Tonight, while poking around on my computer, the house shook. This was no semi going by. It felt like being on a ship in light seas. Boxes stacked along the walls creaked, but didn’t move too much. The house didn’t seem bothered in the least, but Michelle and I met running toward each other on the stairs. The kids slept right through it.

Here are the details…

In case you want the short version, we were 10km (6 mi) from the epicenter. The quake registered 4.5 on the Richter scale. The shaking lasted about 6 seconds at 12:58am local time.

All I can say is… wow! How often is that going to happen?

Well, the family has finally arrived in California. The kids are all thrilled with their new digs except S11, whose room is smaller than what he had in Florida.

The big thrill for the boys was being reunited with their GameCube. These poor kids have been on the road and away from Mom and Dad for three weeks, now, so anything comfortable and familiar is a draw for them. Michelle worked amazingly with the movers to get the house looking like a home so it wasn’t in total upheaval when they arrived. I will get some pictures up as soon as I possibly can.

A funny thing about the house is that directly across from us, there were four little girls running in and out of the house all evening. The community is all new construction, so we suspect that not all of them live there, but could this be the proverbial “girl next door” for one of our boys? Who knows? As for last night, they weren’t even willing to go near the windows for fear of being seen.

I was hoping to have a picture for this post, but my cell phone won’t e-mail it. We’ve got a bunch in our camera, and hopefully I’ll have time to sort through those soon. But at the very least, I wanted to get something out to say that we have survived the move and are looking forward to stabilizing a little bit before the school year starts.

EDIT: Here’s that picture I promised… check out the mountains behind our community!!!