Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Golden days ...

I'm a mite overwhelmed by all that I've done during this one week whirl wind visit to Ontario to visit family and friends.

How do I order and present all the things I've done from the fancy-schmancy,

My friend Catherine and I were thrilled to see Don Cumming give
the citation in honour of Bonnie Patterson.
(I worked for Bonnie and Don at Trent University)
to the more down-to-Earth?

Kayaking with my brother Darrell in the creek behind his house.

Need I explain what was happening in each photo or will you figure out that I  played with chickens,

 hugged baby goats,

and delighted in the company of a couple of very special "goldens" ?

Sandy's dogs, Rickard and Digby.

I chilled in a country meadow,

explored Ottawa with an old friend, 

Me and Bonnie.
searched for the sinkhole,

Wanted to see the sinkhole but the hoardings around it were too high.

and drove 250 km. to Peterborough to visit with friends there. 



In Kemptville I found a couple of geocaches, visited locks on the Rideau Canal, 

Isn't this delightfully confusing ?  Care to guess WHAT is happening in this photo ?
went on a forest ramble,


and visited a train museum.

The Smith's Falls station is now a museum.
A dental office on a train did the circuit of remote
under-serviced communities in Northern Ontario.


Right now my suitcase lies on the floor waiting to be packed.  It's after 10 p.m. and I should be thinking about bed.

But before I pack that suitcase I want to pack some of my marvellous memories from this trip into this blog post, partly to help me remember when I get back home and partly to help understand in the morning why I'm so darn tired.   

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Fading into the background.

A couple of years ago I signed up with a couple of local casting agencies; Hennessy and Ballyhoo, to do what is called "background" work, or as it's called in some places, be an "extra".  

B.G. folk are the window dressing who walk in the background in a street scene, or mingle in a busy cafeteria while the stars munch their meals in the foreground.  The B.G.'s  job is NOT to stand out or draw attention to themselves,  but to blend, fade and give a scene a feeling of normalcy.  Generally our clothing is not bright, bold or colourful.  When we talk in a scene we usually just mime speaking.

A lot of a B.G. worker's day involves waiting.  
Sitting and waiting.   
Reading and waiting.  
Chatting with the other extras and ... waiting.  
Playing Soduko an waiting.  
Did I mention that we do a lot of waiting ?

On "Haven" we waited 6 hours  and then were called to walk in the background for 15 minutes, thanked for our work and then sent home.

When the episode finally aired I had to watch the scene several times  before I could catch the split second in which I walked through the background.  Yup.  That's me over that fella's shoulder. So much for "15 minutes" of fame.  That was  my nano-second of "fame".  But at least I can say I was on "Haven".

I am however a bit jealous of my car; it got much more screen time in the same episode and even got paid for just sitting in the lot.  There it is -- my blue Honda Fit (with its bumper still intact).  Going rate of pay to be a car and do nothing ?  $30 / day.

On "The Healer"  there were almost 60 of us walking back and forth in changing patterns trying to replicate a crowded London street scene.  

In preparation for a later dream sequence sheep gathered in a fake London underground entrance. No.  I don't know what sheep get paid.

There was even a London double-decker bus that some of us rode for 15 feet, which would then back up and be re-positioned for the next take.  

Often you are not permitted to take photos of what is going on on set as they don't want any "spoilers" to get out in advance of shows being aired.

Sadly the only shot I have from "Lizzie Borden Chronicles" is one I took of myself once I got home from the taping.  We'd been asylum inmates, driven quite mad by a sadistic doctor.  But we got back at him by tearing his heart out in a final scene.  Now THAT was fun !

My teeth all made up !
Monday evening I got a call around 9 pm.  Could I be on set in Truro at 9:15 am the next morning ?
Of course I said "Yes!".   A map was emailed to me along with costume requirements.  "Casual".  I can do casual.  Background folk traditionally bring a bag with three changes of costume for the wardrobe folk to check over.  

Have you heard of a TV show called "Trailer Park Boys" ?   Our scene was to be an outside party scene; so sunshine was needed.  It was a very overcast day.  We waited in a spartan trailer which had an outside porta-potty.  Our scene was to be shot in the morning but since the sun refused to appear we were told to wait until we were called.

Trailer and "biffy".  Glamorous huh ?  Photo taken late day after the sun finally appeared.
Background folk are fed well.  But we never eat until after the cast and crew have eaten.  There is  a pecking order and there are rules.  We  don't approach the "stars", ask for autographs or photographs with them; not if we want to work for that company again!

The sun finally appeared and still we weren't called.  It was three in the afternoon and we'd been waiting six hours.  I went on a bit of a walkabout and took some "approved" photos.

Me in the doorway of "Bubbles' " shack.
Bubbles' shack drew my attention as he was one of the few character's whose face I knew with his strange speech delivery, love of cats and coke-bottle glasses.  Everything in his shack was catish.  

And then there was this car.  Rather than having a regular sun roof it had a sliding glass window in the roof.  Fans of the show know this car well.

We were led to the set around four o'clock.  The sun was beating down and the day was now hot.  There was a party scene set up in front of Bubbles' shack with all the major characters present.  We were put in our various places on set, given minimal direction and the entire cast and crew did a rehearsal.

Bubbles loves cats.
Before the assistant director calls "Action" there are several other words called out like: "Sound" and "Rolling".  Then the actors act and we pretend to drink, chat and then listen to what the actors have to say.  Lines are flubbed.  We start again.  Lines are flubbed again.  We start again.  "Back to position one" means back to where we started physically.  Sometimes we get part way through a scene and we pick it up from there.  Entries aren't made on cue.  We start again.  Lines weren't timed right.  We start again.  Suggestions are made to some extras and others aren't kept in the loop.  We intuit what we should be doing.  We nod and cheer when we should. We ignore when we should.  We get crazy enthused when we should and then suddenly I hear someone say "That's it.  Thank you back ground" and we're done.

We've rubbed shoulders with the famous and had our nano second in the sun because (thankfully) it finally came out.

We walk back to the trailer to sign our chits, bid each other "safe travels" and hope to see each other soon ... "on the set".

And we mean it.

Friday, May 27, 2016

You can't always cross the bridge when you come to it ...

The city of Halifax is located on a peninsula, so reaching it from the Dartmouth side requires crossing one of two bridges, or taking the public transit ferry.

When I head into town for my "Lunch bunch" choir in downtown Halifax on Fridays, I cross via the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge. 

If you had been  following me today around 11:30 you would have seen me driving down Nantucket and stopping at the red light at Wyse Road and then, all things being equal, I'd pass through the intersection, the toll booths, cross the bridge, and then head for choir.

I was a good girl.

I stopped at the red light and when the red light turned to a green arrow for me to proceed across I went warily, mindful of the two dim bulbs illegally turning left across my path.

I didn't however, count on there being a THIRD dim bulb.

I laid on the horn but it was too late.  The back end of dim bulb's truck TORE OFF the front of my beloved little Honda Fit.  

Did I mention that this is a major intersection ?

I got out of my car, started shaking, and within seconds had turned into a sobbing,blithering, idiot.

People stopped.  Four different people pressed pieces of paper with their phone numbers into my trembling hand; offering to be witnesses.  

No impatient horns honked.  People offered only sympathy and concern.

Someone asked "Did you call 911?".  So I did, and handed my phone to the total stranger saying: "I can't talk right now.  Can you please tell them?".  And he did.

In the midst of it all I sobbed to the Harbour Commission fella that I needed to call the Church to say I wouldn't make it to choir.  He looked up the number, dialed it, and handed me his phone.

The dim bulb (to give him credit) did stop and ask me if I was OK.  He even offered to pick up pieces of my car that were strewn around the intersection and put them in the back of my wounded car.

The headlight is totally missing on the other side.  BUT note the lack of hood damage !

I guess I am lucky that we didn't really have a solid impact, and it was more like a glancing blow and as a result the air bag didn't deploy.  (Recently I'd received a helpful recall notice kindly informing me that there was an eensy-weensy chance that my car's air bag might randomly explode and there was a further teeny tiny chance that said random deployment might fire shard of shrapnel into me.*)
So you can see why I'm sorta glad the bag didn't work.  

One by-stander helpfully suggested I take photos of the scene.  Wish he'd also reminded me to NOT put my finger in front of the lens.

Two Bridge Harbour Commission cars with flashing lights were on scene within two minutes.
The police car, fire truck and ambulance were there within five.
Statements were taken and information exchanged.  A tow truck was summoned.  
An hour later the officer drove me to the car rental place.

My neck is a mite sore and maybe my back a bit.  I'll monitor and if need be I'll  go to my doctor on Monday, but really, I'm lucky.

I'm glad I didn't have the dogs with me in the car.

I'm glad strangers stopped to be kind.

I'm glad the officer drove me to the car rental place.

At this moment I'm back home and there is a black VW Jetta rental  parked in my driveway.

The adjuster called and said that the insurance company will pick up the rental costs (assuming my witnesses corroborate my story, which I am sure they will) .    

Just had my second rum and coke to settle my nerves then I may just have a little lie down.

My friend Pat says that things happen for a reason.  I don't know if that's true, but perhaps if we work at it we can make something positive come out of something negative.  It is a "temporary" bump in the road.  I am still here and grateful to be so.

Doesn't THIS put it all into perspective ?

* Just in case you're wondering they'll have those less-lethal, new air bags ready for installation in late Fall !

** Just got a call from the officer involved and he has charged the other driver meaning that I won't be having to pay for the rental etc.  

I am relieved and a little tipsy.


Thursday, May 26, 2016

Shubie today.

I'm not feeling very wordy today.  Would it be OK if sometimes I just posted images from my outings without elaborating at great length ?

We went to Shubie off leash dog park today. 

Such Spring days are quite intoxicating.  The colours.  The scents.  Ahhhhh.

At the dog beach, Wendy and Sooki raced  to fetch a dog toy we'd found.

Did I mention the scents ?

Saturday, May 21, 2016

A long, lovely (buggy) walk ...

Yesterday was sunny and warm.  Jacqui my geocaching buddy, the dogs, and I went to Powder Mill Lake trail to go caching. 

The trees were just starting to sport their marvellous, lime green colours of Spring.

The air smelled heavenly.  

We searched for caches -- most were easy to find.  'cept maybe this one.  Jacqui was sitting on a rock pondering where the nearest cache might be.

So I suggested she look UP.  Can you see it ?  A Wolf mask attached to the trunk of the evergreen just behind her.  

 The tightly rolled log that you can sign to show you found the cache was hidden in a canister tucked inside the head.

I would say that 70% of the caches I've found are hanging in or attached to trees.  The bulk of the remainder are hidden in logs, under roots or rocks.  Sometimes caches have amusing items attached to them.  It's hard to resist posing for silly pictures with some of said props.

So here I am "eating" a cupcake.

And here's Jacqui with her "big Mac".

Since we knew we'd be out for quite a while we brought lunches (made of REAL food)  and sat a while beside the trail to enjoy our lunches.    And while we ate, the "no see ums" fed on US.  Though I hate DEET, I carried a can of it with me, and sprayed myself liberally with it, but it did me no good.  It's easy to see why the bugs are so plentiful as there was lots of standing water and turgid streams.

Of course Wendy chased her ball.  She is in great shape for a 10 year old dog.  I let her decide when she's had enough of the ball-chasing; but in four hours of hiking around she never stopped bringing it back.  

Yep.  There was a cache hidden in the tree.
Often a series of caches will be placed by the same person so they will be on a theme.   After spotting the Wolf would you be surprised if I told you we found a Giraffe ?  It was a bit of a reach to get to it so we could sign the log.

Isn't it cool ?

Jacqui and I are thinking of creating and hiding a few caches of our own. I wonder what theme we should choose.  Any ideas ?