Thursday, January 31, 2013

January Recap

January Miles: 31 miles (What!?!) I know… what can I say?  The air here in Salt Lake last month was worse than what I was breathing in LA when I lived there… And that’s saying something.  So… Ya, I did a bit of cross training in the basement of my home, rather than going outside and running in gross, pea soup air.  I hope February has better air.

Races: New Years Revolution.  48 laps at the Olympic Oval (13.2 miles)

Next Race: Ogden Half (May)

Reading: Unwind, By Neal Shusterman.  In the future abortion is outlawed, but if you still don’t want your kids when they reach age 13, you can donate them to the state where all their parts will be given to other people.  It’s… disturbing.

Listening: Mildred Pierce, By James M. Cain. It’s kind of a 1930’s social observation… I just started.

Latest Obsession: All things film makeup… read below.

Netflix Habit: Nothing right now… seriously.  I don’t think I even turned Netflix on last month.

Blessing: My Family… this will never change.

Irk: Salt Lake’s Crappy Air! 

Whoo Hoo!: Did a Movie!  Did the makeup on a semi-famous actor (at least locally).  Totally ready for Spielberg.  Yo, Steve!  Have your people call my people… if I had people… I’ll get people… let’s do lunch… Applebee’s… 2 for $20… call me!

Oooo Ahhh: Did I say I did a movie?  Ya… that was me…

Monday, January 28, 2013

Movie Making Weekend

Oh my gosh, I can not explain the range of emotion I’ve had from this last weekend.

I’ve been a makeup artist for a long time but it’s really only been the last 5 or 6 years that I’ve really been going strong with 3 or 4 shows every year, but so far, I have yet to do a movie. That all ended last weekend with the final scenes of “Darkness.”

Last July I was working on a production of Cinderella, where I met the set designer, Brad, who also happens to be one of the producers for this Indie film, “Darkness.”

The movie is about what happens to people when all the power in the US goes out because of an immense solar flair.

So anyway, Brad asked if I would like to help out with finishing the film… and I said… Sure.

Ok, so, Friday morning, I met Brad so that we can load some equipment and then meet the rest of the production on some lone stretch of rural highway in the middle of Summit County. Well, we started running late, and got up there about an hour later than we should have. After jumping out of Brad’s suburban, I met the two principal actors for the picture… Jasen Wade and Heather Murdock… Yes, THAT Jasen Wade. So, While the crew was setting up the dolly track and the camera boom, I was getting them into makeup. What I called the “Hammered” makeup, because they were both supposed to look absolutely hammered.

I don't know, do they look like they've been trapped in the snow and ice for a week or so?
That's what I was going for.
So, the whole time I’m doing Jasen’s makeup, I’m thinking, “What am I doing here?” I’m guessing that Jasen could sense my nervousness because at one point the director pokes his head in to see how things are going and Jasen says, “Hey Sam, looks like you stepped it up on makeup this time.” I gathered that their last makeup guy was ok, but not very organized. But anyway, the comment gave me a boost and I was able to do a pretty good job on his face.  If I do say so myself.

After spending a couple of hours on the highway, we cleaned up that location, and moved on to the town of Midway for some inside the car shots. I wish I would have thought about taking some pictures of this because it was so stinkin' funny. Imagine a small Subaru Outback. The actors in the front seats, without their head rests because they blocked the shot. The director and the sound guy, with all of their equipment in the back seat, then the camera man, curled up under the rear hatch, with the camera sitting on some “apple boxes” looking over the director’s and the sound guy’s shoulders. It reminded me of a clown car. So, anyway, they drove around Midway like that while I curled up in the trailer and tried to get some sleep.

Oh yeah!  The pampered life of a big time Movie Makeup Artist,
Sitting in the suite, drinking bottled water from stem ware. NOT!

At about 1am we wrapped for the night and headed to the Zermatt Resort where we had a suite. I was fine with the floor, but Jasen insisted that he take the floor with some kind of Cock and Bull story about his bed at home being to soft. I didn’t argue because… hey… I was dead tired and who was I to argue with the star of the show.

Sam, the director, woke me up at 7am so that I could get Jasen into makeup so that they could go out and get some random shots around town.  I think they called them "Plate Shots" but I have no idea what that even means.  I stayed in the suite and watched TV for a bit, and took a couple of naps. I was then taken to my trailer so that I could get a couple of other actors into makeup for several car scenes. I’m afraid that I don’t remember the names of the other actors, but they were really nice and fun to talk to. Through all this time I spent a lot of time with Marissa, the production assistant. Very nice girl who drove me around to get food or whatever I needed.

This is a terrible picture of all of us... 
I don't think that the waiter knew how to use a digital camera
We finished the final car shots and at about 9pm and then we all went to some pizza place in Park City. It was good pizza, but I’m not sure if it was worth the price. But I wasn't paying.  Also, it was the last day of the Sundance Film Festival, so the place was full of nicely dressed people in black (posers) and then there was us. Actors still in costume, me covered in makeup, award winning cinematographer and sound guy. You know… the heart of what Sundance is supposed to be… and we got some pretty disgusted looks from those black clad dorks. We knew who we were… what did we care? After which, we all split off and went home.

Sleeping in my own bed was fantastic! But I was up at 7 the next morning so that I could meet Brad once again, and head up to the Zermatt for a few final shots.

There I met a guy, well… I hope that I never have to work on him again. When we all got there, and were scouting some locations, Sam gets a call… from one of the actors who was supposed to be in the scene… he’s kind of pivotal to the scene… anyway… he calls to say that he's busy with post Sundance interviews and won’t be able to make it. Sam is dead tired… he’s put everything he has into this production and I could just see the defeat in him. So, they decide that I have the same height and build as this actor, so they sent Marissa to the store for dark brown hair coloring. They were going to dye my hair and shoot me from behind. The DP (Director of Photography) who has won a freaking Emmy for crying out loud said it was done all the time. Fortunately, this actor… Doug Something… or maybe that was his character... I don't know... or really care, decides to show up (before they dyed my hair) but he’s not very happy about it. I’ve never heard that many F-bombs from my makeup chair... ever.  I finally had to ask him to please stop. It’s strange, he seemed like a nice enough guy, but I think that he’s kind of a butt head.

I did end up on screen after all, however. The weather turned pretty bad while I was getting F-bomb guy into makeup. So, we repositioned the cameras in a ball room. It was such a big empty room that they decided they needed more action than what the two actors could do, so they… purloined… some staff uniforms from the Zermatt, put them on me and Marissa and told us to stack chairs, in the background, as if we were cleaning up an event, while the actors performed in the foreground.

After that, we cleaned up, and headed to a warehouse where they had a green screen set up.

All-in-all it was a long weekend, and a very tiring one. But I would do it again in a heart beat. Next weekend, if all works out, I’m going to take the whole family out to Tooele so that they can see the crew blow up a car. It’s going to be so cool!

I can’t wait to see this thing when they are done with the editing and such.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What's 5 Bucks Worth to You?

First of all, to all of you who have donated to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and have supported my efforts, I cannot thank you enough.  Your generosity will be such a blessing to those with blood cancers, since the money is not just used for research, but is used to provide financial aid to patients as well.

As for the rest of you…  I have a personal goal to cross the $1000 mark before the end of January, while candy bar sales and other fundraising activities are going well, they are not going to get me there on their own.  If 25 of you who have not donated yet would consider giving just $5
(that’s less than the cost of a super-sized Big Mac Combo… and way better for you)
I would be able to reach this first of my fund raising goals.

Thank you so much!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Moving from Stage to Screen

I am freaking out right now!  I totally got a makeup artist position in a small indie film.
This last weekend, I had a sit down with the director, and this morning I had a phone conversation with one of the producers.  While they have handed me some challenges, they are totally within my realm of knowledge.

So, Friday, I head out to Midway, Utah in order to be on set for any and all makeup needs for the production.

*Insert Geeked-Out Excited Noise Here*

The challenge for me will be to keep my professionalism while actors are in my chair.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Mission Moment

Hunter and Amelia
On our Saturday morning team runs we usually start with a "Mission Moment."  This is a time when we are reminded why we are doing what we are doing.
With the intensive training, the miles we need to put in week after week, the constant nutritional challenges, and watching ourselves for any inkling that we may be becoming injured; on top of the constant fundraising, it's easy to loose focus on the WHY.
As for myself, I'm a fairly accomplished runner.  I could train myself for this half marathon I've committed to, no problem.  I could probably train myself to accomplish my goal of sub-2 hours as well.  So, this is not why I'm a part of Team in Training.
Last Saturday's Mission Moment came from one of our "Flex Team" members who is running for her nephew, Hunter.
This is her story:
" In July of 2011, Hunter Hansen, my nephew, could not for weeks it seemed shake being tired and nauseous.  His parents thought it was a cold or flu bug but, eventually decided to take him to the doctor.  After several blood tests and exams, the Rock Springs hospital sent the results to Primary Children’s Medical Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.  That same day they diagnosed Hunter with AML.  Acute Myeloid Leukemia.   He was kept at the hospital and under went many chemo/radiation treatments.  As of Jan 6, 2012 he was in remission and sent home to resume school and normal daily life.  Then, right before their make-a-wish cruise in March of 2012, tests came back showing Hunter’s cancer was back.  This time he was going to have a bone marrow transplant, as well as chemo.  So in June of 2012 Hunter and his Mom Cheri were kept at the Ronald McDonald House in Salt Lake following his transplant. They were meant to stay for 100 consecutive days until cleared by the doctors to go home hopefully.  A few days before Hunter was to be released, Cheri, his mom died of a heart attack in her sleep.  Hunter woke to this and immediately called his Dad who was able to come and take Hunter home.  Ten days after the devastation of losing his mother who was by his side for the entire battle of leukemia, Hunter’s blood tests once again showed that the transplant had failed and their was nothing left for the doctors to do.  They sent Hunter home with his Dad (Phil, my brother) and Phil Jr., Hunters big brother, to enjoy the rest of his short life.  This is why I am running.  Hunter and I had a plan for me to run and raise money and he would get better. He is better now and I will do my part.  This little 9 year old never complained even when under severe pain and was always worried about others.  He is my Hero.  As you all know Hunter passed away after his courageous fight on Jan 1, 2013.  I am so glad I was able to spend time with him and his family, they have taught me some very important lessons."
This has got to stop!  We can cure so many things.  The Flu used to kill half of everyone who got it... now it's mostly a seasonal annoyance that kills very few... why can't cancer be the same?
Please help.  If you don't want to donate to my effort... fine, but pick a runner, any runner that is involved in Team in Training, and donate to their effort.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

I Need to Run!

Saturday morning, I get in the car to take my wife to work before heading off to my Team in Training run, I looked down at the outside temperature gauge on my instrument panel and see 9 frickin’ degrees!  Not to mention that the valley has a full blown inversion going on and the air looks like something I would wipe on my shirt when I lived in LA.
So, Saturday’s run was more of a trot through the halls of a local High School… I don’t even think that it was a mile in length.
I need to run… I need to run like a junky needs a dime bag!  But if I can’t breathe, I can’t run… right?
I would run inside, but I’m taking a class for work that goes for 4 hours every night, and by the time I get home, the Olympic Oval is closed.
Ok, I’m done being a whiner… really, I am…

Friday, January 04, 2013

I Should Have Raged!

I just finished a book a couple of weeks ago.  The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, by Rachel Joyce.  It’s the story of an old retiree, Harold Fry, who lives at the southernmost point in England, a town called Kingsbridge.  At some point, he gets a letter from Queenie, an old friend of his who he hasn’t heard from in years, who says that she is in Hospice, Berwick on Tweed (up near Scotland) and that she is dying from cancer.  He composes a letter in return, telling her how sorry he is to hear about her condition; a letter that he cannot bring himself to mail.  Instead, he begins walking to her with a strange believe that if he keeps walking, she won’t die.

This book has been on my mind quite a bit since I finished it, probably because of what I’m doing with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and Team in Training.

One phrase stands out in my mind: “I should have raged.”

The phrase occurs during a conversation between Harold Fry’s wife, who he has left at home while he walks, and a widower neighbor of theirs, Rex.  To give you some background, they are having tea, and talking about Rex’s late wife, Elizabeth, who died of a brain tumor.

(From the book: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, by Rachel Joyce)

“I know how much you miss Elizabeth”
“I miss her all the time. I know in my head that she has gone, but I still keep looking. The only difference is that I am getting used to the pain. It’s like discovering a great hole in the ground. To begin with you forget it’s there and you keep falling in. After a while, it’s still there, but you learn to walk round it.”
Maureen bit her lip and nodded. After all, she had known her share of grief. It struck her again what tumult the human heart continues to feel. To a young person passing Rex in the street, he would look like a helpless old man. Out of touch with reality and all spent. Yet, beneath his waxen skin, and inside his portly frame, there was a heart that beat with the same passion as a teenager’s.
He said, “do you know what I most regret about losing her?”
She shook her head.
“That I didn’t fight it.”
“But Elizabeth had a brain tumor, Rex. How could you have fought that?”
“When the doctors told us she was dying, I held her hand and gave up. We both did. I know it wouldn’t have made any difference in the end, but I wish I had let her see how much I wanted to keep her. I should have raged, Maureen.”
He sat bent over his cup of tea, as if in prayer. He didn’t look up. He repeated the words with a quiet intensity she had not seen in him before, so that his cup trembled on its saucer. His knuckles were pure bone. “I should have raged.”

I think about that when I think about my history with leukemia.  When I was told about Christian’s death… I couldn’t think.  I think that gave up a little, inside.  It took me until Leslee contracted leukemia, over a decade later, to do anything.

I should have raged!

I know that raging would not have saved Christian’s life.  I know that the rage my wife and I felt when Leslee passed away would not have saved her life for those two little boys of hers.

There is so little the average person can do for those who have cancer.  We all know someone who has battled cancer, who is now battling cancer, or who has lost their battle with cancer… if you don’t know anyone… consider yourself very fortunate.

We should rage! 

I tell my boy scouts all the time that the best way to treat dehydration / sunburn / blisters / hypothermia are to never get them.  Drink water, use sunblock, stay dry.  We don’t really know what causes most cancers, but we are getting better at figuring out how to treat them… and someday we’ll know how to cure them.

I’m raging now!

Pick your organization.  I don’t know about you, but I have no idea how to reprogram an H.I.V. virus to mutate a T-cell that will seek out and destroy a cancer cell, but I know that there are people out there who do, and they need funding.  Every day there are people around the world who are working on the cure for cancer… and I do believe that they will find it.  If we can send people into space, and land a probe on a distant world… we can find a cure for cancer.   But these people need funding.

Pick your organization.  I don’t care if it’s the American Cancer Society or Susan G. Komen for the Cure or Huntsman Hometown Heroes or The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  Whoever it is… find your cause and give generously to that cause.

People… it’s time that we Rage!

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

New Years… Family Fun and a Race

New Years Eve, we were looking for something to do.  For the first time in a long time, we didn’t have any parties to go to and so we decided to take in a Hockey Game.  The Utah Grizzlies have this deal that if you bring in a receipt from Maverick Convenience Stores they’ll give you 6 tickets (for a Monday Night Game) for $30. 
We had a lot of fun, and the Grizz totally shut out the other team… I don’t even remember their name.  After that, we went home and played Munchkin until midnight.  I had a run the next morning, so we all hit bed pretty fast.

New Year’s Revolution 5 hour run.
7 am comes pretty early on New Year’s Day, but my wife and I were up and going.  She had to go into work for a couple of hours and I had to check in for the race sometime between 7 and 8 am.  The race was the New Year’s Revolution at the Olympic Oval.  Basically the format was pretty cool.  The Oval has a 442 meter track.  They started us off at 8am, and we could run as much or as little as we wanted in a 5 hour period.  48 laps was a half marathon… double that for a full.  The person with the most laps at 1pm was the winner.  My goal was to complete a half.

When I got there it was pretty empty, but it wasn’t long before I was found by Susette from You’ll Always Have My Heart.  I now know why Bloggers love to meet up with each other, it’s great when you can put a real person and a voice with the blog.  I was also introduced to another blogger (one of the few male bloggers out there… Josh from Fat2Phat).
At (just after 8) we were let loose on the track.  I was feeling pretty good, but knew that my training has not been really good through the holidays… and I might have even put on a few pounds.  So, in an hour I had knocked out the first 25 laps and was really pleased with myself… and then all went downhill… very fast.  It started with some cramping in my gut, and it was then that I knew that the garlic fries I had downed at the hockey game were about to make their presence known.  All in all, I spent a little over 30 minutes in the Restroom.  I stopped eating… because it was just going right through me anyway, but I did stay hydrated.  The lack of fuel did take its toll and around my 38th lap I was pretty well done.

Don't let the smile fool you... Life is suckin' at that moment.

My plan was to run all 5 hours, just to see how many laps I could do, but that plan changed pretty quickly when the problems started.  I did push onward and was able to complete my 48th lap at 3 hours 11 minutes.  After that, I grabbed my medal and stayed just long enough to say goodbye to Susette and Josh, and to try to take their picture… for some reason it just didn’t work… Me and technology… not a good combo.
So, it was fun.  And I did meet my initial goal, but in the end, it just wasn’t one of my better races.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

2012 in Review

2012 Miles: Dailymile has me at 506 miles, but I joined Dailymile last summer and toasted my Map my Run account before writing down my mileage for this year. So… I’m going to guess that I’m a bit over 700 miles for the year. I think that I can do a bit better than that in 2013. Don’t you?

Races: Two Ragnars are now on the books for 2012; Wasatch Back and Las Vegas… and oh does that Saints and Sinners medal look good on my wall. This year I also was able to run my very first half marathon (Porter’s) which I finished with a 2:16.

Best Movie: Les Miserables… I don’t see a lot of movies. And while the few that I did see were good, (Hunger Games came in a very close 2nd) I have to say that Les Mis was Epic, on an Epic Scale. The acting was surprisingly good, and the singing was great. I do have to say that I was not impressed with Amanda Seyfried as Cosette. Her voice is so falsetto that it kind of bugged me. Personal preference, I guess.
Best Book: My goal for 2012 was to read 100 books. I was well on my way until I decided to tackle the ponderous Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand… that set me back a bit. So I ended up with 82 books for the year. The best book I read this year? That’s a good question, because I read some great ones this year. But I think that the best one was The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. The book is narrated by Death and follows the story of a young girl in Nazi Germany during World War II. It’s sad, and funny, and just a great read.
Best Television Show: Hard question because I don’t have TV, so… when I do watch something (and that’s not very often) it’s either on DVD or Netflix. But if I were to be tied down and have a gun put to my head, I’d say the BBC miniseries Sherlock. That’s the best show I watched this year… Hands down.

Newest Family Activity:  As if we can fit one more thing into our lives. Flash Mob is our newest fun thing to do. We joined SLCMobsters last spring, and our first Flash Mob was at the Megaplex at The District for the opening of Hunger Games. Let’s just say we were hooked and are looking forward to the text message that will start the whole thing up again.
Life Change: BB going to college. What can I say; I’m too young to have a kid in college. She’s doing well and finding her place in the world. I could not be more proud of her.

Obsession: It‘s still Team in Training, and will continue to be until May, when I run the Ogden Half-Marathon… I‘m seriously thinking that there is no full marathon in my future. But for me, TnT is less about the running than it is about the cure for blood cancers and the patient support for which LLS works. I know, I talk about this a lot.

Music: Well, first of all, I’m old… and set in my musical ways. But I have found some new music that I really like. The main one, I need to explain. When I was younger, and living in LA, I had a room mate who was a total cowboy… me… I was more of a hippie type I believe that he called me an incense burnin‘ tree huggin‘ hookie, I didn‘t take offence and surprisingly we got along pretty well. Now, 20-some-odd years later, his kids put together a little country music band… and even though I don’t like country music much, they’re pretty good. Here’s their web site: Dyer Highway.

Goals for 2013:

1. To run 1000 miles or more.

2. A minimum of 3 half marathons… even if I have to miss out on my beloved Wasatch Back
(financial consideration over  a question of time)

3. To run a sub 2 hour Half.

4. I’m not going to go for a particular number of books this year, but I am going to concentrate more on the classics.

5. I’m also going to work more on writing. I used to be a really good writer, but I can tell that those skills have diminished from lack of use.

Have a very Happy New Year!
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