Monday, June 27, 2005

Week of June 20 to 26

Still pretty quiet this week at work. Got through 3 shots, simple work correcting a highlight, and adding debris, but good to be able to crank 'em out. The most positive development at work this week - I'm moving into TD! That's what I was hoping for before I even signed, probably do some comp at the end (TDs will do a lot less OT), but this'll make for a good show. Rented a handful of DVDs this week - Bakshi's 'Lord of the Rings'; 'Chopper' as recommended by Smitty; 'Ghost Ship' that some friends had worked on; 'Insomnia' w/ Pacino and Robin Williams; a docu on Aileen Wuornos. More movies on Sunday perhaps. Monday signed up for a trial membership at a real gym, Club Physical, see how that works out (ha) but I doubt that my schedule will be open enough to let me get into town several times a week. Played soccer on monday, field was too wet for touch on Tuesday. My back was really tweaked for some reason earlier in the week, slowed me down at basketball on Thursday, but had a great time still, 5s full court. Not going out much in the evenings this week, but missed a couple check-in times with Bonnie when I napped too long, felt like a heel.

Friday - went out at lunch to watch Game 7 of the NBA finals. Lordy, but it is hard to get a straight and correct answer from people around here. I had called several places - "Do you know if the NBA game is on? It's on ESPN, do you carry that at your *SPORTS BAR*?". This place said they did, The Strathmore Local, so I gathered some folks from work to check it out. We got there, ordered our food, and after stumbling and bumbling for 10 minutes they found out they didn't have ESPN. Mike said we could watch it at his house, so we got take-away. "Yeah 10 minutes on that" - half hour later, we were still waiting. It's also hard to get anything done in a timely fashion around here; never be in a hurry. We got our take-away, and 20 minutes later were in front of the TV at Mike's house (amazing view), watched the last few minutes of the 1st half, then had to go back to work. But an experience I suppose. Spurs won, by the way.

Friday night went out to Indigo to check out The Phoenix Foundation. Met up with the rock chicks at Imbibe, right around the corner from the club. Saw a car getting towed from a parking lot, they proceeded to talk about how evil Wellington parking facists are. Show was pretty cool - Indigo is one of the few venues that hosts live rock, maybe half the size of Slims. Sound wasn't great, but they put on a good (drunken) show, and I really liked the wide range of music. This is one of those bands that deserves a huge break. Then home for later chat with Bonnie.

Saturday - Jumbled schedule today, several things I wanted to do wouldn't jibe time-wise. Another frustrating timeline - gym closes at 4:30. What kinda gym closes at 4:30? Majority of biznesses round here are open half-day on Saturday, not at all on Sunday. Went in to work for a few hours, then went to Karori Wildlife Sanctuary. It was less like a zoo/nature center and a sorta woodsy, swampy hike. There were signs by the pathway saying 'Such and such birds are nested here. They're nocturnal. But if you're quiet, can you hear them rustling around? You can't'. Anyway, it was cold but the weather held up, and I got pics.

Ended up just staying out, to go into town and hit The Loaded Hog for The Rugby. Big sports series, the best of the UK, the Lions, are touring New Zealand, playing some municipalities but this was the first of 3 games (or 'tests') against the All-Blacks, NZ national team. They only make this tour every 12 years. The All-Blacks crushed them 21-3. Next game is Saturday 2 July in Wellington stadium, the city is gonna be a mess.

Sunday - Was able to pull it together to get out to the gym in the morning (no yoga, wouldn't fit into my sched and though my back is much better, couldn't have handled yoga). Got tickets for the Shihad show on July 9 (more on that later, one of NZ's biggest acts, US audiences may know them as Pacifier), then I realized the Complete Shakespeare, Abridged had their final show today at Te Papa's Soundings Theatre, so I planned my day around that. Stopped in at work for a few hours (taking advantage of being in comp still for OT), went back into town for the Shakespeare, then headed over for the movie. Missed the end of the play, who'd've thought a 97-minute play would still be on 2 1/2 hours later, eh. Funny, too much self-deprecating humour and abuse got really tiring, but good audience interaction. Cut across the street to the Cinelounge for Madagascar. How's this for running into Weta foks everywhere : Eileen was at the play; animator Greg (from bball) was waiting for a co-worker in the theatre lobby; Randy Link showed up at Cinelounge. Greg and friends ended up going in for Madagascar with Unay, Diana and I.

So, this coming week is official start in 'shots'; War of the Worlds & Kong trailer (the latest Kong production diary has a lot of diary of Weta Digital); The Rugby on Saturday; and maybe some Amurican-style BBQ on July 3.

Links archive

So, before I start updating my Links-of-the-Week, I should have a place to keep em all, this'll do. Gotta sort this 'blog' stuff out, see if there's a way to make a repository, separate from my entries, but more permanent than my sidebar. Any tips?

Wednesday, June 22, 2005



Universal has announced they're debuting the King Kong
trailer on all 9 of its television/cable networks near-simultaneously,

Monday June 27 at 8:59 PM. The schedule is as follows :

NBC -- immediately following "Fear Factor"
USA Network -- immediately following "Law & Order: SVU
SCI FI Channel -- immediately following "Stargate-SG1"
Bravo -- immediately following "West Wing"
Universal HD -- immediately following "Airport '77"
MSNBC -- immediately following "Countdown with Keith Olberman"
CNBC -- immediately following "Cover to Cover"
Telemundo -- immediately following "La Mujer en el Espejo"
Mun2 -- premiere during the two-hour block of "The Roof."

The theatrical debut of the trailer will be attached to War of the Worlds, opening in the States (and worldwide I believe) on June 29. I did a couple shots in there, of scary Skull Island...

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Week of June 13 to 19

Week of June 13 to 19

Slow week, post-trailer, pre-moving ahead with anything. Made headway into training & learning. Already being contacted by recruiters. Got insurance set up. Got back into sport this week, played touch rugby on a rather grim and overcast day (muddy field too), that was fun despite playing in my Doc Marten steel toes. Thurs was basketball, great turnout, 3-on-3 plus 4-on-4. Hope that'll continue. Thursday night went to Batman Begins at the Embassy Theatre. Owned by PJ, that's where we had the Two Towers wrap party ( where my band played, dude). It's been renovated in a big way, great looking inside with leather seats, and loud as hell. Friday was monthlies, we got to see the trailer, it'll hit the world with War of the Worlds, I must refrain til then. I can say people did amazing work in a really short time. Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 3D came out last week, haven't talked to anyone who's seen it, don't even know if I got a credit, doubt it, and it's understandable 911 projects like that, small sequences, don't get a lot of screen names up there.

Saturday - more tasks to take care of today, it seems like all I'm doing is bits of business and getting things into operation. And I haven't even spent much time working with studio stuff yet. Hopefully it'll all fall into place. Chased Magnum Mac down about refund. Again. (they are notorious for the worst service in town, have to put another negative review up on the recommendations page at work). Bought new shoes, not cleats ("boots") like I should have, but another pair to knock around in, don't care if they get filthy). Shopped for a bike, got one for NZ$140, thought it was a great deal til I saw later the same one new is available for NZ$150. Then had to stop to get accessories - lock, helmet (it's the law around here). Home, unloaded, then out again to sporting goods store (drove this time). They didn't have barbells. Like the kind you go into The Sports Authority or whatever, they have a whole shellmound of them right inside the front door, you trip over them coming in, they only had girlie tiny ones (in pastels no less) and elaborate free weights. Went to The Warehouse , hated going to cheap megastore, but what can you do? Maybe go to bigger sporting goods tomorrow. Just wanted to get it done. At least I got my bike delivered, can start using that for commute.

Sunday - Morning 10 AM, went to see Star Wars once again (projector was super dark), at Embassy. Drove, and since I had my car in town, got some big items - a region-free DVD player, then went to Rebel Sports for to find weights. They had what I was looking for - a 9 kg rubber dumbell - but ridiculously expensive (NZ$60), so I got a single 10kg round weight. Headed back to down to Real Groovy and got tickets to The Phoenix Foundation show. Then shopping at New World supermarket in the city. Have to make a page of NZ culinary explorations, and some of my favorites and cultural differences. As in pizza - Sunday's my usual day to get take-away ('to go') and chill at home. Though that's probably not the best sched, cos on Sunday I have time to cook but not so much during the week. Anyway, got ) Pizza Hut . Bout the same, but Kiwis like chicken on their pizza more often than U.S. - chicken satay, apricot chicken, but forget about 'BBQ' or 'Cajun'. Hard to get good spicy food around here, except maybe at Indian or Thai. So, went home and set up with some videos (5 DVDs for a week for NZ$10), trying out the region-free. Yup, can play my Aqua Teen Hunger Force from the States, and the rental 'Chopper'.

Week of June 5 to 12

Week of June 5 to 12

Busy this week, working on the trailer delivery. Saturday was the last night at the Duxton Hotel, checked out on Sunday morning. Found out that I didn't get charged for my online activity (info - the hotel has wireless in the lobby, but they need to log you in and charge your account. But I managed to get the password, unwittingly from a night attendant, so I was set for the rest of the time). Unloaded at the house I'm renting, went back into town to shift rental cars (booked for 2 months, it's my intent to not have a car & use 2-wheels). Then work... Total for the week ended up being 70 hours, missed a couple chats with Bonnie because I was there til after midnight. But quieter after that, calm before the storm so to speak...

Saturday 11th - went to the gym. Different scheme for the gyms, they have a city-run network , centering on the pools, with mediocre 'fitness centres', having some cardio and weights. There's 2 pretty close by, 2 more not much farther. Only been to those two (Freyburg today). Membership is kind of expensive for the facilities - about $60/month. 'Casual entry' is $3 for the pool but $11 for gym+pool+classes (but not including sauna). They also don't have a locker room - they have the changing rooms and 'for hire' lockers, which cost $.50. Like the health care, they have a 'private' system as well. I'm going to check those gyms out in the coming weeks.

Sunday 12th - Gym again (Kilbirnie). In town for shopping/biz (returned some electronics I can't use, and got the new White Stripes). Then Cinelounge ! The only way to see movies - unlimited soda and popcorn, recliner loungers, food service at your seat. Met up with Raine and her boyfriend Ben - went to see Mr. & Mrs. Smith, but the experience is more important than the movie in this case... Home afterwards, got Skype working, so was able to run audio with Bonnie, along with camera on Yahoo. Camera worked much better with iChat/AIM, but it's not working now...

Wednesday, June 15, 2005


OK, here's my first post - there's a chronologue before this (been here since May 23), just haven't had my head in the right place to pull it together. Maybe do a backlog once I get into the flow. Anyway, here's the inaugural edition of my blog. A Detroit native, a California prodigal son, spending a few months at work in New Zealand. What brought me here? Well, obvious and primary answer is the job. It's something special in this business to work on a movie that is interesting work, will be enjoyed by a large audience, and perhaps garner some critical respect - King Kong will likely be such a movie. And to work on this on the heels of the legendary Star Wars trilogy is quite a succession - these 2 movies are early favorites to compete for next year's VFX Oscar. (More on industry hullaballo later, provided it doesn't conflict with my NDA). And a chance to return to NZ, and see some old friends - it all just clicked. The difficult decision was to leave the side of my love, Bonnie. We discussed many aspects, laid out a plan of communication, and are staying connected, but its nothing like being with her. Soon, though.

Never thought I'd have a blog, but this is for specific topic detailing (though in probably not a lot of detail) my stay in New Zealand, living, working, playing, balancing the cultural and logistic differences of this temp life and the real life. Stay tuned!

Here's a first collection of photos, my place that I'm staying at with its 50 stairs to get to my door, and bay view off the deck.

available on flickr

Snapfish hasn't been working for folks, but the photos are here too :