Monday, September 29, 2008

So, this was September

Well, like I said a month ago, have some personal updates to make. Finally getting around to it, so here goes: I got a new job. I left PDI (after almost 3 years!), when my contract was completed at the end of "Madagascar : Escape 2 Africa", just before Labor Day. Then had a long weekend (the first time I've had more than 1 day off in a row since the big event - we went to Santa Cruz beach for a couple days), then I started the following week, back at ILM. I'm there for work on the JJ Abrams "Star Trek" prequel. It's a short stint (with lots of long hours packed in, in the meantime), so I'm free again in mid-Oct, and its likely off to somethings new. Why'd I do it? Leave the cush corporate confines of a major animation studio for the murky high seas of contractual project work? Well, long story with lots of jigsaw pieces to put together, but the upside has a lot of potential... more later, or if ya wanna send me mail to ask...
Santa Cruz, Labor Day : Bonnie actually had to work on Labor Day in the afternoon, but we felt it was a good excuse to get out for a mini-vacation, in-between my jobs. (with the economic & schedule realities of our event, plus the fact we had family come out to us, it's looking like we won't make a major trip to visit anyone this year. we'll be lucky to take a trip to SoCal around the holidays, but we're hoping).
Anyway, we got a hotel overlooking the beach, about 5 blocks from the BoardWalk. Left early Sunday - strolled around downtown (which had a Bad Ass Coffee Co!) found the hotel; went down to the beach for a bit, then Boardwalk (fun games, and we gave our tickets we won to a fam w/ little kids we saw); made our way to the Natural Bridges State Park, and the Lighthouse Surfer Memorial (it was closed by that time). Grabbed a snack while we waited for the evening. Then in the evening, met up with pal and erstwhile co-worker Kane, whose girlfriend is in Santa Cruz - we met up with them at the Red Room, had a couple drinks then they were off to the movie & we went upstairs for dinner. Waited an exorbitantly long time for a table & service (though they were pleasant enough). Dinner was exceptional, though, we got a few small plates & more cocktails, then made our way back to the hotel & crashed out.
The morning gave us another opportunity to stroll along the pier & beach; I went for a longer walk along the street while Bonnie lounged on the deck & read. Then it was time to return - drove Bonnie back up to SF (lordy, but the 17 highway is one of the worst bottlenecks ever). Then I still had a couple days off - did some music & writing & work around the house, then stared at ILM on Wednesday.
The biggest change (and one of the main impetii for leaving PDI) was the new commute. No way I'm driving into & across San Francisco on a regular basis at regular hours, so I'm committed to commuting on the bus now. The Transbay picks up about 5 blocks from our house, takes me across the Bay Bridge (a commute Bonnie has taken regularly for the last 4 years); then I pick up a shuttle which takes me to the Presidio. Not too chaotic, and now I'm much more used to it. The worst aspect is that I need to leave work at a certain time to catch the last shuttle & bus, otherwise the SF bus system takes another 1/2 hour, and I have to find a way home from BART (wait 1/2 hour for the Emery-Go-Round? or pay $10 for a cab?) Anyway, it's not unlike a trip thousands of people have to deal with everyday, and it's nice to go 3-4 weeks without a fill-up. I'm getting caught up on my Audiobooks & podcasts & librivox. And my commute is still cheaper (consider : 2 $4-bus rides, vs. 2 $5's worth of gas + $4 bridge + 400 miles on my car each week.) And the Presidio is lovely - I can take a stroll at lunchtime : check out a National Park & Museum; check out the Bay coastline & Golden Gate Bridge; visit a military cemetery; walk down to shops & eateries in SF; go to the Exploratorium or Palace of Fine Arts. Vs. previous job - take a walk & visit a saltflat, a junkyard, or a marina full of personal sailboats; or a rocky shoreline with a lot of dredge. Not a bad tradeoff, for now. Oh, on a interesting note - I know of 6 other ppl who left the company after me, including Tim, our keyboard player, who's moving to the midwest! Colossal Inertia won't be the same...
Course, I'm still dealing with a sched which gives me 1 day off a week. What to do on that day? Well, other than cleaing house & laundry, we've been up to : hosted a b-day party for one of Bonnie's long-term friends; went to naturist resort Lupin Lodge; Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in GG Park (Gogol Bordello is there this year!).
One other fascinating event I got to be a part of is : our writers group at PDI completed a feature-length screenplay, in collaboration w/ 6 writers. The process itself was amazing - colaborating, learning the screenplay writing techniques. But we finished a script that I was quite excited about the way it turned out, and we got it submitted at Dreamworks for coverage. We met with an executive in development, and he gave us tips on what wouldn't work & sell (in a mainstream movie); and how to make changes. Fascinating, informative, and a bit humbling. Still, a great experience.

But now we're facing October, and it'll be stressful (stressful because it's busy, or because I won't be busy, if ya knowhutahmean). Halloween parties coming up, which is always usually fun. So, I'll keep folks informed on my next move (movie).

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Our Big Event (part III)

So, it's high time I wrap up the recount of the Big Event (then I have to get to updates about our Santa Cruz trip, and my new job!). Heading into brunch on Sunday morning. Had quite a spread - quiches went quickly, muffins, bagels, mimosas. Seemed to get rolling a bit late - most folks stopping by on their way out, not staying too long. But there were quite a lot of folks coming through after all, and a handful of people sticking around. And moving onto the help of the cleanup. (Thanks again, all!). Then there were those 2 dodgy characters, eyeing the bikes and being rather intrusive... proved to be nothing of note... We were worried about getting everything back in the cars we had. But in the end, we packed up OK, and began the ride home.
Got home in the afternoon, packed up, set gifts aside (more thanks - thankyou notes have all been sent, actually!). Gordon and family spent the day in SF - Chinatown, Fisherman's Wharf, then came by for pizza in the afternoon, on their way out to Livermore to get out of the commute traffic to start their drive back home. Nice having them over for a last day. The ice cream man even came through the hood, and I treated everyone to ITS-IT, which no one had tasted before!
Monday we had off, too, so we caught dinner with Tom Miller, and Jan & Troy - went to Becky's Chinese, then walked around Rockridge. This was before all the robberies happened, thankfully...
So, that wraps up our spectacular weekend! Really wonderful getting everyone together and sharing the days with them. Especially family who had never been out here (or at least in a long while). And thanks again to all our helpers. Those that were there, please share your thoughts & pics!
-Jeff & Bonnie