Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Sticky Topic

A recent story in KOMO news covered the King County needle exchange program saying that drug use in downtown Seattle has gone up since the opening of their new center last year. Cocaine and heroine addicts can now flock to the  corner of 10th and Seneca to get supplies for their daily jollies. Drug users simply show up and exchange their used needles for clean syringes.This "service" is free to anyone sober enough to show up. 

While the needle exchange program has apparently been around for years, the new center barely six blocks from where I work is news to me.  The federally funded AIDS prevention program began in Seattle in 1989. Since then, King County has spent an average of 1.1 million tax dollars every year to fund it. 

The King County website offers that "In the last three years, we successfully placed 691 people in drug treatment." The article, however, fails to mention how many of these addicts completed rehab successfully. ..... interesting. 

Personally, I am all for the prevention of AIDS. It is an awful disease, killing 17, 011 people last year, but I don't think that giving free needles to users is the answer.  The tax payers of King COunty have better ways to spend their money.

 You want to get high? Fine. Just don't make me pay for it.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Just keep swimming

After several varied attempts to update the look of this blog, I have decided that my best bet is to just write the damn posts and adjust as inspiration strikes. In my hectic search for employment over the last two weeks, I haven't had much time to review the news, but with the hype over the health care bill and Cash for Clunkers, it's only a matter of time before the local talk show hosts and national comedians give me something I can use.

In the meantime, I would like to commend Rebecca Cammisa on her fairly recent documentary "Which Way Home."

Along the lines "Invisible Children," the documentary follows the stories of several Mexican children on their journey to find better lives in the United States. The film has a liberal bent, but is, in my opinion, worth seeing anyway.

While the film itself is creative, Ms. Cammisa's efforts to secure the cooperation of the American and Mexican government is impressive. Her film crew was allowed into nearly every aspect of Mexico's processing.

What really attracted me to this film in the first place was the fresh look at immigration from a child's perspective. "Which Way Home" tells the stories you won't hear on the news. The happy endings, the not so happy endings, and even the ending we aren't so sure about come together to make a well acclaimed documentary. The film was released to the public last January and has been making appearances at film festivals and in newspapers across the country.

For more information, take a look at their website and decide for yourself.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Goodnight, Gracie

I can't believe there's only a week left before heading on to DC. After three weeks of shooting and a week of pre-production, it seems as though I've been here forever. Then again, the time really flies on these long days. We made it to Jackson late Wednesday night and have been enjoying the sleep and quiet phones for two days now. It's amazing how calm things are when the four cell phones we have here aren't all going off at once. Amile, our executive producer, has graciously offered me a place to stay at his parents' house where I have eaten huge breakfasts and acquired a few new nicknames. I now understand why Mississippi leads the country in obesity.

I wish I had photos, but the card reader has over 500 pictures I have yet to sort through. Mississippi is such a beautiful state with awe inspiring thunderstorms. Wrap time has been cut short several times as a result of the rain and lightening. Shug, our puppy player and local mascot, had to be carried to the car when she refused to leave the porch! I guess even dogs get scared sometimes.

All in all, with the late nights, long hours, and crazy weather, this has been a true learning opportunity for me. The organization and skill required to build a film like this is something one can only learn from personal experience. We have all had a great time trying new things, and I can't wait to see what the next project holds.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Film Camp in the South

So here I am in Mississippi. That's right, Mississippi. A few months ago, I was offered a job as a film producer for Elysium Films. So, for the next few weeks, I am here in the hot, humid weather having an amazing time and learning so much. For those of you who think that my blog is boring, check out the movie blog explaining all of our local adventures on set.

The film I am helping to produce follows the story of two young boys as they come of age in the deep south. The story is good and the footage is better. The things I've seen have taught me a great deal about color, resolution, and organization. My job in making this story come to life is lining up all the actors, vehicles, and other sundries. It sounds like a simple job until 35 people show up at Riverside High School wondering why they're wearing church clothes.

Even in just the few weeks I've been here, things have been a real trip. We’ve had three days of shooting and things are looking great! Even in just a short while, we’ve grown into a pattern of living that seems to work for everyone. The days are long, but the work is worth the price. We work 12 hour days, generally starting at 7am for the production team, and sometimes not ending until the wee hours of the morning.

Playing the character Fess, John Alex has an energy that brings a smile to everyone’s face. Today, in a rare moment of free time, we went out to the parking lot and decided to cook eggs on the 101 degrees pavement. As you can see, they didn’t exactly fry, but the heat definitely made an impact. The cast and crew has been staying hydrated with the wonderful help of our “crafties” Debbie and Gloria.

On set, things continue to progress. Monday, our first day of shooting, was hectic as we scrambled to compensate for the forecast of rain. As usual, the weatherman was proven wrong when we woke to sunny skies and a heated afternoon. Nonetheless, we decided to shoot in the air conditioned, First Baptist Church before moving to the corn fields near Roy’s Store. Nearly 35 extras showed up to help us with the scenes.

And that was just the first day.

Since then, the team has managed to crash a car, burn down a restaurant and tallied more bug bites than there are mosquitoes in the state. All in all though, this has been an incredibly positive experience.I'm enjoying learning how to be in charge and responsible for *everything*. Living here has been like attending film camp ...... with beer.

To top it all off, Josh Jones, son of our local hero, graciously took a group of us to see the alligators last Sunday. That's right, alligators. Not the ones in safe little cages. the real ones. I snapped some sweet photos of a 14 foot mama and was nearly eaten by a hissing, angry mother protecting her babies nearby. It was quite the southern experience.

I will be sure to update this with photos as often as I can. I've been taking photos of everything and trying to remember the most exciting stuff. Last Sunday was our first day off and would not have been complete without the afternoon out on the boat with the innertubes. Having never been tubing before, I had the time of my life. My friends, Doc and Amile can attest to my physical prowess considering I never fell off once.

In any case, please continue to check the site for more updates and photos as the weeks go by. It's worth the 30 seconds.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I actually wrote this a few months and forgot to post it. Bon Appetite!

For most of you, when I mention Blagojevich, you know what I'm talking about. But if you don't know who the governor of IL is, at least you'll be informed about his taste in food. Kuma's Corner, a downtown Chicago bar, has created a culinary masterpiece. The &#@$ Blagojevich Burger consists of a ten oz all beef patty, a unbelievably thick slice of bologna, along with the other usual toppings. The burger is then wrapped in two grilled cheese sandwiches made from wonder bread and processed cheese then topped with a squirt of mustard in the shape of a dollar sign. While it may not be tastiest item on Kuma's already unorthodox menu, the &#@$ Blagojevich Burger is certainly rising in popularity. "We always do our best to be politically incorrect around here" said owner Mike Cain. The sandwich was originally created to reflect its namesake, accused of trying to sell President-Elect Obama's vacant senate seat. But the real kicker with the burger is the price. While posted to sell at $10, Cain reports that he is willing to negotiate.