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Random Blog Journey-2-Peace: March 2006

    Trish Monaco.
    singer. songwriter.
    dog walker.
    human. living.
    loving. laughing.
    in Los Angeles

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Thursday, March 30, 2006

so wrong, so right

Okay so, PBX is preparing to film another scene for one of her classes. I'm totally into it. In some ways, more than she is. But that's just because she has more on her plate than I do. I love the audition process - being on the non-actor side of things. I really like the idea of bringing characters from the page to the screen.

Originally she was casting for a scene from Ferris Bueller's Day Off. She got a lot of responses. Not surprising. But then she found out her instructor would prefer she film something not yet produced. Uhh...but we already held auditions. And we're on a deadline.

So we were working on set last weekend (for the original film project I've been working on for the last couple of months) and I got to talking to our first AC (assistant camera guy). He and his brother write screenplays together. They're on their ninth. They have what he calls "the opposite of writer's block," where they just cannot stop writing and creating. They have four projects going at this very minute.

Right away my brain started ticking, "Do you guys have any high school age comedy type of scripts?" I swear, PBX and I were looking for something raw and farcical, along the lines of South Park and Saved! and Superstar, etc.

We got exactly that - a politically incorrect (so wrong) high school movie with a message. Physically, developmentally and emotionally challenged students are integrated in a public high school as part of an experiment funded by the mayor. The "average" public school students quickly become the minority. Everyone experiences and participates in a form of discrimination - students, teachers, faculty, coaches, parents - everyone.

We read their script in two days (a record for me). Mostly because I had all day Monday to sit at the dental clinic and listen to PBX read it from the laptop. It kept us laughing till we cried. I imagine it will still be as funny without the vicodin, because PBX was laughing just as much.

The most difficult part was choosing a scene to produce. So many scenes stood out, strong, on their own. My favorite part of this project so far has been rewrites and casting. We combined four scenes to get the best possible representation of the script into five pages. Still, I'll miss a few of the characters that we just couldn't get in there. But it gives us something to look forward to.

PBX is used to directing drama. This is her personal challenge, directing comedy. Good for her reel. I'm excited about it. Especially since helping her won't take up any time away from my work. It's totally an "after hours" project.

I also look forward to editing. I helped (learned the program) with her last one. I love that stuff. She hates it. It works well.

Oooh, it's all so exciting.

We'll see how it goes after our potential actors read this scene. It's quite different from the one they auditioned for. The plus side: there are more characters to cast, therefore less actors to disappoint. It's a win/win if you ask me. Go ahead, ask me.

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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

PBX Blog

Announcing the world wide release of a brand new blogger on the map. Meet Piper's mom, graduate film student extraordinaire, my good friend, PBX.

She's wanted to join the blogosphere since we met but what film director has time? Drop by, introduce yourselves and send her some love. Maybe that'll inspire her to keep it up.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

two words: oral surgery

Okay, so I clench my jaw, grind my teeth and I had a thousand dollars of dental work done last year to prevent any future damage.

I'd been having ear aches and headaches off and on for years. I take advil and massage my head, jaw and face.

The other night (Friday) I was struck with this gawd-awful raging pain in the entire right side of my face. From neck, to ear, to jaw, to temple, to eye to head. Not just any pain. Throbbing, stabbing, constant agonizing pain. I was moaning and groaning with involuntary tears streaming down my face. It took two hours for the vicodin to kick in. By the third hour, I needed more pain killers.

I finally learned to alternate between vicodin and advil every few hours to stay ahead of the pain, because when I forget (like during the sleeping hours of the night), I am struck with the most intense pain I've ever experienced. Worse than menstrual cramps. And I've done long-term research with those.

So I worked all weekend, on the final day of shooting (pick-ups) for the student film. Most of the time I was hopped up on drugs or I was flat on my back, writhing in pain on set.

Stay ahead of the pain was (is) my motto. Thank god for the work because I'd have gone stir crazy tossing and turning in bed all weekend.

So I went to the emergency dental clinic Monday morning and was there till 5pm. After seeing student doctors and teaching doctors, in two different areas of the clinic, I was referred to yet another section (TMJ doc) but they were already closed by then.

I'm still not exactly sure what's going on with my mouth. I know one of my crowns is suddenly too high and every time I try to bite, I get a shooting pain through all nerves in my face. I also know I have a third molar that is growing under my skin, pushing against my second molar, probably pushing the other teeth forward, causing them to rise, shift and basically make my life miserable. I guess that could explain how I noticed two of my front bottom teeth seemed to be overlapping one day.


So I need full extractions on two 3rd molars. I need a minor extraction on another one (because it has erupted through the skin already). But I can't afford to get them all done right now. I can hardly afford to get the aching one done but I have to do it.

Unfortunately, the oral surgeon can't fit me in till next Tuesday afternoon. That means I have to ride the pain for another week before I'll receive even a hope of relief. Sucks having no insurance. But I'm grateful for the teaching clinics. I'm on a wait list in case there's a cancellation. Let's hope.

The surgery will most likely be complicated. The x-ray shows just how impacted the molar is. Growing at an angle, against my back tooth. The roots of the impact are growing toward the back of my jaw, toward my ear. This explains my ear aches. They'll have to cut my gums and break the bones of the tooth to remove it. Nice huh?

It's too expensive to get an IV and go under. So I'll get local anesthetics and nitrous (I've never had nitrous, but I've heard great things about it).

In the meantime, I'm waiting to have a prescription filled for pain killers that hardly work. I can only imagine how much they will cost without insurance.

I had to practically beg and demand to get a pain medication. What is it with some doctors? I was writhing in pain in that chair. She knocked my teeth to see where it hurt. Tears and more tears. And still she was hesitant with her scrip pen. She finally parted with 12 pills. Hello. They won't get me through the week.

No one understands this pain. If you haven't had dental pain, you don't know this pain. There's no break. No relief. No waves of pain. Just constant, agonizing pain -- until the meds kick in.

Like right now. I'm in some light pain. And I have vicodin and advil in me. Normally I'd be three sheets to the wind with this diet. It's awful.

And don't get me started about what it's doing to my intestines. It took me four days to finally ... pass go. And even then, it was very anti-climactic. I'm about to start a steady prune diet. Blech.

Ahh the joys of life today.

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Monday, March 20, 2006

A coupla things

1. I'm currently using Google's gmail for email. I like many things about it. But I'm finding that (probably because it's still in beta testing land) it's glitchy. Like, sometimes I can't log in and the server drops off and I can't read my email. Not for long - but long enough to hold me up if I'm supposed to be running out the door.

Anyway, question about this: what email provider do you use and would you recommend it? why? why not? what do you like/dislike about your email provider? And...if you use gmail, what do you think of it?

2. I just found out that "all of the sudden" is grammatically incorrect. Never knew it. Never. Totally trips me out. Changes my whole outlook on life.

3. - Boggle. Nuff said.

4. Getting my hair cut in April - not soon enough if you ask me. Can hardly wait. Not very short. But lots off the bottom! Looking forward to not having knots.

5. Mahjong Solitaire. Who has time for anything else?

6. Ginko Biloba Extract is good for the brain. I bought it to help increase blood circulation. But I keep forgetting to take it.

7. Ginko Biloba Extract in liquid form tastes yucky - but not quite as bad as Goldenseal.

8. Took an amazing hike in the local hills yesterday. Looking forward to doing it again, when my muscles stop spasming.

9. Going to the recycling center once a week makes me feel better about buying ready-made salads and paper towels. Did you know there are separate bins for green and clear glass? How about cardboard, newspaper and mixed paper (like junk mail). Tin cans are different from soda cans. And how many kinds of plastic are there exactly? I don't think anyone really knows.

10. Call your local post office and request to cancel all 3rd class mail. You will (supposedly) never see junk mail in your box again.

11. That reminds me, I need to call the post office.

12. Business is slow and I'm a little concerned but I don't want to give it any more (negative) energy than just that. Calling in new clients - and abundance.

13. Holy crap. It's almost spring.

14. The donut shop around the corner has better coffee than Starbucks - for 1/3 the price too.

15. Nobody beats Starbucks vanilla latte.

16. Except maybe the Italian bakery up the street.

17. Trader Joe's Tuna for cats is only 29 cents a can!

18. I'm thinking about filming a documentary. Just a passing thought. Perhaps I should consider writing a treatment...later.

19. Never do today what you can put off till tomorrow.

20. Whew. I knew it. Mercury has been in retrograde all month. This explains a lot.

21. Okay, this was way more than a coupla things.

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Saturday, March 11, 2006


A weekend alone. All alone. Well, sort of. It's me and the dogs this weekend.

My first weekend alone since Christmas. My first weekend alone in this apartment. I almost don't know what to do with myself. Nothing scheduled. Nothing planned.

I remember a long period of time when this was the perfect weekend - every weekend. That was before these busy creative weekends. Though I'm not sure how to spend my time, I was awake at 6:00 this morning thankful that I wasn't on set, gearing to work for twelve hours. As much as I loved that work, I'm ready to rest. I'll get back to it soon. I know it. I feel it. But this morning, I went back to bed till noon.

So what else did I do today? Washed dishes, walked the dogs, slept even more, ate frozen yogurt, read a few blogs, uploaded music onto the computer and watched three episodes of Law & Order: SVU, back to back. Ahhh, good times.

At some point this weekend I need to clean the apartment and change lightbulbs in the kitchen. I hardly know where any of my things are, so I'd like to organize my closets, shelves, desk, etc. But we'll see. For now, I think I'll go back to bed with Will & Grace.

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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Counting My Blessings

partial list of things I'm grateful for ...

hearty laughter
healthy food
truth in speech
loud singing
heavy walking
ink slinging
fleece blankets
restful nights
dog walking
high-speed internet access
cargo pants
airborne, emergen-c and rescue remedy
creative and motivated friends
loving reflection
low-fat frozen yogurt
the peacemobile

This is a running list. I need to keep things in check lately. I've been so busy (happily) that I was forgetting to stop and smell the roses. A few days ago while out walking, in a frustrated moment, I literally did just that - smelled a rose. Immediately it shifted my perspective.

I'm remembering lately that everything is about perception. Even on a day that I want to bury my head under the covers and cry myself to sleep, everything is good. There's nothing different in life from one moment to the next - except my perception. When I remember that, I feel better. But god help us all when I forget. I'm a mess.

So I have my work cut out for me. Remembering truth. Truth being that everything is as it should be. Perfectly timed. Perfectly placed. Perfectly imperfect.

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Thursday, March 02, 2006

Looking forward to sleeping in

Where to begin...

We're finished with all four weekends of scheduled shooting. There's still much work to be done. But I'm happy and looking forward to sleeping in on Saturday. My body still wakes up between 4 and 5 AM. And many days I still have to be up by 6AM. But I have no plans to set the alarm for Saturday morning.

There are more projects and other responsibilities I've signed up for in the coming weeks. I'm really liking this. I feel like a student (without any of the 'real' responsibilities).

It hasn't quite hit me yet that I potentially have a full weekend day ahead of me, with nothing scheduled. Well, except for maybe food shopping, laundry, house cleaning, and oh yeah, unpacking. I moved in here over a month ago and I still don't know where everything is. In boxes on top of shelves too high for me to reach. Now I completely understand why Paula hadn't hung any of her wall art till the end of last semester. There's just no time for things like that.

I'm looking forward to watching a full DVD before crashing into a restless slumber for a few hours without having to jump up and start another fifteen hour day. But I'm also looking forward to the next project. I have the drive, the energy, the desire to create and be involved. This is the time to jump on it.

Dog walking had been very slow all through February. It was perfect for my schedule. Yesterday was a great dogpark day. Muddy and chilly. It was fun to be present enough to enjoy the dogs again. I'd been so tired that I'm afraid they were only getting half of my energy. It's time to rebuild the business again.

Either that or get a job in production.

Options and opportunities are presenting themselves all over the place. I just never know what will happen. I'm open. As long as I can pay my bills and eat and enjoy my work, I am happy. Well, that and I really enjoy the people I've been working with. That makes a huge difference in my performance - and my attitude.

* * *

I started writing this yesterday and got too busy to finish. I woke up a little anxious today. Slightly worried about dog business - and well, finances. We know how that goes. But I'm on it. I have today to make calls.