My overnight backpacking trip in the Rockpile Mountain Wilderness Area went well. I didn’t have any equipment problems, and I didn’t forget anything important. I did add a couple of items to my list for next time, but they aren’t serious (like handy-wipes). I didn’t forget to bring my hammock, but I was unable to find it, and it was missed, since there’s really no other good way to sit and read, which I wanted to do more of. My tent worked. The MSR Groundhog and Mini-Groundhog tent stakes worked great. I perspired quite a bit, and I drank a surprising amount of water in a struggle against dehydration. I realized right away that I should have pre-hydrated on the drive down, and I should have acclimated myself to the warmer temperature in advance.
I worked sound for another film my the same filmmaker I worked with in January. This time, the problems were much worse, and near the end of the first night of shooting, I came out and told him that I don’t want to work with him again. We started hours late on all three days. It didn’t occur to anyone to bring lights for shooting in a basement or outdoors at night, and half of my time was spent trying to salvage his shoot from a lighting perspective, rather than doing sound. The Director, who knows nothing about lighting, kept vetoing the lighting advice from the two people on his set who do understand lighting. A week later, he tried to talk me into agreeing to work with him again, and I nearly relented, but then he started in on my attitude, telling me I can’t be sarcastic anymore.
Over the Memorial Day weekend, I backpacked for two nights in the Irish Wilderness. The trail was much better and suitable to backing than Rockpile Wilderness. I enjoyed the challenge, but I’m left wondering how much I enjoyed the experience. I have something like a hundred tick bites, and more than two weeks later they still itch. My brief encounter with idiots spoiled a lot of the fun. Poison Ivy. Spider webs. Heat and humidity. Part of the problem is that I just don’t find Missouri to be all that scenic or romantic. I grew up here, and it’s not special. I would absolutely enjoy backpacking out west, but in Missouri, it’s kind of boring. I’ve been planning to spend a week backpacking the Great Smoky Mountains next year, but I am beginning to wonder whether I should bother.
I worked the 48 Hour Film Project this year, collaborating with a local Director to organize a team. I had trouble finding someone to cover sound. I stepped on a few toes in the last-minute rush to find someone, and then the guy I found bailed on me at 3AM. I was livid. However, I covered the job myself, which wasn’t so bad. In the end, we wrote a decent script, achieved reasonable production value, and succeeded in submitting a film on time. Sound aside, it was a fairly well organized exercise, for a 48 Hour Film. I went to the screening, and among the films I saw, I thought ours had the best story. Unfortunately, we didn’t win anything.
I have finished watching all of The West Wing. Overall, I have to say it was a decent series, and through it all I kept wondering why we don’t make television like that anymore. The lighting was excessively dramatic for a couple of seasons, and they played with some hypothetical situations that were a little over the top, but all in all, it was very good.
I have finally picked up a tripod that is suitable for filmmaking, a Benro S8. It is the first tripod I’ve owned with a half-bowl mount, which is a much easier way to level the head. It has plenty of capacity and a pretty good height range. This is the first time in a long time that I’ve bought a tripod from a brand other than Manfrotto, but Manfrotto’s tripods in this class just didn’t review well.
After three years, I have finally gotten around to mounting my projector from the ceiling and routing the cable through the wall. It looks good up there, and more to the point, the living room looks better without that lame shelf in the middle, and I wish I’d done it sooner. I’m having a screening party at my house later this month, so I wanted to maximize the visibility. I figure I’ll have space and seating for up to eighteen people.
I’ve started watching Community. I guess we’ll see how it goes. I’ve been wanting to watch it for a while because it has Alison Brie, but Gillian Jacobs is interesting, too. I ended up subscribing to Hulu to get it, and I was pleased to discover that Hulu has a commercial-free membership level, which they hadn’t had the last time I tried Hulu. I could probably stick with this for a while.