Thursday, March 1, 2012

Celebrating Leap Day 2012

This post was actually written yesterday, on Leap Day, but I decided to wait to publish it today...

We were recently invited to Los Angeles to celebrate my brother-in-law Doug's birthday. He was born on February 29, 1976, so this is only the 9th time he has technically gotten to celebrate his birthday. But after researching travel options from Portland (driving, train or flying), we just couldn't justify the overall expense of the trip to California. Sorry, Doug! But we did send him a fun gift that I think he'll enjoy.

We also opted not to join the Occupy protesters in downtown Portland yesterday. We figured it's probably not a good idea to get arrested while we're trying to look for jobs. Plus it was really cold, windy & rainy so we didn't even venture outside except to walk to the gym at 8am. That was uncomfortable enough!

Speaking of being cold, as you can read in Greg's blog post, we were both extras on Grimm this past Monday. The part of the filming we were involved in was outdoors and luckily it didn't rain. However the warmest it ever got was around 50F and after the sun went down it was closer to 40F. I was wearing “normal” every day clothes (jeans, turtleneck, boots, jacket) for the first scene and only got cool when the sun went behind the clouds. But when we switched to the evening scene I was cast as a jogger and was only wearing my Lycra running pants (not insulated), matching tank & a lightweight cotton hoodie. I was also standing a few feet from the river and not anywhere near any of the propane heaters they had set up around the shoot. I jogged in place and bounced around so much for the hours we were on set that my calf muscles are still sore!

Since the scenes were filmed outdoors and the streets around us were not closed to traffic we got lots of attention from random passersby, especially because both scenes involved police vehicles & crime scene personnel. Homeless people, office workers and a few Twitter stalkers kept things interesting even when the cameras weren't rolling. I even had my photo taken by a tourist from New York City who thought it was cool that I was working on the show, no matter how unrecognizable I'll likely be in that particular scene!

The experience was similar to my previous (first) one with Grimm. However, there were only about 25 extras this time versus over 100 for the restaurant scene and, due to the set-up, the extras actually got to eat with the rest of the crew (meaning instead of cold sandwiches we had a full catered buffet of prime rib, chicken, fish, pasta, fresh veggies, salad, desserts, etc.). Of course, the BIGGEST difference was that Greg was there, too, although we were not used as a couple in any scenes. There is a chance you may see us both on camera at the same time so we'll be sure to let you know when & where to look.

I will also post links to the episode(s) with detailed info as to when you can see me/us as soon as it airs, likely sometime in May. In the meantime Greg & I have let the casting coordinator know that we are available and ready to work whenever they need us. We figure it's a fun way to make some money while we're looking for “real” jobs. One other related development; I have been contacted by the casting agency that contracts with TNT's Leverage and have made myself available to work as an extra on that show this Friday (tomorrow) as well as on March 13. Of course I'll write a new post about that experience should I get the opportunity to work with them, too.

Since Leap Day is a once in every four years occurrence, I also want to take a minute to mention some other unique things that have occurred in the past week:
  • February 26th was the 3rd anniversary of my first date with Greg (in New York City).
  • I received my first official paycheck (for being an extra on Grimm) as an Oregon resident. The last time I received a paycheck anywhere was in September 2009!
  • I submitted my first application for a real job (at REI). I am under-qualified for this particular position but I wanted to get my resume on file in case the “perfect” opportunity becomes available.
  • I got my first haircut since we moved to Portland. For legal reasons, the salon shall remain nameless, but I mention it because when I walked in, the first thing they offered me was a free beer! Which, of course, I drank while I was getting my hair cut. I was pleased with the results (maybe because I drank the beer on a relatively empty stomach), tipped well, and as I started to leave was offered another beer. Knowing there are open container laws here, I asked if I could just stick it in my pocket as I wanted to take it home to show Greg. I was just requested “not to tell anyone where it came from!”
As you can probably intuit from our Facebook and Twitter posts, Greg & I are really enjoying living in Portland again. We love going to the local pubs & restaurants but generally have been only eating out once a week and purchasing beer at the grocery store since they sell pretty much every micro brew that is available and it's a bit cheaper that way. We also get a kick out of people-watching from our dining room table which serves as our communal desk during the day. There is no shortage of dog-walkers (and one cat-walker), bicyclists, oddly dressed people, squirrels and birds, all there for our free entertainment. However I did spot a trap on a neighbor's roof which contained a squirrel desperately trying to escape, so maybe there will be fewer squirrels in the near future...

I hope every has a great month of March. I think that if Greg & I are able to find jobs we enjoy and that pay well enough to meet our budget requirements, then we should have a lot to look forward to in the next few years in Portland.

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