On location again with #bmcc #blackmagic. Felt like I was on set for #gameofthrones ! pic.twitter.com/c0tsGFcXiX (stolen image and tweet from Craig)

Well, its official. My work/professional life and fire spinning have completely collided. One of the companies I work with a lot recently got a new Black Magic Cinema Camera. I had shared some of the footage from our recent shoot with them (we also shot on the Black Magic, as well as a Red) and had previously babbled on and on about fire stuff… Well turns out we’re going to be featured in their upcoming project. From what I gather, its all about celebrating the spirit of Independence in Philadelphia through various independent people. My favorite bartender Clark (who also happens to be good friends with one of the guys at the company) is featured in it, as well as Philadanco and various other small business owners and artists. We’d been trying to get the ladies together with the crew, and scheduling was a nightmare. When we finally got everything locked, massive thunderstorms and tornado warnings cancelled our first go-around. We rescheduled for this past Monday. Beautiful weather, four dancers, solid location.

Showing up in full costume to see folks who hire me pretty regularly as a normal person waiting on the sidewalk was rather amusing. Wave “Hi”, grab my fire dump box, costume bag, speaker and extra fuel and tromp over to shake hands. We did some portraits first (UG I’m awful in front of the camera being told to smile) and then lit up. I always love the reactions people have when they first see fans on fire. Photos and videos don’t really do it justice. There’s something primal about the flame, and the fact that decked-out ladies are manipulating it and drawing shapes in the air is fascinating. In this world of instagramming everything, I’m always pleased when people take out their phones to try to capture the moment. Yup, we’re one of those “OMG can’t believe where I am right now” experiences.

We’ve got some stills from the footage up over on our site, www.luxarati.com. I can’t wait for the final piece to see how they work us into the rest of the stuff they shot.


Well, this morning was interesting.

Downed lines on the train track

Everyday I take the Broad street subway to Suburban Station, where I catch the Norristown line to Norristown, and from there a work shuttle to the office. Yes, it’s a long commute. And sometimes its fine, but other times…… today, after passing through Conshohocken, one stop away from Norristown, the lights flickered. Not too unusual. But then the train stopped. And a train roared by us going the other way, with a huge rattling noise, and some snapping cables hitting windows. Yup, the lines were pulled down. The train going the other way had snagged the overhead wires, and pulled down about half a mile of overhead catenary wire. According to a Philly.com article, the overhead lines were installed in 1933, and 15 of the 19 power substations were built in 1931 or earlier. Great. No wonder Septa is so awesome.

Commuters on the move

Of course with live wires all over the place, we weren’t allowed off the train at first. Classically, a pregnant lady was on my car of the train, and very vocal… “I’m 5 months pregnant, I can’t stay on this train for 3 hours!” Luckily, not too long after we stopped, the conductors (who looked more frantic than any train conductors I’ve ever seen) told us we could wait on the train for an undetermined amount of time, or we could walk a half mile back to the Conshohocken station, where shuttles would come by at some point to get us to another station. So off the train, for an exodus down the tracks. Two trains full of people trekking along. I met up with another colleague from the work shuttle, we chatted about Dune as we walked (I’ve been reading it on the commute, and its come up a few times) and kept a look out for other folks from the office.  We walked the tracks by crushed bleached deer bones and random broken glass. One woman fell and hurt her knee, some folks with medical training stayed to help her, and called an ambulance. Once we got to the station, my fellow-Dune-reading friend and I wandered around a bit looking for the shuttle and looking for other workers. There was no sign of the shuttle, no one knew when it would show up, and the work shuttle from Norristown wasn’t going to wait. So when eventually we ended up a group of 4 displaced work shuttle riders, we called a cab and made our way to the office.

So yeah. When they canceled the late shuttle last week, I thought it was time to get a car, as much as I hated the idea of it. This morning reaffirmed it. I’m pretty sure I’m going to hate driving. I’m going to hate parking. I’m going to hate traffic, and I’m going to hate that I finished paying off the second of my three school loans last month just to continue paying the same amount of money for a car. But I’m going to love not relying on Septa. The subway stinks, literally… it smells like the rotting death of something. It is dirty and the ground is still sticky and muddy from the rain 4 days ago. The regional rail is late a good 2/3rds of the time, and completely shuttle-missing late at least once every two months. Yeah, its great to read, its great to be able to knit. It’s nice to meet some of my co-workers and commiserate about the trek. But Septa- You Suck. You need to be taken to the ground and re-made. You aren’t making enough money because you don’t have enough riders because you’re completely unreliable. You’re ticket booth sales people are cranky and nasty (though the commuting-time conductors are usually really really nice!) and the high-speed drivers are totally unpredictable- muttering stop announcements and speeding past platforms or driving insanely ridiculously slow. Fellow riders are rude or walk s…o…. s….l….o….w…. that I miss my connection by seconds. You change schedules with no announcement or notifications. You notify of delays 20 minutes past the time it would be any help, if you notify at all. Your system is flawed. Completely and utterly flawed, and I will not miss you, no matter how bad the traffic gets.

sunset, originally uploaded by ducksRfriends.

They called it a snowicane this time…. snow-pocalypse, snow-mageddon…. the names go on, but this time nothing accumulated. And since we didn’t get a snow day from the office, I’d like it if everything thats left just goes away and I can bike to work again. Enough of this SEPTA already- my legs need to move in the morning or I just arrive at the office in a daze from reading on the train (I find it hard to emerge from books sometimes….)
I do hope the snow stays away tonight, we have plans to go check out curling tomorrow!

Originally uploaded by ducksRfriends

I am very excited about that little orange swooshing line. I am by no means a motion graphics animator, but it has been my task for the past 4 days to make something awesome that pleases the client. The last hold up… my swooshing line was not “smooth”. They wanted it faster, smoother and “NOT JITTERY”. I had no idea how to fix it. The key frames would not play nice. A simple wipe wouldn’t work because the line wouldn’t appear to move… a moving feathered mask and a vector line shape with only one line point moving (to move the dashes) later… swwoooop!!! And its super easy to adjust the time to whatever they want! Oh, happy happy day.

work., originally uploaded by ducksRfriends.

The sun is staying out later and later. Soon I’ll be catching sunsets on the way home. Still, dark falls before I hop on my bike.
The ride seems longer in the cold, and is slower to start.
There is no relaxing time lately, always more to accomplish, more I should be doing, more to complete. Still, veggies and pasta with some wine and a reeses heart makes a nice night.

opening the chache

opening the cache

The interactive folks at work are working on some sort of scavenger hunt proposal… somehow it led to looking into geochache sites around the office… a wonderful outing idea for lunch! It was supposed to be “near the sidewalk and a tree located in the shadow of Saint Michael the Archangel Russian Orthodox Church.” For some reason, we thought it was actually on church grounds, which were surrounded by a locked fence. We grabbed lunch at Honey’s while trying to think of a plan, and find another cache that was nearby. On our way back to the office, we took another go at the church- this time the fence was open. We wandered around a bit, I was worried we’d get locked in. Eventually though, someone looked the site up again, and we started looking at trees across the street. Pretty easy to find once we were actually in the right place. Some struggle to get the top open- eventually got it, and traded a little dog toy for a dinosaur toy. I think there are some in south Philly that I am going to look for this weekend…

the little dino we traded for

the little dino we traded for

I’m a little confused by the site though- I’m not sure if you can post pictures that actually show the cache, or what exactly you can post in the comments…The ‘caching’ that I heard about a few years ago I thought was called ‘lock boxing'(*Update*- I was thinking of Letterboxing…). From what I remember, you made (or bought) stamps, and made kind of a ‘passport’ that you stamped with what ever ones you found in the box, while leaving yours behind. You make a stamp that you stamp into the log book in the box. Then you stamp your own log book with the box’s stamp. Apparently it is still developing in North America, and not terribly organized yet. They are still using a yahoo group….  The geocache box we found had totally random things in it- some lotion, some toys, and some Emergen’C as well as some other small things. I have to admit, I like the stamping idea better…

I’m attempting a toe-up magic loop pair of socks. I think I get the general idea of it… I’m looking forward to a new pair of socks, and I am finally getting to use the really beautiful yarn Chris gave me for Christmas. I’m doing pretty well at using up the yarn I have before buying more- the blanket is getting bigger and bigger!

It was a long week, lots of days staying late at work, and unfortunately not a very big feeling of accomplishment at the end of it all. But I got the days off for a trip to Rehobeth with Chris’s family, so that is something relaxing to look forward to.

Jen and Dee Dee at the dog park

Jen and Dee Dee at the dog park

As annoying as the whole week was, at least it ended well, with a visit from Jen and Dee Dee to plan our hiking trip. Dee Dee has an awesome little backpack that she can carry her water and food in… and she’s a little ball of energy, so I’m sure she’ll be fine for the three day trip. I’m excited to go backpacking with a dog. Its a new experience for all three of us. We walked Dee Dee to the dog park, which is a whole new experience for me. Its a different kind of culture- I can defiantly see how having a dog can be a great way to meet people. You’re sort of forced to interact while the dogs get friendly. We were eventually chased out of the park by a hump-happy bulldog, but it was a nice walk anyway.



Spent some nice time at Ultimo reading and knitting….mmmm they have some very tasty pastries there. I’m torn between the lime bars and the raspberry lindsor for my favorite. I bought an awesome grey Ultimo shirt- Usually I don’t buy shirts for places I frequent, I feel a little like That Guy wearing the shirt of the band he’s going to see. But I am all about Ultimo. Seriously, if you live in Philadelphia and you haven’t been by yet, you are really missing out.I highly recommend their mochas. And you haven’t had real coffee until you try their special blends. Aaron takes great care with the brews he selects and you can really tell. Also- word is the beer is on its way. Ultimo can only get better.

Best Dessert Ever

Best Dessert Ever

Best plan of the weekend: rootbeer floats. Such a simple dessert, but so satisfying in the heat of the summer. Really good following our dinner of fish (with a really good kikomon marinade) veggies and couscous.

The long days at work sort of wiped me out for productivity this weekend, but I did get some work on the blanket done as well as some further headway on the docs I’m working on. Chris and I tried the new-ish sushi place on Passyunk, and were less than impressed. I think Kisso has spoiled me for your average sushi, no place I’ve been has been able to compare. Some movies and some knitting will wrap up Sunday night, hopefully with another root beer float. Oh weekend, I wish it could continue.