Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Lights! Camera! Inaction!

If a movie producer is the guy responsible for getting a movie made, then Sunday I got to be a movie anti-producer – someone responsible for keeping a movie from being made.

Over the past couple of weeks, they’ve been filming Evan Almighty here in Richmond (among other places). A sequel of sorts to Bruce Almighty, but without Jim Carrey or Jennifer Aniston, whose agents were apparently good enough to preclude a ”must appear in sequel” clause in their contracts for the first movie. Morgan Freeman and Steve Carell are the stars in this one, which has a “Build me an ark!” theme.

The past two weekends, they’ve closed down Main Street in front of the building I work in. We haven’t been able to park in front of the building as usual, but the weather’s been nice enough that the three-block walk we’ve had to take has been a pleasant stroll.

Saturday, they were filming scenes with a Hummer. All I saw was prep work, as I needed to go inside and get to work. (Okay, okay: “to go inside and clock in.”) From what I could see, it looked like they were getting ready to do closeup shots – presumably conversations within the Hummer – with at least one dolly shot coming up to the driver’s window.

Sunday, though, was a bit more exciting. I got to the office just a few minutes too late to see the buffalo, sheep, and goats running up the street. And just the same few minutes too late to be hassled by the movie production folks and the Richmond police, who were keeping people from walking along the sidewalk to the sole entrance to their place of work, some for over half an hour. (By the time I arrived, all the animals were gone and most of the movie folks were on a lunch break, so I was able to walk right up to my building.)

Five of us left work at the same time later that afternoon. Out the door we went, scattering in four different directions. About five steps later, I realized that there were a lot of people around who looked oddly out of place for a Sunday afternoon, because they were dressed in business attire – not the t-shirts and shorts that we and the production staff (and anyone else in his right mind on a beautiful spring afternoon) were wearing. Scattered along the sidewalk, in groups or singly, talking to each other or in mid-stride – and all perfectly still. Hmm, I thought. “Extras. Set up for the next shot, and waiting for the director to call ‘Action!’” Well, no matter: we’re already in the middle of their set-up, we might as well keep on going, and thereby keep them from the shot for another minute or two. (It didn’t occur to me until later that we might not have been in the middle of the set-up – we could just as easily have been in the middle of the take, as they could all be frozen in place though actions of Evan. And if that’s the case, maybe we’ll all show up in a gag reel for the movie.)

They got me back, though. I was parked on a one-way street and needed to cross Main St. to get out of downtown – and the police were keeping traffic from crossing while a take was underway. I had to sit at the intersection through two more takes – maybe 10 or 15 minutes – before I could go on my way.

Monday, May 22, 2006

A cat in the hand.

They're two and a half weeks old now, and while they're starting to walk, they aren't too thrilled about the concept, preferring to stagger instead.

I have good leads on adopting out three of them, and I haven't yet resorted to taking them in to work to show them off.

Mosby is a bit more restless mother than Outdoor Cat was a year ago, and has taken to demanding short releases from her prison into the rest of the house. Much hissing ensues when she spots the Resident Cats. And her forays into the rest of the prison are fairly short, as she suddenly remembers that her kittens are alone.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Open for business. Again.

It would appear that John's Home for Wayward Cats is open for business again.

Mosby gave birth to her kittens about 10 days ago, in a place unknown to me. And it's taken me this long to find them.

My neighbors' house has a flower box built into it - a five-foot high set of walls underneath a kitchen window, open at the top and with metal bars across the top of it that you could put smaller flower boxes onto. Mosby discovered this, and discovered an opening that she could jump down to ground level inside those walls. A safe place to have kittens, she concluded. Mostly protected from the elements, and close enough to my basement door that she could hear me when I came out to feed her.

I think she was surprised when I showed up this afternoon to remove the flower boxes at the top and try to get her and her kittens. She wasn't all that difficult to coax out - it just took some wet cat food. The kittens were a different story, though. They were too far down to reach, and the metal bars would prevent even a skinny person from getting into the structure to get them.

So I had to go fishing. I tied a string to a bucket, and lowered it to the kittens' level. When they didn't rush into the bucket, I encouraged them with a yardstick. Eventually, I was able to raise all five of the little kitties.

They're now in the same luxury hotel suite - known to me as my spare bedroom and to them as a prison - that the Outdoor Cat had last year.

And I'm willing to bet that "fishing for kittens" is more unusual than what you did for Mother's Day.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Good news, bad news.

Well, the good news is that Mosby isn't pregnant.

The bad news is that two days ago, she was.

The worse news is that I hadn't been able to convince her to stay inside, so she's had her litter outdoors, under an azalea bush or something.

With luck, she's had them in the crawl space under my house, which will make it easier to find them and corral them all so I can take the kittens inside, thereby making it easier to convince Mosby to stay inside with them.

I guess I have my weekend exploring all set out for me.