I wanted to shake up my life and go sailing (or learn on the job, so-to-speak) so headed to Florida to crew on a catamaran. This is about how it went or, rather, didn't - and my life since. Hopefully it will lead to a catamaran on the clear aqua blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, watching the sunset, a coconut rum and coke in hand. You must START AT THE BEGINNING of the blog, April 2009, to get the whole story...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

WHAT DOES IT TAKE? (guest post)

A few days ago I got the bright idea of having someone do a guest post on my blog and immediately Mike Sweeney came to mind. I have been reading his very informative and entertaining blog, Zero to Cruising, for over a year. He is living my dream life. Reading the process, from start to present, of how he turned his dream into a reality resulted in much admiration. And envy. So here, in a nutshell, is how he did it. Be prepared to be inspired. And should it whet your appetite for more, be sure to visit his blog and start from the very beginning.

"I wish I could do that" is the oft-heard battle cry of those who dream of selling out and sailing off into the sunset but, nonetheless, remain landlocked. What is it that allows some people to take that leap of faith and move forward with their dreams while others allow time to pass them by and their dreams to collect dust? As one of those in the first category, Sandra thought that perhaps I could shed some light on this subject, although I'm not so sure that I can. For my wife Rebecca and me, it really wasn't all that difficult.

Don't get me wrong, it was challenging in the physical sense. We had all the standard encumbrances that most people use as excuses (or 'reasons' if you prefer). We had a house, which represented a good chunk of our financial assets and which, of course, we needed to sell. No question, people often find this a tricky issue and will frequently quote their particular community's depressed real estate market as backup for this defense. And of course, our house was filled with all kinds of 'stuff'. You know, the kind of stuff that would definitely not fit on a little boat. Yes, we had to sell all that too. In this case, we found internet services such as Kijiji and Craig's List to be invaluable. Note that neither the house nor the objects within it will sell unless you actually put them on the market!

Of much greater difficulty was the sale of our business, my life blood for well over two decades. Ours was a business with a very strong personality component, making for an especially tricky transition to new owners. With time and patience though, a deal was struck that left all parties involved happy. Again, if we had not been actively seeking a buyer, we would still be back on land working instead of cruising the Caribbean as we are now.

What of family? No, we did not have young children in school although with the number of kids we have seen happily living and traveling on boats, I am convinced that this would not have been an issue even if we had. Our daughter is independent and living on her own and both she, and the remainder of our families, were very supportive of our dreams to cruise south.

What about experience? Certainly you must be a licensed Captain with thousands of miles of blue-water sailing under your belt before you go cruising, right? Well, no. The truth is that, at the time we set in motion our plan to go cruising, neither my wife nor I had ANY sailing experience. We did ultimately take a short 10-day course, which we found extremely helpful, but many others have cast off without even that small bit of instruction.

Oh yes, a boat - you will probably want one of those, but finding a seaworthy vessel is the easy part. There are thousands for sale in every costal city on the globe. Fire up your computer and do some research and you'll no doubt be able to come up with a short-list of your needs and desires. Enjoy this process but don't get too wrapped up in trying to find the 'perfect boat' because no such thing exists. They say that all boats are compromises and this, we have found, is true.

"But I'm not a millionaire. I could never afford such a lifestyle." I can assure any of you reading this that my wife and I are far from wealthy and, to be completely honest, we have nowhere near enough money to support ourselves forever. Is this really a valid excuse though? Do you have enough money to support yourself indefinitely on land if you were to stop working today? I would suspect not, and we are no different in this respect except for two significant things; the first is that the sailing/cruising lifestyle is, by its nature, one of minimalism. Most people find that the expenses they incur while traveling - to some of the most beautiful places on Earth I should add - are a small fraction of what they used to spend just to subsist on land. The second is the crucial one though: confidence. In our case, we firmly believe that when the time comes for us to go back to work, or to earn some money, we'll be able to do so. And we'll be able to do it when and where we choose. This last ingredient, confidence - or faith if you prefer, is what prevents most people from taking that all-important initial step which would turn their dreams into a reality. Many will say that they're simply working towards their goals, on their 10-15 year plan, but I suspect that the vast majority will never reach the point where they cut the dock lines.

If there is one bit of information that I can share which will hopefully push some people from the dreamer category into the cruiser category, it's that out there on the water today, enjoying all the amazing benefits that the cruising lifestyle provides, is every conceivable type of person you can imagine. There are men and women, some who are wealthily while others would be considered poor, some with big boats and others with tiny craft, some with plenty of experience and others who, like us when we started, are complete newbies. Some people are out there traveling on their own while others have their entire family on board with them. You'll find some young, fit people and countless others who are at or beyond retirement age. The point is that if they can do it - if WE can do it, so can you. Believe this, really believe it and you'll have taken that first key step into making your dream of sailing off into the sunset a reality.


Mike Sweeney and his wife Rebecca are full-time cruisers, currently exploring the Caribbean on their catamaran. They departed Canada in the summer of 2010 after divesting themselves of virtually all of their land-based possessions. You can read a step-by-step account of how, in two years, they went from being self-employed martial arts school owners, with absolutely zero sailing experience, to live-aboard cruisers on www.ZeroToCruising.com.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


My daughter's wedding was over; the happy couple were on their way to spend the night in Trellis Bay before heading to Little Dix resort on Virgin Gorda in the morning, the guests had gone back to their respective accommodations in and around the West End of Tortola, and I had driven back to my villa rental with a bridesmaid, a groomsman (my daughter and son), the groomsman's girlfriend and one very tired out hair and makeup friend. We had just gotten into the house, collapsed onto the couches and began to talk about the fabulous day we had experienced, when I jumped up.

"Oh NO!!"

"What mom?" asked my daughter, Shonah.

"We forgot to get Ashleigh's dress and the top tier of the wedding cake!" I couldn't believe I'd forgotten her wedding dress, of all things. I had no idea where it was. She got changed in one of the rooms at Long Bay Resort and had asked me to make sure to take it with me when we left. It was my responsibility to get it back home to Vancouver when our holiday was over. "We have to go back and get it."

Shonah said she would go with me and we both went to get changed out of our wedding clothes. I dreaded driving back, in the dark, down those hills and switchbacks from our place on Windy Hill to Long Bay but I had no choice. We hopped into the SUV and set off.

When we got to the resort, all evidence of the wedding reception - other than the tent and tables, was gone. So was any sign of life. We drove down to the cabins on the water and got out of the car. "Let's go knock on the grooms parents door. That is where Ashleigh got changed and maybe they have the dress." Shonah said. We headed down a dimly lit sand path to the cabin and knocked on the door. There was no answer.

"Maybe they're around the front having a nightcap on the patio. Let's go see." I said. The only source of light between the cabins was that of the moon, and we carefully picked our way to the beach side. There, light from the inside the room streamed through the french doors and lit the patio and we could clearly see that there was no one in sight. We had no idea which rooms the groom's brother and friends were staying in, but we assumed that they were most likely all hanging out in one of them, rehashing the days events like we had started to back at the villa before realizing we had to come back here. We decided that the dress was probably safe in the room and we could come back tomorrow for it. We picked our way back to the SUV and climbed in. I was about to start the car when my daughter let out a squeal and began to bat at her hair. "What? WHAT??" I instantly began to feel panicked. I mean, there's all manner of huge bugs and spiders in the tropics. Everyone knows that and my mind always goes to the worst place in cases like this. I am thinking tarantula!!

"Something was in my hair!!! It just fell out and brushed my cheek and it felt wet." She too sounded panicked, albeit somewhat less than I felt.

"Get out! GET OUT!!" I yelled as I opened my door and jumped out. "We're not getting back in this car until we find it." I was completely freaked out as I began to search, by the dim light of the dashboard and a bit of light that trickled in from a distant porch, my heart pounding in my chest. As we both searched for whatever it was, I was thinking 'I have no idea how were going to get it out. I am not touching whatever it is.' Just then Shonah spotted it. There, on the dash just by the knob for the radio, was the tiniest frog I have ever seen. He couldn't have been more than an inch long. "THERE! It's a frog!" She laughed. "Oh my GOODNESS. So it is. How are we getting him out?" I wasn't going to touch him. "MOM! It's just a frog." Shonah sounded disgusted with me. "Yes and some are poisonous. You don't know if this is one." So we fished the rental papers out of the glove compartment, keeping an eye on the frog all the while, and then Shonah gently flicked him onto the papers and then out of the car.

"Get in and shut your door, QUICKLY!!!" We both shot into the car and slammed the doors, and, after a long beat of looking at each other, broke into peals of laughter.

"That poor frog was probably more scared than we were, Mom. It was so tiny!!"

"Look at me," I held out my hand, "I am shaking!"

I was still shaking as we pulled out of Long Bay and on the road that would take us back to our villa. Out of all of the things it could have been, a tiny frog was probably the least of them - but still!

As we chuckled about it on the drive back, we both agreed that we'd never forget this night.

I have written before about my BVI themed Pandora bracelet. Not every bead is a Pandora bead - the conch shell, the starfish and two small crystal separators aren't. And yesterday I added another nonPandora bead; a small enamel frog to remind me of that night on Tortola.

He is now part of Sandra's Selections in my Amazon shop. You can get both him and his friend by clicking on the link below.


Monday, March 19, 2012


So this is what I woke up to today:

You can't see it but it's still snowing and there's more snow than this on the ground where it isn't so sheltered by the house and trees.

I'm telling you, if I could move to the BVI I'd be gone by this afternoon.

Only no, I wouldn't because at 3:00 I get to go see this little darling:

She has her very first JOB today. She is going to be photographed for an album that will appear in an episode of a TV series being shot right here at North Shore Studios. As this is all new to her mommy, I will go with them to smooth the way.

But seeing how I don't have any work until May, I sure wouldn't mind escaping this miserable winter we are having and going somewhere HOT HOT HOT.

Friday, March 16, 2012


On my last trip to the BVI, in May of 2011, one of my goals (my only 'goal' really - other than wanting to explore as many beaches as possible and to survive driving those roads) was to meet as many locals as I naturally could and get to know about them and their life on the islands. I ended up meeting lots of great people, both local and visitors, and absolutely had the time of my life.

There were a couple of people I didn't get to meet that I had hoped to. One was Rick Moore; a Canadian expat from Barrie, Ontario (Brrr!!) now living and working in the Caribbean islands. And when I say 'working' I mean that in the most laid-back sense of the word possible. I am sure, were he here to defend himself, he would protest vehemently that he definitely works hard for a living but he'd get no sympathy from me. He is 'working' and living my dream life so any protestations would fall on deaf ears - "Yeah, sure buddy. Hoisting that sail must be murder in the bright sunshine you get every day. And finding enough beer to keep your charter customers happy must be a real grind. And don't even get me started on how stressful it must be to get into a popular anchorage before all of the mooring balls are taken." Cry me a river!

And you should see the places he calls his 'office'. Pfft!

One of Rick's 'offices'

...and another

If I sound a little bitter, maybe I am. But as it's almost St.Patrick's day it could, rather appropriately, better be described as GREEN with envy.

As I waste my life trapped in Canada, spending a considerable amount of my free brain space trying to figure out how I can live part time in the Caribbean and make a living there, Rick is forging a fabulous life for himself in paradise. He has been running his successful charter operation out of the BVI's on board Sophisticated Lady for seven years. On his FaceBook page one, should they be as obsessed as I am with all things Caribbean, can keep up with his travels and current charter guests. I might add that it has not passed my notice how he manages to have a revolving door of very attractive young women as crew on board - another reason he gets no sympathy from me. Tough life indeed!

I perked up considerably the first time I saw a photo of Rick wearing gear similar to that I see all of the time, worn by the Stedicam operators on set. I had a faint hope that he was making a movie where he may eventually need the services of a script supervisor. Or, in other words, me. Alas, that was not the case.

Rick wearing gear similar to Steadicam gear

Turns out that in June of 2011, Rick saw a niche where he could turn his love of photography and videography into a viable business and began to lay the foundations for Land and Sea Video Productions (LASV); a company producing HD videos for people who own recreational properties and/or yachts for lease as an aid in marketing them on their websites. Partnering with Kerrie Lynn Hartt, an adventurous spirit who sold all her possessions and gave up a successful career as Project Manager in the high-tech wireless sector to live and work in the Caribbean, Rick was ready to officially launch the company in December and, from the looks of the website, it has been doing very well.

While on location, shooting the videos, something dawned on Rick:

"We quickly realized while performing our primary tasks fulfilling the obligations of LASV that even though we had a serious job at hand, we were still working in paradise. It would be selfish of us to not take the time and look around and appreciate our surroundings, even while dutifully performing our job at hand."

So they started a sub company called Ambient Real Life (ARL) to capture sublime moments of paradise on video to share with those of us who want to be in the Caribbean but, for whatever reasons, can't be. The goal, simply stated, is;

"...to inspire you, to help you come alive. We can bring you images from all over the world… Images that will relax your mind, feed the soul and lift your spirit. To live life, you have to experience it."

Here's a sample of one of the available videos. It's of one of my favourite places on earth, The Soggy Dollar Bar on Jost Van Dyke. Honestly, I can't say it's like actually being there (where's the warmth of the sun, the sand in my toes, and a painkiller in my hand?!) but it's as close as I could ever come sitting here in rainy North Vancouver. (Although I don't think it was ever this busy the two times I got to visit).

The company is in its infancy. Currently membership on the site, giving access to all of the material, is free. Rick would like to keep it that way.

"Now we're at the point where we've proven LASV and ARL can work, so we're looking for more sponsors for the ARL site to help keep it free for users indefinitely... and (are) looking to take on 2-3 more partners for the LASV business to fund the next 2 year business plan of expansion internationally now that we've taken it as far as we can on our own."

Rick is also looking to add equipment to his kit which will allow him to do arial videos without the prohibitive expense of hiring a helicopter every time he sees the need.

I hope they can find the partners they are looking for because I, for one, would love to be able to continue to freely access the wonderful videos he has made in the Caribbean, and the future ones he plans to make all around the world. Even more, I'd love to be able to join his crew one day.

Be sure to click on the links and take a look at what Rick and his crew are doing. And if you are looking for a business to partner with, and one in paradise at that, this just might be for you!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Yes, it's that time of year again. Most people dread it but I don't mind it at all because it usually means I am in for a nice, fat return. How so, you ask?

I work in film. When I work I make a decent wage. Enough so, the tax man thinks I am in one of the highest brackets and taxes me accordingly. I have to say that it bites in a big way every time I get a cheque and see how much is deducted in taxes, especially when I haven't worked in a while and could use every cent. And therein lies the reason why I get a return - I don't work steadily all twelve months of the year; far from it. I can have anywhere from a few weeks to a few months between productions. So when it comes time to file, this fact, coupled with write-off's that I am permitted, reduces my actual annual income significantly.

About the write-off's: because I work in the entertainment industry, I am permitted to write off every movie I go see, every DVD I purchase, my cable bill, and even live productions I see. I am also permitted to write off a small space in my home as I am required to do a portion of my job there. I can write off equipment I use for the job such as my fax machine (and the phone line I use exclusively for it), my laptop, camera, time calculator, stopwatch, iPhone (with apps I use just for work), chair and small table (both which fold), stationary I purchase, and even meals and parking for work or industry purposes. I can also write off my car, repairs, and fuel to and from location shoots as long as I keep a detailed mileage log. I can write off my union fees and dues from two unions as well as the usual medical bills and prescriptions I pay for myself.

Last year the Canadian tax man decided to take a very close look at those of us in the film industry. Many of us were asked to send in all of our receipts and any other paperwork (like the mileage logs) for closer inspection. I was one of those people. As I gathered my file (I have one for each year with all relevant receipts and paperwork) I went to my car to get my logbook. It was gone!! I had recently sold my car and bought a different one. I thought I had cleaned it out thoroughly but it appeared I had forgotten the log book. There was no way for me to track it down as the car had been sent to the wreckers and was long turned into a small cube of metal. My heart sank. I turned in all that I had to my accountant and told her the bad news. She didn't think it was such a big deal and said the worst that would happen was they'd disallow my car write-offs. She also warned me that the tax man had arbitrarily decided that they were no longer allowing film workers to write off any movies tickets, DVD's or or cable unless a specific director had instructed us to see a specific film in preparation for a specific shoot. It wasn't certain though as they seemed to let some have the write-off and others not. What the...??? I was really worried as to how much of the refund I had already spent (on dental work in Mexico) the tax man would want back.

That was in September and I still have not heard what the verdict is.

Yesterday I went to see my accountant with all of my information for 2011, and told her that I was not claiming any car expenses any more as losing my log book was upsetting to me and I didn't want that to happen again. It's a LOT of effort for me to keep that record - I actually hate doing it; fumbling around in the cold and dark at 5am for the notebook and pen, and again at the end of the day in the dark and I'm blinded by exhaustion. I.Hate.It. So I had decided it wasn't worth it. She wasn't happy to hear it but understood.

Also, due to downsizing in the past 12 months, I had not purchased much in the way of DVD's - almost none (and what I had bought, I bought early in the year before I knew how thoroughly I'd be shedding my possessions), and my cable is included in my rent so did not have much to write off there. Which was just as well considering I still didn't know if I was going to get disallowed for such deductions. I figured I would be getting less than half of what I usually get back except that I had a huge write off due to the dental work I had in Mexico. Not only am I allowed to write of the work itself, but every other expense in getting it done out of the country. That means airfare, lodgings, car rental, meals, even a seat upgrade I purchased because I needed the space to stretch out and sleep on the flight out of LA (I was still on drugs and in a lot of pain) are all deductable.

I was very happy when she told me that I would be getting back MORE than last year. There are a couple of things I need to put that money towards; one is getting the rest of the dental work done and the other is helping my son pay for his upcoming wedding. I had expected to help him out with the two shows I had booked before the event but, as I already wrote about, I lost one of those and it's put me in a bind. Then she gave me the bad news; more than likely the tax man will hang on to the refund until he decides how much he wants back from last year's refund, and who knows how long that is going to take. Thing is, she told me that even if they disallowed every single deduction - which they won't - I would only owe a fraction of what I am getting back this year. But they will either hang on to all of it or none of it.

I am hoping for the latter.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


I went to the doctor's yesterday to get tested to see what this cough is about. My doctor wasn't available but I really liked the doctor I saw. He was young but really thorough and very nice. I have been going to this doctor's office since I was eight years old. My doctor back then was Dr. Hiller. He was young and really friendly. He had a distinct manner of speech due to being born with a cleft palate. I loved him. When I was about 12, he left the practice to go to Africa as a missionary. We moved away and I had a different doctor in a different town. When I moved back into the area as a newlywed, I went back to that doctor's office but had Dr. Gottchling as Dr. Hiller was still in Africa, and quite frankly I had forgotten all about him. Eventually I was pregnant and towards the end of my pregnancy I called to book an appointment and the receptionist told me that my doctor was away but that there was a new doctor and would I mind seeing him. I didn't mind. She told me his name but it didn't ring any bells. I will never forget waiting in the exam room with my husband and as we sat there I heard a voice coming down the hallway. My ears perked up and I looked over at my husband with a big grin. "That sounds like my doctor from when I was a little girl." I said. Then the door opened and there he was, Dr. Hiller just as I remembered him. Maybe a little gray at the temples that wasn't there before, but it was him! I was so happy. I switched to him as my doctor then and there and he went on to deliver all three of my children and take good care of us all for the next twenty years.

The day came, about ten years ago, when he was ready to retire. I was very sad. He really knew me and my kids well. It was so hard to even think about having a different doctor. He was replaced by a young man called Dr. Foggin and as I reluctantly booked an appointment with him one day, I was dreading the visit, fully expecting to be disappointed. Well, he was amazing. Such a great bedside manner, and very thorough and knowledgeable. I was so happy. Then, after about five years he left the practice to study something called 'world medicine'. I wasn't sure what that was but what I was sure of was that he was no longer going to be my doctor. They replaced him with a young woman and my first appointment with her did not go well. First of all, she looked like she was about sixteen. Secondly she had no bedside manner whatsoever. She was brash and rushed with me. I felt like all she wanted to do was get it over and move on. After about two years of this I talked to the office manager, a woman who has been with the office for as far back as I can remember. I told her why I wasn't happy with my new doctor and asked if I could change to one of the others there. She said it wasn't possible. It didn't make a difference that I had been going to them since I was a child; she said that many of Dr. Hiller's original patients had actually been told they no longer had a doctor there at all and that they'd need to look elsewhere. Basically, she told me, I was one of the lucky ones to even still be a patient of theirs. Unhappily, I had no choice but to stay with the new doctor. Consequently, I hardly ever go to the doctor any more. I was never one to go for every little thing anyway, but now when I should go, I don't. Falling on my knees a couple of weeks ago is a good example. I should have gone in there right away but didn't.

Now I am hoping that this doctor is a permanent fixture at the practice because I have way more faith and comfort with him. As well as the cough, I told him about the fall and he checked out my knees and legs (my right leg is bruised from knee to ankle). He said the bruising needed to settle down some before he could really tell if there is any damage as he couldn't press anywhere into the leg without me being in pain.

The test for whooping cough wasn't as bad as I'd read online. The only way they can test for it is to take a swab way in at the back of the nose - almost in the throat. They use a special q-tip on a long, thin, filament type of 'stick'. I had read online that it was painful and disgusting so I was pretty nervous. Well, he explained that it would feel odd and it did but it didn't hurt one bit. It wasn't something I'd love to have done every day, but it really was no big deal. It took all of about fifteen seconds and it made me feel like I needed to sneeze when it was removed. That's it. So if you ever have to have it done, don't freak out. It's nothing.

Now I wait for the results. I will be surprised if it is whooping cough because it seems the coughing is already subsiding and that's not typical - the cough usually lasts 100 days.

Today's topic, the Doctor. Tomorrow, the Tax Man!

Saturday, March 10, 2012


Often when a show is wrapped, many of the crew fall ill. It's as if while you're working you don't have time to get ill but as soon as you're done, then it hits. It's happened to me several times. This show, I had been sneezing and sniffling for about the last week but I put it down to being out in the freezing cold for so many days, and I didn't feel sick otherwise - no aches or fever. The runny nose stopped as soon as the show was wrapped so I definitely tied it to being out in the cold.

I watched Malia Wednesday, while her mommy went for a massage. I had a bit of a cough developing and was worried I might pass it on to the baby but it felt more like just a tickle in my throat so wasn't too worried. I also hardly coughed while I was there so felt it should be okay.

Last night, I coughed so much that I didn't sleep all night and I coughed till I threw up at one point. Also I had a spell of coughing so bad that I couldn't get a breath and when I finally did, I made a terrible whooping sound. That freaked me out. I honestly thought I was going to pass out before I could get a breath. Then the whoop scared me. Today I looked up whooping cough symptoms and I think I might have it. I just heard that it broke out way up the valley in Chilliwack and has made its way through Abbotsford, Langley and they're expecting it to hit Vancouver soon. Seeing how I spent a week in Abbotsford and a few days in Langley, it's not past the realm of possibility I picked it up. What scares me to death is that I might have passed it on to Malia. I am going to the doctor tomorrow to find out if it is what I have. If so, Ashleigh is going to take Malia in to start antibiotics before she gets the symptoms.

I'm so worried.

Friday, March 9, 2012


Our last day of shooting was actually night - call time was 4pm and we wrapped at 4:30am. It went pretty fast although it was cold out, and it even snowed about an inch in less than an hour at about 2:30am. That messed up the big fight scene we shot. We did one side with snow falling and then when we turned around to shoot the other side, there was no snow. So post will have to put snow falling in via computer effects.

We had one scene where a brand new Chrysler 300 had to do a 180 in the road. On the first try the car did half of a 180 and ended up down a lane. So we reset and went again. The stunt driver came into it faster and the result was half of a 180 again, into the lane, only at higher speed stopping rather abruptly with a dull 'thunk'. Turns out, he took down a 'do not enter' sign and the cement it was set in came up and hit the undercarriage of the car taking out the oil pan and the transmission. Cost? $25,000 worth of damage. A write off. And we still needed to finish the scene. Transport scrambled to find another 300 and the only place open that had one that time of night was Vancouver airport. So out they went to get it and we shot the scene again a few hours later. This time we didn't try the 180.


I managed to get a photo taken with both Dolph on his last day, and then with Steve on our last night shooting. Unfortunately, Steve is covered in fake blood and I look like death after a long night of working in the cold so it's not really something I want to frame and add to my 'table of fame'.

My son in law has a brother living in a small village in England and he is a huge, and I do mean HUGE fan of Steve's. Rob mentioned through Ashleigh that his brother Rich would be thrilled if I could get something autographed for him. I managed to get that and plan a bigger surprise. With a bit of coordinating with Rich's twin brother, Geoff, I arranged for Steve to call Rich. Our last night was the perfect time to do it, considering the 8 hour difference between there and here. So at midnight, during a break in filming, I placed the call using my cell phone (I have a great rate to the UK). Rich was stunned but managed to recover quickly and they talked for ten minutes. Rich called me the next day to thank me and said it had given him a real boost. It was so nice of Steve to do and I appreciated it a lot. Thank you, Steve.

I drove to Langley, just across the river, after we wrapped and waited until 7:00 when my mechanic opened. I needed him to figure out what was wrong with my headlights and fix it. The guys at work had looked at it and said it was a relay plug. My friend picked me up from there and I expected to spend an hour or two at the most hanging out at her place. Turns out it took them until 4:00pm to figure it out and fix it. It was the switch and they could not find a replacement so had to repair it. I then drove home and got there just in time to get changed and then head over to my daughters so I could babysit Malia while mommy went for a swim. By the time I crawled into bed after 10, I had been up over 37 hours. I was exhausted.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


Here's a saying I made up today:

What I've learned in life so far: You can please some of the people some of the time but you can't please all of the people all of the time. However you can piss everyone off anytime with very little effort.

You heard it here first, folks!

Two people I know managed to piss off a lot of people today with simple comments they made. One was a tongue-in-cheek blog about how to spot charter boaters. The other was a bit more serious critique of the Kony 2012 campaign.

I don't like how the anonymity of the internet - and often not even anonymity (because it's people you know) but just the distance it provides - brings out the worst in people. They say things to each other that they'd never say to their faces. I know, I have been on the receiving end of quite a bit of that sort of thing.

People need to lighten up, remember their manners, and - if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


It was a tough week at work. Cold weather made it hard to be shooting outside the entire week, except for Friday when we were inside most of the day. The first half of the day, which started at noon, we spent in an unheated empty office space. It was really cold in there but the locations guys brought me a heater and that helped a lot. After dinner we moved into a doctor's office that was crowded but warm. Our last three scenes of the night were shot outdoors in the cold and rain.

At the beginning of the week we started at 6:30am way out in Matsqui, so I took a hotel room for the three nights we'd be out there as it was just way too far to drive every day. It was so nice to get up later knowing I only had to drive 10 minutes to get to set. It meant I had a much needed two hours extra sleep a night. And come Wednesday I was even happier as the North shore, where I live, had gotten quite a dump of snow which froze to ice through the night which resulted in multiple accidents in the area. It took my son-in-law an hour to travel what normally takes him less than ten minutes.

On the Monday we rolled a car. That has to be my favourite thing that happens on set, and it doesn't happen all that often.

When the car doesn't land exactly where we want it to, then we do this:

Just a simple neon sign turned this old house turned woodmill office into a diner

Our director works out a scene with Steve Austin (in the red jacket) and the cop. It doesn't end well for the cop.

In the previous photo you can see my car in the background and it will appear in this scene, BVI sticker proudly evident. A fun thing for BVIslanders to try to spot if they watch the movie. The movie takes place partly in Washington State and partly in British Columbia. This scene takes place in Washington so props have taped a WA plate over my BC one.

We have one more day of shooting, or rather night - we start at 4pm and go 12 and a half hours, and then we wrap. I was supposed to go right onto my friend, and Director, Ron Oliver's first of four movies he is doing up here this year but the PM is rolling most of the crew from a previous show he has going and that includes the script supervisor. It's highly unusual, not ever done really, to deny the director his choice of script supervisor but that is what this PM is doing. I cleared my calendar to do this movie, at Ron's request. I even turned down an opportunity to do a six week Disney shoot at union scale because I am loyal to Ron. I told this to the PM but he was unmoved. So, I am devastated not to be working with Ron but I have another show that I will interview for on Tuesday which runs for the same three I should have been working with him. I hope I get it. (update: didn't get it)

All pictures posted with permission of the producer.
All photographs are mine and not to be copied without express permission from me (click on them to see the large version).
Some names have been changed to protect my butt.

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