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...

Thursday, January 17, 2013


WOW!  Since the last blog post it's not just my hair that is a mess.... my whole normal world has been turned upside down and I have three days of dishes in my sink - and I have a dishwasher!!  Good thing I only eat once or twice a day!!

For those of you who haven't heard... and I am sure that's most of you... the film industry in BC is in the middle of a huge movement and it seems one person is being credited with starting it.  Me.

In actual fact, it should be whoever put the first letter on our Premier's FaceBook page and spread the word to others who posted after.  I am a reluctant activist.  

I kind of fell into it.  Here's the high points as I am a bit short on time:

Our provincial government released a B.C. Jobs Plan a while back and it was recently 'dragged' into the light by an opposition member and while there's lots in the document, there was one particular quote that did not sit well with a lot of people:

Government has taken a close look at the screen-based entertainment industry as a possible focus for the Jobs Plan, and has not found a compelling case for any additional emphasis on this sector.

Now, given that increased tax incentives in Ontario and Quebec have resulted in a massive loss of productions in Vancouver as they moved to the more generous pastures of the east, that is a pretty shocking statement for our government to make.  Because there is 90% unemployment in the film industry in B.C. at the moment - you've sure heard me moan enough about me not working.

So I was on FaceBook, quite unaware of the storm that was brewing, and I saw a post in my feed that a friend in the industry had made to Christy Clark's (our Premier) FB page protesting the lack of attention to our plight. It piqued my interest so I clicked my way over to her page and saw that there were about 170 posts from film folks, some of who I know.  I read through them all, left a post with my two cents and went to bed.

Then next afternoon I saw in my FB feed another post from the same friend saying words to the effect that, 'you must have had some sort of problem with your page because all of our comments, over 400 of them, have been deleted without explanation.'   I went over to look and, sure enough, all the comments were gone and... AND... as fast as people were putting new ones up expressing their outrage, they were disappearing.  I was shocked and dismayed.  How could an elected official, there to serve the people, think that this sort of action was in any way or form acceptable?!  I thought about it a bit and decided that this was news worthy and that someone should report it to the news agencies.  I was getting all set up to do it when I saw that my same friend had just put up a post saying he had sent a copy of his letter with an explanation of what happened to several local news agencies like Global BC, CTV BC, etc.  So, I figured it had been taken care of and was ready to get back to a regular day in the life of me.... never suspecting that today would be the last 'regular day' I'd have in quite some time.

While experiencing the first few seconds of my regular day, a private message popped up from another industry friend saying that we should get a meeting together to see if we wanted to do something about it collectively.  I said 'sure' and he said... we should tweet about this... maybe #wrapchristy (wrap is the term for when a show is over) or #30,000againstchristy (the estimated number of film workers in BC).  I said no, it should be more recognizable like #savebcfilm.  He thought it was too bland.  I said I thought we should have a FaceBook page and a twitter account so we could spread the word and that the FaceBook page would be a great place for people to repost their comments if they wanted to and they wouldn't be deleted.  So off I went and blithely set both up using Save BC Film because I liked it and, heck, I was the one creating the pages.  Went back to the message and told my friend it was done and to post links to his FB page and I would do the same.

Within one hour there were 120 likes on the FB page.  Let me put this in perspective.  I have had a page for this blog on FB for two and a half years or so.  I have 85 likes.  85.  So yeah.. I was somewhat surprised.  I went on about my regular day and later that evening, went to see The Life of Pi with another film friend. While I was waiting for her to get there, I checked the FB page on my iPhone.  The page had been up for about 2 1/2 hours at this point.  It had 650+ likes.

Two hours later when we got out of the theater (great movie by-the-way) there were 876 likes.  That stopped me dead in my tracks.  I looked at my friend with shock.  "Ohhhh my word.  I think we've started something."  I said.

Since then it's been mayhem.  'Save BC Film' is a full blown, grassroots movement that has poked the bear.  Or better yet, let me give you this analogy:  The bear knocked the hornets nest down when the posts were removed.  The hornets got angry and started to go after the bear.  The bear is now pissed.  Really pissed.  We have poked the bear and the bear is ready to attack.

You can go to the FB page and read all about it if you want the details (I won't post the link as I see it as an admin and I think that changes the URL but just put Save BC Film into the search field) as I just can't go into it all here because I now no longer have a life I can call my own.  You can even 'Like' the page and have more access to content if you so desire.  And if you have a twitter account, check out #savebcfilm and @savebcfilm

New stickers rolling off the press, donated by one of the suppliers to the industry that is suffering from loss of film related work.

Anyway... in the past few days I have been interviewed for TV news broadcasts, gotten 5 hours sleep a night due to monitoring the site's comments, been on conference calls, attended 4 meetings, been appointed Executive Producer for half a dozen PSA's (public service announcements so we can educate the public on how having film in the province benefits the economy),  spent hours strategizing with another admin I appointed, and spent more time monitoring the site.  Oh yes... and lots of time watching  and reading the media reports.  Whew!

That's a lot for a little old grandma script supervisor.

Oh, and that page?  It has over 3,800 likes at this point. In four days.

Sized for FaceBook Cover Photo

Here is a partial list of support businesses that benefit from, and even depend on, having a thriving film industry in their city:

1.     Legal services
2.     Stationary stores (endless list of supplies constantly needed)
3.     Accounting services
4.     Crew payroll companies
5.     Catering companies
6.     Coffee trucks
7.     Coffee shops (most crew buys a coffee on their way to work, breaks, and for their team as a thank-you for a good day, gift cards, etc)
8.     Sound Equipment
9.     Lighting equipment
10.  Camera equipment
11.  Crane rentals
12.  Printers
13.  Decal sign shops
14.  Lumber suppliers
15.  Hardware stores
16.  Maid services (used for cast and crew, foreign and local)
17.  Arts and crafts stores
18.  Locations, such as schools, parks, universities, theatre, even streets locations (rental for space used)
19.  Car rental companies (cars, trucks, vans, luxury cars)
20.  Trailer rentals (cast, director trailers)
21.  Changing room trailers
22.  Bathroom trailers
23.  Portable potties
24.  Car mechanic shops
25.  Dog walkers
26.  Nanny services
27.  Tourism (locations showcasing BC in mayor films attracts tourism)
28.  Private chefs
29.  Spa services
30.  Hotels
31.  Restaurants
32.  Fast food restaurants
33.  Sandwich shops
34.  Antiques stores
35.  Furniture stores
36.  General beauty stores
37.  Hair supply stores
38.  Make up supply stores
39.  Florists
40.  Police department (traffic control)
41.  Flagging services (traffic control)
42.  Fire Department
43.  Ambulance Services
44.  Groceries stores (craft service, catering, cast and crew food supplies)
45.  Produce distributors
46.  Meat distributors
47.  Restoration services
48.  Shoe repair places
49.  Seamstress
50.  Private safety consultants
51.  Local accommodation agencies (other than hotels and private homes)
52.  Car services
53.  Taxi cabs
54.  Metal fabricators
55.  Generator suppliers
56.  Cable suppliers
57.  IT services (all production it needs, wifi)
58.  Framing stores
59.  Gas stations (diesel and gasoline)
60.  Photocopier services (thousands of dollars a month)
61.  Walkie rentals
62.  Thrift stores
63.  Tent, table & chair rentals
64.  Security companies
65.  Industrial cleaning companies (set cleaners)
66.  Film schools
67.  Casting agencies
68.  BC ferries
69.  Private charters
70.  Sea planes
71.  Custom brokers
72.  Immigration (foreign cast and crew must pay for their permits)
73.  Window covering stores
74.  Art galleries
75.  Local artists
76.  Retail outlets (clothing for cast, foreign crew wardrobe)
77.  Fabric shops
78.  Telus and BC hydro (phone lines and power for production and studios)
79.  Airlines (cast and crew fly in and out constantly)
80.  Airport greeters
81.  Battery supply stores
82.  Drug stores (all kind of supplies and prescriptions)
83.  Nail salons
84.  Massage therapists
85.  Chiropractors
86.  Acupuncturists
87.  Gyms
88.  Personal trainers
89.  Garden centers (all the greenery you see in the movies)
90.  Bin companies (construction waste disposal)
91.  Water and stream truck companies
92.  Portable bathroom disposal waste companies
93.  Tow trucks
94.  Extended medical companies
95.  Welding suppliers
96.  Courier companies
97.  Lift rental companies
98.  City permits
     99.  Liquor stores
   100.  Packing supplies stores
   101.  Outdoor clothing and supply stores (rain gear)
   102.  Scuba diving stores
   103.  Book stores
   104.  Dollar stores
   105.  Giftware shops
   106.  Landscaping companies
   107.  Gardeners (private homes rented for cast and crew)
   108.  Pool services (private homes rented for cast and crew)
   109.  Wig makers
   110.  Processing labs
   111.  Sound studios
    112. Air conditioning companies
    113. Home Accessory Stores
    114. Pizza Delivery (for overtime 2nd meal)

Saturday, January 12, 2013


WARNING: People who only like looking at pictures of beautiful people should read no further as I have posted pictures of myself looking my absolute worst. I honestly haven't shown anyone most of these pictures, I look that hideous, but in the interest of education, I have humbled myself and exposed myself to the world looking my... as I said... absolute worst. You've been warned!!

I used to be a hairstylist - many moons ago. So it kind of figures that I am fussy about my hair. Like a dentist, it is one of the professions where you can't do your own work so I am very picky about where I go for cuts and color and when I find a good stylist, I stick with them. Since I was 19 I have had three hairstylists; Christopher, of Christopher and Claud Hair design - the salon I apprenticed at - cut my hair from the time I started working for him in 1977 until 1985 or so when I decided that traveling to Vancouver (where he moved his shop from Surrey - where I worked, to downtown Vancouver) was too much for a mom of 3 small kids. So I found George in Langley, where I lived. He had his own salon, Amadeus, for the first few years then he sold it and joined the huge new Spa Utopia and I followed him there. I stayed with him until 2009 when my son started dating a hairstylist and when it became apparent that she was most likely going to be a permanent part of our family, I thought I should start to go to her as a gesture of acceptance. Turns out she is a FANTASTIC hairstylist. Dare I say the best I've ever had? I think I dare. So I have been very happy for the past few years with how my hair looks. Recently, my son was offered a fabulous job in Calgary and so they are moving there later this year. Now what will I do?

Anyhow, this all to say - I am very fussy about my hair!!

So when I go to the Caribbean, I have a terrible time with my hair. I have fine hair with a bit (and I do mean a BIT) of a kink in it (can't really call it a curl). When I am in the humidity of the tropics, it goes instantly limp and sticks flat to my head. Add to that the constant breeze in the islands and it looks TERRIBLE!!! (Wind is the other enemy of fine haired people). When I was headed to the BVI for a month, I asked my (now) daughter in law if she could give me a loose perm so that I'd have some curl and body to work with and, when I went swimming, I wouldn't have to worry about getting my hair wet and losing whatever I had managed to do with it that morning. She said that, due to the highlights in my hair, a perm would just burn it and cause breakage, which I pretty much knew she would say but I was hoping perms had advanced some since I was a stylist. So the whole time I was there, I looked terrible. I mean really terrible. And I have the pictures to prove it.  (I should add that, as makeup slides off your face about 10 minutes after it is applied when in the tropics, I am wearing little to no makeup in these photos which definitely adds to the 'terrible' factor).

I am posting this picture so you can see what I look like at home and also because the feed for this blog always posts the first picture and I sure don't want it to be one of the following!!

This one taken not an hour after having a shower and doing my hair!!

Walking around in the suffocating heat of Road Town for a day resulted in this lovely look.

This was probably the hottest day I have ever experienced and I was so overheated I thought I might pass out... my hair certainly did!

Here I tied back some of my hair at each side to try to 'poof' it out a bit.  Didn't work as well as I'd hoped.

I honestly look so bad and so different than I do here at home that an island fellow I met and spent the last day of my trip with had no idea who I was when I friended him on FaceBook just two days after getting home. And when I told him who I was he replied, "WOW!! You look TOTALLY different." Yeah, I know. Thanks.

I did a search online to see if there were any tips or information on this problem out there in internet land and it turned up a few tips that I will try on my next trip:

1. Use shampoo and conditioner for FINE hair. This will add less weight to the hair.

2. Mid-day, use a dry shampoo (I love the one from Tresemme that adds volume). This will immediately absorb oils from heat and sweat and put some life back into your strands. Just spray at your roots, flip your head over and shake. Then brush your hair well. It will be good as new! (I don't know why I never thought of this). When I would blow-dry my hair in the morning, I could feel the heat of the day coupled with the heat from the blowdryer causing my scalp to sweat,  wetting down the roots I had just worked on to get some lift so this one is a MUST for me to try.

3. Use an anti-humidity hairspray (again, I recently discovered that Tresemme makes one and it's amazing in the humidity of Vancouver's rain forest so perhaps it will work as well in the tropics).

So these are great for keeping styled hair looking 'great' all day. (We will see how it works on my next trip). But what about after a swim? Am I still going to look like a drowned rat as my hair dries flat and stringy with a bit of a kink? It's not long enough for a pony tail.

I'd love to hear what you other fine-haired readers do for this. And I don't want to hear from people with naturally curly hair complaining about how their hair frizzes out in the tropics, I really don't. You have no idea how lucky you are. I'd give anything for frizz. I have yet to see someone with naturally curly hair look dreadful on the beach. It just doesn't happen. Any curl... ANY... is better than flat greasy looking hair.

***UPDATE:  Took a trip to Grenada and the Grenadines for 3 weeks, 10 days of that on a sailboat and all three of the above tips really worked, especially the dry shampoo!  YAY  Pict's are on the posts about the trip which start HERE.  I mean, still not like at home but WAY better than the month in the BVI.  And an island fellow who I met on the beach one day (looking terrible with my hair pulled back in clips) was a taxi driver and picked me up later that same day to take me for dinner and when he saw me come out of my hotel room - well, lets just say his jaw hit the floor.  I look SO different when my hair looks good and I have a bit of makeup on!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


Driving in the rain is not fun for me.  Driving at night in the rain is stressful for me.   Driving at night in the rain on most BC roads is terrifying for me.  Why?  Because almost all of the highways and roads in the lower mainland lack one tiny yet huge safety feature; Raised Pavement Markers (RPMs) or 'cat eyes' as they are commonly known.

On one occasion this past fall, I was driving to work from North Vancouver to Langley on Highway 1 at 5am.  Pitch dark, heavy heavy rain like I haven't seen for a long time around here, and almost no visibility what with the rain, road spray and the lack of proper markers.  I was absolutely terrified.  And if you think I am exaggerating; one of our lead cast pulled off of the highway, called production, and told them she refused to drive another inch and needed someone from transport to come and get her.  And if you think it was just wimpy women drivers; the talk at breakfast by all crew - male and female alike - was the horrific drive in and how we all managed to arrive without getting into an accident.

Granted, the highway has been under major construction for the past three years as it is widened and a new bridge added at the river, and this has led to old lines being ground off and new ones added as the lanes have shifted and changed leaving it VERY difficult to determine, at night, which lines are the correct ones as the old lines still appear in headlights and criss cross over the new ones and you really can't tell which is which.  I am a defensive driver and I am always looking a mile or more down the road to see what I am heading towards.  In the conditions I have described, my vision is fixed in the 10 feet in front of my car, constantly making sure I am in the right place.  There could be a 50 car pile-up ahead of me and I wouldn't realize it until I made it 51.   

I am sick and tired of the stress of driving in the dark, in the rain on our roads.  So I have started a petition on-line to the BC Ministry of Transportation to add RPMs to our highways and roads.  If you live in BC or even visit it from time to time, please sign this petition.  My goal is 100,000 signatures.  

The addition of RPMs on our roads in not a luxury.  In the sort of weather that is typical to BC (rain) and our long winter nights, its a necessity.  I aim to make this happen.  The link to the site is in the highlighted portion of the above paragraph or you can sign it right from this page by clicking on the link at the bottom of this post.

Thank you!

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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