I had a meeting today with a friend who does pet portraits here in LA. He left the film effects business last year to focus on his two passions: pets, and photography. It’s working out for him. He did portraits of all of Paris Hilton’s dogs last year. He has a bunch of freelance work for me – website stuff – which will be great to tide me over as I continue to pursue full time employment again. In other financial news, looks like I’m getting a tax refund to the tune of $8 more than a month’s rent. Keep in mind that rent in LA is astronomical. I could buy almost 5 of my RIDGID table saws for a month of my rent. Little by little I’m stumbling into just enough to squeak by :)
Andy bought me lunch at a [for me] fancy place in Culver City (the tiny parking garage had 2 Maseratis and an Aston Martin), showed me his small, but feature-rich studio, talked shop and freelance with me for a couple of hours, and explained to me again how he’d love for me to be on his team full time one of these days. He wants someone on call to build all manner of props for photoshoots, and help build up and repair the studio as needs be. Sounds like fun, though I don’t know if it would actually pay the bills, and I can’t imagine he would have a benefits package for me (he has one part-time assistant currently). He isn’t afraid to spend money, though. For the first few assignments, all identical, I quoted a price per that I thought was fair to high, and he said he had been thinking about 1.5x that, and added “Why don’t we just go with my price.” Sure!
But enough of that, because then I drove home, right past this big limb:
I only had a quick glance as I rushed by in traffic, and mistakenly thought it was bottlebrush. At 10:30PM, I headed back and found a wide apartment complex driveway to park in on Venice Blvd., which was otherwise completely tiled with cars on both sides. During a lull in the 3-lanes-each-way of traffic, I hurried up onto the raised median feeling a bit like I was doing theater-in-the-round for the cars that were soon rushing by me again 5’ to either side.
I found it was actually some kind of Eucalyptus, forever unidentifiable to me with its >730 species. This was one of the kinds with very bendy limbs that somewhat easily snap clean away, so I spent a while cleaning off more than 50 1”-2” branches anywhere from 4’ to 6’+ long, making 2 neat piles for the city workers, whenever they manage to show up again. What you see in the picture is just the main sections, but it was basically a dense shrub when I found it. At some point, a lady brought her dog out onto her fenced-in front yard, right next to the driveway where I’d parked, and watched me for a good 10 minutes as I worked.
I was just waiting to hear a voice over an electronic megaphone asking me what I was doing, but no cops showed up. I made sure not to accidentally roll any branch bits out into traffic. Soon it was cleaned up and able to fit in my truck, and with another large lapse in traffic, I walked it back across the street and made off with the treasure. I probably don’t really need it ;) At its largest, it’s about 8” in diameter. Not a huge log by the standards of this past year of hunting, but it’s always fun to find new booty to try out.
I might head back some time tomorrow to grab some shots of the tree itself, its leaves, bark, seed pods, and anything else it has to help me one day identify it. I used to not want to make things out of woods I hadn’t ID’d, but now I’m thinking that saying a piece is made of “some kind of Eucalyptus,” or the more scientific ”Eucalyptus spp.” is fine for now, especially if I have good photographic documentation of the various tree parts so I can later sate my curiosity by tracking down the species. I can be a bit particular in that way.
-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator