Saturday, July 28, 2007

Of Photo Shoots & Other Demons

Our tale today begins with a photo shoot.

It was my first time working with this client & photographer. Pretty straightforward job to produce- find a suitable surburban home with the right kitchen, cast a hip-but-not-too-funky suburban "mom", hire the stylist & hair/mu person, coordinate everything: the logistics, people, equipment, catering, etc. Make sure the shoot runs smoothly & put out all the fires. Basically I liken it to throwing a party with a handpicked guest list.

It's the morning of the shoot and we all arrive on time in lovely Westport, CT. As the equipment & catering is being setup, I am at the front of the house directing the stylist where to park. As she is backing up in her car, I see an enormous dog- a really big beige dog...wait a pony perhaps...galloping full speed ahead, running across the street & disappearing past the bushes. I realize that it wasn't a dog or pony, but a sheep- a sheep that just ran across the street.

At that moment the caterer reappears and I say to her "Oh, you guys have sheep in Westport? (I am a city girl and I have seen deer in the country, so why not sheep running around too?)". She looks at me, eyebrow raised and says, "No." I tell her about the sheep and she says that it might have escaped from Stew Leonard's farm not too faraway. Stew Leonard's is a supermarket chain that apparently has it's own farm. Frantic, I speak to the homeowner about the sheep and she compares him/her to the Loch Ness monster- people in the neighborhood have spotted it from time to time, but apparently no one has reported any lost sheep, but it makes sense that the sheep was nearby because her border collie had run off this morning away from home- ahh to herd sheep! Sheep are big- I had no idea. Well, I contacted Animal Control in Westport & Farm Sanctuary and I hope they can get the sheep which I would certainly adopt!

(Update: Officer D'Amico in Westport returned my call quite promptly & has told me that they have been trying to catch this sheep for 2-3 months! The sheep has a tag, but they do not know where he/she came from. They had set up a fencing area where the sheep had been seen often, but they have not been able to catch the sheep. His fear is that the sheep has run off into Fairfield County & into coyotes because he has had no calls reporting any sheep sightings for days now. I mentioned Farm Sanctuary and he assured me that the sheep if captured, would be placed by the state at a nice sanctuary. Officer D'Amico was very kind and said that he would let me know if they are able to rescue the sheep- he also mentioned that it would definitely make the news if that happened! Good luck Officer D'Amico & Big Booboo Sheep!- all animals are Booboo animals...)
Here's the sweet border collie who tried to herd the errant sheep & then returned to go for a bagel where the catering was setup. She managed to lick a bagel and was promptly reprimanded.

Below is one of the pretty bathrooms in the house that we were shooting at.

(Skip this section if you are squeamish about clogged toilets)
Speaking of bathrooms, let me convey to you how unglamorous my job really is...someone from the shoot clogged up the other toilet & it took me half a day to deal with it. I have never in my life had to deal with a stranger's "business"- and let me just say that, I am a brave brave woman for trying, tackle the situation.

First off the owner hands me the flimsiest plunger ever- it was so flimsy that it had the nerve to flip back up and a single drop of toilet water (clear at this point still thank god) flicked onto my foot. Argh!!!!!!! That foot was immediately washed with soap & hot hot water. I sent the home owner out for a heavy duty plunger and when she returned the situation had worsened, but intrepid being that I am- I grabbed the heavy duty artillery & headed back into the trenches. Gingerly, I started plunging for fear of splashback especially since the water had risen & was now dark & murky (gag!)- my beloved friend & assistant on this job, BBF, so much braver than I- got me out of the way because the delicate approach was not cutting it. She got the job done. What a heinous experience!

Sorry to share, but it really disturbed me because if I happened to be the cause of such a thing, embarrased as I may have been, I would have asked for a plunger myself to deal with my own sh*t, not leave it for someone else especially since this was someone's home & the children's bathroom no less! Moral of the story is when you are producing a shoot, you take care of business from top to bottom and make sure it all runs smoothly... and I would definitely recommend that that person go on a vegan diet!!!

Pretty kitchen where the shoot took place....

The other night a friend of Fcat's held a birthday celebration with a cocktail cruise aboard a private boat. We sailed around Manhattan. There's the Brooklyn Bridge behind us as I try not to look so windswept.

The loveliest lady at the party:
There was also some food aboard- pickings like vegetable crudite but of course with a creamy dairy -based dip, fruit, chips with salsa & guacamole and hummus with toasted pita and cupcakes (non-vegan, sigh...) in place of birthday cake. Immediately, I headed for the hummus which had the faintest trace of egg (apparently some people put mayonnaise in their hummus- why??????), but I wasn't certain, but I stopped eating the hummus anyway.

So fast-forward, a few glasses of champagne later and I am ravenous. Buzzed, I head for the food table & spot the hummus which I have forgotten all about the possible egg in it & greedily stuff my face. I must have had the equivalent of about 3-4 tablespoons of hummus. Yes, well that egg/mayo that I thought I tasted was definitely confirmed when I woke at 3:30am doubled over with stomach pain and soberly recognizing the aftertaste of egg/mayo. How sneaky of those omnis corrupting a perfectly yummy hummus with liquid chicken- why???

Well, way before that not-so-fun 3:30am wakeup when things were still fun and buzzing along, Fcat & I left the pier and as we are walking towards 10th Avenue to get a cab, Fcat spots a table and I go instantly from vegan to freegan in the furniture sense at least. There was this gorgeous table sitting on the curb with the trash. The middle plank had a crack in it, but other than that- still intact. We decided to take it home- not an easy task because it was a pretty heavy table. Fcat took one end and I took the other and we shuffled towards 10th Avenue where I perched as Fcat got a cab. I love this shot- I have seen many a fashion editorial with tons of things out of context just like this table & I sitting on the corner of 23rd Street & 10th Avenue. If you look closely, you can spot our "ghost guy" by the mailbox. Fcat had to adjust some camera settings to shoot at night, hence the haunting.

The next morning after being up all night from that sneaky mayo in the hummus & too much champagne, I was certainly not feeling fabulous. So some clean Japanese food to the rescue! We decided to try this neighborhood sushi place known for it's extensive veg sushi options. Some seaweed salad:
Healing miso soup: (honestly, miso soup never tasted this good- I was so ill.)

And the veggie sushi platter- avocado/cucumber roll, asparagus, shitake mushroom, oshinko, and inari (tofu skin stuffed with sushi rice): it was all so perfect!

The one thing I dislike is that Asian restaurants always give you disposable chopsticks, which I always turn down. Think of how many meals and how many people use these chopsticks once and into the landfill they go and how many trees chopped down for this one time use- ridiculous! I asked for a fork and they looked at me like I had two heads. Everyone should avoid using disposable chopsticks & plastic straws too if they can. It bothers me that we live in a disposable society- one time use chopsticks, straws, and it's the same way our society sees animals too- disposable and for our own use. Makes me want to scream.
Upon our return to the restaurant another evening, I had the avocado/peanut roll & sweet potato tempura roll- I also told them that I didn't like the disposable chopsticks and instead of the fork, they brought me a special set of pretty wooden chopsticks (they only had two sets). I have been considering bringing my own chopsticks in a portable case...
Fcat made a lovely breakfast the other day of blueberries served in pretty bowls that I gave him:

alongside a hummus sandwich on spelt:

I also had dinner the other night with my best-friend, JK, who is recently engaged. So we have been getting the wedding planning started...which included a dinner at Jaiya Thai where you can get the spiciest food ever if you are so inclined. This was the tofu penang which was so delicious except we ordered it medium spicy which was too spicy for us though we are girls that can handle some spice. It's going to be mild for us next time!

And here the mock duck in basil & chili sauce, also ordered medium spicy- which was too much...but still so damn tasty. I recommend this for anyone who has stuffy sinuses- this will clear you out faster than any Sudafed can...

Also wanted to showcase my newest littlest neighbor, Isabelle. She was found starved, dehydrated in the courtyard of my building. Her eyes were all infected & oozing, but thankfully someone called my neighbors who live down the hall from me (they are the parents of Booboo's big dog friends- in addition to the three dog, are four cats- so everyone knows they love animals.) and they were able to take the poor little thing into their home.

Isabelle is the sweetest, most adorable girl. Her mother tells me that she is so happy to be around them that she jumps up with her paws outstretched every time they enter the room.
She is the cutest and she gives little licks of gratitude.
She is black except for a little tuft of white under her chin. We had to keep the door closed to my apt because I didn't think that Booboo would be amenable to the idea of meeting her new kitten neighbor.
Lastly, SKO is a good sister. She surprised me with flowers to thank me for taking her to the Harry Potter midnight sale launch event. She's so cute- she thought they were peonies because she knows that I love peonies. I hated to tell her that they weren't peonies but hydrangeas- so pretty nonetheless. The flowers are displayed atop a gift that SKO had given me for Christmas. She has asked me to list my favorites poems. Then she bought a beautiful lacquered gold tray and copied a poem onto the tray. She chose Yeats' "Aedh Wishes For The Cloths of Heaven":

HAD I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.


Tamara said...

Our local Japanese food restaurant has this huge shelf behind the front counter where regular customers all leave their own personal chopsticks in nice little boxes to use each time they come in. I guess they must be labeled/organized somehow... I'm not sure exactly how, but it's a nice idea! Of course, that's in Arcata, CA, hippie central. :-)

VeggieGirl said...

oh my goodness, I commend your courage for cleaning the toilet - how dreadful!! and with the hummus - egg and mayo in hummus??!?! ick!! well, despite the adventures you endured at that event, I'm glad that you were able to settle your stomach with some delicious VEGAN food, haha. Miso soup is always healing :0)

bazu said...

Oh my gosh- your sister's gift (the laquered tray with poetry) took my breath away- what a thoughtful idea! I might have to copy that sometime.

I'm such a free furniture ho- I got really excited by that table you guys found- did you take it? Well, I guess it would be difficult to transport... I have so many pieces of furniture that I've rescued, stripped, and refinished, it's so fun!

Hummus with mayo? WHY?? It's like people who put mayo or yogurt in guacamole- why mess with perfection? I'm sorry it made you sick- ick! All the fantastic vegan food you ate must have made up for it, though!

Vegan_Noodle said...

Wow, what a post, hmmmmm, where to start. Sounds like quite a day at the photo shoot. Hopefully they find the sheep soon and take him/her to a farm sanctuary. Surprising how the police were so caring in their response, that's great to hear.
Sorry to hear about your hummus experience. I agree...why ruin a wonderful thing? The japanese food looked perfect to help get you back to health. I had sushi last night as well, I've seen inari on the menu and I'll have to give it a shot now.
Beautiful hydrangeas!! What a sweet sis.

laura jesser said...

Huge post... First, I'm sorry about your hummus mishap--mayo??? Are they kidding? Secondly, I was transfixed by your story of the sheep. Like you and everyone else, I do hope he is found and taken to a safe place.

Finally, I just love the tray from your sister--such a beautiful, heartfelt gift, and adorned with such a lovely poem. Like Bazu, I might have to borrow that idea someday! ;)

Vincent Guihan said...

This post was really funny. I admire your bravery wrt to the toilet incident. And who puts mayo in hummus? That's just shocking. I've seen mayo in baba ghanoush (shocking enough) but never hummus.

Tamara said...

vko - I responded to your comment on my blog but wasn't sure if you would remember to come back to see my answer so thought I would pop in here again! :-)

Also, I meant to say before how much I love the tray your sister made for you! As others have said, I think I might be stealing that idea!!!

stonielove said...

what a great post! what, mayo in hummus? i've seen mayo in guacamole, but hummus?

disposable chopsticks were everywhere in japan, too! i carried around my own chopsticks when i was there last summer. "cheaper than getting real ones and washing them" is not a good answer :(

SKO said...

My comment shall be in a somewhat random and incoherent manner because I am tired/thinking about Economics/about throde people/cannot remember the helpful writing tips they taught in English. With that said, here goes!

Ah, the story of the Loch Ness Sheep...'Big Booboo Sheep'...*hopes he/she is found and well*

Clogged toilet = not fun at all. :(

I love the editorial/table shot! And incidentally, have yet to have seen the actual table...

Mayo/egg in innocent-enough hummus = unnecessary

YAY for special non-disposable chopsticks (it was hard eating sushi with a fork!).

Fcat's blueberries are real pretty.

Isabelle is the cutest thing in the world, besides Booboo. :D She takes the (vegan) cake for being sweetest though!

*blushes madly at tray/hydrangeas mention*

I say, it takes one to know one. :D

Also- danke for waiting for us (us meaning me, of course) for Big Love. I AM DYING TO FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENS.

Okay, going back to homework now...and no, this slightly longer-than-usual-comment was NOT a ploy to stall the dreaded homework, but instead, an attempt to respond to all aspects of a vair good post!



urban vegan said...

Where to begin....Yikes...sorry someone else's business had to become yours (Ick) but I applud your owrds of wisdom on the matter [" I would definitely recommend that that person go on a vegan diet!!!"]

I love the idea of the revolutionary sheep. I hope he keeps on keeping on...and if he's caught, at least he;ll have the santcuary to look forward to.

I love the stories of your photo shoots--and that glam shot of you on 10th Ave. I do some video shoots in my line of work, with a lot of freelancers from NYC. I wonder if we know any of the same people.

Lastly, I'm so glad Isabelle had an angel or two watching out for her. She reminds me of MY old BooBoo Kitty *sniff*

KleoPatra said...

Wow, what a post!

That is a great bowl of blueberries, first and foremost, i gotta say i've been on a blueberry kick of late.

i am also concerned about that sheep! i wonder how adept he's got to be at avoiding capture. Sheep on the run!!! (Do you remember that song "Fox on the Run"??)

Isabelle is a lucky kitty... gorgeous and wonderful... i'm so happy and thankful there are caring peeps out there in the world. And speaking (writing) of caring peeps, your sister, wow, what can i say? She is terrific, what a great thing to do.

Also: You make a great point about chopsticks and i certainly will remember that!

bazu said...

Hi again, VKO!
I have another last-minute trip to NYC- I'm 99% sure that I'll be there this Sunday/Monday or Monday/Tuesday. I know this is totally random and last-minute, but if you're free, I'd love to grab a bite or a coffee with you!
Email me at bazooq (at) gmail (dot) com. It would be so fun to meet up, this time, or some time in the future.

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

A vegan shoot producer! I only wish I could be booked on your shoots. I'm tired of the lack of legit veg options on set!

a veg makeup artist in california

veggie barbie girl said...

I absolutely love your blog and all the way cool things you get to do. Well yea, I guess the whole toilet thing would be pretty ewww gross. I have to clean the bathrooms at my house sometimes too, but they aren't THAT disgusting.

Thank you for reading Barbie's blog. She's got her computer back up and working now, so yeah, check it out.

Bake your cake and eat it too said...

your blog is really interesting and captivating! I've always been curious about the vegan lifestyle. Have you always been a vegan? I am basically more of a vegetarian right now but am interested in the vegan diet. How would you recommend starting that transition?

Peggy the Veggie said...

I like what you said about the chopsticks! Usually, I'll take them home and reuse them, but I'll still throw them out eventually. :/

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