Leftovers: Penultimo Dia — Back to the River

Last night I had over-stoked my system on bad coffee at the Company. It's free, is one of my excuses. Also, the trips to the coffee station down the hall are rewards for succeeding in scoring another hour or so of standardized test. The most disquieting thing about my job is that so many of my coworkers are intellectually inferior to the students whose papers we are scrutinizing. Allow me to put things into perspective. We scorers must have a minimum of a four year college degree. And the tests we are currently scoring are from fourth graders. From Alabama. And so, do my exchanges with my colleagues around the break-room most resemble: a.) the Algonquin Round Table, b.) the line at the methadone clinic, or, c.) the Green Room at the annual PEN/Faulkner Awards? The chilling fact is that more then 50 percent of these morons are professional educators — either retired or picking up some extra cash.

After work, I headed home. I made it to my neighborhood by about 10:30 at night. Just as I rolled down my street, I heard fireworks going off downtown. I watched bits from my driveway. I can get a glimpse of the Tower of the Americas at the end of my drive, just over my trees. In San Antonio they try to have the major fireworks displays come up from the Hemisfair Park, so that the iconic tower can function as a photo op backdrop.

As I'm grooving in the lights and explosions, Phil comes ambling up. He seems clueless about the festivities. Sure, his British accent might be as thick as Richard Briers', but make no mistake, the guy's been in this country twenty years. Hell, he's lived on this street for over six years.

I explain that tomorrow will be Cinco de Mayo. He seems doubtful. “Oh, come on, man,” I say. “Don't play coy. You know, the Battle of Puebla?” He just shrugs. “You're going to have to trust me on this.”


This morning I got up at six. All that coffee from last night kept me drifting in and out for most of the night. And when I woke up … the first thing I did was make a pot of coffee.

By the time I made it to Sequin, the sun was up (well, up there somewhere above the thick cloud cover). The river road up to our location house was lush with new growth from the recent rains. I hadn't been out to the location in three or four weeks. I almost thought I was on the wrong street. But then I saw the driveway.

Robin was running maybe 15 minutes late. It seems she had to take Kevin to the emergency room. Last night he had been skating on this half-pipe he's been building in the backyard. He took a nasty spill and is currently on Vicodin and bed-rest. I hope it's nothing too lingering.

Get well, soon, dude!

But we plodded ahead. The first shot of the morning was the barbecue scene. The insane humidity had us all moving real slow. It took over an hour to set up some lights and put the camera on sticks. Russ thought it might be nice to set up the huge jib arm. New lighting set-up, new camera set-up.

We wanted the grill to pump out some smoke. I suggested we just use some of the home-owners' garden mulch. It kind of worked. And then DB sheepishly announced that he had brought along some smoke chips that he uses with his barbecue. You know, just in case. They worked fine.

We had strange weather throughout the day. Overcast in the morning. Rain at noon. Spots of sun and cloud until three. And then, pretty much full sunlight. I think we made it work. And then there were the neighbors with their lawnmowers and chainsaws. (The big rains recently knocked down limbs and even whole trees. In fact, a large pecan tree down on the backs of the Guadalupe River in the backyard of our location house had just given way and fallen into the river. It knocked down a smaller tree and just barely missed the dock. It's going to take some major work chopping it up and removing it. Good thing we finished our work shooting out by the river. Otherwise we'd have some major continuity issues.)

I have to get up damn early again for tomorrow morning. Seguin again. Our last day of shooting.

Can it finally be?

Here are some photos of the day.

(Click on the images for larger pictures.)

Erin as cast member

Mark hard at work downstairs

Atticus looks at a bug

Cameron dubious of the paparazzi

Erin as crew member

Mark hard at work upstairs

Scene eighty-something


Ezme and Sherri


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