Sunday, March 25, 2007


A trip was in order after the winter months. The motor home needed some light prep along with the usual forgetting of key items. The fall draining and blowing out of the water system was tested. No massive 'freeze related' leaks were present. We did a good job last fall. The Padre Island National Seashore is one of our favorite places to visit. Corpus Christi Texas is one big bridge away from the 'Barrier Island. Malachite beach is our favorite area.

The one consistency is 'Inconsistency'. Each visit finds the beach, as well as weather, different. This time of year, to the 'bird watchers' enjoyment, among the vast numbers of birds, were 'Bonaparte Gulls' from Canada, waiting out the winters ending in their home breeding grounds. They are smaller than the 'regulars' that hang around the beach, most of which have headed down towards Mexico. No passports required by those guys. The shore birds were very busy this spring due to the heavy endless flow of seaweed washing onto the beach. The Cormorants drying their wings, the Kerlew with it's long curved beak, the endless array of Peeps scurrying along the waters edge, all of these wonders are within just a few feet of a great camera shot.

One of the last years trips we were treated to massive piles of Bamboo blown ashore from the effects of Hurricane Katrina, Followed by 'Rita' and 'Wilma'. The morning drive along the 68 miles of beach always gave a yield of treasures after the hurricanes. That is one of the main attractions of the area. The freedom to drive your 4 wheel drive vehicle along the beach as well as camp there for extended periods.

There are 'Factions', that would just love to prevent you from enjoying that privilege by 'Restricting' the access of 'Commoners' and 'Lower Caste' citizens like you and I. Such 'Restrictive' laws are always presented by a faction known as 'Liberals'. Where did they get that name? It sure does not fit their 'Agenda' as far as I can observe. This latest 'Religion' is anything but 'Liberal'. The last generations great people like 'Udall' and 'Lady Bird Johnson' that set up this area, were wanting it to be for 'All of the people' to enjoy, not just the limited group of 'Elites' envisioned by the latest 'so called' 'Liberal' conservationist's.

One interesting find was an old dead Sea Turtle. My wife helped the Park Ranger measure it at 84 by 69 CM. During the conversation an article in the North Padre Island Moon news, giving the web site to watch the migration of the various sea turtles that return to lay their eggs on Padre Island each year, was mentioned., click on Satellite tracking, Padre Island National Seashore Kemp's Ridley tracking program and then click on 'Sally'. She is just one of the many turtles fitted with an antenna and transmitter to see her progress from Florida along the coast.

This area is rich in natural beauty. The solitary Great Blue Herons, standing sentinal, watching for fish on the crests of the incoming waves, and the Brown Pelican formations are fascinating to watch. We saw up to 37 Pelicans flying along the beach in a loose V or long line, gliding on the thermals or flapping like synchronised performers. Each formation had a special appeal.

Cell phones do not work well there, that's just one reason to bring children. Young teen aged types will storm away from the family in hatred, to walk the endless beach alone. Slowly they will notice natures irresistable allure, forgetting the secular humanist world that contains their friends. When they return, hopefully what remains somewhere in their thoughts, is a small something other than the hectic, regimented, judgemental world you took them away from. It may take years but you will be forgiven for this dastardly deed.

Sand castles are in a different class here with all ages and talents represented. Artistic architecture is very evident. They even have a big competition for top honors. Check out the Padre Island web sites for the dates. Kites fly great in the endless sea breeze. The temperature is brisk with the wind, this time of year. 70 degrees was average but can get much warmer in the summer months. We usually like the fall and spring for moderate conditions. The free ferry at Aransas Pass will take the car or Motor home to the mainland, 'crabbing' across the current to the other side.

Our USA is filled with interesting places to see and the freedom for all to enjoy. Get away from the job and 'Scope out' the scenes while we are still able to. Soon one day the pressure of population will end the freedom for all, including the less physically fit, to see these wonderful sites from the comfort of your own vehicle.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

"WILD HOGS" the Movie

Disney Film, "WILD HOGS". My Archives of '16July06' (read the comments for each days shoots) gave a description of some of our experiences during filming. Archives of '10January 07' has the 'preview trailer'. It opened to a big number for the weekend of over $38 million dollars. Pretty good when it had a budget of only $62 million. This was John Travolta's biggest opening weekend ever. John Travolta is the nicest, friendliest, really down to earth guy. I was honored to meet him, He even remembered me and came over to talk twice during the 9 days I was on set, aircraft of course, he loves Jets, that's even his sons name, Jet. 'Orange County Choppers' was represented with a couple of bikes, including Paul Sr. himself and Paul Jr.

The riding is funny and of course a few interesting spills due to 'Pilot Error', which made fun of Dudley's riding skills. William H Macy is extremely good at making any scene look funny. The day He was on Oprah with John Travolta, Tim Allen, and Martin Lawrence, Bill said he only wanted to do comedy films now that he saw how much fun they are. FINALLY some of the good times are shown about Motorcycles. Being an old rider myself, I look forward to more films like this one.

The bar scene with John's 'squinty eyed' look was sort of impromptu, not in the script, but who wants to argue with John. The truck driver getting his windshield broken by the errant cellphone was classic. The New Mexico scenery was really great. Living here in NM is like being part of an old west that is not too far in the past. We were one of the very last states to join the Union, 06Feb1912 was when we were allowed to be a part of the USA. Only Arizona was 6 days later. Of course Alaska and Hawaii came much later but they are not on the contiguous part of the continent. Parts of NM have not gotten the news yet.

'Maggie's Diner' was left by Disney for all to enjoy, as was the excellent 'Gazebo' in the carnival. Anytime you travel here, be sure to make a side trip through 'Madrid'. The name is real as is the little old mining town. 500 people is about right more or less. A lot of folks live in the surrounding hills as well and come to town to give it color. Watch for Scary Larry and his dogs. Blogengeezer used to live back there himself and spent all of his spare time exploring the old mines, a fun part of the past.

The Carnival scene was fun to do. We worked on it night's and day's to get it right, Dusk to dawn with big lights that fooled the moths into coming out and get eaten by the 'nighthawks'. The dance scenes had a lot of Blogengeezers friends. Some were seen on the dance floor while also standing on the sidelines, then back onto the floor without so much as a lost step. Look for a woman with a floppy yellow straw hat and dark flowered shirt, that's my friend 'Judi' scootin' her 'Boot' on the dance floor as well as the 'schmoozin' on the sideline. (she was my 'first day's' wife in Comanche Moon) Watch for 'Robbie', the Director on the dance floor in a black 'Dude Cowboy' shirt during a dance scene, he likes to get in at least one scene of every movie he directs.

The old green and white hotel is in most scenes, you can see the porch railing nearby. The scene where the waiter from 'Maggie's Diner' gets pushed out the door was the most important scene he worked, after being 'on set' for over 3 weeks. That shows just how much film is run compared to what is cut. Blogengeezer was on set for 9 days and appears for about 9 seconds in a few background scenes.

The black SUV did not make it into the final cut either. The original 12 Harley riders, 'the Dirty Dozen', as casting assistant with Darlene Hanson, as well as 'Biker Bob Baxter' (Black Beard) called themselves, (others came and went as their jobs would allow) were seen in each riding scene as well as the 50 total which was in reality 42, count 'em?

While talking to a couple of the 'riders', they said it was a little scary to ride in that extremely tight formation during the 'Madrid' main street scene. They said they did not want to be the one to bump against another bike and cause the entire gang to pile up 'on camera'. They pulled it off fine though and sounded great as well, as they 'thundered' past us. Their leathers were excellent and 'dusted' up just prior to the scene

Ray Liotta does a great act as the leader of the 'Del Fuegos'. I like the guys, MC Gainey and Kevin Durand, that were sent to find the Wild Hogs. They did a good job even though they could not whack anybody. The 'beer spill on our friends head was done many times to get it right, he was a mess. I got to talk to the two 'hit men' while the mustard and catsup was being removed many, many times. Remember the old TV show made into movie, 'Dukes of Hazard'? The bumbling deputy, Roscoe? Thats the bearded 'mustard' guy, MC Gainey is also on the TV show LOST and a leading figure in 'Love Ranch as Russ Brymer. The 'catsup' guy, Kevin Durand, had the most evil sounding laugh, a real BWAHAHAHA, it was great. they both did a lot of fun stuff that was cut from the film. The fight scene in front of Maggie's Diner with the little short 'Martial Art's' guy was super.

The scene with John's stunt double getting knocked down on the dance floor while in his Red Chile costume did not make it into the final cut. He told me he bumped his elbow during the fall. A nice guy just like John. We talked twice, again just like with John. Pretty interesting to talk to both of them twice at different times... Hmm? While on set, I finished a great book by Shane Osborne "Born to Fly''. I gave it to John in case he had nothing to do in the hotel. That story would make a great Movie John. Any one wanting to drop John a note.. his site

During the 'Blown Up Bar' flames image, there is a flying motorcycle but it got lost in the flames during the launch. No Harley's were harmed at that time due to the value being a tad too high, Jap bikes were used for that part. Harley said no Jap bikes in the riding scenes. A couple of Harley's were slightly scorched because the 'Pyro Technics' 'blew' more than expected. Five gallon buckets of gasoline did the 'big blow' when detonated by explosive charges.

The last scene with the bar getting rebuilt by the TV show 'Extreme Makeover' was classic. I liked the statement about Ray Liotta being at a loss for words, after seeing the new 'improved'? 'Del Fuegos Saloon'. Over all, a family type movie, but with a bit of Hollywood special interest 'spin' thrown in of course, Hollywood has a few 'special' interest's. The 'Skinny dippin' pond and the waterfall were built for the scene. We have places similar, but they are slightly more difficult to get to. A scene set in the Jemez Mountain forest was used, then afterward returned to pristine condition. Peter Fonda even shows up near the ending of the film. My friend Sam at the Albuquerque 'Antique Connection' on Old Rt 66, (East Central Ave.) recalled the old Peter Fonda movie "Easy Rider", Sam joked that after the violent ending in 'Easy Rider', Peter Fonda should have become "Ghost Rider".

On that light note, Please drive the mileage to swing through the Southwestern States of this Great Nation. The scenery is most spectacular off the main Interstates. The Jemez Mountains ambience was emulated and adjusted for the totally made up waterfall scene. Restoration to original was mandatory. We do have gas stations less than 200 miles apart,..... 'in most areas'. (Tucumcari to Las Vegas NM ?) Keep your tank on 'the top half'. Enjoy life, go see a movie.

Saturday, March 03, 2007


Today, along with our little church group, we saw the film Amazing Grace. It is about the struggle to bring about Abolition of slavery in England during the late 1700's. This film seems to be a pretty accurate depiction of historical facts as far as I could tell after reviewing some historical data. The Slave Trade was important to England's Commodity market. The battle of 'William Wilberforce', to repeal the laws that kept it going, lasted for about 50 years of his life.

The films release into main stream movie theatres on 23Feb07, was to commemorate the 200 year anniversary of the passage of the outlawing of slave trading. Abolition was not well received by the majority of the Political figures in those days preceding. The main reason being that they earned their livelihood from the commodities shipped from the East Indies Islands where Slaves produced the Sugar and other goods. In other words they did not desire to upset their own apple carts.

William Wilberforce was also the person involved in the beginning of the Animal Humane Society, and its start of the world concern for animals. the film does show an assortment of animals around his home. One is a big brown Rabbit, that he corrects his friend with the proper term, 'Hare'.

William Wilberforce and his college friend William Pitt became young politicians, Members of Parliament, (MP) at about 21 years of age. William Pitt became Prime Minister at age 25, totally unheard of at that time. William Wilberforce experienced a spiritual Conversion after an early life as a Hedonistic Secular Humanist. By his early 20's it finally occurred to him to change his ways and that of his surrounding world. He thought the Ministry was the way. An old friend and early mentor, John Newton started to have an effect on Wilberforce. He urged him to stay in Politics, convincing him that the power to change the way things were done, lay in that field where he was most influential. 'John Newton' if you might know, was the writer of the song 'Amazing Grace', after his conversion to call on God for Saving Grace, during a storm where he feared his evil life was ending. He worked all his life as a Slave Trader and slave ship captain.

The story of the 'Amistad' is a also a great film to see if you want an idea of what the Slave Trade entailed. It was released in 1997 and is a true story from the rebellion and subsequent capture of the Slaves on that Spanish ship in 1839. Their story is told graphically in that film. It also involved a famous New England court trial in 1841.

John Newton's is another great story all of it's own. Check some history about him as well. This life should most definitely be told on the 'Big Screen' as well. Maybe now that the real world is being portrayed again, we will see some actual Intelligent films emerge from Hollywood. I used Wikipedia to verify some of the facts. Please go see this film, 'Amazing Grace', to understand what kind of men it took to rid the civilised world of this inhumanity to other humans. When something takes a lifetime to change, you realise what special talents some men have for patience in changing the mindset of others. William Wilberforce was portrayed as a man addicted to 'Laudanum' Which is an opiate. His withdrawal symptoms were shown at times. I found no mention of this in any of the quick references I used to write this post.

The film industry does wonders with its magical camera. One would think, you as person, were right there in those times as a witness to all of the happenings. The candle light and dark paneling in the House of Commons inner rooms are warm and cozy for sure. The fireplace looked like something very much appreciated in the dampness of England. The opening scene shows the drizzling rain, as ever present, and the carriage driven by the two men outside on top while the privileged Wilberforce and his friend William Pitt, come upon two men trying to whip a downed horse to it's feet.

Wilberforce stops to reason with them. His concern for animals is pointed out in that first scene. Wilberforce was the son of a merchant that worked in the Baltic trades. His wealth was from that trade, although he had no inclination to work it himself. I wondered when he was going to go to his job, he never did. He did spend a lot of time in the kitchen of his mansion on the old English Estate. His humanitarian efforts are relevant and shown during the feeding of the needy at his table. His cook is stressed to the breaking point some times. A 'Gentleman's Club' had a totally different meaning in those days. Frankly I would prefer that type. Gambling was something to pass the time in those days as well, some things never change. the 'Wigs' which they all wore, brings to mind a bit of trivia.

The term 'Big Wig' came from those days. the bigger the wig, the more money it cost, hence it indicated your value, as far as wigs were concerned any way. The poor Anglican Preacher, John Newton, had a really 'ratty' wig that he perfumed to cover its smell. People today seem to use other material goods to accomplish the same appearance. I believe that it was only recently that the 'Wigs' were made not mandatory, some traditions really have 'staying power'. Bald guys are as 'good' as hairy guys or gals when they all wore wigs.

During the scene where the 'Party ship' of 'the privileged, is slowly moving forward through the congested Liverpool Harbor, note the one man in the rowboat, pulling the ship. In the sailing days, the Tug was just that, but a crew of 4, 6, 8, or even more in the case of a heavily loaded Warship, was used. I doubt that one man could truly move that ship very well. Remember the highly recommended film from a few years back, starring Russell Crowe, 'Master and Commander'? OK, Jack Lalane maybe...

A little known historical fact, that totally ensured the ability of the 'Royal British Navy' to enforce those newly passed English Laws of 'Abolition of the Slave Trade', was the Historic 'Battle of Trafalgar' on 21 October1805. Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson and his fleet of 27 'ships of the line' (heavily armed fighting ships) devastated 33 French and Spanish 'ships of the line' at Cape Trafalgar in southwest Spain. The total British ships lost, was 0. The French and Spanish lost, 22 captured and 1 blown up. The British lost 449 dead, compared to the combined loss of 4,480 French, Spanish, dead. This was definitely the most significant Naval battle during the 'Napoleonic Wars. Britannia truly ruled the seas after that one. God works in mysterious ways...Now wouldn't that Historic Naval Battle make a great sailing ship movie, Russel Crowe (Master and Commander) and 'Captain Jack Sparrow', 'Johnny Depp', are you reading my blog? The world is now ready for some excellent films.

Have fun at the Movies, I sure do when 'Background Acting' in them, watch for Blogengeezer in the 'Wild Hogs' movie out this weekend as well. I am in the town of Madrid, driving my dirty black SUV with it's US flag flying, walking around in the carnival scene, dressed as an old, bearded, wannabe, 'Sturges biker' in black jeans and also at times, sitting on the porch in a Hawaiian shirt behind John Travolta. The dance floor scene with William H Macy and Marissa Tome was fun, I sat on a straw bale drinking beer. Now that's my kind of acting. Go to a movie, enjoy life, I found it sure beats the alternative.