This might be a good place to start the most recent chapter with the latest and most up-to-date stuff that is all basically pretty much still currently going on as far as acting, Chicago Film Production, and all the latest stuff from my work with earthquakes.
A typhoon was coming up through the South China Sea one day in late September of 2011 when I started to notice it was headed right for the South of Japan. This particular direction of travel always gets my attention because if it is a direct hit at the South of Japan from the direction of the South China Sea it can mean a Major Earthquake might be heading directly for California. Well, that turned out to be exactly what Typhoon Roke did, too.
I tracked the new earthquake energy from the landfall of Typhoon Roke with my globe and straight line tool the best I could knowing it looked like it would soon be intersecting the lives of a lot of folks on the West Coast of the U.S. and the line went straight through Southern Oregon right where it shares a border with Northern California.
I began posting the information immediately as soon as I knew something was headed directly for Northern California like that. There had been several prior to this and some of my best ones, actually included one where the two readers had written me back thanking me which I discussed a while back in this book.
It wasn’t the first one that had looked so certain as this one did, and wasn’t the first time it had occurred to me to head to the city or region where a Major Earthquake was about to strike. The thought of going on a “Quake Chase” had occurred to me on a number of occasions before, and then someone left a comment on one of those EQ Blog entries in which I discussed this prediction. Someone pointed out that the October 2011 Full Moon would fall on October 12. Well, October 12 just so happened to also be Day 21 after the landfall of Typhoon Roke and I was immediately convinced it would surely be the day of this earthquake at Northern California or Southern Oregon around the region of Eureka, California, and Coos Bay, Oregon!
I was discussing driving out there in a chat room with some of my friends from around my hometown when one of them said it might be easier or cheaper to fly.
I checked and found it rather cheap to fly from Chicago to San Francisco and so I immediately bought a ticket to fly out there on October 11, the day before the October 2011 Full Moon.
I told the lady at the El Camino Motel on Mission Street that I wanted an upstairs room incase the earthquake flattened the building I didn’t want to be underneath it. I had originally wanted to rent a car and drive it up to Eureka, but looked at Eureka on Google Earth and it is almost right at sea level and would be a huge problem if too big of a tsunami resulted in the event the earthquake did actually strike and was too huge. I was also not sure how I would explain to the rent-a-car folks that I sustained a lot of damage in an earthquake that I knew was supposed to happen and that was a whole entire thing I didn’t want to get involved in, too! Finally there was also the problem of what to do if the earthquake strikes in San Francisco while I’m up in Eureka and it is so big that I then have difficulty getting back into the city, to the airport, and to return the car, etc. Not being all that familiar with the highways around that city could have made that very difficult in a Major Earthquake.
That was when I began looking up hotels close to SFO, the name of the San Francisco Airport. I decided I could go everywhere I needed to go on the Bay Area Rapid Transit, or B.A.R.T.
That was exactly what I did the minute I arrived was take B.A.R.T. from Colma station which was actually closer to my motel than the Daly City Station also nearby, to Millbrae where I caught the Cal-Train to Palo Alto actually closer to where I was going than the actual Menlo Park Station and with a better route for rollerblading/inline skating, too.
Upon arriving at the Palo Alto Station, I detrained from my Cal-Train, put my rollerblades on, and headed down Middlefield Road to the offices of the United States Geological Survey or USGS. There I found among other things the worlds largest typographical map store where I spent a moment looking around and eventually bought the one that included all the typography around my motel on Mission Street. Then it was on to find any of the offices of the USGS people I had on my prepared list. I went down the directory and compared all the names I had written down to all the names on their directory at the front of the building by the room where they have all the seismographs on display there.
The only name I recall finding was Jeanne Hardebeck and so I headed down the hall to her office carrying my rollerblades in the handbag that I carried with me along with my Quake Chase Nikes that I carried in my little stringy backpack thing along with that handbag for my Rollerblades when I wasn’t wearing them.
I hand delivered a printed out copy of the Official Prediction for Eureka, California to Jeanne Hardebeck who just so happened at the time to also be on the California Earthquake Prediction Evaluation Council, she no longer is, and it wasn’t long before I was out the door there putting my Rollerblades back on and heading to my next stop on the San Francisco road towards Bringing Earthquakes To Life.
So I pull my rollerblades out of my handbag along with my string backpack and put the rollerblades on and throw the shoes in the string bag and my next stop is the 711 across the street from the Palo Alto Cal-Train Station for an ice cold Slurpie! Then upon exiting Cal-Train at Millbrae Station, I take a quick side trip up to see the very beautiful San Andreas Lake and check out the San Andreas Trail which turned out not to be paved so no Rollerblading up there, although it will be a great trail for hiking for me on some later trip up that way. I had actually even seen the region once before during my time in L.A. having driven past it on one of my trips to the San Francisco area.
Got a beautiful shot of San Francisco Bay from the top of Millbrae Avenue there as I headed back down for the B.A.R.T. Station. With a couple of tall palm trees in the shot you can see the bay with the mountains in the background.
The next day was the day and night of the October 2011 Full Moon, although since then I have begun narrowing the full and new moons down to the exact moment and adding twenty-four hours before and after them to create what I call the Full or New Moon Window. Back in October of 2011 the full moon was October 12 and that was probably all there was to it. I was up early on the 12th and caught the express B.A.R.T train to Berkeley where I went to visit my old friend Professor Richard Allen of UC Berkeley and formerly from Seismology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. You might remember when I visited him at the Geology Building in Madison and he told me to file with CEPEC, and NEPEC and also inspired me to track earthquakes all around the world. That was also where I discovered that big giant globe out front of the Geology Museum there and discovered how to use it to track earthquakes much more accurately.
Professor Allen was very glad to see me again and on this occasion he was very happy to show me the latest in Earthquake Early Warning software right there on his computer monitor. As he was showing it to me right at that moment it suddenly began to beep, buzz, ring, howl and squawk quite noisily right there before my eyes with an earthquake that had just struck around the border with Mexico. It then proceeded to begin counting down the number of seconds before the earthquake energy would be felt in his office and while it counted down the seconds, it also said it wouldn’t be felt there at his office where we were at inside McCone Hall at UC Berkeley. Although I clearly felt the slightest rumbling under my feet at the moment when it counted off to zero, and knew it was probably the earthquake energy from that one that just got done making the warning alarm howl.
Just then another one struck somewhere else around the Southern California area and it went through its whole routine all over again.
Our wonderful visit that day ended with the conversation about the L’Aquila Italy Seismologists matter. That was where Giampaolo Giuliani accurately predicted there would be a Major Earthquake at L’Aquila, Italy and had many people evacuated due to the elevated radon readings he had been getting in the area. Somewhere along the way the mayor disagreed with Giuliani and formed a committee of seismologists who determined there was no reason for concern and sent all the people back into their homes. Giuliani was allowed to keep his own family out and when an earthquake struck there a few days later 297 people died and Giuliani and his family survived.
Not too long afterwards the public conscience demanded the seismologists on that committee be charged with manslaughter and a trial was scheduled. This was where I took a couple of steps towards the door of Professor Allens office due to him being one of the first signatures that I saw on the petition to let the scientists go or whatever. Of course I was exuberant that they were standing trial with everything to GAIN by Earthquake Prediction going on trial over in Italy, but certainly controlled that excitement at this point, you understand. I simply took a few more steps towards the door there and at right about that point told Professor Allen that I didn’t want to take any more of his time and obviously had a lot of other stuff to do around Frisco. Although I might have briefly explained my position to him that I was happy to see the world was finally listening to some facts about earthquake prediction while at the same time very sorry it had to be at the hands of a “Heavy Handed” government and how sorry I was for his friends being chastised, some of whom I think the professor mentioned knowing personally although I did not get all those details. It made for a nice discussion with my old friend whom I originally met that day back in Wisconsin around the year 2002 when he was on the TV talking about a much earlier version of that same system.
That was the point where we shook hands and I then departed the office of my now old friend who I will surely meet up with again someday in the business of earthquakes, and seismology and who himself has been an enormous help to me on my way to Bringing Earthquakes To Life.
My next stop on the Bay Area Rapid Transit was Beautiful Downtown Hayward, California where I again put my Rollerblades on and took a real nice tour through all of their downtown including a lot of what looked to be the Hayward Fault. Then a stop at the Lucky Store for some chicken wings for my lunch and back on the B.A.R.T. to the San Francisco Zoo.
At the San Francisco Zoo I found the animals only mildly rowdy and not really seeming to be saying too big of an earthquake was just hours away as they should have been. This lead me to think smaller like 5.9 Richters Earthquake although I did not bother sending any such message out to my EQ Twitter from there and ironically if I had it would have been exactly right. Across the street from the zoo was the very beautiful Pacific Ocean where I jumped in and went for a long awaited swim. Next throwing my Rollerblades back on and heading up to San Francisco State University where I would catch the number 220 bus back to Colma B.A.R.T. Station.
The earthquake I had traveled out there for struck later that night at 8:15pm while I was crossing the street to the 711 for an ice cream cone that night. It gave one violent shake and several big aftershocks as I was crossing the street in the crosswalk and nearly threw me back across from south to north when it hit. The initial shock was a 5.9 that was later downgraded to a 5.3 and is still to this day by far one of the biggest Major Earthquakes to ever hit that area. The epicenter was just offshore from Coos Bay, Oregon just a few miles from Eureka, California as I had stated in the banner headline of the Official Prediction that I hand delivered to CEPEC immediately upon my arrival in San Francisco.
With the remaining days on my trip I visited Haight-Ashbury, and Golden Gate Park for some Rollerblading and took the boat out to Alcatraz. On Saturday, October 15, 2011 at 2:30 in the afternoon I was on my plane flying out of SFO to the tune of a song by a band called “Train” titled Save Me San Francisco. Coincidentally the last time I knew that was how the script for my movie “EQ Alert: The Movie” ended, too. Maybe as of the last time I updated it anyways. I’m sure it will be updated again before it gets made. . . maybe not. I was also thinking about including some of the scenes here in this volume, until it occurred to me that including that final scene would give away how that movie ends. It also occurred to me that maybe I should change the name of that movie to Bringing Earthquakes To Life.
You might think something like overnight becoming the Worlds First Official Quake Chaser would be a really big thing or that there could really be some media coverage to follow what I did. Well, I did get one story about my trip printed and am happy about that although I was a little disappointed that the Guinness Book of World Records doesn’t have a category for Earthquake Prediction, nor probably for Quake Chasing, either.
Just the same being on the front page was easily one of the biggest days of my life and I want to thank all of the people involved in making that become a reality, too.
The earthquake energy from the landfall of Typhoon Roke crossed California and while they did have a 5.9 the night of the full moon while I was out there, they got two more that appeared to have struck like directly under the city of Berkeley that week in the 4 Magnitude Range. That would not be the end of it, though, since the energy would continue on and cross Oklahoma where they got a 5.6 earthquake a few more days after I got home from San Francisco. Today fracking is getting a lot of the credit for that big earthquake and so I will not go on and discuss it anymore beyond that and just hope the best for my neighbors and friends down in Oklahoma.
When December rolled around it was the two-hundred year anniversary of the Great New Madrid Earthquake, or series of earthquakes I suppose you could say. December 16, 1811 was actually the date of the first in that series while the other major ones that followed were on January 23, and February 7 of 1812. Somewhere along the way I found those earthquakes were preceded by severe winter conditions on the East Coast. Something I will do more research into at a later date.
They had a regular stage show in Downtown New Madrid, Missouri at the Dixie Theater featuring an interview with the lady who wrote a complete journal of all the events of that earthquake. So I drove down to New Madrid to see all of it in person and stayed nearby at Marston which just so happened to have been the epicenter of one of those in the series of earthquakes. Also made it out to the portion of Tennessee that is out on the Peninsula there across the Mississippi River from New Madrid to visit the towns of Tiptonville, and Ridgely also two towns that get a lot of earthquakes. I also cruised over and checked out Reelfoot Lake which was a part of the Mississippi River that was very much involved in that series of earthquakes. A stop to visit Hillbilly Junction and I was on my way. I think I took a quick windshield tour of Dyersburg, too, before I left. Still as of this writing want to make another trip down that way because I missed Blytheville, Arkansas, and Poplar Bluff, Missouri, and I’ve heard I should see Vicksburg, Mississippi, too. CITATION: Wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Madrid_earthquake
As long as I seem to be doing a fairly good job of Bringing Earthquakes To Life, I’ll just continue on to a story that actually got started in late 2009, a few years before the anniversary of New Madrid, yet! I know I discussed some of this already in the severe winter conditions story but 2009 got sort of an early start as far as the arrival of Winter was concerned and by December 22 of that year what I like to call severe winter conditions were covering practically the whole country.
December 22, 2009 was the date I wrote all up and filed “Official Prediction for a Major Earthquake to Strike California before January 12, 2010.” I was watching something on the television on the early evening of January 9, 2010 when my phone chimed with the latest earthquake information. I was so shocked when I flipped my phone open to see what it was that I can hardly breathe even now as I write it! Couldn’t believe that it said there had just been a 6.5 Richters Earthquake at Eureka, California at 6:37pm Central Time! I did not happen to have the computer on at the time and couldn’t get up out of that chair fast enough to rush over and turn it on.
There was a lot of stuff already on there including my EQ Twitter being practically overloaded with “At Messages” telling me I had said Eureka would be getting a Major Earthquake.
On the final day of that Official Prediction that I filed back on December 22, 2009 at around 4pm on the afternoon of January 12, 2010 was the exact moment that the Haiti Earthquake struck. This was all, in my opinion, due to the same identical movement of the North American Tectonic Plate with Eureka, California situated up in the northwest corner and Haiti situated all the way down in the opposite corner to the southeast. Somewhere along the way I was even asked what I thought about aftershocks of the Eureka Earthquake and I said that I considered it the movement of the North American Tectonic Plate and that Haiti was in the opposite corner, down there in those Caribbean Islands.
I guess I had also been thinking of all the rain they had gotten over the last year or so and in the back of my mind was calculating the factor that a lot of rain plays in possibly loosening some of the fault lines situated out in the Haiti region between the tectonic plates.
Of course it’s not at all new that I had said the name of a place where a major earthquake struck before it struck there so I don’t really feel the need to go on into any more details there with that. Especially since I have not actually found anywhere that I mention Haiti in any of my EQ Blogs or anything from the hours and days following the Eureka 2010 Earthquake.
I must have immediately went on to quickly also file “Official Prediction For Another Major Earthquake,” dated January 13, 2010 thinking it was necessary due to the immediate threat of a major aftershock, although I do not think there were any additional major aftershocks in this series.
When I finally arrived home from Quake Chase 2011, I found that there had been an error in my bank account and immediately called their 800 number. Well, I was able to get my balance fixed by transferring the funds, but was not able to deal with all the charges that accrued throughout that error process.
You see I deposited a check and in order to use it with my check card it would have needed to go into my checking account which was my first question I asked the lady a couple days later when I went to my local Bank of America in McHenry, Ill on Monday. Immediately upon my arrival there I requested a copy of the original deposit slip and while I waited Hugo Mercado entered the lobby to say hello, like practically all bank managers have been doing these days. Of course I greeted the dude, but wasted no time explaining what had happened to my account while I was out chasing earthquakes.
As the teller returned with a copy she printed out of my original deposit slip, Hugo was mentioning that him and his family had just been in one of the recent Illinois Earthquakes. Luckily I noticed right at that instant that I had circled checking on my original deposit slip and asked Hugo which of the Illinois earthquakes that would have been and continued telling him “By the way that is one method I use to predict or forecast these is by taking the one which struck Ottawa, Illinois and the one that struck. . .” where I had to stop and think before telling him that the recent one was a year earlier in March of 2010 near Elgin, Illinois.
We were headed for his office to figure out how many charges needed to be refunded when I told him that both of those cities were on the Fox River and one way that I track earthquake energy is along a river such as the Fox River in this situation. So I went on to tell him the next town along the Fox River was Downtown McHenry, Illinois and that there could be an earthquake there around February 2012. Of course he had to ask if I meant a huge earthquake and I said, “No,” probably just another Illinois style earthquake of around 3 or 4 Richters or so.” Although banks being what they are, especially that one, they certainly have all of that on video somewhere.
Before we were all done there that day he ultimately had to make a call to California to reverse the transfer fees and I was paid back the sum of forty dollars to my account. The story about that earthquake ended when on January 30, 2012 a 2.4 Richters earthquake actually struck McHenry, Illinois just two miles south of that downtown I had told Hugo about back in November of 2011.
I still see Hugo from time to time including the time I had to run him down for a newspaper story one day and get a photograph of that Bank of America branch in McHenry, Illinois where we were definitely there Bringing Earthquakes To Life!
What looks like it might be my last good earthquake story in this original version of Bringing Earthquakes To Life started with the landfall at Queensland, Australia of Severe Tropical Cyclone Yasi on February 2, 2011. Winds had been reported as high as 340 Kilometers Per Hour prior to that landfall and I knew there would be a whole lot of brand new Major Earthquake energy coming!
By now you probably know the next thing that I do is check on my globe to see where exactly all this new earthquake energy will be headed. I immediately started to write down the names of all the islands offshore from Queensland that lie out in the Pacific. Kiribati, Tuvalu, and then I noticed New Zealand. Well Christchurch did just have a 7.1 Richters shaker a year earlier on September 4, 2010, so I wrote the name of that town down, too. Those islands actually became a headline in my next EQ Blog entry as well as fit neatly into a “Tweet” or Twitter message on my EQ Twitter Page.
Today both of those are now fairly famous due to Christchurch getting a Major Earthquake of 6.3 Richters 20 days later on February 22, 2011.
There was an enormous amount of damage and a large number of deaths at Christchurch, but for some reason I was not convinced that it was the end of all of the new Major Earthquake energy from the landfall of Cyclone Yasi. For one thing I reasoned that due to the direction the storm was moving at landfall, the Indio/Australian Tectonic Plate was actually moving the other direction and actually away from New Zealand. This meant the really big tectonic plate collision would be up around the Himalayan Arc somewhere such as Indonesia and in at least one EQ Blog entry I even mentioned Japan and Taiwan and said tsunami, too.
“Grand Finale” were the words I used apologizing for using a term that describes the closing act of a circus. Having said it several times that the Grand Finale was probably yet to come, I was not totally surprised when late one night I was checking the latest earthquakes just before I went to bed and “JAPAN 9.0 RICHTERS” was in red letters at the top of the list! I immediately turned on the TV just in time to catch the live footage of the tsunami washing ashore near Sendi.
There might be other stories since that day as far as earthquake stories are concerned, but they certainly will never have names such as Yasi and Japan 2011 or Christchurch. The only great story I could find from 2012 was a Lau/Sumatra and I do not even recall either of those and the 2012 Sumatra Earthquake looks like it was 8 Magnitude following Lau’s landfall at Australia.
So, I intend to finish out this volume with mostly my remaining stories about all the movie stuff that has happened in 2012 and 2013 including how I got my Screen Actors Guild card!
A good place to start might be the day I was cast to work in the latest Ron Howard movie shooting in Chicago under the working title What You Don‘t Know, and is now titled The Dilemma.
I was cast to work in a bar fight scene where there was a lot of stunt men and they were breaking a lot of bottles and there was a lot of broken glass flying everywhere. It was my job to grab my girl and hustle her out of the way into a corner somewhere away from all of the fighting.
We did many, many takes of that scene and there was tons of glass flying that day and I ate tons of those pretzels off the bar and drank a lot of soda pop that day, too. You see I had to, I was a customer at the bar for the first several moments of every take and so a drink of my pop and a couple of pretzels was my best acting bit! After a few takes I think they added the part where one of the guys turns and punches the camera right square in the lens and that ends the scene. When Vince Vaughn says he was in a bar fight in that movie you will see that scene, too. Maybe me far off to the right in a wide screen version, but I’ve only ever seen it in the theaters and did not see myself in that particular scene, mostly only the part where the guy punches the camera.
Chicago Film Production being what it is there was a huge scene yet to shoot for this movie that was still at that time doing all their casting under a “Working Title.” They needed a few hundred people for several days of filming at the United Center in Chicago, and so I called and asked if I could repeat due to having worked in that bar fight scene. Actually I might have made this contact by way of this casting company having recently gone to a Facebook page. They messaged me back that I could work the crowd scene, which I know sometimes you can get away with doing. I was immediately booked to work like three days and was headed off to Chicago for my latest big film production shoot!
The first scenes we shot were all of the scenes from the ending of that movie which I will not discuss in order to avoid giving away how it ends. I will say about one whole entire day we spent just basically being the crowd that cheers for what the two stars, Kevin James and Vince Vaughn are doing right at the end of the movie which you will have to see because out of courtesy I do not want to tell about.
At some point we were all ushered up to the second level where our next scene was the one that appeared in all of the previews for this movie. That would be the scene where Kevin James gets up from his seat in the 200 section and announces that they are on the Jumbotron! Then he proceeds to do all of his dancing with me in the row right behind him and it’s only another moment before all of us are up and basically doing the same dance to the Chicago Blackhawks theme song, “Chelsea Dagger.” For quite some time I was seen in that preview including in the theaters and got a nice snapshot off a preview that was showing somewhere on the internet and took it and showed it to all of my friends, too!
There were even apparently enough scenes with the Chicago Blackhawks Ice Crew, hockey’s version of a spirit squad/cheerleaders on ice skates, that I recognized a couple of them, Paige and Jenna, in the recent Stanley Cup Parade through Downtown Chicago after they won the Stanley Cup in June of 2013. The girls from the Ice Crew were among all the rest of the team riding on the top of those double-decker busses in that big parade, there through Downtown Chicago. I took the Metra Train to Downtown Chicago from the Random Lake Beach Metra Station to see that parade that day and had a great trip and got a lot of great pictures including those of my first glimpse of the Stanley Cup, too!
The story about that movie that I worked on at the United Center where I also had worked with the girls of the Ice Crew, how it ended was when on the last day of the shoot Jon, who I know I introduced earlier from Atmo Casting, came out and looked around at the crowd and then grabbed me and I was instantly upgraded to my brand new job of a “Guest Services Person” and went all through the wardrobe and hair routine all over again. Now it was also Jon who upgraded me a year or so earlier on a job called Pleading Guilty which I will detail in a moment after I’m all through with The Dilemma.
My time spent working as a Guest Services Person amounted to a long shot of me standing in a portal at the top of the lower section at an entrance to the mezzanine and it was an awesome roll to be playing and while it felt fun being a Guest Services Person, it didn’t go on my resume albeit a nice wardrobe of long sleeve blue dress shirt and bright red vest! I did get to meet Ron Howard at one point, though, and said, “Excuse Me” as I walked past him, there, noticing I’m kind of taller than Opie is today!
When I arrived at the location for this next movie I pulled in the parking lot and showed the Security Guy that I had my window thing already all nicely made-up. It said Matadors and probably the name of the casting company. The Security Guy replied to me with how nice the sign was that I had all made up and it proved I did all my studying prior to the days shoot, too, including having looked up all the main actors and what shows they had worked on. He said, “Very nice. . . except this is Pleading Guilty.”
Long story short the guy I was looking forward to working with that day would not be there, instead I spent all day working with a guy wearing a “Bones” jacket. It was the other day I was talking about earlier when Jon upgraded me, this time to a Stand-In and when I got home I looked up the guy with the “Bones” jacket. He turned out to be Hart Hansen the producer of this new pilot for a TV series we were working on and currently also the producer for the TV series, “Bones.”
The scene we were shooting consisted of a lawyer who was talking to somebody at a skate park and we were surrounded by guys who were experts on skateboards who were from Los Angeles. As a Stand-In I took the lawyers position while they set up each and every shot and it was my turn to be surrounded by those experts flying high above my head in every scene that we set up while I worked that day as the B-Team.
Eventually I would combine those two great upgrades that I received both from Jon, towards getting my S. A. G. card, but the best part of the Pleading Guilty job is yet to come! When it came time to check-out, I found myself standing in line with not only other actors and some guys with skateboards, but there were a few guys standing there with me carrying Rollerblades/inline skates. That was the moment when it occurred to me that Rollerblading or Inline skating, might be fun and I could not wait to get back home to Wisconsin and get me a brand new pair of Rollerblades to try out for myself!
As of this writing I am now up to about my fourth pair of Rollerblades on top of many, many new sets of wheels and an assortment of different new bearings that I have put on them since that day on the set of Pleading Guilty when I discovered inline skating! The best set of bearings that I have found up to this point being the ABEC-9 Bearings that I am currently running on. The year 2013 is now like my forth summer of inline skating and I even have now officially retired that very first pair that I bought the next day after that shoot, and that accompanied me on my Quake Chase 2011 and now have them set aside to go in the “EQ Guy Museum” someday.
Unfortunately Pleading Guilty was never picked up and never went on to be a major TV series that shot in Chicago. One that we worked on more recently DID, though. A pilot called Betrayal was shooting scenes at the Illinois Railway Museum outside of Marengo, Illinois in the Spring of 2013 and I was lucky enough to get called to work there on this great new ABC-TV Series that has since been picked up and I worked on it again yesterday as I write this on July 31, 2013.
At the Illinois Railway Museum someone was arriving at a station and we pretty much just walked back and forth looking like people who might actually be at a railroad station in real life, you know. Until we were all done shooting exteriors and they asked which of us were never seen by the camera all day, because a lot of them were. I hadn’t been since I was holding inside their Railroad Depot there and just watching for a lot of the day and as a result I was chosen to stick around into the evening and got to work with two of the stars of the show inside of a railroad car in the museums railroad yard.
As of this writing I have not seen that pilot episode so I do not know if you can see me in it. I can tell you I had a great seat facing the two actors until one of the Assistant Directors decided I should turn around and be seated with my back to the camera instead. It had by then been a fairly long day so I turned around and we shot a lot of scenes with the back of my head facing the camera.
The Illinois Railway museum is located like halfway between Chicago and Rockford, Illinois and there have been a lot of movies shot there over the years. Probably my all time favorite is League of Their Own. Where the most famous scene shot there was the one where Lori Petty and Gina Davis chase the train, throw their bags onto it, and jump on. One of the volunteers there on the day of the shoot also reminded me of the series of scenes where the train then makes a lot of different stops in different towns where the depot and platform were simply decorated differently for each take to make it look like the train was stopping in a different town!
Betrayal was a success! The TV series was picked up by the ABC-TV network and as of late July 2013 is now back in Chicago shooting the first episode and probably more. I know because late on Monday Night this week I received an E-Mail to work on the show Tuesday, July 30, 2013 and got up very early, like 3:55am, and drove down to Downtown Chicago where we shot scenes along the streets of downtown all day! Including one particular scene where they directed me to do one of those famous shots where I got to walk in between the star and the camera and got a huge Close-Up! Time will tell if that great Close-Up of me makes the final cut of that episode, but for today you could say it feels just like my best day of Chicago Film Production ever!
Prior to yesterdays great shoot, my best had been a day when I was cast as a “Mobster Mourner.” Wearing a very nice all black outfit I was cast to be a mourner at the wake of the father of the main character in the show. In that scene three of us discussed what we should do about the guys who killed him in a rather animated scene with no sound. I carefully watched ever so closely through the end of the series Mob Doctor all the way to the very end of the last episode to see if we were in it and never seen us. No trace of the scene, nor of the wake at all. That show was long ago canceled, too.
Luckily I worked on yet another great show late last year, and early this year, called Chicago Fire and got a great Close-Up in an episode of that show. I was cast as an “Orderly” and wardrobed all up in a scrub suit to work at the Nursing Station where the two paramedics come in with a gurney.
I was directed to walk past the counter and grab a couple little items such as gauze and exit. When it came time to shoot, it turned out the two paramedics entered from a door right near where I was told to walk and I now had to walk past them to get behind the counter at the nurses station. Well the camera would be right there in my face again and there is today a great Close-Up of me in that episode from season one. Chicago Fire was picked up for a second season and while they did just cast for the next hospital scene, they never called me so it doesn’t look like I’ll be seen on that show playing an “Orderly” again anytime soon.
There was one other big show that I worked on not long ago, too. Kelsey Grammer was playing the Mayor of Chicago in a TV series titled BOSS. Great day of work and a pleasant part of town just to the north of downtown, although I was nowhere near where Kelsey Grammer got out of his car and walked into whatever building he was heading to that day. I drove my car in a few of the scenes, and actually saw his limo in my rear view mirror a few times, too, but no Kelsey Grammer. Additionally I was reunited with a girl I had been working with since the beginning of my days in Chicago Film Production, Traci Lewis. We had a moment where we quickly established a long friendship and it was great working with her that day.
Looking at Traci’s resume on IMDB would probably be very similar to my own list of projects right up to the end of the 1990’s. Probably the most famous was my very first big movie job, which was also established at some point one day to have also been her first movie titled Cold Justice. Having started out as a Casting Assistant and a Production Assistant, Traci works these days as a Second Assistant Director, and has been right there working in the Chicago Film Production biz the same as me for all of those years, too! Although I worked a lot in Hollywood and Traci has worked a lot of different places around the country and the world, too.
In the summer of 2008 there might not have been quite so much film production work happening and so I also did some work in those days as an Event Security person and worked on a lot of shows such as the big Maroon 5, Kid Rock, Lady Antebellum concert up at Lambeau Field in Green Bay back in 2011, as well as an Elton John concert and many other such jobs and my Grand Finale was “Umphree’s McGee at the Riverside Theater in Milwaukee where I worked with that band for 3 whole nights!
That is all of the latest stuff that The EQ Guy does when he is not tracking earthquakes. My primary work, though, throughout the majority of all of those most recent years has been to track every single major windstorm, and etc. and write all up in my EQ Blog and on my EQ Twitter with all about when and where the next major earthquake might strike.
As of the Summer of 2013 the process of writing in my EQ Blog on a daily basis and then posting it at my EQ Twitter and EQ Guy Facebook page is a great system that is working well for me. I have thousands of readers, as well as thousands of followers on my EQ Twitter and am now officially getting paid for all of my work over all of those years. For the foreseeable future it looks like that is the system I will continue to use and I want to personally thank everybody who follows me or stops by and checks out the very latest in what’s happening with earthquakes all around the world. I am also presently putting together a one-hour radio show, too, and am presently checking into getting some audio clips that I want to use. That show will air September 30, 2013 on my local Back Porch Radio Station WORT-FM 89.9 in Madison, Wisconsin on their “Access Hour.” I am calling my show “The EQ Radio Show” and have thought about using the name of this book, or “Bringing Earthquakes To The Radio.”
That is pretty much the whole entire story of all that I have put into the business of tracking earthquakes all around the world as well as researching them for twenty years, now! It has been quite a lot of hard work and even actually a certain amount of work that had to be done sometimes when I had better things that I wanted to be out doing instead!
There have been a lot of successes on the road to where I am today and I hope there will be a lot more in the future! There is still a lot more research to be done and there are yet a lot more EQ Blogs to write as I continue on my way to Bringing Earthquakes To Life!!!