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Trygve's digital diary /
December 9th, 2000
"computer connections"

It all began at the premiere of Dragon and the Hawk....

alas, poor Yorrick; I knew him, Horatio
Barbara Gehring saunters so well, doesn't she?

You could divide filming into three parts:

  • Getting stuff
  • Doing something with/to it when the camera's rolling
  • Getting rid of it afterwards

Most of the behind-the-scenes stories you hear are about the first two, but sometimes interesting things can happen during that last bit. Like Blimp! for example, that highly unauthorized sequel to Titannic in which the same basic characters, plot lines, and complications are recreated aboard the Hindenburg, creating a scenario in which our heros assorted motivations, personal struggles, and romantic uncertainties and entanglements have to be resolved quickly and tidily before the set goes up in flames.

Or simulated flames, anyway, because the set for the interior of the Hindenburg didn't actually get burned to ashes, it got left in my driveway. How that came to pass is a story for another time, but being the creative sort and hating to waste anything, I found myself face-to-face with that age-old conundrum: what, exactly, do you do with a dead zeppelin (no relation to Led) that's been left in your driveway?

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Neither Martha Stewart nor Bob Vila were any help, though Martha did come up with some fine suggestions for floral motif shelfpaper that could be used to cover the truckload of debris and Bob Vila knew several fine contractors in Maine who would have done a bang-up job of stuccoing that puppy lickety-split.

But tempting as those ideas were, I knew they weren't practical. For one thing, neither floral shelfpaper nor stucco would really make the piled-up remains of this one-proud ersatz airship airtight...or waterproof, anyway.

So, piece by piece, the remains of the Hindenburg were taken apart and hauled into the treehouse, up stairways and down hallways, through passageways eventually leading to the uppermost attic-spaces above the top floor, where there were used to construct the catwalk that now runs through the upper attic (yes, there are others, it's the architecture is weird that way).

Except for the giant chicken. I'm not sure where that went; its disappearance is almost as much a mystery as why, exactly, a movie that takes place on the world's most famous exploding airship even had a giant chicken in it, but perhaps that's just one of those things I'm better off not knowing about.

Greg Bear Aten at the premiere
in the hall of the movie stuff

Okay, I think that's enough foreshadowing for now. The savvy (or psychic) amongst you will no doubt have guessed by now that I'm about to segue to what happened with those pesky leftovers from Dragon and the Hawk. (Um, that would be the props and stuff, not the cast or crew.)

One of the things you might not realize is just how much stuff it takes to make a movie--even for something as simple as a couple of apparently random bystanders wandering through the back of a scene, you may need to have whatever they were wearing and/or carrying on-hand, just in case you have to redo a shot. For a more visible role or even just a messier one (whether it's a gunfight or a piefight) you might need several duplicates of everything that's worn in front of the camera.

The obvious solution was to try to distribute the clothing other useful goods to area shelters and assistance programs. That proved a little more challenging than I'd initially expected, but in the process I started working with the Masaba Project, a volunteer program run by Native Americans, but providing assistance to any and all who need it.

As luck would have it, they were even willing to accept computers(!)

Actually, I have a backlog of people and organizations who are waiting to get computers, but nowadays people and organizations usually won't accept computers unless they're complete and, quite often, a lot closer to the state-of-the-art than what I can get cheap on the surplus market.

the first vanload
cutting the ribbon at the Computer Cottage

There's still the problem that the people who are most in need of computers aren't the most skilled at putting them together or configuring them--but if they have to wait for me to find the time to do the set-up and all that, well, that means that not all that many get done.

So Sandy Turcott and Greg and Trish Aten of the Masaba project began work on getting together a small facility to get systems put together for other assistance programs, rural school districts and community centers, and individuals who would benefit from them--and at the same time, teach computer skills to the people who volunteered to help at what was to become the Computer Cottage.

(I brought down the garden shears to use for the ribbon-cutting ceremony; I figured it was appropriate for a "grass roots" community effort.)

in the computer cottage with Sandy

Already several computers have been given out to individuals and groups. The goal is to get a hundred and fifty out in the next year and as long as volunteers continue to help keep the program going, I think we'll get there.

the Monitor's connected to the hd15-bone
loading nonessential Nyx equipment

If you'd like to volunteer, you can get ahold of Greg Aten at the Masaba Project at 719-444-0849 or 719-632-7423.

Now that we're getting into the holiday season, volunteers with the Masaba Project are also working hard to get Christmas baskets and packages out to hundreds of people on the reservations and elsewhere who might not otherwise get anything.

The first hundred gift boxes went out to the tribal elders in neighboring states and included clothing donated by Inferno Film Productions, boxes and packaging from Colorado Commodities Management/Lode Family Partners, LLP, and additional funding and miscellaneous assistance from the Midgard Corporation.

gift boxes

Hmmmm...I'm starting to sound like a PBS announcement.

Merry Christmas from the treehouse!

gift boxes

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