Journal

Dark Outside

I’ve been on set all day; we just finished shooting and, at 7:00, it’s dark outside already. Ah, Iceland.

O Christmas Tree

I think that I’ve mentioned that we’re shooting the Christmas episode. Besides doing some live hand shots, I also worked the Christmas tree for about an hour. No. It wasn’t dancing; it was being carried by two characters, one of which was a puppet, which meant that someone else had to do the actual lifting. Me.

Magnus kept saying, let’s get a strong guy in here instead of making this woman carry this heavy tree. I kept saying that I was fine and that it wasn’t that heavy. It got to be a running joke with the crew. All the guys were coming up and saying, “Do you want me to carry that for you? Maybe three or four of us could manage it.” Very funny. By the end of the hour, I was ready to admit that it was heavy.

Fiddling around

Whew. I can’t believe it’s only five o’clock. I’ve been live hands for Stingy, Bessie, and Trixie in back-to-back shots. I’ve fanned, shaken presents, wrapped presents and put a turkey on the table. And Dad played fiddle with Magnus’s assistant for the whole company. The saw too. I was so proud.

They’ve gone home now. Sigh. Mrs. Kowal is still feeling under the weather but promises that we’ll have dinner tomorrow. It was good to see them, even if we didn’t get to visit much today.

Now I just have to get Rob out here.

Snow Angels

After yoga this morning, we had a kind of fun shot. Ziggy and Trixie were making snow angels, which involved a giant table of snow and six puppeteers. It felt a lot like making forts with sheets and furniture. We had matresses and cushions underneath and it was all dark and cozy.

Mr. and Mrs. Kowal are on their way to the set now. It would have been fun for them to see this, but this way I’ll–hopefully–be able to show them around the studio.

Raining parents

My day at the studio started as long and uninteresting. There are days when my job consists entirely of getting pillows and making sure that arm rods don’t swing out of control, but no actual manipulation. This afternoon I actually got to do some real work during the snow angel scene. More about that tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I should let you all know that Mr. and Mrs. Kowal arrived yesterday. I haven’t seen them yet, but my mom and dad went to lunch with them today and hung out in town while I worked. Where’s the justice in that?

Skaftafell

Mom, Dad and I drove out to Skaftafell National Park–about three and half hours out of Reykjavik–to see a glacier. On the way we stopped at Seljalandfoss and got drenched by the mist when we tried to walk behind the waterfall.

The landscape on the way there is absolutely stunning. This was out the left side of the car; the ocean was out the right side. The tiny white dots are sheep, and I fully expect a hobbit to appear at any moment.

The road to the glacier was a wild and varied landscape. We passed through a dessert of black sand, which blended into a terrain of moss that looks as if it were constructed of green plush throw pillows. Finally we arrived at Skaftafell to see the glacier.

Now, it is really hard to convey the scale of this so look carefully at the left side of the picture. Do you see Mom and me? We aren’t even a third of the way to the glacier.

Dad took a picture of me…

…taking this photo.

And here we are, walking on the glacier. The foreground is dark because the glacial silt is exposed and is all ground-up lava.

Touring the Country with Mom and Dad

We headed up to Þingvellir (pronounced Thing’vettlir, which means Valley of the Parliament) and stopped just after we passed into the rift between the North American and European tectonic plates. All of the pictures here were taken by my dad.

After we stopped flirting with the moss, we went on to the waterfall at Öxará which I’d gone to on my horseback-riding trip. It’s hard to get a sense of how big this waterfall is. It might help to think about it pouring over the edge of North America.

From there we went to the traditional site of the AlÞing (Allthing). The wind and rain was fairly intense, so we did not stay long. This church was built in 1859.

Then things got a little crazy. We drove from the AlÞhing to Geysir, the mother of all geysirs, or at least the one that all the others are named after. The road there started out fine, but being Iceland, we quickly hit an extended stretch without pavement. Like so–

At least the view was nice.

And we got to see some ‘wildlife’

It was almost dark when we finally got to Geysir. Geysir itself no longer erupts, but Strokkur, the geysir next to it, goes off every three to five minutes and is the size of Old Faithful. This is not fog around Mom and me; it’s steam.

That was plenty of activity for the day and we headed by to Reykjavik.

Presidential Debate

Last night a group of Americans all gathered to watch the presidential debate. Icelandic television broadcast it live, without commentary at 1:00 am. So, Mom, Dad & I didn’t get home till about 3 am. We’re all very tired this morning but glad we stayed up.

Today we’re going out to explore the countryside.

Touring the studio

I took Mom and Dad around the studio today and let them watch some stuff. There wasn’t much happening on set, because we’re just doing snow. Theoretically, we’ll do some actual performance, but I don’t know when. Meanwhile, I’ve sent Mom and Dad to the Blue Lagoon.

Mom and Dad arrive.

My mom and dad just arrived in Reykjavik. Hurrah! By astounding coincidence, I’m not called in to work today. Yay.

Throwing the Lollipop

I seem to spend a lot of time throwing things when I’m on set. This morning I had to throw a lollipop straight up. It kept going a little to the side. Try it. Put your hand over your head, and then try to throw something straight up. Now, do it without looking.

Last night our last shot was me catching the lollipop. That I could do everytime, and I couldn’t see it when I was catching. Because of placement, I could see the throw, the when the acutal catch happened it was in a space masked by the puppet. I can’t watch a monitor for things like this because there’s a three-frame delay, which means that everything that I do is a delayed reaction. Have to “look live”.

Sunset

There was a gorgeous sunset last night. One of the many reasons that I like my apartment is that I can watch sunsets, sunrises and the northern lights from the comfort of my couch.

Packages from Home

Today was a banner day for packages. One from Rob, including brownies and the New York Times. I’m fairly certain that people include newspaper just as a packing device, but I find myself smoothing out the pages to read them. It’s not like there isn’t material in English here, but it’s nice to have something that came specifically from home, even if the news is a month old.

I got part of the Willamette Week in a package from the Celsi’s. That was definitely packing material, but there are enough of us from Portland that it is being circulated in its crumpled state. However, the highlights of the package were two drawings. Thank you, Ben

Thank you, Rebecca

Yoga, Massage and Brunch

I’m not actually called to the studio until noon, but this morning was a yoga morning so we all came in. We’ve asked the massage therapist to go back to Jodi’s place (it’s five minutes from the studio) so we can have brunch and massage in a more welcoming environment. Yay!

Snow

No. Not real snow, but a snow test on set for the Christmas show. We came in to watch it snow and felt actually cold. That might have been because the large door was open, but I think it was the snow. Granted, it’s really shredded paper but it looks more exciting than that.