a periodic purgative

June 12, 2011

Don Vito 2/14/97 – 6/1/11

Posted by-- The Management @ 9:21 PM March 31, 2015

Don Vito 7 months old

We weren’t looking for each other. I think he was perfectly happy where he was and we were not looking for a dog. If we were, it certainly would not have been a pit-bull variety.

Our neighbor’s daughter’s boyfriend had this American Stafordshier puppy. It was summer and they were always hanging out on their front porch. The boyfriend worked with the neighbor’s son as a paver. He called the dog Tamp Shoe in honor of the implements they wore on their feet to tamp down hot asphalt. He lived in a small apartment in Revere and the dog was not a favorite of his landlord. His living situation had become problematic and he was looking for a new home for Tamp Shoe.

Few people had air conditioners in Jamaica Plain. Mid July in the city gets everyone out of their houses which would turn into sweltering ovens of torture in those hot summer months. Every day as we went out to enjoy our yard, there the neighbor’s daughter’s boyfriend would be, with Tamp Shoe, asking us if we wanted to buy his dog, always recounting his difficult story, insisting what a good dog he was, how he in fact he rescued him from an abusive situation where he was to be trained as a fight dog and how he was neglected for days on end in a stinking room with no food or water. I would smile and say “No we’re not looking for a dog, but thank you.” and try to go non-cahlauntly about my business.

Don Vito standing proud 2008

In 1997 Jamaica Plain was a sort of hot-bed for fighting pit-bull type dogs. Really it was a kind of fashion accessory for the young men of the neighborhood. Baby eating dogs and the culture of underground dog fighting rings were common news then. Despite his tales, I had assumed that the neighbor’s girlfriend’s boyfriend’s stories were at best a cover. The neighbor had several pittys on the premises. As far as I knew, they were a breeding house for fighting dogs. In truth, I think they just liked pit-bulls.

One day in early August, the 6th I think, I was saying goodbye to some friends that had come over for a visit. They had brought their dog, a sweet old lab who had the personality of a charming, wise old man.  As I waved them goodbye walking down the driveway, I thought to myself, “I would get a dog if I could have a dog like that.” They drove off. I looked to my left, still waving. Sure enough there he was, my neighbor’s daughter’s boyfriend, standing with his puppy, a smile on his face repeating that now familiar refrain. “Come on man, buy my dog.” I started with my usual response, but in a moment of weakness I stopped mid sentence and said as non-commital as possible, “…well let me see him.”

Don Vito 9 Months old

He was a sweet gangly puppy. And he was funny. I said that I’d take him for a test drive around the neighborhood to see how he was, but I still wasn’t making a commitment. That was the end of my resistance of course and he was with us from that moment on.

We couldn’t let him keep the name Tamp Shoe. It just wasn’t very dignified and he needed a name that fit his stature. He had this slight underbite and jowls that made him look like the Godfather, Don Vito Corleone. That’s how he got his name and he wore it well.

Always letting us know that he was our baby - 2009

Don Vito was our first born. We took him when he was 6 months old which put his birth in February. He paved the way for the rest of our children. He opened our stony little hearts and showed us what it was to love and care for another being. He was our greatest teacher and made us better people. That is why we declared February 14th as his birthday.

He was a gentle dog. He never hurt anyone or anything, other than the occasional window treatment or easily accessed trash receptacle. He did enjoy scaring people though. He thought it was great fun to use all of his pit-bullness to the greatest effect on people that he knew were afraid of him. But he was a lover, not a fighter. If he was ever in a fight with another dog, it was always the other dog that started it. And Don would never fight back. He was strong and tough and you would never know that he was hurt as a result of an encounter until the next day when he couldn’t use one of his legs, discovering that he had a tennis ball sized contusion on it. He still never complained.

Don and Terrence 11 days old

When Terrence came into our lives, Don Vito was there to greet him on Terrence’s first day home, sniffing and licking him, welcoming him. When Olivia joined us, Don was the first to welcome her home too. He was a part of their entire lives. He loved them and they him. When they were little, they used to ride him and Don would take it with a non-chalant stoicism. As the kids got older they would regularly ask for Don to sleep with them, which he would do until they settled, then he would come back out to be with us, lying  on his blanket as we watched TV.

Terrence age 11 months and Don age 3

Don spent his senior years on the Cape in an ideal neighborhood– a loop where everyone knew and loved him and he could roam free, except for those summer months when vacationers would stroll through, unsuspecting, offering a few last opportunities for Don to flex his bark, give a little charge, and see if he could get a rise out of the  tourists trespassing on his block. He was also fortunate that he was able to go to work with Shwana or I every day. He spent most of those days with me in a windowless basement on a hard floor, but he loved it and would rarely let me leave the house without him.

Don and Olivia 2009

He had been slowing down for the last few years. His joints hurt and he couldn’t play or walk like he used to without paying for it the next day. A couple months ago, a lump on his shoulder was discovered to be bone cancer. Because of his age and condition, the best treatment was to make him as comfortable as possible for as long as possible, managing the pain as best we could.

Don and Terrence snuggle 2010

It has been a wonderful and gut-wrenchingly last few months. Don was happy, determined, and tough as ever, right to the end. The day before he passed he was still insisting to me that it was time to go to work, even though he could barely walk. He followed me around that morning, limping and barking, telling me “It’s time to go! Let’s go!”

Don Vito left us on Wednesday, June 1, 2011. It’s hard to imagine that the hole left will ever fill or heal. I stopped counting the tears shed by us all after the first few hours. There have been countless thousands since. But Don is still our greatest teacher. He taught us the true meaning of love, joy, impartiality, and in the end, he was the first to show us the truth of impermanence.

He lived a noble life and we are certain that he purified lifetimes of karma while he was here. He accumulated oceans of merit, not just by his actions, but through the teachings he brought us. Those of you that have met him, spent time with him,  played or practiced with him can attest– he was a dog among dogs and a truly special being.

April 2006 during April vacation in the Hunter Mt. region of New York

Don Vito,
We love you with all our hearts. You were a friend, companion, example, and cherished member of this family. The hole you left will never be filled but remain a constant reminder for us to be the best people we can be, the way that you  were the best dog you could be.

May you be born in the Buddha realms and meet the dharma immediately.

Our hearts
Rich, Shawna, Terrence and Olivia

October 16, 2010

5D and a Whale of a Time

Posted by-- The Management @ 10:54 PM January 3, 2011

Dead juvenile humpback whale on Chatham Light Beach 9-11-10

The juvenile humpback was tethered to two trucks further up the beach to insure that it wouldn't wash away in the night.

Saturday September 11th was a gorgeous day, historic national events aside, and the second to last Saturday of summer. I had no plans other than cleaning out the shed. Cleaning out the shed is one of those standing plans, the kind I always have but never really get around to. It’s been on my agenda for over a year I suppose, so you could say that I had no plans at all really. That’s why when I got the call from work to go to Chatham to handle media relations for the Marine Mammal Rescue and Release team, it was no actual sacrifice. My cluttered shed would wait as patiently as ever.

A dead juvenile humpback whale had been spotted floating off of Stellwagen Bank on Thursday. By Saturday, it had drifted with the tides down to Chatham and lodged on a sandbar a quarter mile from Chatham Light Beach. The MMRR team, who had been tracking the whale, were called into action and the Chatham Harbor Master towed the the animal up onto the beach where the team would have easy access to it.

As any event like this is always a spectacle, the MMRR team wanted someone there to help them manage any media that might show up. A small documentary crew was already there. They were working on a show for the Discovery Channel about the Great White Shark population that have been inhabiting the waters around Chatham for the past few seasons. Weather kept them ashore so they hung around and advantageously shot the whale. They had no intent to use the footage. It was just too fascinating not to shoot. Turns out that the shooter was Nick Caloyianis, one of only 2 Nat-Geo cinemaphotographers to have ever survived a shark attack. You can check his story out here. He told it to me while we were hanging out and it’s amazing!

When I got there on Saturday, two members from the MMRR team, CT and Jane, were already on site and had just finished tying up the whale, securing it so it wouldn’t wash away in the hight tied overnight. They would have to wait until Sunday for the heavy equipment to arrive before they could engage in dispatching the animal.

On my way to the site Saturday, I stopped by work and grabbed the 5D Mark II kit as it was ready to go, light and at hand. We had recently received all of the components for the 5D field kit that we needed to do this kind of field production and I was eager to put it through its paces. We’ve had the base 5D kit for some time but had just received the rest of the components to make it usable for this kid of run-and-gun production.  The kit includes the 5D with the Canon 24-70mm glass, a Red Rock microShoulder mount with the micoRiser offset, microFollow Focus, the Zacuto Z-finder, and a JuicedLink lined in to a Sennehiser ME66.

On Saturday, I went in light because I didn’t know what the situation was. I configured the camera hand-held with the 5D on the short rods with the follow focus and z-finder only– no shoulder rig or sound set up. It was a hike up the beach to the site so this configuration worked out well. There wasn’t much going on other than securing the whale and answering questions to passers by and it was good not to be encumbered with the full rig.

I had intended to get IFAW’s full EX1 package on my way back home Saturday evening in preparation to shoot the events Sunday, but a situation with the locks on the doors at headquaters prevented me from being able to get in that night. I had plans for all sorts of zooming, moving, fluid coverage. Being locked out, I was stuck with the 5D kit I already had on hand. I was a little freaked by the situation as it’s limiting to shoot with the 5D. But it turned out to be a great opportunity. I had to limit how I covered the event– old school style. No zoom and the various limits of shooting the 5D meant that I had to really think about the coverage and shot/sequence composition. I haven’t had to think that much about how I shot since the last time I shot film, and that was a long, long time ago. It was actually a lot of fun and I am really pleased with the results.

The necropsy process happened first thing Sunday morning. It took a few hors for the team to do all of the necessary documentation and to get the animal further up the beach before any cutting could happened. There was a bevy of extra personal and volunteers, all of them biologists, teachers, retired teaches, or other like minded peoples, and I couldn’t help but notice a certain excitement and gleam in their eyes. They all took to the work like a 5 year old opening presents on Christmas day. Granted, I get it. This kind of event happens once or twice a year at best. And when it comes, it’s exciting– monumental.  But to the uninitiated, this is quite a dramatic process. I was good until the knives came out. Once the cutting started in force, I had to take a step back. I think that’s reflected in the video.

The other factor is the smell. Obvious right? It was fine until they punctured the body cavity and “de-gassed” the beast. After that, if you were down-wind and a neophyte, you wanted to go running home to Momma. The Pros didn’t bat a nostril. In fact, I think they liked it.

The video speaks for itself I think. Please have a look and comment as you see fit. This is my first shoot using only the Canon 5D Mark II and I think I’ve proved to myself that it can be used in this sort of ENG  situation. As for my shed? It still waits, patiently, for the attention it deserves.


IFAW Whale Necropsy from Rich Moos on Vimeo.

My first all-5D shoot.

Redrock microShoulderMount Deluxe Bundle w/ offset and follow focus
Sennhiser ME66
Cut in FCP 7
Graded in Color

More deets at cathartic.com/5d-and-a-whale-of-a-time

August 21, 2010

Earth Day Video Update – Long Overdue

Posted by-- The Management @ 3:54 PM August 21, 2010

I’ve been meaning to post this for several moths now. Clearly I’m not very good at the blog thing yet. Anyway, as promised in April, here is the companion video to the Whale Rally/Kristin Bauer piece. This video encompasses the the rest of the events that we covered on our trip to DC.

In this piece, IFAW’s CEO and President Fred O’Regan recounts his experience attending the Earth Day Network’s Climate Change Rally and what it was like to tell some 200,ooo people about the Obama administrations efforts to legalize whaling. Afterwards, Fred was fond of telling people that he opened for Sting.

Since I’m so late with this update, there is good news to report. The IWC conference has come and gone and the proposal was indeed defeated. Good news for IFAW and great news for whales. The bad news is that Japan, Norway, and Iceland will continue with whaling business as usual in defiance of the whaling moratorium. Lot’s more work to be done.

Here’s more info on the proposal’s failure.

April 27, 2010

IFAW’s Earth Day Whale Rally

Posted by-- The Management @ 11:04 PM January 4, 2011
Kristin Bauer and Rich Moos

Rich talks with Kristin before the shoot

So I spent the last week in our Nation’s Capital celebrating Earth Day with IFAW. OK, maybe celebrating isn’t exactly right since IFAW is protesting the Obama Administration’s position on commercial whaling.

Turns out that the US is the strong arm behind a secret push to re-institute, (read legalize), commercial whaling in the 21st century.

To be fair to the administration, they inherited the agenda. At least that’s what I hear. But it looks like they are in full support of a measure that would end the moratorium on whaling and allow Japan, Norway, and Iceland to continue to “legally” hunt whales. There’s lots more I could say about this, but far more educated people than I have illuminated the subject. Here’s a few links.


More coming

March 16, 2010

Saving Dolphins in Wellfleet

Posted by-- The Management @ 11:34 PM August 21, 2010

On March 11th and 12th, I had the opportunity to document the efforts of IFAW’s Marine Mammal Rescue team while they attempted to rescue and release a reported 16 dolphins in two separate locations from the nastiest, deepest, quicksand-like mud I have ever stepped in. I have to say, I don’t want their job. Let me set the scene.

Thursday morning a call came in around 5 AM  from a home owner in Wellfleet stating that he had seen a number of dolphins swimming in the cove off his house. The tide was going out and it looked like these animals  were disoriented and confused.

When IFAW’s Marine Mammal Rescue team arrived  at low tide, around 10 AM, they observed a number of animals stuck in the mud. It turns out that there were 8 white-sided dolphins stranded in Drummer Cove and another 6 to 8 at Lt. Island.

A pelagic species, the Atlantic white-sided dolphin is accustomed to open water. Apparently the dolphins get trapped by the unusual topography of the Cape. They follow their food in around the hook of the outer Cape. The coves of Wellfleet are like a hook within a hook. The dolphins swim in following the fish they feed on but can’t find their way out. They strand when the tide goes out from under them, leaving them stuck in the mud on the bottom.

This was the first time I’ve been out on a dolphin stranding. I’m acustomed to chalenging working cinditions, but this was unique, even for the experienced MMR team. The responders were literally in the mud up to their chest. And this wasn’t ordinary mud. This was a tar like suck-you-in-and-keep-you-forever type of substance. Mind you, I didn’t wade out in the stuff myself, it was too dangerous for anyone but a few responders to slog out to the animals that could be reached. But even the muck I stood in closer to shore was threatening to give way at any moment. At one point a soft spot pulled me in over my ankle and sucked the wadder right off my foot.

Only 2 of this group of eight could be reached safely. The other six had to be left. The hope was that they would be able to free themselves at the next high tide.

At Lieutenant Island another six were stranded. When we arrived to join the team already on site, two of the dolphins were already dead, but the team as able to save the other four.

With all of the rescued animals loaded into the trailers, we headed off to Herring Cove beach outside of Provincetown, the eastern most part of the Cape. As night fell, all six rescued dolphins were released back to the open waters of the Atlantic.

The following day at first light, the team headed back out to see what could be done about the animals that had been left the day before. But that’s a story for another post.

IFAW Dolphin Rescue – 3/11/10 from Rich Moos on Vimeo.

IFAW’s Marine Mammal Rescue team attempts to rescue a reported 16 dolphins stranded in various parts or Wellfleet MA.

March 14, 2010

The Cathartic Cocktail

Posted by-- The Management @ 6:52 PM March 14, 2010


Thanks for dropping by. I’ve finally gotten around to joining the bloggerati, albeit reluctantly. You see, I don’t really have anything to say. And if I did, I probably wouldn’t want to tell anybody. So this is some what of a conundrum for me.

I have been sick of my old site, languishing as it had been for a decade or so, and have been meaning to update it for years. Since WordPress has become so ubiquitous and easy to use, it made sense to revamp in that format. But now I have to use it to say stuff.

And who really cares what I have to say? Not me. So I’ll try to keep things interesting as we move along.

Most of what I’ll be posting will be related to the current state of filmmaking tech. and the random interjection of personal asides, as well as some domestic family stuff.

Hope you are mildly entertained and perhaps I’ll stumble on the rare nugget that enlightens.

Thanks for reading.

The Management