Two Bug Stories

I was watching footage today at my job. In it, a guy thought he had a spider on him, another person assured him that he did not. The fellow said that if he had indeed had a spider on him he would have cried.

This spurred a couple bug memories of mine that might make you cringe or laugh or some combination of the two.

1) This is a shortie but sweetie. And it has a happy ending.

One night I was taking out the trash as I'm known to do. I went around the front of the house instead of the back, totally randomly. I think my play-shoes were out front.

Later I had some more recycling to take out, I went around back this time. I just happened to pop my phone's light on when I neared the trash cans. Thankfully I had because my white beam illuminated one of the largest spider webs that I had ever seen (it still holds the record). Accompanying her web was a very large, dark colored spider as well. It was about 9 feet in the air so I didn't get a good look at her. I'm not sure her species, but her impressive web spanned from the side of my house's wall to the fence, about 7 feet I'd guess. Sadly, it did not have a message for me or any farmers woven into it...

I left the recycling there to be put in the receptacle another time. I could deal with that in the light of day.

Can you imagine if I had waltzed into that web, no light, hands full of garbage bags? The spider would have fallen from her perch probably onto my face, the silky strings of the webbing would have entombed me, and I would have had no choice but to light myself on fire. But it didn't and I didn't, so that's the happy ending.

2) Not so short, not as happy of an ending. 

One night I came in from jogging, turned off the front porch light, and went to grab my pajamas so I could shower and change. As I was heading to the bathroom from the bedroom I saw a dark, standard comb-sized object on a bare white wall. It was dark in the room so I wasn't sure if it was a shadow or my imagination, or what. When I flipped on the light though I saw a very large roach of some sort, chillaxin' on my front room's wall.

I'm not sure if I mentioned this in the first story, but bugs are a thing for me. I wouldn't call them a phobia of mine, but they live in the same neighborhood as a phobia if you get what I mean. And now I was faced with a choice: let this humongous, uninvited guest exist in my house, or duel the behemoth.

Naturally, I called my wife into the room. Thankfully my kids were asleep or they would have lost some respect for their father because of how terrified I was. My wife assured me that yes, this was MY problem, and good luck with it. As progressive as we are with our gender roles, bug wrangling still falls under my jurisdiction.

I enlisted my wife to make sure the bug didn't move, then I geared up. It was like an 80s movie montage but instead of guns and ammo and camo headbands I donned crocs, a hoodie, and one of those wooden paddles you take to the beach to bop around a bouncy ball in the sand. I pulled the ties of the hood tight and made bunny ears. I was ready for battle. (For some reason I neglected to put on pants though, so I was fully clothed except for my long, white legs clad in grey boxer briefs.)

Well we quickly learned that this particular breed of roach can fly... as it flew into our kitchen and hid which caused me even more emotional distress. Being able to see it in my house was bad enough, but knowing it was there and NOT being able to see it? That's a nightmare, like I've literally had nightmares like that.

But the creepy crawly (fly-y?) friend did not play hide and seek for too long, it reappeared on the ceiling of the kitchen. I looked for a way out. Could I suck it into the vacuum? Would it fly out the back door? No. I. Just. Had. To. Get. It. Out.

I worked up my nerve, I ran over, and paddled it off the ceiling, then I paddled it towards the sliding back door, then I paddled it off into the night. My heart was racing, I was sweating, but I was triumphant. My wife and I broke down in laughter.

I looked like a weirdo in my hoodie and undies and crocs. We had just been through a traumatic couple of minutes. But actually, in a week where we had been overworked and we had under-slept, it had been an almost "fun" bonding time. We had problem solved and felt big emotions together. And we were so glad it was over.

My theory is that the interloper had hitched a piggy back ride when I had come inside after my jog. And still, to this moment, the thought of it attaching itself to my shirt and riding into my house still gives me the itchy-willies.

The moral of those two stories? Hey, I never said there was one, I'm not a role model, ok? Get off my back.

DREAMS & REALITY - Me!! Peter Harmon

Hello!! Today I'm debuting DREAMS & REALITY, my new blog series. As a prototype I interviewed someone I know pretty well... ME!

Name: Peter Harmon
A handful of credits: Transcriber/Logger/Production Assistant/Story Assistant on Intervention, Producer on Celebrity Wife Swap and Home Free

How did you get into Reality TV?
My directing teacher back at Towson University was simultaneously teaching the class while also producing episodes of A&E's Intervention. He would go on location to shoot or work in post in LA then fly to Maryland to teach a Saturday directing class. Once I moved out to LA he was one of my very few contacts. I met him for lunch, asked him about work, and he said he did have a job for me, transcribing, but it wasn't a great job.

I said "I'll take it!"

What is transcribing?
At the time when I was doing it a few years ago, I would watch a DVD of interview footage and type exactly what the interviewer and the interview subject were saying. I made $1 per transcribed minute, which sounds pretty cool, except when you're trying to figure out what drug addicts are saying through their slurred, hazy speech.

How did you get promoted from Transcriber to Logger to PA to Story Assistant all on one show?
I worked on Intervention for about 5 years, roughly 7 seasons. This is not typical in Reality TV. Usually a stint on a show lasts a couple months and then it's time to find a new job. So, since I always got my transcription minutes in on time with few errors and took "rush minutes" and was a pretty cool dude they promoted me to Night Logger. Logging footage (when I was doing it a few years ago...) was watching raw footage and making excel documents about what happened in the footage for the producers and editors to look through to find a topic or a shot or an OTF (On The Fly interview) that they may need.
I actually could have gotten promoted to Production Assistant sooner but my wife and I had our first son while I was night logging and I logged at night and watched the baby during the day. So I didn't take a day position a couple times when it was offered because we weren't making enough really for childcare and he was still so little we wanted me to watch him. 
During that period of time I didn't get a ton of sleep... 
Once our baby was bigger we transitioned to childcare and I switched to the day shift and right around then the current Story Assistant was promoted and I took his spot. 
I attribute the promotions to: being around, learning, making my intentions of going into the story department known, having a good attitude, and being a chill dude.

What's a weird thing about Reality TV that no one thinks about?
People have microphones strapped to their bodies while they're being filmed. They forget they have them on. They go to the bathroom. 
I've heard dozens, maybe hundreds, of people pee.

You must have moved to Hollywood with a dream, what is it and how are you still pursuing that dream? 
I have been shooting video, making movies, and writing since I was a kid. I started as a camera person and switchboard operator on my elementary school's morning show. I wrote poems and stories throughout grade school and took television productions classes in high school. My curfew was before all of my friends had to be home so after I hung out with them I'd hit Blockbuster and see what was new, what was in the Sundance section, what else had some writer done that I had just discovered.
I went to college for Electronic Media & Film and Creative Writing.
Simply, I came to Hollywood to write movies.  
And I have! I've written several produced direct to DVD movies (when that was still a thing...), for example, anyone a big fan of Nora's Hair Salon 3???? I wrote that. I also wrote a movie that was released last year, shot in Tokyo, called Love In Tokyo. And a handful of sketch videos, a web series, and other various projects. 
I'm still out here writing and hustling to do bigger movies. I wrote a young adult novel that I hope will be adapted into a movie at some point as well. SO I am still on my journey.

Thanks Pete!
Check out The Happenstances at the Yellow County Community Swim and Racquet Club the Summer Before Last. The sequel is coming this summer.

Hey Reality TV friends! I'd like to interview YOU! Please email me at TheHappenstances at or message me on Facebook or whatever. THANK YOU!!!