Mental Flotsam, Mental Jetsam

Because the only thing that beats going crazy is going crazy with somebody else

Monday, December 27, 2004

Update on Tuxxer: The Comic

Like a train slowly making its way out of the station, its engine heaving steam and smoke into the air with each labored pound of the pistons; so does Tuxxer inch toward reality.

I have the scans in my possession, which are still black and white. A few weeks ago I put together a list of three colorists whose work looked best; and gave them the low-down. I'm sending them each the same page, as a demo. Who ever makes it look the best, wins the assignment (for pay, of course).

I don't know how long it will take them to do it. This is my first time putting a comic book together. If it's anything like the other steps, though, I shouldn't have too long to wait. After that's done with: I add the captions myself. There are a few different programs one can use, and I've been compiling a list of download-able fonts I plan to acquire for the job.

Once those two steps are finished, I can print the finished pages out, and start the sales pitches. Shazam. I have a few books on the subject, on how best to approach potential publishing houses. We'll see how it goes, people. Rock on.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Merry Christmas To All, And To All A Good Night

Last night, Christmas Eve Eve, was pretty great. I found some good presents for my cousins, and I got to spend some time with a whole bunch of family under one roof. Then, I was fortunate enough to see two very important people at the same time; my best friend and my girlfriend. I’m a lucky guy.

Pedro and I have been best friends since boy scouts, over a dozen years ago. He got me Spider-Man 2 on DVD, which is just about the greatest present I could have asked for; I love this flick. He liked his gift as well.

As for Beth, I got her a great **** of *******. (Nice try, Beth.) I can’t wait to see her face when she opens it.

I’m grateful for a few things, this year. I have a job. I have love. I have the time and the means to pursue my dreams. And I have friends. Some good, solid friends.

Leave out the egg nog, and a good cookie or two. Santa’s comin’.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

It's My Bed, Now I Have To Sleep In It

Or not.

GOD I am tired. And I have no one to blame for my sleepy state of affairs, but yours truly.

I just got off the phone with my best friend, Pedro, and we decided that he'll stay at my place tonight. That's all fine and dandy, except this time he has every intention of waking me up tomorrow morning at whatever ass-crack o' dawn time he gets up. Last time he was here, I blissfully slept in thinking he would do the same, little did I know he'd been up three hours on the couch, reading.

I don't begrudge Pedro. We've been best friends for over a dozen years. I just wish I foresaw some opportunity in the near future to catch up on my effing sleep! Naps are worthless, they just throw me out of whack later on. Saturday's out, we'll be up (relatively) early to do the whole Christmas thing. Sunday I'm driving to Hagerstown. Between shopping for gifts, finding time to be with Beth, and my own sporadic insomnia, I think I'm pulling down a little less than six hours a night. I really wish that were enough. More than enough. If not for the whole necessary REM thing, I'd be happy to do away with slumber all together, if I could guarantee an alternate energy source. (Outside a constant diet of sweet potatoes. I'll pass.) There are plenty of things I could be doing during the wee hours of the night/morning; chief among them, writing. Instead, I just get progressively crankier. Like right now.

And for all my pissing and moaning, I'm the only one at fault here. It's my effing choice to maintain a 40-hour-a-week day job and still keep the hours of a nightowl. Nobody twisted my arm to audition for the shows I've done. Damn. It's my bed, I'll sleep in it... If I can find the time, that is.

A Time of Giving... Presents Wrapped With My Feet

I truly do love the holidays. "It's festive. You know... festive?" I love egg nog, I love spending time with family I haven't seen much, and I love picking out what will hopefully be nigh-perfect gifts for friends and family. I think I did okay this year, in that department.

What I don't love is wrapping the presents. I'm horrible at it. If it's a book or a DVD to wrap, that's one thing. I can usually manage okay. But if the dimensions of the precious parcel exceed an inch and a half in thickness, then I'm done for. I got my friend John an ****** ****** that he doesn't have, and once I was finished with the paper and tape, it looked like I wrapped it with my feet.

I considered using one of the oh-so-valuable gift bags that have become so popular in the last few years, but his ****** ****** won't fit in one. MAN I love those bags. They're sturdy, you can just slide the gift right in there, cover them up with some tissue paper, and bam. Instant mystery surprise present. I opted not to use any gift bags this round, except for a plush Oscar the Grouch for my co-star Andrea. (She already knows what it is, so it's okay to put it here.)

I figured, I'm 24, I should be able to master scissors, tape, and decorative paper. I'm not sure but on John's gift we may just have a draw. I didn't win, but the paper certainly didn't either. So there.

Hope he likes his ****** ******.

Happy Holidays, all.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Okay. I finally saw this flick last night... all I have to say is: Holy Shit. This movie was fantastic. And why, you ask, was this movie so good? Allow me to explain in 296 words!

First off, the premise alone is terrific. Being able to delete every trace of a painful memory (i.e. an ex-lover, the popular choice; one client brought in all the paraphernalia of a beloved pet) is one of the most original ideas for a movie I have heard in at least a year. Damn it's good.

The dialogue is natural (Beth described it as something Sam Beckett might write), and the characters... oh, merciful heavens, the characters. Jim Carrey's Joel Barish is a flawed but good-natured human being with some very real hang-ups and issues. Kate Winslet as Clementine Kruczynski is downright superb. Clem is eccentric, impulsive, affectionate, a drinker, and has something of a hair-trigger. Supporting players Thomas Jay Ryan, Kirsten Dunst, Tom Wilkinson, and Elijah Wood are all terrific as employees of Lacuna (Latin for cavity, gap, etc. Heh.), the company that gives the old memory bank a good hard scrub. None of them are perfect, or display the absolute best in morals. They could all be real people. Real people screw up.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the seamless special effects. As Joel and Clem try to hide in his memories, literally running from one to the next, I was reminded of a similar scenario in Being John Malkovich, also written by Charlie Kaufman. The impact it had, however, was incredible. It won't soon be forgotten.

This film currently ranks #33 in the Top 250 movies of all time. The list is based on online votes, so it's fair to say the ranking has some merit. I certainly enjoyed it enough to put it on the list, but 33 may be a bit steep.

This flick was simply terrific. Of course, given the lateness of my review, you probably already knew that.

Dreams I'd Rather Forget


I awoke this morning with clear, vivid memories of last night's dream... something I didn't really enjoy. There was violence, and other things that were worse. Fortunately there's a website that has easy-to-access references to the most likely meaning behind dreams, and I was able to pick it apart. Of course, in doing so I felt a bit like Ash in Alien, noodling around in the bits of the Facehugger after it had done it's dirty work: Something temporarily scary, and worthy of analysis after the fact.

Let's just leave it at that, shall we? The less detail gone in to, the less crazy I'll sound. Adios, people.

Sweet dreams.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Grudge Like A Dead Guy

Grace, thy name is Leta...

The can of worms has been opened, and I'm afraid I picked up that can. My friend Leta has posted some interesting remarks on the act of letting go of a disagreement, or a grudge. It's a skill I have tried to learn, honestly. And I have yet to master it.

I'll be the first one to say it: When it comes to certain specific things, I can be downright petty. Holding a grudge is one of them. Hell, I don't just hold on to it. I practically squeeze the filling out of it.

Grudge like a dead guy: you ever see a ghost-movie where the dearly departed had any intention (or ability) to let go of a disagreement, or a slight? I can't recall an instance. "Oooooohh. Oh, there's that guy. I hate his guts. Hate his kids. Hate his dog. Hate him, hate him, hate him. I'm dead and I still hate him. I think I'll go drive him crazy. Yeah, that's the ticket. Oooooohhh."

[Impending Overstatement in 5...4...3...2...1] Nowhere, in the history of the film, has a spectral form ever said "Oh. Yeah. Well, I see your point. Man, I've been a real jerk. I guess now that I've been enlightened enough to see your side of things I can go on with my afterlife. Sorry to have been a bother. Is this the exit over here? Thanks so much."

The reason for this fa-laming hyperbole? It's fun. The other reason is to illustrate a point: Grudges happen. They happen because we're human beings, and we've been known to be a bit overzealous when it came to forgetting what some jerk said in moment of thoughtlessness.

Leta, you're a bigger person than I am. I've tried to drop them before, with temporary success. Maybe I'm just an asshole for not being able to let go, for keeps. But other than saying "I'm over it" and trying my damnedest to mean it, I don't know what else to do about it. There's still a girl out there who I never want to speak to again. There's still a guy or two out there I'd like to see hit by something heavy, and hopefully speeding. Meh.

What else do you want? I said Meh...

Back In Business


Just received a call from my inker; he's tracked down the package. They've been sitting on a rack for the last two weeks, even though he's stopped by and asked them "anything for me today?" ... Kaplahr.

Regardless. Tonight, he scans them, and sends them on over to me. Tonight, I take those lovely scans, pick out a page for colorists to do as a sample. Then, I pick a colorist, have him/her do the work, then do the lettering, and I'm home free!

Not home free to publication, of course, just home free to having something I can produce. Once they're colored in and lettered, I can print them out someplace nice and send them off to publishing houses. Then the real sweating can begin. Hooray!

"Worrying Will Do You... No Good."

Some days, it really just stinks to be a human being. I have an issue or two with control, personal and otherwise.

I know for a fact that, at the moment, there is absolutely nothing I can do to affect the situation regarding my inks for Tuxxer. They're in the unknown limbo of Sean's mail room. The things were signed for two weeks ago, and for whatever reason, never delivered into Sean's hands.

I'm a smart guy, capable of rational thought, but I cannot help but think about all the possible ways that this could have gone wrong. I inherited it from my mom's mom, her skills for worry were peerless. With my own fertile imagination to steer it, the sky's the limit.

I hate the feeling of not being in control. Not in control of the status of my package, not in control of my own nervousness over it. It's that simple.

The reason this is officially racking my brain is because of a possible loophole in the insurance side of it. Technically, the package was signed for. Not by the right person but by the mail room employee; but it was still signed for. What happened to it after that?? I don't know. But since 14 days have gone by, I can't assume it's good news. And since it's out of the post office's hands now, who's to say if I'll be compensated if it really has pulled a Jimmy Hoffa?


Stupid brain, stop thinking about it. Got to find something else, that will occupy my time... Any suggestions?

Tricky, Tricky


In my first post, I mentioned that I would provide updates to how my comic book, Tuxxer, is coming along. I went to the post office on Saturday, to track down the errant inks I sent back to my penciller, because his is the only scanner that's big enough.

Now, I shipped this thing two weeks previously, and I had it insured so that if it got lost (God forbid) I'd be compensated for its considerable value. So. I reached the post office, handed them my slip, and they ran their tracking service. They learned that it was signed for two weeks ago. Best case scenario, it's been sitting at the mail room of my penciller's place of employment, for the last fortnight.

Worst case scenario, I don't want to think about. Now, you may be asking me, 'But Casey, why on earth did you send it to his office?' Well, the answer is because he asked me to. It would insure that he'd get it in person. Riiight. Pull the other one, it's got bells on.

I don't know what to do. I've left a message on my penciller's phone, with details about how to track this thing down. Of course, if it's not in the mail room, well. I'd rather not think about that.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Sorry, IRS. I'm a Schmuck.


A week or two ago, I posted a sarcastic little blog about the fine-running machine that is the IRS. I was under the impression that I was due a sizeable refund. This was after I received a letter in the mail, saying the paperwork never got processed, and so on.

Now, after getting gradually more upset about it, and a call or two with the IRS and my bank; I found that I was wrong. Wow. My first online retraction. Kinda stings a little...

I was wrong. The deposit, it turns out, was on time and in March. I just forgot entirely about it, and mistook my state and my national returns, or something along those lines. I'm a complete fool for getting all bent out of shape over it. Probably won't be the last time such a faux pas takes place. IRS, you have my sincere apologies.

Might have pulled something there, I think I need to lie down for a bit.

Changing of the Guard

Blast and double blast. I've just read that the Kensington Arts Theatre is no longer planning to produce The Last 5 Years this spring, something I'd been looking forward to auditioning for, for months.


There are other productions coming up that sound promising; such as the Rockville Little Theatre, for instance. Tribute looks like a very good show. There was a film version out quite a few years back starring Jack Lemmon and Robbie Benson; better known as the voice of the Beast, from Disney's Beauty and the Beast.

It helps to have something else to look forward to. Between the post office issues, financial kerfluffels, and work, I've had a lot on my mind. Theatre has always been a way to step outside those issues for a while. I'm not that person, anymore, for hours at a time. I know I'm not the only one who finds some relief that way.

I can't get over Proof. It was the best thing I've done this year, hands down. It was also just... nice. Nice to feel like I know what I'm doing, or that I'm working well on something. People pointed out little things in my work that made me feel great (Thank you Leta, Andrew). That kind of support is so important to people in our line of work... We don't get paid (often), we don't have a progress report filled with facts or numbers concerning our work, all we have is the opinion. People think we did well, or poorly. If you're lucky, there' s a flattering review in a paper. All we have to go on besides our own gut instincts, are the opinions of those who have come to watch us do what we do.

Nick, Maura, and Andrea were a joy. Doing Proof with them occupied a great deal of my time, and since it finished, I hardly know what to do with myself. Besides wait, that is. Wait for the next promising audition to present itself, and start the cycle all over again.

Now, if only I could master that whole 'patience' thing...

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Why A Beautiful Woman?

With a mind like a motorized meat grinder (always having to process something), sometimes I get lucky and am able to choose whatever it is I'll focus on for however long it will last.

Today, it's a woman. A striking, memorable woman whom I have seen only once, and spoke to for a few minutes at the most. Yet, here she is, popping up.

I think the fact that I don't know her in person is what prompted this particular flashback. Not really knowing her allows me to analyze a bit. I find a topic ready to ponder behind her arrival.

What is it about extremely attractive members of the opposite sex that drives us bazonkers? Or members of our own sex, if our preference leans that way? It's not something we learn how to process, unlike math or logic or reading. Once puberty hits, it just kicks in. It's a part of the animal psyche that says "Stay close to her."

Yes, but why? It could be any of a number of things. Let's go with the model (ba dum ching?) at hand. This woman was very attractive. Long, curly black locks (not dark brown, black). Cool blue eyes and a warm smile. Creamy skin. Great chest, but a slender figure without being waifish... The woman was healthy. Certainly not one of the near-skeletal supermodels that haunt teen magazines.

Okay. She's attractive. What are the immediate impulses? #1: Gauge woman's physical attributes in less than a second. (It happens. We're guys. We do that.) Check. #2: Check to see if she's married. BINGO. Nice little bauble she's got on her left hand ring finger... well. No point in going to impulse #3.

Beauty is 'important' for a number of reasons. First on the list, it implies health. The better you look, the better shape you're in. The instinct to procreate and have kids, healthy kids, is primal. Finding and identifying positive traits we'd like our children to carry on is one of the main reasons human beings interact in the first place. (It's also why us funny, intelligent people who aren't exactly hard-bodies get to be attractive too, in different ways.)

Another reason it's so important is social standing. Ooh, look at the girlfriend/wife of Bob. Bob's girlfriend/wife is a knock-out. Oh, I wish I were Bob. People would have more respect for me if my girlfriend/wife was that attractive. Why? Because I must be worth something special to have attracted her in the first place. On a half-way related topic, that level of excellence (here accomplished only with a social connection) is a major driving force of motivation for us. To seek that level of excellence for ourselves, in our actions, in our accomplishments, in our prestige. Or, it might just be a motivator for people with low self-esteem. Ya think?

The last (and possibly greatest) factor in the importance of beauty is sex. Not procreation, but gratifying-as-a-drug sex. Sex is a drug, insomuch that it's a temporary positive reaction in the pleasure-center of the brain caused by outside stimulation. Rather than with a needle, a pill, or a glass, it's a drug we provide ourselves with by finding other people to make our own supply with.

Don't believe me? Look at the last time you really wanted it. What did you do to get it? Were you having the equivalent of a nic-fit? Or were you just (pardon the term) jonesing? But sex can also be a healthy, intimate way to express affection for someone you care deeply about. Doesn't make it feel any less good, though. Just a thought...

There is a down-side to beauty, one that frankly drives me up the wall. A person's beauty can somehow make them think they've got cart blanche. They can act like complete assholes or shrews, and get away with it because they're attractive, which might make people more inclined to forgive or ignore their behavior. Or worse, encourage it.

Now, this is not an absolute. I've known several people of considerable beauty who never used it as a tool or an advantage. But these people are out there. Maybe it's that I'm in showbiz that's led me to meet so many shrews and assholes. I really can't say one way or the other.

I wish I could say how this developed as a topic. I don't know, and I'm writing the thing. But they're points. Valid ones, in my view.

Any thoughts? Comments?

A Magnificent Waste of Time

I find myself doing today, that which I spent the better part of yesterday... which is nothing. It's through no great feat of laziness, I simply have no tasks allotted in the current place and time. So be it.

How, then, does one pass the time? Otherwise, the time passes you... like a kidney stone. Writing can be good, unless you're not in the vein. I'm currently working on writing a new play (a drama this time), but the windows of proper mood to put fingers to qwerty are well-greased and heavy. They slide shut before you know it, and good luck getting them open again.

Reading the fine blogs of friends and loved ones is good for a larf, but unless they write compulsively, one need only check them once a day. Still plenty of time left over to kill.

For those like me, temporarily trapped in both boredom and solitude, may I make the following recommendations. I've got nothing better to do, and apparently, neither do you. The cheapest place to get movies, pore over it to your heart's content and buy someone something for Christmas, whydontcha. My brother's website, and a damn fine one at that. (His staff writers are wonderful.) **Sprains arm patting myself on the back.** It has everything a young 20-something with a fondness for the 80's, Adam West, and every toy made in the last five years could hope for. Heh. I love this one. A great on-line comic, one of the best I've found. It's free, it's funny, it's franchised. Rock on. Exhaustively detailed reviews of TV shows by bitter people with too much time on their hands and not much of a sense of humor. Wisdom for the masses in easy-to-swallow caplets. A directory of great (and not so great) thinkers, on an encyclopedia of topics. Bon appetit.

If those don't help you kill your day, than it may well be unvanquishable. Mine is yet to be defeated...

Have a good one, all. I got nothin'.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

It Once Was Lost, But Now Is Found

If there was some kind of cosmic test last night, I think I passed. **Looking around for any signs from God that I'm wrong on this one... not finding any. Okay. Whew!** My much-loved girlfriend returned home to report, with a touch of fear, that she had lost the emerald pendant/necklace thing I'd gotten her for our 6-months together. (Note: I don't use the word anniversary when it hasn't been a year. That "Happy three week anniversary!" stuff turns my already-acidic stomach.)

Now, I hadn't been having the greatest weekend at this point. (See previous blogs as to why.) I've generally been feeling like Murphy's Bitch the last 72 hours, and her losing something this valuable, both sentimentally and literally, was another straw. Almost the last one. She had come home expecting me to blow my stack, and I don't blame her. I can be a real prick sometimes. It happens. I looked her in the eye (she already felt terrible about it), and I just sort of... didn't overreact. I realized that losing it entirely would accomplish nothing. I wouldn't feel much better, she'd feel worse, she'd already learned the lesson; and we'd still be one emerald pendant/necklace thing short. "It's just a rock," I told her consolingly, trying to minimize the thing as much as I could.

She thought she'd lost it on her trip to Pittsburg, and already checked the car with no results. I had no hopes of ever seeing the thing again, to curtail disappointment before it had the chance to rear its ugly head.

Now: having recently lost the fruits of the Tuxxer project, I know that there's a lesson in here. I don't like it, but it's there anyway. Who says you have to enjoy your illuminating moments if you don't want to? That which is out of my control is truly out of my control. Fussing over it, fuming, et cetera will not change a damned thing, so why bother blowing your stack over it?

I proceded to take a shower. It was after my ablutions that I found, on the bathroom floor, the delinquent jewelry. The CSI theory du jour: the pendant/necklace thing simply fell off her neck at one point, stayed in her shirt, and remained there until she got home last night and showered, herself. I was pleasantly surprised. I had already resigned myself to never seeing the bloody thing again, and the look on her face when I gave it to her a second time was pretty much the best part of my day.

Not crazy about how we got to that point, but still the best part of my day.

And for the record, I'm still missing my Fisher-Price Blue Bunny Blanket from when I was five. When I lose something, boy howdy does it stay lost. Also on the list, the mysterious Die Hard DVD (vanished like a fart in the wind), the code book for the Universal Remote Control; and my precious, precious childhood. Dig that cat, man, he's real gone...

Monday, December 13, 2004

"Thank You Very Much"... Oh, the Irony

I think by now we've all heard the commercial (on radio and television) from Visa Gift Cards; using the song "Thank You Very Much" from one of the better musical versions of A Christmas Carol, entitled Scrooge. (The film version with Albert Finney is excellent.)

Has it struck anyone else that their choice of music is a bit morbid, or at the very least, ironic? In the musical, the people are singing and dancing their hearts out in gratitude for Ebenezer's death. The assembled throng all owed him money, so they dance a merry jig (not to mention on his coffin) as they cart him off to the cemetery. So now we have a credit card company advertising a gift card using a song about people's debt being wiped out by the moneylender's death. Huh.

**Irony Detector readings coming in clearly now... we have a 7.1: Not quite Gift of the Magi, but more ironic than some episodes of the original Twilight Zone.**

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Setbacks, Irritants... So forth.

The weekend has not been as satisfying as I'd hoped.

For one thing, Proof ended its run on Saturday night, to a great audience. Were it not for someone spilling water in the Light booth, the show would've been great. The lights failed to black out for half the second act, making between-scene entrances and exits an embarrassment. Nothing to be done about it, so no point in dwelling on it.

The other thing that couldn't have gone worse this weekend- I mailed the finished Inks from the first issue of Tuxxer to my penciller in Philly. He's got the biggest scanner, needed to finish the job. I sent it last Saturday, insured mail, and as of Saturday he still hasn't gotten it. I hope it's just the holiday surge that is slowing things down. If it got lost in the mail... that's two months' work and too much money down the drain. Here's hoping it's just the damn surge in the mail. I can't afford for it not to be.

Now, if I were a Buddhist, I'd have no trouble letting these... complications... roll right off my back. There philosophy is pretty simple. Don't worry about the things you can't fix, because it's out of your hands; and don't worry about the things that you can, because you can fix 'em. I have yet to really grasp it.

I'm trying, though. I am trying.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Another Dollar...

Tell me about your worst day at work.

No, seriously. Let me know about it. Share the crappiest day of your job. I'd really like to know about it, if you can spare the time to leave a comment. Today was officially my worst day at work.

My day was nothing special. No especially challenging tasks, no demanding boss or asinine chore. I was training for a possible promotion, of all things. Brushing up on my Excel and PowerPoint abilities, as they would very likely be part of my new responsibilities. And I found myself trumped with despair.

I didn't want this to be my life, I couldn't bring myself to give a damn about charts and equations and presentations because they weren't important. I'm an actor. I'm a writer. I have hopes and ambitions that have absolutely nothing to do with keeping an office seat warm for 8 1/2 hours a day.

I know, now, that I need to find new work. Am I an idiot for thinking I'm entitled to it? It won't be perfect, I don't expect it to be. But there must be something out there that can put me to good use, as a Bachelor's Degree holder and a verbally gifted guy, if nothing else. I have reached the limits of my professional atrophy.

Not pretending or presuming to be normal, I have to ask; how to normal people do it? How do they go to the same job every week day for 30+ years? Do they grow tired of it? How do they vent? What do they do to release tension? I don't know. I can't imagine it.

But I'd love to try.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

A New Quandary


Alright. Here's the thing. The first realistic opportunity for new employment that's come along in three months turns out to be for a company that I have some... moral complications with. Yuh-huh.

I'm an actor. I know what it's like to be looking possible glory in the face and know for a fact that it's a crapshoot. Parents of impressionable young children don't necessarily know that. They may be willing to plunk down thousands of dollars for training that won't guarantee a blessed thing for their kids, career-wise.

So, how do I deal with that? I'm a smart, capable guy. I have a bachelor's degree in the arts, so why not me? Couldn't I get the opportunity to help mold their minds a bit? Hmm? (Truth be told I can't stand the work of a lot of child actors. Only a handful seem to know what they're doing. The rest are just being cute. Which could be an opportunity to fix that as well, ha ha.) I'm not saying one way or the other.


Just yesterday I was complaining about my current employment. If idle hands are the devil's playground, then my mitts must be Beelzebub's freaking theme park, I'm so bored. Regardless. It's local. It's work in the arts, which is something I've been pining for. It must pay at least what I'm making now, very probably more, considering the amount of responsibility in question.

What the hell. I'll go to the interview. I'll see if they're interested. We'll just have to wait. And. See.

Oh, the possibilities...

My girlfriend, who is an actor like myself, is developing a mild quandary. Yeah, it's the kind of day where I use words like quandary. Try to work with it.

Anyway. She's currently in rehearsals for a production of The Man Who Came to Dinner, a show which I understand takes place in the 1930's, or so. Not really important to the quandary at hand (there it is again), but worth mentioning nonetheless.

Okay. Here's the problem: Her cast is short one actor; namely the role of her brother. He'd be about my age, and her cast has gone through two actors in the role already. Not going to hazard a guess why. Her director has suggestively asked her how I'm doing lately, once or twice. I told her to tell him, I'd be happy to do the part, but as a last resort.

Now: With that final hotel remark, I don't mean that I don't actually want to do it. I'm fine with it. The idea of cross-wiring her feelings for me as her boyfriend with her feelings for her on-stage sibling just make her go 'ewww', and I don't blame her. It's not something I'm ca-razy about either, but I'd be willing to suck it up if I had to in order to ensure that she has a full cast. Then of course, there'd be the ribbing from her co-stars, which I'm sure would be considerable. Eeesh.

The whole thing is laughable. I know this because I'm laughing. Oy. Ew, as well, while we're at it.

So, where does it go, and what happens next? Couldn't tell you. It wouldn't be the first time I've joined a cast mid-rehearsal, I've got a funny story or two for you concerning a production of Romeo & Juliet sometime, come to think of it... We'll just have to see what's what when the last resort actually hits.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Hooray For Being Assertive

Good day in the morning. Shazam!

I have to say, it's nice to find that being the tiniest bit pushy every now and again can yield pleasing results. How, you ask? And with what example?

I'm associated with a certain agency that, granted, used some pushiness of their own to get me to sign in the first place (but at the cheap rate I paid to record a Demo CD, it was a steal); and has done nothing since. I paid for a demo CD track to be recorded so I can start putting my voice out in the public and hopefully start getting a little work in that department. I'm not going to hold my breath, but the sooner I dive in, the better.

Due to the fact that I have a day job, the availability of recording slots has effectively been cut in half. Even more so with rehearsals and performances for Proof. After the last slot I tried for didn't work out, I walked away from it for a while. Nothing else to be done. So, now that my nights are once again free (or at least reasonably priced), I've been endeavoring to schedule a new recording slot. No such luck.

The agency didn't pick up the phone, so I left a message. Then a second one. I called the recording studio. Likewise frosty shoulders abound. So, what did I do? I got Assertive. Hooray!

I called up the Agency one more time, Saturday (when I know for a fact they are open), and left them a message saying that I had been trying to get in touch for some time. I'd paid for my recording time and was looking forward to using it soon. If they didn't get back to me, there was going to be a problem. (Didn't say what kind, but refunds are never fun, are they.)

Now, I've gotten two calls in the same hour from the agency, ready to make it happen. Shazam. I may not be the man from Monte Carlo, but I feel pretty darn good in spite of it.

The Time Traveler's Wife

I think it's about time we broke this place in with a good book review, don't you? Therefore, re: the following; a good book.

Honestly, The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger is the best book I've read this year. It follows the lives of Clare and Henry, with excerpts (from a single paragraph to several pages long in each instance) from their lives, from their individual perspectives. Here's the hitch: They're not exactly in chronological order.

Henry De Tamble suffers from 'Chrono-impairment', and as a result will find himself hurtling back and forth in his own life-time, with one or two visits beyond it at both ends. Not to be mistaken with Quantum Leap, Henry takes his body with him and materializes, naked, anywhere at all, provided that he has been there before. He (in his 30's) teaches himself (at age five) how to pick pockets. How to find spare clothes or something to eat in a building that's been closed for the night. How to defend himself. Namely, all the preparations one can make after landing in an unprecedented situation, again and again.

Clare and Henry have friends, they have left-over problems with exes. They have their high points and low points. Through it all, Henry helplessly vanishes in a gush of vacuum to some far-off place for hours or days at a time. Clare is always waiting for him to get back, safe and sound.

The beauty of this book is not the time-travel aspect, which plays a huge part throughout, but rather the developing relationship between Clare and Henry. She first encounters Henry when she is six, outside her house on her family's rather expansive property. He is about 40. He does not meet her for the first (sic) time until she is 20, and he is 28 in real time. She leaves one hell of an impression on him.

The detail Niffenegger put into bringing these two to life is, frankly, extraordinary. The characters have real fears, flaws, dark sides and doubts that are a part of them from beginning to end. They're real. I think that's what drew me to this book as much as anything else, although I am an admitted sci-fi geek.

I loaned a copy of TTW to a friend and co-star in Proof. She devoured it. I then made a gift of a new copy for her when her birthday came around, and she devoured it again. Another co-star had also read the book, and we spent three hours at a pizzeria (horrible service, incidentally) just talking about the book. I haven't done that before. I haven't come across a book good enough to warrant that before. At least not as a 'spur of the moment' thing.

I've read the book three times. If you have a romantic sinew in your body, you will love something in this book. I can't recommend it enough. Go. Go buy it now. I'll wait.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Hooray For Taxes (Sarcasm Detector Explodes)

I don't cry when my dog runs away
I don't get angry at the bills I have to pay

Well, that's half true. I don't have a dog, so it's impossible for me to cry about its running away. Bills, however, are another story. I pay my taxes. I'm not chipper about it, but I do it. However, for doing my part, I expect Uncle Sam to do his in return.

Not making enough last year to pay out extra in April, and having expenses in the arts actually entitled me to a refund. Yippee Skippee. I take the government's advice and file my taxes online. I get a little confirmation email saying that it went through. Four months later, I get a letter saying they never got it. "Technical Difficulties." They were kind enough to supply a paper copy of the replacement document. So, again, I fill it out and mail it. That was early October.

I kinda need that money. Since complaining isn't going to do anything, I might as well just carp about it to you lovely people. Thanks for the ear.

Friday, December 03, 2004

The Intangibility of Dreams

I'm a writer. I like writing. Some of my best material has come out of memorable dreams. (My best to date, actually, came from a dream less than a year ago.) I was asleep this morning, and I could feel the scene being laid.

I saw a small room with closed doors. There were about half a dozen or more characters, mostly men, all in the room. No two were the same, different ages, et cetera. They knew each other, and were about to talk about something important. I was there, ready to take notes, it was going to be a good one, I could tell.

I get lucky sometimes, and can remember vivid, sharp details about a dream. This time, I didn't even get to see it. I only had the slightest inkling of who they were. Having just recently re-read No Exit, it probably had an influence on the scenario. It was shaping up to be something impossible in real life; i.e. they were all the same person, at different points in his life, or something. The women present were people he'd known at one point or another. I'm not sure, and didn't get the chance to find out, because my alarm went off.

Stupid bad timing... Rrr.

Come to think of it, the best ones always seem to get interrupted. I remember one time in college, I was madly in love with this girl and it was completely unrequited. The only time I dreamt about her romantically (in the dream she started to kiss my hand), and my roommate woke me up. I was ready to throttle him. I didn't, but the dream was over and that was it.

Stupid bad timing... Rrr.

Ever see the Final Fantasy movie? The main heroine had a device that recorded and played back her dreams. Now that's something I wouldn't mind getting my hands on. Once you wake up, you have to focus to remember any details, otherwise they're gone forever. If you get to play out the dream in its entirety in the first place.

Sweet dreams, all.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Cartoon Penguin Waiter Army

I suppose it’s a good thing that those Penguin Waiters from Mary Poppins aren’t real
For if they were
I could take over the world
Me and my Cartoon Penguin Waiter Army
No longer content to animatedly serve up British delights to immortal pretty women
And their goofy but loveable chums with fake British accents who try to horn in on their Penguin schtick! As if stretching one’s pants until the crotch goes down to the ankles really makes one a Cartoon Penguin Waiter
Not hardly
You also need a bow tie… which he had but you also have to be very short and animated and have little beady eyes and that useless hand towel draped over one of your black flippers
But I’m off on a tangent
Me and my Cartoon Penguin Waiter Army
I would ask those Penguin Waiters to recruit their Penguin Friends
Penguin Butlers Penguin Maids Penguin Vallee’s Penguin Chefs! Ha ha!
And all the Cartoon Penguin employees in the world would rise up with their beady little eyes and look of disdain on their beaks
And you couldn’t do it with real Penguins, no
Real Penguins couldn’t take the heat of the non-arctic climates
But Cartoon Penguins? They can go ANYWHERE
Waddling the waddle of a Penguin Army that’s right pissed off and
They’re not gonna take it anymore!
No one could stop them, not this Cartoon Penguin Army. Why?
Because you can’t hurt a cartoon animal
Except with Dip but the last tank of that stuff was hit by a Cartoon Train
And run out of town. So, dodged that bullet.
They wouldn’t need weapons, although I would issue cute cartoon green helmets for my troops
No these penguins would walk right up to you, jump up in the air for two seconds and
Pip pip pip
Slap you in the face! As only a Cartoon Penguin Waiter can.
And there’s only so much face slapping a nation will take before they bow down before the only man who knows how to call off
The Face-Slapping Cartoon Penguin Waiter Army
Make them stop, the nations’ leaders would beg, between the consecutive
Pip pip pips Slaps in the face.
And I’d say sure but first I need one hundred million dollars from all the countries that can afford it and then we’ll talk.
Pip pip pip.
And once the world was secured in my unquestioned control, I’d say
Hey, Cartoon Penguin Fellas. Have some sardines. Give your flippers a rest.
And my Cartoon Penguin Army would unanimously nod their heads at the great idea, go off, have some cartoon sardines, and get back to work as Cartoon Penguin servants.
It’s just a good thing for the world that that can never happen. It’s all I’m saying. It’s just a good thing.

No Biz Like Show Biz, No Biz I Know

Well isn't showbiz a bitch. I got all excited yesterday about this opportunity to try out for a non-union voice-over for the History Channel. They need someone to do 'mature' voicework with French and Italian accents, for a biopic on Leonardo Da Vinci. So, during business hours, I called up Central Casting. I get two sentences out before I'm told I sound way too young for the part.

Never mind the fact that as an actor I can sound older or younger if I wish. Character voices are my thing. I can pull off a damn good Gollum, I think I could manage to add a few decades to the old vocal cords. It wouldn't be the first time I've played someone of advancing years. Oh well. Too young. "Are you in the voice-over business?" I sheepishly admit I'm trying to break in to that field.

"Oh. Well. That's really not what we're looking for." And this conversation is over. I politely thanked the woman for her time, and hung up. Dammit.

Bloody double-standard catch-22. Can't get a job without experience. Can't get experience without a job. Ugh. I have the means to make the oh-so-important voiceover demo, but without the time to get it done, I'm screwed. God.

I'm beginning to get that old feeling again, the one where I'm losing momentum. It's not a good feeling, stagnance. Rather hate it, myself. It doesn't look like this is shaping up to be a good day. Marvelous. We'll have to see what else comes down the line. What other option is there?

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Thinking Too Much

There is something that's been a part of me for much longer than I've been able to put a name to it. It's been integral to me since I've been self-aware, and only relatively recently was I able to label it. This forum seems to be as likely a place to talk about it as I'm going to find, so here goes.

I think too much.

People have been telling me that for years, and I didn't quite understand what they meant when they said "Don't think too much." I now see what they meant, and it comes with the knowledge that there is absolutely nothing I can do to change it.

I'm not so self-absorbed as to miss the fact that I'm not the only person who thinks this way. Thanks to the web, I've found online sites that describe in pretty vivid detail exactly what I'm talking about. I've just never met another person like me, well, in person. The people I see walking around aren't wearing the expression of slight distraction, or preoccupation with several things at once. Or at least, not perpetually.

I habitually put way too much thought into any one topic, or a few at the same time. As I come to look at a thing, topic, idea, story, or fact from every conceivable angle, rather than come to a stop; I jump the fence and start looking at a tangent, or god help us, something completely random and unrelated. It's just the way things are.

Now, this has nothing to do with intelligence. I'm not a genius. The complexities of mathematics elude me like a jackelope with half an hour's head start. I have no great mind for the sciences, either. Chemistry, biology, technology, it's all Greek to me. Which I don't speak. It's just that I always have to be thinking about something, regardless of how smart I am.

Here's an example: I'll be driving to work, listening to the radio. Suddenly I'll find myself taking apart the DJ's use of grammar. A few different ways to convey what he just said pop into my head, unasked for.

I analyze. I read voraciously. I lie awake at night in bed for half an hour before I fall asleep. I have conversations with myself because I have nothing better to do, and it helps to occupy the stock ticker in my head.

There are upsides. If I come across a personal problem I don't think I can handle, I'm able to relax a bit, because I know it's only a matter of time before my mind breaks it down into something I can figure out. Regardless of whether or not I'm actively poring over it.

Also, writing is easier for me than it is for some people. They ask me how I come up with ideas for Slam Poetry, I tell them it just comes out. Stream-of-consciousness stuff is my specialty. And with fiction: when the vein hits, it's like a floodgate opening up. My fingers just have to keep up to pin the ideas down, before they get replaced by whatever's coming after them. The plots I have lined up for Tuxxer are going to be long, intricate, and complex. It's easier to keep track of what goes where, when, etc., because of the overactive cerebellum.

It does get tiresome. There are a few ways to help ignore it, for a while. Watching a good movie for the first time. Meeting new people and getting to know them. Having a drink or three. Sex. Correction: Sex with the right person. With the wrong person, it only adds to the list of things to think about. With the right person, everything stops. And it's marvelous.

Apart from reading too much into what people say and do, which can have disastrous consequences, the other greatest downside to the whole bag is the capacity to worry. With a fertile imagination as its vehicle, one can dream up all sorts of disasters to explain why a loved one hasn't called or come home yet, on a rainy night. Can't turn it off, can only change the station or try to ignore it. Them's the breaks.

It's a horrible cliche', but it's still true: I wouldn't change the way I think if I could. I'm not saying don't try to change my mind on things. But the amount of thinking that goes on... that's okay. Yeah, it occasionally sucks beyond all reason, but it also partially defines me. I'm unique for it, and a dozen other quirks. The last thing I'd want to be in this world is mundane, or mediocre. Standing out of line a bit can only be a good thing. Hell, when I was in elementary school, I prized being called weird. What can I say.

I wonder if this is how Radio DJ's feel; talking to people who they can't see, and can't be certain they're really listening. It's a bit of a comfort, the quasi-anonymity (as anonymous as I can be, with my picture, name, and home town in the corner. Dumbass.) in this. It's no coincidence that the first day I blog is the day I expound on the biggest, oldest issue I have. Hooray for the internet.

Adios. There will be more later. I guarantee it.

Leta, Leta, Leta

I'd like to tip my non-existant hat to a lovely lady named Leta Hall.

We've been friends for nearly a year now, since a production of Six Degrees of Separation at the Silver Spring Stage. Her beau, David, was a costar of mine in the show. She blogged ( about me in September, and sent me a link. She said some genuinely nice things about my acting, and later congratulated me for getting into the show I'm in now. When I need a pick-me-up of the spiritual variety, I go back to it for the pat on the back.

Leta rocks, frankly. I use that term a lot, 'to rock'. It's simple, it's pure, it rocks. There is beauty in simplicity.

The thing that draws people to Leta is her open nature. She's 100% approachable. She's direct, an admirable quality we happen to share. She's also one of those people that I have never seen without a genuine smile on her face, which is infectious. Granted, there are vapid people out there that smile perpetually, that don't know any better. Leta isn't one of that sort. She's just remarkably adept at handling what life throws at her.

The other thing about her is that she's a girl. I'm not referring to the fact that she's female (which should be obvious enough from her name), but that she's young where it counts. Part of her has never grown up, and that's admirable.

I know my inner child is around here somewhere. Where he's gotten to, I haven't the foggiest. The poor bastard's probably lost, knowing me. And rather than stay put; he'll run around the entire mall, to places he thinks he's smart enough to deduce I'd likely go. Kids. What can I tell you.

Survival Traits

Survival Traits
Staying Alive
Avoiding being dead for long stretches of time if possible
the difference between life and death can be as simple
And Crucial
as weak bowels. Take a look at Skunks
Yes Skunks
Take a look at Skunks not the swaggering black and white creatures of today
that instinctually raise a stink at the drop of a loud hat
No no I’m referring to the meager modest mostly miserable mammals
of Millenia ago
They were black and white back then too but they were Nature’s “Ho-Ho”
Small scruffy things that were too slow to get away from the predators
Til One day in the jungles of the dark
A leopard leapt out at a Skunk and the following went through the Skunk’s brain
“… Shit!!”
Fittingly Ironic, the same thing went through the Skunk’s Posterior
and WHEW the Leopard was so disgusted he vomited a little bit and stalked away
And the Skunk thought to himself “I’m gonna have to remember that one.”
So nowadays rather than simply defecating in terror the Skunk has developed a gland to produce a stench far worse than anything that ever left the ass of creatures walking the earth.
The same thing happened to Squids, who took a different tack of getting there
Back, millennia ago, the Squid had no major tricks up its many many sleeves
Til one day it thought to itself, ‘You know what would be useful?
It would be a lot easier catching food if I could grab it with all these damn tendrils
So instead of tendrils it grew tentacles and little suckers covered every inch of its many many limbs
And this worked for a while Before the squid was attacked by a shark and his thoughts went in the following manner.
“I’ll use my many suckers to… get attached to this thing trying to eat me. SHIT!!”
And suddenly the waters of the deep were that much darker as the foul fluid plumed towards the would be predator. Now, of course, it has ink rather than feces
Unless a marine biologist in the audience wishes to inform me that the ink is still shit
We call that a Survival Trait.
Makes one think we are in fact related to the Skunk and the Squid
One or the other or Both
Because man has been known to defecate in the presence of certain- or near-certain doom
Of course, shitting ones’ self is not always the appropriate survival response
Behold the Two-Toed Sloth So named for its pair of claw-like nails and it’s penchant for inactivity.
But back in that millennia ago, when the leopard was stalking the skunk, the Sloth was in this time faster than rabbits and leopards and leapt like a cricket into the trees of the jungles of the dark.
And there it stayed for all of four seconds
For it had no means to stay in the trees it had found such brief salvation in
As it plummeted back to the stinking scenario beneath it, the falling Sloth had the following thoughts
For it should be mentioned that animals can think faster than anything that walks on two legs
As it plummeted the Sloth had the following Thoughts
“…. Whew. Whoah, Shit!... SHIT! That didn’t help. You know what would have been useful here? Long curved claws so that I could stay high and dry from the shit-covered Leopard.”
And by a miracle the Sloth landed on the Leopard’s head, knocking him face first into the steaming pile of its own vomit and the Skunk’s survival trait. Blinded and unable to smell anything but Skunk Poo the Leopard was far too distracted to notice the rapidly retreating Sloth.
The rest is history. The Sloth grew longer nails, and eventually learned it was far easier eating leaves which didn’t move, since the Sloth’s now notoriously extended toes made running an impossibility.
There are other examples of course, but none so poignant or hopefully entertaining. Learning when to stop is a survival trait I have picked up on my own, with shitting myself never being part of the learning process.

Except for the once.

Bunny, Bunny

Now that we've broken it in, it's time for the first non-introductory entry here.

It's December first. Bunny, Bunny.

What's with the rabbits, you ask? The answer's simple, if not short. I have been a great fan of Gilda Radner since I was in elementary school. Since then, nothing has changed. She was a remarkable woman and comedian, that fell completely into any role she made for herself on Saturday Night Live. She was also the very first person cast on the show. Lorne Michaels knew what he was looking for, and Gilda had it.

In October, I came across a book about her, with fond stories from people that knew her best. One interesting thing about Gilda was that on the first day of every month, she would say "Bunny, Bunny" out loud, for good luck. Her dreams came true in a lot of ways, so I'm not about to knock it.

Okay. Enough sentimental stuff. But I did want to share that.

Always a First Time

Ah, the maiden voyage. Where'd I leave that champagne... for the smashing against boats, of.

Here's what you can look forward to, you lucky reader, you. Poetry that I've just recently finished (and not so recently), updates on the progress of my comic book, Tuxxer, and of course, the deluge of whatever flotsam manages to drift out of my head and onto the keyboard, via my calloused fingers. I type a lot.

Why the name Tuxxer? Why not. Tuxxer is the name of a character (Yes, a vampire, I'm a dork, we're moving on.) I created about eight years ago, to enthusiastically embody my id. What I wanted to say, he said.

He's resourceful, clever, witty, and quite the smartass. His mission in fictional life is not to be in charge, but rather to be indispensable to whoever is. Too many people are after the head that wears the crown. He'd much rather be adjacent to the throne.

The other appeal of the name is that it is mine. The greats like Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, Spider-Man; original characters with names that are just sum totals of other words. I invented the word Tuxxer, it sounds like nothing else in particular, I even trademarked it. I am trying to publish a comic book with the title, after all. When in doubt, make it up.

All right, I think that's good for the first verbal volley at your attention. Cheers, and be well.