Mental Flotsam, Mental Jetsam

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

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Here Comes The Groom, Not Any Time Soon

I recently found out that another friend of mine asked a girl to marry him. She said yes. After the initial shock wore off (I’ve known this guy for years), I heartily shook his hand and congratulated him.

And now I’m thinking.

He tipped the scale, for me. It was the case, before his mentioning his impending nuptials; that only a relative few friends of mine had gotten hitched. A friend and co-star from Theatre IV was married when we met. Another has gotten married in the last year. I attended a cousin’s wedding a little over two years ago, and now she’s expecting her first child. Two ex-girlfriends have since started families of their own. My brother got married almost an exact year ago. Two friends of mine are engaged to each other and have been for a year. And now… another good friend of mine has popped the question, ring in hand.

I suddenly can’t help but feel like a nine year old who finds himself wanting a toy he’s never played with, for the sole fact that everyone else seems to want one. Oy. Not that Marriage is a toy, or a game, or anything like it. I’m grasping for similes here, I fall back on old verbal tools when I’m nervous.

The friends of mine that have gotten married, I rarely see anymore. They’ve got their own lives enmeshed with someone else, which is fine. That’s the way it works. That’s *how* it works. And now?

I’m only 24! Twenty! Four! I haven’t given marriage a second thought in a long time, because for starters it would involve… being involved with someone. That isn’t the case, nor do I expect it to be again any time soon. Still sorting things out on that end… And yet, here I am, starting to wonder with optimism and curiosity what it would be like to prepare to spend the rest of my life with one person. Every day.

I don’t know. Ever since I realized I wanted to act for a (sic) living, I accepted the fact that a traveling lifestyle (which I’ve enjoyed, and hope to experience again soon) didn’t leave a whole lot of room for romance, save the long-distance variety or the dating of a castmate. On the road? Dating a castmate would be a horrible idea. If things don’t work out, you’re stuck working with that person for the rest of the season. That’s it. Long distance was okay, I wasn’t crazy about it but I did give it my all. When the chance came for it.

Now I’m 24, I’m single, I’m not in any shows, and that bloody E-Harmony commercial for finding a mate is looking the tiniest bit tempting. Find a lifemate! Now! Woohoo! That’s about the time when I change the channel.

I don’t want to get married. I enjoy and appreciate the self-dependence. HOWEVER: I can easily entertain thoughts of a time when I might want to get married. And boy, does that give me pause. A world of pause.

Thoughts? Comments?

Friday, May 27, 2005

Time For An Overhaul

Great day in the morning!

For the last few days, I’ve given serious thought to turning Tuxxer into a television pilot. I’ve got a book or two on the subject, and I’m no stranger to writing scripts in their proper format. That’s not what I’m immediately jazzed about.

I’m immediately jazzed about an idea I had last night after reading some chapters in The Screenwriter’s Bible. One of the suggestions it offers, if you’re stuck, is to change the gender of a main character. Which is exactly what I’ve done. Tuxxer has been replaced… with Tahnima.

Tahnima and Tuxxer are virtually identical, personality-wise. Everything I loved about the character has remained; but the possibilities I’ve opened up by exchanging him for a woman are far and wide. I’m very excited.

Yes, this will require the comic book to be re-done. Only certain facets of other characters are being changed to adapt to this new alteration... and the art needed fixing anyway, unfortunately. Either way, I'd have had to do it over and this time, I've already got my team in place, for the most part. I don't know where I'm going to get the money to pay for it all, but we'll see. I'll make *something* happen.

I don’t want to give away too much, but I will say this: Tuxxer still exists as a character. He will make his appearances… but since his priority has changed, it’s opened up new possibilities for him, as well. And new choices.

Outstanding. I’ve already started work. I can’t wait to see where it goes. Adios!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Again, and Again, and Again

I’ve put three more copies of my comic book Tuxxer into the mail; sending it out into the world to would-be publishers. This brings the total to six submissions, with two rejections so far. Keep your fingers crossed.

Here's Hoping Some Work Comes Out Of It

I took the plunge and invested a little money in my voice-overs. There’s a website,, that allows those like myself to see dozens of notices for voice-over work, and answer them immediately. New ones come in literally every day. The site is very neatly done, well organized, and I even have my own page up on the site, where I posted my new headshot and both of my demo’s.

I’ve wanted to do voice-overs since I was in High School. Due to laziness and other effects amounting to a lack of motivation, I didn’t get demo’s made until *this year*. Oy. I joined one agency that hasn’t done much for me besides get the demo’s recorded, which was all I wanted out of them anyway. I sent my demo’s out to other agencies, with either a lukewarm response, or none at all.

Now, I feel like it’s back in my hands, a bit. It sure as heck beats sending out demo’s to people and businesses that never asked for them in the first place. Keep your fingers crossed. I’ll let you know if and when any genuine work comes my way. Or rather, I go and find said work…

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes

Every so often, I have a dream that will stay with me, long after I wake up. This morning was one such occasion. While I doubt this particular one will stay with me forever (like other ones I’ve had, it remains pertinent for the moment.

There were three scenes I remember most vividly: The first was a big patriotic party. Music, tables with paper tablecloths, people having fun. I had been in a war, and saved someone’s life, or something along those lines. Everyone wanted to shake my hand. Richard Schiff, the actor that plays Toby Ziegler on West Wing, came up to me and told me he was going to make sure I was President someday. Weird.

Next, I was in the garage of a funeral home. There was a hearse parked there. There were maggots covering the floor, and my brother and I were walking over them. Ick. Then we started wrapping several books with newspaper. I asked him why we were doing it, and he said something like “So they can’t see what’s underneath” or something appropriately cryptic.

Next thing I know, he’s pressing this spot on my back, which hurts like crazy. I can scarcely think about anything else. (It’s worthy of noting that this isn’t the first time I’ve dreamt of someone touching this spot on my back. It doesn’t exist in the real world, but in my dreams if someone presses it, it hurts like hell. The last time I had that aspect of a dream was years ago.)

Finally, I’m in my own neighborhood, and for whatever reason, I’ve decided to go for a run. I’m fast, and I cover a lot of ground with ease. I see some kids playing, and run right by them. I should mention the fact that in real life, I hate to run. I go for a good walk a few times a week (when it’s not raining), but running is just a pain in the ass. If it were as easy as it was in my dream, I’d probably enjoy it a lot more.

Anyway; that’s what I dreamed of last night. More to follow.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Shakespeare Wrote Fondly of Sleep... Because He Could Never Get Any

I’ve been having difficulty sleeping for about a week, off and on. Not able to nod off until 2, then this morning I kept jarring awake at 4 and 5 in the morning. I was having a nightmare that the numbers in my clock/radio/alarm wouldn’t add up, so I had to keep checking to make sure they were going the right way. Weird stuff.

I’m not a fan of the insomnia. I know there are things on my mind that are contributing to it, but I’m not really able to do anything at the moment to resolve any of them, at least not from my perspective. Maybe I should just keep a rubber mallet by my bedside and tap myself lightly about the head until unconsciousness resumes. It’d be worth it to get a good night’s sleep. Besides, as my mother is fond of reminding me, my skull is plenty thick. It’s not going to be damaged by a rubber mallet. Right?

Thursday, May 19, 2005

What do you do?

Much as we might like to think otherwise, some people will never entirely leave us. Old girlfriends, or boyfriends. Childhood pals. People we knew in High School. One such person is currently sticking in my subconscious like a seed caught between two molars: You can’t get rid of it, and you can’t ignore its presence.

There was a girl I knew in High School. After a lousy first impression on my part, it took a lot of time to become friends with her. Good friends. In the past, I’ve been the sort who’s relied at least partially on the opinions of others for something of a compass. I like to think I’ve grown more independent, but there were people I considered important, and their views of me equally important. It will come as no surprise to know that this girl was important.

Some friendships take more work than others to maintain. This one certainly required the most effort to establish, because frankly, I was a dork in High School. I moved to a new school my sophomore year and as a result, was a bit overzealous in making new friends. This one person… oy. I wanted to be friends with the local theatre crowd very badly, since even then I knew it was going to be my primary interest. I achieved a success for the most part, but made a flaming wreck of trying to get to know this one girl in particular.

It’s been seven years since I graduated from high school. It may not sound like a lot, but it certainly feels like it. There are exactly two people I keep in regular contact with from those days; a teacher and a dear friend who I never lost touch with in the first place. I’ve run into old classmates (and theatre cohorts) sporadically, but those conversations have been just to play catch-up and then say goodbye.

The other night, this very girl popped up in a dream of mine. I’ve wondered what she’s been up to, since she’s one of the only graduates of my class to pursue acting professionally, like myself. I haven’t seen her in person since before 9/11. And I can’t contact her. For one thing, the phone number I had for her must be long out of date now. For another, I’d no doubt seem like a stalker to just randomly pop up out of the blue after so much time has gone by, to ask how she’s doing. (Remember Fargo, anyone?) That’s the last thing either of us need.

I just… miss her. I miss a lot of the friends I made in High School and fell out of touch with. Her especially. And not knowing a thing as to what she’s up to these days is a regret I can’t fill in.

I think part of the motivation to look her up is that as of this year, no one I knew at college will be there anymore, either. Old haunts are falling so far behind me that going back now would be like wandering through a ghost town, occupied by strangers. That, I don’t need.

Any suggestions or helpful comments would be gratefully appreciated. See you on the other side.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Got New Headshots

Businessmen have business cards. Everyone has some sort of résumé to take with them on prospective job interviews. Of course, your normal businessman doesn’t necessarily find himself having to reprint his card every two to three years. Unless of course, he gets a raise and a promotion.

It’s a bit different for those of us in showbiz. Time and tide dictate that our faces gradually change, and therefore we need new headshots, periodically, every three to four years. The whole point of the headshot is to capture who you are, in one perfect picture. It’s hopefully attention-grabbing, and serves to let the castor know who the heck you are without having ever met you.

I was hoping, being baby-faced as I am, that I could go a good while (another year at least) without needing an update to my showbiz card. Then I got an awakening at Irma Vep, where my headshot was deliberately replaced with a picture taken weeks ago. The sad fact was that I no longer looked my old headshot.

It’s bloody convenient having a brother with a photographic eye. Andrew has been an artist for over a decade, and the camera lens has become one of his best mediums. He also agreed to take my headshots pro bono because he’d never done it before and was looking to get into the field. Headshots are a tricky, specific business. And he did a great job.

Now I can face my next auditions knowing I look like the guy in the photo I’ll be handing out. Thanks, bro.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

I Want to Toss My Cookies

Not feelin’ good. No sir. I’m confident it’s just nerves, this time tomorrow I’ll be stepping on the Metro to head for DC… to audition for the Chicago Shakespeare Company. Scary stuff.

The last two nights, I haven’t been able to get to sleep until almost 2 o’clock. Last night I had the presence of mind to put the restlessness to use, and drilled monologues while I paced. I’m a pacer. I’ve found that it’s easier to memorize lines standing up, since odds are one will be standing up to deliver them, too. I’ve been a pacer ever since.

One of my college friends is auditioning today. I called her phone and told her I was crossing my fingers. I’ve prayed for her, too.

And this is how it goes: Since High School, I’ve never been able to sleep before a big audition, and this one’s the biggest I’ve had in a year. Restlessness, fitful dreams, and a little nausea are par for the course. If nothing else, it reaffirms that I’m in the right line of business, to take it so seriously.

I have my own mantra when it comes to all that nervous energy. At the time of try-outs, I see it as this huge, crushing wave approaching a beach. I have two options: I can let it crush me like a sap, or I can ride on top of it and look pretty good doing it. Most of the time, I’ve managed to hang ten. Tomorrow will essentially be no different a challenge.

And now, for your reading pleasure, my imitation of the Fonz. Aaaaaaaaaay.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Say a Prayer & Cross Your Fingers

On Friday, I have auditions with the Chicago Shakespeare Company. It’ll be the first professional audition I’ll have had in months. I’m excited. I’m also nervous as hell, and don’t plan on sleeping regularly for the rest of the week… which is as it should be.

I would *love* to have work again in my field, real work. In the Spring of 2006, they’ll be performing at Stratford Upon Avon. Yeah. Swan Theatre. SHA. ZAM. Sha-freaking-Zam. I’m not one to count chickens before they hatch. I’m not one to put all of my eggs in one basket (ironically, both involving eggs). Still. If nothing else, I’m very excited at the prospect of real work, again. Which is enough to give it everything. And that’s all I got.

So say a little prayer, and cross some fingers. Because either way, Friday is going to rock.

Friday, May 06, 2005

This Made My Afternoon

Someone who shall remain nameless (if it is their real name, very doubtful) emailed this to me this afternoon. The typos are his:

Attn: I am ***** ****.attorney to Late paulton Allen a foreigner and an Engineer with Atlas Engineering Co.Late paulton Allens has an account with B.I.DB. which he set up in 1980.He died in 1996 in Benin Republic of West Africa. I received a memo early this year from the international remittance unit of Banque .Internationale Du.Benin(B.I.D.B) for an interview about $45M USD that belongs to my client Late P.Allen ,The Bank informed me on their policy to Freeze the account of Late Paulton Allen and redirect his funds $45m usd back to government treasury because they saw no next of kinin his entire file within the bank and his acct has been dormant for many years which is against the policy of the B.I.DB. I am contacting you because of the need to involve a foreigner with foreign account as the foreign beneficiary to that fund.I have resolved to share the money in this ratio.50% for me,35% for you ,10% for the remittance manager in the bank who has agreed to guide us for the success of our objectives and 5% for expences we might incurre in the processing of this transaction. I will need your full name and address,including your bank account informations where the funds will be processed into. i will also need your telephone and fax numbers for oral communications too.I will start the processing of all the legal documents to back up your claim immediately you send all the required information.I will give you further details on the entire process when i receive your positive response. Rrgards ***** ****

Yeah. Sure. Pull the other one. Still, feeling a healthy dollop of venom collecting in my fingers, I was obligated to reply with the following:

Good afternoon.

Tell me, does anyone ever actually *fall* for this scam? I can't imagine anyone in their right mind being willing to hand over *any* kind of important information to someone they've never heard of before, in a poorly written email, claiming to be a vague foreigner using a YAHOO account.

You're an idiot. Get a new job.


A man with a brain in his head.

Anyone else have good stories of crap like this making it to your inbox?

Doing Anything On The 29th?

There’s going to be a Poetry reading on the evening of the 29th at 6 o’clock in DC. No food, but drinks will be available. I’m inviting you to check it out, and see if you’d like to join me there. I’m going to be one of 10 featured poets who will be reading/reciting for your listening pleasure. *Sweet.* Tickets are going to be $10.

As an added bonus, Bruce George (basically the Father of Slam Poetry) will be in attendance. I’m going to meet him after the show, and he’s going to be talking with me and the other poets. Sounds like a lot of fun.

Hope to see you there.

Identity Theft

It’s funny. Identity Theft falls into the category of things you think can’t happen to you. It happens to someone you hear about, or someone you know, but that’s it. It doesn’t happen to you.

I found out this morning that someone has been using my account in Canada, making a few purchases. I haven’t been to Canada in over a decade; and unless I had a *serious* lapse in memory, I wasn’t there yesterday when the charges were made.

The reason I find it a little amusing is because I’m not really upset about it. The bank card has been frozen, I can spare the money that was erroneously spent until the bank credits it back to me, and I get a new card in about a week. That’s it. End of story. Hopefully the jerk (or jerkette, I won’t deny the possibility it was a woman) will get caught, but I won’t be holding my breath ‘til it happens. I haven’t done anything irresponsible with my account or my credit info, so I don’t know how the person got a hold of it. I’m sure I couldn’t guess.

Regardless, let this be a warning, dear readers. Take an extra measure of care with your money, lest some jerk do to you what has been done to me. However it managed to happen. That’s all I got at the moment.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Take a Letter, Maria-- er, Tuxxer

This afternoon, I’m sending out two more copies of my comic book, Tuxxer, for potential publishing. Two more comic labels on my list… in no particular order. Both of these are going in the mail, as opposed to being wired electronically-- so it’ll be some time before I hear something. Weeks, at the very least.

I’m not a patient guy, half the time. Fortunately, it’s this half that I can tolerate a little waiting, with not too much agonizing anticipation. I’m very impatient if it’s a matter of my getting to something, reaching it. If it’s on its way to me, and there’s nothing I can do to accelerate its arrival, then that’s a horse of a different color. I can wait.

Not forever, but I can wait. I’m also keeping track of where my baby gets sent to, so that I don’t accidentally ship it to the same company twice. How embarrassing would that be?
Regardless. Out she goes, today. Twice. That makes it three down… eight more to go. Eeep.

Crazy Low Blood-Sugar Craving Afternoon

It’s at least slightly odd that all of a sudden, this afternoon, about the time I usually get an appetite; my stomach skipped hungry and went straight to starving. I mean bloody ravenous. I microwaved and devoured my half-a-tiny-chicken (Cornish game hen), scarfed down an apple and a zip-loc bag of goldfish crackers, then nonchalantly made my way to a co-worker’s desk where she’s known to generously keep a bowl of mini candy bars. I was flat-out craving a Milky Way, which was fortunate because her cache happened to include one. I wolfed the miniature thing down in one very satisfying bite.

Well. That was weird. I generally don’t have much of a sweet tooth, I much prefer the salty stuff (Salted and roasted sunflower seeds are a good way to make me happy). Instead, for the ten minute feeding frenzy, all I could think was ‘More food. More sugar.’ Pardon the term, but I was jonesing pretty hard. And just as quickly as it descended on my taste buds, it’s vanished again. Sated, I hope, for a good long while.

Not that I have anything against candy bars. They’re darn tasty. But I’ve been eating healthy for some time, mostly, and I’d like to keep it that way.

Go figure.

Monday, May 02, 2005

48 Hours to Make a Movie

This weekend, Washington DC Hosted a contest in which seventy-two teams had exactly two days to make a movie from one of twelve genres. The selection of which genre it was going to be was random.

I was on a team, Sockface Films, captained by Jack Swiker. I did work on a student film of his last year, which was a lot of fun. He asked me if I was interested in being in another of his movies and I said yes.

Our team ended up picking the mystery genre, which turned out to be a lot of fun. At 8 o’clock on Friday night, the race began and the writers started plotting out the 7-minute story to be shot the following day. I played a character named Robert, a gritty cop that sounded a great deal like Michael Madsen. I passed some time between shots, quoting “Are you going to bark all day, little doggie… or are you going to bite?” Heh.

Shooting was really quite interesting. I’ve only ever acted on film once before, and the chance to do multiple takes was very cool. The filming wrapped up around 11:30 Saturday night, and that was the end of my contribution. The editors took over from there… The movie, Pinot Noir (get it?) will be playing Wednesday night in Silver Spring. I wish I could make it myself, but I’ve got a previous engagement that evening with the improv troupe, the Comedy Pigs.

I can’t wait to see the finished product. If I’m lucky, I’ll get a copy to keep for myself… I’ll let you know how it comes out!

Sunday, May 01, 2005

It's the First of the Month

Bunny, bunny.