Thursday, October 13, 2011

What I'm doing, dramatically, Early Fall 2011

Call and Response's real title became Descending Harmony. It's been submitted. We are waiting.

Am trying to get some fundraising going for BHF.

Still attending classes at Lifebook.

Still going to Daniel Hoff in hopes of getting him to be a commercial agent for me.

Started Groundlings classes with Jordan Black. I recognize him from TV. *geek snort*

Did an industrial: conversations in English for people learning English as a second language to listen to.

Updated website, trying to organize CGETC.

Hm. I don't think I'm doing enough.

Oh! I'll be shooting a short film, Forget You, in December.

Still working on scripts, etc. I want to be doing less of that and more acting. Where are the auditions?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

What I'm doing, dramatically, Summer 2011

Let's see, when last we spoke, I was preparing for the 48 hour film festival.

That happened. Our film can be seen if you look around the website at

Since then, that group has made another film, the working title of which is Call and Response. We will be submitting it for consideration to Sundance.

I continue to produce the web series Bureau of Home Furnishings.

Several writers from WMM have approached me to ask about my being in their movies, but no dates have been set.

My acting class at Lifebook is going well. I'm preparing to audition for the showcase.

I've submitted myself to an agency where I have a reference, and gone to an open call for another.

I plan to take Groundlings classes as soon as I can.

This making movies thing is really pretty cool. Next step, get paid for it.

Friday, July 22, 2011

What I'm doing, dramatically

And I'll try to keep you all up to date when new things arrive:

Joined the We Make Movies 48 Hour Film Festival Team as an Actor/Writer/Production Manager

Writing (and now editing) 3 scripts for the We Make Movies short film contest (winner gets $2000 to make their film): Zombie Jesus, Part 1; Who Are You?; and Hitchhiking for Kids

Stage Managing and attending classes taught by Allen Levin at Lifebook.

Writing and producing Bureau of Home Furnishings with Struggling Actors Productions.

Performing Monday nights at 7 with Opera del Espacio at sites around L.A.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Things to be thankful for

It's easy to feel overwhelmed. I'm fighting off a wave of it right now. I don't have a job, I'm about to begin a ten-day medical study for which I will be paid $1,980, I interviewed at Barnes and Noble for a position that pays $8.50 an hour and starts at 20 hours a week, and I've got a 6-month window to start a job as a telemarketer. And I just keep thinking things, unhelpful things, negative things, and I don't want to go there.

Instead I want to find the things I'm thankful for, and find the humor in all of this.

Being a lab rat might just be an awesome experience. I'll have loads of time to read and write, and at the end of it we'll have replenished our savings a little.

It may not be an exciting job, but darn it, there is a job waiting for me.

I can say no to a part-time job that pays crap.

I have an amazing husband who makes delicious meals for me, and he's a great actor.

We own so many awesome games.

I have no shortage of clothes because I keep finding them for free!

I am almost finished with the first edit of my book--I will finish during this ten-day study.

We live close to beaches. Real beaches.

We won tickets not only to the aquarium, but also to the Tim Burton exhibit at LACMA.

We have the most adorable dog in the world.

And those are just a few things.

Sunday, May 29, 2011


The sense of fullness and happiness is almost unbearable.

Belmont lies cuddled in Stina's arms, and I am about to write a blog about how wonderful it is to pursue your dreams, and, almost literally, live them.

My career is feeling gang-buster-ey. I had several auditions last week, and while I didn't get the job in any of them, I felt happy with how they went, saw room for improvement in myself, and got positive and constructive feedback from the people auditioning me. I'm meeting weekly with a group of actors in L.A., and have made contact and will be meeting with other groups of filmmakers and actors around L.A. I qualified for The Groundlings professional track courses, and plan to take them in a few weeks. A children's theater company is interested in my directing a show for them. Finally, the subject of today's blog is about the amazing experience Stina and I both had on the set of Transients yesterday, where we performed as featured, if silent, players in a visually stunning and socially powerful movie with a target release date later this year.

I haven't mentioned it to the blogosphere before, but I've had an occasional recurring dream theme since childhood in which I am working as an actor alongside actors I admire but only know from their work. In general, the dreams tend to focus on what I can or should say or do in a professional setting to interest my fellow artists in working with me again. When I was a child, it was almost always Billy Crystal. Since moving to L.A., it has been a number of different actors, including Felicia Day of The Guild fame.

Two weeks ago, I answered a Craigslist ad looking for a stiltwalker. I sent the poster a link to my newly created website: The director responded soon thereafter (while we were with Stina's mom on our Disneyland Vacation, actually. Thank you, mobile phone internet!), and was interested in using Stina as a stiltwalker and me as a Living Statue in a scene set in an art park. The shoot was on location in Redlands, CA, about an hour away from L.A. by car, so we could only do it if the film could provide transportation for us. Rhianon Gutierrez, the director, assured us she would find a way to get us out there and back, so we agreed.

Jordan and Ariel arrived a few days later, and we had a grand time playing games with them, and talking about the world, puppies, kittens, and internet memes. Stina worked and I had auditions and interviews, but they amused themselves and Belmont while we were away. On Thursday, we went to the Santa Monica Pier and beach, and while there Michael, our CS friend from NOLA and NYC, called to let us know he was going to be in Los Angeles that evening. Later that day, we also learned that the transportation Rhianon had arranged for us would pick us up the night before and take us to a hotel in Redlands so Stina could be on set for a 6:30AM call.

Momentarily panicked, we asked Jordan and Ariel if they could watch Belmont overnight. They said yes, and, as luck would have it, that left a bed available for Michael to spend the night, too.

We had a nice, busy apartment for a few hours Friday evening, catching up with Michael and saying goodbye to Jordan and Ariel, who left the next morning for San Francisco.

At 9:45pm, our ride, Eric, one of the producers of Transients, arrived to take us to the Howard Johnson in San Bernadino. I felt like Eric looked out for us while on set, making sure we knew when we would be needed and looking for opportunities for us to shine in the film. He's also a director, and we talked about future projects of his on the way down...some of which might have a place for me. Stina and I shared a room with another couple, one of whom was the ASL interpreter for one of the PAs and the other of whom was an extra. We awoke at 5AM, grabbed a couple bagels from the lobby, and headed out to the set with Eric, where we met Rhianon and the other cast and crew of the movie.

Coming up in a moment, you will see Stina and me flip out with excitement. Rhianon is a very welcoming and capable director. She made us feel valued, respected, and like a part of the team of filmmakers who had been working on this project for almost a year. Rhianon took us around and introduced us to the ADs, the PAs, the make-up artists, and the cast. The woman being made up at the moment looked tremendously like another actor we had seen. A few moments later, Stina and I compared notes. We both worried that some ableist idea had reared its head. We saw one female actor in a wheelchair, and our brains jumped to the conclusion that she was the same actor we had seen in a wheelchair before.

We asked Melanie, the AC and an actor in the film (and UW SoD alum! We're going to her creativity jam on Wednesday.), if our brains could possibly be telling us we were, in fact, not ableist, and rather in the presence of unexpected awesome.

Turns out, we were in the presence of unexpected awesome. Stina jumped up and down a few times while I smiled broadly and gasped for air. Teal Sherer of The Guild fame had just shaken our hands, plays the lead in Transients, and was about to be in scenes with us. I immediately turned to the education my dreams had given me, preparing for this opportunity of a lifetime.

Between takes in the scene where my living statue character tells her Sandrine character "make your own story" with his eyes, I managed to overcome my shyness, tell Teal what fans we are of her work, and tell her how excited we were to be on the set with her. She responded with such openness and friendliness that we became friends. She told me a little about her production company and the work it does. I learned a little about a project her company did, which she called a "devised" project: essentially an original, ensemble-created work.

I think every serious theatre artist wants to do the same thing. Melanie talked about creativity jams; the Tiles project, before it was scrapped, was all about collaboration; all of Nikki's and Alissa's shows have varying degrees of original, ensembly goodness; and you know it's why I make theatre.

After my scene finished shooting, I visited Stina at one of the picnic tables, where she and the body artist working on her had been at it for three hours already. Tracy Kiggen and her assistant, Braidy Connolly, transformed Stina's upper body into a garden of flowers over the course of nine hours.Eric came by to let me know that the film would like me to walk on my stilts in the scene as well, and they'd be careful not to film my face so that no one can tell I'm the same actor as the red man from earlier in the scene. Poor Rhianon could do nothing about the fact that there was no costume for my stilt-ness, and we made do with my plain, old, un-artsy jeans.

Ali arrived and told me about Pazookies, a cookie covered in ice cream that everyone seems to agree is a must-try. Ali was Teal's umbrella holder and jacket placement expert. Yep, she had an umbrella holder. Such a diva. He's also her boyfriend.

Stina strode regally across the set. She waved her magic bubble wand and led the audience around the art park. Folks enjoying a day in the park asked for pictures with her. She hugged trees and maneuvered around sculptures as if she were born on stilts. You'll have to watch Transients to see it.

After a 12 hour day of being on set, we met Rhianon's family, and then Stina and I were driven home by Rhianon and Alex, the film's editor. Rhianon treated us to some In-N-Out burger. It was our first time at the legendary Californian restaurant. We talked about our visions for theater and film, and made indefinite plans to play games in the not-too-distant future. We made movie magic yesterday, and I'm sure we'll do it again sometime. I'm sure.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Traipsing has its consequences, a blog about Lyme Disease (Yay for doctor friends)

So, I have Lyme Disease.

On the Saturday of the Grilled Cheese Invitational (at which we took 4th), they put wristbands on us to signify our participant status. A few minutes afterwards, I noticed a welt on the palmside of my wrist. I blamed skin irritation from the wristband and ignored it.
By Monday, a few more hives had appeared and we worried that Belmont had fleas or I was having an allergic reaction to something.

By Saturday, I had lots of hives, and we were trying to eliminate allergens from my environment. I bought Benadryl and anti-itch ointment, but it wasn't having any effect on the hives.

On Tuesday I noticed the classic bullseye rash.

I worried. I read internet articles about Lyme disease. I contacted Jocelyn (our friend who just finished med school in New Orleans). I told Stina my fears via text. I sent a picture of the rash to Jocelyn. After seeing it, she agreed it was suspicious, verging on pathognomic (my new favorite word, look it up!).

On Jocelyn's advice, I sought a medical practitioner in my area. There's a low-cost clinic about a quarter mile from our house, so I walked down there.

The clinic only accepts new patients at 7AM, so, reassured by Jocelyn that a few hours wouldn't make too much difference, I waited until the next morning and arrived at 6:45 AM. I stood at the end of the already 40 person long line waiting for the doors to open. Once the line started moving, I soon came to a person who asked my name and wrote it on a list.

Inside, I and the 3 dozen other people took our seats while the woman who was writing down names explained the procedure for getting to see a doctor and what to expect in Spanish. She did not translate it into English. I was the only person in the room who did not speak Spanish. I went up to the counter afterwards, and she explained in English that I would wait until 11AM, then, if they thought they would be able to see me in the afternoon, they would ask me to come back at 1PM to continue waiting. There were no guarantees that I would be seen, and if I couldn't be seen after waiting all day, I could come back the next morning at 7AM to wait again.

I thanked her and re-took my seat and texted with Stina and Jocelyn about how I was feeling and what was happening. There were at least 60 people in the waiting room above the door to which read a sign "Maximum Occupancy: 40 Persons", and another 20 in the children's play area. I worried I wouldn't be seen. After 2 hours, another lady behind a desk (I don't know if they were nurses. I assume so.) called me up, and asked me for the reason for my visit today. I told her about the rash, and then went back to my seat. After 2 more hours, the original lady called me up and told me to come back at 1PM.

I went home, took Belmont out, re-charged my phone, half-heartedly looked for work on Craigslist (What if I were still waiting at the clinic tomorrow?), and ate lunch. Then I went back to the clinic. This time I brought a book (no magazines in the waiting room, sadly).

I went up to the lady behind the desk and told her I was back. She politely but disinterestedly waved me back to a chair. I read my book and texted with Stina and Jocelyn. I told Jocelyn I realized more medical professionals were needed. She responded that I could probably finish my first year of med school while waiting in this clinic. True.

Around 3:30, the desk lady called me up and handed me some papers, promising there was a space available for me if I could fill out the paperwork really quickly. So I did. Faster than she expected, I think. And by 4, I was talking to a nurse practitioner.

First a nurse or orderly or volunteer or intern or something took my blood pressure (fine), weight (50 lbs more than I'd like it to be), and checked my blood sugar (86 - not diabetic).

Then came the moment I'd been waiting for. I told my medical caretaker about my symptoms: the progression of the hives, and the appearance of the bullseye rash. She took one look at it, said yep, Lyme, then asked me about a host of other symptoms. I had none of the other symptoms. She told me she was going to check on what the United States recommended dosage was of Doxycycline for Lyme (from which I inferred that she was from ... somewhere south of the U.S. Mexico, perhaps).

I thanked her, waited for the pharmacy, etc. Got the Doxy.

I took the first pill that evening around 6pm, making sure not to have any food in the 2 hours before or one hour after. Thursday I took my pills in the morning and evening. Then Friday morning I took my second dose at 8:30 AM. Friday night, I took a pill around 11PM.

During this time, we worried about whether Belmont might have Lyme disease and what we should do. Stina remembered that we had gone traipsing through an overgrown stairway between streets two weeks ago. We decided it was most likely I had picked up the tick there. Stina was carrying Belmont through the growth, so it was no more likely that he'd get Lyme than Stina, and neither of them have any symptoms, so we decided not to worry, and make sure to have him tested at his next regular vet visit.

This morning (Saturday) I awoke around 8:30AM after a fitful night's rest. I kept dreaming that I was crushing Belmont in my sleep. He was fine, and very happy to be firmly snuggled between Stina and me.

My right thumb felt mildly swollen. It also looked mildly swollen. I started to worry. One of the things the doctor had said was that if I felt muscle pain or joint pain, then the antibiotics weren't working, and I should go to the emergency room. Was this what joint pain felt like? I took my pill at 9AM and emailed and texted Jocelyn, then searched the web. The search turned up plenty of stories people told about how the dosage of Doxycycline I was being given wasn't nearly enough and other such worrisome horror stories. I do my best to trust the medical professionals rather than the internet, so I decided not to worry about that. I couldn't figure out whether my slightly swollen hand was something to send me to the ER or not.

So, we looked up a medical hotline. The lady at the other end told us to tell the doctor treating me about the new symptom. I told her the doctor treating me was at the free clinic and I couldn't get ahold of her. She told me to go to Urgent Care. Hmm. I called the free clinic, which is open until noon on Saturdays. The lady at the other end said they couldn't see me today, but that I should stop taking the Doxycycline and come in on Monday. No, they don't do appointments, but she can transfer me. She transferred me to a voicemail that said, and I quote "Hello, the party you have reached is not available. Please leave a message for at the tone." No name or otherwise helpful information. I left a detailed message. Maybe they'll return my call.

Alright, time to tap in a new doctor friend. Britt, Stina's Cousin's Wife, also just finished med school. After explaining the situation, she thought the swelling was within the realm of normal. The way I understand it (all factual errors are mine, not Britt's), the Doxycycline builds up in your body. Now, after I've taken 4 doses of it, it's finally starting to work. It breaks open the bacteria, and my immune system attacks the bacteria. The swelling is because of what my immune system is doing. It's expected. There's not a lot of swelling (no pitting), and the pain when I press it is just a two (On the scale of one to ten, but my scale is more reasonable than this guy's. My ten is the appendicitis of August 2008, May 2009, August 2009, and October 2010.)

Jocelyn agrees with Britt's diagnosis. Yay for friends who are docs. I want to be a doc, too. So, I will continue to take the Doxy, and if the swelling isn't better on Monday, I'll go in to the clinic and see what they can tell me.

It's obnoxious, and I hate the hives that I'm still getting, but cross your fingers for me (or, you religious folk out there can do your equivalent of that if you want) that all will be well.

My elbow is feeling a little tender, much like my ring finger (though not my thumb). The spots are warm, but not super-hot, and the swelling is minor, pain is minimal, itchiness is perseverant.

Check in with me on Monday and see if it has all gotten better.

Weird Sicky

P.S. It has all gotten better.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Everybody Agrees.

Everybody agrees, there's a way in.
Or at least the people looking for the way in agree there must be some way in. There are a number of different camps.

Most commonly, you have the camp that swears by Or, okay, not swears by, but thinks you, the fellow actor, are doing yourself a tremendous disservice if you aren't subscribed to their services. Into this camp also fall the people who swear by, and, to a lesser degree, and

Second most commonly, the "work your way through agents" camp believes that it doesn't matter which agent you get at first, just get an agent (or manager) right away, and simply ditch them once you can get the interest of a better agent. They think the best way to break into this business is to send your kit out to everybody on the list of agents, and see who bites.

Thirdly, the casting workshops camp accepts that it's just a part of the biz that you pay to get seen. They'll dish out several hundred bucks to attend seminars or workshops taught by casting directors so that the casting director will know who you are and cast you in something. This camp is generally aware that "legit" actors and organizations, like the Screen Actors Guild and the columnists for disapprove of this practice, but respond, "Hey, it's the way things are done."

Fourthly, the work NEAR the biz camp seeks jobs near the entertainment biz, hoping to break in that way. Ideally, they find a job with a major studio, say, as a production assistant, but waiting tables at places industry professionals frequent will do in a pinch. This camp is being proactive about waiting to be discovered.

Fifthly, the make-your-own-work camp makes movies and theater on a shoestring budget, hoping someone will notice. Hey, at least they're doing what they want to do while they wait to get paid to do what they want to do!

Sixthly, the I-Don't-Have-A-Freakin'-Clue-How-To-Break-In camp scours Craigslist for auditions, tries to make friends with everybody on the off chance that person might be a go-getter, and calls the Central Casting hotline several times an hour.

I fall in the sixth camp. I made half-hearted attempts at following the advice of the second camp, and promise to redouble my efforts once I get an adequate reel together, am on the verge of following the advice of the first camp, am actively seeking jobs like the fourth camp, and am doing my best to be a part of the fifth camp.

Industry folks, are there more camps? Which camp do you belong to? Non-industry folks, are we crazy?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Acting is for suckers

Or so it seems. Sorry, folks.

But here is the life of an average gig.

On, say, Tuesday, I hop on Ye Olde Craigslist, and I find an ad that says "ACTORS NEEDED". I click it and find a description that says, "Need 2 Actors/resses for a Short Film. I am a director. See? ... Credit, Copy, and Meal. No Pay."

Compared to so many others, this one looks less sketchy, so I send an email to the anonymized email address that says "Dear Sir or Madam, Please consider me for a role in your Short Film. You can find my resume and headshot attached. If you follow this link: , you can find examples of my acting." I customize this form letter if they give me enough information to customize with.

7 out of 8 times, I hear nothing back. 1 out of 12 times, I hear from some scam who wants me to sign up for their service. 1 out of 48 times, I hear from someone calling me in for an audition, and 1 out of 48 times, I hear from someone telling me to just show up for the shoot. Let's pretend I got called for an audition.

If it's a good one, I might go to the Film Independent studios, smile and shake hands with the DP and Director, and slate, then perform a monologue to a camera.

If I just show up, I get an email that says: Come here at 9am and we'll be done by 1pm.

Last time I just showed up to a shoot, I rode Stina's too-small-for-me bike 4 miles to the location because Belmont peed on and rusted my chain. Once there, I was directed to the bagels and leftover pizza from the night before. After standing around for 30 minutes, I was given a contract which said "We get to do whatever we want with you. You don't get anything for it." I signed it. Then I waited around some more. Eventually, a costumer comes and gives me pants 2 sizes too small, and a shirt 3 sizes too big. Then I wait. Then I listen to someone talk. Then I wait. Then I wait somewhere else. Eventually I am handed a cigarette because I'm an army guy in WWII and everybody smoked. I smoke it. They take moving pictures of me smoking it while some guy plays a guitar and I look afraid, excited, bored, and moved all at the same time. Then we do that 80 more times and I smoke 10+ unfiltered cigarettes and sing in a hoarser and hoarser voice. Then it's 4pm, and they acknowledge that they've kept us longer than they promised, but can we stay for just one more scene - it'll only take 15, 20 minutes, tops. We agree, even though some of us know we have to be somewhere else. After we wait an hour, we film for another hour. They ask us then if we can just stay to record our voices. We are getting mutinous, but we stay... another hour. Then they ask... and I say no and leave. Others stay. They're probably getting famouser as we speak.

But I love acting.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Don't you forget about me (in which I quote another song, too)

Over a month has gone by since we last posted. A promised post has failed to come, and will still not arrive at this moment. This post, rather, will be about where we, or at least, I (Stina) have been all this time.

Around the beginning of February I got a job at a cafe called Tada! I have full-time or near full-time hours there, depending on busy-ness. It is a take-out cafe with a full coffee bar that serves the surrounding businesses and schools. TOMS' administrative headquarters is right around the corner, the administrative offices for the Grammys are across the street, various production companies are nearby, and a school that teaches the children of some famous people and some not famous people is a hop, skip and a jump away.

It being L.A., or rather, it being Santa Monica, you can't seem to help bumping into celebrities even when you're not on a set. I helped Demetri Martin without realizing who he was, though I remember thinking he looked like Jason Schwartzman. I did have a heart-thumping moment, though, when I realized another man who looked vaguely familiar was none other than Val Kilmer. I covered well--I don't think he realized I was shouting "ohmygodthat'svalkilmerohmygod!" in my head.

You might remember we do not live in Santa Monica. I travel by bus and by foot to go to work every day. In the morning, my total commute time is about one hour. In the afternoons, though, with heavier traffic, it is always at least an hour and a half. I'm grateful to travel this distance by bus, where I can read the paper or a book, or text, or read Facebook posts on my phone, or occasionally have interesting interactions with other travelers.

For example:
One day, heading home, I was looking to pin my butt down to any available seat, my feet being rather tired (also, I've realized I'm started to get old: my knees ache after standing all day). At the back there was a seat. There was also a very large plastic bin on a nearby seat, which I realized belonged to the passenger seated to my right. I had a brief interaction with him in which he asked about a stop and I was able to provide him some useful information. Therefore we were genial with one another.

Another gentleman (I say gentleman to indicate his more advanced age and his stately mustache) got on the bus and sat next to the big plastic bin. He pulled out some papers and used the bin top as a sort of desk. After a few minutes, the man to my right rearranged the bin to allow more seat-room to the gentleman, and as he did so he pushed the papers to the side a little and said, "Just gotta leave some clear space here." It was then the gentleman and I noticed the air holes.

The gentleman said, looking at me, "Oh, I thought it belonged to you." (Don't ask me.) He then looked at the man to my right. "You've got an animal in there, eh? Sure is quiet!"

I asked the man to my right, "What kind of animal is it?"

He turned his head to me and said very quietly, "A python."

"Oh," I said.

A few minutes later the gentleman again said, "Sure is quiet! What kind of animal do you have in there?"

"Just a little snake."

"Oh! Well, sure is quiet."

"Yeah. Snakes don't make any noise."

Later, after the gentleman had exited the bus, I resumed a bit of conversation with the man to my right, and found out he was going to get some hens to feed to his snake. I guess it probably wasn't so little. Why he had to bring it with him to buy its dinner, I never found out.

The only trouble with working full-time and the long commute, is it doesn't leave much for other pursuits, like writing blogs. I've been meaning to remedy this for quite some time, but when I do have the energy and/or the force of will to write, I do my best to devote it to editing my novel.

I'm about halfway through the editing process, but it is slow-going. Some days I barely get through half a page when I feel too mentally drained to continue. Other days I manage quite a bit more, but then there are also days I don't open that file at all. I'm trying to eliminate those days.

When not working, commuting, or editing my novel, I'm generally found with Brendan and Belmont. On Saturdays we host game night, and on Sundays we alternate between a Brendan-led World of Darkness Vampire game, and a Our-Friend-Joe-led WoD Vampire Game.

That's basically everything that's been keeping me from writing in this here blog. I'll let Brendan answer for himself.

It's my life. Don't you forget. And I'll try to share it with you more often, to help with that point.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

First speaking role on national television!

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present, for your delight, the tale of one Fred Brown. An upstart small businessman, renowned for his fantastical parties. Due to circumstance beyond his control, a client was unhappy with the service he provided, and despite his offers of a partial refund, she chose to sue him in AMERICA'S COURT.

Now, I can't give the ending away. And I don't know when it's airing. So you'll just have to watch America's Court (With Judge Ross - He's got this. He's Boss Ross.) forever.

We were given a case and told to make up our arguments. Then the director came in and told us to argue more, and not back down until the judge has told us to settle down at least 3 times.

My co-star was a very nice lady (from Seattle. WhaaaT?). Who's been in LA for the past 7 years. She's an animal care provider. (She was a vet assistant, then owned a doggy day care, now owns a doggy dentistry place.) She's also a funtabulous actress, who told me about IO west. It's an improv group that I'll look into.

I got HD makeup and a dressing room just shared between my costar and me. Pretty awesome. I can see why I want to be an actor. I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.

Oooo. I just thought of an argument I should have made. Oh, well. My character didn't think of it in time.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Adventures in Photography!

This morning, we were surfing the Facebook on our phones, as we do every morning before getting out of bed, and Stina saw a friend of ours from New York say a thing about Los Angeles. Being the people we are, we were all like "OMG LOL R U N LA? US 2!". Being the sober adult our friend is, he responded with a phone call. Sooooo last century.
As it happens, he needed someone to take pictures of some cargoes he was thinking of purchasing (he works for a company that does that; he's not an eccentric millionaire, but if anyone was going to be one, I can imagine him as one very well). He hadn't found a photographer via his usual routes yet, and was I interested in doing the work? I was. And this is my story.

I headed out at quarter to noon, because he said everyone was on lunch breaks from 11AM until 1PM. I bought some batteries up the street from Unicorn Jesus.

I caught the Red Line to the Blue Line (and went past the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Shopping Center "I have a dream... of convenient shopping at affordable prices!" (credit to Adam Sauer)) and got out at Del Amo Station, where I saw this sign:

I was At Del Amo and Santa Fe. Remember that. It makes later funny/sad. I ran to the 192 bus, which had just arrived. Showing her my $6.00 Day Pass, I asked if she went to my stop. She did, but my Day Pass was no good to her. I need a $0.35 transfer from the subway. Could I pay her $0.35? No. I could pay her $1.25. I ran back to the subway, helped a possibly blind man buy his ticket to Los Angeles, bought my $0.35 transfer, and ran back to the bus. She took the transfer from me. (Sidenote: my friend and employer paid for all my transportation expenses, so yay!)
I rode that bus for 5 blocks. Then my stop arrived. Los Angeles seriously needs a new Metro trip planner.
Los Angeles (the city of Long Beach, really, but come on, it's Los Angeles) also seriously needs useful sidewalks. I crossed the road to my destination and walked on the vine-age they had in lieu of a sidewalk. Entering where the trucks would because I saw no other place to enter, a security guard directed me to the office where I found my contact on her lunch break. I waited. "I'm looking for the peanut brittle," (peanut brittle is code for what I was really looking for. It's all very spy movie.) I told her when she came to me. "He'll show you where it is," she responded. And he did. He showed me to 50 barrels. They had markings on them, which I took pictures of. They were...barrels. They could have had kittens inside them or the archangel Michael and his cronies. But I assume they had peanut brittle in them. Then I called my friend/employer to ascertain if I had what he wanted. He asked me to ask for paperwork explaining why the barrels said they came from one place when the ad he had said they came from another place. She went to find out. She came back to tell me these were not the barrels I was looking for. They had multiple shipments of peanut brittle. She told me where I could find this other peanut brittle, at a different warehouse. "I'm walking," I said. "Is it far?" She looked taken aback. I swear, there are plenty of people in L.A. who don't have cars and get around using public transit, but the ones who don't can't comprehend it. "I'll see if I can find someone to drive you."
She found the man who had shown me the earlier boxes. I felt like I was on the road again. An adventure and I was hitching a ride! This ride lived in long beach and liked it in the summer and had an ear infection. I answered all his personal questions, but was evasive when he asked about my employer... according to him (and I may be exaggerating for emphasis) evil supervillains win if they can guess who is buying what. We arrived at what were presumably the correct barrels. I took more pictures of kitten-containing barrels, and I bid adieu to my ride. I stepped out the gate of this new place. I had directions from my old place to my next place, not from this place. So I asked the man putting dirt in a hole with a shovel. He didn't know, but his buddy might. They yelled across the street in Spanish. I thought the word that was supposed to be my street sounded like a different word, but chalked it up to my Sesame Street Spanish. I walked the direction the man told me...past the Del Amo Subway Station. The distance she thought was too far for me to walk? 5 blocks. But I'm not complaining, there's plenty of walking ahead. I walked that way for half a block. Why half a block? Because the sidewalk ended in the middle of the block. I shrugged off the impression that I was part of an absurdist theatre piece, and walked jay. I walked past that sign again, the one about the kiss and ride, to Del Amo and Susana. I doubted the directions I'd been given, and went on the Kindle in my backpack to double check. Indeed, I was walking towards not my street. I retraced my steps and found the correct street. No problem, still an hour and a half until the warehouses close. I reach my destination. "I'm looking for a lot of toenail clippers." I say to the receptionist (again, not really toenail clippers). "Are you looking for Awesome Delivery Service?" (also not real) "Yes, yes, I believe I am." "They moved." Oh. "Are they far? Can I walk there?" "You should take a car." "I don't have a car, can I walk there?" "Yes" I follow her directions to...Del Amo and Susana. 3 miles round trip from point A to point B and back.
So get this, I'm walking up Susana, and suddenly: No sidewalk! Okay. I clamber over some bushes and get this: A crosswalk! If I were coming from the other direction, I would have crossed the crosswalk, and come to a terminal point. No sidewalk leading away from the crosswalk in any direction. Who designed this thing? What do people think pedestrians want? Pedestrians want sidewalks! Not just anywhere, we want USEFUL sidewalks.
I go to the warehouse. They send me to the office. They send me to the warehouse. I take pictures of toenail clippers. There are no customs officials present. I come home.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

My Day at the Library

I'm on the job hunt*, and a thing I keep hearing is, “Oh, that's all handled online. You have to apply online.” I find this frustrating. I feel that a personal meeting, being able to shake someone's hand and actually give them my resume and talk to them about it on the spot, is a much better way for them to get to know me and see that I'd be the perfect fit for whatever the job is. It's how I got a job at J. Matheson Gifts, and that was a fruitful, two-year-long relationship.

Anyhow, I'm ranting, and this is meant to be a post about my day at the library. Let's get to it. I went to the library on Tuesday with our laptop so I could spend the day applying online to a bunch of places. Brendan had background work, so I went solo. I took over a small, round table in a back room at our local branch and got to work. This room is where the teen books live, as well as a row of computers which people can sign up to use in one-hour time slots. It's usually pretty quiet.

I got to the library when it opened at 12:30pm. Later in the afternoon, just when I was needing a break from writing cover letters and answering stupid questions like, “When at work, are you seen as more a) interesting, or b) motivated,” I got to witness quite a show.

A woman had arrived in the room a few minutes earlier to use one of the computers. She had a small child with her in a stroller that she had pulled up next to her and sort of behind her, to her right. The child was whimpering and she turned to it and said, “SHHHHHH!!! You stop that!!” then went back to the computer. The child whimpered some more, and she said, “SHHHHHH!!!” some more. The child whimpered. She turned around and looked at the child and said, “Do you see my face? I am serious. You better quit that or you are gonna get a spanking.” A whimper. “I'm not joking. Look at my face. Do I look like I'm joking?” She did look kind of scary.

The child stopped whimpering and I stopped noticing what was happening with the woman. But the show was not over. A man stood behind another man who was using a computer next to the woman and her child. Allow me to illustrate:

So Indignant Man says to Unmoving Man, “I booked this computer, could you please move?”

Unmoving Man: "It doesn't say you booked this computer."

Indignant Man: “If you try to log in, you'll see that you can't because I booked this computer. Could you please move?”

Unmoving Man: “It doesn't say you booked this computer.”

Indignant Man: “I wouldn't say I booked this computer if I hadn't just booked this computer. You're wasting my minutes. Could you please move?”

Unmoving Man's friend comes over and joins in the chorus: “It doesn't say you booked this computer.”

Indignant Man: “I booked this computer. Now would you please move so I can log on. You're wasting my minutes!”

Unmoving Man doesn't move.

Indignant Man then pushes his way past the stroller so he can reach the keyboard and input his information to log on. That's when the woman stands up.

“Excuse me! Get your ass out of my baby's face!” (Indignant Man was showing some major ass-crackage.)

Indignant Man mutters something about wasting his minutes and continues doing what he's doing. Unmoving Man is starting to move, backing his chair out of the space Indignant Man is now occupying.

The woman says again, “Nobody cares about your stupid minutes! You don't put your ass all up in my baby's face! You say excuse me, you say something to me, you don't just push my baby!”
Unmoving Man is standing now, and Indignant Man is sitting.

The woman says, “I'm serious! You wanna take this outside right now? I'm not from L.A.!” She then says to Unmoving Man, “Would you go and tell a librarian this man is getting his ass all up in my baby's face?” Unmoving Man doesn't move.

The woman sits back down, still muttering about ass in her baby's face, then she gets up and says to Unmoving Man, “Would you watch my computer?” He nods, and she gets up and pushes her baby out of the room.

She comes back with a librarian and says to the librarian, “That's him. He pushed my baby and was rude.”

Indignant Man says, “I was just trying to log into the computer I had booked.”

Unmoving Man and his friend say something about Indignant Man being rude.

The librarian looks around at all of them and sees that they all are on their own computers. She says, “You're all on your own computers now. Just try to stay out of each others' way.”

The woman says, “Okay, thank you.”

The librarian leaves and Indignant Man starts laughing uproariously, like he's just won the battle.

The woman sits back down and says, “If my brother were here, you wouldn't be laughing. He would take care of you.” She mutters something else in Spanish and continues working on her computer.

There was one other thing that happened, where a man was prosthelytizing to some teenagers about the Muslim religion and really pissing me off in his talk about women being made after men and therefore being meant to follow man, but there's wasn't much of a show in that. I told the librarian, and she was going to tell him to keep his conversation down, but he was done by the time we went back.

I'm at the library again now. What else might happen? Stay tuned.

*Since writing this Tuesday night, it seems I've found a job as a medical marijuana promoter! More on that to come.