Friday, November 30, 2012

Not This Time

Over the last few days, there's been a big fuss over the latest big lottery jackpot. It amounted to something like half a billion dollars, if I understand correctly. That's a lot of money, and so it's only natural that some hysteria would develop. I didn't buy a ticket, but then I couldn't have, as California does not have Powerball. I don't think I would have bought a ticket anyway, as it wasn't really on my radar, but I do typically buy one when it gets so big.

Two winners did emerge from the latest drawing, and I gather that one was some family in Maryland. the other is somebody in Arizona, my home state. I don't think that they have been named yet as of this writing, but that hasn't stopped people from claiming to be the winner. That brings me to my point. There's this guy on Facebook who purports to have the winning ticket. He further says that he will give a million dollars to a randomly selected person who shares the photo of him with the ticket.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Regrettable Trend

There's this meme that was going around a couple days ago. A "meme", if I understand it right, is simply some kind of joke or idea that sparks a trend online. I never have cared for them myself, maybe because I've never been trendy. In any case, this one revolved around maintaining one's privacy on Facebook. Supposedly, if one posted a certain message filled with legal-sounding jargon, one's postings were protected from theft by Facebook itself or anyone else.

People can be dumb. Even the smart ones can act dumb at times, and so lots of people went and posted the message like it was going to do something. Of course, it wasn't and couldn't, so it was like having a magic amulet or something, except those at least are a nice piece of jewelry to wear. People really can be dumb. I just assumed it couldn't do anything, and so I didn't bother to go to the trouble of researching it.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

My Way

I talk a lot sometimes, and sometimes I talk fairly little. The only way I can account for it is that sometimes I am very comfortable with the people, the place and the situation. Sometimes that is not the  case, and I clam up. Mostly I think that these are correct judgments that I make subconsciously or consciously, and I do tolerably well in social situations as far as that goes. Other people might beg to differ.

Even I'll concede that sometimes it goes awry, and I talk when I shouldn't. There's some kind of crossed wire so that I get comfortable when I shouldn't. I'll feel a green light where there's just red. I should recognize that zinger after zinger is being met with the iciest of cold receptions, but I just don't. There are plenty of examples, and the day I made malpractice jokes while a doctor sewed stitches in my thumb is just one.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Looking On, Rather Wan

When it rains, it pours. After feeling like I had not been blessed with any remarkable public incidents to report on for some time, I had a couple in the space of a few hours. On this past Sunday, I had witnessed a seemingly drunken man and woman debating issues of dating and romance on a San Diego Amtrak train platform. Little did I guess then that there would be more to digest by the time I laid my head down to rest.

That train ride was more or less uneventful, but the same could not be said for the subway ride which took me across Los Angeles after the other train got me to town. Really, the subway train was mostly placid, but that stopped shortly before it reached the end of the line. I was listening to a comedy podcast, but raised voices started getting loud enough to pierce through that, and soon enough I had to take notice.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Not Douglas Against Lincoln, I'm Thinkin'

It had been some time since the last time I overheard something decent.  Perhaps I am at fault for getting the idea that the universe owed me really interesting incidents which I could take in and spin into some form of entertainment. Those who know me have the idea that my encounters with them could become material in one of my creative endeavors or another, but really it's strangers who ought to worry.

Anyway, the dry spell is over. There I was, waiting around in San Diego for a train. The station was a smaller one, and rather confusingly laid out. I was there very early, but people started to appear as the train's arrival drew closer. Many were curious about whether it was the right track for the train they wanted. I was as unsure as them. One couple did not ask anything of the kind. They were engaged in something else between themselves.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Talk On Not Talking

With the election done with, we ought to be able to enjoy a subsidence in political debate. The reality is that it will not be much of one, and may not last for long. However long we do manage to talk less about politics, we will probably not accomplish any less with it. We just don't seem to get anywhere in talking about politics. For my part, I try to avoid it, but all too often find myself ensnared in the futility anyway.

Of course I don't bring politics up, which is enough some of the time. If it does come up, I try to find some sort of common ground rather than trying to impose my point of view. I'm just not going to have my way. I've never been good at persuading people of something. What I can do all right is find some figment of something I can agree on so that the conversation is a little less unpleasant so long as it goes on.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Crowds Allowed

Something that I do not seek out is a crowd. I can put up with it. You can't attend a ballgame without crowds, barring an exceptionally unpopular team. I can deal with crowds in such a situation, and some others. One situation where I can't put up with it is any kind of shopping scenario. Malls are not my favorite thing. I have not spent much time in one in years. There have been a couple incidents where someone got me in one. They were not enjoyable.

A week or so ago, I inquired of my father whether he'd be interested in seeing the new Bond film. I thought I'd have to cajole him, but he was already planning on a group outing for it. All the time leading up to the day I eagerly anticipated. It came, and I found that the plan was to see it at a bustling mall on the day after Thanksgiving. That gave me pause, as you can well imagine. Why could we not see the film at a regular theater?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Margin For Error

In recent years, I have begun to straight up a little bit. I have placed more importance on things like getting up at a decent hour, keeping things tidy and all the rest. I'm hardly perfect at any of those things, or even close to it. I do have a system that basically holds together and at least gives me the veneer of being put together. I hope to be solid all the way through someday, but what I have is enough for now.

It's mostly enough. It's fragile, though. I never have felt that I adapted well to a complication or an alteration in things. It was not unusual when I was driving for a minor road closure in an area I knew well to make me hopelessly lost. Disruptions in areas like doing the laundry or cooking a meal are similarly fatal. Imagine my surprise a few years ago when a personality test claimed I was good at adaptability.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Food And Fondness

Today being Thanksgiving, it seemed as if it would be novel if I addressed the occasion rather than writing about something else as I usually do in such cases. There's a lot of ground to cover for a holiday that is now almost entirely overlooked in favor of the more commercial Christmas. That's enough to be the subject of a post all by itself, but who wants to get angry on a day with so much food? It's bad for the digestion.

The food really does warrant a comment. For our family, Thanksgiving kicks off with a lot of finger foods. We commonly have cheese and crackers, olives and various libations. These carry us through the first football games, but one must be careful not to eat too much of them. It is beyond an unpleasantness to get full early in the early going of dinner. One must not eat too little either, though. I think fasting does little good if one hopes to eat the maximum.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Look Of A Man

I have come home to Arizona for Thanksgiving, and what is a person's first experience on a trip anyplace but its airport? I've always liked Sky Harbor in Phoenix, outside of the time when I had to get home from it via public transportation. Any airport is a fine opportunity for people watching, partly because there are such multitudes there and partly because they are invariably pushed to extreme levels of distress, which is inherently dramatic.

Waiting to be picked up out front, I observed at length a very interesting minor drama whose players were several drivers kept from pulling away from the curb by each other. Everybody ought to see the interest in such a spectacle, but I know not everybody does. I've described such things in the past as compellingly as it is in my power to, so there's no need to go into it any further than I already have. Luckily, there were other things worth mentioning.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

In Cold Blood, In Warm Water

Doing the laundry is something I'm getting better at. I think I went whole semesters in college doing the laundry no more than a couple times, but I seldom let it slide so long that I have to start wearing dirty clothes. There are pitfalls for me, and getting stains out of things is one. The whole system I have  for washing three loads and reducing it to two dryers is tough to manage sometimes, and having enough quarters is a constant problem.

Another issue is in the behavior of other people using the machines. I rush to get my things out the machines and either transferred over or upstairs to fold. I may be the only person who places importance on that timeliness. I hate to inconvenience someone by leaving my stuff in a machine they need, and so I don't do it. I'm downstairs within a minute or two of the cycle ending, because I keep track.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Hurt By Those We Love

I've been in Los Angeles for something in the neighborhood of five years. It's actually probably four and a half, as I came here in the spring of 2007. I long ago started to feel at home here, and I recall that the first time it seemed so was when I was walking down Hollywood Boulevard to reach a job interview and found myself infuriated by the tourists clogging the sidewalk. That's something that has only become more pronounced with time.

Not only have I come to feel happier and more at home here, I have managed to shed many of my associations with my home town and state. Being that I'm from Phoenix, Arizona, you will probably see that it was not difficult, but it's not all bad stuff being left behind. Attending around two hundred Dodgers games in three years led me to lose my deep affection for the Diamondbacks, which is hopefully understandable.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Rest And Relaxation

As I write this, I'm concluding a fairly full day. It's true that I didn't have anything going on in the morning, nor could I have. You see, the previous day had been rather full as well, and concluded with a strenuous lesson in pole dancing. As this was the legitimate variety, it was a tremendous workout, and left me red-faced, gasping for breath and all bruised up. As a consequence, I left the following morning open for recuperation. It proved inadequate.

After trying to rest, I had little choice but to begin my day. My first major event was an improv class. Any attempt to prevent that from being physical would have been futile, but I did have the good sense not to ride my bicycle. I did not like my chances of being able to lift it over my head, as is commonly necessary when combining it with the subway. It also did not help matters that it was raining on this day.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Groceries, Mostly

It's rather unsettling to go into a different grocery store from the one you are used to patronizing. I find this to be true anyway. Obviously a store from another chain is going to be different in a variety of ways, but it's easy to adjust to that. You're very ready for the differences, and maybe even value them some. One chain will be strong in the bread area, and another may have overall better prices on things, but you need both.

Of course it's another matter when two locations of the same chain are different. Now, I like the differences I see in clientele. There has to be some advantage to doing your shopping in a more fashionable area of town once in a while, or even in a lesser area. It's just another change of pace in a life that can easily become dull- every once in a while, why not trade the people who live and buy food near you for those who do so elsewhere?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Game On

I played video games from an early age. I don't suppose I was ever very good, as I never beat very many games outside of those in the sports genre. I enjoyed the social aspect of it, though. It was hard to make friends if you did not have interests like the Ninja Turtles and video games, and so I got into it, although socializing was a struggle anyway. As you'll recall, I recently have begun again with games after locating my Nintendo 64.

Something that was a shared experience with the cartridge-based systems such as the original Nintendo and the Sega Genesis (both of which I had) was that it could be tricky getting the games going. This was due to the contact points on the cartridge,which could wear out. Of course, I didn't know this then. I just knew that you had to plug it in, sigh when it wouldn't work,turn off the console yank it out, blow on the open end, and jam it back in to see if it would work this time.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


The other day, a friend of mine inquired of me whether I wanted to be in a speculative commercial, and I of course accepted. This was for the big Doritos contest wherein the winner has their commercial played during the Super Bowl and wins a big cash prize. For Doritos the benefits are obvious, but let's not focus on that. The experience and its aftermath are enough for me to write about at length without making things unpleasant.

I knew very little about what the commercial was to be except that it was to take place in an office. I came to find that it was being shot very far away, and the plot of it became apparent to me after arriving. Suffice it to say that the nature of the commercial played much to my strengths, and that while I was far from the focus of it, there was plenty for me to do. Of course, I was granted the task of dancing on camera.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Couple Of Fools

Some people really drive me crazy. I get into these dark moods where I loathe everyone in the world and marvel that anyone ever got anywhere ever considering how dumb and contemptible they all are. These moods are as deep as can be, and it's generally best if I ride them out alone. If I'm among people or trying to do something, it can't help but come out badly. I just can't keep it to myself very easily at all.

There are these people who will come out with some wisdom, and everyone but me will ooh and ah at it like it's some really brilliant philosophy that they've never heard before. The person who says it will sound like they just came up with it and no one ever could have conceived of it before. It sounds to me like some superficial platitude that might have been spouted by some empty-headed- college student who just discovered the same writers that everybody ever has had to read.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Homing In

I have a particular look. I've got all this curly blonde hair, I've got this mustache, and these lines on my face. I'm skinny as a rail, and while I smile when it's called for, it seems to me that I glower by default. These are all self-assessments, of course. I'm glad to have a distinctive appearance, as I consider it a real plus professionally. I'm eager for any clues as to just how it may be defined and what may heighten it.

The other day, I was doing a scene for my roommate's short film, as I believe I've said. I was wearing the undershirt I wrote of previously, along with some jeans. I had a face-full of real uglifying makeup. It all make for quite a picture, and it elicited smiles and compliments from everyone who saw it. Nobody thought that I looked handsome of course, but the total effect was a look that really worked for me.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Kiss And Makeup, In That Order

It's a funny thing to wear makeup. For a man it's funny in any case, I think (although that's a less and less politically-correct viewpoint). For anyone it's a funny thing to do when it's the sort of makeup that you wear for performing on stage or onscreen. There's makeup to make you look as you should without makeup, for God's sake. Nixon eschewed it, and partly due to that lost the 1960 election. Kennedy had no problems with it.

I've had to wear makeup a handful of times in performance, and I expect that to become more common. It has so far been that sort of muted makeup,mostly. Once I requested unnecessary makeup from a makeup artist with nothing to do. I had to take the subway home from that shoot, and I worried that I might arouse unwanted attention of some kind, but it takes a lot to move the needle with people around here.

Sunday, November 11, 2012


I never in my life had possessed undershirts. Now, this is the sort of really mundane thing that I find rather interesting but can easily imagine that I am alone on. Maybe I'm not, but I sure wouldn't bet on it. In any case, I never had one, but suddenly found the other day that I needed one. I was to appear in a friend's short film, and you commonly provide much or all of your wardrobe. I was supposed to supply my own undershirt.

I left it not to the eleventh hour, but at least to the tenth. The day before the shoot, I went off to the nearest dollar store. I knew they carried undershirts, and I figured that there couldn't be much difference between a high-end undershirt and a cut-rate one. Perhaps there is no high-end one. I found them to be priced 6.99 for three, and I snapped up a package of small's. I figured that was a safe pick for my frame.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Drive To Succeed

Something that used to happen a fair amount, but which doesn't happen too much anymore, is that I would have to sneak away from gatherings of friends. It would get to where it was time to leave, and the rest would be driving. I would have walked there or taken public transportation, and I was self-conscious about it. I had no desire to be known as the guy who always needed a ride because he couldn't drive himself.

When people would leave, I would just try to confidently walk away in hopes that no one would notice me go and not stop at a car. It worked out that way often enough, but I would sometimes be embarrassed that it didn't. I'd accept a ride at that point, but had the notion that I wished the knowledge contained. Eventually everyone knew that I didn't have a car, but it seemed at that point to be a less stigmatized thing.

Friday, November 9, 2012

A Day, If You're Interested

As I write this, I am on the tail end of a reasonably eventful day. To begin with, I had my first Toastmasters meeting following my victory in a humorous speech contest. It's a lovely feeling to be the recipient of a lot of love and good will, and cake and gifts will do that for you. I was very proud of myself after the meeting for successfully transporting a piece of said cake on the back of my bicycle without any mishap in the process.

In the evening, there was an improv performance. It went reasonably well, and I credit myself with some of the good as well as the bad. I think that portraying a bartender working at a museum bar is enough to wash away plenty of sins. I'll admit that eating a giant bacon cheeseburger shortly before the performance may not have been my wisest decision, but it ultimately seemed to do no harm. It even may have helped by slowing down my thought process (and probably my heart functions).

Thursday, November 8, 2012

More Food Talk

I decided that I had to shake things up with my food the other day. I had been eating ravioli and spaghetti-o's for dinner, cup o'noodle soup for lunch and all too often just coffee for breakfast. Hash browns were there in the morning if anything. In any event, my eating habits had become broken along with my nascent good sleeping habits, so it was time for a chance. I resolved to get a little healthier and more substantial.

I had been eating cold cut sandwiches, and still had my expensive mustard. I went back to that, thus taking care of lunch. I have lately been drinking more expensive coffee than the bottom shelf store brand that comes in a giant can, and I kept that going, as well as the hash browns. That's not such a horrible breakfast, although I confess that it could be worlds better. I just have given up on making myself eat oatmeal regularly.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Last Night Before The Next

The election and the campaign leading up to it are finally over, thank God. Somehow there will be no respite, I'm sure. I got through the night watching partly at home and partly at a Mexican restaurant which erupted in cheers at the news that the president had obtained the required 270 electoral votes to secure re-election. That was a pleasant enough way to endure what had been a rather anxious experience.

I had read of election viewing parties, but the idea did not appeal to me. My politics were an open book when I was in college, but I play it closer to the vest every time around. It's not so much that I fear persecution exactly. I don't relish political discussions even among those with whom I agree, and this is so for a number of reason. There are more pleasant things to talk about, and more constructive things as well.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Playing Games

The last time I was back home, I was advised that I ought to go through those possessions of mine that remained in my parents' house. The ordeal of it did not appeal to me, but it proved to be a worthwhile experience. There were many memories which came back to the surface as I extracted box after box from the crowded spare room where it all has been since I moved away. These were all the items deemed non-essential at that time.

I rather regret not grabbing some things a long time ago. One of them was my beloved Nintendo 64. I went as far with video games as to buy the Xbox 360, but it got to the point of collecting dust, and I sold it several years ago. The 64 I bought on the day it was first sold. I lined up, got my number and played it enthusiastically until it became obsolete. I kept it even after that. I'm pleased that it survived to this point.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Enviable Problem

Not for the first time, I find myself struggling with how to accept praise. I know how obnoxious that sounds, and I don't mean it as some indirect form of bragging. Trumpeting my own accomplishments is as unpleasant to me as I imagine it sounds to others. I don't think I have any more than my own fair share anyway. Other people just seem to process it all better than I do. I'm getting better though, or I think I am.

When someone complements me on something, the first impulse I have is to correct them- to point out whatever mitigating factors make their compliment less valid or entirely invalid. They don't like that, of course. It goes beyond modesty and really veers into the territory of insult, calling into question as you are their judgement. I've gotten to where whatever someone says that is earnestly meant as praise, I say thank you, adding nothing more to it than credit to others where it is due. That seems to go over all right.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

No More

The Halloween holiday season is, as I have made clear enough over the last week or so, a time of anxiety over having to come up with costumes. That alone is hard enough, let alone all the other times when some people are inclined to come up with a costume and a reason to wear it. It used to be, I think that they had to keep such things to themselves once. I do believe in people getting to live out their lives in the manner that they choose so long as it affects no one else adversely, but there's a limit.

Anyway, what I'm getting at is that there was a party the other day where people were asked to dress in costume as a tribute to the birthday boy. I certainly can respect that, as I would myself be honored if anyone decided to do that for me. It hasn't happened yet, but it easily could one day. It's regrettable though that this birthday should fall just when I am in the throes of costume-concocting and wearing fatigue.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Victory Formation

As I write this, I'm coming down from a tremendous high. I should set the stage. I've been in a humorous speech contest for the Toastmasters organization for the last few months. It began with the contest of my own club, progressing to larger and larger contests encompassing more clubs. I had been used to winning in my own club and being defeated in the next round or the round after that. It was to be different this time.

My speech, which was meant to satirize the predatory efforts of those in the entertainment industry to purport to have it in their power to make stars of anyone who takes their seminar, won in my club, and then in the area contest. It subsequently won in the division contest, bringing me to the point of being one more victory away from going as far as you can go with a humorous speech. That would be the district level.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Write This Down

I've committed myself to quite a month, and yesterday amounts to the least of it. Yesterday I had my Toastmasters meeting in the afternoon and my improv class in the evening- my main improv class, I should say. There is also the one I have on Saturdays presently, and there is all the writing I do. I write this, I write tweets, and I write sketch comedy. I hope to find a profitable outlet for all that, needless to say.

There is one more writing endeavor that I must find a practical purpose for now. In September, I committed to writing thirty sketches in thirty days, and I did it. It was hard, and not everything I wrote was great. Some was lousy, but much of it was at least worthy of further effort- not that I have made further effort, because I have hardly written a thing alone those lines in the last month. I have one more thing to keep me from that now.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Last?

I've described a number of costumes that I've worn so far this Halloween season, and you can be excused for getting the idea that I have been consumed entirely by this solitary matter. As it happens, I have devoted no more than forty minutes to the bunch of them in terms of conception. I think about them after the fact far more than I do in anticipation of what I want to do. That's a regrettable habit with me.

I have given some thought to the pitfalls of costumes. You always start with some uncompromising vision, and if you're more motivated than I am, you actually carry it out. Let's suppose, for example, that you want nothing more than to be the female M & M from the commercials, and you procure the whole thing. It starts out great, with you admiring yourself in the mirror before heading out trick or treating or partying (depending on your age).