Monday, December 31, 2012

Wearing On Me

I like cold weather. Where I grew up, it was blisteringly hot more often than it was so much as brisk out, and so perhaps I see cool weather as a nice change of pace. Certainly that's how it felt when I left home for school. The frigid winters were one more way of getting out on my own. I also feel a certain connection to the older cities of the east, which is appealing to me. Another thing I like about cold weather is that it's jacket weather.

I'm a thin guy, so my frame is slight and my physique less than imposing. I'm not a weakling exactly, but I think it's just as well that some impressive clothes be draped over my figure in order to give me some sort of heft. There are a number of garments that I like getting out once they can be justified- and no sooner. I really hate affectations, and that's a bad one. It's nearly as bad as sunglasses indoors, I think.

Sunday, December 30, 2012


I don't get out to the movies that often (mostly watching videos at home as I do), but I enjoy myself as much as anyone. That's not to say that I don't have plenty of complaints, but then who doesn't? One of the things that bugs me is in that very rich vein of gripes, human behavior. People do irrational things. Emotion comes into play much of the time, and I think that may be why people will applaud at the conclusion of the film.

Attending live performances often enough (and sometimes performing them), I'll grant that applause is quite welcome, although the nature of my performances is such that laughter in advance of that is desirable. Those things matter to me because I'm there and can hear them. If anyone has ever applauded my efforts while watching a video, I was not aware and never became so. It must not occur to most people that the actors and filmmakers whose work they've just been enjoying aren't around.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Leg Up

I've never really broken a bone. I guess that's already not true exactly, because I have some recollection of being told I had broken something, but I think it was some minor hairline fracture or something. I don't count that. It seems to me like it's got to be a compound fracture of an arm or a leg to really count. If not a compound, it's got to be the severest possible case of whatever it is that is less than that.

I really don't think I've had one of those. In grade school and before, a broken arm or leg was a real boost for one's social life. You showed up to school with a cast, and it was a whirlwind of activity from there. You had the whole story of how it happened to tell, and you could tell it again and again to the whole gamut of the school's student body and faculty. You also got everyone to sign it, and that was like getting your yearbook early.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Reading And Writing In The Air

Sometimes I feel a little old-fashioned. The consumer electronics that I am most enthused about these days are my VCR and my Nintendo 64, which ought to tell you plenty. Sometimes I would like to have more of the cutting edge stuff (although I have some), but one time when I am happy to go low-tech is on the plane. When other people are getting out their ebooks and other such items, I'm going another way.

If I'm reading, it's bound to be a paper book. I'm just not crazy about those ebooks. I don't know what it is exactly. I have to be able to rub the page with my thumb and forefinger. I have to see the fiber of the paper. I find it nice that there's no security hassle to it. I like that I can bring a totally disposable newspaper on board and toss it when I'm done. I like reading the inflight magazine sometimes, and the catalogs.

Thursday, December 27, 2012


I got some good eating done over the holidays. I manage to nourish myself tolerably well at all times, and so you won't hear me whining about starvation, but I don't eat such good food generally. I eat better when with my family during the holidays, and this Christmas just passed was no exception. Indeed, it was exceptional in a very positive way, if any. I shall delight in forcing an account of it upon you.

My visit commenced with fairly little food in the kitchen, and so there was a fair amount of scrounging in between burritos brought home by my saintly mother. I should say that the amount of food around at that time still far exceeds what I ever have at my apartment in Los Angeles. Typically I have six or seven cans of something, some cup o'noodle soups, and little else apart from mustard. It's economical.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


At a Christmas party a bit ago, I made the acquaintance of a lady in a particular hat. Consultation of a picture from the party reminds me that it was either blue or blue-gray. Somehow, in the midst of a conversation relatively early in the party, the lady offered to let me wear it. I don't think that I made any request. I think it was a case of me making some compliment about the hat (for lack of anything else to say) and her offering it.

Being the lively spirit that I am, I agreed to try it on. That led to me wearing it for the duration of the evening. The aforementioned picture is of me wearing it. It was said during the party that I looked very good in it. I don't know how much I ought to trust that snap assessment, because we were all drinking. I do get complimented from time to time for hats that I wear, although I seldom wear hats anymore.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Today's The Big Day

Today being Christmas, I ought to say something about it. I know that I oughtn't assume that everyone's Christmas traditions are like mine. I know how the holiday has gone for me, and how I prefer for it to go. For me, it's a small, private occasion. It's shared with the closest of family, and it's confined to the home. When the lead up to the day is so loud and busy and takes you all over the place in search of gifts, why must the day itself follow suit?

Other people do things differently, and I grant that it is out of some necessity sometimes. People who work on Christmas and celebrate on a different day are not to be condemned, nor are those who cannot be with their family. There are, however, those who could have a properly traditional Christmas and who decide against it. I don't know why it is that that they do that, and while I'm going to devote the time to analyze it, I suppose I shouldn't bother.

Monday, December 24, 2012


It's funny how often the streets are wet in Los Angeles, considering how seldom it rains. Like my hometown of Phoenix, the city has a lot of people who thing that lawns of green grass are their birthright just because that's how things were back where they came from. That's just a guess born from personal frustration, you understand. Water is scarce everywhere now, and most of all places like LA and Phoenix.

Wet streets present their own issues. People adjust poorly to slick roads, or at least it seems so. I was taught in drivers' education to be very cautious when driving in the rain. One must lengthen the distance between cars and slow down. That knowledge is academic to me, as I don't drive, but most people could benefit from hearing it. They don't seem to have had such good lessons as I. It's almost enough to make you sorry for the rain happening in addition to all the cultivating of lawns.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Heading Out

At this time of year, one's thoughts turn to the many facets of the Christmas holiday season. My mind conjures up various traditions, among them being reunion with family, the exchange of presents, the making and consumption of food and plenty more. Most of it is good, as one would expect given the popularity of the occasion, but plenty of it is bad. The bad is discussed fairly thoroughly without my help, and so I try not to pile on.

It's taxing to refrain from griping about such a thing as the unpleasantness of traveling. Even though I'm quite aware of its futility and that I have nothing original to add to that which has been said by those who are more enthusiastic about the matter, I want to vent my own feelings. I suppose that's reasonable, isn't it? One saxophone player isn't going to let his spit build up in the instrument just because all the others are letting their own out.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Skating By

I saw something that caused me a bit of alarm the other day, although it passed. I was out trying to find Christmas presents, and I couldn't pass by the thrift store a block north of my apartment without stopping in to see what old VHS tapes they had. As it turned out, there were four tapes that I decided to buy. An old man was ahead of me in line, and he took his sweet time. When he started arguing with the clerk over a 25 cent discrepancy in the cost of some wrapping paper, I got mad.

That's not even the bit that made me alarmed. While trying to contain my frustration, I was looking around the store from where I was standing. There was this little girl in the store, and I would have given her no more than a glance and as much time's though except for what she was doing. She was roller-skating around the thrift store. I just could not help but worry for the store's wares knowing that she was about.

Friday, December 21, 2012

"Us" And "Them"

Something that's rather interesting about acting professionally is what types of people you are aligned with and what sorts you contrast with when placed in proximity. Whether one is on set or in auditions, it's common enough to be in large groups who share attributes with you. In this way, you can learn a little about yourself by seeing what company you are forced into. This is as instructional as what any friend could tell you.

I have hardly been acting for so very long, but I've been in a few auditions and seen what sorts of people are around me. They are not your conventionally handsome sorts. Some look more like me than others, but it all adds up to quite a picture, even when what you all share is a general inappropriateness for a certain job. That aside, I consider myself to be in an enviable position. There looks to be plenty of work for me.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Another Close Call

I love the prospect of genuine surprise when I sit down to watch a movie. You have to learn at least as much as the front of the box tells you in order to get interested, if not what is on the back. Even if you read every side the box has, you can be pleasantly (or unpleasantly) surprised. So it was when I watched my latest VHS tape, "The Danger Zone". Before you ask, the Kenny Loggins classic is not involved.

I had the idea that it was a post-apocalyptic scifi film, and as I love those movies, it was an easy call to snap this one up for a dollar. Of course, it was not any of the kind, as I would have realized if I had properly read the back of the box. What it was, instead, was a good old biker movie. Well, I can at least say it was an old biker movie while still being fair. It was not too good, for a number of reasons that would require considerable explaining.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Almost A Review

A while ago, as you'll recall, I bought up a bunch of old VHS movies. I've been trying to work down the backlog of unwatched films so that I won't feel bad about buying more when I inevitably buy more at the earliest opportunity. Luckily, I like watching them, and don't have to work too hard at finding the motivation. The last one was not the film promised, although that was perhaps a good thing. This most recent one was the film promised.

Entitled "Ballistic", this 1995 (incredibly enough) film tells the story of Jesse, a tough and competent (but naturally gorgeous) cop who pursues the villainous Braden while trying to clear her wrongly-imprisoned father. The film is peppered with a fair number of sexually explicit sequences, and so it's evident just what was the main driving force behind the film's production. That, however, would be to ignore the film's star power.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

New Dogs, No Trick

I have gotten into a bit of a habit with food. Once again, hot dogs are at the heart of it. Some time ago, I wrote about walking to the 24 hour convenience store near my old apartment. It was a worse neighborhood, and I was often a bit frightened to walk through the parking lot to the safety of the brightly-lit store. It was a walk I was always ready to make, the dangers aside. It was about as reliable as any other food option further away through more questionable territory.

Things are different now. I live in a nicer neighborhood, and while the walk to get hot dogs is longer, it is nicer. The people who sell them to me are nicer and more communicative as well. I don't go over there late at night as I did the other place, as the grocery store is my favored late night option. Instead of at night, I am most likely to hit the convenience store in the afternoon, after I have visited the library.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Clear Thinking

I like to think of myself as a good critical thinker, although that may not be entirely true. At the very least, I have a healthy skepticism about what I read and see. Plenty of other people, friends included, don't give off that impression too much. When a rebellion breaks out in some oppressed country, they're inclined to assume that the rebels are good because they hate someone bad. I wonder whether the rebels might not be worse.

This thing happened the other day that really annoyed me. It wasn't on the same level as one of those things, but it still left me upset. There was that horrific massacre a few days ago, which made me despair for the prospect of more peaceful days. I would settle for more clear-headed thinking than we seem to get. I don't know why we look to celebrities for statements to make sense of such a tragedy, but we do.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Epic Journey

I have been riding a bike for a while. Sometimes it's for leisure purposes, but it's very commonly just for the practical purpose of transportation. Trips of ten or fifteen minutes are common, sometimes stretching out to half an hour. That amounts to a few miles. My endurance is definitely growing, and I have been riding at length at higher and higher gears. These days, I am often at fourth gear, which feels the way second used to.

The other day, I had a pretty intensive day of riding. It was a busy day, and every place I had to go seemed to necessitate the bike instead of public transit or walking. First, I had to visit my agent's office. That seemed too close to mess around with buses, but actually it must have been something like eight or nine miles round trip. The way back was even lengthier, because I opted for the simpler route instead of the more complicated, shorter one.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Acting Up

I started writing about some bike riding I was doing the other day when I realized that a critical part of it was something that I hadn't really explained yet. This missive will really set you up to properly enjoy tomorrow's. To begin with, (and do forgive me if I'm mistaken and I have written elements of this before), a while back I got an agent to represent me in my acting endeavors. Needless to say, this was a delightful development that will hopefully mean great things.

I really was fortunate the way it worked out. Suffice it to say that the two most relevant factors for me were having a really unique look and going out to do things. They say that 90 percent of life is just showing up, and to an extent I have found that to be true. Some amount of actual ability is useful. In any event, it's been fun learning the ropes of being a professional. There remains a lot of mystery in it for me, but I've gotten my "acting legs".

Friday, December 14, 2012

Got Me Hot

There was this thing I saw that bugged me the other day. Now, I have a low threshold for annoyance. It doesn't take much with me, and that would be on a good day. On a bad day, things that don't bug me bug me anyway, but there are those things that are so firmly within the area of annoyance that it is irrelevant what sort of mood I am in. They put me in a bad mood anyway. Public transportation has a way of presenting me with such things.

What happened was that the other day, I was going someplace on the subway. It is typically the case that a crowd is exiting the station as I enter it, for I am getting on the very train they have exited. I enjoy the opportunity to ride the escalator down and watch the people going the other way. I also enjoy sweeping my gaze back and forth, taking in all of those who are there. This is out of curiosity and general situational awareness.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Christmas season is firmly upon us, and no one is complaining about it now that we're past Thanksgiving and the ugliness of Black Friday. I never have and probably never will participate in such a thing as that, but I do certainly participate in gift exchanges. As the act of shopping is not something that I delight in, I don't much enjoy the procurement of gifts. A common refrain for me is "I hate this. I hate this. I hate this."

Of course I do it anyway, which is a testament to how much the intended recipients mean to me. It's actually an instructive experience. Ideally, the selection of a gift is very easy. If I know the person as well as I should, then it should be a very simple matter to settle on one of many interests and needs that I am familiar with in the specific person's case and then buy something that pertains to said interest or need. Sometimes I find I don't really know the person so well.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Swing, Swung

Something I was thinking about the other day, while casting about desperately for ideas, was the swings we used to have at grade school. I believe I came up with the idea while my leg was swinging around at my computer desk. In any event, I recalled the fantasies that reigned while we were on the swings. They often were not swings but some manner of fighter jets. Somehow we were enacting dogfights between ourselves (in the guise of Indiana Jones) and the Nazis, whose name a boyhood friend misspelled as "Not-Sees".

There was always the push to go higher on the swing. The mythical act of going beyond the top of the swingset and coming back around was ever on our minds, but I don't think anyone even dared to approach it. Something that you could do was to twist the seat of the swing so that it sat higher above the ground, and in that way you could get higher up and feel a certain illicit thrill. Really, I don't think anyone was ever hurt, but we were probably better off to have had the risk.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Bait And Switch

As I believe I wrote, I have been buying up VHS tapes. They are all of a charmingly low grade, or at least I expect they are. I can't exactly articulate my formula, but they are ideally from the golden age of the format, and I just feel it when I'm holding the right sort. I've gather a good number of them, and I'm trying to watch them so that it's a less cut and dried case of hoarding. So far I've watched a couple.

The most recent one was alleged by the box to be a thriller starring Pierce Brosnan and Ron Silver. That looked bad enough. The tape's label bore out the contention made by the box, and so I started watching. It felt wrong from the beginning. It was too poor of quality even for those stars as of the early 90s (which is when the film was supposed to have been made). I thought that maybe they had been less prominent than the box made out, which is common enough when an actor only becomes famous later.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Ride Away

My day yesterday was marked by disappointment in my leisure life. My favorite football team suffered its worst loss in team history, and as if that wasn't enough, they also contributed towards a likely defeat in my fantasy football league. This defeat would keep me out of our playoffs, and so you can see how I was an insufferable basket case. I badly needed something to distract me and lift my spirits. Luckily something came up.

Some friends had concocted a plan to see Christmas lights. What kind of person could remain in a foul mood in the face of that? Although it was against my nature to disengage from the poisonous atmosphere I had, I forced it on myself in the hopes that I would become someone who would be grateful that the angry me had done that. I remained upset at the outset of the experience, but that began to melt away.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Gives Me Pause

I have a compulsion. That's an amateur's opinion, because I'm no doctor and have no familiarity with or understanding of the American Medical Association's Diagnostic And Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders, but let's not get bogged down in all of that. The point is that there's something I'm doing that I can't seem to control, and which I have little interest in controlling. For the time being I don't think it's doing any harm.

It's buying VHS tapes. Some time ago, I bought a VCR after not having one for some years. I had moved on to DVDs like everyone, but got to missing certain qualities that one can only get from the old tapes. I may have written about this in the past. Their faults are charming. I get nostalgic for the way they fail and fall short. They have poor resolution, tracking issues, no bonus features or ability to easily skip around the movie you're watching. I love it.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Dress Right

The other day, I had need of a Christmas sweater. It was, of course, one of those themed parties where everyone is supposed to have one. Like most of those parties, the theme was indifferently received by attendees, but for once I was one of those who actually made the effort. I would like to have come up with a gaudier, more ugly sweater, but technically the terms of the party did not require that it be so- only that it be a classy sweater. I did fairly well.

Of course, I did not try to find anything until the day of the party, and even then I was making minimal effort. I went to one nearby thrift store (chatting along the way with a friend who I bumped into) and found that they had already been stripped of all possible holiday garb. It turns out that such parties have become so fashionable that the sweaters are actually in demand. I didn't leave empty-handed, though. I bought eight VHS tapes, because I have a sort of a compulsion there.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Stop Me If You've Heard This

Recently I had the pleasure of visiting a friend in his 14th-floor apartment downtown. The interior of the place was nice and the building had some charming qualities to it, but clearly the most striking feature was its balcony. Stepping outside, one could see a considerable portion of the most appealing sights in LA's center. Bright lights and classic architecture were amply in evidence, as were people in nearby windows.

None of these things are present in my own balcony, or at least few. We are merely in a third-floor apartment, and while we avoid the worse fate of those below us by virtue of being on top, we still are not high enough to see much, not that there is much to be seen. There are no buildings within our direct line of sight to offer illicit views, and there are no buildings worthy of being looked at for their aesthetic merits.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Don't Bother

People say dumb things. I'm guilty of it myself all too often, so I'm really very credible on this subject. I like to think, though, that I and those I know are better than average about withholding stupid remarks. Others are often not so good on it. A prime example of that would be something someone known to a friend of mine. I don't know them myself, and so I decided that it was not for me to involve myself.

The Fresh & Easy grocery store chain is closing down. Started by the British chain Tesco, it was supposed to find a niche and, obviously, thrive. That hasn't panned out. I can only say that I went once and it was basically fine. I would not ever have relied on it heavily or primarily. In any event, while I'm more upset by the loss of jobs and tax revenue, others were genuinely fond of the chain, which I don't regard as the stupid thing.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Sleep Creep

Yesterday, I went and sleep in. I was displeased with myself, because I have done well over most of the past year at going to bed at a tolerable hour and rising at one as well. There have been necessary compromises sometimes in the area of an adequate number of hours sleeping, but I have at least managed to get up at 9 in the morning most days. I acknowledge that this is not early to people with real jobs, but for me it is.

Sleep is an interesting subject. There is still plenty that we don't know, I gather. We know some, and I know some of what we know. I've read someplace that an alarm invariably cuts you off from the amount of sleep you should be getting- that when you wake up naturally is when you should have gotten up. You can force yourself into more sleep if you are determined, but where you drift into consciousness of your own accord is the right time.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

I, A Student

Last night, I had myself an improv performance. They are becoming more frequent, so while they remain notable experiences, they are becoming less severe as triggers of anxiety. Sometimes circumstances make them a little more or less so. In this case, I was in a somewhat different situation than I usually would be, as this was a different class in a different place. The people and the culture were a bit different.

A friend had ensnared me in the class he was teaching, and I decided it would be a very worthwhile thing do to, because even what I think I'm good at in improv is probably not beyond improvement. So it was that my late Saturday afternoons were taken up by this class and that I never caught the second half of a Florida Gators football game. Even preoccupied by their journey this season, I made some progress in class.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Voice A Choice

Something I haven't given any thought to in quite some time is cereal. That used to be the standard breakfast for me as a boy, and I have gotten away from it since college. I suppose that it could be seen as not a very mature thing to eat, at least if one is eating certain brands. I never really did have a lot of the bad, sugary kids' cereals anyway. At worst, I was in the midrange of cereals that played to kids but at least had a semblance of nutrition.

As I said, these days I don't eat cereal. I mainly eat hash browns, and occasionally will do something like Pop Tarts. I've done oatmeal, but that's not for me and probably never will be. Some time ago, I was making pancakes a bit, but the effort involved is a deterrent. The same is true of most egg-based breakfasts, including the hard boiled eggs that I was doing a while ago. For now, it's just those hash browns.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Jerk In Life

A friend invited me to see what was described as "ninja theatre" at the foremost venue in my neighborhood. I had long hoped to see something in that theatre, and the aforementioned sounded very promising. It was just as described, and there was very little to complain about from either the material or the edifice. It was very well worth the act of attending an improv class in a relatively dressy outfit, I'd say.

It was not quite perfect, regrettably. There was a rather boarish guy seated behind us in the theatre, and he just would not let up. Prior to the "ninja theatre", there was another performance by a sort of vocal specialist. He did a lot of beat-boxing and juggling, among other things. He was pretty good, but he labored under the hindrance of this guy's persistent, unwelcome verbal contributions. It diminished things a bit.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Bad And Getting Bad

There's been rain in Los Angeles over the last few days. It hasn't been too severe by even local standards, and presumably looked milder still to those from naturally rainier locales. It rains seldom here, but commonly rains hard for a week straight when it does. This wasn't one of those, although maybe it could strengthen into one. That's not the point, anyway. The point is more about our reaction to it.

What you usually start hearing about before long is how everybody is freaking out on the roads. I guess that's true. I'm not heavily invested in driving activities, as I don't myself drive. Still, I have the advantage of being strictly an observer and not a combatant in the wars that are driving and parking anywhere, let alone here. Do people really come unglued driving in the rain? I guess that's fair to say, to a point.