Thursday, February 28, 2013

Chagrin On The Chin

I have not shaved lately. It's been a few days at least. I would say it's been nearly a week. I'll have to shave it soon enough just because it isn't part of my look for acting. My headshots are me clean-shaven (or at least close to it) with a moustache and lots of curly hair, and looking like that is probably my best chance of working. I will, therefore, undoubtedly shave before long, as I can't go this way to an audition. Still, it's interesting.

I never have had good coverage for a beard, as I'm sure I've said before. It gets awfully patchy. I've been advised that if I let it go long enough, that will be less a problem, but it's the awkward phase that would present a problem even if a bear was feasible for me. If a bear was part of my look and I could hole up for a few weeks, maybe I'd do it. If I was back in college, a beard would be a good summer project (or Chistmas, given that I spent breaks back home in sweltering Phoenix).

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Why Not?

This horse meat issue is rather interesting to me. An awful lot of people are concerned about unwittingly eating horsemeat due to lax practices. I guess that this has actually happened to someone somewhere. I know they found traces of horse meat in some meatballs meant for IKEA's stores in several European countries. I don't know if it's happened here in America or not. I can appreciate the worries to an extent.

I wouldn't want to eat horse thinking I was getting cow any more than I would want to eat one fish while thinking I was eating another, which happens all too often. The identification end of this controversy is not where you get a quarrel from me. I just wonder what the problem is with horse meat. It's taboo not because it's unsafe meat to eat or because it's illegal. In fact it became legal in the US just a couple of years ago. It's been slow to catch on.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Game Of Attrition

It took long enough, but baseball's spring training has finally begun. There are plenty of reasons for interest, although having season tickets at my disposal is no longer one of them as it was a few years ago. Then, the baseball season signified a time when my evening plans were set six or seven out of every fourteen days. That's how often the LA Dodgers were in town and playing a game, although one or two games every homestand were during the day.

These days, I have neither season tickets nor the cable channel that many Dodgers games come in on, so I can watch only so many, but can get the rest on the radio. In recent years, my level of attention has been minimal, as few around me were paying attention. It's human interaction that I am most a fan of, these days, and most people I know aren't sports fans, let alone fans of baseball. That has changed lately.

Monday, February 25, 2013

It Was Fine

As I said I would, I watched the Academy Awards. It is, I suppose, a worthwhile way of spending time. I think that next year I may want to watch alone with all my electronic devices off. This is not anything to do with spoilers, because I did watch the show as it aired. There are just times that I realize how very much I differ with the world, or at least with those I am around. It's a frustrating experience, to say the least.

I did watch the show with friends, and I did say that's the only way I would do it, but I think I might have been mistaken. There were some happy times, but I found myself getting mad about for a wide range of progressively less rational reasons. There's no use getting into that, I suppose. For my part, I enjoyed the show. I did not have a lot of expectations about the quality of presentation or the people and films who ought to be receiving the awards.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

I'll Watch

Today is the big Academy Awards presentation, and I must confess mixed feelings about it. I don't feel compelled to watch the broadcast, but inevitably there are parties and less elaborate gatherings to watch, and I do have a policy of not refusing human companionship. If the awarding of trophies to a lot of movies and people, some of whom deserve it and some of whom don't, is the reason why people get together, than who am I to quibble over it?

I would have to check to be sure, but I think I have seen few if any of the films under consideration, so I will be hard-pressed to feel any real stake in any of the awards. I will have no more than a gut feeling about what deserves to win. I will be driven mainly by existing affection for various directors and actors, possibly leading me to wish for unjust results. As I have no regard for the methods by which the awards are actually distributed, I am not too sorry about my own methods for selecting personal favorites.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Pull It Back

It is frustrating to reach the point in life where you can't just do whatever. Maybe it's supposed to happen sooner than when you get to your thirties, as it seems to have for me, or maybe it's a period of time that never ought to have happened, this time of reckless freedom. For much of my life, responsible actions could only be extracted from me virtually at the point of a gun, or at least only under direct supervision.

That's not to say that I was was some kind of feral child. I just couldn't be relied on to do dishes, brush my teeth or complete uninteresting homework without some considerable cajoling. I furthermore have, until recently, been very bad at most of the things meant to ensure my long-term health and even short-term safety. After a lot of hemming and hawing, I did buy a bicycle helmet some time ago, and even more recently learned the value of stretching before riding (in rather dramatic fashion).

Friday, February 22, 2013

A Long Haul

Kris Kristofferson sang once that "There ain't nothing sweeter than naked emotion". There's truth in that, I think. It becomes ever rarer that people earnestly express feelings. Often they must be neutralized or made palatable somehow. We "ironically enjoy" things, or call them guilty pleasure. We malign ourselves as being nerdy or lame somehow before saying that we like something we know others don't like. It's a shame.

I am as bad with this as anyone. I distrust the release of my real emotions, fearing the impact they might have on others and the way that it all might reflect on me. I water them down, package them in a more favorable manner, or just keep them to myself. It's very, very hard to express anything like 100 percent of my feelings, outside of those that are very pleasant or that are universally shared. I am doing my best, though.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Grab And Go

I have been in recent months trying to eat better, as I think I've said. I haven't quite gotten there, and how far do I want to go anyway? It seems to me that I can't eat perfectly and have a reasonable expectation of living forever, so some slip-ups are inevitable and acceptable. I have not fallen back on the ravioli or its like, and my new habits make it easy to stay away. There are other things that I haven't given up, such as the occasional basket of chicken fingers and such.

There are also items that are new to my palate. The grocery store sells cold cut sandwiches, which used to be a staple in my diet on account of being good, cheap and ready to go. I don't go for those anymore, but I do like the hot sandwiches they sometimes have. Be it their answer to Chick Fil-A's signature sandwich or their fish filet equivalent, there's something really appealing about those things to me. What is it?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Neat Space With All In Its Place

It is really not so tough to keep one's personal space clean. I've come to that conclusion lately, and maybe this is one of those getting older things. Being messy is less charming even as you're approaching your thirties, and then it just drops off a cliff. I don't make all the effort that I'd like or that others do, but I make a fair amount of effort. I think it's about always doing a little so that you never have to get Herculean about it.

Even now, I don't know if I could do it myself without some variation on a junk drawer. I don't have a drawer per se, but I have what amounts to the same thing. I have a paper grocery bag that contains a wire array of things which have no other place. I admit that's not a very elegant solution, but it does the job of containing a mess that would otherwise spread across the room. If only the debris field of a sunken ship could be so reigned in.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Giving Until It Hurts Feelings

I was thinking today about an interesting episode from my college years, during which time I didn't have a whole lot happen for myself, but which did produce one or two stories. This was one that I thought was good. I was at the time very civic-minded, and apart from being virulently political, I was more generous than I ought to have been where charity was concerned. I joined the IWW (which I would call a charity case), Amnesty International, and the ACLU (which, ten years later, still occasionally sends me my final membership statement).

I also gave blood. I did that once. A donation center was set up in my dorm building one day, and while I was nervous about the idea, I could see no excuse to not give blood. I went down and found that the giving was robust enough that I would have to wait. I did so, and I got a bit bored. I think it was while filling out paperwork that I started making smart remarks. I was not just bored, but nervous as well, and making jokes settles me a little. While receiving stitches once, I recall making a joke about malpractice.

Monday, February 18, 2013


I was thinking the other day about the major security issue with my apartment building, which is that those who do not have their own key regularly get in very easily by means of hanging around until someone with a key opens the door and allows them in. I myself have been guilty of this. What is one to do. Warn the person to stay back as you shut the door in their face? The situation just cannot conclude in that fashion without awkwardness.

Just what is one to do? Well, I have come of with a sort of an idea, although it cannot be carried out without some considerable expense, and it may be no good anyway. As that would surely be passed on to tenants like myself, I will not press my idea too aggressively, but it could work. I was thinking about the method by which it is ensured that light does not enter a room where it is not welcome. You have a set of two doors far enough apart that the first is shut by the time the second is reached.

Sunday, February 17, 2013


As I get further along into acting, I find myself confronted more and more with the necessity of memorizing. For live performances and for the screen, I have found it necessary to memorize not just lines, but actions and positions. It is challenging, although I find that it is within my ability. Even in improv comedy, it has sometimes been necessary. In one form of improv, called the Armando, one must pluck details from a story and create scenes from them. It can be rather hard to remember those details.

In scripted acting, I have had my fair share of lines to learn. Doing my one man show, there was twenty minutes of uninterrupted material, but I was lucky enough to be memorizing my own material, and so I had a considerable margin for error. If I were to have forgotten lines and improvised new ones in order to cover my mistake, who would have been to say that I had failed to deliver my lines as intended? Perhaps I had done a last-minute re-write.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

My Bag

I like peanuts pretty well. I've been eating a lot of them lately, under the assumption that they are tolerably good for me. At least they are not worse than the likes of chips and anything fried. I started off with unsalted peanuts, but I couldn't take that after the first bag of them. I've gone through a lot of bags of salted peanuts in the shell, and putting more thought into them than anyone has heretofore. Probably I've thought about it more than anyone ever will.

There is much inefficiency in peanuts. Each bag has a fair number of shells that do not contain anything. One can, of course, eat the shell. I don't do that. Thankfully, I eat slowly enough to cast aside the empty ones. When you get into a good rhythm, you can actually eat pretty quickly and toss the shells in a good, fluid motion. It's all about repetition. The shells that had peanuts and the one's that didn't amount to the same thing.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Come Marching In

While casting about for a subject that I might write about, somehow I got to thinking about parades. It occurred to me that I haven't been to many in my life. I can think of one that I've definitely attended, although there may be more that I can't think of. Parades are not something that were of tremendous importance to my family. I think maybe there's a narrow range of town size where parades are of interest. I was in too big a city and not big enough of one for parades.

When I was a boy, I recall that the Phoenix Suns held a parade after what we called their "Silver Season" of 1992-93. They had gone to the NBA Finals and met their match in Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls, but they held a parade after it was over anyway. I watched that on television. I did not do so when the Chicago White Sox held a victory parade upon winning the World Series, nor did I even attend. I was about a block away shooting a student film at the time.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

To Eat And Reminisce

I was thinking, with something yet to be written for this blog today, about a restaurant that my school friends and I used to go to for lunch. Maybe I've written about this already, but I don't check anymore, so desperate am I now regularly to fulfill my obligations to myself. Anyway, this was when I was attending a rather informally-arranged school that had broken away from a marginally more conventional charter school. Things were kind of loose.

We went through a few evolutions even in the time I was at this school, which survived my departure more easily than it did that of its lone original teacher. At first, we were meeting in an office park, and ate lunch at its little cafe. We also, it seems to me, ate at a Schlotzky's, which was a sandwich place. I recall eating at a donut place, which doesn't exactly make for a very conventional lunch, I'll admit. As I said, thinks were loose.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Might I Go

I founded out a number of days ago that a friend I see seldom these days was set to perform at an open mic in my neighborhood. The open mic was, regrettably, set to take place right during a prior engagement of mine. I couldn't bear to miss it though, and so I pushed the other thing forward and rushed out right afterward. I'm quite glad that I did, for it was a worthwhile experience in a number of ways.

The open mic was at a nearby establishment that one might call a cafe. They mainly promote their pies, which I gather are both of sweet and savory varieties. As I've been attempting a frugal lifestyle lately, I resolved only to get something to drink. I wasn't much for the idea of coffee so late in the evening as 9 o'clock, but I did like the idea of getting tea after being advised that this place does tea right. They did not have my first choice, but the one I was recommended worked out nicely.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A True Brain Cloud

Sometimes I fall into these dark moods. It's hard to say what truly precipitates them. I don't know that the thing I'm aware of can really be the inciting incident. It can be something that I feel I did wrong, or a sudden feeling of loneliness, or a feeling (obviously false) of being unpopular. In such moods, my perceptions and judgments are all thrown askew. I assiduously try to be alone with sharply negative, self-maligning thoughts.

Compelled to be with people, I have to strongly guard against lashing out at them with unwarranted, unkind words. Mostly that goes all right, although it is bound to leave me very quiet, and consequently not fantastic company anyway. Actually, being with people does have a way of softening my mood, although it's not always enough to restore pleasantness. I think it's always worth forcing myself out anyway.

Monday, February 11, 2013

"So Let It Be Written..."

I don't get much real mail. Most people don't, I suppose, but perhaps I get even less than the average. Certainly each of my two roommates receive more real mail than I do. I should say that I define "real mail" not merely as something that is desirable, but something that was written (or at least typed) by a person and which is definitely hand-addressed. It's exceptionally rare that I get anything which meets that description.

I did recently, or at least I very nearly did. I was astonished to extract from the mailbox something which appeared to be hand addressed. I examined it carefully, having in the past received mass-mailed envelopes which purport to be hand addressed but which are in fact faked. This was the real deal, this one that I received the other day. It bore a name and return address that I did not recognize, and my curiosity was aroused.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Hang Fire

Years ago, when I was going to community college back home, I used to drive a car. It's been now something like seven or eight years since I regularly did so. I did very much like to stop at yard sales if I saw them, although I suppose that's something I can do now when riding my bicycle if not when I am on the bus. In any case, there was one yard sale where I found some very interesting things. I bought one of them, which was a set of spud shooters.

To explain, these are little plastic toy pistols whose barrel one embeds in a raw potato to create an organic pellet which can then be fired at any target without fear of real harm. I was just consumed with thoughts of the possibilities which owning those guns opened up for me, but they ultimately became one more thing I did not ever use, such as the 8 millimeter camera, projector and screen I bought at another yard sale.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Answering In Kind

I love music. I spend much of every day listening to music while sequestered (of my own volition) in my bedroom. The music is at worst not a hindrance to my productivity while writing or doing whatever else, and it might even lubricate the creative machine a little. A regrettable fact of living in an apartment building with roommates and neighbors is that there are many noises and distractions which it is difficult if not impossible to eliminate. The music helps that.

Supposing that a roommate is moving about the apartment or doing something else, the noise of which could be quantified as a six out of ten. My move will always be to get some music going at a minimum of a seven, and probably higher. So long as the noise is coming from a rock legend like Warren Zevon, it does not anger me or derail my process. This remedy may cost me down the line when I cannot hear, but for now it's good.

Friday, February 8, 2013


With yesterday's sales and acquisitions at the used bookstore, I am as interested in ever in reading. I have those books I bought to read, and I feel revitalized by having removed from my inventory some books that I was not eager to read. I feel the weight of every book in my possession. Each one that I have not read is one that I want to read, and all the books yet to be read create a crushing pressure that actually makes me read less. Better almost to not have any books but the one I'm reading.

Presently I'm reading "Johnny Got His Gun", and I've been on it a little while. I have a hard time fitting in reading at home, as there are many other distractions and necessary things to do there. It works out better for me to read while traveling, as I have to make use of all the time on buses and trains somehow or another. Even there may be found distractions. I have to leave my headphones behind in order to not resort to music or podcasts on my phone.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Selling Low

In retrospect, I cannot bear any ill will against the school bookstores anyplace I went to college. I'd like to say that I did not then either, but it's increasingly difficult to remember. Of course, the cost of those books seems and seemed criminal, but I suppose the guilty party is somewhere further upstream. The store probably had little choice but to pass along obscene costs to the students. I wish they would have paid more to get those books back, but it all makes sense the way it worked. I would have done the same.

Thank God I don't have to deal with that kind of thing anymore. It's been years since I had to entertain the idea of paying a hundred dollars for a book which there was only a passing chance of needing and less chance still of getting anything substantial out of. There is the used bookstore though, and it operates on a similar (if fairer) basis. I hadn't really made use of one in years, but I did the other day. It was interesting.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

My Creation

Sunday was the Super Bowl, and there are any number of things that could (and yet might) be covered here in this blog. An important thing to be sure I do get to is not the football, the commercials or the power failure which captivated the globe, but instead the food. One absolutely must find or host a Super Bowl party with some great food. Virtually everything is non-essential except for people, a television showing the game and food. I admit I can't imagine what else there could be but those three things, but why get hung up on that?

There was, of course, plenty to drink at our party. There was beer, of which I partook, and whiskey, of which I did not. Often enough I discharge my responsibilities by buying a case of beer, but this time around I did not. Plenty of people did, though, and we never wanted for any booze over the course of the day. One might argue that our long-term health prospects would improve considerably if we ever did run out, but we didn't.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Guarded Condition

I was watching an episode of "Perry Mason", and it opened with a cat burglar stealing jewels from some sort of mansion or museum in Russia. The burglar deftly evades the building's guards, who are stationed outside the main gate. It's worth noting that they were dressed in lavish, very elaborate uniforms, and one wonders what they would be able to do if faced with a threat. More evident was what they did in the absence of a threat.

These were the sort of guard that very aggressively passes back and forth across the same five or so yards in front of the entrance. The two of them crossed past each other over and over again, and I have to wonder what that achieves. I can imagine using movement to secure more of the perimeter when you have too few guards, but that would work if they were actually covering more ground than two men can observe. They weren't doing that.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Mugging For The Written Page

I fall easily into routines. In fact, I depend on routines for success. The more often I do something, the more I am able to iron out the mistakes that I make and accrue momentum. Routine makes momentum and momentum makes success, for me at least. One of the areas where I most look for more and more efficient routine is in my morning process. A key part of it is the intertwined processes of making breakfast and completing my toiletries.

Never mind the toiletries for today. The important thing is my breakfast, and specifically my coffee. I had a routine going. I would have one cup of coffee in a mug and move on with my day. First I had my standard-size red, gray and blue flag mug, and I stuck with that for a long time. I switched to my larger "Community"-themed mug, and went with that for a while. I then started switching back and forth for a bit.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Meat Of The Matter

Today is the Super Bowl, and while I have a healthy interest in the game and a fairly personal interest in the commercials, there is room for other intrigue in the day. Looming large for many is the food. I myself have opted to make some jalapeno poppers, and God willing they will be well-received. It's a little more emotional investment than if I were bringing beer or chips. Anyway, that's what I'm doing today.

What others are doing presumably includes chicken wings, or as they are commonly known, Buffalo wings. This is awfully interesting to me. The Buffalo wing is one of those really ingenious creations, on par with the meatball or or the sausage. All three are devised to make use of what would otherwise be regarded as waste. The meatball and the sausage both neutralize low-grade meat with the connivance of potent spice and other distractions.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Coleridge's Dream

Something that happens periodically around an apartment building like mine is that they make repairs. It doesn't always happen in a timely and perfect fashion, but when I consider how it goes by comparison with repairs that I would make, I have to be very lenient. Really, it's a fine situation, and what kind of life would it be if things were perfect? Now, one area in which they work prodigiously to keep things in order is the plumbing.

Naturally, to fix the plumbing you have to shut the water off. I don't know much about that, which is perhaps made obvious by my puzzlement over why it is necessary to deny the entire building water in order to service a localized area. I must assume that there is some practical consideration, for they cannot do what they do out of some perverse desire to antagonize tenants. The point is that the needs of the few often outweigh the good of the many here.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Selling Out, God Willing

The other evening, I was watching television and someone mentioned what was supposed to be a best-selling book. Perhaps a book which meets that description is no long what it once was, and then again maybe it's more than it used to be. The publishing industry has seen better times, but people are probably reading more than they ever have been. In any case, I found myself wondering what I would write with the aim of getting a best-seller.

The first thing that occurred to me was that I might adapt what I have written on Twitter, or I might do the same with the best of what I have written for this blog. I don't know if I would have much chance of a best seller on the basis of those materials alone, but if I develop some independent notoriety, the book would really sell itself. People would perhaps be eager enough to read my work the next time around that fame wouldn't be necessary for a second best-seller.