Friday, October 31, 2008

It's Raining!!!

Well, it's stopped now, but it was! :)

I was so excited to be distracted by an odd noise coming from my balcony. Although it's a cold rain, I stood in it with a big grin on my face like an idiot. More than the feeling of the cold wet drops against my face, I had forgotten about the smell. It's so distinct but indescribable.

When I was home a few weeks ago a friend teased me, asking, "are you really so obsessed with rain?" YES! You'd be amazed how much you miss it when you go for months, not weeks but months, without it. People say they move to places like California and Florida "for the weather." Now that I'm here, I say bullshit! There is no weather here! There's earthquakes and fires and sunshine, but no actual weather.

Anyway, I found myself cold and kind of bored, so I put on a jacket and fuzzy leopard print slippers, returned to my balcony and asked "now what?" It was 5:30 a.m. and still kind of dark. Was is it safe? Could I go for a walk in the rain? In my opinion, anything past 5 a.m. seems like a safe hour. Surely criminals are passed out by then, but it was still dark... Instead of going anywhere I called my guy who was just arriving to work dressed as a duck hunter for the holiday and getting reactions from his coworkers/our friends. Then I called my mom who was baking a cake on her day off for a Halloween party tomorrow night...


What are, things I don't have in LA, Alex.

Actually that's not true. I could have gone to a Halloween party hosted by a coworker Monday night, but I didn't. It's just not the same. Instead of all that familiarity, I'm here in LA where things feel like they're up-side-down. Literally.

I've been working evening shifts and getting home around 1 a.m. Then I'm awake until 4 or 5 a.m. and pretty much sleep until it's time to go to work the next day. Last night, I got home, fixed food and watched the 3 a.m. rebroadcast of Oprah and I'm still awake at 7 a.m. It really doesn't get much more up-side-down than that!

Aside from my fucked-up work and sleep schedule, I once again feel like I don't know what I'm doing here. I mean, I know what I'm here to do, but the execution isn't going so well. Earlier this fall I was overwhelmed with stress and sadness, so I took advantage of going home for a week. Immediately upon returning I was knocked on my ass with a medical issue, hence the line on the 18th, "I'm dealing with somethings that I can't disclose."

After reading that, my guy said, "People are going to this I broke up with you!" If you thought that, you were wrong and shame on you. Rather, I was ailing from physical symptoms as well as stress that it might be a major medical issue. Even after I was feeling better, test results were still missing! I got the bill for the fucking tests before I finally got word that it was far less serious than originally thought. It's virtually nothing. I expect scare tactics from politicians, but not my doctor! Anyway, I need not say what it was because... well, it wasn't. I'm absolutely fine, except for the fact that after the stress and the trip and the health scare, I've lost an entire month of my life!

Even though I got new headshots, I haven't done anything with them this past month and now I don't know what to do. I finally made the decision to come home for Thanksgiving and just stay until the New Year. Flying back and forth would just be silliness. Now I have less than a month in LA before that holiday break. Should I pursue sending my new headshots out to managers and agents or wait until I get back in January? How do I make the most of this month, without feeling like it's wasted time that could be spent with the one I love?

How did this happen; how does time just evaporate like this? I've been so ashamed that I've not done anything with my new headshots, and so consumed with health issues, I've obviously not been in the sharing, blogging mood, but there's nothing like a little rain to help clear your head. Well, not really, I still don't have answers to most things, but I finally felt something normal and natural. It was cold and wet and smelled amazing... and it made me feel better.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Dodger Dogs, Missing Midol, Egomaniacs in the Express Lane and Men and Microwaves...

So I'll bet you're thinking that since I haven't blogged that means I've been busy doing stuff that'll be really cool to read about! Right?

Yeah, sorry... Not so much.

I felt horrible all week and didn't do a whole lot of anything. But here's some randomness that you'll hopefully find amusing:

Halloween Horror Nights at work have been a huge success, which is actually a bad thing. We've been grazing the point at which high ticket sales makes executive types very uncomfortable, not from a crowd control stance, but moreover, long wait times this year could result in unhappy patrons and less ticket sales in the coming years. Like the day time, the Studio Tour is the most popular attraction and our line is going through our queues, up our escalator and spilling into the theme park. Last weekend a food stand that sells 'Dodger Dogs' complained that our exit blockades were right in front of them and as a result their sales were pathetic. Our management was annoyed that a meager food stand would challenge the most popular attraction but for the sake of corporate synergy they struck a deal. Our lines would stay but the tour guides would encourage everyone on each Terror Tram to get a Dodger Dog as they left...

The night this began I was working as a guide and a friend who was opening tram gates at the unload area sent me a text half way through the night asking what the hell was going on with the Dodger Dogs? "The guests are screaming to get off the tram because of the infomercial!" he wrote. It was annoying to everyone working the unload area who had to hear it repeatedly and apparently to the guests too, but it worked! Our menacing intent was to keep Dodger Dogs so damn busy that they'd be sorry for messing with us, and indeed, they sold out!


Earlier this week Oprah did a show on rudeness and the fact that it's a national epidemic. It focused a lot on cell phone etiquette and restaurant behavior but a question in an 'are you rude?' quiz asked if you'd knowingly taken more than the allotted number of items through an express check-out lane. I think that's a forgivable offense if you're in a huge hurry and not too far over the limit.

Jump to the next day - I find myself in the grocery having a horrible day. The usual ghost-town of a pharmacy has a line of people and a wait to get something filled, causing me to rearrange my afternoon and possibly making me late for work. After finally dropping off a prescription I grabbed a half gallon of milk and went to the pill aisle for Midol. I searched and searched with no luck. I glanced in the "feminine hygiene" area with no luck there either. It was not in the glass case under the pharmacy window either. The closest employee was a middle aged man stocking potatoes. Great! Modesty be damned, my finger had gone numb from the milk and I had fulfilled my daily workout pacing back and forth in front of the pills.

"Hi, I realize you're the produce guy," I said. "But I need help in aisle one, from you or whomever." He put down his potato and asked what I am looking for. "Midol. Which, by the way, is a pretty stupid product to hide from a women in need of purchasing it." He looked confused for a moment, thought about it, then laughed. It was located by the tampons, but hidden behind one of those dangling displays that jut out from the middle of a shelf. "Are you freaking kidding me? You know this is terribly placement, right?" I looked at him with a bullshit smile, knowing he'd go back to his potatoes and not pass my concerns along. For the record, all my comments were veiled with humor; I was not rude. Bunt, but not rude.

In the express lane with my Midol, milk and loudly ticking watch, the woman in front of me clearly had more than 15 items. I knew she was real trouble when asked if she'd like paper or plastic. "Double plastic," she replied. Mind you, the express lane didn't have a bagger so asking the cashier to double bag immediately negated the word 'express.' Her transaction seemed to take five years; she had two or three bottles of wine that couldn't be quickly scanned and tossed. Then, as the poor cashier handed her one of her bags, the woman complained, "Oh, this is so heavy!" The cashier took the time to separate it into two bags. EXPRESS LANE!?!?!?

I did pick up the 'scrip and make it to work on time, never mind the misplaced Midol and egotistical express lane bitch.


My roommate's parents are in town for a visit. They got in late last night and stayed at our apartment, but are now in a hotel. I am here much more than my roommate, so I put away the things I'd been using, like the ironing board, and straightened up a bit. I didn't sweap or go too far out of my way though, I mean, they're not my parents! The last time her mom visited (by herself) I have to admit, I was a little disappointed that she didn't give our apartment that "mom cleaning" that I'd heard people talk about in my college years. No big deal; just an observation. But imagine my surprise when I awoke this morning to find a sparkling clean cook top and microwave! Nice! Yes, they were both a bit dirty with left over splatter, but not like bachelor pad disgusting or anything. I had to smile and laugh as I thought "it must have been her dad!"

I think a clean microwave is a mans domain! My guy always bugs me about not covering every single thing I put in the microwave with a paper towel and he commented on my slightly splattered microwave the last time he was here. My dad is pretty good about cleaning stuff like that too. I hate gender roles, but the obvious joke here is that the microwave is a lot of guys primary cooking medium, so like a car or a tool set, they keep it clean! ;)

I can't wait to ask my roommate if she saw which parent cleaned our microwave. It doesn't really matter, I'm grateful it was done for us, but more than that I am amused by the quirky little things that make me think of home.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A friend at work last night asked if I had fallen off the face of the earth and you might be wondering the same. The asnwer is yes, it kind of feels that way.

I got back in town for my acting class Tuesday night, which went amazingly well and I'm working every night this weekend. By working I mean hiding out in the upstairs lounge, as opposed to the main area with a million other annoying type-A personas that I haven't felt like interacting with. It's odd how the Horror Night shifts are structured - instead of paying employees for the amount they actually work, all tour guide shifts are seven hours. To make that happen you're called in between 4:30 to 6 p.m., even though the event doesn't open until 7. I'm certainly not going to complain about being paid to do nothing, but last night I wanted to be anywhere else.

I don't anticipate tonight being much better. I'm dealing with somethings that I can't disclose, but hopefully life will be back to normal soon.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Musings from an airplane

Written 10.13.08; 8 p.m.ish EST:

I should be memorizing a scene for tomorrow night’s acting class as I sit aboard an aircraft swiftly dragging me back to LA at thirty-some thousand feet. That stupid scene is the only reason I am on this flight; I don’t have to work until Saturday and would have changed my ticket to Friday if not for my obligation to my scene partner. I guess it’s really less about the him and more about the opinion of my acting teacher. My current scene partner is also in a distance relationship with his partner, so he understands my circumstance. I’m sure he could easily present a monologue tomorrow night, but I do not want to look unreliable in anyone’s eyes. Skipping class could lead to calling off that one measly shift and then when would it end…?

On the way to the airport my guy asked me if I even had fun this visit and “Did it only make things worse?” “I got to see you, so I could never call it ‘worse,’” I answered.

The truth, as I went on to explained to him, is that it’s harder this time because there’s nothing new and exciting about going back to LA. I have my apartment, my acting class, my job and a basic understanding of how everything works. I’ve always known it would be difficult and now I understand the logistics of that reality. Friends disagree, but I have never felt I am a very motivated person, thus, running the business of “me the actor” is a constant struggle. I hate to admit it, but I work better with a little bit of structure to hold me accountable.

With neither structure nor the physical presence of my greatest supporters, the past couple months have been very difficult. My roommate works long hours and has a serious boyfriend that she spends most of her free time with, so I have gone over two weeks without seeing her. I still talk to a couple castmates from the musical festival and know some cool people from work and acting class, but I can count on one hand the times I’ve been out with them. Restaurants are expensive, I don’t drink and drive and I don’t want to deal with being hit on… As result of my lacking human interaction, I’ve developed a very unnatural relationship with Michael Phelps. I talk to him everyday when I feed him breakfast.
He’s my pet Beta fish. :)

Although I have my new headshots and should be excited about now getting a manager and better agent… I’m… I don’t know what I am. I’m not unexcited, but not as energized as I should be. I’m just tired of doing everything on my own. I know I’m not alone; I talk to my guy a million times a day via phone, webcam, text and email. Nonetheless, the feeling of loneliness is extremely draining.

In addition to not wanting to go back to all those negative aspects, it was difficult to once again see all I had left and am asking my guy to leave. I love our home! It is so beautiful and comfortable and full of memories. If you could see my house and watch how my guy treats me, for even five minutes, you would think I was absolutely, committably crazy for leaving it. It’s stupid and foolish and beyond comprehension. What the fuck is wrong with me? In Ohio I already have what some people search their lives for. Even though I was fulfilled to be spending time with my loved ones and pets, I still felt the sadness and conflict associated with everything in our lives being upside down right now.

If you think this sounds like I’m waving a literary white flag, then you don’t know me very well. I’m like our Great Dane stuck in the MINI Cooper, or a cat up a tree… With ever step I take forward, the path behind me disappears. I won’t go back; I can’t. Like our dog the other day, I’ll sit in the car, equally terrified of going back the way I came and eagerly waiting for the car to move and take me somewhere wonderful. I have no doubt that the vehicle that is my career will take off, it’s just that sometimes being the driver is beyond overwhelming. Okay, enough with the bad car analogies…

Monday, October 13, 2008

Dallas... Again

I'm sitting across from a clothing store in the airport called Lone Star Attitude, in which the manikins have bull heads. They're made of sleek shiny white plastic, but still!

Too bad the store is closed, I could have had an hour of amusement watching who in their right mind enters such a place...

Friday, October 10, 2008

Oh my funny! Our Dane was stuck in the MINI!

For the first time in her ten year life, my guy found a flea on our Great Dane this afternoon! Ack! He headed back to work and suggested if, by chance, she would fit in the MINI Cooper, I take her to the groomer. Prior to calling for an appointment, I thought I should try putting the dog in the tiny two door car.

She hopped in with ease, but the groomer had no openings this afternoon, and then the dog wouldn't get out of the car!!! She tried, but our huge pooch is extremely timid and was freaked out by the small space she had entered... She was like a cat who had gotten itself stuck in a tree! I tried coxing her with treats, I tried ringing the door bell, then I just started taking pictures because it was one of the funniest things I've ever seen!

I left the doors open and returned to my Project Runway marathon - an hour and fifteen minutes later she finally decided to get out of the car and come back in the house!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Headaches from Horror Nights!

I mentioned a bit of surprise that I wasn't on the work schedule this week, but then again, I'm just one of many cogs in a very large wheel, so I got a plane ticket home without questioning it.

Tuesday afternoon our dispatch office called to see if I wanted to pick up an extra shift guiding a Terror Tram this Saturday night. Nope!

Then, last night, as my guy prepared me a delicious "welcome back" meal, I received a voice mail from the scheduler that there was a mistake and I am on the schedule as an STA this Saturday. We're emailed a 4 to 6 page PDF document; the first couple pages is the main guide schedule, followed by foreign language guide schedules and emcee schedules... I did not know that under all that there is now a page devoted just to Halloween Horror Nights shifts, as those shifts are also listed in on the main guide schedule. For me, there was a technical glitch and my shift this Saturday was only on the Horror Nights page and not by my name on the main guide page. *sigh* Obviously dispatch is only looking at the main page too, since they called me to guide.

Am I flying home early to do the shift? Hell no! My salary wouldn't come close to covering a ticket change fee! Luckily, our scheduler was cool about it, admitting it was a technical mistake, and not panelizing me with attendance points. If she wanted to be a bitch she could claim it was my responsibility to read the entire schedule; I guarantee there will be a note in a coming email alerting everyone to the additional Horror Nights page!

Anyway, it feel so amazing to be home! Since my guy works 12+ hours today I'm driving to see my parents and grandparents. The timing is great, as my brother from Chicago is also coming down to visit his son in a nearby Indiana town. We'll be meeting tonight at good ole Pizza Hut, my mom's favorite, and I'm really anxious to get my brothers opinion on my new headshots.

Time to hit the road. Hhmm... Do I remember to how to drive the stick shift? :)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Dialing in from Dallas

I'm sitting in the Dallas/Fort Worth airport. I think it's in the four o'clock hour "my" time, six something here and seven something in Ohio. I fear the final leg of my journey, to Detroit, will have me at my wits end! I tried to sleep on the way here, unsuccessfully. I'm a fidgity flyer and it especially sucks not to have anyone to lean on. The last twenty minutes of the flight from LAX was not without someone to talk to though...

My flight was full of cocky Marine recruits who all looked like they just hit puberty. Although they looked young, they already had that cool, asshole, hardened essence about them. That was my impression until the one next to me opened his mounth and my heart sank. He was so... clueless and appropriately immature. He just talked and talked and talked to me. He'd wanted to join the Army and didn't know what the Marines were when they called him. He wanted to be a sniper because "it's so cool in the video games," but there were no openings so he's training to be a military fire fighter instead. At the boot camp he was returning from they talked about how it would be "awesome" for war to start in North Korea or Russia because it would be somewhere new to fight. "War isn't a video game!" I replied. "I know, I know..." he laughed. But does he? He also went on and on about his family. His room is decorated with Eagles football stuff; he owes his mom $200 because he asked her to buy him a new jersey while he was at camp. *sigh* I wanted to ask "are you going to call her from Iraq for a new baseball cap?". But I didn't. I just listened.

I realize the military is a great option for people like him who have no idea what they would do otherwise, but it just doesn't seem right for a kid, barely 18, to be on the front lines of something that is so far beyond their comprehension...

This is not inviting a military debate, just a highlight, or low light as the case may be, of my travels.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

It's been a month since I've seen my guy and this time around it's been extremely difficult to deal with, so late last week I was wishfully checking flights for tonight until Friday morning. I know people who travel a lot would think nothing of that, but to me, only having two full days at my destination would be unfulfilling and frustrating given the cost and hassle of travel. But, I have obligations to a scene partner at an acting class tonight and I was led to believe that the tour guides selected to work Halloween Horror nights were victims of the Terror Tram every weekend in October...

So imagine my mixed emotions when I got the schedule this past Friday evening to find I hadn't received a single shift. "How are you to plan anything with such an inconsistent, late-breaking schedule?! How am I to pay my bills??!!" But that reaction lasted a nano second and was pushed aside by the joy of "I CAN GO HOME FOR A WEEK!" Well, almost a week. I'm taking a red-eye tonight after class and fly back Monday.

I know I'll be home for a considerable amount of time in December, so this trip, my man and I are being extremely selfish with our time together (with the exception of seeing a family member that will also be in from out-of-town).

I don't know if it's just in my head, or if the stigma really exists, but there's a negative vibe around "going home." It's like, if you're not in LA working your ass off, you must not really care about your career. With the sporadic nature and short notice of all types of work in this crazy town, it is much easier to receive visitors. Nonetheless, I know I need this.

When I moved out here we said we'd see each other at least once a month and take turns flying back and forth. We've stretched that a bit and I have not kept up my end of the travel bargain, as this is only my second trip back in six months.

I’m looking at my lack of auditions and work this week as a huge opportunity! The timing is actually perfect – I’m still sorting through my new headshots, gathering opinions and driving myself crazy trying to choose the two to reproduce. Tonight and next week in my acting class we are working on scenes, as opposed to seeing casting directors, to whom I would need to give an 8x10 headshot. Dealing with headshots and not being scheduled to see casting directors gives me some room to breathe. Also, since getting the new shots I can’t bring myself to submit with the old, horrible one; thus, the lack of auditions. I do need to hurry up, select and get some new ones online and start submitting again, but the positive part of that is, since I haven’t been submitting it’s unlikely I’ll get an audition and have to deal with another heartbreaking Murphy’s Law situation while I’m home this time.

And now to try to pack for fall in Ohio... Uhg!

Sunday, October 5, 2008


The only point of this post is to say I can not stand myself and the sleep schedule I have had for the past week or so. The past two days I've been awake until 5 or 6 a.m., slept until 3 or 4 p.m. and had to rush to work at 5 or 6 p.m... :(

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Hello from Halloween Horror Nights!

"Halloween already?" Yes!

Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights began yesterday and tonight our tram loading area is busier than I have ever seen it! Last night I was a guide on the "Terror Trams" but tonight I am an STA, aka a door opener on the backlot. Basically the guests watch a scary video about nightmares and Freddie Krugger while they're driven to some backlot sets. The guide gives a bs reason that they have to get off the tram and walk. I am amazed at the amount of people I've heard tonight bitching about it! They're getting to WALK through Whoville sets, beside the Bates Motel and Psycho house and through the War of the Worlds set with the crashed 747 before getting back on a tram and going through the Mummy's tomb!!! Amazing!

Have I gone through any of the haunted stuff? Hell no!!! I couldn't even deal with the monsters up in the park on employee preview night long enough to get the free food!

Breaks over...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Busy, but blue.

Do you ever have those days (or weeks) when things seem to be great, but you still don't feel happy? I've been incredibly busy but at the end of they day (which is back to 4 a.m. for me) I don't feel like I've accomplished much... The good news is my photo shoot went very well Tuesday and I have several wonderful new headshot options to sort through. Also with Universal's Halloween festivities running all month I'll be getting more work. More about all that later...

Chalking it up to good experience - Part 1 of ?

Last week was pretty good, in terms of the industry – I had four auditions and went to two casting director seminars. But no, none of it really amounted to anything.

The Music Video Audition

Last Tuesday I auditioned for that country music video. The requirements of the audition itself were a bit awkward, so lucky for me I was familiar with the location and people running the audition. The main casting director was my acting teacher, thus the reason I got an audition. It was held at the theatre below where our class is held; I had never been in that theatre, but knew the area, travel time and parking. Two of my classmates sometimes assist my acting teacher and they were two of the three gentlemen actually in the audition room, running the camera and such.

All of that made it very easy for me, what wasn’t easy for any of us was the multifaceted, improv audition. First we had to walk onstage, as if coming out of a church, pretending to read a book, then act startled by the hot bad boy waiting for us. A male actor was actually there to speak to us, but he was not in the camera shot. He asked to take us for a ride on his motorcycle and we were to say “I don’t accept rides from local ruffians,” as if we didn’t know him, and then improv a playful, coy conversation from there, the reality being that he is our boyfriend. Then, we had to do a cat-and-mouse playful chase around a chair that was onstage to represent his bike. As to not take away from the girls’ audition, the male actor did not really chase us or be chased; obviously that part felt a bit silly, but I did my best to be in the moment, as if I was really goofing around with my guy. Finally, after dizzying ourselves, we were to look into the camera and act as if we were speaking to a friend, telling her both how he turns us on, but also why we’re running away to spend our life with him! They were looking for someone who could go instantly from innocent and playful to overtly sexual.

It was fun, but certainly not as easy as interpreting and delivering a script. I felt like I was in and out of the audition room rather quickly. This sounds mean, but some of the other girls in the waiting area seemed like bimbos. I was able to go through each step of the audition seamlessly without prompting; I simply can not believe some of the other girls could have done that. The bitch of it is, stopping to ask, “um, like what do I do next?” was probably the moment that showed something the director liked! LOL!

I’m not saying the video director or artist are looking for a bimbo, rather that moment of naivety could have been golden. So anyway, no I didn’t even get a callback, but one of the guys from my acting class was cast as the bad boy!