Office chart and Progress! In Tutoring!

(Found a ghost in my room…)

Post-downtime office chart

“FML”  – deamau5 (cut at 2’46)* > “Fuckin’ in the Bushes” – Oasis >
“Halfway Home” > “Crying” > “Dancing Choose”† – TV on the Radio >
“Lotus Flower” > “Give Up the Ghost” > “Separator” > “Codex” – Radiohead >
“The Gentle Hum of Anxiety”‡ > “Intriguing Possibilities” – Trent Reznor and Atticus Finch

*and that’s about all I can take from deadmau5 (and I admit that’s partly because of titles like “FML” and “Moar Ghosts ‘n’ Stuff”)
†isn’t that the GREATEST TITLE??
‡Anyone else hear the similarities between “Codex” and “The Gentle Hum of Anxiety”?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(box head)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been working one-on-one with a student this semester and we’ve made a lot of progress. Only two weeks ago I was worried that I wasn’t helping him; that as much as I wanted to see him focus and prioritize, I wasn’t sure I was even reaching him. Now I see him putting energy in the right direction – what needs to be done first, working a little bit on this assignment here and this assignment there, and even addressing fears: as his class presentation approached, he asked if we could set up mock runs so he could do his PowerPoint presentation a few times before it was due. I told him I’d love to help him and I needed to ask the tutorial coordinator. Part of me expected a “Yes… but we’ll assign someone else…” Instead, my boss has been fully supportive and helped me set it up. She’s new this semester, and we did click immediately, but I’m not sure I could have predicted working for such a positive and supportive person. In the end, my tutee gave two mock presentations – well. Yeah, it was a good feeling – and just the satisfaction I needed from a job.

(Mary Magdalene is doing well.)

Advertisements

29

Thanks to those who made this day special. I remember when someone (and I remember who) told me that when you turn the same number your birthday is, it’s special. I thought that was bullshit– though it was charming when she turned her “birthday age.” But, with all the other occurrences of 29 in my life– from 29 Palms, I was 009 (get it?) in high school– I can’t help but smile. I’m listening to Ryan Adam’s 29 (so?) and actually wondering what this last year of my twenties will be like. Cheers to the Nintendo 64 and Erika Eleniak.

(Thanks to Barry Cutler, my dear friend, for the best birthday greeting I’ve ever received. I mean, look at it.)

The Devil’s Schedule

I hit Borders with mom yesterday. If you’re worried about people spending money on things they don’t need (and just things they want) then don’t go to Borders in their last three days – cos you’ll see people spending money on things they don’t need or even want. Trust me – I bought an Eels CD cos I figured “What the hell.” But! I did want (need?) this book mom found: The Book of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks: A Celebration of Creative Punctuation.

With the new semester starting last week, I’m back at the COD library – just a few hours but great pay. Starting the week of the 19th I’ll be back tutoring as well, giving me a total of 60 hours a week, no days off. I’m used to working seven days a week so it’s okay. And there’s a lot of down time tutoring so I’ll spend this next week preparing what-to-read, what-to-write lists.

I'm including a capture of my schedule in case anyone wants to bring me free food. That and my schedule looks RAD.

This is the only reason why I didn’t go out for the Fall show at COD (or at least, the only reason I won’t catch shit for). I have these two mentalities – art vs. money. I’ll either focus on going to school/doing productions or focusing on working as many as hours as possible. I once declined a stage manager “job”* at the La Quinta Playhouse because, at that time, I was about making money. Although they went defunct shortly after that, there are days that I wish I had taken it (for the experience, networking, etc.). The difference now is I am actually saving the money rather than just talking about it. (And I’ll be doing a third commercial with Adam Duplay next week, this time for LG’s Steakhouse. I really enjoy working with him and his crew (Go Steve!) regardless of being an extra or the pay… though a free steak would be savvy.)

Oh, and I am no longer on probation at work. It took over a year, but I did it. I did it. But thanks for the wake up calls those first few months.

*quotation marks necessary: they weren’t sure if they were going to pay me

Life in the Suburbs


 

 

While searching for a digital booklet for Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs (sick of my current desktop image), I came across this ridiculous claim (that’s still awesome, and shaming me for not writing it first – there, I said it.)

 

 

 

When The Suburbs came out a year ago, I went on my lunch break, copped it in excitement… but wasn’t ready for it. That’s the best explanation I have for not… well, liking it when I first heard it, to feeling that it wasn’t written for me – for this time I’m in, for the changes I was going through, and for who I just might become.

It’s been on most of my office charts (someone do the math); when I lost my car it was the one CD I copied to tape for my walkman; I’ve teared up in both awe and relevance; I’ve had friends remind me that there are other albums by Arcade Fire; there was a point when a good friend of mine said “Is there one day when I don’t have to listen to the goddamn Suburbs??” (Okay, I’m good friends with Alan Arkin.)

A week ago, when things ended with the person I had hoped and tried and wanted to make a life with, I took a break – The Suburbs is too much of a reminder. (Hip hop, comics, Peep Show – these are the things we need in our life when it gets a little tough.) But what about the Deluxe Edition? I figured I’d buy it, shelve it, and hopefully listen to it in a few months, and call it a benchmark.

It was unwrapped before I got home. I listened to the remix and demo – just dancing around the idea of actually listening to it. I watched Scenes from the Suburbs. When I finally started the Deluxe Edition (opening with the two bonus tracks) I did something so distracting: dishes.

It dawned on me that regardless of how much I think or thought or just wanted this album to be about my relationship, at this point it wasn’t. At this point it was about this past year. Since it first came out:
•     I worked to get my girlfriend back, worked hard to be a better partner, and lost again (“Took a drive into the sprawl to find the house where we used to stay. We couldn’t read the number in the dark. You said, ‘Let’s save it for another day.’”)
•     Work (“…just punch the clock.”)
•     I moved from Indio back to Palm Desert (“I feel like I’ve been living in a city with no children in it.”)
•     I didn’t take care of and lost my car, becoming car-less for the first time since 16 (“…as we listened to the sound of the engine failing.”)
•     I acted in two plays with wildly different experiences – both reminding me that it’s time to move on, that I do not need to act at a school I no longer attend (“…it’s the first time I’ve felt like something is mine, like I have something to give.”)
•     I met a lot of good people – and hurt and confused a lot of good people (“Wanna wash away my sins in the presence of my friends.”)
•     I lost good friends (“Your part of town against mine.”) and realized that as dependent as I have been on others, I need to be more self-reliant (“In my dream I was almost there then they pulled me aside and said ‘You’re going nowhere.’”)
•     Above all, and seemingly in spite of all this, I’m learning that I need to stop living in the past (“You said the past won’t rest until we jump the fence and leave it behind.”)

 

Now. Now’s a good time to let go. Now’s a good time to stop waiting for something to happen. Now’s a good time to just trust myself, to be responsible for what I am rather than worrying anymore about what I’ve been or what I thought I could have been. Now’s a good time to no longer worry about what people may or may not think about me or what I’m doing. Now’s a good time to stop worrying. And maybe now’s a good time to shelve The Suburbs – take it down in a couple years when I want to remember what it was like to be young. Or when I want to remember what it was like to be here, in this town, working everyday to bring something beautiful to this life.

(“Now I’m ready to start.”)

PT#: 300-06-8599-4 OFFICE CHART and More (Stories)

1.) Endtroducing….. – DJ Shadow

2.) Psyence Fiction – UNKLE

3.) “Heaven” – UNKLE (PF‘s outro segued perfect; yeah, I just wanted it to)

I’ve been getting back into hip hop, re-buying the classics that time and heat have eaten and discovering albums that I slept on (post-Stakes De La, Kool Keith). Luckily for anyone involved, I’m not getting back into hip hop by re-buying Lugz (if Ma had bought me Timbos, this might be different), or re-discovering my rhymes from HS… that could probably be slept on… no, really: sleep on em, cat – I don’t care.

I had to find some distractions to get through this mess (hip hop being one of them). Now that I have the Internet, I’ve been watching Peep Show again. Peep Show has enough despicable moments that it’s easily the perfect distraction right now. And it gave me an idea to use for a play; may or may not work.

Trimming the fat: hawking my old records, books, intergalactic paraphernalia, etc online; trying new approaches to the LA jobsearch (that’s one word now, btw); working out every night/kicking my own ass; not picking up the tab, so deal with it.

42nd attempt

Version 1:
Q: There are three men in a boat with four cigarettes but no matches. How do they manage to smoke?
A: They throw one cigarette overboard and make the boat a cigarette lighter.

Version 2:
Q: There are three men in a boat with four cigarettes but no matches. How do they manage to smoke?
A: I haven’t had a cigarette in 3 days.

Yes, sometimes I feel like this

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

,

 

but most of the time I’m just thankful for how nice it is to have all this extra* time† and money‡ to work on goals that matter.

Three days may not seem like much – but it’s the longest I’ve gone in a long time and I’m taking it day by day more than anything. (Also, I was afraid the days would drag but au contraire – they are moving along quite well.)

Thanks to those who have been understanding through all the times I’ve tried before (and even understanding as I went back), and to those who have offered great advice this time around.

*relative
†about 3 hours a day
‡about $200 a month

P.S. The patches smell like puked-up pepper : )

YA (didn’t get the) gig; soon, and REALLY soon

Since wrapping A Flea in Her Ear in November, I’ve been working on getting a new job in the valley, one that would better fund my move to LA. I interviewed for the Young Adult Associate position at my branch, and presented 10 events in two brochures:

(WordPress thumbnails look like shit – okay, I don’t know how to use them – so just click on em already.)

(library scavenger hunt example: “Fifty points for a picture of the Oscar statue in the building; an additional 100 points for a picture with a team member holding the statue.”)

I interviewed well– actually, I was told later that I wowed them with my events, my outreach plans, and my book talk (Mr. Pigman). It took them almost three weeks to decide and ultimately went with someone with more experience. (And, unfortunately, I’m not allowed to say more. But just know I have reason to be proud.)

This whole process was new for me. And it all started with my father’s advice: to be able to walk away from it knowing I gave it everything. (Do all dads have that ability– to say something corny but not come off that way, or is it just mine?) Preparing for it not only required more networking than I had done before, but also brainstorming with friends and other folks in the industry (?), and just remaining positive. I was sure I had it, but since finding out I didn’t, I haven’t spent a second in regret. Instead, it taught me a lot about preparing for an interview (amazing, I’ve had more than a dozen jobs, and this was the first interview I’ve ever sweat), and really, that I need to be more active to get what I want.

As obvious as this may seem, it hasn’t always been for me. And you know what? That’s okay. (Who am talking to??)

I finally got my headshots taken care of, courtesy of my friend, the talented Tawni Fiamengo. Why “finally” is a matter of debate, depending if you ask her or me. But hey, they’re done, and I have a few places lined up to send them to. And we had fun:

Actually, we had a lot of fun:

(Look how fucking slimming that sweater is! And those cords are so… black! And the floor looks marvelous!)

I was given a part in a production of Golf: the Musical, to be performed the first two weekends in Banning. (I will post ticket info soon.) This is kind of an interesting experience (or maybe I just expect it to be?): I have less than a month with the material; I’ll be rehearsing in Palm Desert, one on one with the director, and I won’t meet the remaining cast until a week before the show; I don’t… like golf; and I haven’t been in a musical since high school – how is my voice outside of the shower? Or now that I smoke? And I haven’t been singing regularly now that my car is dead.  What’s surprising is I’m really excited to do it – it’s work.

 Auditions for COD’s Pride and Prejudice are in one week. Time to dust off Dr. Astrov’s opening monologue…

Writing, printed work, &c.

I’m working with another actor, Matt Chute, on some skits for an upcoming showcase that he is organizing at College of the Desert. In our first meeting I proposed a few ideas, and they got a few laughs, but the one he suggested started writing itself when we sat down with it. Things are a little slow right now, since Matt lost his phone, but we should be getting back into the swing of things soon.

In the meantime, one of the ideas I had – a one act about a couple dividing up one another’s body parts as they move out of their apartment – came back to me and I started outlining it. It looks pretty good so far. There are some body parts that are associated with memories (the pelvic area should be fun), some that are just worth exchanging (“I had to pay for most of the deposit, so… I want your arm,” etc), and there’s a box in the middle of the stage full of memories that each tries to keep. The play obviously draws from my breakups (some where I lived with her, some where I didn’t), but I’m doing my best not to make it so biased. After all, I certainly have had some asshole moments in my relationships. I want the play not only to exorcise some of the issues I have/had from breakups, the differences between just a breakup and having to actually leave someone, but also the moments that were not my best.

As usual, I have a number of poems bouncing around, but I haven’t visited them since completing “strays.” “strays” is a good example of my process: I had that opening image, of a parking lot (really, a town) full of stray cats, so I jotted it down; but it wasn’t until I had something to actually write about that it was used, and I finished it in one moment. It was just what I needed, both as a writer and as an individual. A year or two ago, I would be beating the poem out regardless. Now I’m more comfortable with letting it come to me. But I do wish I had these complete thoughts and incomplete poems better organized, and I think I’ll do that today.

Also, “The Late Greats” was published in a COD zine, The Common Good Press. I’m still waiting for my copy, and it’s not available online, but I got to read a scanned copy. It’s just a zine, but it’s nice to see my work printed.

Planned blogs:
A list of self-aware songs
An opinion on the state of hip hop for the last 15 years
Top 25 LA Albums
Top 25 Album Openers
Top 25 Album Closers

Recently

I moved to Indio last month, some extra 20 miles away from my job – and from Los Angeles. It was hard at first: I would linger at work, bullshit at Starbucks and finally go home around 9PM. It’s hard to admit that I hate being alone, but by now most of the people that know and love me already know that – so why kid anyone? But after I situated my room (I live in a small casita, attached to a house, but virtually on my own) and started to look at the prospects of being happy or miserable, it was easier being home… hell, I even like it now. I’ve been able to balance who I spend how much time with with how much time I spend alone. I’m able to focus on feeling better alone, confident in the decisions I’ve made, and hopefully turn that into a real plan to move to LA and act.

But here I am again, talking about what I want. A common aspect in my life is starting things and not finishing them. I start books, finish them only halfway; I have boatloads of poems (and short stories, two novels) that are around here somewhere; if you could see the drafts of blogs I’ve started… In the last year this has become apparent to me, and of course explains why I haven’t pursued acting to the degree I have wanted to. But I feel that I’ve been more honest to myself and others about my lack of motivation and I really think I can do something about it. I can’t act like a 15 year old anymore and I can’t get stuck at 27 either.

I’ve rediscovered photography and trotted my camera down to the carnival two weeks ago and got some pretty good shots. I’m just waiting to finish this roll so I can actually see my work. But this all started when I found 13 rolls of shot film two months ago, all waiting to be processed (see above), so it’ll be awhile before I see something developed.

There are plenty of blogs and poems in the works and I work on one or the other pretty much everyday – a line here, an update there. I have a month or so off from tutoring and I’m looking forward to that time to myself and my work.

(Oh, and I also rediscovered Outkast with Stankonia. Damn, why did I sleep on this?)

Ze plan

“In the last ten years I’ve become a different person. And why is that? I’ve worked too hard and too long, Nurse. I’m on my feet from till night; never any rest, and at night I lie under the blanket afraid they’ll drag me off to some patient. I haven’t had a single free day since we met. Who could help growing old? And life itself is dull, stupid, filthy…. It sucks you under. You’re surrounded by eccentrics, nothing but eccentrics; you live with them two or three years and bit by bit, imperceptibly, you become one too. It’s inevitable. Look, I’ve grown this huge mustache…. It’s stupid. I’ve become an eccentric, Nurse…. At least I’m not as stupid as this mustache, my brain’s still in place, thank God, but my feelings are dead. I don’t want anything, I don’t need anything, I don’t love anybody….”

Dr Astrov, Uncle Vanya

ze plan:

-move to a casita in Indio, 2-3 months.
-get a 9 to 5 in Los Angeles.
-move to Los Angeles, first time.
-pick up a part time job (Amoeba? Waiting tables?).
-work 40-60 hours for the first 6 months, survive and save money.
-chop away at those hours by going out for auditions, workshops, agencies.

I want to act; that’s what I think I’m supposed to be doing. Each day that I’m not in LA, not getting myself out there – anything other than acting is not work. I’m ready to give it a good try. It’ll be hard, but I’m not going there to wait tables, get discouraged, and go home. I think that for whatever talent I don’t have, I can make up with my charm and my ability to learn.

Frolic Room Hollywood Blvd