Thursday, March 25, 2010

Road Warriors, Bradac style ...


Tomorrow I leave for a 7 day road trip with my dad. We're going up the California Coast, through Oregon, and stopping a few days to visit my Uncle Daniel and Aunt Kari in Oly,WA. Then we'll head back down, and stop at my alma mater on the way.

I'm sure I'll be blogging from the road. Yes, there will be pictures.

This is kind of a momentous trip - I think the last time my dad and I traveled together by ourselves for this long, I was three. We've certainly never been on a road trip like this either. I'm looking forward to this trip - and am curious to see what unfolds. I am also acutely aware of the fact that this might be the last time I get to do anything like this with my father.

Let the Odyssey of the Bradai 2010 begin.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ooops! I've been tagged!


On Monday I was apparently victim to a blog tagging and didn't know it! Yikes! I apologize for the delay.

I was tagged by my ever award-winning bloggin' best friend to write 6 things about myself, and at least one of them has to be false. And then I get to tag 6 other people. As you all know, I rarely *gag, sputter, hack!* write about myself. I fear this may prove difficult. But like the mild, meek, yet persevering person I am, I'll struggle through. 

1. My birthday is April 15th. Not only am I a tax baby, but this is the day the Titanic sank, Abraham Lincoln died, and the day the city of San Francisco was incorporated. I also share my birthday with Leonardo Da Vinci, Catherine I of Russia (not the Great, but the ancestor of), Emma Thompson, Henry James, Bessie Smith, and Emma Watson (aka Hermione Granger in the movies). 

2. I once ran away from school when I was in kindergarten. I took the "early bird" bus and walked the two blocks from my bus stop to my father's work. All because I didn't like the substitute teacher. 

3. In college, a friend and I stole 10 white chairs from the music building on our campus for a production we were working on in the theatre. We each carried 5 chairs across the open grass quad, in broad day-light, and didn't get caught. We returned them after the show's completion .... a month later.

4. I have not only met, but received an autograph from my hockey hero, Scott Niedermayer.

5. I was quoting Shakespeare by the time I was 3.

6. When I was younger, I used to believe that I could communicate telepathically with horses and dogs. I was never able to crack the telepathic code of cats. 

Any guesses as to which is true and which is false? 

Okay ... taggy tag time! I tag.....

A quick explanation...


Okay. So all of this esoteric "character" writing (for lack of a better term) is for me.

When I was in college visiting my aunt and uncle in Olympia, Wa., I heard them call each other by a few different names other than their own. When I inquired as to the reason for these misnamings, I was told that they had named various parts of their personalities to better tag and talk about behavior. And also to keep a sense of humor. A summarized version of the conversation:

me: "Aunt Kari, why do you call Uncle Daniel 'Harold?'"

AK: "Because Harold is who Daniel turns into when he gets cranky."

UD: "I wasn't being Harold!"

AK: "Yes dear, you were."

UD: "Huh. I'm sorry. I think I'm just hungry."

AK: "We've named some of our different personalities other names to clock when we go to those various places. And to keep a sense of humor about them."

UD: "One of my favorites of Kari's is 'Olga' the Norse Woman Warrior."

*quizzical look from me*

UD: "It's who she slips into when she's ultra ambitious. Like when she decided to build our Sauna in two days."

me: "You built that by yourself??"

*Aunt Kari smiles*

UD: "Well you didn't think it was me, did you??"

I've long wanted to do this. My Aunt and Uncle have been happily married for almost 30 years. They're still in love, they still make each other laugh. And they can call each other on their shit and not get upset about it. And I thought that perhaps if I did this for myself, I could better clock some of my reactions to people, events, words, etc. and maintain a sense of humor about it. If I can name the various places in me that I go to, then I can better gage when I need to pull myself out of them.

We all have fractured personalities that handle the different situations of our lives. It's how we live - how we cope. So what happens if you name that cranky, un-fed monster you turn into? Or that passive-agressive part of you who deals with your family? Or the super-competitive nut who evolves after your favorite sports team loses? Or the inner-child who hasn't had a voice in x number of years, and perhaps never had a real voice to begin with?

That's what I'm doing. That's who these "people" I'm writing about are. Little Orphan A is my inner-child. Alexander is who I am at parties, or when I meet new people. Maybe I should have my own beer commercial. But I'm just trying to express them in the ways that make sense to me.

I know I should have explained all of this first, but I went with inspiration while I still had it.

Monday, March 22, 2010



Alexander is suave - he always says the right thing. Alexander goes to parties and has an easy laugh. He knows where the great places to hang out are. He can recommend the prefect drink for you, and smiles as he shares his knowledge. Alexander likes to smile, even though his teeth are slightly crooked. It makes him more attractive.

He wears flip-flops in the rain. His jeans are torn, his shirts are thread-bare. He always has a sweater with him, just-in-case. Alexander is always prepared for anything. He carries a book with him wherever he goes. It's always an interesting book, and people always stop to ask him about it. People love stopping to talk with Alexander.

You've never met a more charming human. When he speaks, everyone listens, even if they don't know why. He makes people feel at home. He smells like freshly mowed lawn and sea spray combined. He's the most interesting person you've never met - your instant best friend. He walks tall and upright, like an Olympian. He's been mistaken for Apollo, Adonis, and even King Arthur. Both men and women have loved Alexander.

Never egotistical, merely confident; Alexander will open doors for anyone. He will help senior citizens cross the street, and make them feel like they're 25 again. He always says, "Please," and "Thank you." Alexander knows which fork to use with which course. He is highly useful in the kitchen. He can speak three or four languages fluently. He writes Italian sonnets just for fun.

Alexander is on a first name basis with the band. He has a life-time backstage pass. He doesn't fist bump - he prefers to shake hands. His handshake is strong and warm. Alexander will always remember your name. He looks you in the eye when you talk to him, even if you have to avoid eye-contact with him. He'll give you a hug at exactly the right moment. He never turns anyone away.

His voice is low and sure. He is seen most in sun, between 60 and 72 degrees. You can find him at the beach, in the forest, or outside drinking coffee. He is not a fair-weather friend, but he won't be where you search for him - you have to let him come naturally, on his own conditions. He can be bribed with beer, music, and a good dinner party. He won't ever leave you, but he wants you to figure out your own sadness.

He can not be called, but he can be conjured.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Little Orphan A


Some days, little Orphan A has a family. And some days she doesn't. She spends her time window browsing, and imagining somethings out of nothings from the reflections of clouds in shop windows. No one has a more active imagination than little Orphan A.

Once, little Orphan A saw some parents at a flea market. They were on sale at 30% off. It occurred to little Orphan A that the parents in question looked awful lonely, like they wanted a child as much as she wanted some parents. She would have been over-joyed to take them home, but the salesman wouldn't let her pay in stories and dreams, and so little Orphan A looked on.

Little Orphan A never cries when she falls down, she never gets angry at other children, and she never raises her voice. She's never thrown a temper-tantrum, never cursed in a bathroom corner, and never once told a lie. She has no one to tell a lie to. Instead, she makes paper cranes on string and hangs them on strangers' fence posts.

She often remembers faces from the past, glimpses of memories that play tag with her mind. She often tries to catch them, but sometimes she tries to forget them. She writes them down, though, and puts them into songs. She sings the songs at night as she tries to fall asleep. No one knows these songs but her.

There is no one more resourceful or self-sufficient than Little Orphan A. She can cook and clean, arrive on time, and find a way to get just about anywhere. She can even drive (though she doesn't have a driver's license) - her feet can almost touch the pedals. She even pays bills, but doesn't know what any of them are for.

She is a friend to everyone. She belongs to no one. She doesn't trust that anyone will stick around, but when they do, she sticks around too. She can talk to animals and fade in and out through walls. She doesn't like it when voices are raised, but she can turn the voices into symphonies. Little Orphan A can conduct an orchestra.

Little Orphan A is quite quiet - she never makes a sound. But you can hear her in the crunch of autumn leaves and the sloosh of rain boots in puddles. And in the stillness of the evening, when the cat meows at the front door to be let in for supper, you might spy the last wisps of her hair as she runs out of site. And your heart might say, "You can stay here, Little Orphan A. You can stay right here."

If you say it enough, she will come.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Hello, my name is Lady MacDeath.


Here's something I've never admitted.

I kind of really love Roller Derby. A lot.

When I was younger, like 5 or 6, my step sister and I took roller skating classes at a rink in Whittier. Twice a week, after school, we'd go skate. Amber was a much better skater than I was. She could even skate backwards. I was good at going slow and staying near the rail. My major problem was that I was afraid of falling. I did get better as time went on, though I still never figured out how to do it backwards - I was, however, able to do the Hokey-Pokey on skates. I am so cool.

I fell a lot. I mean, I fell a lot in general - in my every day young life (tall kids are giant puppies with over-large's to be expected). But when it came to putting my giant tentacle-like self on 8 tiny hard-plastic wheels ... well, you can imagine. The last time I went roller skating was in 2007 for a bosses' birthday. I went around the rink three times, and at the end of the third lap, as I was heading back to the benches, I fell backwards - which would have been fine - except that I didn't take my right foot up in the air with me. It stayed underneath me. And as I landed, my foot, complete with skate, bent all the way back. I couldn't walk for two weeks, and the swelling lasted for almost 6 months.

Anyway, at some point in my still-rollerskating years, I saw an re-run of Laverne & Shirley in which the girls have some crazy roller derby antics. It was kind of brilliant. And I kind of loved it. I also saw an episode of Charlie's Angels where the girls rollered their way to justice. Or something. I really just remember Farrah Fawcett's feathered hair sweeping out of the helmet. Awesome. I obviously missed Roller Derby's hay day in the 70's. But it's always been on the periphery of my consciousness throughout the years, and something I always secretly wished I could do.

I watched Whip It! tonight (one of the 10 movies I bought at the dying Hollywood Video). As you could imagine, I was geeking out. Not to mention the fact that Kristin Wiig and Ellen Page are in it, as is the fabulous Marcia Gay Harden. Add in an awesome soundtrack, Juliette Lewis as the Derby villain, and a surprisingly non-formulaic script, and you have yourself a party.

    (Hot, no??)

After watching the movie, I mentioned on facebook that I wanted my own Roller Derby name. My friend (and adopted big brother) Sean came up with "Lady MacDeath," Which I think is disgustingly awesome. Some of the poorer suggestions included "Zsa Zsa Ga-Gore," "I'm Gonna Kill You-inator," and "Slam Let." The runner up was "Snakes Spear." You know you love it.

Want your own Roller Derby name? You can go here, though I suggest a facebook poll. Laughing at the creativity of your friends is fun! Hopefully they're down with the Derby... if not, go to the generator. ;) I'm also fascinated with the names of the derby teams. If they had Fantasy Roller Derby on Yahoo! Sports, I'd totally name my team "The Suffer Jets." Huh?? Huh?? That's what I'm talking about!

At any rate, Roller Derby is totally making a come back. As depicted in Whip It!, Austin, Texas has a thriving Roller Derby culture. London, New York City, AtlantaBoston, Seattle, San FranciscoSan DiegoClevelandCalgary and Los Angeles all have active Roller Derby Leagues. There are thousands more, but I think you get the point. Roller Derby in the Olympics? I think this needs to happen. 

Come on. You know you want to go. ;) 

This blog post is brought to by: 

Ben & Jerry's Dublin Mudslide Ice Cream
Roller Derby

Saturday, March 13, 2010

So long Hollywood Video, you under-appreciated friend....


I bought 10 dvd's yesterday for less than $50.00. ($47.67, to be exact.) The Hollywood Video down the street is going out of business, and are selling everything - including the shelving.

I'm a bit upset over the Hollywood Video's demise. I don't go there more than 3 or 4 times a year, but it's been there for so long - I just assumed it would always be; for that rare HBO/Showtime series rental that I'm 3 years late in discovering, or the odd video game I want to try out before I buy. Hollywood Video helped me discover Deadwood and Big Love, Kingdom Hearts II and God of War I. It's seen me through rough bouts of unemployment, living back at home, and bad days at work.

And now it's gone.

I don't typically have retail attachments. I'm not a very good consumer when it comes to shopping for myself, outside the realms of books and music - and sometimes not even then. I still wear clothes from when I was in college. So the loss I feel at Hollywood Video's closure is slightly shocking to me. Where will I get my 3-4 times a year fix? Will I have to join Netflix like everyone else on the planet (even though this is a terrible option for someone who travels as much as I do)? How can I get my occasional video game rental without having to buy games at $50.00 a pop?? *sigh*

Ah well. Just leaves me more time for reading, I suppose. I will admit that the $47.67 I spent on the movies yesterday  (I'll include a list below so that you may judge my taste at will), was complete and unadulterated retail therapy for the shameful and acutely painful fact that my Hockey team is dying a slow, agonizing point death going into play-offs, and will likely *not* make play-offs for the first time since 2002. Hockey heartbreak is a terrible, terrible thing my friends. Damn these weird things that I love!

Without further woe and ado ... here are the 10 movies I bought at the Hollywood Video:

Coffee & Cigarettes
Star Trek (by JJ Abrams)
Whip It
Billy Elliot
Away We Go
The Color Purple
Mystery, Alaska
The Visitor
Defending Your Life (for my mom)

Why does my life suddenly seem so pathetic?
This blog post is brought to you by:

Hollywood Video
The Anaheim Ducks

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I had a weekend...


I spent all day Saturday and Sunday with my casting director hat on, auditioning would-be hopefulls for King Lear and Two Gents. Monday and Tuesday I spent with my mother in Randsburg, CA. If you've never heard of Randsburg, it's a living ghost town on the road to Mammoth Mountain, off of Highway 395.

My mom's husband passed away right after Christmas, following on the heels of her two dogs, and her cat that ran away. 2009 wasn't very kind to my dear mum, and 2010 looks to be a bit of an uphill battle. My mom is the strongest person I know, and I know she'll find her way - she always does. But to be bereft of an entire household, almost at the same time - is a bit much for anyone. The 24 hour period I was visiting marked the first time in I can't remember how long that my mom and I were alone together. Talking. Which was pretty amazing to me. I take for granted that my mom wants to see me more, and I don't think she realized that I want to be closer to her. Anyway, I'm taking steps to remedy this. And hopefully help my mom find some canine companions. We went to the animal shelter while I was there. I should never be taken to animal shelters, county pounds, or pet stores; I inevitably want to take all of the animals home. And then I cry because I can't. It's all very pathetic.

With concern to auditions ... they were two very long days. Especially Saturday. Apparently, actors are scared away by those droplets of water that fall from the sky, called rain. I had 10 no-shows. Not only were they no-shows, they were no-calls, no-emails, no-courtesy. Needless to say, I was a bit appalled. And really ticked off when the last appointments of the day on *both* days stood me up, which left me waiting around over an hour and a half. In the cold and the rain. Our theatre is an amphitheater - outside. No, I don't audition people outside - we have a building in the back. But the only place to wait by the front gate is our box office, which is concrete and wood. No insolation, no heater. Do you know what the only worse creature is than a pissed-off casting director? A cold, wet, and appalled casting director.

The last casting entry I wrote about was for submissions.This one is for the actual auditions:

1. SHOW UP. Just do it. You don't work if you don't audition. However, if you can't show up, because of something as serious as car issues, health woes, or oh, I don't know - something as terrifying as rain ....

2. CALL or E-MAIL. If you have a scheduled appointment (obviously, not for generals), you need to inform the casting director as much ahead of time as possible. If that's not possible, still call or e-mail. We remember the names of people who stood us up. And we have files.

3. BREATHE. Breathe before the audition, breathe *during* the audition, and certainly breathe after. Auditions are terrible, god-awful things. Nervousness is natural. But the more you breathe, the more of yourself you're maintaining for room. Have a nice chat with the person/people at the front desk. Ask questions...because...

4. WE TALK. The folks in the front will tell the auditors in the back if someone was rude or, alternatively, they were super nice. The people at the front desks can be advocates for you in a way that the auditor might not get to see, because actors are *always* nice to us. We want to know what you'd be like in a company of other actors. The people at the front desks (who are more often than not company members) will speak their mind and let us know if you're someone they want to be around. because that's important in the theatre. You don't need to spend all your focus and attention on them - but "pleases," "Thank you's," smiling, and general kindness will go a LONG way. Because they're there all day too.

5. HOW TO WALK INTO A ROOM. Remember: You deserve to be there. If you've been called in, there is something about you that the auditor wants to see - your resume, your training, more times than not a combo of both - we want to see you shine. We want you to be the one. And that starts as soon as you walk into a room. Breathing applies here, too. Just be yourself. You know the rodeo - now enjoy it as much as you can.

6. PIECES. This is probably the #1 mistake made by most actors - and in their defense, it's the hardest one to figure out. You need to have the right pieces. Don't make the casting director work to place you in their shows - it should be evident by the pieces you choose. If the season is King Lear and Two Gents, don't come in with Cymbeline, Measure for Measure, or Love's Labour's Lost. This would be a good time to bring out the big guns - Othello, Romeo & Juliet, Twelfth Night, Midsummer. Why those? You have Shakespeare's most difficult, most heart-wrenching tragedy - probably ever written; paired along side one of his earliest, youngest, and somewhat silly plays. Cymbeline, Love's Labour's, and Measure all live in this half-world - the characters are quite different than the plays you're auditioning for; hell, the themes don't even match. You're also dealing with the epic prolificness of Lear's language. We need to know if you can handle it - so doing the less epic/more obscure combos = bad news bears ... (there was a woman who did back to back Imogen monologues for her "contrasting" pieces...AH!) but you also need to know -

7. YOUR TYPE. Please, please, please know your type! If you are a 5'7" male, weighing 130 pounds (or less), and look like you're 18, DO NOT bring in a Hotspur piece (for those who may not know, Hotspur is Hal's rival in the Henry IV cycle - he's a crazy good warrior). If you're a 6'0" woman, don't do Hermia. These are kind of extreme examples, but they happen ALL THE TIME! Many casting directors will discard you with poor choices. I usually won't (unless your text is just plain bad). I will offer you the chance to come back - with different pieces. But I don't stop there ... I even give you suggestions! Now, don't take this precious gift I've just given you for FREE (which I could have charged lots of your hard-earned money for in the form of a casting director workshop) and throw it away because of your insecurities. Take the suggestion, work on it, and come back and own those pieces. Not only are you showing the casting director you're willing to work, but you're showing us that you can take direction and work with us. And that's a much better win than dwelling on the rejection of the pieces you picked yourself.

8. YOUR AUDITIONING REPERTOIRE. If you are an actively auditioning stage actor, you should have at least 6 monologues ready to go at any given time. Here they are:

1 Serious/Contemporary
1 Comedic/Contemporary
1 Dramatic/Classical
1 Comedic/Classical
1 Romantic/Classical
1 Wildcard of whatever you want

The first three should be self-explanatory. The Comedic classical should be something silly - a clown, a fool, something over-the-top. If you want to audition for Viola, that's what your romantic piece is for - don't waste your romance on the comedy. I can't tell you how many times I asked this weekend, "Do you have something silly?" I want to see if you can go out there and make a risk and be a clown. Just because Shakespeare wrote romantic comedies, doesn't mean the leads are funny. More often than not ... they're not at all. Not in the language, anyway.

The wildcard should be another of whichever you want. It should be something you're passionate about, something you feel comfortable in, something you can whip out, when asked, and nail it every time. It should be an expression of you. The wildcard does NOT need to be "your type." In fact, it shouldn't be. But if a director or a casting director ever asks if you "have something different" - enter the Wildcard. Give them something they haven't seen, and make them remember you.

The reason I say you should have three classicals, and only two contemporaries, has to do with language. Contemporary pieces are a lot easier to slide by with in terms of the contrast of language. This is not the case with classical texts. In contemporary plays, the language is usually secondary, and is there to support character, action, and plot. The art of the play is not in the words, but in what the actors do (this has to do with the late 19th century addition of subtext, but that's a lesson for another time). In Classical texts, it's all about the words. There is no subtext in Shakespeare. Let me repeat that: THERE IS NO SUBTEXT IN SHAKESPEARE. It wasn't a concept yet. Shakespeare's characters tell us everything they're going to do, everything they're thinking. This is not to say there aren't layers to the language - of course their are! But he's not hiding from you. He's not writing for actors to say one thing, and have an entire non-verbal sub-story. The story IS the story, the language is profound and honest (except for when he's being ironic), and this makes the characters all very different. An example of a well rounded classical monologue set:

For Men:                                               For Women: 
Touchstone/Launce                                 Phoebe/Helena/Hermia
Orsino/Orlando                                      Viola/Julia
Othello/Macbeth/Richard III/Iago            Lady Macbeth/Hermoine/Paulina

9. There are two speeches you should never, ever, ever do in an audition. The First is Mercutio's "Queen Mab" speech from R&J. The second is ( know it) Hamlet's "To be or not to be." Why? in the first case, no one knows what this speech is really about, but everyone has an idea of how it should be played. In the second, everyone knows what it's about, everyone has an opinion on how it should be done, and you'll catch the auditors moving their lips along with you, because *everyone* knows this speech by heart. In either case, you're setting yourself up for automatic failure. Just don't do it.

10. THE GOODBYE. Just say "Thank you." If they want to talk with you, that's awesome. They'll stop you. But otherwise assume that you should just leave. I know the impulse to linger is strong, but fight it. Just be proud of the work you did, thank them for their time, and turn to leave. Whether they talk to you or not is irrelevant. There's no rule book when it comes to casting, and everyone does it differently. And smile. You just did an incredibly brave, risk-filled thing! You just stood up in front of total strangers and heaved your heart and your guts onto the floor. It's over! Be glad! Have a little celebration of relief and joy on the inside. But a smile can be infectious. If you love what you do, even if you didn't "nail it" - your love of your craft will show. And in the theatre, a love of craft can be your most potent weapon. Other theatre artists want to work with people who love their craft. Theatre is, and always will be, a love fest. So love yourself, love your work, and be ready to do it all again tomorrow.
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Friday, March 5, 2010

An epiphany in the shower...


I just took a shower. While I was in the middle of this shower, I got to thinking about Shakespeare ... you know, like one does when one showers ... I was thinking about the fact that the women in William's plays were all played by Men. Men who were specially trained to act as women in appearance. Now think about the fact that women, since the blasphemous Margaret Hughes (1660) have been playing women. Not once did any *real* woman say about Shakespeare's women, "This isn't real. A real woman wouldn't act like this..." or "A real woman wouldn't feel something like this." Kind of a testament to Shakespeare's universality, eh?

Consequently, the males playing women pre-1660, were able to do it just fine, weren't they? I mean, Shakespeare wouldn't have let actors say his words if he didn't feel they could handle it. Everyone he worked with must have had enough of a human experience to tap into rage, love, pain, jealousy, hurt, etc. None of those emotions are restricted to one gender or other, are they?

So then why can't women play Shakespeare's men just as they are, sans cross-dressing, sans make-up, sans fake facial hair? Why can't our human experience be enough to serve a character just as much as any male?

Someone once said, while I was in the room, that seeing women on-stage playing men next to real-live men, "didn't look right." Well of COURSE it wouldn't look right if the woman was *trying* to be a man in appearance. Why would it matter if Cassius was a woman and Brutus was a man? Or vice-versa? Why couldn't Horatio be a man, and Hamlet a woman? Why couldn't Juliet be a man and Romeo a woman?

And ultimately, pronouns don't really matter. If a little girl comes up to you and says, "I'm the King of Wonderland!" with such child-like excitement and believability; would you say, "No, you're not. You're the Queen." Wow, way to ruin that child's imagination. And even if that was your response, the child might do any number of things in response ... she might say, "What?" she might argue with you, "No, I'm the KING!" she might even start crying because you dashed her dream world.

But up until you said "No." That little girl was the King. And she was a girl. And she owned it. Are the "she's" and the "he's" important enough to deny human experience? Do such small words really have so much power  to inhibit and restrict the telling of a universal story?

I think I'm going to spend the rest of my career in theatre, devoted to proving why "No" is the best answer.
This blog post is brought to you by:

John Frieda Shampoo and Conditioner
Dove Moisturizing body wash
William Shakespeare
the inaneness of pronouns

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Dog logic


It's not uncommon for Tracy and I to have conversations like that one that follows. Without going into details, just know that before this section of the conversation, we're having a discussion about Tracy and her boyfriend Benni, and how they interact. 

Me: So here's what I think: I think Benni's a St. Bernard.

Tracy: Oh my God.

Me: So there's Benni, searching the mountains for crashed skiers in the snow, ready to pour hot, life-saving fluid from the jug around his neck into their mouths. The St. Bernard doesn't bemoan his state, he doesn't complain about his lot in life. That's just what he does - it's what his nature is. And he's going to keep doing it because he's full of pure joy and love, with a highly attuned sense of care-giving.

Tracy: And I'm an Australian Shepherd. 

Me: Exactly. So there's Benni, walking up the mountain in the snow, and there you are, running circles around him, trying to protect him from hurt skiers, but you can't-

Tracy: Because that's just what he does.

Me: Right. But he loves the fact that you're there running around in circles, because you're right by his side. You're totally on Team Benni.

Tracy: I am. And he totally loves that. He can't believe it. He's never had that before. 

Me: But you can't protect him from himself, anymore than I can protect you from yourself - I may want to be your firewall, but I can't. I'd be preventing you from being you. 

Tracy: Right. That's brilliant.

Me: Yeah. (smile)

Tracy: So what kind of dog is Liz? 

Me: She's a lab mix - she's so sensitive, and so attentive - as soon as something's wrong, her attention is right there - if she were a dog, her head would be on my lap, and she'd always be by my side. But she's also fun and super smart and likes to get out ... so like, a lab/border collie mix.

Tracy: I was totally gonna say a lab. What are you?

Me: Uhm ... that's a good question. I don't know. I suppose it depends ... I'm definitely a mix. Like, a golden retriever/Bernese Mountain Dog/Collie mix. And on occasion, a German Shepherd. Or something.

Tracy: What's the Polar Bear version of a dog breed? 

Me: I don't know. But whatever it is, that's what I am. 
So there, in a nut-shell, is the most brilliant theory that ever existed. What kind of dogs are you and your significant other? Now I'm interested. I may need to write a book. 

You're welcome.

     [photo credit]                                                                [photo credit]
This blog post is brought to you by: 

Girl Scout Carmel De Lites
Del Taco
My Bestie

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Blah funky schmeh Aries what?


Last night, I had this brilliant plan of writing an "Epic Tuesday" blog. My friend Lira had a totally Epic Tuesday! Mine was not quite as epic, but it was cool. Good things happened. I wrote an article on Shooter Jennings, and had asked one of Shooter's fans for the free use of a photo for my piece. He graciously agreed, and asked to read my article when it was printed. I sent it to him (after all, it's the least I could do), and this is what he replied with:

Just read your article, and found it very interesting and informational to people who don't know him or his music, thanks for not bashing him for his change in musical style like some others have lately. Great article.
thanks again

Bob M.

Not too shabby, right? I was fairly proud of myself ... especially since this is the first person to read my stuff and give me feedback (on - not here) whom I don't know. Don't get me wrong - I am so grateful to have so many supportive people in my life who read what I write AND give me feedback about it. As an Aries, it should be known that I'm a comment whore. We're very enterprising, independent, and courageous people (if I do say so myself); but once we do whatever it is we've been enterprising, independent, and courageous about - we want RECOGNITION. Lots and LOTS of recognition*. It's super great when people we know and love recognize our brilliance. But when people we DON'T know and love leave us comments - it's like a poor kid having Christmas time at a rich kid's house. 

I don't know what that means, but I liked the imagery. 

Anyway. It's an ugly little fact, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't like the validation I get from people who read my stuff and comment on it. The article is great because it's helping me live out my teenager/college freshman fantasy of being a rock journalist for a little-known publication called Rolling Stone. (hey - a girl can dream!) What sucks about it, is that I don't get the kind of traffic I'd like. I was hoping twitter would magically add readership ... but alas ... my twits are being lost in the cyber black hole of social networking. And I only have 10 followers. Four of whom read this blog (which again, I'm SUPER grateful for!). 

Another harsh fact: I suck at networking. It's one of the biggest issues I have with being an actor. While we Aries LOVE the recognition, we don't want to have to fight for it ourselves - we want other people to just naturally recognize how brilliant we are, and then tell everyone they know about us, and then (in our collective dream world) voila! We are an insta-smash! 

Not so, little Aries. Not so. 

Wow. that was a tandem I didn't mean to go on. Sorry.

Anyway - other good things about yesterday - I'm not broke for the first time in over a month. Which means once I pay my bills I'll be able to buy my plane tickets to Calgary. Two months doesn't seem like a long time, but to me, right now, it feels like an eternity. Monkey and I had a nice long chat last night (which always puts me in a better mood), and later I helped my young cousin work out some of the meaning and mayhem of Macbeth over the phone. And after I hung up the phone, I thought, "I'm really good at this. I really am!" And that felt really good.

Another truth about the Aries creatures is that we LOVE being good at things. LOVE. IT. The more competent, helpful, and knowledgeable we are, the more enterprising, independent, and courageous we become. See? It's a cycle. The down-side to this is that we can be really sore losers when we're bad at things - just ask my ex-girlfriend about her attempts to teach me tennis; what a low-point in my development as a human being that was! I won't get into details, but I got so angry with her that I cried. (To my defense, I didn't want to play in the first place, but that's a story for another time....)

I also just accomplished a lot yesterday. I hunted for and found school contacts, I added volunteer dates for SOC on the HandsOn Network, I organized a meeting time and venue for some of my actor friends and I to just start working on things we've always wanted to work on, just to help us all get better and play with one another. I almost helped get a friend a part time job - I was unstoppable yesterday. I was awesome. 

Today is a bit of a different story. Not drastically, not depressingly ... it just is. So I'm entitling today the "Blah funky schmeh Aries what?" 

A cure for the "Blah funy schmeh Aries whats?" is bacon cheeseburgers and shakes with my hetero soul mate

And this (which was, coincidentally, sent to me by my hetero soul mate): 

*Except when it comes to Acting...
This blog post is brought to you by: 

Bacon cheeseburgers
NHL Trade Deadlines
Air Canada

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Here I come to save the day...


So remember how a couple of days ago I wrote that since the Olympics were over I wasn't going to be writing about them?

I spoke too soon.

I forgot about the closing ceremonies. Unfortunately, the Vancouver Closing Ceremonies took a lot of flack. Why? Well ... we'll get to that. I would like to say for the record that I enjoyed the ceremony immensely! As soon as those giant Beavers came out, I was alight with smiles. What I didn't appreciate was NBC cutting out of the last bit of it, just so that we wouldn't miss one precious moment of the Marriage Ref. UGH. I'm back to hating you, NBC! Oh. All I missed was Nickelback and Avril Levigne? Never mind. Thanks, NBC! You're a pal!

I digress.

Apparently, from several people on my facebook page, the closing ceremonies were "highly disappointing," "lame," and "ill conceived." I was even told "offensive" by one friend. These are all Americans, mind you. My very Canadian girlfriend thought it was cheesy, and someone told me that the Globe and Mail wasn't too pleased. On the other hand, Entertainment Weekly, and The LA Times liked it very much. In fact, I believe the phrase, "O Canada ... You're funny!" was printed.

And O my goodness, Canada. You are!

Tonight I was talking to my friend, the one who thought the show was offensive (which she didn't quite explain, but that's okay), and I was telling her that I enjoyed them, but that I thought they didn't take the jokes far enough. And she said, "What do you mean?"

1) I think that they should have taken the amazing, brilliant clown that popped out at the very beginning to fix the pillar glitch, (letting Katrina Lemay Doan get her torch lighting!! BRILLIANT!) and centered the closing ceremonies around *him* ... now, I realize he was probably an after thought; an idea sprung from some brilliant director's mind after the opening ceremony snafu. So take the brilliant idea, and use it for all it's worth. Add the clown in as a thread, connecting all the sequences together. That clown made my heart shine with theatrical and comedic joy.

2) Shatner. One of Canada's favorite sons, the King of self-mockery himself. The script they gave him was ... sub-par. It limited Shatner's real potential. What would I have done? Let him do his speak/sing schtick for the Canadian National Anthem. Bold? Certainly. Ballsy? Maybe. But here's the deal ... having Shatner up there talking about something (which is already) completely forgotten serves no purpose. All we're left to remember is the fact that he was there. And he spoke. But Shatner speaking the Canadian National Anthem?? That's the top youtube video for at LEAST the next year, that will be resurfaced with the approach of 2014 in Russia. Cold, Siberian Russia. Joyless, humorless, colorless Russia. For those of you who think I'm completely Philistinian (and I know you're out there), my second choice would be to have Shatner speak-sing through that piece that Michael Buble did. Ha. Awesome.

3) Cut Catherine O'Hara. I hate to say it - I really do. But she's too obscure. Most Americans were wondering what she was doing up there to begin with (they think she's American, you see...). And I love her desperately, but her script was crap as well (though the curling bit *was* genius). So either keep her and the curling bit and give her a better script, or? Bring in Mike Meyers and let him have some Canadian commentary. YES.

4) Jim Carey. I know folks have highly strong feelings about Jim Carey, one way or another. But don't let him be Jim Carey. Let him be the living Dudley Do-Right. Seriously. The voice, the costume, the whole deal. Have him come on with the Mounties, give that terrible, terrible dance some context and stylize it. Give the bit about Mounties being tried and true and squeeky clean. Take the stereotype and make it bigger. This is what the attempt was, but it fell flat...again...because it didn't go far enough. Jim Carey will take it there ... and beyond.

5) The more stereotypes the better! Canada on Parade was wonderful, don't get me wrong. However, there needed to be more. Oh yes, I said it. MORE. You need Igloos and Polar Bears and men wearing touques with beers! That's right, we need the Mackenzie Brothers! Snow shoes, dancing trees, Sasquatch, giant bottles of syrup, add bruises and cuts to the faces of the hockey players. Special Guest appearance: Father Christmas - with the tag line: "Well where do you think the North Pole is?" And bring in a giant "Eh?" balloon. Canada, you have the best sense of humor out of any country who participated in these Winter Games. You deserve to go out with a bang! But we NEED the bang! And we didn't get it. And if the clown is orchestrating all of this craziness, and he brings out the entire Cirque du Soleil clown posse? Oh man. You'll be showing Russia up every day for the next 5 years! Bam!

6) The Bands. This was the most disappointing aspect for me. Avril? No. Nickelback? Oh HELL no. Alanis? Schmeh. Here's who you should have had: The Hip, The Weakerthans, Arcade Fire, Metric, The Bare Naked Ladies, Feist. Again - we're going with bands that can make a bang (and a laugh!), rather than ones that make a thud as the door kicks them on the way out. Special bonus? Shatner speaks the words to the National Anthem as Arcade Fire plays it. In a word? Epic. And if you're brave enough to have Shatner do the National Anthem, give Feist Michael Buble's song. For SERIOUS. And take the female mounties away! For the love of all things maple-flavored!

7) Michael J. Fox. Give the man better lines!! For frak's sake! Your script was killing me.

Those were the major points I had. I'll stop now. Anyway, Canada. I'm available. Call me. I work pretty cheaply.

(I'm just throwing this photo in because it makes me RIDICULOUSLY happy)
This blog post is brought to you by:

My friend Jamie Stoops
The Great Canadian Sense of Humor

Monday, March 1, 2010

A proud Polar Bear ... and the Monday Mish-Mash


My best friend, the one and only Phoenix, is on the home page. (She's the human)

My best friend ... the hardest working, most generous, kind, loving, DESERVING person I know ... isn't she beautiful?

And, as I said last week ... this is going to become a Monday Morning event:

The Monday Morning Mish-Mash!

This week's Mish Mash: Beautiful Things

    [Maxfield Parrish]

    [John William Waterhouse]

[Disclaimer: I couldn't track down photo credits, as many of these have saved to my hard-drive. They are for personal use, I am not making any profit by reposting these images ... so please don't sue me, copyright Gods!]
This blog post is brought to you by:
the interwebs
google image search
My best friend