Monday, March 24, 2008

Cannibalism and Other Happy Thoughts

It's absolutely gorgeous today, 76 degrees and full-on sunshine. I have a couple of vacation days at the end of the week, must be why I don't feel so resentful being stuck inside. Of course, I don't know how relaxing those days will be since my mother will be here. I just have to try to enjoy her, not to have any expectations and try to put aside the "this may be the last time I see her alive" thoughts. Fearful anticipation can ruin a lot.
I bought a Diet Cherry Chocolate Dr. Pepper this afternoon, 'cause it sounds kind of disgusting, but I was intrigued. I make food and drink choices like that sometimes, things that test my tolerance levels. Visiting France when I was young, I felt compelled to try a horse burger, even though I was repelled by the thought. It didn't taste much different to me than beef, but I had to find out. I think it must be some sort of perverse response, or maybe not, since there is wide variety in what people call lunch. It's actually pretty tasty (the soda, not the horse), not overly sweet and a nice chocolate flavor. I'd buy it again.
I guess my willingness to try new things is why the thought of cannibalism always sort of intrigued me. I feel weird admitting it, it is such a taboo, and no doubt some people will think I'm completely "out there," but the Donner party, Alive, and Stranger in a Strange Land were always more interesting than repellent. There's also this account that made me feel less weird. I like the argument that communion, that ultimate Christian sacrament, is cannibalistic at it's core. After all, it is supposed to be the flesh and blood of Christ, consumed in remembrance. I know, I know, it's purely metaphorical, but there is a touch of the vampiric about it. And then I have to question, Why did Christ choose that way to be remembered? I mean, couldn't he have just had the disciples say a prayer or something? Or maybe he deliberately chose something that would make an impact, definitely something they would remember. At least he didn't make them eat a bug.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Here, There and Everywhere

Feeling frustrated and scattered today, like I'm gathering marbles on the deck of a pitching ship, having zero success. NSA was feeling insecure this morning, which lead to feelings of jealousy, which lead to him picking a fight as I was leaving. I fucking hate it when he does that! So then there are multiple strained calls back and forth until he's reassured and we (kind of) get things sorted out. I gave him reason to mistrust me a couple of years ago, and it's been a recurring issue since then. His disability has been a huge blow to his self-esteem, and my husband, who used to be a smart, handy, energetic go-getter, has been reduced to a state of miserable dependence where he can't work, can't drive, and has trouble leaving the house. He is understandably bitter and angry a lot of the time. I tell him that it's not his fault, that I know he would never choose this, but it's small comfort. So much has gone on in the seventeen years (!!!) of our relationship, but his health deteriorating has been the worst.
My mother visited this weekend, a quick stop between a cancer retreat and a trip to Hawaii to see friends. She doesn't seem to be doing badly, her spirits are good, but I think things are worse than she's willing to tell me. She doesn't really know what's going on with the cancer, I think she's afraid to find out, except that the lump is getting bigger and it hurts. I didn't realize before, but she has a huge phobia about surgery and going into the hospital, she really thinks she'll die from just that. I'm trying to understand and accept her choices, but it's very, very hard. To me, it seems like she's being stupid and stubborn, set on a course of action and no one in the goddamned world can dissuade her. Kind of like Bush in Iraq, blinders on and "stay the course" no matter the cost. And she'll hate that I compared her to him, which gives me a small amount of evil satisfaction.

Friday, March 14, 2008

What Did She Do To Her FACE!?!!

OMG!! I'm not a huge Lara Flynn Boyle fan, she's always been too thin for my taste and her and Jack Nicholson as a couple creeped me out, but I have watched Law & Order for as long as it's been on the air (since the George Dzundza days). So I recorded Wednesday's episode (I love, love, love DVR!!) and watched it last night. She was listed in the credits, but at first, I didn't recognize her! My first thought was, "Was she in some horrible accident?" I mean, I understand cosmetic surgery, there are a few procedures I'd have myself (do you hear me, hips?), and I don't blame celebrities for getting work done, but HOLY FUCK! How much pressure did this woman feel to end up looking like that?
It looks like she got collagen in her lips. Okay, not great, "trout pout" is pretty common, everybody wants Angelina's mouth. But she had the lines between her mouth and nose (interlabial lines) completely erased, which is totally unnatural and freakish looking. It also looks like she had fat injections or possibly implants in her cheeks, and her forehead is suspiciously wrinkle-free. I was distracted just watching her puffy immobility. She looked completely artificial, I cringed every time her face was on screen.
I'll admit, I like speculating on who's had what work done, I love "before and after" articles, I love people like Joan Rivers who can make fun of themselves for all the plastic surgery they've had, but it's sad and scary when a relatively young, successful, beautiful woman feels so desperate and insecure that she subjects herself to multiple operations chasing some phantom ideal.
Cosmetic surgery done well should leave everybody guessing, did she or didn't she?, and I adore George Clooney for admitting having his eyes done, but unless you're into radical body modification, your surgeon or someone close to you should counsel moderation.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Other Stuff About Me, Me, Me

Random thoughts for a quasi-busy day.
  1. NSA and I don't eat pork. This isn't for any religious reason, but just because pigs are pretty smart. I wouldn't eat a dog, monkey or dolphin (unless I had to), so pork is out. This excludes pretty much every breakfast meat (ham, sausage, bacon, I really miss bacon!!), but I'm glad that turkey and beef breakfast meats are becoming more popular. I also miss pepperoni pizza and pork chops with applesauce.
  2. I had Lasik surgery to correct my nearsightedness about seven years ago, and now my eyes are getting bad again. What the fuck!?! I don't know if it's an age thing or if it's just bad surgery, but it's pissing me off.
  3. I'm not phobic about much of anything. I like snakes, heights, and rollercoasters. I don't mind spiders, deep water doesn't scare me, and the sight of blood doesn't turn my stomach. This bugs NSA because he'll be scared about how close I am to a cliff's edge, while I'm unaware I'm making him afraid. Maybe I just don't have much of a sense of my own mortality.
  4. I hate it when people talk about the "good old days," especially if they mean it in a general sense. Almost everyone, politicians particularly, seems to have on rose-colored glasses when thinking about the past. The 1950's (segregation, repression, limited reproductive rights) weren't that great, and going further back is worse (cholera, institutionalized slavery, child labor, religious persecution). "Now" might not seem so great, but I'll take modern medicine, refrigeration, telecommunications, air travel and cable T.V. over bleeding, rotten meat, the Pony Express, camel train and the Coliseum ANY DAY.
  5. I love short stories, especially sci-fi/fantasy. Two of my favorites are Murphy's Rachel in Love (which makes me tear up every time) and Bradbury's The Blue Bottle (which I'm having trouble finding a link for).
  6. I 'm recognizable in the background of Pursuit of Happiness and Auto Focus. I was also a panelist on Politically Incorrect when it was on the air.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Almost Famous

The sticky residue of yesterday is still with me today, but since there has been interest expressed in my acting past, I thought I would share a bit.
I got my S.A.G. card less than a year after moving to L.A. Getting your guild card is a pretty big deal because it affords you union protections, you are a professional actor, it's something you need if you intend to act as a career. It's not easy to get, there are a few different ways, but mostly, you need to get the attention of a casting person.
I got involved with young writers and directors from USC, did a few student films which weren't great, but doing favors for up-and-comers can lead to future rewards. I did some extra work, which pays okay if you're S.A.G., and offers interesting opportunities to be on-set and see behind the scenes of films and television. Definitely got to experience the unglamourous aspects of movie-making. I think the worst was doing a bikini carwash scene on a chilly L.A. night for a pretty crap movie, and the scene didn't even make it into the final cut.
I did workshops and took acting classes, "networked" as best I could, but if there's one piece of advice I would give to anyone trying to make it as an actor in Hollywood, it would be: don't get married before your career takes off. I know that sounds bad, and I'm not saying that you need to sleep your way up the food chain, but being married doesn't help. You have to be extremely goal-oriented to have a decent acting career, which is probably why a lot of actors are seen as selfish and seem to have relationship problems. You really have to want it more than anything else in the world. That's such a cliche, but cliches exist for a reason.
It's a really, really tough business, and I have to say that I just didn't have the wherewithall to keep at it. Viveca Fox spent ten years in L.A. before finally getting some recognition. George Clooney did thirteen T.V. pilots before E.R. got picked up (and he had a famous aunt). NSA's health deteriorated and our internal and external resources were taxed to the limit. It's also disheartening when there's always someone younger, more talented, better looking and better connected than you. Again, actors have a reputation for being egotists because they have to be. When you're constantly taking knocks, you react by bolstering your self-esteem, sometimes to ungodly levels.
I met a lot of gorgeous and wickedly talented people. Michelle, beautiful strawberry blonde, I expect to see at the Emmys some day. Joseph, who has the look, the drive, and the attitude to make it. Bryn, who appears regularly in commercials. The three people I know who are having the most success aren't in front of the camera. Rob is a producer with several indie films under his belt, Jennifer works in production with Michael Moore, and Rita does make-up.
I had a lot of fun, went to parties, hung out in some beautiful homes. Do I wish circumstances would have been different? Yes. Am I terribly bitter? A little. Do I still hold out hope that I will have a taste of fame and fortune? I do, because I have a secret that I've kept, a reasonably juicy one, and if I can finish my autobiography, then maybe I can get some of what I want.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Birthday Wish

(My adorable little brother at about two or three.)

Today would have been my little brother's thirty-first birthday, if he had lived past nineteen. It's incredibly hard to write this, I don't know how to say what I need to say, so I'll be blunt: he killed himself. Suicide. What an awful, awful word, to match the act I guess.
After I left home for college, I wasn't great about staying in touch, and I didn't worry too much about him. Despite struggling with dyslexia, he did okay in school, and even though he was chubby and not the most popular kid, he had friends and people liked him. He showed some talent working with his hands, and I always thought he would go into construction or maybe something creative like pottery. It was a shock, needless to say, and there's always the huge, unanswered "Why?" But I think I've come to a sort of understanding over the years. I think about him every day, loving thoughts, but on days like today, and certain other anniversaries, it hurts.
I imagined him married to some quiet, pretty girl, maybe the daughter of a family friend, repairing appliances or running heavy equipment for a living, having a couple of kids and worrying about how he would pay their tuition. I imagined spending the holidays with him, maybe taking vacations together. I always thought that he would be okay, that things would work out, despite knowing that he'd witnessed some terrible things and might have been abused himself. I was wrong. And although when I was young I bravely told myself, "No regrets!" I think they're inevitable. There are just some things you can't avoid and will regret even if you don't want to. I regret that I didn't pay more attention to my little brother when he was growing up, that I didn't recognize the pain he was in, that I didn't do absolutely everything in my power to make sure he made it out of my mother's household safely. I feel I could have protected him, but I didn't.
I love you, Edward, and I miss you. My wish is that where ever you are, you're safe and happy.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Another One of Those Days

Just one of those days when I chew my tongue in frustration. Frustration that bleeds into anger and an inability to sit at my desk for more than ten minutes without feeling the need to get up and move around I'm so wired and irritable. All of this tension is not a healthy thing, I can feel the muscles in my neck tighten, my shoulders knot. It's very hard to get anything done on days like this, and there's always so much to be done. Every little decision becomes a huge event. It's sunny and gorgeous out, and I wish I could just sit in the grass somewhere and read, escape for the afternoon. Instead, I'm dealing with the same shit for the four hundred and seventeenth time. Nothing is ever resolved, just delayed. And it goes 'round and 'round and 'round like some hellish carousel. I repeat to myself, "tomorrow is Friday, tomorrow is Friday," a mantra to preserve my sanity.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Princess of Anything

Like most girls, I spent a lot of time growing up pretending to be a princess, fantasizing about life in a castle, dreaming of marrying a handsome prince who would be tall and dark. I didn't want to be queen, the queen had responsibilities, she had to run the country while the king was away at war or being held for ransom or whatever. I wanted a carefree, happy life. And while bad things often happened to princesses, everything was okay in the end.
I knew early on that life wasn't a fairy tale, I didn't have many delusions about "happily ever after," but a part of me did always believe that things would turn out okay. When Zsa Zsa Gabor's husband, a nominal prince of some type, said that he had considered adopting Anna Nicole Smith so that she could be a princess, I understood her desire. The trashy Texan didn't necessarily want to be royalty, didn't want the responsibility of leading a nation or making hard decisions, or even the obligation of attending state functions, but the feeling of being treasured. Cared for. Special.
Yesterday was my birthday. And there were a few people who made me feel like a princess, Princess of Anything, if only for a day. Thank you.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

7 Things

  1. I have a thing about secrets and deception. I know this is because of how I grew up, but part of it is that I like mystery, I'm afraid of being too well-known. It's a problem that I deal with and I think it's part of why I started blogging, it's easier for me to be honest anonymously.
  2. I'm a one-day Jeopardy! champion. Only one day because I got greedy and made a stupid mistake.
  3. I tell people I'm half Italian, but I'm not really, I'm only a quarter (see item #1), because in my mind, half is more interesting than just a quarter.
  4. I've never told my father about my stripping or Internet modeling, but my mom knows. Again, a secrets thing. There's quite a bit my dad doesn't know, actually.
  5. I wasn't there when my childhood dog, Belle, died. My beautiful, Husky/Australian Shepherd mix, my blue-eyed blonde. I regret that a lot. I wasn't there when my Gramma Lee died either, but at least she could understand why.
  6. I look good in all sorts of hats; cloche, baseball, beret, cowboy. My face and head shape just allow me to look cute in hats.
  7. I let my cats French kiss me. NSA finds this disgusting, but I do it anyway. I rescued them when they were only about a month old and bottle-fed them, and they would suckle on my earlobes and lips. I felt more self-conscious about it until I saw a clip on America's Funniest Home Videos of a guy letting his cat drink from his mouth.

This is pathetic, but truly, I can't come up with five bloggers to tag. My friends don't blog, and most of the blogs I read are pretty well-known and I doubt the writers would respond.