Archive for November, 2009

Most of the fall…from Eric

November 25, 2009

This is Eric:

I was really hoping that if I held off long enough from posting a blog I would have some sort of big triumph or victory to report.  However, any victories have been small and have been difficult to dwell in for more than a moment.  I have acted in 3 short films that are being edited now and I’m simply waiting on copies.  That means I’m 2 or 3 away from being able to realistically put together a reel of some sort.  I have a cinematography student with a crew that will be shooting the film that I wrote for Jenn and I in a little over a week so I’m please that that will finally get shot–though I won’t have time to sit and edit it with him until after Christmas most likely.  I have an audition in a week for a feature length movie that would actually take two weeks to film by way of a production company that has a real name and a real website–woo hoo.  I also wrote a one act play, that I’m pretty proud of, that I submitted for a festival/competition and we just got word that it was accepted so we’ll be doing that (with our good friend Scott acting with us)  in February.  So, I know that I have potential as a writer.  I know that my headshot is good enough to get me appointments for auditions.  I also know that I’m pretty darn good at my job.  There is a downside to all of it, though.  I don’t have enough time or ideas to be a prolific writer and really stretch where that might lead.  While I’ve been getting auditions, I haven’t felt like myself at a single one of them in the last month.  There is weird, conflicting swirl going on in my head–a bit of “oh crap, oh crap, you better get this, you better get this!” and a dash of “what difference does it make?” which leads to me resting solely on natural abilities and on-the-spot script interpretation which just isn’t enough here.  I haven’t felt completely confident about anything I’ve done or am doing in what feels like a very long time.  The job thing…well, at least for me, in this field being good at your job does not necessarily translate into making any money.  I have yet to close one deal….not a single one.  So, I’ve been working for free for about a month now…which means stirring up motivation to actually go into work has been…oh…gee…what’s the opposite of easy?….uh…right–like Rush Limbaugh selling suits and BMWs on the rough side of Harlem.  If it weren’t for Jenn’s evil eye, I probably would have given up and moved into a box by now.  Every time it feels like I nailed an appointment or have a senior agent give me some sort of approving hand gesture (not nearly as often a thumbs up as I would like…usually a point and a wink) after a “successful” phone call, I am then blindsided by some outside factor or mild form of neurosis on the part of the client and they decide that it would be better for everyone if they moved to suburban New Jersey and commuted 2 hours (1 way) into work every day—which is awesome.  It definitely feels as if God is withholding blessings…teaching me/us to trust in a way we’ve never had to before.  I didn’t realize that oh-so-subtlely began to trust, and take heart in, the number on my monthly bank statement more than God, Himself.  But I do.  After that was pointed out to me, it’s been an seemingly tireless battle to stop worrying about our funds quickly melting away and trust that He brought us out here for a reason and will take care of us beyond what we could hope for (while accepting failure if that is in His plans instead).  Thinking about as often I do and trying NOT to think about it as often as I do leads to very little progress.  At this point, I don’t even know we’ll have enough money to still be living here in February to do our play.  Right now, in this journey, the quest to quiet the potential “what if”s has led to countless “if only”s.  Mostly, if only we had made this much progress two months into our time here–instead of five–can you imagine how hopeful…how taken care of…how destined.. we would feel right now?  As it stands, it now feels like, after taking two stinking hours to figure out this whole “building a snowman” thing, it’s getting dark and Mom’s calling us in for dinner.  I guess we’ll see.

Some Randoms:

I saw this Hasidic Jew dude on the subway the other day with the most disorderly facial hair I’ve ever seen.  Instead of one beard, it looked like 635,000 individual hairs–each with their own personality.  It reminded me of an ear of corn after just peeling down (shucking?) the outer layer and then seeing all those wispy, wrangly strands hanging about.  Then I thought about how much I like corn-on-the-cob.  Then I thought about how gross it would be to eat corn that was just covered in that guy’s beard hair.  Then I thought about how unpleasant it would be to kiss that guy.  Then I realized it would be impossible because I literally could not see his mouth.  Then I saw that he didn’t have a wedding ring on so he was, most likely, not getting kissed by anyone.  Then I felt sad that he wasn’t kissing anyone.  Then I looked at his beard again and thought it was probably for the best.

So, New Yorkers talk about racism quite a bit.  But being from such a white vs. black area, I never really thought it was that much of a problem since I was witnessing so many different ethnicities intermingling and co-existing all the time.  My job though has introduced me to an unexpected source of racist attitudes:  the Greeks (is it racist to say that Greeks are racist?….hmmm).  The most obvious case was when I took a black couple out on an appointment and our last apartment of the night brought us to a neighborhood called Bay Ridge.  Apparently, nearly all of the owners and landlords in Bay Ridge are old Greek guys.  The landlord called to say he was stuck in traffic and was running about 10 minutes late.  So, we waited in front of the building and, about 20 minutes later, a older guy drove slowly past the property–his eyes searching the front of the building.  I noticed his behavior and stepped forward and tried to match his eyes.  He saw me, he waved big and pointed at my clients and made question marks with his eye brows.  I nodded and circled the three of us with my finger.  He waved again and kept driving slowly forward.  I presumed he was looking for a parking space…but he just kept going.  About two minutes later, he called me and said, “hello, Eric, I thought I was going to be there by now but it looks like now it will be like an hour…maybe two hours..uh…because something happened on the expressway…so…yeah.  If you and your clients want to wait, there’s a Dunkin’ Donuts close by.”  I tried to pin him down but he warbled his way out of the conversation and my clients decided our appointment was over.  I explained to them what he said and they immediately knew what really happened.  I knew they were right.  After finding out from the other agents that Bay Ridge/Greek landlords are known for that, I thought back to Jenn and I’s first conversation with our Greek landlord.  We admitted that we didn’t have jobs yet and were moving here to become actors.  He said, “eh, I’m not worried about that.  So, you like place?”  I really like our landlord.  He’s a great guy…but we are white….so he’s probably a racist.  Which reminds me that David Mamet is debuting a new play here soon called “Race” and it’s co-starring David Alan Grier.  Not only do I think that Grier is a poor choice for just about any role but I think Mamet is extremely overrated.  There, that’s a less awkward note to end a paragraph on.

Nearly all the film students here are freaking snobs.  They all defend Citizen Kane–which is horrible (any time you use the spinning newspaper headline trick more than five times in one hour, I think you deserve an F) and they all love Raging Bull (which is about like, I imagine, watching a step-by-step movie on how a cow in the field become the burger in your mouth).  They all completely disrespect anything that has any commercial success or is actually enjoyable to watch or can move a person to tears.  Which means I really like starting conversations that make them wish they had never cast me in their film…but then I’ll listen to the looong story about their pilgrimmage from Italy to New York City and make a funny joke and then they like me again.  But their opinions still suck…and they take too long setting up lights.  Also, I’m jealous that they’re going to classes about how to make movies.  Uhhhh, Thanksgiving should be nice.

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Life Snapshot

November 22, 2009

THIS IS WRITTEN IN A MORE NARRITIVE STORY FORMAT. JUST A SHORT SNAPSHOT FROM LIFE.

 

I walk slowly down the steps of the Broadway Station platform. Eric calls me on the phone and says that he just got in touch with a client who is on their way to Brooklyn to see an apartment. I tell him that’s great and that I’ll hold off to make dinner until he comes home, even if it’s late. I tell him I love him and click my phone closed.

It is a calm, breeze-less 54 degrees as I walk the short 2 blocks to our apartment. The streets of Astoria look magical, as if someone took the Main Street of a small town and injected it with every ethnicity possible. The crowded sidewalks here are different than those of Midtown; calmer and softer. I see the excitement in the people that pass me, discussing which restaurant they should favor this evening. Eric and I made a wish list of all of the restaurants that we want to go to if we ever have the money (which is looking more doubtful everyday). I feel a little bit like an outsider tonight. I want so much to be a part of this beautiful November evening. My day has already been long; filled with the excitement which only answering phones at a bowling alley can bring. The same answer all day long: “$11.95 per game, plus $5 for shoes.” Almost 7 years removed from my Bronze Tablet Graduation and I answer phones for a living.

My cell rings and it is Beatrice from work, looking for a word document that I spent the last 45 minutes of my day updating for the door staff. It has evaporated from the hard drive, and apparently the copies that I printed before I left have disappeared as well. She says kindly that she’ll redo it, but as I hang up I feel my heart sink. I don’t like my job, but I should be able to do it without any mistakes for goodness sake. When I make a mistake at THIS type of job, it makes all of my real career aspirations seem like a joke. This on top of learning that Eric is not going to be home for another 3 hours just makes me more depressed.

I see the glowing Street Christmas Lights inviting everyone but me to forgot there long work week and join in the carnival of fun that is New York City on a Saturday night. I am walking home to an empty apartment to figure out yet another way to cook eggs for dinner.

November

November 13, 2009

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened; vision cleared; ambition inspired, and success acheived.”

~Helen Keller

Exciting news folks! Eric and I have entered the intense “character development” phase of our time in NYC.  All jokes aside that really is a good thing, but wow does it smart in the mean time.  October ended up being one of the hardest months out here. Eric finished up his (poopy third shift) Security Guard job while simultaneously going to broker school and getting certified to broker New York apartments.  He got through those crazy 80 hour work weeks and is now just working as a Broker.  But…what does a Broker do when the NYC market isn’t biting? We are still trying to figure this out. To all of you out there in cyber-space who work at “commision-only” based jobs, WE FINALLY UNDERSTAND YOUR PAIN!  And then there is that stunning realization that if we still lived in Central Illinois, we could have a house mortgage, a boat mortgage, and high end car lease, and still be paying about the same per month that we are  for our 3rd-floor-walk-up-1-bedroom -with-no-laundry-on-site, which currently is featuring a slight but stubborn bug problem. ….Character, folks. 

The fact is that we are Christians.  And well,  what type of Christians would we be if we were not able to trust God to provide for us.  He says not to worry, so by golly we are “learning” to not worry. Mind you I think I’m currently pulling a C – in the course…but I have a feeling that the “semester” won’t be over any time soon.

Patience, trust, contentment….these are all good things that in an ideal world we would all possess in abundance. I guess  in the back of my mind I keep  thinking  that because I have a Bachelor’s Degree I must have developed enough of them along the way. Not so, …I have a long way to go.

On the flip side, I think I could now successfully teach a Home-Economics class on  Budget Grocery Shopping and 101 ways to make Oatmeal! (You laugh, but the Banana Cream Pie version is pretty de-lish).

We got a much welcomed visit from Paul (Eric’s Dad), the last week in October which reminded us that home is just a 5 hour plane ride away. It was great to see him and once again reminded us that New York can be a REALLY fun place.  We saw “God of Carnage” on Broadway, with Jeff Daniels and Hope Davis (Thank you Paul!!). It was the funniest show I’ve seen since “Escanaba in da Moonlight” which will forever make my bladder shudder from laughter no matter how many times I see it.

We did manage to leave the city at the very start of November. Our small group from church rented a house for 2 nights in the Poconos  which miraculously ended up costing about what you’d pay for a cab ride to JFK.  We carved pumpkins and exprienced the AWESOMENESS of grown adults playing Sardines in complete darkness. (For those of you who have never played Sardines…find an old summer camp counselor to explain it to you.) The whole weekend reminded us a little bit of Starved Rock back in Illinois. I definitely got my “sit-by-a-fireplace-and-watch-the-leaves-fall” fix!

Eric has had some really great auditions as of late though, and we just found out today that he got cast in a short film. (Way to go babe!)  He also shot another short film all day last Sunday, and did some extra work (unpaid of course) the day before that. It seems that NYU and NYFA are all shooting their end of semester projects right now.

I went to my first dance class in the city. OUCH!!!!! yep, it was a week ago and I swear that my hamstrings are still not back to normal.  I was the girl whose arms were constantly flailing in the wrong direction. (I had to laugh a little at myself). It was really really fun though. I haven’t been to a pure Jazz class in um, 12 years are so.  It was 90 minutes of “Oh my gosh I’m gonna feel this in the morning” bliss.  Shout out to Laura Miller for the invite! It was great.

So that’s about it for this round of blogging. Thanksgiving is just around the corner and I’m going to try my darndest to be there at Herald Square come the morning of Nov 26th. (Eric has wished me luck on this venture and informed me that he will be at home snuggled under the covers.) And we will be attempting to “host” Thanksgiving dinner. Well, I’m not sure if you can call it “hosting” if you just have one guest coming over, but we are still excited. Our friend Scott is coming over and the three of us are determined to make this a memorable holiday!

To all our friends and family: Happy Thanksgiving! We wish we could be home.  You know you are in our hearts.   Christmas is right around the corner and we’ll see ya soon!