Posts Tagged ‘broadway’

Tide Turning?

September 22, 2010

A couple weeks ago, I did “featured extra” parts in one short film and one feature-length film.  The short film was done by a production company that apparently has a movie in select theaters right now and is tearing up some of the festivals.  The feature length movie is done by a guy who has already put something out there on DVD that is well-liked enough that the Chinese ladies who walk around to every open door in the city saying, “DVDs?  DVDs? $5!  $5!”, have his movie…which means you’re moving up in this city.  The part I did in the short film was total crap:  10 hours of sitting around for about 30 seconds of work that didn’t include my face (on the upside I got to meet and have about an hour conversation with Cindy Cheung from Lady in the Water.  She’s the young Asian girl that interprets the old myths for Paul Giamatti’s character…which means I’m only one degree from M. Night and Giamatti in the Kevin Bacon game.)  The feature film ended up being great.  I got to do a pretty cool fight scene with the main character that went on for quite awhile and then we had a couple minutes of dialogue before he shot me.  The director was really excited about what I did and said I impressed him and that he’d remember that for the future.  I think being an assassin and stunt person would be a pretty cool subordinate to my big picture dreams…if I had to settle.  While I was waiting around at that gig I finally got a call from an agent, which is something I had been waiting on for awhile.  We set up a meeting and today was that day.

So, when the day started, I knew I had that meeting and I thought I might go to an open casting call for some TV pilot.  The agent meeting was mostly crummy because she could tell right away that I have no idea how to play the game and she is just FULL of the game.  However, she must have seen something in me because she said she wanted me to get another actor (which will be Scott, decided I, because she said it could not be my wife) and do a 5-minute scene that I didn’t write and show her what I can do.  If she likes Scott, then she’ll rep him as well.  We’re just supposed to call her when we’re ready to rock it.  Then I went to the open call for the TV pilot and got cast on the spot.  The show involves undercover secret agents and singing and is being shopped to Nickolodeon and the Disney Channel.  I’ll let your imagination fill in the blanks and, yes, I know how ridiculous it sounds.  I will be recording a couple songs tomorrow for it in some studio.  I got home to learn the songs and, after getting a call for an interview tomorrow for the NBA Store, I got a call from another agent that wants to set up a meeting for the end of the month.  So, that’s cool.  Then I got a call from the director of an Alfred Hitchcock remake project and we set up an audition time for Thursday.  It was all in a very short amount of time which was strange and sort of felt like a prank.  God is good and I will continue to praise Him no matter what happens.  None of this means anything awesome yet but it seems as though things are starting to go my way a little.  We’ll see.

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Later in April

April 28, 2010

This week, I started my 4th different job since coming to New York.  this job will take me throught the 1 year anniversary of being in NYC–which is about a month away.  So, in this past year, I have had as many different jobs as in the previous 4 years combined–or something like that.  This one is with the Census Bureau.  So, in 8 weeks, this job will most likely finish and I will have to find another waitering job.  I’m okay with that and I’m also discovering that sitting through training classes for (at least kinda) lame jobs has become almost like a 2nd home to me…or at least like a mediocre action film (or romantic comedy for the ladies)–comfortable and very predictable.               

There is always one or more persons that act like they know more than everyone else (instructor included).  This time we have both types:  the kind that laugh by themselves everytime something is said they think is stupid, correct minor details within examples–taking the conversation to the galaxy of Pointless–just to show off knowledge they assume no one else is blessed with, and make rude comments and observations just loud enough for people around them to hear but not quite loud enough for the instructor to make out…and the type that angrily corrects anything said or done that they KNOW will RUIN minds and lives if it is simply let go while consistently sounding as if they might kill someone at any moment (both types immediately turn incredibly sweet and charming if given the spotlight and seem to be festering in the hope that the rest of the class will rise as one and revolt to place THEM as the new instructor…which they obviously deserve).

There is also always the person that really took it to heart when one of their grade-school teachers said “there is no such thing as a stupid question” while also managing to either be partially deaf or incapable of listening and thinking at the same time. 

The instructors are always either unqualified to teach anything and uninterested or incapable of attempting to show otherwise or unqualified to teach anything and dead-set on proving that they know more than any human that has ever walked the earth and can make people weep with the sheer power and viciousness of knowledge.  This week’s training has the former.

We have some funny people though.  During the obligatory “now let’s take a few moments to get to know each other” time we were supposed to stand up and state our name and why we wanted to work for the census.  The second guy to go looked about as apathetic as a person can and said as boldly as he could muster “My name is Phillip and I want to SERVE MY COUNTRY.”  Everyone laughed.  He offered a half-smile as he sat down.  Another guy said he thought it would be a good way to pick up chicks.  Another young man said “counting people has always been a passion of mine.”  A cute, petite lady who looked to be around 40 said, “I’m just looking forward to getting raped and murdered by the man that asks me to come into his apartment” and the instructor smiled and said, “Very good.  Very good.”

Also, having gone through this sort of thing before, I knew the first day would be a bit of a train wreck and there would be a lot of dead time.  So, I brought some reading material and came mentally prepared.  This led to the best part of all.  While instructors were scrambling and fumbling around endlessly for something or other, I was getting more and more into a book that was leading me to think about God and what I believe about certain things and all that.  Lately, I’ve been wishing and praying for freedom and no fear.  I’ve been so bogged down by this feeling of never getting over the same sins that have had their hooks in me for so long, and always feeling trapped in this worthless version of a person, and feeling like nothing will ever change so there is no reason to hope.  Then (and it didn’t really have anything to do with the book), the most wonderful thing that has happened to me in a long time…uh, happened.  God spoke in me and truth rang in my chest like it hasn’t in a long while…and the words “I AM free” started repeating over and over again in my heart.  I’ve read that Jesus Christ has freed us from sin with his death on the cross so many times but it wasn’t until that moment that it all…just hit me.  I am free.  I am not chained to any sin, or bad decision from the past, or fruitless habit.  I am free.  Meaning sin cannot touch me.  I could swim in it for a week and it can’t touch me.  Jesus’ blood covers me like a shield of armor.  So all those things that I constantly think I can’t do and shouldn’t think or feel…I CAN…which completely demolishes any power that sin has over me.  My nature (I think all of our’s) is to want to do whatever I’m not supposed to do, whatever I’m told or I know I CAN’T do, I long to do it.  That is the nature of the sin inside us.  But my sins are forgiven.  My stains are washed away.  Every turn from God has been forgotten…past, present, and future.  So, I can do anything.  So, I don’t feel the tugging pull to any of those things I thought enslaved me.  I am free.  The beautiful part is that God has been working on me so much–like He’s refining silver–that He gave me this truth at a time when I have no interest in displeasing Him.  I love Him.  I want to obey.  I genuinely desire to please my Heavenly Father.  It brings me joy…and sin does not.  All those things that grabbed at me and led to the whispers “you know what you could do”…those things used to lead to guilt just by popping up in my head and immediately led to a battle that I rarely won…now I say “yeah, you could do that”…and the suffocation stops.  Then I ask, “but do you really want to do that?”  The answer is no.  I want to do things that bring me joy.  Those things do not bring me joy.  They never did.

Now I know that freedom of any kind does not guarantee against attacks.  Nor does it always protect against slander and prejudice…and more attacks.  But I have hope now.  For the first time in a long time, I have hope.  I’m writing again.  I believe there is a plan again.  I believe that He will lead and I am capable of following.  I have joy.  I have Jesus.

April 13, 2010

April 13, 2010

Most of the time, being out here makes me feel like I am in a barely-lit conference room with a small movie screen taking up one entire wall.  The screen plays on it specific excerpts from my life.  All my goals, all my dreams, all my potential…every single thing I went after wholeheartedly and attempted to accomplish is right there.  Then, me coming up short and eventually quitting the pursuit and letting the gifts and potential given me fall limply to the side until it is almost forgotten.  This goes on for a little while and then a 50-year old Julie Andrews turns from the screen to face me and says, “By all practical accounts, a complete failure.”  Well, gee thanks.  How about screw you Julie Andrews!  “Well, my dear, if you really look at it, there can be no other conclusion.”  Oh yeah?  Princess Diaries 2!!  Huh?!  Huh?!  How does that make you feel?!  Princess Diaries 2!!  “Well of course before that bit of rubbish, there was the world-loved jewel:  The Sound of Music and my Oscar-winning turn as Mary Poppins.”  Psssshh.  Your Oscar was nothing more than a sympathy win because people felt bad that you got passed over to take the role you originated on Broadway in My Fair Lady for the already screen-savvy Audrey Hepburn.  You were just weird and she deserved the win even if she didn’t sing a note of it!  And I saw part of Sound of Music and I wasn’t at all impressed.  The supposedly-German soldiers sounded like they were from a New Jersey-based barbershop quartet.  I could’ve made a better version of it when I was 19!  “Could’ve, should’ve, would’ve…but didn’t…and won’t….right Mr. Gordon?”  Grrrrrrrr.  I hate you fake Julie Andrews!

January and February

February 27, 2010

It’s getting really annoying  writing on here without some sort of triumph to report.  Sigh.  That’s why entries are getting spaced out like vacuum supply stores.  We spent a lot of our heart and free time on this play I wrote out here.  Rehearsing was quite the process and pretty darn expensive once we moved out of our kitchen.  We had some pretty cool breakthroughs the last week of rehearsal and went in to our first performance without a tech rehearsal but with a lot of excitement and hope in what we had.  The first performance went well considering the lack of tech rehearsal but there were some nerves and minor issues that only we knew about.  We had about 7 people there for us out of the 60 or so total audience members.  It was a small theater by Peoria standards–probably would fit about 80 which is pretty big by NYC standards–and it was mostly filled.  At this point I was still under the impression judges were involved in deciding the winners all the way through the process so we were confident we would be moving on even though it wasn’t our best performance and we had relatively low audience representation.  We saw the other two shows–one was pretty good the other was terrible–and knew we had a better show.  Pretty easy round because only 3 shows were in each session and two of the three would move on to the next round…which we did.  The second round was also the semifinals and this is when I discovered that I was mislead by the bumbling artistic director of the festival.  This is when I found out that judges did not come into play until the finals…so the first and second rounds were completely decided by audience votes.  At this point–5 minutes before the first show started–I looked out at the audience and saw that, despite our best promotional efforts, we had 5 friends in the audience (afterwards we found out that three of them had to leave right after our show and, therefore, were not allowed to vote since they wouldn’t be seeing all the shows…even though we watched  as 15 people showed up right after our show pledging their allegiance for the last of the four shows–we were 2nd–and saw them being handed ballots and given instructions on how and when to vote before they were ushered into the theater).  Our show went great.  It was the best we had ever done it, the audience was cracking up and responding the way I had hoped an audience would back when I first wrote it.  I was really proud of us and, for the first time, absolutely, wholeheartedly believed in it.  I knew we had put together a fantastic play.  Then the next morning we looked on the appropriate website and saw that we were done.  No judges would ever see it and we would never get a chance to put it up against others on a level playing field.  Only one show from each session moved on and–guess who–it was the last show from our session that would be advancing.  This was just to punctuate what a popularity contest the first two rounds really were.  We had watched it.  It was well done.  It was…cute.  We didn’t think it was even in the same league as what we had just done….didn’t matter.  So, the competitive side of me felt unjustly ripped off and led me smoothly into a solidly depressive hopelessness that lasted for a good week…which was great.  My writing has come to a standstill because I’m usually spending my energy battling myself on whether or not there’s even a point to it.  Obviously, my persistence sucks.  My discipline sucks.  My sense of “creating for the sake of creating” sucks.  I’m really not cut out for this battle…..but God is and He’s saying “stay”.  The last couple weeks have been spent trying to figure out what our next step is and the only thing that gets us excited is the idea of performing our show for the artists in our church followed by a call to arms for all of the creatively gifted people in our church to come together in collaboration in an attempt to find purpose and to glorify God as directly as possible with our gifts…and see what happens.  First steps still need to be made on that.  We’ll see.

Other stuff:

So, it’s starting to get to that point where it is hard to remember what it was like not living in New York (I don’t think it is a coincidence that that sounds like something a prison inmate would write.)  The big picture and the major stuff is still there in my head but the details and the feeling of living in the Midwest is becoming harder to conjure up in the ol’ memory bank.  No, that does not mean living here is starting to grow on us…I think it means that 8 months is a lot longer than it sounds.  Anyway…

I know it is unwise to draw broad conclusions from singular events but, until shown otherwise, I am very uncomfortable with the mindset of rich Jewish people in New York City.  I worked my very first Bat Mitzvah a couple weeks ago and the experience was strange.  Even if I had Bill Gates-type money I have a hard time imagining dropping $80,000 (minimum) on my daughter’s birthday party.  Now I know that turning 13 is a bigger deal than any other age according to Jewish customs but I’m pretty sure that it’s because of  religion-based reasons that that is the case…and it’s difficult to take the relgious ceremony aspect of the whole thing seriously when you have someone with a microphone screaming to a room full of 12, 13, and 14-year olds (while the appropriately inappropriate rap song from 5 years ago thumps loudly from the speakers) “Where’s the sweat dropping?!!!” and the children respond along with the music, “Sweat drip down my balls!  Aaaall these b****es crawl!  Aww skeet skeet motherf—“….and on it goes from there.  This while all the parents look on smirkingly and the two adults paying for the party smile wider because the company they paid to come in to scream at and dance with these tweens are, in fact, making this party more lively.  I suppose it’s no different than families who celebrate Christmas with all the gusto and flair one could imagine and never pay one ounce of attention to Jesus (the Christ in Christmas) through the holiday.  Whatever the case, it made me uncomforable…but I did take home a lot of mints that had dear Molly’s name and birthday all over them.

Met some b-list celebrities at work recently.  It wasn’t really that cool and I didn’t have anything to slip to them so they could give it to their agents or any other cliched act like that.  The most exciting for me was meeting Devin Harris and Bobby Simmons of the New Jersey Nets.  If I were running a gossip column, I would tell you that Bobby Simmons ordered a Grey Goose and tonic and Devin Harris ordered a Shirley Temple because he was taking cold medication and I looked like a giddy school child getting to chat with NBA players…but I’m not, so don’t even ask.

I want “Up” to win Best Picture.  It featured the most beautiful montage in cinema history at the beginning of the film and it’s easily the best movie I’ve seen this year.  “Avatar” was visually amazing in 3-D but it doesn’t stand up as just a movie against Pixar’s latest gem.  Speaking of which…Pixar:  greatest production studio ever?  I think so.  Aaaaaaand bleh.

End of December/Beginning of January

January 20, 2010

So, Jenn and I got to go home for Christmas.  There was a lot of talking, a lot of playing with nieces and nephews, a lot of gooood eating, and a lot of relief and smiles.  I can’t really talk too much about it though because it then took about 2 weeks to break out of the depressive state that being back in New York caused.  It was wonderful being home and it was really hard coming back here.  That funk means that there really hasn’t been much going on because it took a whole bunch of work just to get up in the morning for awhile.

Work had basically forgotten about me when I got back.  The one scheduled night I got to come back to was New Year’s Eve.  An Asian-American young professionals group rented out the entire facility but left it as a cash bar so our tips were dependent on the sales we made in our section–which of course is typical for serving at most restaurants but not so much at our place with huge parties like this (groups usually pay a ridiculous sum and a gratuity figure is factored into the cost which is then split between the servers/bussers/runners that worked the party and it shows up on your check).  One highlight of my section was getting to witness the most absurd guy-dancing-at-a-party ever–if silly cartoon octopi existed in real life and they had a singles bar/club…this guy would be a go-go dancer at that club.  The lowlight of my section was that many expensive bottles were being bought in the section to my right…and many were being bought to my left…so the people clogging up my section mooched all night off those two mini-parties and didn’t want to buy a thing.  I’m pretty sure my persistence was the only reason I sold anything but even that was sad.  On a night where our facility sold over $100,000 in alcohol, my total sales were $92.  On a night where a few servers made their rent money, I got $27 in tips.  That was upsetting.  The other lowlight was staying until 6am trying to pre-clean after the most disgusting, violent, disrespectful, horrifically drunk group of people I’ve ever witnessed finally left the joint…in total shambles.

The next week I got scheduled for zero shifts.  So, we were freaking out a bit and thinking I was once again going to have to look for yet another job.  God was good, though, and two people called during the week looking for someone to cover their shifts so I was able to pick those up and remind the managers that I’m not terrible and that I, in fact, exist and can do this job well.  Thankfully that was all that was needed and I’ve been scheduled for 3-4 shifts in the couple weeks since then.  Crisis averted.

We have been rehearsing our show once a week and things are going pretty well.  As a director I’m running into the difficulty of directing Scott to be completely himself in his part (which is not as easy as I expected) and then directing Jenn to be completely not herself in her part…and then directing myself while paying attention to what they’re doing isn’t simple either but I think once we get closer and start stacking rehearsals on top of each other, things will start to click.  Finding set pieces for the show is proving to be a lot more difficult here than I’ve ever seen in Peoria.  Everyone wants to be paid for using their furniture and we don’t have many contacts.  If God wants this to be an amazing show, though, it will all come together no matter how difficult it seems right now…I know that.

Jenn was put in touch with a really cool arts center by a co-worker.  This co-worker teaches beginning ballet at this place and when she found out Jenn had taught piano and violin previously she made the connection for Jenn because the facility was in need of a beginning piano teacher.  Jenn sent references and her resume to the director and then she was told to come and to be prepared to teach the class so they could see how she interacted with children.  My wonderful and talented wife then proceeded to wow the director and the couple parents that were sitting in on the lesson and, after the parents told the director that they were planning to pull their kids out of the program because of dissatisfaction with the previous instructor but would keep their children in if Jenn was hired, they hired her on the spot.  Right now it’s only one class but it has potential to grow and she might also be able to teach a few violin classes if that program keeps growing (they have an instructor already but it’s getting close to being too big for one person).  It pays well on a per lesson basis and it makes Jenn a heckuva lot happier than answering phones.  She has also been teaching violin to a young girl from our church so those few things combined mean that she has at least one day per week now where she can focus on music and teaching and not worry about it cutting into her regular job for that day of the week because it’ll end up being better money anyway.  For now, she’ll keep the office job but at least she’s got one day.  It’s pretty cool, as well, that it’s the kind of job that you just can’t get in Peoria without being associated with a school of some sort which, without a teaching degree, is impossible for Jenn anyway right now.  So….5,000 marks on the “con” side of the board for New York living and now…uh…4(?) marks on the “pro” side.

I just recently got to meet up with a friend, Kevin Parker, here in NYC which was awesome.  We hadn’t seen each other in about 6 years nor spoken in about 4 years but it was as simple a reconnection as they come.  I’m pretty sure he’s on his way to becoming Secretary of State but if I become massively rich before then I will employ him to find charitable causes to give my money away to.  We only had a couple of hours to hang out but it was really nice and a few people in his massive box of contacts might turn out to be very helpful out here for me.

A couple of random quotes:  (my wife and I are not vulgar, foul-mouthed people but I come from a family where, at least, we are very comfortable discussing subjects that might be taboo in other families which means that since we’ve been married Jenn has become much more liberal in some of her references and I’m still getting used to it)…..While home at Christmas, we were having a beautiful meal at her sister’s house.  It was kind of fancily displayed and there was a lot of it and it was all delicious.  So, Jenn was making “mmm this is good food”-type noises and moans, so her sister asked “how you feeling over there Jenn?”  Jenn replied, “I feel like my colon should get a prize!”…………………This past weekend we were enjoying our first dinner and a movie date in at least 4 months because we had some gift cards.  After dinner we ordered this amazing double-chocolate slice of cheesecake and were sort of eating in stunned silence for awhile until Jenn said, “this is like if sex and chocolate had a baby!”  I find that confusing on a few levels but it made me laugh anyway.

Middle of December

December 19, 2009

So, last weekend we filmed the short screenplay I wrote a few months ago which had been put off a couple times before….quite a learning experience.  We now know that if we are going to be using students to help us shoot these reel-building projects–and I can’t see any way that that would be changing–we need to assume that, no matter how big a game they might talk, they will have no idea how organized they must be to get 12 pages or more done/shot in a day or two.  I’m sure that is not the case with all students but we know now to be prepared for such a case.  We had gotten off work for Saturday and Sunday to shoot this thing because our guy told us that it would probably take a full two days to get it all done.  The night before we are supposed to shoot, I am told that the crew he had assembled is no longer available and asked if I know anyone with a car that could help pick up all the equipment in lower Manhattan and help transport it all to our apartment (where we were going to shoot)…because he didn’t realize just how much equipment there would be.  Eventually we work our way to the suggestion that we just shoot it at his apartment since the equipment is already there and get an assurance that we can shoot without a crew.  The next morning, we get there and rework the blocking because of the new space while he sets up the lights.  Just as we are about to start shooting a short while later, he realizes that he’s missing a necessary piece to be able to fit the camera on the tripod and some other apparently important piece.  It had managed to make its way into the afternoon by this time (late start due to subway delays and light set-up), so after some discussion, we decided that Jenn and I would just do the scene all the way through and he would watch and figure out a shot list for the new location and what the lighting set-up would be for each shot so that we could fly through the shoot without much thought the next day.  This seemed like a good idea but he didn’t want us to do it again after we did it once and I looked at his script and there were really just a few notes on each page.  I asked him what he needed from us and if he needed us to come up with the shot list–which was probably the 4th time since meeting him that I asked that question–but he said we had given him everything he needed and he knew exactly what he was going to do once we started shooting the next day.  I should know by now that, in New York, you just don’t take anybody at their word, but I did…wanting to trust him and believe that he knew what he was doing because I still don’t know anything about the other side of the camera.  Jenn and I arrived the next morning at exactly the time we all decided on the day before.  We woke him up.  So, we got costumed and ran through lines while he set up lights again.  An hour or so later, he was ready to start shooting and then realized that no sound was getting picked up by the boom mike or the microphone on the camera.  After 30 minutes of fiddling and experimenting, we got in a cab to run to his school and see if someone knew what was wrong.  The equipment person decided the camera was broken and took another 30 minutes to find a camera for us that actually worked.  We got back to the apartment and finally started shooting, but after finishing up the exterior/outdoor/set-up shots, and starting the actual scene, it became obvious that this guy had a very short attention span.  He started yelling cut at completely random times and then readjusting himself for a brand new shot and then asking us to start where we left off as if he had forgotten that editing is supposed to be a post-production task.  It was as if he was shooting the film as he saw the final version in his head.  Strange and a big waste of time is what that was and, after a few frustrating exchanges, it was suddenly apparent to Jenn and I that we would need to, quickly, come up with a shot list for the entire film and keep up a checklist of everything that could possibly be done with the lighting set up as it was because daylight was fading fast and we didn’t have another day to squeeze in any shooting.  This wouldn’t have been a big deal if we knew ahead of time that this would be needed but we had been assured that that wasn’t part of our job.  Anyway, eventually our guy relented to just doing what he was told and admitted that he had no idea where we were in the script or what was going on–which couldn’t have been helped by the fact that, by this time, he hadn’t eaten anything in at least 16 hours.  (He said he never eats while shooting because it slows him down…which obviously he decided some time ago that that would be his “thing” and people would talk about it and maybe it would become legendary–“I heard he never eats while shooting”  “yeah, he’s amazing.  We’ve been shooting for 22 hours so far today and he hasn’t even had like a fry or anything.”    “That’s amazing.  He looks like Ghandi.”    “Totally…and he’s definitely weakening too.  I saw him trip over a piece of tape a few minutes ago.”    “Plus, I think he’s losing it a little bit.  He keeps yelling at me and calling me Oprah…but I’m not…Oprah I mean.”    “Maybe that’s why he added the pink unicorns into this tense courtroom scene.”    “Talk about suffering for your art…”      “Amazing.”  )  With that system in place and him just trying to find interesting shots from where we told to him to be, we moved at a pretty quick pace and managed to finish up just as the sun was going down–though we did only get one take for almost every shot, which is dangerous…I mean what if Jenn picked her nose with both hands in one of the shots and we didn’t notice or what if I looked too incredibly handsome in multiple shots for the story to even be believeable?…..heee-yah…just kidding…but I’m sure you get the point.  Editing won’t start until January and I guess we’ll see how we did once that process begins.  There was a lot learned that day and editing will offer a whole lot more to learn.

Work has been good.  A lot of prayer has been put in to make sure that I’m working hard, keeping a good attitude, doing what I’m told, and not being effected by all the slight debauchery going on around me.  It’s really nice when Jenn and I get to go in or go home at the same time…it reinforces this whole team-first concept in everything we do.

But now we have the next week off because WE GET TO GO HOME!!  I am writing this around 1AM  EST and by 4am we will need to be at the subway station to take us a few stops so we can catch a 4:15am bus to take us to the airport to check in for our 6:30am flight out of LaGuardia and to Chicago then Bloomington.  We are praying that the severe snowstorms predicted to hit will come in after we have left and will not delay our visit at all and I am hoping that pure adrenaline will keep me going our first day back since, obviously, I will not be sleeping tonight.  Instead I will be thinking on how to most efficiently tackle all my nieces and nephews at the same time and how to show my friends how much I’ve missed them without licking their faces…which is what my current urge is…seriously…that’s how stinking excited I am.  I just hope we get a chance to see everyone we have missed and no one feels left out and that the days go by as slowly as days have ever gone…and in the midst of it all we manage to remember Jesus…entering this world through a back door sneak-attack to take on and wear first the filthy rags found in the barn and eventually all our sins so we could be seen blameless in the sight of the Lord.  I love Him so freaking much but it just never seems possible to give Him His due.  Merry CHRISTmas to everyone and thank you to those whom have blessed us with emotional, prayerful and, most recently, financial support.  I won’t name names because I don’t want to rob you of any rewards or blessings but please know that we are so very grateful.  Loooooove.

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.

Weeks 13 and 14

September 9, 2009

So I know I have lost out on parts in the past because of some reason other than the other guy being better for the part.  For some reason, though, this one was the most annoying and is taking the longest to get over.  Auditions for that play that were only open to showcase troop members were a week or two ago.  Pretty quickly it got narrowed down to me and one other guy for the one guy role in the show.  It was also quickly obvious (like…within the first ten minutes) that he was favoring this one particular girl for the lead girl role.  This girl happened to be about 5’5” without heels and also happened to be wearing 3-inch heels.  He read us together once and apparently decided that no audience could possibly settle into a story where the girl either doesn’t wear heels or is a couple inches taller than the guy.  From then on, I was matched up with all the other outside-looking-in-girls…some of  whom did a great job…but,for whatever reason, he kept going back to this one girl.  The other guy that was left happened to be 6’3”.  I would be okay and would understand if it was a tiebreaker situation.  However, this was far from a tie…far, far, far from a tie.  I do not want to be the guy badmouthing other actors putting it all on the line out here so I will simply say that, right now, this guy–in his abilities–has a very LOW ceiling and basically has one level at which he plays everything.  So, it felt more like I was ahead 93-68 in the final seconds and then the other guy grabbed a magic ball that read “height” and shot it in at the buzzer which reminded the referee to inform everyone that making a shot with that ball is worth 30 points.  Bitter?  Unfortunately, yeah…a bit.

The Monologue Challenge came and went.  I thought, after watching everyone, that I had a decent chance at getting in the top five which would make me a finalist and put me in the running to be voted by the audience as the winner.  I did not make it into the final five and was a bit surprised to see who did…which I guess gave the failure less of a sting but…eh.  The guy that won gave about 15 seconds of mediocre monologue and then sang ABBA and danced around the stage for the rest of it.  Jenn said it was like a dance contest where one competitor gets out there, does a jazz square and then backflips across the stage for the rest of the routine.  Sure, it stands out–and everyone loves backflips–but does it really count as dance?  It kind of felt like cheating…but whatever.

The last thing in this short run of opportunities was auditions for the sketch and skit troop within the showcase troop.  There are 4 separate and completely different showcases in October.  The monologue challenge winner gets to perform his monologue in every showcase but everyone else only gets to perform his/her monologue in one of the showcases.  The skits and sketches, however, are performed in every showcase…which means, since I made it into that troop, I’ll get to be seen by a lot more agents and the like than if I was just doing my monologue.  If I don’t get called in by an agent by the end of October then this long run of focussing on this showcase and the musical and really not auditioning for much of anything else will have been nothing more than a slight resume builder..and otherwise a total waste of time.  So…starting to get a little freaked out. 

The other annoyance is that after these last few months of watching and auditioning and contesting, etc. I know I belong out here.  Not only do I know that but I know that I was gifted with the talent to “make it” here…or, at least, in this business.  Why is that an annoyance?  Well, for starters I also have seen the fact that talent doesn’t usually even come into play and even when it does, there are enough other factors to make talent not matter.  So, if our year-and-a-half passes by and we take a look at our situation and realize that we are not getting any closer and no doors are opening and we are miserable…it’s going to be that much harder to close this door.  If I thought I/we were out of our league out here…it would make it a lot easier.  But that’s not the case…so I really hope something big changes in the next 15 months.

The musical I was in finally closed.  It ended up being pretty decent and we got some decent-sized crowds in there to finish things up.  There was just a bit of drama but nothing too bad.  It added zero dollars to our bank account and it was a whole heckuva lotta work and headache for one Off-Broadway theatre credit for the ol’ resume but some real friendships were forged and some networking opportunities arose.  My best guy-friend from the show sends me links for film opportunities and film agents all the time and encourages the crap out of me…he’s just a really nice guy and he talks like he “believes in me” and no we haven’t been making out.  My best gal-friend from the show had a birthday party the other day and introduced me to a friend of her’s that has made 3 or 4 documentaries and is trying to build her resume and reel from behind the camera.  This girl is, therefore, very interested in putting my write ’em and star in ’em idea to work.  She has access to all the necessary equipment and is just waiting for me to submit some scripts and start figuring out how and where we want to shoot.  I’m pretty excited and it sounds like she works as fast as I could possibly hope for…as far as let’s meet to talk about logistics, let’s meet to discuss camera angles, let’s shoot, let’s edit and now let’s do it again.  I have high hopes that this partnership will rock it.

Jenn is finally getting over the worst of her physical roadblocks.  She’s started getting out there to auditions again which is great to see.  Nothing is sticking yet but she’s getting back into the swing of things and looking like she’s getting her mojo working again.  Plus, she’s still really hot.

Some Randoms:  The fingernail test says that this is a really dirty place.  No matter how short I keep my fingernails out here and no matter how normal or sterile my activities are on a daily basis, my nails have crud under them all the time.  This isn’t from playing in the dirt or searching for loose change in the gutter.  This is walk from home, get on subway, walk to rehearsal, sit in rehearsal, walk back to subway, walk back home, look down at hands…DIRTIEST FINGERNAILS EVER!  I don’t understand it and it kind of scares me.

Just got to go to a Yankee game for the first time.  Stinkin’ gorgeous stadium…I would like to live there…in the stadium.  I guess I still hate the Yankees but it’s getting harder…dang it.

I’m looking into getting my realty license…which would get me pretty close to being a genuine New Yorker…having my security license and realtor license both and working whatever pays the most…total New York thing.

From dressing room time before the musical would start each day, I now know that a group of girls singing Michael Jackson at the top of their lungs is one of my biggest pet peaves.  I love Michael Jackson’s music and I really like his songs being appreciated and sung by others and I’m all for singing your guts out in public but I know now that I don’t want to be around the next time that specific combination is blooming…ever.

Also a new addition to the pet peaves list is girls with sassy ridiculous attitude problems that never grow out of their sassy ridiculous attitude problems.  On Saturday and Sunday, my relief from my security post is a “grown a** woman”–as she would put it.  In the five minutes after she got there and before I left on Saturday morning, she managed to talk about one of the other guard’s horrible body odor (which doesn’t exist), talk about how the poop-smell coming out of the bathroom was going to make her go home and we better take care of it or something bad was gonna happen (there was no poop-smell because there had been no poop), how she knew she was late but we better not say anything because she got “crunked” the night before and we were lucky she even showed up, AND how one of our supervisors better stop talking and watch himself because “I’m a black belt!  He’s like 23 and I’m 45-years old…he’s young enough to be my son and I will whoop him.  I brought him my card to show him I’m a black belt and he ain’t no competition to me.  I’m 45-years old!  He ain’t no competition to me!  I’ll stick my foot up his a** if he talks to me like that again.”  I was unaware of the disagreement that preceded this particular rant but I’m sure it involved this supervisor talking to this woman like he was her boss…which he is…so..yeah.  I don’t think grown-ups should behave this way.  Is it me?  It’s probably me, isn’t it?  Yeah, it’s me.  Wait a second…no it’s not…riiight.

Weeks 11 and 12

August 26, 2009

The show in which Jenn and I met was called Praying For Rain.  It was a drama at the lab theatre that didn’t really have any sort of hook synopsis to get people interested.  We had a couple of performances that barely drew 25 people.  I figured those would be the lowest attended performances I would ever be apart of…and I certainly didn’t think that anything in New York would beat it.  Well, through five performances so far, 28 is our high with our low mark coming in for our Sunday night performance with…4…people.  4.  I believe it speaks to the adversity this cast has had to overcome just to get this show going that we were still able to put out a high-energy, high-effort performance in spite of feeling kicked in the gut after our first glance out at the audience.  Any other show I’ve done would’ve been crap if we looked out and saw that but it was only the 6th time running the show all the way through so maybe there’s still some excitement over doing it without getting stopped for some ridiculously petty detail that needs fixing while gaping holes in continuity still prevalently exist.  Anyway, it finally feels like we have a pretty good show…at least as good as this show could be.

Auditions for the showcase troop’s full play are this week and if I got into it that would mean a little bit of extra money come showtime since the 4 actors in the show will share 60% of the profits…which admittedly will be pretty small I’m sure.  Also, the monologue challenge is less than a week away and the director said that even I don’t win, he’s positive that I will get called in for an interview with at least a couple of agents.

Having Jenn’s mom here was really nice.  She fought through having more than one night where both Jenn and I were completely unavailable due to work or rehearsal.  The rest of the time was spent exploring and having fun.  She and Jenn got to see Mary Poppins which they raved about.  I didn’t get to take part in much but the last two days she was here we all got to go on a tour boat around the city which was very relaxing and informative and to the “Top of the Rock”.  The top floor of the Rockefeller Center presents a gorgeous view of the city that I wasn’t expecting–especially getting to look out over the whole of Central Park.  Those were some nice and surprising treats. 

Working midnight–8am three straight mornings while going to a 3 performance day and night or 7–8 hour rehearsals is a terrible existence and I don’t recommend it to anyone.  Therefore, I am motivated beyond what I could’ve been otherwise to land as many commercials (once an agent or two are in place) as I possibly can.

My friend from college (Becca) came into town and we got to hang out for a few hours the other day.  Then some friends from my irreplaceable group back home in Peoria are in town this weekend but I have 7 performances in 4 days so I won’t get to hang out with them as much as I would like.  Overall, August will have been a busy month for visitors which leaves me happy.

I am still slowly working on my feature-length screenplay but I got another idea the other day.  The director of the showcase group said that our resumes really need at least 5 credits in the film/tv category and I only have 2.  So, I think I’m going to start trying to plow through on empty days and whip out 4 or 5 short-film scripts (about 20 minutes) and go to all the film schools and shop them around.  I’ll present them to people/students needing scripts to direct and produce with the understanding that if they agree to take it, I get to cast it…and then I’ll just cast myself and Jenn and, if needed, other people I’ve met that know I could trust and whom could use the resume credit.  The one thing going for me is that I’ve read through quite a few student-film scripts by now and they’re nearly all crap…just absolutely no good on any level.  I know I can do better, and if I do, maybe the filmmaking students will see it as an opportunity to make something decent for a change.  I don’t know if it’ll work but I’ve heard worse ideas.

Some randoms:  Tension levels have been running high lately within certain factions of the cast of this musical.  Because of this, there is a lot of tough-guy talk in the locker room and it amazes me how every single guy “will put your a** on the ground if you keep trying to get up on me.”  Basically, nearly every fella in the cast can beat up everyone…ever.  I stopped being good at math about junior year of high school but I’m pretty sure that someone has to be wrong.  Actually everyone but one has to be wrong…and if you factor in Chuck Norris then even that one is wrong.  And I’m positive that I could beat them all up anyway so it doesn’t even matter…..(and yes that irony was intentional).

Just saw a preview for some movie with Jamie Foxx where Gerard Butler took the role that I would’ve demolished and used to send me on my way to stardom.  Why couldn’t they just wait?  Freakin’ Gerard Butler. 

I forgot to take socks to the theatre the other day.  I really didn’t want to do the show sockless so, when I saw some seemingly spare socks in somebody’s personal shoes, I took them.  I was hoping to quickly return to the dressing room after the show and return the socks to the shoes they came from with no one knowing any differently.  About halfway throught the 1st act, though, a buddy (real nice guy but we’re not close) from the cast came out smirkingly seething that “somebody stole my socks…they actually stole my socks…who the…?”  I then explained to him why someone might steal his socks and then eventually admitted that it was me.  An awkward moment then followed.  Now I have to do laundry a lot sooner than I wanted.

I haven’t had a farmer’s tan this bad in a long time.  There aren’t really any pools to go to and it’s tough to find time to have a day at the beach so the only way to fix it is to be one of those shirtless douchebags at a public park…not sure what the solution is…”YOU MUST SACRIFICE ONE!  IS IT DIGNITY…OR PRIDE?!”  That was actually a quote from the spartan warrior yelling-voice in my head.  If you quote the voices in your own head…what does that mean about you?  Whoops…thinking time’s done.

Week 10.5

August 13, 2009

Last entry, I forgot to mention the best NYC story I’ve heard to date.  I won’t tell who I heard this story from but you don’t have to know that to feel strange and laugh hard.  So, somebody had a friend who was dog-sitting for her friends.  She was supposed to check in, feed him, play with him, and walk him once in the morning and once at night.  The first few days were fine but for the nighttime visit on the 3rd day, the girl walked in to discover that the dog, who was about 12 years old, had died.  Knowing that the owners were not going to be home and that she didn’t want to be blamed for it, she decided to take the dog’s body to an overnight vet to get checked for a diagnosis where she would then call the owners and inform them of what happened and let them decide what to do with the body.  She looked around the apartment and could not find a pet carrier which made sense since this is an 80-pound labrador we’re talking about.  After searching the apartment some more she settled on the biggest suitcase she could find to transport the rather large body of this dead dog.  She dragged and carried the thing down a couple blocks and up the stairs into the subway.  Once on the train, sweating and panting, she was approached by a nice looking young man who was sympathetic to her exhausted disposition.  He said that it looked like a really heavy bag and asked her what was going on.  The girl knew the truth sounded creepy and embarrassing and might get her arrested on suspicion of being a psychopath…so she made up a story about a crazy roommate and her abusive boyfriend and how she just had to get out of there, so she stuffed everything she owned into this one suitcase and was on her way to another friend’s place across town.  She was rather proud of herself for improvising so quickly and convincingly and the nice young man continued talking to her about the woes of bad roommates and angry men.  Once she indicated they were at her stop, the young man asked if he could at least help her carry her bag to the bottom of the stairs out of the station.  She was grateful to not have to struggle through the turnstile and down the stairs with this dog-filled luggage and had grown rather comfortable with the guy during their 15 minutes of train-conversation, so she accepted his offer.  This being New York though, he, of course then, pushed her to the ground and ran as fast as he could out of the station and and down a side street that was too dangerous for her to follow……………..Now this did add an extra layer to her already awkward explanation to her out-of-town friends (as well as a large piece of missing luggage) but what in heck is that guy gonna be thinking when he opens up that suitcase?  The possibilities are vast in number and variance but my bet is that he eventually decided he wasn’t going to get nothing out of it.  So, on a hope that the rumors about Chinese people were true, he dragged that thing to the back door of every restaurant in Chinatown and then sold the smelly suitcase for $20.  I can’t even venture a guess on what kind of dough one would get for labrador…but after almost dying from shock and disgust, I doubt he agreed to anything too cheap.

So, I barely made it through the weekend of late work and no sleep with a little hint of softball and rehearsal…but I did.  One of the pastors picked me up from work at 8:05am on Saturday morning and drove me to the tournament and I got there just as our first game was starting.  Over the course of 3 games, I got to make 3 Sportscenter catches (including one from which my knee is still bloody and disgusting), knock in a few RBIs and run the bases a bit….but we got trounced all three games.  On top of that, all the other teams in the tournament and in our bracket were completely Korean.  I already hate to lose but my apparently-racist-patriotism made this even tougher to swallow.  It was really nice to compete though and the fun made it worth it.  I got in a few hours of sleep after the tournament before going back to work at midnight.  Then went home at 8:30am and busied myself to stay awake so I could be at church for worship team rehearsal by 10am.  Got home around 1pm and went to musical rehearsal from 2-9:30pm.  This weekend I also have to work three straight midnight to 8am shifts.  This time, Saturday morning awaits with a 9am–4pm musical rehearsal and then the same church deal Sunday morning before needing to be at the theatre for our opening show which is at 2pm.  Now I have an excuse to have college stoner sleeping  habits during the rest of the week….so I guess that’s the positive.

Speaking of musical rehearsal:  for those with experience in theatre…imagine being within two days of opening night and still not once having run the show through start to finish….not even once…now throw in the fact that you have two different casts that both haven’t run the show even once.  That is the case here.  We had an atrocious rehearsal on Sunday which got us about 2/3 of the way through the first act.  Then nothing on Monday.  Then a short music-only rehearsal on Tuesday.  Then Wednesday (last night) an attempt at cue-to-cue tech rehearsal which would then lead to a run-through….but only got us through 2/3 of the first act on simply the cue-to-cue (how is that possible with 6 hours of rehearsal time?  Well, it basically ran as if they had pre-hung the lights and then were doing the light design for the show on the spot…so it averaged out to about 1 cue per 15-20 minutes).  Now we don’t have rehearsal Thursday or Friday with 7 hours planned for Saturday and us still needing to finish the cue-to-cue.  If I had the lead or a really big part, I could at least think that “if I just do the best job I can possibly do, then the show could still be saved”….but I don’t so I feel helpless and scared of being tremendously embarrassed.  I cannot imagine a worse experience from the technical side of things.  The cast is, mostly, terrific which is the only reason this thing has a chance.  But every aspect of the behind-the-scenes work is as ignorant and childish as I can possibly imagine.

Jenn’s mom got in town yesterday all safe and sound.  Although the week will mostly be girl-time for the two of them, it’s nice for me personally to have someone familiar and bright-eyed with us here.  Mom Von-Behren has a lot she wants to do this week and she’s very excited about it.  It happens that I have a very busy week this week, which will cause me to miss most of it but the long-term effects are at least a happier wife…which is never bad.  Hopefully we can help her have a great time.

Some observations:  I got to see my first homeless guy peeing right out in the open.  It was on the steps leading into the subway station.  Some people started yelling at him, others mockingly applauded and exhorted him as classy…the overwhelming feeling that came over me was…actually jealousy.  What freedom!  Now this feeling did not stem from his placement in life….just from the fact that he was peeing right out in the open.  I was not longing for the expectation-free, responsibility-less, no-room-for-fresh-guilt existence of the homeless guy.  I just really like peeing outdoors and to be able to do it right out in the open with no mind paid to who might walk by or if they see my thingy…now that would be something. 

Sometimes there is no room for sensitivity within honesty.  I need to stop fearing this and its potential repercussions…..so does everybody else.