Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Life Imitating Schlokk

Many actors I know have the occasional performance nightmare. I mean that literally - a bad dream that revolves around a performance. Typically it's the on-stage variety. My own version has me waking up (or suddenly become aware of being) on-stage, naked, behind a couch. There's no way to sneak off stage without being seen and, while I could just wait for the play to end, I realize that my cue is coming up and I will have to deliver my lines! Fortunately, the dream ends before I have to make a scary decision (no doubt a relief for both actor and audience).

Last night was a double helping of anxiety. I dreamed that the horror movie "Train" I was in, was actually real. This is a first, mind you. Movies hadn't previously crossed over into my sleep world. I found myself tortured and on the run from a bunch of crazies. Not terribly pleasant, as you might imagine. (You'd imagine vividly if you happen to have seen the actual film, in which case you have my apologies)

Cut to: me racing on stage to beat the rapidly unfurling curtains for a performance of Not the Midnight Mass, an a capella group I was once a part of. I don't know which number we're starting with. Graham blows the pitch pipe and I'm desperately trying to guess the song. Somehow I'm able to pick up the number, but there's choreography too - and I haven't got a damn clue where to move. I manage to exit from the front of the stage - actually, I fall off the edge and plop to the floor. It gets a laugh, so I play it off by making a real effort to climb back up, as if it's Mt Everest. Eventually one of the cast lowers a chair next to me, so I relent and, throwing my arms in the air for the benefit of the gag, shuffle over to the chair and climb back up.

After the show, I hear myself telling the others "Well that actually wasn't that bad". But as I'm hearing it, I'm thinking "Are you insane?! It was bloody awful!" Thankfully, that's where it all ends. Or perhaps it became so excrutiatingly embarrassing, I've had to blot it out. Either way, it begs the question: Why did I bleach my hair? And why the crazy dreams? I suppose stress that you're not channeling will manifest in one way or another. Some people break things. I have dreams about being broken. Curious that they were both acting dreams, but after a quiet spell, I think that's just me, keen to return to work.

Tonight I hope to dream of a sandy beach, with the gentle sounds of lapping waves. Mmmm....a beautiful beach. A few gulls chatter overhead. It's warm, but the cool breeze makes it perfect. There's a scent of seaweed mixed with coconut. I'm drifting off to sleep within sleep.

And then I hear the wolves...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

If I Should Die...

"...think only this of me; that there's some corner of a foreign field that is forever England." So opens the classic poem The Soldier by Rupert Brooke. Such is how I felt when I lived in South Africa. But returning there for a few weeks over the holidays, I realised that no matter where I am, dead or alive, there will be a part of me that is forever Africa.

I have missed South Africa dearly and really only appreciated how much during my recent trip. She raised me during a politically cruel time, which afforded me great opportunities thanks merely to the colour of my skin. Messed up, absurd and beyond forgiveness, I fortunately managed to grasp some of the complexities of the society in which I was raised as a child. She was beautiful even then and is even more so now, after a decade and a half of democracy.

There are many improvements and the country has grown and flourished. But despite the remarkable transition engineered by an extraordinary man from a prison cell, plans set out and put to test by Nelson Mandela, sadly not all of her people have felt the good fortune that a comparative few have enjoyed in large amounts. It's not a perfect science and while she has been a beacon of hope for the rest of Africa and indeed the world, especially insofar as peaceful transition is concerned, her challenges remain vast and at times, insurmountable. Nevertheless, I believe the vast majority of her people want peace and prosperity for all. With the FIFA World Cup mere months away, she is spotlit once again, as she was during the '95 Rugby World Cup, to show the unifying power of sport.

I miss Africa: the warmth of her people, the big skies, the thunderstorms, the smell of rain on parched earth. When Mandela was elected, there was an incredible anticipation and joy that crossed colour and economic lines. With thousands of people working hard to ensure the 2010 Soccer World Cup goes off without a hitch, I felt that same excitement once more. From corporate SA to the humblest street vendor, there seems a thrill, a spark in the eyes, a new hope for the future.

I wish you well, my friend, my beautiful South Africa. You will always be with me.

Be bold. Be beautiful. Be glorious.

Friday, November 20, 2009

I'm Sorry, Ripley

What can I say? I've been bad. I've ignored you, walked all over you and treated you poorly. You deserve better. You're talented, beautiful and strong. You redefined what women can be, what they can achieve, what they're truly capable of. You showed me that sometimes the best man for the job is a woman. You don't take any prisoners or suffer fools. But if I put my trust and faith in you, you'll lead me to the light at the end of the tunnel. You're tough, passionate, inspired and sensitive. You're deadly, yet caring. If it's a crap day, you're the one person I can count on to pull me out of the abyss.

You are strong enough to fight for both of us, yet gentle enough to cradle. You are Ripley, Dr Slaughter, Dian Fossey, Dana Barrett. And I'm sorry I've treated you like a doormat. At least once a day. If you weren't right at the foot of the stairs on the way to the gym, this wouldn't have happened. I really didn't notice for the first few months. Please forgive me. I'll take more care, now, I promise.

*EDIT: Just noticed the cigarette butt. Does no-one care? LOL.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Soldering, Sounds and Superheroes

After delicately (and successfully) soldering new earphones onto my iPhone earphone cables, I realized that I can actually do something else other than act with some degree of skill. (And even that is open for debate) Buddy James even suggested I could perform the same task for friends. I could call it Pimp My Phones. Or I could call it Nothing At All, as it's never going to happen. Seeing as it took me easily an hour to perform and may have fried countless neurons in extreme concentrated effort, I highly doubt I could do it again. Like climbing Kilimanjaro, it's a one-time thing. And Kili was a walk in the park by comparison. Literally - Kilimanjaro National Park. But I digress. Mountain: easy. Headphones: not so easy.

Speaking of the 405, how wonderful would it be if you could just go bang-bang at drivers who change lanes without signalling or steal the parking bay you've been waiting the past 7 minutes for. (Just to avoid confusion, "bang-bang" is not a sound that emanates from one's mouth.) Oh, and what's the deal with people who drive with one arm out the window? I understand if you have to make a signal because your indicator's not working (how many are these days?), but why hang an entire arm out the window? Flipping the bird can be done quite comfortably within the confines of your standard automobile cabin.

I'll admit, I rest an elbow. I'm an elbow rester. There, I said it. But it's only an elbow, folks. Like a skirt that ends at the knee, I'm not showing the whole thing. I'm leaving something to the imagination. Plus, my hand is actually inside the car (or skirt, if you will), so as to provide immediate assistance should the need arise. What use are 5 limp and dangling digits when there are only milliseconds to respond? Huh? No use at all. Except perhaps to open their own door from the outside, which is just stupid. Arm danglers are just advertising the fact that they can't drive stick. (Or that they can't fit into a pair of jeans, if you're still following my awful analogy) I know that makes no sense whatsoever, but it makes me feel better, so there.

Moving on...

I guess the point of all this is that there will always be things to whinge about. Those arm danglers aren't going anywhere. It's the little things that surprise us, sometimes and bring us pleasure. Like a good cup of tea (even if it's been microwaved 3 times 'cos you forgot to drink it and it went cold). Or soldering something for the first time. And if you don't succeed at first, at least you gave it a good go. We can't all be superheroes all the time. Even Spiderman needs to take off his mask and have a smoke break sometimes...

Sunday, September 6, 2009


We've been going through a heatwave in California and I realize that heat can drive people to do things they wouldn't ordinarily do. Like wander out at midnight because they can't sleep. Cover themselves with fake tattoos. Play the kazoo and enjoy it. The list goes on. I've found myself doing more online shopping. Daft really, considering it keeps me at home in the stale heat of my apartment. There's something very wrong with the fact you can return home late in the day when the heat has finally subsided, only to open your door to an oven. Very wrong.

Even more wrong is the strong probability that my landlord thinks I wear nappies. What could possibly give him that idea? Perhaps it was the large box which arrived yesterday, emblazened with the words DIAPERS.COM. If I did in fact order diapers, I would ensure they arrived in something a little less conspicuous. The actual item was a stand for my laptop. It's a used item, so Daddy56 (or NewMom29) figured he'd just drop it into whatever was handy. "Too big...too small...ooh, wait. Honey, do we still have that big diaper box? You know, the one that says diaper that you can read from like a mile away? We do? Cool."

Now I get to endure endless chuckles and sniggers whenever I enter or leave my apartment. (I should mention that I am sans child and my landlord is fully aware of that) I could explain the real contents of the box. "Oh and by the way, that box? The one with with DIAPER on the side? Funny story, but that actually had something else inside it. No, really. Haha. Alright, then. Have a good day, now."

But what would be the point? Would YOU believe me? Probably not. It's not like I can prove that the stand actually came from the box. Even worse, I distinctly recall being excited when the landlord gave me the package. I thanked him warmly and ran upstairs! No doubt to slip into something more comfortable!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Healthy and Good

I went to help buddy Cliff Simon on a shoot recently and we stopped at a gas station for snacks. Among the usual assortment of chocolates and candy, I spotted this (how could I miss it?). A stand offering bananas. Not just any kind of banana, mind you, but fresh, healthy bananas. It even called them "good". Yum. I like bananas. Offer me a banana: I'll take it. Leave me in a room alone with a banana and lemme tell you - only one of us is coming out alive. You might even call me a banaddict.

Anyway, clearly one of the yellow fellows was well past his prime. And not in a "passed in the night" kind of way. More in the "dead for a week" kind of way. It was black, for crying out loud and bloody conspicuous. How the heck does one miss such a thing? Admittedly the guy behind the checkout was a little slow, as in weed slow. But surely he's not the only person in the store? Did no-one notice the thing? I find that hard to believe. Nay, impossible. I reckon he or one of his stoned San Bernadino cronies did spot the offending fruit and simply ignored it, too lazy to chuck it out. Instead, they left it for an unsuspecting/complaining customer to bring it to the counter for them.

It's not as if Chiquita Bananas are directly responsible for the lies on their stand. (For they become lies once the bananas go rotten) But on some level, they should shoulder the blame. Who actually delivers on their promises? In this case, clearly Chiquita did not. What's worse, of course, is the flood of TV ads promising to cure your headache, back pain, joint pain, sleeplessness, erectile disfunction, give you fewer periods or more hair. All sound wonderous and full of hope, yet the side effects, more often than not, include the very symptoms you're trying to alleviate. Anti-nausea drugs may cause nausea. Headache tablets may cause headaches. Anti-depression medication may lead to suicidal thoughts. How the f%$&* do all these things get approved the FDA (Farcical Drug Administration) if they can cause such hazardous or even lethal side effects?

It's all down to business, of course and the pharmaceutical companies are the biggest business, alongside WMD production. So they can push their products through, grease the right palms and it's business as usual. Maybe in 1980, but in 2009 it's still happening? They're not protecting us, the public. They're protecting the health of their stocks and patents. Every week I see a new TV ad from a law firm declaring a major suit against a drug company. "If you or a loved one became ill or died while taking XXX, call the law offices of..." Has no-one learned from all this? The sicker we are, the more it costs to treat us. That costs the economy in the long run. And the worse off all of us are, as States fall into bankruptcy and disrepair.

But we won't see change as long as drug companies and politicians see only as far as the next quarter. And the worse conditions get, the more they'll push their snake oils. I wouldn't be surprised if we see the emergence of infomercial style drug ads. Pfizer's own Billy Mays, shouting "Limp dick? I've got your card; Viagra's the pill that gets you hard! Call now and we'll even throw in these edible panties. That's a $20 value, absolutely free!"

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Socks in Crocs

Went to the Coldplay concert last night, which was fantastic. We were in the pit, so got a great view of the band. I also got a great view of one of the patrons leaving wearing crocs with socks, which is never a good look. And an excellent view of another gent heaving his guts out 2 feet behind me. Personally, I didn't think the concert was that bad, but I guess people have different tastes.

Speaking of crocs (the chomping kind), you can catch me in killer croc movie Primeval on FX, today at 1pm and 7pm. And I'm in Creepy Gid repeats on CSI:NY on Tuesday at 1pm and 5pm. Without repeats, I'd just be repeating myself, in that I have nothing else to report. Although I did discover a store in Pasadena which sells, amongst other oddities, stone hands, scarab beetles and a stuffed beaver. Quite why you would want one or all of the above is beyond me, but, for the man/woman who has everything, I know a place...

Come to think of it, I have always wanted a stuffed crow. Since I was a kid, I dreamed of owning one. Why stuffed? So it wouldn't fly away, have to be fed or mess on the floor. Perhaps these are commitment issues. Perhaps simply a small window into the mind of a creepy young man who would grow up to play creepy roles on television and film. Perhaps...perhaps.