Friday, September 28, 2012

Would Rather Be In Bed...

I am currently in quarantine, hibernation, isolation... whatever you want to call it.

72 Hours.

I currently feel like crap and generally annoyed at life. I am sure it will pass but for now, I am all about staying as calm as possible.

Not every day is roses and sunshine. Today is partly cloudy with a chance of showers.

 Life is still great...just not so much today. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Becoming An Ex-Smoker: Facing Down My "Mr. Hyde"

I am writing this ONE TIME ONLY blog post confessing that I have been a chain smoking fiend for more than a minute. It has been my crutch, my coping mechanism for stress, and the only means up to this point of keeping the inner demon/rage monster I call "Mr. Hyde" under control.

I am writing only one post about this just to get it out and release it. I know that from prior attempts to quit, when I had a period of success, friends would start to talk about it with me and talk and talk as if they had to share every pent up feeling of relief I finally quit. Well... all that talk usually got me fixated on thinking about a cig and somehow as if in a trance I would crumble. So, when I get over the next 72 hours I will avoid discussion of the subject as much as possible until I am on safer ground.

I started a while back as a response to my first real California earthquake experience. Growing up in Philadelphia, there was no preparation for what the earth shaking beneath your feet does to your psyche. That was my response, Yes it is not everyone's but it definitely was mine. As time passed, it became my crutch for every stressful situation that arose. When my best friend died, it became my reliable companion during that "dark night of my soul".

I have tried to quit many a time but who knew that suppressing one's fears and annoyances can transform them into a rather ugly rage monster? Go figure. I have never been a fan of my inner "Mr. Hyde". Like a werewolf he is ready to bounce and rip to shreds  anyone who sets me off. My usual happy go lucky self disappears or is locked away but it is not pretty for those first 72 hours.

Nevertheless, his reign of terror must come to an end.

I am in such a wonderfully happy place these days. I have made the choice to control where I focus my thinking. I believe your thoughts create your reality. Moments of seeming synchronicity have seemed to validate this belief for me.

As I move to embrace this notion of living in the present moment with a focus on the positive, I have heard the whispers of "Mr. Hyde" from his cage taunting me. He says, "If you actually believe what you say, then why do you need to smoke? If it is such a crutch, let it go. Give up the cigs, open my cage and set me free! I'm sure your positive thinking will keep me in check. Come on. Do it. I DARE you."

I heard those whispers in my head as I drifted to sleep last night. I decided to take the dare. Not 5 seconds after that mental declaration, my body began to twitch and spasm for literally 2 hours. It was like my body was having its own personal earthquake as the doors to Mr. Hyde's cage were bursting open! Sheer exhaustion is the only thing that got me to sleep sometime after 4 a.m.

I woke up this morning feeling completely lousy. I have started drinking green tea. I will probably consume a few gallons over the next week but I need some weapon in the battle I am about to face.

The fact is, I have been in such a fantastic mental state, I need to deal with this demon that has had me chained to a bunch of crumpled tobacco leaves for way too long.

I know once I get through this new "dark night of my soul", I will be able to more fully enjoy this amazing journey I am on.  


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Strolling up "Hollywood & Vine"

Another day to be grateful to be doing what I do. My double audition day was almost an "either/or" proposition as they were scheduled 20 minutes apart in two different parts of town. Luckily, my manager was able to move the indie audition up from 3:20pm  to 12:00 noon.

Around 11:30 this morning, I happily made my way up Hollywood & Vine to "read" for the casting director of the French Indie film directed by an avante garde French director named Quentin Dupieux. I believe he is best known for his film "Rubber"about a serial killing "tire"...YES, I said tire.

I read the script for his new project  last night and loved it! It was funny, surreal and very, very "French". As a major francophile, I love a good French film. "Amelie" is one of my favorites. On my dream list of film projects, is performing in a French film. Ideally, I wanted to perform it in French. however, my level of fluency is years and years away from that being remotely plausible. Booking this job would count nevertheless as performing in a French film. (I leave that to the Universe.)

I will say, the casting director for this film is one of the nicest and most enjoyable people to audition for hands down. She just puts you at ease without even trying, and makes it feel like you are getting together with your favorite "auntie" rather than basically applying for a job.:)

I left that audition needless to say, feeling like a million bucks! I strolled down Vine street, glancing down at the stars on the walk of fame, as I made my way to my car. I made my way to my car only to find myself seemingly pinned between two cars that were not present when I first parked. I ask you when folks park, why do they feel it is "smart" to park with only 3 or 4 inches separating your car from the one in front or behind you? I literally spent 10 minutes inching back and forth in order to slowly extricate myself from this mess. Thankfully, I made it work without touching either car at all. Deciding this situation was not worth getting upset about definitely helped. I wanted to get home eat and prepare for audition number 2. I am noticing these days I am getting better at stopping myself from wasting energy getting angry over the small stuff of life. usually, it was the little things that set my temper off like a rocket. These days, I can't afford to waste the time. Now that is an unexpectedly pleasant development.

As 2:30 approached, I jumped back on my "metal horse" and drove to Culver City for my sitcom audition. This was my first time meeting this casting director so it was a nice treat and a funny little scene. I "nailed it"!  As I left, I noticed I was across the street from The Culver Studios. I wish I had my camera to take a pic. it is always good to meet a new casting director as I increase the pool of potential auditions I can get called in for as I build these professional relationships and leave them with a positive impression of my work.

All in all, a successful and fulfilling day.

Bloody hell! My head is getting a bit "wonky."  I am feeling the "crash" as my mind and body settle down after the day long adrenaline rush:) I need a nap.

As always...Life is great! 


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Keeping This Momentum Going

There is nothing like another double audition day to keep me on my toes!

Yes, sir! Things are looking up!

 Tomorrow I have an audition for a cool indie film in Hollywood followed by a sitcom audition in Culver City.

Learning from last week's "double day" , I know I have to be even more on my game because you never know for certain what the casting folks are looking for. I know they want us to succeed because it will make their job easier. So, no need to waste a thought on nervousness or fear. My thoughts are focused on booking another acting job and building upon the confidence I feel within me.  No time to waste. It's decided.  I am skipping my Tuesday acting group gathering to work my butt off and give my ALL in each audition tomorrow.

It is very encouraging to see that my career is experiencing a bit of momentum. I want to make it count. This is not the time to get complacent. With any luck, I will turn another audition into a booking very soon.

I am becoming a firm believer that you attract into your life that which you focus your thoughts upon. That said, I welcome the "next creative station stop" my life is moving toward, wherever it will be.

A Little "Crazy" Is a Good Thing to Be!

On set with Jennifer Coolidge

I have the strange feeling that I am actually insane. I live so far away from the cul-de-sac I grew up on back in Philadelphia.  I work for hours in my one bedroom apartment to perfect the tiniest bits of dialogue while facing down a mountain of rejection. If I am lucky, I get hired to work for a few glorious days of creative bliss to produce a few minutes of a performance.  Who chooses this way of living?

Yeah... that's a little bit crazy. Who knows? Maybe a little bit of crazy is not a bad thing if it makes you happy.

The funny thing is watching the end result of all my work on "2 Broke Girls" was no momentous occasion compared to the feeling I had actually doing the work to get there. Today, with all my running around, was really not about me at all. Yes, I did the performance as brief as it was, but today was more for my mum, my siblings and even my friends. I was calling everyone I could think of because today was their chance to share in the joy I had. Does that make any sense? If I go on an ego trip for this role, I am not insane, I am certifiable. Yes, my ego remains well intact.

I mean, really. I sat home by myself and watched it and "blink, blink." it was done. 15 minutes later, I headed out the door to help my friend Scott with an audition he has on "Grey's Anatomy." Believe it or not, our working on his audition piece was so enjoyable, I forgot about everything else until I headed home.

On set with Garrett Morris
I got a ton of well wishes from family and friends with text after text of congratulations. I can say without question, I have really great people in my life. I am so grateful to be blessed with family and friends who could get that four or five lines of a funny scene I got to do, while not exactly a leading role, meant something to me. You would have thought I won an academy award! Now that is support.

I decided after my last gig that I would accept well wishes with as much grace as I can and stop downplaying the small stuff because these small parts are invaluable. They are the gifts the Universe are sending to lead me to the next wonderful experience. Each event in my life, is valued and treated with meaning and respect because they are all a part of this life I am creating. I want every moment to matter. Not in an egotistical way but in a grateful living in the present kind of appreciation.

Once again, I am reminded that it is the journey not the destination that matters. It was more fun remembering the experience and the thrill of being in the moment than it was in watching the taped capturing of what we all did on a soundstage a few weeks back.. Don't get me wrong, tonight I felt great. I feel like I had a small career victory. I'm sure many would look at my small part as no biggie - "Much ado about nothing."

However, for a few moments, my mum saw her son doing what he loves. I know my mum is always proud of me. But... she is "my mum"  and there is no one more important to me in the entire world!! I want her to know her little "Yankee Boy" is going to be okay. Each career victory I have, allows her to worry just a little bit less about her youngest child. My successes are a tiny "thank you" to her for all the sacrifices she made coming to America so I could have a better life than she did.

Even my brothers, sister, nieces and nephews can have a small understanding of why I am doing what I do so far away from home. They may think I am a bit crazy, and maybe I am. Yet, they still know I am happier than I have ever been. Each little victory in my life means something because it is something I get to share with them.

Okay... It is late, I am rambling and feeling the adrenaline of the day slowly drifting away. My bed is calling. This station stop in my creative journey is over. Time to head on to whatever lies ahead.

Tonight I sleep content.  In the morning I will awaken, refreshed and ready to enjoy another day.

Life is great. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Breaking News! "2 Broke Girls and the Hidden Stash" is the Season Premiere on CBS at 9pm


 I just found out that my episode of "2 BROKE GIRLS"' is no longer episode 3. It is now the season premiere! 

It airs TONIGHT on CBS at 9pm! 

Check it out if you can! Two blinks and I am gone but I had a blast!

SPREAD THE WORD and if you haven't already, please visit my IMDB page using the link below and "click the FB "Like" button there! It would be a great help!!!!

Life is great!!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

I Got a Feeling...

Maybe I am delirious from drinking instant coffee with a hint of Irish Bristol cream at 2:30 in the morning :)

I feel so good I want to dance around my living room and celebrate. I have no idea what I am celebrating but I have a feeling that good things are happening! No particular reason. Maybe it is wishful thinking. Maybe it is intuition. Whatever it is I am riding the wave of this feeling as long as it lasts!

I am feeling a need for a musical interlude to try to capture the feeling I am having and share it with anyone willing to join me in a spontaneous dance of joy just for the sake of DANCING FOR JOY!!


The EMMYS are Here! Time To Relax and Dream of Future Possibilities!!

Once again, the award season has begun. It's Emmy's Night! I have plans to do nothing of any importance whatsoever. Other than dream of the day when I might be lucky enough to improve my skills as an actor to deliver a performance worthy of awards consideration.

Don't get me wrong, my life will continue happily along if I never receive a Golden Globe, an Emmy, Oscar or Screen Actors Guild Award. However, any actor who says they don't believe in actors competing  or winning awards like these are lying to themselves or others. Well... maybe not lying but... come on!

In a business where you are facing rejection of some sort on a continuous basis, why wouldn't you allow yourself to enjoy the feeling of appreciation for your work that these award ceremonies bring? It is a powerful motivational tool to keep going, to keep improving your craft so if only in your own mind you can measure your growth against the best in your field! Win or lose aspiring for greatness is always good in my book.

Hell, you bloody well can't take any of these things with you when you die so why not enjoy all the station stops on this life's express train!

Wow, I am rambling:) Nevertheless, I am bound and determined to enjoy every opportunity to enjoy myself. haha. May sound strange but it beats lamenting one's life away.

So, today, having marinated some chicken for the first time in my life, Rusty and I have been invited back over to April and Jim's to watch the Emmy telecast, BBQ and relax. Without shame I will watch the red carpet pre-show, and the Emmy's itself, munch on some good grub, and lay the mental foundations in my brain for how much fun I will have when I am strolling the red carpet on the way to my assigned seat, hopefully not in the nosebleed section, awaiting my name to be called!

If you are gonna dream go BIG! Dreams are not meant to be modest and small. What's the point of settling for small in your own imagination?!

Yes. this day, I am giving myself a break from all my schedules, plans, obligations and self-improvement goals as an actor. Today, I am reveling in the wonderful power of dreams!

 Today I am all about enjoying all the opportunities to remember that Life is GREAT and ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE, if you BELIEVE!      

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Taking My Own Sweet Time

Last night, after coming back from an impromptu visit with my friends April and Jim in Glendale, Rusty and I  returned to my heat retaining one bedroom apartment with little desire to do anything but sleep. Something, however, took hold of me at one o'clock in the morning.

I ventured into my beautiful, newly painted bathroom with the impulse to finally install my "IKEA" purchased circular mirror. It has been two weeks, I think, since my IKEA shopping adventure. I've been stretching out my joy.  Last week, I installed the new towel rack and then just sat with it. I am not exactly "Mr. Fix it" so slow and steady has been keeping everything on an enjoyable level.

I began my late night adventure with a bit of a shock. Upon opening the packed mirror I soon discovered it did not come with any screws and little to no instructions! I miraculously found four screws in my junk drawer that worked magic. Actually they were the screws from the old mirror now residing in the back of  my hall closet but why quibble over details? After initially putting in the brackets upside down, I finally got things up and running. Only one problem... I hung it too low.

Instead of getting irritated which has been my usual default state in such situations, I just laughed. A few additional holes later and voila! I had my fabulous new mirror up, at the right height and looking good! My excess holes in the wall were either covered by the mirror or received a quick dab of my remaining Valspar "Morning Marigold" paint which, like magic, rendered my errors in measurement invisible.

Rusty's Inner Thoughts: "What a SCHMUCK!"
Yes, it took me until four in the morning but I felt so proud. Rusty woke up periodically to stare at me, as he often does, as if I am a complete idiot for working like a madman when I could have been sleeping.

What can I say? When I get an idea in my head, I need to act on it immediately. When I hear the call of my Inner Voice, I must act.:)

The bathroom is finally taking shape.

With yet another sudden burst of inspiration, I pulled from my closet a five foot tall wrought iron, three prone candle stand. It was a gift from a friend that I received a long time ago. It is quite beautiful but I never knew what to do with the thing. I dusted it off and now it looks as if it always belonged in my bathroom. I just never noticed.

Afterwards I dug deeper into my over-stuffed closet to find an Aztec mask. Yes... an Aztec mask.  I bought it on my first ever real adult vacation. I went with a female friend to Cancun a few years ago. I saw so many of the breath-taking Aztec Ruins in the area, I naturally wanted to return with something to remember the experience. Like the candle stand, I never found the right place for this beautiful object.  Like divine intervention, it called out to be hung in the space on the wall it now calls home. When I light the candles on my rediscovered candle stand and turn out the lights, it gives the Aztec mask an air of mystery and the bathroom a sense of character.

I'm loving it!

I feel a trailing type plant may be in the room's future but I will marinate on what plant that will be for a while. I sense the right plant will find its way to me.

Ordinarily, one would think I am spending way too much time on this small room when there are so many rooms remaining in what now seems like a tragically bland condition. Yeah, that may be true but there is something immeasurably satisfying in taking my own sweet time. It has the same feeling I have when I am playing around with clay or drawing a picture or reading a book I love.

I am totally understanding the meaning of the phrase "it is not about the destination, it's the journey that matters."          

Friday, September 21, 2012

Master Your Auditions - Wisdom from Director, Writer, Teacher - Bob McAndrew

Okay. You can tell I have been browsing the NY Casting website. I spotted another article by Kelly Calabrese on mastering your audition. Here she interviews Director, Writer, Teacher Bob McAndrew who has insights I want to experiment with to improve my auditioning skills as much as I can.

Master Your Auditions - Wisdom from Director, Writer, Teacher - Bob McAndrew

I am definitely going to tune into Kelly Calabrese's blog. So far she has been very helpful in supplying me with resources and information I need to assist in my creative redevelopment and artistic growth.:) 

Coming across Ms. Calabrese's writings is another reminder when you focus your thoughts on something, you attract what you need.

Life is great!!


Character Transformation Tips

I am posting this article because, while I haven't read it fully yet, I want to have easy access to refer back to it as it discusses tips for actors on character transformation.

The link below is to an article by Kelly Calabrese who talks with actors and directors from two films showing at the Tribeca Film festival for insights into their creative process.

Character Transformation Tips

I will use any avenue available to find new tricks/techniques to improve my craft. Hope this one has some juicy insights I can play with. If not it will still be adding to my continual creative education.

Kelly Calabrese is also a blogger. I plan on adding her to my list of blogs I love to visit. She has a lot of interesting posts I want to devour!

Time Management for Actors (and Other Busy People!)Ten Top Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Day. by Victoria Larimore

My auditions are picking up. This is fantastic news! I am loving every minute.

I am realizing, however, that time is becoming a valuable commodity which I can no longer afford to waste as I have in the past. I am knee deep in new territory, executing my plans to change my eating habits, exercise more intensely, improve my skills and explore more acting techniques. Having to drop everything when an audition comes along, means I need to lock in a consistent schedule of everything so that I make the most of my week and won't feel guilt when I rest.

Guilt is a waste of energy.

The fact is I have been one of those people who buys an appointment book and never uses it. I am sure there is a scheduling strategy that may work for me so I will have to do a little research.

I did find this article by Victoria Larimore that may provide some useful tips for any busy person with time management issues. 

Click on the link below.  

Time Management for Actors (and Other Busy People!)Ten Top Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Day. by Victoria Larimore

I am especially fond of tip #8 Go on a "Timewaster Diet". :)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

"What's For You, Is For You..."

I think I am hours away from a total system crash. I am so sleepy I can taste it!

A busy day for sure. I enjoyed today's adventure, putting two more good auditions under my belt. I worked my butt off last night and this morning trying to perfect performances for two completely different characters.  It was a definite brain drainer.

I rehearsed with an actor friend which proved to be invaluable. No matter how much training you have, acting doesn't take place in a bubble so preparation for an audition can't either. There is just so far you can take a piece on your own. Having another pair of eyes gives you feedback you may never have considered. My friend Scott was amazing! He gave me a point of view that sparked my imagination and helped me to refine and improve acting choices. I finished exhausted last night but confident.  I left him to go home and allow my preparation to, like a fine wine, ferment and breathe in my imagination/emotional body.

I woke this morning feeling as prepared as possible.

With every audition, I am continuing to learn and grow. You have to work like crazy so you can hopefully create a little bit of magic that captures the eye of the casting, producers, or director so they are willing to take a chance on you. I think the biggest challenge is to enjoy the audition for what it is and let go of the desire to "Book it". I did my best. The rest is out of my hands. It's the "out of my hands" part that is slowly becoming easier to accept.

My mum always says, "Don't worry. What is for you is for you."

Ahhh... The great unknown.
I welcome whatever roles are for me,  to come to me...
sooner rather than later.:)  

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Staying Focused, Making The Most of Opportunities

I have to say, as I have gotten more focused, more opportunities are presenting themselves. Starting this blog has been very helpful in keeping me thinking about what is most important.

I am happy to say I have another double audition day tomorrow. Both are relatively close to each other so, cross city travel is not an issue. The challenge for tomorrow is putting in the work tonight on both roles and being disciplined enough tomorrow to not allow one role to bleed into the other. The funny thing is the roles are polar opposites in almost every way. One a cop and husband in a dramatic film and the other a bitchy dog pageant "papa" not above blackmail in a television comedy.  I am blessed and grateful.

It is all an exciting adventure. Opportunities are opening up now that remind me you bring into your life that which you focus your thoughts on. I look forward to getting myself back on another set very, very soon. I trust things are falling into place to take my dreams and my career further down the road of happiness.

Time to get back to my rehearsing.:)   

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Days of the "Friendship Martyr" Are Over

If anyone thinks I am some "ra ra" dreamer whose life is all roses and sunshine, I assure you I am not.

One challenge I have been addressing in my life these days is putting myself and my path first. Sometimes friends can disappoint you. Some people can be supportive and some can be toxic. I realized that if someone enjoys making you feel stupid or inferior, that is not something you need to internalize. That is in all cases their issue that they are basically "throwing up" onto you. Folks can be hurtful with their words and their careless disregard for your feelings. Nevertheless the only power you have is in your response to these people and situations.

A friend triggered some issues with me. It stayed in my head for the entire weekend- mainly because I realized that this guy enjoys being a jerk to people. I have always been aware of this fact. I didn't acknowledge how much over time it has been poisoning my spirit. I wasted so much time over the weekend going over and over in my brain the humiliation he "unknowingly" vomited into my evening. I mentally obsessed over this incident like a tape I could not stop. It is only today that I truly accepted that this was the greatest gift I could have been given.

I learned that I can choose to waste days of my life stewing over hurt feelings and assigning blame or I can realize that the actions of others have no power to affect me unless I let it. This is not an easy thing to do but it is necessary. If someone chooses to inflict their unhappiness onto you, recognize it is their unhappiness not yours. You teach people how to treat you and people tell you who they are through their actions not their words. Recognize what "they are telling you" and what "you are teaching them" or you are setting yourself up for drama.

I have spent a lot of time putting up with crap from folks I call friends. For my part I take responsibility because, I am no victim. My days of being the "friendship martyr" are officially over. I have cleansed myself of a few "dysfunctional" friendships that turned toxic this year. In times past this would have been unthinkable, not anymore. Something seems to be finally waking up within me. I now understand that simply because someone says "I am sorry" it means nothing if their actions show it was just talk. My challenge is to keep all this junk in perspective.

When friends get "toxic" it is okay to step back and de-tox. I must always be the guardian of my own psyche. My journey has its own share of challenges. I intend to minimize the "dysfunctional" crap that may fly my way, figure out what lesson I am attracting, then getting myself back on track.


Monday, September 17, 2012

Hoping "Nina Simone" Is In My Future!

Life is a mysterious adventure. A few days ago, I mentioned how I was so happy I heard the Nina Simone song "Feeling Good" playing in my head as I walked to my car. Well, it is weird but I just got an audition to play the role of Nina Simone's husband in a film about her.

Wow, that is cool. I know that I drew this audition into my life. It would be great if I drew the actual job into my life as well! Who knows what the future may bring?  It would be beyond fantastic to book this job!

Send positive vibes my way!!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Brene Brown's "Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead"

While preparing for yesterday's audition, I decided to tape an episode of Katie Couric's new talk show just to see what she was all about. I happened to tape a show that seemed to really speak to my way of thinking. A behavioral researcher named Dr. Brene Brown wrote a book called "Daring Greatly" that addressed the idea of how when we face the difficult task of embracing what makes us vulnerable, we end up living braver lives and as a result more fulfilling joyful lives.

She apparently has made some popular on-line clips that empower folks to live more joyful lives. I think I am going to investigate her and her ideas more. It is a philosophy that can not only help me grow as an artist but as a person as well. This book is definitely going on my 2012 reading list!

You have to watch this clip below from YouTube posted by TEDtalks! I think you might find it fun and inspiring without all the "woo woo"!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

An Audition At Paramount Studios Has Me "Feeling Good"...

I love acting! Yes, it has its ups and downs, but with every audition I am once more reminded that I am so lucky to be pursuing my dreams. So when I have a GREAT audition, the feeling is pure ELATION!

This time around, I auditioned for the same casting director for the same show that I auditioned for the last two times at 20th Century Fox. I clearly made a positive impression. For whatever reasons, this audition was held in her casting office on the Paramount Studios lot. I was actually happy with this change because I live so much closer to Paramount Studios in Hollywood than to 20th Century Fox Studios in West Los Angeles. I literally saved myself a half hour to forty-five minutes driving time during rush hour.:)

I walked into the audition and just did my thing! I got laughs and such favorable feedback that I know I am developing my reputation with casting in a positive direction. I did my best so no regrets.

As I left, I decided to walk across the lot, take in the scenery and leave from a different gate. I had a pep in my step and almost like my own mental music video, I strutted to my car with the sounds of Nina Simone's "Feeling Good" playing in my head as if my brain had its own i-pod.

Yes, I have a vivid imagination. It keeps me going and continues to remind me that "Life is Great"!  

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Slow and Steady...

I know I am in the early stages of my fitness overhaul  but, man! I am ready to move to the "exercise is invigorating" phase. Every ounce of my body is sore, tight, and completely exhausted. I want to sleep the rest of the week away. While that may be enjoyable, I doubt it is practical. Hey, I can still dream!

Using my Iron Gym Upper Body Workout Bar is humbling but slow and steady will bring the results I want and need.:)

Getting healthy and in great shape is not as easy as flipping a switch but it is a good investment.   

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Tribute in Lights at World Trade Center

Both haunting and beautiful. An incredibly powerful tribute.

Photo by Getty Images

Remembering 9/11

"Nightfall on the 9/11 Memorial at WTC"   Photo by Joe Woolhead
9/11... This is a day none of us who were alive at the time can or will ever forget.

So much tragedy.
So much loss.
So many tears.

Since that day, each anniversary is a reminder of how quickly life can change; how connected we all really are to one another; how united we can be; how precious life is and how blessed we are to have our family and friends.

I remember on that day, when I heard the news of the first tower being struck, I froze in shock standing alone in my small living room. Later, I heard that a plane hit the Pentagon. My oldest brother, Michael, works there. Without thinking, I fell to my knees. Tears fell down my cheeks. I could not think.  The phone lines were jammed. Waiting was hell. I however, was lucky. My "hell" ended. My brother was alive. One hallway separated him from losing his life.
Pentagon 9/11 Memorial - Night

Each 9/11 I give thanks for my brother making it out safe, and the safety of my entire family. I also pray for a sense of peace to fill the lives of the loved ones of those we lost that day.

Life is precious.

Change happens in an instant.

If I remember anything today, it is this. Appreciate your life and those you are blessed to share this unending adventure with along the way.  

         Flight 93 Memorial - "Wall of Names and Ceremonial Gateway the Crash Site."                               
Photo by bioLINIA & Paul Murdoch Architects

Monday, September 10, 2012

Bye, Bye "Bessie": Donating My Old BMW Convertible To KCET

Despite my feeling of exhaustion today, I was able to muster enough strength for one act of productivity. I made the call to donate my old car "Bessie B" to KCET, an independent local public television station.
They have provided me with years of great programming so this donation is the least I could do.:)

Making this move, however, does not come without a moment's pause. "Bessie B" is my 1991 BMW Convertable who has taken me around LA with pride since 2005. Back then, the car I was driving at the time suddenly died. I was planning to figure out how to get around sans car when a close friend of mine GAVE me the old BMW he had sitting in his driveway, covered up. It was not in great shape, the interior was falling apart, the glove compartment was sealed shut (no idea why), and it needed the skills of a good mechanic. But did I mention it was a FREE  BMW CONVERTIBLE??!! That was truly one of the greatest gifts I have ever received.

So, I named her "Bessie B". Shortly after ownership, I was driving her when every single belt that comes in a car engine broke all at the same time. Driven by sheer determination, I was able to drive "Bessie B" to my new neighborhood mechanic. Several thousand dollars later, he nursed her back to health. He said the engine is great, but she is very old. As long as I accepted I would be replacing parts periodically over time, she would keep running. He was right. She hung in for me a good 7 years. However, the cost of keeping her in a state she deserved to be kept in was more than it was worth.

This July, I retired "Bessie B". Another friend's sudden decision to move to Spain provided me with a surprise opportunity to purchase a much more reliable and "air conditioned" car at a low price.  I wanted to keep "Bessie B" so I could one day restore the interior and all that ailed her but that was just not realistic.

The only option is making the donation to KCET. I just cleared out her trunk for the last time...(deep sigh)  She will be taken from me within the next 5 days when they come to tow her into her new future. At least she will provide a public service and get the restoration she deserves from her new owner.

Thanks "Bessie B":) You will be missed but remain forever in my heart.

I wish you well wherever you go!  

Adding "Rest" To The Agenda

I don't know what it is with today. Perhaps my active weekend, the current LA heatwave, or my diet and exercise regimes are just shaking things up. Whatever it is, I just want to sleep.

Taking Rusty for his walks so far today felt like crossing the Sahara, but we only covered a few blocks.

Whatever is the cause, it is a reminder that I still need to stay with the slow and steady approach . Scheduling in time for rest might not be a bad idea.

I haven't been a fan of napping but today, I may make an exception.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall...

Yes, I kept my word. After slapping on a second coat of "Morning Marigold", I took Rusty for his morning walk, then made my way through the unending LA heat wave to the wonderfully air conditioned IKEA in Burbank. That place is a world of its own. Maybe it was an escape from the heat but the store was bustling with shoppers. There is so much to choose from you really need to go in with a plan or you will just "buy! buy! buy!"

I always wanted a circular mirror, not as ornate as in the picture, but you know what I mean.. There is just something cool about the look. Maybe I was just sick of the large square mirror that came with my apartment. All I know is, I saw that big circle of glass and I was in love. No matter how you slice it, my bathroom has transformed from it's former aging eggshell white to a ray of sunshine brightening a small part of my abode. The room truly glows like the sun gave it a kiss and is quite beautidul when the light cascades through my tiny window. I also found a styling towel rack that is an upgrade as well from the standard issue it is replacing. IKEA always delivers.

Feeling happy with my domestic discoveries, I found myself stopping by Big 5 Sporting Goods to invest in my continuing workout regime. I purchased the Iron Gym Total Upper Body workout bar. My chest definitely needs some serious attention. I have wanted a rocking chest all my life. I never quite made it happen. If not now when? I'm making it a priority. I also picked up for the low low price of $9.99, a complete10 set of dvds called "Yom Holland's Supreme 90 Day System". I have never heard of it, although it says as seen on TV. It mentions it features "muscle confusion" and includes a bonus dvd called Supreme Rock Hard ABS as well as nutrition plan.  Translation... it is a cheaper version of the P90X workout. Hey for $9.99, it is worth giving it a go. It doesn't hurt to have options.

I rounded off my day with an enjoyable chat with my mum in Philadelphia.

It seems almost fitting after today's Mirror adventure that I should wrap up the evening with the "Once Upon A Time" Marathon.

All in all a full day.

I will leave you with a little tribute to the power of a good mirror. If my mirror starts to talk to me I will be sure to let you all know:) 

My Dietary Re-Education Continues...

In my new journey of dietary re-education, I found a great website called Eating Healthy Hub. They have a lot of very informative articles that I know will be a valuable resource for me to make the life changes I need.

I came across a featured video that was quite good and so I thought I would add it to my blog so I can refer back to it. If I incorporate things slowly, I know I will see sustainable progress.

Life's a marathon not a sprint. It is a new mindset for me to make small changes in a slow, thoughtful manner. My prior "modus operandi"  has been to have an insight, start out with big plans and eventually discover days later that I had already abandoned those "big plans" without even realizing it.

Slow and steady... Slow and Steady.... I think the key is staying in the present moment and keeping things as fun and adventurous as possible.


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Making an Apartment a Home: One Color at a Time!

I have lived in my apartment for a long, long time. The egg shell white walls have been showing signs of age. It reminded me of my chat with a close friend last night, about the need to not get so wrapped up in  pursuing one's career goals that you forget to actually enjoy the rest of your life.

When I woke up this morning, I took a good look at my living space. I quickly realized it reflected my years of living like a "starving artist". If I am really going to make my transition to a mindset/worldview of  a "professional actor", my apartment needs to look less like a "hostel" and more like a "home".

After walking Rusty, I washed my car and decided I would start the "home" transformation with my bathroom. It is a small space and will inspire rather than overwhelm me at these early days of change.

I headed to my local Lowe's to look at paint colors. Surprisingly, I ran into a dressed down and radiantly pregnant Heather Tom, who also seemed to be perusing the painting aisle. I did not approach her as a fan. I feel if you are a celebrity living your daily life, you deserve your privacy and sense of normalcy just like everyone else. I saw running into a successful professional actress in the paint section, nevertheless, as a sign I was on track with my mindset transition.:) I, however, am so clueless about the whole home decor thing, I asked Ms. Tom for advice. She said it is all a matter of personal taste. I told her all of my apartment walls are white and she said I definitely need some color. She thought the color options I was considering looked great. I thanked her for her help and moved on my merry way. I know it may seem silly but it feels nice to move forward with life choices and sense the "Universe" guiding your way with fun and laughter.

I left Lowe's to consider what color "spoke" to me. I eventually found my way to the "Do It Center" in Burbank where I picked up my first paint brush supply kit. As for color, I settled on the Valspar brand paint called "Morning Marigold". As I returned home, the real work began.

I cleaned the walls and counter tops then marveled at how my small little bathroom suddenly had a bit of character by simply adding a little color! I removed the towel rack and bathroom mirror, inspired to give the room a completely new look.

Tomorrow, I will hit my local IKEA. I have a feeling I may find something interesting to give the space the "homey" feel I desire.  

I thoroughly enjoyed my day long adventure in "home transformation". Can't wait for what tomorrow will bring.

Life is not only great... it's getting more colorful!


Friday, September 7, 2012

Watching "V For Vendetta" On DVD Again!

Over the last two weeks, I watched a bit of both the Republicans' and Democrats' political conventions in the race for the American Presidency. I must admit I am more than a little concerned about the choices we Americans will be making as to the direction our future will take. I am not fond of politics by any means but as a good citizen, I feel it is my duty to always vote and stay informed so I make the best vote possible based on my beliefs.

We are living in interesting times. Do we stay the course or turn back? I generally respect everyone's right to their own opinion, whether I agree with it or not. I think we should stay the course. Personally, I like President Obama, what he stands for, and the direction he is moving us toward; even if it feels like the journey is taking the long road to reach sunnier days.

The optimist in me remains hopeful. 

All this political "speech-a-fying" over the last few weeks, along with writing my prior post has me yearning for another look at one of my all time favorite films. "V for Vendetta" - a MUST SEE!  It is in my humble opinion, a cinematic masterpiece. It may make you feel uncomfortable but it also makes you think. Take a look at the trailer below and you will see it is a visually captivating as well!

Check it out!! I know you are gonna LOVE IT!!


Credit Unions vs Big Banks: Remember, Remember The Fifth Of November...

" Remember, remember! 
The fifth of November,  
The Gunpowder treason and plot;  
I know of no reason 
Why the Gunpowder treason 
Should ever be forgot!"

V For Vendetta is one of my favorite films. I even dressed up as "V" for Halloween once.:) It is little surprise that last year, with all of the outrage over the big banks raising fees and minimum balances, yours truly would feel inspired to join those, who on the 5th of November 2011, removed their money from big banks to, in my case, my credit union.

The fact is, I am a very loyal guy. For years I was with Washington Mutual, one of the few larger banks who had a focus on the individual customer as opposed to the commercial account holders. Alas, with the housing crisis, they went under. They soon became Chase. I stayed for a bit then out went free checking and in came the rise of their minimum balance requirement, I switched to Wells Fargo. They were fine until they like Bank of America were quietly raising their fees for simply holding my money. I was fed up. Along came this grassroots uprising on November 5, 2011 and I knew I had to be a part of it.

I was nervous because I didn't know if I could put my money where my mouth was, so to speak. The convenience factor of bank ATMs everywhere you look versus that of my credit union, gave me pause. However, it turned out to be the best decision I ever made for my financial and professional well-being. I signed up for accounts at the AFTRA-SAG Federal Credit Union and have not looked back since. This adventure in "grassroots activism" forced me to get more focused about my finances. I do not take out money as carelessly as I have in the past. Luckily I live near a branch office. Isn't it funny how you don't notice what is right in front of you, until you need to see it?  The added plus is that every time I go to the credit union to make a deposit, I am reminded that all the other customers are in the same industry as well. It keeps me in this place of feeling proud to be a working actor. I am a part of a community when I go there. Yes, it may be silly. However, I went there this morning to deposit some residual checks I received etc. It gave me the opportunity to appreciate every little success I am making in my profession, including the unexpected residual.

It is always important, especially with my finances, to stay focused on the blessings that flow. Otherwise, you not only miss an opportunity to be grateful, you waste time stressing about money which never ever leads to productive decision-making.

I may seem nuts but, even a trip to the credit union can remind me that...

Life is great!

(If you were ever curious as I was what the actual "The Fifth of November" poem says, I included it below for your amusement, as well as the fantastic clip of from V for Vendetta!!).      

    English Folk Verse (c.1870)
    The Fifth of November

    Remember, remember!
    The fifth of November,
    The Gunpowder treason and plot;
    I know of no reason
    Why the Gunpowder treason
    Should ever be forgot!
    Guy Fawkes and his companions
    Did the scheme contrive,
    To blow the King and Parliament
    All up alive.
    Threescore barrels, laid below,
    To prove old England's overthrow.
    But, by God's providence, him they catch,
    With a dark lantern, lighting a match!
    A stick and a stake
    For King James's sake!
    If you won't give me one,
    I'll take two,
    The better for me,
    And the worse for you.
    A rope, a rope, to hang the Pope,
    A penn'orth of cheese to choke him,
    A pint of beer to wash it down,
    And a jolly good fire to burn him.
    Holloa, boys! holloa, boys! make the bells ring!
    Holloa, boys! holloa boys! God save the King!
    Hip, hip, hooor-r-r-ray!


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Walking The 2012 AIDSWalk Los Angeles

It is that time of year again. I am participating in the annual AIDSWalk Los Angeles 10K fundraiser/walk. I have been doing this walk almost every year for a decade after losing a few good friends to this disease. Walking and doing what I can to raise money or simply awareness is a small way to remember my friends and help those still dealing with it.

Aside from the good cause, I actually enjoy the walk. Thousands of people participate. Students from almost every high school in Los Angeles have a team of their own and make up the majority of volunteers who cheer and tjamk us all along the route. There are also teams formed by large and small companies throughout the city and county who all combined create a powerful vibe of positivity.

Aside from hanging with friends who like walking and being outdoors, it is a great workout!

This year I will be walking with friends from my old 9 to 5 who formed a team. I thought about joining the SAG-AFTRA team but... I started that team years ago and I am a loyal guy. As I am focused on increasing my exercise regime, this is a fun way to get my fitness on while helping a good cause.

Since it is a fundraiser, if anyone wants to make a contribution, feel free to click on my link below.

If not, you might want to consider joining a walk in your area. You are guaranteed to have fun!       

Kissing High Fructose Corn Syrup Good-bye...

As I was posting a picture I took of Ajay Mehta and myself up to my IMDB page, I was a bit stunned to see once again that the image I have of myself, lodged deep in my brain, is not a match with my reality. 

I have begun my exercise routine, feeling both exhausted and energized depending on the time of day. I feel the progress on that front. However, I noticed as I stared at my photo in shock, I was sipping on a cold and refreshing can of Arizona Rx Energy herbal tonic. I tried to pretend it was a healthy drink- then I actually read the label. The second ingredient is HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP. I have been drinking that sucker for a few months now!! It is by far my favorite beverage but I am filing for a "divorce". Now I must say good bye to that, to snickers bars and to any food I find that HFCS devil. It will be enough of a challenge getting back into competitive shape without a daily dose of weight loss sabotage. 

I immediately took a walk to a local grocery and picked up some fruits and veggies in their natural states. I may need to empty out my fridge and after a good long talk with myself, dump out the crappy "fake" food products to truly free myself of those saboteurs to my future "six pack"!