Wednesday, December 25, 2013

It's A Wonderful Life

Of all the holiday traditions, watching "It's a Wonderful Life" is my favorite. No matter how many times I see it, I end up blubbering like a complete idiot. It touches something in me. It makes me reflect on my own life, and it reminds me, as cheesy as it sounds, what is truly important.

"Remember, no man is a failure who has friends." - Clarence, Angel 2nd Class


I needed a little music to keep the holiday spirit going for me and Rusty while we are across the country from the family for Christmas. So of course I had to listen to this clip of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" from Sister Act 2. It always makes me smile, sing and jump to my feet!

I also had to add a little holiday cheer with this Christmas song from "Best Man Holiday".

Now while I'm not a big Chris Brown fan, I have to admit I enjoy this song from the movie "This Christmas"....

Okay...this last one is not a Christmas song but it makes me want to jump up and DANCE!!!

Yes.. I came back and added one more. I just watched the movie "Joyful Noise" and I found myself up and dancing with Rusty to this medley so I had to include it here!

Here's a little holiday humor to make you laugh out loud!


Happy Holidays to ALL!
Not Rusty but looks like him:)

Life has been pretty good. I have been offline for a bit but happy to say I have found in these last few months my career has been keeping me busy. I've booked a few acting jobs and have begun to take my health much more seriously.

The funny thing is, seeing myself on television forced myself to see myself as others see me rather than how I imagined I looked. Wow! I dusted off my LA Fitness membership card and made friends with a certain treadmill to get the blood flowing and the fat melting.

I am finding a little time everyday to be good to myself by exercising and incorporating meditation into my day. Where this road will lead, who knows but it feels good to feel good!

It is a strangely warm and sunny Christmas day here in Los Angeles.  My dog Rusty and I plan on taking a long walk to soak in the sun, burn a few calories and enjoy the benefits of living in Southern California.  


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Laughter is the Best Medicine!!

They say laughter is the best medicine.

This clip from the "Ellen" show had me on the floor in tears laughing!


Monday, October 21, 2013

Appearing on CW's "Hart of Dixie" November 11th!

Well, folks out there in the ether... I am happy to report I just got word my karaoke singing debut as "Ned"on the CW's "Hart of Dixie" is scheduled to air on Monday, November 11, 2013.

Yes, it may be a small role but I had a blast!  I have faith this will lead to more opportunities to keep my dreams alive as an actor.

The season just started. It's a great show it! Check it out if you can.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Veteran Character Actor Ed Lauter Passes...

Veteran character actor Ed Lauter passed away at the age of 74 of cancer.

Character actors are those amazing performing artists who we all seem to know by face but often not by name. They scare us, make us laugh, cry or simply bring joy to our lives by giving performances we love, doing their part to make the shows we love... the shows we love.

Not everyone can be the "star" of the show, it takes a team in front and behind the camera to get it done. From "Mannix" to "True Romance" to "Leaving Las Vegas" to "Shameless" to "Trouble With the Curve", this actor's resume chronicles an impressive expanse of film and television history. 

Clearly Mr. Lauter was a team player.

He will be missed. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Another Positive Step Forward For My Acting Career

October starts with a bang!

Last week I got great news from my manager. A show I worked on has decided to bring me back in a new episode! Maybe I'm superstitious, but I am not gonna get into specifics as I don't know much. Many production companies are wary of actors giving out spoilers so I would rather be safe. They are bringing me back and that is the important thing.

What this grows into is unknown. So, my goal is to simply be myself, be kind to everyone as is my nature, and make the most of this opportunity by coming in with as fully developed a character as possible. Hopefully, my efforts and positive attitude will inspire the writers and producers to want to develop my character further.

I had my wardrobe fitting this morning. Tomorrow, I am back on set! Yay!!

I feel like a kid again when everything seemed possible and you were as limitless as your IMAGINATION could conceive.

Whatever the future holds, I am GRATEFUL
and living in the joy of the moment. The future will take care of itself! 

Monday, September 30, 2013

Taking a More "Practical" Approach to My Spiritual Journey

This month, I have found myself in a variety of random conversations that centered in one way or another around religion, spirituality or folks' belief systems- religious or otherwise. As is my mindset, these events led me to question my own spirituality. I will be honest and acknowledge, I have not found any sense of connection with any particular religion but draw on what resonates for me from whatever religious texts "speak" to me. Hence, I see myself as a spiritual person.

A few years ago, I discovered a book called "Science of Mind" which in many, many ways interprets a spiritual viewpoint in sync with my beliefs. I decided, while I have read the book many times, I was not clear on if I was living it in my life or just fooling myself with my own spiritual self-delusion. I looked at the state of my life: love, career, personal adventures and found it wanting in all areas. I started asking what is the point of being "spiritual" if its impact on my life is just blah. I decided to become a seeker of "practical spirituality". By this I mean a sense of spiritual connectedness that leads to some practical, visible, verifiable positive results. My first step has been to delve deeper into Ernest Holmes' teachings which held the most promise for me and see if I could learn more.

Naturally, I went on-line and discovered a site called the Global Truth Network. They offer an approach to living the teachings of "Science of Mind" in your daily life. I figured, not a bad place to start exploring. I located a center in Los Angeles and to my surprise there is one in the NoHo Arts District which is only a few blocks from my apartment.  Isn't it funny how there are so many things going on around us of which we are completely clueless until the moment we are not?

So, having discovered the location, I looked at the local center's website, found the time of their Sunday Service and started my journey.  It felt a bit like one of those moments where you say, there is no such thing as "coincidence".  Part of their mission is enlightenment through entertainment. Sounds like a good sign for an actor, haha!  I think I may have found a new place to feed me on my spiritual journey that encompasses all sides of Who I am. I have always seen myself as a loner, not a "group-oriented" guy. This will be interesting. The Sunday service is held on a theater stage so I am definitely going to be testing my assumptions about spirituality as they bump up against all my assumptions of religious ettiquette programmed into my head from childhood.

I look forward to seeing where this road leads and what unexpected joys lie in the moment ahead.

I found this clip from the Rev. James Mellon, one of the Global Network co-founders which resonated with my thoughts today so I felt the impulse to share.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Getting A Little More Conscious Of What I Am "Taking In"

After my last post, I found myself repeatedly listening to this song which I have dubbed my current "Soundtrack of My Life" .

Aside from reflecting my peaceful state of mind, it strangely is reinforcing it. One thing I know about myself is that music is a powerful emotional influence. It immediately occurred to me that I might start more consciously using this ingrained habit to my benefit. Being more conscious of the songs I listen to may well help shape my state of mind and in turn my thoughts and actions.

It may be a bit tricky finding some good songs with positive uplifting lyrics in contrast to my usual attraction to R&B songs of "pain and surviving" like "Listen" (below) but it may be a good experiment to actually do and not just talk about doing.

Both of these songs create a strong emotional feeling but one is definitely more shall we say "confrontational" as opposed to "tranquilly uplifting." Both are good but I suppose it is a matter of what frame of mind do I want to reverberate in my subconscious.

I have my share of "bad habits". I  can't hurt to turn at least this habit into a more productive one.

We shall see!

"Resistance is Futile"

Can you tell I am a "Star Trek" Nerd from the title of this post? Haha. No. I am not talking about the "Borg" but an enemy far worse- my deeply rooted, carefully hidden, anger. Who'da thunk Mr. Happy was actually a "simmering pot of bottled up rage"?     

The biggest challenge I have been addressing over the last few weeks is getting real with my thoughts and their impact on my experience.

The subject arose in a discussion post on Blog Catologue about what brings meaning to your life. That discussion had me voicing my views freely and honestly.

Since then, I have been asking myself how am I doing with living my Life. Am I actually living it according to how I think I am or am I perhaps fooling even myself?

As days passed, I found myself surfing the web and came across a video in which a gentleman was speaking about this subject. He said folks are often dissatisfied with their current living situation and complain that my life is not going as I want it. He pointed out that it is impossible for your life to be anything other than what you have thought it into being. You made choice after choice that led you smack dab into your current life experience. He suggested if your life is not as you would like it to be, look at the choices you made that led you there. Look even further at the thoughts you allowed your mind to entertain that led you to the choices which then led to the experience. Simply put, align your thinking to the life you want.

Wow, That kinda makes a lot of sense. As I allowed myself to be conscious of if this was true in my own life, I found something surprising. I was buying into my own "bull". Underneath so many of my statements of positive expectation, there were one or two lurking thoughts that were quite self-defeating. I gradually saw as I tried to let those thoughts go, I resisted looking at where they were coming from. I just wanted the thoughts to stop.

As if taking on a life of their own, they grew and grew until I was pissed off! I was stuck, dwelling in anger at how I felt about how others treat me or how, I'm feeling trapped putting others' interests above mine. In the quiet of my apartment, with just Rusty and I around, my mind took me into mental arguments with folks in my life who were not anywhere around me but they sure felt like they were! 

I tried meditating and they pushed their way in. I took a shower, they invaded that space too!    

I picked up my copy of "Conversations with God" to get a little clarity or at least a moment of distraction. I cam across the line:

"What you resist, persists."

When you stop resisting, you stop giving your power away to that person, condition, or situation. My giving up "avoiding" and simply looking at why I was choosing to think/feel this way, was a bit of a revelation. I was afraid to make waves because I was lacking the confidence to simply say, "No." The anger allowed me to distract myself and shift blame. It was no longer my responsibility, I was being "forced" to do this or agree to that. When I looked right at my anger that seemed so out of control, I thought, "Wow". What a waste of time. 

How many times do we all agree to do something we don't want to do and instead of simply and politely declining, we "suffer" in silence, while mentally we are painting a picture of us as the " unappreciated hero"?

Forgive me if this is all mindless babble to whomever, may be reading. I am choosing to document this for later, when I find myself possibly having a "slip" into unending mental angry ranting, I want to re-read this post. Who knows how much time I will safe in the future.  Next time, I just have to remember that I wrote this post. Hopefully there won't be a next time but. I am a realist. :)

I have been learning alot about myself these days. Ingrained habits of negative thinking are just like weeds. If you aren't vigilant, they can take over what was once, and can be again, a beautiful garden.

Clearing out these pockets of anger, I know will make room for some positive transformation.

Life really is great when you think it is!!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Pet Parent Challenge: Fighting Rusty's Tartar Build up

Last weekend, when I was hanging out playing cards with my friends April and Jim, April looked at Rusty's teeth and as tactfully as possible told me they were getting a bit brown. Her sister's dog had some dental issues that deteriorated into a full blown problem and the dog is now walking around with some serious smelly breath. She gave some good advice. however, as she mentioned the potential expense neglecting Rusty's dental health could come my way, I decided to take action.

As, I am working a budget right now, my main focus is to see what at home steps I can take to get Rusty's teeth glistening white and healthy. Visiting the vet is the last step in this process until I exhaust all other options.  Still in my newbie stage as a pet parent, I am not willing to risk getting sucked into unnecessary treatment by a vet that could be handled beforehand naturally. Worse case scenario, there is an animal clinic a few blocks away but we went there only once for his shots last year.. I wouldn't say I have developed a relationship with the vets there but they seem caring.

In the meantime, my internet research has begun. April recommended dental sticks for Rusty called "Twisters" that are available at Petco. Of  course I dragged my butt over to my nearby Petco and they were not in stock at the moment.  I settled for two packs of Dingo's dental sticks which, as we speak Rusty is munching on at my feet.

Am I the only one overwhelmed by the numerous and costly array of pet products? I have an education ahead of me trying to learn what is best for Rusty. Simply feeding a quality dog food and a few good walks are far from enough in the grander scheme of things. It is not my personality to waste time buying on a salesperson's say so without knowing if they are right. In the mean time, I picked up a few simple rawhide bones and the dental sticks to get us started on our dental hygiene adventure!.

I learned that raw carrots are good for dogs and aid in tartar removal. So, I have begun adding to his Nutro Ultra dog kibble one raw carrot (chopped) a bit of lettuce, half an apple and a drizzle of coconut. The carrots,lettuce and apple provide more vitamin nutrition and help with scrubbing the teeth, while the virgin coconut oil help kill harmful bacteria in his mouth, strengthen his immune system and add shine to his coat.

I may be seeing things but I think I am seeing some improvement; small improvement but improvement nonetheless.

My next step, aside from monitoring progress, is to research brushing his teeth with a doggie brush and doggie toothpaste. This will be a major undertaking. It took us more than a year to get him "okay" with getting a bath. The tooth-brushing has the added burden of me getting over my fear of him continually biting me as I work on his teeth.  Yikes! I may start out with the groomers doing the heavy lifting on the "teeth cleaning until I get use to the concept. I can honestly say I never ever envisioned brushing a dog's teeth as something I would be learning to do in this lifetime. 

 I can't get that commercial out of my head about doggie dentures. Ha! That is not in Rusty's future if I can help it.

Pet Parent Responsibilities Come First

Well, I guess this is where the rubber meets the road. While, I have been pretty good at committing to my marathon training goals, I am finding certain pet parent priorities making the prospects of my doing the LA Marathon not seem realistic.

If I am being honest, the potential costs involved feel a bit irresponsible for me to consider when I am currently in the tightest budget I've ever gotten by on in years and I have my dog Rusty to care for. 

Keeping him healthy, happy and free of dental issues is a bit more important. Who knew 80% of dogs develop dental issues? A friend pointed out he was getting serious build up that could lead to expensive vet bills I simply cannot afford. If I don't get on top of it we are in trouble. So, that is where any excess funds have to be allocated. Ah, well. My boy Rusty's needs trump the marathon any day. Not a tremendous price to pay as a pet parent for all the love I get from this guy.  December marks two years with my first pet. There have been many challenges and many irreplaceable moments of joy.

Hopefully, I will continue to learn more about how to be a good guardian of my dog's health and well-being. I may not know what I am doing but I am figuring out what I can as we go along,  Vet bills are so expensive, I had no idea of that cost factor when I adopted but I will make it work somehow. I take the same stance I do with my own health. Preventative medicine is so much better than costly hospital bills for either of us.  

Here's hoping things make a turn in the direction of greater abundance for me and brighter teeth for Rusty.

I may need to consider setting up an online bank account to plan ahead for all these additional Vet costs I never knew were a reality for life with a dog.

Live and learn.


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Getting To Know Me, Getting To Know All About Me

As an actor, it is practically a job requirement to understand why you do the things you do and feel the way you feel so you can bring the most "humanity" to whatever role you play. I'd say it is not a bad way for anyone to live. The challenge is, it is not much fun being relentlessly honest with oneself. Sometimes "ignorance" truly is bliss.

At present I am wrestling with the challenge of  letting go of my inner "control freak" and truly enjoying the moment.

Last week, when I was on set or in the recording studio, "living in the joy" was easy. Today, as time has passed since I wrapped, the joy of the experience is waning and the pressures of the day-to-day issues are saying "hello".  Don't get me wrong, I am in a good place mentally and emotionally. It's just that damned inner control freak that wants more, wants to see what I can do to book again and keep this joy going.

I am realizing that I have not discovered the right balance between living in the present while planning for the future. The two cannot be mutually exclusive, surely. I have found some assistance with my meditative practice. I admit, I have had to lower my expectations as to what I will get out of meditation. Over the last few months, too many evenings I sat to meditate and felt like I was somehow failing miserably. Often instead of letting thoughts calmly drift away, I got lost in the thought, digging deeper into instead of releasing. No, I have not YET reached a place of feeling that nirvana state that comes with a quieted mind. If it comes, it comes. I have settled for the relaxation and calmness I AM experiencing. Currently it has allowed me to stop mentally spinning on some fear or frustration after my meditation time. It creates a little space to see my reaction is just my reaction and not necessarily the truth of the situation. This is just enough calmness to allow me to make better life choices.

I have lived for many years with the "Fake It Til You Make It" mantra. While it has its merits, I am noticing that it can become a useful mental way of stuffing your fears in a closet and avoiding addressing them  for the sake of appearing positive- even to yourself. In my calmer state, I am noticing the fear I've been avoiding is not really that big of a deal so why not see it, address it's relevance that let it go?

Yes, slowly but surely, I am making progress in this adventure of self-discovery.  Looking at those "scary" dark places we all hide away is turning out to be not quite so scary but humorous that I found them scary in the first place.

I guess, I am learning what patience in practical terms feels like, haha. My expectations of magical transformation through meditation may not have been very realistic. I'm just happy it has not proven to be a waste of time and effort but a practical tool in my arsenal for understanding myself that slowly diminishes the need or desire for unnecessary mental self-drama.

I am committed to living in the joy of my experience daily. I just want to do it without living in self-delusion. It is not impossible. However, it is something that requires focus and diligence, at least until some of it becomes a habitual mental approach.

Life is great when you let it!   

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Counting My Blessings Big and Small

This was a wonderful week of doing what I love! So, I auditioned on Friday evening, booked the acting job on Monday and wrapped last night.  I got to work with "playback" and using an "ear wig" which I discovered is the term for the small receiver I hide in my ear to connect me to the sound guy running "playback" of the music in my ear. Yes, you could say this was my singing debut but I will leave it there so as not to ruin the surprise. Haha!

I love learning new things as a working actor.  This time around, I had the opportunity to work with the show's composer at his studio in Santa Monica.   Like everyone else involved in the production of "Hart of Dixie" from casting to the assistant directors I interacted with, he was very kind and supportive.  It is a small role but to me any opportunity I get to act professionally is a victory and a blessing!

In this economic environment, it is a real challenge to get a job as an actor. More established actors are continuing to go up for roles they ordinarily wouldn't in order to make sure they earn enough work hours to qualify for health benefits. Thus,  those of us less established thespians need to be on our game and bring a little something extra to every audition in order to have a chance. I'm learning the less pressure I put on myself and the more I put in the work needed then allow myself to have fun regardless of the result, the better things turn out.  

The interesting aspect of this entire experience was actually the response I received from friends and fellow actors.

I share news with friends in the moment of excitement. This time around, I had this real awareness of folks asking questions with an undercurrent of evaluating and dare I say judgement. Generally speaking, actors are competitive. Even when happy for their fellow actors, some can't help wondering if they missed out on a role they feel they should have gone up for. They ask questions so they can decide if it is too small for them to be concerned about or not. Many do not even know they are doing it but, too often their lack of subtlety is hard to miss. I have reached the point as an actor where I can be happy for my friends and happy for myself. Competing with friends outside the audition room simply is a mind game I am done with. I am even ready to let go of the anxiety of worrying what others feel about the "relative value" they place on any role I land.  My focus is on living in the joy of the experience and letting go of the unnecessary drama of ego as much as I can.   

There have been a lot of emotional/mental ups and downs of this year: worrying about making ends meet; questioning myself and managing expectations of myself and others. Being on set, doing what I love reminded me that no matter what the future has in store, I intend to count every blessing big and small and experience the moment for the joy it contains.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Keeping Acting Career Alive!

I have had a rough summer. Looking for work, auditioning and all around just trying to stay afloat as an actor. I have been walking my own mental tightrope, doing my best to stay balanced and positive when funds are running low and bills keep on coming. It has taken a toll on my mind and emotions but my spirit has kept me going and things are definitely turning around.

Out of left field, I got an audition Friday afternoon for "Hart of Dixie" on the CW. I went in with the sole intention of having fun and I did then put it out of my mind and went on with my weekend.
I just got the news today I booked it and will be heading in this evening to get the ball rolling.

I'm a little shell shocked with joy but since I started this blog to chronicle my journey, it is nice to have something good to say. I know I know, it has been a while since my last post. Chalk it up to the summer blues.

Time to get back on track. One thing I have learned so far from my summer is that keeping the faith really does have its rewards when you move through the wallowing in depression period and truly surrender to the faith that things will always work themselves out.

I'm off for now. I look forward to getting back to posting.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

U.S. Supreme Court Rulings on Marriage Equality Makes History!!!

With both U.S. Supreme Court rulings today on Marriage Equality, as it relates to D.O.M.A. and Proposition 8, history has been made that we can all be proud of! Equal Protection Under The Law matters! Equal Rights matters!

If I still had my singing voice I would be SINGING in the streets RIGHT NOW! In the mean time I will express it with the YouTube clip below!

Celebrations will be taking place all across the country!

I am excited to see what the future holds!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

James Gandolfini: Rest In Peace...

I was watching ABC local news when I heard the news. Actor James Gandolfini, best known for his amazing run as Tony Soprano in HBO's hit series The Sopranos , died today of a heart attack in Italy.

Mr. Gandolfini was without a doubt a compelling and skillful actor. News is still coming in, but regardless of what further information is revealed,  a major talent of stage and screen has left the world too soon at the age of 51.

So sad...

My thoughts go out to his family and loved ones.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Enjoying the Original Superman Theme Song in Preparation for "Man of Steel" Opening!

Just bought my "Man of Steel" tickets for tomorrow night and I cannot wait!

Look it has been a long week. I have had so much "drama" coming my way, I could use a heavy dose of escapism! Truth be told, this is why I love being an actor. Life has so many challenges and moments of stress. To be a part of a profession that provides people around the world an opportunity to set their troubles aside and enjoy their day is to me a noble profession.

Hey, that is what movies do for me. I love every opportunity I have to hopefully do that for others.

Yes, I may seem like a big kid but, who cares?! Life is too short. With all the things currently going on just trying to keep pursuing my craft and stay financially afloat, it is challenging not to remain stuck in a perpetual state of depression. Yes, I had the blues this week but I am dragging myself back up, dusting myself off and with the help of "Man of Steel", I am recharging that part of me that says:


Getting back to my Superman mania..., it has occurred to me that with this new film, a new theme song will make its debut, along with Henry Cavill as a new Superman to replace the late great Christopher Reeve for a new generation. So, in honor of Mr. Reeve and the original theme song composed by John Williams, I thought I'd post the theme song for one last look to the past with respect.

Enjoy :)  

Monday, June 10, 2013

"Man of Steel" Is Flying In This Weekend!

Who doesn't want to fly?

The "Man of Steel" is just days away and I am excited to see this re-imagining of a classic story that got me through the darkest days of my childhood!

I must admit I was that kid who was so clearly seen as the nerdy Clark Kent. Truth be told, I secretly dreamed I had a bit of Superman in me! It was the mental secret weapon I had for coping with the relentless neighborhood bullies.

Hey, a little imagination is the best superpower a guy could ask for at any age. 

I found this featurette of the upcoming film and jut had to share. It definitely has me charged up for an adventure this weekend!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Alan Watts and The Trap of Seeking

Have you ever listened to someone speak or watch something and the experience in the subtlest of ways shakes you to the core?

I suppose you could say I am having one of those moments as an actor when my frustrations are getting the best of me. Keeping positive in the face of bills, audition rejections, and sheer stress is not always easy for me. I will say I am for the most part positive in all aspects of my life, but there are days when it is all just a bit much.  

Life is so amazingly complex and ultimately simple. It is our interpretation of it that mucks it all up, don't you think? There is no "real" manual for living. You are tasked with figuring it out as you go. What is the point of it all? Are we ever getting it right? Can you get it right? In the end is it not all about finding a way of making it through each day with an emphasis on being happy?

I have chosen to pursue the life of an actor. I could have stayed with my old 9 to 5 job. People do it everyday. They work at a job to make a living to do what they want with the rest of their time. Other people choose a particular career or simply fall into one. Whatever choice you make is the choice you make. What I have discovered is that regardless of what you do, you have to choice to be happy. By this I don't mean find your happiness in your career but in the simple act of being alive. This may seem unquestionably obvious, however, I realized, lately, that regardless of what you "do" if your state of mind is not on simply celebrating the joy of the day for whatever it brings, good or bad, the alternative is to get sucked into the mire of stressing about the continuous bombardment of civilization and all of its facets telling you you are missing something in your life if you don't have this gadget or this car or this new home or what have you. We then become a world of "seekers" doing this or that to find success or happiness. Unfortunately, when you actually get it, you discover you've been dooped. You are no more happy or successful after achieving this goal or purchasing that brand of cellphone. Is an I-Phone 5 anymore relevant than a Galaxy whatever to my state of personal fulfillment?

I know...I am rambling but, that is okay. I am in the process of figuring out some new ways of thinking about my journey, as an actor and as a human/spiritual being as I wake up each day tasked with living.

It has been a challenging month. Perhaps, impacted by the fact my birthday is in May and birthdays always spur on a period of self-reflection on my part. I found myself having to say out loud, "What is the point of life?" Is life nothing more than striving to achieve something or earn money?" "Will my student loan debt define my choices forever?"

My answer to all these questions was to delve deeper into my spiritual beliefs. They have been my homemade manual for life, so to speak. I am not particularly religious, yet I find my spiritual belief system a source of strength. However, recently, as I strive to get a grip on the "meditation thing", I hit a wall. It simply was not working for me. My efforts to clear my mind led to unending mental chatter and mounting annoyance.

It took my random wandering around YouTube to find Alan Watts clips and a wealth of information on which to reflect. I slowly noticed that I have been so stuck in the trap of seeking answers to how to succeed in acting, in living, in even being spiritual that I was missing a fundamental point.


Everything else is an act of faith.        

I may succeed as an actor. I may not. God may exist. God may not exist.

Either way, if I focus on celebrating the sheer act of being alive and choosing happiness for the sake of being happy, than the need to wrestle with  frustration diminishes.

All the rest of what life sends my way will be whatever it is going to be. 

.All this self-made frustration is exhausting. I plan on enjoying further listening to the words of Alan Watts and figure out how to just BE.

This is a work in progress but an avenue definitely worth exploring.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Sometimes, Technology Sucks!

There are days when I simply want to scream with all the circles I find myself running in just to figure out how to get around a problem that forces me to rely on technology. With all these tech changes, actually talking to someone for help is becoming a serious challenge.

I got a new program, the other day,  for my computer that is suppose to make it run faster. I haven't noticed much of a difference to be honest other than being $40.00 lighter in the wallet paying for this program. It has however, cleared out the usernames and passwords on the sites I regularly go to during the week.

On one site in particular, I typed in my username and password and it comes up as invalid. I double checked my trusty password sheet I have stored in my safe for just such emergencies. Still, no luck. I even tried the reset password button on the site and don't you know the screen turns to a blank page.  With all these updates and revamps to keep sites current, finding help is the one thing that is slowly disappearing. I found an email address for a webmaster of the site but it has been a few days and I have not  gotten a response.

Is the universe trying to tell me something or what?

At this point I am so frustrated, I am getting a dogged determination to find out how to resolve this problem before I take my entire computer and smash it against the wall!!!

The funny thing out of this whole mess is that that new program, despite doing little to actually clean up my computer, has a function where it delivers a loud message informing me that it has finished with some random updates. The message is so loud and sudden, I find myself continually jumping out of my skin whenever it goes off. Ahhh.... technology. Isn't it great? 

Okay. I have sufficiently vented. Time to step away and breathe...  

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Personal Re-Boot: Raising My Standards/Changing My Rituals

If you have read this blog for any period of time you will notice that I gravitate to whatever motivational techniques and devices I can find to keep me going. I have my up days and down days. What I have noticed about myself is on my up days, I am experiencing the reality of living with positive expectation, even if there are no evidence of success. On my down days, I notice my self-talk has been clouding my brain with a defeatist's mantra.

It is the little things that make the most impact. I have to acknowledge that I have not been the smartest at strategically lining up the knowledge I have gained into forming small rituals that slowly get me where I want to be going. Luckily for me, I believe each day is an opportunity to start fresh, re-boot and achieve the success and happiness I desire.

I have embraced the idea of enjoying the journey not just yearning for the destination. Any amount of progress motivates me. I think I will definitely benefit from establishing a few small scale rituals, like I have done with my marathon training, in other areas of my life, especially my career.  No time like the present.

I stumbled upon this short clip by Tony Robbins that talks about raising your standards and changing your rituals. Just what I need to  get my re-boot started.

Check it out. Tony Robbins is not a successful life coach for nothing. Perhaps you may find something you can use for yourself! 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

A Quote To Keep Me Pressing On...

I am in a continual journey of self-improvement and growth to become my best self as a person and an actor.

I have not fully developed my new personal mission statement.

I am getting there... just haven't hit on something that inspires and keeps me "jazzed" to take on the world.

No rush. It is coming... 

I have however, stumbled across a quote  by U.S. President Calvin Coolidge that, for an actor, is something that will be useful to draw strength from when those moments of frustration get me down. For me inspiration is the strongest resource for creativity and simply keeping going. These words inspire me and remind me to live my life on my terms and never stop moving in the direction of my dreams.

If you need a pick me up, read these words and "Press On".

Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. 
Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. 
Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. 
Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. 
Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. 
The slogan 'Press On' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race. 
-Calvin Coolidge

The Summer of Star Trek has Begun!!

It feels as if this is going to be my favorite summer of movie going!

I have not been willing to break my bank for a night out at the movies. However, since I am saving my pennies for "Man of Steel", as a livelong Star Trek fan and lover of the re-boot of the franchise for a new generation, I have to see "Star Trek Into Darkness" in the theater!

Paramount Pictures may just have a winner on its hands! With J.J. Abrams' inventive way of creating a new time line, anything is possible. They can draw from the best of the past, while blazing new trails no one has seen before.

I cannot wait! 

I love the cast. Chris Pine, Zoe Saldana, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Simon PeggJohn Cho , and Anton Yelchin have made these iconic roles their own. The addition of the romance between Spock and Uhura was a great twist with great possibilities in the first installment. Now, the villian, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, best known for his compelling performance as Sherlock Holmes in the 21st century on the BBC series "Sherlock", is sure to bring his "A" game.

I have a crazy busy weekend, but I need to get there soon before I start getting plot spoilers from those who get to it before me and can't keep their mouths shut!

"A Song For You"


I was watching the "Jeff Probst Show" today. They were discussing the influence media, especially the music industry has on young boys and girls. It would seem love songs have been replaced with hook up songs and a heavy dose of female objectification.

I sadly agree.

Donny Hathaway
Donny Hathaway
There are plenty of great songs with a cool beat to dance to but when you listen to some of the things being said, it's a little frightening. We listen to songs over and over, especially the ones we love. What does that actually do to our thinking? I mean anything you listen to over and over, makes an impression on your subconscious mind. Can we expect these lyrics to not have an impact?

Of course, it all comes down to making choices. I am a big fan of Motown, R&B, and Classic Soul. So, I hope to spread a little "LOVE" out into the Universe by continuing to share my favorites from time to time to do my part to keep the classics alive!

Below is "A Song For You" performed by the incredible Donny Hathaway. I have heard many versions of this song, but few are as full of passion and depth of feeling. 

Check out the lyrics, then listen to the words come to life.


I've been so many places in my life and time
I've sung a lot of songs I've made some bad rhymes
I've acted out my lifee in stages
With ten thousand people watching
But we're alone now and I'm singing this song to you

I know your image of me is what I hope to be
I've treated you unkindly but darlin' can't you see
There's no one more important to me
Baby can't you see through me
Cause we're alone now and I'm singing this song to you

You taught me precious secrets of a true love witholding nothing
You came out in front when I was hiding
Now I'm so much better and if my words don't come together
Listen to the melody cause my love is in there hiding

I love you in a place where there's no space or time
I love you for my life you're a friend of mine
And when my life is over
Remember when we were together
We were alone and I was singing this song to you

I love you in a place where there's no space or time
I love you for in my life you're a friend of mine
And when my life is over
Remember when we were together
We were alone and I was singing this song to you
We were alone and I was singing this song to you
We were alone and I was singing this song

Singing this song to you



Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Dreams: Making Sense of The Madness

I have yet to completely get the reason for any given dream lately but they are definitely getting more vivid and memorable.

In the first dream I recall being outside of my childhood neighborhood. It was nighttime. I was standing on the sidewalk outside my house. I could see a female figure running away. I turned and looked at the house. I somehow knew that inside were baby twins my niece and nephew who needed protecting.

(In real life I have no niece and nephew who are twin babies. My nieces and nephews are much older in real life. Nevertheless they existed in the dream.)

I walked to the house and noticed that the front door was open. I could sense someone was hiding behind the door. I raced away down the street trying to scream for the police but my voice couldn't  make a noise. I suddenly had laryngitis.  I grew up in a neighborhood of cul de sacs. I raced to another street, drawing out the stranger in my house. I was standing in the middle of the street. A short, heavyset, angry black woman dressed in jeans and a hoodie came charging at me. She tried to attack me and I grabbed her by the throat and pushed her against a car. She broke free and ran away. My dog Rusty came running toward me. as he got near, the woman in a hoodie threw a dagger stabbing Rusty in the back. I immediately pulled the dagger out and threw it, nailing the woman in her throat. She fell dead and I hugged Rusty in my arms in the middle of the street.

Later, I changed scenarios completely. I was in my old office here in Los Angeles. I was in a room crowded with paperwork. I was looking at a computer. People were running about and being fired. I walked to a conference room made of glass walls. I took my seat and I listened to the managers talking but I don't recall what was said just that people were being let go. The meeting broke up and I with two other people walked out the front door and we were suddenly in downtown San Francisco. The two guys were looking for a specific building and didn't want me to know how to get there. I however knew how to get there. We split up and raced to the location making our way through the crowd.

I am noticing a number of my dreams have taken me back to my childhood neighborhood. They've also included buildings or rooms made largely of glass, not to mention varying levels of violence. No judgements of what these observations mean yet but for the moment are points of interest. The one thing I found fascinating was throwing a dagger into someone's throat was so startling it woke me up. I immediately told myself to remember this dream, then I fell back to sleep.

I am happy to note I am gradually strengthening my ability to recall and engage mt brain in the importance of remembering. This is progress indeed.


Friday, May 10, 2013

Sometimes I Just Gotta Sing Like A Fool...All Over My Apartment!!

Okay, I admit, all the birthday love I am feeling from my family and friends today has filled me with so much joy I feel like singing! Course I have been traveling down memory lane thanks to youtube, listening to songs of my youth, singing along like I often do in my living room giving a sold out performance to Rusty. Even though he is staring at me as if I am about to have a stroke, I continue!

What is it about songs from your childhood that strike a chord like nothing else can? Music has been out of my life for a while but made a major comeback since I returned to acting. It fills me up and sets me right.

Here are a few songs that take me back to the good times or inspires me even now to keep moving forward when times are tough.


Getting To Know Myself "Energetically"

What I love about listening to these Abraham-Hicks clips is the inspiration it provides. I resonate with the concept of God as Source Energy instead of this distant, angry father figure waiting to punish.

My focus is on being All I can be.

These clips help me stay on track without an ounce of guilt or condemnation needing to enter into the mix.


"The Prayer" For This New Year Of My Life

Ahh... It is that special time of year when I take some time to reflect on where I am in my life, what I have accomplished, and where I want to go from here.

I am one year older.

Letting go of the fixating on the number and feeling melancholy. Not interested in taking life quite so seriously. I want to celebrate more and simply find reasons to be happy if only for the joy of being happy!  For this year, I would like to focus on setting my brain for positive expectation, living in the moment and enjoying all the little and big blessings of life.

This past year has been very enlightening. I have been digging deep to unearth those hidden blocks that have been holding me back creatively and today I choose to give them their proper burial so I may start this new year of my life with the mental freedom to let my creative spirit roar!

Life is too quick and too precious to waste with stewing over doubts.

I am looking for a year of celebration!

Success on a variety of levels is always available if you open your eyes to see them.

This year, eyes wide open time!

I am so blessed and grateful for the family and friends in my life!

I am following my dreams and living my life with joy and positive expectation for what each day has in store for me.

I am set to soar as high as my imagination will take me.

Life is great! 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Dreams: Making My Way To The Border of Lucidity

Last night was a fascinating and quirky trip into my inner labyrinth .

Of what I remember, I was on the set of a movie. I was excited to be working with the famous producer/director Tony Scott. I recall being in an office doing accounting as though my role was of an accountant. Somehow I was going over the books and discovered a discrepancy. This led me to finding a briefcase full of $30,000 cash. I took the briefcase and walked out the door. When I opened it, Tony Scott was standing behind the camera with all the crew around. He thanked me for finding the cash and asked if I could rip up the accounting books so no one would know about the money. I said wait a minute.. aren't we shooting a movie? Is this for real?  Aren't you dead, Tony? 

Unfortunately, this did not wake me up to the start of a lucid dream. You'd think asking the guy who I know is dead if he is dead would get me questioning things. No such luck.

Instead I walked off the set toward my trailer. Angelina Jolie walked up to me as if we were the closest of friends.I told her about the money while I noticed we were being spied on by one of the contestants,  Garrett Gardner, from this season's "The Voice." It was strange but I ignored this and chatted on with Angelina. She told me she wanted me to meet her friend Tommy who she thought I would hit it off with. She said, his dog had run away a while back and just showed up on set. She called Tommy and he was on his way. She wanted me to watch the dog while she shot her scenes.

Of course I went over to her trailer to dog sit. When I sat down in the trailer, my dog Rusty strolled out of the other room and started jumping up and down as if he wanted to go for a walk. I petted him and thought, is this where you were from before I got you from the animal shelter?

Again, the idea of Rusty feeling at home on a movie set when he runs away at the slightest hint I might take his picture should have sent up red flags! Nothing..

Suddenly, Tom Cruise came bursting into the room wearing a grey hoodie, excited to see Rusty.  I was shocked but as I refuse to get star struck around another actor I just said hello. I then proceeded to show him Rusty's dog tag with my name and phone numbers on it. I don't care who he is he was not taking my dog from me.

He sat down next to me and was very friendly. We had a great conversation about something, not sure what. but all of a sudden I "knew" Tom and I had become close friends. I thought wow this is funny that I am talking with my pal Tom Cruise and we are both Rusty's pet parent.

With that I woke up.

In the moment it all made a certain sense until I opened my eyes. I immediately realized how close I was to having a lucid dream. With any luck I will have another opportunity!  

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Dreams: New Stories Making Their Way To The Surface

"The Madhouse" by Francisco Goya
It is a funny thing about remembering your dreams. Some go by without recall, others stay with you like a real-life memory. Sometimes, they come in snippets others feel like epic adventures.

I am happy to say, one of the initial benefits I am finding from this creative exercise is my visualization skills are getting better everyday. In the not so recent past, I tended to draw a blank when intentionally trying to recall images on the screen of my mind. That is thankfully changing, almost like a fog being lifted. For now I am just allowing myself to recall my dreams. In time I want to go further into dream interpretation. I know there are a lot of dream dictionaries out there, but I am looking at figuring out what the dream symbolism means to me instead of going by a generalized definition. Not sure yet how to get to that point. Perhaps starting with a dream dictionary and then slowly overtime developing my own personalized version. Not sure if that is even possible, but the more involved I get into understanding this side of myself, the more useful this process will be.

Last night, I got a few snippets but they are lingering with me all day. First, I remember being in a large college dorm common area. I was leaving the area when I ran into an average looking Caucasian woman, slightly plumb, but seeming like a very friendly stay at home mom. She had shoulder length red hair and a rosy cheeked face. I know I do not know this woman in real life but I said to her, "You have the sweetest kids I have ever met." She smiled and thanked me. Out of nowhere four young blonde haired kids came running out of an adjoining room as if coming out of class. I waved at the family and left.

When I was outside, I noticed my clothing had changed. I was wearing an over-sized white t-shirt that felt like a straight jacket. I looked down and had no pants, shoes or socks on. I wiggled my toes and started searching for my wallet with no luck. I felt as if I was in an insane asylum. When I looked up I was standing in an courtyard of a large campus with glass structures all around. The area was crowded, all of us wearing large white t-shirts. Guards were stationed on pillars, I think. They randomly asked folks for identification. We each raised our right hands and a personal id, looking like a driver's license, appeared as if it was always in our hand. They disappeared once we put our hand down. I felt like I was living out a version of "1984".

I eventually found myself on a street corner where "Scott", a classmate from my acting group, was dressed in regular clothing. He was standing just off the sidewalk by the trunk of a car. The weather was overcast with the smell of ran in the air. "Scott"  asked me if I was joining the group to take "Carol" out to dinner for her birthday. I looked over his shoulder and saw "Carol" standing by herself. She was clearly waiting for us even though she didn't see us at all. I am not sure what my answer was to this question.

The interesting thing is that in real life, "Carol" is a friend, actress and classmate from my time at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. She is planning on auditioning soon to possibly join my current acting group here in Los Angeles.

One thing, however, has me scratching my head. When I woke up, "Scott" called my cell phone to ask me the date of the auditions. I told him the date. I wondered why he was asking me this since we already mentioned the date to the group just the night before. I had also sent him an updated class schedule in early April with the new dates. He said he was looking at an old schedule and needed me to clear it up before he contacted the potential candidates about the audition..

Strange coincidence?

It is also a little "trippy" to talk first thing in the morning with someone you were just talking to in a dream.

I look forward to whatever new journey I have in store for me tonight.

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Mysteries Of Being A Pet Parent

It has been nearly a year and a half since I rescued Rusty from the Burbank Animal Shelter. Obviously, as he is my first dog ever, my foray into pet parenthood is an endless educational journey. I love Rusty but there are days when he is a complete pill and I must remember he is a dog and is not necessarily doing things with a motive or emotion as a human would. Still there are times when I wonder what exactly is this dog trying to tell me when he walks up to me and simply stares.

A few nights ago, I watched "Life of Pi". One of the thoughts that came up for me was that various religions can only teach you about God, but it is through the experience of life and particularly our experience of Nature, which is life at it's most intense,that puts you in direct experience with God.

The film also forced me to think differently about this creature that I am sharing my apartment and life with 24 hours a day. Again, I find myself wondering what is going on in his head. Like forging a relationship with "Richard Parker" in the film, I wonder how much Rusty knows that I love him and how much joy he is finding in his current situation. I know it is a step up from the shelter but does he even know hoe close he came to meeting his maker? Is his coming into my life coincidental or are there mysteries about myself or him that I am meant to learn from our time together? Rusty doesn't bark much at all which is a blessing. He sleeps a lot, yearns to run when we go out, and now enjoys burying himself under covers to sleep. He is an unfolding mystery that now seems so much more complex than I ever thought before watching that movie. As much as I am growing more attached, would he be like "Richard Parker", capable of moving on without a look back at me?

Plenty to think about. It will be an interesting journey figuring each other out as time goes by.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Searching For Messages: My First Dream Adventure

My inner journey begins.

I remember moments of a dream from last night. I was in a place similar to my home in Philadelphia. Someone from my family was with me, either my sister or her daughter- both named Andrea. It was some time in the early morning hours. We were in a fight to the death. Not with each other but with evil forces out to kill us.

At the same time, we were also on an island with a wild tiger. She was convinced that she made peace with the wild tiger and he would not kill her. We were running through the jungle and got separated. I was running to hunt this man. He was the actor, James Purefoy who played the serial killer/cult leader "Joe Carroll" in the Fox series "The Following".  Somehow I found out Joe was setting a trap for me. He sent some guys after us.

Andrea got caught and was tied to something like the throne from the series "Game of Thrones" it was large, put on a hilltop clearing where I was able to see her. It was as if the branches that made up the throne wrapped around her. She was being sacrificed to the tiger. She waited bravely with her captors, confident she would survive. Meanwhile I raced to my childhood home. The tiger ran through the forest and killed the people guarding my sister/niece. When it got close to her, I recognized that tiger was "Richard Parker" the tiger from "Life of Pi".   He ripped the vine-like branches that held Andrea. She was free and smiling at the giant cat that simply turned and disappeared back into the jungle. In some weird way my sister and I were like the "Wonder Twins" of DC comics. I was seeing the tiger leave through her eyes so I knew she was safe.

I got home and as if I were in a scene from "Salem's Lot", I walked through the three story Philadelphia row home where I spent the majority of my childhood. My family was not there. Everything was covered with white cloth, like it was closed up for the winter. I reached the third floor with the bedrooms. I checked each one. "Joe Carroll was laying asleep on a bed but I knew he was pretending. I walked on to another room to what I sense was the trap set for me. I wrestled with some guy and Andrea appeared and we staked this stranger who we "knew" was a vampire. I walked down the halllway to the main bedroom. The cult guy was hiding in the bathroom.. He quietly jumped out behind me. He grabbed me around my neck and attempted  to bite my neck. With a large stake stuck up my wrist, I plunged it into his gut and he died.  I woke up.


Not sure what meaning is to be derived from this at the moment. I do know two things. Last night I went to a friends house after picking up "Life of Pi from the Red Box machine by my neighborhood 7Eleven. My friend was not in the mood for it and decided to run out and get "Hitchcock" with Helen Mirren and Anthony Hopkins. After enjoying that tale of the making of "Psycho", I got home determined to watch my original cinema choice. So I traveled to the world of Ang Lee's "Life of Pi". I went to bed with an intense feeling of joy and serenity and connection to my spiritual self.

Before I drifted to sleep, I asked my "Inner Self" if it had anything it wanted me to know. I proceeded to open to a random page from a "spiritual' book called  "Creative Mind" by Ernest Holmes. Filled with such peace from the movie, I read a section that started with this sentence.  

"The man who wishes to practice metaphysics must first, last and all the time realize that he himself is a center of divine activity; he must know that whatever God is in the Universal; he is in the world in which he lives."

I drifted to sleep with the belief that this passage was in some way answering a question I asked someone earlier that day in a discussion forum as to how long it would take to experience meditation as something other than a frustrating fight to quiet my racing mind. I'm not sure but I felt like I was being told to be patient and trust and my meditation would bear fruit. This was my last thought before my memory of this crazy dream with "Richard Parker" and "Joe Carroll" who I battled in my dream state.

Much to explore with this one.