Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Or so the Germans would have us believe.

Me and Acting, or: There Are So So SO Many Reasons I Am Not A Star of Stage and/or Screen, You Don't Even KNOW.

So because I cannot stop myself (decade-long girlcrush), I am re-reading Bossypants in bits and pieces before I turn in for the night. And I'm thinking about Acting, and how for me, that's such burned, scorched territory, never to be traversed.

I did some THEATRE back in the day -- compulsory, in the case of church xmas plays and elementary-school pageanty thingies, but everybody did that stuff.

What astounds me in thinking on it is the times I did it voluntarily in high school, never mind the fact that I am A)spectacularly terrible at it, and B)hate it like I hate group projects, quarterly check-ins with the grandboss, and the thought of actual jail.

Unlike Ms. Fey and others who do this for a living, I did THEATRE not because I actually wanted to, but because in my mind, it was what Alternative kids did. In my defense, there weren't a lot of options in Cowburg High School that had even a whiff of Alternative about them -- Mr. Gleemonex loves to just die laughing at the clubs in my HS yearbook, what with Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Future Farmers of America, Auto Shop, etc.

But I'm still kind of at a loss to explain why I was so sure that Drama Club and One-Act Play and taking Theatre as an elective were so important to me (at least 9th & part of 10th grade, after which I outgrew that particular flavor of horseshit and sampled a few others). I never understood what was fun about it -- it was a lot of extra-hours work, you didn't really control anything (least of all your fellow actors), the word "thespian" is stupid, I certainly didn't "become" Becky Thatcher in my disastrous stint in the role, and hot calzone-fucking SHATNER did I hate the actual performances. I still remember the dread, the angst, the pure distilled loathing of the event ... I didn't even want my family to come to the shows, because I knew I was terrible and I hated everything and its ASS FACE.

And there weren't even any cameras or stagehands and such. If I had to do any acting -- like, say, it was a demand made by people who had kidnapped a family member -- I'd probably end up getting murdered by the crew or my co-stars for gumming up the works. Y'all, I can't even take a normal snapshot -- I stand there all frozen-smiling, trying not to blink, wondering if my chin looks weird, dying to brush that single strand of hair out of my eye, adjusting my stance so I don't look like I have lunch-lady arms, waiting for somebody to TAKE THE FUCKING GODDAMN PICTURE ALREADY, CHRIST IT'S DIGITAL, TAKE FOUR HUNDRED OF THEM TO GET ONE THAT WORKS OR ELSE JUST KILL ME NOW.

So anyway. Actors: My hat is off to you, sirs and madames. I reserve the right to bag on you freely in this here blog, but I'll never not give you credit for doing the impossible.

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Giving up, and giving in / put on your Mom Jeans!

Welllll ... yeah, but no.

Here’s the thing -- I get what you’re saying, but I think you picked the wrong target. Yes, my biggest girlcrush of the past decade, Tina Fey, is quite pretty, and boy, can she glam up real nice.

But I don’t think she’s playing when she runs down her own looks, or breaks out exactly what happens on photo shoots (one of my favorite and most cringey parts of Bossypants, incidentally) to make normal people look like Stars, or puts her characters into purposely unattractive positions. I really don’t think it’s “false modesty and humblebraggin’” in this case, at all.

I think that for most of us, our idea of what we look like gets fixed in resin when we’re about thirteen. We make that into a brooch, and we pin it inside our jackets, and it’s always there against our hearts, no matter what else happens in our lives, how we grow, who we become, what we actually see in the mirror in the present day. Famous doesn’t fix that. Sometimes it takes horrible turns -- have y’all seen that pathetic ghoul Heidi something-or-other, who got 23 plastic surgeries in one day, and turned from a very very pretty young woman into something just desperately hard to look at? Shatner only knows what she’s carrying around inside her own head.

But mostly it takes the more common form -- your old pal Gleemonex’s brooch, for instance, shows a soft-bellied, freckle-faced, weird-toothed loud girl who never, ever knows what to wear and will never ever have a boyfriend EVER. No matter that I grew up, that I’m 37 and more confident of my body and my looks than I’ve ever been, that I eventually got plenty of male attention, etc. etc. etc. That girl is still in there somewhere. My great good luck is that I’m not in an industry in which my ability to make a living is dependent upon my looks, and I don’t compete for my living against genuinely incredibly attractive people, the 20s on a scale of 1 to 10. Tina Fey does.

It’s a defense, this first-strike “I’m such an awkward-o” thing, but I would be willing to bet cash money that she earned it cleanly, and I don’t think she owes it to anybody to let it go. I don’t think it’s a “bit” for her. I think the snapshot immortalized on her own brooch (belabor! belabor! it’s what I do) is a lot like those kinda mortifying pictures she included in her book -- even I don’t have photos as awkward as those, poor kid. I imagine they’d make a pretty powerful mental impression on a person, particularly when that person spends her entire professional life in front of a camera, and even the compliments that she normally gets are of the “kinda cute, for a writer/comedian” backhanded bullshit variety.

So anyway. That just stuck in my craw all weekend long, and now it’s out. Tina, if you stumble across this, Shatner forbid -- sorry for the rando-internets analysis. Whatever you’re doing, it rules, and I love you. Super-hard. But not in a weird way.

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Honey badger don't care.

So I'm in Whole Foods the other day, facing this vast wall of yogurt options. I'm starting to realize that yogurt, which I have discussed here previously, is in the same family of Stuff Rich White Liberals Like as yoga -- time-consuming, expensive, somewhat pointless, requiring special equipment or specialized stores, that kind of thing. But I can eat them on the train when I miss First Breakfast at home due to I have to get up pretty goddamn early to make the train, which waits for no man. And Whole Foods has the biggest selection I've ever seen, with barely a Dannon or a Yoplait anywhere. It's all this crazy shit with total BS benefits ascribed thereunto, but I need some variety because YOGURT, UGH. Anyway so I'm standing in front of it, my kid going nuts with desire to hit another samples table, I'm scanning labels and suffering choice paralysis.

I see one that looks interesting -- calm white label, nice illustrations of fruit, "Icelandic-style" something or other. No hormones, preservatives, additives. Non-fat, 100 calories, trace amount of sugar, no aspartame, MSG, Red #5, motor oil, what have you. It's two dollars per, but hey, cheap if it's your whole meal, and it can be, because hot damn, FOURTEEN grams of protein. I get a couple: Grapefruit, Orange-Ginger.

Days later, starving on the train, I bust out the Orange-Ginger. I'm instantly sorry, with the first spoonful. It tastes like ... a cleaning product. Iceland, you're on notice.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sad when it looks like Idiocracy is actually a best-case scenario

And another thing: Still on the south side of the Mexican border, flipping half-crazy through the limited channels on the teevee on Virgin America while trying to keep my kid from getting us kicked to the door with parachutes and a fare-the-well, I saw like forty seconds of something called "Khlowaey and Lamar" or however rich pointless assholes spell their stupid made-up names, and y'all -- the impact on my brain was like getting hit square in the left temple with a fastball coated in bad brown LSD. I am permanently damaged and stupider for that forty seconds; however, I think I'm done wondering what the fuck is wrong with America.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Big Ben, kids! Parliament!

Meditations Upon a Young Man Wearing a Baseball Cap, Riding a Packed SFO Long-Term Parking Shuttle Bus Quite Late of a Weeknight Evening

"Sick Pig." Well, that is original. Off-putting, yes, but original.

Does he know that is what his hat says? I am thinking of Engrish, which never fails to reduce me to helpless tears of laughter, the slight guilt of which is greatly leavened by my certain knowledge that if I were to attempt to create signage in a foreign language, my efforts would reduce the native-speaking reader to helpless tears of laughter, so. However. To the point. He is a non-white person, possibly of Hispanic or maybe Middle Eastern origin, but almost always and especially in the SF bay area, it is not a safe assumption to make, the assumption as to whether a person knows English, regardless of the person's look or presentation.

Really, that is QUITE off-putting, the more I think about it. "Sick Pig." Why to put such words on your hat?

Generally one would not think of the "Sick Pig" hat-wearers of the world as having the means or motivation to travel by air in a long-term fashion, would one? Are they not more like unto the juggalo type of human subspecies than to the rest of us vacationers, funeral attenders and businesspersons? But this young man -- traveling alone, not with some team of fellow Sick Pigs -- is otherwise dressed fairly unremarkably. Conclusions again refuse to be drawn.

And why does a hat like that immediately set in motion such a complex web of elitist socioeconomic prejudices and assumptions in my head?

The writing. It is off-center, white embroidery on a solid black baseball cap, almost entirely on the right side of the meridian as I regard it. This fact annoys me almost as much as the words themselves do. We cannot be having off-center writing on our hats. It is just Not Done.


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Monday, May 02, 2011

By which I mean: FUCK YEAH