9:26 PM - Sat 3.10.18
I am alone most of the time.
However, I'm not alone all the time.
But I realized recently that, on social media, I look even more alone than I really am. Because on the occasions I do socialize, I rarely get any pictures commemorating the event.
Which, in my mind, speaks to one of the central dilemmas of our social media age - How to actually live your life while constantly needing to document that you're living your life.
I kind of applaud myself for being too busy actually being with people when I'm with people to show other people I'm with people.
But at the same time, I want to show people I'm going places and doing things with actual human beings - Sometimes I want to play that "Look how fun my life is", "best foot forward", "This isn't really me but I wish it were" social media game.
Like I said - It's a dilemma.
I just went into the bathroom to brush my teeth. I'm not wearing a shirt, so spent a few moments assessing whether or not my recent light exercise routine was making any appreciable difference in my physique. I couldn't really tell - It's hard to gauge incremental progress (And I've only been doing it a couple weeks) - but looking at the ring of flab around my gut (which I know is more about food than exercise, but still), I had the familiar urge to punch myself in the face (I didn't do it, but I wanted to). So it seems there's more work to do...in more ways than one.
Mon 3/12/18 (11:30 am)
My taxes are basically done for the year (I'm just waiting for the final word from my guy).
(For the second year in a row, I used the TaxFyle app - You basically take pictures of your shit, send it to one of their accountants, and he does...whatever it is accountants do. The app itself kinda sucks - I find it clunky and hard to navigate - and it's naturally more expensive than TaxSlayer, the DIY online thing I'd been using previously, but being able to hand the work off to someone else, all from the comfort of my own home, is very compelling.)
I'm getting something in the neighborhood of $2600 back (Weird note - Something in what I gave my guy made him ask if I'd done work in New York last year, which I had not. But because of this anomaly he saw, he had to file a New York state return - About $250 of the $2600 I'm getting back is from that - which again seemed really weird, since nothing like that's ever happened before, but I'll take it).
So, add that to the Exxon money - and, of course, to my WW day job - and I am officially "okay" financially.
I was thinking about that the other day, how I want to know I'm going to be "okay" in general - in perpetuity - but the best I can ever get is "I'm okay...for now".
Maybe that's all anyone ever gets...but I'd love to know, as much as anyone can know, that whatever happens, I'm going to be able to feed and clothe and generally take care of myself from now till the end of the trip.
Just got off the phone with my brother Gregg...
Told him that I drive through "Skid Row" downtown (On the way to my dentist office in Whittier), and would prefer not to end up there...but joked that maybe, on the other hand, I'll end up there and think "What a relief! I'm finally where I always belonged! Why didn't I do this sooner?"
It's a joke, but with some truth behind it - Not so much how I "deserve" to be homeless (though...maybe?) as how I long for "relief", from worrying about money, worrying about the bottom dropping out, worrying about ending up a "failure", etc. If I were homeless, maybe I could finally live in the hear-and-now, since that's pretty much all I would have.
Back from Zumba, taking a quick break from my "Jessica Jones" binge...
When thinking how this year could be the final season of Shameless, I've wondered/worried about what I'll do once the show ends (Unless there's a radical uptick in auditions and bookings - which seems unlikely, but still could happen...I guess - I won't be able to make it on Weight Watchers and dribs and drabs of acting things alone).
Typically, my depressing default, when pondering the unappetizing scenario of "needing a second job", is imagining myself stocking shelves overnight at Ralphs or something of that ilk.
But two at least possible options have occurred to me:
1. Becoming a Zumba instructor.
I have "concerns", and plenty of them, but we're going to shelve those for now - On the "plus" side, it's something I like, it's something I can do (In that I can dance), and if I opted for a "Zumba Gold" specialty (Basically "Zumba for old folks"), I could live out my fantasy of being "the hot young Zumba instructor" all the women are lusting after.
2. Becoming a Weight Watcher Leader.
Again, I have my "concerns", and they are not inconsequential, but on the "glass half-full" side - I already have a fairly good sense of the job, I know I could do it (Particularly the "getting up in front of people and being engaging" part), and I know it pays more than my current work as a Receptionist.
Now, don't get me wrong - I don't want either of these things to come to pass (I want acting to be my single job, and I want it to pay the bills and then some. Barring that, I'd settle for a single "day job" that pays the bills. But I definitely don't want two "day jobs").
But that said, when I've pondered this unpleasant question in the past, I've only ever came up with things I couldn't do, or things I could do that I don't want to do.
So even in an "I don't want things to go this way" scenario, it was nice to have a couple ideas that didn't make me completely want to kill myself.
And on that note...
I could write more - I still have a couple "topics" I seem wary of addressing, which means I totally need to address them - but then I wouldn't be watching Jessica Jones.
(Which reminds me - I'd really like to play a meaningful role in a superhero franchise. If you know someone who can make that happen, have them call my people, wouldya?)
11:13 am - MON 7/29/02
I was thinking last night, as the workday wound to a close, that late Sunday nights are a good time of the week for me.
I enjoy the ride home from work, maybe because I'm getting out comparatively early (11:00, versus midnight or 1:00 am on my other closing shifts), Buffy is on within a half-hour after I get home (And it's become a "Buffy" two-for-one; I used to watch it at 5:00, during my dinner break at work, but since they've recently changed my break time, I set my VCR before I leave for work, and watch the taped show right after the one that's on at midnight), and it being 11:30 or so at night on a Sunday, I don't feel any big guilt that I'm watching tv, or messing around on the computer, when I should be doing something more "productive".
(Like right now, for example, when I'm doing this, instead of
diving into my checkbook/bank balance puzzle. I've gathered together all the bank statements I have, but have rationalized that things will go easier if I wait till tomorrow, when I'll hopefully have a highlighter I've lifted from work. Not one we sell, mind you--we don't sell highlighters that I've noticed--but one from the back office.)
After two hours of Buffy, I thought I was ready to call it a night. I settled down, but something told me to get up, fire up the computer, and write in here.
So I did.
I tried to write fast as I could, without thinking, without reading over what I'd written.
It was hard, and what came out was not all that coherent. Basically, it alternated between "Poor Me..." and "I'm A Survivor, Dammit!". Fairly typical journaling from Jim; Not really the "breakthrough entry" I was looking for, but embarrassing nevertheless (Which I thought was interesting; there was nothing there I hadn't said before--I'm conflicted, I'm lonely, I'm sad, I'm angry at myself, I'm afraid of old age, of death, but I'm still in there swinging, I want what I want, and there's no reason I can't have it--but I guess there was something about the starkness of it, or maybe just the banality (I was trying to get beyond my usual crap, the usual ruts I fall into here, but still ended up mired in the same old shit), that was just a little too much for me.
In the middle of the night, I got up again, fired up the computer again...and deleted what I'd written.
No big loss, really. But in the ambivalent, ambiguous World of Jim, the entry that I was embarrassed to have written instantly became the entry I was unhappy to have deleted. But anyway...
Wanted to take the focus away, however briefly, from Jim's various points of discomfort and unhappiness, those pervasive feelings of crankiness and itchiness (Don't get me started on the itchiness...), and focus on some things, however small, that made me feel good recently.
On something of a whim a couple weeks ago, when I was buying manilla envelopes, I picked up a bottle of black shoe polish; I noticed awhile back that my Rockports looked pretty crappy and worn (I've lost track of how many years I've had them now), and I thought, in lieu of buying a new pair of shoes altogether (A little too "high finance" for my budget), a new coat of paint might be just the thing.
So I went home, and held off on doing the thing I should have been doing--sending out headshots--by giving my shoes a shine. It was no big deal--I wiped them off with a damp cloth, then daubed on the black stuff, which took maybe five minutes--but I was very happy with the result.
Not a big deal? No, not at all. But it was a small, positive thing. It didn't cost me much in time (Five minutes) or money (99 cents plus tax for the polish), it didn't frustrate me, bore me, or leave me feeling like "Why did I bother?", and it had an immediate, positive, effect.
I would like life to feel like that more often.
Another thing I felt good about was, on my most recent day off, when I was feeling bad about all the stuff I wasn't getting accomplished, I rode by the 99 cent store on Wilshire, and remembered that I needed some soap.
So I went in, and bought soap, deodorant, and shaving cream, for about what it would have cost me to buy deodorant alone at my neighborhood Ralphs.
Again, it was something that wasn't hard, took just a few minutes of my life, and had an immediate, positive result.
I like that.
Those are small, perhaps inconsequential things, but definitely things that fall on the "positive" side of the spectrum. And if I keep looking for small, "inconsequential" things that make a positive difference in my life, maybe, in time, I'll work my way up to larger, more "consequential" things.
I titled this entry "Options and Alternatives", intending to spell out my choices regarding what I can do in terms of my job, my housing situation, and my search for acting opportunities.
The job does not pay enough money, which is the biggest problem I have with it, but I also continue to be concerned about whether it will be "flexible" enough when things "heat up" for me as an actor (As they inevitably will).
So what seem to be the choices available to me?
1. Stay where I am, continuing to look for ways to save money, hoping that I can get by until paying acting opportunities start rolling in.
2. Stay where I am, and make a more concerted effort to work one or two of my days off (By calling Cenex on a regular basis, renewing my relationship with AppleOne, and perhaps signing up with a few more temp/extra agencies as well).
3. Seek advancement at Borders. There's been frequent turnover in the time I've been there, and the general consensus seems to be that I could move up if I wanted to.
4. Seek another, better paying job.
5. Seek a second, part-time job.
As of this writing, I'm assuming that I'm in this apartment for at least the next six months. I like the place, it's a good location for me, and it seems, by general agreement, to be a pretty good deal considering what's out there. But it's feeling stressful, to have rent being over half my monthly takehome pay. And I'd like a parking space.
1. I can stay here, choosing to be optimistic about the possibility of making more money in the future (If I had enough money to pay this rent comfortably, and pay for a parking space, I'd be happy as a clam. I really don't need more space, or a nicer place. I just there to be a little less fiscal pressure).
2. I can keep a better eye out, and ear open, for cheap rentals, so the next time my lease renewal comes up, I'll be better prepared to make the leap to a new place, if leaping is neccessary.
3. I can look into the possibility of a roommate situation.
4. I can take to the streets.
1. I can send headshots out from the casting notices in Backstage West.
2. I can continue to check out The Hollywood Reporter and The Ross Reports, and whatever other trade paper/publication might be helpful, in terms of finding out what's out there and who I need to talk to.
3. I can look into theater companies in the area--See their shows, find out who I need to talk to--and find one that I can be happy about being involved with.
4. I can send headshots to commercial agents (The general consensus is that it's easier to get a commercial agent than a regular agent). Then when I get a commercial agent--we're thinking positively here--that might be a good springboard to getting an agent for tv and film.
5. I can audit any acting classes that let you audit. Then at least I'm in the vicinity of actors and acting, and when the money starts working itself out, as it will, then I'll know what I want to do without a lot of extra fuss and bother.
Okay, now I was going to hash these all over--And being me, tell you all the reasons they aren't workable--but I'm out of time, and feeling like I should just revisit this entry a couple times, trying to withhold judgement or commentary, and see what I really want to do, and how it might be possible.
There's a way to get this stuff done. I know it. Other people have done it. I can too.