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Thurs 8.10.17 - 10:27 AM

No Ifs, Ands, or Butts

Between Trump bringing us to the edge of nuclear war, and what's going on in my own life, it's been a pretty interesting period of time...

My brother Gregg was in town on business (He came in on Saturday), so we hung out on Saturday afternoon, then had dinner on Tuesday.

It's only the second time we've met in person - though we have periodically talked on the phone - and I worried the conversation might be awkward or strained (I'm always worried these days that I won't have anything to say to anyone - go figure).

But I'd say a good time was had by all (In the case of eating, probably too good a time - Can't imagine I'm gonna be too happy at my WW weigh-in on Friday).

Since his business was being conducted downtown, we checked out Little Tokyo on Saturday, then had dinner in Chinatown Tuesday night.

We also spent time on Saturday just driving around - first down Melrose, Sunset, and Hollywood (As I played Tour Guide to the best of my ability), then up into the hills (Stopping at a lookout point on Mulholland Drive that I'd never been to before).

He enjoyed seeing streets and famous landmarks from TV and movies, same as I did when I first came here (On his own time, he also checked out Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive. He got a big kick out of seeing vehicles in LA - Like gold Maserati's and the like - that don't tend to pop up too much in VA, where he lives).

And we enjoyed each other's company - We are very different guys (He's a right-wing Christian who's handy with tools, while I am...none of those things), but we both laugh readily, and we clearly like that we've found each other (There's really something to be said for appreciating that other people are different from you, instead of being threatened by it, or it making you angry).

Actually, I think the reason our relationship might "work" where Tony and mine, ultimately, did not, is specifically because we're different - Gregg is way less thin-skinned, and I don't think fancies himself as any big thinker, while...well, I wouldn't say Tony is "The right-wing version of me", but we're more alike temperamentally, in being equally opinionated and thin-skinned, which was a problem (We would get on great for a time, then piss each other off, then try to get it back together, then piss each other off again, over and over, until we both decided it just wasn't worth the bother).

When he dropped me home Tuesday night (I'd taken a Lyft downtown), Gregg said he might be able to finagle another trip out here in the not-too-distant future (He works for the IRS, as an assistant to the head of the legal department).

I hope he does.

____________________

Fri (8:50 am)

Shot my latest Shameless (#806) on Weds.

It was a weird day - There was definitely a "bell curve" in terms of how much I enjoyed myself from start to finish.

Starting to not like afternoon calls (Which seem like they'd be great - "Hey, I don't have to get up early...!") - Just like last time, I got there at 1:30, and nothing happened for hours (Though I did have to hit wardrobe early, because a bit in the script involved a character seeing my butt crack - apparently, America needs more of Kermit's ass - so we had to address that concern).

So to start, there was a lot of waiting around and trying not to eat, basically

But when we finally started shooting, it was fun.

For awhile.

Mike was there, and it was my first episode of the season shooting a scene with Macy, which is always fun.

And though I had about the same number of lines I typically do, I was in four scenes (Which if not a record, has to be at least a tie for "most scenes I've been in in an episode").

And the first couple were fun - barring the rare "Kermit scene", my favorite scenes to do on the show are group scenes where three or four of us are talking. The regulars do most of the talking, of course, but it's fun when I feel like I'm actually in the scene, and not just animated set-dressing, or, more often, just doing a bit that leads into the real scene.

The third scene was fine, but quick, and I didn't really have anything to do.

And after that, Mike and Bill were done, and took a lot of the fun with them.

Then I had "The butt scene".

Compared to the strip-club scene in Season 6, where I was almost-naked in front of the female series regulars and a group of extras, this was pretty small potatoes (Someone sees my butt crack as I'm bent over, there's an awkward moment, and everyone moves on).

So while I'm never going to be thrilled about being "the butt of the joke" - in this case literally - I wasn't feeling hugely angst-ridden about it (I told myself beforehand, "If Dan Ackroyd could do it on Saturday Night Live in the 70s, you can do it on Shameless in 2017...").

When we were shooting, at one point I did hear a couple snarky comments (From Steve H. and a crew person) that I didn't think were strictly necessary or especially helpful (And if I were a fellow series-regular, instead of a lowly recurring, I would definitely have said something, like "Shut the fuck up Howey!"), but all-in-all, it didn't seem like that big a deal while we were shooting.

Actually, a bigger deal than my low-level embarrassment was that the scene was requiring me to be on my knees, on the floor, for multiple takes - I wasn't having to do a stunt or anything (I just had to be on my knees, and then get up), but I was a 56-year-old man with I'm pretty sure some degree of osteoarthritis, having to put his weight on his knees on a concrete floor, over and over again.

It wasn't that much fun - Almost 48 hours later, my knees are still hurting.

And the day ended as it began - with me waiting around, trying not to eat, feeling generally superfluous (And a little depressed - I'm not quite sure why. Maybe because the "fun" of the day had taken so long to start, and had dissipated so quickly? I don't know).

(The "waiting around at the end" happens a lot - You finish your bit, but they don't want to release you, in case they need you in another shot. So you wait around, and then, of course, they forget about you till you either have to ask again "Am I done?", or just wait till they're done in general.)

I had pretty mixed results on the "trying not to eat" front (A couple times, I had a piece of fruit when I wanted a doughnut or what-have-you, and a couple times..it "went the other way". It's very disappointing that "crafty", which I thought I had licked, is once again a definite problem in terms of my weight-loss).

And that was Episode #806.

I'm on for the next episode - I'm hoping it'll shoot in the morning, on one of my days off.

And hopefully, we can keep my ass under wraps this time!

____________________

(3:10 pm)

Well, I didn't know when I was going to hear, or even if I was going to hear, but a few days ago, I heard - I made the cut for the "Specialized Patient" program at UCLA!

I am pleased...but it's a distinctly muted level of "pleased" - I'm a big fan of winning prizes, but beyond that, it couldn't have been a more non-committal communication (I don't know how often I'm likely to be called in, or when, so have no idea how big a "prize" this prize is gonna be).

But it would be nice if it covered the $100 a month rent increase that starts next month (And there's some ongoing technical bullshit happening at one of the WW stores that's making me actually consider dropping that meeting altogether, so...it would be nice if I could make enough from this new gig to do that as well. Which, honestly, I've been wishing I could do even before the computers went kaput. But I guess we'll see).

____________________

Well, I didn't want to go to my weekly WW meeting today, but I did.

As I strongly suspected would be the case, the news wasn't good (Two restaurant outings and a day on set proved more than I could manage). But as I say when I'm on the other side of the scale, "A new week begins...".

And I really do believe that's one of the advantages of meetings, particularly if you've not had a great week with your weight loss - You can see the weigh-in as a fresh start, instead of just spiraling into a dark void of hopelessness, and giving up.

So...A new week begins.

____________________

(7:00 pm)

Back from Zumba (Victoria, thanks for suggesting I do that when I was on-the-fence about it, instead of my alternate plan to "walk the long way around" to the grocery store and "call it good"...though I should actually do that too, cause I need groceries).

Speaking of Victoria, that's another nice thing that's happened in the past few weeks - Victoria, a friend from WW (I first met her as a member at the Sunday meeting I work in Culver City, and now I work with her on Saturday mornings at the center near Beverly and LaCienega), has become a friend outside of work.

I don't think we're gonna actually be hanging out much IRL (She's married, with a delightful eight-year-old girl, and has a real job to boot, so it's not like she has loads of time on her hands), but we've been texting/messaging each other, and it's been fun (Though I still find texting frustrating in terms of actually trying to have a conversation - I'm so much better at just talking on the phone - I realize this is what's done these days, and I'm hoping I'll get faster with practice).

She's smart and funny, which always wins you big points in my book, and like me, is not at her WW goal weight (She's trying to reach Lifetime, and I'm trying to get back to Lifetime), so we're going to motivate/encourage each other on that front, which I think will be very helpful.

Anyway, that's something that's made life a little more fun lately (And these days, anything that makes life "a little more fun" means a great deal to me), so I thought I'd mention it.

And on that note, I think I've written about everything I'd intended to write about.

Till next time...!


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