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11:10 am - Fri 2/1/08
A One-In-Ten-Million Face

A One-In-Ten-Million Face

A lot to write about today...

Had a doctor's appointment on Tuesday.

This was with Dr Alessi, the ENT doc Dr Waxler referred me to for my sleep apnea/sinus/allergy issues (I'd finally made the appointment after Dr Waxler chided me for procrastinating last time I saw him).

Dr Alessi seconded stuff that's been said to me in the past; my nose is indeed quite messed-up, and my apnea problem is structural (As opposed to being weight-related).

He also told me something interesting; turns out I'm not just ugly, I'm actually deformed (Of course, he didn't say it quite that way); I have something called Crouzon Syndrome, something that occurs in about one in ten million births, and which basically means the bones in my skull didn't form/knit together the way they were supposed to (Which is why I don't have cheekbones, why my teeth are messed up, and I'd guess why I have sleep apnea).

Weirdly enough, according to Wikipedia, Crouzon Syndrome also explains why I have freakishly short legs for my height.

When I got home, I Googled "Crouzon Syndrome", and from some of the pictures I saw, seems I got off pretty lightly, and "deformed" might be a bit overstated, all things considered; I could definitely see the resemblance between me and some of the unfortunates depicted in the photographs, but I didn't get hit with the Crouzon ugly-stick nearly as hard as some folks.

I don't think there's anything to do about it now, except to, if possible, fix the problems that have resulted from it (Cosmetically, it's hard to imagine the time, expense, and the pain involved in basically having my face re-done from the nose on down. Not to mention the fear, with that much "work" being done, of ending up looking like Michael Jackson, and losing that "great look" everyone says I have).

It was interesting to find this out; the doctor said "I bet no one's told you this before...", and indeed, no one ever has(First a Meckel's diverticulum, now Crouzon Syndrome; seems I am indeed an "odd duck", right down to the genetic level).

Anyway, the first order of business, in terms of attending to my problems, is to get a new sleep study, then do my nose (A septoplasty, with maybe a little rhinoplasty thrown in for good measure), and, if indicated, do a couple rounds of somnaplasty on my throat (Kind of like laser surgery, except with high-frequency radio waves).

After that stuff gets squared away, then it's on to my allergies (I've never been officially diagnosed, but I clearly have allergies, and as long as I'm interested in breathing better, I might as well attend to them).

Right now, I'm waiting to get the word on my insurance approving the sleep study, so think a good thought for a speedy approval, so I can deal with this stuff in a timely manner.


After my doctor visit Tuesday morning, I decided to go work out, leaving the car in the parking ramp afterwards and taking the Metro home (There's a 24 Hour Fitness next to ArcLight, and a city parking ramp that services both. I can leave my car there up to three days, which has often come in handy, with the parking situation in my neighborhood).

Anyway, on my way to 24 Hour Fitness, I passed a place on Hollywood called Hollywood Ninja, which was walking distance from the theater.

So after working out, and leaving my car in the ramp, I walked to Hollywood Ninja, and after debating what self-defense item to buy, purchased my first stun gun.

It's a small black rectangle, about the size of a pack of cigarettes that, when you flip a switch and hit the button, delivers a 400,000 volt shock (I thought about testing it on myself, then decided to just take their word for it).

I felt weird about the purchase - I don't think I've ever bought an actual weapon before (albeit a non-lethal weapon) - and am still feeling a little weird about it; it was weird to spend $40 on something I hope I'll never use, and weirder still to be dealing with my fear not by denial or avoidance (My typical methods through the years), but by doing my best to be prepared for the thing I fear.

Hopefully, what happened Xmas eve will never happen again. But if it does, I'd rather zap the guy and scamper away, than be in some extended, hurt-or-be-hurt/kill-or-be-killed situation.

But honestly? I still don't like the way this makes me feel; I miss my imaginary "Bubble Of Safety"...


I had two auditions on Wednesday (Something that briefly had me a little bunched-up, when they fell within a half-hour of each other. But happily, that worked out without much problem).

The first audition was for a film called 20 Percent Fiction, a comedy with Robert DeNiro as Executive Producer (!).

I was going in for the part of "Vic", a student in an adult-ed type acting class; I had to go in with a short improvised monologue about a space captain (In one scene, I'm doing a monologue from a computer game called Loadstar: The Final Adventure), then read a couple brief scenes with one of the casting people (Besides the monologue, there were four "Vic" lines total).

I was nervous about the monologue - I don't think of myself as a capital W "Writer" and I have no improv experience - but I have to say, I was quite pleased at what I came up with. I thought it worked, had the right corny tone, and showed I have a good sense of humor.

And it must have went well, because I got a call from Brett about two hours later telling me I had a callback the next day.

The callback went very well.

The director, Barry Primus, was quite friendly; we chatted briefly, then after hearing my monologue, and the line that followed it, he gave me some re-direction (Basically, to make it simpler). Then he made a point of telling me I'd been "spot-on" in taking his re-direct, we chatted for another moment or two, then said our goodbyes.

So who knows? He seemed to make a point, at the end, of telling me they had to look through the tapes (as if to explain why he couldn't just cast me on the spot), but that could have just been the nice thing he said to everyone.

But I left knowing they'd liked me, that I'd done my best, and that now it's out of my hands, and just a question of matching people up with other people.

(I thought this was seriously cool; Gina Torres, of Alias and Firefly fame, was auditioning for the movie as well. I was very tempted to be a fanboy, but figured that was probably poor form in an audition waiting room.)

The commercial audition was not nearly as exciting - I was going in to be one of a "herd" of dentists for a Yellow Pages commercial - but again, I left feeling like there was no particular reason I couldn't get it (And as I think I've made clear, Jimmy has recently found out he really likes making money).

(The spot involved an elderly couple looking for a dentist, which turns into a jungle safari. So I auditioned with four other "dentists", and it was basically our job to snap to attention, like animals sensing danger, then run out of frame; not much "acting" involved, but a funny visual, and I could see it being a memorable spot.)

Well, I feel like this has gone on for forever and a day, but as I said, there was a lot to write about.

And I hope the next time I write, it'll be to say I'm cast in 20% Fiction - I want to book it because I want to book everything, as I've said many times before, but this would be particularly cool because 1) It's a film, and I want some film credits, 2) It's a film executive-produced by Robert DeNiro, and it's wild to think that Robert DeNiro could be watching me act at some point, and 3) It's a small part, but it's an actual part; even if what I read it all there is, there's enough there to make an actual impression, and I've been craving that since I got here.


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