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1:03 PM - 01.05.17
My Year In Review - The "2016 Sucked" Edition
Woke up a couple days ago, and the first thing I thought was "I should write my 'Year in Review' entry today..." (I'd been procrastinating for probably a solid week at that point).

But the idea of writing about 2016 put me in such a bad mood, you'd think I'd woken up thinking, "Gotta get all my teeth pulled without anesthesia today..."(In part to avoid the task, I did a half-dozen loads of laundry, which is typically a chore I'll put off until it absolutely has to be done - Which explains why there were a half-dozen loads to do in the first place).

I even thought, for a hot minute, of skipping a "yearly wrap-up" altogether...but that didn't seem right.

So, for better or worse, here it is, the entry you've all been waiting for...

My Year In Review - The "2016 Sucked" Edition

I actually came late to the "2016 Sucked!" party.

Yes, like everyone else, I felt there was an inordinate amount of celebrity death going on.

And there was certainly a lot to be depressed about politically in an election year, from the Republican primaries on.

And my career continued not going anywhere.

But I told myself that, for the most part, the celebrity deaths didn't really matter - Particularly in the instance of famous actors and musicians. I mean, it wasn't like we were friends or anything. And the thing I liked about them (Their art) was still going to be available to me anytime I wanted it. So I told myself these "losses" weren't really that much of a loss when it came down to it.

And the election stuff was depressing - I was more-or-less constantly incredulous, thinking "This is the level of discourse now? These are the best we can do for Presidential candidates?" - and Donald Trump emerging as the front-runner on the Republican side was the rotten cherry on top of that shit sundae...but somehow, some way, I assumed things were going to "work out in the end" (On the Democratic side, I started out pretty interested in Bernie Sanders, but didn't have a problem with voting for Hillary when it became clear she'd be the nominee).

And yeah, my career was continuing to feel stuck-in-neutral. But I did book a commercial early in the year (And a national, no less!).

And when the Shameless shooting season started, they were booking me for episodes at a brisk enough pace that I was thinking it might be a record-breaking year (It bothers me hugely that Shameless has become the only thing I have to brag about as an actor - I thought it was going to be the "beginning" of things really happening, instead of where I ended up - but since it is about all I have, I hang a lot of professional self-esteem on it).

But then the celebrity deaths just kept coming...and coming...and coming...

And while only a few really made me feel a genuine sense of loss (Muhammad Ali and Prince come to mind), anytime someone died who was less than 70-years-old, it sent a chill through me.

Because 2016 was the year it really struck me that, any way you slice it, I'm way closer to the end of things than the beginning, with all the attendant regrets and fears that brings up.

(When David Bowie and Alan Rickman died around the same time, at 69, I remember thinking how our age difference was about the length of time I've been in LA. That really made death frighteningly palpable to me...and then, because my mind just couldn't leave well enough alone, I thought, "You're worried about dying at 69? Where's the guarantee you're even gonna live that long?".)

And even if all the deaths didn't involve a huge sense of personal loss, the accumulated effect was to suggest that the world I know, the world I grew up in, is starting to disappear.

And politically, the thing I thought wouldn't ultimately happen, ultimately happened - I don't want to spend a lot of time re-hashing last year's stupid, ugly campaign, so I'll just say that, for my money, we now have the worst guy we've ever had about to become President, just a top-to-bottom piece-of-shit of a human being. I'm disgusted by him and his followers, and more scared for the country than I think I've ever been.

And even the couple "wins" I had in terms of acting got snatched from me - The KFC commercial (Which was a nothing bit in the first place), ended up getting cut out of the completed spot, meaning something I thought would "make things okay" financially for the year ended up being a one-shot payment (There's no way to say how much money I lost out on, but it's the difference between hundreds of dollars and thousands of dollars).

And while I did indeed shoot a record number of Shameless episodes (And got paid an exorbitant amount for the last one), I got completely cut from two episodes - including that last one - and basically reduced to an extra in some others.

People often say that it's not usually about you when something you do gets cut from a TV show or movie (It's usually for time or some other consideration). I think I've said it in here, for that matter.

But that said, it happened so much this year it was hard not to take it a little personally (And even if it didn't happen because I used to be a good actor but now I suck, it's still no fun being in the bits on a show that are the first thing to be cut as unnecessary - I'm already wrestling with feeling insignificant, in life and on the show, so I didn't really need the Shameless editors backing me up on that. And again, getting cut from a thing sucks on a practical level as well, as a loss of income. Because if you aren't in the completed thing, guess what? No residuals).

Thurs 1/5/17 (11:05 am)

Actually had more auditions overall in 2016 than in the previous year, which surprised me.

I basically had nine more auditions on the commercial side, which was good, but two fewer auditions theatrically, which was...less good (particularly since 2015 hadn't exactly been a record-breaker theatrically).

But I didn't book shit.

Technically, I booked a commercial, albeit a very disappointing one, and got three avails (Which means I got close to winning, but then didn't), so at least some stuff kinda/sorta happened on that front.

But on the theatrical side, a dozen auditions - and how the fuck do you make a career out of that? - and...nothing.

Which means it's now been three years since I booked a non-Shameless tv gig.

I'm not sure if I can really communicate how that makes me feel - Depressed, frustrated, angry with myself, and these days, just flat-out scared.

Because if I can't make anything happen beyond Shameless, what the fuck is gonna happen when Shameless wraps up for good?

(Is it becoming clear why I was putting off writing this entry...?)

So what else happened in 2016?

I've lost track of when I started Zumba, but it either started in 2016, or continued on in 2016.

So it either started being an important part of my life, or continued being an important part of my life. I struck through the challenging initial period, made it a regular part of my life (I go three-four times a week most weeks), and came to really enjoy it most times (And even when I didn't, I stuck with it).

And I love my instructor - And I don't mean that in a sexual/romantic way (Though I do find her attractive), but in the sense that she just exudes love and kindness to a truly exceptional degree, and it would be impossible not to love her for it.

(What I just said - about Zumba in general and Thea in particular - makes it particularly upsetting that I've been experiencing some knee "issues" during class - and in the past couple days, it's gotten worse, and continued outside of class - that make me fearful that, before too long, I'll be saying, "Yeah, I did Zumba for awhile, till I messed up my knee...". Which reminds me, I have to pay my health insurance premium, so I can schedule a Doctor's appointment to get it looked it, and hopefully have him tell me "You're fine - Just keep doing what you're doing and it'll work itself out".)

After many years of service, the 1990 Toyota Corolla (That I think I bought in 2002?) finally gave up the ghost this year, in somewhat dramatic fashion (On fire in my apartment's parking garage, complete with a visit by the fire department).

I considered different options - Leasing an Electric Fiat 500, buying something used from a dealer (Which I've never done before), etc - before buying a 2002 Honda Accord off Craigslist.

In spite of hiring a mechanic to look at the car beforehand, things didn't go exactly as I'd hoped in the days after my purchase - I ended up replacing the rack-and-pinion, and there was a leak in the transmission that, since I drove around for some time with basically no transmission fluid, means the transmission is a little fucked-up (The car gets me where I need to go, but is clearly not 100% okay - I don't want this to happen, but I won't be surprised if I'm looking at a replacement transmission in the not-as-distant-as-I-want-it-to-be future).

But on the other side, while it's still an old car, it's 12 years younger than what I had, so to me it's a substantial upgrade - I'm not embarrassed driving it around (I don't know what shade of "blue" it is, but it looks really nice), the air-conditioning works, the driver's-side window actually rolls down (That's huge for me), and maybe nicest of all, it has a nice stereo system (With a CD player I haven't used yet), and an auxillary plug, so I can play music and stand-up comedy from my phone over the car speakers, as I drive around in unembarrassed, air-conditioned comfort.

(In a way, it's made me appreciate being poor - I'm guessing this "upgrade", from a 26-year-old car to a 14 year old car, had made me happier than most rich people feel when they go from one luxury car to another.)

And the thing I felt good about, after the purchase and the unexpected repairs and all that, is that, whatever the difficulties, I was able to negotiate the situation on my own. I felt a small swell of pride that I didn't have to ask anyone for help (Though I feel like I've poisoned that well pretty good anyway), and that, while I don't think of myself as "successful" financially, I was ultimately able to do what I needed to do to get myself rolling again.

And "last but not least", 2016 was the year I visited a professional escort.


It was weird, it was scary, it was educational, it was exciting, it was sexy, and it was...memorable (I think about her to this day).

I've periodically felt some guilt and regret over the money spent, because it was easily the most money I've ever spent on an "experience" - I've felt like I should have spent it here or there instead, or not spent it at all - and of course, in a perfect world I wouldn't have to pay someone to be with me sexually in the first place.

But at this writing, after I weigh the emotional pros and cons, I'm glad I did it.

And honestly? My only regret right now is that I really can't justify doing it some more.


Well, there are dribs and drabs of things I could address - dabbling in edibles for the first time (Like my experiences with Ryan, I feel guilty for spending money to just "indulge myself" - it's a way less expensive habit than visiting an escort, granted, but it's still a new habit I don't strictly need to be doing), starting to learn Spanish (In part because of my experience with buying my car from a Spanish-speaking owner), trying to set up my apartment to allow me to be a little more organized and hopefully creative, etc. - but I think I've "hit the high points".

I've struggled for "hope" as I approached the new year, in terms of the country at large, and in terms of my own life.

I want to not be afraid.

I want to believe good times, and good things, are still ahead for me.

While I know whatever happens moving forward won't be entirely up to me - cause it never is - I also know that, being hyper-aware of the passing of time (And particularly the passing of my time), I can spend that time afraid and anxious, or do my best to get the most I can from whatever time I have left.

Cause as the great philosopher Yogi Berra once said, "It ain't over till it's over".


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