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10:49 am - Sun 5/28/06
Drunken Cycling And Other Bad Ideas

Drunken Cycling, and Other Bad Ideas

Fri 5/26/06 (2:57 p.m.)

As a journaler, I’m not doing very well at keeping up with my ever-changing emotional fortunes.

Prior to paying my bills on Tuesday, I checked my bank balance (I’d just deposited my last paycheck a day or two previously).

It wasn’t good.

That kind of messed up my day a bit (A lot, actually). And I had a bad night at work, as I usually do when checking my bank balance and finding myself in the red zone.

(You’ve heard it all before–I don’t have anything, I don’t do anything, so how come I can’t pay my effin' bills with the money I earn from effin' job?–but it continues to frustrate me. It continues to frustrate me a lot.)

The big issue right now is my fear that I’m going to go into serious “deficit spending”, and not be able to make June rent (Actually, I’m already into “deficit spending; the bad thing about being “cash poor” is that you start breaking into the credit cards, even though you know you’re going deeper into debt, because that beats having nothing in your checking account come rent time).

But for whatever reason, the next day, I actually felt a little better. The bills were paid for another month, I should have a pretty good paycheck next Thursday (At least relative to what I typically make), and...well, there isn’t an “and”, really; I think I just slipped into a blissful, “Somehow things will work out” haze at that point.

I could have gone to a movie on Wednesday (It’s always smart for me to go to a movie on Wednesday, if I’m going to, because there’s the chance that if I don’t, I’m going to get called for an audition on Thursday, and end up not being able to go to the movies at all over my "weekend"). But I couldn’t quite get myself motivated.

(Sometimes I have a hard time “getting myself motivated” to get out of the house on my days off. If I don’t have a workshop, or there isn't a movie at the theater compelling enough to get me moving, I’ll likely stay in the house all day, bouncing between the tv and the computer. And napping, of course.)

But by mid-afternoon, I knew I had to do something, because the problem is that, while I may not want to go out and “do something” on a day off, if I don’t, I feel miserable when I go back to work on Friday, like “there’s another weekend blown...”.

So I went on a bike ride, decided to see a part of the city I've never seen before.

Riding my Jim-powered bike, I worked my way as far south as Western and 58th street, then east to Vermont, then back home.

(It was over an hour into my trip before I saw another white person, making me wonder–Does the fact that I’m still very aware of that sort of thing make me a racist? How about the fact that I’m still very aware of that sort of thing, and it still makes me a little nervous?)

Riding my bike that long made me realize that, if I don’t have anywhere in particular to go, and aren’t in any rush, I can go quite a ways (I think it helps that Kay’s bike actually “fits” me better than either of my last two bikes).

(That said, I’m not sure how I’d do if I tried to head up, and over, the hills going north. But I’ll have to try it sometime.)
Back in "real time"...

On Thursday, I had my first commercial audition in almost a month-and-a-half, for Cisco. Felt pretty good about it-We'll see what happens.

And on Tuesday, I have two auditions--one for Kellogs, and one for Hummer--that are both nationals.

(And have I mentioned lately that the right national could drastically change my fortunes...?)

Thursday was a pretty good day for me. Very "career-y"; I checked the breakdowns when I got up, had my commercial audition at noon, watched a movie (Over The Hedge) in the afternoon, then had a workshop in the evening.

The workshop--with Chadwick Struck--was interesting; he told us we could improvise with the scenes, and gave me a scene with two other people (Two young ladies--which reminded me that the most attractive women I usually see in a given week are at workshops. Which is another reason I enjoy going to these things). It was fun--I played a lawyer being drummed out of the firm by two young, cold-blooded hotshots.

Friday night after work, I went out with some of the folks--first to Big Wangs, then to Steve's place--and drank more than I strictly needed to.

A lot more (It wasn't the beer that did me in, it was the vodka-and-cranberry juice/screwdrivers afterwards).

I think I want to not do that anymore, and not just because hangovers are no fun--Being as drunk as I was coming out of Steve's apartment is a bad idea; I'm in LA, and I would have been a very easy mark for anyone who wanted my bike and/or my wallet, not to mention that drinking and bike-riding are not exactly "two great tastes that go great together".

And even though I only bought one pitcher, that was money I don't have right now. And if I'm going to spend money I don't have, I think I want to spend it on something more meaningful to me than beer.

And there's something more...While I like this group of people(Chris, Hannah, Casey, Donald, Efrain, and so on), and I'm very pleased and flattered that they've invited me into their little gang, and I enjoy hanging out with them when I'm hanging out with them, I often feel a vague dissatisfaction afterwards.

Long story short, I'd like to have a stronger bond with people than being "drinking buddies".

Yesterday, in addition to dealing with the deleterious effects of alcohol poisoning, I seemed to be getting a case of strep throat.

If you remember, I don't have health insurance right now, so if this sore throat doesn't go away in the next day or two, whatever it is, I'm going to be calling the LA Free Clinic, and seeing if I can't get in on Wednesday or Thursday.

Well, I guess that's it, and in any case, I have to get off to work, where I'll be spending the day making caramel corn.

(I wrote this next bit a couple weeks ago. I think it's mildly interesting. In any case, it's something I think about periodically.)

Some time back, I read an interview with Bennett Miller, the director of Capote.

He referred to the movie as “a cautionary tale” (The quote from Capote himself at the end of the movie pretty much says it all–“There are more tears shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones”). Capote’s greatest work, In Cold Blood, a “non-fiction novel” that would be a literary landmark, and the moral compromises he made in order “to get the story”, ruined him as an artist, perhaps even driving him to an early grave.

I imagine that theory could be debated (Maybe Capote only had the one great book in him. And maybe the seeds of his personal destruction were sown much earlier than the events depicted in the movie. I don’t really know), but it’s a sobering idea: Your moment of greatest triumph could be your undoing. The thing you want most in the world, if you actually got it (If you “sold your soul” to get it), could destroy you.

But you know what I found myself thinking after reading the interview?

“Well, Truman Capote might have been a happier person had he not written In Cold Blood...but then we wouldn’t have In Cold Blood.”

And this may not sound very nice, but for my purposes, who cares if Truman Capote was a happy person or not, as long as he wrote a great book for me to read?


More recently, I was working in retail at the theater, looking through a book called Celebrity Diss & Tell (A collection of catty quotes from celebs about other celebs).

I came across a quote from Kathyrn Grayson about Fred Astaire–a hero of mine–referring to him as “insecure and unpleasant” (I didn’t write it down, but that was the jist).

Now, I’m not an Astaire expert, by any stretch of the imagination, but I’ve read enough that it wasn’t the first time I’ve heard unflattering things about him as a person.

But again, I have to wonder--If Fred Astaire wasn't a difficult guy to deal with "in real life", would we even know who he was at this point?

I'm thinking, "probably not".

Too bad for Fred Astaire that he was "insecure". And too bad for the people around him that he was "unpleasant".

But as someone who has thrilled to his dancing, I'm glad he was "insecure" enough to feel he could never quite get it right, and "unpleasant" enough to demand that the people he worked with lived up to his high artistic standards.


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