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7:05 am - Tues 6/22/04
The Imaginary Eclair

The Imaginary Eclair

A short time ago, while reading David Sedaris's new book (Dress Your Family In Corduroy And Denim), I shut my eyes for a moment, and an image came to me, unbidden; A bakery case, where, amongst other tasty treats, there was a huge chocolate eclair (When I say "huge", I'd estimate it was the size of a 6" submarine sandwich).

Not only was it huge, it was perfect, the type of aesthetically pleasing dessert that would be on the cover of Chocolate Eclair Monthly, if indeed there were such a magazine.

And now, of course, I want that huge, perfectly formed, imaginary chocolate eclair...


This past weekend, the movie Dodgeball was number one at the box office, beating The Terminal by some ten or twelve million dollars.

At this point, when a "dumb movie" beats out a "smart movie" at the box office, I'd typically be railing against the stupidity of the American public, except for one thing--The previews I saw for The Terminal pretty much left me cold.

I can't quite put my finger on it, except to say that I suspect a documentary on the real guy--The Iranian man who's lived at the Charles de Gaulle airport in France since 1988--would be much more interesting.

I don't think I'm buying into the "fable" Hanks and Spielberg are trying to sell me (And I'm usually up for a good "fable", so something's definitely gone wrong somewhere).

I didn't see his last movie--The Ladykillers--and I'm not going to be seeing this movie either, which makes the first time in...well, maybe forever that I'm going to be passing on two Tom Hanks movies in a row.

I have liked Tom Hanks through the years, just like the rest of America. I think he's a good actor, he's very funny and engaging on talk shows, and he seems like a decent guy.

But be that as it may, I'm losing interest.

When I think about it, my "interest" in Hanks as an actor peaked quite a long time ago, with the impressive one-two punch of Punchline and Big (I also really liked Splash. That would be on my top ten list of "Favorite Romantic Comedies").

Big is my all-time favorite Tom Hanks movie. It's the one I would have given him an Oscar for, if I had that power (And I would have taken away one of his other Oscars. Probably the one for Philadelphia, since I can imagine other people playing that role just as well as he did).

And I was maybe more impressed with him in Punchline.

If you never saw that movie--and it wasn't a big hit--Hanks plays a standup comic, a performer who could be a huge success if he doesn't self-destruct before he gets there.

It was not a perfect movie, by any stretch--In a movie about two talented aspiring standups (Hanks and Sally Field), you've got a big problem if their "material" isn't very funny, and it wasn't--but Hanks played the angry, egotistical, "on the edge" comic to perfection.

I hadn't thought about that movie for years, really, until I saw Road to Perdition; as I watched that movie, I remember thinking "He's playing a hit man, and he's a nicer guy than his character in Punchline...!".

Obviously, Tom Hanks doesn't need career advice from me--He seems to be doing pretty well on his own--but I just feel myself growing less interested in what he's selling.

(The fact that I've expressed a lack of interest in seeing The Terminal should not suggest that I'm "pro-Dodgeball". That movie strikes me as an SNL skit gone terribly wrong. And you can count me among the people who think that Ben Stiller really needs to give it a rest.)


I'm sick.

I don't mean in a mental/emotional way--You knew that already--but in a "I'm even more tired, more stuffed up, and more sleepy than usual" way.

And my throat hurts.

That hasn't helped me deal with the "Back To Work Letdown" I've experienced this past week.

Actually, I had a good day-and-a-half when I first got back. It's sort of fun to go back to work; you get to tell people about your vacation (I enjoyed telling my "I won in Vegas" story), and it's nice to hear that at least some of your coworkers noticed you'd been gone the past couple weeks.

But by my dinner break on Saturday, I was over it.

It's the post-dinner break time that I've had the most difficulty with. The evenings have been a long, painful slog, where I find myself dreaming of the sweet release of death (Or in my more positive moments, the sweet release of success as an actor).

And I'm back to being really angry at our customers.

Some time back, I started referring to our customers as "fucking pigs" (Not to their faces, of course; that would probably be considered "poor customer service"). But now, that just doesn't seem strong enough anymore--They've become "fucking hogs".

(Because "pigs" are sort of cute, bringing to mind Charlotte's Web and Babe; the first image that comes to mind when I think of "hogs", on the other hand, is of the man-eating herd of swine in Hannibal.)

It's the kind of thing where if you've done retail (Particularly in an "urban environment"), you know how I feel, and if you haven't, you'll never know how I feel.

I'll just say this--After 13 or 14 years, picking up after people has lost a great deal of its allure.


Here's one for the "Be nice to everyone" file...

This past Saturday, I got a call from the woman who played my "wife" in the Incubus "Megalomaniac" video; she had been looking through the "breakdowns", and saw they were casting a role in the HBO show Carnivale that she thought I'd be "perfect" for.

She gave me the name and address of the casting director, I sent a headshot, and we'll see what happens.

(If you remember, I hadn't been too happy with her the day of the shoot--I was having a very good time that day, and felt like she was "pissing on my parade" with her whining and complaining--but I just nodded agreeably and did my job. And apparently, that was the right move; even though I would have preferred that she be happier about being there, it wasn't like she was impacting my work. If she had been, then there probably would have been "words".)


Have had one commercial audition since I last wrote.

It was on Friday--my first day back at work, naturally--at Danny Goldman's, just off Santa Monica.

It was for Glad "Forceflex" Trash Bags. I was playing a scientist at a "hand's on science museum", supervising a family who's putting the bags through various and sundry "stress tests" ("Here at the hand's-on science museum, we're proving that the smart way to make a trash bag strong is with the 'Stretchable Strength' of Forceflex Plastic...").

There was a lot to say, and I was nervous that I didn't know the lines as well as I should have, but the casting person seemed very enthused, nevertheless (I haven't been cast in anything through this agency just yet, but they seem to like me. For the longest time, I never went there, and now I've been there a number of times, and feel like I'm bound to get something through them eventually. If not this spot--Which would be nice-then something else).

The casting person offered some good advice--She said that when there's a lot of copy, actors make the mistake of looking mostly to the camera, then glancing at the cue card if they aren't sure, when what they should do is just the opposite: Read off the cue card, then look to the camera when they feel comfortable.

That makes sense to me--Better that the camera "sees" you comfortable and at ease, than groping for the next line--though of course, the goal would be to have the copy down so well you don't need the cue card.

I'm trying to let these auditions go afterwards, but I find myself really wanting this one, and thus being upset as time goes by and I'm not getting called.

That's no good.

In any case, if I did get it, I'd be going to Portland next Tuesday, shooting the commercial on Wednesday, and coming back the next day.

Well, there's loads more to write about, but it's gonna have to wait, while I go back to bed, and desperately try to get the extra rest that just hasn't been happening...


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