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5:02 pm - Sun 12/18/05
The Bike Has No Legs

The Bike Has No Legs

Sat 12/17/05 (2:38 p.m.)

It took me awhile, but I finally got the car into the shop yesterday.

(The day before, while moving my car to the “safe” side of the street, I popped the hood, eventually found the cap for the power steering fluid, and checked things out. Then I realized I didn’t know what the hell I was looking for–what color the fluid is supposed to be, how full the reservoir is supposed to be, etc.–put the cap back on, and went back to my apartment, feeling like even less of a man than I had a moment before.)

Anyway, when I got to the shop the next day, the mechanic told me I had front brake issues, rotor issues, and needed a replacement hose for the power steering (He also wanted to sell me a couple tires, but basically dropped that after I referred to myself as “a poor, poor man”).

The guy said “the worst case scenario”–if the rotor (s) needed to be replaced rather than repaired, for example–would be around $300 (Not being stupid, I figured it was a given that it would be “the worst case scenario”. And sure enough, when I got called that the car was ready to be picked up–I’m going to pick it up Monday morning--the total was $341).

Of course, I’d prefer this sort of thing never happen–As I told the car guy, I’m a poor, poor man--but at the same time, I’m not terribly put-out by it. I was actually steeling myself for some horrific quote that would leave me weeping uncontrollably in the guy’s arms, so “around $300" was actually a relief of sorts (Years ago, when the Corsica started to “go south” on me, I actually did cry, more than once, on my way out of a mechanic’s shop, as I watched all the money I had at that point drain away on car repairs that didn’t repair a thing).

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Visited Cary and Kay on Thursday.

They’re leaving for Michigan on Monday, so this was our “Xmas thing”–Cary picked me up at the North Hollywood Metro station, and we drove to their place, where happily, young Donovan was just finishing his bath, and was excited enough by having company that he was up for awhile (Speaking of Donovan, I’ve gotta get that picture of the two of us scanned in here, before he’s of college age).

We chatted about this and that, and had a nice meal, and they gifted me with a $100 Target gift card (Which it quickly occurred to me would get me a good chunk of the way towards buying a new bike when the time comes: The last time I took my current bike in to the bike shop, the guy reeled off a list of serious problems, at least one of which is not “fixable”, and when I said “So you’re saying the bike’s on its last legs?”, responded by saying “This bike has no legs”).

(I don’t usually troll for gifts/donations to the cause here, but if someone, for whatever reason, wanted to send me a gift/donation to the cause, another Target card, getting me closer to that adult-sized Schwinn or Huffy, would be greatly appreciated.)

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Well, the ArcLight seems to be settling into being any other job, where sometimes it sucks, and sometimes...it doesn’t suck as much.

I’m kidding.

I’ve had times at concessions where I thought “Oh my God, this is too much...I’m not gonna make it...I’m gonna start screaming and crying, and they’ll have to take me out of here, and people will be like ‘Did you hear what happened to Jim? He had a breakdown in the middle of of a set’, and they had to call the paramedics to haul him away...”.

Sometimes, it is pretty hard (A full-house at “The Dome” is 825 seats, and you have four concession registers to deal with it; in the other “zones”, you’re handling seven theaters worth of crowds). I just don’t have the juice, basically. But the thing is, it doesn’t matter whether or not you’ve got “the juice” to deal with a huge “set”, cause the horde just. keeps. coming (At least until the movies start playing).

On the other hand, I was a ticket taker in “The Dome” on Tuesday, and did virtually nothing until the midnight show of King Kong (And I know this wouldn’t be a management-approved attitude, but I think times when I don’t have to do a lot somewhat make up for times I think “This is just too much...”).

I’m starting to get to know people (And vice-versa), and that’s nice. I don’t know if any real friendships are going to be formed–It’s a young crowd, by and large, and I haven’t met anyone I could imagine hanging out with outside of work–but as long as I like people when I’m there, and they like me, I can deal.

This is sort of odd, but a run-in I had with a nutty coworker (On Tuesday, I think it was), seemed to help me “bond” with my more sane coworkers.

I don’t want to bore you with the whole story, but there was basically a lot of unnecessary drama about the stock list; when I didn’t respond the way this person wanted (By dropping what I was doing–refilling the ice in the soda machines-- and attending to the stock list. Which, it turned out, someone else was already working on), she got testy, and kind of loud, and threatened not to help me with the evening’s closing–As closing usher in that zone to my closing concession person, part of her job was to help me by getting stock, taking out the trash, etc (But we were hours away from that part of the program. At the time of this little “episode”, there were a number of concession people and ushers, so she didn’t have to be the person who got the stock, and I didn’t have to be the person who made up the stock list).

Wanting to smooth things over, I tried to be conciliatory at one point, but she really wasn’t having it. It seemed like she just wanted to be angry by then.

When she left, a number of my coworkers approached, saying not to let it bother me, that everyone was having problems with this person, etc and so forth (For the record, this person started the week before I did, and already had a bad “rep”).

But I was very bothered by her threat not to help me with closing, and by the fact that she’d just made a spectacle of me in front of my coworkers, so I went right to a manager and described what had happened and what had been said., which led to me getting called in to the office to talk to a couple managers, then her getting called in, and what should have been nothing became an international incident.

Anyway, when they called her in, she apparently denied that she’d threatened not to help me with closing–Which was stupid, because she’d said it in front of a number of our coworkers–and I guess rather than have to close with me that night, she quit.

It’s all kind of ...odd to me. I would have preferred the whole thing not happen, but on the other hand, it drew me a little closer to my coworkers, and if this person is too high-strung for the real world (She’s an actress, naturally), better she’s out of my life now than six or eight months from now.

So anyway, crazy girl aside, I don’t seem to be having any issues with anyone, or they with me, and the job seems to be settling down into something I can probably deal with.

And the thing about those “sets”, when you’re doing concessions? Whether it’s a slow day or crazy busy, whether all your equipment works or everything is going wrong, whether you’re feeling fairly chipper or a touch “under the weather” (As I was on Sunday), you know that the “set” will, eventually, come to an end.

That Big Gorilla’s A Pretty Good Actor...

Sun 12/18/05 (3:01 p.m.)

This is seeming like a relatively easy week at the ArcLight–Unlike the first three weeks (Two at the ArcLight, and one at The Grove), where I worked four shifts at concessions and one at usher, and this past week (Where I had two closing concession shifts), this week I only have two concession shifts-one closing-and three ushering shifts.

Yesterday I was usher/ticket taker, which can have its tense moments (Say, for example, when there’s a huge line, and you can’t get someone’s online ticket to scan), but is basically pretty easy duty.

The big “issues” as usher, as I see them, are 1) Not everyone actually cares about the assigned seating at ArcLight, so people want to move around sometimes, and don’t understand why that’s a big deal (If you move out of your assigned seat, you’re very possibly moving into someone else’s assigned seat, which can pose “domino effect” type-of-problems. And of course, when there’s a full-house, you have to be pretty insistent on people staying put), and 2) The theater has a “no seating” policy after the first ten minutes of the movie (The ArcLight is big on offering a “distraction free” movie-going environment). And while as an usher you have some measure of “flexibility” on this–If a person’s eleven minutes late, and there’s room to seat them on the side somewhere, you can do that–you can end up dealing with some pretty unhappy people, when they’re twenty minutes late and you tell them they won’t actually be seeing their movie that night.

The big movie at the theater right now is King Kong, which I saw this past Thursday.

I don’t think it’s a perfect movie, by any stretch (There’s no way it needed to be three hours long), but I liked it quite a bit, nevertheless.

(My favorite moment? Kong’s reaction to Ann after he’s fought the last “Vastasaurus”; to me, it looked for all the world like the gorilla version of “Really, you don’t need to thank me or anything...”.)

I thought “Kong”–the character--was very impressive all-around–Okay, amazing, really–and as I told some guests yesterday, while the action set-pieces are very impressive (Though they usually go on too long), what I thought they were going to come out of the theater remembering were some of the quieter moments, because the “relationship” between “Ann” and “Kong” actually works.

It did for me, anyway.

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Got my first full ArcLight paycheck on Thursday.

I worked 66 hours–Exactly how many hours I worked at Borders per pay period last year–and made $439 and change.

(At this point, it seems as if I’m getting a lot of hours one week, and not so many the next.)

Doing without such luxuries as health insurance, dental, and a 401K, my “take-home” was about $45 more than a comparable Borders check.

But I’m going to cry about the implications of all this at a later date, because I’m running out of time and want to move on to other things...

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Pretty sure, at this late date, that the year is pretty much over for me, in terms of acting stuff (I’ve had one audition this month, making it my worst December in years).

Doing a little “Acting Year In Review” for 2005, I’m of two minds...

On the one hand, it was a pretty disappointing year, in that I only booked three gigs, and it was the first year I didn’t make more than the year before; I not only didn’t make my living acting, it didn’t even provide a decent “side income”. And making a living from acting is what I came out here to do.

And moving towards five years out here, I’ve still done very little actual “acting”; the idea of playing an honest-to-goodness role that has something to it still seems like a very distant dream.

But...

The fact that I found a place–The Actors Co-op Group–that offered cheap casting director/agent “workshops”, was huge. It was a boost for me both personally (Having something else to do other than go to work and go home, and having the opportunity to be around other actors, made me feel less isolated than I had been) and professionally (Before this year, I basically had no access to casting directors. I was invisible. But now I’ve been seen by some of the biggest CDs in the business).

And through the ACG, I booked House M.D. Which, again, was huge.

It reminds me of the time before I’d booked my first commercial–You find it hard to believe it’s actual possible before it happens, then once it does, suddenly a world of possibility opens up: “Well, if it happened once...”

And once I started getting seen by casting directors, it happened (relatively) quickly–I only started with ACG in June, and by October, I’d been seen by the casting director who called me in for House (Makes me wish I’d discovered the ACG a couple years earlier).

Well, there’s more to write about–Christy (The girl I liked at Borders) emailed me today, for one thing–but I’ve gotta get myself to the work site...

 

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