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9:45 am - Sat 3/08/03
Always Leave Vertical

"Always Leave Vertical"

(I saw that sign on the door at Hollywood Video, and thought it seemed like good advice...)


Mon 3/03/03 10:30 am

Another day off trapped in my apartment...

This time out, it's not the rain, because...well, because it's not raining (I was thinking about that the other day; I didn't used to be scared of a little rain, but then I got sick on two separate occasions shortly after being caught out in a shower, and it's made me a tad skittish about getting wet). No, today I am under house arrest while I wait for a repairman to come fix my dead phone line.

(With all the competition amongst phone companies, how can they still get away with making a service call "sometime between 8 am and 6 pm"?)

They actually did come on Friday, apparently, but since I wasn't here to write a check, they didn't bother coming into the apartment to see what the problem was (If it's an outside line, they foot the bill. If it's an inside line, you foot the bill). Now I'm concerned the manager won't be in the office when they come, and I won't know, because the apartment buzzer works through--you guessed it--the phone lines (Which has always seemed like an inconvenient arrangement; If I don't have a phone, or it isn't working, or I'm talking to someone, and the Publishers Clearing House people drop by, I guess I'm just S.O.L.).

But anyway...

On Saturday, since I was already at the library to use a computer, I checked out a couple of dvds, Anchors Aweigh and It Happened One Night.

Anchors Aweigh was all right, but only "all right". For me, there was just too much there I didn't really care about--Jose Iturbi (Who I'd never heard of), Kathryn Grayson, and Frank Sinatra didn't do a thing for me (Kathryn Grayson, in particular, seemed kind of dated; Attractive, but definitely not a "timeless beauty", no great shakes as an actress, and I actually found her solos kind of annoying). And even for a 40s musical, it seemed kind of...simple-minded.

But of course, there's Gene Kelly.

Watching him dance made me think again about my Gene Kelly/Fred Astaire preferences; I like that I live in a world where they both made movies, but if I had to choose one over the other, it would be Fred Astaire.

And why, you might ask? Because I've never wanted to be Gene Kelly.

Watching Gene Kelly dance, the athleticism is pretty dazzling, which I'm sure was a big part of his success (There's no way you can watch Gene Kelly dance and not be aware of the physical exertion involved, meaning this is a man you're watching dance, and not some sissy-boy). Stylistically, it's "in your face". It's "Hey, look at me--I'm dancin'!". Very muscular and earthy.

I don't think there's any comparison who's the more "contemporary" of the two. Fred Astaire-- graceful, sophisticated, lighter-than-air--seems much more the product of a bygone era than Gene Kelly.

But nevertheless, it was always Fred Astaire I wanted to emulate.

It's an old-fashioned notion, I think, but I've always been attracted to "effortlessness". I don't think, watching a performer, that you should ever notice "the gears working" (Of course, "effortlessness" is a fantasy--you don't get to "effortless" without a whole lot of "effort" being involved--but I always thought that was the illusion you wanted to create for the audience; "I was born being able to do this...").

And I think, for me, it goes beyond the idea of "effortlessness", which is very appealing all by itself; When I first saw Fred Astaire, I saw a skinny, kind-of-homely guy (With a toupee that, as one reviewer put it, "looks like it belongs on a ventriloquist's dummy"), who became grace itself when he hit the dance floor, a pretty powerful fantasy image for a skinny, kind-of-homely kid who was desperate to find something that made him feel good, that made him...special (Gene Kelly didn't really have to dance in order to get the girl, while Fred Astaire definitely did).

And maybe this connects to that idea of "effortlessness", but another thing I feel when I watch Fred Astaire that I don't feel nearly as much with Gene Kelly is a sense that he has to dance, that when he dances, he's expressing himself in a way beyond words.

Some time back now, I was reading an interview with B.B. King, and I liked what he had to say about playing a solo. I don't remember his exact words, but basically, the idea was that you try to find the words to say what's in your heart, but when words fail you...that's when the solo comes in.

With Fred Astaire, I feel that, a definite sense of "I can dance it better than I could ever say it...". And that's interesting to me, since Gene Kelly obviously had the loftier artistic ambition.

Anyway, like I said before, I'm glad I get to enjoy both of them, but for me, while Gene Kelly's a great dancer, Fred Astaire is...magic.


10:30 pm

The phone company repair person came late this morning.

To make a long story short, the problem turned out to be the wiring; Not the wiring outside, but the "pre-wiring" (?) inside the building, coming into my apartment. Basically, it's very old and had essentially fallen apart (Early on in my time in this apartment, I had to have a new phone jack installed. I'd hired a private contractor, and he mentioned the ancient wiring at the time).


I realized yesterday that a lot of time has gone by since I've written in here (Actually, I tried to write something day-before-yesterday, but it got lost in cyberspace).

I've had a period of time where there seems to be something I want to say in here, where I feel like I'm on the verge of some kind of breakthrough, and yet I choose to respond to those feelings by not writing. I don't even know what it is I want to say or what "breakthrough" I think I'm on verge of, but nevertheless, an evil little voice inside is saying "Don't do it...whatever it is".

(Interesting...Just that last paragraph made me feel very angry with myself. Like not writing this past week represents some kind of personal failure on my part. Though what I'm failing at I'm not exactly sure. But anyway...)

Been fighting bad feelings a lot lately. Tired, bored, lonely, unfulfilled. An all-over, physical/spiritual ache.


I'm very angry with a certain someone. And I sit down to write to that person, wanting to be conciliatory, wanting not to be mad anymore, but every time I try, the sentiments turn sort of bitter and mean, and I end up deleting it.


This past week I checked out the Ken Burns documentary on Mark Twain. It left me impressed all over again with his genius--Mark Twain's, not Ken Burns'--but also left me feeling depressed; You can be at the top of your game, beloved by millions, an acknowledged master of your craft, and still have a life dogged by one crushing hardship after another (No matter how many examples I'm presented with, I seem to be having an impossibly difficult time shaking the notion that there's a level of achievement you get to where "happiness" becomes a given. Intellectually, I know that's not the case, and I've been presented with example after example of just how much that's not the case, and yet...I don't think I'm really going to "get" it until I'm an unhappy success myself. If I ever get that far.


Every since I came back from my vacation, work seems to have been nothing but a constant drain on my physical/emotional energy. I don't want to be there--I never want to be there--but to be honest, I don't want to be anywhere, and if I have to do something, which I do, this is about as palatable a way to spin my wheels as I can imagine (Just yesterday, a notice was put up in the back room--more cuts in hours are coming. And here's the "salt in the wound" part; When hours have been cut in the past, management always goes on about how we'll get them back when our sales go up, but our sales have been up for weeks, since Bookstar closed. We're actually one of only five stores in the area that are meeting sales projections. But shares of Borders Inc. went down 40 cents after Bush's "We're going to war" speech", so the company is going to take it out of our hide. So any bullshit about being a "team" is totally out-the-window for good. We're not part of any fucking "team". We're "cannon fodder" (But I feel trapped. With my skills, and the world I live in, where would I go, and what would I do, where I wouldn't be "cannon fodder"?).


Yesterday was my two-year anniversary of being in LA.

I woke up in the morning, logged onto my computer, and read the JS Represents newsletter.

One thing he puts in the newsletter is who "booked" in a given week (i.e. Who got hired for a commercial),and this past week, I saw that another JS Represents actor beat me out for the Pacificare commercial, while Austin B. (An annoying, vulgar, out-and-out stupid guy who worked at the bookstore over the holidays)booked a national for KFC...his first fucking time out.

Meanwhile, I've been here for two years now, and what do I have to show for it?


Got an email from someone at "Reading by 9", that school volunteer reading thing I've mentioned in here; Apparently, I left my driver's license number off one of the forms, and they need that to run my background check.

It's been a week-and-a-half since I mailed my stuff in, so I was actually thinking they had done the background check, saw I had some legal difficulties back in '91, and had decided they didn't need a bad guy like me working around America's youth.

Actually, I was kind of hoping that was the case, that the decision to do or not do this would be taken out of my hands; Otherwise, I'm either doing something I don't really want to do, or else I'm a bad guy who doesn't want to give up any time or energy to do something for others (And I'm wondering how this went from being something that was going to be positive and fulfilling, to just feeling like a big fucking pain-in-the-ass that I wish I'd never started).

(Along with whatever resistance I'm feeling to this, a real "issue" has emerged; Do I want to be telling JS I'm unavailable to go on auditions one morning a week?)


I'm just not getting enough of anything I need, be it sleep, sex, love, money, creative fulfillment, etc and so forth.


There are two women at the store who I think might like me, but I don't feel attracted to either of them (Of course I don't. I can't fucking remember what it feels like to experience a mutual attraction with someone. But at least there's some "novelty value" here; In recent years, the unrequited love I've experienced has always gone from me to someone else, and not the reverse).

And there's a woman I wish I was in love with, but I'm just not. And I've spent a lot of time recently doing all kinds of mental/emotional gymnastics to tell myself I should "give it a try", but I don't think that would be fair to the person involved; She deserves better than being a "science experiment" in my life, so I can test whether it's possible to "grow into" being in love with someone (And this is all assuming she'd have me anyway, which is a pretty big assumption on my part!).


I did something day before yesterday that I quickly un-did, but I'm still feeling embarrassed and uncomfortable that I did it.

To explain...JS recently sent out an e-mail, passing along the information that some casting director was looking for males, 25+, all types and ethnicities, for a new reality show.

And in spite of the fact that I've totally lost interest in the reality show phenomenon as a viewer, that I think they represent a culture in decline, that I think they're bad news for actors, writers, directors, and a host of other creative types, etc and so forth...I called the casting director, talked to her for a bit, and made an appointment to be seen this coming Wednesday (At NBC).

Afterwards, I wrote an entry in here about why I was doing it (This was the entry that got "lost in cyberspace"). I don't remember everything I said, but I talked about the chance to travel (God knows, I'm not getting anywhere on a booksellers salary!), the chance to meet new people, have a new experience, overcome my fear of risk and embarrassment, etc and so on.

It wasn't total bullshit, but it was rationalizing, and when I thought more about it, it really wasn't something I wanted to do; Those shows are set up to bring out the worst in people, and if I'm going to take more risks in life, I want them to be more meaningful than eating a bowl full of bull testicles or jumping off a cliff or what-have-you.

So I called back, got the casting director's machine, and cancelled my appointment. I think I did the right thing, but I'm still feeling a little depressed and disappointed with myself that I was on the verge of doing the wrong thing (I have that problem--Even when I do the right thing, I still tend to be upset that I had to drag myself there, kicking and screaming).


(I just looked at the beginning of this entry. And it becomes very clear to me why "effortlessness" is so very appealing to me, why it's such a powerful fantasy; My life always feels anything but "effortless"; If anything, it seems excessively "effort-full", and never to any particularly good end.)

I could go on and on--and on and on and on--in this vein, but I think you've more than gotten the idea; Jimmy isn't feeling too good about things right now.

I'd like a very long break right now. From everything. I'd like to not have to deal with Borders, with being "Struggling Actor Guy", with being poor, with being alone, with being tired, with being afraid, with feeling trapped in a life I can't see my way out of.

But I'm not going to get that break, am I?

Jesus, if this was all I had to say, I might as well have held off for another week...

But I'm still "vertical". I had a commercial audition Tuesday, and I have a student film audition Sunday. And I got a call recently from someone who wants to do an audition with me for the Actors Studio.

So I'm tired, I'm depressed, I'm struggling to see the point, but I go on. That's what I do.

Bully for me...


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