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2:10 pm - Sat 2/5/05
Sex and Violence...and Commercials

Sex and Violence...and Commercials

Thurs 2/3/05 (11:50 p.m.)

Saw The Aviator earlier today.

I thought it was quite good, all-around–This Scorsese fella obviously knows what he's doing-- but the story didn't "speak to me" like Sideways or Million Dollar Baby. And I'm not sure whether that was the fault of the movie, or just a case of my particular "sensibilities".

My favorite part of the movie was Cate Blanchett. When she comes on as Katherine Hepburn, the movie becomes "fun", and a lot of that "fun" leaves with her when she exits the story.

The movie brings up, or at least implies, an interesting issue: Was the OCD that overwhelmed Hughes over time also the source of his success?
A good movie, I thought, but not my favorite movie of the year, and not even my favorite Scorsese film (That would probably be Raging Bull).

Fri 2/4/05 (2:10 p.m.)

Had a callback today, for a 7/11 commercial I auditioned for on Wednesday.

(I was auditioning to be one of four "oddballs" taking a tour on a glass-bottomed boat. I guess it's some kind of cross-promotional thing between 7/11 and Nickolodeon and "Spongebob Squarepants".)

That's four callbacks in eight auditions. I should be pretty happy, cause those are really good numbers, but instead, as I told Jane in an email yesterday, there's this impatient little voice inside, saying "Come on! Book something already, goddammit!". As if it's the end of the year, instead of the beginning.

Actually, I don't know if this would be the best thing for me to book right now; my funds are getting pretty low, I'm "must join" for SAG, and this is a cable spot that probably isn't going to pay that much (I could book this, have to pay my $1400 and change to SAG, and end up in the hole when it's all said and done).

But anyway...

Speaking of commercials, I recently saw another spot I auditioned for and didn't get (For Yahoo, I think it was), and once again, it suggested that the best course of action at an audition is to basically ignore what the casting director says and go with your first instinct.

In the spot, I was playing this rich guy's manservant. And the casting director specifically said he was not the traditional stuffy butler (So I played it as if I was an old friend of the aforementioned rich guy, an old crony now on the payroll, like one of Elvis's "Memphis Mafia").

So I see the commercial, and who got the part? An old guy playing the traditional stuffy butler.

It's pretty hard to figure out how to do these things under those sorts of circumstances...


I was thinking about sex the other day.

Sometimes, I tell myself that it's too bad I'm not in a sexual relationship, because I think I'd be better at it than I was back when I was younger.

But the truth is that I'm pretty much "the worst of all possible worlds"–I've lost the energy of youth, without gaining the experience of age. I'd be a major "sexual reclamation project".

Not that there's a big line of women offering to take on the job...

But I think what I mean when I say I'd be better in a sexual relationship than I was "back in the day" is not that I'd be able to go all night long, or show a woman some tricks she'd never seen before, but that, 1) I probably wouldn't be able to rush things if I wanted to, and 2) I think I'd be able to communicate better (I think half the problems in my sex life back then came from being too embarrassed to say things like "That actually kinda hurts" or "Am I anywhere in the neighborhood of something that turns you on?"

Sat 2/5/05 (12:45 a.m.)

At an audition not too long ago, I was asked if my job at the bookstore was "exciting".

I said, "When it's ‘exciting', that usually means something's gone really wrong".

Like tonite, for example.

Around quarter to nine, I'm downstairs at the main info counter, and all of a sudden, from upstairs, Micheal C. starts yelling, "Thief! Thief!".

I told Anna--who's been working at the store for all of four days--"Call 911..." (Cause Michael sounded very agitated, and no one's ever yelled "Thief! Thief!" in the bookstore before) then I ran upstairs.

To do what, I'm not exactly sure–I didn't know whether there was a fight going on (My first thought), or if the guy was just running for the door, or what. But when I got to the top of the stairs, Michael, bleeding from the nose, said "Watch out, Jim! Stay out of his way...".

(He told me later that he was afraid the guy would pile into me at the top of the stairs. And that would have been bad news. But anyway...)

There was a crowd of customers who seemed, if not shaken up, then at least pretty concerned. I said "Where is he?", and they gestured down the little hallway towards the bathrooms (Which is also where the second floor emergency exit is).

Just then, there was a commotion, as the guy came running out (I guess he couldn't get out the emergency exit. That, or the alarm freaked him out). Michael and I yelled for people to get out of his way, and he made a beeline down the stairs and out the door, Michael cursing at him at the top of his lungs.

Here's what had happened, near as I can piece together, before I got upstairs...

Michael was up in Music, and he saw this guy–A tall, skinny African-Amercan guy in a camoflage shirt--looking suspicious. And when he saw the guy moving up and down in the dvds, and heard the rustle of some plastic bags, he went over, and saw the guy with a plastic bag with hundreds of dollars worth of dvds inside.

Michael grabbed the bag and told the guy to get out, but the guy apparently decided he'd rather leave with the dvds–He grabbed the other end of the bag, then when Michael wouldn't let go, whacked him in the face with a box set of The Godfather Trilogy.

Michael fell back, then here's the part that knocks me out–the guy stops by another dvd display...and starts loading up another bag.

And I guess that's around the time I heard Michael yelling.

A customer grabbed the guy at one point. The guy shook him off, but dropped the bags in the process, then ran into the back room of the café, thinking it was an exit, then tried to get out the emergency exit, setting off the alarm.

And you heard the rest.

Honestly? Going up the stairs, I was scared to death I'd have to do something (If Michael had been fighting with the guy when I got up there, I wouldn't have had any choice but to jump in).

And I was impressed as hell with Michael–After his scuffle with this guy, he was hurtin', and he was pissed, but his first thought was to keep me or the customers from getting hurt.

And I guess it hit me too, when I hit the top of the stairs and saw all the customers who were milling about–Suddenly I wasn't just scared for Michael, or for myself, but for them. Cause I still didn't really know what was happening or what exactly I was dealing with. I just knew I felt very unequipped to deal with whatever it was.

Scary stuff...Michael probably should have just let the guy book–that's "corporate policy"-- but I totally understand how hard it would be to let this guy run off with bags full of our shit. I think I would have tried to stop him from getting away with it myself (We think this was the same dvd thief that's hit us any number of times before. Though that guy usually has a backpack, and sets up a little "holding area" near the exits; he doesn't just throw a bunch of shit in a couple plastic bags and hope for the best). There's a lot of anger and frustration over shoplifting in the store, because for one thing, we get no support from corporate (We don't have enough cameras, we can't check people's bags, we have no way to stop or even slow them down, and all we have in the way of "store security" are a couple of security guards part-time, who are just for show–Legally, they can't do anything more than I can to stop thieves), and for another thing, "corporate", far from doing anything meaningful about our shoplifting problem, instead chooses to come down on us (The employees), as if we're the ones running out of the store with hundreds of dollars worth of product.

I want to say "I'm just glad no one was hurt", but since Michael was hurt, I guess I'll have to be content to say, "I'm just glad no one was seriously hurt".

Letting the guy go seemed like the best course of action at the time, but of course, afterwards I was second-guessing myself, wondering if I should have put myself in the guy's way (But what would I have been defending at that point? Michael had already been hurt, and the guy wasn't leaving with the dvds. All I would have done, most likely, is get myself hurt).

What happened afterwards was almost as upsetting as the episode itself–The police didn't come till after the guy was long gone, the only manager Jack (The supervisor on duty) could get a hold of was Joe (Who was drunk), and one of the cashiers actually got shit from a customer because they had to wait while we dealt with the fact that the store was fucking being robbed.

David, our useless GM, called over an hour later (Jack had left a couple messages on his cell phone). As I listened to Jack talk to him in the back room, I was just furious–One of the first things he said to Jack, upon hearing the news, was that he had to fill out such-and-such a form, then told him where they were at. Like the most important thing was to get the paperwork right.

And he didn't even ask to talk to Michael, who was standing right next to Jack. No "are you okay?", no "thanks", not even a "you shouldn't have taken that risk for a couple hundred dollars of product".

And the thing that's most upsetting of all? I'll bet you nothing will change, except that when I go in to work tomorrow, there'll be a notice up on the bulletin board reminding us not to try to stop shoplifters.

I have to get out of that fucking place...


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