Get your own
 diary at! contact me older entries newest entry

6:45 pm - FRI 11/22/02
The Week In Review

The Week In Review...

(Listening to Eminem, The Marshall Mathers CD. When I get my book credit next month, I think I'm going to buy My Name Is... and The Eminem Show. Wendy, the impetus for my entry into Diaryland and an Eminem fan herself, told me in a recent email that The Eminem Show is his best yet.)

Well, I really didn't intend this long layoff from Diaryland (Though I guess everything's relative; My big gripe with the handful of online journals I read is that no one writes as much as I do. Too busy actually living their lives, I guess. But more on that later...). It's kind of odd, maybe even borderline interesting, because this hasn't been a case of having nothing to say, but rather, having too much to say. When confronted with my own desire to be more honest, direct, angrier, sadder, meaner, hornier, etc and so forth, than I've allowed myself to be in Diaryland to date, that seems the time I'm most likely to have these little "lags" in writing. Part of me wants to "lay it out there", and part of me wants to "duck and cover". I don't think I'm going to "get in trouble", a worry Jane expressed in a recent email, and I think it's even less likely that anyone else is going to get in trouble off what I say in here, but since I need everyone's love and approval, the idea that someone might read what I say and actually not like me or not think I'm the smartest, funniest, nicest guy in the world, well...that's tough for me to take.

Not a very good week. In fact, a very bad week.

But first, the happy news--Leo seems to be fine. He's back to eating and shitting on a regular schedule, and even seems to have put on some weight since I last wrote.

I think he was just turning his nose up at the shitty food I've been feeding him. And once he realized I was springing for the good stuff again, the problem was solved (But he's always eaten whatever I've put out for him before. But anyway...). I'm relieved, for both of us.

If we're going in some kind of chronological order here, that's about it for the "good news" until last night...

On Sunday night, while I was at work, I called Cressandra, and actually got her at home.

She said she was on the phone with her sister, and she'd call me back (I gave her my number at the bookstore, since I was going to be there the rest of the evening).

Well, if I'm to take her at her word, I guess she's still on the phone with her sister, cause I still haven't heard back from her. That, or more likely, she just wanted to send me a message, by not sending me a message.

Message received.

I was thinking about it recently; The trouble I have is that I can't discern the difference between an attractive woman just being nice, and an attractive woman being nice because she likes me.

And the inner voice says, "Jim? An attractive woman is never being nice because she 'likes' you, at least not in 'that way'. That might have happened once or twice, half a lifetime ago, but those days are over now. Kiss the happy little dream of a mutual attraction goodbye you motherfucking delusional asshole...".

It just seems unfair. Not that I'm being rejected--that just seems kind of...normal--but that I have to have the balls to put myself out there, and the woman doesn't have to do anything; She can actually say "Yes, I'd like to go out with you", and then just be unavailable from now to Doomsday. I have to start myself up and shut myself down.

It just seems unfair.

Once upon a time, I was afraid to ask women out. I was afraid of being rejected, afraid of the embarrassment and discomfort. So I made up a rule for myself; If I found myself interested in a woman, and the only thing holding me back was fear of rejection, I had to ask her out.

And since that time, that's pretty much what I've done. If I look at a woman, and I find her attractive, and she seems smart and funny and whatever, and she seems to find me smart and funny and whatever, I have eventually gotten around to asking her out, sometimes sooner, sometimes later. But so far as I can recall, over the past number of years, there really hasn't been anybody that's piqued my interest that I haven't approached at some point. I face my fear, and do it anyway.

Hip Hip Hooray for me...

And it's actually been very rare that anyone's ever just said "no" (Astrid was a recent exception. As I result, I was a little disappointed and hurt for a few days, but got over it comparitively quickly. Thanks for being honest and direct with me, Astrid). But "yes" doesn't seem to mean "yes", not in my world. "Yes" means, "I'm too embarrassed and uncomfortable to say 'no'."

It becomes obvious now, like it should have been much sooner, that Cressandra's fending-me-off began right away; I'm thinking there was no "deadline", no "trip", maybe not even a "sister". There was just Cressandra, faced with the horrifying prospect of having coffee with me, without the courage to say, "Jim, I'm afraid the last thing I want to do is have coffee or any other beverage with you, you mutant!"

Women of the world, a message from Jim Hoffmaster, speaking for all the guys who just aren't "going out for coffee" material--Just. Say. No.

I beg you.

If you don't want to, just say you don't want to. It won't be fun in the short term, but in the long term, it's really for the best.

If you're not picking up on the more subtle shadings here, I was depressed and angry and hurt over realizing that, yet again, someone I deemed at least worth a try did not feel the same way about me.

I'm not worth a try. I'm not "going out for coffee" material.

But here's an instructive little anecdote that I've been meaning to tell in here before now, something that might give you both an idea of what I was up against, and a sense of what a guy will overlook in his fight to be optimistic (Or maybe more accurately, in his desire to be laid).

When I first asked Cressandra out, she said "yes" (What she actually said was "I am kind of dating someone, but sure"). Then a few moments later, she said, "What did Julia Roberts say when you asked her out?".

I was a little bit thrown--"What the hell does that mean?", I thought to myself--but I babbled something about "Well, it was awkward for everyone involved...", and let it lie (I remember afterwards wishing I'd come up with something better, like "I was holding off on asking her till I saw how this worked out...").

Now, I'm not an idiot. If I'd been able to work through my nerve-induced fog, it would have been pretty clear what the not-so-subtle message was there ("Do you always ask out women who are so far above you?"). But I didn't want to hear anything so insulting and rude from her, so I just sort of let it go by, when I should have said, right then, "Hey, you know what? I think I just made a mistake asking you out, cause you're obviously a bitch".

(For the record? She's no Julia Roberts. Not even close.)

You know what occurred to me recently? None of my relationships with women started with me asking them out, and them saying yes (I don't really know what to make of that little factoid, but there it is).

But all this angst over Cressandra is kind of silly, since it's really Kyle I've been obsessing over for weeks now. But that's a whole other depressing kettle-of-fish (I've actually been feeling tempted to officially ask her out. But from where I've been at emotionally this past week, I honestly can't tell if that's a positive impulse on my part, or a masochistic one).

So anyway, I've spent this week feeling very lonely and unattractive, wondering if the rest of my life is going to be spent alone, jerking off in front of the computer (I've joked a lot about my fear of dying on the toilet, a la Elvis, but it's actually more likely I'll be found clutching at myself in front of some free porno website)

I had an audition for The Best Damn Sports Show on Monday.

Amazingly, even though I've worked at the bookstore for a year-and-a-half now, and the casting agency was basically just a couple blocks down the street, I first went the wrong way on La Cienega before turning myself around (I debated with myself about including that little detail, because I think it's kinda embarrassing but again, there it is).

I was wearing the apron I'd borrowed from the cafe, which made me feel like a fucking idiot, since as far as I could see, no one else had dressed in "costume", but I was just doing what JS had told me to do.

This "audition" was different from anything else I'd done so far. It wasn't just taking a picture, which I think I've communicated makes me feel demeaned somehow, but there wasn't any "acting" involved either; I was called in with three black guys (I have to assume that was a coincidence, but for a moment I found myself wondering if I was being "typecast" as an African-American again), and they basically went down the line, had us do a "slate", then asked us to tell them something about ourselves.

And kids? I've never felt so boring.

Outside of acting circles, it's a big point of interest that I'm an actor, but at an audition it's hopefully already evident that I'm an actor.

The first guy was, from what I could understand, some major "Mack Daddy" pimp, and a musician from New Orleans.

The next guy was a standup who just had his debut at the Comedy Store.

Then there was me. What was my story?

"I'm an actor"?--Well, so what? So's everyone else here.

"I work at Borders"?--Wow, how fascinating. Next actor, please.

So I talked about Diaryland--How I've kept a journal for over twenty years, but just went online a couple years ago, how I sometimes get as many as 25-30 "hits" a day, etc and so forth--and I still felt about as boring as a man can be, but at least I said something.

(The last guy was like a personal trainer for Jesus or something; His calling was to help fat kids lose weight for the Lord.)

I left the "audition" feeling pretty sure that I wasn't going to be promoting The Best Damned Sports Show anytime soon.

I'd gotten there early enough, and the place was close enough to work, that by the time I finished I could have just went right off to work at my normal time--3:30--and there wasn't any compelling reason not to. Except I was now on the daily schedule for 5:00, and I thought it would confuse things, and maybe draw attention to the fact that accomodations were being made for me, if I then showed up at 3:30.

So I hung out down the street for an hour-and-a-half, drinking a diet Pepsi and reading I Know This Much Is True (More on that later), and waiting for 5:00 to roll around.

When I got to work at 5:00, everyone wanted to know where I'd been; Kyle (Who's interim schedule manager, now that John O. is interim General Manager) had forgotten to make the change, so I was on the schedule for 3:30 all along.


Not that big a deal, really. Just embarrassing--I actually kind of like that I have a reputation for showing up and being dependable--and that much less money on my upcoming paycheck.

Anyway, I was left feeling depressed and unsatisfied by the audition, and by extension, by all the commercial auditions I've had so far. Of the five, only one had involved anything like "acting", and I'd blown it.

And the other four just seemed to emphasize that all I am here is a cut of not-too-desirable meat.

And I was still feeling bummed out about the prospects of my getting to really act here.

I've tried really hard, but when I think about what's happened for me so far in LA theater, it's just impossible not to get very depressed; A crappy show I was kind of embarrassed to be a part of, a show where I couldn't even get them to give me a script or tell me when to show up, a show where I was supposed to pay $300 for the privilige of getting to act, and the recent show I was cut from before the first read-thru.

I think that's why I didn't send anything out last week. I knew it was wrong and that was probably another reason I was depressed, but my motivation was at a very low ebb.

(For the record? I called Cenex yesterday, and sent out five headshots--all for movies--in today's mail. So even if it's hard for me to find the "motivation" here--And while I've been pretty unhappy with my theater experiences so far, the film offers have been non-existent--I'm doing it anyway. I'm actually kind of impressed with that, to be honest. What the fuck is keeping me going with this shit, when the only responses I'm getting are annoying and depressing me?)

Work has been tough this week.

The store, after a brief "golden age", is sliding back downhill. I think there are a number of reasons for that, but all of them are pretty boring to get into, so I'll skip it. Let's just say that I'm back to really, really, really wishing I had something going on the acting front, so I could quit the bookstore.

(I was at Schuler Books for over ten years, but it's only taken a year-and-a-half at Borders to do serious damage to my feelings about the book-buying public. I may say more about that in a later entry, but on the other hand, I may not. I don't have anything particularly original to say on the subject; In short, retail sucks, because sometimes people suck.)

On Wednesday, around my dinner hour and the end of Kyle's shift, we were talking about this and that--I'd just finished reading I Know This Much Is True, which she had just finished reading a short time before (Which is an excellent book, btw), and I was asking her what book it was she'd said I should read next (Kissing In Manhattan, which I've checked out and started reading today)--And I found myself haltingly, fumblingly, trying to find out what her "weekend" was looking like.

She said she was going to be hanging out with her friend Rocky on Thursday (Rocky used to work at the store, till he was fired for attendance issues. He's a dancer, going on a tour with a show, I don't remember which one, and is moving to New York when it's finished). And on Friday, she planned to run errands and pack and such, prior to her trip to Chicago next week for Thanksgiving (Visiting her mother).

I'd told myself not to "ask her out" this week, but that was exactly what I was feeling my way around to doing. But whether by design or not, she didn't give me an opening, so I didn't.

It's probably just as well, but still, I felt loneliness crashing down on me again.

I'm ugly, I'm old, I'm not sexually desirable.

Blah blah blah, you get the idea.

(A short time ago, I actually called her on the phone. Not very smart on my part--She already told me she was busy--but I did it anyway. But she wasn't home.)

Nothing to feel good about. Nothing to look forward to. Frustrated and horny and alone, feeling bad about myself, bored and dissatisfied at work, wondering when the fuck I'm ever going to act again.

Not a good week.

But last night, around 10:00, I checked my voicemail (I don't know why, since no one ever calls me that late), and there was a message from JS from around 7:00.

(I was a little bit concerned--He said something about having called me earlier and not having heard back from me, but I'd been checking my messages throughout the day and there'd been nothing--but anyway, at least I got the second message.)

He was calling to tell me about a national commercial for Staples, and this one actually had copy. He sounded a little bit concerned--probably because of the "phantom message" I hadn't responded to--and as a result, I felt like I was being chastized without having done anything wrong. But he told me I needed to download the sides from one of the online services like Castnet or Showfax, and call them back to let them know I was on for the audition.

So I downloaded the sides, and called to let him know I was definitely up for the audition; I was actually pretty thrilled, to have lines, a chance to prepare, and no work conflict to work around.

For one bright, shining moment, I felt like an actor...

The audition was this afternoon--my appointment time was at 2:15--at a casting agency on Beverly, between Fairfax and LaBrea.

Now I'd like nothing better than to say I hit this one out of the park, that all I'd needed was a chance, and I was ready to show them all what I could do.

But it didn't quite go that way...

I think maybe at this point I should just look at these initial experiences at an education, because it's become apparent to me that I have yet to figure out just how to do this shit.

First off, I was a little embarrassed, because I went in in my nicest blue jeans and my long-sleeved, green button-down shirt, because JS told me it was "casual", but when I got there most of the other guys had on suits and ties (And when it was my time to go, the casting director had a jacket he asked me to put on, making me feel like a slob at some chi-chi restaurant).

Then I thought I had a handle on how to do the commercial--I assumed it was one of those things where the person in the commercial is talking to the viewer as if he's a personal friend--but when I got there, the commercial was described as a guy nervously addressing a group--Like a businessman who had lost his prepared notes--changing pretty much every decision I had already made (Again, I found myself a little annoyed with JS; In his message, he made a big fucking deal out of how important it was for me to be prepared, and I tried to be prepared, but how can you be "prepared" if you don't know the premise of the commercial till you get there?).

Then I think I just made a wrong decision; I'd memorized the copy--Again, because of the stress JS had put on needing to be "prepared" for this one--but when my time came to audition, the copy was on a big cue card in front of me.

In hindsite, I think I should have just done the commercial from memory--I felt like I was doing it pretty smoothly, with good transitions--but I was afraid that maybe the casting director wanted to have me read from the cue card, for whatever reason, and was also afraid that if I tried to do it from memory and bobbled a line, I'd end up looking like I couldn't read what was right in front of me.

So I read from the cue card, and felt pretty definitely that my reading was not nearly as good as what I'd been doing at home.

(When I finished, the casting director said, "Good. That was very good", but here in LA, I have no idea if that means anything. But I doubt it; I found myself wanting to say, "I bet you say that to all the losers...")

So anyway, I was disappointed, to have my second chance to actually do something at one of these auditions and to blow it for the second time (But hey--we're not actually trying to get a job here; We're learning).

But disappointment aside, this was really the first time I'd gotten the chance to at least try to prepare, to say actual lines, and it was the first time I actually had any kind of a feeling that "Hey, I could actually get this...".

It was also the first time I recognized actors at one of these things. I have to be honest, that scared the shit out of me--I recognized the two actors in question because I must have seen them on tv shows or in commercials--but then again, that's what I came out here for in the first place; To see how my shit stacks up. To see if I can play in the big leagues.

And I still think I can. I just need to figure out how the game is played here.

Well, that's pretty much the week in review, boys and girls. Sorry for the extra profanity, but what can I tell ya; If I'm feeling it, I'm gonna say it.

Jane's concerns aside--and they're not without merit, and certainly not anything I haven't worried about myself--I'm just not in a place where I want to censor myself, or be more "careful" about what I say in here.

On the contrary, I need someplace to express myself, someplace to get my feelings out. I need to "talk", I need to "vent", I need to pretend I'm an "artist". I need to have people "listen" to me.

Diaryland is my canvas, my forum, my therapist, my friend.

My "stage".

And while not everyone's going to like what I say or how I say it, and it may not always reflect well on me as a person, I just don't see the point of doing this if I'm not going to do it right.

So to the best of my ability, I'm going to do this "right".

Wish me luck.


previous - next

0 comments so far
about me - read my profile! read other Diar
yLand diaries! recommend my diary to a friend! Get
 your own fun + free diary at!