Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My fingers are in too many pies. Wait. Is "too many pies" a real thing?

I made this secret vow to myself that I would post two real posts a week (i.e. something other than videos or photos) from here on out. And I done failed, y'all. I've had my fingers in too many pies and writing got pushed to the bottom of the to-do list. But this is a new week. Let's try again.

In honor of my upcoming Life On Mars episode, which airs on ABC at 10/9c on Wed. Feb. 25, I thought I'd tell you a story from my week on the set of a network television show.

When I auditioned for Life On Mars, I had one little line to perform. It was: "If he knows I'm leaving him, he'll kill me. Tell me what to do, Sam!" And the character was described as 'frightened and has obviously been crying'. So of course, I went in all worked up, tears streaming, etc. And I got the part. It wasn't until my last day of shooting that I finally got to perform my line. I spent a good two hours in my dressing room that morning, preparing my character. I went to a university accredited acting conservatory, so I have a few tricks up my sleeve for when I need to bring myself to an emotional state. I'm not all method or anything, I don't use the Meisner technique (I don't even know what it is. Shocking!) but I've got some tricks. By the time I was called to set to shoot the scene, I was in a really raw place. The director called 'action' and I went for it. I gave him exactly what I gave him in my audition. A terrified girl, tears streaming down her face, asking her friend how to escape her abusive husband. The director calls 'cut' and says to me, "Ok. Now, I want you to do it again, only without any emotion." 


He calls 'action'. I do it again, emotionless. 

"CUT! Ok, that was great. Do it again, only less emotion." 

Third time. "CUT! Great. One more time, but I want you to be totally dead-pan.

After the forth read, completely monotone and devoid of all feeling, he was happy.

We moved on, they gave me some extra lines and gave me a break to memorize them. We started shooting again and I was directed to, again, be completely emotionless. I said my lines as if I was a robot zombie and the director was thrilled. Then he says, "OK, I wanna do a close-up of your face, and I wanna see a single tear rolling down your cheek." 

"Sure!" I say, excited to finally use my acting chops. "I can do that. Just give me a minute." 

But he's not listening to me, he's looking over his shoulder and calling to the make-up department. "Who's got the menthol? I need some menthol!" He turns to me. "Have you ever had menthol in your eyes?" 


"You know, to cry." 

"Uh... why don't I just.. um... act?" 

"No, no, no. This is T.V. We don't have time for that."

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Just in case you need a laugh.

Thanks, Dooce!

Dear God: It's me. Frosty.

Dear God:

Do You see this? This is what the weather report is forecasting for today:

AccuWeather.com Quick Look
Currently At 10:27AM
More ]
Winds: NNW
at 9mph
Humidity: 76%
Dew Point: 11° F
Pressure: 30.21 in
Visibility: 1 Miles
More ]
Low: 8°F
RealFeel®: -14°F
Sunset: 4:54 PM
More ]
High: 24°F
RealFeel®: 13°F
Sunrise: 7:18 AM
Hour-by-Hour™ Weather
Mostly Cloudy
Mostly Cloudy
Partly Cloudy
Partly Cloudy
Partly Cloudy
Partly Cloudy

THIS is what I see out my window:

I know You have a lot on Your plate right now, what with starvation, war, death, and all, and I know that I have a lot of great blessings and I'm probably not in a position to be asking any favors right now, but all that considered, if You could maybe find a minute to just make sure that all this snow sticks around, and I mean, really sticks around, and even accumulates for a while, just long enough for me to FINALLY BUILD A SNOWMAN, I would be super grateful. I mean, SUPER GRATEFUL. I'm just saying.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009


The other night, Archie* wanted to take me out for a celebratory cocktail - his celebration, not mine, but who am I to turn down a cocktail? - so we headed to a gay bar around the corner from the tenement. Now, keep in mind that I am a married woman. For me, a gay bar is like a license to let loose. Put me in a room full of gay men and you've just given me a free pass for a wild night of shameless flirting. In a gay bar I can be as seductive, as dazzling, as gregarious as I want to be, because none of the boys have any interest in me. I can bat my eyelashes, laugh loudly and dance the night away without worrying for a second that I've given someone the wrong idea or that I'm asking for attention that I really don't want. I love gay bars.

We settle ourselves on a couple of bar stools and order two dirty gin martini's from the bartender. Minutes later, we're approached by a second bartender, a tall bartender, a gorgeous bartender with lustrous hair, full lips, broad shoulders and bedroom eyes. He just wants to make sure we've been taken care of and he makes us promise that if we need anything, we will yell for him. And then he starts chatting with us and he lingers, just a moment too long, making conversation. As soon as he walks away I jump on Archie.

"He's so hot! Do you really think he likes me? He's soooo hot." Archie has become a drooling, incoherent 12-year-old. That's what gorgeous men do to him.
"Um, yes! He was totally flirting with you!" And then in a sing-song voice: "He wants to marry you. He wants to have your baaaaabies." I am also a chattering, incoherent 12-year-0ld.
Archie is squealing. And panting.
"Five bucks if you get his number."
Panting. Squealing. More panting. "Ok. Ok. This is why you're my best friend. You put money on the table, so now I have to do it."

As soon as the first bartender drops our drinks off, Talldarkandgorgeous is back, to make sure we're happy. "Need anything else? Extra napkins?" His biceps are pulsating. "Extra olives? A foot rub?"

Archie and I start giggling. We're drunk on fantasy. Archie, no doubt, imagining a stellar romp in the sack and me, well, I'm picturing their wedding, the dress I'll wear, how I'll rent out my womb so they can have a child of their own. This is love at first sight and I am going to play Cupid. 

"I'm Trish. This is Archie."
"Justin*. It's nice to meet you." He shakes my hand and then takes Archie's. I watch, on the edge of my seat, as their fingers meet. Their eyes lock. The energy between them is palatable. I grab Archie's knee under the table and squeeze. Justin walks away and Archie and I press our foreheads together in ecstasy.

So we start plotting. Whispering about how Archie will coyly, cleverly acquire this beautiful man's phone number. Archie is uncharacteristically nervous. That's how gorgeous this guy is. I mean, Archie always dates gorgeous guys, but this guy is an Adonis. We come up with a plan and we calm down a little, our conversation developing a natural flow. All the while, Justin is dropping by to check on us, joke with us, tease us, and shamelessly, relentlessly flirt. Before we have a chance to finish our martini's, Justin has brought us shots of something pink, sweet and wonderful. They're double shots, on the house. Just because, he says. A few minutes later, he's back with more. This time he takes a shot with us, proposing a toast to "New Friendships". We are giddy with the attention. Me, because it is fun to be fussed over by a gorgeous boy, especially if that boy prefers other boys, and Archie because, he's going home with a number! (It is that obvious.) When Archie wants to smoke a cigarette, I offer to stay and watch our stools, but Justin says no way, I should go, and he makes little signs out of napkins, to reserve our spots at the bar for us. I follow Archie outside and not thirty seconds later, Justin is outside too. I want very badly to get these two together, so I start asking Justin all about himself, to get the conversation going and also because Archie is too love struck to speak. Justin and I have a great conversation, and because I can, because it's safe, I'm totally flirting with him. Laughing at his jokes, complimenting him, batting my eyelashes, saying witty things. You know. The usual. 

The three of us head back inside, Archie and I squeezing each others hands because HOLY CRAP THIS IS A NIGHT TO REMEMBER, THE NIGHT ARCHIE MET THE MAN OF HIS DREAMS. Even though we swore to only have one drink and now we've had a drink and a couple of shots, we settle at the bar and order two more martinis. We can't leave now. Not before Archie gets the digits. Justin makes the drinks right in front of us and makes us extra - now we each have a full martini glass and a tumbler-full of gin. Dear God. And the three of us are giggling and laughing and having a wonderful time. Justin is flirting, I'm flirting, Archie is grinning so wide his face is about to crack. Archie mentions that I live just down the street and Justin says he works every Saturday and Sunday and we should come in more often! Why haven't we been in before? I ask him what else he does and he says, nothing, he just works at the bar twice a week and auditions the rest of the week. I'm floored. You only have to work here two nights a week? And you make enough to live? I want to be a bartender! How do I get a job as a bartender! And Justin says, "You just walk into any bar, say you want to work there and make sure the manager can see that gorgeous rack of yours."
"Did you just say I should show the manager my boobs?"
"Well, no. Don't be a slut about it. Just, you know..." and then he pulls his shirt off and picks up an ice cube. "You know, you shouldn't like, -" as he's talking, he starts running the ice cube up his perfectly sculpted, naked chest and around his nipples. He's trying to be sexy, and it is sexy, but it's also funny. He's doing a comedy routine. (Or else we're just that drunk.) He's prancing around behind the bar, swaying his hips like a girl and in a high, breathy voice, saying all the things he thinks I should NOT say, were I to interview for a bartending job. "Hey, looking for a bartender? Because I have lots of special bartending skills. I'm really good at making drinks, with my rack, I'm really pretty, and I have a great rack..." he bends over towards us and pushes his arms together, as if to create cleavage. I'm laughing so hard I can barely breathe. Now in his regular voice, "You know. Don't do that. Just be yourself." He smiles, winks, and walks away.

I'm bent over with laughter, still, but Archie looks dubious.
"Oh my god. He is really funny. Weird, but funny!" I say, catching my breath.
"Um, yeah, Trish. And he's straight."
"What? No, he's not. He's been flirting with you all night! He just took his shirt off and pranced around for you."
"Gay men don't use the word 'rack'."
"He said you have a 'gorgeous rack'. A 'great rack'. A gay man would never say that."
"Oh, whatever. Straight guys don't bartend at gay bars."
Archie waves at bartender #1 and he comes over. 
"Hey, we're just wondering. Is Justin gay or straight?"
Bartender #1 smiles. "Straight. And his girlfriend just broke up with him a couple of weeks ago. Maybe you can help him out, sweetheart." And he looks right at me.
"No. No. No, nonononono." I hold up my left hand. "Married! I'm married. Married. Happily."
"Oh, too bad. He's been flirting with you all night."
"Me?? No, no, no. He's been flirting with Archie all night!"
"No, honey. He's been flirting with you. I'm gay, though." And he winks at Archie. Unfortunately, he's short and round and funny looking and not at all Archie's type. 

Archie sighs, a huge, heavy sigh. "Well, I'm glad I didn't ask for his number. And hey, at least we got all those free shots." He looks disappointed. I think he's trying to cheer himself up.
"Oh my god." I bury my face in my hands. I'm completely humiliated. Here, I've been acting like a trollop for the last two hours, all because I thought I was safe, I thought it was harmless, I thought I was helping a friend. And really, I've been doing THE EXACT OPPOSITE. I've made a complete ass of myself. So much for that free pass to a wild night.

So. Embarrassing. Seriously. 

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Intrepid Looms

The Intrepid Looms.

It's snowing for the first time today since it snowed on December 19th. Ok, it has snowed since then, but only little sloppy bits of snow that turn immediately into rain and suck my ass. Today it's snowing in a pretty way, in a way that suggests it might actually stick around long enough to pile up so that I might actually get to build a snowman this week. I wonder if that would lift my spirits?

I'm not sure why, but I've spent the last 24 hours in my Black Hole Of Despair. Meaning: I spent all day yesterday in my jammies, on my hands and knees scrubbing the tenement floor, sobbing. At least now the floors are really clean. I mean, REALLY clean. I went over them three times. I had a lot of crying to do. But Ah! Such Clean Floors!

I have no reason to be in the Black Hole Of Despair (BHOD). Things are good! Mike registered for classes on Thursday - his schedule is great, he's taking a full load and his work schedule won't interfere with his classes at all. Except that he won't get to sleep much. Oh, and he won't ever be at home. But I'm not complaining - I'm really excited for him and I want to do whatever I can to make this easier on him because I know what a challenge it is to be a full time student and have a job. Although, I was lucky enough never to have to work full time when I was a student, a luxury he does not, so far, have. I would like him to have that luxury, I really would. Which is, ah ha! part of why I'm so freaked out. He also applied for his student loan, which we are waiting to hear back about. NERVOUS. That's what I am. I'm very very NERVOUS. School is expensive and we can barely pay our bills. I'm seriously wondering if we can get by without cell phones. And internet. I mean, I could just check my email at the library down the street, right? And if people know to email me instead of calling me, I could live without a phone, couldn't I? I could make phone calls at the pay phone on the corner, couldn't I? That is totally reasonable. And how important is electricity, honestly? We could just light candles at night. It could work. No, no, I'M NOT JOKING. I NEED SOME HELP.

Yesterday we got three letters from three literary agents that Mike queried. The first one was from a woman to whom he'd sent the first two pages of the book and a synopsis. She wrote asking him to send her the first fifty pages of the novel. HOW WONDERFUL IS THAT? I was elated. And then we opened the other two letters. Thanks, but no thanks, they said. I took it much harder than he did. He shrugged and said he hadn't expected anything else and he was just happy that one person wanted to read more of his work. It was all I could do not to throw up. I wanted to die. Seems this is going to be harder on me than it is on him. Is that what threw me into the BHOD?

I'm a ball of anxiety. I need another job. I applied for eight different jobs yesterday. I'm terrified that we won't be able to cover our February rent. I hate this apartment. I want to move as soon as possible because the rent is eating us alive. I don't see how we will be able to move considering our current financial state. My agent hasn't sent me on an audition since before Thanksgiving. Since my LIFE ON MARS audition. That was nearly two months ago. Oh god, the world feels so hopeless today.

How do you keep from losing your mind when you feel like this? I'm assuming I'm not the only one who feels like this sometimes? I'm exercising, I'm taking my serotonin-enhancing vitamins. I'm trying to keep a positive attitude, but I'm sick to my stomach. I'm so terrified I feel paralyzed. And I'm starting to get paranoid about little things, like the pimple on my left cheek that doesn't look like a pimple and has been there for over two months. I think it's skin cancer. I'm probably dying. And I'm tired all the time. I have horrible black circles under my eyes even though I'm sleeping ten hours a night. My neck muscles have been sore for the last three weeks. I think the cancer is spreading to my lymph nodes. But I'll never know because we don't have health insurance, so I can't go to the doctor. And this is all ENTIRELY MY FAULT. I AM THE ONE WHO INSISTED ON DISRUPTING OUR EASY LITTLE LIFE IN CALIFORNIA. I AM THE ONE WHO INSISTED ON MOVING TO NYC WHERE WE ARE BROKE AND HAVE NO HEALTH INSURANCE AND LIVE AMONGST FILTH IN A NASTY TENEMENT ON THE HUDSON RIVER. You might be thinking, So why don't you just go back to California and quit yer whining? Well, I just can't. I just can't. I want to figure out a way to get through this. To survive this. To beat this. I can't chicken out now, when things are just starting to happen. I'd never forgive myself.

But wouldn't I make a great sitcom character? The crazy neighbor who lives without electricity and gets really depressed and convinces herself that she's dying of cancer when she's clearly just being a drama queen? Are you laughing yet? Please laugh. Please, someone, get something positive out of this. I'd like to, ONLY THIS IS MY LIFE. THIS IS REAL FOR ME. I ACTUALLY THINK I'M DYING. 

Alright, alright. Enough is enough. I refuse to spend the rest of the day feeling sorry for myself. I refuse. In fact, right now, I'm going to pick myself up off the couch, wash my face, get dressed, and do something productive. HEY. BLACK HOLE OF DESPAIR, YOU'RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME. HEAR THAT? YOU'RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME.

I just sent an email about a job and they asked me to write all this stuff about my life goals and whatnot, and IT MADE ME FEEL SO MUCH BETTER. At the end of the email, I actually thanked them. And then I re-read this, and the gloom has vanished. Really. Everything is going to be ok. I'm sure of it. (Insert huge sigh of relief here.)

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

I <3 Cops

Today is the second day at my new job. I am the proud new Monday and Tuesday evening receptionist at a nice little Non-Profit in Manhattan. I don't know about you, but I can't pay my rent on only twelve hours of work a week, so I'm still looking for another job (let me know if you hear of anything.) I like this new job, though. It is very very very busy, and while my responsibilities are few, (I answer the phones, transfer calls to voicemail, babysit the therapists and run credit cards - literally, that is all I do) I am busier here than I've been at any job I've ever had. Including Starbucks. But I love that. It makes the time go by fast and makes me feel like I'm useful. I like feeling useful. But while I'm still the new kid on the block, it can get a bit hectic up in this joint. Like tonight for example. At seven o'clock I was starved for dinner, three phone lines were ringing, two people were on hold waiting to be transferred, five people were in line to pay for their sessions, a therapist was whining at me because someone was in the room she was assigned to and when were they going to be done and why couldn't she just see her client in the library, and someone had accidentally locked the door to the waiting room so that there were three other clients piled up by the door, wondering why they couldn't get into the waiting room. I was slightly flustered, but I was managing. If I could just transfer these calls and finish this transaction, I'd be able to run across the lobby and unlock the waiting room door. Suddenly, this therapist who I've never met, comes behind my desk and starts feeling around by my knees.

"WHOA!" I yelp.
"Oh! Sorry! There is a button under here that will unlock the waiting room door so you don't have to get up. Here it is!" And she pushes it. And pushes it again. And the clients by the door push on the door. Nothing. She pushes the button again. Nothing. Again. Nothing.

I assign an empty room for the whiny woman who needs a room, run the last three credit cards and then I jump up, run across the lobby and unlock the waiting room with my keys. And I breathe a sigh of relief because I actually got through that without having a heart attack and now maybe I can go take my fifteen minute dinner-and-pee break.

Forty minutes later the phone rings.

"Good evening, Blankety-Blank-Not-For-Profit."
"Trish! Are you alright? I just got a call that the alarm went off." It's my supervisor on the phone.
"Oh, wow. I have no idea why. Everything is fine." I say.
"Well, check the alarm panel because they're saying it was set off." I check the panel, I can't tell that anything is wrong, I assure her that I'm fine and we hang up.

Five minutes later the phone rings again.

"Good evening, Blankety-Blank-Not-For-Profit." It's one of the other girls who works in the office.
"Are you ok? Is everything alright? The alarm went off!"
"Yeah, Mary just called and said the same thing. I have no idea why."
"The alarm company said you hit the hold-up button."
"The what?"
"The hold-up button under the desk. Maybe you hit it with your knee?"

And then, of course, I remember the frantic moment forty-five minutes earlier when the nice helper therapist kept hitting the button to unlock the waiting room door, and I realize she must've been hitting the hold-up button. So I explain the situation to the girl on the phone, we hang up, and I begin to wonder why, if the hold-up button was hit so many times in a row, the police never showed up. Fifteen minutes after that, the Boss Lady calls.

"Patricia, what is going on there?"
"Oh, Janet. Everything is fine." And I tell her how the button accidentally got pushed. And she reprimands me for letting one of the therapists behind my desk and lectures me on how I am never, under any circumstances, to hit the hold-up button unless there is a gun in my face and someone demanding money. That's why it's called "a hold-up button." And then we hang up.

TWENTY MINUTES AFTER THAT, NYPD shows up. A full hour and twenty minutes after the hold-up button was frantically pushed many many many times, three uniformed NYPD officers with the faces of pimpled teenage boys saunter into the lobby, meander over to my desk and stare at me. I stare back. By now I've forgotten all about the alarm and I don't know what the hell they want, but by the looks on their faces I'm thinking they want cookies. Or dog biscuits.

"Can I help you?" I ask.
"Uh.... um.... I think... wait. Uh.... did your alarm go off?"

Oh jeez.

The moral of this story is that if I am ever held-up or otherwise threatened while I'm here in this office building all alone late at night, I can be sure that the NYPD won't show up until I'm laying in a pool of my own blood and guts, cold and dead. I am just so glad that I pay all those city taxes. What is it that money is used for again?

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Again.

Mike has been bugging me for the last few days to "take down that damn fire-hazard, already". He's afraid we're going to end up those people who still have their Christmas tree up in April. But that little tree has made me feel so happy and cozy for the last few weeks, that I couldn't bear to take it down! Until he told me that his ex-wife used to leave the tree up for weeks after Christmas and in my ongoing efforts to out-wife her, I decided to take it down today.

We had such a lovely, quiet, comfy little Christmas. And I realized that without even trying, we've already developed some of our own little holiday traditions that I will look forward to year after year. Like my (now) traditional mangled and mutilated gingerbread people.

And my (now) traditional blackberry Christmas pie.

And the new tradition of having brown paper packages delivered to my door all week before Christmas, full of gifts from family in California. And without realizing it, just in one Christmas, we accumulated a whole box-full of Christmasy decorations that we can put up next year. This is all very exciting for me and I reflected on all of this as I stripped our little tree and thanked her for giving me weeks of happiness this year.

In other news, our New Years Eve was spectacular, thanks in part to the lovely dinner that Joe threw at his and Adam's apartment.

But mostly it was spectacular because, as you all know because I can't shut the F up about it, MIKE SENT HIS NOVEL TO DAW PUBLISHING HOUSE AND THEN HE QUERIED TEN LITERARY AGENTS.

(Valentine and Theo pose with the manuscript, moments before it was taken to the post office and sent off to Daw.)

God Speed, Shadowline. May the force be with you.

I hope you, too, had a wonderful holiday and a happy new year. May we all thrive, evolve, love, live and learn in 2009.