Thursday, December 22, 2005

They're not Monkeys!

Spent 2 days filming a 50 sec commercial for Chapman film students. Director Rosie Lambert wrote a great little script where a guy (me) is filming chimps in the wild. He gets frustrated by their inertia and tries to evoke a response, but to no avail. When he cracks open a coke however, the games are on.

The chimps, Cody and Sable, were so human that it's hard to see them as anything but one (or two) of us. The eyes watching you as you take a sip from a bottle they've just handed you. Will you give it back? Have they just been shafted? The sudden interest in your elbow or a particular finger. But only for a moment. Then it's back to looking around. And my best - the longing for trees. The trainer had them seated under a branch for the first shot, but they couldn't help but look up. The desire to leap up and swing was clearly so strong. Like candy. Or coke, which is even better.

The final shot had us sharing a coke, which was cold tea in a coke bottle - to enable easier sharing. Cody was keen to get the bottle back, but after a sip threw me a look which clearly said "this new formula sucks". For some great photos, you can visit Gearhart Photo.

Rosie's short, "The Reel Monkey", is a finalist in the Coca Cola Refreshing Filmmakers competition. It should be online around the start of Feb at CCRFA.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

In the festive spirit, I give you this

Ten Things the LA Actor Doesn't Have to Struggle With

(not yet, anyway)

1) You can't cross Hollywood and Highland without a SAG card.
2) Sign-in sheets ask for your Church of Scientology number.
3) Random checks and fines for real teeth, hair or wrinkles.
4) All reads must mimic the casting director.
5) The use of make-up is prohibited for no-name actors.
6) Street parking is only for cars made after the year 2000.
7) 2 years mandatory service playing Spiderman on the Walk of Fame.
8) 2 years mandatory service mopping floors at fast-food Wok of Fame.
9) All acting coaches broadcast raw unedited footage on national television.
10) You're the Universal tour guide pointing out the studio you once owned.

Here's to a fabulous, festive, sickeningly over-indulgent festive season, and may 2006 bring you everything you deserve and everything that's coming to you!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

I'm Going to San Bernardino

I set off for San Bernardino last week and turned my MP3 player on. It's always set to random shuffle and, incredibly (or so I thought), started playing a track called "Boom, Like That" by Mark Knopfler. Incredible, because it's a random play from a possible 800-odd songs AND the opening lyric is "I'm going to San Bernadino". But hey - that's my life: full of synchronicity. Most of the time it has zero significance beyond my own desperate desire for it to be just that - significant. Don't even get me started on my 72 thing. It's out of control. WAY out of control.

But my post, the real reason behind my post is this fabulous sign I snapped in the aforementioned San Bernie. Made me chuckle as I stood outside a rundown old restaurant alongside the tracks in the middle of nowhere. Well, it wasn't nowhere really. It was San Bernardino, of course. But if it weren't for the directions on my map telling me that this place was indeed on the map, I could have sworn it wasn't...

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

Yes, but I'm not a professional dancer!

"Cape of Good Hope" opened in New York in November and is released in LA on the 16th of December. (It'll be at the Laemmle Sunset) Laura Kern of the New York Times called it "a genuine uplift of a film", which sounds like it would make a good bra. Roger Ebert found it "wonderful!", which is wonderful, except that his critical buddy Roeper didn't agree, saying it wasn't enough like "Crash". (Maybe that's because it's a different movie.) I guess that means it get's "one thumb up". Which isn't exactly "2 thumbs down", but not quite "2 thumbs up". And there was I thinking they were ALL thumbs...

It was good to see lead Debbie Brown and fellow actor David Isaacs at the Q+A screening on Wilshire recently. They made the long haul from Vancouver and Cape Town, respectively. I made the long haul from the Valley. Respect.

At the Q+A, director Mark commented that Debbie didn't have a dance background, but I did. I was concerned from Day 1 that he thought I really was a dancer, as he had me improvising a tango lesson (!!!) before the scene started. Now I'm convinced. (Does that mean he thinks I'm a crap actor?) No matter - it means he liked the dance. Or at least found it authentic. Oh yeah - I'm a tango teacher in the movie, if you hadn't guessed. And yes, we BOTH worked our asses off to get the moves down. When they cutaway to the precision of those toned and taut legs and feet, they're OUR legs and feet, thank you very much!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Bad Nuts

There's nothing like the local LA news broadcasts to make you feel like the last sane person on the planet. Tonight's teaser promised "a teenager dies after kissing her boyfriend. Find out about the deadly kiss at 5." Great. Today I'm gonna learn why kissing is lethal AND I have to wait another 40 minutes until they tell me. If it's THAT deadly, don't you have a moral duty to tell the public IMMEDIATELY?! But that's how news is promoted in movie town - with hyped up trailers. Victims of violence, greed and, oftentimes, stupidity, are merely characters in the daily blockbuster, fondly called the CBS 2 News.

Incredibly, the deadly kissing victim died due to a severe allergic reaction to the peanut protein. Her boyfriend had consumed peanut butter prior to kissing her. How long prior, you may ask? 3 days! Yes, peanut pieces (however small) supposedly remained in or on this guy's mouth for 72 hours. This begs 2 questions. One: doesn't the guy have a toothbrush? And two: (more likely I suggest) maybe he did it deliberately. I don't believe you're gonna keep peanuts in your cheeks for 3 days, no matter how poor your oral hygiene. I mean, he had to know about her condition, right? Maybe he had simply had enough and wanted to get a reaction out of her. Just not THAT kind of reaction.

Fortunately there was a light at the end of this crazy bulletin. Cheery-faced Anne Martin told the world (or a few thousand folks, anyway) that "they" have completed a study of romance and the results are in. Romance lasts for "about a year". Good to know. A protein (note the running theme) called Nerve Growth Factor surges in the start of a relationship but then drops back after a year to "pre-infatuation levels". Depressing news, I'd say. Not for Anne. She closed her Health Beat insert by informing us that this was "probably a good thing - I don't think anyone would want to live with that kind of excitement".

Well, I'm happy for Anne if she's happy living in a soundproof, protective bubble, but don't tell me that's what I should be doing. I can see people now, telling themselves that there's way too much excitement in their lives and they need to cut down on that weekly walk in the park. Heck- why risk getting out of bed - you might raise your pulse! As Anne looks for ways to calm herself and lower her heart rate to comatose levels, I'll be looking for all the excitement I can find, thank you very much. I'm throwing a party every night this week. And you won't be getting an invite.

Friday, November 18, 2005


I had a great evening this past weekend, celebrating friend Lee-Anne's birthday. Saw old South African friend Adam Schiff for the first time in years. He's composing scores and songs for films and has material in two current movies; Just Friends and Edison. Damn fine. Also had a good chat to actors Brendan Pollecutt, Janine Eser, Simon Jones (who delighted in informing me he'd got a gig I submitted for - cheers!) and his wife Lynsey. It was a bit of an ex-pat reunion our end of the table, but very good to reminisce about Wits Drama school and good old Joburg. Also met Cliff "Mr SA" Simon, who's been sinking his teeth into a recurring "baddie" role on Stargate, which sounds like a lot of fun. Charming guy.

Update: my episode of Commander in Chief aired a few days ago. You'll be able to see a clip of it by next week - just click on the reel link on the right.

Cape of Good Hope is currently at the Angelika in New York and opens in LA later this month. I saw a poster at the Sunset Laemmle, so it's definitely there, if not elsewhere. Definitely worth a look for a slice of South Africa!

Wednesday, November 2, 2005

Just When You Thought it Was Over...

...I had a casting today for a mime. Well I was the mime and the ad was for some mints - the fresh one, not the savory one. It seemed silly for me to be walking around LA with a white face and even sillier to be in a room full of the similarly afflicted.

It's also silly that my look showed more creativity than my Halloween effort, so here it is... And yes - it took me a long, long time to get it off.

By the way, this is my new resting face.

All 3 of them.

Creepy, huh?

Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween!

What can I say? There's something very disturbing about this festival. Liberating, perhaps, but disturbing nonetheless...

That's me on the left, Scary Spice in the middle and William the soldier on the right. William's a real soldier. I'm not really a mullett and Scary's not really a woman. But you already knew that. My point is, Will's outfit doesn't count. He should've worn the Tina wig. Or a dress. Or at least some snappy glasses. That would be an outfit. But you can't just come as yourself. It may be my first ever dress-up Halloween, but I'm laying down the rules, people. I think it's fair. I mean, if I was a janitor, I couldn't come dressed in my overalls, now could I? Well, could I?

I suppose I could, but people would laugh. Or stare. For all the wrong reasons. Nobody laughed at the soldier. Maybe that's cos he said he was a marine. Come to think of it, maybe Will's outfit's juuuust fine. There. He can wear that 24-7-365 for all I care. I'll polish his shoes.

Well, maybe that's going too far. I might get him another beer, though...

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Wrapped at Last!

Finally returned to LA after nearly 6 weeks in New Jersey. The weather fought us, but we battled through and wrapped love story "Greetings From the Shore". Incredible cast and crew.

The fabulous, funny & talented Kim, laid back warmth of David, charming Ron, ever cool Lars, Captain Greg, Commander Gab, kick-ass Heather & Jason, super-talented Kaela, Kjerstin, PJ, Mary, Marilyn, Ande and the multitude of others - you will be missed!

As will the beautiful sunsets, deserted streets, poached eggs on raisin toast, Eckerds (the store that keeps on giving), beer & popcorn at Crab's Claw, picture postcard days and moonlit poker nights. Thanks for everything...

Thursday, October 6, 2005


In beautiful Lavallette, New Jersey for a month. Working on indie feature Greetings From the Shore, a coming of age love story. I'm playing Sasha, a gritty Russian migrant worker of sorts. Incredible location, but this place is a ghost town out of season. Shops closed, no cars on the road, empty houses. Quite bizarre. It feels like some airborne virus wiped everyone out, and I woke up to discover I'm the last one on the planet. Last night I walked to the bar in town for "karaoke EVERY wednesday!", only to discover it was empty and karaoke was cancelled. It was disappointing to say the least. There's only so much mini golf a grown man can play before he snaps...

Thursday, September 8, 2005

Sin City

Ah, Vegas! What can I say after my first visit? Out of the great flatness rise a dozen square blocks of towering kitch excess. Overwhelmingly tacky and yet strangely compelling, it's a testimony to too much money, not enough taste and the desire to give the already-wealthy your own money too. It's a marvellous achievement.

Sidestepping the casinos (or at least walking through them to get to the other side), we saw Cirque du Soleil's magnificent "O", which puts all other performers (ie: me) to shame for their laziness and lack of athletic prowess. A flight over the Grand Canyon was equally humbling, with it's sheer beautiful greatness. Oh- and the Paris isn't a bad hotel, complete with a 50 story Eiffel, dodgy fake French accents and the simple pleasures of pain au chocolat...

Thursday, September 1, 2005

Lights Out!

What a kick - had the incredible opportunity to act with Donald Sutherland yesterday on new TV series Commander in Chief. The man is as charming as you'd expect and a consummate pro. It didn't hurt that his right hand woman was played by the gorgeous Natasha Henstridge. It all went swimmingly until the "reporters'" camera flashes went off like an armed assault. Flashed my line right outta my head. Nice. Clearly I need more red carpet training to equip me for this. Never thought I'd say this, but I have new respect for politicians, who manage to respond at all to questions inspite of the disco light show!

Sunday, August 28, 2005

It's not Dirty - It's Castle Clean!

Have been a bit lax on updates, as I've been working in Prague for the past 2 weeks. Beautiful as always. Can't talk about the project, except to say the people were great.

I walked the cobbled streets till my feet ached, ate like a king, drank way too much red wine, learned a smattering of Czech and Russian, saw the most beautiful old buildings, beautiful young women and enough marionette puppets to start a small wooden army.

Thanks to Inna, Ivan, James, Igor, Sasha, Chris, Jamey, Scott, David, Otto, Craig, Tomas, Humphrey, Larry#1, Larry#2 and everyone else for making the mayhem memorable.

In the movie of life, may you never hear hear "stoplisme"!

Monday, August 8, 2005

Number 1

British based Bond fansite, Mi6, interviewed me recently about voicing the character of Number 1 (aka Blofeld) for the video game Goldeneye: Rogue Agent. Dunno why anyone would be interested, but nice to know someone is! It was a great gig, especially since it was matching a character I'd grown up with (so to speak- I'm not completely insane, thank you). Mi6 Interview.

Sunday, August 7, 2005

Cape of Good Hope has a US Release!

South African-set feature film Cape of Good Hope has a US release this september, which is great news. Typically SA films die a death in Hollywood, as did Stander, which didn't make it past it's opening weekend. However, Cape is less a political statement, and more of a story about people struggling against the odds. Kind of a South African "Short Cuts" for want of a better analogy. A bunch of stories, dramatically woven together with a measure of humour.

I play the tango teacher, Miles, which was a fun, slightly camp exercise. It took us (me and good friend Debbie Brown) ages to get the wretched dance down and the footage is cut in such a way it could be another couple's legs anyway! I think the director thought I was really a dancer and not an actor, as he had me improvising dance instruction (aaargh!) for a few minutes before the other character entered. Looking at the poster now, I don't recall a Vespa in the movie at all, let alone Debbie and her girlfriends scooting about... Anyway, if you get the chance, go see it - the performance are really strong and Debbie kicks ass!

Saturday, August 6, 2005

It's my record, isn't it?

Maybe it's 'cos I'm not a scientologist and don't know the secret handshake.

Maybe they're scared I'll blow up in this town and leave them the minute I land that series.

Maybe they're scared I'll blow them up.

Or maybe they're waiting for me to blow them.


Still - it would be nice to feel, just for once in this town, more like a wanted man and less like a criminal.

It's my criminal record, isn't it?

After recent meetings with prospective agents, I have come to some conclusions:

1) "Can you lose your accent?" is a very silly phrase. Maybe if I've downed a bottle or 2 of Merlot, I might lose it. I'll certainly be speaking a different dialect. But no, I cannot "lose" my accent. It's not like I wake up now and then speaking English with a thick Russian accent, or Tibetan-flavoured consonants. What they're asking is "Can you do an American accent?". I'm not losing anything- I'm putting something ON. Needless to say, I usually go in to these meetings with my American accent - or, put it on for a few minutes as a whip-out-the-bag gimmick.

2) How well the meeting goes has absolutely nothing to do with how interested they are in repping you. In fact, the two may be inversely proportioned. The bigger the agent, the better the meeting, the more excited you get and the more crushing the "no". To be honest, every agent I've met has declined. But then every meeting went well, too. Weird. I'm hoping my next meeting will go so poorly, there might be a chance they're interested.

3) Agents cannot simply say "no". They prefer to deflect ownership of your rejection onto the organisation or industry at large. If they can throw in a compliment, so much the better. That way, they don't feel bad about giving you the boot - heck, they just told you that you're great! Examples:

"We loved your reel...It's the foreign resume"
"You're wonderful...It's just not the right timing"

4) Agents always say "call me next week", but are never available to field your call. In fact, "next week" can become two months from now. And so you call again. And again. And again. You don't want to appear stalker-like, but hey - an answer one way or the other would be nice. And when it's a "no", did it really take you 8 weeks to make that decision?

5) Working in a foreign country consistently with verifiable credits, heaps of press, great reviews and (I quote) a "great reel" means absolutely bugger all.

The upside of all this, is that I'm more distrustful of people than I already was. Tick. Most of the industry is indeed clinically insane. Tick. I am unquestionably certifiable for attempting this. Tick.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Here's to you, buddy!

Had my good buddy from South Africa, Jason, in town for a week. Discovered I still have the stamina for consecutive all nighters (just not the impetus). We did the LA budget tour- Venice beach (crazy person mecca), Santa Monica pier (lithe bladers), Dodgers baseball (sorely beaten), Walk of Fame (grubby), karaoke @ Lava Lounge (scintillating), 80s clubbing @ The Ruby (nostalgic), rooftop jacuzzi (must get those photos destroyed), played pool (we won- though we were playing different rules- ahem). Here's to you, old man. The oldest man to travel on Contiki. But still - the youngest oldest man to travel on Contiki they've ever known! Oh- and no, that's not his resting face. That's what we all look like after finishing a Carl's Jnr burger. See you soon, my friend...

Sunday, June 26, 2005

World News Headlines (ish)

There's been a break since my last post and, being short of my own news, here are my choice pickings of others' misfortune from the past week........

From a recent casting breakdown

Mila - Lead / FEMALE / 5 TO 7
Helpful Skills - Must be able to do a speak impediment.
Mila (lead) - Long, blond hair, and big, expressive eyes

You gotta watch out for those speak impediments, folks!


KATIE HOLMES' uncle insists her family are far from happy with their daughter's new romance, and even less thrilled about her involvement in Cruise's chosen Scientology religion.

And FRITZ even went so far as to bad mouth his niece's new love to a family friend, according to this week's (ends24JUN05) NATIONAL ENQUIRER magazine - while Holmes is away promoting her new movie BATMAN BEGINS.

A pal, MIKE SITTER, who is a fellow parishioner at the Holmes family's Toledo, Ohio church, says, "Katie's uncle Fritz said he reckons it (relationship) will only last a couple of months because of the age gap. "He approached me and said, 'So what do you make of this Tom and Katie business? I think Tom seems like a real jerk. I give it 60 days.'" .

It's good to know I'm not the only one...

And my favourite for the week, c/o

Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria is happy that the Los Angeles Police are trying to provide extra security to her, as she is terrified each time a photographer tries to capture her image in her intimate surroundings.
The actress has admitted that she feels sacred at thought of photographers lurking around her house when she returns home after work.

Lord knows I feel a little sacred too, when I see a camera...

Thursday, June 9, 2005

Ice Ice, Baby

Last night I stepped into yesterday and the weather was fine. Part of the audience of "Hit me baby one more time", I got to watch pop stars The Knack, Tommy Tutone, Haddaway and Vanilla Ice LIVE! Ah, the joy... Each group had the opportunity to do their biggest hit and then perform a cover version of a current song. How they've aged, but then who wouldn't have, some 15 to 20 years later? It's been a guilty secret of mine, the fact that I know the lyrics to Ice Ice Baby. What can I tell you? I was white, young and stupid. Now I'm just white and stupid. But have to say that Vanilla, or Rip van Winkle (his real name, apparently) was fabulous, humble and funny. Predictably, the Ice Man won the bout and was thrilled (if a little unsurprised) to have cleaned the floor. Now before you laugh and point, I didn't pay for the event, okay? Yes, I queued to get in, but NO I didn't pay. Let's just leave it there.

Thursday, June 2, 2005

Who is Yuri?

As I crossed the street yesterday, I heard a man shout out "hey, Yuri!". At least that's what it sounded like. I spun around to see a bald man in his car, waving and giving me an enthusiastic thumbs-up. Looking around, it was clear that he was, indeed, addressing me. Just why, was not so clear. I am not now, nor have I ever been, called Yuri. Nor have I ever played the role of Yuri. (That goes for both professional and private-in-the-comfort-of-my-own-home performances) Nevertheless, a strange man was excited to see who he thought was Yuri. Really excited. All this prompts a few questions: Who is the real Yuri? Why does he wear my clothes? And what was he doing with "Thumbs-Up" Baldy? Only time will tell...

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Taking a moment

Memorial Day weekend was memorable. I ate. I drank. I watched a cartoon on TV which showed how awful the British were. Then I ate and drank some more. Later on, the persistant drone of 3 news helicopters forced me outside, where I joined an inquisitive mob searching for today's local news. We didn't find it. But I did enjoy the circling LAPD chopper, all shiny and grey and menacing. On the news tonight I watched a woman being "tazered" by a policeman. Twice. She had refused to get out of her car. The burly cop (whose partner was steps away) decided she posed a threat and proceeded to "zap" her with 50,000 volts for 2 minutes. An appropriate response? Doubtful. The following news item saw a chuckling George W Bush dismissing Amnesty International's criticism of prisoners' treatment at Guantanamo Bay as ludicrous. Since when are accusations of torture funny? When is laughter an appropriate resonse to a charge so serious in nature? Anyone who behaves that way is one of two things: guilty or insane. He went on to promise that as soon as the Iraqis could defend themselves, the US would withdraw. Well, the war has cost $173 billion so far. Since "mission accomplished", 1527 Americans have died. When is it time for an appropriate response? When is it time to start defending your own?

Sunday, May 22, 2005

The Sleep Eye Monster

I have a confession: I am a sleep eye monster. I sleep a lot. Nearly every night I get the requisite 8 hours of slumber. And yet I yearn for more. I love sleep. I love it a lot. If I could find a way to be productive and make money from the land of nod, you can be sure I'd investigate it thoroughly. Even now, I am in my first week of lucid sleep studies. No, I haven't had a lucid dream yet. To be honest, I've only recalled 3 dreams in the past 8 weeks. But one day soon, I'll be able to harness the genius of my subconscious and discover the secrets to financial and personal success. Or at least how to drive up a hill AND have the aircon on. (It's an old car...)

But my relish of sleep doesn't make me a monster. No. What scares the neighbour's little kids is the sleep that remains. In my eyes. (Sensitive readers would do well to close their browsers now) My body generates enough sleep each day to gather together and fashion into a golden candle. (Yes, that's gross. No, I haven't tried it) In fact, Hollywood made a movie recently based on my apartment. It's called House of Wax. (Well what do you expect from a brain that's quietly melting - with the wax - in 100 degrees' heat?) I shall return when my core temperature drops.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The Horror

Following on from my recent Russian pimp audition, it seems only fair to fill you in (whoever you are - cos I haven't a clue, but thanks for tuning in) on my latest. I had a call with the joyful news - "you have an audition". But not any audition, it turns out. Here follows the conversation:

"You have an audition"
"It's this Saturday"
"It's a low budget horror film, so it's not paying much"
"You'll be reading for the role of the zombie"
"For the audition they want you to tapdance - can you tapdance?"
"Uh-no. If I could, that'd be under my 'special skills'"
"Okay, well they want you to do a little tap dance ala Young Frankenstein"
"Now there aren't any sides, so what they want after the dance is a zombie groan"
"I really don't think this project interests me, thanks"
"But it's a substantial role"
"Yes, but I'm a zombie, I don't have a any lines, I'll be in thick make-up and no-one will even see me"
"Well, if you're certain... I'll tell them you're unavailable"

Oh- and apparently I did get the pimp gig, although there are no dates yet. Sure beats working in an office, huh?

Monday, May 16, 2005

Phil Collins' Friend

Saw a very funny play with old drama school friend Heike Brunner this past weekend. She played a (psycho?)therapist counselling various troubled individuals. The highlight was the piece with the girlfriend plagued by Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight". Wherever she is, the song seems to find her, and her boyfriend (who's always there, too) has the unstoppable urge to tell the story of why Phil wrote it. Time and time again. On the couch, at parties, in the car. His eyes glaze over and he HAS to tell the story. Very, very funny. And yes- you had to be there. But you weren't, were you? We waited and waited. We even kept a seat. Ah well, maybe next time. It's just... it'd be nice if you called first - to say you're running late. Or jogging. Or ambling. Or sauntering. A casual stroll. A mindless wander. I should go now.

Sunday, May 8, 2005

Bikes, leather, ponytails

I'm riding my motorcycle when I realise the brakes are dodgy. I let her out a little, then brake, and she slows but not to a complete halt. Riding down a side street, my attention is drawn to the sound of a woman's voice. A South African voice. Rare in the States, that. So I loiter, engine running, eager to soak it up. Suddenly the garage door opens and out steps Steven Seagal. He's wearing his customary garb; black leather pants, black boots, long black coat and slicked back ponytail. Whoah! Don't wanna have Mr Happy think I'm about to go through his trash, so I casually pull away.

Down the road there's a police checkpoint. I join a queue and have to show my license. As I reach the front, I dig in my bag for the card, spilling out a slew of other junk, including my old business card. The cop (looking remarkably like the blonde guy from Chips) asks what it is. "Oh, that's my OLD card," I protest. "Here's the new one - it's much better," and I wip out a shiny new, full colour headshot card. He takes it in for that beat past comfort, when this is either gonna be a 40 minute conversation or a kiss - so I nip it in the bud, slapping him on the shoulder with a "I'll let you get on."

And then I woke up. I can't say why the leather clad martial arts fiend, the bike and the cop were in my dream. I should point out that they aren't recurring themes. If they were, one might cast aspertions on my sexuality. Again. The dream's significance is lost on me, but it's certainly refreshing to remember my dream in the first place AND for it to be rather tame as opposed to being chased by wolves. (Which apparently signifies the dreamer's subconcious fear of their dark side) One thing is troubling, however. (Aside from the bike, leather pants and the cop, of course) Why does Steven Seagal sound like a woman?

Thursday, May 5, 2005

Cheerio Slovo

You don't expect Slovenia to be sunny and warm. But then (as I like to say) you don't expect Slovenia. It catches you by surprise. Though a country with 50% forests, I saw only the capital, Ljubljana, a gag-worthy name for a city, but it's inhabitants are anything but. A surplus of rollerblading and biking beauties glide by, licking ice cream cones with foreign tongues. Here and there a fortune-telling type of indeterminate age pedals her assortment of bric-a-brac, but the bulk of the women (of whom none are bulky) are models. Or clearly could be. I sat for coffee on a late afternoon Tuesday, surrounded by gorgeous young women and men, none of whom were over the age of 30. I pictured a ritual slaughtering on one's 31st birthday. There'd be tears, hugs and fond farewells. Perhaps a final meal, a glass of ghastly Slovenian red, followed by the inevitable execution. The youngsters would turn turn, misty-eyed, to the hooded executioner, who'd give a fortune-teller's shrug that would say it all: "I got to live, but hey - look what I have to do for a living - oy!" (Or whatever the Slovenians say)

Back in LA the clouds have gathered, or is it the smog? Hard to tell. As the plane touched down I felt the bag of uncertainty rest back down on my shoulders. Though a little lighter. It didn't hurt that my flight back was cushy and smooth. Nor was I troubled by the sight of Scarlett Johanssen sitting, cross legged, 3 seats away. It's been a promising week, this past week. And promises, even empty ones, can do wonders for an alien.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Riding High

Back again, having shaken the scary internet stalker lady. It seemed to be too rare an opportunity to miss; writing a blog at 12000 feet. Racing along at 900 miles/hr (or something equally impressive), I found myself able to access the net! Seeing as it clearly won't be thrilling to anyone other than me, I'll keep this brief. Car commercial. The brief was "Willem Dafoe". Got cast. Off to Europe. Business class. Ah, the luxury. After a delicate crab salad, venison, chocolate fudge cake and a glass of Graham Beck's Cabernet (fine South African wine), the night is progressing splendidly. All I can hear is the hum of the engines and the occasional whirr of no- not choppers or sweepers, but electric seats adjusting into beds.

This is the way humans were meant to travel. Heck, business class is nicer than my apartment. I've got personal aircon, a fine LCD TV with movies on demand, 24hr service - what more could anyone want? Maybe I'll stay. I'll conduct all my "business" (which is..?) from the air. Yes, I like this idea. Only touching down to refill. The daring, global, high-flying... what? What would I be? I don't have an internet business! I'M the business. I'm an actor, for crying out loud and no-one wants a performance up here. They want some peace and quiet. Besides, the aisles are too narrow for my kind of show. Ah well, another life, perhaps. I should probably get some sleep now - they'll be waking us in an hour or two. Can't switch off just yet. I just want to soak it all up, you know? Before it's all gone. And I'm back in economy. Ughh. Economy... What an ugly word. I feel a rush of nausea coming on. I may need to barf in my business class paper bag...

Boarding now

As I sit to write this, I realise 3 things. One: LAX has the filthiest toilets I've ever encountered. I've visited cleaner lavs in Malawi. Two: If you're going to make an airport announcement in English, have someone who actually speaks the language do the honours. Three: if you want to use the public access internet terminal, just ask. Don't sit next to me sighing heavily and patting your legs with mounting irritation. It's not gonna make me get off any sooner. Sorry.

So yeah, I'm off to foreign climbes - Slovenia for a commercial. More later, but times running out and lady next to me become threatening...

Monday, April 25, 2005


If noise is an earthquake, I live at its epicentre. I am constantly amazed at just how noisy my city is. I naively thought I could set up a little home studio for voice and music recording. A success if I wanted all my tracks to have a gentle bed of traffic. I remember my first morning, waking bolt upright to what sounded like a plane about to land on my head. I waited for the caucophony to pass by and recede. It didn't. Instead, it became louder and louder, signifying its imminent arrival in my bedroom. At the moment just before eardrums burst and blood trickles down the cheek, I rushed to the window and thrust back the blinds, desperate to see my attacker before my certain death. There in the alley was the SWEEPER; a grotesque metallic bug of gargantuan proportion, hissing and whirring, as it's many furry legs gather the trash that lines the streets. Terrifying.

Then there's Big Mama, the dumpster dumper. A great green block on wheels, that races between homes and screeches to a stop at the next dumpster. As its powerful arms gather and hoist each dumpster aloft, we are blessed by the monosyllabic Parp Parp Parp to warn us of its presense. An easy vehicle to miss, being as it is, the size of my apartment. Then there's the inevitable crash of metal as the dumpsters are flipped and flopped and dumped back down. And all this happens 10 feet from my swollen brain. It is swollen because when Big Mama and Sweepy are terrorising people elsewhere, I have the whoosh-whoosh of passing cars at the nearby intersection, the drilling of my DIY afflicted neighbour and the half-hourly Wooooooooeeeeeeeeuuuuuu of emergency sirens rushing off to who knows what. It's extraordinary. I lived in Johannesburg, one of the crime capitals, for years and never heard sirens this often.

Nightfall offers little respite, as the criminals prefer hiding out at my apartment block. Or at least that's the signal I'm getting, as police choppers regularly whirr and screech overhead, scouring the dark with their searchlight, blinding any poor sod who's just run out to see what the fuss was about. I'm begining to think that LA is either very very dangerous or very very clumsy. Perhaps we're getting rescued from ourselves. That's a consoling thought. Maybe I'll be swept up by LAPD just before switching over to The Apprentice. Or just before starting on that second tub of Haagen Daz. Yes. Maybe that's what they do. As I grab a coffee and set off on my day without eating a proper breakfast, I can almost hear it now.... Woooooeeeeeeuuuuuuuuu!

Friday, April 22, 2005

The G Factor

Today is a good day. Firstly I'm not dead. And secondly, I have 2 auditions: one for a sleazy talent agent, and the other a callback for a Russian pimp. I know, I know - there's a bit of a theme running here, isn't there? Evidently I am viewed by some as "shady". It's nothing new. Even though I consider myself honest and trustworthy, I have long emitted the G factor. (Guilt) It may be the shifty eyes. It could be the way I stand, shoulders hunched in readiness. Or perhaps I grip my bag a little too tightly. Airport security personnel are fond of me. They'll pick me out at 100 paces. Browsing for shampoo (a rare activity) in the local drug store almost always prompts a "Kin aye help yew?" from the staff. This would be fine, if it wasn't for the fact the voice comes from directly behind me in an aisle that was empty seconds earlier. (What kind of stealth training have these creepy folks undergone?!) I hate the feeling of guilt that surges over me when I had no intention of doing anything dodgy. But for some reason, I now feel responsible for a crime that has yet to be committed. The only solution is to actual steal something - to fulfil their expectations, grab that bottle of Pantene and run. Well, it's not the ONLY solution. But one day, Savon ninjas... One day you'll help me over the edge.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

What were they thinking?

What is it with those concertina Post-Its? You know the ones- they're stuck in alternating fashion; top, bottom, top, bottom, etc. Everytime I go to peel one off, it seems I pick the wrong end. Then when I DO pick the right end, the whole thing concertinas (new verb) away from my hand, like I'm performing some magician's card flourish. There is zero practical value here, folks. Only frustration, tears, anger and, in extreme cases, death. (Oh I dunno- everything can kill you these days, can't it?) What were they thinking?

My other favourite is the stainless steel milk pourer. The kind that is mass produced and you find brought to you when ordering coffee somewhere. This particular animal (for it is wild indeed) has the suggestion of a spout. Not a real spout, just the hint of one. Like the subtle whiff of perfume in an elevator someone's long exited. The genius who invented it (he must be a genius- he's affected millions of us) didn't want the white fluid to run smoothly from spout to cup. No. Unlike any sane inventor who designs a tool to make our lives easier, our mad milkman's spout ensures that it is near impossible to effect the very outcome for which it was intended. The milk has a 97% chance of trickling down the pourer with the precise velocity and volume to saturate critical documents lying beneath it, or soiling darkly coloured pants with the added bonus of mmmmm.... stinky drying milk. That 97% chance is a conservative estimate, by the way, as I have only succeeded in avoiding these premeditated (the genius, remember?) "accidents" twice in my life. And I drink a LOT of coffee.

So who's to blame? Will we ever be able to pinpoint the precise individuals responsible for money blown on dry cleaning bills or the hours of productivity lost in playing sticky paper fingers? The answer, of course, is no. But it's nice to dream...

Friday, April 15, 2005

You're a Star!

I wrote earlier about magic in the mailbox and hotdang - today it delivered again. The Star Auto Group told me (in writing) that I had been "identified as one of (their) customers". Wow. How did they know I'd bought one of their vehicles? Do they keep records? Evidently so. And yet, Star's records are questionable at best, considering they persist in trying to schedule a service for a Ford Focus I've never owned. But back to the letter. The auto group offers in their, well - offer, to pay the "original manufacturer's suggested retail base price" for my car. (A Ford I DO actually own) Whipping out my trusted Kelly Blue Book Guide, I discover that my special limited-time-only trade-in value is an impressive $24,545. Whoah, that's a lotta cash. Cash I'll never see, as it'll apply to a downpayment on a new Ford, but still - a lotta cash. I wasn't looking at a new vehicle (actually I look a lot, I just can't buy), but this changes everything. Maybe it IS do-able. Do-able up until the little phrase "deductions will be made for equipment failure, body damage,reconditioning costs and mileage of 29c per mile".

Hmmm. Let's see now. The equipment's working, damage is minimal, but what exactly does reconditioning entail? Do they wanna recon the whole engine, gearbox and diff? And who determines the cost of that? Ah well, let's pretend it's negligable (that lotta cash starts looking like a bit of cash) and calculate the mileage deduction. Just to be certain. You know? I mean, this offer's only good through Monday. So, I just multiply my mileage, roughly 105,000, by 29c and..... oh-oh. That can't be right. My mileage deduction comes to negative $5,905. Yup. I'd have to PAY my friendly Ford dealer nearly 6 grand to take my car AND, wait for it, buy ANOTHER freakin' Ford! Are you kidding me?! It's not like they don't know my mileage - they tried to schedule my 100,000 service recently, so they obviously DO know. They're just messing with my mind! Luckily I was one of the fortunate ones to spot the deception. I pity the poor buggers who drop in to Ford this weekend all excited, kids in tow, only to find themselves tied to a trade-in agreement where the dealer can get YOU the buyer to pay THEM to take your trade-in. Faster than you can finish that free hotdog. And remember, in the state of California, there's no cooling off period. Nice. Now, if I can just get them to buy back that Focus...

The Designated Screamer

As I sat in bumper to bumper traffic yesterday, I felt a disturbing surge of emotion come over me. It wasn't the usual low, throaty growl that typically escapes my lips when travelling the 405. Nope. It wasn't even the misty-eyed wuss who emerges during TV commercials for hair products. Not that, either. What crept across my face was a smile. Curious, since my eyes would suggest the moment just before driving over the cliff. A tad incongruous. I opened the car windows, in a futile attempt to channel extra oxygen and calm myself. That's when it hit me: the scream. Loud, prolonged and a sound that would give Wes Craven the creeps. I checked myself in the rearview mirror - closed mouth, so couldn't be me. Whew. Still not completely disconnected from my brain. To my left, a man in an SUV was on his cellphone. Except he wasn't having a conversation. For a full 8 seconds, John Doe vented. And vented well. His chin thrust foward as his head performed a slow-mo jig of agony. Ever so slightly, I could feel my smile returning. Not a mad smile this time. Rather a simple smile of contentment. Aaah. I wondered if other drivers found it cathartic to have someone else scream for them for a change. Lord knows I've done it for him in the past. The remainder of my journey was equally slow. My speedo needle barely flickered. I could have walked faster. But no ulcer. John Doe saved me. So here's a big "shout out" to John. And as you venture onto the roads this weekend and the coming week, may you also be blessed by the designated screamer.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Anyone, anywhere, anytime

The mailbox is a wonderful thing. Who knows what suprises are in store today? There could be postcards from old friends in foreign climes, checks from the agent, or the latest Victoria's Secret catelogue. Yummy. In all likelihood, however, my mailbox will be stuffed with bills, fast food flyers, the 85th attempt from SBC to take over my phone service, and umpteen credit card offers that will cost me nothing until I miss a payment and lose the house I haven't bought yet. (Though thinking like that, does mean I do, eventually, get a house, even if I lose it - so that's cool) Nothing out of the ordinary, really. Except for a white, unsuspecting, pseudo-handwritten envelope. I say pseudo, because it's addressed in cursive blue ink, but closer inspection proves it's just printed on the thing. And that's where they've got you (or, in this case, got me). I've taken a moment to examine what is clearly junk mail. Or is it? Hmmm. Can I simply rip it in two without peeking at the contents? What if it's really, really exciting stuff? Oh, who am I kidding? I LOVE junk mail. I do. It's a sickness. I relish the weekend papers chock full of colourful images and "prices slashed". Mmmm. The search for a bargain is a powerful urge. And if something comes free, they've pulled me in even deeper. I bought a little guitar once, just for the shiny plectrum. (I think you get the picture. Basically I'm blurring the line between human and magpie.)

But back to the envelope. I tear it open to reveal, wait for it; "How to instantly kill anyone, anywhere, anytime you choose". I'm not kidding. I wish I was. Nope- that's today's marketing offer. I have to say, it's piqued my interest. Come one folks; "anyone, anywhere, anytime" - that means you don't even have to be there to do it! That's impressive. I can't think of any victims just at the moment, but give me a day or two. Imagine the unwavering confidence that comes with knowing you have an arsenal of "brand spanking new lethal moves". None of those tired, old "sidekick to the knee" or "one knuckle kidney punch" techniques. Pur-leez. These are hand to hand moves that "immediately turn you into something scary". Of course, my mother's been calling me scary for years. But I swear, when I focussed the magnifying glass's pinpoint beam of sunlight on her big toe, I was doing valid scientific research.

It goes on to promise I'll be taught how to become a "walking slaughterhouse". I don't know about that. Slaughterhouses are messy. And noisy. I want a quiet kill, dammit. If there's a big racket, someone's gonna hear it. And if there's a mess, I'm bound to step in something and leave a footprint! Oh man, this isn't the package for me at all. I'm looking for something a little different. I want the "How to instantly make anyone say yes and mean it" course. That would be something. Or how about "How to clear the road ahead of you anywhere, anytime, instantly". Now that's something I'd send off for. Heck, I'd even order an extra 5 copies for friends. Or not. Maybe I'd just keep it for myself. Mmmm....

Saturday, April 9, 2005

There's a problem...

"There's a problem with the problem page". That was my greeting as I sat down to write this post. I mean, come on, people - a problem with the problem page? How daft is that? It got me thinking about the time-tested phrases we learned as kids and pass on as adults. (And I couldn't think of anything else to write about, to be honest) Here's a gem: "A rolling stone gathers no moss". What the hell does that mean: if you're a travelling salesman, you'll always be bald? I personally know many salesmen who have a fine head of hair. Well, actually I don't know many salesman. Just a few. Alright, none. But that's not the point. The point is that we need to reevaluate the phrases we throw about.

Here's a perennial favourite: "Things don't always go the way you plan them". Now there's an understatement! If you're honest, you can find a DOZEN things that went wrong today, or yesterday, or tomorrow - even though it's yet to happen. Naturally, this is the first step in having a crappy day today and securing a smooth transition to an equally crappy tomorrow. Which really isn't my goal.

My goal is to offer an alternative: "Not all things go wrong". That forces you to look at the day and go "hey, at least I didn't spill my drink and ruin my brand new never-been-worn-so-expensive-I-saved-up-for-months-before-I-bought-it dress today". Yesterday, perhaps, but not today. Or how about "oh sh*t, I don't have any quarters for the parking meter, so I'm gonna have to buy a crappy coffee from that crappy coffee shop to get change for the meter before my meeting where they'll give me crappy coffee anyway which at least is free crappy coffee and I don't mind crappy coffee so long as I'm not paying for the crap cos there's enough crap coming my way without buying more to heap on the pile, but at least when I've got my change I can walk to the meter unassisted and use any combination of my 8 fingers and two thumbs to deposit the coins". And I had a meeting - let's not forget about that.

So you see, it's possible to deal with crap and still have a grrrrreat day. (That's a Kelloggs Frosties grrrr in case you were wondering) If we take a moment to look deep, deep down inside, sure we can uncover the Manson in all of us. The important thing is NOT to take that moment. Or at the very least, take it outside.

By the way, the dress wasn't for me. It was uh... it was...for a friend. Yes, that's right - for a friend. Okay?

Thursday, April 7, 2005

It was an occident, I swear!

After a leisurely drive I found myself at peaceful Occidental College - a good thing, considering that's where I wanted to be. I participated in a directing workshop where future filmmakers get the chance to explore a scene. Myself and fellow actor Jennifer had a short page of dialogue, devoid of any action. The language was sufficiently ambiguous for us to be talking about a number of different scenarios. And so the afternoon saw us (the actors) play numerous different characters and intentions as the students saw fit. A challenging task, when you are tied to the same dialogue and have to make it truthfully fit each fresh set of given circumstances.

At the end of the session, I'd been a troubled convict, a scorned lover, a sheepish customer and a frustrated son to a terminally ill mother. All with the same 8 lines of dialogue. A good workout. But as I drove away, one thought kept nagging at my brain; who in their right mind would name ANYTHING "occidental"? What the heck were they thinking?! Put your mind to it and the gags come quick and often...

(Just as they do on a choppy sea...)

Wednesday, April 6, 2005

As I lay me down to sleep..

Years after I'd left school, I used to have dreams where I left my bag in the classroom but couldn't get back in to retrieve it. I'd be wandering around the playing fields after dark, freaking out over the homework I wouldn't be able to complete. Then there was the recurring dream where I lived on a large plot of land. I leave the house to visit the densely planted vegetable patch at the bottom of the property. But it's not just ANY veggie patch. The plants are thick and tall and are surrounded by an imposing wire fence. I open the gate and take a step inside, before realising that this is something verboten. So I leave and walk briskly back to the house. As I walk, the sickening thought hits me - I haven't closed the gate. That's when I hear the wolves.

Last night's dream was decidedly more adult in nature. A vendor refused to accept my debit card. Woohoo. Trippy, huh? Except it's not just an "overdrawn" or "faulty magnetic strip" punchline. No, sirree Bob. "Why not?" I ask the guy in my dream. The trembling 7-Eleven guy replies "The person who used this card murdered 2 people!"

The implication that someone had stolen my card, murdered Jo and Janet Shmo, then returned it, didn't concern me. Nor did the absurdity of the tenuous link between retail purchases and death. What did concern me, however, was the terrifying possibility that I might have done it myself. Let me just say that waking this morning, was a happy thing indeed. Perhaps there are larger worries than that tax return...

Saturday, April 2, 2005

If I had a dollar...

Anyone can sue anyone. That's one of the joys of living in the USA. You can slip on a wet patch of soda, and sue the store you were in, the beverage company and the poor shmuck who spilled it. You can sue a construction company for trauma suffered as a result of the noise of the earthmoving equipment and heavy machinery on the site across the road. Heck - you can even sue your parents for keeping you from spending your inheritance on fast cars you're not old enough to drive! No-one says you're gonna win, just that you have the right to legal action.

So I was thinking; why don't I sue the Gideons for using my name for profit without my permission? You know the Gideons - they're the guys who place the Bible in every hotel room. Globally. With my name on it. That's a lot of Bibles. Now, before you tell me they're placed for free (or next to nothing) AND that it doesn't prompt people to make a purchase or anything, consider this: I wouldn't get away with promoting my new free theatre showcase with a happy snap of Brad Pitt on the flyer. Well, I wouldn't, would I? Nope - I'd be sued. So how about I just put Brad Pitt's name on the flyer? Still dodgy, I believe. What's any different about MY name on those Books? I think I'm due a little remuneration, if you know what I mean. (And I think you know that I know that you know what I mean) And let's take a close look at the copy they're using, folks. It says "placed by the Gideons". It doesn't say "placed by Gideon Johnson" or "placed by the Gideons of Harley Street, New Hampshire". No sirree, it's just "the Gideons" and to me that means ANY Gideons.

Now, all I need is a calculator, a good lawyer and the Gideons' address. Whoah, wait a minute. If I'm entitled to a cut, then the rest of the Gideon's are, too. That's no good. There could be 5,10,15... ah, heck - millions of 'em. That's not gonna work! I'm not gonna get rich with this at all- even if I DO win. Damn...

It did seem promising for a moment, though, didn't it?

Friday, April 1, 2005

English can be a byotch

With my April Fools out the way and me the only fool, let's move on to language. What a challenge English can be. (Not to mention reading my blog) I can understand why some people say "uvva-cah-doe" and others "avvo-cah-doe". As long as I get my daily dose of consenants, I aint complainin' (see how flexible I am?). What puzzles me is why people say "erb" when they mean "Herb". I mean, these folks don't say "ello 'arry, 'ow's your 'and after the 'ellish 'orseback riding incident?" If they were Cockney, they'd have a reason, but they're not. So what gives? I listened to my parents' Herb Alpert record as a kid. Who did they listen to; Erb? And that's another thing. What's with horseBACK riding? Why do you need to say "back"? Why isn't "horse riding" enough to sell you the idea? I mean, where else are you gonna ride the animal - underneath? Or maybe, that's it. Maybe there's a long standing tradition of belly-riders in South Dakota or Tempe or Woodland Hills who get a rush from strapping themselves to the underside of big sweaty animals. They simply don't want to confuse the two. Come to think of it, you could belly ride other creatures too, like cows or elephants or gorillas... Or not.

I think that's the crux of it, folks. We can do these things or we can choose not to. Such is our God given right. And so, may I extend a warm welcome and best wishes to the erb eating belly riders of the world. It's not my world, but it's yours for the taking. Ave a great weekend and a drink on me. Not literally ON me, you understand. Just for me. Although you can't really drink FOR someone can you? You can eat for them and regurgitate it I guess, kinda like a human blender. But that's another pocket of society I'd sooner not hook up with for Sunday brunch...

Words can't describe, but they'll have to do

Wow! What a start to the day. Switched on my cell to find 5 new messages. I have an audition for this new pilot about an actor who's moved to the States from South Africa. But no-one takes him seriously cos his accent sounds British. Here's the kicker- he was BORN in the UK and moved to Africa as a kid. Cool, huh? Anyway, he wanders around Hollywood for a year or so and then starts working at a fast food place called Up & Down to help pay the rent. And that's where the series is set. I dunno if it's really me, but I'm gonna give it my best shot. Oh, and get this - my landlord stops me on the way to get gas and tells me I don't have to pay this month's rent, cos he just "knows" I'm gonna make it! And then he says I can take HIS car to the audition. Man, what a headrush.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Sprint away as far as possible

A few weeks ago I visited my local Sprint store to reconnect my supa-dupa cellphone. I'd been cut off because I exceeded my $250 monthly maximum. Curious, since you'd think they'd be happy to get more money from me. Cessation of service means drastically fewer calls (read: zero) and thus no more income from yours truly. Most importantly, I rely on my phone for that last minute audition or booking call, when there's only a brief window in which to accept the appointment. Losing my service means losing money. So why can't they just bill me for the amount and keep the service going? My friendly service agent John couldn't answer. He'd need to soon, to quell the tsunami of rage building within me. There was more...

"Why can't my phone send SMS's?"
"That phone isn't SMS enabled, Sir," he replied with a smile.
"Really? I've been using cellphones in Africa for 10 years and ALL my phones could send SMS. Are you telling me that in the USA in 2004 you're selling cellphones that take pictures but can't even send an SMS?!"
"Well we could upgrade you and you could have a new phone for just $50," he offered.
"And how much would it be for a new customer, John?"
"Hmmm. Now, I can take my number to any other service provider, right?"
"So give me one good reason I should stay with Sprint"
"Come on, John, you HAVE to be able to give me ONE reason to stay with you guys."

Another smile. Then there was a moment. THE moment. One of those moments. You know- where you have the option of beating someone to a bubbling red mess their mother would blissfully feed the dog before she recognised it as her spawn, or of simply walking away.

I walked away. And then returned today to vomit on Asha who, although cute, was unable to tell me why my phone had been cut off again, when my online account reflected that I hadn't exceeded anything. Looking on her "system" (a loose term) she informed me that I had gone over my minutes AND the $250 maximum.

ME: Then why does your website say I haven't? What use is that?
HER: Well, the site is only updated when your bill goes out.
ME: Well, what good is the service then? It's redundant!
HER: We don't charge you for it. It's a free service.
ME: And you SHOULDN'T charge me for a service where I'm going to PAY MY BILL ANYWAY!
HER: I don't design the website, Sir.

Yeah, and I'm not a hitman, but I can presently see a dozen ways to mutilate you with the stationery items lying within arm's reach.

ME: And I'm due an upgrade. Apparently I get $150 rebate on selected phones.
HER: It's $150 rebate on all phones, Sir.
ME: But the website says it's only on selected phones.
HER: No, it's all phones. Do you know for a fact you're due for an upgrade?
ME: Well, that's what your website says, but hey- seeing as the web doesn't tell the truth and you do, I guess YOU would know.

I paid my bill and left. But as I held the pen to sign my credit card receipt, I did have a moment. That moment. The moment where I saw her eyeballs skewered on a blue plastic Bic. Ah, Asha... Fond memories...

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Seventeen Again

Well the mullet has been slaughtered and I now look like I did at 17. Let's move right along... the WB talent show The Starlet. I was devastated to watch Cecile's elimination, because she's South African. Okay, and because she's tall and blonde and stunning. But mainly 'cos she's from Pretoria. And blonde and stunning. Ag shame, as we'd say back home. I hope she does continue however, as she does have great potential. I guess it would be a little "off" if a foreigner were to win a competition to discover America's next darling soapie princess. I just hope the arrogant pixie Katie doesn't take it. I'd like Merecedes to take it, but I think Michelynne deserves the win.

Oh God. Listen to me. I'm sitting in my apartment writing passionately about what is essentially a beauty pageant with a little acting thrown in. Even worse- it's a reality show. Aaargh! What have I become? And the real question: "How long have I been this way?!"

Wait a minute, I'm allowed to watch this stuff. I'm 17 today, right? I'm The Starlet's target audience, OKAY?

(Alright, it's not okay. But at least I'm admitting I have a problem. And that is the first step...)

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Anyone for mullet?

When you catch yourself thinking "whoa that guy SO needs a haircut", only to discover it's your own reflection, it's time to make that call. I have a confession to make - I've a mullet in the making. Not quite short enough on top. Not quite the length behind. But it's close, people... Real close... Disturbingly close.

It's a peculiar thing that my old '70s leather jacket remains retro and funky (in a good way), while my almost-mullet is not. I'm tempted to have a No.1 and be done with the whole "style" thing. Nothing more user-friendly than the prickly scalp that will only ever be one style. Ah, the joys of a vigorous cranial splash of icy water to start the day. Even my wife has given the go ahead. Problem is: I don't have a tidy head. It isn't neat and round and symmetrical. No. Instead, my head is rather more volumous at the rear. Like the trunk of those old Lincolns with the bulge for the spare tire. I know this because I had a mould of my head once - for a commercial where I got to play a C3PO-like robot in a suit for 14hrs without ventilation or the ability to see, sit or hear "cut" when everyone broke for lunch and I was left standing like an asshole, deaf dumb and blind until a grip took pity on me and tapped me on the shoulder to tell me it was over. But that's another story...

Where was I? Ah yes - the head. The bulge. The lack of symmetry. It's like this - if everyone else has an apple, I have a pear. Now don't get me wrong. I like my pear. I'm just gonna keep a few leaves at the stalk, okay?

(By the way, mullet in the dictionary is defined as "a common food fish". Enough said.)

Monday, March 28, 2005

Today is the day - no, really

Odd weather here today. Summer is slow out of the gates. This morning was warm and sunny, then suddenly turned with icy winds promising a late PM shower. Or, in LA speak, a flood. Got a call asking for me to voice the South African trailer for new movie Drum. It was shot in SA but had a couple of imports to help sell it to international markets. Haven't seen any footage, but with the super smooth Tumisho Masha and sexy Motshidi Motshegwa on board, there are at least 2 reasons to buy a ticket. I caught Moshidi's stint on ER - all quality.

Tonight is acting class. Prepared scenes for an industry person. I am bracing myself for the Q+A and their inevitable confession that "we only deal with the top 6 agents". I wonder whether our headshots and resumes even make it to their car sometimes. Still - better to be seen performing than just a face in an envelope that may/may not be opened.

Oh- that brings me to my little thought for the day: that "today is the day". Not that anything specific or even important will happen. Simply that every day IS the day. The day that you make it. So here's to making today, and every one the follows, one that counts.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Another Sunday

Ah yes. Another Sunday morning. Nursing a mild hangover from last night's party- a friend's birthday bash. Brought my own (Guinness) and worked steadily through them. Like a meal in a glass. Quite different to my recent discovery - Canadian whisky. (Not the first thing that pops into your head when you think of big Canadian exports!)

Old friend from South Africa, actor/filmmaker Brendan Pollecutt, celebrated on the roof of his Hollywood pad. Great views of the city, incessant fire engines sirening back and forth, and regular helicopter fly-bys courtesy of the LAPD. LA is a noisy city. As are it's occupants. I used to think that Americans were only loud when they're abroad, but it seems they are loud at home, too. Now I know why. It's the constant rumble of white noise that the city puts out. Like a gigantic tv that's lost the signal, spewing out static 24hrs a day.

That said, it makes for animated conversation. And from the surrounding apartments, it may have looked like a charming game of charades. Up until Vaughn pulled his pants down and Brendan spooned David standing up. But then. alcohol does strange things to straight men. Nothing that a couple of Ibuprofen can't mend. Failing that, there's always a trip to the store for a bottle of Canada's finest...