Friday, December 30, 2005

I finally broke down and went to a doctor today.

Turns out "flu" + "bronchitis" + "sinus infection" means I haven't just been a wimp all week.

Thanks for your sympathy cards.

Oh, wait. I didn't actually get any sympathy cards.

And now, let the real medicating begin ...

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Right, so I reached the point of desperation in (responsible) experimenting with legal, over-the-counter and legitimately prescription drugs.

Turns out no medication is working for my severely stuffed up schnozz, but standing and walking around gives me some relief.

Turns out Robitussin with Codeine is the only thing that knocks out my near-aneurysm-causing cough.

Also turns out Robitussin with Codeine is not real conducive to standing and walking around. And falling asleep without doing something for my nose seems to cause a lack of oxygen issue (seriously, I think I'm dumber now).

There's the dilemma.

So, I took the Robitussin with Codeine, salined out my nose as much as I could ("gentle cleansing", my ass!), shot myself full of Afrin (3-day limits are for quitters!), gunked my face up with menthol gel, gunked my chest up with menthol gel that is apparently not safe for faces (WTF, they're both "menthol gel"), took a look in the mirror, and realized with all the horn blowing, my schnozz hairs are reaching out to make nice to my dogs.

In the words of Fred Savage, "I'm a pretty, pretty girl."

Welcome back, Fred. Rip it up.

(And after all of that I got a frickin' 4 hours of sleep.)

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

I am so sick.

No, I mean seriously sick.

Understand, I'm the guy who -- for the last 8 years -- has worked through all kinds of sickness. Severe allergies. Strep. Influenza. Being sick of work.

This time, the flu brought a new world of hurt to my Christmas. We're talking flat on my back, sweating out of pores I didn't know I had, hallucinating sick.

We're talking conversations with God sick.

I read the average guy's water weight ratio is 60-65% water (FYI, women average 50-60%, and infants are a whopping 70% -- probably for birth cushioning, or maybe butterfingery parents). That works out to be 45 quarts of water.

I think I woke up yesterday swimming in about 35 quarts of water. Pretty sure that's not healthy.

I recount this not just to get your sympathy, but to tie it into this acting blog.

While delirious, I found myself actually working on my acting process; specifically, my sense memory.

I'd lay there, trying to grab onto and remember what I felt, totally weak and vulnerable. Or when I hit that "I'm-so-sick-I'm-emotional" stage, I'd try to grab onto what that felt like.

I'm not sure if my working on my acting process while delirious is indicative of dedication to my craft, or just how sick I was.

Oh, and for those wondering, God is evidently an endless indigo sphere floating in space, and to talk to him, you have to tuck yourself against him, kind of like a fulcrum.

I'm sure there's a metaphor in there somewhere.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Check out this Star Wars parody -- (Grocery) Store Wars.

This parody film is also an information/advocacy piece on buying organic food stuffs.

Brilliant.

http://www.storewars.org

Thanks to Xboxer dajoti for turning me on to this.

Friday, December 23, 2005

It's Bizness.

What I do is called "The Biz", a misspelled concatenation of "business".

I've heard it said the Biz is 90% business, and 10% performance -- so I spend an appropriate amount of time on the business side my efforts.

Since it's the holidays, this was a busy week on this front, and I'm exhausted.

I sent out something like a hundred holiday cards to acting-related folks (actors, directors, coaches, and the like), and somewhere south of that to video-game related companies (I'm a huge video game fan, and want to do voice work in game titles).

My acting cards were "home-made", with a frosty window with 4 panes of glass. Within the four panes: Christmas stockings over a fireplace; a dreidel, a Kwanzaa feast, and my smiling visage.

The message? "There's always room for one more tradition."

For my potential gaming clients, I had a different card (still printed with my professional info). The card has a large Godzilla-esque creature with a miniature sleigh hanging out of his mouth, and the caption, "Santa makes a tragic turn near Tokyo". It helps that the dinosaur has an "Hmm, Venison!" thought bubble.

I like this latter card because it works if my client likes Christmas, and it works if they're opposed to the whole thing.

And I sent sweatshirts with me (six of me) on them to casting directors. I made the sweatshirts at home with artwork from a friend of mine. It meets the gift need, and it's far from serious.

Like I said, I'm exhausted. But at least it's all done.

Don't neglect the Bizness, or it'll neglect you ...

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

"They're people, dammit."

I'm a fairly accomplished director at BigHugeCorp. This makes me some amalgamation of people manager, project manager, service manager, program manager ...

I'm responsible for the bottom line, and BigHugeCorp benefits. And while I'm really good at the logistics and administrivia part of my job, I'm constantly reminding myself -- and people around me -- that these are human beings working here. Not just "resources". Not just "bodies". Not just "headcount".

People.

I mess up sometimes. I fall into the Dilbert-esque trap of tech or corporate or business jargon or process. I do my "resource planning" and "resource forecasting". ButI try to ask myself who I helped today (sometimes I'm lucky if it's just me).

So, where did all this come from?

I guy that used to work for me let me know he was informed by way of an Email that he had been welcomed to a new team and project -- which was news to him. He was semi-laughing about it, and said, "Despite your best efforts, despite what you tried to do -- which I appreciate -- it's back to the [BigHugeCorp] way of doing things."

Despite what I tried to do?

It's the holidays, and this time of year comes with a lot of stress for a lot of folks. A lot of folks are on vacation. A lot of folks don't take change well. A lot of folks at BigHugeCorp are all of the above, and if big changes are made this time of year while they're out of the office, they'll likely feel seriously thrown for a loop.

They're people.

During one of the previous re-organizations or big shared project efforts or something, a peer of mine (maybe more than one) and I were butting heads about how to apply "resources" to a project. I was trying to keep multiple folks from having to do lengthy travel. I was trying to make the travel equitable across employees and management. I was trying to be sensitive to people's planned summer vacations with their kids. I was keeping the budget and deliverables and the deadlines in mind.

I was told I was "overthinking" it.

"Relocate them for 6 weeks, fly them back once or twice, and tell them to put off their vacation."

That's indicative of a lot of the reasoning in staffing a project.

"They're people, dammit," is indicative of the response I give when the pendulum has swung too far, I feel like I'm pushed too far, and/or BigHugeCorp is taking too many liberties with people's lives.

It's time for a correction. It's time for folks to re-read things like the The Cluetrain Manifesto (it's online now, and it's free). It's maybe time for development folks to get familiar with the precepts behind the Agile development methodology (which I'd argue is a philosophy of development, as opposed to a process). It's time to remember the whole is only worthwhile because of the worth of its parts.

Take out the cogs, and clock stops working.

They're people.
Loyalty to people, not companies.
 
Good people will be there when you need them. They've got your back (and maybe even your next job) in the face of politics and tough bottom-line decisions.

The company is a souless entity that is nothing without good people.
I just noticed Ramen Noodles are advertising on their packaging that they have "Zero Trans-Fats".

Is this the one food product that would actually benefit nutritionally if they had trans-fats?

And, no, I don't know why I'm eating Ramen Noodles. I guess I'm sentimental ...

Sunday, December 18, 2005

You can't send warm-blooded animals through the United States Postal Service.

Seriously.

I was on the USPS.com website, trying to find out if I could use a liquor packing box as a shipping container, if it doesn't contain liquor (you can, but you have to mark out any references to beer, alcohol, or related pictures; and you can't wrap the box to do it).

And I stumbled across their "Frequently Asked Questions."

Number 2?

"Are warm-blooded animals mailable?"

Seriously.

The answer was pretty straightforward:

"Warm-blooded animals such as a cats, gerbils, hamsters, mice, dogs, etc are not mailable through the Post Office. Some exceptions exist, for further information contact your local Post Office."

What bothers me is most laws, rules, guidelines, and FAQs come into being come about because somebody tried something they shouldn't have.

Somebody tried this?

And look at the specificity of the response. Gerbils? What, was Richard Gere using Postal Mail? (Right, that's not fair.)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

I wrote about the "killer" ice storm last week.

Granted, it did ice, and it was slippery, and it was best to be off the roads. And maybe a bunch of journalistic pseudo ("pseudo"="false") panic gets people thinking about staying off the road. So maybe some good stuff came out of bad (not "the ends justify the means"; The ends never justify poor means.

(I did have a hilarious voice message from an acting buddy of mine as he dropped his phone and slid off the road; he's fine.)

Anyway, "they" sanded my hill during the ice storm (relax, it's a small hill; I'm still one of you, you classist bastards).

To clarify, they didn't just sand my hill; they established a beachhead.

I have this theory that every state gets the same amount of sand and salt for winter -- independent of the state's climate. So Texas gets as much salt and sand as Idaho. And Texas came together like the republic it is, and rushed emergency sand and salt aid to Central Texans in need during our "KILLER ICE STORM 2005".

And they dumped it all on my hill.

When I go running, I start my loop by running up my hill. This was a problem with my newly installed beach.

I was slipping and sliding all the way up. I couldn't get traction, and I was seriously worried I'd sprain an ankle on the way up. Cars were passing me, grinding course sand to dust, clogging my lungs and making it feel like I was running through a quarry (done that in the past, too).

When I finished my run, I dug out my leaf blower and blew sand off of my driveway and away from the street in front of my house. Who knew I owned a leaf blower? (Truth be known, a leaf blower has a ton of alternative and entertaining uses.)

That's Austin for you -- hide form an ice storm one day; break out the leaf blower the next.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Family before career.

Family before career.

Family before career.

Family before career.

Family before career.

Family before career.

Family before career.
.
.
.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

BREAKING NEWS -- CENTRAL TEXAS KILLER ICE STORM 2005!!

OK, not really breaking news, but the yellow journalists that have tailed off of hurricanes Katrina and Rita are now hyping an upcoming ice storm in Central Texas, because it's going to get to (*GASP*) 24-degrees, with wind, and "Rain/Sleet/Snow Possible".

I'm from Idaho, yo? I'm used to at least a couple of weeks of single-digit (or sub-zero with wind chill). This is one of one or two days a year of genuinely cold weather here. Winter is one of the things I enjoy about Austin -- I turned my heat on for the first time this season today (for all of 15 minutes).

Not that if we do have an ice storm I'll be doing any driving -- I grew up with it, but I don't want to be out on the roads with people who didn't.

And I hope folks do stay off the roads tonight and tomorrow if there is a storm; we don't need another 200-plus car pile up on an overpass in Houston, like a few years ago.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

This doctor is a good listener.

I've been in the Emergency Room for the past four hours, and wow, this
doctor is a good listener.

This is a big deal, because I learned a long time ago ER docs can be kind
of calloused to protect themselves -- if I'm not dying, I can wait, thank
you very much.

Not this guy, though. The way he was listening when I was talking, and even
when HE was talking -- very cool. It's not like there's a lot of privacy in
the ER, and I noticed he was doing this with everyone -- patients, nurses,
and technicians.

This is the kind of portrayal I want to do on camera, because it's the kind
of person I want to be off camera.

I get to leave now. No big whoop, I just a had some ongoing severe head and
noggin' pain that came to a head (ha) today, and my regular doc needed to
make sure everything was OK. We're good now, thanks.

As you were...

I went to Magnolia Cafe for breakfast today, to make up for yesterday's IHOP indiscretion.

The coffee didn't suck, and Love Migas rock ...

Monday, December 05, 2005

IHOP

I should not order Tex-Mex at IHOP. Or coffee. I think both are equally desperate acts. And now I have the odd urge to listen to bad early nineties radio tunes ...

Saturday, December 03, 2005

I had auditions this week for Factory Girl.

The auditions were for two Day Player roles -- two different reporters -- and a good, learning kind of experience.

Lucky for me, an acting buddy reminded me "it's not 'just' a Day Player role" -- that is, it's an audition, it's a part, and it's in a feature film.

So, I continued with what's currently my acting process, which is probably midway through it's maturity.

This meant I spent a ton o' time memorizing the handful of lines (which, oddly, I still flubbed), and a lot more time building out my characters' wants, needs, history, and drives (from the sides; I believe all the info you really need comes from the script). I spent even more time reading the full (albeit outdated) script, researching Andy Warhol, Edie Sedgwick, events of the time period, and (specifically), events mentioned as parenthetical (non-dialog) references in the script.

I then went to the audition, stuck my research in my back pocket, and tried to get in the moment for the taped audition.

So, I mentioned above my acting process is probably only midway through it's maturity. This means I'm not always successful in shelving the research and staying "out of my head" during the audition.

My strength is I know this. And I'm being patient with myself as I'm refining my personal process. Plus, the taped audition was for my agent, so a got a few tries to get it right. Besides, the Casting Director(s) for the film pulled my headshot and requested a taped audition from me based on my look. Hopefully the tape of me in action just pushes me over the top in their minds'.

And if I land it, I get to schlepp to Shreveport for a day or two of filming. Yay.