Sunday, November 08, 2009

Home


I've been living in Atlanta now for four and a half months. I'm sitting tonight in my little attic apartment with the door open to let in the cool Fall air. Tomorrow morning I will go four blocks down the street and spend the day working as an office PA for a film production company, helping to coordinate commercials, corporate videos and even indy films. And then in the evening I will go rehearse for a hilarious Christmas improv show at the theater that I have been playing in since I was barely drinking age. I will sneak out afterward to have dinner with two amazing German directors who came in to town five weeks ago to help us put up a Fassbinder play in Decatur. They will be leaving on Wednesday to go back to Berlin, and I will be close on their heels. Well, maybe I'll wait til Spring, but it will be difficult to be patient until then - the work we did together was some of the best work I think I've ever done.
I'm on the stage again. I'm trying to pay my bills doing things that I am proud of - voice overs, production work, plays... It's not glorious. But it's what I can give and keep giving, because it doesn't drain my heart. I love being busy, I love being challenged, and I love being close to my family.
I will never say it was a mistake to have moved to LA. I don't hate LA. But four months later, I still cannot tell you why I left. I do know that I have not spent one moment wishing I hadn't moved. And I can give you plenty of reasons why I'm glad I'm here now.
Seasons.
Everyone coming to my house for Thanksgiving.
Neighborhoods.
Trees.
Theaters.
Friends.
Smaller Ponds.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Leaving LA, Part 2


Let's see. May 29th, the last entry in my blog, was a Friday. I was sitting in an Extended Stay hotel - now I know what that is, and its terrifying. Tiffany and I needed one last place to stay in town so that we could get her to LAX in the morning. We had spent three weeks insisting on the Four Hour Rule: Do not plan anything further than four hours ahead. The exceptions were few, but included such things as booking the flight, which Z had done a week earlier, when we had been on the road two weeks and it felt like things were coming to a close. When we started the trip, we honestly didn't know where we were going to end up, or how long it would take us to get there. But after two weeks I had started to tap into a long buried well of... for some reason the word 'spirit' feels right here...Anyway, I had begun to feel like a seed probably does when it's been tucked deep into the richest earth, warmed sufficiently and soaked just enough that the shell that has kept it safe has now become a flimsy, uncomfortable restraint.

In church retreat terms, it was time to come down from the mountaintop. So we booked a flight out of LA for Tiff, because all my stuff was still there, and while the Southwest has amazing places every 150 miles, Texas is a Whole 'Nutha Story. We could have called some friends and stayed at their house, reveling in one last night of vacation. For some reason though, Los Angeles didn't feel like part of the deal. So we chose a crappy cheap airport hotel, spent way too much on a neo-cuisine sushi dinner, and went to bed early.

When I came back to the hotel after having dropped Tiff off, I felt... well, that's the thing. I can't really say what I felt, even now, months later. Ask a prisoner what they feel the day before they are to be released. I bet the answer is not relief, or anxiety, or excitement. I bet instead, their eyes will glaze over a bit and they will get quiet, and you won't get any answer at all. Wow - I guess I'm being a bit dramatic here, but it's true - when I got back to LA, when my big roadtrip was over, I didn't really feel anything at all. I just kept going. In my mind I was ready to find an apartment and get going again on my acting life. That was Friday.

Sunday afternoon I called my Dad. He flew into town Wednesday night and by Thursday afternoon I was back on the 10, heading East. By Sunday I was sitting in Tiff and Z's apartment in Atlanta, and I'm not quite sure how I made it that far. I wasn't relieved, I was devastated. My life was irrevocably changed, going back to LA was an insurmountable obstacle - I had jumped into the void.

Without question though, I had to do it. I just knew. It was time to go.

This summer has been intense. Someday I'll be able to look back and describe the highs and lows, the moments when it was almost a disaster, or the glowing signs of change and forward movement. Or maybe this will all be a blur, like a car accident. Right now I feel like I'm simply along for the ride. Like my life was heading this way inevitably, and I'll be lucky if I get to pick where we stop for dinner.

So if I'm not steering, who is? And where the hell are we going? If success is only an accident, and if we aren't in control at all - What would you do with your days?

Friday, May 29, 2009

Flying over Phoenix

Ha ha! Take THAT! Warner Music Group! That will teach you to try and protect copyrighted material! For my next trick: a final episode of Southwest Escape 2009, using music that other people created, in order to (GASP! SHOCK SOUND!) introduce great bands to my friends and family, who might spend their hard earned coin on an album of their own. What a nasty music pirate am I! YAR!

Thank goodness for broad sweeping corporate censorship. And... bitter rant finished. It really didn't take much to get my selfish way, of course, and now you can enjoy the sounds of Widespread Panic and Kings of Convenience while viewing the final adventures of Tiff and Tara one-point-oh.

A friend mentioned that it seemed there was a lot we were leaving out. Which of course is true - this trip was very much about some soul-searching for both Tiff and I, and I quickly realized soul-searching makes terrible web-vision. It does, however, make for good bloggering, so I will take some time over the next month to try and reflect on what 3400 miles can give a person, besides a lot of gas receipts. In the meantime, thanks for watching and leaving comments, sending prayers and thoughts our way. It all, without a doubt, made a difference.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

If I Tell You...

... then I'll have to kill you. But someone leaked some top-secret footage of Tiffany and I visiting a very unusual gas station in the middle of Southern Arizona, just off the I-10 Southeast of Tucson. I really can't say anymore. I may have already said too much. If you are reading this...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Bats and Rocks


So Tiff and I decided to flush out a real tourist destination for our Memorial Day Weekend excursion. We chose Carlsbad Caverns, in the Southeast corner of New Mexico, dangerously close to Texas. Here is a video of our thrilling adventure. Needless to say, two weeks of camping and driving is starting to take its toll. We have also been followed by a storm cloud for quite a few days now, and it has made tent sleeping especially challenging. Also, we are reaching the end of our travels, as we head back to LA to face reality. Not quite sure what that is yet, but it will definitely involve some changes, for both of us. You can't help but have a little perspective adjustment when you see this many places, people, sleeping places...

We are getting a little melancholy. Time seems to slip by faster now like the last bits of sand in the hourglass. I hope you've enjoyed these videos as much as we've enjoyed making them - there will be a few more, but the bulk of the party has gone home, and its soon going to be time to start cleaning up. The Scion will be 3000+miles older, and we will both be a little browner. Keep watching though. The craziest things always happen long after the party should have been over...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Shibapu

(Not Sipupa, which is what I've been saying for the last week...) Shibapu is the mystical entrance that connects the spirit world of the Anasazi (Ancient Pueblo) Indians to the realm above, which is the earthly realm. Isn't that interesting? The Ancient Pueblos believed the spirit world was DOWN BELOW, as opposed to up in the sky or in outer space somewhere, like modern religions believe. Which means that places like the Grand Canyon are held especially sacred, and of course you'd better take care of the Earth, since it's your dead ancestors' roof...

So New Mexico is known for having a lot of spiritual locales as well. Strange, that seems to be a re-occurring theme in our travels: Grand Canyon is the Shibupa of many Indian tribes of today, Sedona with its Vortices, Mesa Verde - duh, and now we have found a few spiritual stops in NM, namely Taos and Truth or Consequences. You'll have to do a bit of your own research to see why, but here's our video to give you a taste!

I don't want to spoil the surprise, but we didn't end up hanging out in El Paso, TX after all. The border crossing and dirty street vendors, reminiscent of a banged up Canal St, had our recently attuned instincts protesting insistently. We drove right through and ended up in a fantastic little neighborhood just 40 miles further down I-10 called Mesilla. The best Mexican food I've had in awhile at La Posta, and a little peace and quiet in a hotel to avoid yet another storm and the screaming-children-at-6am effect that camping in Southern NM tends to include.

I am exhausted! But our trip continues to unfold in a way that suggests the spirit world is as close as the nearest canyon or swimming hole, and our kachinas are making sure that we get to the next moment safely, and with nothing more than a door ding or a broken nail to contend with. We are indeed Blessed.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Mesa Verde Thirsty

Now twelve days into the trip and finding the Southwest to be more and more stunning and surprising. It really has everything, from high to low, deserts, mountains, wet and dry... Tuesday night we slept safely in our tent as a summer storm swept over us, threatening to blow us into the San Juan River. The tent not only stayed in place, but kept us dry! It was so much fun that we decided to get a hotel room the next night...
Here is the next video. It's a review of our visit to Mesa Verde, as suggested by my friend Big Jay, the best Sous in all of Asia de Cuba. There is also a few shots from our exciting trip down the Animus Rapids, weighing in at Class 1-3, three being the scariest. The entire boat was filled with guides in training, so we got to really ride the meat of the river, which was also at its highest and fastest, running 4100cfps for 5 miles. It took us about 2 hours. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

All my Exes Live in Vortexes

Your impatience is stifling. Here is the next video!

So Saturday morning we drove south from our little campsite to Sedona, AZ where the hippies roam free. We spent the morning in a local coffee shop listening to spoken word artists and a gal who was singing solo for the first time. Here's her MySpace page. Adorable. At one point in her as yet unrehearsed spiel, she mentioned her distaste for her former home: Los Angeles. Sensing a theme here? We took the afternoon to mountain bike around the stunning rock formations of Red Rock, and then got back to the campsite early so we could cook turkey burgers over our first campfire. By the way, I make a great fire, and Tiff makes a heck of a turkey burger and chopped potato feast.

Sunday morning we broke camp early and spent the day making our way to Cortez, CO. Along the way we took the scenic route through the Painted Desert and stopped in the Petrified Forest. In brief: it was a bunch of pretty rocks. The desert is stunning, but my favorite part was the gift shop, where rock and fossil collectors could spend a lifetime drooling.

I have had moments of panic, and a few tentative emails to the various income providing organizations with humble requests to excuse my extended absence. I have moments when I can't believe what I'm doing, and then moments when I can't believe what I'm doing. I have also had a few really strong moments of clarity, and that's what this is all really about. Can I go back to waiting tables? Is it time to find a new place? The more miles I put on the Scion, the closer I get to an answer...

Monday, May 18, 2009

Slide ROCK!

Wow - what have I gotten myself into? Its 9 days into the road trip and I'm already overloaded with footage and stories! Literally overloaded - my hard drive is filling up and I'm learning a fantastic lesson in letting go of holding on. Clothes that get stained, bugs on the bumper of my new car, sunburn and bloody nose - its just part of the life I have chosen. Can't argue with inevitability! So here is the next segment of our journey. Thanks for hanging in there through our ups and downs. I miss you all, and rest assured, decisions are being made. Heading out this morning to play in Meas Verde. OMG - I'm in Colorado. Amazing.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Arizona Loves You

Well, we have driven almost a thousand miles now, and the next stops we are featuring in our latest video are the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon National Park, South Rim. The Scion is holding up amazingly well, but already the Sprint service is useless in the less-populated areas. So the videos will be uploaded as I can find hotspots. Of course the IPhone’s 3G network allowed Tiff to upload the sunrise from the lip of the canyon and send it swiftly to her boyfriend in Atlanta. Guess who will be jumping ship as soon as the new version of the IPhone comes out. Cross your digital fingers for tethering technology!! Free us all, Steve Jobs!

Just outside of the Grand Canyon we stopped in Cameron, which is one of the last and oldest Trading Posts in the country, smack dab in the middle of the Navajo Indian Reservation. We enjoyed ridiculously heavy and tasty Navajo Tacos, which consist of fried bread (Yes, really) topped with beans and beef and cheeses and two shreds of lettuce. I was having trouble enjoying the tacos, however, because I had noticed that my gas gage wasn’t budging – it had been sitting at 7/8 of a tank for a while, and my trip meter read over 100 miles. I was about to sick up my lunch by the time we got to a gas station to fill the tank, just to make sure the gage hadn’t busted on my brand new car. Sure enough, it was right. I have been getting almost 40 miles to the gallon – in the mountains, as well as the desert with AC blowing full blast. Eat that, Prius.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

May 9-11 Las Vegas


So the next leg of my trip has been posted - but here's the deal: I am on Sprint's broadband card, and that means limited data! So I can only upload these damn Video Logs once each, and Blogspot didn't make the cut! If you want to see what happened in Vegas, check it out here and be sure to leave suggestions for songs to listen to on the road, places to go, etc! And special thanks to Z, Mike and Chris for the fun times and Encore hook-up.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Leaving LA

Ha - Got you with that title, didn't I? So I am hitting the road - here's the real story. Check back regularly for updates. Be sure to comment and subscribe!
video

Monday, March 23, 2009

Staycation


'Tis the year of my Jesus birthday. I have, like many people, a yin and yang approach to birthdays. On the one hand, I dread them. Planning parties and waiting for the guests to arrive is the worst kind of anxiety. And there is always the let-down of expectations vs. reality. On the other hand, I love the attention, the turning over of a new leaf, the opportunity to indulge in self-care and self-appreciation. So a birthday is a yearly balancing act. This year, I tried something new. I invited my best friend Tiffany to come stay with me for the week leading up to my birthday. I refused to plan anything in advance, other than that I would not have to work or audition for the entire week - that we would be free to do whatever.

Ideas bubbled over: should we drive up the coast or down? Rough it or stay at a gorgeous earthy resort? For sure, we would be hitting a spa, and many tasty eating spots. But as the week began, and evolved, we realized that staying home was exactly what fit us best. Each day was spent getting up at a reasonable hour, making breakfast, and choosing a simple event or two to fill the day - whether it was a trip to the local camelia gardens (see insert) or a day at the spa. Each day guaranteed at least two culinary experiences, and one shopping excursion.

It was the best birthday to date. I laughed and cried and caught up on some great films (Norma Rae?? Fell asleep before the end - we decided Sally got her Oscar for acting the MOST CONSECUTIVE DAYS of anyone that year). And at the end of it all, no excessive gas or hotel bills! Of course I made up for it with cute clothes and a serious massage/facial, but - as Tiff said, at least I had something to show for it.

The other day I read an article in UTNE talking about the new fad of stay-cations, and I realized I wasn't original. But I am on to something, even if some one already coined the phrase. Staying home is a good way to get away.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Faint-Hearted

I was feeling a little under the weather when I crawled downstairs to watch Barack's Inauguration speech. So perhaps that influenced my perception. But I have to be honest. I felt a little like I was back at college, and that I was sitting in a classroom on the first day when the professor is explaining the curriculum and handing out the syllabus. And you are looking around at everyone and thinking "Oh crap. I wonder if I can still drop this course..." I couldn't help feeling like this next semester is going to be one helluva lot of homework. Maybe more than I can handle. I mean, when I signed up for this course last November, I thought it sounded like a lot of fun - historically important change, the ousting of the fat cats, a grass-roots, all-hands-on-deck-so-we-can-turn-this-ship-around movement. The kind of experience that makes us all puff out our chests just a little and strut around the pen.

Oh, except that for some reason, the real work is ahead of us. I don't think I'm being paranoid, thinking that Good Old Barry was looking right at ME when he referred to "those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame." BUSTED. I mean flat-out, ladies and gentleman of the jury please observe Exhibit A, poster child, CALLED OUT. That's me he's talking about. A video game playing, sleep 'til noon, waiting tables after thirty, bona fide Los Angeles ACTOR. GULP.

Maybe I should have read the course description before I signed up for BootStraps 101. I would have seen that the pre-requisites included at least one course in Tightening your Belt, and space in your schedule for voluntary service to mankind. So much for that Battlestar Gallactica marathon I was planning...