Saturday, December 22, 2012

On the eve of 39

Age is just a number, they say.
You're only as old as you feel, they say.

I have always been a little bit blessed to neither look, nor feel, (or in all honesty, act) my age.  Although I do confess I'm slowing down a bit.  Those things they say are true.  With a certain degree of relativity.  As is the case with all things time related.

There are also certain expectations within our western culture regarding people who are late thirties, pushing forty.  I've met none of them.

There is nothing really remarkable about 39.  Its only real significance is that it's almost 40.  That's the real big one now isn't it.  I still have a year before I have to deal with that particular mental hurdle.

On December 23, 1973, I came naked, screaming, and bloody into this world.  It was very early in the morning, during a blizzard in Spokane, WA.  My parents lived there only because my father had found work up there.  My father had grown up a farm boy in Wyoming, and it was less than a year after my birth that he would take his new family back there to stay.

I was a Christmas baby.  I came home from the hospital three days after my birth in a large stocking and a little elf hat.  I still have the stocking and hat.  I do not however have a picture of myself wearing them.  Shame.  So instead, here's a picture of me holding a football.

I have a shit ton (thank you Deena for putting that phrase back in my head tonight) of baby pics, growing up pics, pics of all sorts of adventures of my early life.  I do not however have a pic of me in a stocking and elf hat.  I wish I did.  I'd probably think it was adorable.

I've been going back through my photo albums of when I was a kid.  Reliving my own life memories, and being often amazed at how fresh some of those memories feel.  Events that happened decades ago, are so easily replayable in my mind.  Yet, I have a hard time remembering most of yesterday.  Time does funny tricks to the brain.  I guess it picks and chooses for me the things I'll need to remember.  I'm pretty okay with that.

Also going through my pictures I see a lot of people that are now in the earth, instead of on it.  People who in the grand scheme of things, made no significant mark, and in my own personal scheme of things, well, made all the difference in the world.

I have been a lot of places.  I have done a lot of things.  I have met some amazing people.

I have been married.  I have been divorced.  I have been in and out of both long and short term relationships.  I have had friends that have moved me so deeply there is no way to express how I will forever feel about them.  I have had mentors, and teachers.  Influences of both good and bad.  I have learned and forgotten, and learned again.  I've laughed with rock stars.  I've joked with Academy award winning directors.  I've shared cigarettes with TV actors, and flirted with starlets.  I've bumped fists with professional athletes.  I've talked shop with professional comedians.

I have no money.
I have no car.
I have no career.
I have no home to call my own.
I have absolutely NO complaints.

I have lived a helluva life.

I've been on stage.  I've killed on stage.  I've been killed on stage.  I've kissed, and dreamed, and fought on stage.  I've been naked on stage, and worn elaborate costumes.  I've been silent on stage.  I've screamed and cried, and every night reborn on stage.  I've lived a thousand lives under bright lights, and can only hope for a thousand more.  This actors life has consumed me since I first discovered it at the tender age of 5.  I have lived, and will die, a theatrician through and through.

And so, after so much time spent looking back, it seems that now, on the eve of my 39th, I should look forward also.  I do have a bucket list.  Certain things I would like to experience before I die.  I present here now, my before 40 list.  Things that I have a mere three hundred and sixty six days to accomplish.  I give this list in no particular order of importance, or desire for achievement...simply laid out on digital paper for your perusal...if you want.

 I am first and foremost an actor.  This is how I choose to define myself.  This was the answer I always gave as a child when presented the question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?".  This is the answer I still give when complete strangers present the question, "What do you do?"  I'm actually very proud of that.  It gives absolutely no indication of financial success, stability, achievement, or security...which is always the REAL question people are asking, when they ask "What do you do?", but it's what I do.  It's what I always wanted to do...and I do it.  To me, that is the real mark of success.
There does remain however that little problem of actually needing money to survive.  Odds of me finding any type of financial security being a professional actor are probably 1 in 1 with a whole lotta zeroes after it.  Statistically speaking, the odds of me finding similar financial security as a writer, are probably nearly the same.  1 in 1 with a whole lotta zeros after it.  Here is the real problem I've discovered.  I am not cut out for any type of corporate world job.  Even though the odds of me gaining financial security as an actor or a writer are...what's the cliche...astronomical?  I honestly think that the odds of me finding financial security as a corporate cog 9-5er are even MORE astronomical.  That's a simple truth that has taken me FAR too many years to realize.  I don't really have any true marketable skills.  I can memorize lines, and I can put words together...but there is nothing I'm really good at that serves as a working part of a corporate machine.  So I may as well pursue something I really love to do.  I want to give the writing game a chance.  I really do.  I have a number of friends who every November are able to put together 80000-100000 words in only a month.  I figure with 11 extra months to try, I should be able to come up with something.
This is the goal that is going to take the most amount of mental discipline.  No one is going to make me do this.  If I am lucky enough to find success with it, it will truly be MY success.  Only I can cause it to happen. Only I can make myself sit down and write each day.'s to the next year.

I know it's trite, but it's my list so suck it.  I've done the "bad" kind already.  Truth be told it wasn't that bad at all.  In fact it was a pretty enjoyable experience for all involved.  All that Hollywood bullshit you see about awkward next mornings, and weird dynamics that come as an unfortunate consequence, is just so much morality preaching.  It was, in reality just another really fun thing that friends did, and became a good memory with nothing but smiles for everybody later.  Of course that's only my experience...probably different for everybody.
Here's another little truth.  I don't anticipate the "good" kind being all it's cracked up to be.  I'm not good with attention.  I've also had WAY too many years to build it up in my head.  Come on now, nothing can live up to that kind of anticipation.
Now you'd think with my incredibly sexually open attitude, and some degree of experience, (I've done a LOT of stuff) this is something that I would have had already...but nope.  It isn't.  And quite frankly that's the only reason it's on the list, so I can cross it off the list.  I know it's like the ultimate male fantasy, and I'd be lying if I said it wasn't among a few of mine...but really it's here...only because it would be something new for me.
It's also something I've discovered that can't really be planned.  I've discovered this because it HAS been planned...and didn't happen.  It's been discussed.  It's been arranged.  It's happened on paper...but alas. my knowledge, I don't know anybody...or the right anybody's...or the people I knew at one time, are at a different place in there life now...either emotionally, or geographically.  Life moves us all wherever it will, and so it goes.
So being something I can't plan, and being in a place where other participants are pretty much non-existent, this is the one on the list that I have little to no control over actually making happen, outside of prostitution, and although I have no moral qualm with this, (in fact I'm all for it), that's just not the way it goes in my fantasy.
So this is the one on my list, that I actually anticipate will still be on the list at the end of the year.  Regardless, it's on the list.'s to the next year.

I talk about this one a LOT.  I've tried it a few times.  I'm going to keep trying.  Now that I'm insured, it's one of the first things I'm going to take care of when the new year rolls around.  I intend with full purpose to get pharmaceutical help...whatever it may be.  I simply don't want to enter my 4th decade a smoker.  This is the one that will take the most physical/mental combined effort discipline.  It is going to suck dog balls.  I know that already.  I apologize in advance to anyone who may have to deal with me when I am quitting.  I'll in all likelihood become a whiny little bitch.  I'll become snarky.  I'll hate everything in the world except boobs on some days.  I will want to throw, and break, and destroy beautiful things.  I will want to punch kittens.  I will want to angry fuck every living breathing thing.  I will also get my taste back.  My smell back.  My breath back.  Some amount of my bank account back.  Much of my life back.  The reward is greater than the loss.  It's something I think is worth fighting for...and I do believe it will be a fight.'s to the next year.

Last year on my birthday I weighed somewhere in the neighborhood of 210 pounds.  I made a goal then that by my next birthday I would be back to a weight more suited to my personal aesthetic.  By June I was down to about 160, and I have maintained that since.  Now though...I'm soft and lumpy.  I am thinner, but I have no definable shape.  I'm simply a big pile of walking soft spots.  I have neither the time, nor the financial means to actually join a gym, so I'm going to have to do this the old fashioned pushup/situp sort of way.  Perhaps even take up running, and on the occasions I can make it to a rec center...swimming.  I really want to put a little bit of definition on my body.  Looking at the pile of goo in the mirror is getting as old as looking at the rolling cushions did a year ago.  I know this one is going to take a lot of physical and mental discipline as well.  Oh well.  No one ever said self improvement would be easy.
Now I really wish that I had had the forethought to take before/progress/after pics of the weight loss process.  I didn't.  If I had I would post them here just to display the difference of how I was to how I am.  Instead, here's a picture of me in a hoody, smoking a cigarette.

Hey I said I was GOING to quit smoking.  I didn't say I already had.  Since I didn't have any forethought on before/after pics with weight loss, I'm at least thinking that direction with toning up.  Gotta figure out a way to digitally document that progress.  I think that may actually help me stick to it.'s to the next year.

4) MAKE IT TO 40
I know that seems like a weird one, but people my own age, and even younger keep dropping dead.  This is a goal I only have so much control over, but it's one I'm taking with a certain amount of seriousness.  I have no particular fear of death, but I sure as shit don't have any desire for it.  Even if I am lucky, disciplined, and smart enough to accomplish everything on my Before 40 list, it's only the tiniest percentage of what's on my actual bucket list.
I have led a wonderful life so far.  Although it's true that no matter how bad it is, it can always get also stands to reason that it can always get better.  I have had in my 38 trips around the sun, some pretty amazing experiences.  I can only imagine how many more are possible.  I'm going to do everything in my power to find out.  I'm going to do everything I have control over, to live as long as it takes to find out.  Yes it all comes with the price of aging, and physical pain, and emotional pain, and frustration, and loss, and all sorts of horrible things...but for me...all of the tiniest price to pay for all the good stuff.  I'm selfish I guess, but I want to keep having the good stuff.'s to the next year.

I have been lucky enough to love.
I have been, to my astonishment, even more lucky to have been loved.
I have been able to do what I love.
To continue to be able to, still always amazes me.
I will always be the explorer.
I will always be the observer.
I will always learn all the things I want to know.
I will always seek the answers to my own questions.
38 amazing years have taught me so goddamn much.
38 amazing years have given me so goddamn much.
Yes you.
Are part of life's gift to me. So...

Here's to the next year.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I wonder what color your eyes are.

I absolutely revel in my own superficiality.  I practically advertise it.  In nearly every public forum, I've taken great care to highlight, manifest, and to some degree even invent a caricature of myself.  Private messages, this blog, or one on one conversation are really the only places that I crack it open a bit, and let something a little more real out.

In public I just can't do that.  I have no interest in the real me being on display.

Oh I don't care about my body.
Or my face.
Or my most superficial thoughts, fantasies, jokes, or platitudes.

Anybody can have those.
I'm talking about the real shit.
The stuff I truly care about.
The stuff that has meaning to me.

I'm an actor for fucks sake. I'm never me when other people are looking.  This is intentional.  I don't wear a mask, I wear a full fucking costume of myself.  I do this with full knowledge and intent.  

Yes I'm hiding.
No I'm not afraid.

I think it's my greatest egotistical trick.  I'm not afraid of being judged...
I've already cast judgement.

This is not to say I can't, or won't open up.  I have.  I will.  I would love to if I haven't.
Just not publicly.

Facebook, twitter, G+,  any of it...all of it...
If it's's only my facsimile.
My shadow.
My most shallow.

Here though.  Here is just a bit different.  Here I let some things slip through the cracks.  It's still not much...but it's a helluva lot more.

Since I'm curious...
Since I know that most, if not all of you reading this also have a FB account...
Since I understand that the first basic rule of psychology is projecting ourselves onto our counterparts...

I wonder how many of you are the same.
How much of you am I NOT getting, because we only ever communicate through a social media website.

Don't get me wrong...I'm glad that we do.  Some of you I wouldn't know at all if it wasn't for such places...but

I'm selfish.
I'm curious
I'm interested

I'm interested in you.
I want more of you.

I want to glance for just a moment behind your mask.
I want to look under your costume.
I want to know all the things that you're hiding...
...just like I am.

I think we really need to sit down and chat someday.
Face to face.
Look each other in the eyes.
Touch hands.
Hear the sound of each others voice.
Hear words....instead of read them.
Hear laughter...instead of read LOL.
Come to a realization the same time...without waiting for a response or reply.

Please don't think that I'm jumping on the bandwagon of disparaging social media...I absolutely LOVE the digital world.  I truly do.
But it does offer easy escape.
It is it's own false virtue.
We far too easily allow digital contact to replace human contact.

I'm a little bit curious to know what honesty feels like again.
Who knows...I may hate it.

But probably not.

Monday, December 17, 2012

My only response...

There is so much hate lately.   I don't deal with that very well.  I used to.  I used to thrive on it.  I've mellowed out in my past few years.

A couple months ago a friend of mine commented that he missed my fire.  It's true.  I used to be much more fiery than I am now.  I burned with a different kind of passion.  I was for lack of a better word, a complete asshole.  My wit was quick, and my tongue was quicker.

I'd be the first to jump into any debate, with biting sarcasm, and no shortage of vitriol, lightly infused with pointed humor.  I was a young prick with an opinion...on everything.

I no longer take joy in any of that.  The fight is still for the young pricks with opinions I think.  Oh its, all still in me.  I still have the thoughts, I simply choose not to vocalize them much anymore.  I find it doesn't really contribute much to the desired outcome...which for me is a few laughs and good conversation.

So now instead of jumping into the fray, I typically withdraw.  I move away.  I just spent so very many years involved in, and a lot of times contributing to the negativity.  I'm tired.  I no longer have the desire for the fight.  Now I want to be involved in things more personally meaningful.

Events of the last week have instead of inspiring us to love more...have inspired us to fight more.  We are aflame with dissent.  We all have our opinions now, and for the love of god we must shout them from every rooftop and corner.  There is a whole lot of talking at, and pretty much no talking to.  Everybody has a solution.  Everybody has an answer...but the problem all the wrong questions.

So without the fire, or the vitriol, or the acerbic's my opinion.

And yes...its simply that.  My opinion.  I'm not making an attempt to come to a solution.  I'm not offering answers.  I'm simply stating my feelings.  If you  If you  I hope we can still be friends.  I say that only because I've recently seen so many friendships dissolve over nothing more than differing opinions.  So without further preamble, amble or goes.

I live in a world, where at any given moment, in any given place, in any imagined scenario, time, or location, a person can walk up behind me and shoot me in the head.  There is no gun law that currently exists, has ever existed, or will ever exist that will make this less true.

Please don't immediately assume the above statement is a reflection on how I personally feel about gun laws. It is not.  I'm actually not ever in this blog going to address my stance on that.

I'm simply stating a particular truism.  The laws in and of themselves don't make a difference.  Just as speed limits, drug, prostitution, or ANY law, ultimately makes ANY difference, to the person who is already going to break that law.  However, I'm going off point.

I also live in a world where I can be stabbed, drugged, beaten, taken, hell...even eaten.  I can be hit by a bus, I'm often ALMOST hit by cars.  Being a pedestrian in Salt Lake City is no game for the fearful.

I live in a world, where being shot is on a daily basis, no matter where I am, a very real possibility.
I live in a world of violence.
If I had lived 1000 years ago,
I would still have lived in a world of violence.
I have a feeling that unless our emotional and intellectual evolution takes a very serious turn, that its safe to say that if I were to live 500 years from now, I would live in a world of violence.  We all like to think that perhaps it will be different, but there is absolutely no historical evidence in 10000 years of human history to suggest that it will be.

For all of our claims of progress and civilization, we are pretty much still separated into tribes swinging sticks at each other.  We just have bigger words, more powerful weapons, and the ability to write shit down.

We are taught to fear.  We are taught this through media.  Film.  Television.  Politicians.  News reports.  And most unfortunately...through experience.  We learn that we, and even more frightening, our children, are vulnerable.  This makes us afraid.  This makes us angry.  This makes us jerk our knees, and ultimately make the worst decisions possible.

For example...The U.S.S. Patriot Act.  The TSA.  Homeland Security.  Guantanimo.  Wars.  Police States.  More and more and more government control and interference.

Again you may think I have revealed my personal feelings regarding gun control laws.  I assure you, I have not.  Nor will I.  That is not what this is about, and I actually have no interest in starting that conversation.

I've stated before...but I might as well again, I made a very personal decision many years ago that I would personally no longer make any fear based decision.  I may in the case of random bear attack make a fear based action...but I will never in a moment of contemplation, let fear motivate my decisions.

There is no law that cannot be broken.
There is no amount of government provided security, that actually makes us more secure.
There is no amount of regulated safety, that actually makes us safe.
The appearance of safety and security, are not actual safety and security.

If somebody wants me dead badly enough, and they are lucky enough, I will be dead.
Every single moment I am alive, There exists within a range of probability the fact that the next moment I will not be.

I have accepted this as a simple truism of my existence, and I live very comfortably with that knowledge.

I do not, nor do I pretend to have any answer on a large social scale.  I do however have an answer that works for me on a very personal one.

Instead of fear, and fear based decisions...

...I choose love.

Every damn time.

I choose fun.
I choose laughter.
I choose to share joy, and sorrow, triumph, and tragedy with those I am lucky enough to share those things with.
I will hug.
I will sing.
I will joke.
I will cry.
I will be hurt.
I will ease hurt where I can.
I will talk.
I will listen.
I will laugh.
Oh god I will laugh.

And I will love.

Every damn time.

I cannot change the world. I'm pretty sure you won't either.  But I can change MY world.  I can create my world every morning.

This is not delusion.
This is my life without fear.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Once in the way of old tradition

So I haven't forgotten.  In fact for the past few nights I've actually written...just nothing of consequence.  I am a creature too easily trapped in my complacency.

I have moved over, but I have by no means moved in.  I look at all the unpacking I still have to do, and lose all interest in actually tackling it.  I will.  Eventually.  Til then its living out of boxes and bags...and really...I'm okay with that.  Until I'm not, then I'll change it.

My birthday is coming up.  Ten days.  I'll get more specific about that in a later blog.  Closer to the actual day.

People often commented to me about my birthday being so close to Christmas.  Most assumed that it must really suck.  To tell the would I know.  I've never known any different.  My mother though, saint that she is, made sure that entire birthday and Christmas were separate events.  She never made it seem like a burden that both those events were so close together.

Except for one thing.

And I never minded that one thing.  In fact...I always liked it.

Every year as a kid...on my birthday, we'd load up in the car...make the drive to SLC...and go look at the lights on Temple Square.  I really enjoyed that as a kid.

Earlier this year, I came to care about someone very much.  More than I was prepared for.  More than I cared to admit.  I was surprised by it at the time.  When I allow myself to relive all of it...well...I'm still rather surprised.  Sometimes I think the best way to learn about ourselves is simply to live.  And accept.

It was late in the summer, and we were talking.  I told her about my old family tradition of going to look at lights on my birthday.  We made a date then, that she and I would do it together this year.

Alas life.  It happens.  It gets in the way of all the best plans.  It continues to teach...if we let it.  If we accept it.  It also likes to make a giant cosmic fist and thrust it as far up the asshole as possible.  Sometimes just to watch us dance funny.  So that little birthday date became impossible.

I'm still going.  I will walk alone around the grounds of a religion I no longer subscribe to.  I will look at the facsimiles of a mythology I no longer believe.  I will listen to music that every single other day of the year, drives me batshit crazy.  I will carry with me memories, wishes, and the ghosts of love.  I will walk among strangers, lost in my own imagination.  I will wish the entire time that I could be smoking.  I will avoid conversation with the inevitable missionaries that will be posted at every entrance and exit.  I will love every goddamn second of it.

I truly will.

I don't buy into all that true meaning of Christmas crap.  I don't get caught up in the spirit of the Holidays.  But that night, for that night only...I'll give into it.  I will really truly connect to all the joy, without the commercialism.  Without the cynicism.  Without the dry sarcasm and biting wit that so often defines and consumes me.  I will look at the lights, listen to the music, and remember all the things I love.

I think our traditions, no matter how silly, or hokey, or sentimental they may be, are truly important.  They are because we make them so.  They connect us to each other.  To ourselves.  To our selves.
To our humanity.  It's the traditions that connect us to our own personal history.  In my own moment of tradition...all by myself...I will remember who I was, and why that is important.  I'll get to reflect on who I am, and why that is also important.  I will...if I take the able to mark the path between the two.

Tradition also gives us something to look forward to.  They are the dots that connect the past to the present. Reliable events that spark both memory and new experience all at once.

So although I no longer have any connection to the religious meaning, or concern myself with any particular significance to the holiday, this is something that will have great meaning for me.  Something that I need to do, for no other reason than it's what I have always done.

It would be grand foolishness to throw away the old me, simply because I am a new me.