Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Just checkin' in

I don't really have anything new to say (I don't think - we'll see if this manages to be a real post or not), but I happened to check in to my blog stats page, and noticed that This Page had been recently viewed by at least three people. So I went there to see what I'd said, way back when.

I remember the incident but not the action. Facebook has never been my choice of social media hangout, ya know? Yes, I did used to use it a lot to look for work (not that I ever really found work there), and yes, I used to link new blog posts there for the folks who weren't subscribing. Nowadays, anything I tweet over in the Twitterverse gets linked to my Facebook page for anyone not following me in the aviary. But I really don't hang out on Facebook.
(I really like this pic)

So that incident with the Troll has had very little effect on my actual life. #Blessed


In other news, I'm sixteen days away from our first performance of our YOU Project at the Hollywood Fringe Festival. We've been rehearsing up a storm, and this upcoming Sunday will be an intense rehearsal followed by a group birthday party, since two of our members will celebrate ON the 2nd, then my birthday is Monday, another member's is Tuesday, and then one more person's is the following Sunday... That's a lot of birthdays in a clump, out of twelve people! Then we have our "tech" rehearsal that following Sunday, and really start to let the panic* creep in! We open on the 14th!

*Just kidding about the panic. We got this. We're totally ready. We're actors! This is what we DO!

I had the month of May "off" from the Conservatory, but June is back on the schedule. So, attending some classes, volunteering at some classes, TEACHING/Leading a session (mostly just tech support at this point, but it's still not nothing)... volunteering at the Foundation... rehearsing... submitting for PAID work and hopefully getting to audition and book some stuff... and continuing to record audiobooks for the niblings, and maybe get a commercial and/or VO agent along the way?

So, yeah, I guess this post was longer than I anticipated. 'Sall Good.

If you're local-ish to Los Angeles, wouldn't you LOVE to come see some good live theatre? The Hollywood Fringe Festival is the largest LA theatre festival of the year, which means there'll be plenty of (hopefully) amazing stuff to see on a stage nearish to you! You can get tickets to MY shows by scanning the QR code or clicking here (I'm in You too, not You again). Thank you in advance for supporting live theatre (and me!)

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

The Depression of an Aging Family Member

A lot of my IRL and Twitter friends know that I call Daddy every day. He lives in Central Florida, in a townhouse he and Mommy bought just a few weeks before she died, in 2006. It's on a golf course, in a gated community, in the middle of no-fucking-where. In the past few (five-ish?) years, they built a Publix just outside his closest gate, and since he's got a golf cart, he'll do his twice- or thrice-weekly grocery shopping pretty conveniently. There's also a CVS Pharmacy in that lot, and everyone who works at Publix or CVS there knows him. He has friends. There's also a liquor store in that complex, so of course, he's popular there as well.

So he's getting older, as we all do, if we're lucky. He no longer golfs or even hits balls at the driving range. He doesn't walk any distance greater than the end of his driveway, most days. He doesn't eat well unless I remind him to. He drinks. He's an alcoholic, and at 3/4 century years old, that's not changing. He's had plenty of strokes and mini-strokes, so he has one of those "call an ambulance if I fall" necklaces. I have to remind him to wear that, too.

I call him every day at 1 o'clock (or 4 p.m., his time). I ask him if he's done any stretching exercises. I ask if he's been upstairs. I ask if he's checked his mail, or taken his trash & recycle bins out (or brought them back in), or walked to the gate, or walked around the grocery store. I ask if he's done any word or number puzzles. I ask what he's eaten. I ask whether he's wearing the necklace.

Most days, in addition to getting good answers to those questions, we'll also have an interesting conversation about other human contact he's had, or upcoming visits he's looking forward to. Yesterday and the day before, he was so drunk by the time I called that I barely got answers to my questions. And then before his bedtime at 8, he'd called and left me messages, wondering why I hadn't called, and whether I was dead in a ditch or something.

*Lemme tell ya. Getting a voicemail asking if you're dead because you neglected to call is disconcerting once. TWICE, it's upsetting.*

Yesterday's voicemail came through while I was out getting my steps... buying a bottle of dark rum to replenish my homemade vanilla extract... so I called him back when I got home. I yelled at him for almost five minutes, reminding him to check his call history when he wonders if I've called; reminding him that I'm eating well and exercising and therefore strong and healthy and less likely to be unexpectedly dead than he; reminding him that when he's drunk when I call, we're unable to have good conversations.

I love my Daddy. I know he's an alcoholic, and nothing I say will change that, so I don't try to change that. Yesterday, after topping off my vanilla extract jar, I stuck the remaining rum in the freezer, because by the end of my day, I needed a drink!

Daddy is moving to Colorado in a month. He's had the last visit with his baby brother that he'll ever have; his best friends have moved to Panama; his youngest son (my baby brother) will be filling his house with small children for a few days before he moves; my sister will arrive in all that bedlam to help him pack up, and that'll be it. I'm blessed to be so busy in my career right now, but I don't have time to squeeze in one last visit. And now I'm crying.

#AgingSucks, y'all. I know, I know, it's better than the alternative.

... my phone is charging, and even though it's only 9 a.m., I think I'll call Daddy early today. I need to talk to him while he's still lucid.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

A Spoiler-Free Movie Review, and other catching up

#AvengersEndgame was released in theaters on Thursday night. Our local theater had not sold out for opening night, when Stephen got off work and checked. But it's a three-hour movie, and we'd have gotten home close to midnight, and he still had to work Friday morning. So on Thursday DAY, I bought our tickets for today's first showing, at 12:30.

We didn't see it at a multi-plex, per se. We saw it at a Laemmle Theater, which is half arthouse and half blockbuster. They host themed #ThrowbackThursdays, as in, for the month of May, they'll be honoring Diane Keaton's career every Thursday. Because of the nature of their business, we weren't sure what to expect at today's matinee. We planned to get to the theater before noon, so we could (hopefully) just walk right in with our tickets, plant in our favorite center seats just behind the rail, and then get Stephen's popcorn combo just prior to the trailers at 12:30.

So we left the apartment at 11:30 and walked down the block the slightly-less-than-a-mile... and discovered a queue that nearly went around the adjacent building. Nearly. The sign at the front of it asked patrons to have printed out their e-tickets (No, not like the old Disney "E" tickets) before approaching the box office, which meant, yeah, most of the folks in line would have already paid for their tickets, like us. No cutting for us! Dangit!

But the queue began moving right around 12, and it wasn't long before we were finding our second-best seats, which were slightly-left-of-center, just behind the rail. I got myself a complimentary cup of soda water, and when Stephen trekked out to hit the can, he made it through the concessions line pretty quickly, too. I mean, kudos to Laemmle NoHo, for having their act together today. I imagine that they'll have the most business this weekend that they've had in quite some time.

And now for your spoiler-free review. No, wait. Before I tell you MY experience, let me pause for a short rant. *** There are entirely too many people (trolls) out there in the media and social media and the internets and the YouTubes who are posting VITAL information about this movie. EVERYWHERE you turn, there are articles and videos about "what you missed the first time you saw Endgame" or "3000 Easter Eggs you didn't notice", etc. STOP IT, "news" sources and other "fans". Everyone who wants to see this film wants to take it in for themselves. No one wants to know who lives or who dies by the end, before getting to see it happen on that giant screen. *** End rant.

So, here's what happens: um, NO. IF you saw #AvengersInfinityWar, then you know some very important information about what you're expecting or hoping will happen in #AvengersEndgame. If you DIDN'T see Infinity War, then do you seriously have interest in Endgame? What are you even doing? Move along, little dogies, move along.

Okay, back to what I was saying. Infinity War was a rough watch. It was violent and brutal and so many people that we fans of the MCU have come to know and love DIE in it. After watching it on the big screen, I walked away ANGRY (and sad). I did NOT want to hear what any pundits thought might happen next. I did not want to watch it again. That said, over the course of this last week, Stephen and I have been binge-watching (in order) every Marvel movie that had #InfinityStones plotlines, so that we'd be caught up by today. We did watch Infinity War a second time, and while I still hated the outcome, at least I wasn't angry this time around.

Endgame starts pretty much where Infinity War leaves off, and then we jump forward five years to see how the survivors are doing. When Scott Lang finds them (which you've seen in the trailers), they form a plan to attempt to unravel all the bad stuff created by that douchecanoe twatjuice dickwhistle Thanos. So the bulk of this film is coming up with a viable plan and then acting on it. There's some fighting. There's some remorse. There's some really funny shit.

We laughed a lot. We cried a lot. There are successes and obstacles. And we (the audience) stick with the heroes, hoping and wondering and wishing and cheering through all the trials. And there are still sacrifices to make, and we the audience mourn those choices as well. There are a ton of cameos by people we haven't seen for some time (they do time-travel, as you know from the trailers). So the end credits sequence is stunning, giving credit for all of the cameos, including a couple that may have ended up in cut scenes (so look for them in the DVD/Blu-Ray editions, like we'll be doing, kids). There is no mid-credit scene. There is no end-credit scene. There is only the movie.

We liked it. All of the MCU films have led to this one, and while it feels like "closure", I can't imagine that the stories are all wrapped up. I do hope to see more of my Marvel heroes going forward.

As for my other catching up, I've been keeping busy with classes at the Conservatory, and classes that will culminate in five live performances at the Hollywood Fringe Festival, and volunteering at both the SAG Foundation and at the Conservatory,

Father Ted cast and Director
(I played Mrs. Doyle, the housekeeper)
Deuterostomes Director and Gloria + Gloria's voice
AND shooting both a multi-cam sitcom scene for a USC student and the voice of Gloria, the most intelligent being in the galaxy, who also happens to be a worm in a jar, for an AFI student film. Both of those were great fun to do, and I think I made some pretty good connections. We'll see.

I created a professional actor's website, and I've been recording kid lit audiobooks for the nieces and nephews. Then, after a great VO class, I re-recorded them, and I've been going crazy with those recordings. They're not sweetened with music or sound effects, but they are "clean" recordings of me reading to littles. You can take a listen here, if you like.

I need to get back to Jo-Ann Fabric for more yarn. I sent the Easter baskets out to the two families of young children in my family, and then while I was on the sci-fi set, I built myself a craft bag. I quite enjoyed that, so I think I may make more of those.

Oh, and yes, I'm still eating Keto, as well as doing daily yoga. I haven't yet shed a lot of weight, but five pounds did budge within the first two weeks of those practices, so I'm confident that I'll shed another five to ten pounds, and get pretty strong again. Doesn't hurt that I'm also trying to hit 10,000 steps most days, also. The Achilles tendonitis is gone/healed/cured. I feel pretty good!

So what about you? Have you seen all of the MCU films? What did you think? Any other catching up in YOUR life you'd like to chat about?

Friday, April 5, 2019

Keto and The Movies

I've been *trying* to "do" Keto, which means I'm nearly eliminating carbs from my diet whilst also eating A Lot more fat, and a reasonable amount of protein.
In order to *try* to "do" Keto, I've been reading every nutrition label, for fat/protein/carb grams, not necessarily ingredients lists... oh, who am I kidding? I have been reading ingredients lists forever. That ain't stoppin'. I've also been watching a ton of YouTube videos. My favorite Keto channels are Keto Connect and Dr. Ken Berry. There are a few others, but those would be one-offs, for me, at least.

The more videos I watch, the easier I find the Keto lifestyle to adopt. Some of the Keto Connect videos are "shopping at ______" (places like Costco and Trader Joe's, and others where you might shop), as well as reviews of pre-made Keto products (which don't matter to me at all) and recipes for fat bombs. MMMMMM, #FatBombs.

So I've been shopping. I recently discovered the Costco Business Center, as you know, and I was able to make a trek there yesterday for EVERYTHING I needed, without facing a #WalkingSamplingLunch at either the Costco Warehouse or Trader Joe's. Aaaaand I arrived home with my groceries just as Stephen was arriving home from work, which meant #BONUS, I wouldn't have to carry his ten pounds of carrots or the ten pounds of ground beef upstairs, alone. (I bought more than that, but those were the two "heavy" items).

Once everything was in the apartment, I set to combining the ten pounds of ground beef with the four pounds of ground pork, so I'd have plenty of high fat ground meat... balls. Lemme tell you, combining two high-fat meats that are also very cold from the refrigerator is #NotFun. There were multiple times when I had to use my fingers as spatulas to scrape the fat off my hands. YUCK! I don't mind eating that fat. At all. But having it coat my hands and fingers like gloves was just #Gross.

In the end, because it was so gross, and not easy work, and I'd been standing relatively still for so long in the kitchen (which gave me a back twinge), I only made 32 slightly-under-4-ounce meatballs. The other half of the ground meat got moved into freezer bags and are now living in the chest freezer.

My work, complete (well, almost)

Still 2#s of pork!

Thassalotta meatballs! 

Still 5#s of boooof!

Yes, I used all of these bowls for mixing and shaping
🎶Clean up, clean up,
everybody clean up!🎶
Then I took a little break, rewatched some of the #FatBombs videos, and set to making too many of those. I had already made chocolate-peanut-butter bombs, and I wanted some savory bombs, but also maybe cheesecake?

So I made four "everything bagel on a pepperoni slice" stars, seventeen "pizza" balls, and then enough peanut-butter-cheesecake bombs to mold in my silicone tray plus a few extra balls coated in almond flour (the "crust"). I dig them all. And I've now watched enough videos and tried enough variations that I ought to be able to create my own, original bombs. #GoodTimes!


Sweeeeet! (But not tooo)


Today, Stephen and I went to see Shazam! (It's great - really fun - our favorite in the recent DCEU, or possibly sharing that spot with Wonder Woman)... and I dunno how you feel about seeing films in a theater without eating popcorn, but I was torn. Popcorn, no matter how much #RealButter you have them douse it in, is really not Keto.

But last week, we went to see Dumbo, which is really very good and hit us in all of the feels, including being too scary for young kids, probably. We recommend 8 as the minimum age. But also, we went ahead and got the full large combo, as we've always done, which comes with one free refill of corn and each of the beverages. We never get the beverage refills, but we always get the corn refill. And we'd discovered (when we saw Captain Marvel) that you can get your refill immediately, before you even get your seat. So Stephen had his large popcorn without butter, and I had mine with lots. Aaaaand a large root beer.

Possibly because of changing my diet to "only eating when hungry/eating until full/intermittent fasting" (without even taking fat:protein:carb macros into account), last weekend's large corn and soda affected me physically. Badly. I felt bloated for hours. I may have been constipated. I'm pretty sure I was sluggish. It wasn't pretty, and I didn't like it. Loved the movie; hated my physical person.

So today, before we even left the apartment, I made sure to eat a coupla #FatBombs, finish my tea, and brush my teeth. Then, when we got to the concession stand, enough time had passed for me to feel satiated. I asked if they had unsweetened soda. The dude wasn't sure that I was asking for soda water, but when he confirmed that they did, in fact, have that, he offered me the complimentary cup. Perfect. SMALL, but enough. So Stephen got a medium combo for himself, and we went in and enjoyed the hell outta the movie. Shazam! (in case you forgot)

I never once felt like stealing a kernel! And when the movie was over, I'd sipped more of my soda water than I ever really drink of my root beer, so I needed to empty my bladder before walking home. By the time we arrived here, I was ready to eat again, so YAY! Coupla slices of bacon, a crumbled meatball, some garlic spread, some ricotta, a little yellow squash and baby bell pepper, a lot of fresh spinach and basil, a handfull of black olives, some turmeric and paprika. Amazing.
I ate half of what I prepared. This is for the next time I'm hungry, I 'spose

I feel good, and I'm learning. Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?

Have YOU tried a new-for-you lifestyle change that you struggled with for awhile but eventually got the hang of? /struggled with long enough to give up? /are struggling with NOW? Hit me up in the comments below! Let's chat about it!

Monday, April 1, 2019

I am the April Fool

Ya know how, when you're really working on #SelfImprovement and #PersonalGrowth and all that other newfangly shit, and you #SetIntentions for your day, and then #AprilFoolsDay shows up and throws everything outta whack? You DON'T? Well, aren't you #Blessed, you #HoityToityLittleAssWipe? Kidding. I kid. I have just had a day today, so I'm a bit #Frustrated.

Here's your backstory:

  • I've been getting out of bed fairly earlyish for the past coupla weeks to do yoga or stretching or squats or other highish intensity but low impact workouts
  • I've been eating a Ketogenic diet, which improves (recipes and intermittent fasting get easier) after every three or four YouTube videos I watch as education
  • I've been reading #SelfImprovement and #PersonalGrowth books, just for FUN!
  • I've been attending an acting/business class on alternating Sundays, and we're working towards performances at the Hollywood Fringe Festival in June
  • I've been attending film festivals, just for FUN (and "networking", which honestly sucks ass at places like film festivals, mostly)
  • I've been cast in a USC production of a multi-cam sitcom, as part of a class
  • I've been volunteering at both the SAG-AFTRA Foundation and Conservatory, in addition to attending classes/events at both
  • I've been walking more, aiming for at least 5k steps per day, and not saying "no" to 10k
So now, onto TODAY!

Over the weekend, the student who is directing our multi-cam comedy scenes emailed us all, asking for availability for one last rehearsal. Having not heard a concrete confirmation of our timeslot, I drove over to USC today, to discover a different group of people in our space, and none of my people present at all. I rechecked the email half a dozen times. MONDAY, until 2 p.m. Another student walked out of that room, and I asked her how long they were in there for - Three-Thirty P.M.! So I bailed. We hadn't gotten the slot we wanted, and no one informed us, and I was the only idiot who drove out there anyway. In costume. With props. And fat bombs (it's a #KetoThing).

No big... it's close to where my friends live, so I'll just pop in to see them.

NOT. He's at work, and she's in Santa Monica. Shit. Guess I'll drive home. Oh, wait, here's a Trader Joe's; lemme pick up some groceries... squash, berries... wait, no, they're more expensive here than at my TJ's, so I guess I'll just have my yogurt with coconut. Still Keto; no big deal... coconut, yogurt, bag of apples and 3 smallish, not-quite-ripe bananas. Perfect. Also, I'm feeling a bit peckish right about now, so I'll just eat those fat bombs, which didn't really survive the (hot) underground parking. Messy! But tasty, and enough to cut the edge of my hunger from my 17+ hour fast. But oh, so messy!

Get it all home and only carry up the crap I'd taken to USC. Second trip up from the car to discover Stephen's got apples out the ass. Welp. Whatevs; now he's got more. Eat those apples, Stephen! FORGOT to carry up more cans of sparkling water, and I definitely need some! (Brought 'em up after taking the shopping bags back down, yo.)

But I also need to get some steps in, and walk off this funk I'm in, and plug in my phone, which no longer wants to connect to the portable charger (it's probably just the cord, but still)... so I attempt to change one last watch battery, so I can at least have a concept of the time while I'm out. The one battery that "took" is in a watch that is slowly-but-surely losing its band. Possibly quickly-and-surely. I don't want to risk wearing the one watch that works and then losing it to gravity! The other two watches that I have replacement batteries for... just don't want to work, #FFS. So I gently gather up the last watch, for which I still need to buy a fresh battery, and decide to walk to the watch battery store!

But a handful of times on my walk, my left knee decides to remind me of my ol' football injury (it actually happened on the set of Teen Wolf, a tearing of meniscus on a weekend so I never followed up or filed a claim, waaaaaaaay back in the day!)... and I almost bail on the walk at all, multiple times. The reason I don't bail, of course, is because CVS! They'll have the battery I need! 

But they don't. And I discover that I've already checked their battery stand for the one I need. I've been over it with a fine-tooth comb, as it were. That doesn't stop me from whippin' out my comb again today! I've just limped 3k steps to not find what I need!

Dude who works there offers to help me find it, but he knows, as I do, that there's no joy to be found today at CVS. He does offer a paltry solution: Sears. They fix watches, as well as carry the obscure batteries. Sears? Are you fucking kidding me? Aren't they completely out of business yet? Should I just check at a K-Mart jewelry counter? Or Wal-Mart? Or Tarzhay?

Ennyhoo. No rehearsal. No hangin' with friends. No watch battery. Pain in my knee. But my walk home takes me by an amazing ice cream shop, where I can indulge in an almost-Keto malted shake.

Except that the ice cream shop isn't open before 3, and despite it being after 3, I still can't get in. So fuck them. At least I'm volunteering at the Conservatory tonight! I will have gotten my minimum of 5k steps, and it's a class I won't have to pay too much attention to, so I can prop my leg up and finish the Easter baskets I crocheted for the niblings, or work on my lines for my part, or something. 

And then of course the class tonight got cancelled, and no one told me. But I did find out before I drove all that way! And I got the follow-up email in my fully-charged phone (once home) about the rehearsal, which is NEXT Monday (which it did say in the original email but somehow I missed in forty-seven readings). 

It's now 6:00 in the evening on April Fools' Day, and while not one soul pranked me, I think maybe the Universe did. What a day.

How was YOUR April Fools' Day? Did you survive it intact?

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Walking to Costco

Yes, I got my bespoke orthotic insoles. Yes, I got not one but TWO new pairs of New Balance walking shoes, with the removable insoles and the untwistable heelcups (unless you're a serious weightlifter or something and not an "average" joe, like I am). Yes, my Achilles Tendonitis has officially healed, and I'm back to walking at least 5,000 steps a day, at a fairly quick pace (3 - 3.5 mph, if I'm alone).

Way back when, when we used to live in Burbank, I would occasionally (to somewhat frequently?) decide to walk to my nearby Costco Warehouse. It wasn't a huge great distance, but it was far enough that if I were going to shop (and not just attend my #WalkingSamplingLunch), I would plan to buy one thing at most, since I'd have to carry it home in my arms. So, ya know, a box of granola bars or maybe a coupla loaves of bread). Once we moved back to North Hollywood, that Costco Warehouse became a driving destination.

One day a week or more ago, I had no events or obligations on my day, and I discovered that the Costco Business Center is within walking distance (~5k steps in each direction). I knew that my favorite cases of V-8 that I used to get at the Burbank Costco Warehouse was supposedly still available at the Business Center, but I'd never looked into it, #BecauseLazy. But on this particular day, I figured I'd check it out, and get some steps in, besides. I did not know before setting out exactly how far away it was, and if I couldn't visibly see it by the time I hit 4500 steps, I had every intention of just turning around and going home. #BecauseLazy

So I walked up the one major street to the other major street, having to walk down a hill and then up again because of a railroad "tunnel"... deciding to choose a different route home due to that downhill/uphill dealio (#BecauseLazy)... and when I hit 4500 steps, I opened the Waze app in my phone, which told me I was .2 miles away, even though I couldn't yet see the warehouse. I continued on that coupla blocks, and found wonder and joy inside.

* I know that there are plenty of people for whom Costco shopping is an anxiety trigger. I am not one of those people, as you probably understand if you've read me much. I love shopping at Costco. At the Warehouse, I always do one lap of #WalkingSamplingLunch before I even bother getting a shopping cart! So I really didn't know what to expect at the Business Center. It did not disappoint. *

I came home that day to inform Stephen that we really needed to start shopping at both the Business Center and the Warehouse. The Warehouse has a Pharmacy, and Optical center, a Tire Center and gas station, and things that people need or want for themselves, like dog beds and cat trees, pillows and mattresses, clothing and books, jewelry and furniture, seafood and booze, and a #WalkingSamplingLunch. The Business Center is like a GIANT OfficeAndRestaurant Supply store. Yes, stuff is in bulk, or at least LARGER. Like, I own an immersion blender. It's a stick that fits into a cup. The immersion blender they sell at the Business Center is the size of a jackhammer. It fits into a cauldron. This is one example of the equipment they carry.

I was unable to truly impress Stephen with the wonder and joy of the Business Center until today, however. After we'd completed some standard-for-us morning stuff, like breakfast and yoga and internetting, he asked me, ever so casually, whether I had anywhere in particular I wanted to walk today. My response was no, just that I did want to get a walk in. As he had nowhere in particular to head, either, he agreed to give the long 10k round-trip a shot.

I showed him the immersion blender right away. At that point, he had an idea of what he'd be seeing. We walked through most of the store, not actually shopping, but making mental shopping lists. As we were leaving, he stopped to get the buck-fiddy hot dog and soda combo, and the nonfat yogurt fruit parfait. I did not eat, because I'm currently doing #Keto4Real, which is to say, I'm paying closer attention to what I eat and when, and frankly, having fasted yesterday because I wasn't hungry all day, it was very easy to rely on my breakfast this morning for the fuel to get me home, rather than just eating because it was "meal time" and there was food available. I'm honestly loving the intermittent fasting part of Keto. I only eat when I'm hungry, and I eat until I'm nearly full. It's great. Stephen, however, possibly due to the lack of a #WalkingSamplingLunch, and possibly due to not having had anything but coffee for breakfast, and possibly due to the energy expended getting there, ate the hot dog so quickly that I jokingly said, "I thought you ordered a hot dog" - to which he replied "nope, just sugarwater and sugarcream".

That was enough fuel to get him home; we actually walked quicker home than we had out. And I think we both felt satisfied or proud, maybe? that the walk to the Costco Business Center is worthwhile, especially if we just plan ahead of time to buy one small thing that we can't get elsewhere. If I ever have need for a jackhammer-sized immersion blender, I promise you that I won't walk to pick it up!

Do YOU have a favorite store that you love walking to? Do you have to limit your shopping when you're on foot, or do you take bags or a cart with you so you can stock up?

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Unexpected benefits of volunteering

So I've mentioned I volunteer for the SAG Foundation. I've also mentioned that I've been actively taking classes at the SAG Conservatory. Recently, I signed up for a class at the Conservatory to orientate (?) new volunteers there, and ended up getting added to the roster of volunteers as soon as that class session ended.

Just before March began, the schedule of all classes that needed volunteers was emailed out, and because I responded immediately, I was booked for 4 classes, two on the same day but with a long break between them, and then the other two later in the month. Then on the 1st of March, I got added to another class (which is actually tonight).

I was booked for work on set last week, on the day that I was scheduled to volunteer twice. So I had to "call out" and get a replacement. I know they replaced me for the evening class (I honestly knew beforehand that they would, because that instructor is my favorite, and that's probably a consensus amongst students there). I hope they found a replacement for the morning class. I was bummed that I had to miss both of those, because I'm nervous about my first time. I have to set up the camera and record all the sessions and then play those back and give people copies on their cards or drives, and although I took copious notes in the training sessions, technical stuff is not necessarily in my immediate wheelhouse, and I haven't had a chance to "practice". So wish me luck that I don't completely #FuckItAllUp tonight!

*** Also, #ICYMI (because I neglected to actually STATE it), #AnyDayOnSetIsAGoodDay and I'm #Blessed to have missed my volunteerism for work. #SetLife #WorkBegetsWork #WorkIsAGoodThing

Ennyhoo, let's get to the really good stuff - the title of this post!

At our very first orientation class (there were two, actually), we were shown upon arrival where all the goodies were kept. Snacks. Beverages. Folders and tins of mints and plastic luggage tags and notebooks with nice pens and phone chargers. SWAG (Stuff We All Get). Good, cool, free stuff, just for saying "yeah, you can have my time". I ended up with a few of those phone chargers. They're great when you're on a set that has limited electrical outlets. They work for both my phone and my tablet. It's awesome. #Grateful #GreatFull

Near the end of last week, an email went out to ALL of the volunteers looking for participants in an AFI student film "loop group". I have taken a few looping classes at the Don LaFontaine VoiceOver Lab at the SAG Foundation, so I (of course) immediately signed up to participate.

*Looping is the recording of voices for a film or show, done after principal photography, to either replace onscreen dialogue or fill in dialogue that wasn't shot on-the-day. It can be the background conversations of random people on the street or in the restaurant, or it can be PA announcements in a train station or hospital, or it can even be grunts, moans, and breathing. It can be a lot of things. It's all recorded at full volume, and then edited in very quietly. It adds to the scene we see, without overtaking it.*

At any rate, the six of us who replied most quickly were picked, and we showed up to a home studio in the middle of nowhere to record all of ^that^ kind of stuff for about an hour/hour and a half. The home studio was amazing. It made me a bit jealous (#TotesJelly), because it was so well constructed, and it exists in someone's house. Because it's a student film, none of us will be paid for our work. But we will all receive credit, and I'm going to find out whether that "day" "on set" counts towards my health eligibility. Because I think it might!

... And I wouldn't even have known about that opportunity (to practice looping, to network with other loopers, to network with up-and-coming filmmakers), had I not signed up to volunteer.

Now I just have to survive tonight.

What about you? Do you currently volunteer for anyone? What unexpected blessings have you received from it? Let's chat!