Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Family Matters

  I got a call today that I had sort of feared I would get.  It was the sad voice of my Mother and I knew exactly why she was calling.  A few months ago I booked a bit part on the Nickelodeon tween phenomenon iCarly.  Tonight it aired and I was relegated to a glorified extra.  My two precious lines had been cut out of the episode.
  While this was not even close to a career making booking, I was excited to snag my first role since signing with my new agency.  It was an easy paycheck and the fine folks at iCarly were kind and professional.  As these things often go, though, my friends and family got far more excited than I did about the whole deal.
  I try my best to remember how lucky I am to still be pursuing my dream and all of the work I've gotten in my young career so far have been blessings.  On the flip side of this, I had two lines on iCarly, a show I had never seen and, to be honest, is not my cup a tea.  Last I checked I was 26 years old, so I'm not usually watching Nickelodeon.
  You might ask who does watch this show.  Apparently, a lot of people do.  Most notably my little cousins, who were so pumped up to see their big cuz on national television on their favorite show.  This was further perpetuated by their Mom, my first cousin, getting a viewing party together tonight to watch.  I tried my best to keep this low key, but so many people started making a bigger deal out of it.  And when my mother called tonight all I could think of was that I let my little cousins down.  They probably told their friends at school and now had some explaining to do.  I was embarrassed for me and for them, too.
  Then, on my drive to the valley to see my closest friends, I reminded myself that life is good.  Something as trivial as two lines in a show I don't watch and won't progress my career at all doesn't matter.  In fact, none of this career shit actually matters.  People matter.  Love matters.  Happiness matters.  I am a firm believer that the Universe only presents you with the emotional hurdles that you can handle.  I jump these hurdles like Carl Lewis now.  I'm strong.  I'm a mountain.  A very lucky mountain.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

  Life can surprise you.  A year ago I was overweight, drinking too much, and watching Sportscenter on loop all day everyday.  It seemed like my mornings/afternoons would be spent wasting time until the night, when I would go out and party or, even worse, watch more TV, get high and order delivery.  I still can't figure out why I was overweight.
  I came out to Los Angeles simply to escape the mundane life I had cultivated for myself back in NY.  I saw that there were more acting opportunities in Cali and I wanted to be back with the Graduates gang.  Friends of mine that had made the move from NY to LA had insisted that you had to be careful about getting lazy when you got to California.  I was worried because I didn't want to move my current lifestyle to LA.  This was part of the reason why I needed to move;  when someone is in a bad relationship they need to remove themselves from their partners and make sure not to continue on this same pattern of lovers.  LA was my new baby girl and I needed things to work out.
  So from the get-go I made sure to be more active.  I started writing again, getting more ambitious about my career, doing yoga and I connected to my old inner runner.  I started running three miles...then five...six...then ten.  It was then that I knew I could fulfill one of my "bucket list" dreams of running the NY Marathon.  Now, less than a month away and up to over 20 miles, I am growing into this empowered being.  I sang in a song I recently wrote that I "used to be a stone, now I'm a mountain" and that is the best way I can describe how I feel about myself.
  Back in July my buddy Pat had begun doing Crossfit and was putting pressure on me to join up.  I was content with my running regiment, but worried that building muscle would make me less funny or change my personality.  Who wants to laugh at some buff Jewish dude?  My ex-girlfriend, a yoga instructor, used to try and pressure me into doing yoga and I had the same concern.  My feelings toward both of these practices now seem ridiculous.  So I joined Crossfit and I'm happy I did.  Crossfit is not the dumb meathead workout I thought it was.  In a 20 minute workout, which is the maximum you'll almost always do, I'm way more winded than I am after running for three hours.
  For most of my life I've felt weak, mentally and physically.  There isn't much vanity involved in my commitment to Crossfit.  I do it because for the first time I feel strong...powerful...like a mountain.  Mentally, I feel like I can do anything.  Physically, I feel like a true athlete.  I'm living up to my full potential.  It's true, life can surprise you.  But it shouldn't surprise you at all really.  We have the strength in us to be who we want to be.  You just have to want it enough.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I Wrote A Song About You

  I wonder if Bob Dylan's lovers ever got furious at him.  I mean like really mad that he used their kisses and adventures and breakups for his art.  I mean, of course they did, but hear me out.  Is it fair to wax poetic about real things, however personal they may be?
  The great poets/songwriters connect.  They strike a hard chord with the masses (or at the very least a small crowd).  I ask you, how is one supposed to penetrate their followers without telling the truth?  That was not innuendo, by the way, so shut the fuck up.
  I mean, I went to Elementary School, okay?  I know that honesty is the best policy.  George Washington proved it (when he wasn't beating his slaves, of course).  Bob Dylan may have lied about a lot of things...his family, his musical experience, his name.  But, Robert Zimmerman speaks to people and that ain't no lie.
  So how do you speak to people?  This is the question artists tend to ask themselves.  You can get by with lies for a time, but, eventually, peeps be finding out who you really are, ya heard?  I mean, for example, I'm pretty sure Dr. John is not actually a trained professional.  But, seriously, I find it hard to believe that anyone can reach people without telling true stories.  Maybe that makes me dumb.  When I hear "Visions of Johanna" or "Don't Think Twice" I have to believe that those were real events.
  And that is how I feel about writing my own material.  I have posted songs/lyrics in the past that were blatantly about people I knew.  Typically, this is not something that those people appreciate.  But, I feel like the more personal the material the better it is.  Perhaps, that's my problem;  I need to be more cryptic.  Bob Dylan sings about Johanna, but there's a good chance Johanna was actually named Sara.  Or, better yet, Johanna was based on an amalgam of women he knew and loved.  It's not the woman that connected with the people...it was his visions of her.