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Thursday, 27 October
Where Are They Now?

In the following, I remember--poorly--some of my fellow acting students from college. Suffice it to say that, like me, none of them ever amounted to shit. (We're talking fame-wise. Some of them may actually feel fulfilled with their careers, but if they are like me, they are mostly embittered and hate Hollywood for failing to take the time to come up and discover them in their regional productions of Lost in Yonkers. Stupid Hollywood!

Well, one of them eventually did get a Rogaine TV ad. And another has a IMDB credit as "jacuzzi girl" in some terrible 80s skin flick.)

Anyway, these guys were all fellow acting students in college. I couldn't pick on anyone I actually currently know, because, well, they would beat me up.

B.

Where to start with B.? She was about 5'2" and was generally likened to Betty Boop. For good reason. She had a helium voice and a molybdenum body, that one. She was given to wearing all black, right up to her eye shadow, and it was really entertaining to watch her during winter when the streets would ice up. There would be B., tottering around gorgeously in her four-inch heels, bobbling at a low simmer. Think Jennifer Tilly without the poker skills.

I naturally decided that I really needed to sleep with her, which I eventually did. I'd like to say that this was a monumental achievment.

What was a monumental achievment was . . . well, I should set this up.

We got together in a neighbor's dorm room, as my roomie was inconveniently in mine: my neighbor was out, and helpfully lent me the key for this assignation. At some point as we writhed, she requested music. I knew that neighbor's boombox was above the bed on a shelf, and I slapped at it blindly in the dark as I continued my project of thoroughly groping B. No music at all. Eventually we forgot about music.

What I didn't know at the time was that I had hit the RECORD button on the boombox. And neighbor-boy had a tape in. I swear I'm not inventing this.

You know where this is going.

The next day, G. (neighbor) dropped by. "You want to hear something really great?" he said.

"Sure!" I replied.

He put the tape in.

Look, here's all I'm going to say: I pulled out the tape and violently unspooled it once I heard myself breathe, "Oh my God."

G.

G. was an actor in our program, one year older than me. G. had been a football player until he destroyed his knees, but then moved over to lesser calisthenics like fucking the back teeth out of most of the women on campus. G. was good-looking and burly and pretty funny.

G. predictably liked to discuss these things with me. We got cast in a lot of shows together, he as the leading man, and me as the not-leading man. (It took me a long time to realize that character actors totally have the best jobs on earth.) He told me of the time that he and his girlfriend fucked so aggressively that some of her spermicide had worked its way inside his penis and had started eating away at the lining. He went to the ER after a screamingly painful attempt at urination, and the doctor clinically squeezed the head of his penis, making bilious-looking foam come out.

"Your girlfriend uses sponges, huh?" he said.

"AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!" replied G.

G. also had his single days. Not that that meant that G. went unfucked. He just picked up women in bars. And would tell me about them . . . or at least his Penthouse Forum versions. And I would believe him.

"I got this chick home last night? Man. She was just kind of hanging out. (Pause.) Anyway, I got her home. And she just flips over and gives me her pooper."

The word "pooper" is going to stay with me all my life. I might have it etched on my gravestone. "He Knew This Guy Once Who Said Pooper."

You know, it should be noted that he gave me some hilarious advice once. I had fallen hopelessly for this girl a few years older than me. In fact, we ended up going out for three years. But at the time of this conversation, we had slept together just once.

"I just don't know if she likes me!" I moaned to G.

He responded laconically, "Well, Skot, you've fucked her. And now you're wondering if you can ask her out? It usually goes the other way around for me."

And so.

C.

C. was, in pretty much every way, the definition of Diva. C. was frequently sick, like consumptively sick. COUGH COUGH! But no, the show must go on! She would always somehow summon her innermost reserves to actually act in front of an audience. They needed her!

C. was a fainter. I lost count of how many times she fainted. Her excuse? (Again: I AM NOT LYING.) She "forgot to breathe."

"I forget to breathe sometimes," she would cry. You know? Sometimes I forget to grow my hair.

There was a show we did one time that C. got cast in as the female lead. Lucklessy for her, it was a Sam Shepard show, so nothing good was going to happen to her. I was--get this--doing the costume duty for the piece, fulfilling one of the requirements for my major. So I wasn't even part of the cast.

In this particular show, there is a rape scene. C. was the rape victim. And so it came about that the rape scene--which was staged really strangely in that you never saw the rapist, who was down in a trap, so he became known as "the rapist in the hole"--would largely be dictated by C.

"Who would you like to do this?" asked the director. And by "this," he meant, "tear off your velcroed clothing and grab at your tits"?

C. picked me. The guy who was doing the wash. I had acted before with the woman, but . . . uh?

This, incidentally, really pleased this OTHER guy in the cast who had an incredible crush on C. Which I could never figure out. Did he think that he was going to get lucky with this dreamgal by simulating rape four nights a week? He hated the shit out of me, but then again, he was really dumb.

Anyway, it all fell to me. And for a few weeks, Thursday through Sunday (what happy matinees!), I did my job: as the smoke machine churned and C. sang high C, I would rip off her tearaway dress and grab at her mercilessly. I swear I will never forget certain scenes where I would be eveloped in smoke, tearing this woman's dress off, and seeing suddenly, out of the mist, this pale breast in front of my eyes, like an attacking kraken. Needless to say, it damaged me.

And after every single scene, she would climb down from the trap and break into tears. "I'm sorry," I would whisper before climbing down the ladder to fling dirty costumes into the washing machine. She would just keep sobbing.

At the end of it all, C. had only one comment for me. "You were a good choice. Thank you."

So if anyone out there needs a qualified stage rapist, you know who to call.

Tuesday, 25 October
All These Zombies

I might as well start off by saying that it was a pretty boring weekend, really. Hurrah! Tell us more, Skot!

All right!

On Friday, as the wife trundled off to do her show (note that I have abandoned the Ethel Rosenberg thing, as it was only ever funny to me, I'm pretty sure), I did my usual thing and . . . sat around. Then I ate some pizza. Slow down, tiger! It had been a while since I had a whole Friday night to myself to . . . stare at the awful things they put on Friday night TV. Is that shit even legal? I think I watched a whist tournament on the ESPN You're Too Tired To Even Masturbate channel, and then some reality show where the contestants ate their own feet.

Eventually, the wife came home. "How was your evening?" she asked brightly. "Boring," I snapped back. What a great husband! "We could go out," she offered tentatively. "Nah!" I spat. Honest to God. No, wife! I want to stew in my own manufactured misery! What's not to understand? Basically, what you need to get here is that I am a ridiculous child and that the wife is a patient, patient woman.

[Let's shoehorn in a story here to illustrate this, from earlier tonight! A sample bit of marital dialogue; it is of note that the wife's birthday is approaching:

Skot: (teasingly) "I got a special someone a gift today!"

Wife: (faux-naively) "Ooooh! Who was it for?"

Skot: "This bitch I've been banging."]

I eventually (back to Friday now) got out of my stupid-ass funk, probably, sadly, because of the fact that trolling through the cable listings, I noticed: Resident Evil 2. Oh God! Thank you Starz! "You mind?" I inquired, and the wife replied--as if I needed more proof of her fundamental goodness, "That actually sounds perfect."

So we watched. It was . . . Resident Evil 2! I mean, what the fuck do you expect? It's a video game movie. With Milla Jovovich and some other hot skinny broad. It's 2! 2! 2 times the hot! Whatever.

Although really it must be said that at some point we stopped asking enough from our zombies. Early on in the movie, it's established that you need to shoot the poor moaners in the brain. Hey, fuck that! I'm of the old-school zombies, where you sever an arm? THAT ARM STILL CRAWLS AROUND! Killing zombies? Bah. Fuck that. THEY'RE ALREADY DEAD! IT'S THE WHOLE POINT! Body parts must crawl around. But no. This is the age of zombie adulteration, and so you get a bunch of brain nonsense.

On the other hand, you do also get some zombie hookers, who have really pneumatic chests wandering around. Apparently hooker-shirts and -bras are incredibly delicious to other zombies. And also, strangely, zombie hookers are evidently real sticklers for job performance, as they sort of stroll around being hooker-y with their dead tits hanging out. I didn't see any of the zombie accountants trying to fuss with their double-entry bookkeeping during the movie, or any zombie gas station attendants fumbling with the pumps. How uplifting that the topless zombie hookers still wanted to suck some dick for money! But only live dick Or, perhaps, chew off said dicks. For nutrition!

I spent a little too much time thinking about the zombie hookers and what they'd do when they only had dead dicks to deal with. On the other hand, I was really overthinking the zombie thing anyway. They always fall on a live human with a real appetite--it is a standard scene in any zombie movie to show these folks gnawing the fuck out of any living person, preferably all as a group. So how come all these other fucking zombies are suspiciously un-gnawed? All you ever see are these gray, shambling bastards with barely a tooth mark on them! Who forgot to chew on these guys? Is there some sort of unspoken (or, maybe, unmoaned) zombie code for when it's no longer really flavorful to eat the bodies?

"Ah, leave it be, Earl. She ain't even wriggling no more."

"MUUUUUUUHHH!"

"You are boring as shit, Earl. Oh, hell, you might as well finish up that ear."

I think I could write these things, really. It's apparently not difficult to get Milla Jovovich to take off her shirt. Eat my dust, Uwe Boll.

Friday, 21 October
Who Let The Corn Dogs Out?

Finally, our long national nightmare is over! By which I mean the three-nights-only demolition of Flashdance. Not "national," you say? Well, might I point out that we got a letter from President Bush on closing night to commend our efforts? I quote: "In these uncertain times," he wrote, "what America needs are more fingerbanging jokes." I feel like a patriot. A fingerbanging patriot, damn you.

It was really a lot of fun, if you enjoy barely-controlled anarchy with liberal dashes of utter filth thrown in just for the sake of being filthy. There's a certain feral joy to be had in saying the line "Shut your whore mouth!" not once but three times in a row. (Thanks, K.!) It's not every theatrical experience where any props that are food, phones, or flowers are all replaced by--and there is no explanation for this--corn dogs. [Note: I make up things all the time, but this was really true. I just wanted to be clear on that.] And it's certainly not my everyday performance that finds me in a fit of narcolepsy only to wake up to discover that I am vigorously groping a transvestite. But it will be from now on!

It wasn't without its bumps, to be sure. (Uh . . . no, no comment.) For one thing, there is the de rigeur booziness surrounding the event, and let's just say that as one enters his late thirties, the body is slightly less tolerant of a full workday followed by a chaotic evening of theater and relentless drinking. By last night, C., a castmate and fellow tippler, was seen at the bar, cradling his head in his hands. "C.!" I cried! "What's up!" "I'm pretty hung over," he said in low tones. I looked at him critically. "You should start drinking," I declared. "I don't think so," he replied. I regarded him with pity and contempt as I ordered my first beer of the evening, ignoring the slow, helpless roll of my resigned gastrointestinal tract.

This was worrisome. C. is not known for dropping the Drink-O-Ball. But I needn't have worried--he is a professional. Later, backstage, I again chided him about his horrible decision to not drink on a Wednesday night. "I am drinking!" he said brightly, and held up a glass of beer. "You are a warrior!" I said, and noted with private approval that he had lost a bit of color, and was returning to a real Flashdance pallor.

And some audience members were problems, really. Most of the time everyone was okay, and limited themselves to drunken hooting and setting loose wild boars in the crowd to provoke a response. These things we can deal with. We are professionals, and really, much better drinkers than the average booze-addled transvestite-obsessed lushes that make up our core audience.

What we can't deal with? People who touch us when it's over. One fellow, a definitely altered, definitely very gay chap named W. was introduced to our group. He immediately hugged J., an innocent bystander, for approximately 45 seconds. "Doesn't this feel good?" he cooed as he crushed her hyoid bone. "I like hugging you." When J.'s body had gone cold, he let her slump to the ground, and began liquidly casting around the room for fresh victims. He saw me. "I could hug you?" he suggested. "I'll pass!" I chirped. Not that I'm averse to hugging gay men--it's practically the only exercise I get any more. I'm just averse to hugging murderously drunk, creepy gay strangers. He said coldly, "I'll pass too," and breezed off and rapturously strangled a couple of other girls before he got 86ed.

So despite all my kvetching and bellyaching and protestations about my fundamental lack of funny, it was all still a great time. I didn't even have to worry about the funny anyway, really, thanks to the Humor Wig. (Seriously, the various comments I got later were all some variation on "Oh, man . . . that wig . . . ". Well, that and the narcolepsy.) Even my wife, commie traitor Ethel Rosenberg, had a good time before she was marched off to be executed for treason. Her only negative comment was, "Why are you calling me Ethel Rosenberg on your blog now?" Ha! I'm not falling for that, turncoat! You won't get ME to reveal America's secrets to you!

I am a patriot. I've got the letter from George W. Bush to prove it. A patriot. A true-blue narcoleptic transvestite-fingerbanging patriot in a Humor Wig, holding a lager in one hand and a bouquet of American goddamn corn dogs in the other. And I'm dancing--flashdancing--to the music of the spheres. And those spheres are strippers' breasts.

Christ, this is a great country. You think differently? Shut your whore mouth.

Tuesday, 18 October
Indeed, What A Feeling. Oh, What A Feeling That Was

Tonight was the night! After an interminable rehearsal period spanning almost an entire week, tonight we opened our complete rape of the immortal film Flashdance!

It was important to me that the day lead up to the big event perfectly, which is why I woke up this morning and immediately smashed my alarm clock to smithereens.

I honestly really did. I've never done that before. But I was obviously possessed by the spirit of Flashdance! You gotta follow your dreams or you'll end up as some junkie stripper, or something! And that morning, my dream was: more sleep! So I did what Jennifer Beals would do, and picked up my alarm clock and crushed it against my nightstand until it stopped making noise; it sits there still, a broken thing, but for all that no less proud of me for facing my demons . . . the demons of, well, waking up and facing work.

(In truth, of course, as happens distressingly often, the fucker went off, and I in my morning fog couldn't figure out how to turn the goddamn thing off. I stabbed at every button I could think of, but it kept up its miserable blatting, so I pounded it until it was dead. So tonight I have to use my cell phone alarm, which I understand far, far less than my dead alarm clock, so I assume I'm going to be out a couple hundred bucks tomorrow morning when I can't make the thing stop howling out the T-Mobile jingle.)

I spent the whole day at work thinking about tonight, and all the things I would need to keep straight in my head, like, where's my script? And where is my drink? (These events are, according to long tradition, simply impossible to face without drinking through the entire thing. Part of it is to simply deal with the fact that it is all so thrown together chaotically, one requires a certain boneless quality to be able to careen around the stage so crazily; another thing is, well, actors like to drink. It also helps us enthusiastically embrace the unbelievable amount of raunch that inevitably gets shoehorned into these shows.) Anyway, to ease my panicky mind about all these issues at work, I decided to not do any work at all, and you know? It really helped!

Then, after a short time at home, Preparing As An Actor Does (read: remembering to put in my contacts), it was time to go to the theater. Which is actually a bar. Handy! I immediately ordered a whiskey, for vocal purposes. A castmate saw this. "What are you doing?" she asked. "Warming up." She stared at me for a moment. "I can't believe I almost forgot to warm up!" she cried, and raced to the bar. I felt us coming together as an ensemble. Everyone else was soon warming up.

We lounged backstage as the audience started to come in--hey, the audience was really getting into the act too! They all started warming up! We peeked at them through the moth-eaten curtains when we weren't fussing with the prop table, which is a pool table with a sheet of plywood on top of it. (Hey, it beats the setup we had at Pocatello Flats Community College and Grill.) It's always fun looking at the audience from behind the curtain. "They look like ants from here!" squealed K. I looked at her. "They're ten feet away from you, K," I said. "I took a lot of mushrooms earlier," she sighed.

It was time to prepare. I began putting on my costume--khakis and a blue shirt, items I had specifically selected for their innate hilarity. (When I asked for costume notes, the director had distractedly specified that I should wear not only a shirt, but also pants, so this was important to me.) No way I was gonna let Hollywood icon Michael Nouri down, if he's still alive!

And then--moments before the curtain didn't go up, because we don't have a curtain, . . . it was time. It was time to lay my hands on the Talisman. The object that would allow me to fully infuse my character with substance, with life, with essence. It was the one thing that would bring my character into a fuller reality.

I touched it tenderly before picking it up. It seemed to glow from within, like a baby who has swallowed a lit cigarette.

I lifted my Humor Wig and cradled it in my hands. It was misshapen and black, and seemed to radiate its own internal light. It was a mystical Humor Wig, and I knew that once I placed it on my skull, I would become a Comedy Shaman.

I would read from my script, right there in my hand.

I would almost nearly get some of my blocking right.

I would make people grudgingly laugh, unless they happened to be laughing at unrelated events happening in other parts of the world.

All because of the Humor Wig. I was told--I blush to confess this for I do not wish to boast--that I resembled Gino Vanelli. And when all was said and done, and the audience was sated with laughter, I was clapped on the back and congratulated by my adoring public. "Were you in the show?" gushed one fan, and another enthused, "Can ya empty this fuckin' ashtray or somethin', please?" I basked in the radiance of these stolen moments, and sipped my whiskey--an actor's training does not end as the curtain comes down.

I sat alone in my booth, sipping whiskey, apart from my fellow actors, and reflected. I had done it. I had come through the evening unscathed, had so utterly scorched the stage boards with my comic skills that--it must be said--the audience had not dared once to laugh at me. But I had not done it alone.

Across from me sat my Humor Wig. It did not deign to sip from the whiskey I had purchased for it as congratulation, so I pulled it to me. And I toasted the Humor Wig as my equal. With the Humor Wig at my side--or, probably better, on my head--there was nothing I couldn't do.

There was no need to act at all.

Thursday, 13 October
Where The Fuck Was Rebecca DeMornay?

As we all know--at least those of us who were weaned on movies like Risky Business--a modern rite of passage is The Party When Your Parents Go Out Of Town. Why, incidentally, did our parents ever go more than four blocks away from us when we were old enough to start wondering about beer? This phenomenon, on first blush, might lead some to believe that there has been evidence for the conservative assertion that our great country is going into a shithole: we were clearly raised by fatuous, indulgent morons. Unfortunately, since this has been a righty trope for like sixty years now, I cannot see how much traction it has.

Anyway. Like a lot of people, I had parents who were careless enough to leave me in charge of the home for one fateful weekend when I was a teen. "NO PARTIES!" they direly screamed. No problem. I would only have one.

I really doubt that they ever thought I wouldn't have a party, really; my parents aren't complete doorstops. I think it's just that they thought that admonishing me not to somehow filled their parental requirements, as they saw it. They might as well as tipped me a theatrical wink. What they really were saying, as far as I was concerned, was, "Have a party! Please! And if you leave any evidence of it, we have the right to shove pointy sticks into your eyes until you're eighteen."

Things could have ended up so much worse, really, but it didn't seem so at the time.

It all started out fine. People gathered, and gifts were given--get this: the weekend in question was my birthday weekend. Can you figure? I still wonder if John Hughes paid off my folks to make this happen so he could film it all for an as-yet unreleased documentary. Just fun-loving kids enjoying a sprightly time!

Then, of course, everyone simultaneously got drunk.

The first thing I remember getting out of hand was when I heard my mother's old, creaky upright piano getting played. The ancient thing was forever out of tune, and sounded remotely like that guy who smashed Muppets on their heads with a fish to make them howl. Someone was playing it exactly like a deranged fish-wielding person, and I rushed into the den to make them stop, right in time to hear the damper board come unmoored. CRASH! it crashed softly. I pulled the drunken woman off the piano stool and shoved her off into the care of some nearby date-rapist, probably.

Meanwhile, in the kitchen, the old debate about eggs raged. You know this one, right? How, leaving aside years of anecdotal evidence, it is TOTALLY IMPOSSIBLE to break an egg when cradled on its side in one's palms? There, standing over my kitchen sink with an egg in his hands, stood one of my guests. He squeezed mightily, while others chanted, "GO! GO! GO!" I stared at him as he completely demolished the egg, and yolk exploded over everything. I contemplated my befouled kitchen ceiling as Mr. Egg Dominion celebrated his yolky victory by dismissing the rest of the carton as "pussies" and tossing them idly onto the floor.

Hey, time for everyone to get the fuck out of here!

That was when T. flipped out on, I think, her boyfriend. T. had had an awful lot to drink, and was just now responding to some perceived slight. T. was on her last nerve, buddy! Aaaargh! Fuck you, boyfriend! Oh, how T. railed. Then T., at an apex of fury, made her exit. "Fuck you!" she screamed at egg yolk, or something. "I'm leaving!"

And she flung open the door to our hallway closet and stamped right in.

I need to clarify a couple things here. For one, we hadn't been in this particular house for that long. So our possessions weren't as squared away as they necessarily would have been in some place where we'd lived for a while. For another--and really, I don't want to hear about it, okay?--my father is a gun collector. He loves guns, is completely respectful of guns, and instilled in me a total respect for the things. Know this: I would sooner shoot myself into the sun than fuck with my father's guns, or treat one as anything other than what it is: a machine that demands total respect.

T. opened up our hall closet and marched directly inside, and immediately knocked over all of my father's rifles that he had stored insided. They fell around her onto the hardwood floor. I distinctly remember time dilating. I knew that they were all loaded (though not chambered). T. thrashed around as if she were being beset by incubi. "FUCK YOU!" she screamed.

It was totally one of those things where it could have easily led to headlines like, "BIMBO BLOWS BRAINS OUT: Local Teen's Drunken Sex Party Ends In Tragedy." But as it happened, I flipped, and hustled everyone out. I actually believe--I am not proud of this--that I literally gave T. a little kick in the ass as she left. She had scared the piss out of me. Plus, our piano now sounded like a wounded elk, and the kitchen looked like a scare pamphlet from Operation: Rescue Omelette.

I spent the next day frantically cleaning, and doing idiot piano repairs, and most importantly, meticulously reconstructing the impromptu gun closet. I lived in fear for twenty-four hours that I was overlooking some crucial clue, some damning bit of evidence.

I like to kid myself even today that I fooled my parents. It is to their credit that this has never come up. I grew up in a town of around 3000 people. All they would have had to do was go to our neighbors and ask, "So, what happened this weekend?" And the neighbors would say, "What do you think? Your fucking kid threw a party. I heard from Whiskey Joe that T. nearly blew her head off walking into your gun closet."

Fuck, man, John Hughes never even called.

Tuesday, 11 October
This Just In

This is just to say
I want to strafe the Smurfs
And hear the lamentations of their women

Rilly Big Shew

Skot and the wife are TAKING THE STAGE BY STORM! Because we hate and fear other actors, and have decided to hunt them in their natural habitat. They are distressingly easy to kill.

No! Not really. At least about the killing part. Yet.

The wife (one reader has begged me to not refer to my wife as "the wife" on the basis that it sounds callous and as if I do not much like her, so I might periodically refer to her now and again as "the husband," or perhaps "Ethel Rosenberg," depending on my mood) opened up a show on Friday, an annual event at Open Circle Theater here in town in which three HP Lovecraft stories are adapted for the stage. The stories are adapted in such a way as to play up the complete ridiculousness of many of Lovecraft's themes but to also give a nod to the still-creepy atmosphere that he was justly credited for. Think of it as Desperate Housewives, except that in the end everyone dies horribly at the hands of fish-faced alien races.

Anyway, I had a lot of fun at opening night, and it was good fun to watch good old Ethel not betray her country and get the chair, but instead gleefully inhabit the roles of various crazy ladies. The wife does get a lot of work playing crazy women, and I'm not sure what that says about her, but it might explain the new fondness for knitting. Don't all crazy ladies knit? I think the Elder Gods might be crouching inside my wife, Ethel Rosenberg, and are causing her to knit, and to possibly betray my country. Fuck, man, I hope she doesn't get the chair. Her knitting isn't that bad.

Anyway. I also find myself suddenly back (sort of) doing theateresque things: sort of. I agreed to do a little three-day deal called the Brown Derby at Re-bar. The Brown Derby project has been going on for some time, and what they do is take terrible Hollywood films and put them onstage in utterly mutilated form, using drag queens, dance numbers and relentlessly funny script-savaging. I've done one before, when we eviscerated Halloween a couple years ago, and now I've been called on again to come defile one of our old classics.

We are doing Flashdance. I will be playing the Michael Nouri role--he's the creepy-ass bossman who seduces Jennifer Beals' spunky (shaddup) welder-slash-nightclub dancer (played, of course, by a man, unlike me, who will be played by me).

These things are done intentionally slapdash, with scripts in hand--deconstruction is the order of the day, not professionalism. And I am blessed with a great cast, who have all begun making hysterically funny contributions, which is good, since I've totally got nothing.

This is not a cry for support! I've literally got nothing. I'm glad others do. But do you remember this awful movie? The Michael Nouri role is: kinda slimy 40-ish guy fucks his hot welder/dancer employee. I'm not even blaming the role. But I've got nothing here. Yes, I'll get some laughs for shoving my tongue down the throat of the Jennifer Beals drag queen, but how hard is that? (SERIOUSLY, SHUT UP!) I am nervous. Tonight we had a rehearsal to work on how we were going to viciously maul all of the dance scenes, and I was so hopeless at dancing badly that I was asked to, like, not dance at all. I'm so terrible at dancing that it's literally not funny! (And true story: when I tried to emulate a Bealsy dance move, I hurt myself terribly . . . I tried to do this kick-thing she does in the "BIG AUDITION" dance scene, and it felt like lizards were biting my triceps. I moaned audibly, and it was about then that I., the director, explained that I was excused from the number. I wandered off for a cigarette, feeling like Ethel Rosenberg, my wife, walking to the Chair.)

This is the actor's life: ongoing bouts of crippling self-doubt occasionally relieved by flashes of intense humiliation. There are reasons why we drink. Especially those of us who cannot dance, or come up with good comedy bits for their lousy characters, or who happen to marry Commie spies.

And I keep coming back.

Friday, 07 October
I Believe The Chickens Are Our Future

A big issue this week seems to be the avian flu, which, depending on who you listen to, is either an impending world health crisis that could possibly kill millions and millions of people, or is simply this month's particular flavor of gleeful fearmongering. The former view seems to be espoused most prominently by those hilarious jokesters at the World Health Organization, a group of malicious sprites who just last week threw fart bombs into my office and ran away giggling. I later found that they had etched "WASH ME" into the dust of my rear windshield. Scamps! And the latter view is mostly espoused by those who take the sensible point of view that the world, right now, simply could not even remotely be more fucking terrifying than it already is.

Look, I want everyone to relax. Because I have the solution. In fact, it's better than a solution. It is . . . how do I put this? I can only say that it is my gift to all of humankind, even the ugly people.

We must irradiate our birds. All of them.

If comic books have taught us anything--and Hollywood has shown us they have--it is that our genetic well-being and general fucking awesomeness has been enhanced by irradiated animals. Look at Spider-Man, arguably one of the coolest superheroes ever. Radioactive spider, dude.

We have an opportunity here. I embrace the avian flu. Irradiated avian flu.

I envision myself--after a long, debilitating illness--as imbued with the proportionate strength of a chicken. Carried aloft over the city skies by confused hawks who are unable to penetrate my thick hide, I watch for wrongdoers. I see others, such as my wife, sleek and feathered, in a domino mask, ready to fail to fly into the sky to do battle with evil, but flapping like a motherfucker anyway. She's a trouper, and will be known, confusingly, as "Matthew Modine." "See, he was in that movie, Birdy!" she'll try to explain, but evil never listens.

Your best friend will be the Eggman, and with his terrifying, puzzling cries of "Goo Goo Goo Joob!" he will lay mighty Justice-Eggs filled with clever crime-fighting devices relevant to the situation at hand. His little brother will be his ward and sidekick, and will strike fear into the criminal element, and will be known as "Peepsy." The Eggman will always awkwardly deflect questions as to why a rooster is laying all those goddamn creepy eggs, and "doesn't that just hurt your ass like hell?"

Somewhere out in a lonely desert, a shy, awkward scientist will be violently pecked by an agressive, gamma ray-saturated Rhode Island Red. And so the legendary "Incredible Flaps Beakman" will be born, a freakishly strong, bright green beast with terrifying strength that increases exponentially the more scared he gets. His only weakness? Being held upside down by the legs.

(I am assuming that once we get used to this sort of thing, our superhero names will get less stupid.)

We must not shirk our genetic duty--nay, destiny. One way or another, we will succumb to this encroaching threat. How we choose to face it is entirely in our hands. I say we must irradiate the birds to save the man. Homo sapiens is nearing its end. We must become a different kind of homo.

Hear me now, or we will perish.

I teach you the Chicken-Man. Man is something to be surpassed.

Wednesday, 05 October
Carlos Castaneda! I Can See Your House From Here!

Well, the wife is about to open another show here this weekend, so all week I will be enduring Bachelor Week. While she attends technical rehearsals--which involves mostly wasting actors' times while geeks in black t-shirts fret over things with ominous names, like "Fresnels" and "gobos" and "buckets of rancid stage blood"--I am left to my own devices at home.

Since the week also coincided with the start of baseball's playoff season, you might think this was a good thing, but as I do not give one fucking fig for any of the teams in question, it's really kind of not. I suppose that, at some point, I will of course reflexively begin to root against the Yankees, but right now I just can't bother to care. Go . . . Angels? Bah. Fuck the Angels; at least the Yankees know pretty definitively who they are and where to go home at night. Rooting for the Angels is kind of like cheering on Sybil.

At least the wife knows how to find the little moments where she can. She got a hold of me at work today and offered to pick me up; the idea was to go get a drink to celebrate . . . uh . . . well, not working any more, I guess, and also to celebrate the act of drinking. So we did! The wife had a demure glass of wine while I tossed back a couple of martinis. Hey, I didn't have to go to rehearsal. (Incidentally, if you're wondering, they were gin martinis. I'm not saying anything against those of you who enjoy vodka martinis or whatever, except to point out that you probably are ruining civilization.)

Then we went home and had a nap. By which I mean I had a nap, a real pillow-drooler, while the wife got 20 minutes of shuteye before heading to the theater to watch geeks adjust cabling. I'm sure I was dreaming loving things of her as she rushed out the door.

Like loving shots of an actual dinner. The worst aspect of Bachelor Weeks like this is the horror of considering cooking for one. Me? I just won't fucking do it any more. I am lazy, it leads to leftovers that I inevitably will not eat, and I am lazy. For instance, tonight I consumed a quantity of sour cream & onion potato chips and some canned chili. At one point I hallucinated I was Vince Vaughn, for some reason. Can you see Vince Vaughn grimly spooning chili into his maw while watching The Amazing Race: Jesus Loves America Edition? Try mentally putting him in a wifebeater. It helps. Anyway, as I Vaughned out, I assuaged some of my wifebeatery feelings by opening up a bottle of really great red wine. The whole thing was a big experiment with cognitive dissonance, and as those feelings deepened, I blackly started to think about Duchamp's urinal, and that guy who canned his own crap, and the whole thing got kind of fractured.

Probably the chili. OR . . . it occurs to me! . . . the ketamines. Nothing speeds Bachelor Week by like diving right into the K-hole. I WANT TO KILL YOU, MOTHER! (I don't really know what I'm saying. This is what I get for buying my PDR at Half-Price Books.)

Tomorrow night, instead of retreating into some hellish drug-induced foxhole filled with chili and rampaging Vince Vaughns, I have unexpectedly taken steps to spend time with friends. I am dropping off the wife at the time-wastery and then speeding off to hang out with pals at a place that specializes, apparently . . . in pot pies.

I'm not entirely sure what's real any more.










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