Tag Archives: Work

Grapes of Wrath (And Other Kinds)

28 Jan

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Corporate has been here all week doing inventory counts and driving us to drink.

…A new Regional Manager swap out happened with the New Year, and we traded in our GQ-Havana-smoking-bottle-of-cologne-per-day Rep, for an 80-year-two-pack-a-day-bronchial -cougher.

…With The Pimp gone until today, still on leave, that left two of us having to babysit the old gossiping bastard, trying to get legit work done while he hovered like a parasite on it’s host, attempting to suck the absolute life out of us.

Three days of loaded questions, and trying to turn one against the other to disclose crap about a third…for what the hell kind of purpose??? Who the fuck knows. But we have…oh…30 other things we could legitimately be doing instead of this bullshit-fest, which he started on day one by trying to dig up dirt on The Pimp, behind his back, while he was on bereavement leave. How fucking callus can you GET?!

…Needless to say, he hasn’t won any points this round…nor is he bound to before his (AT FUCKING LAST) 3pm flight tomorrow. It was already all I could deal with today…I have no idea how the hell I’ll get through tomorrow. The temper fuse is running short, and my bullshitting meter is tapped out.

…So, I’m tired. And pissy. And not super in the mood to deal with my music-blaring upstairs neighbor, while I try to rest before showering, and wrapping my legs in padding like a mummy, before call.

…The only GOOD thing this week, was that cupcake on Monday, and solving the mystery of this clump of bruises constantly reinfecting my upper thighs. Steel boning is the culprit, not tiny Helen hands, spoon stabbing, or floor-falling. Either way, with fresh markings after every rehearsal, (and no clear way to prevent them with the amount of crawling, carrying, tugging and squatting I’m doing), I’ve decided to embrace them as my personal Grapes of Wrath, and deal.

…The show must go on.

Dear God, I dunno how in the hell I will even find the patience to get through tonight’s technical reblocking from hell. Annie may have more bite than usual tonight.

@%##$#&#%#*$#@%# !

~D

RIP, Pops

22 Jan

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The WHS Pimp is on family leave in CA after losing his “Pops” the week of the Corporate Manager’s Meeting.  He was in the middle of a shit-storm of flight delays, and missed connections when the word came through from home…stranding him alone in an airport bar, halfway between here and there, with what would end up as something like a 1 am final arrival in Florida.

…Pops had been sick for quite some time, but the plan had been to divert the return ticket after the meeting and see him in person, say the things a son says when they are facing that moment, and come home with at least some semblance of a closure.  Instead, WHS Pimp tossed back about a fifth of gin amongst strangers, got on another flight hours later, and was deposited to a three-day orgy-fest of unnecessary political game-playing…which he somehow managed to live through, even in his emotionally fucked-up state, with more grace and self-respect than the yahoos conducting the whole enterprise.

Any other person would have waved a giant finger of “fuck you” to the Corporate heads back at the airport, and changed destinations right then and there…I sure as hell know I would…but the WHS Pimp didn’t. And not only that, he failed to even tell us back home that any of it had happened, until two days into the Conference.

And it sucks. 

…It sucks he missed the face-to-face goodbye.  It sucks that his Pops was so young to begin with, and that life-choices can handicap a person so severely that sometimes you just can’t find a way out.  It sucks that The Pimp was alone when he heard it…that no one was there to get the top bottle off the shelf, put it in front of him and say, “Tell me some stuff about your Pops…I know there’s a million awesome stories…”

…And it sucks that even when he got home, we were all too damn poor to front a bottle, set up a wicked feast, and wake the man a proper way.

…All we COULD do, was take over the biz, and shove him out the door to California, to be with the people who COULD do all that for and with him.  So we did.  And he’s there.  And is reporting back with pics of long-ago friends he hasn’t seen in years, and sister time, and mornings with Mom by the pool, and general shenanigans that you need to have to survive the kind of shit-storm that is “death.”

It’s good for him to be home…has been too many years since he’s been.  We all wish it was under better circumstances (obviously), but I happen to know first-hand that sometimes the only thing to bring you together is the loss of something great.  It’s a stupid law of life, but there it is.

So, from here we wish him well, and lots of stories, and “remember whens,” and laughs, and building more good memories to bring back… helping counter the hard ones that first sent him there.

…And we also would like to say, for the record: “STOP CHECKING YOUR FUCKING WORK EMAILS…ALL THAT SHIT CAN WAIT!”

Love and stuff,

~D

A Corporate Meeting

14 Jan

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Annually, all the yahoo Big-Wigs on the East Coast, gather up reps from the Regional Management team like cattle from across the Nation, and corral them into some big hotel with a giant board room, and an open bar.

…All book their flights in separate classes from first to steerage, and arrive at said destination  as the plebeians are met and crammed into taxis, and the CEOs share a limo, dropping all off at some resort-like hotel, where they retreat into their double-occupancy suites, and open the seal on the minibars before first meeting.

…And from that time until the “conference” is over, (some two or three days later), the entire entity of people who run our company, are basically fucking hammered…until the conference room after a 2-hour shut-in meet, smells like a whore house dipped in stale cigars and sour vomit, while many sit in sunglasses, heads hovered over coffee, still sporting stripper glitter on their faces.

I know this to be true, though I have never attended said meetings…and how I know is: pictorial proof stretching back to as far back as the original Boss, and since confirmed by WHS Pimp.

…And the stories.  The stories and stories and stories that never seems to end or die. It’s the kind of thing you would expect from Frat House parties, but certainly not a gathering of the Top Brass and affiliates of a multi-million dollar company.  Certainly not with the Corporate HR manager in the room.  

…But then, that’s our company: a myriad of oxymoron’s. In fact a myriad of ALL the morons.

Can’t order a name brand Bic pen because it costs 30 cents more than the Staples brand, but you can write off a lap-dance as a “business expense” when purchased for the Operations Admin. Anyway…it worked when Boss showed me the check refund that one time.

…Get hammered with emails when spending a- buck-a-can more on fast-drying display paint, due to our weather conditions…but no one gives a shit that you drank so much, you puked on the SW Territory Manager’s shoes in the bar, and he turn in a compensation receipt upwards of $150.

…Two of our THREE only high-ranking women in the company, spend their time getting so sloshed and slutty, their boobs fall out of their blouses, while becoming suctioned in public make-out sessions with married Sales Reps, and have to be carried/dragged to their rooms.  Or more often get their kicks playing, “body shots” with the CEOs. Of course, they are eventually disciplined (being women) and rarely do the same return, one year to the next.  But like a legend that must go on, they seem to re-cast with the same “type” who keep up the shenanigans the following year…like a really badly plotted out Diversity placement program.

…The men, meanwhile, are as Gods in their playground.  Corporate cards burning a hole in their pockets, they return every year with the same intent: to out-do the last one.  They “treat” favorites to saunas after lunch. Picked up in limos by the half-dozen, they file out at posh night clubs and order shots all-round at $30 a pour, fighting over who pays next as they whip out their black American Express cards with the kind of pride that means it doesn’t matter what size is hidden in their jockey shorts.

…And AFTER the meet-and-greets…after the “after parties” and “after, after parties,” the karaoke and cigar smoking over pool tables…after the last tab has been fought over and paid…or forgotten about entirely and charged next day to a now “lost” credit card…they all somehow double and stumble back to the hotel for MORE “fun.”

About here, the stories of Boss and WHS Pimp split their course.  Only because The Pimp is smarter and knows what he HAS to do to “keep face” with these people, and yet manages to do it without losing his consciousness or dignity. Because HE, unlike Boss, isn’t a fucking idiot.

…Which means, while WHS Pimp is in the shuttle of all the main events of the “good ol’ boy network,” his ability to hold his liquor and self-respect, even while surrounded by them, gives him ample study and text time to report back on the events as they occur.  (Not to mention a sick amount of ammo against all involved.)

…So that through all of this last meet, when the capper event to end ALL events went down, he was so on the inside, it is entirely possible he might inherit the company full-out one day.

Picture it: The CFO, CEO, Director of Operations, our own Regional Territory  Manager and the HR Manager are in the upstairs uber party suite on day two, after a long, long, long night of other pre-parties below.  At a fire pit outside by the pool sits WHS Pimp and other lesser company commodities when they hear screams from above and look up in enough time to see a man drop from the fifth floor window.

…What they didn’t know until the slideshow—yes SLIDE SHOW—presented the next morning, was that this had been an ongoing bet by the Top Brass in the upper room across the past two nights.  A bet taken to such extremes that on night one, the CFO sat and calculated speed, and velocity, in order to prove or counter prove the theory being waged : on how fast a person jumping out of said window could land in the pool below. 
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…Meanwhile, the CEO and our Regional Territory Manager opened the window, cut – yes CUT—out the screen in its entirety, and started pitching everything that wasn’t nailed down, out the window into the pool below, while chant-counting and arguing weight difference and gravity.

For reasons we will never know, no one from the Hotel saw fit to stop them hurling things out the upper story window into the pool.  Quite possibly as it was around three a.m. at that point and the danger at a limit…until the following evening, when they took up where they left off. The same team assembled, the same soused state achieved. Only THIS time, the debate over form and weight apparently necessitated taking it a step further…to the point of fashioning a dummy.

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What they used as weight-filler is unknown, but a particularly stellar move of dressing it up in our Regional Bosses’ $250  button-up, belt and pants before hurling him out the window, was a specifically fine cherry topper.  Not as awesome (and I mean “giant” not “cool”) as the amount of total terror from patrons and co-workers below, watching what they assumed was an actual person, dead-weight falling out the window after the chants “Jump! Jump! Jump!” sounded from above.

…And really nothing but nothing is finer than the slamming of said dummy, just shy of the actual pool target, into what would have been a total impaling by the wheelchair access water launcher.  Nor the fact that it was entirely filmed.

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…Except possibly the fact that with our biggest Top Brass and Chief Financial Officer in the room above doing the math, they forgot to include thrust and projection of said body, thus after two nights of calculations and what is I’m sure a HEFTY room charge for vandalism later…the bet is still unresolved…as the body never even made it to the water.

These are the people running our company, folks.

…There aren’t enough words.

Truly.

~D

Gallery

Donna Reed Disease

30 Oct

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Am in desperate need of a vacation.  

Somewhere not here.  

…Not where paperwork and same-routine waits at my office desk.  A place where phones don’t ring, or even exist.  

…I need a break from the depression of sitting on my couch for hours on end streaming Netflix until two a.m., and not taking showers on weekends till show call. I need a place with fresh air and detox facials…with yoga stretching, and books…with no beach bods in bikinis reminding me how horribly out of shape I am. 

…Also, no children.

And it needs to be virtually free.  

…If you google all these qualifications, you come up with a few pilgrimage monasteries and not much else.  But I hate dirt.  And road trips. And camping.  
I’m a sucky pilgrim. 

…Not as bad as the ones who swapped smallpox blankets for Indian corn…(I have morals)…but I can admit my limits.

Thing is, I’m still depressed from “Rita” closing.  I miss the work it took, the challenge, the journey.  “Dial M” is like being in a radio show with costume changes. I go home afterwards, tired and depressed from doing nothing but crying…because it’s all I’m scriptually allowed to do. Ten or twelve different ways. And then I go home and drink while chanting, “suck it up, you have a job, other people don’t.”  

I wish I could do that.  

…Instead, I’ve contracted Donna Reed Disease.

Donna Reed the PERSON was one of the first women executives in television history.  She launched her own production company, siting lack of roles being shopped her way, even after winning an Oscar four years previously… proceeding to then create her own vehicle to star in, which ran for 8 seasons.  

…But nobody knows that part.  

You say “Donna Reed” and everyone immediately thinks of the stepford-like perfection of 1950’s housewife: subservient to her husband, dutiful to her children, vacuuming the carpets in high heels and circle-skirts, with a full five course home-cooked meal on the table… greeting hubby at the door in formal wear with a cocktail in hand, every evening by five.

I love the 50’s…don’t get me wrong.  But after playing a lot of back-to-back ball-buster women in a row…I have never, until now, been so keenly aware of the backslide in women’s lib, post-40’s.

The 1940’s were my years.  

…Women tossed off the housedress and went to work and fucking OWNED it.  Cuz they had to…cuz they could.  Cuz War happens.  Then the War ended and the fellas came back and womanity backslid about 5 paces, right off the bat.  Again, because they had to…because PTSD’s are fucked up…and the women respectfully backed off to help heal and encourage the fellas to find their footing again.  

…But they bowed down and backed off so far, it became the social equivalent of going from Egyptian pyramid-building with full septic systems, to log-cabins with outhouses.  It was an entire decade of backtracking so hard we became virtually a sex of soap opera stars: melodramatic damsels in distress, consumed in Barbie doll perfections.  

…This should not be new to me.  The concept isn’t, but fighting this script to find SOMETHING to do with this role, became nothing more than a frustration of limitation.  You can only serve the script as writ.  I came in hoping for that 40’s Noir dame of awesome, whose seen some things, done some things, and knows some things…a woman of the world. None of which is written, nor supportable in this text. 

…She is a flat-out victim.  Written as a flat-out victim.  At every man’s whim to either destroy or save her.

I’m a pretty damn capable actor who can sniff out good dirt just about anywhere…but when there is none, there is nothing you can do.  

…But cry.

…As many different ways as you can.

…Then disappear for 20 – 30 pages at a time, and come back to cry some more.

It is frustrating.

…It’s a job. I’m thankful to have something. I’m trying to enjoy it.  To at least gain some level of cathartic channeling from a bad day in it or something.

…But it doesn’t work.

Donna Reed Disease.

There’s a lot more here of wasted wealth…and no one will see it or give a shit. And it bothers me.  I said it.

…In the end: I’m not good at being the “just-stand-there-and-look-helpless-and-pretty” character. I don’t do any one of those things good enough to fulfill my artistic needs.

…But what I DO get (thankfully) is a cast and crew of great people.  The fellas are hilarious and dandy drinking buds, and if I’m pressed to admit it: I kinda do really like that blue dress in scene one. Even if it is girl-clothes. 

Also: the murder scene doesn’t suck.  So there’s that.

…Which is why I think, most of all, I just really need a vacation right now.  Followed by some kind of steak-sized role to dig into, directly after.

“Hedda Gabler” for Christmas, anyone???

~D

 
 

14 Costume Changes & Some Acting

29 Aug

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Bit of a clothes horse, me.

…An option of fitting a first dress in before tech was jumped on, so we could focus on one horrifying onslaught before a tidal wave of others come in to cream us this Saturday. And so, a first dress was had. Last night. And it wasn’t particularly brutal on anything except my feet (dear three and four inch heals…you’re assholes. It’s a good thing you’re cute.)

….Anyway…we charged ahead, I broke some things, we managed line-call-free, fit in all my 14 costume changes, and called it a late night for the first time since we began rehearsals…but we DID it, which I think is the important thing to focus on at this point.

…At this point.

The last time I did a two-hander show was “Oleanna”…again: a professor and a student, having at one another for two hours of stage time. Just me: just him. That’s it, folks.

…The amount of focus, LISTENING, line retention, blocking and prop movement is insane. It REQUIRES nothing less than 100% lock-and-load on the other actor…so that no matter what choices/accidents/line-flubs/enlightenments/emotions are flying around through the air between you…you are a one-entity receptor.

…It’s like ballroom dancing, in a two-hour-long competition, where we both take turns taking the lead, changing styles from fox trot to samba to waltzing seamlessly, at any given moment, and attempting to do it all without one single misstep. Your anchor is in the eyes of the other guy…you make the audience phase out into the wallpaper and bookcases of your world, and together you begin on step one…and it never ends or eases up until the curtain goes down.

…And we know this from experience. As even before costumes and props were added, every break has been filled with line running and blocking, since day one. We don’t pop out of focus, we still can laugh, take a slog of water, and a quick slash…but damn if we’re not still running a monologue while in the loo, walking blocking while feeding from a water bottle on set, or futzing with props ad nauseum. Because we have to. And that’s okay. Because we happen to really fucking love it, you know?

…Like really. A lot.

Difficult is good. Frustration can be tempered and recycled into something better next time, thanks to the lessons you’ve learned. And when you click with a character who you know in your guts…who you can access without interruption in mind or manner…it’s a fantastic ride to be on. Even more so when you trust…really TRUST the team behind you, and that guy right there opposite you, on stage, every night.

…Even on the days of frustration and energy-sap…even when I know there’s more we can find in a moment (and we will, next time)…there is nothing lacking in the team work…in the connections we’ve made, in the amount of fight it takes for two people to command the stage alone… lifting words from a page, into something exciting and wistful, amusing and dangerous, hysterical and poignant, witty and humble. It’s an honor, a challenge, a fucking hell of a ride.

…And every night, when it’s over, the realization comes crashing in, on the ride home…as the adrenaline drains from every pore: and complete mental and physical exhaustion smacks us stupid with inevitable result. We are totally…right now…this second…living an actors dream.

Hells. Freakin.’ Yes.

Bring it, tech week.

~D

Chicken Fires & Whiskey Donuts

18 Jul

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First of all, WHS Pimp says, “Hi.”

…The Gnome would too, if she knew this blog existed.  She a very “interested” person, in general.  The MSN news page is one of her best friends. (‘Course so are “LOL cat blooper” and “how to bedazzle anime chihuahua sweater” YouTubes), but the point I am trying to make is that she is a curious person, who likes to learn things, and contribute.

…Usually one would think that would up a person’s practical intelligence…ie: real world facts, figures and info, but it never seems to.  She instead somehow manages to skip over all the political unrest, current events, and new cures to diseases…coming out reading the top news stories page every morning with a comment like, “They found a two-headed monkey in Belize!” while in large red block letters the day’s headline reads: “Typhoon hits China, killing 500!”

…She has a knack for missing the actual point of things…in general, skipping over the informative to get at the side-bar item.  Which is totally fine, obviously, each to his own.  But perhaps this helps explain how a person can reach their mid-twenties and still be quite clueless about so many things that the average person takes for granted as general knowledge. Even things which have nothing to do with politics or world-events…things that come with collective everyday American experience of this century.

…Like the other day when WHS Pimp handed her some cash to do a Taco Bell run. “Just get one of those mix box things of plain tacos and burritos,” he said. The result, a tentative unwrapping of a wrapper from the front office and her voice calling out:

She: “Um…does your burrito have cheese and sauce in it?”
Me: “Yeah.”
She: “Shoot! I told them plain burritos.”
Me: “That IS a plain burrito.”
She: “It is?”
Me: “At Taco Bell? Yes.”
She: “Oh.”

…Or how on Monday’s she frequently needs to relearn how to put someone on hold and take them off again without disconnecting them.

…Or how she loses track on which week is payday, when it is only every other one.

…That she can’t figure out that emails you sent to the wrong person with customer contact information can’t be magically “taken back,” that you have to hold the red button up on the water cooler at the same time as you press it, in order to get “hot” to come out…that ones boyfriend shouldn’t leave pot butter out on the table overnight and be surprised when your dog is totally hallucinating at two a.m..

…As if these mental blocks aren’t enough, she’s also added the new “Pregnant Brain” comments to the list. This is for the things she does that she actually REALIZES are not the smartest choices. Which lead to moments like:

Me: “Did you know ‘Pregnant brain’ is the leading cause of wrong shingle color this week?”
WHS Pimp: “Is that a thing?”
Me: “Well, it’s cost us about $300 in repairs so far, and it’s only Wednesday…so yeah, I guess it is.”

…Or…

Gnome: “Oh man, ‘pregnant brain!'”
WHS Pimp: “What?”
Gnome: “I brought in these donuts and forgot about [WHS Chick’s] insulin thing. She can’t have any of these. I should have got her a plain.”

…Or…

Gnome: “…So I was gonna get these diapers on craigslist …like a hundred or something for thirty dollars and things but then I thought about Costco. What are you guys buying them at right now?”
WHS Chick: “Well…we just got a box of 90 at size one, and 90 at size two for about forty bucks.”
Gnome: “So…is that worse or better? I dunno…I don’t do math too good right now…with the extra hormones and everything…”

…Really, it goes on and on. But there’s no need to beat a dead horse…(even if you think its whole problem is just being a lazy bastard.) But it does make things like trying not to laugh at someone’s future mother (6 months in), really, really difficult.

…And that doesn’t help AT ALL when one morning you come in and are greeted with:

WHS Pimp: “So, The Gnome won’t be in today. I guess her apartment burnt down in a chicken fire.”
Me: “Sorry, what?”
WHS Pimp: “I’m not really clear. She was kind of hysterical. And you know how when she gets all worked up she forgets words and things?”
Me: “Yeah.”
WHS Pimp: “Well…it was like that.”
Me: “So…a chicken fire.”
WHS Pimp: “Apparently.”
Me: “Is she…okay??”
WHS Pimp: “I think so. I mean she’s physically fine…she was out walking the dog at the time. But I couldn’t really make out much more after that other than they won’t let her back in, she only has the clothes on her back, and the whole thing has something to do with chicken.”
Me: “Okay.”
(long pause)
Me: “I’m super tentative right now, and I’m not meaning to make fun, seriously, but…was it by any chance her fault. Like, we aren’t going to have to bail out a pregnant woman from jail on accidental arson charges?”
WHS Pimp: (equally tentatively.) “I don’t know yet?”
Me: “Okay. So…we wait it out.”
WHS Pimp: “…It’s gonna be a ‘Monday.’ Yeah.”

…Turns out the Chicken Fire was NOT the Gnome’s fault after all. It was totally the crack-head living downstairs, who decided to plop some chicken into a deep fryer and proceed to fall asleep.

…Which in the end was…”comforting???”

I dunno.

…But after many calls with Red Cross and other donation agencies, she is back under a roof, with more than just a single change of clothes, an insurance settlement, and no longer living next door to a crack addict. I don’t really know if this is a silver lining, cup-half-full thing or divine intervention from raising a child next door to a drug dealer.

…So that happened.

…In Other News: WHS Pimp decided to rock it 1940’s-Cop-Style this morning with a breakfast consisting of Gentlemen Jack in a coffee cup, and a donut. This is definitely not the norm at 9:05 in the morning…but considering he still hasn’t been to bed from yesterday yet, and was still here loading contractors at 3 am…that makes this both his Happy Hour, AND technical end-of-day. To which I say: “Party, on, friend. I tink my coffee cup to you!”

“…But if you touch that fucking custard filled beauty waiting for after this final report run…I will kill you.”

🙂

~D

Educating Me

14 Jun

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One of the longest casting waits, for a most wanted role, has come to an end. Gone: the shallow breaths, the gut-spinning angst, and all the doubting emo feelings that go with it.

One call on a Saturday, and I’m cured.

“Educating Rita” is a hell of a gig, all on its own. I know it like a soul mate, it fits like a glove, yet the challenges it’ll bring me and the things I will learn from it from rehearsal through performance, excites me to unknown end.

…Add to that, a Director who I’ve never worked with and know by her results and reputation will work my ass off in all the best ways…add to that an SM who is a family love, very dear to my heart…add to that a “39 Steps,” and “Office Hours” bud with killer comedy and so-easy-to-bounce-off-of chemistry, its almost ridiculous…and you have the biggest fucking cherry-topped joyride of blood, sweat, tears and hard work ahead of us that I can hardly contain myself.

…Only, I have to.

At least for a little while.

…Early casting was primarily for line learning and month-long Director sabbatical-taking. A few meets in July, but nothing in earnest, till August.

…Leaving me time to calm the fuck down, and give those twisted-ass “Maids” my full and undivided attention.

A happy, happy actor, now resides behind door number B1. Quite possibly the luckiest in town 🙂

~D

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