Why Some People Are Not Photogenic

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This is purely speculation, but also common sense, really, to me.

I used to tell people, “I take a thousand photos, so hopefully one of them turns out alright.” With years of practice I’ve narrowed it down to maybe 10 or so at a time, and yes 1,000 was hyperbole.

There are some people that always look like themselves in photographs. It seems they simply cannot take a bad photo! If you hate those people, keep reading.

For many people, when they know a photo is coming they get abnormally self aware to the point that they end up making a face that they’d otherwise never make in their lives. When a camera isn’t around, we’re more or less living in the moment, not concerned with our facial expression. But suddenly, there it is! Camera in 1…2… panic! umm.. half smile, don’t squint your eyes, hands behind your back—AHHHH and I blinked. Result: awful photo. Moment ruined. Experience forgotten.

This is why many people can’t act. Sure you can behave truthfully under imaginary circumstances, but put a camera a foot away from your face and all of a sudden you forget how to be human and start thinking about your facial expression instead of viscerally experiencing the moment. You try and indicate what you’re feeling by changing your face accordingly to how you think it should look, and when you try and do that you look totally fake. Why? Because you’re faking it! Facial expressions happen naturally, without thinking about it, which is near impossible for some people to remember when there’s a camera about to snap.

As a former introvert and chronic head case, I’d get anxiety before taking a photo, just knowing it’s going to come out terribly because they always do! I’d always look unnatural because I was making a face, not living in the moment, but I could never understand why they came out so ugly when I’ve been told my whole life I’m “so handsome.” So I stooped to doing extreme smiles and goofy expressions that would mask my self-consciousness. “Yeah it’s a bad photo, but look at how much I don’t care by this moronic expression I chose!” Over the years I’ve gotten over it. And I think I know how you can to..

When posing for a photo, don’t think about how your face looks, think about how you’re feeling.

Think about an interesting emotion (excited, paranoid, skeptical) and FEEL that instead of trying to SHOW it. Maybe even think about particular events or people in your life when the camera gets ready that’ll result in the right expression, have a couple of those you can go to in a moment’s notice and forget the camera is there (despite looking right at it)—Bring out the actor in you just for a snapshot moment (of 15 as we are all so snap happy) and I guarantee your photos will take a turn for the mediocre, as opposed to the god awful. Happy Instagramming!

TL;DR— It’s more about how you feel, not how you look.

TL;DR— It’s all mental. Get out of your head, just for the moment!. If impossible, meditation can help with that.

TL;DR—Tips:

Imagine a word of phrase that you’re about to say at the camera and just hold it for a moment.

Look at the camera and imagine you’re looking at insert someone you love.

Fantasize about being on vacation, or living your dream job, or driving your dream car, then hold that feeling.

Judge the camera—you like it, but you think it’s up to something.

You don’t always have to smile.

If you know yourself well enough, show your personality by feeling who you are. (wow that’s deep—yeah! If I had a dime..) hey! you’re still reading. that’s very sweet of you.

Hell…

There’s a special place in hell for those who order every last remaining everything bagel from Noah’s by phone, whereas here I am in person, looking at them all, unable to grasp, settling for another. This place in hell I speak of is full of only the plainest bagels to be found; unfortunately Jews don’t believe in hell, and as an Agnostic Jew I don’t believe in anything.Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 6.35.10 PM.png

Larger-than-average-size fish in pretty-average -size pond

Eating breakfast at a local restaurant in my hometown of Vallejo yesterday. Someone walks past the table and says, “Matt?” I look up. “Matt Larson?” Yeah…? “You do the comedy shows! I’ve been to a few of them. Thanks so much for bringing good shows to town. I’ve also been reading your restaurant reviews every Thursday.” Hey! Yeah! Thanks! Working on one right now! Hahha. We laugh, life goes on—THEN, after the moment passed, he comes back later with two mimosas, one for me and mum, and says “I finally saw your COIT commercial too!” Wow! Thanks! And I didn’t even recognize the guy. It was the most famous I’ve ever felt. And now? Now I’m back in LA…unknown….and all alone……

Fortunate Unfortunate

Left my card at a bar last night. Fortunately I realized it just before I got home and had enough time to get back before they closed. Unfortunately I live in Sherman Oaks and the bar is in Long Beach which is a 45 minute drive no traffic. Fortunately I was driving a rental so I didn’t have to worry about putting all that extra mileage on the car. (Unfortunately a tree branch fell on my month-old car last week so it’s in the shop for days. Fortunately AAA is awesome insurance and took care of me with a rental car. Unfortunately after getting denied a Mustang convertible for an extra $17 a day I had to settle for a Toyota Corolla with Texas plates. Fortunately it has a built-in Hertz navigation system so I was able to get directions back to the bar as my phone was near death. Unfortunately I was really tired AND it was raining AND it was 1AM. Fortunately I got to the bar before they closed. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a parking spot. Fortunately I found one. Unfortunately, upon arrival, the bouncer wouldn’t let me in despite my plea and had to radio for assistance as I stood awkwardly in the rain. Fortunately I got in and was able to close out my tab at 1:45AM. Unfortunately I decided to tip the bartender $4.00 on a $6.00 tab because I wasn’t thinking clearly. Fortunately I got back to my car with enough phone battery to find a 24-hour donut shop. Unfortunately I bought 4 donuts for the ride back. Fortunately I only ate 2 and 1/5th of them. Unfortunately I tipped the donut lady $3 because I was so grateful they were open and I have no idea how they profit on these ridiculously cheap donuts. Fortunately the rental navigation system was able to direct me home as my phone had now died. Unfortunately I had donuts for dinner. Fortunately I made it home alive, all due to my offering to keep my tab open at the bar despite having never intended on ordering another drink just because the bartender seemed really busy at the time. Unfortunately karma probably isn’t real so all this was for nothing. Fortunately I have lovely people in my life that read these ridiculous ramblings and help give me purpose to live. Unfortunately I never found a good place to end the parenthetical so please forgive me for that…..)

I WILL BE THE DRAKE

I went to Vegas for New Years. That was 22 days ago…the motivation to write about it has certainly passed, BUT.. I planned to do it so here goes.

I got an invitation to stay with a friend. She said, “Come to Vegas for New Years, you can stay at my place.” It is just wrong to say no to that.

So I went with a buddy who joined me last minute and it couldn’t have worked out better. We drove from Sherman Oaks on the 31st and get to Vegas by about 6 pm. We arrive at my friend Lisa’s place and our first errand is to take her daughter to a friend’s house. It’s about an hour and a half round trip to do this, booze run included. We get back to this glorious house in Vegas, to which I now have a key, and it’s just me and my buddy Kaido (he got the nickname on the trip and will be referred to as such). Got the whole place to ourselves as Lisa is out for the evening.

We got all snazzed up and ready to hit the strip. We were about a 25-minute cab ride away. Just before we took our first pre-party shot of Jager I thought, “Let’s call the cab first, make sure they’re on their way before I render myself undriveworthy.” It was 9:30 pm, New Years Eve, in Vegas. Called a cab company—busy. Called another—busy. Panic sets in. Keep calling to no avail. Maybe Lyft or Uber? NOPE. They don’t exist in Vegas. Of course. More panic. FINALLY, Kaido gets ahold of someone. They said they’ll be here whenever. “Can you give us a time estimate?” “Nope.” Click.

I didn’t trust ‘em, nor did Kaido. Expecting the worst I said, “If they don’t call by 10 I’ll just drive us as close as we can get and figure it out from there.” They closed the strip off to cars for New Years and the thought of walking any great distance in 20 degree weather was worrisome, but goddamnit we’ve gotta be there when the ball drops. The night was looking very bleak at this point.. More stress, more phone calls, I start getting ready to drive, coming to terms with the fate of the night, and his phone rings. 9:58. “Hey, I’m outside.” said the driver. 20 minutes for a cab on New Years Eve. Lucky we were and we knew it. We scurry to get dressed, chug several shots, grab the flask and we’re on our way. Life was good again.

Make it to the strip. Lots of people. I drank in public in front of police officers. Kissed a random girl at midnight. We were out all night and didn’t get back until sunrise, as any decent Vegas New Years celebration should end.

We sneak quietly back into the house and make way for this beautiful L-shaped couch that perfectly fits my tall self and Kaido’s shorter self, only to find there’s someone sleeping in it (WITH MY PILLOW…Breath…breathe…) I gently took the pillow out from under the motionless stranger. He stayed motionless. Yeah, that’s right he did. … Kaido heads upstairs to the backup bedroom that was also reserved for us—also currently inhabited. We share a moment of “wtf” and reluctantly make our bed on the floor and fall asleep promptly at 7 a.m.

Are you bored? You can stop reading, this is really just me forcing creativity. I have a cold, I’ve been putting this story of for 20 days, meh.. Still here? OKay, let’s see, what else..

I did share a bed with two models I’d just met, so that was exciting to other people I’ve told that don’t know the full story.

My roommate is a model and got flown to Vegas to be pretty at certain clubs and pool parties and such. She and three of her friends were all working together so Kaido and I met up with them each night in Vegas at 3:30am when their shifts were over. The second night we were in their room just hangin for what turned into hours. It was 6 a.m. and they offered us to stay with them. I sure didn’t wanna deal with a cab ride home, so I said “Ohhh allright.” I ended up sleeping in between two sisters. By sleeping I mean I laid there motionless, wide awake thinking one of two things: “I really feel like I’m intruding here, how did I get stuck in the middle?!? Not that I’m complaining, but between two sisters whom I just met the day before… I can’t help feeling like I’m in the way…” Second thing: “Why doesn’t our society cater to platonic cuddling?! I feel so stupid lying here trying not to touch anyone. I could ask them, I mean, we just met, but what’s the big deal? However if they say no then I’ll feel super awkward and would start sweating and farting or something. I laid there, slept a little, made it through.

Earlier that night we were going to meet them at a nightclub they were working at. It was Tao in the Venetian. Super fancy. Kaido and I took our time getting there, gambled a bit (I won $120 on blackjack! then lost $40, then won $20 again!) and we got sushi at a karaoke bar in the Palazzo or someplace. I sang Kiss From A Rose, apologized to the crowd for a few of the notes, sat back down and this older guy with an accent and a trophy girlfriend starts talking to me. He said he lives in Burbank so I figured he was important in some way, definitely rich, why not try and make friends? He made very crass sexual jokes in front of his lady, Kaido hated him and I don’t blame him. I’m pretty good with letting people’s poor qualities slide in order to make new friends, but this guy was a real asshole despite his liking to me.

He and his lady were also going to Tao so they joined us on the walk over. We get there and there’s HUGE crowds to get in. BUT, we have friends on the inside. Easy peasy. Walk to bouncer number one, he says go talk to bouncer number two. Number two asks for a name, I text my roomie for a name, she gives me one—“Not on the list.” She gives me another—“Nope.” Nope. Not gettin in. All of a sudden that guy we met at the karaoke bar gets in. They ask how many in his party, he says “Just two.” And they’re gone forever. Duly noted asshole guy with an accent, duly noted.

So now we’re with all the other losers outside of the club not allowed in. I felt very belittled and reminded myself why I hate Vegas and nightlife in general. Roomie texted that Drake was inside. Then I thought to myself: Next time I’m in Vegas…I WILL BE THE DRAKE. I am Jewish so I’m halfway there.

The night was great until now. I felt like such an idiot standing outside so desperate to get in. But then—I saw a stereotypically beautiful girl, all dolled up in a sexy dress, amazing looking body parts, and SHE couldn’t get in. I looked at her, she must have spent hours getting ready, looked amazing and still couldn’t get in. SHE should be embarrassed…me? I’m just some dude. I felt better after that.

Those are the highlights I can remember. I usually write these things in the energy of the moment. Had I written this 20 days ago I think it would have been much more interesting. I can hardly recollect the moments anymore. They say the first book on Jesus was written 50 years after his death—20 days and I’m already hazy and generally unenthused by the experience. I’ve moved on! I feel like this post is just as boring as the Bible, but probably much more accurate in regard to truthful events. Thanks for reading, don’t give up on me just yet.. Next time: I will be the Drake. YOU’LL SEE! .. You’ll all see…

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Solano County Fair, yay!

We all know the typical happenings at the fair, whether it be the rides, games, food or barnyard animals—we know what to expect, and that’s fine! I had a blast. I was actually at the fair every single day—EVERY. SINGLE. DAY!—performing improv with the Rats in the Alley. The Solano County Arts Council & Creative Arts Consortium collected all sorts of artists from around the county to perform in the “Fine Arts & Flowers” building by the children’s area. For the shows our slogan was: “Come for the flowers, stay for the improv.”

Meandering about I noticed something rather exciting: A robot! A real-life artificial being! (real + artificial / same sentence = oxymoron?) The bot would roll around greeting people as they approached. Kids would ask it questions and it talked back with relevant answers! I knew something had to be up:

Turns out the man in the back, trying to get out of the picture frame, was controlling the robot from his waistpack and the straw in his beverage cup was concealing a microphone! Brilliant!

Turns out the man in the back, trying to get out of the picture frame, was controlling the robot from his waistpack and the straw in his beverage cup was concealing a microphone! Brilliant!

After speaking with Dale (the mysterious controller man, also a representative from Atlas Robotics in Santa Rosa) I learned that his robot was actually quite friendly—it even asked me for a hug!

I think I made the robot blush. Can't you tell???

I think I made the robot blush. Can't you tell???

Meandering elsewhere I came across a tank; the last thing I expected to see written on it was Solano County Anything, and yet, there it was:

DON'T MESS WITH SOLANO COUNTY! OR the sherriff. WOW, can you imagine? That's quite a threat being able to tell someone, "If you break the law I'll either arrest you, or shoot you and investigate your body myself." That's ... quite a threat ... In conclusion: Stanton rules!

DON'T MESS WITH SOLANO COUNTY! OR the sheriff. WOW, can you imagine? That's quite a threat being able to tell someone, "If you break the law I'll either arrest you, or shoot you and investigate your body myself." That's ... quite a threat, indeed: Stanton rules!

Then my friend and fellow Rats in the Alley trouper Stewart Evan Smith walked up to the tank and said: “You don’t look so tough!” The tank had news for Stew:

(Don't worry kids, he's faking it) "That's what SHE said!" Hey! Who said that? "SHE did!!!" ... wHat!?!!!?!??

(Don't worry kids, he's faking it. "That's what SHE said!" Hey! Who said that? "SHE did!!!" ... WhAt!?!!!?!??)

Fare thee well, Maddy St. Clair!

Bye Maddy! You're the greatest!!! :-D

Bye Maddy! You're the greatest!!! 😀

When I began working at Solano Magazine in October 2007 (WOW!) Magdalena (Maddy) St. Clair was instantly my new best friend, well, best WORK friend 🙂 I know it’s not right to pick favorites … but … if it was life or death I’d pick YOU Maddy!!! (Don’t worry, readers, the other staffers could really care less. 🙂 )

This is simply a formal farewell to the loss of a great co-worker. She’s moving on to bigger and better things. The ONLY reason I accept her departure is because she promised to support my comedy endeavors in the future So thanks in advance for that! Her last day is Friday, sadly I won’t be there as I’m departing to VEGAS (woot!). If I win big, Maddy, I’ll give you five whole dollars! 🙂 Hey, it’s the least I could do! Well, I guess $0.01 is the least I could do. Maybe I’ll just get her a shot glass or something…

Goodbye Maddy! The office won’t be the same without you!

::what’s the emoticon for a hug???::

(((Maddy)))

%^D

p.s. The photo above was taken at the Blue Frog Grog & Grill in Fairfield, CA. Gotta love their stuffed mushrooms and Hefeweizen!!! All day … every day … mMmMmMmMmmmm.

Hippie heffers

I have some family friends in the Suisun Valley area, Chris and John Pray, that have a great hunk of land out there. I visit on occasion and last time I went I was halted by the Scottish Highland Cattle (aka “kyloe” according to wikipedia.org) that live on the property.

Hairy cows! I would tip them, but I don't wanna mess up their "do" ... maybe if I brought some hair gel ... LOTS of hair gel. Imagining that makes me laugh.

Hairy cows! I would tip them, but I don't wanna mess up their "do" ... maybe if I brought some hair gel ... LOTS of hair gel.

Uh oh, I've been spotted! That's Hilary. By the size of her horns you can be sure she's the dominant member of the group. It is quite fitting that she's named after Mrs. Clinton.

Uh oh, I've been spotted! That's Hillary. By the size of her horns you can be sure she's the dominant member of the group. It is quite fitting that she's named after our Secretary of State.

What's this!?!? OH ... VERY mature Hillary. Stick your tongue out at ME will ya ... well try THIS on for size: :-P HA! Didn't wanna have to do that. What's that? YOU WANT MORE!?!?! Oh ... she's eating ... well ... this is embarassing ...

OH! ... VERY mature Hillary. Stick your tongue out at ME will ya ... well try THIS on for size: 8-P HA! Didn't wanna have to do that. What's that? YOU WANT MORE!?!?! Well there's PLENTY more where THAT came fr... oh ... she's eating ... well ... this is embarrassing ...

This is the baby steer, Angel. So meek, so timid, so "in his place." One day Angel! You'll be BIG! I promise. Just like Tom Hanks.

This is the baby steer, Angel. So meek, so timid, so "put in his place." One day Angel, you'll be BIG! I promise. Just like Tom Hanks.

I was looking around for Lucille who suddenly disappeared. And then, out of the corner of my eye … ::(gasp!)::

How'd you like to see THIS in your driver's side mirror? Lucille is a "formidable redhead named after Lucille Ball," says Chris.

How'd you like to see THIS in your driver's side mirror? Lucille is a "formidable redhead named after Lucille Ball," says Chris.

Here's a lone Hillary in her habitat with a fantastic view of Solano County.

In the distance you'll find a lone Hillary in her habitat with a fantastic view of Solano County. Joy.

Despite their very large stature, these creatures are rather gentle. “Extremely gentle with something wonderful in your hand to eat,” says Chris. It seems these cattle will eat anything, including poison oak. Something that makes the Scottish Highland Cattle even more unique in addition to their long flowing locks. Umm … not much else to say about these cows, other than that they are fun to watch and have great personalities. They remind me of really big dogs … if dogs had horns.

Meet Frank, the petrified orange

It was only a matter of time before my citric companion made it to the blog. Meet Frank, the petrified orange.

Frank

Frank

He was gifted to me by our marketing and sales assistant Maddy St. Clair in October 2008. She thought it had gone bad since it had hardened to nearly rock-solid, but now, more than 6 months later … Frank lives on…

For months I have been staring at this anomaly, contemplating its purpose in life. I’ve actually gone so far as looking up pictures of moldy oranges online, just to remind myself that yes, they’re supposed to rot. Frank doesn’t rot. Oh no … Since I’ve kept him on my desk he has lost a lot of mass; very light now. You can still squeeze him as hard as you can and not even dent the skin. He used to smell like an orange. Not so much anymore … BUT … it doesn’t smell BAD!

I should take it on a trip with me across some border, so that when they say “Are you traveling with any fruits or vegetables?” I’ll hold up Frank and say, “You tell me.”

I’m getting a bit worried. I’m just waiting for the day when it explodes with maggots and disease, but after 6 WHOLE MONTHS—MOLD doesn’t even wanna eat this thing! Something ain’t right here…

It’s from Australia. Riversun Exports to be exact. It’s a navel orange, number 4012. They’ve obviously injected it with something to preserve it on its trip to America. Am I nuts? Is this type of behavior considered normal with Australian citrus? I sure don’t want to eat anything from this place after befriending one of their specimens…

I’m not sure what to do with this thing. I’m going to wait a year then try and break something with it … or dissect it like a mad scientist … or just keep it in a jar for eternity …but one thing’s for sure, this piece of former fruit is not obeying the rules appertaining to the circle of life. Perhaps it’s a sign … pigs are flying, oranges are petrifying, hell should be freezing over any day now…

I named him Frank. He’s my petrified orange … Don’t judge me.