Sub Life

That moment when you’re subbing a high school theater class in a repurposed church trying to coerce the outsider student to join in the class activities when suddenly you hear a noise behind you and turn around just in time to see the kid in crutches with a leg brace slip and fall and break his arm requiring you to wait patiently for a half dozen paramedics to arrive while you calmly continue “subbing” or whatever while the rest of the class is rubbernecking and naturally can’t concentrate until the kid is finally rolled out on a stretcher after twenty minutes so now that class proceeds as normal you then approach that outsider student again who promptly hands you a poem she’s been memorizing and asks you to check for mistakes as she delivers a very powerful performance explaining how “Anglos” (what I look like) negatively judge “Latinas” (what she looks like) as the rest of the distracted class poorly sings “Arabian Nights” in the background … is a moment that just happened to me. 

Why Some People Are Not Photogenic

IMG_7440

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

Leg Shake Movie Man

I was at the movies last night. Guy next to me was bouncing his leg, as people do, and was shaking my chair without realizing it. I was terrified to tell him to stop. It’s a confrontation—with a stranger! Silly to be nervous, but I was. Like, what’s he gonna do? Say “FUCK YOU” and start shaking harder without breaking eye contact? No. Still, my heart was racing. I started to try and convince myself that I liked it. “It’s kinda nice.” I thought as I sat with my chair shaking ever so gently. “Yeah, like a free massage.” I soon decided I hated it and wanted him to stop. To procrastinate the confrontation, I started bouncing my own leg obviously in his general direction to try and hint at him that the seats are connected and Newton’s laws of motion are still a thing. Then, suddenly, someone on the other side said TO ME: “Hey asshole quit shaking your leg!” Just kidding. Thank god. I’d have peed. Anyway, my leg shaking went unnoticed. I had to say something. ::deep breath. pause:: “Excuse me?” I delicately whispered, waving my hand vaguely in front of him. He didn’t respond. (DAMN). Here we go again. Louder whisper, “Excuse me?” and I tap his arm (woo! confidence! alpha male status achieved!!!) He looks over. “Could you stop your leg?” I said, gesturing toward my own. He does, looking apologetic. I felt immense relief, and was kind of embarrassed by how fast my heart was racing. Geez. Anyway, I settled, watched the movie, and that was the end of it. And this is the end of this.

How To America

Telemarketers have begun purchasing local phone numbers to call you from, disguising themselves as a neighbor to increase the odds that you’ll answer the phone. I used to enjoy answering calls from unknown numbers. I’d think, “Wow, it could be anyone! Even Eddie Murphy with a wrong number!!!…” But now, that excitement has devolved to surprise (from the phone ringing) to temptation (noticing the number is *gasp!* unknown!) to reluctance (answering the phone anyway against your best interest) to disappointment (hearing a telemarketer on the other line) to immediate retaliation (explaining this “local number” system to the telemarketer before he has a chance to get a word in) to intentional annoyance (continuing the discussion without pausing for discourse while being fully aware that he was not interested in what I was saying nor was he aware that’s what’s been happening nor did he care it was happening yes he did care to hang up no he couldn’t because that’s bad customer service yes I was aware of this and kept going anyway yes he probably agreed with me no he didn’t admit it yes he begrudgingly sped through his closing “hope i helped answer your questions call ***-***-**** have a lovely day” and such and yes I felt like I wasted his time and yes I’d do it again as he wasted my time first and that’s how you America). #XMRadio

Why Kids Are The Best People

Preschool. And me. Together. For the first time in… 26 years?

Age range was between 4 and 5. I thought I could handle it. I thought right. However some of the things the regular teachers had to do were definitely out of my comfort zone (i.e. underwear full of shit and … just that, really).

Fortunately I was one of three teachers in the room and really just supervised throughout the day.

As soon as I sat down when the day began a little girl walked over to me with a smile only bigger than her outstretched arms and exclaimed in the most trusting and gleeful manner possible: “Can I have a hug?” as she was walking toward me. It was hardly a question. It was GOING to happen, according to her. My first impulse: Don’t touch the children! My second impulse: Don’t make them feel unaccepted!! We hugged. Then I got arrested. Noticing her hug a young boy followed her lead and approached me the same way. I hugged him as well then got arrested a second time.

Kids are nice. I realized that kids at this age are probably the nicest version of people that we as a species have to present. Thus far, generally, people have been nice to them their entire life. Wherever they go they’re often met with smiles and positivity from strangers, and usually only exposed to happy things on TV. But they see people as a collectively nice group of animals (which is not at all true, thought I like to think most of us are and it’s just the meanies that get all the news media attention making us nicies think we’re outnumbered when we’re not, how mean of them!!). But to kids? We’re all pretty nice. Think about making eye contact with a random child out in the world. In many cases you’ll smile or make a funny face if you have a soul that is. Now think about making eye contact with a random stranger out in the world. Usually we look away immediately, pretend it didn’t happen or sometimes give a slight head not to communicate “I’m not afraid of you please don’t kill me”… my mother always told me “Just smile.” Yeah, easy for her to say. I, unfortunately, am not a lovely lady. A smile from me to a criminal-type would definitely be perceived as a threat of some kind.

These kids have yet to be exposed to how rude and mean people can be to each other; they have no concept of race and are completely free from prejudice. Makes me wonder when that all officially changes.. history class? The People’s History version that is.. a book which I’ve yet to get through the first two chapters of as 1. it’s so awful what “morals” this country is founded upon and 2. reading is hard. I need to make time for it. I have plenty of time to read, never do. My bookshelf embarrasses me every time I look at it. fuck my bookshelf. I hate it. For now. Until I read everything on it which at this rate will be in 600 years. C’moooon science. Keep me alive ’til then.

Some of the kids were mean to each other without realizing it. Saying someone couldn’t play with them because, “He never listens to the rules!” or “I’m Elsa and she’s the other one and there’s no more princesses she can be!” which are legitimate reasons to exclude, but to which I responded “If you’re playing a game where not everyone in your group can participate then you need to find a way to include everyone or pick a different game”—a moment that certainly changed all their lives for the better. A life lesson they’ll never forget. Yes I’m sure of it.

I get why people teach. Especially at this age. So much love that goes around. I found myself wanting for the kids acceptance. When I didn’t get it, like, when I come back into the room after taking my lunch and they all don’t go “YAAAY!!” yeah, it hurt a little. Reminded me of when I was actually in preschool……..at time at which I have no memories because I obviously blocked them out. Wait. One memory. Naps. Ahhh naptime.. I was wishing for that today. Jobs should have naps. 30 minute napbreak after 60 minute lunch. ThAt’s how life should be.. I mean, we’re all still children, really. Just look at Congress.

Strangest quote of the day: While swinging (on the swing (at recess)) a kid said to the next kid waiting, “Do you want me to peel my skin off???” He said it about a dozen times. Finally some other kid responded, “If you really want to..” while looking down, playing in the sand. That was weird. and graphic.

Also I went to get lunch and saw this storefront, as pictured below. Yeah free country and all, but the school’s been there for 36 years. This place seemed rather newish. Not sure how I feel about this being in walking distance of a preschool.. Actually I’m quite sure—I’m against it. Am I gonna do anything about it? Nope. Is anyone? Def not. Are the kids going to be traumatized by it? Pfshh no… Have they seen worse things on YouTube? Probably definitely. Will they get a little taste of culture by looking at this storefront and grow up with a greater sense of acceptance for things they don’t understand? I’d like to think so. Should this store be located in walking distance of a preschool? I’m not against it…

IMG_9819

Awww

Just had a heartfelt conversation with “Eric” from the SiriusXM help line. It started with talk of his minions and how they help him with his daily activities, and how they’re not for sale, and evolved to talking about the arts and how he should pursue voiceover work, and how many others have suggested the same thing to him. He lives in Minnesota so he feels there’s no reason to try as it’s SO the wrong place to do it, which is very true. But I told him that me, a complete stranger, believes in him. And he got all giddy, then I got giddy, and before we knew it we were giddy together. Fortunately this was only a phone call. I then gave him some craigslist hunting advice that he seems disinterested in, but still, his life may now be changed forever.

Life Lesson: It’s All About The Details

Had an important Skype call this morning with a director and producer (not a HUGE deal, BUT, still very important to present myself well). I woke up looking okay so I didn’t take a shower beforehand, the hair was still in tact. So I primped up a bit, put on a button up and kept the sweats. Thank god I kept the sweats and wasn’t taking advantage of the situation by literally sitting in my underwear. Thank god because, they asked if I owned boots. I had some on the shelf above and behind me. In the heat of the moment, I got up without thinking twice that the top half of me is in costume—pretty sure they saw my boxers—boxer briefs, actually, as I’m an adult now—they didn’t say anything. I sure wasn’t gonna mention it, though I was instantly aware what may have happened as soon as I sat back down … I remember thinking how unimportant pants would be for the call. I literally half-assed my outfit as half of my ass was hanging out of it, covered by boxer brief material thank the mythical lord. After the call I turned the webcam back on to recreate the incident and see what they saw … Note to future self: Don’t skimp on the details. Ever.

Livin’ For Likes

Love/hate simultaneous relationship with social media I have. I guess that’s the only way to describe it. I mean…. I love likes. LOVE… likes.. like, omg. You see you have a bunch of facebook notifications and you’re like: yesssssss life is goooooood… today… in this very moment… until 5 minutes from now when you have no new likes 😦 Meanwhile I hate that these likes serve as such validation in my life. But it is. I neeed approval. Obviously. I’d like to say I don’t, and don’t care, and fuckit, but that’s a lie, for anyone really. So many hipsters who say “facebook is…” I don’t know what they say exactly, but they’re certainly against giving two shits about social media presence. They’re too busy living freely away from the constant distraction of what and where to post.. assholes, actually enjoying their lives…. the old-fashioned way anyway..

It’s gotten to the point for me where I feel the need to document every goddamn thing I do. I don’t actually do it, but I feel the need. There are some family members that look for things I’m doing on the regular so I use them to justify putting my life out there so much. I hate that I have to justify it but I feel like I do! I feel it’s so dumb to care so much about something so realistically meaningless. But it means something to me, getting support and positive feedback and snarky comments on things that I’m doing.. I dunno.. helps keep me going. Helps me enjoy life on a very interesting level. The iPhone first came out about 8 years ago…. 8 years ago when you had something cool happen to you, or you achieved an exciting accomplishment, nobody had any idea unless they were an eyewitness or you called them to tell them. Now every single goddamn detail gets thrown out to everyone you’ve ever met in your life (even if you only met once or crossed paths or you added them because you think they’re sexy or you’ve never actually met but you like all of their posts because they make your heart beat faster or you have all these mutual friends so why not?) or whatever, where was I….

My iPhone is the worst thing that’s ever happened to me. Now.. whenever I have a great exchange with a friend, or see something picturesque, or have a silly thought—I must document it. MUST… even if a friend is telling a story, I’m distracted about wanting to post something and faking interest in the conversation because at this point I’m not even listening, just waiting to post a photo on Instagram or make a comment on facebook because…. immediate gratification is addicting. How sad, right?!? I’m workin on it. I consciously keep the phone away now when I’m hanging with other people. But in the back of my mind whenever something even slightly interesting happens in my life I think “Would this make a good Vine? Maybe Insta… OH definitely facebook for this one. I should Tweet this. That conversation was amazing, let me try and transcribe it from memory so I can have the option to put it in a movie script someday.” It’s constant. I guess with all these pipe dreams I have I’ve got no choice but to think this way…

My favorite pastime is reminiscing. That’s probably another part of it. I love looking back on the work I’ve done. I’ve worked at jobs that were a lot of fun at the time, but looking back I have nothing to show for it. So I try and capture as many moments as I can so I can look back on the good times. I guess. I don’t fucking know. But it’s a love/hate/necessary evil sorta thing with social media. Communication like this is still very new. Can’t wait for this phone to be wired into my brain as my neck and thumbs are getting sore from using it.

IMG_8950