Archive for September, 2013

The Key To Memorization Is Not Repetitive Reading, But Recalling

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I’ve read several articles such as this one (I can’t find the original article that I read about this, but there’s plenty out there) that talk about how the key to memorization is the act of recalling. So repetitively reading a script or passage will only go so far (this is the phase where your brain is loading it into your short term memory) but it’s the crucial recalling of that information that forms and strengthens the neural pathways, so the quicker you put down that script and start trying to remember it, the quicker you will strengthen those neural pathways and have the text memorized. Don’t spend hours re-reading something a thousand times. Only once you put it down and begin actually trying to remember it will you start the important phase of the process.

Dream Theatre 21

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In last night’s dream, my old friend Zoë Simpson Dean and I were a Fringe duo (as in the TV show Fringe, where they investigate weird, supernatural stuff, kind of like X-files). She walked over to a wall that had some plant growth on it, and she suddenly phased out and disappeared and some blue flowers immediately bloomed on the wall right by where she was. I was panicked and knew that she had phased to another dimension. I went back to my hotel, which I remember being very cool and unique, though hard to describe here. The rooms were up on the second level and all had glass walls looking out to the scenery around. It was very square and angular, with a distinct 60’s or maybe 70’s feel. I remember external stairs leading up to the second level and that the second level was larger than the first level (lobby) so the second level actually over hung the first.

My cell phone rang and I saw from the caller ID that it was Zoë. I expressed mt relief in hearing from here but she was very disoriented. I tried to explain that she was in another dimension but she seemed to think she was in Japan and was kind of out of it and a little incoherent.

I think that’s where I woke up, or at least that’s all I remember.

My September 11, 2001

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Wow, I can’t believe that this isn’t documented anywhere on my blog. Weird.

In September of 2001, I was dating a wonderful woman who lived in England who would later become my wife (and then later, my ex-wife, though I hate that term as it seems to carry a negative connotation which is not at all apropos in our case). We had met on a Buffy The Vampire Slayer message board (which is a whole other story unto itself) and pretty immediately felt a connection like we’d never felt before. Several other people on this message board had ended up dating (and eventually getting married), and I think we were both sort of in the camp of “Hey, more power to you, although I don’t really see how you can know someone well enough on the internet to fall for them.” Then it happened to us and we were like “Ohhhh, that’s how that happens.” Jess came over for her first in person visit on September 9, 2001.

Two days later, we were getting ready to go to my job where she was going to spend the day with me and meet my co-workers. We had been in the shower and she had got out to get dressed and such while I stayed in to shave. I heard a disturbing “thud” noise and I pulled back the shower curtain to see Jess on the bathroom floor. Beside her were two of her teeth, knocked clean out roots and all and little bit of blood. I leapt out of the shower, in a slight panic. After a moment she was conscious and lucid but unaware of what exactly had just happened. I thought that maybe I should keep her from looking in the mirror in case that sent her into a panic, but she got up and looked at herself missing two teeth and with two more barely hanging in there and I think she just laughed. I had already called an ambulance, so I grabbed some of my sweats and got her dressed.

The medics arrived and got her onto the ambulance, and I climbed into the front of the ambulance for the ride to the hospital. That’s when I heard something on the radio about planes and the World Trade Center. I asked the ambulance driver what that was about, and he said “Oh you haven’t heard?” He explained the situation and we went to the hospital where they tended to Jess’s split bottom lip (stitches, I think) and told us we would then have to go to an oral surgeon to see about the teeth (I had kept the two other teeth in a container of milk, as I was instructed in case they could save them). I asked her if she wanted me to call her parents but she said she wanted to wait until she could actually speak to them herself so as not to cause more worry than necessary. Someone from the hospital took me home to get my truck and while I was there I finished shaving, since thus far, I’d been wandering around with a 1/3 shaved face. I returned and watched the news updates with everyone else in the waiting room.

They released Jess and I took her to the oral surgeon who removed the other two teeth which were barely hanging on anyway. They gave her some lovely drugs as well. When we finally got home that night, she called her parents. Of course, they immediately jumped straight to “We’ve been watching what’s been happening over there!” to which Jess replied “Yes, but there’s something else I have to tell you about…”

She spent the next two weeks meeting my friends and family with no top four teeth and making jokes about how she lost them. That day will always be very memorable for very personal reasons as well as the reasons that the rest of the world will remember it. They never figured out why she fainted. The best guess was a combinations of jetlag, not having eaten since the night before and the hot shower. We later figured out that she passed out right about the same time that first plane hit. I think she “felt a disturbance in the force.”

Dream Theatre 20

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In last night’s episode, it’s kind of fuzzy, but I think I was in another movie with Rachel Carothers (one of my co-stars from Moving Day). I remember the distinct feeling that it was interesting because this movie was a kind of juxtaposition to Moving Day though I can’t remember exactly how. I believe that it took place on our characters’ wedding day but that we weren’t getting married for love, but for some practical reason, or some kind of marriage of convenience. That night after the wedding, she was really upset about something. I can’t remember for sure whether it was Rachel herself or the character who was upset. I feel like it was one of those bizarre dream logic situations that don’t make sense where it was sort of neither and both, but it was definitely within the “post-wedding” scenario which means it must have been the characters although I also have to wonder if this dream is kind of a statement or indication about how weird acting can be as far as portraying fictional scenarios while trying to make them “real.” It was all sort of “The movie” and real at the same time, if that makes sense (which it really doesn’t).

I remember Rachel (I don’t remember a specific character name so she shall henceforth be referred to as Rachel) sort of isolating herself in the upstairs portion of the house where we were and only her immediate family were having any contact with her. I remember thinking “how strange to have just married someone but then be isolated from her and kind of distant.” I know that she wasn’t upset with me but that I was just trying to be respectful and give her whatever space she needed and not intrude.I sort of hung around the periphery, concerned about her and getting some updates from family members on how she was doing. I think at one point I was reassuring her kids that she would be alright and there was nothing to worry about. I think that everyone was pretty much up all night, and the next morning I did see her as she came down and she and some family members went to an SUV to go somewhere else. The whole I was sort of this isolated outsider, wishing I could help. I think we acknowledged each other and exchanged a sympathetic/understanding look as she passed and got into the SUV.

To Be Or Not To Be…A Jerk Who Won’t Take “Minor” Theatre Roles

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I was raised doing theatre. It’s where I planted my acting roots. As the years went on and I transitioned in to more film and television, I rarely get to do theatre any more. First and foremost, it’s very rare that I’m actually available for the run of a show, much less for all the rehearsal and such as well. I almost always have several other film or band projects somewhere in there, so it’s almost a miracle when the stars align and I happen to hear about a play that’s casting and I happen to be available!

Now, even when that happen, every single time without fail that I agree to do a play, I end up having to pass up something else, or several something elses that come along after. There’s also the time commitment. You have however many rehearsals over a month or three, depending, plus the actual run of the show. In the time it takes to do one play, I sometimes might have done many projects (my highest being 40 projects in 3 months). And it’s probably quite annoying for my agent who is trying to get me work when I’m not available for a large chunk of time.

For this reason, I have to be pretty judicious about if I choose to do a play. Many times I just can’t take anything less than a lead role or at least something major or that I feel is really worth the time as something interesting or “meaty” in some way. I hate this, and I hate addressing it so I usually just don’t audition because I don’t want to have to say “I’m afraid I’m only interested in the lead.” I know that this should be fine. Every time I have, people have been totally understanding (or at least seemingly so) but I can’t help feeling like an egotistical jerk who comes off as “I’m too good for smaller parts.”

On the other hand, I’ve spent 32 years working on my craft and advancing my career and I do have not only a responsibility to be practical and a little more choosy, but I should have the right as well. And not just me, anyone should. Maybe when you’re just starting out you might need to be less picky (like when I used to do any and all extra work I could get into) to get some experience, but we should all have the right to choose to some degree.

Amazingly, this has come up twice recently. I ended up taking a smaller part in Macbeth because I like the director and trusted his judgment when I’d laid out my feelings and he felt these roles were worth my time, and because I wanted to work with him and my friend who is the lead (I did audition for the lead as well).

Now I may be facing it again as I have a callback for another play tomorrow and I think I’m only being considered for a minor role. Part of me thinks maybe I should turn it down (if I’m even offered a role) but there’s always a part of me that doesn’t want to miss out. Part of me who knows that you never know who you might meet or where any particular road might take you. Often, it’s the most unexpected path that ends up going somewhere interesting. There are certainly things I like about this show, and I like to believe the old “There are no small parts, only small actors” and think that I could really do something memorable with whatever I’m given.

But I also don’t want to seem like an egotistical, ungrateful twat either. I guess I’ll just see if there’s even a decision to be made before worrying about it. Or as I like to say, “I’ll tackle that boat when I come to it.”

Dream Theatre 19

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In last night’s dream, Johnny Walter, Katie Folger, Jay Barry and I had been transported to Middle Earth and for some reason we had to infiltrate Aragorn’s house in the woods. We had been transported onto the this sort of walkway around the roof. It was a huge sprawling house and so the roof was a series of peaks reminiscent of the Winchester House. We followed the walkway around to a place where thought we could maybe get in. We had some bags and backpacks which somehow accidentally got tossed off the walkway and over one of the roof peaks and were now resting at the opposite bottom edge. Jay was going to venture to try and get them but I told him to wait and I found a nearby garden hose and tied it around him for safety. Turned out to be a good things since while going for our bags, he fell through the roof in one place. I pulled him back up (I’m not sure where Johnny and Katie were at this point, perhaps scouting other places). We regrouped and decided to enter carefully through this hole.

We were now in the top attic level of the house. We followed ti for a ways until it opened up onto an open air walkway, but we couldn’t tell if it had access to where we needed to go. We went back an eventually found a sort of magical gate teleporter that we could tell went down to the next level. We teleported a level down and followed that level until it opened up to an open air deck. A bunch of guards flooded in from the periphery and we defeated them all because we were badasses. I think we were looking for something specific though I can’t remember what. Back inside this level, I remember us doing some backtracking and having to pull ourselves back up through holes in the roof two different times. The first was more difficult and required us booting each other up or reaching from above to help the person below. The second wasn’t as difficult, as I remember just jumping up and the pulling myself through the hole.

Later back inside one of the top levels of the house, Katie expressed some displeasure at something I had said and she told me that I shouldn’t have said that too her as she was suffering from some mental/psychological condition. I apologized but she decided to leave and set out on her own. At this point we heard Aragorn talking to someone and he casually said that he knew we were here and that we should just come down and join him. We did so.

Inside, the house was not all that fancy. It seemed like something built in the 1970’s or 80’s and was quite plain. I distinctly remember it felling like a large but cheap house you would find in the woods about an hour from the nearest city. Aragorn lived here with two other older male relatives. I think one was his father and one was a great uncle or the like. They had 4 big beds all in the same room, which normally would have been a den or living room kind of attached to the kitchen/dining room. I remember either thinking or asking what he did if he wanted to have sex and finding out that apparently it was quite normal with his people to just have sex in his bed even with the other two in the same room in their beds. I thought that was odd but they were a different people with different ways and customs.

Then I woke up.

Do Good For Good’s Sake

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I feel like I’ve written about this before, but in my cursory search I didn’t find any posts here about this, so forgive me if I’m redundant.

I try to be a good person. Every day I try to be a better person than I was the day before. I remember this strange day in 7th or 8th grade when I just a complete epiphany. It was like I woke up and saw the world completely differently and want to work on my flaws and become a better person than I had been up until that point in my life. I’ve spent every since then working on just that, and I’m sure I will spend every day of the rest of my life doing just that.

I always try to take the “high road.” I’m not always successful. I try to meet anger and confrontation with peace and understanding. I try to be helpful and generous. My friends are very important to me and I am always trying to sing their praises, get them opportunities whenever I can and say the things that they are too modest to say about themselves. I want the world to know how awesome these people are. This all being said, it’s very important to note once again that I often fail in my endeavors. I am definitely an imperfect being with many flaws. I can be selfish, I have certain behaviors that I don’t know how I feel about and sometimes feel maybe I need a little too much validation and love from others as my fuel. I am hopefully modest enough but not as modest as I’d like to be. So I’m not writing all this to say “Aren’t I a great guy?”

My real point here is that often times the “high road” and trying to be a good person is a very lonely journey. It can often like it a very lop-sided, sometimes one-way street. Sometimes it can feel like you try to put so much into the world, for so many other people but rarely get anything back the other way. And this is the key thing that you need to change if you feel this way. You shouldn’t do good things in hopes of some return or karmic payback. We are all human, and of course it can be frustrating if it feel unreciprocated, which it most certainly will on occasion. You should do go for its own sake. And yet, even then, it’s never truly for its own sake because doing good should make you feel good. Knowing that you’re making the world a better place and helping people you love.

And just as importantly, appreciate and never lose sight of when the good does come back your way. It’s human nature to focus on the negative. You can get ten compliments but it will be that one negative comment that sticks in your head and draws all your focus. Be thankful when someone does sing your praises, or send you a sincere thanks for what you did, or just offers you an opportunity without you even asking. Recognize these things and remember them. And take all the greedy personal joy you like out of the good things you do for others and the world at large, but keep the ego in check and don’t do it for accolades, praise or the hopes of some reward or payback. Those are always dangerous motives.

Well, this suddenly feels over serious. Let’s remedy that.

Dream Theatre 17 and 18

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In dream 17 I was hanging out with one of the first girls I ever dated (who, while still in touch on Facebook, I haven’t really talked to in over 20 years, so quite a surprise appearance). In the dream she wasn’t married with children however and there was definitely some flirting/rekindling happening. I remember vague things about being in a mall parking lot, and later I had gone back to someone’s house (maybe hers, maybe a friend’s that I had the key to and was house sitting or something). I remember keeping all the lights off in the house because there was someone I was trying to avoid and I thought they might come by the house and so I didn’t want to know anyone was there. Then I remembered that they also had a key and would probably just let themselves in. I also remember dressing up in a gorilla costume for something, and then playfully playing with/scaring the neighbor’s kids in a fun goodhearted way. The dream ended with another appearance from the ex, as she laid on my lap and we laughed and flirted, both wary of actually getting involved again, yet tempted.

Dream 18 guest starred burlesque star, Eva Strangelove who I met while working on a music video (also quite a surprise appearance). We were both on a cruise ship, I think in some professional capacity. I’m not sure of the details of what either one of our roles were in this particular situation, but something had gone wrong on the boat and everyone was kind of stranded on the ship. I remember a big open area where there were lots of people at table’s playing various board games and such like you would see at a gaming convention. Fast forward and somehow we were now back at Eva’s place (which strangely, had walls that were all covered in that fake wood paneling), though I still remember a feeling of sort of being in the middle of some kind of emergency, like we were still “stranded” in some way. Her husband, Dave was out on the road himself, so we weren’t able to get in touch with him for the moment so I told her to go get some sleep and I stayed up to try and figure things out and work a solution to whatever the problem was. I remember a TV set set up in a nook that was about head height when standing in kind of an odd place, like the nook was right up against the wall, so not prime viewing location, but it felt more for decoration than actual TV viewing. The TV was behind a thin curtain or veil, so I could see the image but not quite make out what it was. As I stared at it trying to decipher what was on happening on the screen, I could also see in the next room that Eva was sleeping, so that was good. She stirred and came out to the couch. I think at that point, either she had finally got in touch with Dave or we were about to do so. Then I woke up.

Potential Results

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I think I just put my finger on the hardest part about diet and exercise and trying get in shape and be generally healthy: it’s that you have to work hard now for some potential results that are supposedly down the road. It’s kind of like if someone said “If you let me punch you in the face now, I’ll give you $5000 in 6 months.”

If I knew that could skip that burger and fries right now and see an inch come off my ass-ular region, that would be something! We all want immediate results. It’s hard to set down a difficult path in the hopes that it will all pay off at some indeterminate point in the future. Meanwhile, you’re “sacrificing” now and still unhappy with your body/health/etc.

Eye of the tiger, my friends. Eye of the tiger!

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