Life As I Know It

Jihad!

I’ve called a realtor. I want to sell this condo and go back to a rental house. I’m meeting her on Friday to at least get the ball rolling.
I’m tired of living in a sound prison because our downstairs neighbor gets disturbed if we fart too loud. An exaggeration? Only slightly. Sound travels all to well through our floor. Ever since we got Rock Band there have been problems. The first day we got it she came up after we had been playing for like 6 hours. Now I can understand how that might have been annoying, don’t get me wrong, but then there was the day she came up at 4:00 in the after noon. And then yesterday at 5:00 in the afternoon. Then began the exchange of letters taped to doors. Starting with my letter to her:

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Fun with movie scenes

Often there are casting calls for students at the university casting for scenes from well known movies to be performed in their directing class and then filmed later. I’ve done several of these and tend to audition for the ones that interest me. Yesterday I received an email from someone I’d worked with on a few occasions saying he wanted me to be in a scene from “The Producers”. It was all very last minute as the performance was today. It was nice to be sought out, out of the blue and just offered a part. He asked if I knew anyone else to be in the scene so I suggested Larry.
We went over the scene a few times then went to meet him for a rehearsal. A few hours later we performed in class and it was a resounding success. Going into rehearsal, Larry and I both thought that there wasn’t really much room for interpretation. The scene was pretty much on the page we thought but through rehearsal with the director we ended up finding some interesting angles. I play Max Bialystock much more sinister, creepy and slightly insane. It was fun.
From there I went directly to another audition for a scene from “Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang” which also felt like it went well. Wednesday I finish up filming a fun short film and Thursday I am auditioning for scenes from “the Princess Bride” and “Once”. I also have my first session with the six month voiceover/video gig for an educational software company. Then on Saturday it’s off to the Ren Fest where Jess and I got married 6 years ago on November 9. Good times!
On a sad note, our Xbox 360 died today and it looks like it will cost Larry $100 to fix it. Not to mention we’ll be without it for weeks! And in the middle of our Fallout 3 addiction!

Ricardo Montalban and a life update.

I read this quote from Ricardo Montalban and thought it was awesome. Here are Ricardo Montalban’s 5 stages of an Actor’s career:
1. Who is Ricardo Montalbán?
2. Get me Ricardo Montalbán.
3. Get me a Ricardo Montalbán type.
4. Get me a young Ricardo Montalbán.
5. Who is Ricardo Montalbán?
I was Khan for Halloween. It was awesome. I’ll try to see if I can get my hands on someone’s pictures.
I think I just got a 6 month long voiceover/on screen gig for an educational software company. They wanted an SNL style group of people who could do multiple characters/accents/impressions. I’m quite excited about it! Also worked a pretty fun four day Production Assistant job. Filming a short film two days this week, performing with Capital City Mystery Players doing murder mystery dinner theatre and private shows, scenes from movies for student’s directing classes, and much more!
Larry and I pitched a page of ideas to a company that may have us film a bunch of “viral” youtube type spots for them. Could be our first outside client possibly paying us to write, direct and produce videos. I don’t think they like our budget though even though it’s RIDICULOUSLY low. We’ll see when we present it to them.
Life is a roller coaster but generally beautiful.
Hopefully going to England for 3 weeks around Christmas!

Blogging into the wind

I find blogging is such a self perpetuating cycle. When you blog and there’s no response, you assume no one is reading (which may or may not be true). Therefore you don’t write as much. Of course when you never update people are bound to stop reading. Chicken/egg, Yin/Yang, etc.

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Samaritan

Yesterday I was in the condo when I heard the sound of a huge crash outside. I went to see what had happened. A tree obscured my view but I could hear a woman crying fairly hysterically and saying she was so sorry. From the sound of how hysterical she was I feared something very bad had happened. As I rushed down to see if I could help I feared finding someone gravely injured or dead.
When I got downstairs I was very relieve to find no such scene. I heard her say she was on the way to a job interview and had been looking at some papers for a second while driving. That second was all it had taken for her to rear end a neighbor’s car parked on the side of the street. The neighbor had heard and come to investigate and the driver had been apologizing frantically to the neighbor. I had also, from my balcony, heard the driver call her grandmother, crying, and saying she had been in an accident. When I got there, another couple from a few condos down was helping the shaken woman to sit down on the patio of the neighbor whose car now had its rear end completely smashed in. The driver had a bloody lip, had hit her head and was naturally feeling some soreness in the neck and back but otherwise appeared, at least outwardly, to not have any major injuries.
As no one had had a chance to call 911 yet, I did that and explained the situation. As they gave the poor girl a bag of frozen vegetables to put on her lip, she just sat crying, hysterically upset. My instinct was that I wanted to take control of this situation. I wanted to take her hand and look her in the eye, find out her name and tell her that everything was going to be O.K. They were just cars and the important thing was that she was alive and no one had been severely injured. I wanted to comfort this poor, shaken, traumatized person who also felt so foolish at her own mistake which led to this accident. I felt that I had the power. I felt like I am very good at keeping my head in situations like these and making people feel more at ease. I wanted to do all this…but I didn’t. I don’t know why. Maybe I felt it wasn’t my place. I don’t really know. I look back and I really regret that I didn’t follow my instincts. I think I could have made a difference.
The police and EMS got there and began to tend to her. I told the officer that I had called 911 and asked if there was anything else needed from me. He said there wasn’t so I decided to vacate the premises. I hope I never have to face a situation like this again but if I do, I will follow my instincts next time. I hope that wherever she is, that she’s O.K. and has realized how lucky she really is. Cars can be fixed or replaced. So please, friends, remember that it only takes a second of taking your eyes off the road to possibly lead to a some very bad things. We all do it. Fiddle with the radio or iPod, look at a text message, glance at a piece of paper. I know this had made me more aware of my driving habits. I hope it will do the same for you.

Wassup, people!

I learned recently that my friend, Darrin, reads this blog though he has never commented. Therefore inspired by knowing that there are actually at least a few people still reading here I am inspired to update!
My silence is not only due to being a sucktastic and neglectful blogger but also because I’ve been fairly busy. i’m currently involved in more films than I can keep track of even with my nifty new iPhone and constant email and calendar access!
I am in the midst of a 10 day shoot for a small feature I’m starring in after which I immediately start another feature. There are also several shorts I’m in, several more shorts and features in the pipeline for other people and that whole ever growing stack of shorts (and features) that Larry and I have written that we want to get into production.
In other exciting news, episode 1 of Sal Monella is in in the finals tonight of the Austin Film Festival’s “Funniest Filmmaker in Austin” contest. Then there’s also the rest of my non-film related life to live too.
Life in general is kind of a roller coaster of highs and lows but overall I think my account ends up in the positive. You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have…

Chipmunk Punk

When I was a kid, I had the album “Chipmunk Punk”. This was a 1980 album of Alvin and the Chipmunks doing 9 songs that were not really in any way, punk, but were pretty cool and influential to me. This album actually introduced me to a lot of songs that I would later come to really love. At the time, I had never heard of “The Knack” and I don’t think I had heard of most of the other songs on the album either. I just knew I liked the Chipmunks as we had a cool clear red album of theirs from 1969.
Recently I was thinking back on this and realized just what a weird album this was. The track listing was:
Side A

  • “Let’s Go” by The Cars
  • “Good Girls Don’t” by The Knack
  • “How Do I Make You” by Linda Ronstadt
  • “Refugee” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
  • “Frustrated” by The Knack

Side B

  • “Call Me” by Blondie
  • “You May Be Right” by Billy Joel
  • “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Queen
  • “My Sharona” by The Knack

Now the first thing I noticed is that one third of the songs are from The Knack. Now don’t get me wrong, I love The Knack’s debut album “Get The Knack” which spawned all three of these songs, but to have three of nine songs by The Knack, who I had never even heard of at that time, seems an odd choice. Were the producers friends with The Knack? Did they get a hellaciously good deal on song rights?
Secondly, though I remember very specific changes they made to the lyrics to make them more kid friendly, those three songs from The Knack are racy! They’re all about trying to get laid. Sure they changed “Til she’s sitting on your face” to “Til she’s sitting in your place” but a few lyrical changes do not change the overall subject of the song.
I don’t really remember realizing at the time what these songs were about, but again in hindsight, WHOA! How did this album get made?
“You thought you heard her saying ‘Good Girls don’t’…but she’s been telling you ‘Good girls don’t but I do.”
“Frustrated” is all about blue balls, basically. Some girl not putting out.
“My Sharona”, all about lusting after this young teenage girl.
Again, I ask, HOW DID THIS ALBUM GET MADE AND RELEASED? All I know is I’m glad it did, because I played the hell out of it and was introduced to some awesome music. I own every one of those songs on CD by the original artists. Except for “How Do I Make You”. I can’t remember how that one goes but I remember I liked the Chipmunk’s version of it. Somehow I listened to this album repeatedly without ever really realizing how inappropriate some of the songs probably were for a nine year old boy.

A $600 impulse buy, and misc updates

Well, not exactly. We’ve been discussing getting a new bed for some time. It seems like a rarity that either one of us gets a decent nights sleep without feeling achy, crunchy or like we need to see a chiropractor. This is a bummer to us because about 2 years ago we spent a good amount getting what was supposed to be one of the best mattresses at this particular shop. I was not looking forward to trying to figure out what mattress to try next. You just never really know until you’ve slept on it for a while so “trying it out” in the shop is pretty much useless.
Cut to today. After getting an insanely great amount of clothes for both of us at Goodwill for only $100, we headed to Costco because I wanted to look for this little portable AC unit a friend had told me about to use in the room we call “The Cave” where my computer and home studio resides. For some stupid reason the AC vent going to this room is about half the size of all the others so it gets warmer than the rest of the house.
As soon as we walked in they had these queen size memory foam mattresses for only $600. Now anyone who had ever looked at a memory foam mattress will know that this is a pretty incredible price. We had always wanted to try one but had never seen them for less than a metric ton of money. We asked about their return policy and Costco has an awesome policy of “if you don’t like it, we’ll take it back. Period. Doesn’t matter how long it’s been. No time limit.” I strongly felt that this was the bed we needed to get.
So we didn’t find the AC unit I was looking for (my friend, Greg, is going to pick one up for me from Sam’s Club where he saw it), but we ended up with a memory foam mattress for about the same price we paid for our old one! And three tubs of sabra hummus which is the best hummus ever. It is THE reason we got a Costco card.
On other fronts, I’ve been hella busy with acting gigs, some Production Assistant work, our own short films, gearing up for our first feature, and many other things. Life is generally good and I hope to stop being such a crappy and infrequent blogger. I film for about a week on an independent feature this week, I’m the lead in another indie feature shooting next month and have a part in a third indie feature in July.
Grand Theft Auto IV has also sucked up a huge part of my life. It’s awesome and addicting. Rock Band still rocks We had the best Rock Band session ever Saturday night at Greg’s home theatre. Though he has it on Ps3, we brought our Xbox because, of all our friends, we by far have the most songs since we have bought almost all the downloadable content. We played for about 6 hours getting our band all the way to the Hall of Fame gig, but by that time we were all tired so our attempt at the brutal 8 song setlist to get into the Hall of Fame will have to wait until next time.
That’s about all my brain has to spit out at the moment and even all that is the highly condensed summary. Ya’ll come back now! Ya hear?

So tired…

Sleeping isn’t something that I really do well any more. One of the biggest side effects from this that I’ve noticed is that when I’m hanging out with Jess, that’s when I feel comfortable and happy and content (well, in some ways) and thus when sleepiness really sets in. Especially if I’m lounging around her bed talking or lying around on the couch. It doesn’t make me very good company. So I can’t sleep normally but then it all comes crashing down on me when I want to be awake and enjoying her company. How annoying!

You know what’s really annoying?

Roommates who have really loud sex. All the time. I really don’t want to disrupt our otherwise great living situation but I’m about to my breaking point. It’s just gone beyond comical into ludicrous, annoying, overbearing and inconsiderate.