Saturday, March 29, 2014

15 Things I haven't written about in the past 3 months

I hate to disappoint you, but with the exception of my (still most popular page hit, woof) Top 10 list of the most Badass Christmas songs, I will never write a list blog. And is it just me, or are the ever popular lists for the short-attention-span-majority getting insanely long? “77facts about…” “84 things you didn’t know about…” I think we can all just go ahead and read an article in paragraph form now. Buzzfeed is obviously getting way too big for its britches.  Well, this will be sort of a list, but I WILL NOT NUMBER IT. It also may not be 15 of anything. Writer’s block can be a real bitch and I’ve encountered it before but this time it was not due to lack of ideas, but to the horrible feeling that no subject or story was deep enough, epic enough, or antidotal enough. I swore to myself, “Tonight, on Friday, March 28th, exactly 79 days after your last blog post, Andrea, you will update your blog.” I should mention that I have broken this promise to myself repeatedly on different dates, but today’s the day.

HAHAHAHA! Totally! Am I right?!?
Mexican Food. There’s no food that makes me happier in the world. If my bartender has been working at the restaurant longer than I’ve been alive, I know my Mexican food is going to be good. They don’t even have to get your order right (they usually don’t.) It’s beans, tortillas, and salsa in some form or another. And since the move to LA and the rise in popularity of Taco trucks, my Mexican food addiction is fully enabled.

Vegas reading material. 
Vegas. With the exception of the approximate 45 minutes that you’ve got where you’ve had enough to drink to be fully buzzed (“Let’s go to fuckin’ Chip N’ Dales and put it all on Black!”) but not throw-uppy (in the bathroom at Ellis Island right after you tried to fight a prostitute,) Vegas is the SADDEST PLACE ON EARTH. Can’t wait to go back though. Can’t wait.

The Oyster Bar at the Palace Station where I did Vodka shooters at 4am. I <3 Vegas. 

It's like I'm staring deep into my future. 
Old People. I can’t wait to be old. I just feel like my sense of humor will be appreciated so much more and people won’t question me when I say I’m going to take a nap. Also, choosing my clothing would be so much easier. It’s just a super soft polo in the color or print of your choice, a pleated polyester blend, loose fitting pant, and some orthopedic shoes, and you’ll be nailing anything from a brunch to a matinee followed by an early bird dinner without an outfit change.

Gym Jocks in Yoga Class. Today, the dude next to me really crushed Shavasana. I could tell because of the heavy mouth breathing.  The dude behind be sweat so much that it soaked the
You can breath as hard as you want, sir. 
bottom end of my yoga towel. The dude on the other side of me let out a huge, karate like, “Kiiiiiihhhhaaaaaaa” exhale every time he finally made it into a pose. Just so guys know, the louder you are in class is not directly related to how well you’re doing. But it is directly related to how soon I’ll karate chop your standing leg in the next balancing series.

Feminism. Ladies, ladies, ladies, we are still struggling. We still do not make as much as our male counterparts. We are still being accused of being emotional, irrational, and crazy. We have women who are supposed to be our leaders trying to ban the word, “Bossy” from the vocabulary instead of embracing it and saying, “So what if we’re bossy? Better listen up!” If you ask me, this “banning the word bossy” move was a huge step backward. It is irrational and if I may say so, a little bit crazy. I think if we all gave a few less fucks about what anyone else thought, we’d all be CEO’s. Which brings me to my next point….

Sensitivity. It is exhausting. It is exhausting to be sensitive and it is exhausting to deal with sensitive people. I hope no one comments on this blog. I will take offense and I will take it personally. For anyone reading this, it is not about you. Know what I’m saying? Everyone is dealing with their own shit. There is not one single person that has enough time to deal with your shit too.

Weddings. Don’t tell the wedding blog I write for, but planning a

Although this photo accurately illustrates my feelings, it is sad. 
wedding on a budget is a complete nightmare. It is unbelievably time consuming and it is seemingly a distraction from things in life that are of importance.  I can’t do a kickstarter, right? Because that would be pathetic and probably cut down on the amount of gifts I receive, right?

I always thought I was a Carrie, but I'm such a Samantha. 
Cougars. I’m not ashamed to say that the attraction I feel for younger men is getting stronger and deeper. It is likely unhealthy. It is a part of the aging process I feel like my mother should have told me about. Don’t worry about my fiancé though, he is 6 months older but can’t grow a beard and that is holding me over for now.

Blogs that tell what not to do when going to a restaurant or a retail store so not to really piss off your waiter or retail specialist. “Don’t ask for extra ketchup.” “Don’t ask if there are more sizes in back.” “Don’t ask for off menu items.” “Don’t try on a lot of clothes.” Blah, blah, whine, whine. I’ve got a lot of customer service experience in the restaurant industry and quite frankly, whoever writes these articles are probably not getting the message across to those they’re writing to. Their readers are a bunch of Olive Garden and Forever 21 employees who are reading those articles going, “Hell yeah! People are so stupid! Pay me but don’t make me do anything that might require effort or remind me of how terrible my job is! Even though my job is to answer questions and fulfill requests!” These articles are alienating if not empowering to the few assholes who don’t know how to behave in these situations.

LA. Someday I hope to be wealthy enough to create a city that looks just like LA. It has all the amenities, the weather, the sites and beaches, but the only people allowed in it will be the people that work at the amenities I require. And perhaps by the time I am this wealthy, they’ll all be robots anyway. Tonight, on my walk to Whole Foods, a skateboarder ran over my foot (and it hurt so thanks a lot, TOMS,) I saw a dead body, a homeless woman screamed at me, and I had to weave my way through a line for the “Late night with Craig Fergeson Show.” The novelty has worn off. It has WORN OFF.

21 Year Olds. Due to the fact that I work for a crazy corporation that hires fresh college graduates to manage its restaurants, I’ve had to deal with not one, but TWO Ivy League 21-year-olds in the past few weeks. Never have I heard the word, “Like” used so many times. Not since high school have I had to explain why I’m “Like, so serious looking all the time.” I try to explain to them that I have “Bitchy resting face” but that video came out before they were born. Also, perhaps my serious face is the result of constantly trying not to slap their eyeballs back into their head every time they have a realization they’re sure no one else has had before. Ever.

These are ideas. And now that I read through them, they seem like ideas for Stand-up jokes. Maybe I should be doing more Stand-up? This is my problem, I am never enough for myself. At least tonight, I have updated my blog. And if you’d like to hear any more about any of these subjects, let me know. Also, Trader Joes still sucks.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Acting in LA: "Where is my standing ovation?"

I’m an actor. So my life, like many other actors’ lives leading up to
Bitches has NOTHN' on me, dude! 
the move to Los Angeles went a little something like this: The young Actor is an adorable toddler growing up in Suburbantown, USA. Your parents video tape you constantly, catching classic moments like you singing The Donkey Song because it's just so sweet the way you really nail the voice of the donkey. Or they capture your best re-enactments of scenes from The Outsiders. At 5 years old, your impression of ‘Blanch’ from The Golden Girls and ‘Jessica Rabbit’ from Who Framed Roger Rabbit is the HIT of your family parties. Your parents’ friends say things like, “You’re kid is so cute! You should get them to Hollywood!” So, your parents put you in dance classes, piano lessons, voice lessons, clarinet lessons, karate class, etc. because you’re a kid and you can’t make up your mind. All you know is, doing all this stuff is fun and you’re pretty good at it!  Then you hit middle school and you’re doing school plays, you’re the class clown, you’re crying after a really intense debate in Social Studies even though you don’t really care if “Friday should be pizza day in the cafeteria,” you just know that was the role you were given and dammit, you’re passionate about it. This only intensifies when you get to high school. Musicals, dance concerts, choir concerts,… your talents are endless and your focus is stardom. You are the envy of your friends and the hit of every party. Next, you go to college, where, naturally there are more like you, but this only motivates you further and you manage to still come out among the top talents! You’re nominated for awards, you’re cast in local films,
There are no roles like this. Anymore. Ever. 
you’re all up in the community theater scene where standing ovations are regular thing and people are like, “Actor! What are you doing here!?! You should be in LA!” And you start to think…. Yeah, I love to perform and yeah, people seem to think I’m pretty good at it. Yeah, YEAH, YEAH!!! I’m moving to Los Angeles, CA to be a STAR!

Exactly how my exit from AZ went.....
So, with a family and a community of supporters, you pack up your life and head to Hollywood to be in the movies. You’re so excited. You sell your things. Surely you’ll be on a TV show within the year because you’re hilarious and talented and everyone says so. Well-wishers are telling you how “incredible it is that you’re following your dreams!” and “Good luck! I know you’ll make it!” So, with extraordinary motivation, you arrive in Los Angeles, where dreams come true!

Reality hits hard and fast in LA.

The only place you can afford on your $1000-a-month budget (That paid a mortgage on a 3 bedroom in Suburbantown) is a dilapidated “bachelor” in a super sketchy neighborhood in the not-so-glamorous part of East Hollywood. It has no parking, no laundry, no windows, and the toilet probably does a weird thing. It is a 400 sq. foot room with a mini fridge and hot plate. But, this is fine because it’s definitely only short term….. You spend your first days scouring the internet for auditions and open calls. And because you don’t know about Actors Access or LA Casting yet, you spend a lot of time trying to decipher which of the Craigslist auditions are legitimate. (The answer is "none.") You and your inbox are flooded with advertisements for workshops, classes, headshots, agent showcases, etc.  As you explore your neighborhood, you realize that everyone is in “the industry.”  EVERYONE. Even the homeless have probably had a guest star on Everybody Loves
"Who hasn't, homeless dude? Who doesn't need help?!" 
Raymond or a documentary made about them so, fuck ‘em. Most in “the industry” are so self-involved, they are unwilling to help you and if they do, everyone’s opinion about what to do to “make it” in “the industry” is so vastly different, how do you decide who to listen to? And there are literally, 10's of millions of people in LA trying to make it. Just like you. All of the sudden, the hometown superstar feels insignificant at best.

But you are resilient! Because you are SPECIAL!

1.       Mail your headshots to agents, check.
2.       Sign up for that really expensive acting class a few recommended, check.
3.       Sign up for Improv, check! (Good luck picking that class. Diehards. All of them.)

Now, 6 months have gone by. You still have no agent. You’ve been on a few auditions for UCLA or AFA student films but have not booked one. You were an extra once for a friend’s short film. Well, twice if you count your spot in the audience at Norm McDonald’s short lived comedy sports show on Comedy Central. But you only saved for 6 months of living because you were sure you’d be making $100,000 an episode by now.  So, you’re broke and you need a job. No problem! You think. Because you’ll just get a serving job. Well guess what the fuck every one of the other millions (literally) of struggling actors are doing for money in Los Angeles? You guessed it. They’re getting a measly, pathetic serving job. That’s fine, you think, because you were a server in college! I have experience, you think. This does not matter. You simply have to be lucky enough to find someone that is hiring and get through the “headshot” round of interviews for the little, B-rated, Korean BBQ restaurant in Hollywood (Yes, most Hollywood restaurants will ask for your headshot. And nooooo, this city isn’t superficial at aaaaallll) and hope they hire YOU out of the 100 applicants they received for the 1 open position.

But you find one! Because you are SPECIAL!

NOW you’re a server. You’re an intelligent, immensely and 
Could make millions from the people who claim the titles on this hat.
multi-talented SERVER. That’s OK! You think. Because it’s just your "day" job. And while this may be true, after a little while, you start to get really good at bringing people ketchup because you’re doing it A LOT. After all, you have to pay for the acting classes, the casting workshops, the 2nd and 3rd round of headshots people in “the industry” insisted you needed, and GROCERIES… and it’s bumming you out.

It’s been a year since your move to Los Angeles and now you’ve got a commercial agent that you got through mailing your headshot and resume, but she keeps sending you out on bi-lingual, "ethnically ambiguous" auditions because she’s senile. You’re still in acting classes and in Improv
Estelle had nothin' on my first agent in LA. 
and now you’re doing a play! It’s in a theater smaller than your “bachelor” apartment, but you’re doing what you love! You continue to meet more and more exceptionally talented people. And while this can be so inspiring, it can also be discouraging. Everywhere you turn, someone is doing something way better than you. You even met someone whose impression of Drew Barrymore puts yours to shame…. and Shit! That was kinda your thing! You can’t figure out how people get real, theatrical agents (a theatrical agent is the kind of agent that represents actors for film and television) because most agents won’t even consider you as a client unless you’ve got “a few co-stars under your belt.” ('co-star' is LA lingo for 3-5 lines on a TV show.) BUT YOU CAN’T GET THOSE AUDITIONS UNLESS YOU HAVE A THEATRICAL AGENT!! Therein lies the problem.

But YOU are resilient! Because YOU are soooooo FUCKING SPECIAL!

It’s been two years since your move to Los Angeles. You’re feeling just OK at this point. You booked a small commercial for an app no one’s heard of. You’ve probably created your own webseries by now that your mom and her friends really love. You’re in an Improv group with a supremely clever pun as the title. (ie. Barren Mind, Cerebal Ballzy, etc.)  You’re really nailing this amazing scene in your acting class. Your acting teacher thinks you have something special. You subsequently bought 6 more months of classes. You
"I have a gun!" -The best entrance in to any improv scene. 
sign up for a theatrical agent showcase with incredible confidence. You will definitely get an agent this time. You’re performing a scene perfect for YOU. You arrive at the showcase, and you’re definitely the actor with the most “it factor” in the room (because of your new boots.) When you perform your scene, you really “get there” and you know the agents will see this. (Because big Hollywood agents are always intelligent, intuitive, compassionate human beings with an empathy for the plight of actors and an eye for talent. Insert sarcasm asterisk here.) In a room full of your peers, your scene is the performance of a lifetime. Better than anything you did in college or anything for which you won an award. Meryl Streep herself would need to avert her eyes from your radiance.…… As you finish though, there is a painful silence. Crickets. An actor asshole in the back row yawns while the others are looking at their own scenes or are on their phones. The agent isn’t even looking at you, he is scribbling something down on your feedback form you paid $150 for this showcase to get. You stand there awkwardly for a moment because this was somehow supposed to feel different, but you say a confident (still acting), “thank you” and sit down next to an asshole actor who, instead of saying a polite, “good job,” says, “Do you have a highlighter I can borrow?” (Actors like to color their scripts with highlighters, for that is only way they’ll know which line to speak.)  Your ONE hope is that, whatever that agent scribbled down on that form, that piece of paper, it will offer some response, some closure to your performance or maybe, just maybe, it will change your life by saying something like, “You’ve got the “IT” factor. Call me!” You patiently wait until the end of the workshop. You scramble to get in line to collect your form. You retrieve it and shove it in your notebook and briskly walk past your cackling fellow actors (who might as well have their noses directly inserted into eachothers’ anuses) to the parking garage where you can read your feedback in private. You finally arrive at your car, hop inside, and pull out the form……

 It reads only “nice” No capitol ‘N,’ no punctuation, just “nice”         .
This may or may not be an actual real photo from my actual real life. 

Deflated, you fight horrendous traffic back to your much too small and too expensive apartment. You remember you have to get groceries but you gave up that serving shift tonight to go the aforementioned workshop so you have no money and no choice but to heat up that Ramen from the back of your cupboard. On your couch with your noodles and tall glass of faucet water, you sit and question all of your life decisions that led to this exact moment in your life.

THIS. THIS is what it’s like to be an actor in Los Angeles. (For most.)

The glimmer of hope is this: It happens for some. The definition of “it” is different for everyone but whether “it” be fame, fortune, or just a humble, honest living as an actor in LA, “it” dangles in front of millions of aspiring, like a carrot in front of an ass.

My only advice, (if I’m qualified to offer any) is to follow these 3 rules:

Never has a gimmick gone so horribly wrong. 
1.       Do only what inspires you. – You might feel good getting a paycheck for “acting” but after a while, commercials holding a cell phone just so or insisting that a certain tampon was the best for your fictional ski weekend, will not be the fulfilling, meaningful career you hoped it would be. Gimmicks are a great way to “get in the door” but look what happened to Carrot Top.

2.       Create your own work. (Art) Only you know YOU. Create roles for yourself that showcase your abilities. If you are creating and creatively fulfilled, others will be attracted to that. And more work and opportunity will come.

3.       For the love of God, do NOT go on Facebook. Never was there ever a bigger well of depression than the site that makes EVERY one’s lives look way more fantastic than yours. Don’t do
This guy used Facebook to save his father's life... Nothing I do will be better. Ever. 
it. Don’t fall into that rabbit hole. Nuff said.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

2014: The year of OUTPUT

This is really, really.... nice, Richie. 
As the year comes to a close, I, like most begin to reflect on all I’ve accomplished. And like most overly self-critical, over-worked, perfectionists, I’ve accomplished “nothing.” Now, if someone says, “Really? Nothing?” I can usually produce a few things that to most definitely qualify as accomplishments. Living in a city like Los Angeles as an artist, where there are millions like you does not help. MILLIONS. They are all working hard. They are all producing art. Someone is always working harder or producing more art than you and they’re probably doing it better. (Well… that’s subjective obviously. But remember, self-loathing and overly-critical over here.)  Whenever I get an idea to create something, whether it is a blog, a sketch, a song, or even a joke, I find myself saying things like “No one want to read/watch/listen to/fund/go to that!”  “People are gonna think I’m weird/corny/talentless/dumb for sharing this.” Or, “People are gonna think I’m arrogant or self-involved if I share this about myself.” What’s even worse is that there are the projects that have been started and even finished that I can’t bring myself to share because they aren’t “perfect.” And “So and so did something like this and its pretty good, soooo…. I’ll just let them bask in the glory of accomplishment.”

Future art critic. 
Then it becomes so easy to sit on my couch, on my computer and make fun of all the awful, awful art out there. The bad movies, the bad jokes, the bad YouTube videos, the bad books, the bad scripts, the bad photos, the bad songs, etc, etc…  Because it’s hilarious to make fun of people for working really hard and sharing a project with the world, right? As I’ve learned, No, it is not. I’m making fun because I’m jealous with an unhealthy intensity.

Have you ever wondered “Why in the world is THAT guy/girl famous?” It is probably because he/she is the “hardest working
Seriously, HOW is this guy still working. The WORST.
guy/girl in show business.” He/she probably produces at such a rate, and self-promotes at such a rate that he/she is impossible to ignore. And it is likely that because they've got so much experience producing and self-promoting, that at least ONE great thing is created and there you have success. However you define it. Can you imagine if ALL the world's most talented shared with us ALL the time? It would be an amazing place! 

So, in the spirit of the New Year, I’ve declared 2014 the year of “OUTPUT.” I pledge to share everything I create and I promise to create those ideas that have been floating around in my head for years. I’d like to begin with something that I’ve wanted to do for YEARS but have never done because I was sure people would not want to listen and they would think I was a super cornball. Here it goes: I recorded some Christmas Music. I recorded it so hard, it happened in the same recording studio where Guns n’ Roses recorded ‘Appetite for Destruction’ and No Doubt recorded ‘Tragic Kingdom’ and many others. I FINALLY did it and it was an awesome experience and I will never regret it. I admit it world, I like to sing and I’m CHWEER FOR CHRISTMAS!

 I must say a special “Thank you!” to David Duarte for the studio time and his exceptional skill.

I hope this post finds you all well and inspires you to make 2014 the year of “OUTPUT” for you, too! The world needs whatever you have to offer! 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Justice, Confrontation, and Latent Anger Issues

Confrontation and animation at it finest. 
Some people do all they can to avoid confrontation. They fear it. It makes them uncomfortable. They prefer a tranquil, harmonious environment, where no one is angry or has a personality. To them I say, “Good luck with your boring life, Wuss.”  I love confrontation. I revel in it. I don’t love it for the sake of it. I don’t just walk around yelling at people. I love it because, under the right circumstances, it is the breeding ground for justice. Sometimes, those tranquil, harmonious environments seem nice on the surface, but just below that surface lay smarmy line cutters, parking space stealers, eye-rollers, or  rude-to-starbucks-guy guys. And they’re getting away with it. Well, whenever these creeps show their colors, I’m there; ready to win a small victory for human kind with confrontation. Like the justice police or like the confrontation super hero, ConFron Girl. (No… not that name. I’ll need some time.) I am reminded of my favorite scene from ’30 Rock’ starring Tina Fey. The opening scene for that series is brilliant. Tina’s character, ‘Liz’ stands in a long line for a hot dog when a suit, line-cutter starts a new line, threatening her and 10 others’ hot dog experience. Liz confronts him about the new line and he says, “I’m just buying a hot dog.” To which she exclaims, “We’re ALL buying hotdogs!” Then half of the original line joins the suit’s new line, like sheep. She then immediately buys all the hot dogs, all $150 worth, and
"Blerg." "I want to go to there."
passes them to the people in the original line and justice was served on that New York street. That guy would probably go on to cut another line, but that day he did not get away with it, he did not get a hot dog, and he’ll think twice before he inevitably does it again. Win.

What happens next in that scene brings us the 2nd reason I love confrontation.  Liz then dances down the street, with her large box of hot dogs, smiling and bringing hot dog joy to people on the street, all to a theme song dedicated to her. This represents the high, the adrenaline rush after you’ve really given someone the business. I can live for weeks on the high a good confrontation gives me. It’s a rush. And it doesn’t always have to involve yelling or arguing. One time, I made a woman cry in Target without yelling. She was rude to my friend, the customer behind us, and the cashier. I read the situation, no one was going to say anything and the cashier certainly couldn’t, so I stepped in. All I had to do was say to the cashier, so that everyone could hear, “Have a good day, sir and good luck with that crazy bitch behind us!” All with a smile and a good thumb
I'm even more bad ass than this badass bitch AND her big feet. 
point. Everyone laughed. Was it very clever? No, but it worked. As she walked out, I noticed her red eyes and a tear that dripped down her face as she angry walked (I imitated this for weeks) to the door. Was she having a really bad day? Probably. Will she ever take that out on the innocent people shopping at a Target again? Nope. Win. That happened two years ago and thinking about it still gets me high.

I could take this bitch. "Do you even lift, sis?!"
Unfortunately, sometimes, you pick the wrong stranger to confront and you wind up hoping this isn’t the moment you’ll be shot in a Forever 21. But therein lies the problem. Some of my closest calls have delivered the biggest highs. Like this one: Picture it: October 19th, 2013. A Trader Joes parking lot in Los Angeles, CA. Noonish. I’d just finished packing my grocery-filled, reusable (duh) bags into my car and was ready to reverse out of my parking spot. I was parked next to an SUV. I was driving my little Toyota so it was difficult to see around the large vehicle. I did my best to look all directions for other cars and pedestrians and began to reverse. Just then, a middle aged white couple and their teenage son came walking out from behind the SUV. Since the SUV wasn’t see-through, I didn’t see them until they were directly behind my car. I came to a sudden halt and put my hand up in a “Sorry, I didn’t see you there” sort of way and smiled, even though I definitely didn’t have to. Then, middle-age-crisis-dad threw his hands up and lipped, “What the fuck?” to me in through my rear window. Middle-age-crisis-dad obviously had no idea who he was messing with today. I did not deserve that. Any normal person would understand I did all I could do to stop as soon as I saw them. I thought, ‘Here we go, Andrea. Here’s your chance to really give it to someone.’ So, I assessed the situation. Dad: khaki shorts, polo shirt, calf-high socks, neon tennis shoes, receding hair-line. No threat. Mom: A buck-10, the eyes-too-close-together look of a woman who’s greatest achievement was the pimply, teenaged asshole on his phone. No threat. I could take her. Son: On his phone, paying no attention whatsoever. (It should be noted, that asshole stayed on his phone through the entirety of the following story.) I decided it was safe to retaliate. So, I threw MY hands up and mocked his, “What the fuck?” This pissed him off and he turned on his heels and started marching toward the passenger side of my car. I was like, ‘Here we go, Andrea. This is what we’ve been practicing for.’ I left the engine running, threw my e-brake on, and stepped out of the driver’s side to look the adversary in the eye over my Toyota.

“What’s your problem?!” He yelled.

“YOU, idiot! You all just appeared out from behind that SUV while I was reversing and I stopped as soon as I saw you. And you had to throw your hands up like a JERK?! What’s YOUR problem?!” I replied.

“It sure didn’t look like you were gonna stop!” He yelled louder.

“Pedestrians have the right of way.” His genius wife piped in.

“No Shit! That’s why I stopped, genius!” I said to the genius.

Dad stepped in close to my car and pointed in my face and in a deep, Alec Baldwin voice, with some of the craziest eyes I’ve ever seen said, “If you were a man, I’d punch the shit out of your face.”

This was surprising. And for a second, just a second, I was nervous. Dad obviously had some issues and maybe a gun? And I thought, ‘No, Andrea. Go for it. If he hits you, it’s definitely more damaging to him.’ So I replied in my best evil whisper, with even crazier eyes, (I do have crazy eyes) “I WISH you fucking would!” (For the record, for ridiculous purposes, I wish I would've replied, "You're out of luck, sir. There's no shit in my face.") 

This surprised him. He violently slammed his hand on the roof of my car and began to step around to my side of the car. He had the look in his eye of a man who had LOST HIS SHIT. So, I, with the look in my eye like a lady who had lost her shit, slammed my door to meet him in the middle. I was no chicken. I had asked for this beating and I was going to take it like a man… err, a woman! (Wait… that seems offensive….) But ok, I was going to take it like a WOMAN. Just then, his wife pulled him away, exclaiming, “It’s not worth it, Derek!” (Ha. Derek. Of course, right? Don’t name your kid Derek. He has a 100% chance of being a dick. Derek= Dick. Say Derek really fast five times. What do you get?) So, instead of beating a woman’s face in, Derek hocked a big loogie and let it rip on my windshield. I was appalled. This was the ultimate disrespect. That is the only explanation I can give for what spewed out of my mouth next….

“I SHOULD’VE RUNOVER YOUR WHOLE, FUCKING DISGUSTING FAMILY!!!” I meant it, too. His throat snot was on my windshield! Bleh!

“Oh no.” Genius wife said in a worried voice.

“YOU’RE AN ASSHOLE!” Dad said as he was pulled away.

“AND YOU’RE GREAT AT NAME CALLING!” I yelled sarcastically. (Not great, I know. But I was lit up.)  It was over at this point and I got back in my car. For a second, I had some remorse over threatening to kill a family in a Trader Joes parking lot and with shame, I cleansed the loogie off my windshield with my washer fluid. And then I replayed the scenario again in my head and realized that man was way in the wrong. He deserved everything I said. But I was in the wrong too because he was crazy and were it not for eyes-too-close-together wife, I might’ve gotten my first solid beating, assuming he didn’t have a gun, all because of my big mouth and “love” for confrontation. ‘I’m getting too old for this.’ I thought. Then it happened. The high. I was flooded with a rush that can only be compared to a glass of wine, post coital, followed by a long line of cocaine. (Never, ever done this….. I swear.) A HIGH I’ve never felt.  I smiled. Breathing heavily now and heart beating fast, I noticed a lingering piece of loogie in that portion of my windshield the wipers don’t get to. I frantically looked in my car for something to clean it with then quickly stopped. “No. Leave it.” I said to myself. Like a badge of honor. “You’ve won today, Andrea.”  I drove around with it crusted on my windshield for a week until it rained and every time I looked at it, I smiled.

The closest depiction the internet had of Derek. 
I know what some of you are now saying, “Geeze, Andrea Chesley: Blogger’s obsession with confrontation obviously represents some latent anger issues and emotional instability.” You’re probably right. And I am well aware. I was picked on a lot as a kid, like most, and never stood up for myself. So, here I am, an angry adult, but I am working on it. Confrontation and justice are important. Standing up for yourself is IMPORTANT. Just choose your battles wisely because, like most drugs, the high from confrontation can bring the lowest of lows or get you shot. That loogie on my windshield reminded me of this. While it represented my passion for justice, it also represented a tendency toward anger that is unhealthy.  Derek the dad is still a dick, but his DNA has taught me to remain the classy (ish) lady that I am in all situations, including confrontations.  

Thursday, September 19, 2013

QUIZ: Are you a Real Cat Lady?

The most genius shirt ever made.
Cat apparel is seeing a striking rise in popularity in recent days. There are shirts, leggings, sweaters, hats, socks, shoes, belts, etc. all adorned with our furry feline friends. Castronauts (Cat astronauts,) Taco Cats, cats on fire, cats with hipster glasses, cats ascending to heaven in flowery cloud beds… Cats are everywhere! Perhaps this trend began with the popularity of Tard, the notoriously Grumpy Cat or the long anticipated release of the feature film, ‘Lil’ Bub and Friendz’ based on the adventures of a cat plagued by a facial deformity and his ragtag group of palz. All this prompted me to ask myself, “Well, shit, is being a cat lady actually…. COOL?”
Tard being Tard. Haha, "nuts."

The answer is no, BUT with cat apparel appearing in the Targets, K-marts, and Walmarts of the world, it opens up the opportunity to sport the kitty apparel to the masses, thus our problem. There is a rise in number of “Cat Lady Imposters.”  The problem with CLIs is that they don’t actually own a cat or give any thought or devotion to the feline cause. They don’t know the panic of repeatedly calling for your cat’s name and when they don’t come, not even when you shake their treat bag, you’re sure they’ve run away or are hurt, so you furiously search the house only to find them hiding in the bathroom cabinet, just waiting, like a sick game of hide-and-go-seek you didn’t know you were playing. They don’t know the torture of finally sitting down after a long day with your Big Salad and glass of wine and, your cat, after ignoring you all day, decides THIS is the exact moment they simply must be in your lap and be thoroughly stroked. CLIs don’t know the disappointment of buying the perfect, state-of-the-art cat toy (stick with a dangling feather attached) only to wake and find the toy untouched but every piece of used dental floss has been removed from your trashcan and
"Don't act like you're not impressed."
redistributed throughout your home. They don’t still have a scar on their left boob from the first time they tried to pick up and cuddle their new cat. They don’t know the JOY of finding legless crickets near where you keep your shoes. “It’s a gift, Mom,” the kitties will say. Meanwhile, your closet is a murderous collection of said, “gifts.”  CLIs don't know what its like to bring home, what you thought was a new cat, but it isn't, and it can only be best described as a creature sent to destroy your toes, a Toe Goblin. CLIs are wearing the cat shirt to be “ironically cool” but haven’t actually earned the privilege. Cat Ladies have so little, people. You gotta give us this one thing.

So, if you’re wondering if you might be a CLI, I’ve created this list of questions, a Cosmo style quiz, if you will, to help you decide if you’re worthy to don the Castronaut shirt.

"I hope they don't find out you're a CLI, man. For your sake." 


Question 1: Are you a woman?

If you answered “Yes” to this question, then congratulations! You’re halfway to being a REAL CAT LADY. Proceed to question 2.

If you answered “No” to this question, then it gets more complicated. It gets complicated because you don’t have to be a woman to be deemed worthy to wear cat apparel. So men, you must answer these sub-questions to move on to question 2 and potentially find out if you too, are qualified to wear cat apparel.

A.      Do you go to the gym a lot?
B.      Do you own a Dog? (Yikes.)

If you answered “Yes” to either of these questions, unfortunately you are, by the law of averages, probably not worthy of the Taco Cat t-shirt. I’m sorry. You’ll never be hilarious at parties.

If you answered “No”, to both of those questions, then Congratulations! You’re halfway to being a REAL CAT LADY. Proceed to question 2.

Question 2: How many cats do you own?

If your answer was anything from 1-4, the CONGRATULATIONS! Head to Target immediately and get that t-shirt featuring a Cat DJ workin’ the turntables. You’ve earned it, baby! Hell, treat yourself to the kitten ballet flats too!

If your answer was 0 cats, then you are a CLI, the worst kind of people and everything that is wrong with America. I have two suggestions: One, go to a shelter immediately and change your life. Cats are awesome, low maintenance, and will teach you everything you need to know about life. No cat for you? Fine. Two, wade in that void for the rest of your fucking life for all I care.

If your answer was 5 or more….. (I’m about to get real here) then we have a problem. Unless you live on some kind of magical farm, you fall into a category of crazy (and are probably really, very lonely) that is really hard to come back from. Toxoplasma Gondii, the parasite found in cat feces that causes Crazy Cat Lady Syndrome, has likely taken over your brain already. 5 cats, is too much. I personally understand the deep, aching urge to save each orphaned feline you come in contact with but, you must think of the effect this has on your human relationships. Have you had a sexual partner in the last year? Probably not. Go, immediately clean out your litter box and decide your least favorite cat and find it a home.
She and I could be friends. 
Somewhere he/she can be special. Yeah? Ok. You can definitely still wear the cat apparel, but it’s a little less cute and a lot more sad.

Alright everyone, I’m not saying that just because you don’t own a cat, you don’t like cats. You could be 7 and living under the tyranny of your dog-loving parents. But until that time you’ve realized that the holidays are coming and that means you have to get your new cat a stocking for Christmas, you’ll never feel quite right in cat leggings. You see?  

PS. Owning a cat and a dog is OK. That makes you some kind of saint. Like bringing the Sharks and the Jets together. Good work. 

This exists. CCL super hero movie? I think so. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

I am from ARIZONA!

"Its a small world of stereo-types."
The other day I was driving through downtown Los Angeles… Well, I guess more specifically it was somewhere in the middle of MacArthur Park, Westlake, and Westlake South….. I think. I’ll just give you the cross streets. I was driving through the intersection of Alvarado and 7th. There were so many people outside on this day, they were practically flooding into the streets. There was no particular event happening. It was just people moving through their day to day, shopping, reading in the park, working, asking for change, playing basketball, etc. It was a sea of diversity; a microcosm of Los Angeles. There were so many different colors, shapes, sizes, and walks of life, it was like the “It’s a small world” ride at Disneyland if the dolls were people, they aged, and had to fend for themselves. This diversity might be my favorite thing about LA. When I first moved here, it was so fun to ask people where they were from. It was always a fascinating answer because the answer was almost never the same. “I was born in Peru, but grew up in Germany and then Seattle.” “I’m a cowboy from Alberta.” “I was born in Iran and came here to escape political persecution.” “I moved here from South Africa last year.” “I’m from the panhandle.” (I had NO idea that’s what they called the part of Florida that, you guessed it or knew it already, looks like a panhandle.) It was all fascinating. All of it. Even if you were from the mid-west.

What was not so fun was when people would ask me the same
Eh. Its OK, I guess. 
question. I would say, “Eh, Arizona. It’s hot. No big. Tell me more about Australia!” In my defense, I’m 3rd generation Arizonian, had lived there for 26 years of my life, and was possibly suffering from a long-term bout of heat stroke that started in the womb. Seriously, I’m probably slightly over-cooked. (Its over 100 degrees there for like, 7 months out of the year for goodness sake!) I was so happy to be in California and OUT of Arizona; it just didn’t seem worth talking about. It’s just one state over. Why would anyone be interested in what happens there? I humbly and (to my fellow Phoenicians, apologetically) admit there were SEVER
AL times I rolled my eyes and in an Eeyore-esque voice said, “I’m from Phoenix, I guess.” “I went to Arizona State University. Yes, I went to parties. Yes, there are actual classes there.” One time, I was with a group of actors that I admired. We were discussing a character in a scene and someone said, “He was a smart guy. He went to Northwestern. It’s not like he went to Arizona State! HAHAHAHAHA!” (The guy who said this was wearing one of 9 Yale shirts he owned and in retrospect, was a douche. But it still stung.) I remember laughing along with everyone else and while a small tear ran down my cheek, I joked, “yeah, in Arizona, your degree from ASU doubles as a handicap placard. HAHAHAHA!!” I felt just sick about it. I would fantasize about being from somewhere else like Spain or New Zealand or Portland or even Canada! Maybe I could be Armenian because I am seriously great at pronouncing the last names. Or a Jewish girl! I don’t want to convert, I want to have
Come on, ASU. Come ON!
been born Jewish and from Brooklyn because I could do an amazing impression of my Mutha! Alas, that was not to be. I was forever a sad Phoenician. Then, something started to happen.

After a few years here, in cooler weather, and many trips back to all parts of Arizona, this change began. People started coming to me with questions like, “I’m going on a trip to Phoenix. What should I do there?” and “Have you ever been to the Grand Canyon?!” I found myself saying things like, “You have to go ghost hunting in Jerome!”  “Did you know Maynard from Tool has a vineyard in AZ?” “You gotta float down the Salt River!” “You haven’t LIVED until you’ve driven out to the desert and set something on fire!”  “There’s no good Mexican food in Los Angeles! You think this is a taco, bitch?!?” “Havasupai! Cowboys!  Whisky row! Monsoons! FOUR PEAKS BREWERY!” And, "Fuck yes, I have been to the Grand Canyon!" I am the resident expert on Arizona and a self-proclaimed desert rat.  I have become an almost disgustingly proud Arizona-born LA girl. I damn near bought an
An AZ sunset is the best kind of sunset.
ASU quilt the other day. A QUILT. I’m still working through my jealously over the fact AZ finally named the wall of dust that happens right before a monsoon, WITHOUT ME! It’s a haboob! I want to be able say, “haboob” all the time too! Also, central air conditioning is in every single building in Phoenix! (Can you please take note, LA?!? It’s 100 degrees today and I’ve got an ice cube and a fan.) You can ski and swim in the same day in friggin’ Arizona. Good ol’ AZ.  I am sorry I doubted thee.

I had a great epiphany driving through MacArthur West Park Lake South. I realized that I too am an important part of the diversity. All that I have to offer is part of what makes LA and, if I may, the world a better place. I am thankful for all the resident experts here! Tell me what the frig there is to do in Wichita, KS! It’ll probably sound great and I’ll totally believe you. You wanna know anything about AZ? Pull up a chair, partner! I’ll friggin’ tell you. “First, you drive out to the desert. Then, you tie a mattress to the back of your truck…….”

Wait... What? OH, COME ON, ASU! COME ON!!!


Thursday, August 29, 2013

No, I'm NOT married.

A depiction of my future wedding day. 
There is this obsession with marriage and weddings that happens to people (I’d say women, but men get pretty weird about it too) around the 25-35 range. Everybody without a mate is desperately seeking one and everyone with one is wondering ‘when will he pop the question?’ or ‘when do I have to pop the question?’ Everyone around you is getting married and this odd competitiveness begins. “If Sheila and Bob get married before we do, I’ll just die!” Or, “Sheila and Bob had a taco truck and sparklers. We need a burrito truck and fireworks!” (Yes, I just implied Burritos were better than tacos. What of it?) Not only are there the quintessential “Bridezillas,” but now, thanks to Pinterest, we have the ‘who can DIY their wedding the most?!’ people. “Our flowers were grown from our own garden that we composted with our own shit made out pure kale juice that we juiced ourselves from a local organic farm.” There is a lot of pressure out there to have an amazing wedding.  My boyfriend (former fiancé, former estranged fiancé, former ruiner of my 20s) and I have been together for almost (roughly, on and off) 9 years. That’s right! 9 years. Guess what everyone, we’re 30 and STILL not married. 

"Yes, I found this umbrella/TV combo on Pinterest and that IS us on the screen!"

This does not mean I don’t want to get married. I’m fully on the crazy wedding train. I want the dress, the chocolate fountain, the open bar, etc. I want every little detail to be perfect. I just haven’t done it yet. I got some shit goin’ on and a wedding is a FULL-TIME JOB. Ask any bride. I’ve been to a lot of weddings. I’ve got some great ones to live up to. The first wedding I remember is when I was a flower girl at my Uncle Ron’s wedding here in California. (The only time I was a flower girl, but I’m not bitter.) I remember a big church and all that, but more distinctly, I’ll never forget my Uncle Ron singing “LOVE,” made famous by Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra, to his new bride. That might have been the first time I saw someone drunk and it looked awesome. His love for her was clear. (I can’t WAIT to sing to Travis drunk at our wedding. And I WILL.)  I also vividly remember there was an ice sculpture that I could not stop touching. The point here is that I was like, 7 and I’ve NEVER forgotten that wedding. I attended a wedding in Vegas where all the food was served in cocktail glasses. It was the first time I had a Tom Collins. NEVER forgotten it. I went to a Mormon wedding where they served Sherbet Punch and I got Sherbet Punch drunk. NEVER forgotten it. I went to my cousin, Heather’s wedding and after we went for a reception dinner at Bucca Di Beppo and I had Chicken Cacciatore over mashed potatoes. NEVER forgotten it. The boyfriend and I had one of our most epic battles at our friends’ wedding in Gilbert, AZ. I puked. He left. Not proud. BUT I'VE NEVER FORGOTTEN IT. I’m about to be a bridesmaid at one of my best friend's wedding and I’m already creating memories I’m sure I will never forget. NEVER. (I tried to order a male stripper in Bakersfield, CA last week and I’m still getting emails. Its not good.) This is all because marriage means celebration to me. Not paper. Not taxes. Not a crazy step on the commitment ladder. I simply have not been able to afford it yet. And believe me, I’ve tried. But like I said, if you’re not loaded, it’s a full-time job.
I most definitely don't want to end up like this lady. Nameless and angry on someone's blog. 

There are varying responses when I tell people that my boyfriend of 9 years and I are not married. Marriage is very important in our society and in religion, so most have a strong opinion about it either way. My very religious family JUST began inviting my BF into the family picture in 2012. My sister-in-law didn’t have to wait 8 years. She was invited in right away because she married my brother, WITHOUT fully understanding the level of crazy my family was dishing out. And I get it. Marriage is a big fat commitment, but she’s only been around for a little over 3 years. Yet, they welcomed her with open arms. My brother recently came to visit with my niece and nephew and when we greeted them I said, “Genivieve, (my niece) say hi to Uncle Travis (my boyfriend)” and my brother said, “Oh, we weren’t sure if we were allowed to call him that.” In his defense, I believe this was because he thought we might be sensitive about it. If we haven’t gotten married yet, what business do we have being aunt and uncle to each other’s nieces and nephews? And how would people know we felt that way if we haven’t become husband and wife? I don’t know, but to us, we’re all family at this point.  Frankly, I heard more “Why haven’t you two gotten married yet,” in Arizona. AZ suburbs tend to be a little more conservative. I don’t get it much here in LA because there are more liberals, everyone is more concerned about the gays getting married, and apparently, “its not a great career move to get married in the entertainment industry.” (Don’t worry. Someone really dumb said that to me. But people think that way!) Whatever the reason LA has for leaving me alone on the marriage thing, I don’t care. I just appreciate hardly ever answering the question. Until JUST the other day when someone asked how long my boyfriend and I had been together. After I told them, they said, “Wow! Shit or get off the pot! Am I right?!” I said, “I’m sorry?” They said, “Well, it sounds like he doesn’t want to marry you. Uuuuhh, sorry. I call ‘em like I see ‘em.”

‘Shit or get off the pot?!?!’ No. They were not right. My boyfriend has seen me poop, naked, without make-up, with a crazy, sweaty, morning fro, all while bitching at him for something and he’s still deeply in love. We have fully shit in the pot. We have shit all over each other. For real. You think we’re not committed? I got stories for days. I’ve got two cats out of wedlock with him. We’re tight. The fact of the matter is, it’s not about the marriage certificate or title of husband and wife for us. Truly. It is about the celebration of Travis and Andrea. In our minds, we are epic. And in my mind, we need an epic wedding and celebration worthy of the time we have put in together. A wedding party so great, that our nieces, nephews, cousins, parents, and friends will remember forever and so fondly, that people will talk for years about how great our wedding was and our love is. I want people to dance, I want people to eat like crazy, I want people to drink until someone gets weird and we can make fun of them, I want people to cry, I want people to be jealous… So, you can see how much pressure I have put on this day.

My dream wedding dress. (HA. No, not really. Just like to scare my mother.)
I realize that no matter what we do for our wedding day, it will likely be wonderful. But even the “cheapest” of the do-it-yourself’s require a budget and right now, there is none. And when extra money rolls in, it goes toward these crazy careers of ours. We don’t want help from anyone else so, for now, we are happy with that. We could go to a court house tomorrow and get it done, but that would mean I couldn’t show my children video of me drunkenly singing “At Last” by Etta James to their dad someday. Hey! Maybe my children will be able to see it live. I don’t know. But it will be great. All I know is I need to look hot in my wedding dress. And I can’t imagine someday my BF and I will say, “You know, we never got married. What do ya say we just call it quits?” Probably not. Its love, people and its here to stay. 

Just because.