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 fiancĂ©, former estranged fiancĂ©, 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. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Things I learned that week I was a model

I like this girl's commitment. 
As a freshly 30, struggling actress in Los Angeles, I’ve got it pretty tough. Los Angeles is a young, good looking city. I mean, really good looking. Even our “uglies” are by most standards acceptable sexual partners. Youth is of GREAT value. This is mostly because it is the hub of the entertainment industry. Any hometown hunk who gets told he has talent is here. They’re all gathered in one place, making most of us feel inadequate. I’ve been totally fine with this. I’ve lived here for almost three years, feeling adequate most of the time. In fact, I haven’t given it much thought and I’ve been pretty happy with my body and the way I look until…. I booked a modeling job.

“I’m not a model,” I said. “Are you sure? You remember what I look like, right?” I asked my old friend who works for a prominent Japanese Motorcycle brand. He contacted me and asked that I do some print and catalogue work for them. He insisted that I had a look they were trying to go for, “cute” and more “conservative.” “Sure.” I said. I mean, who was I to pass up a great job booking just because I didn’t think I was the “model” type? They wanted me, didn’t they? I’d give it my all! I’d jump right in with confidence!  I’d go on a DIET!

And boy did I go on a diet. I went on a diet so hard, I was THAT
There's a person in this picture!
girl who said, “no thanks. Do you know how hard it is for your body to break that down?!” “Are you kidding me? That’s a carb.” “Don’t eat that in front of me.” “We have to eat now because Oprah says you can’t eat past 8pm!” I actually skipped the burrito and had shrimp cocktail at my favorite Mexican restaurant because it was literally, the only thing on the menu I could eat and I had NOT ONE, single chip with salsa on it. Screw what everyone else thought!  I was a MODEL! It was the first real “diet” I’d ever been on. It’s not as though I ate poorly in the first place, but this was first time I NEVER cheated. Not once!  Well guess what everybody, it worked. It F-ing worked. I dropped weight so quickly it was sad. Sad because it meant that eating incredibly clean is the ONLY way to really lose weight. I know now that I’m officially trading skinny for pizza and I’m totally fine with that, but I digress. I was ready for my modeling job.

I was so excited on my first day of a four day job. I came in fresh faced, with no make-up and my hair thoroughly flat-ironed. I felt so good about myself and was ready to rock a leather motor-cycle suit, some aviators, and a fan. That was not to be. Here is what did happen:

This is a "plus size" model. Oi. 
I showed up to find 4 other models, much younger than I, tanner than I, and much thinner than I, with the exception of one “plus-size” model. Who, coincidentally was actually “too thin” to be a plus-size model at a size 12 (the smallest plus-sizes are usually 14, her agent often lied to clients about here size) and was also brought in to this shoot make it a little “more conservative.” If she was too thin to be a model and I was too fat, where the hell do we fit in? I came in to this feeling so good about myself, but here are some things I learned about myself during this shoot that left me feeling not so good. Some were implied, but some of things were actually said directly in front of me, in no particular order….

-          My hair is difficult to style and “simply does not photograph well.”
-          “Oh, she has bangs. Oh man, that’s so specific.” (On day 2, they figured out how to pin bangs back. Amazing.) “Well, see if you can make her like a, Zooey Dachanel type.”
-          My skin is too pale and I “could not be photographed against a white background.”
-          My legs “have no definition.”
-          My “boobs should be bigger for my body type.”
-          We had to hide my cellulite.
-          I “look like a medium, but I’m actually a small. Wow.”
-          I have one tooth on my left side that is slightly askew.
-          I have very dark circles under my eyes.
-          I have wrinkles around my mouth.
-          I “surprisingly have a lot of nice poses.”- (my ONE compliment.)
-          After day one, I wore black leggings for the rest of the shoot. (In other words, we were hiding my legs.)
-          I’m “old for a model.” (Not too old though, just old.)

I also learned  the other younger, thinner, tanner, real models spoke of their “numerous” flaws in such a matter-of-fact way, I started to believe all these things were important to acknowledge because it came with industry and it was their job to know how to pose to hide said flaws. It seemed important to me to acknowledge that my “flaws” were, in fact, too numerous to be a model. I was referred to as the “comedian” on set because I was certainly, no model. Don’t get me wrong, I had a great time. It’s hard to play dress-up and take pretty pictures and not have a great time. It’s just that, I didn’t feel like a model and I wouldn’t realize it until later, but I did not leave that shoot feeling very good about myself. My friends and family were so sweet following the shoot, congratulating me and telling everyone around, “my friend here is a model.” But I hated it. I had way too many flaws. This job was a fluke. If they’d only been at that shoot with me, they’d know I’m no model. You tell people you’ve done some modeling and they look at you differently. Immediately, they look you up and down and analyze every inch of your face. I’d say “no, no, no… hahahaha… I’m not a model. I just got lucky with a booking.” In other words, “stop f-ing counting my many, many flaws. I know they’re there! STOP LOOKING AT MY FLAWS!” But I didn’t realize what I was really saying at the time.

This photo shoot was two months ago, but I was inspired to write today after someone told me I was pretty a few days ago. It was then I realized I’d spent the two months eating like shit, never going out, never dressing up, and never doing my hair. I postponed headshots and photo shoots for my website because I just didn’t feel like it. I certainly, did NOT feel sexy. I realized all of this when I received the “Pretty” compliment and instead of my stock, silly, charming response of “I know! Ha!” I politely said, “thank you” and immediately thought about my many flaws and that this someone was clearly just being nice…. That’s when I knew, my self-esteem was shot to shit, all because I was a “model.”

This girl is technically a model... for sturdy sinks.
One “modeling” job and I forgot what it meant to be beautiful and sexy. It was the label, “model.” It was my experience with “models.” It was when my worth was placed solely on my looks that I forgot I was talented. I forgot I was smart, I forgot I had a blog… The silly thing is, a “model” is defined as someone who is hired to promote or display a product in some way, but I (and I’d say most) have turned it into this thing most of us can NEVER be. I was a freaking model by its very definition, but I couldn’t handle it. The best thing I’ve learned is that I am not most confident and sexy when I’m feeling thin, having a great hair day, or wearing great clothes. I feel most confident and sexy when I’m exercising my talents and intelligence. (I'm feelin' randy at the very idea of posting this blog!) And when I feel talented or intelligent, I want to take care of my physical self, because I and my body deserve it. Everyone does. 

Nuff said. 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

"I'm the first person to ever turn 30." -everyone who ever turned 30.

(If you're an agent, manager, or casting director visiting my website for the first time. I'm 26. I look 23 and I can play a highschooler if its 'Glee' but not if its the new '90210.')

I'm 26 and I would murder these donuts. 
In the year leading up to my 30th birthday, everyone in their 30’s said the same thing, “Oh! You’re gonna love your 30’s. You’re more comfortable in your own skin and you know more. They’ve been the best years of my life!” Frankly, I always thought, ‘Well, that sounds like something an old person would say.’ My favorites have been the 25-year-olds who would say, “I can’t wait to turn 30! 30 is the new 21!” That sounds like something someone with 5 amazing years left would say. Eh.

Barbie's just getting pregnant and she's like, 70. Also, this is weird. 
So, for a year, I thought I would take advantage of the time I had left and I did a lot. I started a blog, I became a stand-up comedian, (debatable title but its on my facebook page and website now, so I’m going with it) I did a lot of karaoke, and I ate a lot of kale. I even attempted a Christmas album (Look out X-mas 2013.) As the months dwindled down and we welcomed 2013, it was as if I had been slapped in the face with my failures. I forgot I was ever successful at anything and was convinced that if I hadn’t been impregnated accidentally by now, I probably could not have children. I paid far too much attention to the “Turning 30” facebook posts made by my internet friends. Things like, “I’m so happy to be turning 30! I have an amazing career! I have amazing children! I have an amazing marriage! I’ve been to several countries! I’m on a juice cleanse! I booked a role on Criminal Minds! I was on the Price is Right! I’m so blessed to be 30!” This was very depressing. I could not make any of those statements. Never the less, I was determined to make 2013 and the year I turned 30 the best ever.  It was time to make plans! Further my career! Think about how to fit a child around my inevitable sitcom regular role (because I’m very cute and, despite what you’ve heard, that’s all it takes to be successful in Hollywood) and maybe a 2nd cat!  And a wedding! When you’re almost 30 and with a guy who’ll do, you MUST get married! I needed to write more, book comedy shows, take casting workshops, do agent showcases, lose 10 pounds! Network! JUICE CLEANSE!!!!!

 I had 2 months before I was to turn 30, so this was a lot of pressure. So, I did what I always do when faced with a lot of pressure… I took naps. I took A LOT of naps. I beat myself up every time I napped. I beat myself up every time I didn’t make it to yoga class. I beat myself up every time I ate a non-fibrous carb. I would beat myself up every night I didn’t write. My last blog post says its part of a Trilogy! I’ve got news for you, the other two parts don’t exist! I NEVER WROTE THEM! I beat myself up every time I had a drink because “I didn’t deserve it.” (I actually quit drinking for 30 days on January 1st….  Hardest 8 days of my life. “Oh, good idea, Andrea. Put, yet another qualifier on your behavior to beat yourself up over.”) I never wanted to go out because “I should be at home, writing or organizing something or in a class or booking a show.” All in preparation for my 30’s! But, I would just nap. Needless to say, I sleep in the face of self-induced pressure and I was not very much fun to be around. I would express these feelings to people and they would say, “But you’re following your dreams! And that’s amazing!” It’s hard to feel good about life when you’re day job is to ensure David Caruso gets his ketchup and you know Tim Roth's wife likes her decaf black. I know people getting Doctorates for goodness sake! As the days until my birthday grew fewer, even the pressure to celebrate it began to overwhelm me. “Are you going to have a party?!?” Friends would ask. I would respond with whimpers and “maybe a brunch or something?” (For the record, I never had that brunch. It was just too, too much.) I decided on a birthday trip to Vegas with my boyfriend because truthfully, it meant that I would be out of town and I wouldn’t have to put some sort of event together. (And I LOVE planning events and even more, I love celebrating me.) It was clear. I was having a really hard time turning 30.

A shot of me turning 30 in Vegas. 
Hey. Guess where is a terrible place to go when you’re unhappy with life and you’re turning an age you don’t want to turn? Vegas. That’s where. My best advice regarding Vegas is: Try to keep your eyes closed during the day time. That shit’s sad. The final two days before my birthday were spent losing money gambling and drinking drinks that were gross at the Hard Rock. (The Hard Rock might win my award for douchiest place on the planet. I did not have a bartender without a Mohawk.) This was not going to work. I was not going down without a fight. I awoke on the morning of my birthday and made the decision to be happy about it. That day, I was going to do exactly what I wanted to do and I was going to enjoy it. I saw sharks, I saw original Warhol paintings, I had a Filet, I had a super snooty Hipster cocktail called ‘Remember the Maine,’ I got not one, but two souvenir Tiki glasses, had DONUTS, and I spent that evening with some of the most important people in my life. One of which, included my future (at some point) brother-in-law who said something, drunkenly to me that I will probably never forget. He said, “Your life. Your life out there in LA. Its pretty good. Like, really good. It’s a good little life. We think about our visit there with you and it was so fun to live that good life with you for 3 days. You gotta sweet life.”  (A rough recollection but its close and it was so sincere and wonderful…. Because he was hammered.)

It has been 8 days since I turned 30 and I’ve thought about what he said every day. The life he was referring to is pretty good. LA has been really good to me. It is a bustling, diverse, beautiful city with beautiful weather and the beach! I have TWO local produce stores. (One is Jewish and one is Mexican, so it really just depends on what I’m in the mood for.) I have made so many wonderful friends. All I do is think about the many different ways I can perform and do what I love. I dream and every day those dreams get bigger as I surpass my own expectations. I am surrounded by the most talented people in the world. Ok, so my day is spent slinging steaks to weirdoes, but it’s consistent and supports me fully and is balanced out by the chances I get to go slinging jokes to weirdoes at night. I’ve got a love and a cat and brother who keeps having really cute babies that I can spoil. SO, I CAN’T spend my money on traveling the world right now, or shop a ton, or buy a home, and I probably won’t have children for a really long time, but no one has ever regretted fully leaping off the cliff for their dreams, right? I certainly haven’t yet. And hell, some people don’t even have time to nap! I can take as many as I want! I’ve had the “respectable” career and the home in the suburbs and the Costco membership…. And even though it sounds really good right now because I could use a huge tub of pretzels and a retirement plan, I didn’t want it. I didn’t want it so bad, that I packed up everything and left. So, I’m quitting my bitching.

30 is good. For the last 8 days, I have truly never felt so “comfortable in my skin.” Also, I’ve got 10 awesome years before I turn 40. That will really suck.