Saturday, October 27, 2012

Timelessnessity

One of my groups in the haunted house tonight was composed of a bunch of men and women in their 40s. It's not uncommon to see middle-aged people roaming these halls, but there was something about this group that made me a little sad. It took me a minute to figure it out, but here's what it was - they were a bunch of people in their mid-forties trying to be a bunch of people in their mid-twenties.

I am all for staying young at heart. Play. Be happy. Be weird. But own your age. I don't think there's anything at all wrong with growing older. It happens to everyone. Natural part of life.

Have fun as a 40-yr-old. But don't have fun as a 40-yr-old trying to be a 25-yr-old.

Friday, October 26, 2012

It's not pretty, I don't like doing it.

Folding laundry

Driving in snow

Waking up

Washing the dishes

Working in sales

That is all for now.  Thank you.


Home

I had an audition yesterday at Fox studios. I felt really good about it. As I was walking back across the lot to my car I had a very strong feeling of being home. Being where I was meant to be. It was a small, but very comforting affirmation. :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Identity crisis management

In the last couple of weeks I've had to write some autobiographical informational paragraphs for various things - playbills, websites, etc.  And it got me thinking a little bit about putting one's self into so few words.  And I thought it might be fun to do a couple of super-short intros and see what I can come up with.  I like my short bio here on my blog, "Just looking for some happiness in life, fulfillment in work, and the perfect brownie".  Here are some other options:

About Me -

> I like home-made scarves, iced herbal cream teas, and am randomly good at punting - river, not football.

> I enjoy desserts of all kinds (unless they involve peanut butter), listen to musicals in the car to avoid falling asleep, and have an affinity for children's literature.

> I'm an actor, educator, singer, reader, eater, and lover of Disney.

> I own yellow pants, green shoes, striped socks, and a red scooter.

> The key to my heart is shaped like a brownie-bottom cheesecake.  Also, I only possess one pair of white socks.

> Son, brother, uncle, friend, shower singer, road-trip taker, ukulele player, and bargain shopper extraordinaire.

> I believe in magic, the goodness of people, the future, Santa Claus, and crocs.

> I have 1 pair of gellin' insoles, 2 newsboy hats, 3 pairs of red shoes, 4 modes of transportation, and a waffle iron.

I feel like maybe I need a few more websites so I can use all of these.

Your turn.  Go!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Chips and Guac

I love food.  Today, specifically, I love guacamole.  Trader Joe's has a guacamole kit that maybe changed my life.  It allows you to make your own fresh guacamole without having to figure out what goes in guacamole.  GUACAMOLE! I just like saying that...


For those of you not fortunate enough to have a Trader Joe's nearby, here's what you need:

2 avacados
1 smallish tomato
1 lime
A couple of garlic cloves (not the entire big thing, just a couple of sections)
A shallot, small onion, or small amount of onion
A spicy pepper - if you want some kick to your guac.

Mash up the avacados.
Dice up everything else (except the lime).
Combine with the juice of said lime.

Voila!  Gauacamole!

I also added some cilantro.  Cuz I likes me some cilantro.  I might also experiment in the future with some corn, or black beans.

Super easy.  Super healthy.  Super delicious.  Super guacamole.

You're welcome.  :)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Tradition!

About a month or so ago my ward had this big thing.  I was out of town or something so I actually missed it, but I liked the premise.  It was called "A family of one."  The concept being that even though we're single we should behave like a family.

That got me thinking about some things.  I feel like I do pretty good with this.  I have a small food storage, pay my tithing, try to find opportunities to serve, do my best *usually* with my callings, etc. etc. etc.

Somewhere in this thought process my mind was turned to traditions.  Traditions are something you usually associate with a group of people - family, good friends, co-workers etc.  I love traditions.  They just make me happy.

And I thought, "What kinds of traditions can I have/start as a single person?  A family of one?"  Many of the traditional times of tradition naturally fall when one is with family - Thanksgiving, Christmas etc. Sometimes they don't.  I would really like to start some traditions of my own that I can incorporate into a *possible* future family life.

But where to start?  Halloween?  Every Blue Moon?  The Summer Solstice?  Every 5th Thursday?  And what should my traditions be?

I think the Chastity Party may be a thing.  We'll see how it looks this year...

How bout you?  Suggestions?  Any fun traditions you like?  Anything I should look into?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Great Expectations

I've been thinking recently about expectations.  A lot of what irks me in life involves unmet expectations.  Not even an unsatisfactory result, necessarily, just the fact that reality didn't meet the expectation.

Remember that scene from 500 Days of Summer?  The one in split-screen where it shows expectations vs. reality?  Yeah, just like that.

But not even necessarily with relationships.


A few examples of expectations not being met:

Being given an audition time of 11:30 and not getting in until 12:30.

A movie that everyone says is amazing just being okay.

Not having hover cars or universal moving sidewalks in the year 2012.


A few examples of expectations being exceeded:

Being booked for 8-5 and getting done at 11.

"Comes with a free cookie"

Getting to the register and finding out whatever you're buying is 50% less than you were expecting.


I think businesses - and individuals for that matter - would do well to set low expectations and then exceed them.  It keeps people much happier.  True story.  Also, keep them informed when the expectations aren't being met.  It goes a long way.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Clarification

Was reading through a book and found the following that might prove helpful to some:

   Necking includes caressing and embracing.  Heads rest on shoulders of the lovers and faces are pressed close to each other.  You may see a girl leaning her head on a fellow's shoulder while they sit and hold hands.  They may or may not be kissing, but they are necking.  If they are not holding hands, an arm may be about the other's waist.
   Take a walk through the park on a summer night, or watch the automotblies go by, and on a park bench, or seated in a car, you will see lovers necking.  They are respectfully familiar with each other.  Most of these young people are intimate friends or lovers.  The type of person who would neck with a stranger would go on to petting.  It is, as a rule, lovers who care for each other who indulge in necking. To accuse them of petting would be an injustice.

The more you know.  

Friday, October 19, 2012

Dessert

Let's just be real - I love dessert.  More than most things.

Everyone knows I love me a good brownie, but cookies - really good cookies - are right up there.

In Salt Lake City I can tell you half a dozen places to go for a killer cookie.

In Los Angeles, after living there for 2 years - I can't really even think of one.  It makes me kind of sad. I've had some okay cookies, but nothing to compare with what I left behind.

Help a brother out.   Best cookie in LA.  Go.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Combo Pizza

All I really have to say today is that something is right with the world when you can get lunch - and feel full - for under $5.  Thank you Costco.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I AM a blueberry!

There's an organization here in LA called "Story Pirates."  They take stories written by kids and turn them into full-on productions.  They also sometimes make videos, like this one:




Don't worry.  At the first available opportunity, I will be auditioning to be a part of their group.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Tree of Life

Did anyone see that film by Terrence Malick?  It was very artistic.

Anyway, I've had some stuff on my mind for the last week - understandably.  I've just kind of been pondering what my life is going to look like now that I've decided to be a voice for good in the world.  For anyone interested, starting with a post next Sunday I'll be a regular blogger on the North Star website.  North Star is an organization designed to help support members of the church who deal with Same Sex Attraction, along with family and friends who are looking to support loved ones.

I feel like it might be a tough balance for me.  In my post last week the main point that I make is that my attractions are not what I use to define myself.  I tend to steer clear of groups, events, even websites etc where that becomes the focus because it's so easy to get wrapped up in it and let it define your life.  I'm interested to see how I come to grips with that conundrum.  Any suggestions?

Since I was asked to join the blogging team over at North Star I've been pondering what I'd like to write about.  What can I say that will uplift others?  Help them choose to be happy?  See that life can be fulfilling regardless of hard challenges?

I'm not sure I have the answer to that question yet.  But I know it'll come.

Incidentally as I've been pondering this issue I've remembered specific instances when I've shared part or all of my story with individual friends and family.  Perhaps the most awkward was when I confided in a friend of mine from the MTC.  Awkward only because we showered together every day back in the days when the MTC had the good old community showers.  (Great idea.  "Hey, you can't act on your attractions, but we'll let you shower daily with a bunch of other young men."  When I found out about that it was almost enough to keep me from going on a mission.)

Anyway, thanks again everybody for your love and support.  Glad to have you all along on this little adventure of mine.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The in-between time

Remember how I love my career?  LOVE.

But there are times when my work annoys me.

Yesterday was the perfect example.

I was scheduled to be on set for a shoot at 8 am.  According to the call sheet I was the first actor called. It's pretty standard that you'll show up to set and by the time you eat/get through wardrobe and makeup etc. it'll be a couple of hours before they actually use you.  So, when I wandered onto set at around 10:30 to begin working, there were no surprises.

I worked for about 20-30 minutes, then they moved on to other shots.

2 hours later we broke for lunch.

2 and a half hours later, they finally used me again.  For about 20 minutes.  Doing close-ups of just me.

Now, I think even someone who is not familiar with how this whole filming process works will see the complete lack of common sense in there.  They easily - easily - could have had me wrapped and on my way by about 11 in the morning.  Instead I sat around all day doing absolutely nothing.  I missed church.  I missed a nap.  I missed a fresh, hot dinner.  I was aggravated.

Even then, watching 8 and 9-yr-olds perform the final death scene from Romeo and Juliet with a CPR dummy all day was pretty priceless.

Love.  My.  Career.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Things I learned today

Cleopatra was married to both her brother and her own son.

Julius Caesar declared himself a god.

I'm not tall enough or short enough to be a character at Disneyland.

A cast recording I did is up for Grammy consideration.

Sleeping in a haunted house can be quite peaceful.

Paper clips do not make good key chains.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Striking Fear...

But seriously, as far as office supplies are concerned, there's nothing quite as terrifying as the staple remover.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Politicos

I'm not a very politically-minded person.  That's just the way it is.  I tend to steer clear of that whole world because it's a bit too contentious for me.

That can prove difficult come election time because I'm not really sure who or what to vote for a lot of the time.  It's my own fault, I know, but I just have no interest in politics and to be perfectly honest I don't know that, in the end, it really matters who's president.  They don't have as much power to change things as people apparently think they do.

One issue that I've seen during this particular election is the debate over funding for the arts - more specifically centered around PBS.  This is something that really hits home for me since two of my biggest passions are the arts and education.

One of the more humorous/depressing of the visual internet memes out there at the moment:


While I understand where these people are coming from, my question is this - since when was it acceptable to leave the education of your child to television in the first place?

Just a thought.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Aftermath

Just want to say thanks to everyone.  The response to yesterday's post was overwhelmingly positive.  Not that I expected anything less.  I know some pretty amazing people.  And I think people in general are very supportive of each other - which is awesome.  So thanks for all the love.  Please find moments to share that with everyone you know.  And enjoy this little gem, which I think accurately shows how I feel about this whole experience:


Monday, October 8, 2012

Dorothy is an acquaintance

Just wanna be up front.  This is probably gonna be a long one, but for me, will you stick it out to the end?  Please?  May not be easy, but it's not gonna be easy for me either.  May be a little disjointed too, so I apologize.  And you never know, you may get a cookie out of it.

I've been debating exactly how to begin here and I think a short story will do the trick.  I was chatting with my older brother earlier this year.  He said to me something along the lines of, "How's dating going?"  I said, "Ha ha, it's not.  It's hard because there's not really anybody in my ward - in the Relief Society at least - that I'm interested in dating."  Did you catch that?  See what I did there?

For those of you that answered "no" to either of the previous two questions, let me be a tad more blunt.  I'm attracted to men.  A lot of you already know.  A lot of you have probably wondered.  Some - heaven bless you - might even being saying to yourselves, "What?!  No way!"  Well, there it is.  (Though really, if you read my list of favorite movies, this should come as no surprise)  Now I say it that way for a reason. I don't like the terms "gay" or "homosexual" because they carry baggage that doesn't really apply to me - and adding the word "celibate" to either of those terms, though applicable, is a tad depressing.  I don't like saying I "have SSA/SGA" (Same Sex Attraction/Same Gender Attraction) because to me it sounds like I have a disease - which I do not.  There's not really a term out there that I like to use.  So, we'll just leave it at that.

I think maybe this post has been a long time coming, but two things recently have finally made me sit down and write it.

Firstly: BrenĂ© Brown.  Watch her stuff.  It's amazing.  She talks about shame/vulnerability/authenticity/connection etc.  One thing she says is that in order to be fully loved by someone, they need to fully know you.  I have found that to be true.

Secondly:  Voices of Hope.  I plan to participate.  I want to be part of something good.  I want to spread love and understanding.  I want others in my situation - or a situation similar to mine - to know that it's okay.  You can be happy.  You can feel loved.  You can stay true to what you believe.  You can.

Before going on I think it's important for anyone reading this to understand a couple of things.  1 - That I have a strong, vibrant testimony of Jesus Christ.  I know He lives.  I know God lives.  I know they love me.  For now, that's all I need to know.  I don't have a lot of answers.  I just know what God has revealed.  And until that revelation changes - if it ever does -  I'm just doing the best I can, trying to live a good life with what I know to be true. 2 - This is my story.  No one else's.  Everyone's experience with this is going to be different.  I've found that my experiences are fairly atypical in many ways.  I've been lucky to essentially never have had a negative experience in sharing this part of my life with people.


That doesn't mean, however, that I have always felt 100% included.  "Gay Mormons" - for lack of a better term - occupy an interesting position.  On one hand we belong to a church that for all of its efforts to be inclusive, doesn't really know what to do with us.  That's not necessarily through any fault of anyone in the church, it's just that there's not a lot of revelation specific to this challenge.  I'm not even saying there should be - I personally think we have enough, but that's another post for another day.  People often fear what they don't understand and at the very least people in the church are unsure and uncomfortable with this issue.  On the other hand the gay community, I think, doesn't really get how we can maintain our faith.  They don't really understand - in large part - how to support those of use who choose not to live a more typically "gay" lifestyle. We are equally incomprehensible to them.  So, rather than being included, supported, and fully loved by these two generally wonderfully inclusive communities, we get left standing on the sidelines of both.



I can't speak to inclusion efforts from the gay community.  Not super involved there.  But I think the church is starting to make great strides - which is awesome for a lot of people.  There's a lot of ignorance and misunderstanding especially in a community like the church where taboo subjects tend to be covered up or ignored.  As I mentioned, I've never really had any negative experiences since I started talking to people and sharing this part of myself.  Everyone in my life that knows has been loving, supportive, and amazing.  I've never felt oppressed by the church - I think that says a lot about my parents and the church leadership when I was coming to terms with everything.  My life has been filled with positivity and I consider myself extremely lucky for that.  Perfect example - some students from BYU put out an "It Gets Better" video.  Which I think is an awesome step in the right direction, but I turned it off after about 2 minutes because it didn't really resonate with my own experience.

So now that we have some context, here's kind of what it all boils down to for me.  Remember that scene in The Incredibles when Incrediboy/Syndrome is talking to Mr. Incredible and he says something along the lines of "You always told people to be true to themselves, but you never told them which part of themselves to be true to."?  I feel like that.  The gay world is always telling people to be true to themselves and they make it sound like the sexual part of yourself is the only part of yourself you can possibly be true to.  I call BS on that. (That's also why I tend to steer clear of the gay community - just lots easier for me.)  Before being attracted to men, before being "gay", there are so many other parts of myself that are more important to me. I am a child of God, I am a priesthood holder, I am currently the FHE co-chair in my ward, I am a son, a brother, a cousin, an uncle, a lover of Disney and brownies, an artist, an educator, a scooter-owner, a Mac user, a political moderate, a baritone, an ex-subscriber to Lego magazine, do you see where I'm coming from with this?  The grass is greener where you water it.  It's the story of the two wolves fighting inside of us - Good vs. Evil - the one that wins is the one you feed. (And no, I'm not saying homosexuals are evil, it's just a simplified analogy.  Don't put words in my mouth...or blog...) If you choose to base your identity on your sexual attraction, that's what your life becomes about (and there's not necessarily anything wrong with that, it's just a choice one has to make).  For me I choose to base my identity on other things.  My attractions just become a small part of a big list.  That's not to say one's attractions aren't a part of one's identity - and even an important part, it's just that in my situation I have to put them aside.  Nay, I have chosen to put them aside.  Remember that whole "agency" thing?

Does that mean my life is easy?  Certainly not.  There are many nights when I climb into my bed and wish that I had - that I could have - that certain someone from the Elder's Quorum in my arms as I drift off to sleep.  It can be lonely.  It can be heart-wrenching.  It can make going to church every week hard.  It can make Elder's Quorum activities involving swimming really awkward.  It can make the 5th Sunday marriage talk all but unbearable.  But I don't lose hope.  Because there are those rare days when hope is all I have to cling to.

That also doesn't mean that my life is a dark and lonely hole filled only with despair, empty frosting cans, and reruns of Jersey Shore. Along with choosing what can be a very hard row to hoe, I also choose to be happy.  I choose to move forward.  I choose to fill my life with amazing people.  With travel, the arts, cooking, movies, acting, churros, singing, laughing, double-chocolate bread pudding souffle, church callings, shopping, throwing rocks off the top of cliffs (I do stupid man-things sometimes too), family, projects, the ukulele.  I live in one of the coolest cities in the world.  I'm pursuing my dreams and God has seen fit to let me be successful at that.  Life is good.


And now for the FAQ:

I've known since sometime between 7th and 8th grade.  I can't give an exact day, but it was sometime in there.

My parents have known since I was about 15.

I have never been depressed or suicidal.  As anyone who knows me even on a fairly limited basis will tell you, I'm a pretty happy person.  Always have been.

Not sure about the marriage question.  I go back and forth.  There was a young lady who I was pretty much ready to take to the temple and make it eternal, but she wasn't so sure (which is totally okay ladies!).  I moved to LA, she found someone else and is now married.  We are still good friends and I couldn't be happier for her.  If nothing else, she gave me hope that marriage and family are possible.  It might just take a while.  It's so rare that I'm actually that interested in a girl.  I would like to get married and have a family, but if that doesn't happen, I'll be alright.  I know I can have a happy, fulfilling, productive life on my own if that's what's in store (which also would mean I'll never have to worry about being a Bishop.)

I realize this is an incomplete post.  Reading through it I see red flags everywhere that people are going to latch onto and say, "But what about...",  "Now, you just said...", "But wait!..." Two things:

1 - That should kind of show you how complicated this can be.

2 - That's not really the point.  The point is to share something about myself that is deep and meaningful.  To be a little bit vulnerable and see what happens.  To maybe help even just one person see that it's okay.  We don't get to choose the hand we're dealt (at least not entirely, but that's neither here nor there) but we do get to choose what we do with it.

I'm Mormon because when I follow what the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints teaches - love, service, faith, self-mastery etc. - I am happy.  I'm attracted to men because...well, because I am.  I'm happy because I choose to be.  That's a place every person has to come to on their own.  As hard as that is.  But know that I'm here to support you in that journey as much as I can.

If you are dealing with this issue and feel lonely, isolated, depressed ("Yes, I feel all of those things. I'm alive.") know that it's going to be okay.  It really is.  God loves and trusts you immensely.

Feel free to contact me - comment, email, text, phone, FB, hand-written letter on personalized, scented stationery - if you need to talk to someone, or have questions, or want to know more, or want to cash in on that cookie I promised back at the beginning, or need a hug, or a friend, or a Sunday night Disney movie cuddle buddy, or sordid details, or a recommendation on applicable conference talks or excellent brownie recipes, or need to get out some anger or frustration or want to call me all sorts of names a good Christian never should.  That's all okay.  Seriously, don't hesitate.

And feel free to share this with anyone who you think might need it.

There is so much more to say, but we'll leave it at that for now.

And now that that's out there and out of the way, I'm gonna throw on a comfy t-shirt and go for a walk on the beach.  I saw a tiny crab last time I was there and I think that's pretty cool.  Plus I may need some mental preparation for church this coming Sunday.  Could prove interesting.



Sunday, October 7, 2012

Authority, in general

Twice a year The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints holds a world-wide conference.  It's so popular among us Mormons that it often trends on twitter and attracts all kinds of crazy people to hold signs outside temple square in downtown Salt Lake City.

It's during those semi-annual conferences that we receive direct instruction from the general church leadership.  We often form fond attachments to certain authorities or other.  We get used to their style of speaking, eagerly await stories about airplanes or widows, and wonder at the passionate admonitions of some.

Anyone familiar with any of the Apostles from the last few decades will find this funny.  Anyone not familiar with them, might still find this funny:


TOP FIVE WAYS GENERAL AUTHORITIES EAT THEIR REESE'S PEANUT BUTTER CUPS

5.  Paul H. Dunn:  "I remember back in WWII that I ate a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup that was 2 feet tall.  I really didn't know if I could eat it or not, what with my recent war injury and all, but I remembered my fallen buddy's words as he died in my arms: 'Paul, if you just take one bite at a time you can tackle anything.' So I took that giant cup and, breaking it with the bat Babe Ruth gave
me, proceeded to wolf down the tiny morsels".

4.  Thomas S. Monson:  "I remember I ate my first Reese's Peanut Butter Cup when I was a tender lad of 8.  My mother came up to me, and with a loving twinkle in her eye, asked, 'Tommy, are you eating a Reese's?' And I  would invariably smile up to her, 'Yes, Yes, I am.'  "But Tommy, did you know that
Sister Jensen next door hasn't eaten a Reese's Cup in years?"  My young mind thought upon the plight of my next door neighbor as I ...."

3.  Boyd K. Packer:  "In all my years, I have always eaten my Reese's Peanut Butter Cups the same way - the way the brethren have instructed us to eat them.  There is a far greater evil in this world, though - those who believe they can eat their Cups in a way not in harmony with the brethren.  We must be true and faithful and eat our Peanut Butter Cups the exact same way the brethren do."

2.  Neal A. Maxwell:  "I intentionally initiate the delicious design of degluition of the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup by nibbling a negligible nit of the culinary creamy cavalcade.  For like our Savior, it is
exclusively through small entities that the great things are fabricated. Then I ...."

AND THE #1 WAY...
1.  J. Golden Kimball:  "Hell, I'll eat a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup any damn
way I want to!"


I feel like maybe this should be updated for the current generation.  Take out #s 1 & 2, add Elder Uchtdorf and maybe Elder Holland or Elder Eyring.  Who's on it?

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Haunting

So Neil Patrick Harris is my boss, right?  (Sorry to keep mentioning that.  I know it's super name-droppy and ridiculous, but as a friend of mine said, "I work for a lady named Laura, and that's not nearly as cool.")

He's producing the Haunted Play that I'm performing in.  This attraction is hard to describe to people.  It's different than a traditional haunted house because there's a plot, and the audience is involved in the story.  But it's not a really a play because it takes place in an old mansion:


...Anyway...It's super cool.  Neil has been through it a couple of times and even though he's kind of one of the gang at this point, it's always a tad jarring to be all up in my expositiony schpeel and suddenly see NPH's face. (It's dark in my part of the house - which is that window on the upper left of the picture - so I can't really see people very well until I'm right in front of them)  Yesterday I missed out on Michael Cera - which may be for the best.  Jarring experiences like that tend to make me forget my lines.

All celebrity aside, the show has been really fun.  It takes about 40 minutes for people to get through the house and a group starts the tour about every 15 minutes.  It's not a very "jumpy" haunted attraction, though there are certainly jumpy moments, it's more just terrifying.  I don't really want to give anything away, just know that yesterday a woman literally left in tears.  The day before a man had to crawl from one room to another because he lost the use of his legs.  Last week I heard that someone actually wet themselves.  Gotta love Halloween time, eh?

This is exactly the kind of thing I hate going through.  I don't like haunted houses.  I don't visit them.  But being in one is an entirely different experience - and one that I find wildly entertaining (excepting the lady who was crying, I kind of feel bad for her.).  Plus they feed me every day - which is good because this show is exhausting.  We're there for roughly 6 hours.  We do about 25 shows a night (though I'm double cast, so I only do half of them).  I start on the second floor and end in the basement, so I essentially descend and then ascend 2 flights of stairs twice an hour - which doesn't sound like a lot when you put it that way, but believe me, it's tiring.  I'm beat by the end of the night.  And I smell fantastic.  Especially when they serve garlic bread with dinner.

If you have a chance, come check it out.  We have shows through Nov. 11, but tickets are selling fast.

For those of you that can't make it, just enjoy this picture of some of our fractured family:

That shirt I'm wearing is Armani!  Swakny, no?

Random fact:  NPH really likes Red Bull.  Like, a lot.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Dear Mom,

I think you're the greatest.  Because you are.

I know you love me.  I do.  You gave birth to me after all.  Without an epidural even.  You sacrificed a lot over the years so I could have an amazing life.  You fed me, clothed me, band-aided my scrapes, taught me how to play chopsticks on the piano, took me to see "The Nightmare Before Christmas" on our mother-son date even though I'm pretty sure you would have rather seen any other movie, and there was even that one time when you jumped on the trampoline with us.  So yep, I know.

But can we talk about a couple of things?

1 - I will always be your son.  That is true - and I love that.  But I am not - and never again will be - your little boy.  I think that might have been over when I started making my own mac and cheese.  And certainly when I started paying for my own insurance or when I bought my own house.  "No!" you say.  "That doesn't matter!  You'll  always be my little boy!"  I understand where you're coming from, I do.  But you should - and I know you do - want more for me.  You should want me to stop being your little boy.  You miss that little boy, I know.  You miss his chubby cheeks (though I, certainly, do not), his report cards that said, "a little too social," the way he'd cuddle up with you when he was sick, his art projects on the fridge.  But little boys can't pursue their dreams.  They can't use their talents to make the world a better place the same way as men can.  And they certainly can't afford to pay their own rent.  You should want me to grow up and be a man.  And I have, Mom.  So no, I am not your little boy, but I am - and always will be - your son.  Nothing's gonna change that.  And that's pretty cool.

2 - I am almost 30 and can grow a beard.  I'm a little old for "cute".  That train left a while ago.  Won't be back until I'm at least 70 and holding hands with my wife in the park.  And I'm not a glittery craft project, or frilly baby underwear, so maybe let's find another word.

I know.  It's hard.  But I have faith in you, Mom, cuz you've done some awesome stuff in the last 30 or so years.  I mean, look how I turned out.  I'm a long way off from perfect, but I'm doing a lot better than the hobo I saw pooping in the bushes a few weeks ago, and that's not just because of chance.

Love,

Your son (who you happen to think is fairly handsome.  See how easy that was?)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

I oughta be in pictures.

I like it in old-timey movies when people call movies "pictures".  I'm gonna start doing that.

I have a friend who has a top 10 list of his favorite pictures.  He's something of a movie buff.  It's funny, when any of those films come up in conversation he'll say, "That's my #7 favorite movie of all time." Or whatever # it happens to be.  I like that he's so specific.  It got me thinking about my top 10 pictures. I think one could conceivably have several top 10 lists:  Top 10 best, top 10 most influential, top 10 favorite, top 10 funniest, top 10 could-watch-over-and-over-again, but I think I'll just stick to my top 10 all-time favorite pictures.  And I don't know that I'd be able to decide which ones I like better than the others, so in no particular order - and according to today only.  This will likely be different at any given moment, though some will certainly remain the same...but I digress:

1 - Clue
2 - Muppet Treasure Island
3 - Charley and the Chocolate Factory
4 - The Princess Bride
5 - The Toy Story Trilogy (I know it's more than one movie, but this is my list.)
6 - The Wizard of Oz
7 - Thoroughly Modern Millie
8 - Amelie
9 - Ms. Pettigrew Lives for a Day
10 - To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar

Pictures I love that didn't make the list today:

The Incredibles
Finding Nemo
Hercules
Sleeping Beauty
The King's Speech
Connie and Carla
What's Up Doc
Sherlock Holmes
The new Batman trilogy
Joe vs. The Volcano
The Birdcage
Zombieland
Sunset Boulevard
To Kill a Mockingbird
Anything by Christopher Guest


What are your favorites?


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Moon Flower

I have a confession to make.  I'm turning into that guy.  You know the one.  He shops at Whole Foods, only eats organic produce, uses words like "free trade" and "sustainable", wears linen.  I haven't reached linen status yet, but I might be close.  I've read a few books in the last couple of years that have made me take a step back and think about my choices.  The China Study, Green Living, The Omnivore's Dilemma, In Defense of Food etc.  They all have some great info and I think are at the very least thought-provoking.

Also, I'm a Mormon and here's the logic in my brain.  When reading chronologically through the history of the Earth from a religious standpoint (i.e. starting in Genesis and moving forward) here's what happens, basically.  God creates the Earth and everything in it.  God creates man.  God charges man to 1 - make more men i.e. do the family thing.  Then 2 - He gives man dominion over the Earth.  He makes us stewards of it.  I've gotta believe that means something.  Before telling us not to kill each other, God tells us to have families and take care of the Earth.  That must mean it's pretty important.  (I'm working on the family thing, but it's complicated - another post for another day) Plus one of our favorite modern revelations as Mormons is the Word of Wisdom (personally I think we sometimes spend too much time worrying about who's in a beer commercial and not enough time worrying about whether we're living lives of love and charity, but again - another post for another day) which teaches some important, and I think interesting and perhaps even over-looked things about health.

Now, this is just my opinion understand, but I think that in many things, God is not happy with the way we're treating the Earth, or ourselves.  Not to get too Green Preachy here, but we make lots of garbage, and dump lots of noxious chemicals and stuff into the Earth.  We surround ourselves with stuff that really isn't good for us.  And the thing is, we really don't have to.  So, I've chosen to start doing my part to make sure I'm not contributing to that, as much as I can.  So here's what I do:

For the Earth:

Natural cleaning products.  I cannot say enough about baking soda.  Seriously.  Look it up.  Vinegar is almost equally amazing.  With those two products I have effectively eliminated essentially all of my household cleaning products, plus my shampoo and conditioner.  When I feel like buying a cleaning product (like laundry soap or dish soap) I try to find something that is all natural.  You can even find pretty cheap versions of that stuff at your local grocery store.

Phin.  Phin is my scooter.  He gets lots better gas mileage than Charley (my car) and puts out lots less exhaust.  If something is within a 15-20 walking-distance of my house, I walk there.  When Charley dies, I'll probably buy a hybrid.

Recycling.  Most major cities have recycling programs.  They are super easy.  Look into it.

Reusable stuff.  Shopping bags mostly.  I also carry a glass refillable water bottle.

For Myself:

Organic produce.  I know. Really, I do.  There was a recent study published in the LA Times that says nutritionally there's essentially no difference between organic and regular.  Great.  I do it for the pesticides.  Plus lots of organic produce is grown locally.  I support that.

Natural shower products.  I use baking soda as shampoo, raw honey as face wash, natural soaps, aluminium-free natural deodorants.  And guess what, I'm still super clean and smell pretty good.  (Though I have had trouble finding a "natural" antiperspirant...which I find odd.)

I have also started eating less meat.  Though Mormons are not vegetarians, I still think we eat far too much meat.  If you look at the Word of Wisdom (Doctrine and Covenenants 89), along with telling us what not to do (which is what we generally focus on - i.e. no alchol, smoking, coffee, tea etc.) it also tells us what we should be doing.  Eating herbs and grains and the like.  In fact it says grains should be the "staff of life."  Which to me means they should be the main course of any meal.  And though it does say the flesh of beasts is ordained for the use of man it also uses phrases like "to be used sparingly" and "only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine."  Don't know about you, but I can't recall ever having lived through a famine.  In fact, I don't think anyone currently alive who was born and raised in the United States has ever lived through a famine.  Where I live it never really gets cold and we don't have a "winter" to speak of.   Basically what I'm saying is that I think we eat way too much meat and we really shouldn't.  Plus I don't think God is happy with the way the food industry treats animals.

Alright, this got long and kind of preachy.  Basically all I wanted to say was that I think we as Mormons, as Christians, as humans can do a better job of taking care of the amazing gifts we have - The Earth and our bodies.  And if we want to enjoy the occasional steak, or churro, or ride through the country in a suburban along the way, that's probably okay too.

I'd be interested to hear other people's thoughts on this subject.  Whaddya think?  How do you feel about the green movement?  Vegetarianism?  Sustainable housing?  Farmer's markets?  Organic cotton mattresses?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

When you wish...

Let's get one thing straight right off the bat.  I love Disney.  You probably already knew that, but just in case you didn't, now you do.  The first churro I ever ate was after riding Casey Jones at Disneyland when I was 6.  One of the very first things I did upon moving to LA (and technically I think I did it even before officially moving) was buy my annual pass to Disneyland.  Love.  It.

There are many reasons - the movies, the characters, family trips, college internship, unrealistic expectations of love, blah blah blah.  Doesn't matter.  Suffice it to say that if I could marry Disneyland and move into Walt's old apartment above the fire station on Main Street and raise girls who sang to forest creatures, and boys who wore coon-skin hats or pirate eye-patches, I would.

Now that I live within 35 minutes of Disneyland (without traffic) I find myself there often enough to keep me quite content.  Frequently I am there with various and sundry groups of friends.  Or occasionally even friends and their families.  I have discovered that trips to Disneyland are like Christmas in many ways.  Each group brings different traditions to Disneyland and I love seeing what they are.

In my family we are generally open-to-close Disney goers.  Desserts are high on the list of must-do's with churros near the top and we make full use of the fast pass system.  New t-shirts are frequently seen on our trips.  My dad loves the Tiki Room.  My mom does not.  We tend toward the more classic side of Disney, though we also enjoy the newer things. We rarely - if ever - miss the fireworks.

Being that I now go fairly regularly (I'm up to 9 trips so far this year) I tend to let other's traditions take precedence and I just enjoy being there.

It's interesting to see what other people's must-do Disney items are.  Mickey head ice cream.  Tom Sawyer Island (which my family never did).  Billy Hill and the Hill-Billies.  Big Thunder BBQ.  The French Quarter.  Pictures with princesses.  Dole whips.  Hidden Mickeys.  Some rides are higher on some people's lists than others.  Some people need to eat at specific restaurants.  Oddly, I have yet to encounter anyone that has a tradition connected with either Innoventions* or Autopia...

Mostly it's fun because walking Disney to the tune of other's traditions allows me to have some Disney firsts.  Can't think of anything specific at the moment, but I know it's happened.

So, what are some of your Disney traditions?  Anything I should be sure not to miss next time I'm there, which, let's be honest, will probably be next week?  Anyone going soon and need a good recommendation?

*If you've never been to Innoventions, I suggest going.  At least once.  It's pretty relaxed, air-conditioned, and there's some pretty cool stuff in there, though I have to say that Innoventions at Disneyworld is much better than Disneyland.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Conundrum

Remember that one time I was all "Oh, I'm gonna write a post every day in October," and then I failed on the very first day?  Yeah, me neither.  I'm going to pretend like I published this post yesterday and we can all forget that that's not true.  M'kay?

On Saturday I had an audition for Elder Cunningham in The Book of Mormon.  You know, the smash Broadway musical?  They were holding auditions for replacements for the leads in the Broadway company as well as two touring companies.  Initially I basically told my manager, "Thanks, but no thanks."  And then she was all, "Oh no no no, you need to audition for these people."  And then I was like, "...okay."

I went to the audition.  Maybe I rocked their socks off (admittedly I forgot some of the words to the song, but I sounded good - I think - and I hit the high notes, and the song is really about whether I can sing, not whether I can memorize the words in 2 days, amiright?).  I did make them laugh.   I left the audition feeling great.

Enter conflict.

So here's the thing.  Getting cast as one of the two leads in this show would/could be a huge thing.  And I don't mean huge like "Neil Patrick Harris is my boss and bought me pizza" huge .  I'm talking multiple-Olympic-Gold-Medal-winning, Burt-Reynolds-shaving-his-mustache, life-changing huge. HUGE.    I can also see it as being a cool/interesting/unusual/good missionary opportunity in oh-so-many ways.  And I won't lie, while preparing for my audition (I sang a song from the show.  This one, if you want to listen, but just in case you've been living at the bottom of the ocean for the last couple of years, know that The Book of Mormon can be somewhat - read: entirely - inappropriate) I had a couple of moments where I would say I felt the spirit.  The song talks about Christ and the atonement - albeit flippantly - which gets one thinking about such things.  And is it wrong of me to feel that performing in a show that gets me to think about Christ - yes, even a show such a this - maybe isn't such a bad thing?

On the other hand, I think I'd have a really - REALLY - hard time performing in a show that treats so lightly things I consider sacred.  And it's not even just that.  Yes they mock my religion.  Some would say it's tongue-in-cheek.  I call BS on that.  When you degrade something that someone holds sacred, you're crossing a line.  I think it would be like someone writing a cheery musical about the Holocaust.  But I digress.  Aside from any religious elements, it's also that, from what I've heard, it's just crass and offensive in general.  Being in the entertainment industry I get enough of that in my life without purposefully adding more.  I've had a couple of people even say something like, "Well, The Church bought ad space in the program ya know."  Right, because the people at The Church are sharp cookies and saw an excellent marketing opportunity, not because they in any way endorse the show.

Anyway, I don't know.  At this point it's really a long shot.  Mostly my manager wanted me to audition to get in front of the casting people because they do a lot of big musical theater casting - which I am all for.  If I got cast in something more appropriate on Broadway I'd probably move out there tomorrow.  So, as with many many things in this business - we'll wait and see.

What do you think my interweb friends?  Let's say I get a call tomorrow and they want me for the show.  Do I do it?  Do I even consider?  Do I politely bow out and hope and pray that equal or greater, but less shady opportunities come my way?  Whaddya think?