Saturday, December 22, 2012

We Provided... Leverage

If it hadn't been for Leverage, the last two years of my life would have been vastly different. Leverage allowed me to move to Portland and gave me the dear friends I made there (including Kat, without whom my moving to Portland would have been impossible and to whom I will be forever grateful). Leverage was the catalyst that made me focus on what I love (acting) and helped me make contacts that enabled me to do amazing things. The two Leverage conventions helped me make even more friends and learn amazing things about what fans can do when they really love something.

Christian's concerts taught me that letting myself really let go is the best feeling in the world and listening to a CD (while awesome) isn't the same thing. Aldis Hodge taught me to be effortlessly hilarious and appreciate a man's biceps (because dayum!). Beth Riesgraf taught me that enthusiasm is contagious. Gina Bellman taught me it's a helluva lot of work to be able to master accents and make it look easy. Tim Hutton taught me that even a big, fancy award doesn't mean you're a big, serious actor who doesn't know how to have fun. And Drew Powell (who was the guest star on the episode I loved working on the most: The Boy's Night Out Job) taught me how awesome he truly is (which is very very awesome indeed). The PAs and Extra Wranglers taught me that some people really do have infinite patience.

Leverage also taught me how TV works behind the scenes: how many people actually work so hard to make one hour-long episode; how things can go wrong a hundred times, but the one time they work it's magic; how watching actors on TV isn't nearly as fun as watching them play Segueway Football or make everyone fall about laughing; how producers are not money-grubbers who care about nothing but ratings, but hilarious, warm people who care about the show and the fans.

On the surface, the show is about Robin Hoods, about making things right. But it's also about making family out of friends and my fellow Grifters became a family for me when I was far away from my own.

Leverage made me not only a Grifter but part Hacker, Hitter, Thief, and Mastermind as well. I will always be a Leverage fan. Always.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

How To Suceed While Sucking At What You Love

You have to admire Florence Foster Jenkins. She was an opera singer from way back when who sang professionally for forty years or so and played a sold-out show at Carnegie Hall, the prestigious and beautiful venue in New York City.
Here's the thing: she was a horrible singer. Like terrible. Like the yowling of cats in heat in an echo chamber was preferable to her singing.
Long story short, she sucked.
But she didn't seem to care. She believed in herself and her ability so goddamned much that she still played Carnegie frickin' Hall!
This gives me pause as I consider my own totally terrible singing abilities. I cannot sing any better than Florence Foster Jenkins and I am well aware of this fact. I love to sing and if I go a day without singing, even if in my own head, I... well... I can't actually remember going a full day without at least singing to myself or safe in my own head where it doesn't matter how I sound. (which for the record, is perfect and awesome without my inferior vocal chords getting in the way)
But when it's just me, when no one else has to hear and I get just the right song (don't let this phrasing fool you into thinking there's only a handful of songs in that category, there are actually legions. And I really mean legions as in the range of 3000 to 6000), I will belt it out like I'm at Carnegie Hall. Or, in my country music loving heart, on the boards of the Grand Ole Opry. Depends on whether it's a country song or a Broadway musical number.
So when I get down on thinking that I'll never make it as an actress, there stands the shade of Florence Foster Jenkins telling me to be glad I have talent at at least one thing I love to do and if I can get my self motivated I will get to the place I want to be, the place I'm supposed to be and I just hope I know it when I get there.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


I love Television shows. Seriously. I'm that person who becomes over-invested in wanting couples to get together or who is jittery for a week after a beloved character's life hangs in the balance from a cliffhanger until the inevitable miraculous survival (or not). I mourn the lost of great characters like they were my friends because to me, somehow they are.

Two shows have changed my life. In a lot of the same ways Torchwood and Supernatural taught me how to be brave, how to fight and how to lean on the people there to help you just a little less than they lean on you.

Because no matter how dark and painful or how long it takes, Hell is always gotten out of. Sometimes, you just need an angel and someone to believe you can. There's someone there who will take your hand and make your travels less lonely.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Why Pegasus Are Better Transport Than Dragons

Dragons could be used as a weapon, where a Pegasus could be a better transportation system because it'd be like Victorian times, riding your horse everywhere, except your horse is

Plus, they can be used as weapons. Unless they hoove each other and other people to death, I suppose.

I really wanted unicorns, but I wouldn't be able to interact with them anymore. Unless they work on technicalities. We're going to need you to define 'virgin' a little better, Unicorns.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Top 11 Things I've Learned From Video Games

  1. Just when you think you're going to die, you'll find enough heart to keep going.

  2. No matter how many times your loved ones are taken in by bad things, you should still try to rescue them.

  3. Explore everything, because the best treasures are never out in the open.

  4. That little voice over your shoulder may be shrill and annoying, but you need to listen to it if you want to do things right.

  5. Every party requires dancing.

  6. Even chubby guys can be heroes.

  7. Don't eat red and white mushrooms.

  8. Just because it's in a treasure chest doesn't mean it's good.

  9. The bosses get harder as you travel, but that's okay because you're getting stronger.

  10. Talk to everyone; you never know who has information that will help you on your journey.

  11. Good doesn't always triumph over evil, but sometimes that's for the best.

Monday, June 18, 2012


So, The Girl texted me during the show last night and wanted to know if I wanted to do something spontaneous and fun for Pride. Since I've done little else for Pride this year (shame upon my GLBT head), I said yes and so arranged to meet up with her later at Hamburger Mary's (actually the block party across the street).
I got there and she kissed me hello and we watched a hysterical guy called Prince Poppycock perform. The songs had good beats and I bounced alongside The Girl, who held my hand basically all night. To my utter joy and contentment. We danced and sang along to "Bohemian Rhapsody? and took a picture with the performer (who had awesome gold glittery boots).
Afterwards. The Girl, her friend and I went walking, quickly deciding to go to Voodoo Doughnuts. I learned earlier that day that you can buy three hour old doughnuts in a bucket for $5 and this is what we decided to do. The doughnuts on the top were fine, but they got slimier and grosser the further down we moved. They were basically sludge at the bottom. So we ate our fill and wandered around Portland offering the remains to strangers. A meth addict took the whole bucket and we walked back to their car.
We made out a little and then they drove me home, because who wants to walk the streets when there are sugar-high meth addicts? Not me, my lieblings. After another long goodbye kiss and promises of noodles and gelato for our next date, The Girl left and I pulled a Charlie in my building. I got into the elevator and danced to Walking On Sunshine, playing in my head.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Day in the Life of an Extra

We begin in holding, filling out paperwork so we can be paid for the unknown number of hours we are about to spent doing unknown amounts of scenes. This particular day it meant over twelve hours spent at the sound stage and one change of clothes that those of us dressed in our pajamas didn't have. Cut to wardrobe fittings, which when you are just an extra are kinda slapdash. The first pair of pants were too small to fit up my thighs and hips, while the second pair kept threatening to slide down them. But since I'm human furniture, there was no just right. Well, until Monday when I get to work again and bring my own clothes.

The work this day involved pretending an empty, awkward cardboard carried a giant TV and that I went in and out of a store about twelve different ways in different configurations. But the joy of being an extra is not in the work you do, which is often sporadic, ever-changing, tiring, and boring.
The best things about being an extra are working with other people and making new friends by the end of the day.

Because even if you know nobody there (and in this day's case, even if you do have a friend already), you will start talking to people you are near to. While you wait for shots to be set up, while you wait in holding, eventually you will start talking to someone, anybody. Most of the time it begins as comments on how tired you are or something about the set or location, but talk will come.

Another wonderful thing is watching the behind-the-scenes of (in this case) a national TV show. Some people find it ruins the magic, the mystique behind television, but I love it. I love watching the people running and sitting around and trying to figure out what they do. Or watching people who are highly paid actors, who may even have prestigious awards play around like they are a group of friends who just happen to be surrounded by crew and cameras. Sometimes, Segue Football is invented, sometimes footballs are thrown and missed and you get to toss a pigskin to an Academy-Award winning actor. Do you get to do that being IT or a receptionist? No my friend, you do not.

It's poorly paid and tiring and invisible and throwaway work most people will never see or notice. Nevertheless, I wouldn't give up the days like this where, for a moment, you are part of television magic.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Origin of My Awesome

So, my Mom rocks. She rocks so much, my friends send her Mother's Day greetings. Quite simply, my Momma is the coolest. She has the magic ability to let me dream in the clouds without letting my feet leave the ground. Sure, she taught my what most moms teach their children: walking, talking, reading, writing. However, my Mom taught me so much more.

From her I learned strength, generosity, strategy (many a board game played), that country music is the best life soundtrack, how to make the perfect mac'n'cheese and potato salad, how to crochet, how to sew (rudimentary student that I am), that cranberry sauce tastes best from a can, that crazy isn't always a bad thing, how to dress for my body type even as it changed (sorry, women's magazines, she got there first), Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan movies are perfect for any occasion, to appreciate British comedy and English literature, that good grammar and spelling are important, to be attracted to shiny things (magpie runs in the family), that Terry Prattchet, Merecedes Lackey, and Anne McCaffery books make life better, actually that books in general make life better, that sometimes life sucks and you need to have a good cry, that no matter where you live being a Southern woman isn't something that fades, make-up is for special occasions, but face washing is for every day, being a trekkie is a good thing to be, and lastly (for this list because the truth is she taught me everything) that it's better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. This last statement is exemplified by our large purses that carry everything we (or anyone around us) could possibly need from pain relievers to travel sewing kits, bits of string, and whole families of pens.

The best part is, I know she learned all and/or most of this from her mom, so I'm just getting the latest in a line of matrilineal wisdom.

But I know I've taught Mom some things too: The chorus to "Popular", that I will not be the subject of her mockery (Oh, she thinks I shall), that just because your child hears voices doesn't make her crazy, the difference between crying she needs to come soothe and crying she knows I need to learn to soothe by myself, the names of the eight main characters from Rent plus the two actors on Supernatural and the Torchwood Team, that Saint Augustine is a beautiful town, no matter how old I am, a handmade dress from Momma is far better than anything in a mall.

So on Mother's Day, from clear across the country I say: I LOVE YOU, MOM!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I Say It's Love

I’ve always found the definition of love a tricky thing. And by this I’m referring to the romantic sort of love. Familial, platonic or (gods forbid) religious love are so not my forte at all. If the kind of love found in bearing and raising a child or inspired by a man on a cross or making a pilgrimage to a holy land is in need of classification, I’m not qualified to give it. Of course, I’m not really much more qualified to offer anything authoritative in the vein of love between people who cannot explain why they feel how they feel for whomever they feel it for. Of course, maybe that’s the point. Like how some words (for example the disused ‘unrepentant’, or the overused ‘natural’) lose their power the more they’re used, maybe love loses its allure the more data you collect on it.

Each new paramour brought me a new way of feeling love that I hadn’t previously thought of. And despite my many former lovers stroke unrequited crushes, I still have absolutely no idea what exactly love means or is even supposed to mean. For all I know, I may have never yet been in love.

But something makes me doubt that rather cynical view of myself. Now, I know I’m a romantic (whatever that means), always have been. When I was younger, I wanted to be a rescued princess. Now I accept that (depending who I fall for), I may have to do the heroics myself and I’m prepared for that. I'm also prepared for there to be no heroics necessary. I was never too passive in the pursuit of what (or who) I wanted. I had a pretty spotless record in telling someone when I had feelings for them (generally at the very last moment in some grand setting up for him or her to run off with me into the sunset. What? I’ve always had a flair for histrionics). I even had a girlfriend for a few months in my sophomore year of high school.

Yeah, one girlfriend in all my twenty-three years and yes, here I am waxing poetic about love. But we were in love: that all-consuming, making plans for the future, completely uncynical “we are going to be together forever” type of love. Whether that love is even real (or in its innocence, the most real) is a question I’ve not yet answered.

There was a boy I knew, still know technically. This boy is beautiful (seriously, that's the best adjective to describe him) and talented as they come. He's funny and caring. He can also be petty and manipulative and a host of other things that prove to me perfect is not an adjective I want to describe him. I've been in love with him since I was nineteen years old. Since a September night when I was nineteen years old, I can pinpoint it no further than that. I had minutes of being unable to pull a full breath or calm my racing heart. I'd known this boy for a few years by this point, we're friends and yeah, I have a crush, have since before we were actually introduced. In this moment, however, I realize those friendly and affectionate feelings have somehow chosen this moment to change him from a friend I'd totally date if he asked me out to the most amazing, flawed person I have ever met in the whole of my life. I've been carrying this around in me for a while. It's just there. It's a fact about me. I admit a selfishness in keeping my feelings secret; if I tell him and am let down, I will have to cauterize those feelings away in the interest of continuing on as his friend (a position I'd like to hold until my last breath, thank you). I want to know that I always have this love inside me, the depth of feeling for this boy. It gets me through the times I feel numb.

I think we, as living beings, have an inherent need for love. Lock a man in a solitary room and he will make friends with the dust bunnies. And, I think, we all desire the same basic things from a partner. Here’s mine anyway:

Someone who makes me laugh and lets me cry. Whoever came before or will come after will never be comparable, like comparing apples and ostriches. There will be a list up on the bedroom door. In it, we’ll have our solemn promises: nothing like “I will have sex with no one but you” or “I will always take out the garbage”. No, that’s all shit. Nobody can ever (or should ever) make such broad, forever vows like that. Things like “I will not pester you about your music if you don’t pester me about mine first” and “If we go to bed angry, the one who got the last word in has to sacrifice the covers to the other for that night.”

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


(This was originally something I wrote to supplement my word count for 2008's NaNo. It's interesting looking back on something three and a half years old and finding I still believe every line. It is here in its entirety)

Unrepentant: a powerful adjective that doesn’t get used nearly often enough. Have to suppose that’s what makes it so powerful, though.

She sings too loud when a song she likes comes on the radio. She composes letters to Juliet Capulet when she’s feeling lovelorn. She paints each nail a different colour of the rainbow and paints her toenails green or sometimes purple. Even if she hasn’t any magical powers herself, she follows the subtle rules for witches as set down by Terry Pratchett. She thinks she’s a much better dancer than she is. She spells her words the British way, despite having never left America. She may be an angel most of the time, but when she takes off her wings for a bit, she isn’t half-hearted about it. She grew up amongst faeries and may even be a little fey herself. She wears a leather wristband when she wants to feel especially butch. She never lets anyone but her closest friends see her cry. She is unapologetic about her beliefs or lack thereof. She lists all her favourite words: those she likes just because of they way they sound on her tongue. She is a science fiction geek, whose fondest wish is be beamed onto the Enterprise with Wesley Crusher; or to be picked up by the Doctor and his TARDIS or delivered by the Rift into the Torchwood Hub in Cardiff. She loves what she loves, whether her friend, her books, or her TV shows, whole-heartedly, loyally and apologetically.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I Got Me a '67 Chevy, She's Low and Sleek and Black

I am not what anyone would label a 'car person'. I don't drive and don't understand how cars work and really could care less about what kind of car someone has. I don't know what a carburetor does (nor as I type it out, do I know how to properly spell it apparently), how to fix a flat tire (though I have a vague idea from TV and film) or what exactly Jiffy Lube does (though it makes me giggle like a twelve year old boy).

But there's one thing that, in the unlikely event I start driving, any car of mine will have and that is...that car will be a Chevrolet. All my life, my mom drove Chevy's. My Grandma has a Chevy. Actually they both have Impalas, which is my favourite kind of Chevy, because I know them so well. I have known Impalas to be reliable, with enough room for my long legs and a sense of safety.

Of course, that all changed when I met Baby, also known as Metallicar, the '67 Chevy Impala driven by the Winchester Brothers in the TV show Supernatural. Oh my Collins, is that a sexy car! Even without its pretty humans standing near it, it's just an attractive looking car, all fluid lines.

It's been said, you know it's love when the songs make sense. When I saw this car that old Steve Earle song made sense, "A '67 Chevy, she's low and sleek and black, someday I'll put her on the interstate and never look back." I would learn to drive if I could drive this pretty Baby.

So though I do not drive and have no real knowledge of cars, I do know that I am and always will be a Chevy girl.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Move Me or Make Me Move

I don't play the guitar. Or the bass. Or piano. Or anything. Can't even read music worth a darn. I faked my way through the group recorder performance in fifth grade (I moved my fingers and pretended to blow). I am also a lousy singer.

Which is a great injustice because I love music more than anything in the world. Hell, I got into acting because it's music adjacent (music videos). I'm a good actor because I can shuffle my emotions by shuffling my playlist. Music affects me like nothing else can. Even when the song has nothing to do with me, when it deals with situations and emotions I've never had to deal with, I still find something inside myself responding to it.

I can feel music with every piece of me, but I can't make it. There's a story of my life somewhere in there.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Opposing Politics Does NOT Equal Dead Cat, People

Maybe I've been hardened from a childhood of finding roadkill of Florida streets or it doesn't get to me because I've never had a pet cat, but I did not find the picture of the cat killed with 'Liberal' written into its side visually graphic. Horrible and heart-breaking, oh yes, but not graphic. What made me nauseous (this is not hyperbole, I was physically nauseous) was the violence. Not the photo of it (though it was extreme), but the idea of it. That someone would not only kill, but mark an animal incapable of political leanings as a message to the cat's owner makes me so ill and so angry I could scream. This someone is the lowest of the low. Hasn't there been enough goddamn violence in politics already, like Gabby Gifford's shooting for instance?

While I would like to think about all the horrible physical pain I want this criminal to go through, I would prefer his (if the criminal turns out to be a woman, I will come back and edit this) punishment to be psychological (because he is a psychopath clearly). Don't get me wrong, I want his ass hunted down and put behind bars for the next forever or so ASAFuckingP. But what I really want is his face shown on every major news show from here to the BBC (who will get it everywhere because they are cool like that). I want his visage to become so well-known that his picture shows up on bar dartboards and in every animal rights brochure, prompting people to give a ton of cash to shelters and animal rights organizations.

But most of all? I want this to be the wake-up call. I want this act of heinous violence against an innocent creature to make politicians see that their rhetoric of hate and anger is doing far more to fuck with people's heads than anything they vilify. Isn't there enough violence in the world and our country over money, religion, bigotry, etc. without politics coming into the ring? I hope to every god there is or isn't that this will be the turning point and political rhetoric will tone it the fuck down before this violence escalates any farther than it has.


Friday, January 20, 2012

In a Storm, in My Best Dress: Fearless

Wil Wheaton, on his blog and in his book Just A Geek, talks about one of the voices in his head whom he deems Prove to Everyone. I have a voice too (as separate from my People), I call her 'Don't Look Like An Idiot'. I spent a good portion of my childhood being mocked for my appearance and this has left a mark on my psyche. Not for sympathy do I say this, but for exposition. She is the voice in my head who wants me to always be composed, whenever around other people. She demands dignity and grace. She has her place. At fancy restaurants, in most work situations, she is welcome. Not so at auditions or while acting AT ALL.

My friend Katherine and I used to joke that we got into acting to 'be paid to look stupid'. But I've heard time and time again from directors that I need to go further, to let myself go. And I try, I honestly do. But Don't Look Like An Idiot holds me back. "If you make a stupid face, they won't think you're pretty enough to hire', 'don't look dumb, then everyone will laugh at you, 'better not let yourself completely go, remember to keep in control at all times'.

I suppose that's what this leads back to. Control. I'm scared to be out of control, so I don't drink (one of many reasons anyway) and I don't tell ANYONE the whole truth and I hide parts of me because they're messy and gross and stupid. But acting is about using ALL of me to make a character, the messy bits too.

So I have a theme for this year, not a resolution. My theme is 'Fearless'. That's what I need to be. Fearless to look stupid or make silly sounds or make ugly faces at an audition if that's what's called for or fucking go dancing in the rain in the middle of the street on my own. When did I stop doing that? That was super fun. Hey look, it's raining now... *smiles*

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Zero is Not a Size

I am terrified of Hollywood.

Wait, that's probably not true. I am terrified by the concept of Hollywood. Namely, their obsession with thinness as beauty. I am relatively thin (compared to my relatives) and can fit into size 8 or 10. Considering I spent most of my teenage years being a size 14/16/18, I see myself as quite trimmed down and a good deal healthier (I can eat carrots without ranch dressing and celery without cheese whiz!)

But I am not and will never be a size 2. And as the title (taken from One Tree Hill) states, zero is not even a size as far as I'm concerned. It's impossible for me; and I don't mean that in a 'I will never' sense, I mean that in a I physically could never' sense. Big-boned isn't just an excuse, my skeletal frame would not fit into size 2 clothing.

Where Hollywood scares me is this: it's not all about talent. I'm talented (am I Meryl Strep? Hell no, but I can carry my own on a stage or a screen), but that may not matter. And coming from a background of theatre, that terrifies me. In theatre, if you can sing that high note no one else can, you get the part. If you have the right energy and can retain lines, grab a script! But this Wood of Holly that I'm desperate to work in focuses on 'The Look'. I'm an average-sized brunette with hazel eyes. This makes me just like about ten thousand other girls who want to work onscreen.

Now it's a numbers game. How many of those girls are going out for this part? How many can remember the lines and not screw up the audition? (here's hoping I'm in that category as well) How many will say yes if the part is offered to them? And on and on, ad nauseaum.

If you'll excuse me, I think I have to listen to "A Chorus Line" now. Ad nauseaum.