i_was_like_this_once: (Default)
I started this LiveJournal when I was seventeen. I'm now twenty four and it's time to move on, as evidenced by 34 weeks of no update.

It's been a good run.

I suppose I'll leave up what's here for posterity, or until I can transfer it all to a big Word document.

Anyone still out there can look for me here:

http://toimproveistochange.blogspot.com

Also check out my Marine Corps research site at:

http://ablecompany24.blogspot.com





Take care of yourselves and each other. Enjoy every sandwich.
i_was_like_this_once: (gull)
1990 - 2007 )
i_was_like_this_once: (JBs)


Sean Pridgeon and myself at September Storm this past weekend.

Story to follow. My computer suffered a hard drive failure and is awaiting repair, so I'm working with borrowed machines for the present. There's a bunch of pictures forthcoming, though alas this will have to suffice for the event - I was way too busy to bust out the complicated digital camera.

(For those interested: Sean is posing with an original Savage revolver loaned by Lars Prillaman. Notice the large Yankee-skinning knife in his belt. I have the famous 1816 flintlock conversion. It doesn't get much cooler than this.)
i_was_like_this_once: (i am a tiger)
'That depends a good deal on where you want to go,' said the.... )
i_was_like_this_once: (marching)
The world doesn't seem to know whether it wants to operate smoothly or bass-ackwards this month.

Regardless, I have some stories and some pictures.

Dick 2 )

***


Photos from Hardy's Birthday )

All in all, a good time.

***


Now, some boring text.

Working. Yes, I am working again (mostly, but we'll get to that in a minute). After quitting Starbucks (not a moment too soon), I reactivated myself at Update Legal - my old temp agency - and signed up for a new one on Ellie Nowak's recommendation. Within a day or two, I got an email from Morgan asking if I'd want to come in and do some database updating for his firm, Access Staffing. I figured it'd be good to tide me over until a proper temp job turned up, and agreed. I've been there almost a month now, and there are rumors that I'll be hired on full-time. While it looks really tempting (salary, health insurance, evenings/weekends free), it would mean getting rid of some autonomy and freedom of movement. I would like this job, but I don't think I'll be too destroyed if it ends up being only temporary after all.

Anyway, it's been a bit of a moot point anyway, since my office is at 41st and Lexington, and last week, this happened:





I didn't take those, as I was off last Wednesday (I borrow a desk from a senior recruiter who works from home most of the time), but Morgan and MAZ were both in and report the situation as having been quite scary. They closed down several blocks around the area until they could clean up the asbestos that had been blown about by the exploding steam pipe. Access reopened Wednesday, but Tina's been in... so I've been out of work for a week now, and itching to get back in as it's almost time for bills.

Story here: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/19/nyregion/19explode.html

***


Other artsy stuff: I had an audition yesterday for the American Globe Theater, which did not go as well as I would have liked; I'll be surprised if I hear anything more about it, but we'll see. Much cooler than that is a PBS documentary on New Yorkers in World War Two that I am getting to work on. The producer found Phil Wood's letters through the amazing Heather ([livejournal.com profile] wickedlymerry), and the long and short of it is that I am going to be reading some of them in the documentary. They've been out to California and interviewed his sister Gretchen, and even got in touch with George Smith for an interview, which may or may not be taking place at my house. I'm getting interviewed as well, apparently, so the living room is getting a total cleaning, and hopefully the camera won't pick up the fact that the ceiling is still a mess. Which brings me to my next segment.

***


Normally, I'm pretty patient and understanding, yes? Perhaps too passive, on occasion.

There are two things right now that are really starting to push my buttons and make me angry.

1). The fucking roof. Our bastard landlords ignored an official summons from the New York housing department (who, by the way, declared our ceiling an "emergency condition" requiring immediate attention). When we called up the HPD to follow up our complaint, we were told that it had been closed (...) and that we would need to file a new one. This has been done, but as far as I know nothing more has happened. We are not paying rent anymore, and I can say this with the rest of the house behind me now.

2). Adopting a cat. Yes. We got the lead out, did the work, found a nice cat from a rescue shelter, bought all the necessary cat accoutrements, and paid the adoption fee last week. One would assume that we have a cat now, correct. Wrong. He's still in his cage at the shelter because the woman who has to deliver him (according to the shelter rules) is, pardon my French, a fucking useless old biddy who doesn't return phone calls, misses appointments, and doesn't remember who I am when I call her (and I call her every day) about the cat. Maybe she has Alzheimer's or some other totally valid reason for being a flake, but come on, if you're going to take responsibility for bringing a cat to a new home, DO IT, or get someone else to do it for you. Right now, he's stuck in the cage, putting an extra expense on the adoption people, and tying up a cage and food that could be used for another homeless cat. JUST. BRING HIM. UP HERE. The last time I managed to talk to the woman directly, she mentioned something vague about wanting to take the cat to the vet, which I appreciated, then said she had to go and would call me back. That was Sunday. Repeated phone calls have not been returned, and the cat was still in his cage at the adoption place when I went to check in on Tuesday. The adoption people themselves are almost uniformly unhelpful as well; the director hasn't been in for a few days, and either her people aren't giving her my messages or she's ignoring them as well. As you might surmise, I am not pleased about being left in the dark about the condition of my cat, healthwise or when-is-he-coming-home-wise. He should have been here six days ago.


Anyway, these two things are constantly running in the back of my head, combining with not having worked for a week (and pertinent potential financial disasters) and some other shit, all of which has landed me in a state alternating between about-to-be-pissed-off and sit-around-listless.

We'll leave it at that; nobody likes to read bitching and it's getting me riled up even writing about it.

***


In better news: two great parties last weekend, both for old highschool friends. Brandon Schechter, recently married and back from Russia for a week or two, elected to have his 25th birthday in the form of a mini pub crawl around the East Village. This brought in some old faces (Ingrid Wulczyn from high school, John Bracken from reenacting, (Lt.) Mark Morrison, also from reenacting, pending overseas transfer I believe) and more of the college crowd. The survivors of Vasmay Lounge made it to 2x4 to watch the bartenders poledance to Metallica, stayed for last call, and then some of us (me) had a truly epic trip home. I managed to get lost in the Village (this hasn't happened since right after I moved here) while walking from the bar to the West 4th street station. I missed, somehow (I think I walked down West 4th itself, forgetting that the station stops are on 3rd and 8th. Oops.) and wandered around for a little bit, totally lost, before ending up at the 14th street 1 station. For those of you unfamiliar with New York Subway geography, this is like trying to go from Columbus, Ohio to New York City, but ending up in Portland, Maine. Luckily, the 1 also goes to my stop, and I somehow made it up there without falling asleep. I spent a good while on a bench at the station, trying to work up the ambition to get up the stairs, the elevator, the other stars, and the block to my apartment, and was dismayed to note that it was daylight by the time I got out.

This was a problem because I had to get out to Hicksville, Long Island, for Matt Stein's birthday. Stein was my drummer back in high school, and we did a lot of Drama Club shows together, but I hadn't seen him since Rob and I went to the Dream Theater concert our senior year of high school. This was a surprise party, and they got him GOOD. I'd never seen him speechless before. So we had a nice BBQ time out on the lawn. I got to catch up with a few more old friends, and got on very well with Matt's fiancee Miranda (who is trying to get us to start a band again so she can be the Band Mom - that'd be fun).

(Just as an aside: EVERYONE STOP GETTING MARRIED FOR A LITTLE WHILE, THANKS. You're making me feel old.)

***


Speaking of weddings: here's Wesley and Kate's, at long last. )

***


I'm out. Dinner and theater date with my sister tonight. Need to shower off the lethargy.

And maybe call the fucking cat people again.
i_was_like_this_once: (Default)
this is after Sean's idea to bring some DIY back to punk and make our own things.

just rough ideas. I don't know much about graphic design. They look pretty good printed on sticky photo paper, though.

Graphic. As in dead people. World War One vintage. )
i_was_like_this_once: (fire and advance)


I've been busy.

***


Right now I'm at home in Rexford, at my old desk, in my old chair, listening to my old cat complain out on the patio. I love the difference between my two environments; there's nothing like an excess of one to make you miss the other. Currently I am missing green things and fresh air; I've absorbed a lot over this weekend and just want more more more. I've been in every state in New England since Friday (with the exception of Rhode Island, but I was there in April anyway), and haven't seen many buildings over six stories. It's a beautiful thing to see the sky ringed with trees and not concrete. And hearing the spring peepers at night. As the Poet once said, "I miss those little froggy motherfuckers."

***


It's pointless to go into details of the past two months; I can't possibly remember them all, and people skim over long entries. As usual, most memories come from scanning over the large galleries of pictures. My camera and I are celebrating our first anniversary today, and it has been quite a busy year for us. The counter is over 5,000 pictures taken since last May; when I upload the shots from this weekend we'll probably break 5,200. An enormous increase in picture volume counters an enormous decrease in writing.

Let's see where I've been.

***


First of all: in and out of the theater. Someone upstairs decided that I should become a fairly prolific sound designer, despite having never taken a class in design, sound engineering, or copyright law. I've done three off-off Broadway shows as of press time, getting professional reviews for each, and they've all been positive. The first two were for Living Image Arts (interested parties may be interested to know that I'm responsible for all photos but one on the above website; design is by Tim Spears, a friend from LAMDA), the latter was under the auspices of Jesse's "Theater of the Expendable," written by Neal Zupancic, lights by Wilburn, and directed by Corinne. The upshot is that people I don't know are asking my friends about me and if I'm good to work with; whereas I keep waiting for someone to start screaming at me for using their material in shows. So far I haven't gotten in trouble, and all the inquiries, while flattering, haven't resulted in millions of dollars in extra income. So I'm kinda glad to be done with that for a while.

***


You probably would prefer to see pictures than read a bunch of words, right? Okay. I don't much feel like writing. Even dear водка ain't helping. Look! Pictures! See the pretty colors?

Providence )

***


McDowell )
***


While at the event, my grandmother, Joan Crawford Roecker, passed away. She was almost 83, had terrible Alzheimer's, and suffered a stroke two weeks earlier. Fortunately, my dad (she was his mom) managed to get down to Texas to see her before she died. She wasn't able to speak, but seemed to recognize him and his brother. We knew it was coming for some time, but it was still an unwelcome message to get. I'm glad I had a good weekend prior to receiving the news, and I'm glad that my dad was with her when she went. She led a good life, and thankfully wasn't in any pain. She just went to sleep and didn't wake up. We all miss her.

***


Shelter Shock! )

***


After the weekend with Sean, I decided enough was enough and put in my two weeks notice at Starbucks. It was making me constantly miserable, and as they say in American History X, "life's too short to be pissed off all the time." Of course, as soon as I decided to quit, I magically managed to hold my own at the bar and sass back at my assistant manager. Two weeks of competence were not enough to make up for the previous months, though. Ellen told me that anytime I wanted my job back I could have it, so if I get desperate I have an opening. However, it will be a very cold day in Hades before we go that route. This does mean that I'm back in the guild of the unemployed, but this time I have some prospects and I know how to go about finding a job, so I'm less concerned.

***


The Agonist - probably the coolest pictures of the whole post. If you're skimming through, stop and look at these, then you are free to move on. )

***


This weekend was big, and deserves a post in and of itself. Or perhaps I should say when the pictures are up. I've been at this for more than two hours, and that's quite enough. Go forth and multiply.
i_was_like_this_once: (yeah buddy!)


There was another music video shoot today, which rocked even harder than the last one.

There'll be a real update someday. Not now, though. I've been up for 23 hours, the last several of which have been in McNaney's company, and we know how that is on the liver.

Plus, I passed my barista certification, got people to cover my shifts for tech next week, and hey! I'm a rockstar! Kinda! Awesome! Shit is good - overly busy, but good in the long run.

(Excepting, of course, the needlessly complicated rehearsal staring me in the face... right now I'm just happy to be able to catch up on my sleep).

blisters!

Mar. 25th, 2007 02:21 am
i_was_like_this_once: (Default)
I'm in a Brazilian music video.

I look like this:



except in color.

Also, I have blisters the size of cats on my fingers from seven hours of playing.

I think it's worth it.

More when I can type with more than two fingers.
i_was_like_this_once: (shakevomit)
The homeless woman who comes to our Starbucks every day likes my hair.

Andre, the assistant manager at Starbucks, does not like the homeless woman. I generally like working with Andre, he knows when to shoot the shit and calls everyone "pard'ner," but this is one area where we do not quite see eye to eye.

Neither do some of the customers, one of whom thought it was important enough to stage whisper in her old money New York accent, "That woman is here EVERY DAY. It's TERRIBLE."

Personally, I don't mind her. She always pays for her venti coffee and subsequent refill, she doesn't ask anyone for money, and she's one of our most polite customers. Half the time I'm "Sir," the other half I'm "Sweetie." She shows up around 7 or 8 each morning and camps out at a table with her cart, her newspaper, and her cantaloupe (breakfast of champions) and just minds her own business, never causing a nuisance. She obviously doesn't have anywhere else to be, so why make it harder for her?

***


I had an amazing Customer Moment last week. After hearing Morgan and Chris tell stories of Japanese tourists attempting to order a "Tarr vanirra ratte," I was anxiously awaiting my first walking stereotype, and this guy did not disappoint. Napoleon Dynamite glasses, receding frizzy hair, and a voice like Fillbert from "Rocko's Modern Life" (or, for the reenacting friends, the voice we use when we make fun of the "Oh gosh, oh jeez" guy from Fields of Freedom). He carries his debit card in a special holder, and was prepared to haggle over $3.50 of assorted coffee and morning snack. I swear he said "Oye, don't be charging me too much money" upon seeing me hesitate with the POS register after it displayed his total. I'm calling him Morty from now on, and in a perverse way kinda hope he comes back in.

***


I just burned my dinner. Jeno's frozen pizzas, $1.69 at your local Gristedes (Grosstedes, GrSTD's, whichever). Essential for the low-budget gourmet. Cook them for ten minutes. Don't believe the box. When it says thirteen minutes, it lies. I know. I'm the one with the burned dinner.

***


As far as other work goes, my internship is pretty sweet. Nevermind that I spend my time there doing what amounts to office work... it's office work FOR ART! And they threw a pretty bitchin' party two weeks ago; part rave, part live music, part fire show, 100% fun in the I-don't-have-to-drink-to-dance way. Those are benefits I can live with.

***


Our St. Paddy's day party rocked, despite snow and a low turnout (we are blaming the snow for that - you no-shows get off easy this time). Everyone hung out, drank whiskey, watched concerts, and had a great time. At least I had a great time. I was pretty hammered for most of it, as the supremely unflattering pictures can attest. I hope I don't really look like that when drunk, because if I do, that's one hell of a handicap to overcome.

***


There are good shows coming up that I am missing in order to save money... Clutch is playing tonight, Lamb of God is on Thursday, Liz's band was supposed to be on Thursday but had to cancel, and I will be DAMNED if I get closed out of the next Inferno show on the 7th of April. Or NaNuchKa on the 20th.

***


Some questions have been answered; others have been raised and may prove difficult to answer. Some serious situations have been resolved after six months of percolating; but there are some on the horizon for the next six.

***


And now, I am off to see my long-lost Vinegar brother. Could a screening of 300 be in our hero's future? Only time will tell.
i_was_like_this_once: (amy)
Bla nótt yfir himininn
Bla nótt yfir mér
Horf-inn ut um gluggann
Minn með hendur
Faldar undir kinn
Hugsum daginn minn
Í dag og i gær

Bla nattfötin klæða mig i
Beint upp i rum
Breiði mjuku sængina
Loka augunum
Ég fel hausinn undir sæng

Starir a mig litill alfur
Hleypur að mér en hreyfist ekki
Ur stað - sjalfur
Staralfur

Opna augun
Stirurnar ur
Teygi mig og tel
Kominn aftur og alltalltilæ
Samt vantar eitthvað
(Eins og alla veggina



Lately, there has been a whole mess of good news. For once, I'm actually too busy to write about it instead of being too pissed about the lack of activity. Real update to follow, maybe.

For now: if there was ever a song to inspire hope in the listener, it must be "Staralfur" by Sigur Rós. I'm sure anyone who's heard it knows what I mean; those who haven't, find a copy. It's self-evident in the best possible way.
i_was_like_this_once: (Default)
"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To speak of many things.
Of shoes and ships and sealing-wax
Of cabbages and kings.
And why the sea is boiling hot
And whether pigs have wings."


(After about ten minutes of staring at the above quote and not really wanting to write anything, we're just gonna go for it and see what happens).

I don't know if New York is the right place for me. I've wanted to live here for years, and it's where the majority of my friends are, but I can't help thinking that I made a mistake in coming here first. I don't feel grounded at all, which is important to me, and it's keeping me from doing things that I want to do (although I'm not really sure what those things are; we'll get to that). I knew that transitioning would be difficult, but I didn't think it'd take this long. I'm comfortable getting around the city and with the environment, but there's something wrong; I've been having depressive episodes with greater frequency and intensity over the last few months, which has been working into a cycle - I do nothing because I'm depressed/I'm depressed because I do nothing. There have been a few opportunities that have arisen that I've either had to turn down because of waiting for something else, or have been pulled out from under me, and I can't seem to get myself motivated to do much of anything. There will be days when I don't leave my room, let alone the apartment.

The other side of this equation is that perhaps I haven't been here long enough and am thinking of quitting too soon. Of course everything's not going to happen right away; it takes years to really get into the groove of things, et cetera. I'm getting some gigs as a sound designer (which continues to kind of baffle me) and very occasionally as an electrician. I haven't acted in anything in a long fuckin' time, though I'm auditioning for Joanna's play about Alice in Wonderland tomorrow. And usually, when spring comes around I get a new shot in the arm, so to speak, and can maybe write off the past year by changing something dramatically and having a new start.

The long and short of it is: I'm here for at least another year, due to the lease we signed (unless I want to go through the trouble of subletting my room, which I don't really want to do - and besides, I love my housemates). I need to give the city another chance, and I need to give myself another chance. It's so easy to just sit around in self-pity and do nothing, to allow yourself to be overwhelmed by the size of this place, the indifference of its people, and the shameless nepotism of the theater community; and that is, to a large degree, what I've allowed to happen. It's easy to say (and easy to read and think "It's about fucking time") but I don't doubt that this is/will be the hardest thing I've done to date. Which means I'll probably backtrack from time to time. Corinne told me at one point that I was the "chill housemate," which I took to be a compliment, and I like being able to roll with what comes my way; but that's not the way to get things done in New York City.

Interesting that I tend to measure things with a starting and ending date. I'm not so good with the open-ended arrangements.

Hmm.

When I think about it, what I really want to do is go get my car (fuck, I miss my car), drive down to Baltimore and get Sean (fuck, I miss Sean) and take off across the country. We'd probably make some sort of itinerary, but for the most part just go and see what happens - try and hit every state, see some landmarks, see some shows, wind up in California for a bit.... Maybe the future's out there somewhere, and not here. At the very least, I'd learn not to rely on timetables and structure, because those aren't what you should be living your life by.

What I really also want to do is go work at Carlisle War College as a professional reenactor. Oh yes, they do have those. Bobby Small was talking about it (last year) at the Fredericksburg shoot, and offered me an in with them. Of course, I turned it down saying I was duty-bound to live in New York - but that's something I'd leave for (even with subletting my room). According to Andrew, The Hornbaker knows some guys there (after last year I'm not sure I'd trust Bobby's contact), so we might see what we can pull together. It's a long shot, but after the disappointment of the John Adams series, I think I can take it.

(For those who don't know: HBO is doing a new series based on David McCulloch's excellent and eponymous book on John Adams. Tom Hanks is producing it, Paul Giametti is playing Adams, and it's the same company who put together Band of Brothers, so needless to say we in the reenacting community were VERY EXCITED. And who should be doing the casting but Kevin Hershberger and John Bert? They needed some skilled reenactors to join the core company for three months. This would mean, essentially, living in a hotel in Richmond with Sean, Andrew, Cap'n Douchebag, The Wiz, and presumably other dudes we know, being paid a goodly amount of money to be in a movie, and go to the Museum of the Confederacy and Virginia battlefields in our spare time. Sound too good to be true? Oh, it was. HBO canceled the whole core group, leaving Kevin and John with some undeserved egg on their faces and a whole posse of disappointed guys - myself included. I'm just glad I didn't start getting new equipment. Pretty shattering; I got drunk shortly after hearing the news and stayed that way for a while).

It would also appear that I'm being offered an internship with the education department at 3rd Ward, the place in Brooklyn where Arielle works. It is, of course, unpaid... but might be interesting and fun.

Scarsick is a pretty good album... not as good as The Perfect Element, but still rockin'.

Deadwood is a great series, cocksucker.

It's time to join a band again.

//end transmission//
i_was_like_this_once: (err)
Am I in the right place?

Is this the right time?

Does one mean anything without the other?

Time will tell, I know. I just get... disillusioned impatient, sometimes.


You should come see my show, though. I'm a for-real off-Broadway designer now. At least through the end of January.

Plus, I miss having Sean around. I saw Eric Petersen of Mischief Brew tonight - he was fuckin' fantastic, but it didn't seem right without Mr. Pridgeon.
i_was_like_this_once: (err)
Giftsmas was good, I need to go to the dentist, and I am 99% sure that my health insurance has been cancelled.

More on this later. For now, pictures from before the great homegoing.

Including Alan and the The MacDougal Street Ale House... again. )
i_was_like_this_once: (gull)


The look on her face will make sense in the big version.

+ NaNuchKa Sexiness (big pictures) )
i_was_like_this_once: (Default)
A happy Vinegarmas to all - especially our two newest members. We love you guys. Save the date for next year!

Now: to introduce Wilburn to the Venture Brothers.
i_was_like_this_once: (pigeonman)
I thought about giving this up for a while, then gave up on that idea.

The occasion for this latest update is my continuing frustration with the job market.

After some consideration, I decided I wanted to try to find something to do that wasn't office work. Update was good for a short time, but even after a few weeks officing started to set off the "this will make you crazy" bells. So, the time seemed right to search for an alternative.

The problem with this scenario is that I have terrible luck with jobs I think I'd actually like. Some I don't hear from after sending an application, some I don't hear from after the interview, and some I just don't hear from at all. Sarah Thomas' Borders wouldn't let me interview at the last minute, my Dean and Deluca application apparently "fell through the cracks" according to Kendr - it has been a general landslide of this-got-lost or someone-got-there-first.

Enter the latest saga. On a whim, I thought I'd apply to be a talent scout. I didn't expect to hear back from the place - I don't really know what a talent scout does, but assumed it meant hanging around talking to models and signing people up for things. Could be worse, right? So I was very surprised when they sent me an email asking me to come in for an interview. "Holy shit-fuck hooray!" I said to myself and others, "this sounds awesome! I hope I get it! I wonder what I have to do? Man, am I nervous!"

Thursday, December 7 dawns, a day that will live in infamy. After a restless night, I arise at 830 - considerably earlier than usual - and get all prettied up. Nice shirt, nice pants, the cleanest socks I can find... I am READY. I am ready a few minutes early, so, being the thoughtful interviewee that I am, I fire up the internet to look up this place so I'll have some good questions to ask.

Half of the results on the first page of my Google search are about how big of a scam this place is.

In dismay, I scan through the results. Overwhelmingly negative. Apparently, this agency has repeatedly screwed over its clients and employees - badly enough that Dateline ran a special on them. They've operated under several different names in the past, changing them when they get in trouble.

Now, I may be hard up for a job, but I'm not about to help rip off other struggling actors or models or anything else. The interview started a minute ago, and I'm not there. I was so keyed up for this that the sudden disappointment has left me feeling pretty sick.





I might need to go off somewhere, then come back to New York and start over. I certainly haven't done much good in the six months (shit) that I've been here.
i_was_like_this_once: (jason navarro)
Just once, for a change, I'd like them to have at least 75% of the papers I need to organize these files.

Also, I'd like Deutsche Bank to get its act together and send in their signature pages. I have wasted many many post it notes flagging their missing signature originals. I thought the Germans were supposed to be the organized ones?

Today, I am not a fan of the papers. At all.
i_was_like_this_once: (fire and advance)
Those of you keeping up with the saga of the Phil Wood letters might remember that I mentioned a man named George Smith. He was an enlisted man in Phil's weapons platoon, and was all of seventeen when he joined the Marines.

George has been very kind in sharing some of his memories of what he calls "an exciting and
significant time in my life, and the great people who shared it with me." Some of his memories are understandably painful, and he was reluctant to share some with me. With respect to his privacy, I'll only share the ones he was particularly enthusiastic about. They are truly amazing, considering that George was only nineteen in 1944.

War Stories )
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