So this hit FB today. It’s fun, funny and potentially makes a blind date survivable. What sez you?
I can’t afford a Porsche. My home life is good. So what’s a slumping middle aged fart to do? Grow a beard naturally. Quickly becoming one of the dumbest moves of my life; one that leaves me scratching my face wondering how countless males over thousands of years indulge in what I am finding to be a facial fiasco.
There is really no serious backstory to my latest indulgence. I went on vacation for a week, didn’t shave, saw a picture of Michael Stipe online and thought, to myself; man, something like that would drive my mother nuts. In reality, she could not care less, but clearly I am harboring deep childhood resentments; and while the idea of growing a beard is quite manly, I am finding it quite childlike in oh, so many ways.
Friend: “So, you are growing a beard?”
Me: “Just channeling my inner Hemingway,” (can’t you tell by the quality of these prose?)
There are many aspects to this new endeavor that leave me scratching my face (including scratching my face). For starters, my upper lip has become a pulp filter for my daily glass of OJ. And I like a little pulp.
Additionally, at my age, I have an ongoing battle with the hair growing out of my nose. Now I have to contend with it growing up my nose. To make matters worse, it feels like there are spiders crawling up my nose. It does kind of tickle but terrifying when it wakes me up in the middle of the night.
And how the heck does anyone manage one of these things come winter and more specifically, cold season? Are there even enough hankies to deal with the drip? If mine lasts that long, there might be another article in the offing.
My lower lip is becoming like cactus. The constant prickling into my upper lip finally drove me to break out the razor on my lower lip. I was in constant fear of cutting my lower lip in the process. Just thinking about the pruning makes my flesh crawl.
And what about wild hairs? Vanity and desire not to be confused with Ted Kaczynski, Charles Manson or white supremacists, is preventing me from going full Grizzly Adams on this thing. I thought shaving was a pain in the ass, but pruning is far more dangerous and time consuming. Shaving around the edges is proving to require the steady hands of a brain surgeon. I am not a brain surgeon. I am shaving 1% of the area, yet my cut ratio has gone up 50%.
My face has become the bread basket of the world. Besides a gathering spot for orange pulp, it’s like fly paper for bread crumbs, hamburger juice, condiments, dressings, and pretty much anything else that does not enter my mouth via a straw. Domino’s kitchen sink pizza’s got nothing on my face. And it’s not just food, when I go outside, the thing is like a shrimper’s net, hauling in all kinds of flotsam and jetsam.
When it gets wet, it stays wet. I suppose I should have anticipated this. Drying the mop after bathing is not too bad, but as soon as I set foot into the 98% heat and 100% humidity of the sunny south, my empathy for Samoyed’s goes off the charts. At least Samoyeds are cute. I have no excuse for the sweat dripping pizza hanging off my face. It is as if my face has sprung a leak.
And what is going on under all this fur? Is my complexion returning to that nightmarish wreck that was my face from the ages of 15 through 20? The Horror. The Horror. And what about nits? Am I going to have to buy a monkey to pick the critters off my face?
Certainly, there are some reasonable arguments for the beard. At least, unlike my (regrettable) tatoo, when I can’t stand it anymore, I can go buy some Proactiv and a new razor and get rid of it.
So how long will my indulgence last? Hemingway’s beard did not end well. But that Michael Stipe thing?
Maybe I’ll let my mom decide.
In the waning hours of the holiday season, we decided to squeeze in one last activity by heading out in the pouring rain for a matinee showing of The Accountant. Perfect rainy day activity but ultimately a bit more interactive than I anticipated.
I drop my wife off in front so she could avoid the rain and get tickets. I then wade off to find a spot in the crowded parking lot to dock my vehicle. 50 yards from the theater, I wedge in between two other U-boats; but before I step into the monsoon I get a txt from my wife advising to skip the line and just find us a seat in the theater. She notices there are no ticket takers, and with 5 minutes to the show if one of us doesn’t grab seats we may be watching the movie with our necks at a 90 degree angle to our bodies.
She’s not kidding. The lobby is wall to wall-to-wall wet wool and bad breath. I serpentine through the lobby masses and head for the entrance to our theater.
Somehow on my way in, I get sandwiched between three larger than life characters (husband/wife/child). The woman in front of me is unaware I have slipped in front of her husband and is narrating her thoughts on seat selection at full volume. Clearly thinking hubby is right on her heals and having selected her preferred row she barks, “How ’bout this one?” At the same time she wheels around and finds herself face to face, with me. Apparently she thinks I am a big white ghost because she lets out a, shriek, then immediately breaks into this humongous HAW HAW HAW when she realizes she has been blabbering absentmindedly to a total stranger. She and I do this little dance in the aisle, and I step into the row immediately in front of her selected row. BIG MISTAKE.
Anyway, the woman, her husband, young daughter (I’m guessing about aged 8 – in an R rated movie??), tub of popcorn, large drinks and assorted luggage sit behind me and continue their conversation through the previews. I put my wet umbrella in the cup holder of the seat next to me and a minute later my wife lands.
A man and woman in front of me are also working through a large vat of popcorn but not 5 minutes into the previews, the man gets up and heads for the snack bar. He returns as the opening scene appears on the screen and I miss the set up for the movie. He then proceeds to sit (thankfully), pauses briefly before tearing into a grocery store size bag of something.
Could have been candy. Could of been Calamari. But whatever it was, it was two hours of crinkly loud. Like nails on a chalkboard, how someone could occupy themselves with a bag of such volume is unimaginable.
Now this is no spoiler, but The Accountant is about a high functioning man with Autism who is also a trained killer. As you might surmise, the movie builds around the eccentricities of this unlikely combination of behaviors. Pretty much every time the Accountant mumbles some inappropriate comment or puts a bullet in some nasty guy’s head, the trifecta behind me bursts forth with hearty HAW HAW HAWS, MYUCK MYUCK, MYUCKS, and HONK HONK HONKS. Even the eight year old. Between the inappropriate comments, head bullets, and GUFFAWS there is the occasional “jump out of the closet/big white ghost” scene met withheld now familiar womanly shriek followed immediatley by a stereophonic MYUCK MYUCK, MYUCK, and HONK HONK HONK. Oh, and of course there is the ringing cell phone during the final head/bullet scene. She answers it of course.
Between the the incessant CRINKLE, CRINKLE, CRINKLE and HAW HAW HAW, MYUCK MYUCK, MYUCK, HONK HONK HONK, I feel a bit like week-old turkey in a rude sandwich. To say the rain must have driven all the rats out of the sewers would be a huge overstatement, but I have to chuckle at the world in which we live today.
A few additional thoughts:
- The Accountant is worth seeing in the theater or in home.
- Next time I choose the long ticket line over seat selection.
- “All you had to do was pick a freaking decent seat and you picked the two between the Three Stooges and Willy f’ing Wonka.” (reprimand from my wife)
- When I get a little uptight. I write.
- If I put the words, “Donald Trump” in my blog post will I get more views?
I don’t know if the crew was singing and dancing below decks, but there was definitely a lot going on above the waterline on my recent vacation. Just got back from a 7 day Caribbean cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas which really should be renamed the Mother Ship of the Seas. Ain’t no sea monsters ever gonna mess with that mother for sure. Anyway, the cruise line did a wonderful job, the boat (yeah, I call it a boat) was spectacular, clean, had amenities on top of amenities, a crew so friendly it gives the Mouse a run for its money. Definitely one of our top 10 family vacations.
I sound like an ad for RC right? Hey they did a great job. That said, with 6,000 passengers and 2,000 crew on a boat that big I did make a few observations which alternatively disturbed, amused or left me scratching my head. Let’s talk a little bit about the people, the food, the boat, and politics.
This was one of my favorite parts of the cruise. Because I was too cheap to pay for wifi, neither Mrs. Clinton nor Mr. Trump were able to join me on my vacation. I missed neither and picked right back up on my favorite soap opera upon my return. Like I never left. Thanks RC for pricing your wifi so high that I was not even tempted to know what was going on outside your bubble.
There were three types of people on our ship. The reasonably healthy, the chronically unhealthy, and the critically unhealthy. About an hour after we set sail we had to turn around and go back to port to unload a “critically unhealthy” passenger. People were huffing an puffing all over the ship. There were scooters everywhere. With a helicopter pad above deck and a morgue below, the cruise lines make it a perfect vacation option for even the most unhealthy folks.
95% of bikini clad women on the Allure of the Seas really shouldn’t be wearing one, and 100% of bikini clad men should not be wearing one. Modesty suggests we tuck it in or cover it up people!
The diversity of the passengers and crew was like a jar of jelly beans. I liked that change from my daily bubble a lot.
While touring the ship, I stumbled into the Gym (hidden behind the Spa) where I saw a sign up sheet for an on board seminar entitled “The Secret of a Flat Stomach.” All I can think is the only way I’m getting a flat stomach is by laying face down on the deck with some critically unhealthy person standing on my back. Apparently, the flat stomach is still a secret because no one signed up.
I saw a little narration Morgan Freeman did on a late night show on a guy with a selfie stick and was struck on my cruise by the role of the selfie stick on the cruise. Is narcissism one of the seven deadly sins? Apologies for going down this rat hole, but is it me or is there is something very dark about this whole thing?
And how about the Tattoos? There was more ink on that boat than squids in the sea. I really don’t get it, but more power to the ladies and men who make a living off the canvas of skin. For those thinking about it, just remember tattoos are NOT like fine wine. They really don’t get better with age.
Ah, the food. Guilty as charged. I am not sure what is so compelling about what is basically cafeteria food, that one should be so inclined to binge upon it for 7 straight days. I sent both my weight and cholesterol into the stratosphere. With the exception of the lobster tails and the lamb chops, the mounds of food I ate were truly unexceptional.
The secret to cruise quisine, I suppose is in the gravy. No matter the food, European, American, Asian, India, South American, Mexican, Canadian, Australian every cuisine from every country was smothered in its own gravy. If you like the gravy and want it a la carte, just order the soup. Light fare meant light colored gravy. The only continents lacking their own gravies were the Arctics. And the only arctic gravy was ice, and the only way to get that freely was to buy a beverage package.
Indeed, getting ice water on the Allure anywhere outside of a restaurant required either a paid beverage package, a great deal of charm, or a fare amount of sneakiness. No lie, you can’t even get cold water out of the tap in your cabin because they pump in hot water through the cold tap just to keep you from drinking it. Whenever I got ice out of the Freestyle Coke machine or charmed a bartender to spoon some over, I felt like I was practically stealing it.
They must have made the most amazing bulk purchase on asparagus prior to leaving Fort Lauderdale because for the several days it was asparagus at every meal. Don’t get me wrong, I love asparagus but after a few days, the ship’s pools and hot tubs started smelling like asparagus (actually, I am just kidding, but they did serve a lot of the stuff).
Scale. Everything is huge. With one exception. Cabin bathrooms. This is actually a good thing because it forces organization in the tiny space, discourages lingering, and the proximity of the toilet to the sink allows one to ship and shave at the same time for maximum bathroom efficiency. Oh, and the showers were tubular. Kind of like a human jimmy cap. Not quite sure how that was working for some of my shipmates.
That’s about all I’ve got. Happy sails!
10 PM Easter Sunday, I’m lying in bed with a book on my chest. My mind about to punch out for the evening jars when the phone rings.
“What’s the matter kid?” I know when my daughter says the word “Hi” in just that way, that Mission Control has to come up to high alert; fast.
“My Toilet is backed up and when I flush the water is coming right to the top of the bowl and I am scared it is going to overflow.”
And all I can think of is the old cliché, “A rising tide lifts all shits.”
Being as she is on the top floor walk up of her building and it is Sunday night, I can’t help but think how I might feel, were I her neighbor in the apartment below and knew a real nasty storm was a brewin’ above.
“You need to get a plunger, NOW.”
“What’s a plunger?”
Whilst never setting the phone down, she finds the plunger. Plunger in hand and on the ready, I give her the three step plan for maximum impact with minimal splash.
As she is attempting to thread the gauntlet I hear sounds of howling laughter, utter horror, and reflexive gagging. After a minute or so of running commentary, it becomes clear she’s accomplishing little but stirring the pot. I should have realized earlier that trying to plunge a toilet while talking with a phone to one’s ear increases drag and reduces the plunging coefficient by at least 50%.
In my calmest voice I say, “Kid, hang up the phone, use both hands, and txt. me after the deal goes down. We hang up.
Problem solved within 30 seconds.
Upon receipt of the txt three things occurred to me
- Funny how the phone always seems to get in the way of getting things done.
- The greatest gifts a father can give to his children are, time, knowledge, and a sturdy plunger.
- For once I wasn’t the guy with the plunger.
God, thank you for your son, my children and for letting me be a dad.
Dear Student Filmmakers,
First off, allow me to say as a general note that I adore your ambition. As someone pursuing a similarly tough road, I know the struggle! It’s tough to be a fish swimming upstream. So many of you have incredible talent and promise, so much ambition and passion.
Which is why I feel compelled to ask you WHY you MUST insist upon doing every single thing I am about to mention!! I read your posts advertising roles in your films for actors, I submit for your projects! I am NOT making these things up and I am completely baffled by every single one of them. STOP IT ALREADY! For the love of all things bright and beautiful, desist immediately. Listen up, pay attention, here we go.
- Calm down with the nudity. I don’t care how “tasteful” you think you’ve written it, I (and every other actor I know) skips right on along every time I see the words “student film” and “nude” in the same sentence. It blows my mind every single time I see a post like this (and I see them A LOT.) I always sit and wonder who the hell is sitting in their dorm room, gleefully writing a nude scene and imagining that actresses everywhere will immediately line up to strip down for them. You are not paying your actors, you are not Martin Scorsese. You don’t even have an EXCUSE, so move along please.
- Same goes with the estranged father and/or rape themes. This is no longer an original or moving concept. If I see ONE more student film with the description “emotionally distraught girl of 20 deals with her rocky relationship and turmoil following her rape, while also reconciling with her estranged father” I will scream. Not trying to be insensitive here, but you throwing your characters into terrible situations does not make you an artist. Sorry dude.
- Spell check your screenplays. And emails. And anything else in which you need to spell. One slip up is one thing, but if you’re confusing your/you’re, there/they’re/their, AND misspelling every other word, I have no choice but to question your intelligence.
- No more sci-fi student films, people! You have no budget. You have no set. You have no CGI. What about that equation adds up to a convincing sci-fi film?! I refuse to be documented in a movie where you’ve built a robot out of cardboard boxes. Next.
- Same goes for ghosts.
- And car chases with fiery explosions.
- No, we cannot come to an audition at 11:16PM tonight and film the project tomorrow. We are not merely sitting around twiddling our thumbs, desperately waiting for the next student film to come around! Think, people. Think.
- Do not take a scene or movie that is already famous, change the title and names of characters and expect me to submit for it. I don’t even need to go further with that one.
- Just because you’re doing it in black and white doesn’t mean it’s good.
- Just because you’re shooting on a fancy camera doesn’t mean it’s good.
- Stop describing your characters as “beautiful.” Liiiiike, I don’t know you, I don’t know what you find beautiful! You are also then putting me in the incredibly bizarre situation in which I have to sit there and size up my own beauty. Nope, try again.
- Get your shit together. Don’t schedule my audition and then change the time and place 12 times. Don’t show up to “set” without a plan. Don’t blame your laziness on the fact that “films take time”…If I’m ready, you should be too. And I say that with all the sass in the world.
If you follow these basic guidelines, every single actor submitting for you will give you a round of applause, a hug, and a cookie. Please. Make like Nike and just do it.