Friday, April 27, 2012

Getting a job, missing a show and buying a shirt

Oh my crapping gosh, why do I always dive right into the deep end? When will I learn I hate getting my head wet after I'm already in freefall?

Today I went from unemployed to possibly over-busy, at least for tomorrow.

I emailed a guy, from reference of a friend from one of my acting classes, about a job as catering waitstaff. It should be interesting. Man, I wish I had the energy to keep telling the story of my day. I'll just have to shut up and power through.

Basically, I'm not working for a company, I'm a private contractor (professional waiter, apparently), and this guy pimps me out to whoever needs help. He first signed me up for a thing tomorrow night at a prestigious guild here in Hollywood (let's say it involves people who direct things), just clearing drinks and stuff at a poker tournament at the Guild HQ. Then I'm told my black shirt isn't black enough, it has subtle lines and I need a complete black shirt without even a hint of a pattern. So I went to 3 different Ross stores, 2 Targets, a used clothing place and K-Mart to no avail before I broke down and went to Nordstroms at The Grove. There he gave me two options of black shirt, sans pattern, one for $90 and the other for $95. NRRTS! He got the $90 one for me in my size and I cried a little, then asked if there was anything else. He said he had a single shirt in the back from another style and would check. Turns out it was a solid black shirt, no subtle lines, it was in my neck size, sleeve size and also a slim fit, so now I own a $60 black shirt I'll be wearing while I buss tables.

I was also supposed to see a friend's show at IOWest at 11:30...the idea of getting up at 4:30am after seeing an 11:30pm show is not the best, but I wanted to support so I went out (I decided to drive so I would be in bed sooner after the show), and on the way there were tons of police cars and motorcycles and they shut down traffic, so I was sitting at Hollywood/Vine and watched a sea of bicyclists shoot past in the other lane. Some sort of fancy bicycle parade on Hollywood Blvd at 11pm on a Friday night. This is where I live now...not too different from Portland, just with more people who honk their horns. After circling the block of the theatre and seeing a tow truck hauling a car whose alarm would not stop, being generally overwhelmed by the amount of people surrounding me and realizing I need some sleep if I'm supposed to look impeccable and serve rich people things tomorrow. That and I bought an iron...I think I mentioned that. Now I kind of wish I also had an ironing board...but the carpet isn't THAT bad.

In the morning I wear a white shirt and black bow tie, oh, and I'm also supposed to have a small wine opener with me...which I don't have, so we'll see how that goes. In the afternoon/evening I'm in all black with my new full length bistro apron. I can't complain...yet, anyway. I haven't lived tomorrow yet (though it's minutes away from starting). Let's see how I do

Monday, April 23, 2012

Trading Cows for Magic Beans

I guess this is something about myself I haven't really told many people, but I paid for my college education with cows.

When I was young I bought a cow from my dad for a dollar. I'm not afraid to say that it was quite the bargain. It's hard to say no to a cute little red haired kid in Osh-Kosh's. I kind of wish I carried a little more of that salesmanship into my adulthood, but I'm not really in the mood to wear Osh-Kosh's in LA, so I can't be too grim on that front.

That calf I bought grew up and had calves and they grew up and had calves and sometimes the cows and calves were brought to auction. Some calves because they were white-faced, which means something to dairymen, but not to Vinniemen. Sometimes the cows were pulled out of rotation and would become someone's hamburger. All this time my dad had a ledger and kept track of all these cattle. This one sold is his, that one sold was mine, etc.

Through my high-school career I think my family figured I'd be going to college...I like to think it was for more reasons other than the fact I wore glasses since kindergarten and had head-gear in high-school (luckily only at bedtime, but that experience is something you carry with you all day). When my dad got money from selling the cows (plus a healthy bonus from all the milk production), he and I went to our local Washington Mutual branch and opened up savings CDs, back when they actually gave a good percentage. By the time I neared the end of high school, since I was the youngest of my siblings and none of us had an interest in taking over the farm, my dad retired and sold off the rest of the herd. My share finished off my circulation of CDs, having them come due every few months.

My plan in high school was originally to attend community college to save money, then finish off at some other college, since surely they would all offer the same stuff. My counselor shook his head when I told him this and said "nope, you're going to college." I laughed...then I started applying to colleges. I stuck to Oregon schools, since I would stay in-state I would save money (I'm definitely Dutch when it comes to monetary things if it's not clear yet). When I felt done applying I got something in the mail from Pacific University, which the only thing I knew about was that it was 7 miles away from my home. Moreover, it had an application that said "application fee waived." I thought "free application? Yes!" and I filled it out.

Skipping some time and all my letters of acceptance and waiting on scholarships, Pacific, the private liberal arts university became my cheapest option, and it was close to my family so I could still live at home (to save money) and attend college. I believe I am the only one of my siblings to have earned a four year degree.

I ended up moving into the dorms half-way through my first semester because I just felt like an outsider and I knew if I wanted to thrive there I had to live there, so there went my plan to save money, until I became a Resident Assistant my sophomore and junior years and got free room and board, then I became the Undergraduate Community Counsel President my senior year which I got paid for as well, so I think that decision to bite the bullet and pay more to be where I knew I needed to be paid for itself (let's hope my current position in LA falls in this line).

Through these four and a half years (yep, I did an encore semester), thanks to my dad's foresight and me buying a little calf when I was young (which I helped deliver, by the way), the CD's came due roughly the same time as payments were due, and in roughly the right amounts, so I ended up paying for college with money I got from selling cows. My college education was not really a couple of magic beans...but for this farmboy who's living in Hollywood...I know I traded the cows wisely.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Express yo self



They don't really fit together in the real world as much as some people try and place them together. Both exist in life and only in rare circumstances together.

To put it bluntly I have a lot of crap going on right now. My life is up in the air. I'm less than 3 weeks away from turning 30 and I have no job, no real prospect of a job, a place that's too big/too much for me, taxes I just paid, insurance I have to pay, classes I want/need to take and no income of consequence. I'm living the dream.

In my acting classes I'm realizing that though I am a sensitive person (I've always suspected must have something to do with all that poetry I wrote in the bathtub in High School), I am not an expressive person. I may be animated in life, but I don't really express my emotions. This works great in life, as I have said before, but I'm realizing that when I suppress one emotion, they all get squished down. There's a fantastic Ted talk on this matter I saw today from Brene Brown. Watch it if you haven't yet.

One step I'm taking for myself is to give me permission to express myself. A few minutes ago I got a text from a former improv classmate who said he'll be my new roommate, so that helps the financials quite a bit, and the fact that I avoided the craigslist crazies is enough to celebrate on its own. That's it. I still have big crap to deal with, attorneys and whatnot to speak to, parents to ask a loan from (yep, almost thirty I am). All that aside, there's one victory for me to have. I don't need to do the old Catholic guilt thing where every time something positive happens I stay quiet about it and wait for the bad thing that's following right behind it. I'd rather not celebrate publicly to be immediately humiliated even more publicly. That said, since I know it's going to happen anyway, I might as well enjoy the moment and have those few minutes of happiness than postpone them out of future dread.

I'm not sure what I'll do with my anger as it comes up, as I know it will, but I guess I'll just find out. I'm letting my happy out of the bag and lettinallowing Pandora to remove whatever else she thinks needs some airing out.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Ruminations on Holy Thursday

So much I haven't been writing about, and still more I'm not ready to write about just yet!

I had a great experience in church tonight. I went to the Holy Thursday mass up in Burbank because I got out of an audition late and it was the closest Catholic church. It was a fascinating service. There were a total of four languages spoken. Some of the songs and even the readings were done in Vietnamese and Spanish as well as English. Then of course, because it's Holy Thursday there was a nice helping of Latin.

More than the words spoken were the emotions touched upon. A couple weeks ago one of my acting coaches told me that if I'm ever going to be a good actor and feel more on camera I need to feel more in everyday life. Now there's the biggest little piece of advice I ever got. I have been working more on feeling life in every moment, and whatever emotions flow through me.

The issue I have (and every other human has) is that, though I was super open to my emotions as a child, I built up walls as I grew up. Very functional walls that help me live every day. My sense of humor, my impartiality, all the things that make me me. However, with all of those fully functioning parts of me in play, other parts of me are so protected that they have grown a little stunted. I rarely cry, and when I do it hits me hard. My deep emotions are bottled up within me so that they kind of explode out...though anger is something I don't think I've ever really understood or had a grasp on, and it's something I think less than five people have seen over my nearly thirty years on this earth.

During the mass I felt the impact of what we were reenacting as a group. The washing of the feet, and poor Simon never getting it right but trying so very hard to be perfect. Songs have always been able to seep through my defenses better than most other things, and there was some great music during the mass. What started to hit me was the exit when I remembered this is the time of year, the very day when they remove the host, the trans-substantial body of Christ from the church, leaving it empty. Removing the host from His home. The lights slowly went out as we sang and processed outside of the church and across the street into the parish hall. There was other singing there and we all knelt in vigil alongside Jesus as he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane and asked us to remain with him, his companions and his friends. Unfortunately when he asked his disciples to do this they all fell asleep.

As I knelt there I felt waves of shame and fear and joy know--emotions--flow through me. I know they'll continue through midnight keeping vigil, but I had enough time to go through my own little journey.

I'm not sure if it's because I'm away from home and the people I love and have known my whole life or the fact that I'm going through a terrible realization that people I've known and trusted for a year pretty much scammed me, or the fact that I just left an audition where I had to tell a woman that the hospital will not do a lifesaving procedure on her son because she has no money or just life as it is right now in general, but I was right there alongside Jesus. I was open to myself and to my fears and to my pain and I felt them all. I felt tired and hungry afterward. I felt alive.

Not that I don't feel alive normally, with all my personal neurosis and defenses and whatnot, but I was there in communion with something much bigger than myself. Not my ego either. In fact I heard on a podcast earlier today how this one artist interviewed other artists and when asking them all why their friends like them all had answers like, "because I'm a fun guy," or "I give them candy and stuff," such as that. However, when digging deeper, past their own walls they had built up around themselves they realized that their friends really like them because they are honest people. I kind of realized that yeah, I like to think people like me because I'm funny, but perhaps the real reason people like me has more to do with the fact that I'm one of the most sincere people out there. Not saying they don't find me funny...but I'm not saying they do either, I guess.

Anyway, I sat with myself for a while this evening and I let myself feel. The other big thought that crossed my mind is that I love my parents so much, and one of the hardest facts I'll have to face is that someday, hopefully not anytime soon, my parents will die and I will be forever without them and I'll have to mourn them. This is a fact I dread, and I pray every day that it is delayed as long as possible. I do not wish to mourn my parents, I'd much rather have them here telling me they love me and frustrating me with how they confuse the names of everything.

With all that in mind, I need to open myself to life and run straight to the pain because there is something much better once you experience and pass through those spots of life. There is always more, everywhere you look.