The New Identities

I spend a lot of time on foot these days, so I am afforded more opportunities to observe people and I have developed some new names for certain types of people.

Time Tripper

People in their 30s need to stop using the phrase “old-school hip hop.” Hip hop hasn’t been around long enough to be old-school, they’re using that wrong.
I call them the Time Tripper because they seem to trip over their correct decade usage. Old school should still relate to the era of the Rat Pack, when it was a different class of entertainer by their dress, manner and type of music. Old school hip-hop is still hip hop.

The Staller

The staller is the person in line at the the 7-11 who doesn’t really have all of their items chosen. They are the next in line to pay yet they keep picking out things from the impulse-buy racks by the register. “Oh wait, this too” is their favorite phrase. It is possible that they secretly have a boatload of disposable income and this is the only way that they can spend it, or they either have a crush on the cashier or simply need to take more time being waited on by someone because they feel ignored.

The Stubbacker

An amalgam of stubborn and linebacker, this individual stands on the train platform and as soon as the doors open tries to enter the train before letting any passengers out. They know exactly how to position themselves directly in the center when the doors part so they also make it difficult for anyone to get through, like a good linebacker would. I try to gently coerce these people into changing their behavior by using terms like “Moron,” and “Move!” But that is all relative to their height and size in comparison to my one hundred and fifty pound, five foot seven inch frame.

The Mack Trucker

This is my current favorite. You’re walking along and someone comes out of a store and they don’t pay any attention to you, they simply pull out in front and inevitably walk at the pace of a three year old. They are usually in a number greater than one so you’re stopped dead. It’s just like a large truck pulling out in front of you knowing full well you have no course of action other than to stop.

 

I may sound like a bitter old curmudgeon but I’m really not. It’s the definition of this blog—I’m amazed at how people can act because it often goes against the core beliefs and common sense that were instilled in me, but at the same time I’m amused at how different we can be and how crazed I can get over the simplest things. The more I learn to laugh the better off I’ll be. And I’ll pass it on.

 

The Challenge Blog

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A recent blog was commented on by one of my longest running followers, sagescenery of http://godssceneryandpromises.wordpress.com and out of it came a very interesting idea for a blog-the challenge blog. That is, give me a topic and I’ll write a blog.

Perhaps it was my ego that got to me. She thanked me for always making her laugh, I said it was my pleasure, “give me a topic and I’ll write a special blog for you.” So I opened my mouth. But the more I thought about it the more I thought how fun. I started in comedy as an improviser, studying in Chicago before I could even legally drink. And that’s the basis of improvisation, creating something out of nothing, or often, from audience suggestions. So here we go.

Here’s the suggestion from the audience: “Let me see…Hmmm…”people who irritate you!” (In a funny way, of course!) Like…I’m irritated by people who won’t let my morning coffee settle in, before they start demanding things…like decisions! Ha! (Hubby that was for you!!)” Or those people who obviously don’t know what leaving a message on my cell is all about…”Call me back!” is not a message!! What do you want?!?! E-mailing me with ‘Call me back” is not acceptable either! (You people know who you are!!) Ha!

Ok, Sage, we’ve got a suggestion of irritating people, take it away actors.

I myself can not really relate to this issue. You see, I get along with everyone at all times. Ok, maybe I should be more specific. I can get along with everyone at all times in my imagination. I start my day off with some light yoga and meditation. In this “space” there is only love. So I take that love and I step outside with it. And then the real people get in the way.

That’s the problem. Real people. Because real people think they’re so smart and think that their agenda is the one that should be followed. What they don’t realize is that I know everything and should be merely followed, observed and learned from. But noooo. Apparently my aura is not strong enough yet to permeate adults, but it is there because little children and pets have always gravitated to me. You know, the pure at heart.

But the adult population wants what they want and want it when they want it. So they interrupt my bliss the way Sage’s hubby interrupts her coffee. And let’s face it, there are only a few who are enlightened enough on this planet not to need coffee. That first cup in particular is sacred and should be revered.

Maybe it’s all the noise noise noise (sorry watched the Grinch last night) and we all need to take a few more breaths in the morning. Maybe if we start our days respectful of our own and other’s cups of coffees we’d start a pattern. The we’d take a breath before we left a message on voicemail and thought of the other end and not just our own mission. And then before we know it, everyone is thinking about everyone else and there’s no more girls flashing because they’d think of their parents, there’s no more silly news stories because media will realize someone gets hurt, and government will really think about the “people.”

Then again, maybe you should just go out for coffee.

 

Have a blog topic, I’m ready for the challenge? I’ll fit it in when I can.  Thanks again sage scenery for the idea.

The Nicest Show

Monday, yesterday, I got to see two of the nicest people I’ve met since I’ve been in California and perform at my favorite place. It’s called Bella Terra and it’s in Huntington Beach. I did one of my first shows when I moved here  and it was January and it was outside. For a life-long resident of Illinois, that was surreal.

Here’s a few shots from yesterday. I forgot how to work the panorama photos, so I had to do it in three.

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So those were the three sides in front of me yesterday. It was a beautiful day and a big and happy crowd. The first time I was there, the show starts at 10:30 and only a handful of people were there at 10:25. I swear the women pushing strollers came from all sides in those five minutes like vultures on a fat guy and the place was filled. Most of the kids are under 4 but with a summer program like yesterday there were a few more of the older (the seniors coming in at 8). And for us male performers, it’s a delight to see really cute moms. They’re the best because I can be really funny and charming and know that I’m not hitting on them so don’t have to be afraid of rejection. 🙂

It’s really a great setting and has always been a fun show, I think I’ve been there 2-3 times a year for the past three years which is rare for performers as they want to be offering as many different things to get people to come back and shop. But they like me there. Which is really why I’m writing this blog.

Ron Merkin with Center Ring Productions was one of the first agents I contacted when I moved here. He liked me on the phone and he tested me out at Bella Terra and when I didn’t suck he kept hiring me for the last few years at all his Kid’s Club events at malls throughout Southern California. Ron has a great way as the emcee for the shows and he’s the most organized SOB I’ve ever seen. He had this giant three-ring* binder named Kid’s Club that I commented on yesterday (how old school he was) and it turned out that was just Bella Terra’s not all of his Kid’s Club’s. Ron’s a good judge of talent and expects a lot from his performers-and you are well rewarded in the bookings if you can bring your A game. I have known too many people in the business of entertaining young children who don’t consider it the highest level and that’s where their professionalism lies. It’s refreshing to meet someone who views the business the same way.

Pat Rogers is the Marketing Director and she’s just well, cool. And that’s tops in my book. We’ve gotten along since the beginning and chat before the show and it’s just been so nice. She’s the real reason I’m there a lot because I make her people happy and that’s her job and she does it well. Plus she’s got wit and charm and style and she’s originally from Long Beach, so we’re oddly connected in some way that you should just take my word for and not ask me to explain.

Which brings me to the real reason I’m writing this blog. I am really into “heart” lately. Seeing it in the writing of certain wonderful TV shows (check out Newsroom if you haven’t when it starts its second season this month), finding great stories on the internet and seeing great gestures. And most of all seeing it in people. I think that modern technology and communication has diminished that and when I get around two people like Pat and Ron, I feel all warm inside, grateful to see them and know they’re out there. Like the Grinch’s that grew, I believe that people everywhere are wanting to see more heart. And when I see these two people, I want to do my job even better. I worked hard yesterday to make it a good show. I wanted to show them my heart. I think the more we all do it, the more we’ll all want it and not be afraid to show it for fear it may go unrecognized or unappreciated.

Let’s give it our all everywhere.

*Three ring, get it, Center Ring Productions. Guess it’s no good when you feel you have to explain it.

Scenes From A Train

I haven’t been on the train in quite a while and what a day to pick. The temps are in the 90s which means a lot of skin that you might not want to see (girl, seriously, a tank top) and the wonderful smell of heat and sweat.

Southern Californians are a weird bunch. When I first moved here it was in October and in the 80s. And people were wearing fleece?! Of course I was fresh from Chicago so I wore shorts for the first six months. But here, just on the walk to the train I saw the gamut of folks wearing shorts and T-shirts ( and some looked real good ) to others wearing sweaters and jean jackets. It’s 93 degrees according to my iPhone. But often here it’s about fashion, it is after all LA.

But no, as I look around me this is not fashion. Is it laziness? Because after all it’s only 90 for a few hours on a Spring day like today, so did they start out early and won’t return to late, so they dressed for the spectrum of temperature? Are they hiding things under those coats, or maybe they just need the pockets to carry all manner of essential articles? No, most have backpacks and purses too.

So what is it? If you’re born here or have lived here for 20 years, is your blood so thin that 90 degrees is not hot? No one looks homeless to substantiate that being all they own on their backs. There must be something deeper.

Wait, I got it! They’re protesting global warming. They will not accept 90 degrees while it’s snowing in Minnesota. This is a movement, a stand. These brave souls are sacrificing their comfort to show their feelings, to show that they’ve had it. That corporate America and the companies that pollute the air have gone too far. And it will not be tolerated.

Oh wait. The guy with the most clothes on just pulled a burrito out of his pocket, ate it and threw the wrapper on the floor. My theory is kaput.

From My View

I stand on the veranda of my apartment. Wait. I can’t lie to my readers. I’m on the third floor fire escape looking down on the street as the race fans walk to and from the Long Beach Grand Prix and I come to one conclusion, people are stupid.

Just kidding.

Really quite the opposite. People are amazing in their variety. All the various shapes and sizes, colors and what the hell is she wearing? How could someone so large wear something so small? Well more power to her for being that comfortable with her body.

I love to people watch and it got me to thinking about something. Amy Poehler had an amazing video that everyone should see. It’s about what we watch. It’s about the bad that we see. And so as I stand here looking out into the sunshine and being entertained by all these people, I’m going to suggest you take three minutes (if you haven’t seen it) and watch her speak.

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Scenes from a Train 1-26-13

An elderly black* man sitting in front of me has a very suspicious looking case that’s on wheels. It’s old and beat up, the kind that you have to dial in a three digit combination on each side before the clasp will be released. He’s got it on its own seat which can indicate its value or danger or just that he’s a rude a$$hole who is taking a seat that will be needed as the train makes its way downtown. There are two more suspicious things- he’s got the arm of the case extended as if he might have to make a fast getaway. The other is the back of his baseball cap reads Black Barons. Is he out to eliminate Snoopy’s alter ego The Red Baron? Is he striking after the actor who voiced Charlie Brown is all over the news for doing weird, stupid things? Is there an anti-Peanut movement afoot? Is poor Linus’ blanket in dire jeopardy of getting in the wrong hands? I’ll keep a close watch on him.

Four seats ahead of me a chubby Asian woman eats what looks like mainly rice out of a plastic container. It looks like leftovers but the plastic doesn’t look like it came from a restaurant. So maybe her mother made it for her and used something they’d saved. That may be why she’s wearing sunglasses, so that she can’t see what her mom put in there. I might suggest more veggies and not just carbs.

Across the aisle a guy in his late 20s, early 30s wears a long leather jacket, a black winter hat pulled over his eyes and dark shades. He stares straight ahead or looks out the window. He could be dangerous but my money is on him being a total nerd trying to look bada$$. I went through a phase of wearing all black, beyond just for magic shows, and wanting to seem all mysterious. Probably looked as ridiculous as he does-our minds are the mystery.

This other young guy across the aisle wearing a hoodie who has been allowing his skateboard to take up a seat just had a woman with her child sit next to him. He didn’t move the skateboard. I’m going to have to continue this later because I have to go smack some sense into him.

*i have been filling out job applications online all week and the only choice is white, not Caucasian, so are we back to just a color thing? I’m so confused. I’ve tried to be courteous and say African American but then you ride on public transportation and using “black” seems polite.