Archive for the ‘Deep Thoughts’ Category



January 8, 2009

6 January 2009

For many years now, another profession that has appealed to me (in addition to writing/filmmaking) is that of Life Coach.  Yes, I know – add this to the list that also includes stage actor, dog whisperer, roller coaster designer, novelist, fitness magazine cover model, professional psychic, full-time sexy person and trained snorkeler.  So what of it?  I’m layered.

In 2008, when I was still living in Minneapolis, I decided to do a little research about Life Coaching.  A little research never hurt anyone, right?  And it’s free.  Of course, in 2004 I decided to “just do a little research” about nose jobs and a month later had a new schnoz, which definitely was NOT free, as fond as I am of the revised sniffer.

Anyhoo – with Life Coaching, you have the opportunity to help other people become the best version of themselves they want to be, which seriously jazzes me.  THEY still do the work, though, much like a basketball coach is not out there on the field, diamond, court, track … whatever the playing surface in basketball is called … but rather there to help the players focus on their strengths, develop other areas and apply their natural skills to the team and to the goal of winning.

I realized about a week ago that I’ve been seriously studying all of the things that are part of Life Coaching – at least the kind of Coaching I’d like to do – for more than four years!  Clearing life clutter, focusing on what makes you feel good, the Law of Attraction, living presently, etc.  Dang!  As I continued to ponder my studies, I thought of still more research/prep work I’d done even further back in time – such as discovering Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” in 1998/1999 (LOOOOOOVE this book), and even reading Louise Hay’s seminal “You Can Heal Your Life” in my early 20s.  Cool.  I’m not as much of a newbie as I thought.  The Universe has been winking at me all this time.  Who’da thunk?

One of my accomplishments in 2009 (here’s the full list) will be certification as a Life Coach.  Still, I’m intrigued to start sharing what I know, how I can communicate it to others, designing a plan for them, what the whole process will be like for me in the real world and so forth.  This past weekend I was chatting with one of the animal rescue volunteers – the only one who isn’t still a teenager.  He’s an actor, and he mentioned he’s somewhat frustrated with life, career and other things, so I offered to help him out.  I’m sure he’ll be a famous television or film star soon enough, so out of respect for his privacy, we’ll call him Bryan.

We met for coffee today and I said if he was willing to be my guinea pig, I would coach him for free.  As payment, I joked that I would like to be mentioned during his acceptance speech at the Oscars.  (Of course, I might not hear it because I’ll likely be backstage taking questions from the press because I just won too, but these are logistics we can suss out later.)  Bryan’s an ideal client because he is ready for and wants to make changes in his life, and those are the kind of Life Coachees who will make the best progress.  I’ll keep you posted on how all of that goes!


Life aboard

January 6, 2009

5 January 2009

Not too much excitement today.  I had coffee with a friend, and was excited to start making contact with all the industry people who have been busy since the holidays.  “Call me in the new year!  Call me after the 1st.  We’re hiring in January!”  So it’s finally  here, and that’s good news!

The end of my lease (April 1) is going to show up quickly, so I’ve started looking at apartments.  I need to carefully consider where my next move is going to be, so I want to be clear on what I can get and for how much.  I found one apartment in Marina del Rey that is actually a sailboat in the marina.  How sweet would that be?!  Living on the water in my own little S.S. Minnow.  Plus, it was cheaper than most of the rentals I’d found on Craigslist.

After work yesterday, I made my way there to look at it.  While I was waiting my turn for the boat owner/landlord to show me the boat, I realized how incredibly quiet it was.  Wow.  I’ve been nowhere in LA that was this quiet, not even in the ‘burbs in the Valley.  It was noticeable.  Cool.  Water AND quiet.  Mind you, with all of this, I still have no clue how I would pay for this rental at this time, but anyway…

It was finally my turn and the owner and I chatted while we walked there.  He is a musician in town and he writes/performs music that promotes environmental awareness.  OK, so he’s kindof a hippee like me.  That’s cool.  He’s an Italian guy (I think), so he has an accent that is delightful. During the showing, we talked about art and life and the Universe and creativity, so that was interesting.  I can talk about that stuff endlessly with those willing to listen.  He was an intriguing fellow.  He meditates a lot, and he wants to make sure he rents the space to someone who will use the solitude and quiet of the marina to find peace in their own world, so that their calm energy will then emanate into the world.  I can appreciate that.  As for the boat…

Now, I’m not opposed to a small living space.  Even in my room now with the limited stuff I brought with me from Minneapolis, it is astounding the mess I can create.  For me, more space equates to more mess.  (Hmm, maybe I should rewrite that story.)  However, the boat was just a little TOO cozy.  With a dog in the picture – which there will be – we’d be stepping on each other all the time.  Actually, the boat – while charming – was the human equivalent of a dog crate, only I wouldn’t have enough room to stand up or turn around.  I don’t think it’d be easy living an environment where you can’t stand fully upright without bonking your head.

Going with the dog crate analogy, this was also not a place in which I could go to the bathroom, since there wasn’t a working toilet onboard.  Ouch.  I can deal with having to go to the marina to shower, but when I’ve got to pee at 4 in the morning?  Um, no.  Or got forbid I eat some bad seafood or something.  Eeew.  I don’t even want to think about it.  Would I have to buy a bedpan for these circumstances?  Pee in a jug?  Yeah, this really wasn’t the life I was envisioning for myself.

I enjoyed the chat with the landlord, though, and figured he must have a website where I could hear some of his music.  I asked for a card, but he didn’t have one.  [Sidebar:  I am amazed at the number of people in Los Angeles — the city of networking and connections — who do not have cards at the ready every second.  ONCE I’ve been ‘caught’ without my cards, and it was with a movie producer.  Lesson learned.]  Anyway, he said he’d send me some links since he still had my email.  I told him regardless of how the boat situation works out, he should keep in touch.  As artists, we need to support and help one another out, right?  He agreed, saying we should grab coffee, meditate together and possibly exchange energies.

Um, I’m sorry… what was that last thing again?  “We could exchange energies.”  OK.  Was that a come-on?  I wasn’t sure.  I stood there for a minute, thinking I must’ve looked like a deer caught in headlights, because this has never been proposed to me before.  Then I realized I was just standing there and there had been an awkward pause where no one had spoken.  I said something to end it, but what that was I can’t recall.

“Exchange energies.”  I am giving that to y’all as a freebie.  Try using it on your husbands, wives, significant others, boy/girlfriends, drunken nightclub hook-ups or online tricks and let me know how it works for you.  I’ll publish the results after extensive data has been returned to me.


100 Accomplishments

January 4, 2009

3 January 2009

A few years ago, I was reading one of the hippie/raw food eating/metaphysical philosophy books I own (and cherish, thanks very much), and the author touted the importance of making a list of 100 things you want to accomplish in the next year.  These aren’t resolutions, mind you.  This is another way of visualizing the life you’d like to lead for the next year.  Much like a vision board, I suppose.  A big, comprehensive list of the things you want to do, see, have, learn, experience, etc.

In the several years I’ve done this exercise, I’ve yet to come up with 100 things.  Can you believe that??  I’m even including things like, “I replaced all of my tattered underwear!” and “Purchased a fancy watch!”  I came up with everything my brain can imagine that I really want right now.  Special thanks to my sister for posting a similar list on her blog from which I ‘borrowed’ several fantastic suggestions.

One of the challenges is that the accomplishments have to be measurable.  Nothing vague like, “I will be in the best shape of my life.”  However, “I gained 15 pounds of muscle” works, as does “I returned to tai chi play three times per week.”  Sometimes, I admit, I’m not 100% successful with this.  I know I’ll keep revamping and revising until it’s compliant with this rule, though.

The list is all over the place – career stuff, personal stuff, travel items, material things.  Writing the list makes you think BIG about everything you want in your life, and not stopping until you reach 100 really forces you to expand your mind.  Here’s my list as it stands right now:

1.  New apartment that is quiet, peaceful, near the beach and where I can have a pup
2.  New bicycle
3.  New car
4.  One screenplay optioned (minimum)
5.  Ran a marathon
6.  Added 15 pounds of muscle
7.  Wrote two new screenplays (minimum)
8.  Became financially independent – my investments earn enough to pay my expenses
9.  Earned $1000 worth of writing income per week (business, creative, technical, articles, etc.)
10.  Up and running with my iPhone
11.  LA365 blog receives 50,000 hits per day
12.  Arctic Dog Films website is up and running
13.  Learned to surf! (and own all the accoutrements)
14.  Met and am sharing life with my next great love
15.  Enjoying my new MacbookPro w/Final Cut and ACS4
16.  Studied & developed my intuitive abilities and put them to use (reading people)
17.  Learned to speak French
18.  Learned to speak Spanish
19.  Went for an extended trip to Paris (and explored Europe, too)
20.  Bought a new guitar
21.  Took guitar lessons and relearned to play
22.  Wrote a song on my guitar
23.  Produced and starred in my own cabaret show
24.  Directed and produced ILLUME
25.  Completely simplified and organized every aspect of my life (a la “Coach Yourself…”)
26.  Went on a ski trip to the Rockies
27.  Trip to NYC
28.  Secured production deals with two companies (one is a major studio)
29.  Started voice lessons again
30.  Relearned TaiChi grand long form
31.  Began regular yoga practice
32.  Took an RSVP, Atlantis or Zoom Vacation
33.  Had a sitting with a professional photographer
34.  Gave $15,000 to charity
35.  Volunteered at least 10 hours per month
36.  Enjoyed monthly spa days
37.  Swam with dolphins
38.  Went horseback riding
39.  Had lunch, dinner or drinks with Oprah Winfrey
40.  Returned to an 80% raw food eating plan
41.  New Vespa
42.  Saved 6 months worth of expenses as a reserve
43.  Paid off my credit cards
44.  Paid back monies owed to my family
45.  Current with my taxes & loved by the IRS
46.  Earned $1,000,000 income!!!
47.  Went on a yoga/meditation retreat
48.  Take an Alaskan cruise
49.  Landed an agent – both literary and directing
50.  Hired an assistant
51.  Hired a housekeeper
52.  Hired a personal, raw food chef
53.  Purchased a high-end watch
54.  Purchased a hi-def television set
55.  Raw foods and health supplements are delivered to my home
56.  Traveled to the Grand Canyon
57.  Traveled to Australia
58.  Developed a photography hobby
59.  Enjoying a sleek, new NIKON D60 digital camera for aforementioned hobby
60.  Finished a triathlon
61.  Revamped my wardrobe/style/image & am able to cultivate it authentically
62.  Wrote & produced fun webisode series about dating
63.  Bought a piano and took piano lessons
64.  Acted in a small role in a film
65.  Performed in a play or musical here in LA
66.  Had coffee, lunch or drinks with Meryl Streep
67.  Had a successful pitch meeting at Focus Features which resulted in an option
68.  Talked with Steven Spielberg at an industry event
69.  Attended a swanky Oscar after-party!
70.  Wrote a novel
71.  Unloaded my Minneapolis condo
72.  Rescued at least two dogs
73.  Attended a Hicks/Abraham seminar
74.  Dinner with Jerry & Esther Hicks
75.  New collection of fancy-schmancy underwear
76.  New running shoes
77.  New running shoe heel inserts
78.  Sweet new rollerblades
79.  Attached a name actor to ILLUME (minimum)
80.  Was mentored by and established relationships with multiple entertainment industry pros
81.  Purchased a brand new professional-grade video camera for vlogging & webisode work
82.  Took golf lessons
83.  Bought golf clubs and golf accoutrements
84.  New backpack/satchel thing for hauling around all m’stuff
85.  Became a certified Life Coach
86.  Slept under the stars
87.  Went to Disneyland
88.  Planted a garden and grew my own vegetables
89.  Went skinny dipping
90.  Kissed that someone special in the rain (see #14)
91.  Went for a moonlit walk along the beach
92.  Went to a drive-in movie (double-feature would be awesome!)
93.  Joined a book club
94.  Visited every major film studio lot in Los Angeles
95.  Took a Hawaiian vacation
96.  Watched the northern lights
97.  Have a new home stereo system
98.  Bought some sweet BOSE noise-reduction headphones
99.  Read every script nominated for “Best Original Screenplay” within the past 10 years
100.  Watched every “Best Picture” Oscar winner for the past 30 years

Give this exercise a try.  It isn’t as easy as it sounds!


A fantastic new year

January 2, 2009

OK, y’all.  We’ll try this again.  I’m doing my best to write the current entries, as well as rewrite and post ALL of my previous missing entries dating back to November.  My GOAL is to post one new entry here on the top page each day, and I’ll work on posting the make-up entries ASAP, several at a time.  I DO have entries and stories for the past month or more, believe me!  But it is a new year, so I thought it would be good to begin posting current entries again.  Then, when I post the back entries for Nov/Dec, it’ll be kindof like the Star Wars prequels or something.  Well, those weren’t universally loved, so maybe that’s not a great analogy.  Anyway, HAPPY NEW YEAR and thanks for reading!

1 January 2009

I can not express in blog-space how excited I am about 2009.  The last year definitely presented its challenges, but I have come to peace with them and am actually grateful for all I’ve been through this year.  I know I am stronger, better and wiser than I was at this time last year.  Well, let’s hope I’m wiser!

The first day of the new year started at 6:00am when I heard my housemate Jeffrey come in from the New Year’s Eve festivities he attended downtown.  I heard the door open, but the footsteps weren’t Jeffrey’s.  I could tell because they were very fast-paced, very scritch-scratchy, and it was obviously more than two feet walking across the floor.

I went to see what the dealeo was.  There was Jeffery closing the door, but he had a guest: a furry little white poodle-type dog who was prancing around the room, tongue out, panting, happy to be alive.  “This dog followed me home,” he said.  Jeffery, not the dog.  I could tell he hadn’t been roaming the streets for a long time or anything, because it was pretty healthy and well-fed.  I got him some water, and we checked the collar for a tag.  Bentley was his name, and Jeffrey called the owner.  Here’s a picture I snapped with my camera phone (of Bentley, not the housemate).


Well, Bentley was about as happy-go-lucky as a dog can be.  We should all be so lucky to have this much enthusiasm for life.  I sat in a chair in the living room and Bentley jumped up next to me, put one of his paws and his snoots on my leg.  Jeffrey went to bed since he’d been up all night, and I wanted some extra rest, too.  I went back to my room and Bentley followed right quick, hopped up in the bed with me and settled in for a little nap.  Such a cutie.  If only my dates were as willing…

The call came for Bentley at about 8:30am.  Turns out he’d escaped the yard at 11:45 the previous night and had been wondering around all night, presumably until he found Jeffrey.  There were three other dogs who were still unaccounted for.  The woman who picked up Bentley was dogsitting him, but the other three dogs were hers.  She had been up and out all night searching for them.  What an agonizing start to the new year for her.  I am keeping my fingers crossed her dogs make a safe and healthy return home.  It turns out she works for the vet who does a TON of the veterinary work for the animal rescue group I am working with.  What’re the odds??

It being the new year and all, I FINALLY decided: “OK, damnit!  I’m going to the beach today!!”  I hopped on a #333 Venice Boulevard bus and was at Venice Beach in all of 10 minutes.  The ‘boardwalk,’ I am calling it – with all the shops, booths, tarot readers, street musicians and… let’s kindly call the rest a ‘unique cross section of the human species’ – was busy with walkers and gawkers.  I wasn’t that interested in the shops, a slice of pizza, a henna tattoo or a seeing a two-headed turtle at the Museum of Oddities.  I just wanted to visit the water.

The payoff was worth it.  It was really peaceful and beautiful.  Cloudy today, but here’s a picture:


I found myself wondering “How have I not lived here my whole life?”  It felt very natural to me.  Is Libra a water-sign?  I dunno.  I love the ocean:  the smell of the salt water and the sound of the waves.  The water crashing and the wind blocks out all the other sounds of the city… traffic, people, industrial hum.  It is quite magnificent.  I sat down and took some time to think about how truly grateful I am to simply be alive during this time.  I can’t explain it, but I know I am being watched over.  There is some greater purpose for me here, and I’m closer than I’ve ever been to understanding what that is.  2009 will be astonishing and wonderful.


Another blackout: Days 85-97

November 10, 2008

Oy.  I’ve lapsed again.  Yes, life is busy and has thrown some curve balls.  To catch up briefly:

Halloween in West Hollywood was an intersting sight.  A quarter of a million people on Santa Monica Boulevard – and not just the gays either, oh no.  Gays, straighties and everyone in between.  There was enough body glitter in use to blanket a small town.  I’m still trying to decipher what someone wearing a doily, suspenders and a strategically placed tube sock is supposed to be, but whatever.  People were there with their families and everyone was having a rip-snorting hedonistic time.  Truth be told, though, my tolerance threshold for drunkenness en masse is pretty low, so about 45 minutes there and I was good to go.

Then of course, there was election night.  An exciting night, but dang, I was glad when that was over.  I was suffering from SERIOUS election fatigue.  The election of Barack Obama is bittersweet for many in California, however, since it was tempered with the passage of Proposition 8.

Apparently, married gays and lesbians have the ability to unravel the fabric of American society, or better yet – destroy the sanctity of marriage as God deemed it so WORLDWIDE.  Well, shit!  When I was in my 7-year relationship a while back, I really wish I knew we wielded that much power while doing unthinkable, aberrant homo stuff like laundry, watching TV or picking up our dog’s crap in the back yard.  Dang!  Missed opportunities.  Apparently, we could have RULED THE WORLD!

So ladies and gentlemen… drum roll please… California’s Proposition 8 will mark the first time in California history that the Constitution has been amended to rescind rights, rather than to grant them.  Yay California voters.  Another first.  “As California goes, so goes the nation,” I heard it said.  Eek.

Maybe during the next election, the same group that sponsored and passed this proposition will rescind my voting rights too, or maybe my right to employment opportunities.  What’s to stop them, really?  They managed to get this one through.  Think it seems far fetched?  I’m not so sure, and I’d bet money (if I had any) that someone is already pondering the argument – someone who, is all likelihood, is a latent, self-hating queer bigger than all the ‘mos in California combined.  You know it!  (Exhibit A:  Larry Craig, right?)

Rocker and uber-lesbian Melissa Etheridge had this to say in an article, which I thought was pretty frackin’ brazilliant:

Okay. So Prop 8 passed. Alright, I get it. 51% of you think that I am a second class citizen. Alright then. So my wife, uh I mean, roommate? Girlfriend? Special lady friend? You are gonna have to help me here because I am not sure what to call her now. Anyways, she and I are not allowed the same right under the state constitution as any other citizen. Okay, so I am taking that to mean I do not have to pay my state taxes because I am not a full citizen. I mean that would just be wrong, to make someone pay taxes and not give them the same rights, sounds sort of like that taxation without representation thing from the history books.

You can read her entire article by clicking this link.

These things take time, though.  Most of the gays I’ve conferred with agree it IS odd that  chickens and other animals – um, the ones eventually slaughtered for food – were given more rights, while the GLBT community had some of theirs removed.  Great.  As long as the chickens on death row are comfy and cozy.  Anyway, it’s kindof a big deal here in California, though, and the gays are refusing to lay down and take it, and by that I mean passage of the amendment, not… oh nevermind.

In other news, I moved back to my cousin Yvonne and her husband Ed’s house in West Hills.  I am grateful they took me back in.  It’s lovely to get a reprieve from worrying about homelessness.  I have until December to get a place, so if you KNOW anyone…  Don’t forget, though:  I’m very powerful…


Day 83: Asking for help

November 2, 2008

28 October 2008

Yesterday’s USPS tale was sufficiently long.  I didn’t get into the story of how late last night, I sent an email to all of the people in my Flash Forward class telling them about my housing and employment situation.  I struggled with that decision most of the day because, well… ALL of us in the class are seeking (or seeking to create) new opportunities, so who am I to single out MY situation and ask for help, you know?  After speaking with my Flash Forward daily check-in buddy, my small group coach, and the class instructor Suzanne – all of whom were supportive of the idea – I sent out the email.  It is not easy asking for help in tough times.  It must be a guy thing, like not wanting to stop and get directions.

The responses I’ve received so far have been supportive though, and I’m grateful for them.  One classmate clearly sensed my hesitancy and wrote back to me, saying “what you discover by reaching out is that there is a huge group of people all ready to help in whatever way possible.  There is strength in reaching out.”  When I spoke to my coach Troy the next day, he said something to the effect of: by asking for help, you empower others because you let them know it’s OK for them to ask for help when they need to do so.  One of the other class coaches sent me back hugz.

So… I’ve asked.  And now just need to allow the results to come to me (while, of course, taking what action I can to keep moving forward).  Still, today I was wiped out – dealing with all that’s on my plate right now is a little draining.  That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, as they say.  If that’s true, I must be pretty strong by now, right?  I should try ripping a phone book in half or puncturing a car tire with my teeth…


Day 81: Brain… so… tired…

October 31, 2008

26 October 2008

This morning I woke up early, and the plan was to drive into Burbank to have a coffee and spend a few minutes preparing for the seminar.  I had a Starbucks gift card Hank sent me for my birthday.  Yes, Hank my dog.  Sidebar: I asked my ex how it was possible that Hank’s income was currently exceeding mine, such that he could afford to buy me gifts.  I’m was informed Hank is doing some modeling for Abercrombie & Fitch and also testing a new line of Prada dog booties.  Hmmm.  As photogenic and booty-loving as Hank is, I’m not 100% convinced.  If it’s true, I think I should be netting some of those residuals, right?!  Regardless, I’m grateful for the thoughtful gift.

Anyway, in Burbank I fired up the Verizon GPS to get a 20 on the closest Starbucks.  Unfortunately, all the closest Starbucks that kept coming up were on-site at Disney Studios or on the Warner Brothers lot.  DANGIT!  I can’t get to those.  It’s unfair and downright mean for Verizon to offer them up as suggestions when I can’t access them without a three-picture deal.

I manage to track one down on San Fernando Boulevard, find a rock star parking space, go in to order… and my gift card is gone.  Oh HELL no!  There was still $11 on that thing!  I ordered my tall decaf coffee and sulked for a while before I was seminar-bound.

My friend Tori is one of the coaches in the seminar.  As soon as I walked in she asked how I was holding up.  I talked about my whole housing/employment quagmire and she suggested maybe I need to revise my goal for the seminar, noting I needed to tend to these very basic needs.  I was still exhausted from yesterday, and I know her intentions are for my greatest good, but it wasn’t a conversation I was ready to have at that exact moment.  Unfortunately, it came out something like, “Tori, I am so overwhelmed right now with everything, and spent all day yesterday getting to full speed with this other goal,.  Now you’re asking me to make a complete 180, and I can’t even process that at the moment, so LEAVE OFF!!”  OK, I didn’t say the last little part.  Since she reads people’s energy, she likely sensed I was at my saturation point and didn’t press further, bless her heart.  I took a few deep breaths and did make a point to speak to Suzanne (the seminar leader) before the day’s lectures began.  She helped me make some revisions to my course plan.

Sunday was another amazing seminar day.  One of the highlights for me was the idea that this Hollywood thing is really a big game we should be having fun playing, otherwise why do it?!  Suzanne talked about this in her morning lecture, likening it to playing with our toys when we were kids AND deciding who you want to play with.  Her husband James, a writer and showrunner at Fox who was one of our guest speakers for the day, reiterated it in our small group Q&A with him.  It puts everything I’m doing into a very different perspective, and I’m grateful both Suzanne and James embody this philosophy.  It’s such a great way of thinking about things… and all of life, really.  We are here to enjoy it!  To feel good!  To have fun!  With all their success, they are living examples that it works – and the fact they want to share that energy with other people in the industry is inspiring to me.  Yes, I’m sounding a little like a broken record, but that’s OK.  Sometimes you need to hear something 50 times before it sinks in.

After two days in close quarters with all of these seminar participants… I am more strongly motivated than I have felt in a long, long time.  I’m expecting great things to come out of Flash Forward, and am equally excited to see what everyone else in the class will achieve.  At this point, however, my brain simply can not process any more information.  Quite frankly, I’m amazed I can formulate sentences at this time.  As much as I want to jump into the work tonight, I think I need to sleep and recharge so I don’t crash and burn.