Monthly Archives: July 2014

The Bigfoot plural?

Where was I when every place in the world suddenly got their own Sasquatch?

I really like cryptozoology. Whenever a show like Monster Quest or Destination Truth comes along, I’m all about it. I love the folklore. I really do believe that there are things out there that science can’t explain or that we haven’t found. I keep an open mind to the mythic aspect, particularly if I feel confidant in the source.

I also don’t really mind if something gets debunked. A lot of the time, the monster we think we have can still end up revealing something cool. Look at the gorilla. For years and years people thought it was a mythical beast. No one believed it was real, until someone proved that it was. Look at the Kraken. The stories of this terrifying sea monster led to discovering the giant squid and the colossal squid. How is this stuff not awesome?

Then they had to go a put “Finding Bigfoot” on TV. For a long time, North America had Sasquatch/Bigfoot and Asia had the Yeti/Abominable Snowman. If you looked harder, some other areas had their own wildman. That was it. Now, every state in the US has their own Bigfoot? You’re pushing it. Don’t get me wrong, I would love for them to finally discover the great North American primate. I’m a guy who spent time in Inverness, Scotland, and REALLY hoped he saw a small sign of Nessie.

Maybe it’s the source. If a Native American tells me about skinwalkers, Thunderbirds, or even Sasquatch I will probably listen. If some crazy looking guy missing most of their teeth tells me that Rhode Island or Georgia has their own version, the vicious Fredsquatch or something, I want to smash my head against the wall. Again, maybe it’s the source. Or possibly the name. I might buy into encounters with Sheepsquatch if they didn’t call it SHEEPSQUATCH!! And no, I didn’t just make that up. Here’s a link.

http://cryptidz.wikia.com/wiki/Sheepsquatch

I guess it’s just like the over abundance of ghost shows (which is another thing I actually do have an open mind about) and the sudden appearance of a nation of ghost hunters. I think there is a strong chance that things are out there. I just don’t think they are as plentiful as people have suddenly made them. I read an article recently saying that most of the Bigfoot hair samples are animals we know, but some look like they are a bear that science hadn’t known about. That’s cool in its own right! There is enough mystery in the world right now. We don’t need to add more just to get on TV.

Retail

I worked in retail for three and a half years. If you add in other jobs I had when I was younger, that probably makes it five and a half all together. I feel it has given me the qualifications to make this statement:

Retail is a bitch.

I will admit, I realized long before leaving the job that it was not for me. However, when you have bills to pay you do what you have to. That being said, I am not a good salesman. Customer service I can do. Getting people to spend more money than they want or need to? Not so much. I think the only other reason I lasted as long as I did (besides needing the paycheck) was that I genuinely liked the product I was selling. Still, working in retail is a bitch because of a few reasons. Yes, I actually have thoughts rather than just a blanket statement.

1- The general population is a pain in the ass. People want things. That’s common knowledge. I want things. You want things. But we also want great quality things for as little money as possible. Now matter how low the price of something is, it’s still too much. Not everyone thinks this way, but this is a minority. So you will be working in a store in the mall and someone will be trying to haggle like they’re at Cousin Willy’s Country Flea Market. When you won’t play the make-a-deal game, since it will usually get you fired, they get pissy with you.

2- If commission is involved in your pay at all, get ready to work in a shark tank. Your co-workers will always be trying to snag a sale from you and from each other. Some people thrive on that type of environment, I guess. I’m just not one of them. For me, the only person I want to compete with is myself. I also have no interest in throwing someone under the metaphorical bus to get ahead, which also happens a lot in retail.

3- No matter how hard you work, people don’t respect you. Maybe it’s a little different if you work on the corporate end, but if you are a salesperson other people will treat you poorly. If you are in high school or college, people will just treat you as the dumb kid working at the store. To be fair, you may be just that, but it doesn’t make you feel better about it. Now if you are an adult, whether you’re a manger or not, people look at you like a somewhat lower class of person. This isn’t right. The people who work this job deserve as much respect as anyone. It’s not an easy job and it eats up a lot of time out of your life. When the average customer treats you like you’re half-man, half slug, the job becomes harder. When you have friends and family ask when you’re getting a “real job”, even though you make more money than them, the job becomes harder.

I have friends who still work in retail. I worry about them, even if they genuinely seem to like what they do. Then there are the people in retail who have made this job their whole life. I worry about them too, because I don’t think any job should consume someone’s life. As much as I’m happy I don’t work in retail anymore, a little part of me thinks that everyone in the world should be required to work that job at least once. If nothing else, maybe it would just make people think twice about being rude to a salesperson. They have enough to deal with already.

The Papa curse

There is this thing that follows the men in my family. Perhaps it’s genetic. More likely, it is some diabolical curse that has caught up with me.

My paternal grandfather was Papa Joe. One of the things that I remember most clearly about him was this ability to just fall asleep wherever he was sitting. He would be surrounded by noisy grandchildren or adults having a conversation, yet he would be asleep. He would wake up pretty easily, but it was definitely something he got teased about.

My dad has done this for a few years. My parents will be over for a visit and he will do the same thing. It doesn’t matter how loud my kids are. If he’s tired enough, he will just fall asleep. You look over and there he is, head tilted back and mouth open, occasionally snoring. He has been struck by the nap demon.

And now….I do it to.

I will be sitting with my girls in the play room. We will be watching Sesame Street or something when I suddenly feel a wave of exhaustion. I let my eyes close for a moment. Then, one of two things usually happens.

1) I wake myself up.

2) Phoebe shakes my leg and yells, “Wake up, daddy!” Then she laughs and waits to see if I fall asleep again so she can wake me up again. Comedy gold as far as my daughter is concerned.

I don’t know if this is something that comes up you with age or with kids. I don’t know if this happens to my brother or my cousins. If it is genetic in the male line, Phoebe and Zoe may be spared. If it is, in fact, a curse by some diabolical witch doctor as I suspect then my kids may very well be screwed. And frequently sleepy.

Missing the drama, but not the drama

A few posts ago, I made reference to not being on stage in awhile. Until recently, I was an actor. I didn’t make my living doing it but I still performed pretty regularly. I can say that I did, in fact, get paid to do it her and there. Unfortunately, the last time I was able to act in any capacity was over two years ago. Not too long ago, I realized that I started considering myself a “former” actor. Between work taking up a lot of time and my wanting to spend the free time with my wife and kids, there was just no time to commit to auditions and rehearsals. Simple as that. Do I miss it? Yes. Do I miss ALL of it? No.

I will explain. Like a lot of people, I started acting when I was a little kid and taking it seriously when I was a teenager. I have worked with a lot of different people. I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of classic theatre, new works, comedies, dramas, musicals, and some theater that was just plain weird. I’ve been in stuff I am still very proud of and productions that were a complete piece of crap.

I miss the actual work. I miss playing a character that was just plain fun and a character that was super challenging. I would learn things as actor. Not just about acting but about people and different ways of thinking. Some roles require research, some require digging at emotions and memories you usually prefer not to touch. But it is rarely ever dull.

I miss getting to see other people work. It’s really cool to watch another actor doing something really well, particularly if they are a friend.

I miss making new friends. Almost all of the friends I have or have ever had, I’ve met through the theatre. It’s actually a little difficult to find people that I have things in common with now that I’m not actively involved in the theatre scene.

On the flip side, I don’t miss the frustrations. You get frustrated when the work isn’t going in the direction you want it to. You get frustrated when you put everything into a production and the audience isn’t responsive, if they even come at all. You get frustrated when you see people constantly get cast and you can’t figure out why, while other people who are quite good are lucky to get a walk on role.

I don’t miss the egos. Most actors, myself included, have one. The stereotype is there for a reason. Not all of them make a big deal about it, but some are just insufferable. In my experience, the actors with the biggest egos are those that really don’t deserve to have them. They don’t have a lot of range and are pretty awful to work with, yet they think every production revolves around them. Usually, that’s how they are outside of rehearsal as well. Though to be fair, some people are difficult to work with because as good as they are, they are super insecure and take it out on those around them. It takes all types.

I don’t miss the politics. Every industry has some and the theatre world is not any different. Who you know or don’t know, like or don’t like, makes a difference as to how far you get. It’s sad.

At the end of the day, I wish I could still be involved in that world. Would I trade the time with my kids for it? Never. Would I be happy if they wanted to do it? I don’t know. I guess I just need to see if that’s something they really want to be a part of. It might be fun if it was something my daughters and I could share. Again, some of that life really sucks. Maybe Phoebe and Zoe will have a passion for something else. Maybe it will be for the best.

This is all “what if” talk. Right now, I will be fine with knowing that one day I can go back to the theatre, even if it’s just as a hobby. For now, my time is better spent offstage.

The iron grip of children’s television

There is little middle ground with the shows my kids watch. Either they are pretty good or they are crotch-kickingly awful. No matter what, I can’t escape. The kids shows are everywhere. They are taking over.

The Most Annoying: Phoebe is currently obsessed with The Fresh Beat Band. It’s basically a poor man’s Monkees. Four kids are in a band and have wacky adventures. They also seem to live in a mall for some reason. And the songs are stupid. So of course, Phoebe memorizes them and the choreography. I find myself singing them when I’m at work. I hate it.

Other dishonorable mentions are Little Einsteins, Max and Ruby, and The Micky Mouse Clubhouse. Also, the makers of Caillou deserve a special place in Hell. God, that show sucks!

My Favorite: I really like that Phoebe watches Peg+Cat. It’s just a cute show about a girl and her cat that teaches math and problem solving. Math is a weakness of mine so anything that helps my girls in that subject is awesome. It can also be funny on a grownup level as well as a kid level. I should mention that Cat is kind of shaped like an eggplant and this amuses me.

Other shows I like are Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Doc McStuffins, and the classic that is Sesame Street. I also don’t mind Yo Gabba Gabba, even though this is one of the most bizarre shows I’ve ever seen. This is coming from a guy who remembers The Great Space Coaster.