My Time As A Pretend Stewardess in a German Film

(aka my first movie extra experience)

48f5fcc46fa81

Not from the movie

I fully recognize that my acting skills are … well, they’re on the same level as a lot of TV and movie stars, actually — but still extraordinarily shitty.  However, that has not stopped me from aligning myself with a casting agency that specializes in extras.  Because life is too short to never be a blurry figure walking next to something in a TV show.

Usually (and by “usually,” I mean, “Every single time up until now”), I would throw my name into the ring and be met with silence.  Understandably so: aside from the fact that everyone and their brother is signed up for this casting place, very few casting directors are interested in putting an unnecessarily tall woman into the background … unless the scene calls for unnecessarily tall women to be in the background.

But, Monday night, I got the call: I would be part of the airport scenes in an upcoming movie.  I would need to be at Logan Airport by 6 am — could I get there in time, and hair & makeup ready?  Oh, of course.  It only means I have to wake up at 2:30 to be out the door by 3:30, in order to catch the first blue line train into Boston, in order to get to Logan at 6 o’clock in the %$&#ing morning.

And that’s exactly how it went down: Continue reading

Interstate 95: Where Hopes, Dreams, and Peace of Mind Go to Die

5539785791_3a1952632b

If you have never found yourself on 95 (or, for you out-of-towners, I-95 or The 95), particularly the part that loops around Boston, go right ahead and give yourself a high-five (and no, that’s not a sexual thing…yet).  Congratulate yourself for never having to deal with the drudgery that is when 95 and 128 come together to make a perfect storm of suck.  You have been blessed by God and all the Heavens.  Continue on in your life knowing that you have been spared.  But best believe this post is directed at you lucky fuckers.

If you have dealt with 95 in your lifetime, then you have my condolences.  If you deal with it on a daily basis for work, I think there’s a support group out there for you.  You know firsthand that 95 is where cars and dreams go to die.

The first problem with the 95-128 Power Couple of Hate is that people in Boston insist on calling it 128 over 95.  This is how route naming works: when it comes to roads with multiple names, state routes trump street names, and interstates trump all.  This is because state routes end, but interstates go on … y’know, through other states.  This is all fine and dandy (albeit illogical), until someone advises you to get on 128 when 95 is still just 95, hanging out in its evil solo glory.  Hope you got GPS, dickface!

290px-Massachusetts_Route_128

Interstate_95_in_Massachusetts “So, I got onto 95.” “You mean 128, ahahaha!” “…I live in Attleboro, jackass.”

So let’s pretend you’ve made it onto 95, even though that jackoff from Waltham called it 128.  You’re feeling good.  You’re circumnavigating Boston, which means you won’t be dying a slow, uneasy death in the O’Neill Tunnel (at least not today).  There’s four beautiful lanes set out in front of you.  You’re ready for an easy ride around and towards your final destination.  You’re expecting the rightmost lane to be the granny lane, the center-right lane for those who are slightly faster, the center-left lane for those who are even faster, and the leftmost lane for passing.  Right?

Wrong, douchebag!

Get ready to go warp speed through an obstacle course of people going 50 in the leftmost lane, 90 through the rightmost, and fuck-all in the middle.  Test your reflexes as drivers with a death wish attempt on-ramps that are essentially bumper car entrances.  Hate life with a bitter and burning passion as you deal with intersections with both 93 and 3 — and people proving that the Prisoner’s Dilemma is a real phenomenon as no one gets in line to exit or respects the zipper formation when entering.  Watch your life flash before your very eyes as you deal with a highway that is perpetually under construction, shifting lanes with absolutely no shoulder, crooked concrete medians, and drivers who will miss your car by centimeters as they cut you off, regardless as to the level of traffic or the amount of space in front of you.  Realize the level of people’s meaningless consumer-driven lives as you pass not one, not two, but three major malls packed with enough people to make you wish for a second coming of the Black Death.  And if you think it’s bad now, just wait until Christmas season rolls around!

4db1d5876373a.image

Nothing says Christmas cheer quite like dicking someone out of merging into your lane!

So you if you find yourself north or south of Boston and need to get to the opposite side, I suggest public transit.  Or flying.  Or cartwheeling.  Anything, really.  Anything at all.  Abandon your car in Canton and find yourself a new one in Woburn.  Or just abandon all hope, ye who enter.

5 Things We All Need to Do Before We Hit 30

IMG_9492

My 28th birthday has officially come and gone.  And by “officially” I mean, “A public official totally came out an announced that my birthday had, in fact happened.”  Or something like that.

With Montreal last weekend and a barbecue this weekend, we’re technically celebrating all week.  My actual birthday day was a mix of the low key and the extreme: I spent the morning idly gardening, before going out for coffee, a drive, and some more fall decorations for the house, only to spend the afternoon doing a triple whammy of a 4-mile run, an hour-fifteen yogalates class (if you’ve never done yogalates, think of the most intense yoga class you can imagine, and add pilates ab work), and two hours of kickboxing practice — complete with some birthday sparring with my husband.  And — as if my body was trying to prove that the late twenties are nothing like your early twenties — I went into a 9-hour coma and woke up sore from head to toe.

Being 27 was actually pretty good to me.  It was a transformative year, but it’s safe to say it was probably one of my best.  It got me thinking about what I did at 27 that I wouldn’t normally do in the other years — or at least not to the same level.  Which is why I came up with the 5 things we all need to do before we hit 30:

Continue reading

In a Place Where Even the Police Sirens are Polite

20140913_124622

My husband and I just got back from a long weekend in Montreal.  After about three or so years of remarking that we were actually a closer drive to Montreal than we were to New York City (especially after we moved an additional half hour up north), we finally spent time in our closet French city.

DSC_0291

It was also the first time I ever planned a trip entirely by myself.  This was my pet project, so I was in charge of budgeting, finding/booking the hotels, and figuring out the itinerary.  Some things went awry (like the part where I didn’t pack myself any socks and the one sweater I brought “just in case it got chilly” became the one thing I wore at all times because — gee — it’s fall and I’m now 4 1/2 hours northwest of an already-cold region in America), but the vacation itself went wonderfully.

2014-09-12 21.12.03

We did the usual touristy stuff — we went to the Olympic Park and went up the tower and experienced the Biodome — and we lucked out in that we were in Montreal during a gorgeous Chinese lantern festival at the Botanical Garden.  But we spent a good amount of time just wandering around.  I had a few places on my list I wanted to see, a few streets I wanted to go down, and I walked.

DSC_0015

Wandering around is my specialty.  My favorite memories from camp don’t involve teenaged hijinx or arts & crafts, but long, wandering walks down the quiet roads.  My most poignant memories from college involve getting to know my city one footstep at a time.  If I had a million dollars and all the time in the world, I would spend it going around the world to wander, avoiding only the cities where I wouldn’t be able to do that safely.

DSC_0026

It’s a wonderful way to learn the true ins and outs of a city, to understand how the neighborhoods link together.  The streets become more than a step on a GPS, but an area with texture and sights and smells.  There’s a moment when you wander down a new street and come out in an area you already know — a moment when things feel like they have literally and metaphorically come full circle.  I have been to Manhattan at least five or six times at this point, and I feel more intimate with Montreal, if only because I spent those three days walking absolutely everywhere.

DSC_0005

It’s safe to say I am truly in love with Montreal.  There’s something about that city: the old with the new, the gritty and grimey with the stylish and sleek, the conservative with the blatant disregard for what we consider taboo.  I walked from neighborhood to neighborhood, feeling like I was putting together patchwork of all the cities I have come to love over my life — how this area feels like downtown Boston, how that area feels like a neighborhood in Belfast, how this street is just like Beacon Hill and how that square is just like one in Rome — stitching them together with a steady stream of coffee from the local cafés.  I got into small conversations and wondered how quickly I’d learn Spanish if I lived in a bilingual city where English was considered the second language.

DSC_0103

After driving past Tristar Gym (home to two of my favorite fighters) like a wicked creeper, we made our way to Vermont, where we stopped in Burlington, Vermont and — you guessed it — walked around, through the downtown area and around Lake Champlain.

DSC_0160

In some ways, I have become a lot more anchored in my life.  I own a house and a marriage certificate and there’s talk of expanding out our family of two cats and a coop of chickens to something a bit more substantial.  But there will always be a part of me that lusts for the piece of wandering, regardless of what scale I get it.  It’s the same part of me that thrives on three completely different, completely scattered jobs, instead of one steady job with a steady paycheck and concrete goals.  It’s the part of me that would love to be exactly that obnoxious person on Facebook, posting a near-constant stream of location updates and snapshots of city vistas.

20140914_160820

But it’s also the part of me that forgoes the car on a crisp August morning, even though the roads in our town in the woods can stretch on for miles with nothing in between.  It’s the part of me that finds a good playlist, laces up her shoes, and makes a different set of patchwork images with the trees and the streams and the vacant ponds.  It’s the part of me that goes down an unknown road in a neighborhood next to me and comes out with a smile when she realizes that she can always find her way back.

What If, As a Model, I Have No Interest In “Breaking Into” Anything?

4ded57ce1ef16

About a month or so back, I was lucky enough to do an interview at a fairly popular New England morning radio show.  I had written about the Market Basket story and how an upheaval like this was exactly what America needed.  They had me on the show to elaborate on my essay, discuss my views on Market Basket, and finish up the interview with a talk about my modeling career — specifically, about my collection of essays about the modeling world (available where all ebooks are sold, hint hint).

It was a great experience.  The DJs were incredible, the interview went smoothly, and I got a chance to shamelessly promote my writing.  But I noticed something that stuck with me long after the interview wrapped: in the promos as well as in the interview, they described my book as the story of me “trying to break into the modeling world.”  Now, I can understand the confusion: the first words of my book description have me facetiously asking if you want to learn how to break into the modeling world.  Granted, a sentence or two later I say that I will not be answering that in the slightest, but still, I can see someone giving a passing glance at the book description and believing that that’s what my collection is about.

I think what has stuck with me, even though the interview is now nothing but radio waves in space (and digital files on the internet), is the fact that this type of description runs parallel with a common school of thought when it comes to models, actors, and the like.  Whatever we’re doing, we must be trying to “break into” the industry.

But what if, as a model, I have no interest in “breaking into” anything?

I’m interested in getting work (cue Khia’s, “Get money bitch!”), but I have zero interest in trying to become a supermodel.  Aside from the fact that the term is about as antiquated as a model’s “polaroids” being shot with actual polaroid cameras, I really have no aspirations of “making it” as a model.  I’m perfectly content finding work, meeting new people, experiencing new things and places, and walking away with a few more paychecks to pay the bills with.  Would being a big name mean more of said experiences and paychecks?  Sure, but it’s not my goal in the modeling world.

To bring it all the way back to my book (still available for purchase, by the way): I actually discuss this in one of my essays.  For every superstar A-list actress or jetsetting supermodel, there are thousands upon thousands of working actors and models who do what they do completely under the radar from mainstream media.  And while some are urgently wondering when their “big break” will be, many are simply grateful that they can do what they love and get paid for it.

Yesterday, I had back-to-back go-sees, coming less than 24 hours after event #1 in a 5-part wedding expo series.  Today, I have absolutely nothing modeling-related on my plate (unless you count putting away all my impractical high heels model-related), but I am teaching three classes in the afternoon, two of them back-to-back as well.  I’m not trying to “break into” the yoga world outside of finding a nice, steady group of students and a variety of classes to teach.  I’m hoping to sell a full-out manuscript or two — and I’d love for them to sell fairly well.  But I recognize that fretting over superstardom is a fruitless task.  I’m just enjoying life for what it is, even (and especially) when it includes quelling nerves just before a radio interview.

Why I Hate Writers Who Actively Disregard Grammar

I’ve talked about this many times before, in other platforms and in various & sundry formats.  But it seems like I can never really get it out of my system.  Every time I hear a writer-friend talk about how they don’t need to understand syntax because, “that’s what editors are for,” I feel the need to rant well up inside of me.

(Sidebar: That’s not what editors in the modern age are for.  Trust me on this one.  Unless you’re an A-list celebrity, of a B-lister about to publish a tell-all, an editor isn’t there to be your proofreader.) Continue reading