Archive for August, 2007

h1

Subway days

25 August 2007

We’re all about public transit. We rarely use the car, except for groceries, heavy items, or going to the odd place difficult to reach by the TTC’s subways, streetcars and buses. As environmentally-minded tree-huggers, we’re glad to lessen our carbon footsie-prints. But man, it does eat up the time.

In Orlando, getting to auditions usually meant a 20-minute drive. Here, between riding the TTC, waiting for transfers and walking, my auditions are mostly about an hour away. And this is not commuting to a paid job, but only seeking work. One of several reasons the rates I get paid as a professional actor are not really as high as they must seem to outsiders.

Should we consider moving closer to the area where most of my auditions are held? We live in a lovely neighbourhood, quiet and full of wonderful trees. The trade-off for shorter travel would mean more urban surroundings: less green, less quiet, less safe. For now, the question is academic; we won’t look elsewhere for another year, if at all.

h1

T.O. Islands, tranquil vs. hubbubby

19 August 2007

A couple of months ago, a visiting friend and I ventured to the Toronto Islands. Part enclave of little houses ranging from quaint to ostentatious to decrepit, part municipal park system with picnic areas, beaches, and bicycle paths, the islands are a wonderful and popular getaway, and the best place from which to take photos of the Toronto skyline.
sunflowers-skyline.jpg

We had gone exploring mid-week, and found the place sparsely visited. The ferry was similarly quiet.
ferrybenches.jpg

This peaceful outing stood in contrast to today’s visit, when the girlfriend and I went over as part of her birthday weekend. The ferry was packed, including a myriad of strollers (when did they stop being “baby carriages” or “prams”?) and noisy children. What can you expect with a kiddie amusement park among the islands’ attractions? Still, it was like being stuck in an unattended daycare centre for each ride of the ferry.

We wandered, had mediocre chicken wings, and stepped onto a beach, where Katharine put her toes into Lake Ontario. Then we rented a two-seater quadriped and pedaled and puffed our way over to the residential area and back. Beautiful weather (not too hot!), attractive sights, and a temporary escape from the teeming throng and their screaming brood. In future, I will avoid weekend excursions and enjoy the tranquility.

Besides the scenery, my favourite island discovery was the clock at the fire station. What significance do you find in this strange and intriguing timepiece?
firestation-clock.jpg

For an explanation, see http://www.bluetyger.ca/issue5/wardisland.htm

h1

Men and beasts

19 August 2007

It always comes as a nice surprise when I get along with guys who fall into such categories as macho or blue-collar or sportsmen or sports men. Although a life-long heterosexual, and as far as I know never labeled effeminate, the testosterone-heavy crowd’s interests are rarely mine. More like Frasier and Niles Crane than their father, I prefer the arts to athletics, thinking to fighting, a quiet meal and a good book to a rowdy bar and jokes about bodily functions. And for me, cats have it all over dogs.

My cat, Juniper, walked up to me outside my house seven years ago, and we adopted each other. She is the silkiest cat I have ever had, and probably has the prettiest face. And of the seven cats who have ever shared my homes, she has meant the most to me.

juniper1.jpg

Juniper has been less happy since two more cats joined us, which sometimes brings me great sadness. She has often been a true source of joy and comfort, and I want her to be perfectly content. If only she could see the other cats as playmates, not threats. It’s like a political or religious conflict on a local and furry level.

When my girlfriend moved in, she brought her two wonderful kitties along. She won’t admit it, but they are my cats now, too. Vespa is a magical white cat who makes little chicken noises. The most princess-like of our cats, she is both the smallest and softest. And the bane of anyone trying to wear black.

vespa1.jpg

Finally, Linnel was adopted as a tiny, abandoned, worried-looking handful of orange fluff. He is now practically a Bengal tiger, but still the clown of the house. From chirping in the bathroom sink when he wants to drink from the faucet, to hiding under blankets, to licking anything adhesive, he is both magnificently handsome and utterly silly. I think he’s on the dumb side, but without a malicious bone in his jungle cat body.

linnell1.jpg

One grey, one white, one orange. Three very distinct personalities. All madly loved.

So have fun with your NASCAR and boxing matches; your bloodthirsty video games and torture movies; your Marlboros and macho posturing. I prefer cats, and I’ve got three that lighten my soul.

h1

Overnight subsistence

19 August 2007

When people I knew decided to move to New York City or Los Angeles in pursuit of stardom, I always suggested a three-to-five-year period was not unreasonable to achieve the simple status of a working actor. (Unpredictable stardom, on the other hand, can come overnight or long after one has given up hope.) These friends would usually give a “yeah, yeah, of course, I know” kind of response, then get terribly despondent when they hadn’t booked a Broadway show or a TV series after six months.

I understand; it’s hard not to be impatient for success. After nine months here in Toronto, and only 6 months with an agent, I am not making enough to live on, and I must remind myself that I am still in the get-to-know-me stage. Besides, I have managed to land one national TV commercial, one internet commercial, two movies and one stage play. In addition to being a reasonably good number of jobs, it’s a welcome variety.

Still to achieve: voice-over, animation, musical theatre and television. And, of course, more lucrative contracts and challenging roles.

wal-mart_a.jpg

h1

Blather ahead

16 August 2007

Dipping my blogger toes into the cyberpool, inspired more by my lovely companion than by the need to post insights without which the world cannot exist. No promises, except secret ones to myself.