----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ The Fabulous Adventures of Astera: Writer/Actress for Hire: July 2005

The Fabulous Adventures of Astera: Writer/Actress for Hire

Meet Astera (aka: me), a star in her own mind. Our plucky little heroine has embarked on not one but two difficult, low-paying career paths: writing and acting. Witness the menial jobs! The unreasonable demands! The quirky friends and family! And the glimmer of success just ahead! Through it all, Astera maintains her core beliefs: 1) She is destined to be fabulous 2) Everything is more fun with a cocktail.

Friday, July 29, 2005

So Long, Farewell...

Today was my last day as a full-time employee at my job. However, I will be continuing on as a contractor, writing from home and occasionally visiting the office to help out with copy editing and the like.

For the most part, I feel pretty positive about this change of status. It was inspired, in fact, by a Mark Morford column that I referenced in my post, "Exactly!" I don't like working full-time (who does, honestly?), and I have recently had a lot of health issues to take care of. In fact, for several months I was suffering from such debilitating migraines that my neurologist suggested it was unhealthy for me to be working full-time and offered to write me a letter to that effect. And, of course, there was the lure of the acting world. Basically, I decided that I needed a more flexible schedule, and I approached our HR woman about reducing my hours. She thought that was a fine idea; however, the president of the company disagreed. And thus, I find myself as a contract employee. I have to admit, it's not exactly how I envisioned the situation playing out, but I think it will be for the best.

In addition to the work that I will be doing for my former employer, I also have another steady client, and in the past, I have done proofreading for a local marketing company, so I plan to try and pick that up once more. And, I went on a go-see yesterday for a Network Associates print ad. I'm sure they were seeing hundreds of women, but if they choose me, it pays $2,000 for a day's work--not bad.

So here's the plan:
  1. Get healthy
  2. Develop lucrative freelance clientele
  3. Become fabulous actress
  4. Write best-selling novel

Hmm...well, maybe we'll focus on the first two for now.

"Dood" Spotting

Our friend with the DOOD WTF license plate has become quite the man about town. Today, he was mentioned in Leah Garchik's column in the San Francisco Chronicle. Here's the item:

"Tom McInerney saw a "DOOD WTF" license plate on a car on the Golden Gate Bridge the other day, and is wondering how that got past the DMV. But what's wrong with 'Dude, We're True Friends'?"

I wonder what will happen if the DMV ever catches on to the true meaning of DOOD's license plate. Will they recall it, or will they even care?

For those readers in Northern California, keep your eyes peeled for DOOD. Hey, it will give you something to do while stuck in traffic. And post your sightings here!

Monday, July 25, 2005

Is Feminism Dead?

Normally, I try to keep my personal (liberal) point of view out of this blog, but today I saw something that I could not resist commenting on. I was getting on the freeway, driving home this afternoon, and I was behind an eye-catching red sports car. It was a Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder, and since it was about 80 degrees, the top was down. Now, this shiny car was piloted by a young blonde woman. Her passenger was blonde, as well. They looked like they were having a fine time, zipping through traffic.

That was all well and good. What disturbed me about this car was the license plate frame. It was obviously a custom job and it said, "Take my top off/I'm Barbie Jen."


Is that what feminism has accomplished? The movement partly started to free women from stereotypes, to give them more opportunities and to prevent them from being objectified. And this is what we end up with? Young women who believe their sex appeal is the most valuable thing they have to offer? Women who objectify themselves? I just don't get it. Since when is being compared to a plastic doll a compliment? And why invite leering men by suggesting they take your top off? Perhaps it was meant as a clever reference to the fact that the car was a convertible, but it made me cringe.

Hey, I'm all for women celebrating their good looks and using that power. Yes, if you're young, blonde and attractive (or simply young and attractive, or simply attractive) you will have a certain power over men. But is that all a woman wants to be known for? I would think not. Hey, I guess feminism gave women the right to make their own choices. Maybe the license plate frame was just a joke to this woman. But to me, it says that she's choosing to be objectified, that she believes her greatest asset is her looks. And in 2005, when women have so many opportunities to be so many things, I think that's a little sad.

So Barbie Jen, why not put your top back on, sit up straight, and challenge your mind a little? You might be surprised at how much more powerful a pretty face can be when it's backed up with intelligence and a good personality. Otherwise, all you're left with is...plastic.

Friday, July 22, 2005

The Hater

I find it interesting that my blog has attracted an anonymous poster who does nothing but take issue with my "negativity." First, s/he criticizes me for criticizing the director of the short film I've been cast in. Then, s/he criticizes me for finding fault with the writing of others. So apparently, this poster is allowed to be critical of me, but I should not be critical of others. Hmmm.

Let me also say this: as a copy editor and writer, I take issue with people who are being paid to write who lack a basic level of competence. I also take issue with publications who continue to employ them, thereby validating such substandard work. I don't feel that is negative. I feel it's my way of keeping proper written language from disintegrating into slang and emoticons. Wouldn't that be gr8? Not IMHO. ; ) There are plenty of talented, competent writers out there, and I would much rather employ them than someone who cannot turn in an article free from basic mistakes.

About the short film: I want to do the project because I admire the script and I want the chance to be on film in a leading role. But this is not the director's first film--we're not talking about some wet-behind-the ears naif--and if he has not figured out by now how to motivate a cast and get people to commit to shoot dates, then it's a waste of everyone's time. And that's frustrating. Of course, I admire his passion for the project, but passion alone is not going to get the job done. For example, he has canceled the Sunday shoot because he could not get people to come to Napa to be in the scene. Then he said that he still wanted to shoot some scenes of me in Napa, but I would need to pick him up from south of San Francisco (about 40 miles from where I live), drive to Napa (about 55 miles), and then return him to his house. I personally don't think it's professional to plan a shoot without planning transportation to get there. And since I'm not receiving any sort of compensation at all, I think it's too much to ask that I drive all over the place because the director does not have his own transportation.

I tried to help his vision by finding a location to shoot inside a tasting room in Napa and by volunteering my digitial camera for use for publicity stills, etc. However, I think that the director needs to demonstrate a basic ability to get the job done, not just a belief in the project. And so far, that hasn't happened. In fact, the whole shoot is off for this weekend. I am still on board, but at this point, I have my doubts that this director will be able to make the shoot happen. He now says that he is going to find new actors and make them sign contracts so they won't be able to back out, but I think he's going about things the wrong way. Why not instead offer to pay for gas or provide lunch, instead of telling the actors they must bring their own? Offer incentives, not threats about what will happen if the actors don't show up. I once auditioned for a student film where I received money for parking and gas just for coming to the audition, and that was a no-budget project, too. Hey, I hope this shoot happens. But I have to be realistic and protect myself, as well.

All I am asking for is a basic level of competence. I think it is sad for those who don't make an effort to acheive at least that level. Maybe they don't know any better, or maybe they don't care or maybe they think that sliding by with a minimum of effort and expecting others to pick up the slack is just fine. But I don't. I hold myself and others to a higher standard. For example, I know I'm not the best actress in the world, but I wouldn't show up at an audition without knowing my lines or in inappropriate, slovenly attire. Nor do I think I'm the best writer ever, but I make an effort to present copy that's readable and conforms to basic style guidelines. It's a matter of respect.

So, to the critical poster out there, yes, I do judge people. And it's because I believe that those who want to make a success of themselves need to have standards. I am not, however, negative just for the sake of being negative. Apparently, that is your job...to post critical, negative, anonymous comments on other people's blogs. But hey, thanks for reading. I'd rather provoke a reaction than not have any readership at all.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

More Fun With Language!

So yesterday I was doing some copy editing at my place of employment, which I no longer feel bad about blogging about, because I am soon leaving their full-time employ to become a contractor so I will have more flexibility to go on auditions and take care of bizarre health issues--such fun! But that's neither here nor there. The point is that I was copy editing, and I never cease to be amazed at what some of our so-called "professional writers" turn in.

For instance, this one guy turned in a Q&A with a guy who designs sports facilities. Now, a Q&A is pretty simple. You make up the questions, get the guy on the phone, record the conversation and transcribe the tape. But you may have to do some editing, which seems to have escaped this particular freelancer. I don't know how else to explain this exchange:

Q: What are some of the differences between event centers versus sports arenas versus stadiums?
A: Well, event centers and sports arenas have a lot of the same similarities.

Let's leave aside for the moment the awkward construction of the question and instead focus on the answer. The same similarities? Really? Isn't that sort of the implied meaning of "similarities"--a certain sameness? Now, maybe that is what the guy actually said, but it makes him sound stupid and it doesn't really need to be in the story. Does it? I don't think so. Or maybe I'm just a bad editor.

Anyway, moving on. Here's another exchange:

Q: How do you get the ideas for your sports facility designs.
A: We do something called "Market Studies." There are people out there who actually study the market for us.

Wow. Market studies. Apparently, it's so unusual that it needs to be capped and put in quotes. Market studies. Must be some new-fangled thing that only those city folk have heard of. So maybe this source really is an idiot, but there's no reason to share that with the world! In my opinion, it just makes our publication look bad, like what, we couldn't find a better person to interview than this joker?

Then, in a separate article, I had to clean up after a writer who apparently thinks it is a writing sin to quote someone and follow it with "he says," and then quote someone again and use "says" again. So there were all these quotes that were attributed as "he smiles," "he offers," "he notes," "he cites," "he observes," "he ejaculates." (Okay, well, not that last one. But everything else!) Novice writers, take note: "Says" is not a dirty word! This public service announcement has been brought to you by Astera, nitpicker extraordinaire.

The Winemaker

On Monday, I had a meeting with the producer/director/cinematographer/writer of the short film I've been cast in. I was expecting him to be a little weird, and that's exactly what he was. Maybe more than a little. He seems really young and he's got this sort of high-pitched, nasal voice that just adds to the impression. Apparently, he still lives at home with his parents and he doesn't drive. I guess that's not that weird--after all, we're not in L.A., and there is some modicum of public transportation up here--but still. Anyway, he seems harmless, so the shoot is on for this weekend. I still am not entirely sure he can pull it off, though, especially when he emailed me yesterday to say that the guy playing the boyfriend flaked out. But then he emailed again and said he found a replacement, so we'll see.

Here's the thing: I am doing this project because I'm the lead and because I need to get some film on myself so I can make a demo reel. Also, I really like the script. But even though this guy has made short films before, he seems a little clueless about how best to work with people. For instance, he keeps saying that this is a no-budget project. Fine. Most small projects are. But it seems like he could offer some incentive to the cast to make them want to stay involved. He complains about people flaking out, but then he expects them to bring their own food to the shoot and bring a bunch of costume changes and sit out in the hot sun all day. Also, he needs someone to drive him to the shoot in Napa and he claims he can't even pitch in for gas! Then he wonders why people aren't committed to his project. Well, dude, what's in it for them? Especially for the people who are going to be extras. Extra work is always a thankless task, but at least on a studio picture you get minimum wage and free food! Anyway, the lack of incentives is why I am not convinced that the shoot will actually happen. These people aren't particularly invested in the project and it's going to be a long, hot day with no compensation of any kind, so why should they have any qualms about not showing if something better comes up? I'm not saying that sort of flaky behavior is right, but it's certainly understandable in this case.

Anyway, I am supposed to be in San Bruno with hair and makeup already done at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday. That means getting up at 6:00 a.m. on a weekend, which, as those of you who know me understand, is a very big sacrifice. And I will be pissed off if I am the only one there! But I really am trying to keep an open mind. I think it's really a case of "expect the worst and hope for the best." I just hope it doesn't turn out to be even worse than I am expecting!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

The Latest Audition

Yesterday, I went to try out for Wait Until Dark, a play being put on by a community theater group. I was all excited about it. I rented the movie (Audrey Hepburn, Alan Arkin--very creepy. It's about a blind woman who is terrorized by drug dealers trying to get back a doll stuffed with heroin) and I checked out the script from the library. Then I realized that there was only one role for someone my age...the lead role, aka the Audrey Hepburn part.

Anyway, that realization dampened my enthusiasm a little bit. I haven't auditioned for any live theater in a long time, and this is a pretty polished community theater group. I figured I'd be up against a lot of competition. But the director had me read from several different scenes, and I ended up feeling pretty good. Then I came home and looked at the performance dates and realized that I would be at a good friend's wedding for one of the performance weekends. Oh well, I figured. The odds were against me, and besides, I couldn't do it anyway.

I wasn't expecting to hear back until Monday, because the director was holding auditions again this evening. But wouldn't you know it? This morning, the producer called me to offer me a callback time! "Well," I thought, "Maybe they're planning to double-cast the part, so if I got it, I could split performances with another actress." No such luck, according to the producer. They might double-cast the little girl's part, but they wanted consistency for the lead.

Even though I can't go, I feel really flattered to have gotten a callback, especially so quickly. And the producer said he hoped I'd stay involved with the group. So that feels good. But on the other hand, I'm a little bummed out that I can't even give it a shot. I mean, it's a good play and a great part. I'd love to be the lead! It's just bad timing, I guess. Obviously, my friend's wedding is more important. I'm a bridesmaid, and I've known her since the fourth grade. It's going to be a wonderful celebration. And it's not like the play is a Broadway performance or anything. I'll have other opportunities to be onstage...soon, I hope!

Friday, July 15, 2005


...what more is there to say, really? Once more, I tip my hat to you, Craigslist. And the best part is, this entertainment is free! This is the complete, unedited version. To my "chums" of dating age...well, as the ad says, if you marry someone wealthy thanks to this posting, you should take me to Fiji or Bali annually for life! And for even more entertainment, go here.

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CHarisma? A girl with no vanity? YOU ARE THE PEARL OF GREATEST PRICE! APPRECIATE what you are and turn away from shoddy show biz. LEARN the ruthless rules of LOVE before you begin. Cuz THERE ARE TRAPS! The main thing that keeps gals in the NO POWER ZONE with the men they love is that they are Loveaholics and these gals are driven by SUCH BAD TASTE (for disco hotties) combined with INTENSE NEED & passion and HURRY that they basically make BAAAAD love choices. The children born of such unions end up paying as dearly as the parents. If we read up on the subject of COURTSHIP, DATING, we learn that TESTING a guy, watching for signs of dysfunction, we cut a few bucks of value out of the herd. Leave the rest for the petfood manufacturers. 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The GROUP does women students a favor -- reminds them that PICKING A MAN is as HIGH TECH as LEARNING TO USE a PC! Anita LEARNED THE MATERIAL, not from books, but in the trenches! She has been an astrologer in HOllywood for the last 35 years, read for movie stars, rockers, writers, producers also for strippers and models and starlet wannabes all of whom taught her what was really going on. Then, she studied with all the great gurus of CALIFORNIA, Yoga, healthfoods, etc. She read for Carlos Castaneda. She put the NEWAGE stuff together with the LOVE COACHING. Then, rock stars and actresses taught ANITA all their methods for NAILING A MAN in a very competitive world, which HOLLYWOOD IS! BUT Perhaps more importantly, she learned the errors that ordinary beautiful women make which gets them dated and dumped! (COURTNEY LOVE sings Anita's praises inside ALBUM JACKET from AMERICA's SWEETHEART, last FEB.) YOGI BHAJAN calls ANITA the 'best psychic ever' at his website, in a speech given 3.3.89, transcribed there, "BE HAPPY." You will read "THE RUTHLESS RULES OF ROMANCE RULEBOOK, a discipline based on MARRYING WELL, not get dated and DUMPED!) and segues to "IF YOU ARE STUNNING, HOW TO MARRY A BILLIONAIRE." These 65 chapters are free, ONLINE right this second at LUCK IN LOVE dot com..... a life changing, destiny transforming SEMINAR you can take right now. SEND as files to galpals. GO TO LUCK IN LOVE DOT COM and read for a while! SEND URL or article to any chum of dating age! IF any of your gal pals use the info and marry well, they'll take you to FIJI or BALI annually for life! We currently have 300 gal-students in every city of the world, useful for rooms anywhere if you travel. astrology at earthlink net is ANITA SANDS's personal email if questions. LUCK IN LOVE DOT COM. LIFE CHANGING!!!!!!!!A SAFE SPACE for a kind, beautiful girl who needs some minimal guidance in the REALITY dept to get to the TOP! THAT TOP is not found in show business! Only nuts try to scale that mountain. It is a ME ME mountain. We are talking about a SERVE THE PLANET mountain. That's why you were given that beauty.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Strange, But True

I haven't written about this yet because it seemed so unreal. But I think now it's actually going to happen, so I thought I'd share. I have been cast as the lead in a short film called "The Winemaker." Here's the description of the role:

THE WINE MAKER / Female / Caucasian / 21-25 The Wine Maker is a young woman, sweet, cute, warm, beautiful but not sexy, and looks younger than her actual age. She wants to buy a bottle of wine for her boyfriend till fate changes for the better.The most IMPORTANT role of them all!!!!! Required to be filmed for possibly four days: San Bruno, San Francisco and Napa. Be prepared to film one scene at night and have flexible working schedule. The wine tasting room will be shot on a Tues or Weds because it's the slower day for customers. Napa will be required all day with customers. So basically that is: flexible working schedule, available all day if needed, and can work four days. This is a really great lead but it requires a lot. But it's a rewarding role, nonetheless. But if you can't be flexible and work all day, this isn't the role for you. You have to be willing to travel to Napa.Wardrobe: She should dress in casual attire but until at the end of the movie in really nice and beautiful dated attire. Will discuss this will director in terms of look of costume.

Well, I was really excited about this part because my family has connections in Napa. So, I emailed off my headshot and resume, and a few days later, the director called me to chat about the project. He said he'd send me the script, and it's actually a really cute story. Essentially, the Winemaker can't afford the wine she wants to buy for her boyfriend, so she decides to make her own wine and sell it to make money--an adult twist on the corner lemonade stand. (Obviously, this is totally fantastical, but go with it, okay?) Her homemade wine is a big success. So, she makes enough money to buy the good wine, and she brings it to her boyfriend's birthday party, but it turns out to be not so good after all. Luckily, she still has a bottle of her homemade wine, which saves the party.

So, after I'd read the script, the director called me and asked if I could begin shooting this weekend. I told him that we were having some out-of-town guests and that I was scheduled to audition for a play, and besides, I wasn't really clear on what he wanted me to do. He said, "Oh, I want you to play the Winemaker." I couldn't believe it...why would he cast me without ever meeting me or auditioning me? But this is just a really low-budget project for fun, so I guess that he liked the look of my picture and thought that I'd be committed enough to actually show up for the shoot.

I was a little weirded out at first, but we've spoken on the phone and gone back and forth over email, and he seems slightly kooky, but basically okay. He's done a short film before and entered it in small local film festivals. It won an award for best short comedy at the Berkeley festival. Also, I discussed the whole situation with my acting teacher, and she thought it sounded like a cute project for me. So, I'm meeting the director for coffee on Monday, and we'll see if this project is able to actually get off the ground. It's no pay, but if it comes to fruition, at least I'll finally have some tape for my reel. I'll keep you all posted...

Monday, July 11, 2005


This columnist, Mark Morford from SFGate, has perfectly expressed how I feel about work. Here's the opening line:

"There remains this enormous and wicked sociocultural myth. It is this: Hard work is all there is."

You can read the whole column here. Basically, the idea is that we are all so conditioned to get a job and work that we never stop to consider our options. For example, why should we spend eight or nine hours a day, five days a week, at a desk, giving ourselves eyestrain and carpal tunnel syndrome? Why should we live for the weekends and our paltry 10 days of vacation? Why should our employers have the power? Why shouldn't we say, Enough! and find ways to fulfill our own dreams?

Whenever I complain about my job, people tell me that's just the way of the world. No one likes his or her job. Jobs are a necessary evil. But why should I accept that? Why should I not try to fashion my own way of living and working? Enough talk. That is exactly what I plan to do. And I have a few ideas. It may take some time to put them in play, but working full-time for someone else is not my ultimate game plan. Even if I can't make a living as an actress, I have some other ideas that will free me from the drudgery of an 8 to 5 job (and that's another thing...when did "full-time" get expanded to mean nine or 10 hours or more?). It doesn't have to be this way, people! Workers, unite!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Filmmaker Blog

Today, I came across Craig Weiler's blog. Apparently, he is a filmmaker here in the Bay Area--mostly short films, I believe. Many of his posts about actors are quite depressing. For instance, he discusses the well-known dearth of acting opportunities and then says this:

It is because of this huge imbalance between actors and available jobs that I can make short films at all. Actors are forced to take non-paying jobs to build their resumes and gain the experience they need in order to get an agent and the possibility of real paid acting work. That's why I can get away with not paying anyone.

If you're a woman especially, the window of opportunity to hit it big is particularly small. Even if you're drop dead gorgeous. A woman who is not an established actress in TV or film by her early twenties can pretty much kiss the idea of being a film star goodbye. The exception is comediennes. Comedy is recognized as a rare talent and the industry is more forgiving of these women.

To get the experience they need, actors compete for non-paying roles. The situation is bleak here as well. I posted an ad on Craig's List for my last shoot and received 12 responses for a minor role. Four of the actors had excellent resumes and they were the only people I considered. To understand this fully, you have to realize that all these people were competing for the "privilege" of working for free on a short film in a minor role. Their chances of having this short film help their career are remote at best. Yet this is the best opportunity available to even these experienced actors.

Okay, yes, there are few opportunities for actors, women have it worse than men, and most actors do have to work for free first to have any shot at getting paid. What rankles me is some comments from another post:

In one of the comments yesterday someone had the gall to suggest that artists will make movies and other art "for free because it's cathartic." Wow! I can't speak for the rest of the artists out there, but I'd like to get paid, whether it's planning and executing the creation of a short film for six weeks, or creating a painting for forty hours. Enough said on that.

So apparently Mr. Weiler believes that while his work is worthy of pay, that of actors is not. Interesting. I guess one could argue that he is providing a service by giving actors an opportunity to ply their craft, but as he admits, the reality of those actors getting any career benefit from a small role in an unpaid film is pretty slim. But actors need material for their reel before they can have much hope of booking bigger, paying parts. What to do? Maybe that's why so many actors ultimately want to produce. At least producers and filmmakers get paid!

Anyway, some of it is interesting reading, particularly for those who want to know more about the nuts and bolts of making a short film. I just wish the guy had a little more respect for actors, those people who make it possible for him to shoot the films.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Meanwhile, On the Acting Front...

I had a wonderful 4th of July weekend up at my family's cabin in Truckee. We barbecued, drank mojitos, rode Waverunners and soaked up the sun. And our time culminated with watching the fireworks over Lake Tahoe from our boat. I was planning to stay up in Truckee on Tuesday, but duty called. I had a print go-see to be a dog-walker in an ad for Cingular. And I'm not in any position to turn down auditions! So I woke up early and slogged through the traffic to make it to San Francisco by lunchtime. (Actually, I guess I was smart to leave when I did...it took my brother five and a half hours to get home.)

Anyway, I arrived at the casting studio and filled out the requisite forms. Then I waited. And waited. I saw a girl from my acting class there...she's with the same agency that I'm with. We chatted for a moment. We look nothing alike, but apparently our agent believes we both possess the healthy, wholesome look that the client was going for. I was there for about half an hour. Then I was called in and--snap, snap--two pictures later, I was dismissed. It's funny sometimes. We actors spend so much time figuring out what to wear to auditions, fixing our hair, doing our makeup, driving there, waiting, and then in just a few seconds, it's over! The ad shoots Friday, so if I don't hear tomorrow, I'll know I didn't get it. Again.

I had my second acting class last night, and it was really helpful, if slightly depressing. I look much chunkier on camera than I would like. Hence, the slight nagging headache from hunger today. Anyway, the teacher had several positive things to say about me, and another student said I looked very appealing on camera, but I realize that I need to work on being more comfortable and being more "in the moment." Also, if I don't work to keep a hint of a smile on my face at all times, I look very stern and angry.

So that was all fine. Then we watched another girl's slate, and I realized how much more compelling she was to watch. I was pleasant; she was genuinely interesting. And our teacher raved about her, telling her that she would make a great film actress. Of course, she's had a lot more experience than I have--she went to Yale and majored in theater, for God's sake! But still, I want that. I want to be compelling on camera. All is not lost, though! The teacher said that there's no one in the class who is completely lacking "it" and that I should take some theater classes. Which I will. My true secret deep-down desire is to have a recurring role on a good sitcom or dramedy, but I am starting pretty late in the game.

We have determined my type. I am the "girl-next-door/young wife" type, and a little quirky. I now have to come up with specific commercials that I could be in. The only one I've thought of so far is that Glad commercial with the woman with the funny voice. I don't have a funny voice, but I think I can project a similar vibe. I also have to come up with a movie star or a big name that I am similar to. That's tough. Maybe Lauren Graham? She's so cool and sassy on Gilmore Girls. But I'm not really physically similar to her. I'll keep thinking about it. Meanwhile, I must find a good theater class and enroll forthwith.

How Did I Get Here?

I have had that Talking Heads song in my head all day: "How did I get here?/This is not my beautiful life." And here's the thing--my life is actually pretty great. It's my job that is no fun at all. And my job takes up a lot of my life. It's unfortunate. Here's what's so discouraging: I am constantly reminded of the semi-illiteracy of our country through my job. And the reason why that's so discouraging? I work for a magazine! A (semi)professional publishing environment! With people who are paid good money (well, comparatively speaking) to write!

I did a lot of copy-editing today, which is what set me off. Before I came along, copy editing did not exist. Crazy, I know. Anyway, here's a little quiz for you: Do you know the difference between "presently" and "currently"? If not, look it up. They are not synonyms. And although perhaps the general public is not as aware as it should be, you would think that writers would know the difference. Alas, at my place of employment, it is not so. Also, no one seems to know the difference between "affect" and "effect," nor do they know that taxes can't defer health care costs, but they may defray them. "Company" takes a singular verb. A comma cannot be used to join two complete sentences! To wit: "Since 1971, South Carolina has regulated where and when hospitals build through its certificate of need laws, now a panel of state legislators is studying whether to scrap or improve the rules." Hasn't anyone ever heard of a run-on sentence?! Here's another one: "The total project cost is approximately $32 million, with the most expensive part of the plan the new 25-bed, two-story hospital building that includes a new surgery department and is linked to what will be a new emergency department and a new radiology building."

These people need remedial grammar. At the very least, they need to read the AP book from cover to cover. Is it so wrong to think that people who make a living from journalism should be capable of coherent, grammatically correct writing? Apparently so. This really bums me out. It seems as though no one even cares about a well-crafted sentence anymore. But at least this is a short workweek, so I can get back to the rest of my regularly-scheduled life, already in progress.