----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ The Fabulous Adventures of Astera: Writer/Actress for Hire: September 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.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Not Fair

Mr. Pink is at a trade show in Las Vegas, leaving me all alone. I wouldn't really mind, except for the fact that he's staying in a 900-square-foot corner suite in the high rollers tower at the Venetian. It's got a sunken living room, a huge bed, a vanity, and a bathroom you could get lost in. Not that he's rubbing it in, or anything.

You might wonder how a graphic designer scored such sweet digs. Well, the suite was reserved for the executive vice president of the company, who got fired about a week ago. (Lots of layoffs and firings recently--worrisome, but that's another post.) The company decided to send Mr. Pink to the show, and since the room was just going to go to waste, he got it. Only "upper management" is staying at the Venetian. All the other employees, like the salespeople that he usually works with, they're all at Harrah's. But Mr. Pink has generously allowed them to hang out in his palatial living quarters.

In other news, I will be out of town for a few days. I am jet-setting down to SoCal (well, actually, I'm driving in my Prius) for a wedding...the last one of the season! I am very excited about it, as it has been a long time coming. S. and G. have been dating since college. I am a bridesmaid, and the dress is actually kind of flattering. So, I'll be hanging out in Malibu, and I am sure I will have plenty of tales with which to regale you upon my return. Miss me!

Just Another Alternative to Evolution

I think this is especially timely now that a district in Pennsylvania is considering whether to teach intelligent design along with evolution. I got it from Little Miss Nobody, who got it from Dooce. It's funny stuff. A word of warning, however...do NOT attempt to give your boyfriend/husband/fiance/lover/significant other/whatever the "noodly appendage" nickname. He won't think it's cute. Trust me.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Wishful Thinking

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to pass through the fabulous towns of Fontana and Rialto while headed east on the 10 on my way to a bachelorette party in Lake Arrowhead. For those of you who do not know, Fontana is in Southern California, about 90 miles (and that's just a guess, because I'm too lazy to look it up right now) inland.

Fontana and Rialto are places that are stil considered somewhat "affordable," at least by California standards. They used to be run-down little towns near the foothills, but now, cookie-cutter developments have sprung up in every direction. The oddest thing about this is the completely unrealistic names of the streets in the developments. I mean, Del Mar Avenue? Please. These people have to battle an hour and a half of traffic each way, at least, to get anywhere near the "mar." Vista del Lago? Only if they want to take the hairpin turns up the mountain about 30 miles.

But to be fair, it's not just new, cookie-cutter, soul-sucking, zero-lot-line developments that have unrealistic street names. Right here in my own town, we have Shady Lane, with not a leafy tree to be found, and Estates Avenue, with lots approximately the size of postage stamps, not rolling verdant acreage.

I'm sure you've got some misnamed streets in your city/town. Share, won't you?

Monday, September 26, 2005

My Own Personal Soap Opera

This is a tale of love, lust, jealousy and betrayal. The players? Let's-call-him-Christos, a swarthy, handsome young man with a hot Mediterranean temperament, and let's-call-her-Anne, a sweet, young, doe-eyed lass with a dewy complexion. The problem? Envious schemers who want nothing more than to keep our young lovers apart.

Christos and Anne met in high school, although they were nothing more than friends at the time. She was his best friend's girlfriend and he had a brief dalliance with her younger sister. But now, nearly seven years later, the two began spending time together, and soon, their growing attraction could no longer be denied! Still, Christos and Anne worried how his friend and her sister might take the news of their burgeoning relationship. But try as they might, just like the REO Speedwagon song, they couldn't fight this feeling anymore.

At first, they tried to hide their love away. Only a privileged few (including me, dear reader) heard tell of their relationship. But after a few months, they could no longer handle the pressures of the sneaking around and the falsehoods and half-truths. So, they decided to go public with their love. And what did that get them? A whole lot of heartache.

First, Christos emailed his friend (no, sadly, he wasn't manly enough to do it face-to-face) and let him know that "something had happened" between him and Anne. His friend's reply? A vulgar anatomical impossibility. Bear in mind that it had been SEVEN YEARS since this friend and Anne had had any sort of intimacy. Despite this bad omen, Anne was undaunted. She knew she had to tell her sister about her feelings for Christos. Her sister's reply? A screaming tantrum in which she insisted that Anne put her feelings on hold for at least two years, threatened to move out of their shared apartment, and vowed to tell Mommy and Daddy what Anne was up to. Bear in mind that Christos and the sister shared a few kisses seven years ago, nothing more. Also, the sister has had a boyfriend for the past three years, yet she claims she is still in love with Christos. If this is true, she has a funny way of showing it. She mocks him and calls him a spoiled rich brat and a borderline alcoholic.

Now the young lovers are mired in drama, and I am watching the soap opera unfold. Bear in mind that aside from the bombastic, melodramatic language, I have neither embellished nor made up any elements of this story. Clearly, you know whose side I am on. Christos and Anne should not be subject to the craziness of his friend and her sister! How can there be a betrayal seven years after the fact? How can someone lay claim to another's affection, when that person does not share in the affection? I am hoping this charming young couple is able to weather the storm. What do you think, dear readers? Should Christos and Anne put their love on hold to appease his friend and her sister, or are the friend and sister way out of line? Stay tuned for another episode...

Friday, September 23, 2005

At the Agency

Okay, you know how in "Entourage" when the guys go in to see Ari, the phones are ringing, people are bustling about, and there's a general air of vitality verging on chaos? My agency is so not like that! Granted, I'm with a pretty small operation, not like CAA or ICM or Endeavor or whoever Vince is supposed to be signed with. But still. I went in today for "visiting hours" just to remind everyone that I still exist, and there was one guy there, sitting at his desk. He said the phone hadn't rung in an hour. If that's the case, it's no wonder I'm not getting any auditions!

Anyway, it was really nice chatting with the guy. I told him I'd just come in to say hello and to see what I needed to be doing differently. He said, "Why do you think you need to be doing something differently?" I said, "Well, maybe I need new headshots or a new look or something, because I'm going out but I'm not booking anything or even getting any callbacks." So he looked at my pictures and said they were good. He said that everything is really slow right now and that I just need to have patience. "We just signed you in February, right?" he asked. "Yes." He said, "Well, that's really not a very long time. It's a small market, and it can take years to break in." Years? Yeesh.

Anyway, he said that unless I felt like I had money to burn (um, no), I really didn't need new pictures or anything. I am going to look into taking an improv class, though, because just being in class makes me happy and makes me feel like I'm doing something. So it's unfortunate to hear that there's no work out there right now, but at least I know that I'm not doing anything wrong. It would be a lot worse if I went in and the agents were like, "Oh, yeah, we haven't been sending you out because we've heard really bad things about your auditions." As it is, I just need to have the one thing I've never really developed...patience.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

I'm Beginning to See the Light

I am emerging from my fog, and life is starting to seem just a little bit brighter. Of course, I still miss my grandma, but I am a feeling slightly more hopeful now. I have been spending a lot of time with my mom, which has been good. I can't imagine how hard this has been for her. I don't know how I would cope if my mom died.

Yesterday, I got a sympathy card in the mail from a group of my friends in Southern California. They had all signed it and written little notes to me. It really meant a lot to me, and it lifted my spirits.

I still don't know exactly where my life is heading or what's going to happen next, but I think that's just the way life is. After all, it's not very exciting to read a book or watch a movie if you already know how it's going to end. I do have more of a plan, though...a rough outline, if you will.

So, I guess all I can do is try to keep a positive attitude (admittedly, this is sometimes difficult for me) and see what happens. I hope that soon, my adventures will be fabulous once more!

Friday, September 16, 2005

A Crossroads

I think T.S. Eliot had it wrong. I think that September, not April, is the cruelest month. At least, for me it has been. First, there's all the damage from Hurricane Katrina. Then, there's the anniversary of the September 11 bombings. And September 12 is the anniversary of my cancer diagnosis. To top it all off, my grandma passed away on September 11, adding another layer of sadness to an already terrible day.

I used to love September. School started, the weather turned crisp, the leaves turned bright and colorful. It always felt like the beginning of a new year, even more so than the official new year in January. But this year in particular, September has been full of distress. It has caused me to question a lot of things in my life. What am I really doing? I was just at a weeeknd bachelorette party (a lone bright spot in the rest of this depressing month), and so many of the women there seemed so accomplished and self-assured. I feel like I am still figuring out my path. Am I really going to be an actress? That has been rather un-fabulous lately. Very few auditions, no callbacks. Is it time to give up and admit that maybe I just don't have what it takes, or should I continue to persevere? How can I put my writing to better use? Most of the stuff that I have worked on pays the bills (mostly), but it's not exactly groundbreaking or of any real significance. Does that matter? What's really important, anyway? I am a strong believer in the so-called "quarter-life crisis," the "Oh-my-God, what am I doing with my life" feeling that hits upon entry into the real world, but I feel like mine has gone on for much too long.

My husband, Mr. Pink, isn't happy, either. His job depresses him and he misses the surf of Southern California. So what are we to do? Look for new jobs or find fulfillment elsewhere? He's being recruited for a position in Orange County that would pay double what he makes now. It's not a sure thing, but even though money shouldn't be the deciding factor, it would be hard to turn down such an offer, should it come to pass. That might boost his spirits, but it would be another huge change in our already-unstable lives.

And as for me...well, I may just have to make peace with the fact that September may be a wash. Maybe October will be better. And maybe stability is boring. Maybe it's time to embrace the "unknowingness" of life, and accept that everything changes in an instant. A little difficult for a type-A personality. Am I up for the challenge?

Sunday, September 04, 2005


This has been an emotionally draining weekend. Of course, Hurricane Katrina played into that and stirred up all sorts of anger and grief. But there have been some personal issues that I feel the need to vent about, too. Life has been a little less than fabulous lately.

I feel guilty complaining, because in reality, I am very, very lucky. I have a nice place to live. I have a loving husband and a great family and cool in-laws. I have wonderful friends. But my health problems are beginning to wear on me. Usually, I try to stay positive. Everyone has his or her burden in life, and mine, so far, has been less-than-stellar health. Collapsed lungs, cancer, fibroid, migraines...I'm only 29, but sometimes I feel like I spend more time at the doctor than some of the elderly do.

The latest thing is some kidney problem that necessitated a CT scan yesterday. Yes, on a Saturday. Apparently, it was "priority." I had to drink all this nasty stuff and get an IV, which I hate, hate, hate. The last time I had a blood test, the lab techs stuck me twice to get a vein, and that was with a baby needle. The last time I had an IV, the nurses stuck me four times. But we got lucky yesterday...first time's a charm. Anyway, it's probably nothing, and I'm glad that my doctors are so overly cautious. Heck, I'm glad I have health insurance. But sometimes I feel like every time I have one test, the doctors just find something else they want to test for. So that made for a fun Saturday. But hey, you really only need one kidney, right?

Today, I went to visit my grandma, who has been very ill for a number of years because of a series of strokes that she never recovered from. She now seems to be deteriorating faster...she didn't even seem to recognize me today. It's sad to see someone you love in such a diminished state.

Anyway, it's been a rough few days, and I'm just feeling like, my problems aside, there's so much suffering out there. Sometimes I feel really down and I start to lose hope, which is unfortunate, because although I am quite cynical on this blog, I actually deep down believe that most people are good and we're doing our best. I am making a donation to Second Harvest to help the hurricane victims, though, and I might have found someone to donate some clothes to. That makes me feel a little better.

Okay, that's it. I'm done now. Thanks for coming to my little pity party. Tomorrow will be better. And hey, there's a new Entourage on in 10 minutes. Sometimes, when the big issues are hard, you have to find comfort in the superficial, shiny things that can make you laugh for a little while.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Bush to World: We Don't Need Your Help

This blog has veered into the political because I am just too angry to take it anymore. An article in the L.A. Times talks about how other nations have offered us aid in the face of this disaster, even as they wonder why we don't seem to be able to cope with it ourselves. Even impoverished Sri Lanka, the article says, has made a $25,000 donation. But Bush apparently seems to think we're too good to need anyone else's help. This is hubris of the worst sort. Countries around the world already dislike us for our perceived arrogance, and now Bush is going to spurn their offers of aid? Here's a quote from the article:

"The Bush administration has offered mixed signals on whether it would accept such aid. In an interview with ABC on Thursday, President Bush said the U.S. was not seeking foreign assistance. 'This country is going to rise up and take care of it,' he said."

Yeah, Bush and the federal government have done such a great job handling this disaster that it's clear we don't need any other assistance. (Please note heavy sarcasm.) God forbid that the mighty 'Murricans show any weakness by accepting help from outsiders. Far better to let our people starve and die. AHHH!

And now Justice Rehnquist is dead and Bush gets another shot at packing the Supreme Court. Maybe Mr. Pink is right...maybe the time is right to move to Costa Rica.

Thank You, Kanye

****Warning: Fans of George W. Bush may want to skip this post************

I like a man who speaks his mind. And rapper Kanye West is certainly one of those men. First he called on the hip-hop community to stop the gay-bashing and homophobia, and now this!

I didn't watch NBC's Concert for Hurricane Release last night, but I saw a clip of Kanye's uncensored comments on CNN this morning. He and Mike Myers were delivering some comments about Katrina's devastation when he went off-script and said, "George Bush doesn't care about black people." Mike Myers just turned to him in shock, and then the camera cut away to Chris Tucker. If you watched the special on the West Coast, you wouldn't have seen the incident, because NBC cut it out when they re-broadcast it. The Washington Post has more from the transcript, and there's a link to the video at Boing Boing.

I know that many of my Republican friends will say that this is not true, that George Bush is the best thing that ever happened to America, that everything in the country is perfect and wonderful and that it isn't Bush's fault that aid didn't get to the hurricane victims sooner. I don't buy it. Why wasn't Bush in the area the next day? Why did he just do a quick fly-over in Air Force One? Why did it take him so long to tour the region? Why did he say that no one could have predicted this devastation, when a FEMA report from several years ago said that the most likely catastrophes to befall America would be an earthquake in San Francisco, a hurricane in New Orleans, and a terrorist attack in New York? Why did he cut money to the Army Corps of Engineers? Why are so many of our National Guardsmen in Iraq, instead of protecting our nation, as they are supposed to? How can the richest nation on earth let people die in the streets like dogs? This opinion article from the New York Times asks all the right questions.

I am appalled, and I'm glad that people like Kanye West are speaking out, in their own blunt way. Even Jesse Jackson, when pushed by Larry King, said that if George Bush did care about black people, "he doesn't show it." Perhaps this disaster will finally show Bush for the incompetent, pandering non-leader he truly is. And I don't want to hear any more about how well he handled 9/11. A leader should not keep pointing to how well he did four years ago. He needs to keep leading, not vacationing at his "ranch." This is a time for action.