----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ The Fabulous Adventures of Astera: Writer/Actress for Hire: April 2006

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, April 21, 2006

Pop Quiz

You won't find these questions on your next driver's test, but you should. I suppose the DMV might not approve of my answers, though!

1. If the speed limit on the freeway is 65 mph, and traffic is light, how fast should you be traveling if you wish to drive in the fast lane?

A. 65 mph
B. 60 mph
C. 57 mph
D. 70 mph
E. Faster than 65 mph, and you must switch lanes when someone comes up behind you who wishes to go faster.

The correct answer is E. That's why they call it the "fast" lane, not the "speed limit" lane!

2. When you are merging on to the freeway, and the speed limit is 65 mph, and traffic on the freeway is traveling at the speed limit, how fast should you be going?

A. 42 mph
B. 37 mph
C. 55 mph
D. 25 mph
E. 65 mph

Ding-ding-ding! Again, the correct answer is E. And I don't care if you're only getting on the freeway to go one exit up. You still have to get up to speed. I have been behind people who think the correct answer to this question is A, B, C, or D, and it annoys me to no end. It's unsafe, too. I don't want to creep onto the freeway at 42 mph when the rest of traffic is barreling by at 65.

This concludes your safe driving instruction for the day.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

One-Hour Photo is a Lie

Am I the only one who didn't know this? Am I the only one who did not know that "one-hour photo" does not necessarily mean you get your photos back in one hour? At least, that's what the photo technicians at Longs Drugs are trying to tell me.

Last night, Mr. Pink was looking through some pictures on his computer, and I noticed a few really cute ones, including several from our honeymoon a year and a half ago. (As you can probably guess, I am not really a scrapbooking type of person. Thank God Mr. Pink takes pictures--otherwise we would have no photographic record of our lives. I usually forget to bring the camera, or when I do, the battery is dead.) Anyway, I asked him to put some pictures on a CD for me so that I could have them printed. We have a color printer, but we never have photo paper, so it just seems easier to let someone else do the work.

Normally, I get my photos printed at Costco, but Costco is usually a madhouse, and Longs is closer. Plus, in the Longs ad in the Sunday paper, it said, "Online Digital Pictures in an Hour--Done in 3 Easy Steps". Yes, with the italics and the bold and everything. I figured I could handle three easy stepss, and the prints were 19 cents each...not a bad deal.

This morning at 11:18, I navigated the Longs site and uploaded all of my photos. I printed out my receipt, which assured me that my photos would be ready for pickup at 12:18. But I didn't rush right out to get my photos. I had just gotten back from the gym, so I had to take a shower. Then I had to have some lunch. Then I had to do a bunch of other errands. Longs was my last stop. By the time I got there, it was 3:30. And guess what? My photos weren't ready!

"Why do you advertise it as 'one-hour photo' if the pictures aren't actually ready in an hour?" I asked. I got all manner of excuses. One woman said it was because the system was flawed and there was supposed to be a little alert that popped up on her screen to let her know about online orders, but the little alert wasn't working. Okay...well, did you ever think about just manually checking once in a while? Come on! Longs had four hours and 12 minutes to process my photos before I showed up! Well, the woman also claimed to be "really busy." I don't know how busy she could have been, because when I complained about my photos not being ready, she printed them out lickety-split, in like 10 minutes.

Another woman came by, a manager type, since she saw me propping up the photo counter. I asked her why Longs advertised its service as "one-hour photo" when the photos aren't done in an hour. She told me that all one-hour photo means is that your pictures are being developed in the store instead of in the remote lab, which takes two days. She said it's really more like "same- day service." Okay, well it's not called "same-day service," is it? It's not called, "in-store, not in the remote lab" service. It's not even called, "whenever we get around to developing your photos" service. It's called "one-hour photo"! Don't call it something it's not! Can we get a little truth in advertising here, or do I have to file a class-action lawsuit? I have venerable legal counsel (two of them!) in my immediate family.

This manager-type woman assuaged my outrage somewhat by giving me my pictures for free, so I saved $11. But still. I thought it was called "one-hour photo" for a reason.

Monday, April 10, 2006

An Unwanted Phone Call

Something disturbing happened to me the other day. I was walking out the door when the phone rang, and I answered it, even though the Caller ID said "Unkown Caller." When Mr. Pink calls me from work, it usually comes up as "Unkown Caller," so I figured it was probably him.

How wrong I was. A woman's voice came over the line, mangling my name, so I knew right away it was a telemarketer of some sort. She said she was calling from Congressman So-and-So's office and the Republican National Committee. If this had been a movie, that's where the record player would have screeched to a stop. I cut her off as quickly as possible. "I AM NOT a Republican," I answered indignantly, "and I do not wish to be called by the Republican National Committee." Then I hung up, with perhaps a little more force than was strictly necessary.

I couldn't believe it. How did these people get my number? Now I am paranoid. I have to check my voter registration to make sure I am not erroneously registered with the wrong party. But everything was fine when I voted in the last election. I do have some Republican friends, though. Maybe one of them has given my name out for fundraising efforts. Or maybe it's a simple mix-up. I hope so.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

My Debut

Do you know how dark it is at 4:45 in the morning, particularly when it is actually only 3:45 in the morning, because you've just sprung forward for daylight savings? I'll tell you: it's dark. Middle of the night dark. No glimmer of light on the horizon dark. Need a flashlight so you don't trip as you walk to your car dark.

But although the sky was dark, my spirits were bright. I was on my way to my first shoot where I wasn't just an extra! I had actual lines! I was an integral part of the scene!

Shooting the Ghirardelli training video was a great experience. I couldn't have asked for better. Well, unless I was instead shooting a principal role in a commercial and was going to make $10,000 in residuals. But for a first time out, everything was wonderful. The director and the crew were great, the other actors were friendly, the shoot went smoothly, and we wrapped on time. And it was so much fun being in front of the camera. The other thing I learned is that it's a lot easier to act natural when you are actually on a set and have props to work with. It just seems like real life.

Anyway, I hope that getting this experience and having this film clip will lead to bigger and better things for me. And I am back in an acting class with my old trusted coach, so I am getting some good training again. Now I just need to get sent out on some more auditions!