----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ The Fabulous Adventures of Astera: Writer/Actress for Hire: January 2007

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.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Running and Running

Here's the thing: I hate running. I really, really hate it. But lately, I feel like I'm carrying around a little too much junk in the trunk. (I've always had a curvier bottom half, but this picture is from about a year ago, and I have definitely added more unnecessary padding since then.)

To alleviate this issue, I've been hitting the gym. One night, I decided to run a mile. Well, I decided to see if I could run a mile. Because, you see, since I hate running, I never do it. I mean, why should I do something that I hate when it is completely avoidable? It's not like I'm starring in Alias or 24, where bad guys are constantly chasing me down dark alleys. Hence, no need to run.

In the interest of whipping myself into shape, though, I forsook the elliptical trainer and the recumbent bike, and I forced myself to get on the treadmill.

I started slowly--a few minutes of walking. Then I worked my way up to a trot. And then I started running. (Well, jogging is probably more accurate--according to the treadmill display, I was going at 5.5 mph.) The important thing, though, is that I maintained that pace. I wanted to quit about halfway through, but I kept at it, and I completed my mile in 10 minutes and 54 seconds. Is that totally pathetic, or is that an okay start for a novice runner?

I think I will try to run at least once a week, interspersed with my other cardio activities. All the runners I know talk about this "runner's high" that they get. Maybe I will grow to love running. But somehow I doubt it.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Auditions, Auditions, Auditions!

Yes, I am still pursuing my acting dream, foolish though it may be. But 2007 is off to a good start. I had two auditions last week--one was for Nature Valley (you know, the granola bars), and one was for an industrial for Sun Micro. I didn't hear back about either of those, so I didn't get the parts, but it's good practice! I also went in for a go-see to be a fit model, but I guess I didn't have the right measurements. Well, there's not too much I can do about that.

What I'm really excited about, though, is the audition that I have lined up for Friday. The casting directors are specifically looking for enthusiastic Prius owners. That's me! Here's the email that got me the audition (well, that and my headshot):


Wow! I am so excited about the opportunity to tell people how much I love my
Prius! Ever since I got it about a year and a half ago, I have been trying
to convert people into Prius owners. In fact, I often give tours of my Prius
to people who are thinking about getting one for themselves. Everyone is
impressed by the push-button ignition and the information screen. My whole
family loves driving our Priuses. First, my dad got one in red. Then, I got
one in blue. And then, my mom decided she liked mine so much, she got one of
her own, also in blue!

A little about me: I am a Realtor, so I am in my car a LOT. The car is less
than two years old, and I have already put 30,000 miles on it. Although the
Prius may seem small on the outside, it's quite roomy on the inside. Even
the backseat is comfortable. I can easily take clients around in my car, and
still haul around all my real estate paraphernalia...A-frame signs, stacks
of flyers, listing folders, etc. I generally get about 45 miles to the
gallon, and when gas prices were higher, I just laughed at the people
driving Hummers and Escalades.

When I'm not driving my Prius, I enjoy dancing, creative writing, reading,
hiking, biking, socializing with friends, and wine-tasting. The only bad
thing about my Prius is that whenever I go out with friends, I usually have
to drive, because they all want to ride in my cool car, with its six-CD
changer and GPS navigation system!

I hope you'll choose me to be a part of your television commercial. I am an
enthusiastic Prius proselytizer, and I think I'd make a terrific brand
ambassador. I even have some on-camera experience! I look forward to hearing
back from you soon.

See? Very enthusiastic! Lots of exclamation points! I have a good feeling about this one, so wish me luck!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Pride and Prejudice

I have been on a real Jane Austen kick lately. There are several authors who have written novels that purport to continue the Elizabeth Bennett/Mr. Darcy story, but I have never been interested in any of them. I liked the way Pride & Prejudice ended, and I had no interest in reading about Elizabeth's and Darcy's imagined daughter, or anything like that.

Then I came across the "Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman" series by Pamela Aidan. It's a retelling of Pride & Prejudice, all from Mr. Darcy's point of view. I read An Assembly Such as This, the first book in the trilogy, and I was hooked. I think the three books (Duty and Desire and These Three Remain are the other two) do a really good job of capturing the spirit of Austen's work, and Aidan adds in a lot of intriguing details and backstory for Darcy and other characters, such as Charles Bingley. I re-read Pride & Prejudice while reading the books in the trilogy, and that just added to my enjoyment. Then I watched the movie version with Keira Knightley, and that completed the whole experience. So, if you're in the mood for a little Austen immersion, I highly recommend the "Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman" trilogy.

Next on my reading list (and in a totally different vein)...Happiness Sold Separately, by Lolly Winston. I read her first novel, Good Grief, last year, and her dry wit and distinctive voice amused me. Her new book is more somber, but it's still a good read so far.

What are you reading?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The Public Mailbox Is Not to be Used as a Trash Receptacle

No, that's not the odd title of the new Panic! At the Disco single. (Does anyone know why their song titles are so long? Is it just to irritate radio DJs? And is lying really the most fun a girl can have without taking her clothes off?)

Anyway, back to the mailbox. I had a few bills to mail today, and as I was walking to the mailbox on the corner, I noticed three teenagers ahead of me--two guys and a girl. They were laughing and fooling around and having a great time on a sunny, if chilly, winter day. But then one of the guys opened the mailbox and threw his soda cup right inside! Right inside the mailbox where I had to put my bills! Most upsetting. "Hey!" I said. "That's pretty disgusting! That's people's mail in there, you know." He had the good grace to look somewhat shamefaced. "My bad," he said. And then the girl starting berating him, too, which I'm sure had more of an effect than my outrage.

It should just be common sense. The public mailbox is not to be used as a trash receptacle. Anyway, isn't tampering with the mails a federal offense?

Monday, January 01, 2007

The Times, They Are A-Changing

Well, at least I hope they are a-changing. It's a bright, shiny new year, full of hope and optimism. And since 2006 wasn't such a great time, Mr. Pink and I are looking forward to what 2007 may bring. We haven't made any specific New Year's resolutions, exactly, except to say that we want our lives to change. We want him to find a new, fulfilling job, and me to sell some houses in my fledgling real estate career. We also want to get the hell out of Dodge, aka the Marin suburbs. We just want something different.

There is a superstition that says that whatever you do on New Year's Day is something you'll do a lot of for the rest of the year. We tried to incorporate all the activities we'd like to continue throughout the new year. We went to the gym, and I took a bike ride in the sunshine, while Mr. Pink took his motorcycle out for a spin. We deposited some money in our bank account. We spent time relaxing. I did some real-estate-related work, and now I'm doing some writing. Mr. Pink looked for a new and better job. We worked together to make a delicious dinner. We even ate black-eyed peas, which are reputed to bring luck in the new year. After all, we need all the luck we can get. This year, I think we'll make our own luck.

So welcome, 2007. To quote the Counting Crows, "Maybe this year will be better than the last." And to quote Tom Petty, "The future is wide open."