Thursday, May 25, 2006

Jared Leto Comes OUT!

Jared Leto just came out of the closet on AOL.  Click here to read the interview.  There's also a nice picture of Jared looking smoulderingly sexy ala Charlize Theron in Aeon Flux.  Jared's always been a fave of mine.  Loved him in the wonderful Requiem for a Dream.  Fantastic acting from the whole cast, especially Oscar laureates Ellen Burstyn and Jennifer Connolly.  Marlon Wayans gives an excellent dramatic performance.  He's usually over the top goofy so this was quite a stretch for him.  Maybe not.  Dying is easy.  Comedy is hard. 

Jared has been in so many good films: Fight Club, The Thin Red Line, Girl Interrupted.  My personal favorite is Highway, a buddy, on the road, crime thriller costarring studly Jake Gyllenhaal.  I'm so happy for Jared.  But reading his bio at the IMDB, it must be a little embarrassing in retrospect, being connected to Cameron Diaz (engaged from 2000 to 2002).  You know, that says something.  It puts Ms. Diaz' sexuality in doubt, and most certainly Justin Timberlake's.  Well, we'll just have to see, won't we?  Hollywood: the place of plastic dreams.

Friday, May 19, 2006


... for a cup of coffee, that is...

Sorry faithful readers, you know who you are, but I've been lax in my blogging commitment and ambition.

All reasonable people could care less what I put inside my body, but allow me the luxury of telling you that I've spent the past two and a half weeks on a detox program, hence the subject-line of this blog entry. 

Originally I was motivated to do this process years ago when I was an actor at the Idaho Shakespeare Festival.  As an actor I always make friends with the costume department because I know what side my toast is buttered on (though buttered toast is strictly a no-no on this detox program).  How far will he go for a joke you may ask yourself?  Until the setup creaks and groans like a top-heavy seige engine and the payoff simply negligable.  But be that as it may, I had this friend in the costume department.  After the shows went into production I saw nothing of her for a couple of weeks--maybe a month.  This is only to be expected in the theater.  But when I did see her again, several weeks later, what a profound change had occurred!  She was lean, tanned, and fit, she seemed solid, centered, and glowing!  I said, "What happened to you?  You're a babe!" 

After frowning a bit and deciding to take it as a compliment, she replied, "I did a detox."  My brow furrowing, I said, "What's that?"

And she proceeded to tell me that it was a program of diet, vitamins and exercise that is designed to help the body cleanse itself of vile impurities which we either can't digest, or that we can't sweat out, or poop out.  Pardon my Francais

So, I've had that lurking in the back of my mind for almost 10 years.  Then, three weeks ago my Dr. called me to say that my lipids and blood sugars were higher than ever.  I was up to 320 pounds, and that I needed to make some drastic changes.  I figured that a detox program might be a way to jump-start a new way of living (and eating). 

The truth of the matter is, I eat to manage and control my feelings.  That is the same reason why I drank, why I smoked, why I do almost anything pleasurable.  Not to experience pleasure--but to control it, to control anxiety, frustration, irritability, and a host of other uncomfortable sensations, including BAD MEMORIES.

Sometimes that's bad or stupid or ignorant things I've done to others, sometimes it's the torment others have foisted upon me and the impotent rage I feel as a result.

I have a feeling some of you out there are nodding your heads.... I hope I'm not alone in this.  If I am, Baby Jesus (PBUH) help me, because my next stop will have to be a cave in the desert.

So, casting aside all tangents, I've now been without sugar, caffeine, wheat, dairy, red meat, tomatoes (although I cheat on that one), corn for 2.5 weeks.  I have until next Wednesday.  But today, I don't know why, I have an incredibly POWERFUL CRAVING for a cuppa joe.  Ohh, the scalding bitter darkness of it, and the feelings of wellbeing and sensation of pleasure that results.  I can feel it on my tongue.  I can taste it.  I can recall the joy and satisfaction it brings. 

On the otherhand, my gut, which as lately begun to sound like the percussion section of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra has fallen quiescent.  The blows and gales which emanated from my southern port have becalmed themselves.  I can breathe easier.  I sweat less.  I feel stronger in my joints.

But I lack.  I LACK.  I've nothing left with which to sublimate my anxiety.  So I crave.  I shall try to withstand.  But what harm would one cup of coffee do?  It would deprive me of  being able to say I went three weeks without it!  These aren't withdrawal symptoms.  I had those two weeks ago.  These are cravings.  And I must perservere because they will pass.  I gave up nicotine in 1986.  My experience then is similar to what it is now.  Cravings pass and sometimes give way to feelings of euphoria. 

But right now, it can't happen soon enough!!

Thursday, May 4, 2006

Writing Texts

For my Polishing the Character Based Novel III class, I've been reading two books on writing the post-modern way: Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass and Story, by Robert McKee.  The Maass book is chock full of inside industry tips and advice, and Maass' primary thrust is tension.  Tension through public and personal stakes, through conflict and through both text and subtext.  The McKee book speaks eloquently about "forces of antagonism," and states that what separates the mediocre from the brilliant is how far the writer is willing to go in exploring the forces of antagonism in his story.

Both books deconstruct popular works in order to give numerous examples of the principles their authors espouse.  I really enjoyed both books but whereas the Maass book made me feel somewhat foolish for even attempting to write a novel (let alone two) McKee's book restored my faith in my own project.  That is not to say that the Maass book was bad, on the contrary, it challenged me.  The McKee book also challenged me but as I read it in the context of my own project, I was delighted to see how many of his principles I had intuitively employed.