Wednesday, December 14, 2011

This Temporary Life

Your life, and mine, and all lives in fact are, by their nature, anomalous. When you think about the sheer amount of circumstances needed to fall into place for you to exist . . . well let's just say that's it's a lot more likely that a particular human being won't exist than will.
Not a single one of your ancestors failed to breed.  Each one of them survived infancy and childhood.  Every one one of them lived to adulthood.  Don't get me started on the math required to demonstrate that you exist solely because each one of your ancestors mated with your specific other ancestor (out of a smorgasbord of other potential mates) at that exact moment back to the beginning of time.

You are the product of countless generations.  You are at the sword's point of evolution.  You are an anomaly.  We all are.

So when you consider the actual living miracle it is that you're here, don't forget that every other one of your planet-mates is in the same boat.  From your family members, to your neighbors sure, but also to those starving children in some far away land that you've seen pictures of but would rather click past than be troubled by.  It's not just you.  None of us likes to be sad, and thoughts like that make us sad.

We occupy our little place on Earth for a time so quick, it's practically over the moment we realize it is.  When you're a kid, a hundred years is a thousand lifetimes away, when you get a bit older you realize it's just one.  At a certain point, your vitality is behind you.  Your youth and energy are trapped in photographs yellowing in an album somewhere.

If you're of the fortunate ones, you get to see your skin sag and hair whiten, you're blessed with memories that may need a jump-start every once in a while but are long and rich.  My Dad has always said "Age is a gift denied to so many".  Ain't that the truth.  As much as we shake our heads and feel sympathy for our elderly brethren, they are the fortunate ones.

This life is temporary no matter how long we shuffle this mortal coil.  Just being here is a miracle left unfulfilled by literally trillions of other potential people - who knows how many geniuses we're never to hear of.  Every decision you make in your life should honor that evolutionary miracle that puts you behind a computer reading this.  Every choice you make for your own life should also take into consideration the fact that every other being on this Earth is as much of a miracle as you and should be treated as such.

Your whole life is spent in transit - from the moment you slip into the world to the moment you slip out.  It's easy in this make-believe world of ours to put so much importance on details that we forget the big picture.  We spend so much time living our lives that we forget to be alive.

In this temporary life of yours remember to live.  Stopping to smell the roses was a cliche to me until I moved into a house with rose bushes.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Rain falls from the heavens
Misting sheets like curtains
Wash the roads
The cars
The people's crowns.
It clouds his life
Depresses him
Uncleansing drizzle
Tripples, freezes his hands
A cigarette comforts him
Smoke wafting past his face
People hurry past hunched
Stooped in an effort to avoid
The downward plummet
Liquid clouds falling to Earth.
Buildings rush skyward
To meet the droplets.
Millions, like an invading force
Invading his world, his thoughts.
Consumed with Rain.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Stand Alone On A Stage

Stand alone on a stage and be.  Be that person deep inside that yearns to break free, to exist, to breathe.  That person that yearns to surface.  To lurch from the yoke of the water's grasp and gulp down lungfuls of acrid air - heavy in the incense of a ritual to be observed yet not obeyed.

Stand in the light and be seen.  Seen for the most vulnerable face of you, made raw in the spot's light.  The honey glow of truth and redemption and fear.  Numbing fear of failure to be ignored and trampled on, trounced, made ready for the purchase of a new grasp.  A new grip.  A handhold on the granite face of that thing you call life.

Stand with nothing.  Nothing but your honesty.  Your honesty that in that moment alone you are true and real and strong and nimble.  Feel that mutinous heart beat from deep within that cavernous chest and answer back with a quiet calm and resolve born of redirected fear.

Stand and see.  Not the audience or the curtains or the stage, but your own hands and feet.  See what you inhabit and own.  What you control.  What husk you are and will leave.  But for now, here you are.  In this moment.  On this stage.  See with the eyes of ten thousand men and women what space you occupy and in whose body you live.  See the mirror in your own mind and adore that shell of yours for the vessel it is to guide you through this pain and love and peace.

Stand in that pool and feel.  Feel that charge, that electricity, that inspiration, that perversion of a talent that you have at your disposal and stand in awe of what you will spend a lifetime seeking and chasing and yearning and loving and being in deep addiction to.  That resonance that feels so good and seems so hardly out of reach.  Be lifted to your toes by your own inspiration.  It bubbles to the surface.  You part your lips.  You open your mouth.  And you . . .

Stand alone on a stage.

Friday, November 4, 2011

What The Hell Is Wrong With People?

A bill was passed in Michigan today that started life as a piece of anti-bullying legislation despite the fact that it ended up being opposed by all of Michigan's State Democrats and the father of the boy who inspired the bill.  Why the opposition to the bill after wanting it to help the young people being bullied across Michigan?

Because of a last minute addition to the bill:

      "A last-minute addition to “Matt’s Safe School Law” protects “sincerely held” religious beliefs or moral convictions from being considered bullying. Critics feel the language will give anti-gay bullies a “license to bully” by providing an exception. ”This is just unconscionable,” said Matt’s father, Kevin Epling of East Lansing. “This is government-sanctioned bigotry.”"

In other words, if your religion tells you to hate people for being different, then it's a-okay to bully them.

This of course prompts me to ask:


Not that I don't like a choice bit of hatred . . . no, wait, scratch that - it's the opposite, right?  I really can't stand this level of government and church sponsored hatred.

There is something broken in our society these days, and it's not the other guys.  It's us.  You know why?

Because we as a society have no balls.

I really don't believe that the majority of folks are a**h***s - I truly think they are the minority - it's just that the majority seems to have absolutely no balls when it comes to standing up against them.

It's time for the rest of us - you know, the good ones - to stand up to these morons, these dunces, these sacks of human effluence, and tell them to shut up, sit down and let the smart ones drive for a while.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

I'm Not An Artist Anymore

I have a confession to make: I'm not an artist anymore. 

I've always been an actor. I've always needed to perform.  For all intents and purposes, I've been doing it as long as I can remember. 

I remember the moment my mother looked at my father after I had finished performing yet another little "skits' and said to him, "we should get him into theatre".  I remember my first class, my first presentation, and my first show.  I remember the audience.  The applause.  It appeared as though this was what I was and had ever been. 

I was 9 years old. 

I continued down the path, gaining experience and praise until at 14, I was invited to join a local agency.  The first parts came, and then the first series: "The Adventures of the Black Stallion".  Three years we shot - in Canada, France, and New Zealand.  Some amazing times and memories were made.  I loved working.  I loved earning money.  The show ended after 78 episodes, and I chose to stay in Vancouver rather than head south to LA, to sun, and to bigger and better.  I picked home over away because I had spent so much time away, that I wanted to make a home.  I thought I would grow here.  Other series came and I worked a lot, but plateaus were reached.  A friend of mine has said that Vancouver is less a springboard and more a diving board.  And although many exceptions have proven the rule, in my case it seems that the rule proved the rule. 

I'm happy with and proud of what I've accomplished, but the artistic element in me has remained unfulfilled.  To be fair, I have brought it on myself.  I've long regarded what I do to be the business that it is.  I'm not in the scene anymore.  I checked out years ago.  I'm not a very "actor-y" actor and am a solitary one at that, and with a family my priorities have changed.  But I do feel that I may have done myself a disservice.  I don't feel connected to what I do anymore by doing it.  It is - in my opinion - supremely difficult to be artistically fulfilled as an actor in the film industry without having long term projects - at least the fulfillment that I want. 

My artistic connection to acting is maintained by the teaching of it.  I've been instructing people in the ways of screen-acting for some 19-ish years.  I've been accused of being a good teacher, but I would argue that I'm not such a good teacher as I am a good director.  I can read people, notice their foibles, tell when they're lying.  I love the psychology of acting and bringing students to new breakthroughs.  I love showing people how deep and difficult acting is when done right and how brilliant and rewarding it is when submerged in it. 

I'm approaching forty now.  Sure I'm aging gracefully, and while my children make me old before my time, my wife keeps me young with her own youth.  Age tends to sharpen one's focus though, and I've realized I don't want to be just a businessman actor, I want to be an artist again.  I need to stretch, to shake off the rust.  I need to go back to my roots - I need to go back to the theatre.  But I also need to go my way.  Honestly. 

I love acting.  Always will.  I also love directing.  This is why I've decided to start a small - some might say tiny - theatre company in the new year.  Original material.  Brilliant young actors.  A long journey.  I have no idea of the details (yet) - only that it needs to breathe.  Bigger and better.  Always bigger.  Always better.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Dear Mark Zuckerberg

Dear Mark Zuckerberg,

I think you're great.  For real - you were amazing in Zombieland!  But if I may be so bold as to suggest that your recent changes to Facebook, while brilliant for ADD afflicted chihuahuas, doesn't really jive too well with your more seasoned users - you know, those of us with a firm and troublesome grasp of linear time and in possession of one set of eyeballs.

Now, while I understand that Justin Timberlake convincingly argued the benefits of expansion in that wicked restaurant scene, I would also like to point out that that character was also later arrested for possessing drugs that may or may not lend themselves to wanting 150 different things to look at in one's newsfeed while meticulously cleaning one's home at three in the morning because one's waiting for a cake to bake because one suddenly became hungry in the wee hours after an all night pool party.  Just saying . . .

I'd also like to point out that while you displayed razor sharp intuition picking apart the Winklevoss twins' lawyer in that boardroom scene, that doesn't mean you have a profound grasp on what I'd like to see in my newsfeed within a newsfeed (hint: It's not what friends are "liking" on other friends' statii).  Algorithms are sexy and stuff, but they can't be used to read my mind.  Only my wife can do that - and even then it's mainly only concerning whether or not I had that last cookie, or whether or not that girl that just walked past was cute or not.

Don't get me wrong Mark, I like your Facebook thing.  It's free, it's a good networking tool, and it lets us all creep our exes' profiles to see if they wound up better or worse off after dumping us.  The thing is most people like our social networking the way we like our relationships - initially exciting, eventually dependable, and with no huge sweeping changes that leave us confused and scared and trying desperately to figure out why it keeps bringing up stuff from last week in the middle of a conversation about Farmville.

Thanks for your time,

P.S. I hope they make Adventureland 2

Monday, September 12, 2011

Stop Stupiding Up the Planet

 Here's the thing - everybody's good at something.

Some of us are good at studying.

Some of us are good at sports - like gymnastics . . .

Others of us are good at eating bananas . . .

. . . okay, maybe that's a little much.

But the point is, we all have different strengths and talents.
Some people - scientists like Mr. Darwin for example -

- are good at being smart.

While people like Mr. Limbaugh -

- are really good at being pig-headed, ass-faced drug addicts who cater to the lowest common denominator and pander to the extremists by playing their own fears against them.

See?  Everyone's good at something.

Every time I read the comment sections on news articles about Evolution online, I get the sense that the people who are really good at eating bananas are fancying themselves as being on the same level as Mr. Darwin.
Well, they're not.

These people get scared because science seems to be contradicting certain deep-seeded beliefs.  They say that humans and apes are not descended from the same ancestor.

Although I wouldn't mind sharing an ancestor with the fetching Janet here - I'm sure you'll agree.

As a species, we have a lot of beliefs about nature and the Earth - some of them substantiated by science, some of them refuted.

The thing is however, that I can assure you that believing in something or not, doesn't change or make true or false something that exists or doesn't exist of its own accord.

My humble request would be that we let the people who are good at being smart take care of the smart stuff and led the banana eaters take care of the bananas.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Haters Gonna Hate . . . Because They're Assholes

I have a lot of great fans.  Fans Tony the Tiger would be proud of.

They visit me on my fan page, they visit my website, they visit this blog, they write their government representatives to tell them how great I am, and some of the more female and attractive fans even send in bikini shots of themselves posing with cakes because they know how much I like cakes.

But then there are the anti-fans.  Not Auntie Fan - she's lovely.

No, I'm talking about the haters.   You know the ones - the total douche-bags that live on the internet and smack talk everything that comes their way.

They are also known as trolls - as in the things that live under bridges and eat childrens' bones, only in this case the bridge is their mother's basement and the childrens' bones are Hot Pockets and Tang.

I've come across a few of these guys and gals over my years as an F-List celebrity (that's right baby, F-List - I've had it confirmed by NASA.  They apparently have a lot of down time these days).  

They're generally on YouTube and love to slam me and call me a jerk, and weird looking, and small.  Now to be fair, all of these things are true, but they wouldn't know that because they've never met me.

Although I may have met them.  I wouldn't know.  You know why?  Because although literally billions of people hate on me on the interweb, figuratively zero people have ever said anything to my face.  You know why?

Simple.  Haters are pussies.

These people hate on everything and everyone.  From that 14 year old girl Rebecca Black, to that 17 year old girl Justine Bieber, trolls attack anything that reminds them that they're angry at the world because their mom doesn't serve the Tang cold enough to their gaming liar.

So I say screw 'em . . .  not literally of course! 

I'm pretty sure they all have some kind of immaculately spread venereal disease that makes everything itch and 8-bit characters sexually appealing.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Taking the Fun Out of Fundamental

It has occurred to me that the most fundamentally, intractably, and aggressively religious among us don't understand life. 

You know the ones.

They want to run your life.  They want to tell you how to live.  They want to tell you how evil you are and why you're going to go to hell.  They don't believe in a separation of church and state unless it's someone else's church from their state.

Some of them want to hurt you.

They are distrustful of intellect, let alone intellectuals.  They flat out hate science right up until they need it to save their lives.

They will tell you it's us against them.  Of course the ones you're talking to are always the "us" in the equation no matter where on Earth you're standing.

I have realized these people don't understand life because they think they are going to live in one capacity or another forever.

It's awfully easy to be glib with someone else's life if you don't believe in death.

No matter your belief, try a little experiment - spend one day as though there is no heaven.  Spend that day savoring the light in the present that only exists in that moment.

Try to have a little fun.  Pass on the fundamentalism.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

How To Raise Children - Pt.1

My wife and I have three children.  They are perfect in every way and never do anything wrong except when they just won't shush when Daddy's watching his racing.

If and when any of you out there become pregnant, or your wives become pregnant, or you're adopting, kidnapping, or you're picking up a little one at one of Angelina Jolie's garage sales, people won't be able to resist offering you advice on your new progeny.

Most of this advice will be terrible, misguided, and in at least three States - illegal.

I will now do you a huge favor and cut through all the bullshit by boiling it down to one simple rule. 

Your job as a parent is to not raise an asshole.

There.  Simple.  To the point.  Don't you wish more people had followed that advice when you were a kid?  Then there'd be fewer assholes to deal with.  Everything you do with your kids should be informed by that simple litmus test. 

"If I let my kids whine and I give into their demands, will this make them grow into an asshole?"

Yes.  Don't let them whine excessively and make them eat their damn vegetables.

"If I don't get after them for hitting other kids will that make them grow into an asshole?"

Yes.  If you don't make them stop hitting my kids, I will.

"If I don't love them enough or give them affection, emotionally alienating them, will that make them an asshole?"

Remember that douchebag/baguette you used to date that cheated on you?  Yeah.  'Nuff said.

There you have it, the one simple rule to raising kids - pretty intuitive huh?

Joking aside, raising kids is more simple than it can sometimes look.  Love the hell out of your kids, understand that they're the most important things in your life now, and bring them up to be the best versions of yourself and throw in a pinch of confidence to help them be the things that you wish you'd had the guts to be.

And don't let them be assholes.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Smart Ain't Stupid

I remember, albeit perhaps through rose colored glasses, when being an intellectual wasn't a liability for a politician.  Shoot, I remember when having an intellect wasn't a liability.

We live in this incredibly dumbed down era, a time when even the basest of us have been elevated to the status of genius by "opinion polls" that ask people what they "believe" in, as though it has some bearing on whether or not it exists.

My favorite such poll was one on that queried visitors as to whether or not they "believed" in evolution.  Sadly, shockingly, and stupidly it was a split vote.

I'm going to lay some truth on the internet here:
  1. Evolution is real
  2. Climate change is real
  3. Natural disasters don't occur because anyone is mad at you
  4. It's none of your business if two people who aren't you get it on
  5. We really need to stop wasting time on these subjects
I don't think it's okay to not teach our kids things out of the fear that someone might be offended by the incontrovertible truth of scientific reality.

I don't think it's okay that a large and vocal group ridicules and beats down science with one voice and then demands science saves their lives when sickness comes calling.

I don't think it's okay that news outlets offer anything other than the facts and as near an objective story as humanly possible.

I don't think it's okay to hate one's neighbor while demanding love and kindness for oneself.

A well known and well respected politician died recently here in Canada.  His passing unified people in sadness, regret, and sympathy.  Whether people agreed with his politics or not, citizens everywhere respected the man.  He left a letter to Canadians that was both heart-felt and inspiring.  His last words in his letter were:

  • "My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we'll change the world." - Jack Layton

Wise words from a wise man.  Jack Layton wasn't my politician, and the NDP isn't my party, but I am certainly proud to have had my politics impacted by a man (and other men and women) who aren't afraid to be wise.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Following Things Are Not Real . . .

Paranormal Activities
Any Word That Ends In "Ology" (This includes Geology)
Intelligent Design
Head Cheese
A Cool Politician
That Hair Appointment That Girl You Like Keeps Claiming To Have Every Time You Ask Her Out
Gremlins (Even The Cars)
Most of Holland
Wrestling (With the exception of the mud variety - that's as real as it gets)
Attractive Uggs
An Un-Delicious Animal
A Highly Educated Religious Zealot
A "Reasonable" Amount of Botox
Michele Bachmann's Penis

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Pitchin' and Bitchin'

As the New Year cracks open like a ripe cantaloupe, I am committing to my new ethos - pitch, pitch, pitch.  As a professional and largely employed actor for 23 years, what I really want to do is be a cliché.  I love directing and producing and have long felt that is the place for me as I move forth into the next couple of decades.
So, that means pitching like crazy this year.  The end goal before the 12th month of 2011 is to have sold a concept, show, or script.  It’s interesting trying to make what is essentially a lateral move.  Twenty three years of experience in a given industry is more often than not a big plus when trying to move through it, but it’s not always easy to convince those that need convincing of that.
Hopefully this year will be rife with meetings and schmoozing, wheeling and dealing.