Friday, August 31, 2012

We are nowhere and it's now... "Did she really just make a Bright Eyes reference? Oh God, I don't think I can read this" is what you're thinking

I grew up nowhere.

For the 18 formative years of my life, I had no roots. I have no loyalty to Fairfax, Virginia. It's so up and coming, growing faster than the body that shot up awkwardly around my bones at age 13. I'm the first generation that could possibly call it, "my old stomping grounds." But honestly, who would want to? It's nowhere. It's nothing. No major battles were fought here, no historical sites to see. There's no old malt shop that's been open since the 50's, still owned and operated by the same family. There's no creek where we found a dead body that one summer. Just man made lakes where we smoked shitty weed out of apples and tin foil. It's nowhere. It's always going to be nowhere.

I may not be a history buff, but I know that history is what makes things special. I don't even need to know the story behind this old set of drawers that came off of my great grandmother's bureau. All I know is that it's been lived it. It has a story. It tells it's story on a different frequency than is audible to the human ear. And to me, that means something. It comes from somewhere. Some skilled craftman's hands put time and love into it. It's seen things; fights, love making, birth, wedding days, death. It comes from somewhere. Fairfax, Virginia is like the Ikea chest of drawers. It comes in separate, relatively easy to assemble pieces. After you bitch and moan and beg your signifcant other for help in putting the pieces together, you step back and take it all in. Oh. It's just a slab of sleak, clean, pressed-wood product. I guess it looks modern. Yeah, that looks nice I guess.

Let me start over...

I come from a military family, my father was in the army. We settled in white bread suburbia when dad retired because of the great schools, safe neighborhoods, close proximity to Washington, DC , and most importantly; it was smack dab in the middle of the east coast. Essentially between the two places my parents where raised.

Because I grew up nowhere, I have never strongly identified with my "home." When I tell my new Chicago friends now, "I'm going home." I have to correct myself. "Well... I'm going back to Virginia." It's not the same thing.

Okay, just go with me here, no matter how pretentious and "I went to art school" I sound. But I'm an actress at heart. I'm fascinated with the way real people talk, walk, and interact with each other and the world around them. I see myself in the world and how I deal with it, and I see others.

Because I never identified Fairfax as my "home." I grew up romanticizing my parent's home towns. Every summer I'd slip into their world, imagine what it would be like, play pretend and trick the locals into thinking I'm one of them. I've always be one of them.

Whether I'm picking peaches on my aunt's father's farm in South Carolina, or gossiping with the ladies at the hair salon in upstate New York, like a chameleon, I can fit in anywhere. I relish the moments I can be anywhere and pretending I'm someone else. I crave that pride. I have national pride, sure. After all, I am "proud to be an American"-- and what that means to me is a completely different rant-like blog post for a later date. But still. I want to identify myself with a place. I want to say, "I came from x" and I want people to immediately make snap judgements of me.

I want to be the country bumpkin southern belle from Georgia who at 13 drank vodka for the first time on her cousin's back porch after our parents went to bed. "Y'all! I can't feel my legs!"

I want to be that snot-nosed quick-witted New Yorker who is full of a million groaner jokes and sits around on lawn chairs on the driveway telling them in the dead of summer. My mother covering up my ears for the dirty ones my uncles care to share. Walking down the block to watch the firemen respond to the fender bender at Myer's Corners.

I want to be that girl, who knows the pain a fire ant's bite brings to a bare foot running through her grandfather's yard, dodging the fire crackers in the cul de sac on the fourth of July.

The girl that returns to the same salon, to see Dorothy every month. "Remember when ya grandmotha brought you herh? You were this tall. I painted ya nails fah free!" How could I forget?

Playing secret agents with my cousins. That old meat grinder was a walky talky, and the laundry chute a secret passage way. We'd send top secret notes via the clothes line off of the mud room.

My grandmother, whenever I'm back in town, still tries to set me up with the lifegaurd at her pool. Or so-and-so on the Alter Guild's grandson, he's so handsome! "Nannie. I live in Chicago now." "But he has a job! And Insurance! Such a nice boy... You know he takes care of his mother?"

I wish I could have that strong sense of communal identity. Everyone knows everyone. You grew up playing with the kid down the street and you still get brunch with them when you're back in town. You know? Athena's diner. It looks like all the other greasy spoon places on old route 9, but it's the one where they let you take home a free cookie from the bakery. The old lady that runs the place gave them away to every smiling child. She still spoils you. How come they're even still in business?

I don't have that because I grew up nowhere. Our stories are of the "woods"... you know, the park. Feeding Canadian geese stale bread. Trips to Costco where we'd get lost in the aisles. Oh! The pleasure of going to Fair Oaks mall, and not Springfield mall like usual. (They're the one with the Warner Brother's store where you can climb down Bugs Bunny's rabbit hole!) We lived our lives in cars and on highways.

I grew up in Ikea, Virginia. But I was raised somewhere else entirely.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Homemade chili, turning the lights out, being a rat, chopping down trees to find a husband, forgetting my bike's breaks were wet when trying to stop in Cubs fan traffic, photo booths, photo booths, photo booths, Eagle Eye Cherry, Savage Garden, hard cider, iced tea spillage in my purse, and mocking the Irish at 4am. I'd say I had a good night.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Today: "Come on let's get creepy and do it with a mask on"

So this is a small script for something I'm sharing tonight at an artist exchange/potluck. Literally, you're not missing much by me reading it aloud, however-- if you want to full on experience for free [I know it's hard to see me perform for free these days. RARE TREAT.] you should come over to Kait and Kirsten's this eve.

Why is it that no one can pull off not sounding sleepy when being awoken by a phone call? Do you know what I mean? That thing where you're in a zombie-like half-sleep state that automatically answers that early morning call and you do one of these (demonstrate here). As if that deep inhale and quick whipping motion of the phone are supposed to mask the fact that you were absolutely not prepared to take this call at all. And then the person on the other line just starts jabbering away at you like you're paying attention. You miss about 40% of the first sentence because you're mind is busy saying to you "Why the hell did you just answer this phone you big dumb ape?" So while you're busy yelling at yourself in your mind, the other person catches on and always has to ask "Did I wake you up?" Without thinking, or once again consulting your zombiebody, you quickly retort with a deadpan "No." Well anyway, that was my morning. If it wasn't for my boss calling me at 7:25am to tell me she would be a few minutes late to work, I never would have showed. Thank God for my creepy subconscious phone answering capabilities.

As you can imagine, when I got into work this morning I was still highly intoxicated. My head was in a vice and every day tasks took me about 10 minutes extra time at least. Weird things kept happening and I felt like the universe was punishing me for my bad choices the night before. The by far WEIRDEST happenstance came when it was time for me to take out the trash. I will start this story off by saying that only reason I volunteered to do the trash run was so I could have an excuse to wear sunglasses (Yeah. I know how to play the hangover game). So everything was normal as I tottled along the alley yanking the heavy garbage can full of carrot shavings and straw wrappers behind me. Let me add that me and this particular alley have some history... Listen, you would volunteer to do trash runs all day if you worked in Lincoln Park with sucky yuppie customers too. Anything to get out of the store. So one time I was back there I woke up a homeless man from his slumber and it was super awkward. He followed me back to the store and stole an orange and 2 free samples on my watch. All my coworkers call him my boyfriend now. It's a thing we have. Moral of the story, I never really quite know what I might find in this alley. Today it happened to be my assassin. You heard right. As I neared the dumpster I took a quick glance down the other end of the alley (where my boyfriend lived) and standing there, about 50 feet away, was some seriously stoic Men in Black dude staring at me. It startled me so much that I struggled real hard to keep my composure while flinging soggy trash bags about. His crisp black suit and fixed stare were piercing me as if to say "Yes... I thought I might find you here, Carol Olsen" I was sure he was going to pull out a pistol and start questioning me like, "WHERE'S THE MONEY?" For a moment my life was a movie and I thought, "How am I going to tell Rick I can't get the 20 grand until Friday?" Maybe if I wasn't so hungover, and was feeling a bit more frisky at 10in the morning, I would have called out to him. "Hey.... Rick.... I don't know nothing bout Johnny ratting you out.... I swear" Ahhhh. Another day.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Oh hay

Oh hay blog. Don't forget about me. Imma be carressing you soon.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I get it. YOU'RE FUNNY.

So breaking into the comedy community is really easy... If you're an asshole.

I'm feeling super discouraged lately because of all these auditions I've been going to at Second City. I haven't taken classes there since two summers ago and I feel completely out of that loop. So I've been trying to get myself in there for the time being while I can only afford classes at iO.

I am so thrilled to be studying at iO, by the way. Glad I took that leap. To be honest, signing up for those classes was such a whim. But I realized I see more shows there than any other theatre in town. So why not study from the best? DUH. Next on the once-I-get-a-job-and-can-afford-more-classes list is the Annoyance. I guess I just really vibed with Susan Messing and her teachings and I want more.

Which brings me to my point. She's all about making bold and specific choices on stage and sticking to them to let the comedy rise. After studying under her at iO, I walk into these auditions at Second City and everyone around me makes me feel so uncomfortable to improvise because I get this overwhelming feeling that they don't care who they yell over for a cheap laugh. That does NOT make me want to play with you. Hate to say. Maybe these past couple of experiences have been isolated incidents. I don't know. It doesn't make me feel good. I feel like I just fade into some sort of white washed picket fenced background when I'm over there.

I feel like I know my comedy style pretty well, I just need to know how to control it. I'm such an anxious person already and if you put me into a high stress slash extremely uncomfortable situation, I find that being "myself" is the last thing I want to be. So naturally I protect myself from being hurt or embarrassed or insulted by just going flat. I'm in an audition with a bunch of chuckleheads who want to be THE FUNNIEST PERSON IN THE ROOM and I just give up and retreat. I'd rather protect my process than try and match their boink-fest (to quote Susan) energy.

This is absolutely not to say that the teachers over there encourage their students to be a bunch of self involved obnoxious jerks. I know for a fact they don't. But something really goes out the window with young comedians my age when you're put in front of writers. Honesty and integrity. I want to play with honest people who just want to have fun.

Oughhh. I've got the willies.

Remind me next time to write about how all girls are born hating all other girls and that the rest of our lives we spend trying to suss out which girl can we call a friend in hopes to protect us from the other girls who don't know why but hate us for just being girls and being in their personal space. Chill out! Heaven forbid we have a conversation about common interests. I'm not trying to hit on your mediocre and douchey guy friends. Go fly a kite... FOR REAL.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


People ask me all the time if having a birthday on New Years Eve sucks or not. I'm here to tell you today that it most definitely does not. I don't think I've met someone who didn't feel like partying on my birthday, so for that reason it's nice.

Who I feel really bad for are all those people born on the 1st of January. Who wants to go out drinking on national hangover day? Your birthday is completely steamrolled by the celebration of my birthday. So suck on that. (I actually have a friend, Johnny, who was born on the 1st. He just hosts a hungover pizza party every year at his place. I say that's pretty cool)

So here we are. A new year. The year of the rabbit. That's me! That means this year is going to be my year. I can feel it. As we toasted our champagne before the party last night, my roommates and I each went around and summed up our 2010 experience for each other. All I could really remember of 2010 was that I

1.) Broke my foot
2.) Graduated from college
3.) Moved to Chicago

Of course those are the most nuttiest of shells... But truly, the year kind of just flew right past me. If feels like it was last week that I hung that temporary handicap placard on my rearview mirror and hobbled across campus to Audition Technique at 8 in the God damn morning.

It's not to say that 2010 flew past me and was a complete wash. I definitely think the last half of the year, the moving to Chicago part, was an eye opening experience. I figured out how to be an adult and start my career and even put a few building blocks in place. I know I have more structural work to get done, but I laid a pretty good framework thus far. I am proud of myself.

Aw... Interjection time: We are currently cat sitting for our downstairs neighbor while she's out of town. I am, for the most part, allergic to cats so I like to keep them out of my room and off of my furniture as much as possible. As I was typing this out I heard a soft meow and looked back at my bedroom door and two little white paws were sticking out of the bottom. DAWWWWWWW! I'm such a sucker for that shit. I hate cats but those two little paws clawing at the ground makes my heart melt.

There are 2 of these cats, brothers I think, and they are that black and white spotted breed that happens to look like Hitler. Do you know what I'm talking about? This website actually calls them Kitlers. Haha. Get it? Ah, hilariously racistly cute.  Anyway, one of them has a thicker black spot under his nose so I call him Groucho and the other one is skinnier and has a smaller black spot so I call him Hitler. He's also the meaner of the two. A real asshole of a cat. I hope he commits suicide when he realizes Ms Kitty and her army of allies have him surrounded in Becky's room.

Want to hear a hilarious story about my hellacious experience with Delta Airlines? Of course you do! I'll try to keep it short.

So I had unfortunately scheduled my flight out of New York after Christmas for the day after that huge snowstorm hit. My mom's house got around 14 inches. NYC got a little over 20. It was insane. Not only this, but I booked with what I have experienced to be the worst airline possible.

First of all:  In the morning when I found out that my flight had been cancelled, thanks to, I tried to reschedule online-- This turned out to be impossible because the only options to choose from were that day and the next, both of which had no flights listed. So it says at the bottom if I'm experiencing trouble to just call them. I called and got this message: "Due to extreme weather conditions we cannot take your call right now. Please rebook with" NO. NO. I cannot rebook with your dumb website because there are no options! Give me a human to talk to please! I mean the phone didn't even ring for Christ's sake. It went straight to this message. So around this time I called my Dad to complain. He told me all I could really do was keep calling until someone answered. But get THIS. My Dad calls me back and he says he had an agent on the phone I could talk to. So he patched me in and she rescheduled my flight for Thursday... I was supposed to leave on Monday but understood that everything was backed up because of this blizzard. But here's the kicker. I asked my Dad how he even got the phone to ring. He told me he used my step mother's Delta Sky Mile's number with some other phone number service they offer. So basically unless you are a Sky Mile's member... DON'T mess with Delta. I'd still be in New York right now calling their damn phone line that doesn't ring like all the regular Joe Schmoes.

Secondly: Once I got tot he airport, for some stupid reason I got super excited to see on my self check-in screen that they would check my bag for free. Flying with other airlines they charge $25 for each bag. That's $50 round trip. So I only ever pack a carry on because I'm poor. No... Not because I'm poor, but because I don't want to spend my money on something so silly. These airlines suck enough money out of us already. So anyway, yeah, got excited. so I clicked the button and rejoiced that I wouldn't have to lug my bag around while making my connection in Detroit. Let me say this though, my pessimism unfortunately didn't get the best of me. As I punched the screen I thought to myself, "What if I make it there and my bag doesn't?" Wouldn't you guess that's EXACTLY what happened? That's right. After a long day of sitting on tarmacs, burning jet fuel because we're overweight restrictions, getting a splitting headache from the lack of food I ate the entire day, I get to Midway and everyone from my flight picks up their shit at baggage claim and I stand there like a sad sack of buffoon waiting... waiting... waiting. I almost cried when the lady behind the baggage service desk told me I could wait for an hour and a half if I wanted. To give her some credit, she was really pleasant and helpful. I was the one being the crab apple.  So yeah, I decided to have them deliver it to me because all I wanted to do was get home and eat and sleep. I had this plan to stop at 7-11 on the walk from the train and get a couple of taquitos so I could eat as I walked so I didn't lose anytime on my schedule to pass the hell out. So the guy calls me hours later, tells me he's going to deliver my bag. This was at 9:20pm. I was out at Susan's. When I came home after midnight, my bag still wasn't there. I decided that because my head was still throbbing from the original headache that I would worry about this in the morning. Well, wouldn't you know it? Morning came (My birthday) and my bag was there... SOAKED. I mean SOPPING WET. Everything. Wet and smelly from sitting in a bag all night. Not only that but there's disgusting black skid marks all over my purple duffel, it looks completely ruined to tell you the truth. Not something that throwing it in a washing machine could fix.

Oh. And what about the taquitos? Well, I bought four, shoved three in my mouth and dropped the last one in a puddle. WAY TO GO CAROL!

So for those reasons I will never give Delta my money again.

Okay. Complaining is done. Time to start 2011 off right... by continuing this day long binge of food and mimosas.

Peace and love my babies,

Thursday, December 9, 2010