Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Let's All Watch Wendy's Head Explode!

I shall start out with all the nice things I've achieved.

I did indeed pick up my nice new business cards, which look madly professional, with my nice new picture on them and all.

I went to the casting call for C&G, and hope to God they'll call me for something or other.

I did NOT go to the audition for Cape May, NJ because I looked it up again and discovered that in fact it pays $248 a week. I make more than that on unemployment. And nothing was mentioned in either the contract or the casting notice about per diem or transportation or housing. Do you have ANY idea what the prices are like in a beach resort in season? Yeah...no.

I even went to yoga class, which turns out to be one hell of a workout, but very, VERY nice in feel. No, I can't do all of it yet...but it seems to be a very laid back kind of class where everybody is focusing on their own yoga practice and supremely uninterested in anyone else's, which is great. That was yesterday...I can't lift my arms quite ALL the way up today (three thousand downward dogs will do that), and my thighs are making VERY snotty remarks to me, but otherwise I'm a lot less sore than I thought I'd be. And the instructor is a pussycat, and very helpful. So I'll drag myself back on Thursday and aim for three classes next week.

Today I got one of those odd little registration table jobs, this one a job fair run by a new job fair company. I hadn't been aware that job fairs HAD companies that ran them, but I guess somebody has to do all the gathering together of companies and what not. This one was a little creepy, but I think only to me. I walked into the Affinia Hotel (30th and 7th...it used to be the Pennsylvania) and the first thing I saw was a whole mess of gents with hair that was way too short clustering around a sign that said "Homeland Security." Well, this was scary - they were having some sort of meeting there. Then I got up to the mezzanine where the job fair was and discovered that three of the "companies" offering jobs were the Army, the IRS, and the DEA. Talk about the wrong place for me. I've never seen so many buzz cuts in my life. I kept thinking somebody or another was going to pounce on me for something - although I don't think I've ever done anything to upset the Army, actually (or at least not that I can remember - one never knows - maybe it was all that anti-Viet Nam marching I did).

So I got home from that - and here comes the exploding head. Joshua came in shortly after I did and started with the doom voice again. It seems that his brain tumor is back. Yup. Joshua's got a nice new brain tumor, which will, of course, prevent him from leaving at the end of the week.

This is really getting past a joke. I have never in my life seen anything like this guy. He is bound and determined to stop me from getting rid of him, and by extension to stop me from leaving the house, which he finds very comfortable. I'm starting to get quite fatalistic about the whole thing. I occupy my time wondering what on earth he'll come up with next. One of the things that keeps going through my head is all those poor animals that chew through their own legs to escape a trap - I keep seeing Joshua somehow managing to lose a leg to stay IN the trap. I wouldn't put it past him. Of course if he did that, he'd be in the hospital, which would be fine. I'd be terribly sorry when he came out to find a nice note from me to tell him what storage facility his belongings were in, and pointedly leaving out my new address...no, actually I wouldn't be sorry at all. I'd laugh like a hyena.

So tomorrow morning I will call Liz the building manager and get Martin the contractor here, and we are going to renovate around Joshua, and the hell with him.

Brain tumor. For God's sake.

Love, Wendy

Monday, April 20, 2009

Blecch - But A Hopeful Blecch!

The blecch is for the weather, which is just simply terminally vile. It is in the 40s and raining in that nasty "I can go on like this forever" sort of way, as opposed to a nice thumping thunderstorm that blows in, attacks, and blows out again. No, this is a mean, mingy little rain that refuses to go away. So...blecch.

The hope is for the fact that I have a been a busy little bunny (there's a ghastly image). I hit the casting call at Central Casting, I went and signed off on my new business cards, I submitted myself for about nine billion things via Casting Networks, and by God, somebody actually got back to me! So now I've got a go-see for a print thing next week...no, sorry, week after, April 29th. A go-see, by the way, is exactly what you think it is. Go see the person and see if you're right for what is wanted. If I get the shoot, it'll pay me $300...which will be a nice boost to my personal economy. And now all I have to do is wait for Central Casting to get me into their online setup and I can start mining them for jobs. And I got an email from another casting agency, C&G, wanting me to come in next Friday to register on THEIR open call day. Oh, yeah - and I have to go pick up my business cards on Wednesday, and since ModernAge (the photo studio of choice for every actor in the city) is a block from Equity, I thought what the hell - there's an audition at Equity that I might as well go to, since I'll be right there. It's a season out in Cape May, NJ, which wouldn't be a bad place to spend a couple of weeks this summer...of course, this being Actors Equity, the pay is idiotic (something like $378 a week), but why not. As I say, I'll be right there...

And I went bouncing around, in a small way, this weekend. Saturday I went over to the Cherry Lane and saw a one woman show that a friend of mine is involved with - not in, just involved with. And it wasn't in Swedish, thank God. I enjoyed it. It was the imagined other side of the Jane Eyre story - told by Bertha, the mad wife. The gal who did it was wonderful, and it was an interesting idea.

Sunday I went to the Nuyorican Poets Cafe to see the Muslim play, which was amusing, but the whole point of that excursion was to say hello to Rome Neal, Ishmael Reed and Ish's wife Carla...which end I accomplished. Cardinal rule of the theatre business - never let them forget who you are.

Today I have hauled books around and taped together more cartons for Joshua, who now has severe body aches and dizziness, for God's sake. Talk about digging in one's heels. Well, the hell with him. As soon as I can get Sarah to get our pal Aslan to film her walls (if I haven't mentioned it before, this is a necessity before we paint her room and fix the floor - recording for posterity all the stuff her friends have written on her walls), I'm calling the contractor and he can start in there. While he does that, I'll clear the upstairs bathroom (a matter of roughly half an hour) and then that can be done, then my room - and while he's doing my room, I'll clear the kitchen. And so it goes. If necessary, I'll get the guy to just paint over Joshua.

The rain is supposed to at least let up a bit tomorrow. God, I hope so. I love summer rain, but 43 degrees and rain is just the worst.

Love, Wendy

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Let's Hope This Works

I have just printed a page of Blog Help and I'm going to try and do what it says, because everybody in the whole sidereal universe should see this video - particularly on Tax Day. I don't know about the rest of you, but I had to pay damn near $1300 in taxes when I hardly worked all year, and yesterday I mailed out two checks which won't be covered until the end of the week.

I think we all need a treat.

Damn. What I wanted to put in here has had its embedding disabled. Rats. However, just copy this into your browser.


Trust me.

Nothing else of any interest is happening at the moment. Joshua is evidently overwhelmed at the notion of actually going out into the big bad world, and has therefore been asleep for the last three days. You think I'm kidding? Wrong. He appears every now and then to use the bathroom and/or eat something, then he disappears right back down to the den. This is about to change, however. The dear boy took all my books (as I've mentioned) up to Sarah's room to make room for his, and I'm now bringing them all back down where they belong. And since Joshua has also cleared the den shelves, I will very quickly need to get down there to put MY books back on MY shelves - WHERE THEY BELONG. Let's see him try to sleep through that. Not to mention the fact that he has to clear out all his stuff from the storage space under the stairs, since I need that, too. I'm so glad the little sweetie has had all this rest. (By the by, he went upstairs to get the books of his that he wanted out of Sarah's room, got them and left all the other ones sitting there for me to drag down - telling me, "Oh, well, I got my books." Excuse me? I didn't drag all those damn books up there.)

Lovely social occasions over the weekend - a play on Saturday night and a play reading on Sunday night. The one on Saturday looks quite bizarre - it seems to be a one-woman play about Bertha, Rochester's mad wife from Jane Eyre. Translated from the Swedish. Or at least I hope to God it's been translated from the Swedish. The invite (free ticket, yay!) came from an actress pal of mine who happens to be Swedish herself. I can't tell whether she's in it or not (the press release seems to have been translated from the Swedish by someone whose English isn't quite there - somewhat like Japanese to English translations done by the Japanese), but what the hell - it's a night out and walking distance from my house.

Sunday night I'm going to a play reading at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe (where I did my play a year and a half ago or so), and I'm going to THAT one because Ishmael Reed and his wife Carla will be there and I want to see them - not to mention Rome Neal, who directed the one I was in and of whom I'm very fond...if for no other reasons than A. he's mesmerized by my legs, and B. his speaking voice sounds like Barry White singing. I feel someone who sounds like that paying me extravagant compliments on my figure is DEFINITELY worth a trip to the East Village. Wearing a short skirt, of course.

Anyway, go to YouTube and watch the video. It'll make everything MUCH better.

Love, Wendy

Monday, April 13, 2009


Oh, dear. I really, REALLY shouldn't have had so much fun last night. My poor head.

However, dinner was lovely, and you may have the recipe for the potatoes, which is perhaps the easiest thing I've ever done in my life (other than calling the Chinese restaurant). So:

3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/8 inch rounds
1-1/2 cups creme fraiche, stirred around a bit
1-1/2 cups grated Gruyere
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley

Preheat the oven to 400. Make a layer (overlapping them of bit) of potato slices in a heavily buttered 13 x 9 x 2 inch glass dish. Smear it with half the creme fraiche and scatter half the cheese over it. Do it again. Bake for 30 minutes at 400 and then turn it down to 350 for about another 15 or 20 minutes, until everything is all brown and bubbly and you can stick a fork through all the potatoes. Scatter the parsley on top. Eat the hell out of it.

The recipe says it makes 8 servings, but I shouldn't count on any more than 6, if your friends are as piggy with these as mine were. And BOY, is it easy.

I am now going to bed with my hangover. Tomorrow I'll be scintillating for you all, but right now my head hurts.

Love, Wendy

Friday, April 10, 2009


My living room is a disaster of epic proportions. After my pal Caesar and Joshua dragged out the horrible couch and the equally horrible bookshelf, they left the rugs all scrabbled up, at which point Joshua decided to pack boxes on top of the scrumbled up rugs. This will probably result in me never being able to get them to lie flat again, but you know what? I DON'T CARE. I don't care first of all because I hate those rugs. Joshua, who was once a decorator, has a bizarre failing for that particular profession since he's color-blind. I don't mean that in the usual sense of red/green confusion and whatever the other one is - I mean he's incapable of understanding what colors go together and what colors absolutely don't. I believe I mentioned here once that he went out and bought a burgundy tablecloth for my red and yellow kitchen. The rugs are worse - my living room is basically red, black and white, and something in his twisted little brain told him that rugs in olive, gold and and a sort of dull orange would look just fine with that.

Boy, watching someone with the attention span of a two year old is really fun. Every time he finds something that he deems too much trouble to pack, or to think about, or whatever, he just gaily throws it out. After telling me yesterday that his collection of paperback spy novels is very valuable because they're all out of print (or something like that - I've basically stopped listening), he told me today that they should all be thrown out. Fine by me.

The only problem is, of course, his complete inability to cope with anything. The result is more and more of these odd noises ("Eep! Ork! Grrr!" and so on) that echo through the house, and more and more explosions of rage for whatever reason - it doesn't take much. Some days we get fits because he dropped something. The other result is that I do a great deal of the work. As I have said, anything to get him out of here is fine with me, but really, I get a little tired of being told to tape up boxes and sew on buttons - Joshua's form of telling stops just short of ordering, which tends (for some reason or another) to put my back up.


Meanwhile, I have been busy on my own behalf. It occurred to me that I'm really being a lazy bitch and not doing a damn thing about my career, so yesterday, in a fine burst of activity, I went uptown and ordered my new business cards, mailed off 20 bucks to the SAG Conservatory (for 20 bucks a year you get all sorts of meetings with casting directors, and voiceover classes, and all sorts of goodies), and signed up for volunteer work with the Actors Fund for the Revlon Run/Walk for Women's Health on May 2. This last may not sound like anything at all to do with my career, but think networking. I'm also going to a networking event at the Actors Fund on some date or another, but I have to look up the date to find out when. And back to yoga class when Joshua finally gets out of here...frankly, with him in full packing mode and throwing things about and grunting, I don't even think yoga class would help my serenity levels at the moment.

And I went out today to get all the Easter dinner fixings - I wasn't planning to cook Easter dinner, but Sarah called and announced that she and Seth were hungry for ham. This means I have to spend a good chunk of tomorrow cleaning the kitchen and a bit of time Sunday making dinner, but why not. The menu is idiotically simple...my much beloved baked ham with the honey mustard glaze, a recipe for a potato gratin that I found on Epicurious.com, and asparagus with butter and lemon. The potato gratin looks good, and it has exactly four ingredients, which I can definitely live with. Potatoes (um, gee, ya think?), creme fraiche, Gruyere cheese and flat leafed parsley. Now I just have to dig up my Benriner slicer from wherever it's gone to rest and hope to hell I don't end up with a nice gratin with sliced Wendy.

It just occurred to me that I ran through this whole menu thing on the blog a couple of days ago...sorry about that. But frankly, what with all the noise and mess, I can't think straight. Not that I was ever noticeably good at that to begin with...

Love, Wendy

Monday, April 6, 2009

Rewards for Being Good

Oh, I tell you, karma is a wonderful thing if you do it right.

Today I was a nice little girl (oh, all right, a nice mature woman, if you're going to be picky) and took my books back to the library in the pouring rain, primarily because today was their due date, I take out a LOT of books at a time, and those late fees mount up. Then I heroically prevented myself from going out to lunch and instead saved money and bought myself a couple of treats for home consumption at Citarella instead.

And my sensible activities were amply rewarded by A. the sight of Joshua actually bringing cartons upstairs to ready them to be taken to storage, and B. Sleepy Hollow with Johnny Depp on cable tonight.

I truly feel rewarded. Particularly in re Sleepy Hollow, which I've been dying to see. All you have to do is put the names Johnny Depp and Tim Burton together in a sentence, and I'm right there. And it's even nicer when it involves Johnny Depp wearing period clothing that requires tight pants, since he is the possessor of one damn fine bottom. And in case you wonder why I'm not checking out the front view (I can't imagine why, unless you have a terribly prurient mind, you would be wondering this, but just in case), I spent many of my formative years in dance studios and backstage at musical comedies (on account of being in them), and I am the first to tell you of the wonders that can be wrought with some sweat socks in the dance belt. A nice muscular bottom, however, cannot be faked with any degree of believability.

The movie itself, of course, is absolutely silly, but I think Washington Irving would have loved it. He was so big on legends and ghost stories that making his jokey tale about an awkward schoolteacher into something with an actual undead type and lots of nice gore would probably have charmed him right out of his stockings (there being no socks in his day). As a matter of fact, I think Tim Burton and Washington Irving would have been great pals. I cannot wait until Burton decides to play around with Edgar Allan Poe - with Johnny Depp. As a matter of fact, the cartoon figure of Johnny Depp in Corpse Bride looked very like a young Poe. I think Tim Burton's take on the lost Lenore would be marvelous.

Now that I'm on the subject, Poe and Burton would seem to be such a natural mix. The Masque of the Red Death. The Fall of the House of Usher. Wow, couldn't he go to town on that one. And Depp's pirate character - Jack whatever his name is - fits naturally into The Gold Bug.

Oh...it suddenly occurred to me. There are probably a lot of people out there who haven't read Poe. Go do so immediately. Preferably, if it's your first time - hell, if it's ANY time - in daylight. None of the new horror writers (and it's a genre I love, because of reading Poe in my youth) hold a candle to him. He is deeply, completely, unbelievably terrifying. I swear that every nightmare I had when I was young was directly to do with Poe...The Black Cat gets me to this day, and I OWN a black cat, for heaven's sake. A lot of Stephen King (and bless Mr. King, he freely admits it) owes a huge debt to Poe. Poe is the master.

Well. I have had a lovely day. And tomorrow I will work like a dog and get books sorted out, and cousins packed up...would you believe Joshua is actually talking about leaving next week? No, I don't believe it either, but one can hope.

Love, Wendy

Saturday, April 4, 2009

A Final Note on Lifestyles

Oh, I'm thrilled. I knew if I kept poking around in Living A Beautiful Life I'd find this particular piece of advice, because for a while it was all over the place.

This is perhaps the worst idea in the whole sidereal universe, to wit: Mirror your entire bathroom.

Dear God in heaven. I sincerely believe that the magazines and so forth quit printing this because some trusting individuals actually did it, and there was such a rash of early morning suicides that they were forced to take it out of the articles.

Imagine, if you will - and if you haven't just eaten - the absolute horror. There you are, first thing in the morning, having stumbled into the bathroom and - let me be as delicate as possible here - um, seated yourself. And oh my, there you are. All of you. Evey single sag, bulge and fold, clearly revealed on the walls, the ceiling - not to mention the possibility of a decidedly - shall we say - intense expression. With, of course, your hair in wild disarray and either no makeup or, if you've been lazy the previous night, smudged and grubby remains of makeup.

In the pantheon of terrible ideas, I give this one pride of place.

Now go put those flowers in your icebox.

Love, Wendy

Friday, April 3, 2009

Why I Love Lifestyle Gurus

It's true. I am an absolute sucker for Martha Stewart and her ilk. I gulp down every single page of those magazines and articles. I just love them.

Unfortunately, the reason I love them so much is that I like a good laugh. Nothing causes me more innocent hilarity than to read Martha solemnly (and she doesn't seem to have much sense of humor, does she?) telling me that to change my life, I should get down on my hands and knees, refinish my floor, and then carefully stencil it and draw freehand ranunculus (ranunculi, I guess) around the edges. After I get home from work and cook that four course meal and clean up after it, naturally. You can hear my crows of delight for blocks in any direction.

So I was thrilled when I ran across an old lifestyle book while cleaning bookshelves. This one is by a gal named Alexandra Stoddard, who used to be a Martha type some years back - the book is dated 1986. The title of the book is "Living A Beautiful Life," and I was particularly charmed by some of her suggestions for doing so in the kitchen. At the end of each chapter of this tome, you see, she makes you a nice little list called "Grace Notes" to let you know exactly how beautiful your life can be. Some of her kitchen Grace Notes are:

Try keeping a small bunch of flowers in the refrigerator. Surprise pleasures delight the most. (And are the most likely to get you hauled off to the loony bin. I love fresh flowers in the house, but who the hell decorates the inside of the refrigerator?)

Put strawberries in a bowl and leave two, with stems on, on the table next to the bowl. Take a flowering sprig and place it off-center in the bowl. (And the next person who walks by is going to put those strawberries right back in the bowl where they belong and toss out that grubby bit of twig. That is, if the cat doesn't decide the berries are toys and knock them on the floor to be mashed into the linoleum.)

Serve tea from a porcelain teapot that has been hand-decorated in colors that are attractive with your cups and saucers. Keep it ready on a tray for spontaneous tea rituals. (A spontaneous tea ritual is when I open the cupboard, see the tea, and think, that would be nice. Then I stick a mug in the microwave.)

Make a ritual of buying or baking fresh bread and leave a whole loaf out in view, on a wooden cutting board. (Make a ritual of throwing away a lot of bread, since that should ensure that it becomes rock hard in about an hour.)

Use an old Welsh dresser, English baker's cabinet or French armoire in the kitchen to store dishes and silverware. (How BIG is this kitchen? And how much was that piece of furniture?)

Turn a plate of fresh fruit into a still life and place it in your bedroom to feast the eye and satisfy a late-night craving. (Then you can name every one of those cute little fruit flies and make them adorable outfits.)

I could go on, but it's fairly clear to me that I will never be living a beautiful life. I shall just have to muddle on as best I can, even if I'm not quite sure how I'll survive without decorating the inside of the refrigerator.

Love, Wendy

Thursday, April 2, 2009

About Restaurant Meals and Various Other Things

Before I go any further, let me announce that I have certain friends, one of whom is my daughter and the other of whom is so old a friend that she now counts as a sister, who are just too cute for words. Now I've got to keep the abortive "Asparagus and S" post (well, I hit the wrong button somehow and had to start over, but it ended up published anyway) because I love the comments...you dingbats.

I went out today and had one of my favorite meals. There is a joint on East 4th Street that I think has a name, although I haven't the remotest notion what it might be. The sign just says "BAR," which I feel is enough. I go there because it is next door to the La Mama theatre, where I did Three Sisters a couple of years back, which is when I discovered it has one of my favorite things to eat in the world, which is shrimp in a basket. (Hey, who eats escargot ALL the time?) It used to be that a whole lot of places did that - shrimp in a basket, chicken in a basket - but you can't find it in Manhattan anywhere these days, except at "BAR" (whatever its name is...this being the East Village, the name of the place might just be BAR, for all I know). There was one place on Macdougal just off 8th called the Shakespeare Pub which used to do it (and had the absolutely most wonderful tartar sauce I ever ate in my life), but they closed ages ago. So whenever I have a jones for fried shrimp and fries (and they really serve it in a basket!) I trot off to East 4th Street (positively). You may join me if you like next time I go.

This brings up the point I was going to make about restaurants. There are certain restaurants where I absolutely never order anything but one single menu item. Le Gamin (this year's birthday spot) is ALWAYS escargot and steak frites. Tout Va Bien is ALWAYS escargot and their magnificent filet mignon with the bordelaise sauce, unless they're doing sole amandine as a special. Cowgirl Hall of Fame is ALWAYS the pulled pork sandwich. I actually tried Cowgirl's chicken fried steak once and discovered something...I really HATE chicken fried steak.

There is a perfectly logical reason for this (well, logical to me, anyhow). I live in Manhattan. Within the five boroughs, I can find the food of something upwards of 75 countries - I think the NY Times actually counted up once. I can eat whatever the hell I choose. And with all of this sometimes overwhelming choice, I find it very comforting to know that there are certain places that will have exactly and precisely what I want to eat - particularly so given my odd eating problems.

Now if I go into a new restaurant, or a new one to me, I will most certainly poke around the menu and try a whole lot of new options. I flat out hate, hate, HATE people who go into a new place and go, "Well, I don't know...do you think they could do me a plain steak (broiled fish, egg white omelet...)"? Why are you having a restaurant experience at all? Go the hell home and cook a plain steak. When Sarah and I went to Dovetail when our friend Shai was working there, I saw it as a perfect opportunity to eat skate for the first time...of which I am now a mad devotee. Boy, is that good.

But when I get an urge for something, it is quite lovely to know exactly where to find it cooked exactly the way I want it and tasting precisely the way it should.

Update on the mad moving Joshua out front: Last night my pal Caesar came over and the guys moved out that awful khaki colored couch that I never wanted in the first place and a horrible bookshelf that Joshua and the lesbians found on the street and dragged home, along with more boxes. This, of course...the mere notion that A. I was actually doing something about clearing out the house for sale, and B. he would actually have to perform physical labor...caused a whole new range of symptoms for today. Now we have terrible dizziness. And he has taken to walking in the shuffle of a 90-year-old man (this, by the by, combined with his baggy sweatpants in the morning, is truly unappetizing). Today he went out to lunch with a friend of us (the fact that he HAS friends never ceases to amaze me) and came back afterward and put on a show for me. I was fascinated. He came bursting through the door and then suddenly bent over double and started shoving the door and gasping and moaning and swearing and carrying on all over the place. I couldn't figure out WHAT the hell his problem was (but then I usually can't anyway). It turns out that the door had caught on something behind it, and he couldn't get it closed.

I'm sorry, but NOBODY behaves this way when a door is a little stuck. This, incidentally, followed his morning performance, when he was about to eat breakfast and couldn't find something in the icebox. Again, swearing and grunting and carrying on and throwing a box of pizza I had in there into the sink...good heavens, no wonder he's exhausted all the time. If I indulged in this sort of behavior when I couldn't find something in the icebox, I'd be tired too.

Ah,well...not too much longer. I've organized his day for him tomorrow...all around packing. Aren't I sweet?

Love, Wendy