Yes, well, these things happen. In this case, what happened was a complete computer failure and my efforts to get it fixed...which swiftly turned into my efforts to pry enough money out of my trustee to get it REPLACED.
After I called Time Warner Cable, who are usually really good about helping me with my occasional tech issues, they told me they couldn't fix it, and I should call Compaq (this being a Compaq laptop). Compaq first of all attempted to sell me a $99 service contract, and then followed that up by telling me that the necessary repairs would be three or four hundred dollars. Somehow I felt that spending nearly five hundred bucks to repair an oldish computer was not the wisest economic decision...so for $750, I am beaming this to you from my nice new Dell laptop, which, for that $750, also includes proper Windows 10 (Word, Excel and Power Point...you never know, I might have to act like a secretary again one day), tech support, and they took everything off my old computer and put it on this one. Not a bad deal at all.
So, let's get everybody filled in on what I've been doing.
The first thing of any interest whatsoever was that I did a shoot that I found deeply creepy on the 8th of August. This is a movie called Imogene with Kristin Wiig, and the shoot took place in the Empire Casino at Yonkers Raceway.
You have to understand that A. the only casinos I've ever set foot in are in Europe, and it was back in the '60s with my father in places like Cannes, where one wore evening gowns and black ties. It was all very glittery and there were croupiers and dealers and roulette tables and whatnot. B. I am NOT a gambler. Well, okay, I'm an actor, which argues a streak of gambling in my soul, but it's gambling on myself (that I'll get cast), not on some horse I've never even met, for heaven's sake. Years ago some friends of mine and I used to go out to the racetrack, and I would take a $20 bill for a ten race card and put $2 on the favorite to show in every race. I invariably came home with my original 20 bucks and maybe a couple extra...as you can see, I'm not a gambler.
So we get to this casino, and I have never seen anything as completely creepy in my life. There were no people in it. I mean, no people that worked there, except for some young girls wandering around with trays of drinks. There were no tables, no dealers...all that was there was two floors of row upon row of computer screens. Even the roulette "tables" were comprised of computer screens, although they had big TV screens where you could see a wheel going around. However, the screens were strange too. Each screen featured a model type girl spinning the wheel, but they had only filmed her doing so once. So the loop plays endlessly until the girl begins to look like an animatronic figure...only, she's not exactly a top model, so she's somewhat less animated than a real robot would have been.
And into this bizarre scene come the gamblers. They are overwhelmingly elderly. Many of them have walkers or wheelchairs. And this seems to be their life. Personally, if I had a choice about how to spend my declining days (and come to think of it, I should probably make said choice, shouldn't I?), it would most CERTAINLY not be in a room full of computer screens. You'll see me hopping on my mobility scooter (which I have every intention of fitting out with a foxtail and a great big OOGA OOGA horn) and heading directly to my neighborhood bar. Personally, I think this seems a WAY healthier choice than staring at a computer screen all alone every day.
There was one thing that amused me...here and there around the sides of these huge computer filled rooms are windows with a big sign across them that says "Redemption." Well, of course they're for turning in your tickets and getting your cash, but I kept having this fantasy of gamblers coming up and throwing themselves in front of the windows and yelling, "I'll never gamble again! Please, Lord, redeem me!" Unfortunately, this didn't happen, but I thought it would be just great.
Then my favorite gals from Chicago came in for their annual trip and we had a nice meal together, and then finally I got to my much awaited first shoot for Gods Behaving Badly, where I'm recently dead.
This was another peculiar shoot, although MUCH more amusing than watching the almost dead play computer slot machines. We started out in midtown, at 34th Street in the PATH train, and spent a large part of the night (this was an overnight shoot...more money...yay!) going back and forth under New Jersey in our special three car PATH train. The best fun was watching the people who were actually waiting for real trains as we went by. We had to go slowly because of the camera equipment, of course, and the looks on people's faces were great. It's not every day you see a train car filled with people in their pajamas and bathrobes wearing ghastly gray-white makeup...some of them with IV bags hanging from the car rails, some of them heavily bandaged...calmly chugging by as you try to get home to Hoboken. We ended up at Christopher Street, which was also fun. All the assorted weird denizens of the night who hang out there were thrown by us too, as we wandered the block between holding at St. Ronnie's (St. Veronica's) and the PATH station where the food was. I must admit, however, that I was slightly annoyed at the end of the night (i.e., 7 am)...if I hadn't moved, damn it, I would have been exactly two blocks away from my house. Growl.
Then we finally, on August 30, did the promised reading of my one act play at Sarah's bar, which was attended by damn near nobody...because, of course, with no friggin' computer, how was I sipposed to let people know? However, those who were there enjoyed it immensely, and we're going to do it again and film it, so there.
As to the hurricane...meh. The earthquake was more interesting. The hurricane was pretty much a non-event by the time it got to Manhattan, although it did a lot of damage around us. We got a lot of heavy rain and a lot of strong wind on Sunday. I made sure I had beer, cigarettes and cat food, those being the necessities of my life, and hunkered down...and then nothing much happened. I spent a lot of the hurricane standing outside the building smoking under an umbrella. You do have to remember that I'm originally a Chicagoan...my take on wild weather and high wind tends to be a bit casual because I grew up with it.
The earthquake was interesting, though. I was sitting in the kitchen, and I have shelves on my kitchen table (because this apartment doesn't have anything resembling enough cupboard space). All of a sudden the glasses I have there started clinking. I promptly looked under the table, assuming the cats (who continue to be a furry joy, even if they do destroy things and knock things over) were screwing around and banging into the table legs. They weren't, however, so I straightened up in my chair again and just then...the kitchen floor shifted. It took me a minute, but I suddenly realized that it had to be an earthquake (well, I didn't have a hangover and I hadn't been smoking anything more interesting than Marlboros, and I didn't have any new meds from the doctor, so...). I jumped up and went to stand in the kitchen doorway and braced myself there (yes, you really are supposed to do that), but it stopped. The reason for the doorway thing is that if you look at pictures of various bits of destruction, you will see that for some reason, possibly having to do with angles, doorframes seem to stay stable. In my building, which is made of a lot of thick stone, I wasn't particularly worried about collapse, but common sense will tell you that you don't want to be in an elevator, and you don't want to be on the stairs, which can (and do...look at those photos again) pull away from the wall. But it was certainly interesting!
Okay, now that everyone is sound asleep from the length of this missive, I am going to take a shower and go see Sarah at the bar, and I absolutely promise not to disappear for so long again! But it wasn't really my fault...blame Compaq.