Sunday, December 26, 2010

Just a Simple Day At Church

I held the door for the older people as they walked in, my brother introduced me to the pastor, I walked around and looked at the pictures and signs around the hallways, and sat in the pew with my niece and patiently waited for the message of the day to blanket me. There were about 40 people in the old church the day after Christmas and the mood was very relaxed. The children that were there played with one or two toys that Santa had left them the day earlier and their parents sat with the most extreme focus to keep their heads up after the conclusion of the holidays had come to a close. What a nice, serene atmosphere to sit with my brother and just take in what was offered to the congregation. I hadn't been to church in awhile and it seems whenever I do go, something ridiculous happens to make me that challenges me to rethink my practice of my faith. With a day that seemed so uneventful, today turned out to be no different.
The pastor spoke very informally to the congregation and she informed them that she would be traveling to Virginia for her nephews wedding. She then said this: "He's 31, and we've been saying to him for awhile that 'it's about time!' I mean, come on, he's in his 30's. why has he waited so long?" My brother, sister in law, and I made our typical Nettle eye contact and resisted laughing and already were calculating dozens of jokes that their 34 year old brother sat here in sin cause he's in his mid thirties with no marriage future. I let the embarrassment subside and had all the imaginary conversations with the pastor in my head. Was she making a point? Was I living in sin cause I'm single? Did she think it is unheard of to go into your 30's and not be married in the arms of God? If I was to mention to her of my status, would she be embarrassed or roll her eyes at me?
Well, my answer came at her next announcement about 10 minutes later when she was taking verbal prayers from people to keep in mind. People raised their hands and brought up the struggling family members, troops, and disease that had appeared recently. Then there were some joyful prayers about new babies, reunions, and recovery from surgeries. Then the pastor was reminded that one of the ladies in the choir just received news that her son got engaged at Christmas. The announcement went like this, no lie: "She is so happy because her son announced his engagement to a wonderful girl that he's been dating. Luckily, he hasn't turned 30 yet." What?!??!? The asshole in me leaned over to my brother and asked him to stand up and ask for everyone to pray for his brother because he's 34 and is single. I was worried the pastor would clutch her heart and scream "The horror! Let's call for an exorcism!". I wanted to tell her that Jesus died at 32 because he realized he couldn't get married and it seemed like the only logical decision.
Keep us ridiculous sinners in your prayers, folks.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas

My head has been spinning all night. A good friend of mine is in the hospital and has had countless tests done. They don't know what it is yet. I want to write a million things but I surrender to the universe. It's Christmas. Again, I repeat: Find out those things that are important to you and hold on to them, nurture them, love them, experience them, look at them, speak to them, trust them, treat them better than you would yourself, thank them, bond with them, cherish them, and grow with them. I mean this for people, things, and parts of your being. It's been a tough Christmas season and as I wrote in my last blog, a tough year. I think I'm just going through a tough bout of getting older. I forgot to write a letter to Santa this year, so I guess it's not too late.




Dear Santa,
All I want for Christmas this year is for all those close to me (and those who aren't) to not stop smiling for the whole next year. However you're able to do that, I would really appreciate it. I think the world would appreciate it. Give the gifts of jobs, babies, health, trusting relationships, healthy relationships, family bonding, financial security, homecoming soldiers, safety, and knowledge to all those who wish for it and maybe need it. You're Santa. I know you can do it. You were able to get me all of the WWF wrestlers, GI Joe's, and Transformers when I was growing up and my stocking was always filled with candy. What's a little world peace and happiness to throw in a bag or two? Tell your wife hi for me. I bet she's still smoking hot in your eyes and I hope she gives your chestnuts a little snuggle when you get done tonight. Give those elves a break. Their union leaders have been draining you and it's not their fault. I hope you enjoy all of your cookies at each house. I noticed you were putting on a few at the mall, so when January comes, most gyms have membership discounts and I'd love to work with you on thinking of a whole body regiment.
I am very envious of you that you are able to make so many children happy all in one day. It's something I hope to accomplish one day without having to live in such a frozen tundra and cleaning up reindeer poop. But you're pretty powerful, I bet you have someone to do that for you. It's 1:11 am and you're probably making your way to the east coast now. A lot of kids are trying to stay awake to meet you, but you're a sly one. You always know how to show up the moment they fall asleep. But as I said earlier on in the letter. If you could keep the adults on your list in mind as you stop by each home, I think we'd really appreciate it. It's fun to open presents one day a year, but much more beneficial if you can supply some people with the gift that keeps on giving. Like the jelly of the month club, but different.
Oh, and since I'll be in Ohio this year, you don't have to stop at my apartment in Florida. Buuuuut, if you want to stop by the guys who live above me and give them softer feet, slippers, and a padded rug, I don't think anyone would look down on you.
Thank you for making each year magical and bringing such joy to people. I'll see you next year, hopefully a few pounds thinner.

Love,
Jason Nettle

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

2010

As the holidays have come, will soon be gone and the time for reflection will envelope all of us, I know that every experience makes me stronger. I have learned from my mistakes, I will not continue to do the same thing over and over again expecting different results, I have grown to challenge myself and let go of any security that has held me back for all these years, and I have mourned for most of the year and death has come to affect me and my family sporadically through the year. With that said, and with all due respect: Go fuck yourself 2010.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Dec 20th

New Blog.
www.jasonnettle.blogspot.com

I will be keeping up with both of these, more with the other, as explained in the first entry, but this will be packed with entertainment too.
Add to this my thesis paper, my voice journals, my movement journals and I'm going to be the greatest writer ever in 3 years.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Semester Reflection


It's Dec 13th, the evening has draped itself on me, the Florida winter has taken a turn and sent a message to the citizens and bit them with a 40 degree day, I just finished filming a movie today, the apartment is waiting for the new semester to start, the other grads are with their families across the country, I'm listening to Paul McCartney's live concert on Sirius, my bags are packed, the fridge is empty, and all through my head repeats a phrase over and over again. "What the fuck just happened these past 4 months".
To quote my favorite movie line... "Well, that happened". I walked on this campus on Aug 19th with a broken heart, anxiety, strength, confidence, confusion, pessimism, optimism, regret, power, experience, a clear head, a broken head, and my peripheral vision waiting to take on anything. And after becoming a pedophile, a duke of Ilyria, a cheating husband, a cuckold, a husband at wits end, a retarded brother, an uptight brother, a prejudiced worker, a neurotic scientist, a king, a kabuki fighter, and a raping soldier, I realize I'm 25% done with my training here at UCF.
I learned how to breathe. I learned to stand up straight and not sit in my lower back. I learned that an entire character can be found in the vowels and consonants of their lines. I found out that I know way too much about theater. I learned I don't know jack shit about theater. I learned how to write again. I learned how to go to school again. I learned how to use the internet. I learned how to talk to 20 yr olds. I learned how to make a new batch of friends. I learned that people can't drive in any city. I learned that everything in life can be found in your breath, which is why we die when the last one fades out. I learned that my family is the rock of my life. I learned that life is fragile. I learned that even though I'm 34, I care about pleasing others. I learned I don't give a fuck what other people think of me. I learned that I can't do basic procedures on a computer. I learned that most kids here can start WW3 with their laptops. I learned the difference between Word and Text Edit. I Learned How To Drive.
We do an end of semester review and what was told to me came as no surprise but it is the thing that keeps me just behind the brilliance line. I'm a wonderful thinker. I can analyze. I can figure out how to get out of a problem. That doesn't help me on stage, though. I am able to always keep an arm's distance from drama and really feeling something. It's something I learned after 9/11, the deaths of family members, being a New Yorker, a bartender, cancer scares, near fatal accidents, being an optimist, depression, anxiety attacks, bad breakups, and did I mention being a New Yorker? Because of these events in my short life (and I don't even think I've been through as much as others), I've learned how to survive. I'm happy just to wake up some days, have air in my lungs, a smile on my face, enough money to make it through the day, the capacity to love, trying a career that doesn't make sense but can make the world better, air in my tires, food in my stomach, and friends to laugh with. It's sad that that's not enough to make art. True art comes from an internal struggle to need to share. A passion for communicating. It's not safe. It's scary. It's a view of the world that others haven't thought of. It's not always fun. It's tearing out your soul and heart and putting it on a table for others to praise or smash.
Do you only want praise? Yes? I feel sorry for you. Do you have a need to be the best you can be and create even if that means never having a dime, a lover, stability, a schedule, or an identity? Yes? You're almost there.
Deconstruction. That's what I'm getting at. I have spent the last 4 months deconstructing everything I've done in the past, made into a habit, believed in, practiced, and taught. In order to construct we need to deconstruct. What is getting in my way of being the best I can be? What gets in my way of showing true emotion? What makes me get defensive? Sarcastic? Angry, happy, or sad? Tighten up? Move certain limbs? Tense certain areas? Purse my lips? resist certain emotions? Not correctly channel what I want to communicate? It's a lot. I've been in my head for a long time and letting go scares the shit out of me. I think I'm a pretty good actor now, but if I'm able to let go, becoming an empty vessel to communicate art, let go of my critical side which judges me and puts myself down, I could surpass everything I ever thought I could be.
I need to learn how to love again. It's a foreign concept to me. It doesn't make sense. I have trouble believing it exists in my circle. Just as the perfect woman can be a muse for an artist, my void of love has been my muse for this section of my life and writing. "This too shall pass". I know. I'm getting there. But I've learned a lot about myself and life through this struggle and am going to use every thought, emotion, and tear to make myself a better person, actor, and future spouse.
Some of my favorite mental images of my first semester:
Coming together the first time as an MFA class, holding hands, and making a circle and making the realization of ....... "oh my god".
Wearing shorts on Thanksgiving.
Raping Trevin in Blasted!
Chic Fil A opening up
Everyone doing homework poolside
The 8 of us piling in my car in the morning
Opening night of How I Learned to Drive

Here was a free thinking rambling of my first semester. I can't imagine where I will be in 3 more semesters. I head home tomorrow. I'll sit on the couch with my niece and watch cartoons. I'll hug my mom and dad for an extended amount of time. I will make each day count. I'm just trying to change the world, one day at a time.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Geez

So I have a story from what happened to me this summer that has left people stunned, speechless, shocked, in awe, sorry, suspicious, and laughing. I've told a couple people the story because it makes up who I am right now. My closest friends down here know the story. Of course the story is so astonishing, that people had to tell other people, starting with the line "You won't believe what happened to a guy I know" or "you won't believe what happened to a guy that one of my friend knows". It's a little diddy about a ship, an ocean, and heart break.
I'm not going to tell the story because I have respect for myself, the person involved, and the future of humanity. BBBUUUUUTTTTTT.............................. this evening I got a phone call from someone that informed me that they heard some one down the chain of knowing this story call a radio show here in Orlando with it to try to win a contest for worst story ever or something like that!! Are you fucking kidding me?!?!? People are pretending to have lived my story so they can win money?!?? People are profiting off of my misery? Is the story that ridiculous? Yes. My goal in life is to make other people happy but I don't want to have to go through what I did so someone can win a radio contest! I'm sure it wasn't even right. I think that's what bothers me the most. It's the copyright shit.
This story has become a part of me. A part of my past. I'm moving on from it, and I'm writing a hell of a script right now about it but I'm not sure if it's comedy, science fiction, romance, or fiction. Nope. It's non-fiction. He probably didn't win the contest because they thought it was too far fetched. Nope! Call the guy it happened to! I'll back everything up.

Be good to each other.
Cherish the happiness you have found.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanks

What do I give Thanks for after the year I've had?
1) My family
2) Unconditional Love
3) My family
4) Cherry Coke
5) My family
6) Forgiveness
7) My Mom
8) Perspective
9) My dad
10) Intelligence
11) My brother
12) My health
13) My true friends
14) Anti depressant medication
15) Shoulders
16) Hugs
17) Memories
18) Inside jokes
19) Art
20) Being excited about at least one thing every day
21) My family
22) I'm no longer the person I was years ago
23) Experiences
24) That everyday I try to become a better person. A smarter person. A more loving person. A better friend. A better son. A better uncle. A better artist. A stronger human. A survivor. A teacher. A student. A writer. A philosopher. A creator. And I've been able to make the world a better place since the time I woke up until I went to bed. I try to make sense out of the world and the chaos and maybe, just maybe, everyone in it is a little bit more at peace and caring for one another by the end.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Happiness

Pure Happiness is calling your parents, getting on the phone with your 5 year old niece and having a 20 minute conversation with her about life, Christmas, Disney, movies, food, vacations, when Uncle Jason is coming to visit, Broadway Musicals, wish lists, and a whole bunch of stuff you didn't understand. Oh, and it's always fun to be corrected by her too.
I love my niece so much.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

100 truths about me.
Was Your:
1. Last beverage: Yellow Snow
2. Last phone call: Sex Call Hotline- Only cost me $34.95
3. Last boyfriend/girlfriend: Gavin/Sex Call Hotline Girl
4. Last song you listened to: Theme song to All in the Family
5. Last time you cried: When I got my taint waxed
Have You Ever :
6. Dated someone twice: In a row?
7. Been cheated on: Im the definition
8. Kissed someone & regretted it: Yeah, I think they regretted it.
9. Lost someone special: I lost my mom at the store when I was a kid and I was almost adopted by another family
10. Been depressed: I keep the anti depressant companies in business
11. Been drunk and threw up: Every time, thats why I stopped
LIST 3 FAVORITE COLORS:
12. Scarlet and Gray
13. Not Maize and Blue
14. Not Maize and Blue
THIS YEAR HAVE YOU:
15. Made a new friend: 7 MFA's
16. Fallen out of love: Fallen overboard
17. Laughed until you cried: No, but I laughed till I peed myself
18. Met someone who changed you: That would be odd, I don't even wear diapers
19. Found out who your true friends were: If they tell me they are, I just believe them.
20. Found out someone was talking about you: I just assume they are
21. Kissed anyone on your friend's list: I want to kiss all 1300 of them
22. How many people on your friends list do you know in real life: Half, I know the other half in fake life.
23. How many kids do you want: How many are you giving me?
24. Do you have any pets: My dad
25. Do you want to change your name: to Brad Pitt
26. What did you do for your last birthday: I remember using the bathroom
27. What time did you wake up today: 2:15 am, 3:47 am, 4:23 am, 5:05 am, 5:45 am
28. What were you doing at midnight last night: What's it to you?
29. Name something you CANNOT wait for: to win the Super Bowl
30. Last time you saw your mother: In July, way too long ago
31. What is one thing you wish you could change about your life: I wish I could fly
32. What are you listening to right now: The Biggest Loser weight scale counter
33. Have you ever talked to a person named Tom: according to this questionnaire, I've kissed him too
34. Who's getting on your nerves right now: Kim Jong-Il
35. Most visited webpage: www.fuckingyououtofexistencethruforwardfacialposture.net
36. Whats your real name: Maximillian
37. Nicknames: Ron Jeremy
38. Relationship Status: Fuck you
39. Zodiac sign: The fishy one
40. Male or female: I'm not sure what you're asking
41. Primary School: Hilliard Elementary Wildcats!!!!
42. Secondary School: Hilliard Middle School Wildcats!!!!
43. High school/college: Hilliard High School Wildcats!!!!/Otterbein College Wildcats!!!!/University of Central Florida Wildcat Knights!!!
44. Hair color: Turning gray
45. Long or Short: very short when I play a concentration camp victim in my next movie shooting next month (true)
46. Height: short
47. Do you have a crush on someone: Reese Witherspoon
48: What do you like most about yourself: That I would be able to have sex with Reese Witherspoon if given the opportunity
49. Piercings: Prince Albert
50. Tattoos: "I love Hilliard Middle School Wildcats!" as a lower back tramp stamp
51. Righty or lefty: If you use your left hand, it feels like someone else is doing it
FIRSTS :
52. First surgery: Breast Implants
53. First piercing: Hawkeye Pierce
54. First best friend (s): I'm not allowed to name them because my mom said they didn't exist
55. First sport you joined: Water
56. First vacation: Bunny ranch
57. First Girlfriend / Boyfriend: Not allowed to name them because my mom says they didn't exist
58. First pair of trainers: Ed and Morgan at New York Sports Club
RIGHT NOW:
59. Eating: my words
60. Drinking:
61. I'm about to: Answer number 62
62.Listening to: YOU ALREADY ASKED ME THIS!!
63. Waiting for: Godot
YOUR FUTURE :
64. Want kids: To work in sweatshops? Yes.
65. Get married: I'm just the dating/cheating on type
66. Career: Bossa Nova Dancer
WHICH IS BETTER :
67. Lips or eyes: Eyes taste a lot better
68. Hugs or kisses: From my dad..........kisses
69. Shorter or taller: I prefer shorter midgets than taller ones. then they just become children
70. Older or Younger: The whole Benjamin Button dilemma causes me confusion
71. Romantic or spontaneous: What are glory holes considered?
72. Nice stomach or nice arms: I love a good set of arms on a good looking clown
73. Sensitive or loud: I think Mr. Sensitive Hugh Grant can be very loud
74. Hook-up or relationship: I like watching people hook up. Through open windows. While I stand on the street.
HAVE YOU EVER :
76. Kissed a stranger: Yeah, but the girl on the subway was NOT happy
77. Drank hard liquor: yeah, most likely threw up
78. Lost glasses/contacts: yes/ and yes, i lost all the contacts on my phone once
79. Sex on first date: If the date drugs go in effect in time
80. Broken someone's heart: Try to make it a daily habit
81. Been lied to by someone you trusted: Damn politicians
82. Been arrested: Yes, but not convicted
83. Turned someone down:
84. Cried when someone died: Optimus Prime in the first Transformers cartoon movie
85. Fallen for a friend: Yes, but what else would a trust fall be good for?
DO YOU BELIEVE IN:
86. Yourself: I'm here aren't I?
87. Miracles: Al Michaels asked me that question once.
88.Love at first sight: mmmm....Jenny McCarthy
89. Heaven: I don't know....But do you believe in laughter????
90. Santa Claus: I will kill anyone who says no
91. Kiss on the first date: I use really good date drugs in drinks
ANSWER TRUTHFULLY:
94. Had more than 1 girlfriend/boyfriend at a time?: you mean....like....in bed?
95. Did you sing today: I don't know, did you?
96. Ever cheated on somebody: I once used an expired coupon
97. If you could go back in time, how far would you go: 1 billion years
98. The moment you would choose to relive: Michael Jackson catching his hair on fire. Hysterical!
99. Are you afraid of falling in love: no, I'm getting really good on the other end now.
100. Are you afraid of posting this as 100 truths: what else would I post it as?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Kharma

My friend asked me a question tonight, which she usually prefaces with "I don't mean for this to hurt your feelings, BUT........" which I always love because it means I get to put my life in perspective. The question was "You have obviously gone through a lot of painful breakups, heartache, and disappointments. What do you think you benefit from those? What have you taken away from them?"
I don't know.
Isn't that why I'm an artist, though? If I knew the answers to everything, I'd be pretty boring.
The best answer I have is kharma. I believe in it. I think it's true. I think it pushes me around and I think it pushes me through. Is it wrong to believe I deserve everything I get (focusing on the bad)? Who am I to say how much bad kharma I have coming my way? Or how much good? I wish I could say that I have lived my life squeaky clean but I'm far from it. I think 90% of my life has been intended for good; to love, to secure, to admire, to teach, to praise, to counsel, to laugh, to honor, to trust. That other 10%, though......damn. The scary part is that I might have only cashed in 3% of it so far. I might have the other 7% still coming to me!! I believe in punishment for criminals. So, when I make a bad decision in life, I usually feel I should have the book thrown at me.
The other answer I have is maybe this is the life I'm supposed to lead. The other bit of advice I get is "everything happens for a reason". BUT, we instantly think that reason is supposed to be positive. Why do we do that? I'm not saying that the reason won't be positive, but why do we shun the idea that it was supposed to happen because it makes us sad and angry? That's sort of a negative way to look at it...but fuck it....I'm an artist and my job is to look at the world through a different lens. If God or whatever higher being has a plan for us, why does that necessarily mean it has to be the life we always dreamed of? I don't think it does. Then I even go more meta and think the reason all of this stuff has happened to me in my life and what I have benefited from it is that I look at life from this different angle and maybe write a song, play, movie, or TV show that makes me millions of dollars! Art evolves from poverty. It rises from emotions and physicalities that aren't recognized on a daily basis.
Can you be a true actor if you haven't experienced losing a loved one, be it death or break up? Can you be a true actor if you've never felt what it's like to be in love? Can you be a true actor if you've never felt what the deepest of depression feels like? Can you be a true actor if you haven't loved the strongest and hated the worst? I don't know. There are some kid actors who blow me away. (There are adult actors who should never step on stage).
My answer to my friend is "I don't know". If it's for the artist in me, they might be the greatest things I've ever experienced. If it's for the family man in me, they're pretty disappointing. If they're for the teacher in me, thank God that I have the experience to draw from.
For every one disappointment I've experienced, there are 50 accomplishments, gifts, and successes I cherish. I don't think only negative things make a good artist, you have to have the the highest of highs too. Overall, I think I'm an extremely positive person. I'm always giving people the benefit of the doubt and reasoning out the negative in situations so everyone can get along. I think that is what has led me to make disappointing decisions in my life. But I learn from them. I suffer for them. I value them. I regret them. I try not to regret them. I try to find explanation for them. Some of my specific experiences might not explain themselves for another 40 years. As long as I get through each day without hurting someone or hurting myself, I think things will work out just fine. Does that mean growing old, never getting married, having kids, or having my dream job? Maybe. Maybe that's just what's "supposed to happen". I don't know who to go to for that checklist.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Venting

Are you just angry at the world because you think it's out to get you? Well, tough. Suck it up and move on. Lately, I'm finding myself angry at people who are angry. 9 times out of 10, the things that people are angry about doesn't amount for shit. I want them to go through their day and list everything that made them angry that day and they get to keep 3 of the items. The other 60 items I want them to crumple up in a ball and shove it up their a-hole. Now that's me being angry!!
Being angry is a creation you make because you feel like you've lost. Now this can range from something very minimal to drastic. The problem we find ourselves in is that we give the same amount of anger to the small shit as we do the big stuff. Here's what I get mad at: 1) People who can't use their turn signals. Nothing that's going to end the world, but I feel like I deserve the respect to be told where you're going so I don't kill myself or others. 2) People who don't respect their personal space and the personal space of others around them. I feel like I deserve some place in my planet where I don't have to hear anyone, listen to their cell phone conversations, be yelled at by drunken fools, or run into because someone is clumsy. 3) Angry people. Did you just lose your job? BE angry. Do you feel that no matter what you do, things don't fall in place for you? Be sort of angry. Do you feel that things should just be handed to you and you shouldn't have to work hard at getting them? Go fuck yourself.
What's wrong with my list? None of that matters in the larger scale of life!!!
Life is hard. If you don't believe that, write a book and I'll buy it and you can explain to me how it's not. Life doesn't owe you jack shit. If you think otherwise, again, write a book. Life isn't fair. Nope. Not one person I know has had all their expectations filled every single day. But guess what?????? We have choices! If you don't like something, suck it up, change it, or get out of the situation. You know what we do? We pout and bitch about it. NOW TELL ME ONE DAMN THING DOING THAT HELPS IN ANYWAY!!!!! I'm so tired of living in a society where more people stand on the sidelines and tell people how the game should be played instead of getting in the game and changing their outcome. THEIR outcome. Everyone is so worried about everyone else, and that person can think if they have everyone else thinking like they do, life will be better. Too bad suckers. Doesn't work that way.
Then there are people who just like to bitch about everything which fires me up even more because what are we supposed to do with that information? How can me knowing everything that frustrates you about a certain situation, move us forward if you don't intend to do anything but hope it gets magically fixed? Then that person walks around or drives around full of anger and that only has one outcome, its going to negatively affect someone else. Anger and pessimism are a poison. It's like the flu for happiness. A negative person is only happy if everyone else around them is sad and empathizes with the negativity. In truth, no one cares if someone is angry and tries to stay away from it, but it just sucks them in because that's what the catalyst wants.
This is how it relates to acting: When you get angry on stage, you've lost. You resort to screaming and ignoring people and make the decision to let your scene partner move the scene forward because you're not going to achieve anything just standing there and screaming. How in the hell can I not relate that to life? How can you move your life forward if you're angry? What can you change in someone else by bitching about stuff all the time and fuming? No one wants to listen to a mean person. Mean people suck. I've read that slogan!
We wake up everyday with the potential to achieve something. We are the only ones standing in the way. Lots of people will make you a list of every single person, event, and food that prohibits them from reaching their highest potential. Fuck you and your list. THE ONLY THING THAT STANDS IN THE WAY OF BEING HAPPY IS YOU. There a trillion choices you can make every single day that will make the day worth it, but we let 2 or 3 ridiculous things bring us down and let it ruin the rest of our day. That is our own choice, no one else. That is why I'm letting you have those 2 or 3 things that can make you angry. Anger is a genuine feeling. We can get very angry at things. But what if you die tomorrow? Do you really want the last day on earth being spent bitching about something that you had no control over anyway? That isn't the end of the world? That if you make another choice you could have avoided? That you assume you gave everything you had, but really you gave 30%? That instead of pouting for 30 minutes, you could have done something active for those 30 minutes that would have erased those feelings?
What I'm laughing about now is that I wonder how many people read this and the first thing they say is "Is he specifically talking about me?" Well, I'm talking about everyone. If you think it's about you, it's probably a suggestion of yourself made by yourself that could be looked into. I see it mostly at stores, restaurants, and on the road. We let stupid people ruin our days. Of course I have hundreds of friends in theater who bitch daily about the business and this show and that show and that director and that actor and this costume....really? I do it too, but instead of sitting around pouting, I'm doing something about it. I'm writing. Trying to educate. Trying to hold a mirror up to someone. Trying to maybe give someone the knowledge to not let something silly ruin their entire day because grand things can be accomplished when you strive for excellence. Grand things can not be accomplished when you put everyone down.
All of these thoughts stem from a call I placed yesterday to the cable company yesterday. The guy was from NY and we were putting things in place and just chatting about the city and teams and everything else while he was typing. He mentioned that he liked calls from me because he usually just deals with people yelling and threatening him. As an actor, I instantly wondered what the customer's tactic was. How do you get what you want by making someone feel worthless? The smaller they can make the other person feel, the more powerful they can feel themselves. That's just basic psychology. You have personality issues if you need to feel more powerful than someone. If that's what you need to do, you need to deal with those bigger issues and not the man who's putting cable in your apartment.
Eat, drink, and be merry. For tomorrow we die.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Black Sheep


There's one in every family. Possibly two or three. They're the kids who grow up with their eyes not looking at what's in front of them, but wondering what's around the corner. That mysterious wonder is not out of fear, but out of excitement. What's the point in exploring what's right in front of you? That's easy. It's already here.... but what about the potential of what's out there?
I feel that my entire family is a black sheep within society. Never really fitting in to the conformity of society. Always acting up in public with the general public cocking their heads to one side and wondering how we were able to tie our shoes in the morning. Well guess what world??? My dad wears velcro shoes, so HA! The black sheep are always given a little bit more leeway when it comes to projects in the family because they're a bit "special". Not mentally, but the entire soul.
I realized I was the black sheep when I decided I wanted to move to NY when I was, oh let's say 15. Why? I have no clue. I just knew I wanted to be at the place where it seemed exciting to just wake up. To get out of bed every day and go do a Broadway show and hang out with David Letterman and Larry "Bud" Melman. Although, there was a flip side that I didn't put together yet. By moving to NY, becoming an artist, and living my life from one week to the next, I was giving up the thing that I would become extremely jealous of in my friends: security. It's no secret. Everywhere in the country, most kids graduate high school, go to the college that's pretty close to home, and get married before they're 30 to someone in the area and now they have a home, kids, and 2 sets of grandparents to babysit pretty regularly. The last statement that I just made seems about as foreign to me as Obama's health care package. It might never seem it, but I wish I had fallen in that pattern. Working in Columbus, hanging out with my childhood friends, seeing my parents regularly, and starting a Buckeye family. Sadly, none of those things will ever be true for me.
I would argue that I did not choose the life I lead, but it chose me. Who in their right mind would decide to become an artist with all of the other jobs there are in the world? This week consists of me going to rehearsal 3 times and learning the Shakespeare text to Twelfth Night and performing an all male reading of the show with the women parts in dresses. I've really decided to change the world here! But I don't know what else to do with this life I was given. I was put here to change people. To help people. To teach people. To experience so much every day that my brain wants to explode and deliver that knowledge to others. If this reading helps someone in their own life, then I have done my job. That is why I'm a child of the world. It is very seldom that someone in today's society can say, "I have absolutely no idea where I'll be in 2 years." I think that every day. I honestly have absolutely no freakin clue where I will physically be in 2 years. I could be in Wyoming, California, Ohio, Florida, NYC, or Africa. This is where the shitty part comes in: I'm not too worried about it. Baa Baa Black Sheep.
Black sheep live day to day. Our first marriage usually comes after others' 2nd divorces. We have more jobs in a decade than most people have in a lifetime. We are able to pack up an apartment in a weekend and know the best ways to get from place to place. We are loved by our families and we love our families more than anything, but we feel we aren't able to express it in the same way as our siblings who are geographically closer.
Lots of good points to it though. We live in the moment. We never know what the next day will bring. We meet hundreds of people a year and some remain friends and some fade. We love facebook because we can keep in contact with the people we feel we left behind or left us behind. We see the world. Sometimes we have that feeling of a child when the box the gift came in at Christmas is good enough to keep our interests heightened.
On the other hand, black sheep feel left out. We're always the last ones called in a family emergency. We always hear the "we didn't want to tell you because you would just worry and there's nothing you can do there." We miss weddings. We miss birthdays. We miss funerals. We miss watching our nieces and nephews get bigger and listen as their vocabulary stuns adults. We miss having a big home. We're not always understood. We usually offend people. We never think anything is ever "enough".
There's a balance. What we love about other people, they hate, and vice versa. In a perfect world, I wish I could transport home when I wanted to but keep leading the exploration life I love so much.
Hi. My name is Jason. And I am a black sheep.

Monday, November 8, 2010

My Aunt Sally


I lost someone unexpectedly this week who was almost as close to me as my own mother. My brother and I called her Aunt Sally, my mom practically called her a sister, and my dad... well, he has a lot of names for people which I can't print but he loved her just as much. The Abbotts are our family away from home. Since the 4 kids were in elementary school, my mom and Sally drove us everywhere, watched our baseball games, basketball games, took us to the movies, and everything else children do. Although, the biggest thing that Sally did for me along with the other 3 adults, was teach us how to laugh....specifically at ourselves. Our two families are weird. We've had more eyes rolled away from us than presidents with low approval ratings. We're loud. We laugh. We don't take life seriously. We make fun of people better than comedians doing a roast. When we sat and tossed back inside jokes that we had, the restaurants usually were closing and reopening before we were done. That is why I want to write this. I'm not able to go to the ceremony tomorrow. I know only a few of you who read this know who my Aunt Sally is, the others are extremely unfortunate for never being able to meet her.
Max and Ermas. I was about 7 yrs old and they used to have the old fashioned phones at each table. The style that you put one end up to your ear and hold the piece that you talk into. You could call other tables and it was a nice gimmick the restaurant had. Well, Sally told me to go to another table and she would call me. The phone rang and I picked the receiver up. My little brain was too fragile to understand what was going on so I held both pieces up to both ears and screamed, "HELLO?" Sally fell out of her chair laughing so hard and the beginning of the inside jokes began.
WWF. I was the biggest WWF wrestling fan in the 80's. I knew everyone, every match, every feud, and every title holder. It was Wrestlemania 3 and I couldn't even sit down. It was on pay per view and my parents were paying for it so I decided to collect money for them. Again, I was about 10. So I set up a folding table in the living room and when Sally showed up, I asked her for admission charges. She ended up paying, but 25 years later, she still would give me hell about that and say "I can't believe you charged me and I drove your little ass all over this city for years!"
She was a nurse. I was spending the night at their house when I was about 10 or so, and her sons, Andy, Tom, and I were playing war ball in Tom's room. I looked up, Tom threw one at me, it hit the wall behind me, I looked up, and the shelf came crashing down right above my eye. I was bleeding all over the place and Sally bandaged me up and called my parents. As I was leaving to go to the emergency room, I turned back to her and with a big pouty face I cried, "Can I come back?" She laughed so hard and still would use that phrase until this year.
Hair. I had to grow my hair out ridiculously long my senior year in college and she hated it. Absolutely hated my hair. So when I got it all cut off, I boxed it up and gave it to her for Christmas. That was 12 years ago. That box of hair has been re-gifted about 10 times since then. We tried to put it in different sized boxes to try to fool the other when they opened it.
Cookie Dough. Sally used to get so pissed at all of us boys because all we wanted for Christmas every year was a roll of cookie dough so we could eat it while we watched football. She would just hand out the log of delicious dough and we would gnaw on it like a dog and his bone. (Last night, I bought my first roll of cookie dough in ten years and helped myself)
Embarrassment. She would continuously tell me not to do stuff to embarrass her and usually that just told me to do it. I always was doing one man shows in Hilliard to raise money for the drama department and she begged me never to bring her on stage. Well, I did. My barbershop quartet was doing a medley and I brought her up so we could serenade her. I heard her whisper "I'm going to kill you" as we walked on the stage. So the next year, I promised I wouldn't bring her on stage, but instead I put up a HUMONGOUS picture of the two of us on the screen on stage and proceeded to sing to her in the audience. If looks and smiles could kill, I wouldn't have been able to walk out of that auditorium.
This is only about 4% of the stories I have about her. She came to all of my shows. She was my biggest fan. She threatened to kill my ex girlfriends if she ever saw them (which was actually the last thing she ever promised me before her passing). She checked in on me in NY. She was a wonderful parent and grandparent. She was respected by everyone in the school system, and if they didn't respect her, she didn't care because there must have been something wrong with them. We would make fun of absolutely anything we could find on a person that always reminded us that life was too short not to laugh.
She was my mom's best friend. That's what hurts me the most. Those two were a pair that no other two could match. They worked together, had I Love Lucy moments together, went to the theater together, gossiped together, raised their boys together, loved each others granddaughters, made fun of each other, made fun of each others husbands, and travelled together. Oh my God, did they travel together. The 4 of them just finished traveling down Route 66 together this fall. Previously, they went to Civil War fields, Washington DC, the West, Panama Canal, and Alaska. And each of those trips only made for 600 more inside jokes that we would listen to like kids at Christmas when we came home to visit. My mom told me that their motto every time they left would be "At least we're traveling now, cause we could be dead tomorrow". Wow.
I realize as I get older I'm going to lose more and more people in my life. It's just a fact of life. We can't fight it. I just wish she wasn't taken so soon. She will be sorely missed and thought about every day until we join her wherever she is now. Even though our time on this earth is short, when we get to spend eternity together as the family we worked so hard to become, we're going to annoy everyone in heaven just as much. I love you Aunt Sal. Thank you for every laugh you have ever produced out of me.


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Written in 2007- Why I don't drink

I'm Ready to Talk About It
I'm Ready to Talk About It
By: Jason Nettle
6/27/07


" So... Why don't you drink", the person asks.
" Just Because", I respond.
" Did you used to drink?", as they grow more suspicious.
" "Yeah."
" Did you used to have a problem?" , putting a lot of emphasis on the word 'problem' as if they've figured it out and wondered the last time I went to AA.
" No."
" Oh."

I don't drink. I drank for two periods of my life. My sophomore and junior year at college and from 2000-2001. That's it. Both of those periods are split up into two years. The first year was fun and in a drunken state and the second year was bad and lost in a deep depression. The first year would be spent drinking with friends and getting drunk and doing crazy things and then I would have that one night where I would drink and wake up in the morning and throw up 5-6 times and not be able to eat for 3 days and get depressed enough to quit life. Everything I write now puts all the emphasis on the last 20 words of the previous sentence. There is nothing in the world that could make me happy enough to choose the consequences of my drinking for.
It's not a hangover. It's more of a panic attack. When I had a panic attack when alcohol was involved the first reaction I had was I needed it out of my system. So throwing up made sense. It was a form of claustrophobia. The same thing happens when I eat something and someone says the food might not be cooked enough or old. I really have to relax myself and not think I need it out of my system. When I've hung out with someone who I later find out has the flu, I have this physical rush inside me that I have it. All of these things deal with vomiting. I'm sorry if this term makes you nauseous, but it's ruined my life on and on for 10 years now. When that action happens, it happens multiple times and and I'll be nauseous for a few days. The worst. Because I dealt with a lot of involuntary depression in high school and college, knowing alcohol is a depressant is like eating a tub of grease when you're on a diet. I will.....I repeat... I WILL DO ANYTHING to keep from going through that ever, ever again!! If I found out that taking pictures did the same thing to me, I would never snap a photo again. Could the alcohol be a form of poison on my stomach? I don't know. Could it be more of a form of hating to give up control? Is it because I live a life of patterns and when I had a couple of awful experiences, I can never visualize drinking that doesn't include the after effects that I hate so much? Most likely. It is sort of a form of a traumatic experience.
That's the medical and psychological explanation. Now the social consequences. First. I'm rich. Not really, but anyone who reads this, please add up every dollar you've spent on alcohol since you were 18 and put it in a box or, 70 boxes and give it to me. Thank God I don't smoke or do drugs either. And the cherry on top is me not drinking coffee either. Ladies and gentleman, if you could give me all of your Starbucks receipts, I would enjoy that money too.
But then there's the friends aspect. The worst problem of all of this is the social problems of not drinking. I lost a lot of friends in college when I stopped drinking. In NY, my personality is pretty straight forward and when I'm with friends who are drinking, I sort of get lost. Some people have said they don't trust people who don't drink because they become the "judger" as the night progresses. When everyone goes out to drink, why would they want to invite a non drinker for a crazy night? This isn't always the case, I have many friends who could care less that I don't drink, but it's not always that easy. Some people have the kind of personality that it doesn't matter if they don't drink, I think I do..... sometimes. There are just some times that I'm not good at being in a crowded bar, with people who won't remember our conversations the next day , and not able to get in "crazy, drunk" games. I'm not judging, I just can't seem to get on the momentum train. So when we're going out, I know how I am that night and can't see myself being a lot of fun and excuse myself. I lose a lot of good hanging out time. I also lose out on a lot of conversations, actions, and networking because I don't have those couple of drinks that get me a little loose and make my inhibitions disappear. How many times have you heard, or sort of heard this statement: Unless you're drinking, it's so boring. I agree with that statement!! How many stories begin with; 1)My friends and I were having sodas one night and things got out of control.... 2) I had a couple glasses of water and felt the nerve to approach her...... 3) Last night was absolutely nuts! I remember everything!
I remember a lot of the things that i did when I was drinking that I never would've done when i was sober, and I know I have 10 years of those situations now. It's very sad. I don't think my great sober moments outweigh those either. If I was out drinking at night, who knows the people I would've met by now and where I'd be? I might be a lot further in my career. Who knows what kind of friends I'd have right now? There are a lot of times my night ends a lot sooner than those drinking because I don't have that fuel to keep me going. Those extra hours added up have people become better friends.
My journey in the last few years is becoming absolutely ok with these situations. I'm a full time bartender and have NEVER NEVER NEVER judged anyone who does drink. I used to drink. It was fun. I hope no one ever thinks that i am judging. I'm jealous. I really am. And the things I deal with are mostly about myself. Think of the things you would never do unless you were drunk- and know that i have to do all of those absolutely sober. Could you stay out until 6 am if you were sober- I have to. Have you ever walked into a stressful situation more relaxed because you've had a couple drinks- I haven't. Have you ever had someone judge you instantly because you don't drink- or heard people say "A life with no alcohol wouldn't be worth living"- or someone think you lack a fun side because you drink a coke? It's a social staple. We live in society that drinking is the norm. It kills, it causes family disfunction, it causes awful decisions, it causes health problems, it causes mental problems, it causes car crashes, and yet I've written all morning on why my life lacks a little bit because it doesn't include these.

You Might be an Actor if........

My writing is circulating around the internet!!!
I wrote this for fun about a year ago and I've received it twice on the internet. I'm out of my mind that my writing has actually been around the country. As long as no one claims it as their own and realizes I wrote this on Jan 26, 2007 makes me feel better. Do I copyright it? What do I do?



You Might Be An Actor...

You Might be an Actor if...
By: Jason Nettle
1/26/07


In the same manner of jeff foxworthy, I try to identify the mindset and stereotypes of my peers.
Some are obvious, and some you might need to think about a bit.


- If you are friends with Bob Cline... you might be an actor.
- If when you look at someone's headshot, the first thing you say is "those are good, who took them"..... you might be an actor.
- If your friend lands a role in a show and you tell them congratulations, but inside you're saying "I hate you, what do you have that i don't"... you might be an actor.
- If you know how to box a table... you might be an actor.
- If you know that boxing a table isn't an act of fighting.. you might be an actor.
- If you you are able to stab someone in the back 4 seconds after talking kindly to them... you might be an actor.
- If you have already written your acceptance speech for every major award show.... you might be an actor.
- If you hate the republicans because you think they are judgmental, but judge every other human being in less than 2 seconds... you might be an actor.
- If you overreact to every possible situation... you might be an actor.
- If you know that anything less than a 20% tip is unacceptable... you might be an actor.
- If you give your resume, starting with the most important thing first, followed by who you know in the first 3 minutes of a conversation with a stranger, you might be an actor.
- If you say you've been on Law and Order or Sex and the City when really you've only stood in the background... you might be an actor.
- If you know that a dropped ketchup bottle is the worst mess you could ever clean up... you might be an actor.
- If after hearing someone say they saw a broadway show, the first thing you say is that you know someone in the cast... you might be an actor.
- If you use the term "crazy busy"... you might be an actor.
- If you live in Astoria... you might be an actor.
- If you say you've been crazy busy because you've had a lot to do, but really you've spent a total of 10 hours this week working on your career.. you might be an actor.
- If you think that 10 hours of working on your career this week is much more stressful than someone who put 40 or more hours at their job, waking up at 6 am every day, getting home at 6pm, and taking care of life's problems from then until bedtime... you might be an actor.
- If you have seen someone from your past at an audition, told them you should get together soon fully knowing you have no intention to do so... you might be an actor.
- If you joined the union, and instantly thought you were in a higher class than those who weren't in the union...... you might be an actor.
- If you know that there are not pieces of paper pre made at an 8x10 size... you might be an actor.
- If you are finishing a production, and make a whole bunch of plans to see everyone when you get back to the city, and never do... you might be an actor.
- If you have ever woken up before the NY Post has been delivered to "get in line"... you might be an actor.
- If you have ever told someone that "I got back a few weeks ago and I've just been trying to get everything together since then".. you might be an actor.
- If you have ever told someone that "I have a lot going on" when that really means that you have 3 small things spread out over 3 months... you might be an actor.
- If you make more money waiting tables than you do performing... you might be an actor.
- If you have ever lied to someone straight in the eyes and said you don't read reviews... you might be an actor.
- If you receive a bad review and search for at least five things wrong with the article.. you might be an actor.
- If you have ever received an adjective, such as "sultry", for your performance in a review, and then continue to use that word for the rest of the run until it annoys everyone else.... you might be an actor.
- If you have the common sense to never, under any circumstances, give another actor a note, but word it correctly to the director or choreographer to make it look like you're confused about something and they fix it... you might be an actor.
- If you have ever used any excuse, including but not limited to: I'm not right for any part in the show, I don't want to do that show, I don't want to work at that theater, They're not going to cast from this call, they already cast the show, etc. because you're too tired and lazy to go to an audition.. you might be an actor.
- If you have ever heard of or been part of a "showmance"... you might be an actor.
- If you have absolutely no, and i mean absolutely NO problem undressing in front of others... you might be an actor.
- If you and your friends annoy others in public... you might be an actor.
- If your Ipod includes a mix of music including: Led Zeppelin, Metallica, U2, The Beatles, and the soundtrack to Joseph and the Amazing Colored Dreamcoat.. you might be an actor.
- If you always bring up that unbelievable part from that unbelievable show directed by that unbelievable person from college... you might be an actor.
- If you can name a dozen catering companies and temp agencies off the top of you head... you might be an actor.
- If you instantly become friends with blue collar workers... you might be an actor.
- If you have two show posters in your apartment, one in which you've been in.... you might be an actor.
- If you find yourself not being the center of attention and instantly start talking louder and bring the focus back on you... you might be an actor.
- If you watch way too much reality tv while complaining that there isn't enough work for actors... you might be an actor.
- If you have over 50 numbers in your cell phone of people you've worked with but will never call again... you might be an actor.
- If you choose to watch tv on a night off than go see any kind of live entertainment in the entertainment capital of the world, NYC.... you might be an actor.
- If you have never seen a non-Broadway show that a friend of yours hasn't been in... you might be an actor.
- If you say you can't afford to see any kind of theater, but go out drinking with your friends instead and drop 30 bucks... you might be an actor.
- If you have said that you are quitting the business at least 6 times this week.. you might be an actor.
- If you have mastered the art of fishing for a compliment... you might be an actor.
- If your critiquing skills are better than your being proud of someone skills.. you might be an actor.
- If you have an inside joke with at least 50 different people... you might be an actor.
- If you go see a show, and during every song you think "would this song be good for me for auditioning"... you might be an actor.
- If you sing a harmony at the end of Happy Birthday... you might be an actor.
- If you completely change your attitude, energy, focus, and self promotion from boring to high when you find out some one you've been talking to is an agent, director, casting director, or producer.... you might be an actor.
- If you answer "just auditioning a lot and keeping busy" every time someone asks what you've been up to.... you might be an actor.
- If you can name all of the celebrity couples, their baby's names, the names of the finalists to every season of American Idol..... if you read US Weekly like it's a text book... you might be an actor.
- If you have only been able to finish half of The Artist's Way... you might be an actor.
- If you play the "what friends do we have in common" game... you might be an actor.
- If you have ever referred to a celebrity by their first name only... you might be an actor.
- If you get paid for the maximum use of your voice, body, eyes, and concentration and you spend most nights drinking, smoking, doing drugs, and staying out all night... you might be an actor.
- If there are at least 3 people you hate and despise in the equity lounge every time you see them, but have never spoke a word to them... you might be an actor.
- If you have more than 6 W-2's at tax time... you might be an actor.
- If you can never hear the call letter's 1010WIN without hearing it being screamed when it's just way too early... you might be an actor.
- If you have a personal website and believe more people than just your family look at it.... you might be an actor.
- If you have 300 friends on facebook that you did a show with once and will never talk to them again...you might be an actor.
- If you have ever said "Football? Is that where you get a home run?" because you know it's wrong and you'll get a laugh..... you might be an actor.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Dear Mommy and Daddy Nettle,

Since my parents learned how to find this website and now are reading these, I'm going to send them a little note.
Dear parental units,
You just celebrated 42 years of marriage and there's a few things I have to get off of my chest:
Thank you. Thank you for everything. Thank you more than you'll ever know.
Thank you for showing me what love can be. Thank you for showing me what love shouldn't be. Thank you for taking care of me. Thank you for showing me how to take care of myself. Thank you for showing me how to take care of others. Thank you for encouraging me. Thank you for challenging me. Thank you for disciplining me. Thank you for calling me out when you knew I was full of shit. Thank you for making me laugh harder than I ever knew it was possible for one person to laugh. Thank you for letting me do drama and music. Thank you for supporting me through those challenges. Thank you for making me stick with this career even though I'd call you saying I wanted to quit. Thank you for educating me about my family tree. Thank you for giving me a family tree that other families think is strange. Thank you for raising me every day instead of just selected days. Thank you for punishing me as a kid so that even as an adult, I fear your reaction more than other authorities. Thank you for every single penny you have ever spent on me. Thank you for every drop of gas you used driving me to every single thing I did growing up. Thank you for not giving up on me even when it seemed I didn't appreciate you as much as I should have. Thank you for laughing at my jokes. Thank you for letting me and Eric love and hate each other growing up. Thank you for letting me watch WWF wrestling growing up. Thank you for taking care of my friends as much as you do your own children. Thank you for doing whatever you did that made me want to be the best student and person I could be. Thank you for making sure I was doing well in school. Thank you for praising me when I deserved it and showed your disappointment when I deserved it. Thank you for being great role models as parents, spouses, friends, and citizens. Thank you for being on the other end of the phone when I needed you. Thank you for teaching me what your parents taught you. Thank you for letting me push my limits and learn from my mistakes. Thank you for not judging me when I made the same mistakes over and over. Thank you for opening my eyes when you knew I was making a mistake. Thank you for making sure I never stretched myself too thin. Thank you for never judging me. Thank you for teaching me how to drive. Thank you for taking me to voice lessons. Thank you for teaching me how to throw a ball. Thank you for teaching me that if someone was going to pay me to do something, be better than anyone else they could have hired. Thank you for teaching me about the past. Thank you for believing in my future. Thank you for creating so many inside jokes as a family. Thank you for teaching me how to celebrate my individuality. Thank you for putting food on the table. Thank you for keeping the lights and heater on. Thank you for playing catch with me even after a long day of work. Thank you for embarrassing me almost every single day. Thank you for our Christmas's. Thank you for making Tatum so wonderful through your effort with Eric. Thank you for never taking my ex girlfriends' sides. Thank you for supporting the arts. Thank you for introducing me to OSU football. Thank you for introducing me to Cleveland sports, as much as I hate it every year. Thank you for establishing an atmosphere where I knew all the words to Abbey Road before I was 6. Thank you for keeping me up on Saturday nights as a child to watch Saturday Night Live. Thank you for introducing me to every comedian growing up so I have comic timing now. Thank you for teaching me eye-hand coordination. Thank you for making me clean my room. Thank you for picking me up at the police station. Thank you for keeping Laurel and Hardy as current as they were in your time. Thank you for making me watch every great classic movie. Thank you for putting up a basketball hoop in the driveway. Thank you for letting me cuss. Thank you for trusting me. Thank you for making me try things I didn't want to. Thank you for allowing me to know who Johnny Carson and David Letterman were. Thank you for taking me to see Godspell at such an early age that started this ridiculous life I'm in now. Thank you for making me appreciate the sound of a rock band. Thank you for allowing me to make such a great relationship with my grandparents. Thank you for pressuring me into asking girls out that I was too scared to ask. Thank you for thinking I was beautiful. Thank you for crying in front of me. Thank you for accepting that I'm the black sheep. Thank you for gift cards. Thank you for visiting me in NYC. Thank you for being wonderful grandparents. Thank you for showing me that a healthy sleep pattern is only optional. Thank you for showing me the concept of reading a book a day is possible. Thank you for being good neighbors to all of your friends. Thank you for introducing me to "That's what she said" and "Why don't you marry it" many many many years ago. Thank you for teaching me how to handle a relationship when the woman rolls her eyes at jokes after years together. Thank you for the great chap stick incident of 2002. Thank you for taking me golfing, even if it meant someone was going to get hurt. Thank you for being able to handle two kids with two completely different brains. Thank you for putting life in perspective and teaching me how to do the same. Thank you for the Abbott's. Thank you for thinking I'm funny. Thank you for having a distinctive laugh so I know when you're in the audience. Thank you for teaching me the concept of unconditional love. Thank you for never giving up on Gavin. Thank you for understanding Pat. Thank you for letting me go out when I come home to visit. Thank you for never hating me when I come home to visit and don't spend enough time at home. Thank you for being you. Thank you for being my best friends. Thank you for making me a Nettle.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

After 9 weeks: 34 Things I've learned

1) Florida is a little cheaper than NYC
2) The subway system in NYC is a lot more advanced than Orlando
3) Haven't used the phrase "taking midterms" in many years
4) In this short time, a few professors have changed everything I believe in with my craft and challenged me to become a better actor, teacher, artist, and person.
5) I haven't read this much since high school
6) I've learned about more plays and authors in 9 weeks than my entire life combined
7) I can't remember any of them right now
8) Living by yourself and choking on something is one of the scariest feelings ever
9) Going to the pool in November and having to wear sun screen is pretty cool
10) There are people who have never seen snow
11) Local news here is as boring as anywhere else
12) Sometimes a postcard from your mom saying "I hope today is better" makes you cry
13) Drivers suck down here as much as anywhere else
14) I live in a state where people don't hide the fact that they're Republicans
15) Haven't used the phrase "it's in my 3 ring binder" in many years
16) If you don't own a computer, you will fail out of college
17) If you don't have a facebook page, you will fail out of college
18) I didn't utilize my resources at Otterbein as much as I should have
19) I can't talk about pop culture in the 80's and early 90's as freely as I'd like
20) Compared to Trevin Cooper, I know as much about theater as a biology major
21) Haven't used the phrase "I can't find my syllabus" in many years
22) No matter how hard you look, overhead projectors aren't accessible.
23) I miss when my mom and dad used to wake me up for school
24) I'm obsessed with human behavior and love meeting someone new every day
25) I miss my niece
26) I hate hearing about Lebron James all the time down here
27) Haven't used the phrase "I'll download the assignment off of the internet"...ever
28) I miss my gym buddies in NYC, especially my NYPD contact
29) I have the greatest group of MFA friends in the world
30) If I had it all over to do again, sometimes I would change every single thing, and sometimes I wouldn't touch a thing.... well, some things
31) No matter what I accomplish and collect in my possessions, I'm going to die someday and it just doesn't matter
32) I should buy stock in Target
33) Haven't used the phrase "Can't tonight, I have to grade papers".......ever
34) I feel like I've only accomplished 20% of everything I want to do before I die and every day gives me an opportunity to make that number higher, and no one is going to get in my way of achieving that. No one.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Communication

Lately I've become obsessed with the whole act of how people communicate to each other. As an actor, our job is to tell the story to the audience through our body, words, emotions, actions, and point of view. Sometimes we're really good at it, sometimes we just plain suck. It's not just what we communicate, but how we do and what we intend and accidentally do at the same time.
We get in our own way. Actors don't trust our audiences. We try so hard to show them what they should be hearing and feeling. By doing this, the only thing they feel is "My God, this is bad acting". Because of the training I'm involved in now, I break down communicating and responding to its simplest form. The easiest way to do this is to think about how you communicate to your closest friends and family members. What's the difference between a happy couple and a couple that fights all the time? The ability to understand what the other person is trying to accomplish at any given moment. I see couples fight on campus and it always comes down to two things: either they just can't understand what the other person is trying to communicate to them and they get frustrated or they are receiving the communication and aren't having anything to do with it. That's all anger is. A level of emotion that erupts because you have a feeling inside you that has lost. Anger is a losing product. Once anger is introduced to a situation, no communication will be received from that moment on. We resist listening when someone gets angry and blocking them out. Watch a show or movie, is the actor just yelling at the other one? Boring. Are they trying to get something and using every tactic possible to get the other person to understand? If so, good job.
On the flip side, watch a happy couple. Actions given and received with hardly any effort. It's because the communication is understandable, accepting, and specific. Even if it's not specific, the receiver gets the general idea and knows what to do with it. That's why inside jokes and bits between people work so well. It brings up a comfortableness that tells the other person, hey remember those feelings when......
Holding hands. Just looking in someone's eyes. A hug. Laying down with someone and just cuddling. Million of messages are sent every second when two people understand each other and accept what is given. That's what we want as actors. Instead of working so hard, we should just be able to be neutral vessels that respond honestly and actively at every given second.
Why do people become best friends? The communication between them is at a level where everything is flowing between them and it's accepted unconditionally. As friends, if the communication is not understood, they have the bond that allows them to communicate to the other that their communication is fuzzy and by communicating like adults, it can be resolved.
What are fake friends? People held together by false pretenses will fight because the other person does not genuinely communicate well or are resistant to the other's communication. How many people fight at a bar. Why??? Because the alcohol has inhibited their ability to communicate and think rational. That's all it is. I see people who I know I would hate going out with because every night is going to end in a fight. You know those people! Why? Think about it. They get selfish. Want everything their way. Hate everything that other people do..... in other words.... lose all ability to communicate.
Why is someone a great artist? They have found a way to communicate whatever they are trying to do in a way that the masses understand. In a specific way. In an unusual way. But all of them are able to communicate and thats what makes them so popular. Know those artists who say "no one understands my art!!!" Yeah, because you haven't found the right way to tell me yet. It's still inside. It isn't able to get out.
In studio, we are finding ways to powerfully communicate in simple ways like breath, blinking, a turn of the head, a tension in the wrist, walking tempo, a pitch in the voice, or a certain body posture. Of course those are wonderful things to know about the body, but sometimes communication can come in beautiful mediums that speak volumes like a text that says "hi". A postcard from my mom that says "I hope you're doing better". A hand on your back when you put your head down in disgust. A hug. A shake. A kiss. Stroking someone's hair with the intention of "I'm here for you and everything is going to be fine". A smile. A smirk. Eye contact from across the room that has enough subtext to write a novel. These all work because the giver is in full command of what they are trying to communicate and the receiver has full availability to receive those actions.
So does that make sense? It doesn't? Well I've communicated myself perfectly. You must just suck as a listener!




Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ghosts of Christmas Pasts

Through my rough times lately, a lot of people have been sending me quotes that in so many words say this: Forget the past, don't live in the past, don't fret the future, you have no control of the future, live in the now cause it's a present...aw that's cute, you can only control where you are right now. On paper, I mean, on computer..who owns paper anymore......it makes sense, but I have spent many hours thinking about that and why it's so hard.
First, if a man is the sum of his actions, how can we forget the past? I think the reason it's so hard for me to let go of the past is because everything in my past has made me who I am right now. If someone hurts me, I would love to just erase that person from my life, but by erasing that period of time I feel like I'm giving no credit to what I lived through and the choices I made in that period. Like it was a waste of time.
Second, don't fret the future. Ok, but I need money in the future. If I have dreams and goals I want to accomplish, I need to make decisions now that will help those goals come to fruition. So if I don't care about the future,I don't need to care about today, right?
Finally, live for the now. Well what if now fucking sucks?
I guess I can just try to live each moment the best I can, but if I'm not worried about the future, then I can spend all my money today. So I'm going to go buy a rickshaw. Why not? The future will take care of itself no matter what I decide to do. I could die and the days will just keep going on. The past has already happened. And wow, I wish I could get a lot of those times back. The good ones and the bad ones. Am I supposed to forget the bad ones and keep the good ones, well that's pretty prejudice. Shouldn't I learn from my mistakes? Geez, I don't know if there's a text book that's big enough to teach those lessons.
I want to wake up and smile. Well, that's worried about the future. Should I want to smile right now? I'm too tired. I'd rather be sleeping. I hope the Indians are good next season. That's worried about the future, so should I hope they're good now? Well, they're not. They're really really not.
I've decided I'm not going to do my homework, tomorrow will take care of itself. And I maybe got a F on a test yesterday, oh well, maybe my professor won't live in the past.
I'm trying to leave my baggage at the door when I come in, but it's duct taped to my leg and 17 handcuffs are attached to it and me. That's the past. The baggage doesn't have to be opened, but it makes me a little bit heavier and I sometimes have trouble accessorizing it. And the damn thing sometimes makes me owe the airlines extra money when I check in. For those who aren't keeping up, the joke is it's emotional baggage and I'm personifying it!!! Ha ha ha.
I need to sleep now, so tomorrow I don't fall asleep in the middle of a handstand. Tomorrow??????? Not worried about it.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Why Improv is Everything

I started acting when I was 11 years old. For years I learned how to walk on the stage, not run into scenery, how to memorize lines, sing, learn the difference between stage left and stage right, house left and house right, back stage, front of house, and how to bow. The problem with all of this was that for the next 11 years, I was forming muscle memories in my body that was doing a lot of it wrong. I moved to NY and walked into auditions, classes, and rehearsals just doing the same thing I had done the previous 11 years, and it only got me so far. I wasn't having fun on stage anymore. I wasn't being pushed. There were times in class and in performance that everything seemed to be going right and I was having fun, and looking back on those times, I realize I was doing just one thing....... following my instincts and making it up on the spot.
Improv. I couldn't name it at that time. I didn't even know the longer form of the word: improvisation. There are many different definitions of improv and venues for this miraculous art form. You can't even look up the word in a dictionary without it using some form of improv in the definition. Improvisation: The art of performing improv. No shit. To me it's this definition- Improv: The art of performing that makes other forms of performing seem boring. I then found the Atlantic Theater Company which in so many words is performing a script through improvisational techniques. Then I found Upright Citizen's Brigade which would change my life forever.
I think I get easily bored in life. I like stimulation. I don't think I have ADD, I just love new exciting things. If I was in a show for over 300 times and I had to give the exact same performance every night, I would shoot myself. I know scripts have a structure and we stay true to them, but if I had to channel my talents to one thing, it would be not knowing what was going to happen and live confidently in that. Improv.
I have friends who say the scariest thing they could ever do is get on stage with nothing but a suggestion and then make up a show for the next 40 minutes. I could masturbate to the thought of that. My God, what a rush! Why? Because life is tough and shouldn't be taken seriously and artists, directors, and actors get so in their head that they want everything to be perfect. Why perfect? Life is sloppy. Sex is sloppy. Money is sloppy. Relationships are sloppy. So why wouldn't an art form that cherished the unpredictability and chaos of the world be golden?
And nothing gets me off more than extremely talented and intelligent improvisers making unbelievable, crafty choices every second that leaves the audience laughing and shocked. It's how I see the world. Everyone is so careful and doesn't care about the other person anymore. Improv is the exact opposite of careful and the best way to do it is when all of your attention is on the other person........ Oh wait.......... that is sort of like acting.
That's why I hated doing theater for awhile. It was too safe. It wasn't creative. Actors just wanted to get in any show, no matter how bad it was, make safe choices, not care about the other actors and creative process, and try to get involved with the gossip and drama of backstage. I hated it. I got in this business to have fun, and everything about improv was fun. There are rules in improv but at the same time, there are no limits. You can get the same feeling in a scripted show when you enter stag with no preconceived decisions. And it's all based on trust. Trust in yourself and trust in the other actor. Why would I want to be part of a career that you walk on like a robot and do the same thing every night......unless you're a robot from outer space who has to drink Dairy Queen milkshakes every night. Well that would just be awesome.
I love a scenario where the possibilities are endless. That's where the excitement comes from. We live life way too safe! Actors have problems with human interaction. Improvisers need to explore every moment of every second with every person they meet. Improvisers are actors, playwrights, directors, and reactors all at the same time. Mostly reactors to what is happening at any given moment, which is the main ingredient I have taken from my UCB training and put into my craft.
When I watch an acting scene, I can sometimes watch the entire scene without checking in. It's impossible for me to watch an improv scene without listening to every single line and watching every single movement. Because it is the thing every actor wants to achieve. To be in the moment at every given second, and that's what improv is, especially good improv. That's what's exciting. Even when the script is written out, some actors can't find truthful moments, but if I put you in front of 100 people and you're fighting for your life in front of them to be creative and funny, you'll find moments. You'll create moments. You'll follow moments. You'll listen to everything listening for clues. You'll become vulnerable just by walking. You'll create relationships just by looking at someone. That's what I was missing in theater. That's what I have brought to theater. I want the world to improvise. I'm sure I'm going to write more about this soon. My head is spinning right now.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Quotes I've Been Living By Lately


A lot has happened in the past few months and sometimes what people say and quotes they give you help get through the day a little bit easier. Here are a few of them:

"Don't do the same thing over and over again expecting different results" -Albert Einstein (yeah, he sent me this via text message)

"Every choice you make will either bring you closer to your goal or further away from it" -Jason Nettle (smart guy)

"It is necessary to let go of something in order to receive something in its place. It is about letting go of the old energy and allowing a new paradigm and energy to enter into your reality, into your way of being, into your way of responding to life. In this way do you realize that all experience is opportunity for growth, for expansion of awareness and coming to know what this physical game is really all about..."


"Life is hard. It's more than hard-it's a bitch. I suppose that's why I like the person who spends more time working than on facebook, the person who gets out there and lives his life rather than blogging about it or staring in the mirror wondering about anything so damn inconsequential as looks or hair or yesterday. ...The future is now. It's time to grow up and be strong. Tomorrow may well be too late." Neil Labute (thank you Kayla) (usually Neil is saying mean stuff, so this is nice)

"We're all going to die someday" - David Lee

" Do you wake up every day surrounded by someone or people who make you the happiest you can be? That challenge you to be the best person you can be? If not, Why?" - Jason Nettle

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn't serve the world.
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so
that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other
people permission to do the same. " - Marianne Williamson



Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Typical Week

I can't believe we're at midterms. My training is split into 4 semesters and I'm half way done with one of them. It feels like I've been here for 2 years already. The first month was dedicated to learning the psyche of a pedophilia and figuring out where the student union was.... 2 things that didn't have any relation to each other. I'm now into more a daily groove and I've gotten a lot of emails asking how school is going. So let me see if I can give you a general overview.
Monday: Wake up before 7 am to finish any homework that I didn't get done with over the weekend, which keep reading and you'll see why. I'm pretty tired at this point because I woke up about 7 times throughout the night. One main reason is because I sleep with the fan on and the windows open because by turning the central air off, I save enough money a month to be able to eat. But then I think if I sweat enough, I'll lose weight as if it's a sauna so I can save money on my gym membership. Also, I live next to the dumpster so maybe I can snack out of that and turn the air on and sleep comfortably. So many options. My fellow MFA partner, Kelly lives in my complex with her husband, comes over at 7:45 and we ride together in the morning. We are comfortable enough now that we give each other a forced smile and a grunt upon seeing each other to say good morning. We drive mostly in silence past the Vampire baby orthodontics sign and go pick up Lauren. We drive to campus, passing the mother pushing her daughter who is WAY to big for the stroller, turn the corner, wave to Lauren's crossing guard boyfriend and get to campus. 8:30 is our first class. Movement. The goal of this class is to bring ourselves to a completely neutral place. Many factors play into the tension we hold everyday, the muscular habits we are not aware of, and the fact that we are only using 20% of our breath with purpose. For an hour we do core work, headstands, breathing exercises, release tension that I didn't know I was carrying for 34 years, group ensemble exercises, postural manipulation, and of course, front rolls and dives. In future postings, I'll go into detail what each of these things do and how I am growing because of them, but this is just for the overview. Second is Voice and Diction class at 9:30. It is physical day which means we'll get our body into a completely tension free state, release all holding on, and let sound and emotions vibrate through our bodies while listening to beautiful music and finding what it's like to not censor or judge anything that arises from our deepest soul. We are doing this while the construction workers are putting the finishing touches on the building. They might bleed from the skin, but we bleed from the soul. I like to call this class "dealing with my breakup class". We get a quick break and all head up to the grad office and eat whatever lunch or snack we have. We have purchased a microwave and Be has put her masters degree certificate in the office, so it really feels like a college setting. At 11, we go to acting and because what happens in that room stays in that room, I can't go any further into that. That's where we make our leaps. We tear apart our weaknesses. We tear apart our strengths. It's the class that is the escalator to becoming the next Kevin Kline or Meryl Streep. We have already done Closer and Death and the Maiden in class and now Josh and I start tackling The Pillowman this week. At 1 pm, we have another 30 minute break and sometimes I run to the student union and get Chic Fil A because I sweat that money out of my system the night before. If not, I'll stop by the sperm bank on the way there, which will just make me hungrier. At 1:30, we head to Research and Methods class in the music building, because that is way too much heady stuff for a theater building. It is in this class that my ulcer flares up and I involuntarily sweat all over my papers. We are learning the scholarly approach to writing, studying, and getting our thesis projects in motion. This is the class that my GRE vocabulary is needed. And what is MLA? Did I ever use that? I am now! This is the stereotypical college discussion class that we discuss art, the future of art, our lives in art, and the state of our world. It's usually never much of a positive outcome. 3pm. 30 minute break. I am a TA for the junior directing class with David Lee and usually I leave that class at 5:30 inspired, disgruntled, and wanting more. David has his students do more in this class than I did in 4 years of undergrad. His passion for life, theater, creativity, and education touches every one of his students and his old TA that sits next to him. My question is, do these kids know this, or is it nice hearing someone close to my age talking to me about something I have lived inside for years? I don't know. Day is done. For a month I used to take a nap in the grad office or go to the gym before rehearsal, but tonight, I'll work on my Book Review that is due in Research and Methods in 2 weeks.
Tuesday: Light day. 7:45. We grunt. Drive. "Hello vampire girl" . "Hello way too big girl" and "Hello Lauren's boyfriend"! We get to school, put all the mats together, and depending on your day, you stretch, warmup, or try to get 10 minutes of sleep. Front rolls, front dives, core work. Done. Voice and Diction. Today is Diction day. Kate explains to us how to use our lips and tongue and breath. You think you know it, but you don't. We say words correctly for the first time in years. Her energy is contagious. Her examples make me strive harder to be a better speaker and performer. Vowels, consonants, and words and we're done at 10:30. Personal rehearsal time and what ever else you can fill your time for the rest of the day. I TA a sophomore acting class at 2:30 and by just listening, Mark teaches me things I have either forgotten or never knew.
Wednesday: Grunt grunt. Too many grunts because then I feel awkward around her husband. She's in rehearsals for Dracula so her nights are busy just like mine were last month. Kelly and I discuss doing a 2 person play together if we don't get cast next semester. Movement, Voice, Acting, and Research and Methods keep our day filled till 3 pm. At the end of each day, our MFA class usually have made 3-4 more inside jokes which is tough because we forget all the ones from last week.
Thursday: All the MFA's get to the parking lot and pile into my car, all 8 of us. Why? who cares. We only live once. Only Movement and Voice today. I have to stick around after because I TA the acting class at 2:30, so I always have to find something to keep me busy which is never hard to do. Homework, homework, reading, writing, homework, script work, memorization, singing, gym, homework, network, read, eat, research, homework, stretch, more script work, memorize something else, grunt, eat, homework, and then uh, eat. When I say eat, I really mean, walking behind someone who is eating and scrambling for the crumbs.
Friday: TGIF!!! Hello vampire girl, big girl, and crossing guy...it's Friday!!! We park, throw grapes at Josh's car, and move and then speak. And done! EXCEPT....I have to TA at 3:30 so I have to keep myself busy until then. I might go look at Be's diploma as motivation. She probably doesn't know it, but it actually is.
Here is my philosophy that I have learned. If I want to succeed in all of my goals that I placed before I got here, I should never feel like I have nothing to do. There is ALWAYS something to do. Read , read, read. When was the last time you met an actor who knew everything there was to know to make them the most successful they could possibly be? If I have an hour break, I read a new script. I write. Some might call it distracting myself from dealing with things in life, but if that's the case, so what. By June of 2013, I want to be one of the most informed actors in the country. I live for the future. Every day. Every single thing I do makes me a better person, actor, and student. I take nothing for granted. Who knows, one day I might write a movie about Vampire orthodontist girl.
Saturday & Sunday: Cook, clean, vacuum, OSU football, read, write, laundry, dishwasher, homework, gym, sweat, throw out the rotten stuff in the fridge, and try to sleep.