Cheesy title about taking chances goes here

On Wednesday, I’ll be winging it out to Los Angeles for about 2 months to look for journalism/media work. I’ll be subletting a place from a young actor who will be setting up shop for 6 months in NYC to star as Happy in “Death of a Salesman” opposite Philip Seymour Hoffman on Broadway. Mike Nichols will be directing. After a few starts and stops with dealing with sublets on Craigslist, I found Finn and Sarah’s place, had it checked out by one of my dearest, most trusted friends, and after getting his thumb’s up, I went for it.

To me, at this stage in my life, subletting an apartment is a big chance. Yes, it seems small to someone who’s had an easy go of it, but for me, right here-right now, it’s HUGE.

However, in the past, I have taken huge chances — and — surprise, surprise — risk taking has worked out well for me. Hard to believe, eh? Yeah, it’s hard for me to believe at this point in time too. I do this thing, see, this thing where I look back on my past experiences and remember them as being purely awful and disastrous. Funny I think that way considering they weren’t … maybe it’s the fear and gnawing anguish I felt that made them seem tantamount to drinking hemlock. The fear of miserable failure perhaps. The worst is remembered — not the joy felt by someone who eventually succeeds. And succeeds BIG.

So, here’s an edited list of the chances I took. The successful ones. Wait, all of the big chances I took were successes. Imagine that…they really were. I’m still getting used to the concept of McCrabass succeeding.

1) Sweet 16 in the land of Jerry Lewis worshippers- It was scary but oh so fun, and I learned to worship Reblechon cheese and the French language. Yep. Look it up. That summer I was introduced to Flaubert and Beckett. Need I say more? Oh, and I learned the French reallllly love Barbra Streisand. (thanks to my little sister, Catherine Shandler, for reminding me of this time — she inspired me to write this post.)

2) Westward, ho! Hey, when your parents say you MUST GO TO COLLEGE BUT WE’LL PAY FOR IT, you take advantage of it and go to the unfamiliar, the distant, the strange. Well, LA wasn’t that unfamiliar: Older sister Liza and two of my cousins, Jane and Caroline, were out at Occidental College so I had ventured out there a few times. I didn’t decide on Oxy though, I wound up at USC. Turned out to be a big mistake, which takes us to chance #3.

3) Left USC for UW/Madison — mid-year — mind you. Transferring mid-year just isn’t done, young turks.  Yeah, I was desperate to get the hell outta LA and far away from the ultra-conservative, ultra-Greek USC. Gag. So not a good fit for the tough-to-mold McCrabass. So, I took a huge leap of faith and ended up at a school I had never even visited.

Hot damn, I got lucky because I fell in love with Madison. How could one NOT get the warmies for Madtown?

Or my personal fave …

Who knew that once I set foot on campus that I would have to study? Something that wasn’t exactly encouraged at USC at the time. At Wisconsin, I studied Film, African languages and politics, and psychology. My first love was film, and what happened with that love affair is explained next.

4) Westward, ho part deux. Shit howdy — talk about wingin’ it. I had maybe one contact out there, but I worked that contact over like an old French whore. I was the networking queen and that skill kept me employed in the business for about 11 years plus another 2 or so back in Chicago. But, before we get back to Chicago (you knew it was coming), let’s chat about McCrabass in LA. I worked on movies. Lots of them. I made lots of friends — many of whom I’m still in contact with today. I had some serious relationships — one ended up in an engagement which eventually went south, one ended up with my friend Lisa dumping my recent ex’s CD player on the floor of his condo whilst helping me move out, then mimicking “Roseanne”: “I hate myself for that.”

Then there’s the Lump (affectionately nicknamed by David B), and a couple of decent fellas I managed to run off or who managed to turn out to be choads. In short, the LA-based McCrabass Man Pile is quite large.

5) Sweet Home Chicago. The last few years in LA, Ursula kitteh and I were fearless but that made us weary so we packed up the Honda and headed east — to the wilds of west suburban Illinois then into Chicago — where I dove into film teaching, improv training, marriage, journalism graduate school, journalism employment, then soul-sucking unemployment and other, tawdry various forms of humiliation which I have discussed here previously. I’ve been here for about 11 years, and most of my professional tenure here has been a right pig fuck of a disaster. The upside of this chance was I got to be with my family and that has been wonderful — worth the humiliations. They’re my rock, part of my soul and I wouldn’t be splayed on the floor in the middle of the night, banging out this post if it weren’t for them and their unending love and support.

Now, these days, things are different. A new chance has to be taken because Chicago is dead to inexperienced, but older than the normal newbie journos like me. No one wants to hire the older, way smart broad with tons of life experience. They want to hire young and clueless. Fine. Go for it. I just don’t need to witness the bad crap while freezing my tits off. I’ll do that in LA, thankyouverymuch.

6) Everything old is new again. On the 11th around 2pm, I’ll be cruising down the freeway heading toward my sublet, and with each minute I’m in LA taking in my new life there, something from my past LA life will come creeping into my mental Rolodex. It’ll be up to me to decide whether or not to file it or trash it. I’ll probably end up using some of it to enhance this chance I’ve been given. I’ll treat them as blessings, a lesson but one thing I’ve already realized–I’ll never go home again.

The Versatile Blogger Award

I would like to thank whomever thought of this award, and for giving a kid from a West suburban, upper-middle class background a chance! I don’t know where I’d be without a stable family, a good education and the opportunities awarded to someone of my class.

Today, I sit at my MacBook Pro before my two cats, a messy apartment, “The Town” showing on HBO for the gazillionth time, a winner of the Versatile Blogger Award. Who is responsible for bestowing this honor upon McCrabass? Why it’s none other than the fabulous Sandra who writes the faboo blog, She Can’t Be Serious.  This also means that someone chose my blog as one of their 15 featured blogs. My mission, along with walking the Earth and ridding it all things bad with my Ouiser Boudreaux wisdom, is to pay it forward by honoring 15 blogs I find to be apex of awesome.

During my tenure as an award recipient, I must agree to the following conditions:

1) Thank the person who gave me this award and link them back to their post.

2) Share 7 things about myself.

3) Pass this award along to 15 recently discovered blogs and let them know about it!

First, about McCrabass..

1) I worked in Hollywood for a long time in post-production. I actually worked in the field I got my degree it–a first for many and very rare in this day and age. I left because I got tired of being treated like crap by a handful of people who had all the power–undeserved power. Being yelled at by someone because their Starbuck’s wasn’t foamy enough is a big bowl of wrong. I don’t care how many men you blew to get your job.

2) I’ve had the chicken pox twice, and have been bitten by a Black Widow Spider once.

3) When I say no, I mean it.

4) Contrary to what the public seems to think, I don’t think clipped cat hair would make a good sweater.

5) I could watch “Godfather Pts I & II” over and over again. Same with “Just Wright.” Somewhere between those three choices is sanity.

6) The most unusual job I ever had was editing porn.

7) If you tell my parents about #6, I’ll have to hunt you down and cover you in cock rings.

Now, for the blogs I dig and are now also worthy recipients of the Versatile Blogger Award. Some are funny, some more serious, but they’re all worth a look. Please check them out–I know you’ll find something within them you enjoy. If not, you’re dead inside.

Geneva Daily Photo

Squathole 

If Weather Was a Dick, It’d be …

Candy Coated Rose Petals

Office Crap

Tortoise off On a Wild Hare!

Robert Loerzel 

Samalamadingdong

Poorly Dressed People 

Lame Adventures

Sally Duros

Throw Grammar From the Train

What’s With *Today* Today

Bindy Fry’s Itty Bitty Brain Basket

MarkCz

I’ll probably add more over the next few days. Until then, please read them. Hell, even subscribe to them. They’re worth it. Trust me!

Wardrobe Malfunction

It’s time to retire this shirt.

An old friend.

I got this t-shirt while working on a film many years ago. We recorded actors in NYC, and the director bought one for each crew member. I went along to help out and had a blast because, after all, I was in New York City! We stayed at the Plaza, ate at the 21 Club–all on the studio’s dime. Most important part of the trip? I got to shop at Bloomingdale’s (that’s when I made a union wage, see). How could I possibly turn this shirt into a kitchen rag?

This t-shirt one of those pieces of clothing that gets better with age–everyone has a piece or two like this in their wardrobe. The more worn out it becomes, the more comfy it gets. It was worn for sleeping, working out, and tee-vee watching. In other words, it’s a knock-around shirt. This shirt has given me wonderful memories, and it’s wonderfully beat to shit.

This morning while getting ready for Bikram, I couldn’t find a shirt to wear, so I donned my old friend, some yoga pants and headed out the door. Little did I realize how beat to shit this t-shirt was until Standing Bow. While I was reluctantly watching my form in the mirror (so brutal the sight before my eyes–I’m semi-blind now), I noticed two things: This t-shirt makes me look bigger than I actually am, AND it has HUGE holes in the pits. We’re talking if I had really hairy-scary pits, the hair would’ve tumbled out of them kinda like Rapunzel’s braids. Yep–that big AND that gross. I hoped to dog that no one else noticed. I’m sure people did though–how could one not? I notice things about my fellow students all the time–mainly the creative tats on the necks, backs and legs of those practicing in front of me. Seriously–it’s hard NOT to notice sayings in Sanskrit, Arabic and Hebrew on the same body part. I get it–your body is a peace treaty from the days of yore. Rock out, my friend.

Back to the t-shirt. For the rest of the class, or until I was no longer to watch myself in the mirror, I obsessed about how shitty this shirt made me look and feel, and came to the realization that it was time to retire it. Not only would this Large Marge of a shirt be put out to the fabric pasture, all of his little friends would join him. I just can’t keep wearing clothing that screams Slobovian because my psyche can’t handle it any longer. My body image is already poor, so why add to the misery?

McCrabass Millicent

So, Wednesday, I’m hoping to debut this little number I bought at Costco.

Coming soon: Two pigs fightin' under a built-in bra.

I hope they don’t kick me out of class, OR have me arrested for indecent exposure because I wouldn’t be surprised if the room got an eyeful of nekkid boobage. Not a sight for sore eyes, trust me.

I’m already missing my old friend. Enjoy retirement, you’ve earned it.

Stay tuned.

La la la la la la live for today

On this somber day, I could go on and on about the 10th anniversary of the attacks on NYC and DC, and the hijacking of Flt. 93, but who really cares what I think? These attacks have cloaked our country and national psyche in darkness for 10 years and for well into the future. ‘Tis a different world, a different life–gotta get used to it & stop waxing rhapsodic about a life that once was since that kind of thinking just conjures up feelings of angst, bitterness and sadness.

Today, I give you a distraction. I bet this young lassie practices Bikram.

I don’t know how she does it either.

Live for today, folks. That’s what I’m doing.