Archive for March, 2009

Cranky Goes To Vermont

Cranky just got back from Vermont. Vermont Vermont. I think it should be called “THE COMPOSTING CAPITAL OF THE UNITED STATES.”
Seriously, if we all lived like Vermonters the Polar Bears would be like over whelmed with their choice of ice floes.
These people believe in stuff and actually do things about it. Other than just buy the hat and wear the pin.
I visited a high school friend who is now 100% Vermonter. With two other high school friends. Vermonter kept finding contraband in the garbage can. “WHO THREW THIS IN HERE?” Oh oh. Gail got snagged for putting a cracker box in the garbage. This is serious. Very serious. I’m absolutely sure there is not one person in the entire state watching “The Millionaire Matchmaker. No, no these people are serious.

On Sunday night at 8:30 a hyperventilating neighbor came by to tell us it was time to turn off the lights for global warming. A great idea. It was nice to be a part of it. But neighbor lady was so SERIOUS about it she was giving herself a heart attack as she ran through the corridors of the co-housing complex turning on the movement sensor lights in her wake to tell everyone to turn off their lights.

“I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THIS!” she said, when my friend tried to introduce us. And she flew down the hall to spread the word, lights flicking in time with her feet. The Paul Revere of the eco-movement.

Merrills are a must. As is no makeup. And I think no hair conditioner by looks of the inhabitants of co-housing.
There was a cake timer in the bathroom. What the hell? I was afraid to ask. But I so wanted to know. Finally someone asked, “Why is there a cake timer in the bathroom?” “Well”, Vermonter said, “My neighbor thought we should try to work on taking shorter showers.” “NOW YOU’VE GONE TOO FAR!” was my response. Fanatic Paul Revere Lady and her big ideas. She’s already convinced my friend that they should stop using the clothes dryer. Hence the cardboard like scratchy towels that had dried on a rack in the middle of the living room.

Al Gore called it “An Inconvenient Truth.” INCONVENIENT – you got that right.After going to Vermont ,I feel I should do more than use a few compact florescent bulbs and recycle. But what? Even if I composted what could I do with it? Put it on houseplants? I’d get a fine if I threw it in the park.

Then I remember that hell, I live in New York City. City living is all about sharing. It doesn’t matter that yeah well, we are forced to do it. We actually each have very small eco-footprints in the big city. We take mass transit. We recyle.
Cranky felt superfluous when visiting Vermont. These people are working on saving the world and I’m writing funny little plays. And acting in experimental theater. I feel very unimportant. But then I remember Fanatic Paul Revere woman. And hey, someone has to help her lighten up.

I’m So Depressed It Makes Me Happy or Am I Happy I’m Depressed?

The good thing about being an actress is that you can easily access your emotions. The bad thing about being an actress is that you can easily access your emotions.

I have to be careful to try to overlook certain things in life or they will send me into a weeklong depression.
Like a fish in a tank or a bird in a cage. I’ve trained myself. LOOK AWAY. LOOK AWAY. LOOK AWAY. Don’t think about the fish in the tank or the bird in the cage. What the fuck kind of life is that? I mean my life is not that great, but at least I can take a walk down the block! What can the fish in the tank and the bird in a cage do? NOTHING. The fish, little circles. The bird back and forth on the perch. I can’t. I can’t. I can’t take it.

They even have a fish tank at my hairdressers. Why why why? I asked about it and was told the owner loves her fish. IF SHE LOVED HER FISH, SHE WOULD FREE HER FISH!

I once saw a beautiful raven in a stupid cage in the Children’s Zoo in Central Park and I though about it for a week. I lost sleep. I kept seeing it. Standing there. I wanted so badly to call them, but I knew they would think I was a crackpot. (Don’t say it!)

I send money to the animal organizations, but I cannot under any circumstances read their pamphlets. No. No. No. These things feed into my natural cranky melancholic state.

And now I am losing soul mates to anti-depressants every day. My soul buddy of years and I always used to say, “summer is overrated,” and laugh. We like the dark. We like the cold. We like to stay in the house and read under a lap blanket. We always dreaded summer. Now suddenly, yesterday, she announced that this year she is not dreading summer at all. Ever since she started anti-depressants she is looking forward to it. LOOKING FORWARD TO IT? What? We have dreaded summer together for fifteen years. Now she has gone over to the sunny side.

I have another friend I’ve always thought of as another brother, especially because his favorite saying is, “It’s all been a horrible mistake.” Now he’s all positive and helpful around the house and I barely know him. He’s going to parties now. He is a victim of the script. What’s up with that? He must be taking the same prescription as my friend.
This actually made me question whether or not I’m depressed. The answer was maybe a little, but I like myself this way so fuck off I am not taking a pill. I just have to do the right amount of exercise to generate enough endorphins to function in the world, that’s all. I do allow myself a yoga high. I feel really good about life for about one hour and forty-five minutes after doing yoga.

I think actually feeling things is good for creativity. I mean, just imagine Edgar Allan Poe on anti-depressants. See what I mean?

Even as a kid, I kind of reveled in my melancholy. I’d hibernate in my room and play music and be alone. Which actually made me happy which is actually kinda contradictory. This may seem totally nuts. But if you refer back to “Cranky and Her Crazy Relatives” you will see that I am actually doing really well.

P.S. – Spring has arrived in Brooklyn- just saw two pigeons mating on a fire escape.

Facebook or Wastebook; An Addendum

Facebook is making me ask myself questions. I’m neurotic enough, without having to deal with how to deal with this. Its all cuckoo now I think. This morning while going through today’s facebook posts I asked myself the following questions:

Some peeps from high school are working on getting a facebook group reunion together. We’ve seen pictures of everywhere everybody has been on vacation their entire lives. We’ve read their profiles. We know where they live. We know what they do for a living. We know if they are married or single or in a relationship. We know their favorite quote. We know what they had for fucking breakfast! I keep imagining myself trying to start a conversation and then realizing I already read the answer on Facebook. My day at the reunion would consist of, “Um, ah…. Um…. Oh! Where?…oh no, forget it. Ah…”


Got a message from someone I barely knew in High School with the following content. I t was posted on my wall for all to see:
“My Mom is still in the family house. It hasn’t been cleaned in over 25 years. I got sober in 2006. Developed bi-polar in 2008. Living on disability since then.”


These are questions I ask myself everyday while I’m scrolling down the facebook page to avoid doing something else I should be doing. An extra few minutes of avoidance before dealing with the task at hand.

My mother used to say “Curiosity killed the cat,” and it always pissed me off when she said that. Wanting to find out answers to things always seemed like a good thing. But let’s face it, part of the facebook thing is all about curiosity. Where is so and so? How do they look? What do they do? What ever happened to them? In a perfect world I could read everyone’s profile’s without them knowing I was there. And then be facebook friends with the 8 people I actually know. What would it be called? Voyeur book?

Websters defines nostalgia as:
“a wistful or excessively sentimental yearning for return to or of some past period or irrecoverable condition”

Sounds like nostalgia makes your present life seem even more sucky than it already does.

I would like a past and present facebook where you could keep present friends and past friends separate. Depending on how wistful you are feeling that day, you can pick the past or the present.

A really good day is when we pick the present. Dontcha think?

Cranky Actress Hates This Week

I think maybe this week there is someone with a doll that looks like me and they are sticking pins in it or something. Really, I’m not emotionally equipped for life sometimes.

It started with an audition yesterday where the director and the casting director stood me up. I got dressed, put make-up on, got on the subway and went to the appointed time and place and nothing, nobody. WTF? The room was empty with chairs piled against the wall. I waited 20 minutes and got back on the train and went home. Sent a what’s up email and got the following response the next day:

I’m terribly sorry. There was a missunderstanding with the times and place. We were indeed holding auditions at that time but in a different building.
It was our fault and I apologize.

Ah, yea – misunderstanding was MISSpelt And, ah, your misunderstanding with “the times” – would that be the newspaper? Stu goes to one of the most expensive, most prestigious film school’s in the U.S.
The bad thing about these people is that I have to deal with them. The good thing is, they make me feel like a fucking genius.

Then, we’re trying to get everything together for taxes and my marriage becomes a game of: WHOSE FAULT IS IT? There is nothing like going back over all the stupid things you spent money on the past year to make you totally depressed. I have to go into the computer and assign categories to everything. It’s making me feel guilty. My emotional state is making me make mistakes. A few times when I’m supposed to write in dining I actually wrote SIN. I’m not kidding. I wrote SIN as a category. Which was exactly how I felt.

Then the kitchen sink water started backing up into the bathtub and my husband didn’t like taking a shower amongst the floating lettuce.

I wanted to avoid dealing with the sink. I mean, you gotta understand. I call our apartment building “1800’s House.” We have about the same amenities here as they had in 1800. The decor of the lobby in our building can only be described as “Early Mental Hospital.” And we have the obligatory Yugoslavian super who sleeps late and doesn’t want to be bothered. I’ve been thinking of writing a book about him. I’m gonna call it: “The Super Wore Sandals.”
Anyone shuffling around in sandals with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth is not up for any heavy labor.

So due to my husband’s complaining about the lettuce in the shower situation, I got brave and talked to Mr. Sandals about it. I asked him if he had one of those snake things and I make a twirling gesture to be sure I’m being understood. He says, “NO, NO. I BE BRING CHEMICAL.”

So he goes to the basement and comes back with this scary looking bottle of brown stuff. I think the label said PIPE BOMB and it had a lot of Xs and poison warnings on it. He puts PIPE BOMB down the drain. Two minutes later my doorbell rings. The marginally catatonic guy who lives downstairs strolls right into my apartment when I open the door and mumbles with his head hanging down, “I guess you know about the leak downstairs.” “WHAT! WHAT LEAK? LEAK?” I say.

“Ah, there’s water pouring out through my light fixture in the bathroom,” he mumbles. “OH MY GOD!! OH MY GOD!” I run screaming into the bathroom to tell the super.

Skip to the end, I spent the day with a jackhammer tearing up my bathroom floor. THIS IS WHY I WANTED TO AVOID THE REPAIR. In 1800’s House every repair leads to new damage.

When the floor has been completely dug up I see the pipes. They are definitely from another century. There was more gunk inside than there was pipe. The drain pipe had a million little holes along the bottom where PIPE BOMB had done its job. It looked like an archeological excavation. Then the dust started spreading. And spreading.

Since Cranky likes to stay home as much as possible, Cranky takes great care of the house. Seriously. Anybody from “Elle Décor” wants to drop by and take some pictures, my apartment is camera ready.

So I started whining to Mr. Sandals and he looks at me and says, “NO, NO. CRANKY YOU BE GET NEW FLOOR!” This is true. I have wanted a new bathroom floor for like 10 years. But in 1800’s House you don’t get any extras. Mr. Sandals so understands me. He knew exactly how to cheer me up, and make me see the bright side of the massive hole in my bathroom floor. So I forgive him for be bringing chemical.

My Acting Career Has Hit a New Low

Got a really choice email yesterday. Things better pick up soon. That’s all I can say. Thus is the sad state of affairs in my acting work. This is a new low, even for Cranky.

Dear Cranky:
My name is Gino Insultinga, and I am the writer/director of the project “Stewey Stoney.”

The reason I’m e-mailing is because I’m following up on your request to audition for the role of “Honey.” I wasn’t sure you were exactly right for the role of Honey, However, I thought you had a great look and were right for another character.
It is a picture that essentially drives the main character’s story forward.

I would love for you to consider coming in to a photo-shoot, and posing for a photograph for our film. The main character is being played by the actor Tom McManus, who has appeared recently opposite Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

Also he would be featured in the photograph with you.

Our director of photography who will be shooting the picture is named Bobby Burra. Please feel free to view his reel at: ________________
Thank you ,

So I am playing, no HANGING, opposite an actor who recently played opposite someone famous. How does this help me? Can I put “played a picture hanging in a room with an actor who once played opposite Philip Seymour Hoffman” on my resume? Is this the first step on the staircase to fame? It seems a bit more than six degrees of separation. What is the degree of separation between living people and inanimate objects on the success scale? Isi is possible that when people see the film, they are all gonna say, “Wow, that was a great film. But the actress who played the picture, SHE WAS REALLY GREAT!” Is there a chance I will get discovered playing an inanimate object?

And telling me about the DP? Why would I care? He is the director of MOVING PHOTOGRAPHY. And not only would I not be SPEAKING in the film, I ah, won’t be MOVING either. This is beyond the old axiom that there are no small roles, only small actors. That is something some director made up to get an actor to accept some demoralizing one liner. Or a role as a photograph.

John-Paul Dunderhead is at it Again.

Ah, John-Paul is at it again. Just got 4 emails. All I needed to know was the time, the place, and attach the script thank you.

But no, John-Paul gave me so much more. His trip to California. His inability to convert a document. His family problems.
Here is the trail of communication:

Dear Cranky,
Thank you for you interest in auditioning for the role of BRIAN’S MOTHER. I have scheduled you for the 4:00 pm time slot this Friday. The auditions will be held in NYC and will last fifteen minutes. I will be sending your character’s portion of the script tomorrow. I am sorry for the delay, but I have to convert the script’s format into a readable doc file. Feel free to read from the scene of your choice.
If there are any problems with the time I have selected, please notify me immediately so changes can be made. It will be difficult to change the schedule, but I will try to work it out.
Larry Schmoe, the project’s producer, will be sending you further information, such as, the address of the location where auditions will be held.
We look forward to meeting you Friday.
John-Paul Dunderhead

Very personal, as I can see the 14 OTHER PEOPLE he sent it to. Still hasn’t learned how to do the BCC? And when I get the script, it is one page, one scene. Scene of my choice?
What kind of person takes 24 hours to convert a document into a different format?

Dear Cranky,
Here is the Mother’s scene. It is in a PDF file format because I was unable to convert it into a Word Document. . You are welcome to give a brief monologue of your own.
Larry Schmoe (producer) will be contacting you today with the address of the location where the audition will be held in NYC.
Sorry for the late reply. I had to go to California for a couple days for a family thing and just got back last night. I am creating the auditions schedule today and will send it out tonight along with the script. I have taken all desired scheduling times into consideration and will get back to you shortly. Thank you for your patients.
John-Paul Dunderhead

“PATIENTS?” “PATIENTS?” What? Huh? All the actors in hospital gowns I’ve been sending you? “Thank you for your patients?” Is English this guys first language? I know I seem harsh, but this is someone in a MASTERS program.
I am tempted to go in and do the courtroom monologue from “Nell”. The Jodie Foster movie. For those of you who missed it, “Nell” is unable to speak properly. She makes incomprehensible noises and gestures a lot. Should I do it?
I will scream, “NOOOAH CRYAAAAH FUUUU NEEELLL! NOOOO CRYAAAH FOOAH NEEEEEL! while gesticulating wildly and acting spastic. What if I went on for like 10 minutes and was completely unintelligible? Would they keep a straight face? I’m sure they will have “patients” with me.

Here is some dialogue from the scene John-Paul sent me: “Brian had a ruff day yesterday. He was turned down from another job.” Was he BARKING all day? How do you get turned down “FROM” a job? Maybe the building expels you?
Should I go tomorrow? Depends on whether I am having a ruff day.

What a Poor Actress Must Endure To Get Her Hair Cut

As an actress, I have to keep groomed. I have the curse of Irish/Italian hair, so I really have to have it trimmed every six weeks to keep it from looking too bush-woman. So I am always looking for a bargain. But I want a REALLY GOOD HAIRCUT. No Super Cuts, thanks.
The best bargain, is when you can get hooked up with a hairdresser who will cut your hair at their house on their days off. Like a guy from one of the Madison Avenue salons.
It’s great. But is very no frills. You’re in some guy’s kitchen. It’s his day off. It feels personal, but you just wanna get your hair cut and get out of there.
The first time I did this, I went to a guy’s apartment and he was having a huge gay boy party at the same time I was having my haircut. The wine was flowing. My do came out kinda asymmetrical and I still don’t know if it was on purpose. That was the first and last time for him.
Then sometimes you are alone with them and there in no blasting music like in the salon and all the other people, and you have to make conversation. I can talk my head off, but when I feel I have to, I hate it. Once you get past vacations and movies the going gets tough.
Except with the last guy I went to see. I think he had a substance abuse problem. He was very SPEEDY. His hands shook He washed my hair in the kitchen sink with the dirty dishes. There was stuff everywhere. He was a riot. I never had to say anything though, because he talked non-stopped.

He loved to talk about his clients at his salon and then he would segue into what was wrong with his partner.
Here is a sample of his conversation:
“These women have no shame. You do their hair, they tell you everything. I’ve seen some sights, honey. There was Rhonda Ackerman. Ewwwww…… ANOREXIC! She used to go to the gym from six am to ten am every day. I swear on my mother. Every fucking day honey. And all she ate was oats. OATS, that’s it. Nothing else. She was like this (holds up his pinkie finger). I used to see her at the gym on this horrible climbing machine. Climbing, climbing. The sweat poring offa her. Just oats and nothing else. It was a sickness. Of course she’s blown up now.
Oh, oh, oh, last week I had a woman in my chair who said; “Oy, honey, I’m not feeling so great. I just had my period.” She must’ve been 80, I swear. My other client took one look at her and said, “ Period? She wishes! Humpph! Who is she kidding?” “Can you believe that?

“You know what I hate? I hate when the fat ones come in and they plop themselves in the chair and they send out a PUFF OF ASS SMELL.”

“Honey, no one should have a SMELLY ASS. Including MY BOYFRIEND. He takes a shower every four days. I told him; “if you’re so depressed why don’t you get a gun and shoot yourself?”

“I’m not letting him drag me down. Oh no honey. Let him be depressed all he wants. Staring at the computer all day. At the computer! What is he a mongoloid or something? There’s something wrong with him, I swear.”

“No sex in a year? Whattya kidding? I get mine, believe me. But I’m not going anywhere. Oh no. I like the apartment. I love the neighborhood. No way I’m going back to Jersey City, sweetheart. Oh no, I like this neighborhood. It’s beautiful. I sleep in my nice comfortable futon in the living room. “

“Who’d wanna get in bed with him anyway? It’s full of crumbs. He eats in bed, that fat thing. It’s disgusting. My mother would never have allowed that. I make him dinner and that’s that.”

“All he does is sit in that room and stare at computer screens. He has a few of them going at once. And he watches “Chicago” over and over again. How many times can you watch a movie? Huh? Huh? How many times? There’s something wrong with him. He’s some kind of genius weirdo or something. He was so cute when I met him. Here, look, look at the picture. Handsome, right? And look how skinny he was.”

“Hah, I was talking about my clients. Oh my god! How did I get on this? How, will you tell me? Huh? Ok, clients. CLIENTS… Well, one thing I can tell you, they’re all happy when their husbands die. Oh yes they are sweetie. All of them. Even my own mother. My mother didn’t cry. Oh no! She hated my father. Yes she did! The only time they want a man is if they don’t have any money. They have money; they’re thrilled the husband’s gone. THRILLED. My father hated everyone. He only liked animals. Oh, the way he was with animals! People, forget it. I told myself when I was young if I ever ended up like that shoot me.
“Do you have a gun? Hahahahaha!!” He bends over laughing.

I am creative, but I couldn’t make this shit up.

Whenever I left him, I always felt paranoid because I wondered what he told everyone about me.

No Country For Good Food

I’ve realized something. If you live in the city long enough, you become like animals who’ve been in the zoo so long they can’t survive anywhere else.

This became glaringly apparent to me last week. I had a business meeting in the hinterlands. Ok, well almost the hinterlands. It was New Jersey. They served lunch. Suspicious looking cold cuts and big puffy white bread rolls. Cranky couldn’t touch it. I decided the soup was the safest thing.

Then they served dessert. I walked back and forth in front of the buffet like Patton inspecting the troops. I saw a platter of fruit. Hmmmm, a possibility. Then I saw it. A tall cylindrical container with a lovely yellowish color liquidy substance. “Oh wow,” I said to my boss, “They made us FRESH ZABAYONE! Isn’t that great? I LOVE ZABAYONE!”
ZABAYONE! ZABAYONE? Am I nuts? It was MELTED VELVEETA to dip your pretzel in. Ah – VELVEETA! HELLO VELVEETA! I can’t. I can’t even recognize food items outside of the city.

My husband and I have tried vacations in the country. It’s always a disaster. Have you ever stayed in a B&B? It should stand for Boring & Boringer. We stayed in one once run by WASPY alcoholics who had pictures of the Princess of Monaco on the piano., who they referred to as a distant relative. I didn’t ask. Oh, and they were horse people. But, as far as running a B&B went, they sucked. They were so tanked, that every time they tried to tell us where a good restaurant was, we got lost. I actually started crying hysterically one lost night in the car, “WHY IS EVERYTHING SO FAR APART?” Which boils down to what is wrong with the country, besides the food. You have to drive 40 minutes to get to any restaurant. And none of them were good believe you me. I had never even seen canned vegetables before. I was frightened of them.

We went to the Alps once and food was still a problem. For the first time in my life I said a prayer before each meal. My prayer was, “DEAR GOD PLEASE SEND A VEGETABLE!” All those people eat is meat and cheese. And sometimes a potato to dip into the cheese. And a lot of the meat is like ancient cured stuff. I’m sorry. I know I am giving New Yorkers a bad name by writing this. But I need my baby arugula and my fresh broccoli rabe. I need salad dressing made with virgin olive oil. Even my CORNER DINER has that!

I now feel I am in a life-threatening situation is there isn’t a Korean Deli within a 4-block radius. I get existentialist angst if I’m not surrounded by people. I don’t want to talk to them. But I need to know they are there.
I grew up in the suburbs, but now I find them like creepy now. There is this weird thing I wish someone would explain to me. When a city person moves to the suburbs, it’s OK for them to say all sorts of horrible things about the city, but the city people are not ALLOWED to knock the burbs. “Isn’t this great. There is so much space!” they’ll say. And, “This is horrible. There is so much space,” I’ll think. But there is a rule that I can’t say it. You have to admire their big closets and freezers in the basement and never say, “I’d rather shoot myself than live here,” even though you are thinking it. Is it because they are convincing themselves that they love it, and you have to go along with it too?

City people are not allowed to say how much they love the city except to other city people. I do it all the time. Yes, Cranky loves something. CRANKY LOVES THE CITY. I was recently with a friend downtown. We ate in a little place in Chinatown. We went to a film showing in a loft. The city looked beautiful. We were about to cross the street and she looked at me and said, “Man, don’t you LOVE the city?” Yeah I do. And I can EAT HERE AND EVERYTHING. So, hello!! If you are reading this and living in a place where you can’t buy a cappuccino or an antique – GET THE FUCK OUTTA THERE!

Keep Your Gizzard Neck, Thank You

Just got a really great email asking me to audition for a project. This is not a joke. I swear. This is real. Verbatim.
Get a load of this:

Dear Cranky:
My name is John-Paul Dunderhead. I am the director of the untitled television comedy pilot that is being produced through Fire on the Roof Productions My producer and I recently reviewed your submission for the role of Bubba’s Mother and would like to have you audition, if you are still interested. We are holding auditions in NYC on Friday, March 13th, from noon until 5 p.m.
Also, I am requesting that actors auditioning for the role of the mother give the role of the Boo’s Grandmother consideration. I believe that the character of the Grandmother to be more interesting and will fun to play. Also, the Grandmother has many more reoccurring scenes in other episodes we are writing. Because of the age gap between Boo’s Grandmother and Bubba’s Mother, I have found a talented make-up artist who will be willing to make the transformation. I am aware that you did not ask for this role, but please give it consideration and let me know whether or not you are interested.
Thank you for your consideration and we hope to hear from you soon.

This is wrong on so many levels. Who the hell are Bubba and Boo and how are they related to each other?
Thinking it’s a good idea to have an actress play someone born an eon before them, is ridiculous. Kate Winslet can pull it off for FIVE MINUTES at the end of a movie. A big Hollywood movie, with like ten-hour makeup sessions. But if she had to play the old lady in the movie from beginning to end, we’d want to shoot ourselves, and her. The whole time the audience would be totally distracted. They’d be asking themselves; “Why didn’t they get an old lady actress to play an old lady?”
John sounds like he belongs in the era of Mickey Rooney playing a Japanese man in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” by having funny teeth and squinting his eyes. Or else John has done too many high school plays where high school seniors spray white in their hair and put on “Our Town.”

No John. What actress who has just started playing boring Mom’s wants to jump into playing the next generation? I’m sure you could find actresses between the ages of 100 and 110 willing to START transitioning into grandma roles.
And trying to convince us by telling us we will get more screen time wearing a chicken-like gizzard neck is not gonna help. Oh, NO THANK YOU.