The Pursuit Of Happiness.

I woke up this morning to find out that a friend and co-worker of mine had passed away after a long bout with an illness over the last year. Clearly, this wasn’t the way that I had planned to start out my day.

The last month has been a period of reflection and-self evaluation as it is, and part of it has been in relation to my last entry. I well know that there is more to life than working all the time, no matter how numerous, unusual, and whimsical the assignment is. Some are fun, and I enjoy greatly. Others are tedious, yet make good money. Others dangerously teeter on the verge of being a fly by night scam that have no issue attempting to rip you off for the work you do unless you put your foot down. There are times that I bounce from gig to gig more by instinct than schedule.

And that goes socially, as well. I’m either too busy, or too tired, schedules get jumbled, promised outings that still haven’t happened, and some days, making an appearance feels more like an obligation than an invitation. And all of that is wrong. I have always enjoyed making time for my friends, and I feel like I’ve become more of a “cameo” role over the last few months.

But I am only one person, and there are some things that I simply have to take care of.

There’s the old adage of “Life’s too short”. I’ve been constantly reminded of that throughout my life, and that topic was part of my last entry. And so I’ve begun to make plans to change things.

A lot of it has to do with finding what makes one happy, or more realistically, happier. I am by nature a person who will go out of my way to help others, but I’ve decided to revise how I approach that. That doesn’t mean that I am choosing to be less kind, or gracious, or supportive, but it does mean that I am stepping back from dealing with drama, or trying to “fix” other people’s problems to the point that they become one of my own. I want to be a good friend that cares, and will be supportive in the right areas, proud in others, and sympathetic when the time calls for that as well. But I will no longer put myself out for those who do not appreciate the effort, or continually just expect/demand “more”.

I am also planning to make changes in my schedule. This will be harder to accomplish, but I want to reestablish structure in my life that I am able to not be at beck and call any given hour of the day. I am tired of putting aside my own art, film, and writing projects for a repetitive cycle, and while I am going to have to dig my feet in deep to make this happen, it needs to happen.

I am also going to be changing my social media presence. I still plan to update and post my thoughts as usual, but my interactions will be handled differently. If you read my content, I never write about religion, or politics, “hot button” social issues, exclusion of people and their lifestyles, or oppressed or injured children or animals…. I’m not CNN. It’s not my job to force someone’s viewpoint to my own, nor am I obligated to report every plane crash or shooting spree. People need a break sometimes. And as a result, I’ve been deleting and unfollowing a lot of pages that are trying to push some pro-agenda, or “Ghetto Fights 12″ videos. There are things worth fighting for, but not every moment has to be a battle.

And I have things planned for myself. Jen and I went to Le Pamplemousse for her birthday. My second time there, and I can easily call the place one of the best restaurants in this crazy little city. The crowds were surprisingly noisy, but our waiter, Pierre, kept the mood very “Old Vegas”.

“Ah, what a shame. He is not coming tonight”, Pierre mused nostalgically as he looked to the table next to us.

“Oh? Well, who would that be”, I replied, curious to know the identity of who this regrettable omission was.

“This is Frank Sinatra’s table”, he replied, going into a full story of how the secluded wing of the restaurant we were sitting in was built so that Sinatra could have his privacy (and back to the wall), as he enjoyed his meal. It turns out that Pierre was his personal server at the restaurant for about 15 years, and then proceeded to tell us stories of the various faces that have graced the little restaurant over the years. This is why I am not, and never will be, into the “ultra clubs”. You are never going to get stories like this over thousands of dollars worth of “bottle service” (and this is why you wear a flask, folks).

I like stories, especially ones like this, and after a forced “hiatus” for about a year now, I’m getting back into my own adventures over the next couple of weeks. More than work. More than shows. That has been partially inspired by a friend’s own several week outing, the urge for adventure simply becoming too strong, and a need to get back to my “origins”. Nothing to reveal on that just yet (for a later entry, of course), but sometimes we have to remember where we’ve been to know where we’re going.

The hardest part now is waiting for some of those “plans” to turn into “events”, and later into “memories”.

The next few weeks will make up for the slow Summer I’ve had, though I did get into an “all you can eat” chicken wing feast with a few friends of mine earlier in the month, though not as out of control as my last contested event.

In any case, I’ve been reminded far too many times that life is just simply too short. I need to make time for what matters, what I need to find from others, and that I need to focus on the “living” part again. Happier memories of then mixed with with newer experiences from now. I have done my year of “just surviving”. It is time to make my place in this world once more.

I hope you are able to find peace and a respite from the pain now, Joel.

Low Battery. Please Charge Battery.

As it turns out, the cycle of an entire month does not have to happen for me to actually update my blog. As it turns out, this is more a post to detail some of my next few steps.

It’s no secret that I am always on the go. As it stands, I currently work one of five various jobs, usually several throughout the week, and often several in one day.

Among my many skills:
1.) Museum work
2.) Promotions work
3.) Freelance writing work
4.) Acting work
5.) Travel company work

The last three are more of a “as they come about” scenario. For me, that is often, and the schedule is always spontaneous and random, or in some cases, I control the hours. In other cases, I have set schedules with hours that I have to abide by to keep my clients happy. Such is the nature of my life. I don’t know if it’s a matter of “working harder” or “working smarter”.

During the month of June, I worked every single day, save one day I managed to pry for myself at the beginning of this last week (And the 4th of July, which I honestly wasn’t expecting until my schedule pointed it out). On my days off, that is usually to attend to the responsibilities that I have to in my personal life. This is everything from running errands to paying bills, to lining up more work, to having to keep on clients that try to adhere to the “I’ll pay when I feel like it” schedule, which is a major pet peeve of mine. You hire my professional services on a timely basis, then you should pay for my services on a professional timely basis. Sadly, my payments do not have the due date of “Whim” available as an option, which forces me to take on even more jobs to compensate.

In addition to all of this, are my own personal trials of late. I am having to watch one friend destroy everything in their life over something that they should have taken control of a long time ago. I am watching another friend have a part of their life destroyed over something that they have no control over. It’s heartbreaking to me in both cases, and I have been losing sleep for weeks over things like this.

There’s also the matter of being a “good friend”: i.e. Accepting invites to social events, lunches, movies, etc. – And being on such a tight schedule, I also have to schedule this in. I don’t agree with the philosophy of regulating friends to a “time factor”. I like to go out, enjoy my time, and see where the adventure goes, not cut it short just as it’s getting good. But more often than not these days, I have to do just that, or cancel altogether, which has gained me grief from people thinking that I am “flaky”, “unreliable”, or “uninterested”. I also have to make my home life click in order to make sure all the needs of my little family are met.

All of this may sound as more along the lines of complaining, or generating negativity, and I can see that. And it may very well be. But I am really writing this more as a way to vent and to detail an average day to day for me. As a result, I have become tired, irritable, somewhat reclusive, and frustrated with anything in my immediate sphere that does not run smoothly. Even writing for myself has become difficult for me. I sit and stare at the computer, and struggle to make the words come.

And in the case of the one friend who must decide what has the more value in their life, there has to be a point where one finds the strength within themselves to say “Enough”.

“Enough”.

I don’t think people say the word as often as they should, and I’m perhaps the most guilty of not knowing when to draw the line, but I realize that I have reached that point now. It came to me when I was going through some photographs of a place that I once grew up, and the feeling of longing became so strong that I thought it was going to burst through my chest like the Alien. I’ve been feeling tinges of it occasionally when trying to create some semblance of a plan for attending my high school reunion this Fall, but instead of keeping even remotely rational, the thought of going somewhere has been consuming every waking thought during the day, and keeping me up at night.

It’s been two years since my last vacation, during 2012′s jaunt to Burning Man. And adventure calls too strongly now. I am exhausted, and cannot think clearly. I need a break, and a moment to recharge, and I cannot maintain this schedule indefinitely, and I think something’s going to have to give. Again… “Enough”.

I am in the works of setting some tentative structure to a vacation plan. Something along the lines of reestablishing my roots and foundation, while granting me the chance to see something new. I miss the days of saying “Screw it”, and bounding out the door the very next morning, but having something to look forward to right now and away from everything monopolizing my thoughts might be the sense of hope that I so need right now.

I call “Enough”.

I have to.

Another Month of Adventures.

And so, here I am with another month’s hiatus due to working every day for the month of June. In counting, there was actually not a single day off that I had when I wasn’t doing some gig, film, or other task.

The month started out promisingly enough. I got cast as the lead of some “super secret” television project that will supposedly air in September on A&E. While I can’t divulge on plot details as of yet, I did play a fictionalized version of myself adventuring around Las Vegas. And while the interpretation of my character wasn’t 100% accurate to my day to day outings, the alcohol certainly was enough (and the resulting headache the next morning.

Still, the ride for the outing was nice enough.:

LIMOZEEN!

LIMOZEEN!

As the month progressed, and the days got hotter and hotter, I did have my usual assortment of adventures.

I saw two tribute bands at House of Blues: “Super Diamond” (Neil Diamond), and “Fan Halen” (Van Halen). Entertaining enough, I learned a few things whilst I was attending these two shows:

1.) I do not know these artist’s back catalog as well as I thought past the “Greatest Hits” fare.

2.) Older women were freaking out and having religious moments about these acts like they were the real thing. It wasn’t so much that they would have thrown their underwear at them per se, but I think if given the opportunity, they would have thrown their very eggs at them instead. They were getting REALLY hot and bothered about these acts, becoming a whole new level of the show itself.

Outside of the pounding biological clocks on display, the Neon Museum crew and I got up at some ungodly hour to gamble in a pop-up trailer and celebrate the brief reopening on the Moulin Rouge, which was the first racially integrated casino back in 1955.

The gang.  And doughnuts.

The gang. And doughnuts.

To be honest, there’s not a lot left of the place. Multiple fires have razed the property to the ground, and what’s left is in a bad neighborhood with only the merest of hints that something historical actually existed there.

The Moulin Rouge property.

The Moulin Rouge property.

Moulin2

But it was still interesting to see all the same.

E3 came and went, another year that I haven’t gone (and I’m getting the urge something terrible to go again), and in the midst of all the video gaming chaos held in Los Angeles, I did get to finish the pond in my backyard.

Stardust models the goods.

Stardust models the goods.

Then came the Licensing Expo, where I worked with one of the big video game companies, and was fitted for another huge costume (I like to call the bulky suits where you can barely move the “Tank Edition” of costumes).

I played this giant creature from some Pokemon/Digimon style game, while my gig partner Christal played a more recognizable character. The costume didn’t have much to offer in the way of visibility or mobility, but the client was really nice and cool to hang out with, and once the gig was over, we were free to tour the show floor.

Among our many travels we met the creator of those little “Homies” vending machine toys. While he thanked Christal for owning some of the toys over the years, he just naturally assumed that I wouldn’t own any. I found that to smack of stereotyping. Come on now, for all he knew, I could have dedicated the west wing of my home into a shrine for Homies, complete with ceremonial candles and a tambourine. Don’t tell me I’m not the targeted demographic.

….

Okay, so I’ve actually never owned any Homies, but I can still pick and choose where to be outraged.

I did, however, meet Grumpy Cat:

No.

No.

Also No.  And I fear that I am veering dangerously close to "duckfacing".

Also No. And I fear that I am veering dangerously close to “duckfacing”.

She’s so tiny! Eeeeee!

As the month of June wrapped, so did Mall Cop 2, leading into periodic acting opportunities for the last two months, and a solid number of days on set. One of the shoots even gave me an chance to check that new shopping area beside the Linq, and I have to admit: It’s actually nicer than what I was anticipating.

The final days have been trying to find ways to improve my general attitude for myself and for the immediate world around me. That’s a whole other post in itself, but I have been really rethinking about how I want to help people or improve life around me. Someone had pointed out earlier in the month that I seem to derive enjoyment out of helping other people, and I think there’s some truth to that. On the other hand, it’s also finding a way to maintain a fine balance out of “helping others” versus “being used”, because that line can be crossed very quickly here. I’m trying some new things. Let’s see what happens.

Today marks the first day of being off for a month. I think I’m going to spend the rest of my day doing… well, nothing, really.