Sunday, April 24, 2016

Smells Like My Childhood

I just tried dry shampoo for the first time yesterday.  Where have you been all my life??  Why did I wait so long to try you??  Actually, I can answer that last question.

Ever since my stylist mentioned dry shampoo (like five years ago), I've had the notion in my head that it was akin to dumping a box of corn starch on your head:  powdery, messy, and ultimately not worth the bother.  And I've had that thought until just last week when I saw a rather hilarious commercial:

As you can see (and hear), it mentions dry shampoo and shows women using -- wait, what's that?  An aerosol can??  I needed to rethink my whole stance on dry shampoo because let's face it:  I don't wash my hair everyday.

Maybe I should have warned you before dropping that bomb.

But I don't.  Many of us don't.  In fact, you shouldn't.  Washing your hair everyday is hard on it and can strip it of the natural oils it needs to be healthy, but sometimes those oils get out of control and your hair looks wet even when it's not (ew).  Dry shampoo is perfect for that.  Or for mornings when you don't have time to shower and simply take a whore's bath (sponging yourself off and/or using a "wipe" of some kind) instead.  Don't lie.  You know you've done it.

Yesterday when running errands, I added "dry shampoo" to my list (yes, I use a list).  But what kind?  What brand?  Trying new things is scary!  Only one of my go-to, recognizable brands had a dry shampoo, which I nearly bought.  But another -- a brand I had never heard of -- had their bottles tagged with "UK's #1 dry shampoo" in several different scents.  Like a total redneck, I took off the cap in the store and sprayed just a tiny bit so I could smell it.  Not bad!  And I bought it.

I used it later in the day at home, a sort of test run before going in public with this.  I hadn't washed my hair since Thursday, so it was a good day to try.

Results:  It's still powdery.  In fact, it's still a powder (which makes sense when trying to absorb oils...because science!).  But it's an aerated powder -- aerated?  Aereolized?  That sounds like something you do to become a redheaded mermaid with nipples.  It's in a spray can, goddammit.

Mermaids are not in the market for dry shampoos.
As such, they're not kidding when they say to hold the can 12" away from your hair and to also brush your hair when done to get rid of any excess.  I did both, and I still may have overdone it a little.  But it was miraculous!  Suddenly, you wouldn't have guessed I hadn't washed my hair in more than 48 hours!

And the scent!  The bottle said "cherry," but it doesn't smell like an actual cherry so much as it smells like a toy from 1980s that was supposed to be cherry-scented.  Something in my childhood smelled just like this (not necessarily a bad thing).  I kept sniffing my hair because I enjoyed it so.

 Batiste Dry Shampoo in Cherry
The cons:  If you're not careful, it will look like you dumped some cornstarch or baby powder on your roots because of the powder.  And wow, it really makes my gray hairs stand out adds to your highlights!  And if you run your fingers through your hair too many times, they will feel all powdery, too.  Clearly, this is not for everyday use, but I may be hooked.  If you catch me sniffing my hair, you can bet it was a dry shampoo day.

News Flash:  Just now, while looking for images, it appears they make a dry shampoo with "a touch of color" for redheads!!!  We may be on to something here, folks.

(But still not mermaids)

Friday, April 22, 2016

Hedwig Recap

Lately in my theatre life, I'm on the lookout for things that are new (specifically, new to ME)  -- but more on that later.

Filed in this "new" category was Hedwig and the Angry Inch.  Hedwig is a fantastic show; I've known the soundtrack by heart for years.  The director of this current production wanted the show to be as interactive as possible, including but not limited to:  having the theatre's bar practically on the stage.  Hedwig runs 90+ minutes with no intermission, so there's not a good place for people to get drinks.  Plus, the setting of Hedwig is a dive bar, so the director decided he wanted to have a bartender "in character," so to speak, for the run of the show.  Enter Leonard.

It's been a lot of fun and a lot of work.  My bartending instincts are all about the work:  go, go, go!  Pour those drinks, get that cash, who's next in line? Move along, people, I ain't got all night!  The director said I could be a surly and rude bartender, so basically this was just me.  Bartending.  Exactly how I was when I was a bartender (my Unit can attest).

My actor instincts were at war with the bartending ones:  STFU, people, Hedwig is acting!  Why are you so loud during this intense, quiet part of the show??  Fuck, ice cubes are loud!  Get out of my way, patrons, I have to do acting things right now.

So yeah, a lot of work, especially on sold-out nights.  And trying to explain what I do in this show since I'm not in this show is also a treat.  But one of my favorite things, other than enjoying the rocking performances each night (whilst slinging drinks), has been the random shit people have said or done during this very unique show each night.  So here are The Hedwig Diaries:

The six people each night who ask "Is that supposed to be smoking?"  (The smoke machine is built into the bar; Leonard gets to push the button during "Angry Inch" each night.)  First I tried being polite:  "Yes, but thank you for noticing."
Then I started to get annoyed:  "Yes.  It's fine.  It's supposed to do that."
And finally, sassy:  "Something's smoking?  Oh, it's just me."

Patron (trying to find a seat before the show):  "Has anyone said yet that you're distracting?"
Me (with a shit-eating grin):  "Only in the best possible way."

Patron (after the show):  "You were great!  I could tell you were a woman from the beginning."
Me:  "Thank you...?"

Patron ordering a drink:  "I want a screwdriver.  Don't forget the screw!"
Me (after pouring drink):  "A screwdriver with extra screw," and I flipped him off while handing him his drink.

Patron ordering a drink:  "Do you have any fruit?"
Me:  "There's tons of fruit here.  Look around.  For drinks, though, I only have lime."

Drunk Patron in the lobby (with show still happening): "Oh, Firecrotch1, you're awesome!"
Me:  "Thank you."
Drunk Patron:  "This is so much fun!  Are you always with them?"
Me;  "I do work often with this theatre, yes."
DP:  "No, but I mean, do you travel around with Hedwig and the band and stuff?"
Me:  (beat)  "They're all local actors who auditioned for this show and were cast."
DP:  "You mean this isn't a traveling show??"
Me:  "No, we're all local."
DP:  "Oh wow!  I'm a bit drunk."
Me:  "I know."
DP:  "And I love you!"  (hugs me and stumbles back to her seat)

It was one for the record books, doing everything from pouring drinks, headbanging to "Angry Inch," catching flying shoes, and trying not to ruin my make-up during "Midnight Radio."
No, YOU'RE crying!

I'm sorry if you missed it.

1What Hedwig deigned to call me. Yes, really.

NPH as Hedwig performing "Surgar Daddy"
(At the 2014 Tonys, not Leonard's production)

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Regarding Henry

Hardcore Henry opened this weekend.  I saw the preview for it when I went to see Deadpool not too long ago.  And while I've not seen the movie (and probably won't), I have thoughts to share just based on the preview.

The concept itself is intriguing; the film is billed as a "first-person action film," and I think we often forget in film what "first person" really means.  Even in some novels-turned-films, the first person narrative ends up being one of limited third person in the film treatment (see The Hunger Games trilogy of books/films for a recent example).  So a film really and truly shot from the first person perspective is kind of new or, at the very least, unusual.

Her eyes are UP HERE, Handsy-Man.
The trivia for Hardcore Henry says it was "nearly" shot entirely on GoPro Hero3 Black Edition cameras, so it truly is first-person.  You, the audience, are seeing things from Henry's perspective -- and that's a very limited perspective.  Unless the character is looking into a mirror (which he sometimes does), we (the audience) do not even know what he looks like.  We see his hands, his feet, and the various objects and body parts that go flying by.  Hardcore Henry appears to be the film version of any first-person shooter video game out there  (Halo, Left 4 Dead, Fallout, even Skyrim, etc.).  So, in theory, we know how it should look and feel.  In theory.

But here's why it doesn't (or probably won't) work:  it's too much for we weak humans to handle.  Our eyes (and brains) cannot keep up at that speed.  We cannot register the movement; it all becomes a blur.  There is a reason fight and stunt choreography for film happens at a (slightly) slower pace than real movements:  because we cannot see it1.  In that same vein, film shot and edited from a more third person perspective allow the viewers to see all of the action and at a pace our tiny brains can register.

While all of Henry's action may be happening in real-time or at least from a perspective that looks and feels like real-time, I have my doubts that it will make for a satisfying audience experience (that doesn't end in nausea, or worse).  I find the concept intriguing since, as I said before, we rarely (if ever) get true "first person" in film, but just because something is "new" or "never done before" doesn't necessarily make it "good."  It makes it a gimmick.  And it's definitely "gimmicky" if the piece of art itself has nothing else in its favor (for a film, things like:  an interesting plot, characters who are not flat, well-written dialogue, etc.).

So far, my predictions for the film seem to have come true.  And being the feminist I am, I giggled at this unfavorable review:
"This movie doesn't just whiff on the Bechdel test; it bubbles in a picture of a penis on the Scantron and high-fives itself on the way out."

Now if the Henry producers could make something like this with a decent plot, characters, dialogue and maybe slightly less (nausea-inducing) action, that could really be something.  In the meantime, we'll have to satisfy those urges elsewhere.

I will PUNCH THIS DOOR if I have to!

1I would add that contemporary films are starting to move even "too fast" now.  Compare something like Tim Burton's Batman to Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins.  The action of Burton's film is almost laughable compared to Nolan's (granted, Burton was going for a more comic book feel than Nolan's dark and gritty take, but still).  And I use that as a specific comparison because I've worked the fight choreographer from Batman Begins; I've learned some of those sequences.  And even then, he taught us how to slow down a bit so both the film and human eye can follow; even at that speed, the film itself is sometimes "too fast" (for me at least) to keep up.

Sunday, April 10, 2016


Dear Nyx:

I received your "Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick" last month via ipsy.  And holy fluorescent lips, Batman!  You must have named the shade "Pink Lust" because "Neon Highlighter Pink" just didn't have the same ring to it.  As I stated in my original review, even I (as an actor) have no use for NEON FUCKING PINK lipstick.

And then I thought Maybe I should try it in case I like the formula?  They do have other shades available.  So I did.  And it was still FUCKING NEON.  The "liquid suede cream" did feel nice, though, so I put another, much darker shade of lipstick over it.  The two made an interesting combination, and I went about my business as punk-rock-bartender for a show.

I was, at first, pleasantly surprised when the show was over, and I hadn't eaten off all of my lipstick.  Cool!  Then I got home and washed off my make-up before bed.  Or at least, tried to.  My lips were still bright pink, despite practically scrubbing them raw.

The next morning my lips were still stained pink.  In total, it took sixteen hours, washing my face three times with three different cleansers, and then exfoliating my fucking lips before I was able to remove 99.9% of the hot pink remnants.

I like a comfortable, long-lasting lipstick as much as the next person, but I cannot foresee an instance where I need my lip color to last for almost twenty-four hours.  Needless to say, I will not be purchasing any "liquid suede" in the future, no matter the shade.

Before the Lip Stain Incident of 2016, Leonard had considered giving this one to a drag queen friend (maybe she has use for such a color?), but even I'm not that mean.  I will, however, hold onto it in case all of my highlighters mysteriously dry up the next time I need to mark my lines in a script.  Or I need to write something down that I don't want to ever fucking fade away EVER.

Actual color, but not Leonard's actual lips.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Cysts, Cancers, and Colons

This week's post is brought to you by the letter "C"!  And yes, it is all about bodily functions, so consider this your TMI warning.

 I know I have written about my battle with chronic pain and ovarian cysts before, but there's more:  almost two years ago, I went to the doctor because, in the course of approximately two months, I had lost 13% of my total body weight, unintentionally.  And while it was fun for a bit that some clothes I hadn't worn in a decade suddenly fit again, any medical provider will tell you that losing even 5% of your body weight in under a year (unintentionally) is cause for alarm and, at the very least, a doctor's visit.  And it became less fun when the majority of my clothes literally fell off me.  So I went to the doctor.  And she began a series of tests after checking me physically for lesions and asking about my family medical history because, hey, unexplained weight loss is often a sign of cancer.

What followed were several blood tests, an X-ray of my chest, and a combination endoscopy and colonoscopy, among other things.  Leonard did not have cancer of the colon or even polyps, as originally suspected.  But the pain and bloating were increasing.  So we moved on to other parts of the body -- namely, the female parts.  Leonard's cysts were back in action, one ovary was larger than the other, and there was that pesky polyp (named "Ted") still hanging out.

The new OB/GYN conducted more ultrasounds, and a new (to me) procedure called a hysterosonography, and did I mention that Leonard was doing a show throughout all of this?  A showing  on a moving fucking bus??  So yeah, that hurt.  A lot.

Then Leonard had surgery to remove "Ted" (and his previously unnoticed roommate), check for endometriosis, and look for interstitial cystitis (cysts in the bladder).  There were no ovarian cysts at the time of surgery (they had probably burst or been reabsorbed), and surprisingly, no endometriosis.  My bladder was "okay but not great."  I was just barely at the standard level for number of mL my bladder could hold.  The photos taken showed lots of teeny tiny broken blood vessels, but nothing bad enough for an "official" diagnosis (just something to watch).  She did notice that my sigmoid colon "seemed enlarged," which can happen if one is often constipated.

Removing Ted & Co. made a huge difference in my quality of life.  I no longer have to call off of work because of my period and the pain it causes.  I no longer throw huge, dollar-sized clots or have to change a tampon at least once (sometimes twice) during the middle of the night because of the amount of blood I'm hemorrhaging.

After the couple of weeks it took me to fully recover from outpatient surgery, I felt good.  Really good.  I don't think I had realized how much pain I had been in until it wasn't there anymore.  I would put off certain chores like cleaning the litterboxes and taking out the trash not just because they're gross, but because they would exhaust me.  I could do them (and other things) now without feeling completely spent afterwards; I could bend and move without pain.

A few months after that, some of the pains came back.  And the bloating.  OH THE BLOATING.  Painful bloating where Leonard's clothes couldn't fit.  Pain and bloating associated with (painful) ovulation shouldn't last more than a day (often not even that).  The OB/GYN suggested a new GI doctor.  The OB/GYN also pointed out that a clean colonoscopy just means there aren't polyps in my colon; it doesn't necessarily mean my colon is working correctly or any number of other things.

After a series of three tests, the GI doctor diagnosed Leonard with SIBO:  Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth.  We've since learned that it's not all that uncommon.  2 weeks of antibiotics, 4 weeks of probiotics.  She also gave me a list of the "low FODMAPS diet."  (Don't ask Leonard what "fodmaps" stands for; I have no idea.)  The GI doctor cautioned that said diet must be followed strictly for at least four weeks in order to see if it's helping (it doesn't always help everyone).  As this was now November 2015, she recommended waiting until after the New Year so I didn't "ruin my holidays."  (Without even telling her, she seemed to know that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday just due to the food.)  Funnily enough, many of the low fodmaps foods are things I already eat, so I didn't have high hopes for that.

Fast forward to just last week:  the pains (on the left side) are back.  I'm not ovulating.  Maybe I'm just constipated?  I'm a little constipated?  Why would constipation cause a pain in that particular spot?  I wondered.  And then I remembered what the OB/GYN had said about my sigmoid colon.  So I did a quick Google search of female anatomy:  where is the sigmoid colon in relation to the ovaries?

Copyright Amicus Visual Solutions

Jesus fucking Christ, it's right there!  LOOK AT IT!!  The pain I've been having, on and off, for the greater part of three years may have been caused by needing to poop.

Okay, I'm sure there have been other factors; the OB/GYN was sure to point out that because so many things have similar symptoms and overlap (sometimes literally physically), that we have to peel back the layers one by one, dealing with each issue singularly.  But FUCK!  Couldn't someone have searched like I did and said, "Hey, look at that!  Those two organs are touching.  That probably hurts!"

A dear friend, in response to something else, recently said, "That's why they call it 'practicing medicine.'"  Indeed.

So those are my bodily functions for the past 18+ months in a nutshell.  I have gained back all of the weight I lost due to exhaustion and surgery, and I'm not happy about it.  Exhaustion is setting in again, and it may be time to reevaluate my schedule of back-to-back-to-back shows/projects in addition to a 40-hour work week.  But I won't be able to do that until my schedule is free the end of September 2016.