Monthly Archives: June 2011

Day 128. Love, 15?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I have one weird, irrational phobia.

I am entirely weirded out by the idea, or reality of anything with a fuzzy texture having contact with my mouth. This goes for Kleenex, paper towels, and tennis balls, etc. I actually cringe as I write this, just thinking about it, especially tennis balls.

I encountered tennis balls a lot growing up, they were all over the house. My dad, was, and is, a college tennis coach, so I’ve always been around them. I don’t know what the circumstances were for them to have touched my mouth. Maybe, it was just one bad experience. I know that I couldn’t escape them, though. We all played tennis growing up and into college.

These days, I don’t play very often, although, every time I do I want to play more. On Tuesday, I saw an ad for a job opening at a tennis club in Beverly Hills for a front desk clerk, so I applied. Today, I got a call saying that I’ve got an interview for Thursday. Oh yeah. I have two interviews back to back, the tennis club and the Apple Store.

Now, let me make clear, just because I grew up around tennis, as a coach’s son in Iowa, does not mean I know the first thing about what to expect at a tennis club in Beverly Hills. I think you can become really involved in tennis in two ways. One, grow up with your dad as a coach so you can get free balls and play on public courts near your house. Two, you can be really rich and play at country clubs. I am not in the latter’s world…yet.

The woman asked me if I knew how to string racquets. Stringing racquets involves a specialized machine thing, it’s a pretty particular skill. We had a racquet stringing machine for awhile when I was in high school. I learned how to string a racquet and did it a total of two times. I then put that skill in the pile of other high school skills I wouldn’t ever use again like, how to use iambic pentameter, knowing what a protractor does, and farting into Nalgene bottles. I let my brother, Jon, take the stringing responsibilities.

When she asked me about stringing, I said, ” Oh geez, I did know how to, like fifteen years ago.” Then I remembered to be better at BS, so I said, “Yep. I know how to.”

Before my interview Thursday, I will shop for a sweater to drape around my neck, because that’s what they do at Beverly Hills tennis clubs, right? Right?

Like a toddler in a new environment, I will just have to be reminded around all those tennis balls, not to put everything in my mouth. If I do, I will freak out.



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Day 127. Ridiculous Search Engine Terms

Tuesday, June 29, 2011

I need to get a job. This is getting stressful. Today, I registered with another extras casting place because I’ve had no luck otherwise. While I was in there, Michelle waited in the car. We got a ticket while she sat there. Michelle tried to argue, but to no avail. $58. Woe is us.

Today, I applied for jobs as a valet, a front desk clerk, and an assistant. None of those excite me, but I would excitedly do any of them.

Let’s cheer this up a bit.

One of the great things about having a website is that  you get to see what search engine terms brought people to your website. I would like to share those with you. This is something that I used to do on my old website, The Mystery Hour (which I swear I have not abandoned and will post again).

For each search engine term, I will provide you with a disappointment rating the person must have felt upon being directed to my website.

Search Engine Terms

-girl sitting the bed. This is either missing an “on” between sitting and the, or an “h” in sitting. Either way, creepy. Disappointment level: Waking up to a girl watching you sleep.

-the foreign exchange student staying at my house was so hot. They all are. Disappointment level: Finding out the foreign exchange student is a distant relative.

-what is the name of a trick to discomfort someone? I believe it is called: Search For Ways to Discomfort Someone on the Internet, Then Tell Them About it. Disappointment level: Same as your current relationship status.

-studies about mooching.  It makes me supremely happy that the internet associates me with mooching, it does know all. Disappointment level: Recognizing it’s time to move out.

-what to wear for an interview at ben sherman. I have no idea, but whatever it is, make sure it’s tight. Proper blood circulation is frowned upon. Disappointment level: Trying on skinny jeans and remembering part way up that you have normal sized thighs.

-sitting here thinking about that time we were sitting in the back seat. just the three of us and how you put your arm around her. You should not have been there. The car may have had four wheels, but the back seat only had three. Disappointment level: Having to look out the window while they made out.

-average year for shaving facial hair. 1987. Disappointment level: Finding out you were born after the average year for shaving facial hair.

-i had to figure out myself before i figured out a mystery. Thanks for checking in, Scooby. Disappointment level: Fred’s ascot.


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Day 126. Confidence Restored?

Monday June 27, 2011

I had interview number 3 today of this week. This was for the Apple Store. It was the first one I was kind of excited about, so I was a little nervous. It was a group interview. Before this week, I had never done a group interview, now I have done three. I won’t go into too many details because I I would like to get this job. There were some good characters in the interview, but I will hold off on that as well. It lasted like three hours, and I think I did pretty well.

Let’s talk about confidence though.

After the interview I was really excited because it went well and I thought, “Oh yeah, I can be impressive and well spoken, I totally forgot about that.” I am by no means cocky, and never have been, you can ask my brother Jon, for whom I dedicated my don’t be cocky efforts when we were kids. However, I’ve always felt confident and I know what I’m good at and don’t really get intimidated by people or situations. Like a lot of adults, I’ve just felt like I have a baseline level of confidence.

As much as I would like to think that it is based only internally, I’ve realized that is not necessarily the case, because of the surprising nature of the feeling of confidence, meaning that it had been lacking. In my previous life, I had many instances in a given day, or week, that made me feel competent, or successful, or impressive. A few months ago, I mostly only had positive reinforcement and was surprised by few negative instances.

I guess doing job interviews that weren’t a fit, and being bypassed in auditions were speaking to me a bit. Given the void of positive situations career wise, the negative ones seeped into my confidence a bit. I think this can be why people searching for a job for months or years will get so discouraged, and people that are surrounded positive reinforcement don’t understand so well.

This is not to say I’m down and discouraged, I was just surprised by the surprise of feeling capable. I hadn’t lost confidence, I had just forgotten that I have confidence.

Later in the day, I got a call back for a one on one interview with Apple.

Then, Michelle and I went to have dollar tacos with some friends at a restaurant to celebrate Michelle’s birthday. Yes, she’s been here a little over a week. Yes, she already had people throw here a birthday party.



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Day 125. He’s Got to Be Naked Under That Towel

Sunday, June 26, 2011

I’m not sure why we were in a hotel lobby, but that is where we were for my second interview in a week. This time I was interviewing for a writing position with a magazine. It went pretty well, I think the guy liked me, so I will not give a play by play of it. Play by plays are for the interviews that I think I have no chance at. We’ll see.

We then went to church, and not much else the rest of the day. I stayed up super late capturing footage from old Mystery Hours to put together a hosting reel. Again, the reel is your video resume. Just like I currently have professional, acting, writing, retail, and serving resumes, I also have acting, commercial, voiceover, and now hosting reels. This is getting ridiculous. I’m tempted to make a Hey, Just Trust Me, I’d Be Perfect For You, Call Me reel and resume.

Since we didn’t do much today I will relay a story I forgot to share from Friday.

We were laying on the beach in beautiful Malibu. We had been laying there awhile and were talking after we had both been napping. When we had awoken from our slumber there were a lot more people on the beach. There was one guy in particular who was near us. He was middle aged, maybe a former surfer with somewhat scraggly blonde hair and his shirt off.

At a certain point, he got up and walked to the edge of the water. He caught my eye because he seemed to only be wearing a small towel.

Jeff: Hey, you think that guy’s naked under that towel?

Michelle: I don’t know

Jeff: $10 says he’s is.

Michelle: Yeah, it looks pretty weird

Jeff: He’s got to be naked under that towel.

As if on cue, the man bends over to feel the water with his hands.

Michelle and Jeff: Whooooaaaaaa! Aaaaaagggghhhh!

His bending over revealed his conch shell and hermit crabs.

Michelle:  That settles that.

Jeff: He appears to be a Philistine.

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Day 124. Save the Princess, Mario

Saturday, June 25, 2011

I went to a seminar put on by LA Casting today. It was in a senior citizen center. They’ve already decorated for 4th of July. The seminar was actually pretty good. The special guest was a woman who has directed many TV shows. She spoke about her experiences, brought a couple of actors along to demonstrate a scene, and answered questions.

My big takeaway: I have a ton to learn. I think we tend to take notice of things when they show us that we have a lot to learn, or that we’re good at what we do. The things in the middle just kind of happen and then pass by. Today was one of those, “Yikes, I have no idea what I’m doing moments.” It made me want to take some film acting classes and learn a lot more about the industry.

I kind of feel like Mario running to save the Princess. I’m running and jumping and making my way, sometimes I feel small, and sometimes I feel big, and other times, I even feel like I’ve got the super star and fire flower. and I’m in destructible. I’m picking off turtle shells and the little owl thingys. But, those are fleeting. Aways in, I’ll get knocked down and have to start over, but I don’t mind, I’m learning more each time. The next time through, I might miss the growing mushroom thingy, but I learned about the secret place down the pipe that has the coin free for all. Eventually, I make it to the end and I feel like, “Alright, I know this, I’ve got this down. I know what I’m doing here.” I jump and shimmy down the flagpole, run into the castle and they tell me, “The Princess is not here, she’s in another castle.”


I thought I had it figured out. It turns out there are a lot more levels and a lot more worlds. People are going to throw fireballs at me, I’m going to have to go through an underwater level, there are going to be creatures throwing hammers at me. There are going to be lava pits. The point is, every time I think I’ve got it down is when I learn how little I know and how long the process is. The only way to know more is to experience more and more.

But, the thing I might run my head into next will explode open revealing a mushroom, and I’m big again. Or, I may get a chance to warp ahead.

I’m just going to keep running my head into things and keep trying to slide down pipes to make sense of it all.

A Start A Start A Start A Start A Start


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Day 123. I Got a Sunburn For Your Birthday

Friday, June 24, 2011

From my childhood through today, there has always been one day every summer, early in the summer, that I forget and not wear sunscreen. After being outside for awhile I start to be able to feel my skin move on my face. I can feel the creases being made with different facial expressions. Then, the next morning I always waddle into the bathroom for the morning relieving, look in the mirror and think, “Dang it,”  and then waddle back to bed and fall asleep.

There are those that don’t really burn and wonder what a sunburn feels like. I will tell you, it feels like regret. All you had to do was simply and easily take 11 seconds to put a cream on your face. Not worth it.

Today, I got burnt. Michelle and I went to Malibu to El Matador beach. It was cool and cloudy for most of it, so I didn’t think about sunscreen, to the disapproval of my mother, I’m sure. I was wearing a hat, sunglasses, a hoodie, and shorts. So, I got the bottom part of my face burnt, I have a burn line a couple inches up my neck, and my shins are red. By the way, why do noses get more burnt than the skin surrounding them? Is it really because they’re like an inch closer to the sun? No way. By that reasoning, tall people would get burnt more. No way.

My burn was not the point of the day. The point of the day was that it was Michelle’s birthday. So, we went to Malibu to hang out on the beach, because she loves the beach and she can do whatever she wants on her birthday. We explored, napped, played catch with the frisbee, ate seafood, and sat looking at the waves. Perfect birthday for Michelle. For me, that would have only been a perfect birthday if there was more laser tag in that list.

We figured out that I have been around for 10 of her birthdays, more than a third of her life. Amazingly, we were able to recount all of them. The most infamous one was the first one when I got her a Detroit Lakes, MN t-shirt.

It was a white t-shirt.

That was too big.

I did not know her as well then.

For me, the ultimate gift is a one of a kind t-shirt, from a local store, that you wouldn’t be able to get anywhere else.

It was a bad gift.

She did not like it.

We had an argument.

Looking back, I think she was right.

Today was better.

Happy Birthday to my wife.

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Day 122. “Can You Give A Condescending Handshake? Cuz I Just Did.”

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Here’s the thing about being a struggling actor. If there is an audition you go to it. Even if it is far away and pays very little. Even if it means not going to a taping of the TV dance sensation, So You Think You Can Dance, with your wife. Even if it means being scoffed at by a small fantasy novel loving little man who is holding the audition.

So, Michelle had tickets to SYTYCD today, and I love both popping and locking, yet I could not go because I had an audition in Orange County for a GPS installation industrial. I was auditioning for the role of host, teaching people how to install their GPS antenna on a variety of surfaces.

I practiced some in the morning while sitting in bed. “THE IDEAL POSITION IS AS CLOSE TO THE GPS RECEIVER AS POSSIBLE, WHILE STILL PROVIDING LEAST A TWO HUNDRED AND SEVENTY DEGREE VIEW OF THE SKY.” I tried to sound knowledgeable and warm while I tried to imagine myself imagining what a 270 degree view of the sky looked like. I left without printing out the sides (the script for the audition) because I try not to print too much off of my host family’s printer, and because I had it on my phone, and because every audition I’ve been to has a pile of them to look at while you wait. This would come back to haunt me.

I hopped in my car for the hour plus drive to the audition. I practiced to myself in my car. “A HIGH EMI ANTENNA, FOR LOCATIONS THAT ARE SUBJECT TO A HIGH DEGREE OF ELECTROMAGNETIC INTERFERENCE”

I finally arrived at the place. Some auditions are held by casting directors on a studio lot, or in a nice audition room. Others are held at small places that seem to give off the air of, “we don’t really know what we’re doing.” Those usually are conducted by a guy who is desperate to give off the air of, “I know what I’m doing!”

I signed in at the receptionist’s desk as she got the guy holding the audition. He was fairly sloppy wearing khaki’s and a red polo shirt. He made up for his general sloppy appearance by buttoning his shirt all the way to the top.

From here, the story will be told by the vantage point of the guy holding the audition. The facts remain the same.

Oh great, the receptionist just told me that another person is here to host. I was just going to get twinked by a warlock in WoW. I’d be ticked off if she wasn’t so hot. I better go greet him. 

“Hi, I’m Jeremy,” I say holding my hand out. Oh geez, I’ve been holding my hand out for like a minute and he’s still signing in on the clipboard. Bad sign.

“Hi, Jeff,” he says to me. His hands smell like Strawberry Shortcake Extra Dessert Gum.

We walk back to the audition room. When I say, “room,” what I really mean is an alcove in a well trafficked hallway. I sit down and look up at him. He doesn’t seem to understand my body language. Idiot.

“Say your name to the camera,” I explain.

“Jeff Houghton,” he says.

Then, he lays this one on me, “I don’t have sides with me, I just have them on my phone.”


All I can muster is, “Okay, great. Great,” in as sarcastic tone as I can possibly say it. I make a marking on my clipboard.

He starts in. Not bad actually, for an idiot. However, he has to keep looking down at his phone to get the next line. Bush league.

I’m going to screw with him.

“Okay, now let’s see it like you’re really trying to sell it to me,” I say. He pretends like he’s excited for it. He has no idea that I’m just screwing with him because I see him as a composite character of all the people that picked on me in my childhood and screwing with this yahoo is my one chance to get back at all of them.

He obliges. His idea of “selling it,” is to just speak louder. Moron.

“Okay, now let’s see it like you’re speaking to a room of kindergartners.” That was the age it all went downhill for Jeremy. It’s not my fault my shorts ripped, it was bad stitching. Stop calling me The Crack.

His kindergartner voice is a little creepy.

“Okay, now let’s see it like you’re speaking to a room of PhDs.” He’s actually going to do it. In what scenario would you be speaking to a room of PhDs about GPS installation? Imbecile. That one is for mocking my jeans in 8th grade. How was I supposed to know they were girl’s jeans? They were all on the clearance rack together.

Room full of PhDs to this idiot apparently means talk like a robot.

Now, I’ll really screw with him some more.

“There were more to the sides after the first one I sent out,” I say.

“Really?” I didn’t get them says the pale rider. I like to see him squirm.

I am sure to communicate to him that that is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard a human being say. Then, get this, I hand him a paper with the sides on it. It has the new stuff and the stuff he was just stammering his way through trying to read off his phone. I’ve had them the whole time! I just wasn’t giving them to him! I wasn’t using them, I was just holding them! Take that! Maybe now you’ll believe that I spilled my milk and did not pee my pants in 5th grade. It was milk! It was milk.

He reads through the new stuff as people walk by, since they only gave me a hallway alcove to conduct the auditions.He seems flustered.

Can you give a condescending handshake? Because if you can, I just did.


Jeremy wins.

It’s me, Jeff, again. That’s exactly how it went. After my four minutes of auditioning, I went back to the car and drove an hour and a half back home. We went to our friends, Evan and Kerstin’s house for dinner in Santa Monica. They are the opposite of Jeremy. It was nice.

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