Thank you for showing me a deep, eternal truth about myself: I’m better than you are. I’m a better human and a better man.
I sometimes feel really low and vulnerable; a mere meat-puppet, a commodity. Like there’s little more to me than a well-placed “eeyup” to prove my dimention or relevance. I’m shit, is what I think sometimes. In showing me that that’s all I’m worth to you, you’ve proven to me that I still believe I’m more than that. In your exploitation of my indignity you’ve single handedly reminded me that dignity and self-worth remain strong voices in my inner life. And that these things are my strength. You’ve reminded me I’m strong. So: thanks.
I remember you, you know. I’d been drinking, I’ll admit, so it’s vague. I’d also just been working for thirteen hours so it was feeling nice to be cutting loose. You were in black I think, but honestly it could have been any colour. I remember zipping up my pants and turning from the urinal and seeing you there, standing in an awkward place in the room, too far from the sinks or towel dispensers. You were facing me. It flashed across my mind that maybe you’d just taken a picture of me while I’d been peeing or something, but I dismissed it as fast as I thought it. Who would dare be so base; so low and disrespectful; so childish? No one, surely. My imagination, I decided. I think we nodded at one another. You pretended to dry your hands. Or maybe you were putting away the camera and I simply substituted what I expected to see. Doesn’t matter: I washed my hands and left the room. I’d forgotten you entirely by the time I got back into the panel.
If I’d known how much you’d impact me later I’d have instead kicked your balls right out of your mouth and tied them to a pipe while I flushed your camera down the shitter as you watched. I’m so glad I didn’t though. Partly because of my position on violence, and I’d hate to be inconsistent, but mostly because there were so many great lessons to learn in the wake of your cheap voyeurism.
See it’s not the picture itself. As creepshots go it’s pretty terrible. I’m not in yoga shorts. You can’t see my dick. I’m not really even all that attractive, I don’t think, so I’m not sure who would want to see it. My pants are sagging pretty unfortunately down my butt, and my posture is a disgrace. So again I’m pleased with the dual lesson here to straighten up and save up for some new clothes. Rather, it’s the very act of having taken it. I’d simply never have done the same to you. I hope they write “proud sneaker of pics in men’s rooms” on your tombstone, because it won’t be on mine, and that’s proof enough that I’m better than you are. Thank you.
I also want to thank you, and your “friend” (I assume he and you are the same guy?), for my lesson in assertiveness. Do you ever walk away from a situation and think to yourself, “THAT’S what I should have said!” Me too. But not this time! Your indiscretion was so vile that the right words came swimming to my lips like siren song to a sailor’s doom. You- I mean your “friend” – showed me the picture and asked your inane question and without even thinking I said, “That’s shitty,” and, “Tell your friend he’s an asshole,” both of which are incontrovertible truths, as well as being a fantastic exit line. And the real glee here is that the elevator gaped for me as if on cue and I left your “friend” speechless and wilting like the gormless hap he (read: you), apparently is. Anytime I think back on the situation I replay it exactly as it happened, it was that perfect for me. The only way it could have been better was if it had never happened at all, but as you know, you made that unlikely. So again: Confidence boosted.
Ego, too, though I wonder here if you lost a bit of foresight with the lesson you were trying to teach me. My ego is healthy enough. Some might say too healthy. Alas, you taught me that I’m so important to you that it’s worth owning a picture of me urinating. And more than that, I’m so important and meaningful to you that you felt like all your 4chan friends would be impressed by you because you got to be near me in a bathroom while I had my cock in my hand. And some of them are impressed, too! Wowzers. So many people impressed that celebrities piss too! I want to congratulate you and all your – I’m sorry I’m not up on the lingo for what to call loathsome 4chan anons; I’ve heard “losers” but I was pretty sure “nitwits…’ I’m going with: dickwits: ego boosted, though like I say, I don’t know if it needed it. In any case. It’s a win for you.
Lastly, I want to thank you for violating me. And it was a violation. Totally. I know because I feel embarrassed, hurt, angry, confused, like it’s my fault, and all of the things someone usually feels when they’ve been assaulted. I’m grateful because it opened my eyes to the inequality within me. See it never even occurred to me to call the police because I’m a man. It wasn’t until it was pointed out to me later that if you had creeped on any of the women the way you creeped on me, the first thing would have been to call the police. And it’s thanks to you that I’m ready to do that next time. Also it’s thanks to you that I’ll be taking stricter precautions: no more going to the same toilets as fans. Or perhaps I’ll have bathrooms cleared for me and guarded while I’m in them. And maybe I should go all out and insist on cons having a police presence.Or I may just cancel all further appearances. I’m considering it all, thanks to you.
I never thought I’d be that person at Brony cons. Bronies have always been so good to me. So thank you most of all for making realize that a gentle, warm, welcoming, tolerant, and beautiful community I have adored for years is actually a thing I should fear. Suspicion is the lesson here. Because you could be anyone.
I hope you’re proud of yourself.
It’s been 2 days since the attacks in Paris and I haven’t said anything. I haven’t changed my icon to the French flag. I haven’t hashtagged a social media prayer and fired it across the Atlantic. I’m not sure I should say anything.
We just celebrated Remembrance Day not so long ago, on November 11th. We fell dutifully silent at eleven am and spent two minutes reflecting on those Canadians who’ve lost their lives in the service of ensuring our freedom, particularly those who fell in the Great War. A very small moment, but an important one nonetheless.
Hey, pop quiz: Which war was the Great War? You ought to know this if you don’t. Small hint: It was also called the war to end all wars. Big hint: it ended on November 11th, ninety seven years ago. Answer: It was World War 1. And yet how many have died in war, and who continue to do so to this day? I don’t even want to google the answer to that one, for fear I’ll explode.
World War One was brutal and devastating. It was thought, rather naively in hindsight, that surely after the human race had borne witness to its horror, there could never be another soul who would want to plunge us into such tragedy ever again. And yet we do. Over and over and over and over. Hitler, Hussein, Bush/Quayle, Bush/Cheney, Pol Pot, the LRA, Al Qaida, Marcos, Pinochet, and many many others of many other nationalities and political stripes have made the choice to plunge us headlong into violence in the hope of… what? An economic edge? Racism? Rebellion?
I suppose any of these motivations are valid ones for war. What I question is the validity of war itself. Now I know what some of you are thinking: what happened in Paris wasn’t war, it was terrorism.
Was what happened in Baghdad beginning on March 21, 2003 war or terrorism? I think that depends on what side of the fence your feet are planted. War if you’re a westerner, but terrorism if you’re an Iraqi.
I say all this not to cause outrage in my readers, nor to create political divisions. I’d be as critical of leftists resorting to the same lies and violence as Bush/Cheney. Mao was guilty, too, after all. Violence is the issue here, not politics, so calm your hot head (if you have one right now), and let’s move forward. The point:
For the perpetrators of violence – whether they be presidents or suicide bombers – for them, it’s almost always war. Violence as a tool for a larger cause (however just), is war and terrorism. I’m sick as hell of people calling them different things. The War on Terror, ought to be more accurately called a War on War. The absurdity of it is more clear if you think of it that way. We’re going to get boots on the ground and bombs in the air to fight people that resort to getting boots on the ground and bombs in the air.
Now you may be thinking, “but you have to fight fire with fire.”
Another completely stupid phrase. If you fight fire with fire, you get a bigger fire. Period.
We are one people. I’m sick to death of fighting fire with fire. We have done it throughout human history. It doesn’t work, obviously, and the only way to stop is to just… stop. Stop it.
I used to have survivor guilt. I used to feel embarrassed to still be living with the knowledge that someone undeserving had been murdered in terror. Not anymore. Now I just feel defeated. But there’s a new deeper feeling: anger.
Paris made me angry. But so did Newtown. And Beirut. And Iraq. And New York. And every other time ever that an innocent life was taken in the name of religion, race, economics, freedom, or whatever other bullshit gets stuffed down our throats so that those with power can line their pockets with missile defence money and post-war security patrol contracts. It used feel like a vague and disputable anger. But now it’s a raw and pure.
So I won’t say anything about Paris, because talking about Paris lends validity to the murderers. Murderers deserve no such thing as validity, or notoriety. Paris was attacked by “some dicks” and her people shall respond by drinking, laughing, cooking beautiful food, and living aloud through the grief. We should all do the same, for every injustice, rather than colouring our Facebook profiles and pretending that doing so is meaningful to anyone but yourself.
This blog was going to be all about how I failed to write all week. How I failed to eat well. How I just failed. I should feel guilty, but I don’t. I go into next week with fury. If some misled dicks who think they’re at war can kill and hurt so many in my favourite city in the world, nearly a century after the war to end all wars, then it can kill or hurt any of us, anywhere. I have decided to speak up and speak out in favour of global disarmament, and criticize violence wherever it rears itself. Fuck you, violence; Fuck you. You’re done.
I ask you, humans: are we really still angry toddlers? Or is it time for us to grow into human adults? You ought to know better, war mongers. You ought to know better, presidents and kings. You ought to know better, extremists, gunmen, racists. Shame on you, you spoiled, shitty children.
Soul Coughing Irresistible Bliss Super Bon Bon: “Move aside and let the man go through, let the man go through.”
Radiohead The Bends Just: “You do it to yourself, you do, and that’s what really hurts. You do it to yourself, just you, you and no one else.”
Rheostatics Melville Record Body Count: “Joey stepped up on a block of ice, put the rope around his neck, fell asleep before he died.”
Ok that may seem morbid so stick with me-
It’s widely known that the second album is more difficult than the first. So often a band gets known for some songs they’ve thrown together in the garage and toured and they’re in love with the music and the success. And then suddenly the pressure is on to create all new stuff just like it, and it becomes daunting, difficult, demoralizing work.
But they do the work. They craft a new voice, more musically interesting work perhaps, and it gets panned- I think simply because it isn’t the same as what’s come before.
I think the same is true of any art. Of drawing, painting, acting, writing, what have you. When it’s easy, you feel like you could do it forever. When it’s hard, every brushstroke, word, or movement is all wrong, a failure, false.
But art requires time, not merely creation and consumption. In retrospect the sophomore album is often terrific, sometimes plainly better than the primary effort (fyi: this is clearly the case for Radiohead and Rheostatics, though while still an excellent album in it’s own right, Soul Coughing’s first album Ruby Vroom is quite obviously their masterpiece.)
I selected the quotes above because they represent a circle. (It’s a stretch, but here we go) The artistic process is fraught with resistance. It gets bogged down, and left unattended, it dies. But with attention and the commitment to fight the myriad impulses that tell one to stop, it will start strong, become difficult and introspective, and through a kind of death of the compulsion to explore the particular theme, the art itself is somehow born.
Last week was my charge ahead (move aside and let the man go through) – and it was reasonably successful, at that! I wrote daily, commencing detailed character work on a new television project I’d like to one day produce, and also beginning the work of adapting one of my prolific father’s unpublished manuscripts as a film (maybe animated, for kids- maybe live action, maybe more grown up? Aha! Something to discover!).
This week represents the beginning of the second stage (you do this to yourself, you do.). This stage may last weeks, even months. It’s the beginning of the long uncharted second act. I don’t know what will happen with this work, if it will be any good, if it will resonate or be relevant, or if I’ll even complete it.
Eventually, if I can avoid the pitfalls of resistance, I’ll enter that third stage (Joey stepped up on a block of ice…) wherein the work is finally presented (…put the rope around his neck…).
I also went last night to the UBCP/ACTRA awards – my third nomination! The award went to Brian Drummond, and deservedly so. But it also marks my third defeat in the category. Now- a good time was had by all, and nobody is ever sore at these things. That’s all beside the point. The show itself, however, represents my arrival at the third stage. The work is speaking for itself. Recognition is this kind of after-the-fact thing that is hard to get a grasp on. You appreciate it. The honor is real. But it isn’t really you being lauded. It’s not the you who takes out the trash, or has to plunge a toilet, or who cries sometimes, or who gets angry without provocation, or who wants to lose weight, or who feels insecure in crowds – it’s just the you who showed up to work one day, and who acted well for a few hours, such that a hundred other people could do the jobs of turning that simple vocal track into a visual performance worth nominating. It’s a tiny fraction of the deep and complex you, and it was so many days and nights ago that it may not even be alive in you anymore (…and fell asleep before he died.)
Which leaves an arc of the circle undrawn.
Laurie Anderson Lincoln Cage & Aquarium: “Sun’s coming up like a big bald head…. I turn around, and it’s fear. I turn around again, and it’s love…. All of nature talks to me. If I could just figure out what it was trying to tell me.”
There is a new horizon every morning. There’s new art to make, new things to discover, and new difficulties, as always, to overcome. Tomorrow I have to be a flock of chickens.
So that’s new.
Continue writing daily
Back in 2011, before all of this started, I was forty pounds overweight, and four months shy of my 40th birthday. I wrote a blog called Forty In Four By Forty wherein I detailed my quest to lose that weight by then, and I did ok too. I was still trying to make a mark on the world, create something for which I’d be remembered, get famous!
I was living in a mouldy basement suite that I rented with my then partner and our small daughter. We were broke mostly and I would take walks in the rain and wonder what else I could do with my life because acting was not paying the bills. But by the summer of 2012, I was 35 pounds lighter. I was in New York. And I was Horsefamous.
For the uninitiated: I play 20+ Characters on the hit animated show My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, most notably a monosyllabic apple farmer named Big McIntosh. The show has a fandom called Bronies, mostly adult men, who have been hosting meetups, gatherings and large conventions to celebrate the show. I’ve been lucky enough to have attended more than 20 of these conventions on three continents. I’m greeted like a celebrity, and in the vernacular of the fandom that makes me a famous horse, notable among horse fans, aka “Horsefamous.” I find the term endearing. It’s been a heady and exciting ride, often difficult to navigate but mostly deliciously fun.
But as with everything, the bloom wears off and the business of getting on with one’s actual life resumes. I no longer live in a mouldy basement (hooray!), nor with that partner (…yaaay…), nor my beautiful daughter 100% of the time (Boo!). I’ve also regained all that weight and I’ve just turned 44 (…collapses…). I haven’t had a steady income since recordings stopped on season 4 of Littlest Pet Shop in the summertime so I can barely afford food. I say this not to elicit sympathy, but just to elucidate the realities behind the fiction of celebrity- being an actor is hard, inconsistent, unreliable and just as often destitute as it is lucrative. So here I am: Broke, hungry and taking walks in the rain and wondering what else I could do with my life to make ends meet. Sounds familiar.
Now it’s not all dire. I have work lined up for January. And things trickle in. And things change in a heartbeat, too. I could get a call on Monday telling me that I have work enough to pay for Christmas. Or not. Who knows? But one cannot plan a life waiting on a phone that may or may not ring. And I’ve spent the last few months in hope and idleness, waiting on just that. Meanwhile the bills -and the debts- pile up, and the weight piles on.
So: What to do?
Well, in part inspired by my new love’s recent effort to draw every day, and in part by my own history in writing as a form of personal growth and motivation, I’ve decided that starting today, November first, I will write daily (like I used to do!). This will take the following form: Sunday I will update this blog with my weekly progress towards fitness, creation, and solvency through tales of misadventure and distraction. Monday through Saturday I will generate scripts for original films and TV shows (like I used to do), with an eye to actually producing things instead of letting them sit in a drawer (if anyone wants a screenplay to produce I’ve got about six dusty ones I can show you). And throughout I’ll be eating better and doing more and reporting back on my progress.
This week’s goals:
1. Write a blog (check)
2. Log meals (I’ll explain that next time)
3. Write daily (self explanatory)
4. Be active daily (instead of be-in-a-chair-playing-candy-crush-on-my-phone-because-I-feel-like-holding-it-might-make-it-ring-daily)
Ok, that’s it. Thanks for reading. And thank you for coming with me on this adventure. Your eyes on my words inspire me. Till next week, then. To action!
What a whirlwind!
In the last month, I’ve spent three out of four weekends on the road. In Columbus at Trotcon, Houston at Fiesta Equestria, and most recently in Seattle for Everfree Northwest. And it’s been a complete ball.
Something that amazes me, though, is how the character of a convention changes from one to the other. One would think, you rent a hall, fill it with stuff your people will like and populate it with an army of tolerant pony-folk who al share a common interest and presto: a homogenous brony experience unfolds.
Each of these cons was unique and memorable; each was a great time, but each in a different way. At Trotcon I was the only voice from the show present. The con was a bit smaller, and felt truly community based. It felt like wandering around at a farmers market in a way. Lovely, a bit quaint, and hugely fun. Fiesta, by contrast, felt sprawling, much like Houston itself, I suppose. I always felt like one end of the con was a mile from the other, and it spread us out in such a way that each gathering felt like a surprise. It was like being backstage at a rock show, and the party was exactly what you’d expect. And Everfree felt electric. Equally sprawling as FE, and yet it always felt close, like Trotcon did. I can’t explain it, but to say that every moment I was there felt like something great was happening, and something better was just around the corner.
I’ve had a complete and utter non-stop total ball at these three Pony parties, and I cannot wait for the next ones (Galacon in Stuttgart Early Aug. And Nightmare Nights in Dallas early Nov.) I’ll leave you with this, my favourite panel from the past month:
Ok, so we didn’t win a million dollars, but we came close! Still: what’s next?
I haven’t heard yet from our production team what their plans for Alien Abduction are now that the coveted prize has gone elsewhere, which I realize leaves me sort of casting about for something to do. I, like all of us, was sort of counting on winning it; I’d subconsciously reserved my September to shoot the darn thing, and now my month is wide open and I’m not sure I’ve got anything to do.
I have an exciting slate of travel lined up for the summer, and I suppose one should focus on that. Columbus, Houston, Seattle, Stuttgart, Paris, and London, all before the end of August. Gah, when I write it like that it’s very exciting indeed! Still: one likes to come home to something to do.
I suppose I ought to take my time and travel to reflect upon what I want to create. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from the Cinecoup process, it’s to return to my roots as a creator. I miss the rush that generating film at an independent level gives me. I hadn’t realized how much I missed it. And I have scripts in my desk drawer I could shoot where I wouldn’t have to paint myself blue or wear a funny hat (though I might just to feel comfortable).
Well, rant over. I’m mostly writing this because I’m at the airport with naught better to do while I wait for the first of many flights to come.
Also, PS: a lady just sat down fifty feet from me. I can smell her perfume. It’s cloying. She is on my flight. Worse than crying baby. May have to wear nose-plugs.
This message is for all – and I mean ALL – of you.
For the last six months or so I’ve been loading my Social Media feeds with news of a certain project, which I’m aware may not hold immediate interest for everyone.
C’est la vie. I’m not over-the-moon about everything other people are doing either. It’s normal.
If you’ve somehow managed to miss it, it’s called Alien Abduction, and it’s a trailer for an as-yet-unproduced feature film. At the time of this writing, it’s competing with 10 other trailers for One Million Dollars, which is a lot – enough to get a movie shot here in Canada, for suresies.
***Point of Order: You can still help us win this million by going to cinecoup and completing fan missions to earn up to sixty votes you can then spend on our movie: VOTE HERE***
The vote closes tomorrow (Sunday June 2) in the evening. So go now, then come back and find out why you should keep reading this.
1. THANK YOU for voting.
I know you get asked by the Internet to go here and do this and watch the other and most of it sucks and here I am asking you to do exactly that for me. Well, from my heart to yours: Thank you. You’re a gem!
2. THANK YOU for supporting a thing that may not be why you liked my Twitter and what-have-you to begin with.
For instance, I’m aware that a lot – like A LOT – of you are here because of My Little Pony. Me as a red workhorse may not seem to have much to do with me as a dorky blue alien (it does, though – more than you might think!), but you came along for this kooky ride anyway, and I sure do appreciate it. Eeyup!
3. If you didn’t vote; if your reaction to all the Alien Abduction posts is akin to “sheesh, not THIS again” I owe you a thank you, too! So THANK YOU!
I know you’re here for reasons and this wasn’t one of them. I’m extremely grateful to you for sticking with me despite the barrage of blue-alien promotion. I appreciate your steadfast trust that this too shall pass, and that something more your speed will pop down the pipe soon. (It will. Promise.) And if you can see your way to voting despite that, well then thank you all the more. But I get it. No worries. It’s all back to normal in a couple of days.
4. If you don’t fit in to one of these categories, well, heck. THANK YOU anyway, just for being you.
Alien Abduction is a labour of love, and wouldn’t be happening at all if it weren’t for the faith and dedication of a small (but truly international) group of people. From the Grangers who wrote and directed, to Kaleena the producer, to the other actors (except Patrick, who’s needy; If I thank him once, I’ll have to thank him every day for a year), to the crew, the editors, the audiences, and the fans. Without all of these elements working in harmony the thing would have ground to a halt ages ago.
Lastly I want to thank Cinecoup, not just because of the tremendous opportunity they’ve provided to filmmakers across this country, but because I want acting jobs in the future and I’m pretty sure they’re going to take over the world.
So. If you skipped to the end, I pretty much just said thank you to everyone on the planet. The kicker? I meant it. You are the glue. Without you my macaroni art is just some kid’s crappy lunch. Thanks for sticking with me. I’m looking forward to our next adventure together.
So I started using Vine, like, two days ago. I think I may have a career as a filmmaker because I can’t seem to stop making weirdo seven second short films. Here are some of my faves. Don’t forget to turn the sound on (some of my finest voice work ever in these babies – though Big Mac’s voice seems to have changed…).
It was a week of interviews, and here they all are!
The Grangers and I spoke to Derpy Hooves News:
I went solo on the Dennis Daniel show:
And Patrick Gilmore and I did a Reddit AmA:
And fun was had by all except for the one guy who called me names and who I therefore promptly reported as abusive. Let me know if they’ve descended post-chat and I’ll clear them out of there.
Well Jiminy Cricket!
I’ll be doing a big ol’ Ask Me Anything over on the Reddit this Saturday at 3pm Pacific.
More exciting still, Patrick Gilmore of SGU will be doing it with me! So now’s your chance to ask all your Stargate/My Little Pony/miscellaneous questions and get the answers you’ve always wanted! (well not NOW, but Saturday the 27th of April, 2013 at 3pm Pacific (that’s 6 Eastern, 11pm Greenwich, and Sunday morning at 9am (I think) if you’re in Sydney – maybe if you’re in Sydney you should double check my math because I would if I were you).
WHY are we doing this?
Well Patrick and I are both in a trailer for a new movie called Alien Abduction. We both want to be in the ACTUAL movie called Alien Abduction but we haven’t shot it yet because we don’t have the money. Thankfully we’re in a contest at Cinna Coo dot see eh wherein if we win we get a million dollars (which in the world of Canadian movie making is a LOT)!
How can you help?
Well all we ask is that when you visit us on Saturday at Reddit.com, you also visit cinecoup at the link above and vote as often as the site will let you (up to fifty times, I think it is now). And the best bit is: You don’t even have to be Canadian to vote! Ok that’s not “the best” – being Canadian is totally wicked but– well– you know what I’m saying.
So to recap:
1. Reddit. Saturday. 3pm Pacific. Peter New & Patrick Gilmore AmA.
2. Cinecoup.ca. Alien Abduction. Vote. (you don’t *have* to vote to ask a question, but it’d be real sporting of you.)
See you Saturday!