What fascinated you as a child? 

want-to-create-an-inspirational-tagline-for-ted-lasso-signAs with most of these “remember when” questions, what fascinated me as a child is a complicated query. Over the course of my childhood, which, for arguments sake, let’s say extends from earliest memories (about age 4) up through getting my driver’s license on my sixteenth birthday, I’ve been fascinated by numerous things. Continue reading “What fascinated you as a child? “

Were you well-behaved or badly-behaved as a child?

white and red lighthouse on rocky shore
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Again, when dealing with “as a child” questions, I have to wonder what age range child encompasses? Are we talking about toddler to middle school or up through high school graduation? Also, we should probably define what kind of behavior qualifies as “well” or “bad” considering there’s a range there which is not insignificant. Either way, I don’t think I was a badly-behaved child. I mean, I wasn’t as bad as some, not that I didn’t get into my fair share of trouble. Continue reading “Were you well-behaved or badly-behaved as a child?”

Do you have any funny or embarrassing Thanksgiving memories?

IMG_2590Thanksgiving has always been an interesting time for me. Most of my adult life has been spent living in a different city than my immediate (birth) family and since Thanksgiving is a family holiday, it was always one of the days I would try and make it home. This worked out well in my personal life, too, as most of my partners were either in Vegas or not from America where Thanksgiving didn’t matter. As well, since I was raised Jewish and none of my partners were, this meant Christmas wasn’t an issue, either. Continue reading “Do you have any funny or embarrassing Thanksgiving memories?”

On Catching a Break

blue red and yellow chalk
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Monki has not a great track record when it comes to school attendance. She started her kindergarten* last year just before the pandemic closed everything down, briefly returned in the summer of 2020 until we chose to pull her out for a variety of reasons and our hope was that she’d be able to get into an actual preschool for the 21-22 school year. Continue reading “On Catching a Break”

What have you changed your mind about over the years?

Critical-change-1080x675The real question is what haven’t I changed my mind about? I mean when I was much younger my tastes were…questionable. Okay, that’s not exactly fair. I was still a kid, but even so, things what I ate and how I ate it are still comedy fodder for family gatherings.

But okay, let’s take a look at some things I once held very strong opinions about but over time, I have revised those opinions into others. Doesn’t mean I was right or wrong on either side of the equation here, but as the question asks, I have certainly changed my mind. Continue reading “What have you changed your mind about over the years?”

Do you believe in ghosts? Have you ever encountered one?

personin ghost costume holding a lantern
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You can tell we’re getting near the end of this particular project, week 42 of 52, since the questions are getting a bit more esoteric. When the question comes through, it’s getting more regular that I need to change it out for a variety of reasons and then, looking through the possible their questions, we’re starting to see lots of repeats and variations on a theme.

I’m not sure how many more “what’s your favorite X” I’ve got in me. Continue reading “Do you believe in ghosts? Have you ever encountered one?”

Are you good at crafts? What’s something you’ve made and are proud of?

viber_image_2021-10-07_14-58-29-420Are you good at crafts? It’s kind of a loaded question since there are a number of different crafts out there in the world and it could be referring to any of them. At the same time, it’s not so much a hard question since I would easily and readily answer with a resounding “no, I’m not,” without giving it much thought. Continue reading “Are you good at crafts? What’s something you’ve made and are proud of?”

Who made you into you? Who are the people who shaped you? 

Jester and BurroughsA few weeks back, my friend Ian Rowland made an interesting post on social media: He posted some 24 pictures of people, from famous to friends, real to imaginary, who had inspired and influenced him to be the person he is today. This got me thinking about my own list of people who would be the ingredients of today’s Jaq. Continue reading “Who made you into you? Who are the people who shaped you? “

How did you decide when to change jobs? 

crop faceless person turning shop signboard hanging on glass wall
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The great thing about a question like this is that it presupposes so many things. I mean the easiest answer could be I decided to change jobs when I was fired. But there’s always more to the story than that, isn’t there? Also, which jobs are we talking about? We’re no longer in the age of being a “company man” where you live and die within a singular corporate structure. We’re a long way from Tennessee Ernie Ford’s stylized hero.

If I look at my career history in relation to the question of how did I decide to change, one of the things I notice right off is that I may have had no choice in most of them. I wasn’t fired often, and never for cause, but in most cases when I left a job it was because the job itself ended. When I was working in the film industry, when the film ended, so did my gig. We used to laugh that when we were working, we had all the money but no time, and when we were between shoots, we had all the time, and no money.

But in the spirit of the question, let’s take a look and see if we can’t find specific times and places when I decided to change. Like when I was working for an independent producer (whose name escapes me now) on a Monday in the middle of January one year. I heard her on the phone, laughing with another producer how she hadn’t expected him to be working on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Her exact wording was “that n***er’s holiday.” That was also my last day working for her. I never went back.

In other times, changing jobs was a matter of finding something better, which paid more, had more advancement potential, or was in a different city. I once left a gig as a paste-up/designer for a weekly paper called the Argonaut because they wouldn’t give me the time off for a week-long theatre gig. So, there you have it, really. I always prioritized my creative work over my day job. And when the two overlapped, all the better, certainly.

At the same time, I’ve (almost) never done just one thing. I’ve been a professional writer for many years, even if I wasn’t a full-time one. No matter what else I was doing, I was always writing. In this way, there was always the fall back, always the option to trade out one of the jobs for something more suitable.

When I worked for the Groundlings, which was only on weekends, I tried to make sure whatever else I was doing, I was free on Friday and Saturday nights. My blood pumped for theatre, for performance.

In general though, the time to change jobs is when the job no longer fulfills a purpose for you. You don’t always have to love it. In fact, that’s a great myth, that “if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” There are a lot of things wrong with that statement, but the biggest problem is that it implies that if you do something you don’t love, you’re somehow selling out, or not living up to your potential or whatever. No. I refute that. But what I will say is that while you don’t have to do what you love, you should always try to love what you do.

When I worked at Borders on the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica, there were times when I’d have to work in the café. I was working in there one day with a girl named Amy and we were singing and dancing while we made various beverages. This one octogenarian smiled at us and she said to me, quietly, “you must really love what you do.”

“No, ma’am,” I responded. “But they don’t pay me enough to be able to hate it.”

I’ve been fairly lucky in that regard. No, I’ve never made huge amounts of money, but I’ve always been able to find the fun and enjoyment in what I was doing. When you get to that point, where the money isn’t good enough to make you want to stay regardless of anything else, or when you’re not able to find any fun in it, to me, that’s the time to change jobs.

Tell me about a song that brings back an interesting memory from your youth

241185075_4345170612196389_904449076746889131_nThere’s this weird thing about senses – even though we get most of our information through our eyes, scent and sound are much better for memory recall. And so, this week’s question, about a song that brings back an interesting memory from youth, is a strange hybrid for me. I mean, sure, I’ll answer the question (as well as I usually do with these) but at the same time, I probably won’t answer it very well, because my memories, the ones I will share, are conscious memories. If I were to be completely honest here, I’d just listen to a bunch of music I remember hearing from youth and then let the visceral memories wash over me and report back what I feel. Continue reading “Tell me about a song that brings back an interesting memory from your youth”

It’s been a week…

For the first time since we went online for the Pandemic back in March of 2020, I started a new school year ready to meet some students face to face. To be fair, a year ago, we tried what we’re trying now, but I opted to stay completely online, which worked out to my benefit since it wasn’t long before everyone was online.

But now, a year and a half into this thing, I’ve got a couple of classes which are going to meet in person and last week, the first week of school, we did. It was nice to be in front of a roomful of students, to be able to see and hear their reactions, but even so, it was a bit disconcerting with everyone wearing masks. As of this coming week, I’m supposed to monitor them all (and each class has more than 60 students) to make sure they’ve been vaccinated and if they haven’t, to ask them to leave. And if they don’t leave, I’m supposed to leave. Continue reading “It’s been a week…”

What did you wear when younger that mortifies you now?

logoThere’s an inherent problem with this question, what did you wear when younger that mortifies you now? A couple of problems really. The first is that I’ve been involved in theatre since I was 9. There’s very little I won’t wear if it’s in service of a good bit.

When AAron and I lived together at The Pointes, there was one night I started playing around with some make-up I had found in a box and ended up painting my entire face blue*. Of course, what do you do when you have a blue face? We went shopping. We ended up at Nordstroms or Saks Fifth Avenue, one of the high-end shops at the Fashion Show mall, with me holding up shirts and asking random people if it clashed. Continue reading “What did you wear when younger that mortifies you now?”