December 21, 2010

An Investigative Report

Paradox: Nothing could be more nightmarish than ending up on a reality-t.v.-adventure-dating show, whereas nothing could be more heavenly than getting to experience the audition.

But sometimes things have a way of working out.

A friend discovered that NBC would be holding auditions nearby for a reality show and wanted nothing more than to "check out the clientele." That was all I needed to hear. I was in.

A group of us arrived at the bar and found a lot of trendy young people who looked like this:

And this:

Next, we found the NBC folks taking people's information and giving out audition numbers.

That seemed about right.

I decided not to register because I really just wanted to chat with prospective fame junkies. I played dumb and pretended that I had accidentally stumbled upon all this, asking people what it was all about. Most looked embarrassed and mumbled something about a reality show.

"About what!?" I did probe.

The response usually consisted of a lot of ashamed mumbling and staring at the floor. People said things like, "It's like adventure and travel...and dating I guess. It's stupid."

My favorite was a guy we called "Head Shot." He acted like he didn't care and claimed his friend made him try out, but then when we asked what was in his manila folder...

Head shots and an acting resume! Jackpot!

When he came out of the audition he was reticent to say too much because we were potential competition. Those were his words, not mine. Well, he didn't use the word "reticent" but you get the idea. Visual scans of the crowd revealed that NBC wasn't going to have a productive night. No one was model-y enough, especially the old biker guy with the long gray hair and a ZZ Top beard.

He was awesome, but not exactly the island-love-romp type. Maybe more of an "American Choppers" kid of guy.

There was one blond girl with a headband around her whole head and we all agreed she had the best shot. She looked like someone more interested in flirtinis than in multivariate calculus, but that's perfect for these types of things.

Soon it was time for my cadre to enter the group audition. I was standing next my pals when the guy waved us in. I protested that I had not registered and was just there for moral/comedic support, but that didn't seem to matter.

The casting lady inside was so bored with us from the start that she failed to notice I didn't even have a number. About six of us sat down and got to field important questions like "What you do all think about celebrity cheating?" My response didn't exactly win me any points.

Then we were asked about the most romantic thing we'd ever done. Again, my answer was unsatisfactory.

They really seemed to like the girl who said that Eva Longoria was her 11th cousin or something, but when I asked if she had ever met Eva and she said no, the casting professionals became less interested. I actually had to apologize for blowing it for her.

I always kinda wondered how they find these reality stars, and now I know. In high school I helped my dad film an audition video for the first season ever of Survivor where he pretended to eat our pet parrot. He got tapped for an interview but showed up in Miami with a 103 degree fever and to this day he isn't sure what happened in there except a decent amount of sweating.

It was a productive night.

December 17, 2010

Coupon Caper: A Delicious Debacle

Recently, two of my friends scored an awesome coupon to a trendy restaurant in town. Being that our friendship is based primarily on cheapness and a common yearning for a good deal, the three of us were in a terrific mood.
All we had to do was spend $35 to get $25 off the bill. We arrived at the restaurant and immediately began calculating how to spend the exact amount of money that would yield the maximum amount of savings.

It was all about the numbers. What we actually wanted didn't matter so much.

Approximately one hour later we were ready to order. Despite having taken our sweet time to decide, we begged the server to let us have the happy hour appetizer price even though it was one minute too late. She pitied us and obliged.

Spirits were sky high, on account of all the savings. We were living the high life, but all that changed when the server returned with some important news. We had misread the coupon and actually needed to spend $50 for the discount. This was dramatic and funny. I decided to be macho and solve the problem.

Normally we would never indulge in restaurant dessert, so we were feeling pretty high class. All of this was mitigated by the fact that the deal wasn't looking quite so good anymore, but the mood was still jovial.

That's when the server returned with more bad news - Happy hour appetisers didn't count toward the $50 total. We handled the news with maturity and grace.

We ordered more cakes. This time, it was of the to-go variety, as we could hardly handle any more food. Once it arrived, we learned that to-go items didn't count toward the $50 minimum. This was too much to handle.

I suggested that they bring the cakes out on a plate, we could each take a bite, and then we'd ask for a doggy bag. That seemed to appeal to their logic and the plan was set in motion.

The cakes and coffees were really starting to pile up, but we had to keep spending in order to save. I think the sever felt bad, because when she came back with our bill, she also brought one heck of a great story.

"You see the man in the blue shirt over there? Well, he's the owner. The other day, he brought his six-year-old son to the restaurant and the kid was being loud and acting up. He poured sugar all over the table and then..."

It was an enchanting evening.

(To read about another adventure involving this trio, visit It's about the time we patronized the World's Largest Renaissance Festival (using discounted tickets, of course).)

December 14, 2010

Mon Pere. Tu Me Manques.

When I was in high school I thought everything was funny. Honestly, I think I just walked around for four years snorting and wheezing at just about any form of novel external stimulus.

A math teacher once dropped the eraser and made a little noise like "urp!" and I laughed so hard I choked on my own saliva and nearly hacked up a lung right there in the front row. And those serious National Honor Society inductions where we all had to act somber and stand in front of a crowd on the risers? Forget it.

I miss those days of life before I became an adult (of sorts).

Anyway, having the propensity to laugh despite situational appropriateness had its down side. Boy did it.

One day in the tenth grade, our French teacher took the class to the theater to see a production about international travel geared toward students learning French. They would do a scene in French and then repeat the scene in English. We all expected it to be trash, but it was actually a high class show. I thought it was pretty funny, how good the show was, so I was already feeling a bit goofy early on.

As fate would have it, I was seated with some friends in the front row on the left side of the stage. We were awfully close, but we were off to the side. Therefore, my stifled laughter wasn't going to be too much of a problem. At least not until they took one of the scenes, the serious graveyard scene, directly to the edge of the right side of the stage. This is where things went afoul.

Out of nowhere, this happy-go-lucky show of traveling young adult tourists took a detour for the dramatic. One of the characters got off the train in Normandy to visit the grave of his dead father. He kneeled in front of the grave, and consequently right in my face, and began speaking/crying to his dad. It basically looked like this:

I was doing ok holding it in until I heard just the slightest inhale-after-a-quiet-laugh from my friend sitting next to me. It was too much for me to handle.

Right there, in front of a theater full of teenagers, I laughed in the face of a man saying goodbye to his deceased father. Of course, this had the dreaded ripple effect, and soon the whole audience was having a good chuckle.

I looked up at the actor through by bleary eyes and felt an overwhelming sense of guilt. Not enough to be able to stop laughing, but guilt nonetheless. I then looked back at my French teacher.

I really did feel terrible. This laughter wasn't out of malice or disrespect. I knew better. I just couldn't do anything about it.

I freaking loved high school.