29 December, 2008

04 December, 2008

bombs over Mumbai

As you can imagine this past week has been all about the terrorist…the area that was hit is called Coloba. It is where all the white people stay when they first come to India/Mumbai. I stayed there my first two months here. I have a love hate relationship with Coloba…

I don’t like Coloba because it’s full of tourist…it’s every western persons first stop in Mumbai. When there everyone thinks you are a tourist, as a consequence, try to sell you crap you don’t need/want at inflated “tourist prices”. Coloba is where stupid tourist buy drugs, as a consequence, dealers always approach “whites” trying to sell the” junk”. They do this thing where they act like you have bought drugs from them before; they say “last time you got these…I have more of what you bought last week”. Totally annoying.

I like Coloba because it’s far from where I live, and very different, so it’s a bit like a mini-vacation. Coloba is white friendly (i.e. cleaner streets, everyone speaks English, CD shops with western music, good coffee houses, etc.). Because of it heavy Western/British influence it feels, more than most places in Mumbai, a bit like home.

I have a walking route I follow when there, included is always a trip to the Taj Mahal Hotel. After walking Coloba it is a wonderful chill out space with killer AC, comfy seats and there’s the exciting possibility of seeing a Bollywood star. They also have one of the best book shops in the city. While beautiful, it is a strange space. The rooms are run US 500 a night (Madonna stayed there). It seems of gross considering most Mumbaikers make much less than that per month. Being there you are constantly aware of the juxtaposition.

The Taj was built by Jamsedji Tata in 1903; he was denied entry into a white’s only hotel and built the Taj for the Indian elite. It is not just a hotel but an important monument to Indian society. I will miss that Taj; it will take a year to repair!

The after-math has been a bit like that of America after 9/11. Fear, anger, a strange sense of oneness (we, India, have been attacked) and the swelling pride of Mumbaikers and their love of the city. What has been different, instead of people turning their anger to foreign soil (like us); they are lashing out at the Government for not protecting them.

The Indian government is shameful. It does nothing for the citizens and keeps India an “emerging nation” instead of the powerhouse it could be. You must realize, countries like India, Sudan (Darfur), Democratic Republic of the Congo, don’t choose to have unsafe drinking water or high infant mortality rates or insufficient power supplies or AIDS, it is their selfish, corrupt, inapt governments that keep them this way. It is much easier for the politicians to sit back and count their tax money than actually spend it on the people they serve.

SO the people have had enough. They see their tax money going for party members to live in fancy mansions, drive fancy cars and they see the poor dying in the street and the city infustruture crumbling. I think before people had a “it’s government, that’s the way it is, what you can do” attitude. Now they are pissed and taking to the streets.

The Politian’s are reacting badly, saying really stupid, stupid things about protesters and the protests. They are acting like dogs backed into a corner…there was a Politian in the south that went to visit the father of one of policeman slain in the attacks. The father, mad at the Politian garnering media attention from the visit told him to leave his house and called him a dog…which here, sometimes, has the same connotation as the n-word (dogs are not cute pets here, they are wild dirty street animals). So the mad Politian said that had the son died in another way (not being a martyr) not even a dog would turn his head to look at the funeral…meaning that people were only upset because of the way the son died instead of actually liking the son….so needless to say emotions are running high, people are reacting badly and nothing is getting done.

But just like New York, Mumbai will survive, carry on and potentially get hit again…but what to do? You can’t just sit and your room all day and worry.

28 November, 2008

safe

hey everyone,

i am safe. Luckliy i live about ten miles from the attack site so all is well my end. Thank you for all the texts and phone calls. alright thats it for now. take care.

26 November, 2008

for Wi!, part 1

some photos...

this is the colony i live in

and this is my flat when i first moved in...check out my squat toilet...








more later....

24 November, 2008

You Better Work!!

Last Friday marks one month in da woods, Whistling Woods International that is. So far so good!

I take an auto-rickshaw to work; it’s about a 15-20 minute ride costing rs. 40, rs. 32 for the auto and 7 for entry fee into the mountain area where the school is located. It is the bumpiest ride you can ever imagine.

My work day starts at 10:30, I don’t like that it starts so late because that means it goes late (6:30) but it is this way to avoid the heat of the day which is sort of nice.

Twice daily tea/coffee is served...the coffee boys are all really funny and nice and they don’t have homes and sleep on the coffee shop/cafeteria floor at night.

Each floor of the schools office building has an office boy. His job is to do whatever we (employees) need done…I haven’t completely figured out just how much of my job I can get them to do so I can be on MySpace more but I am working on it. The guy next to me sends them to get him cigarettes and juice boxes. I do know they make copies…in fact I get in trouble for making my own copies…but I can’t wait 20 minutes for a one page copy to be made! Anyway the thing that is so utterly amazing about the office/coffee boys is that they have these kinda crappy low paying jobs (rs. 4000 per month, $80) and yet they are the happiest people in the world…it’s amazing…I think of all the bitching I’ve done at my crappy jobs over the years…

My co-worker have names like…Dnyaneshwar, Jyotrimaya, Ashmaki, Subhankar…they all seem to get upset that I can’t pronounce them while they murder the “ease” of my name...I get “Krack” a lot...I don’t know if I have to pay taxes...I get some of my pay in cash the rest a check...American holidays I don’t get off, like Thanksgiving, but I get Hindu ones off...People who are “under” me call me “sir”...there are monkeys in the trees...great veg lunches cost rs.25 (fiddy cent).

Anyway so work is...well work. Here in India, I had been living a really fun and interesting life and now...I work in a office...that’s been a little bit hard to come to terms with…I miss my fun!!

I have yet to get a full paycheck so I am also broke…which I think has made working all the harder...but in two weeks I will get paid and everything will be right again.

This movie I had a part in came out this weekend and it has already been declared a flop…it was directed by the owner of my school so things are tense today at work…my part of course was cut dramatically...which I see as cause for the films failure!

Here a video from it! Enjoy, the music is the best part...also below is a promo for the school…TTYL



school promo

14 November, 2008

the real jesus juice

In India we get CNN, but it's an "international" version. Sex-pot Anderson Cooper is there as well as a "International" version of The Daily Show, it is an hour long on Sunday afternoons...sort of a "best of" the past weeks shows...

The stories on CNN International definitely have a wider world view which is great. Currently running is a special about Jim Jones, his life and the horrific outcome...please, please check listings in America and see if its running there...it is unbelievable and amazing!!!

We also get Amazing Race Asia which also incredible but in a different way...nobody drinks Kool-aid, but i wish some teams would.

05 November, 2008

and the winner is...

AMERICA!!!

31 October, 2008

mumbai-washington-philadelphia-mumbai

So after a crazy world wind tour of the east coast of America I have landed back in India…
Yeah I got this job and flew back to America for my work visa…I left Mumbai on Monday night at 9pm. I flew on Air India which is becoming my favorite airline…the give you socks and spray breath freshener! Because I was flying against time I left at 9 at night and 15 hours later it was 6am when I arrived….which is weird…I meet a really nice guy on the plane we talked nonstop for like four hours…he was going to work in America. His wife and child are following soon after. He’ll be there four months then back to Mumbai where he said I could come for dinner to his place!
Anyway the plane landed in New York, and then I flew on to DC. I find JFK airport kinda confusing so I am never happy to be there.
I had not been to DC since I was 17 so even though I was freaking out about visa stuff I was still really excited to see the city. I arrived around 12 noon on Tuesday and headed for the visa office. It is closed between 12-2 but I wanted to wait so I could get the ball rolling then sort a hotel. Dropped off my application and papers and they told me it would take “at least” one week.
I left and went to look for a pay phone to call a cheap hotel mom had found me on the internet. While in America I wouldn’t have a cell phone and I hadn’t realized that payphones are:
1. Gross to use.
2. Impossible to find.
3. Most don’t allow you to make long distant calls.
I called the hotel (hostel actually) and booked myself for the night…just to remind you it is now Tuesday at 3pm and I had been traveling, unshowered, sleepy now for 2 days.
The hostel like DC was amazing, I was nervous about it because most hotels in DC start at 150 a night and this was 30…so I had no idea what I was getting into but it was dreamy! I was in a dorm room with four bed and four locker for you kit. In my room was just me and a 20 year old Brazilian model…the scenery was beautiful and I isn’t talking about DC.
Dc is really beautiful, everything was so clean…this maybe because I had just arrived from Mumbai.
I sort of just stayed in that night as I was feeling cracked out from the time difference etc. I called my friends in Philly and they said I could stay there for the week while my Visa was processing…we would meet the next day….so I went to Philly and it was fun to see my peeps…

They said it would take a week “at least” for my Visa but it was ready the next day. I had already arrived in Philly so I just spent the weekend hanging with the boys. Then I took Chinatown bus for 15 dollars back to DC got the Visa and headed home.

I am going to wrap this up because now I am two weeks into my job and I need to get on with it.

They said it would take a week “at least” for my Visa but it was ready the next day. I had already arrived in Philly so I just spent the weekend hanging with the boys. Then I took Chinatown bus for 15 dollars back to DC got the Visa and headed home.

…now I have been working here two weeks and it fun, weird, interesting, boring all the things an office job is in the states,

22 September, 2008

Year Two

ok ok ok, i know it has been a looooonnnggg time...but most of you have seen me and heard the stories so you havent missed much...and yet i dont know where to begin...

so i went to america and now i am back in Mumbai...to begin the second year...

my first year i saw as my "get use to it" year. everything was new and crazy and wonderful and well you've read about it!
i really want year two to be about settling down, making a life here...and that means i need a job, a real job.

say goodbye to bollywood...it of course is with a bit of saddness that i say that...my year spent in bollywood has been probaly my favorite year EVER!!! i do believe that bollywood is not a place one should live forever and i need to leave before it goes too bad....

so job...i think there is nothing in the world i hate more than job hunting...cause, like, i dont want to do anything...'cept shop, listen to new records, watch movies/TV, hang with friends, and drink coffee...but that hasnt been listed in monster.com.

Sunday last week i went shoping, coffee drinking hanging with friends...while doing thismy frind david recieved a call...and we were off to a sunday festival where people make these huge Ganesh statues, pray to them, then push them into the water...so i went to this party/festival, meet a lady, she knew of a job at a film school, i applied, and got the job!!! Go me!!

yeah that was the fast version...so i will be working at Whistling Woods International (google it!) i will be working in the admission department, making really good money and I AM THRILLED beyong words...

when i got back from america things kinda got poopy here...i kept thinking "no, in india only good happens to me" i feared i had run out of good luck, used it all up the first year...but i scraped the sides of the jar and found a little more and life is wonderful...

so sometime over the next week i will have to fly back to america, i need to get a work Visa now, i know it stinks i was just there, what to do?

once back i begin the new job, new money, new friends (Firoz, more on that later, wink wink) new year...i am so mary tyler moore or maybe alice!!!



23 July, 2008

alive and kickin'

yeah so i am still alive...

tons has happen...kinda...just not into bloggin' at the moment...over the past month i have really made an effort to get and make friends...so i end up telling them everything that before i would have blogged about...i guess i need to find a balance...so i think me and some new friends may go to the beach this weekend i promise to try and get some new post before then but definitely next week...

take care i love you all

25 June, 2008

ketchupin 2

forgive me father for it has been a week since my last blog...and what a week...

it began great...

Friday i had a date...and it was good and fun, everything a date should be...dinner, movie and a peck on the check at the end.

Saturday morning i got a call from Yash Raj studios to come for an audition. Yash Raj is the mecca studio here...when they call you jump! so i went for the audition...the film was shooting in Thailand so if got the part they would fly me out that night to Thailand...i would shot for two days with this really big star couple Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone (the bragelina of bollywood) and then be flown back and make very big money. i always think i did bad after an audition but this time i actually felt kinda good.

i also lined up a back up job should i not get the Thai gig. and there was to be a second date...so things were great...

later that day...

i didn't get the Thailand job, crap!
my back up job fell through, crap!
that night the second date was weird and awkward.
Bollywood takes you up and drops you hard!

Monday i went to shoot for a TV serial and that was cool and really good fun...i played a doctor and had to say..."dr sharma i have something to discuss with you"...going to the shoot on the train i passed out...like fainted...which was weird...see, the trains here get crowded...if you have not been here, you can not fully understand what crowded means...its not a western "oh there are no seats" crowded". here's a video and this is not an exaggeration!


anyway, it was full and really hot and i felt sickly weird...i was thinking "wow, I'll bet in this packed-in-heat could make someone faint"...and then i did...it was embarrassing...i mean who faints, right...anyway everyone was really nice and offered my their treasured seats and i ended up living and shit.

Tuesday i got a call to go shoot on this film....they were short one white guy so i rushed there, did the shot, it took 30 minutes, i got paid rs.2000 and i was done...it was perfect.

oh my photo appeared in a mag...here it is

i am famous bitch! the guy in the center is Om Puri...you may remember him from the great film East is East.

OK so that's it...i will leave with a video...i am not in and has nothing to do with nothing except that i love this song and it features the future Mr. Winkler also known as Upen Patal.

17 June, 2008

ketchupin'

hey kids....so not much going on here sorry to say...not much going on in bollywood it seems due to the rains there is not much in production, which means i don't work, which means i am getting broke, ooppps!

the serial i am going to work on starts shooting end of this month so that's something. i am also being considered for a movie role, fingers crossed, that won't start until septemberish.

oh here's something...i am coming to the states for a visit...i leave here
August 12Th and will be in America for about 2-3 weeks (mark your calenders). i need to renew my visa and i miss everyone so...i will be bring sexy back!

so that's my India this week. not extremely exciting but still fun!

here is a Nokia ad i am in...it was the one i auditioned to be a singing cowboy for...which p.s. that part got completely cutout of the final Ad...i shot for two days on this and am in it for .05 seconds if i didn't point me out you'd never know...fame is a bitch...i am at .11 seconds, in the foreground, to the left (beyonce!) and i have a baby doll on my lap (don't ask)...



i will leave you with this...it's the trailer for Kismet Konnection...the film i am in which opens 17Th July...it also opens in America, so you Philly and Jersey folks can see it in New York...enjoy!!!

06 June, 2008

oh it's on bitches...

the monsoon has begun...KA-POW!!!



yeah, so that was chessy, whatever...

and Sex and the City has had it's Mumbai premier...i saw the 10.45 show and cried like a baby...it was great to have the girls back...

thats it for now i am gonna go swim home...TTYL

04 June, 2008

it's a gonna happen ya'll...

and i couldn't be happier!!!!

just waiting...and dreaming

its 4th Wednesday...last night it rained for the first time in the 8 months since i have been here...it was strange. Everybody is on monsoon watch, people even bet on which day it will start. so last night it started to rain and i was really excited and yet it just seemed so regular like the rain didn't seem as special as i had expected...it went on for about 10 minutes then stopped. apparently it was just a pre-monsoon rain and not the actual monsoon...kinda of like a movie trailer...so the waiting game continues. it did manage to cool things down a bit and i had my first sweatless night in about four months...yeah it hot here, totally retarded.

some news stuff...

i shoot an ad-film about two months ago and they just started playing it on TV...my part was cut out completely...tear!

for my part in "kismet konnection" they have dubbed my voice...so it will be me as the actor but the voice coming out of my head will be some other guy...which i kinda hate but that's the way it's done here...this girl i know was at the dubbing and said my part looked really good and she was impressed by me.

i think i am shoot another ad-film this weekend i am waiting for the call...

SATC opens Friday and my plan is to go several times on Friday to see it.

oh so the gay role in the film from last week...so on Thursday i did the audition and got to see the script...they sold it to me as a "positive" gay character...when i showed up they tried to put me in high heels fur coat drag-queen make up. i took a political stand and was seen, i think, as a trouble maker. i got them to change my outfit and forget the make-up and everything turned out ok'ish. it just felt strange cause if they had said the character is a drag queen type i could have made the decision "do i want to be a part of this part portrayal or not" but by sort of leading me on...anyway...it's over!

next day i had an audition for an ad-film, the one that i think shoots this weekend...i had to play a dad comforting his scared daughter...i totally thought about how i would have spoken to my niece when we were hanging last year and it went well...thanks Caroline!

i have a really good friend, a fellow actor, named Steven. he lives in Delhi but is in Mumbai for the summer. we have been hanging out and its so much fun just to be able to communicate normally with someone (he's British, funny and gets the jokes).

alright that's it for now...i have to go for a make-up, costume, screen test later for the soap...i have never had to do this before...they are making my costume just for me and they want to try different period hairstyles on me..fun!! this is kinda a big deal part...I'll have a script and trailer...crazy!

anyway don't dream it, be it...

29 May, 2008

mein tere khoon pee jaahoonga

last Friday i did a shoot for a film called "fashion". i had done crowd scene for before...it was boring but finished early and one of my favorite people Shafiq was there. he's an awesome Afghan guy, really smart and funny. he's 24(?) and has lived more lives than all of us put together. it's crazy how people live in these "war torn" countries and instead of giving up on life they find a way to push forward and end up being stronger than you could ever imagine...talking to him is always fun and enlightening!

that night, my trainer...so yeah i have this trainer, strange part is, i don't belong to his gym and he does not actually train me but he always introduces me as someone he trains, which given my body shape and low muscle mass does not make him look very skilled at training...so anyway he called and said he wanted to come over...which is odd cause we sort of don't have that "come over" kind of relationship...i guess i have a stupid crush on him, he use to be Mr.India so he's a muscle giant, blah blah blah. he came over and we watched cricket...i know right...anyway i have sort of gotten into cricket...there is this cricket series called the IPL and it's fun...all the bollywood stars own a team and it's filled with controversy...anyway...the trainer (Rana) comes over we drink whiskey, watch cricket and then he jumps up and says he has to go...end scene...it was too weird...twenty minutes later he calls and says he's at a party and i should come, he'll text me the address...an hour later he calls to say the party isn't safe for me to be at...i don't know. i go to bed.

Saturday night...trainer calls and we meet at this intersection of a major highway where we have to meet some friends. while waiting for the friends he drags me around showing people that he in fact hangs out with white people...we then get on his motorcycle and go riding around. it was one of those moments in life where you just have to stop and think...life is great and funny...here i am in India riding around on the back of a bike with mr.india...and despite the intense weirdness of our friendship, this moments is fun!! we met his friends. trainer presses his finger against his nose and says "do you want"...i said 'you do drugs' he looked horrified and so "no...prostitutes"...so what we think of as the "do a bump" symbol here means "do you want whore sex"....i said "i am a Christan i can't" and thus Jesus saved me from sleeping with a prostitute. we went to a bar and drank then he dropped me of at home. he told me that if anyone ever was mean to me he would "crush" them...how can you not love that...

Sunday i had an audition for an ad-film, which i thought went well, but i didn't get it. for the audition, i had to say famous lines from Hindi films past...the ads a spoof on people learning Hindi by watching bollywood films...i learned how to say "mein tere khoon pee jaahoonga"..."i will drink your blood". it's the Indian equivalent of "I'll be back". i say it all the time now!!

Monday i went to an audition for a TV serial. they handed me the script and it was all in Hindi. "oh, i don't speak Hindi". "that's OK" an hour later i am sent in for audition and they are shocked that in the hour i waited i didn't learn Hindi. so i didn't do the audition...two days later i got a call that they were giving me a part...this city, ya gotta love it...i haven't heard anything since so i think they may have changed their minds, they were so disorganized that i don't really mind...and TV pay is low so...

i was called to do another day on the fashion shoot. it was an awards banquet scene and i got to sit on stage as a "presenter or judge"...then they filmed and "after party' scene in which i was grouped with the main actors and that was really really cool...star fucker!

yesterday i went for an audition for a film and got the part. i shooting my scene today in a few hours...i have lines!! the film is called "straight" and is about a guy trying to figure out if he is a "homo gay"...very shocking for bollywood...it seems like right now gay is the new black in bollywood....so bring it on...I'll tell you about the shoot tomorrow...

i just got back from a fitting for the TV serial i am going to do...i got all my questions answered and feel really good about it...it's set in 1750, i will play a banker not a doctor i will shot between 5-8 days per month for the next 3 months, which is a good job...so this has been a good week...it's felt great to be working again...OK i gotta wrap this up...take care

27 May, 2008

hey ya'll

OK i am a bad blogger...sorry...i have been working a bit...I've done some auditions...and i kinda of need to run now but will try to update you later...i have a pretend new boyfriend, Jesus saved me from sleeping with a prostitute, i think i have been cast in yet another long term serial and at 1:24 i can be seen in this video....

20 May, 2008

get random

1. gym: gyms here are expensive, more expensive than in the west. they are seen as such a luxury item that they can be given a high price tag. there are "cheap" gyms but India is proof absolute of the old saying "you get what you pay for". most gyms here have "ladies only" hours that run from 11-4. wearing street shoes is not allowed in the gyms, you must have a special pair of "dedicated" shoes and they are not to ever touch the street outside. i think i have narrowed my search but...every time i think I've picked one i find a new one and one of my big issues with being here in India is...

2. sounding board: i have to make every decision completely alone. while all my life i have applauded my freedom, sometimes i just want a second opinion. "which is better, the green umbrella or the red?"

3. rain: the monsoons are just a few weeks away and the city is sort of gearing up. you know how around Christmas you could run into an old friend and say "let's get together soon for coffee" and they say "oh it will have to be after the holidays"...well, that's sort of how the rains are seen. people apparently hibernate, yet it also seems like people don't even think about them, they are just a fact. i am really excited to see what it's like.

4. deodorant: c'mon India...learn the joys of real deodorant...and by real i mean...not AXE. people here just use these "axe" type of body sprays. most times this means spraying it in the pit area but OVER your shirt. they even do it that in the commercials. umm, i ride the public crowded trains, take it from me ,that does not work.

5.Gas: one of the most popular jeans brands here is called gas, people who wear them think they are hot shit...i think having fart written on your ass would at least be funny.

6. love story 2050 is a film about to be released. it is India's first ever sci-fi film...it looks really gooodish, i am in the background in one scene, the shoot was boring but the whole film is shot on green screen so it was interesting to see that process.

7. SITC will be released here on 6th June....i am thrilled!!!! unfortunately it will be edited for India sensibilities. yuck!

8. there is an Indian in WWF, who knew right...well India did and he is a superstar here...his name is Khaili, i think, and he is the most physically unattractive person in the world. he has just come back to India and you would think he fucking Jesus Christ reborn. on the news they do story's like khaili goes to the supermarket, khaili parks his car,,,he is sooo ugly but the best part is he's retarded, yes that's right retarded. now i don't think he was born retarded i think it's that weird retardation that come from steroid use...where is makes your vocal cords all drag queen sounding. mix that with type retardation that comes from getting bet up all the time...and you have retardation...now you have Khaili...but don't EVER EVER question he's retardation in India "is he retarded?" is met with fury and scorn...i say it all the time...hehe. here is a picture that actually makes him look somewhat decent...it's all about lighting...


alright i have to go watch D.A. win american idol...talk o you later!!!

13 May, 2008

today was a good day

considering the tragedy in china i guess it's not proper to title a blog as such but...it was a good day (for me).

i have had a really really bad head cold the past TWO WEEKS and i didn't realize the effect it was having on my general well being until yesterday when it decided to move on finding someone else's ass to kick. i thought i was just being lazy and didn't want to leave this house...but now the clouds have parted and i am back. it feels good!!!

about getting well: in India there are no prescription drugs. everything is OTC, yes everything; Valium, ketamine (this isn't in spell check but i guess you know what i mean, special K), Oxycontin...everything. when you need something you just go to the "pharmacy" and they give it to you. i told the clerk i had congestion and for 20 rupees he gave me these pills that made me loopy loopy loopy then i would sleep for 3 hours. but they worked so now i am better. ya me!!

i also worked today. i did a voice over. it was kinda fun. the strange part was...the guy i was dubbing: an American, is yelling at some Indian kids for being mean to his children...there was an empty space between 2 lines, so to fill it they had me say "you Indians are bad people, why don't you all just go back to India". i felt really uncomfortable in a room full of indians saying that...i know it's just a charcter in a film and fictional at that but...the director, somebody who's name i forgot, is actually somebody important here, so i said to him. "I really don't like saying that, it perpetuates a racist stereotype of Americans and takes the films story to a different place"...crickets chirp...he says "it's just Bollywood". end scene.

seems like the soap opera isn't dead yet but i really don't know anything else. the agent said (via SMS) that he had heard back and would call later, that was 2 days ago.

i am still gym hunting...i know i know...i am not working maybe joining a gym isn't the best thing...

anyway...love yourself..oh and i love the new madonna!

06 May, 2008

DeCocooning

remember when i used to blog...well that was when i stuff to say but as of late...I've been spending way too much time doing a whole lot of nothing...i am not really working so much...in the past 3 weeks I've worked three days...so not too much is going on...but sadly i can tell you everything under the sun about Indian TV...speaking of Indian TV...i auditioned for a TV show which is a "historical soap opera" about the whole British VS. Indians thing. they called today to say i got a part (a doctor). that is sort of all i know, i think it's a six month commitment (awesome!) and i know that it shoots outside of Mumbai so when i am required i would have to stay the night out of Mumbai. we are going through the process now of figuring out payment...which is the icky part...they call and say "you have a part, how much do we have to pay you"...thing is they don't tell you any details of what i would actually be doing...so it's a weird process and even though they want me the whole thing could die in negations...but anyway...it will be as god wills it!!!

other than that i have just been cocooning...which has been nice but i know i need to start getting out...so i will...just as soon as American Idol, Amazing Race and Survivor are over...

oh and because i know you were all loosing sleep over it...I got the Madonna!!!

29 April, 2008

HAPPY MA-DONNA DAY!!!!

today is the day americans can buy the new madonna...six months from now i will be able to as well...enjoy it kids!!

i got a TV cable HBO and i have just left my house for the first time in two days...i can't stop watching...had i not needed food...anyway

within the first hour of watching i saw myself in a commercial...then over the past two days have seen the same commercail like twenty times...it plays on MTV and HBO.

anyway that's india so far this week. i work tomorrow and again on friday.

i saw the darjeeling ltd. it was perfect!!!!

25 April, 2008

for your pleasure

some random things for your pleasure:

an agent called me last night and asked how old i am. when i said "38" he said "oh, very bad" and then disconnected.

people love to ask what i miss the most bout home...of course family and friends is first...then comes MUSIC...i hear it makes "the bourgeoisie and the rebels"...i really miss music...i miss my CD's...i miss getting the latest CD's...i miss the funky jams!!!
western music here consists of Queen, George Micheal, akon, Enrique, Shakira...i miss bjork, radiohead etc. etc.

i have a couple lizards that live in or around my apartment. in the beginning was really freaked out by them. now i like seeing them. they all have names-there is a left-eye lopez. lizards are good cause eat bugs. i seem to have a gnat problem at the moment, i am just hoping left-eye gets busy on some gnat d' hovers.

i also have living my window sill a pigeon, his name is broken wing, cause-on-a-count he has a broken wing. he seems to be a ladies man, as everyday is joined on the sill, they spend the whole day grooming each other followed by dirty things.

i bought a TV. when the sales man asked if i had any questions the only thing my lazy ass could think of was "does it have a remote?".

i saw the following movies recently..
"wedding daze" (amazingly funny),
"Dan in real life" (great great great),
"Horton hears a who?" (god i hate Jim carry. this was one of my favorite sorties as a young and they screwed it up, i did however like the political overtones to the film, that was smart!)
"the spiderwick chronicles"...which was kinda good but not really, it was entertaining and the girl was a fencer, so that's points. the movie posters for the film all say "coming this Christmas", it opened here last week.

here is my favorite headline from this mornings paper..."Christina Rucci sexually assaulted by a chimpanzee"

i have diarrhea. i haven't worked all week, hence all the movie watching.

i met a guy that owns a gym near my house. i am supposed to go see it next week. the dues are rs.150 per month which is $3.00 US.

in the morning paper there was a story 'bout a lady whose husband is sent to prison. she becomes a lawyer to help defend him. she got him out of jail. one month later he, upon seeing that as a lawyer her status was now higher then his, kills her.

when "M. night shyamalan" is talked about here..they make a point to use his full name "Manoj Night Shyamalan".

here is a map of mumbai...i live near the bottom of the big green park area...goregaon east...from my place to the bottom of the city takes about 40 mins by train....but i never go there except to make cheap phone calls to the US.

20 April, 2008

a death, a monkey, a penis and a prince!

Hanuman Jayanti!!

today is the birthday of the monkey god Hanuman.



and now on to this...last night i went to a party and the 'gay Oprah prince' was there we totally hung out and he said i should come out to the palace sometime...too funny me at the palace....

in the paper the is a column for sex advice called 'ask the sexpert' (so original) and basically people (boys) write in with really stupid questions (i kissed my girlfriend, do you think she could be pregnant) and the 'sexpert' doles out really bad advice (see a doctor). one time a girl wrote in and said..."i have a big vagina, not deep, but big, like it sticks out, like a small penis, it looks like a penis, in fact, i think i have a penis, what should i do". it's been three weeks i can't stop laughing....

my camera died...i dropped it and it smashed to bits...i am totally gutted.

enjoy your day...Hanuman is the remover of obstacles, so if you have any in your life pray to him today and they will be removed!!!

19 April, 2008

shopping

here is what my market bill looks like this week:


tub of oatmeal rs.97.02
indian dessert mix rs.27.72
100g butter rs.17.82
indian potato chips rs.23.76
curry paste rs.15
cashews 500g rs.290
fancy bakery bread rs.28
button mushrooms .19kg rs.23.28
fancy pasta-gnocchi rs.135
garlic .09kg (2cloves) rs.5.55
rice 1kg rs.18.50
tiger biscuit cookies rs.10
pasta-elbow rs.75
coat hangers rs.86
cutting board rs.149
3 eggs rs.6

us $1 = rs.39

across from my house is a shopping mall, the ground floor is a poorly laid out supermarket, called Food Bazzar. the employees are really rude and have very limited knowledge. the bag boys throw your stuff in the bag, it almost seems like they are trying to break shit. supermarkets are sort of new to india and they need to practice how to run them a little better. i also do a great deal of shopping at Hypercity which is like a target. it is much better run but futher away. they sell everything. half the stuff above came from hypercity and half food bazzar.

aside from shopping...i did a voiceover this week and it was actully fun. i was also in the film. it is the one where i am killed by a puppet. i didnt get to see that scene but the movie looks kinda good and kinda bad all at once. booked in the studio after me was shahid kapur. i wanted to wait but they said he would be an hour late.

i will do a tally at the end of the month but so far this is my highest grossing month in bollywood. scary!

16 April, 2008

tootin'

i have a million things to tell ya'll and now that i sit here...i can't think of one.

so the "Internet cafe" that i blog from has been running really slow lately and some days they are just not open so that's why the blogs have been few and far...

yesterday i worked on an ad-film (commercail) for a cable channel here in Mumbai called "Ferangi" which is a fancy word for "honkey". they play all western shows and movies dubbed in Hindi. i played Sherlock Holmes, not to toot my own horn, but i looked good when i watched they play back. speaking of horn tooting....the best part of the day was i got to hang out with all the "permanent western crew of actors"...i like them all...they always have fun stories, teach me how to get more money for work and have been here for years and years, so they give me hope or maybe show me that living here can work out. they are fun fun guys.

anyway there was this one guy, i had never met before, and he kept saying "not to toot my own horn" and then would talk about himself for like four hours straight...it was funny and sort of sad. he has written a book based in India, i was really interested in hearing how he did that (got it published) because i may have...possibly...sort of ...started writing something...that may be nothing...or something. i, of course, have already written my acceptance speech for when i win the noble prize for literature!

oh and one time horn tooter was telling some story, about himself, and his shirt was sort of hanging open and his nipple was sticking out. i kept thinking, how do i ask him to put away his nipple (cause it's making me gag)...i couldn't find a classy way.

last week i auditioned for the singing cowboy, which i didn't get. i got another part in the same ad-film playing a mad scientist(i think). i didn't really understand the premise but being the amazing actor that i am i pulled it off! there was nothing special about the shoot except that i made bank.

i heard this song on the radio and it really stuck in me head so i just googled it to find out more and it is actually by this guy i knew when i lived in Atlanta. we were kinda friends. "king of my castle" by the wamdue project. (video below)

i went for an audition today and when i got there they had me fill out a questionnaire that was mainly about what "blood group" i belong too. i said "will i be bleeding on set", they, in a confused manner, said "no". they described the part as "a guy nobody likes, a real mean guy"...i thought great, I've been type casted yet again! so the audition, after the blood group questionnaire consisted of them taking my photo and nothing else...the crazy part is that to get the audition, i had to send them my photos and it just so happened that today, i was wearing the same green shirt that i have have on in the photos i had e-mailed them. oh India!!!

as probably none of you, except my mother, know one of my favorite things in the world is reading the "brides" section of the Sunday paper. i love seeing what jobs people have and what loser honeymoons people go on: an example...a couple from Philadelphia will honeymoon in Wildwood at the Jersey shore (which is a redneck trailer park beach an hour from Philly)...in India there is no brides section but they do have a "matrimonial" section. this is where you post when seeking a bride or husband for your son or daughter....and its good...the guys are all looking for slim tall fair homely girls (homely meaning domestic, not ugly). the women are all looking for h'some tall MBA'S with Visa's to the USA. i decided to create my own profile in the style of these ad's...here is part of it:

they all start "SM 4" which means "seeking match for"

SM 4 h'someish, extremely fair guy 31/8/69 8:35am 38/172. USA educated semi-established in mumbai (goregaon east). family of high repute...

i end with "religion/caste no bar, no dowry req."

to explain...the ads all have the date and time of birth so the horoscopes can be matched... "38/172", i am 38 and 172cm tall...saying your "foreign educated" is a big plus...i loved saying EXTREMELY fair...family being of "high repute" seems to be a big deal....and all the desperate people end with "caste no bar" which means that even people poorer or below them in social status can apply...

so i have i mentioned i have a lot of free time....

king of my castle...

08 April, 2008

schizo!

alright so i am still very much alive....i just have not felt like blogging...sorry.

things are going really really well...working less, but on much higher paying jobs...so that's great.
i bought socks. and a bowl and mug. and my life isn't as boring as that sounded...i don't know what to say its been so long.

i went on an audition today to play a cowboy in an nokia ad...when i got there they handed me a guitar and said its a SINGING cowboy...they video taped the whole mess. god willing it will end up on youtube...i sang country roads.

i did an Air-tel Ad-film last week and played a roman guard.

yesterday i did a promo video for a local university where i played a professor. it was set in the future and felt very Woodie Allen sleeper.

so a professor, singing cowboy, roman guard...i am professionally a schizophrenic.

take care...keep the dream alive!!!
(remember boycotting the Olympics is the right thing to do!!!)

31 March, 2008

torch china

Boycott the Olympics!



(back to the regular bollywood dribble tomorrow)

27 March, 2008

that's two down-feeling good

last week i went out of town for a shooting. the place is called Panvel and is about an hour and a half outside of Mumbai. it was a disaster. just to cut to the chase one of my agents (blacktoothes boyfriend) screwed me over and didn't pay what he promised. his attitude was "what are you going to do about it". the worst part is he's right...there is nothing i can do about...if i stop working for him...i loose money and he brought me jobs. i am still really mad and still plotting revenge. Everybody had warned me he was like that but i had really never had problems with him. the only good thing from the shoot is i met this girl there, an extra, and after everybody went home one night...she slept with the films star. his name is Zayed Khan. she told me all the details. it was fun!

this week, my other agent screwed me over. i went for an audition, a speaking part on a soap..turned out it was in Hindi, which i don't speak. anyway they wanted Hindi spoken with a foreign accent. i got the part but it was really really uncomfortable and i said i didn't want to do it...my agent flipped out and said i had to do it or else I'll never work in this town again....

so that's two down...i think like everything else i do...i may have stayed in Bollywood too long...i always stay in jobs relationships apartments way to long...i am sometimes the king of beating a dead horse...how many times have i written here that i thought it was time to look for other work? looking for jobs stinks!!!
now i have to really look for a job...no really, i am gonna start...
of course i blame my mother, if she had only married a rich man...

i saw the film 10,000 BC. it wasn't good. i got some really amazing jeans (before i realized i was out of work). i do have one other job lined up for Saturday but it's a one off job. i returned my hair clippers and got new ones, i know everyone was worried. i got 'kelis' greatest hits CD, it's awesome. i have a little cold. we are in the build up to the Monsoons so Mumbai is hot already in the 90's and it will just get hotter and hotter until it breaks in June...so everyone has AC on and you get sick going from outside sweating to inside freezing.

so that's mumbai...i feel like i may be in a bit of a rough patch with work but i still incrediably happy...so no fretting. india gives and gives so i just have to wait and see what she's got in store next...everything always works out!!!

24 March, 2008

Ruth E. Oliver

hate to start the week on a sad note but...

my grandmom died.

about 10 or 12 years ago she had a stroke and this began her gradual decline. for the past 3-4 years she has been fighting off old age. the past year she has been bed ridden. 21 days ago she stopped eating. then, last Tuesday died.

my grandmom loved 4 things most - Family, Elvis, Yard Sales, and Raid Bug Spray.

she bought me my first suit. blue polyester; in that suit i was unstoppable.

I remember going to her house most Easter breaks. on hand there was always plenty of Jello with cool whip, banana pudding made from Nilla Waffers, and heaps and heaps of love. her house had furniture much different from ours fantastical things like Crystal cigarette lighters. there was a graduation picture of my mom, in her cap and gown, i grew up always thinking that mom, had, at some time, been a nurse.

my wit and humour comes directly from her. she and my grandfather were funny funny people. my family has an amazing capacity to laugh; at life and more importantly, ourselves. my family are the funniest people i know. it all started with her. i see that wit and humour now passed through to my niece and nephew - "literally".

of course it is with sadness that my family has to say good-bye to our matriarch, yet also a sense of relief, her life had become unlivable at the end. as long as my family continues to laugh, and we will, she will, be right there laughing with us.

alright granny this ones for you....

16 March, 2008

blackberry tooth

Tuesday i bought hair clippers, they stopped working on Saturday.
Wednesday i was an extra on some film. there was only one other western. turns out she is the girlfriend of one of my agents. she's from Canada and has a black tooth. she is madly in love with him. she flys to India twice a year to be with him. he totally cheats on her. she works at McDonald's in Canada.
Wednesday night i did a night shoot. it was an outdoor rock concert. it was semi fun. black tooth was there.
Thursday i did a movie staring Govinda, he's an actor turned politician, turned actor. he's a bit of an ass but everybody loves him here. the shoot was fun. a big dance production. i don't think i will be able to be seen though. i got to meet one of my favorite Indian extras...I'll explain. there's a film called "om shanti om" in the liner notes of the CD they have photos from the set etc. this one kid is in every picture. i think of him as my extra guru. it's hard to get in every photo from a set. one time some friends were looking at my "om shanti" CD and they said "who is that freaky guy in every picture". i felt hurt. anyway he was on this film and i said i recognized him and you could tell that it really made his day.
Friday i did the same Govinda film. one of the production guys wears a wig, a really bad wig. i took a photo.
Saturday i got a call that the salman khan film i did a few weeks ago needed me back this coming week. it requires that i go out of town for the shooting, 4-5 days. i really loved working on this film and am excited. only trouble is...the 20th is Holi and i wanted to be here (my colony) to celebrate. [Holi is a festival where you wear white and people throw colored powder on you...it's so much more than that but i don't feel like explaining...lazy author here.]

ok here's more holi info:

On the first day, bonfires are lit at night to signify burning the demoness Holika, Hiranyakashipu's sister.

On the second day, known as Dhuleti, people spend the day throwing coloured powder and water at each other. The spring season, during which the weather changes, is believed to cause viral fever and cold. Thus, the playful throwing of the coloured powders has a medicinal significance: the colours are traditionally made of Neem, Kumkum, Haldi, Bilva, and other medicinal herbs prescribed by Āyurvedic doctors. A special drink called thandai is prepared, sometimes containing bhang (Cannabis). People invite each other to their houses for feasts and celebrations later in the evening.


speaking of holidays, i completely forgot about lent and Easter. i was talking with this American guy and he mentioned he gave up drinking for lent. i had forgotten all about it. i met an Indian christian that invited me to come to church with his family on Easter.

anyway so i will be away next week and not blogging. my plan is, since i will be "on vacation with salman all week", i am going to force him to become my new best friend. wish me luck!!!

this is a hilarious video from Govinda's past. he played superman here in India. i love spidergirl!!!

11 March, 2008

marionettes hate me

hey ya'll...I've been a working the past couple of days...and it went a little something like this...

Thursday and Friday i was on set for a new soap...the set was a soccer field, luckily, i was "cast" as the commentator and not a player. they had to run and i don't run. as commentator, i sat in the box with an Indian and he did all the talking, i just had to react to what he said. i was "not to speak, just react". i was doing all this great stuff: finger pointing, laughing at his jokes, giving thumbs up. after the shot i watched play back, the camera wasn't even on me the whole time...my 15 minutes are running out. i got paid well for two days of shooting so whatever. i like doing TV, but there are no stars that i am interested in on TV that part is blah. There was an American kid there from Philly, he lives one block from my old place...talking to him made me sort of sad...seems like another life ago.

Saturday i was off...i accidentally ripped my pants, beyond repair, on a piece of metal from the side of an rickshaw. they were my favorite pants, now i am down to 3 pair...i need some clothes bad! India is kinda dirty and i hand wash everything, so all clothes have stains and spots on them. i was supposed to go out Saturday but then got a job for Sunday so i could not. i plan to go out every Saturday but then always get work on Sundays and can't. sometimes i just want to have fun.

Sunday and Monday i worked on a film called "druma" (i think). in it my character gets killed by a marionette, seriously a marionette. the villain has magic powers and makes these marionettes come to life, one stabs me. the worst part is that my costume was a bright yellow corduroy suit. the writer of the film was there and i said next time could you make the suit black and fashionable. he looked confused at my joke and said there would not be a part 2. the star of the film is Abhishek Bachchan. i really wanted to meet him but was not there on my two days. he's one of the last on my list of "to meets". he's "the most handsome man in Bollywood" married to the "prettiest woman in Bollywood" she's Aishwarya Rai. his dad is the Elvis of Bollywood, he's not a singer, he's an actor, but has achieved that level of stardom. anyway...all these names, ya'll don't care do you?

so that was my week...more happened but i need to go, so maybe more later

my song of the week!!

04 March, 2008

I have gas!

after three months in my flat i finally have gas...what? you say i could have just eaten some beans...not that kind of gas...i mean cooking gas. see my place didn't come with a cooker or gas. so i had to buy one and get a gas tank. it has taken me a loooong time but today i signed the contract and tomorrow between 10 and 4 my 14 kg. canister of gas will arrive. i can't wait to cook some pasta!

a gas fact: Cooking gas is Liquefied Petroleum Gas, LPG in short. LPG, as the name implies, is gas in liquid form under pressure. It is filled under pressure in cylinders, stored and then transported to your house. LPG in gaseous form is almost twice as heavy as air. When released it always settles down on the floor level. It is colourless and also odourless, so a special odour is added at the plant to give it a distinctive smell for easy detection in case of leakage.



my gangster said he would help me...wait, did i tell you i have a gangster, yeah well he is a real life gangster (he told me he could have people "hurt" if i needed). he's been to jail and has an office, where, as far as i can tell, no actual "work" goes on. i don't like to accept his help cause even if he never asks me for money i know sooner or later...so anyway i felt really good that i didn't need his help and was able to sort it. actually this 15 year old kid i am friends with (a gangster and a 15 year old, oi vey!) he told me where to go for gas. he was attacked by a python last month. he is at 15, 6'5" and very serious about his studies.

i am still not working..this is day five i had such a kick ass past two weeks and now...kuch nahin (nothing)!

here's something...at the mall across from my house they have "an american style dollar store" it sells all these weird american products like fiddle faddle...and everything cost rs.99 which is actually like $2.50. but downtown is the indian version of a dollar store...which i love, everything cost rs.25 (fiddy cent). it has more of the crap you'd find in an american dollar store except they do have indian specific items like "lizard away" and instead of jesus statues they have krishna ones.

have a great day!

03 March, 2008

give me paanch

since i am on a roll with the movies...i saw sweeny todd...a warning...if you see it in india be prepared...they edit out all the blood...i know i'm mad...it makes me wonder what i've missed from other western films i've seen. beside the gore reduction it was perfect!!!

not much else is going on in india...i've had four days off, hence the film watching. all of the western friends i've made here have now all gone back to where they came my indian friends all have real jobs and xerxes is in america. i am a bit bored.

i have to get a job, like a real job. if i want to stay in india i will have to make some real money. i am totally uninterested in the job hunt. it's totally bumming me out. i guess i've been five months without and should just enjoy that i was able to survive this long...but it still stinks.

speaking of five (paanch) months...as of today, i have been here paanch months...seems like i have always been here.

02 March, 2008

jump Micheal!

here's a perfect example of how India works (?)...tonight i went to see "Micheal Clayton"...i know why would i see such a dorky movie...i was bored O.K.

i get my ticket which says "Micheal Clayton" and go to my seat. the movie starts except that it is the movie "jumper", which is not even listed as playing there. there are about 30 people in the theatre, only two people got up and left. the rest of us just acted like it was the movie we wanted to see...

and P.S. jumper has no ending...the story just stops (did the black guy make it off the mountain...who dyes his hair in the cave...did the other jumper die in the power lines...why didn't vader just use his light saber to kill all the pylons)...it's weird.

29 February, 2008

she works hard...

on tuesday night i did a night shoot. it was for a nothing little film...no big stars..crappy sets. i was nervous because the next day i had to do a commercial and my call time for that was 6:30am so i would be cutting it close...luckily the shoot got done at 2am. the only other thing interesting about the shoot was VaCrazy was there and was nice to me. there were three other Americans there and he was talking to them and then they started yelling at him...later they told me he was trash talking America.

next day i go to the commercial. it was for a clothing store here called pantaloons...kinda of like the Macy's of India/Mumbai. they put me in a pink shirt...a white guy in a pink shirt...whatever. the whole thing only lasted two hours and i made rs.4000 so it was great.

that night (wed.)i did the night shot again...VaCrazy managed to make another group of people mad at him...it was a boring (the shot and fight). it was supposed to go a third night but thankfully was cancelled.

thursday this guy called me about doing voice-over work for friday. he is sort of a friend trying to coordinate his own projects so i agreed. i got there and it ended up only lasting 45 mins. and i got paid rs.1500 so it was a score plus thru it i met another agent. it was a good day. i have nothing lined up for the weekend and it feels good. all i am going to do is see "Sweeney Todd" which just opened today here.

oh, i got cast in the corporate video i auditioned for on monday, it shoots next week.

i went to see "jodha and akbar" it's a big film here and it stars the guy with two thumbs on one hand...it was four hours long, i thought my head would explode...but it was a costume drama piece, beautiful to look at...but four hours jeez!

and that's my week in India all i did was work...i want some fun...although my work is fun...anyway tomorrow is saturday...there is a party...well shall see

here's a pic of 'ol three thumbs...enjoy!

26 February, 2008

the rest

when last i left you i had...been working on Yavraaj, seen a bunch of bollywood stars, met a great crew and was heading off to an audition.

first a couple other things about last weeks shoot...i met Salmon Khans hairdresser, he was really very very nice...he is sort of a big deal and is about to do his own version of a reality show like "blowout"...anyway he said i should come by his shop he could cut my hair. i pointed at my blading head and he said "sorry"...it was priceless...i think we may be friends...

the last day of the shoot..literally as i was leaving the shoot i got in a fight with the Russian crazy guy....all week long he would say the really nasty things about America...when people do (always Russians) i ignore them cause...i know that if you went up to any Indian in the street and said would you rather go to America or Russia...America would win. Russians seem to have really deep rooted hatred for the states, to them the cold war is still very much alive. so all week i ignore crazy cause i just don't won't to get into it...on the last shot, they put me in a scene instead of vacrazy. he asks why, which you shouldn't do. i looked at him and said "cause America's number one" and walked away. after i walked away he apparently acted all sad like i was being a mean American. outside the crew, my friends, were trying to comfort him. it really got me that all week he was talking smack and he was getting sympathy so i laid into him.

Sunday i went to audition at SRK's offices. i don't like to go on auditions. i don't think i am good at them. they are always in some really remote place that you have to spend your own rupees to get to...but when you get called to SRK'S you go...so i did...and i wasn't as impressed as i wanted to be...and i don't think i have any chance at the part...it's for a cricket coach..

Monday i went on two more auditions, glutton for punishment that i am...the first is for this new agent i am working with, whom i haven't met yet but i really like. it was for a corporate video, which i think is beneath me, but it pays well so. I had to make up my own lines while trying to "act" as they video taped me, which was difficult. when i was leaving another guy showed up, he was "traditionally" handsome and tall two things they love, i felt defeated. then i went to a voice-over audition. i have only done one voice-over job and i hated it. every one tells me that was just that one job and that they are fun and there is no dening the money is great...so off i go to another far away suburb of mumbai. the part is for an animated "Archie's" movie they are doing here? i think?. i was to be the dad. it sucked! i am just not good at or trained in voice and so i end up feeling crappy and i don't give a good product....

today, Tuesday, i start a four day night shoot. tomorrow i shoot a commerical i was cast in...it's a big pay day so i am thrilled.

here's my new favorite song, this week, it's an old one but i's love it...and i know a couple of the dancers in the video as well...

24 February, 2008

Robert is Yavraaj

I came up with about twenty different names for this blog but "Robert is Yavraaj" seemed to tell all...Yavraaj (the prince) is the name of the film I worked on the past five days and Robert was my character...it was a jammed pack week beyond belief..

First the bad news...I didn't get the reality show...I know, I know...I sooo wanted to be on it...what to do!

Back in Mumbai on Monday I got a call to go on a four day (turned into five) shoot at Flimistan studios which is really close to home so I was thrilled. I get there and the first person I see in one of my most hated frienimeis Vasily, he's an insane homeless Russian that gets jobs (somehow) and is a total freak. I have him in my phone book as VaCrazy. Sometimes his whole "insanity thing" is fun, most it's torturous. This is a typical Vasily conversation.

v: why do you live here
c: I love mumbai
v: I think thailand is better
c: than go live there
v: I think you will like thailand better
c: I have been
v: why don't you live in thailand do hate thai people
c: no I just...
v: why do you hate thai people you should live in thailand is much more green you should live in thailand, why don't you live in thailand
(craig slits his wrist - end scene)

So anyway Vasily and I find our studio and it turns out to be beautiful. The most amazing set I have worked on. I could tell straight away there was money behind this movie, which means, to me, that despite Vacrazy, it would be a good five days.

Now days later I forget all the details of the first day...I played the butler of one of the main characters whose house the set was. Whenever he had any scenes I sort had to be standing or milling in the background. normal bolly fare. My characters name was Robert; it became the name that the crew just started calling me on and off camera. It became hard to tell where Robert ended and Craig began...maybe Vasily wasn't the only crazy on set!

The director is Subhash Ghai. He started a film school here in Mumbai called "Whistling Woods International Institute for Film, Television and Media Arts". It is basically THE film school of India. It produces smart, smart graduates! His production company, which Yavraaj is part of, is called Mukta Arts.

There were three white extras...me, vacrazy and a German girl named Angela. It was my first time meeting her and she instantly became my new best friend. She is living here in Mumbai and has had many of the same experiences that I have, it was nice to talk to someone "living my life". She found Vasily crazy as well, so I had to love her.

The star of the film is Salmon Khan. Salmon is really, really famous. In 1994 he stared in "Hum Aapke Hain Koun" it was the first Bollywood film I ever saw. it came about as I was just starting to be "india crazy" adding fuel to the fire. it is a perfect film. It was really really special to know that now I would "be" in a film with Salmon...it was truly one of those "life is great" moments. tear!

The first day Salmon was not going to be there and I was sad...then...all of the sudden...out of know where Hrithik Roshan showed up. Who? Right! Hrithik is a big time actor here blah, blah, blah. Where my obsession with him lies, is in his hands...his right hand...it has two thumbs! a regular one and then a little baby one on top of that...it's so gross, I love it...every time I see his picture its like all I can see is those thumbs...so to see them, both of them, was the highlight of day one.

Because the director of the film is a big deal the entire week was a cavalcade of Bollywoods finest just stopping by the set to say hi...Sanjay Dutt, Ranbar Kapoor, Arshad Warsi, Irfaan Khan, just to name a few...I know those names mean nothing to most of you but in this new life I am living they are important so seeing them was fun.

The production crew: if you work on a production more than one day you are bound to meet one, two at the most, crews members that are awesome you can really "bond" with. This production had about 40. I have never been around such a friendly, warm, and FUN bunch of people. Even thought I was excited to see all the stars...the crew became...I kinda want to say "family"...but that sounds cheesy...but it totally fits. I miss them already.

So I just got a call to go audition at Shah Rukh Khan office...(YES!) so I gots to go I’ll fill in the rest later…you don’t keep King Khan waiting.

19 February, 2008

reality whore...who me?

So I loves a good reality show....and more than a good reality show, I loves me a bad one. But NOBODY loves reality TV more than India. Every night of the week there are tons on TV. They especially love singing competitions.

Last night the roomie that won't leave (he promises on the 21st) said that he gave my photos to a producer of a new reality show. What? It’s a dance competition. What? What? They match 9 regular folks with a Bollywood star (which am I?) they practice for three days and then they dance and someone gets voted off. Just like dancing with the stars. So I may be on it. They want a white guy but it still to early to tell. I am already practicing my winning speeches. Sameer says if I am on it, I will "become much famous". The best put I would get paid to hang out with a real Bollywood star...fingers crossed!!!

I am working the next four days which is nice cause I spent more than I wanted to in Nepal. It’s a bit like Target, you shop around and spend $5.oo here, $2.00 there and at the end of the day, you are broke. The studio is very near my house and I think it's a dance scene (they must have heard that I am a dancer now).

Anyway that's my life today!

p.s. i tried to send jessica and mom e-mails today and they wouldn't go...i got your e-mails and will respond later!

18 February, 2008

like a bad headache...Nokia!

I am back...in Mumbai!

I brought home a bit of a cold so this won't be long because I want to nap. The journey home was largely uneventful. The Maoist blocked the road my bus had to take from Katmandu so we had to travel an extra six hours to go around them. Which wasn't so bad cause sitting all around me were 8 monks. I was so trying to be there friend and they were so trying to avoid me. Which made me try harder...they won.

Back in Mumbai it's warm and I showered.

Oh, one cool thing. I ended up having to stay at a hotel half way home because I couldn’t get a train ticket Friday. While at the hotel, I saw a Nokia commercial I am in. It's was one of those "blink and you'll miss me" moments but, anyway it's with SRK and it is below!!!

I am at 34 seconds in, walking out of a bakery with a bag in the background...don't blink!!
Enjoy, I think it's my best work yet ha ha!

13 February, 2008

V-day

So here it is the eve of yet another Valentines Day to be spent alone...the difference this year is that I AM in love...with me!!! This year I feel better about myself, who I am, and the things that I am capable of more than I have in a longa time. Yeah me!! So while alone, I WILL be with the one I love.

But the V I am most excited about this Valentines is the Visa that I will pick up tomorrow letting me return home....home to Mumbai. In just over four months it HAS become home to me... I look forward to getting back, back to life. However, I don't look forward to the intensive job search that I have realized I have to do when I get there. Despite what most Indians think, just cause I am an American that doesn’t make me Donald Trump. But job worries are next week...

I made a Nepali friend. He sells Pashmina sweaters and I visit his shop daily. We drink tea and talk about our countries. He is hilarious and hates everybody. Last night we went to dinner, when we were parting he said "be careful of the glue sniffers". I laughed, not really understanding...his English is kinda bad. No sooner had I walked twenty feet away a gang of about 15 little kids (6-13 years old) came from nowhere and everywhere asking, nay, demanding money...each one more strung out than the next and each one dirtier than the next. Most, fortunately, were too busy holding plastic bags to their little faces (sniffing glue) to be bothered with money. Just as I was about to get scared, sweater guy came and chased them away...he said "don't worry, they won't kill you". Thanks?
Nepal is currently in political strife. The Maoist are trying to take over the government and you can feel the tension on the street. there are daily marches/rallies through town; it always feels like the city is step from civil war. It is sort of scary but exciting. The elections on April 10th will change this country forever. Time magazine has a cover story on the situation that sort of makes you feel for the Maoist. My sweater friend tells a different story. They come to his parents house and demand food and money threaten to bomb the house them if they don't provide.

So hopefully next time I blog it will be from Mumbai. The journey home proves to be blog worthy as the route seems a bit longer home as if it could get longer…

Peace out and congratulations to winehouse

11 February, 2008

better in the 00977.

I am feeling better...I was crabby last night, I guess I just needed to vent cause now it's better.

I went to the "monkey" temple yesterday...a beautiful stupa (Buddhist temple) that is home to about 200 monkeys. I am fascinated by monkeys...I have always wanted a helper monkey (Google it). These monkeys were kind of scary. 200 hundred of any kind of wild animal is scary. They move really, really fast and are all around you. I had been to this temple before. To get to the top of the mountain where the stupa is, you climb stairs, about 4000 of them. Lore has it that if you reach the top without stopping you will reach enlightenment in this birth cycle or lifetime. When I was 24 I did it...there was still hope of saving me. At 38 all hope is gone, I stopped twice.

Today I went to see about going to Mt. Everest. I don't want to hike it, obviously, but I thought it would be cool to go to it. Last time I was here I climbed a little mountain, more of a hill, where you could get to the top and look across a valley and see Everest. This time I wanted to be closer.
I went to an agent, told him I just wanted to see it and he said...

Agent: "ok you can go, do you have a tent or will you rent one and how about gear"
Craig: "I didn't want to stay the night but isn't there a hotel to stay at there"
Agent: "yeah, it's an eight day hike to get to base camp at the bottom of Everest"
Craig falls into laughter.

Could you see me hiking for eight days? I wouldn't hike eight days to a hello kitty convention where bjork is performing much less to the bottom of a snow covered mountain!!
He then tells me that there is a plane that will take people on 45 minute sky tours around the mountain. I’ve seen the film "Alive", forget that. So I won't see Everest.

I got two tee-shirts made here. They do hand embroidery and will put anything you want on a shirt. I am in heaven. I got "I keep it reals in the 065" and “I drop rupees by the core"...065 is my post code, rupees is the name of the money I use, a core is like a million rupees.

Nepal uses the rupee too but a different one than India. When you get your change back at a shop or restaurant they will combine types of money you get back...ie you'll get some US dollars, some india rupees, and some nepal rupees...it's werid.

so Nepal is beautiful...if you like nature, great food, and nice people this is the place for you...it is nearly perfect (cold). the people here are so nice, they say hello and smile. the locals are really attractive as well, half Asian half Indian, a great combo. the girls are really shy but somehow seductive and the guys are really into rap and are all thugged out. India try’s to be hip, but Nepal gets it.

I also went to Kumari house which is where the keep this little girl they pick as a child to be a princess. she has to leave her family a live in this temple. she is worshipped and holds court doing rituals. she stays until she "bleeds", not necessarily her period, just bleeds. it could be from a cut or scratch. they think that shows she is not divine but merely human. then she is removed and they pick a new one.

alright that's Nepal today...live it!!

10 February, 2008

getting here: part 2; Ka-Ka-Ka-Kathmandu

So when last I left you I had been traveling 50 hours;
and still not in Katmandu.
I had taken:
One local train
One cycle rickshaw
One long distance train
One jeep
And 2 auto rickshaws.

So I am on the bus at the Nepal boarder. Enter Paul, my seat mate and new best friend (for the next 13 hours). A British kid traveling in India for the past 3 months on his way to the Kat to meet a friend. He hadn’t had the best time in India. It was so nice after the past few days when conversation was broken English, "I go" "you sit" to talk freely with an English speaker. The bus was cold, uncomfortable, slow and it was kinda scary going through undeveloped mountains roads. Once in the Kat it just sort dropped us and we didn't know where we were. Paul had pre-booked a hotel I had the name of two different hotels so we got a cab with some weird Jewish kid and headed for the tourist district. It was 4am. Once in the area, the Jewish kid left for some Jewish hotel. There we were on the street walking and walking, looking for a hotel we couldn't find. We both had our second winds so it was kinda fun. We finally found his hotel and I checked in as well. It was a bit more than I wanted to spend but it was 5am...

So it's Thursday...I got up earlyish considering I went to sleep at 6am. I wanted to see the town, get food and warm clothes. They sell these great yak wool sweaters I always remembered how great they were. Unfortunately my opinion of them has changed in 14 years; I didn't/don't like them. Anyway I wanted to find a cheaper hotel so I went just looking round. I couldn't do passport/visa stuff because the embassy was closed Thursday for some holiday.

By walking around I found a hotel I had stayed in last time. It was cheaper I told them I’d come on Friday. Spent that first day just trying to get "the lay the land". I also got visa photos taken, terrible visa photos.

Friday got up early to go to embassy. You have to go early cause there is a long line. People start lining up at 4 am I had heard. I took a risk and left at 6:30. it turned out fine. To get a visa you fill out a form which they fax to Washington DC to see if you are a wanted criminal. You go back in couple days (I go Thursday 14th) and turn in another form in the morning, then back at 4:30 to pick up your visa.

After the embassy I went and checked in the new/old hotel. When I first went in the room I thought, "14 years has been hard on you old girl" I just dropped my bags in the room and headed out. I came back at round 2 and was sitting in the room thinking I don't want to stay here, it was a shit hole. So I went to find a new hotel and plan my escape. I found one, went back to my hotel and told them I didn’t like it and was leaving...they tried to make me pay for the room. I didn't.

So that means that basically I am "stuck" in Nepal until Thursday. Which I know sounds crappy to say stuck but...it's cold and sort of miserable or I am miserable here. The power is always out so after 5pm it's dark and all you can do is sit in your hotel room in the dark and freeze. Or go to the internet cafe that has a generator and blog. I am bored and did I mention cold. So I am just walking around during the day and eating. I should explain all this so much better but right now I am at the height of my crabbiness I need to chill out and blog later.

09 February, 2008

gettin here: part one

The journey here...I left my house at 7pm on Monday, 4th Feb. I was not really sure how i was getting to the train station. In Mumbai you have many travel choices, all falling along the scale of expensive to cheap. I always want to say "fuck it" and go expensive, but then I remember "I choose this life I have to live it" and go cheap. I took a auto-rickshaw to the local train. Local train to Santa Cruz station then another rik to the long distance train station. The local train was unusually not crowded, which I took to be a good omen, normally it is impossible. The rik to the long distance train however took forever, one and half hours. I was nervous my train was to embark at 10p and it was 9:30 when I arrived. At the end the driver asked for more money, I just laughed and walked away. I had never been to this station before but was able to find my train easily. on the platform you have to wait under these signs that are labeled according to which train car you are booked in. under my car sign was a midget Muslim family...I though I had died and gone to heaven...if only one of those Mexican wolf guys had been there I might have spontaneously combusted. Sadly they moved to a different car when we were told to board. Tear. Unfortunatly my compartment mates where not as interesting. They sort of ignored my existence for about the first 20 minutes. A conversation started between the guys there and they kept pointing at me and speaking to me in Hindi, they wanted something. I called my Indian friend xerxes (the date) and he figured out they wanted me to switch cars so a family could travel together. Since i wasn’t enamored my with the folks in my car I was fine with the shift. I went to the other car. It had the warmth of a morgue. There were, as best as I could count, seventy five thousand crying babies and just as many old women in burqas. I went back to my car and announced to nobody imparticular "fuck that" and retook my original seat.

Each individual car is divided into 9 areas for seating/sleeping. Within those 9 areas is place for 8 fold out beds and eight passengers. In true Indian style my area had 12 passengers. While I slept at night a guy sat on the edge of my bed...all night. When I bought my ticket I requested upper berth...I asked repeatedly "is this top berth?" "I have to have top berth!"..."yes!" "yes!" "yes!" I was told...I had bottom berth. Also known as "the suckiest berth". You have to wait for everyone to decide to sleep because the shared seat becomes your bed. Around 12:30 everyone went to sleep. So me, the guy at my feet, and my 12 new best friends all turned in.

It got cold at night, everyone was freezing, I didn't think it was bad. We got up at 6am. They were still not really interacting with me...language was a major problem, nobody spoke English. I took breakfast, then a nap, then lunch, then the boredom set in...1 hour...2 hours...they crawled by. I couldn’t really read because the train is so noisy with people talking and hawkers selling everything under the sun up and down the aisle. I had an idea...I pulled out my notebook, numbered the page one to twenty and asked the one guy that knew some English to teach me to count in Hindi. It turned out to be just the ice breaker we needed...we all became fast friends.

The rest of the trip was not too bad for being 35 hours long. A guy in the next birth spoke English. He became our translator. They all asked about sex in America. It’s a topic that every Indian man asks about. They have this idea that you can just have sex with any girl you want and anywhere you want. It’s really crazy and sort of upsetting the screwed up views some have about the US. At around noon on Wednesday we arrived at Gorakhpur, where I would catch a bus to the boarder of India and Nepal. It was strange how sad I felt when leaving the guys from the train. On some level we had actually become friends. I also was aware that my sadness came from the knowledge that I was not just leaveing these new friends but my beloved India as well.

In town I was told I would have to wait for 2 hours to get a local bus boarder. Then I was approached by this guy that took people in his "hummer like" jump for rs.100. I jumped in a truck built for six with ten other people and headed for the boarder. Two and half cramped hours later I was in Sunuli. the town is nothing but the boarder crossing between countries. Crossing the boarder was strange. First the jeep drops you just far enough from the boarder that you have to take one of the waiting cycle-rickshaws. Then they drop you in front of the "disembarking" customs office, which is no more than a store front with a desk. With passport stamped as “exiting India” you walk down this busy road to the boarder. There is no signage to tell you where to go or anything, it's really confusing. There are people everywhere, pushing, shoving and you’ve got baggage to boot, not fun. I asked a police man and he pointed across the street and turned his back. I found the visa/customs office and my visa was issued with no fuss or muss. Back on the street you just keep walking until you guess your now in Nepal. I turned and gave India one final look and set about booking a bus to Katmandu.

Just before I boarded my bus a guy putting luggage on top of the bus fell off and lay on the ground in front of the bus with blood pouring from his head. I went around to the other side and got on; people grabbed his legs and dragged him away.

Alright so that's part one...internet place is closing, its 10:30pm and this is the night of Nepal’s New Year...the year of the rat!!!

07 February, 2008

NEPAL

after a long, long, long, long, long, long, long, journey from mumbai i have arrived...i will give you the low down later...(my keyboard does not have the keys labeled and i am having to rely on my memory, yikes)...i go to see about my visa tomorrow and i also check into the same hotel i staied in 14 years ago...cool. oh and ot's cold here...like almost snowing cold...and there is no hot water...i thinka i stinka, cause i no showera. but its beautifil and the food is amazing and cheap...it's 3pm and i have eaten 3 times and on my way for a 4th.

ok take care...show love!!!

speaking of love...there was a really good second date! ha ha!

02 February, 2008

ticket and stuff

My ticket is bought and i am, Monday at 10pm, heading for the green, green mountains of Nepal. Tuesday when i went to inquire about my ticket, i asked if i need to show my passport, which i had on me, and the lady said no. Thursday when i went to buy the ticket she said i needed my passport. That’s sort of India in a nut shell you never know what you going to get at any moment. that works for good stuff as well...i was late for an appointment sitting on the train and this Indian came over and said "not sure if you know this but, this train terminates at the next station, there you have to transfer for “Churchgate" he saved me about an hours worth of travel time...but you know it is hard to live here and that’s part of the excitement...the excitement of any large city...Philly was hard sometimes too.

As i was walking away from the ticket counter i got a call a bout a job that would last for a month of shooting at rs.800 per day...and it starts the day i leave for Nepal...damm! Then another call from this agent, Paras, who i have been trying to butter up because he gets good, high paying jobs. He had a job for me on the 11th...a modeling job i might add...and i can't take that either…Nepal better be awesome!!!

I found out you can't view ABC TV on-line out side of the US so no "Lost" for me.
I got this book on Mumbai, a street by street map; i don't know i have lived without it. My fake diesel bag is dying, that's what you get why you buy bags for $3.00 on the street. I found this place that sells wicker furniture and i actually like the stuff and it’s affordable. While not a big wicker fan, wicker seems to suit India somehow.
I also found how to get a water cooler sent to my house...i have been hunting this for 2 months. Turns out it is much cheaper than i thought.

That’s it for now...enjoy!

Oh crap i almost forgot...the date went really well...there just may be a second one