On Tuesday, I happened to be looking at the blogshares for Esther's blog. Her shares are valued at B$51.88, whereas mine are valued at B$1.05. Shares of my Welsh blog are going for a whopping B$0.49. I'm not surprised that Esther's blog is more highly valued than mine -- she has readers who list "Newsies" among their favorite films. In fact, I'm a little surprised that her shares aren't worth even more.
All this made think about the fact that one day Esther will write a book -- I'll bet that just about everyone she's ever met has asked her to so. And if I have any success at all in writing, it will always pale in comparison to Esther. On the rare occasion that people show up for my book readings, the questions everyone will ask will be about Esther:
"Yes, she is brilliant. Yes, she really is a refreshing female voice. Yes, you're right. She is more than just that -- she is, indeed, one of the greatest authors of all time; that's why they've put her caricature on Barnes & Noble bags... But about my latest novel... Oh, none of you have read it? Have any of you read any of my novels? No? Oh, OK. Well, uhm... Esther and I met in college... "
The point is, dear reader, someday Esther will be hugely respected in all the circles you wish you were part of (if she isn't already; those circles don't talk to me) and you should get in on the ground floor now.
Perhaps my blog would be better if I would use the journal topics that birthday girl Jenny linked to recently. Today's question: What is something you dislike about yourself?
I will never be accepted and loved by the literati with this Kentucky grill of mine. I would, however, make a great extra in a movie about the British Navy. Oh, wait. No I wouldn't.
Russell Crowe's "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World" was filmed at Fox Studios Baja, in Rosarito, Mexico -- just a few miles of San Diego, Calif., where I used to live. I auditioned to be an extra in the film.
"We don't want the handsome, gorgeous types," said Judy Bouley, the film's casting director, in 2002. "I'm really going to need men and boys with character faces."
When I showed up (early) for the casting call, there were already a few hundred guys lined up outside the hotel. About 60 of us were let in at a time, given forms to fill out and told to sit in several rows of chairs that had been set up.
Bouley announced to us via megaphone that the coffee was awful in San Diego and that she was going to have us line up in the back of the room to have our pictures taken in groups of five. We would hold up numbers in the picture and were told to be sure to write down that number on our forms. Once that had occurred, we were free to leave.
She said that they were casting for three groups of extras: one group would consist of a few hundred guys that they would use over a weekend to film big scenes; a second group they would need for about two weeks; and a third group they would need for two to three months. The third group would be working closely with Crowe, and would be trained to fire cannons and sail the ships.
"So, if you all want to just head back there and line up... except for you," she said, pointing at me.
I figured she was eliminating me straightaway, which I thought was particularly cruel.
"Your teeth, darling. I like your teeth. You ever done any acting?" she asked once everyone else had moved on.
I ran my tongue over my skateboard-incident damaged teeth and explained that, yes, I had been in a few professional stage productions.
"You don't have any sailing experience, do you?"
"Yes, I do," I said, lying -- I had friends in the Navy, they could teach me.
"Great. Would you be willing to learn how to fire a cannon?"
I gave her a diplomatic answer that basically boiled down to "hell yeah."
She had me stand in a corner while she issued the line-up-and-get-your-photo-taken commands to another group of guys. Then she walked over to some equally important-looking person (apparently the way to look important in Hollywood is to carry an overburdened clipboard, wear several different backstage-pass-looking things around your neck, and talk frantically), the two did a lot of hand waving at each other and the second woman came over and led me to another corner of the room.
The second woman used a professional camera to take four pictures: a head shot, a side head shot, a full-body shot and a head shot in which I showed my teeth.
"Judy said to make sure I got your teeth," the woman said.
After the pictures were taken, the woman went through my form again to make sure that all the contact information was correct. Then she escorted me to the exit and shook my hand.
And that was the last I ever heard from them.
I have never seen the movie (my wife insists we boycott it because they didn't pick me), but I've always wondered if there is a scene in which there is a close shot of a guy's teeth. If there is, that was supposed to be me.