The Results May Vary

Observations from my Mixed Up World

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IMTA Log: Day Five – Awards Dinner

The end has finally come.  The last event of IMTA NYC 2013.  It will be the first time we’ve actually had a proper dinner since we got here and I think the whole agency is starving.  The best thing about having a dinner with models is that no one is fighting for the extra buns on the table.  Here’s to those avoiding carbs.  Our meal was excellent and I have to commend the NY Hilton for a great meal and superior service.  I was impressed that they served 2000 meals and everyone got theirs hot.

Geoffrey Chapman Agency fared very well at the final awards banquet with 3 people winning honourable mentions (top 10 in their categories), 2 scholarships and one top 5 finisher.  Hooray for George, Riley, Milo, JoAnne, Nick and Melinda for their achievements.  Here are some photos.


Steve and Nick discuss the best route to storm the stage.


Melissa floats along the red carpet.


Milo and my wife pose with the winner of the “who’s our next daddy” competition – Justin.


Melinda off to LA with a full scholarship to something…

IMG_0499IMG_0495More awards for our group.IMG_0497

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IMTA Log: Day Five – Callbacks

Congratulations to all of us from Geoffrey Chapman Agency.  Everyone in our group got some callbacks from agents and managers.  Riley got the most with something like 28 callbacks and Milo had a very respectable 13.  His callbacks were mostly in the talent category and a split between NYC and LA based agents.  Wonder what a callback is like?  Imagine about 1000 people in a large room full of tables.  It’s hot.  Most tables have line ups of between 3 and 200 people all waiting to see that very desirable agent or manager.  Then you basically start to speed date.  Some have forms to fill out, some want to see you act out a scene or a monologue, some need you to sing.  The NY agents/managers tended to be the owners or presidents of the firms while the LA reps were just that.

I’ve got to say that everyone was very polite and tried to keep things moving as much as possible.  Most of Milo’s best responses were from NYC based agents so we’ll have quite a bit of work following up once we get home.

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IMTA Log: Day Two

Day two at IMTA has been pretty exhausting.  Exhilarating but very long and it’s only 6pm.  I must be getting old.  We started the day off with a great seminar on the business of acting in LA.  Lots of great questions and some good insider tips.

We had lunch at our favourite Cafe Metro.  But before that we saw the women’s jeans competition and rushed back for the men.  Here are some photos.












Justin is the hunk above this photo.


They may look like models, but actually my wife and I got some quick plastic surgery last night.  You believe me, don’t you???

Milo competed in head shot and screen test today.  He really stood out among the boys in his category.  I’ll post the video clip on YouTube soon.

Tonight we are off on the Circleline tour of Manhattan.

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IMTA Log: Day One

Here we are:


After a great night’s sleep, got up and hit Starbucks.  I know, I know… that sounds like every other day in my life, but today I got my venti in NYC.  Then we got all dressed in our Geoffrey Chapman red and whites and headed to the Hilton.  We found the other 21 members of our party and waited to get our badges and schedules.

Here we are getting organized and then our group photo:

IMG_0336 IMG_0337














Here are the boys getting ready for action.  Frankie, Justin and Nick.




Group photo by Letterman.


We attended an acting workshop with TJ Stein from LA and then a performing Master Class with Henry Ravelo from NY.  Both were really great at  getting Milo into the groove.  Henry sure made Milo get his dancing shoes on with some fun choreo.

There must be over 2000 models and actors here.  The orientation was wild.  Over the top is the order of the day here.  There must be 10,000 miles of long legs on display and enough spike heels to build a railway to Alaska.

We were so pumped to see that Milo made it through to the preliminary singing competition.  He kept everyone around him amused waiting for his turn.  For him, nerves lead to endless chatting.  It’s a good thing people like to be around him.  Milo was very confident coming out of his closed set session.  All of our fingers are crossed.

So much to see and do.  Tomorrow holds endless new opportunities.

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IMTA Log: Getting to NYC

One in the morning came right on time today according to my watch, however if Milo’s level of anticipation is a measure of time then 1am arrived about 10 hours late.  Kid is so wired I don’t know if he will sleep once while we’re in NYC let alone today.  There has been a massive thunderstorm going on for several hours and I’ve enjoyed watching X-Men and X-Men 2 while waiting for the right time to leave for the train station.  My wife has made about 6 attempts to sleep, each time disappearing into the bedroom for a while and then coming back out more frustrated than the last time.  But none of that matters now since 1 am has arrived and we are leaving for Buffalo train station.

The torrential rains escort us all the way to the US border and we spend the usual amount of time convincing Milo that today is not the day we want anal searches for the whole family.  And as usual, he finds our efforts incredibly amusing and cause to tease us with more and more horrible ideas for border chat.  We pass through the border with our virginity intact Thank God!  Trusting the GPS to lead us to the Depew station, we tour the outskirts of Buffalo on this dark, rainy night.  Now here’s where caution turns to folly.  We get to the station by about 2 am.  The train is scheduled to leave at 4:35 am and things don’t look too comfortable.  Oh well… it’s not that long until 4:35 am.

It seems that the rains that failed to trouble us did trouble someone.  Our train.  Niagara Falls, NY got flooded out and lost power.  The train is now expected to arrive sometime around 6:30 am.  That’s a real kick in the morale.  The next several hours was spent watching Milo pace and agonize over the late train, the large over-indulged family wearing path to the vending machines until someone makes a McDonald’s run and the hoola-hoop toting wedding goer’s cleavage playing peek-a-boo as she tried to lay down across 3 chairs.  Frankly, it was all so sad that I’m ashamed to even be writing about it.

Finally, about 7 am, we board Amtrack train 280 and leave for NYC.  With a bit of sleep and a snack later, I expect we’ll be ready to storm the Big Apple.  Travelling west on this train, I’m looking out at the back side of small town America and I can’t help but wonder how many other people have sat on similar trains headed for NYC thinking that they’re leaving all this behind and heading towards fame and glory.  We’ve joined a special club, I think.

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What’s Been Goin’ On

If you’ve been wondering where the heck I’ve been and what the heck I’ve been doing… well, you’re not alone.  I can’t believe that it is July 17th already.  What happened to all that time?

Transitioning from school days to summer daze hasn’t been smooth around here.  For the past 10 years, we’ve launched off on vacation as soon as the school bell stopped ringing.  This time we’ve been taking a more measured approach and we leave for various parts in two days.  Milo and Maya have been working on their arguing skills.  They’ve moved from their Master’s level studies and are well on the way to their Doctorates.  It’s been such a delight to watch them develop new and improved ways to irritate each other… I didn’t know there were special techniques for car, hot tub, TV watching and for during washroom use.  My wife and I have started to carry cards with numbers from 1 to 10 so that we can score each effort.  Oh yeah, we’ve taught the kids how to pour drinks for us.  It may just save their lives.

We’ve been getting Milo ready to compete in New York City at the International Modeling and Talent Association show.  This has meant finding a new singing teacher and working to nail down monologues, commercials and sitcom scripts.  I really appreciated the part where the new music teacher mentioned to Milo that he really ought to explore some dance like ballet and the little bastard smiled at her sweetly and told her that it was his life’s wish to learn ballet.  Oh, I almost fell down the stairs since we’d been trying to convince him to enroll in some dance to no avail.  So of course, off we went to find a ballet teacher… and who can justify putting their son in ballet and deny their 7 year old princess… so that meant both kids.  Ouch, that hurt the wallet.

Milo’s acting coaches have been after him to feel more emotion during his monologue.  He’s doing a piece from Hansel and Gretel and can’t seem to channel the horror that a kid would feel abandoned in the woods for the second time by his father.  I’ve almost been forced to blindfold him and drop him off somewhere!  Finally last night we had a break through when I frustrated him to the point of tears and then made him channel the emotion into his monologue.  My wife’s stress level is looking like a meniscus.  One more lost email, undelivered photograph, new demand for audio files slightly different from yesterday’s file etc, etc, and etc then BANG, she’s a gonna blow.

Only two more days of prep and then the die is cast.  I’ll be blogging from the Big Apple next.  Pray for our sanity and some success too.

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On the Occasion of my 41st Birthday

At first, I thought to make a bucket list of all the things I still hope to do before I slough off this mortal coil.  But on reflection, I figured this could be an opportunity to reflect on some of the things I’ve already done.  So here is a list of some of my high lights, low lights and just plain weird experiences.  They are in no particular order.

  • Watched both of my kids’ births
  • Watched both of my wife’s episiotomies (once by accident and the other from between the fingers covering my eyes)
  • I once, and only once, ran a mile and a half in 10 minutes, 14 seconds
  • Stayed best friends with my high school buddy for almost 30 years now
  • Marched through the Rocky Mountains carrying an 80 lbs pack and a rifle wishing I were dead and exhilarated to be alive at the same time
  • Participated in the greatest high school heist of all time, where my best friend and I “borrowed” a teacher’s master key, ran to the hardware store, had it copied and returned the key in under 6 minutes.
  • Ran a school photography club for junior kids
  • Stood in the Sistine Chapel and marveled
  • Drove a Nissan Micra with no air conditioning 14,000 km across the United States over 12 days enjoying 2 days in Vegas, the 4th of July in New Orleans and finding the US Navy underwater warfare school in the middle of the desert (still seems fishy to me)
  • Spent 10 years involved with and eventually commanded an Air Cadet Squadron
  • Suffered 3 sports related broken bones (not so cool when you consider 2 broken fingers due to not catching a football and a basketball respectively and a broken toe due to a bad judo fall)
  • Saw Milo stand on stage and take his bow in front of an audience of over 1000 people
  • Got denied entry to a brothel because I brought a girl with me – and to this day I swear I thought it was a bar in an odd place
  • Watched Maya get her first soccer hat trick (the first of many I hope)
  • Sat on the cobble stones near the Trevi fountain, eating panini with my wife on her birthday
  • Stood in wedding parties for many friends
  • Watched as some of those friends were buried
  • Helped a friend start a business and later watched the police arrest him for fraud
  • Swung from the political right to the left
  • Rappelled down the side of a sheer cliff
  • Joined the military and in the words of my buddy’s dad “was the only guy to come back less up tight than he left.”
  • Ate my first tomato in Monte Carlo
  • Visited the grave of Niccolo Machiavelli
  • Coached kids soccer and didn’t need the defibrillator even after running the field for 45 minutes in the hot sun twice a week
  • Paid $600 bucks to the vet and got a stellar X-Ray of the giant turd stuck in my cat’s ass.  It’s now my screen saver.
  • Investigated and successfully prosecuted a company for a workplace accident that crippled a worker
  • Recognized when I was working for an unethical company and moved on
  • Put a bottle of whiskey in my grandma’s grave because flowers seemed wrong

I haven’t exhausted all of the things that came to mind and that in itself makes me smile.  While my birthday is not until Tuesday, I’ll share this now so that if you’ve forgotten to get me a present you have time to find something great.

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…shall be condemned to repeat the past.

fire ball

You may be wondering about how things went while I was away.  Well, there is an old military saying that the best laid plans will not survive first contact with the enemy.  My problem seems to be that I can’t predict which enemy I need to plan to defeat.  The lunch planning seems to have worked.  Both kids and my wife appear nourished and hydrated.  The things I made for them prior to departure were all used.  One battle won. The texts from wife wife throughout day one did not indicate any sort of challenges although there was an email from Milo’s modeling agency that came through and required photos and his resume be printed out.  Bed times and wake ups did not seem to pose any problems.  Kids made it to music lessons OK.  Dinner was pre-made and left for everyone.  Did you see any landmines yet?  I didn’t.  I didn’t until the phone rang during dinner that night.

RING.  RING.  RING.  I look down at the phone and see my own name looking back at me.  A shiver passes through me like I am feeling someone walk over my grave.  “Hmmm.”  I mutter, “This can’t be good.”  My friend graciously picks up his beer and looks towards the TVs.

Me:  Hi, what’s up?

Wife:  I’m trying to find Milo’s resume on the computer.  Where the hell is it?

Me:  It’s in the folder under My Documents called Resumes. (wincing at how condescending this sounds)

Wife:  I’ve looked at a bunch and there all wrong.

Me:  What do yo…

Wife:  I see all of these old copies and there is none of the updated info in any of them.  What the hell did you do last time?

Me:  (start talking and after about 45 seconds realize that the cold silence at the end of the phone line is not just from her) Oh my God.  My phone died.  My buddy starts to chuckle and hands me his phone.

Me:  Hi, my phone died.  I am so sorry.

Milo:  Hi dad.  What are you doing?

Me:  I’m trying to get a hold of your mother.  Can I speak with her?

Milo:  Hang on.  (muffled words) Um… no.

Me:  What do you mean, No?

Milo:  (getting upset)  She’s typing on the computer and she’s really mad.   Mommy.  PLEASE talk to Daddy.  She won’t do it.

Me:  Ok.  Don’t worry.  Tell her I’ll call her later.  Love you.  Bye.

My buddy:  You’re dead.  Waiter… more beer please!”

Fast forward to later that evening.  Having plugged my Blackberry in and assured myself that I can’t pull the cord out or anything, I attempted another call.  It seems that Milo got off the phone with me and ran downstairs to the kitchen.  He engaged in potentially life saving behaviour by taking the bottle of Schnapps from the freezer and pouring some into the biggest glass he could find.  He carefully approached his mother, set the glass beside her and fled.  My wife had mellowed to the point that we could smile and talk.  Oh, alcohol.  For every time you get me in trouble, you solve a problem for me.  Thank you.  Thank you again.

Here is how the evening went for her.  She got home from work and began discussing dinner with the kids.  They stood in a circle in the kitchen looking down at the pre-made dinner I’d left them disdainfully like Gods unhappy with the burnt offerings of mortals.  Unable to smite me, they chose to strike out on their own and have Kraft Mac and Cheese with a salad.  The pot is set to boil and the salad is made.  Hmm.  The water in the pot appears to still be cold.  Hey!  No flame from the burner.  Oh, yeah.  Daddy said to turn it to lite.  BOOOOOOM.  The children fling themselves to the ground.  The cats scatter.  Geese in the pond over by the golf course take flight.  Mommy is unfazed.  She knew that would happen.  Dinner gets made and the traumatized children eat every bite.  Nothing is left.  Music bags are packed and the trip to music class is unusually silent.  On the way back, the kids begin to make congratulatory comments that although well meant will eventually piss their mother off. Things like, “Oh, mom.  You stopped the car for the stop light.  Great work.” and “Wow mom, we didn’t think you knew where music class was.  Hat’s off for finding it.”  Arriving home, my wife heads to the office and plans to quickly and effortlessly print out a single page of paper and one photo.

My wife has a love-hate relationship with technology.  Mostly hate, actually.  There are times when I think that technology hates her back.  So as she begins to search through My Documents and realizes that she has no idea what the file is named.  And there may be some small, well… tiny or perhaps minuscule element of responsibility on my part since I  have a totally random naming convention for files.  It was at this point that she discovered 8 or maybe 10 versions of Milo’s resume, each different and apparently none complete.  She began to see the quick print job dissolving into a full editing job and called me.  Regrettably, I can’t remember where or what I named the last resume and may not have actually remembered to save it and to top it all off, I appeared to hang up on her.  Not so good for her temper or my future happiness.  Oh, did I mention that one of the 9 ink cartridges is almost empty and makes printing the picture a seat of the pants, nerve shattering experience.

Well, that is a glimpse of the first day.  The others got better and I made it home with gifts.  Not such a bad idea, I think.

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Business Travel (also traveling alone)

I’m getting ready to head out of town for a couple of nights on business.  Under normal conditions getting ready to be away takes a certain amount of both mental and physical preparation.  With my current personal challenges preparing myself to be away is much harder than I’d like to admit.  I’ve been letting the nerves get the most of me too much lately and have canceled at least 3 overnights in the past few months.  I’d like to thank Marriott for having a cancellation policy that lets me cancel up to 6 pm the day of travel.  Then again, maybe some day, I’ll sue them for enabling me to avoid my problems.  That sounds better, doesn’t it?

Getting ready to travel means I need to anticipate everything  I might need to do while I’m gone and arrange for it in advance.  Things like getting garbage out to the curb or cleaning up the house can be easily done ahead of time.  There are other things more tedious however.  Since I make everyone’s lunches, it means I need to clear space in the fridge to lay out everything for each person in nice straight lines.  Not so hard for one day, but this time I’m away for two.  So sandwiches need to be pre-made, juice boxes staggered, spoons balanced a top yogurt cups and fresh fruit needs to find logical spaces to dwell.  Two nights away also means two dinners I won’t be home to make.  I try to encourage my wife to eat at her mother’s or to go out for dinner when I’m away.  It tends to reduce the number of phone calls around dinner time asking where the fuck do I hide the ketchup or letting me know what an asshole I am because I didn’t specify which of the 2 fridges something was in.  The worst phone call I ever got went something like this:

Wife:  I’m making macaroni and cheese for the kids tonight.

Me:  Why?

Wife:  They laughed at me when I said we were going to Tim Hortons.  They teased me and said I couldn’t cook.

Me:  Oh.  So what’s up?

Wife:  I can’t get the stove top to light. (Gas stove)  How do I do it?

Me:  Turn the knob to light and then  (BOOOOOOM!  Massive explosion echos through the phone.  Screams.  Shock wave creates a tsunami my beer glass 150 kilometers away)

Me:  (frantic)  What happened, what happened?

Wife:  I had it on high while I called you.  It’s ok now.  I was just scared.

Me:  (cancelling auto dial to my insurance agent my other phone)  Jesus Christ!!!  You were scared?  You’ve got to stop letting pride fuck with you that way.

So you can see why I need to be better prepared with meals.  I’ll make a big dinner tonight and leave left overs for tomorrow.  Microwaves are safe.  I may also take the knobs off the stove.  The next night I’ve already called my in-laws and launched a preemptive dinner.  As for me, I’ve got to get myself prepared too.

Generally, work travel also includes after-work social time.  Having established myself as not afraid to stay until the last drink has been drunk, it is going to stand out that I am not drinking (that much) and I’d prefer to avoid explanations.  Admittedly, there is a perverse imp that wants to shout “because drinking on my meds will leave me a gibbering idiot all day tomorrow, OK?”  But, it’s my problem not theirs.  So for now, I will attend socials and not host them.  It really breaks up a good party when you throw everyone out at 9:30 pm.

Those of you that do travel will also appreciate the importance of the check in phone call.  I’ve been traveling for about 9 years now and not once have I ever manage to schedule a call home, when the kids are still up and my wife can still speak civilly, that isn’t when I’m still out at dinner or at a social.  So, I generally end up standing outside a Toronto restaurant in the freezing cold trying to catch the gist of whatever the Hell Maya did at school that day.  Oh, how traffic noise, gusting winds and street people make it easier to listen to a 6 year old try to talk over the TV.  I can’t figure out why my colleagues need to have 3 hour dinners beginning at 7 pm.  I guess they’ve already paid a retainer to their divorce lawyers.

Anyways, wish me luck.  If anything interesting happens, I assure you, it will end up blogged here.