The Universe is Expanding & All I Got Was This Lousy Haircut

Okay okay, catch your breath – I know it’s a shock that I’m FINALLY writing. It really shouldn’t be – I always wait months in between posts on a blog that I claim is updated “regularly.” It’s a simple formula really – surprised you haven’t figured that out yet. Hmph. I thought you were supposed to be a nerd.

I am currently undergoing many changes. So many changes in fact that it’s like puberty at 28, with less hair & more schadenfreude. Lest you stop recognizing me amongst all the other oh-so-recognizable Bay Area actor-comedian-blogger types, here’s the run-down of all the things that are in flux or that have just recently come out of flux, or that are about to change so rapidly that I’m just gonna call them “what the flux?!?”

But rest assured that none of these change the fundamentals of me. I’m still the only Bay Area actor-comedian-blogger type that can directly reference Freud & then a split sentence later obliquely reference Spielberg, whose name is of course German for “storied jew”, and bring that circle to a close.


Flux Element #1: I’m about to be a father. May 3rd is the official ETA, but any daughter of mine would totally wait 48 hours to join us on Cinco de Mayo & let the world enjoy all the pinata jokes. So let’s call Cinco de Mayo de Diez the day my life changes. FOREVER. And more than in the way everyone’s life changes everyday blah blah existential hooey blah. A FRIKKIN’ FATHER. Buckle up.

Flux Element #2: I’m way more productive these days… and my focus is somehow able to spread over multiple areas without stretching thin. Working, husbanding (not the animal kind), running, acting, prepping for Baby Girl Hansen, and let’s see what else OH YEAH being awesome. I’m like Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, without the accent, abs, orange skin, or pathetically under-developed vocabulary. Wait… so… the only thing left is the fact that he nicknamed himself “The Situation”. So I should mention that heretofore I shall be known as Brian “The Current-Set-Of-Circumstances” Hansen.

Flux Element #3: My nickname is Brian “The Current-Set-Of-Circumstances” Hansen.

Flux Element #4: There may be a marked shift in my creative efforts underway; I’ve been considering the ‘writing’ part of drama/comedy a lot more often. Aside from my ill-fated attempts at using the word schadenfreude in the world of blogs, I’m usually WAY more capable of being funny in writing than I am in person. As proof, here’s a recent email survey that a beloved friend & sometimes-mentor asked me to fill out about my thoughts on bilingual education, which is to be used for one of her MBA projects. Note my oh-so-effortless use of racial profiling, stereotypes, and things that could be offensive but aren’t because I’m Brian “The Current-Set-Of-Circumstances” Hansen. (Hmm… that’s getting annoying to type. Can I abbreviate that CSOC, pronounced “sea sock” or potentially “seize hawk”? Is that legal? Wait, what am I asking you for? I’m frikkin’ CSOC.)


(1) How old are your kids? Negative 2 months… she’s still baking.
(2) What language(s) do you speak at home with them? The only two I speak – English and Bad English.
(3) Do you have family members / an au pair / nanny who speak in a foreign language with them? @#$* no. Those people are @$&*ing expensive.
(4) Are you interested in your children being bilingual? Yes!
(5) If so, why? (And, if not, why not?) Because a) I truly believe learning two languages expands the mind’s ability to think critically and recognize patterns in analysis mode; and b) this world ain’t gettin’ any smaller, and it’s unrealistic to think that US hegemony will continue much longer – meaning English may soon pass out of the “major” tongues of business & political discourse; c) I want her to be able to order off the Five Dollar Menu when McDonald’s sells out to China and becomes McKimCheeWongHsuTsong.
(6) What products (if any) do you use for your children to learn another language? (Example – teaching materials used at home like workbooks and DVDs up to immersion school or special classes). None yet, other than my spotty understanding of Dora the Explorer’s teachings of Spanish culture (“Always abra la puerta when you go to the potty!”) and what I’ve learned from my disco lessons – disco’s totally a different vibe, sheila.
(7) How did you select which language to teach your child? I declared my Aladdin puppet the “Arabic & Middle Eastern tongue” representative, I threw Miss Piggy in the ring to represent Hebrew (I heart irony), and drew some slanty-eyes on a stress ball to represent China (the irony there is that the stress ball was made in Taiwan… HAH!); I threw all three into a death match together – Aladdin strapped dynamite to his own chest, ululated a little, and then threw himself on the the porcine princess with only a three-second fuse. The stress ball survived the explosion because it was bouncy.


See? Funny. And I came up with that in ten minutes (all except the ‘English & Bad English’, which is a credit to my man-crush Bruce Willis in ‘The Fifth Element’), much like I used to write my Movie Quote of the Week (MQotW) emails. More often than not, I can sit and make up funny stuff. I haven’t learned how to tell a funny story with plot points and characters to save my g-d life, but after talking to my screen-writing sister & her acting boyfriend, I’m convinced that’s a skill I can learn. So learning & honing that skill may soon come into laser focus for CSOC.

Flux Element #5: I’m back on the roads, running regularly & loving it. Several contributing factors, but I’d say the biggest one is that I finally bought into the idea that setting goals will create the motivation to accomplish them. In November, I set a goal to run 50 miles before Thanksgiving. I had 8 days. I did it. Then I kinda stopped – I recently realized it was because I had no goal. I also believe that actually publishing those goals outside of the whiteboard in my brain doubles down on that bet, so: last Monday I laid out an albeit ambitious but still realistic goal of running 200 miles before Tax Day. Two months to run two century bike races. It’s been a week and I’ve already logged 24.5 miles. Almost entirely on pace – would be AHEAD of the game if the weather had cooperated yesterday. That’s right. That’s how we do it… CSOC style.

Flux Element #6: I’m doing less. That’s right. LESS. I recently read & highly recommend the book “The Power of Less” by Dr. Leo Babauta. I’ll let you ferret it out for yourself, but my biggest take-away was the power of purposeful planning. So I now set up each work day with THREE (and only three) Most Important Tasks. I get those three things done at work, and everything else for the day is 100% gravy. I’ve also used it on the personal side of life, but with less success – because I always make extremely grand plans for all my free time, and can’t seem to limit my lists to only three things – but that’s mainly due to the fact that I haven’t really applied my ‘Set A Goal’ philosophy to most of my activities other than running. I’m not worried about claiming to do less at work – because my productivity has actually soared in the last month or so. I’m no longer overwhelmed, my sense of direction & motivation at work is no longer changing every day, and I get far more frequent doses of a sense of accomplishment – when none of those things were true, it frequently meant a frustrating & unrewarding day at the office. Yes, I still think there are other jobs that would be better for me out there, but at least my approach to THIS job is no longer a liability. That makes this job, ANY job, way more tolerable, because I’m no longer relying on other people to give me that sense of direction or that sense of accomplishment. Seriously. “The Power of Less.” Check that sh*t out. CSOC style.

… That’s six fluxes. That’ll do.

High-Five Yourself.

So 2010 has started.  It’s 1% over already, actually.  What’s next?  First a quick look back since the last time:

In November I auditioned for Bay One Acts.  Two weeks ago, I also auditioned for The Lion in Winter with Chanticleers. I didn’t get either one.  The first one hurt a lot & I had to pump myself back up for a few weeks.  I almost backed out of the audition for Chanticleers because I was probably the least confident I’ve been in the last year.  I couldn’t find much drive or ambition.  It took some strong conversations with the wyf – she could easily tell the wind was out of my sails, and I was getting frustratingly namby-pamby in all discussions about the acting stuff while we were back East for the holidays – to remind me that it’s completely unreasonable to expect to do a great job in EVERY single audition I get.  I can’t expect a high-five from the auditors every single time.  Which is tough, because who doesn’t love a high-five (aside from Howie Mandel)?

In critical retrospect, I was pretty unprepared & consequently ur-nervous about the Bay One Acts audition.  I didn’t rehearse my monologue much because I thought it was a shoe-in.  Then, the second half of that audition was a cold read during which I did a HORRIBLE job reading for comedy; I read for drama because I was nervous & didn’t want to risk being not funny.  I read their scene with three other people, and feel like I was the only one of the four who looked like a completely uncomfortable body on stage.  Now I look back on it and struggle not to shudder remembering how awkward I must have looked.  Horrible.  Just horrible.

The feedback from the director at Chanticleers was that I spent too much energy trying to memorize lines for the cold read instead of just acting with the script in hand.  I didn’t have enough variety in my tone & volume – I got the impression I came across as a dial-tone actor (think Topher Grace or Randy Quaid).  Not for nothing, though, it was a difficult reading scenario; I read with the director’s wife, a self-declared non-performer that did a bang-up job of doing nothing but staring at the script and reading the words in front of her.  It kind of felt like being on stage by myself, and instead of taking advantage of that & owning the scene, I hung back limply & worried about how to react to someone who isn’t doing anything worth reacting to.  Hence, delivering a dial-tone performance.  What I learned from it, as I’m sure it won’t be the last time, is that I have to constantly sell myself as the character I’m reading, no matter who or what else is on that stage.  That takes confidence, which I can’t afford to lose again.

So, next.  I need confidence-building activity.  I’ve checked TBA for future audition opportunities & haven’t found much that sounds practical.  I’ll check again this week once their staff is back in the office & have updated listings, but I’m leaning towards a class for the first few months of 2010.  I’ve picked out three options, all in ACT’s halls:  Voice Building for Singers (so that I can stop being scared away by musical auditions), Improv (a safe way to go that’s almost guaranteed to help my confidence), or Audition Technique (to help de-mystify the process a little further & hopefully learn some coping skills for mistakes I make).

Let me be clear:  I’m NOT giving up on doing this for a living.  Challenges be damned, I still KNOW how great it feels to be on stage & entertaining folks.  That’s what I want to do.  I want to be awesome at it, so when I’m complete crap in an audition, I question myself.  But every actor deals with sucking every once in a while – some get addicted to it (coda to Topher Grace & Randy Quaid). I don’t know exactly what I have to do to get where I’m going, but I have accepted that it will be a process with pitfalls & peaks, like anything else.  That’s the whole reason I built this website, actually… to document the process.

So I need to be honest here if nowhere else.  Hence the documentary above about two failed auditions.  But I’m moving on.  I’m gonna high-five myself.  After all, high-fives are the glue that hold society together.  That’s actually all a clap is – a self-fulfilled high-five.  So high-five yourself and clap hands in 2010.  Then buy my t-shirt.  (Stay tuned.)