Vale Erin Moran

The indignity of dying away from the spotlight.

Erin Moran

This week, the world lost Erin Moran. Erin was best known as Joanie from Happy Days, and then Joanie Loves Chachi.

A lot of my friends simply knew her as Erin, a fellow former child star, and good friend.

I never got to meet Erin personally, as like me, she didn’t live in LA. She had stepped away from the spotlight, and moved to Indiana. She did keep in touch with all of her friends in LA though. Many of them knew she had cancer, as Erin had told them, but asked them not to share it with the world.

Erin, like many of us, went through some rough patches. ALL of us have had shitty moments, or bad times. The difference when you’re famous is, is that the whole world knows about it. There’s something about being a child star that the tabloids are just drawn to when it comes to having a bad moment. I think some editors find it orgasmic to show a Disney star looking drunk, or being sloppy. They expect us to have drug problems, DUI’s and bad relationships. If you’re one of the many child stars who move on and go about life quietly, there’s almost a sheer disdain for how boring you are. Places like TMZ would have you believe that every child actor is a train wreck, but in reality, there are hundreds that end up just fine. You just don’t hear about them. But if you’re a kid star that fucks up even once, the public is going to hear about it forever. That one night that most people can hide and move on from will come back and haunt you constantly. People will bring it up over and over. In Erin’s case, even when she died.

Erin died of cancer. She knew she had it. Her friends knew she had it. The public didn’t though, and neither did the tabloids. So when she died, the media immediately brought up her past, and speculated that she died broke and penniless and from a drug overdose. These days, it’s not about getting the story right, it’s about being first. Fuck the memory of the person you’re covering, and screw the feelings of her friends and family.

Its tragic that as a child star, you can’t even die with dignity.

Its sad for Erin. It’s also a sobering moment for all the other child actors out there. Watching the speculation over Erin, I imagine every other child actor having that moment of “when I die, will they bring up every bad moment of my past?”

Child actors are people too. We have feelings. We have souls. We have good days and bad days, just like regular people. (Cause we ARE people, we just had jobs as kids)

Just because someone no longer works in Hollywood doesn’t mean they can’t work anymore. Many actually choose to leave, and they also choose not to share every moment of their lives with the world. We should respect that. We should also respect that when someone dies, we say nice things about them, like we do all the other people you know, and not assume they bottomed out and died disgracefully.

Erin Moran and Scott Baio

Don’t be like Scott Baio and put your foot in your mouth when a former co-worker dies. Even if they DID once have a problem, you can still be polite. It’s hard when someone sticks a microphone in your face before you know the facts, but maybe take a deep breath, say something kind, and sit back and wait for the truth. You don’t need to be the asshole.

It’s only April, and I’m sure there will be more celebrity deaths this year. Maybe we can all honor Erin’s memory by learning from the coverage of her death, and be a little nicer to the next person who goes.

RIP Erin. May all your future days be happy.


Fake News

fake newsThere’s a fake news epidemic.

When I was young, journalists were expected to present the facts. If you turned on the news, you could expect that a reporter was going to tell you what was happening, and unless you were watching a talk show here somebody was expected to have an opinion, or reading an actual opinion piece in the paper, the news was supposed to be neutral. They presented facts, and you got to make up your own mind if and how to interpret that news. I’m talking about growing up in Australia. Many other countries were having their media manipulated, like in the 1950’s in the US with Operation Mockingbird. Propaganda presented as news. I think they were much more subtle about it back then, and people weren’t blasted by news 24/7 like they are now. Today, it’s reached ridiculously epidemic proportions, and either people don’t realize it’s happening, or they just don’t care.

I’m not sure how it started. It could be when we moved to 24/7 news, and people have to keep having things to cover. Does this mean that we’re now covering every little ridiculous thing that in the past wouldn’t even be thought of as news? I mean, I now see entire articles about one person’s tweet. Journalists trying to rile up other people by pointing out one twitter user saying something. I wonder how long they spend searching for just the right tweet to write about.

Could it be that we’re in this era of celebrity, where people don’t care about actual important events, as long as they know that Beyonce is having twins, or who got nominated for what award? Tabloids and trashy women’s magazines have been notorious for years for printing crap about a celebrity, stating “a source” told them, with the source either being said celebrity’s publicist, or someone else in the magazine’s office making it up. Have we gotten so used to TMZ and E! news that now we don’t hold our news reporters to a higher standard?

Or is there something more sinister at play? Are we being purposely manipulated in order to create change? Are people like George Soros paying off the media in order to create unrest in order to further their own personal gains? He has been shown to meddle in the media in both Europe and the US during elections in order to try to sway the public to vote for his prefered candidate. People are also saying that he’s paying for some of the more violent protests happening in the US right now.

I’m watching all the division and fighting happening right now in the US, and frankly, it’s stupid. It’s not helping anyone. Well, it’s helping someone, but it isn’t the general public. People protesting in the streets, setting things on fire, even the small scale fights on Facebook aren’t helping any of us. We are being manipulated. Someone higher up is trying their best the divide us. Our job is to take a deep breath and not let ourselves be sucked in by it.

It doesn’t matter which side you stand on politically, religiously or socially. Whether you’re conservative or a liberal, whether you’re LBGTQ or married to the opposite sex, pro-choice or pro-life, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Atheist or any other religious conviction. We’re ALL people. We all have needs and wants and desires. We all want to be happy. If we all talk to each other, we’d probably find that we all have similar wants and desires, at least the basic stuff.

I guess I’m an atheist libertarian, but I wasn’t raised that way. I think the church is an oppressive oligarchy used to suppress the masses, but I also think that a lot of people find great joy and happiness in believing in their chose deity, and therefore, respect their right to worship. As long as people aren’t telling me who and what to believe in, I don’t feel the need to tell them not to believe in anything.

Just like I’m married to a man, but I’ve been known to kiss a girl or two. Some of my friends are gay, some are straight, and some like a bit of everything. As long as everyone is a consenting adult, I don’t give a shit what they do in the bedroom. It’s none of my business. (Unless they’re personally inviting me to be in there) My friends Sean and Thomas getting married should be no bigger a deal to me that if Kacey and Shawn get married. It has no effect on my personal life or my own marriage whatsoever.

People need to stop worrying so much about what other people are doing, and start taking care of their own shit more. Stop believing everything that the big news outlets are telling you. If you’re interesting in something, do some research on it. Read more that one website. Read three or four. Read things that you would initially dismiss. It’s good for you to learn new things, and read opposing opinions. Instead of dismissing someone as being a racist/xenophobic/islamophobic/liberal etc, have a calm discussion. Ask them WHY they have their opinions. Ask them to explain it to you. If they say something you don’t like, instead of shutting them down, ask them to tell you more. Not just so you learn, but so they do. If they can’t explain it to you, it means they’re probably also simply parroting what they heard on the news, or from their friends, or parents. Discussion forces both parties to think, and maybe learn, and change. Screaming at each other like children doesn’t help anything. I have never changed my view on something because someone called me a name. I’m betting you haven’t either.

Instead of complaining about a situation, sit down and ask yourself how you can fix it. If you don’t like the current leader, what’s an adult way to change it? Is it waiting till the next election and voting them out? Is it going out and educating people? Is it getting involved and creating a bill? Is it sucking it up and actually running for a position yourself? Find a constructive, useful way to channel your anger and frustration. Running through the streets and rioting, burning shit down, punching people in the face, and getting arrested doesn’t solve anything. You’re just making it worse. For society, and yourself. If you don’t like a guest speaker, instead of turning up and booing them, either go and see if you can engage in actual conversation with them, or, just don’t go. Save yourself the agony. Just because you don’t like someone’s opinion, doesn’t mean others don’t, and frankly, others have just as much right to their chosen guests as you do. By protesting, you’re just giving that person you hate more of a voice. For example, I had never heard of Milo Yiannopoulos before he was banned from Twitter. There was all this fuss, so I googled him. Now that the kids at UC Berkeley have protested, a whole other group of people who had never heard of him are now looking him up. You wanted to silence him, but all you really did was give him a bigger audience.

fake corp news

So now we have to ask ourselves, who is benefitting from all this hate? Who is profiting from all the riots? Who is trying so hard to divide us, and why? Whether you’re a conspiracy theorist or not, you’ve got to be able to see that there’s something bigger at play here.

I’m not going to be a part of it. Screaming at my friends, protesting in the street, bitching at people on FB. It’s not healthy. It doesn’t help me, or you, or any of us, so I’m not going to be a part of it. Ask yourself what you’re getting out of it? Ask if you’re gaining anything by letting yourself get worked up? Is it giving you any benefit at all?

Then, if you truly want to go out and do something, do something useful. Go volunteer somewhere. Make your grandma dinner. Donate some money to a charity. Go meet with your local politicians and make useful suggestions, or volunteer with them. If you’re passionate about women’s right, donate time, cash or goods to a shelter, or if you feel the need to defend rights, maybe pick somewhere where women truly don’t have them. (Like the Middle East or Africa) Think people need housing, go volunteer with someone like Habitat for Humanity. Like animals? There’s plenty of shelters that need help. Find something constructive. Hashtag activism isn’t really activism. It’s lazy, and doesn’t help channel your rage into anything useful. Rioting and smashing down windows in Starbucks isn’t helpful either. Take that anger, turn into into passion, and do something great with it. Pick something that’s actually meaningful to you, don’t just jump on whatever the next twitter outrage is, then forget about it 10 minutes later when the next outrage hits. You can’t do anything useful if you don’t stick to it.

Most of all, open your heart and your mind. Embrace your fellow man. Don’t let yourself be manipulated by the man. Remember the golden rule, never Discuss Money, Religion or Politics in polite company, and it’s up to us to be polite company.




Trump Won. Now What?

So last night was the US election, and this morning, you’d think that the world was about to end. On my facebook feed, there was a never ending stream of The Sky is Falling! and other such scaremongering.

Yes, Trump won. People had to know this was a possibility. I mean, he was on the ballot. The other choices were Hillary, Johnson, or as many people chose to ignore, another woman, Jill Stein. Let me start with that. There are a bunch of people crying about how we hit a glass ceiling, and how the world has gone backwards, because a man won the election. They made it sound like Hillary was the first women to ever run as a head of state. Never mind that there has already been 26 nations that have already had a woman run a country, people ignored that there was another woman on the ballot. Nobody cares that she lost. Then again, it seems nobody cared she was on there in the first place. I think a lot of people only voted for Hillary because she owned a vagina, which I think is a terrible reason to vote for someone. Vote for them based on their policies, or their record, not because of what’s in their underpants. Hillary didn’t lose because she’s a woman, she lost because people didn’t want another four years of the same thing.

Trump isn’t a true Republican, and he’s not a Democrat. I’m not really sure what he is politically. He’s a businessman who was also a reality star. He offered the people something different. Lots of people weren’t in love with what he was offering, but Americans truly believe that voting third party is a complete waste, and so while Gary Johnson had some good ideas, he really didn’t stand a chance. Much like we all loved Ron Paul back in the day. It just wasn’t going to happen.

So this morning I watched my friends lose their collective shit, crying over how they’re going to lose their healthcare, or get deported, or having their same sex marriages annulled, and I want to tell everyone to take a deep breathe, and relax.

Think back to every other election you’ve lived through, and especially since the advent of social media. Every single time, half the country loses their minds, crying it’s armageddon, that the economy will fail, that they’ll lose their rights, basically that their life is over. Then, a couple years later, those same people are complaining that the elected official hasn’t fulfilled any of their campaign promises, and that nothing is being done.

Presidents are figure heads. They can make executive orders, but they can also be struck down. Nobody walks into office and within a couple years has done all they said they would. That’s why you have the senate. There’s balance. Trump isn’t going to walk into office in January and annul your marriage, or take away your right to birth control. He has said he’ll make changes to Obamacare, but he hasn’t said what those changes are, so before you cry that you’re going to lose your healthcare, maybe wait and see what he’s actually trying to do, and then if what he wants will even pass congress, and then access your options. Who knows, since about the only thing I’ve heard him say about healthcare is that he’s going to make it tax deductible, it might actually be better for those self employed people who have to purchase their own and don’t get it through an employer. The thing is, we don’t know, so don’t give yourself an ulcer over it. Premiums already went up a ridiculous amount before he was elected, so you can’t blame that on him. I also highly doubt that insurers are going to go back to denying people with pre-existing conditions. If your insurer does, find another one who doesn’t.

As to the posts about foreigners feeling scared to be here in the US now, I haven’t met a single foreigner in real life who actually feels that way. I’m a foreigner myself, and I have plenty of other expat friends. (and no, they’re not all anglo.) We’ve all concluded that as long as you’re here legally, there’s absolutely no reason to be freaking out. Trump isn’t going to deport people here legally. I’m not sure why people think he hates foreigners, I mean, his wife is one. Is he going to start with her? No. Probably not. Will he get tough on people who are here illegally? Maybe. Do I think that’s a bad thing? Well, I spent three years working on a border program. I spent three years watching cameras, processing reports, analyzing data on the drugs, money, people and weapons that went back and forth. I saw Border Patrol agents who had a harder and harder time doing their job. I have a completely different perspective than most civilians. There’s a reason the USBP endorsed Donald. I do think that legitimate refugees have a place in society. I don’t think that paying a coyote to smuggle you across a border from a country that has no problems entitles you to live here when so many of us went through the legal process just fine. Basically, as long as your papers are in order, you’re fine. No different from the last guy.

I’m not scared of WWIII breaking out. I was actually more scared of the never ending war we could have endured if Clinton had won. She was very pro-war, and anti Russia. I don’t have a problem with a guy who actually wants to be friends with other heads of state, and who isn’t interested in another Cold War. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe Trump will start shit, but I’ll worry about that if and when it happens.

Maybe it’s just that I’ve spent the last couple of years really trying to teach myself to breathe and be calm and not get hysterical over every little tweet or FB post, or cause du jour, that I can sit back and watch this calmy. Maybe I prefer to take a moment and see the bigger picture, or let shit play out before I get my panties in a wad, but I really think people are way overreacting.

Don’t let crying celebrities and the 24/7 news media let you get all worked up.

Trump will be sworn in, and just like every other President, anything he tries to do will be blocked in the senate. It will be years before he can realistically achieve anything. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.



My Personal Paradise in Palm Beach

So for those of you that have read Allegedly, you’d know that Matt and I rode off happily into the sunset in the last chapter. Well, technically we headed East, into the sunrise, and sadly, Maya didn’t make it with us.

Matt and I have been wanting to move to Florida for so long now, and after I left my job, we just stayed in Victoria, Texas because we were comfortable. We had already sold the house in San Antonio, but we were still close to the ranch. We liked the other people in our RV park, but it was a hassle for Matt, because it was over 2 hrs to the closest airport, and he travels almost weekly. Then, our friends started to leave the park, and Matt’s work started talking about dividing his territory. He could stay with Texas/Louisiana/Oklahoma, or get Florida/Tennessee/Georgia. It was just the push we needed. We had no reason to say in Victoria, and I dreaded the thought of moving back to San Antonio. So we spent forever looking for a new RV park we liked. We had sold our house already, and lived full time in an RV. People think this means you can just pack up and move anywhere. In theory it does. In reality, not so much.

Matt really wanted to live somewhere between Miami and Ft Lauderdale. Each has a good airport, and both are big cities with lots of stuff to do. So that’s where we started looking. I’m amazed at some of the RV parks in Florida. Most were built back in the days before RVs had slideouts, so the slips are tiny. Then, in winter, they pack them in like sardines. Some RV parks double people up. The amount they charge in winter is astronomical. Some RV parks in South Florida charge as much for a tiny RV slip as an actual apartment. It’s literally just a tiny piece of land. Many of them aren’t even concreted. Miami and Ft Lauderdale fill up with French Canadians over winter. People reviewing parks said if you don’t speak French, forget it. They’ll actively exclude you. Then, the majority were either right next to a train track, or in super sketchy areas.

Matt and I drove to almost every single RV park from Islamorada in the keys to Boca Raton, and didn’t find anything we both liked. We almost gave up. Then, I found a place online that wasn’t listed in the RV guides. It was up further north in Palm Beach, which Matt had originally considered too far north, and he wasn’t sure of the airport there. But I knew it was meant to be. It was right off Australian ave. It was literally a sign. I had him look at the flights in and out of there, and he was satisfied it would work as his hub.

I had just finished reading “The Official Preppy Handbook” and it assured me that Palm Beach was THE place to be. At least in Winter. Apparently I’m supposed to summer in the Hamptons, or Europe.

So on his next trip to Florida, Matt checked out the RV park here, and it was ok. So we set a date, and we moved. We miss our friends, but, I’m so happy here. I’m glad we didn’t find what we wanted in the other cities first.

We are actually in West Palm Beach, which someone told me I should never mention to anyone out on “the island” but in reality, no one has battered an eyelid when I tell them we’re in West Palm, and not in Palm proper. Most are fascinated that we live in something smaller than their pool house. The island is absolutely gorgeous. Apparently it contains the top 1% of the nation’s money, and the top 2% of the world’s money. I told Matt I could see why. It’s breathtakingly beautiful. I said “If I was a billionaire, I’d live here” to which Matt replied, “you’re not even a millionaire, and you DO live here.”

He’s right. We might not live in a $50 million dollar house on the beach, but I live in an RV that I love only 5 minutes away from it. I have no desire to live in one of those huge houses. Or any house again for that matter. The RV life is so simple and easy. It has everything we need, and nothing we don’t. I don’t have to spend hours cleaning (or hire a maid) and the little bit of gardening I do is because I want to, not because I have to.  We got lucky and have the biggest RV slip in the park, and I have a veggie garden, and even made a tiny zen garden. We’re so close to the airport that Matt calls me as he lands, and I make it to pick him up before he’s even outside. Thankfully, as close as we are, we’re not under the flight path. Some of those big houses are though…

I drive out to the island everyday to go workout. I found a beautiful place that does barre, yoga and pilates. They do spin too, but me and cardio aren’t friends. I try to go to a class everyday Monday to Friday. The people are super nice, and even though they all drive Land Cruisers and Porsches, they all think my lifted Jeep Wrangler is awesome. (It is) I’m not trying to get a supermodel body, I just want to get healthy, and it’s happening slowly. Barre is so much harder than I ever expected it to be. It’s harder than CrossFit was. I really enjoy it though, and Matt thinks I always look happier when I go. I’ve met some really cool people there. Even some that I have weird small world connections with. (Who would have imagined two people in a pilates class in Palm Beach would have both been interviewed by Tracy Grimshaw!) There’s also a bunch of expats here, and I’ve even made friends with another Aussie. One that I would have been friends with even if we both still lived in Australia. -Hey Maggie!

The restaurants here are amazing. There’s every kind of food you could think of, and it’s all good. Downtown West Palm Beach has CityPlace and Clematis St, which are both super busy and filled with shopping and restaurants. We’ve found a few favourite places, but are still trying everything else. We even found a cute little hangout we both like called Camelot. It’s a bar, but they also do a member’s thing. Palm Beach is full of members only clubs. We can’t afford The Breakers or Mar-a-Lago, (seriously, they’re both over $100k just to apply, then there’s the yearly fee) but I totally joined Camelot, just cause I could. (It was $100 a year) They gave me a fancy metal membership card, and now I feel totally preppy, belonging to a club in Palm Beach. 😉 While Palm Beach is very seasonal, and almost empties out in Summer, (everyone really does go to The Hamptons) West Palm Beach is buzzing all year long.

We still enjoy going down to Ft Lauderdale and Miami. Matt has to go down all the time for business, so I’ll go along some days. They are both fun to visit, but I don’t think I’d like living full time in Miami. Miami is super fast, flashy and very nouveau riche. Also, the traffic sucks. Palm Beach is old money, and everyone is super laid back and totally charming and chilled. Bonus; no traffic, unless you get caught by the drawbridge as someone sails their mega yacht through the intercoastal…

So even though we majorly downsized our life materialistically, I think we did a major upgrade spiritually. My quality of life here is so much better. I’ve never been happier. I’ve never enjoyed living somewhere so much. I absolutely love it here, and I’m grateful that Matt was able to move us here. The dream of living in Florida not only happened, but turned out so much better than I ever imagined it would.

So, if there’s something you think would make you happier in life, do it. Just go for it. Maybe you adjust your expectations, or make compromises. You might find that you give up something that didn’t make you happy anyway, in return for something that gives you so much more pleasure. I have zero regrets about giving up our big house in San Antonio. I’m living large while living tiny. The trade off is totally worth it. I’m not suggesting you move to Palm Beach, but go find the place that makes you happy, and just make it happen. Be flexible with your expectations. The thing you might have thought of as a compromise might end up being the thing you end up loving the most.

And just for the record, even if I was to become a millionaire, or even a billionaire, I’d still pick Palm Beach. It’s my happy place. I think the only difference is I’d pay off someone in the council to let me park the RV out on the island. Or build an RV park out there… Or live in someone’s pool house. Then again, I’m so close right here where we are, there’s not much point. Except to make Matt happy cause then he could walk to the beach instead of driving there.

Most of these pics below are from my Instagram, but since some people don’t use it, I figured I’d share them here, so you could see how awesome this place is. If you are on instagram, go follow me (@Shrimptank) so you can see all the other amazing stuff I didn’t include here.

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Did Ed Sheeran Steal Photograph?

Or do all songs just sound the same?

It’s Ed Sheeran’s turn this week to be accused of plagiarizing a song.

There’s been a lot of lawsuits lately involving the music industry. People claim that other artists ripped off their music, whether is be from stealing lyrics, to chords, or harmony. When you’re in the same genre, it’s got to be hard to make music that is completely new. There’s only so many music notes, and eventually, one song is going to sound like another if your lawyer is hungry enough.

Men at Work got done for stealing the riff from Kookaburra sits in an Old Gum Tree, which just smacks of a label going after easy money. The record company bought the rights to the kids song way after each song had been made. (Kookaburra was written in 1932.) The estate of Marvin Gaye sued over Blurred Lines. Chuck Berry sued John Lennon claiming certain lines and melodies for “Come Together” were taken from Berry’s 1956 track, “You Can’t Catch Me.” John Fogarty was sued for plagiarizing John Fogarty, after he left CCR and sold the rights to get out of his contract. His old record label claimed “Run Through The Jungle” sounded too much like “The Old Man Down the Road”. There are plenty more incidences of people being sued for music sounding similar. There’s only so many ways you can string music together and make it sound pleasurable. Otherwise you just end up with Jazz…

So here’s the thing. How many more years can people make music, and NOT have anyone claim it sounds similar? Especially when almost all the hits of the last few years have the same four chords?

For your viewing pleasure, I present Axis of Awesome, with their song 4 Chords. It’s worth the watch, just because it’s great, but it also makes you wonder why none of these people felt like they should sue?


EU Referendum, Brexit and US presidential election

Do you understand all the fuss over the Brexit? There’s a huge referendum involving whether Britain should remain part of the European Union. I’ve seen a lot of the stuff mentioned online, but since I don’t live in the UK, or Europe, I hadn’t really researched it. It wasn’t until I was reading an article that was in my twitter feed, about Economic Migrants blending in with real refugees, and how once they reached the EU, they were free to country shop, and how it was affecting the local economies. Some people see the Brexit as the only way to stem the never ending flow of people entering the country. While many are genuine refugees, there are also plenty who are simply seeking a better life, and are costing the host countries billions of dollars. While reading the comments, someone mentioned a documentary called Brexit.

It’s a feature length documentary, and it’s obviously skewed towards being pro-Brexit. It was however very well presented, and quite fascinating. There was a lot of historical stuff in there that I wasn’t aware of, and with the US being in the midst of the US Presidential election campaign, and me being able to actually vote in the US Presidential Election, I was fascinated by the parallels that could be drawn between the way some of the EU countries went historically, and the way each US candidate is trying to steer the country now.

Britain is very much Bernie Sanders. Government trying to regulate everyone, in the interests of creating a “fair trading environment” and attempting to make everyone equal as well as safe. Free schools, housing, etc.

Germany is Trump. They believe in capitalism and a free market, where those who want to succeed, can. Those who need a bail out with government support to survive will have to move aside and either keep up or get pushed out. Survival of the fittest.

Then there’s the party that everyone ignores, and which the other two certainly don’t want anyone to think about. The whole “two party” system in a fallacy. There is a third choice, and that’s Switzerland, or in the US, the Libertarian Party. They think everyone should be able to do what they want, as long as it isn’t illegal, and doesn’t hurt anyone else. Basically, take the warning labels off everything, and let nature take its course.

Whether you’re in the EU or the US, or anywhere else, the Brexit documentary was fascinating watching. It will make you question politics, in the US, the UK, or anywhere else. Most of all, it will make you wonder what the point is of the EU, and whether it’s necessary, or if it’s the New World Order that everyone is whispering about. (Or the Capital in The Hunger Games)

What’s your take on Brexit, or the US elections? I love hearing all the opinions (that’s why I was reading comments on the original article) but remember to keep it classy. You can never win an argument or change someone’s opinion with name calling or trolling.


Anatomie Style

Have clothes will travel.

I just wanted to give a shout out to the folks at Anatomie Style.

I travel a lot these days, and thanks to Travel Fashion Girl and her awesome website, I’m learning to pack even smaller bags than I used to. I’ve always liked the concept of a capsule wardrobe, and living full time in an RV, culling my closet is kind of essential. I also hate lugging my clothes to the laundromat, and I actually enjoy hand washing my clothes in my Laundry Pod. It’s good exercise.

So lots of the travel guru’s raved about Anatomie pants. They can be hand washed, and air dry super quick. They’re ultra light weight, but still look like dress pants. I found a deal on line at Neiman Marcus Last Call, and I ordered a couple pair, to see if they were worth the price.

They arrived, and I loved them. So much so, that I knew I needed more. Matt and I were headed to Miami, where Anatomie has their head office. So on my last day in Miami, Matt drove me over to their 4th St location, which is listed on their website and FB page. As we pulled up, Matt wasn’t sure we had the right location. It looked like a warehouse. It was their warehouse, and they had just moved in. When I opened the door, they looked a little confused, but when I said I was looking for clothes, they jumped right in.They were setting up an area to be a showroom, and even had a changing area. They introduced me to Alesia, who asked about the clothes I liked, and who then sorted through the racks, and searched out the back, and I think she had me try on every pair of pants they made, in an effort to find me some that I loved. The couple pair I already had were way too long, but Alesia assured me they had a tailor on site, and could alter my pants right there if need be. Thankfully, we found a couple pair that made my ass look great, and that were short enough they didn’t even need hemming! I could have gone crazy, and I wanted to buy a tonne of stuff, but that would kinda defeat the purpose of downsizing my wardrobe. I did however indulge in two pairs of pants, the Andrea and the Kate, both in navy. I got three tops, all in white. The Trina, a Bailey Jacket and a blossom top, which they don’t even have on their website yet. Matt was very patient, and sat there while I tried everything on, giving a yay or nay on each item. I’ve never seen him give so many yays before. Everything was super soft to the touch, and I’ve already washed the pants, and can attest to how quick they dry. I’m super excited about my new stuff, and I packed today for our trip to Italy and Greece next week, and thanks to Anatomie, I crammed everything into one small backpack. So be on the lookout in the next couple of weeks for lots of Instagram pics of me in Italy wearing Anatomie stuff. Go follow me now. You know you want to.

Andrea Leggings and Bailey Jacket
Andrea Leggings and Bailey Jacket

Oh, and I didn’t even notice till later when I got back to the hotel and was playing with the clothes, but the tags on the pants were actually luggage tags. Super cute idea.


So Thank You to Alesia and everyone at Anatomie for making stylish travel clothes, and more so for letting me run free and try on everything you make at your warehouse.anatomietraveltag2 I think even Matt had fun. He didn’t even cry when I handed over my credit card. 😉

Oh, and word to the wise, you might find the clothes cheaper on Last Call, but Alesia said they’re factory seconds… If you’re in Miami, go check out their headquarters. I got to see stuff that wasn’t in stores yet, because it was either a sample or next seasons stuff. Plus, if you need anything altered, they can do it right there. So worth the trip.




Can actors live off residuals forever?

There seems to be a perception that an actor can live off residual cheques forever. It’s a common misperception. Yes, there are a few actors who do live quite well with the added residual income cheques, but there are very few who can live off just that income. Especially if you’re from an older show that had a contract written before new technology.

Another child actor friend of mine had started a discussion today within our group asking about residuals. I always love hearing from my US counterparts, because the laws are set up so differently here. Or at least I thought. Seems a lot of them with older contracts also got screwed out of money. Sometimes they post up pics of the cheques they do get, so we can all have a laugh and commiserate together. Some people get an actual cheque for $0.10 or less. It’s not even worth the paper it was written on.

After seeing the discussion today, it got me thinking about the last time the Hey Dad cast got a cheque. It was before I turned 21, and I bought a watch with it, which I still have. It was a Tag Heuer, and it was on a crazy sale for under $500. I had been eyeing it for months, and when I got that cheque, I cashed it, and got me that watch. I think that cheque was for $800, so I spent the rest on something responsible like rent and groceries.

Our contracts were from the 1970’s. There was no electronic media back then. Nobody knew what a DVD was. Cable wasn’t in Australia yet. They had it written in that we would get a few rounds of residuals from overseas sales, and repeats. A lot of older US contracts were updated to reflect that shows are now run constantly on cable, and are also being put into box sets. Some even reflect digital usage.

Somehow, that never happened in Australia. We thought maybe since it had been shown on Comedy Classics channel on cable, there might be something owed there, but apparently, we were all shit out of luck.  Nothing from all the local channels that played it for years either. All the foreign residuals were also out of contract it seemed. I wasn’t even really aware that we had a box DVD set until Gary Reilly sent me an email, asking for a current address, as there may have been money owed to us. My next trip to Australia, I took my brother to the store with me to show him, because he didn’t believe me, and Matt bought a set, so I know they sold at least one DVD set. 

Then, I didn’t hear anything for a long time, so I contacted Gary again, making sure things didn’t get lost in the international post. Gary said there had “been an error” and that even though there was now two box sets in Australia, and Germany released four different box sets, we wouldn’t be getting any money.  When we got together for that episode of Where Are They Know, we had a discussion at dinner, to see if anybody have ever received anything. None of us had. Worse than that, Chris Truswell got excited because he had money sent to from the union, and then they said there had been an error, and it belonged to someone else. We wondered how it was that even with old contracts, the show could be sold over and over again, and us actors were getting nothing for it. I’m glad to know it’s way more common than just Australian shows getting fucked. (I had heard the cast of Prisoner also kicked up a stink about not getting anything when they were sold off on DVD)

Of course, nobody is going to buy these DVD sets now. (I think I sealed that deal 😉 ) Although there are a couple of sets available on Amazon in the US and the UK.  (Do they even know what the show was?) I’m not bitter about it, because it was probably only pennies we would have gotten anyway. It’s just an observation that I made today that actors make a lot less money than people think they do. Shit, I made more in the military per week than I ever did on Hey Dad..! I’m guessing Gary made a pretty penny as the producer though. If I ever go back to the industry, I’m going to be a producer. They’ve got the money and the power.

So next time you see an actor out and about, especially if they’re working a second job, be nice to them. Understand that they probably don’t just blow through all their money on booze and drugs. Some of them just never got that money in the first place to start the party with. Not everyone makes Charlie Sheen money.

Of course, if anyone from the media union in Oz is reading this, I’m sure the rest of the cast would appreciate it if you looked into where their residual money is.


Fixed Reality

How Real are Celebreality shows?

Australia doesn’t have a lot of Celebreality shows. There was the three seasons of Celebrity Apprentice,  one so far of I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, and now they’ve announced Celebrity Big Brother, which only had one version way back in 2002. The US and the UK have a massive amount of Celebrity reality shows. I’m not sure if it’s because they have more celebrities to make these shows with, or if audiences are just more receptive in other markets.

Celebrity Apprentice Australia

Anyone who follows me knows how much I love celebreality. Sure, sometimes none of us know who the “celebrity” is, and whether they really qualify to be on a celebrity version of a show, but sometimes, those wild cards end up being the most interesting contender. People complain about these shows not having bigger celebrities, but lets be real, you’re never going to get an A lister, or probably even a B lister to go on one of these shows. Honestly, I think they’re far more interesting with lesser known, or past their prime celebrities. Famous people have a brand to protect. The up and comers, or those who have fallen from grace, don’t give a shit. They’re willing to get down and dirty. They’re going to let their real personality shine. They’re not going to attempt to maintain a persona for weeks on end, trying to make sure they don’t damage their reputation.

I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here.
I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here.

That said, there seems to be a huge difference in how the US and the UK cast these shows, and how their talent acts on them. The Americans always cast big, loud, brash characters, with the intent of putting a group of people together who they know will not get along. The entertainment is supposed to come from everyone yelling and scratching each others eyes out. Most of the US talent know what the network wants, and will immediately throw a diva fit, or start crying, or spend weeks antagonizing each other. Sure, it’s drama, but frankly, it bores the shit out of me. I’m sure it also bores other people, which is why the US versions of shows only last a couple of seasons, or are sporadically programmed.

The UK versions prefer to throw a bunch of people together who will be all nice and polite to begin with, until the close confines start to wear thin. Along with the challenges being set to them, they will start to become unhinged. The slow unravel is much more interesting to watch, and creates more water cooler conversations as you work out who is going to form alliances, and who will lose it next. I also find it refreshing that the UK celebs freely admit they’re going on the show to earn money, and raise their profiles. In other countries people all yabber on about how they’re on there to raise money for charity, or make up some other selfless reason to go on there. Sure, it’s great to raise money for charity, but don’t deny you’re also getting paid a wad of cash, and it’s great personal publicity.

Just like the Aussie version of these shows always have a token foreigner or two, the UK version also has a token US celebrity. Lately though, the UK version of Celebrity Big Brother has been having more and more US cast members, to the point they’re doing an actual UK vs US version. Earlier this year, they had a version with five Americans on there, including Perez Hilton.

Celebrity Big Brother UK. Do you know who all these people are?
perez dick face
Seriously, who draws dicks on pictures?

Now, while we all know who Perez Hilton is, I’m not sure a guy who got famous for a blog where he posts pictures of actual celebrities with dicks drawn on their faces really qualifies. Yes, he’s become as famous as the people he writes about, but the guy is an absolute fucktard, and doesn’t need more oxygen. I guess the people in the UK either didn’t get who he was, or they knew exactly who he was, and that’s why they cast him. He was the epitome of the US reality star. He was worse than when Heidi and Spencer Pratt went on IACGMOOH. The whole time he just set out to create drama. He didn’t possess an inside voice, and spent half the time in there screaming about how it was “The Perez Show”, while dancing around in his undies.  I didn’t like Perez before he went on there, and I absolutely hate him with a passion now. He was someone who went on TV to raise his profile, and ended up just destroying his brand. I wonder if he watched the show back afterwards and realized what a douchebag he was. Probably not. He’s probably still blaming it all on editing. He seems to thrive on people hating him though, so he probably thinks it was a win for him.

On the other hand, when it was announced Katie Hopkins was on the show, she was met with boos as she walked in. I only knew Katie as the woman who had some very nasty views on people, and thought she would be the queen bitch of the show, and that I would hate her. After the first couple of episodes, I actually started to really like her. Yes, she’s opinionated. Yes, she can be a bitch. Yes, she doesn’t like ginger babies, and yes, she’s a snob. Yet, I found her to be a very genuine person during her time on there, and I loved that she was the one person who took no shit from Perez. Now, when you’re one of the most hated women in Britain, and you look good compared to Perez, that should be a life lesson. I’m not the only one who thought Katie was much better than Perez. I found this online poll. She would have fared better if she had backed off a bit instead of always fighting with him, but c’est la vie. I’m sure everyone else was screaming on the inside. hopkins:perez

The fact these two were kept on there after Jeremy Jackson, the former child star best known as Hobie from Baywatch, and then Reg Holdsworth were evicted in the first week for bad behaviour, made many people watching at home ask if the whole show was manipulated. Perez claimed he was getting paid more than anyone else, and at one point also claimed it was in his contract he would make it to at least the final 3 episodes. Perez should have been evicted plenty of times, but because of the massive ratings, it appeared as if Big Brother was giving him immunity to keep him on the show for longer. Yes, at first it made for good ratings, but it pissed off a lot of the audience. Deceptive contacts are not good for shows. (It’s like when David Hasselhoff appeared on the Aussie version of Celebrity Apprentice, and claimed he had to leave for family reasons after the third episode. Then it came out he was only ever going to be in three episodes. Viewers were saying “Not happy Jan”.)

Katie Hopkins ended up making it to the end with Katie Price, who ultimately won the show. Pricey was a late intruder, and missed the initial fights. She was also hopped up on pain meds, and was totally laid back during her time. Some people found her very boring, but I thought it was nice to see someone not screaming. She was very much like late comer Freddie Flintoff who won IACGMOOH in Australia.

While it made for good entertainment initially, it started to get boring very quickly as a viewer, and I certainly can’t imagine how torturous it was for the rest of the poor celebrities living in that house. We as viewers could simply hit mute, or turn the telly off altogether when it got too loud. The rest of the people on the show had to live with it, 24/7. It’s no wonder that people walked out. I’m not sure I could have dealt with it. It’s a good thing they had cameras rolling non stop, or Celebrity Big Brother could have turned in Celebrity Cluedo real quick. Perez certainly loved to tell the producers people were threatening him. Of course, anytime he threatened someone, he was “just talking smack.”

Ideally, the best way to be on these shows is as the host. You get to see all the drama, meet all the celebs, but you get to go home to peace and quiet every night. Best of both worlds. Chris Brown and Julia Morris were fabulous on IACGMOOH, and who doesn’t love Ant & Dec? I’m currently girl crushing on Emma Willis. She has the most perfect pixie cut I’ve ever seen.

chris_brown_julia_morris Ant_and_Dec uktv-celebrity-big-brother-2015-presenters-emma-willis-2

It’s got to be tough casting these shows. You’ve got to find the right balance of eye candy, real celebrities, and of course, drama. You’ve got to be careful not to alienate your audience by having total drama queens like Perez, who have turned many people off CBB altogether. I’m guessing after this season’s bullshit, they’ll have a hard time getting people to agree to go on the next season. (or it will be very expensive to get them) They should probably go back to only having a couple of foreigners, not half the cast. Or throw a token Aussie in the middle of the two. I bet there’s a bunch of expat Aussie celebs living in the UK who’d jump at being on there. How many Neighbours and Home & Away people live there now? Surely one of them would do it.

I think that Australia does a pretty good job of casting these shows. While there’s a bunch of couch surfers who whine about there being no “big names” on there, the last few versions of Aussie celebreality shows have been pretty good. Having been out of country for so long, I don’t always know who some of the people are, but I get to know them, and love or hate them because of their time on there. There always seems to be a good mix of old and new talent, and they do a nice job of picking people who will be laid back at the beginning, and let the drama unfold naturally. Sometimes they’re a little too laid back, but it’s certainly better than the constant screaming that the US versions have.

It’s still a few months off, but I can’t wait to see who the Aussie’s pick for both Celebrity Big Brother and I’m a Celebrity. It’s a nice way for this expat to stay in touch with people back home, without trying to watch an actual long term drama. I can binge watch a whole series in a few days. I like hearing the accents, and seeing the interactions. It’s especially cool to watch people you know personally go on these shows. I think it would be awesome if they did an Aussie version of The Surreal Life as well. Of course, I’m still pushing for for any of these show to do an all Former Child Star version. (Of course, you’d be looking at an almost entire US cast there.)

Just remember celebs, if you decide to do one of these shows, don’t do a Perez. It might be ratings gold, but nobody likes an asshole.

So discuss. Who do you want to see on the next versions of these shows? Who would you hate to see on there? Is there another reality show you’d like to see a celebrity version of, or do you hate reality TV altogether?



Tiny Living Laundry

I bought a Laundry Pod.

laundry pod box

I’ve been living in an RV for a while now. I was originally in my vintage Airstream part time while I was working, and I would go home on weekends. Last year, we sold the house, and we bought a much larger toy hauler fifth wheel RV, and Matt is now enjoying tiny house living as well. We really love it. We live in an RV park, which is a tiny gated community, with a pool, spa, rec center and on site laundry. You know when you were a kid and you went on holidays to the caravan park, and how you could just relax and enjoy life, and you didn’t have to mow lawns, or clean the pool, or do any hard work, you just sat around playing with the other kids, and life was awesome? Well, it’s basically that. Except we’re adults, and we drink and BBQ with the other adults. (And no, it’s not a trailer park. There’s one of those down the street.)

The only thing I don’t love about the RV is doing laundry. We actually have a space in the RV for a washer/dryer combo unit, but we’d prefer to have the closet space. Besides, the RV park has a coin laundry. It’s not so bad in summer, when it’s just the other full timers who live here, plus, you know, people who are vacationing, but in winter, it’s crazy busy. (We’re in South Texas, and in winter all the Yankees flock to the South to get away from the cold. We call them Winter Texans, or Snow Birds.) Anyway,  there’s 4 washers, and 6 dryers in the laundry room. When Matt and I go away, we generate a fair bit of laundry, but I only ever do 2 loads at a time, because I don’t want to be that asshole that hogs all the machines. Without fail though, every time I go down john deerethere, there’s an old lady who is on her phone, slowly spraying all the delicates, and hogging all four machines. It’s become a running joke. Then you have to trek up and down the park, waiting to put your laundry in. Then walk back down again to move it over, then come pick it up. I normally walk. Matt hops on the John Deere gator to go down there…. (It’s more fun than a golf cart 😉 )

I love the tiny house movement, and all the efforts people make to downsize, make a smaller footprint, and generally go green. Most of my clothes I hand wash anyway, so I decided to get a laundry pod. I’d seen quite a few different little off grid washing machines online, but this looked like the easiest to use.

I was super excited when it arrived today. (I had ordered it online) I had just put two loads in at the laundry when it arrived. It was Matt’s cargo shorts and the towels, so not stuff I would wash in the pod, but I opened it up right away and did a couple of loads of my own clothes to try it out. I’m a fan of the Meyers Clean Day laundry soaps, especially after the owner of the park said she always knows when I’m doing laundry because the scent goes upstairs. (Thankfully she said it was a good smell!) The small bottle is easy to store in our tiny space too. It’s not super sudsy, and does handwashing very nicely, without leaving a bunch of residue.

laundry podlaundry pod inside

So basically, the Laundry Pod is like a giant salad spinner. I put the soap in, added some water, added the clothes, some more water to make sure they were covered, and gave it a spin. I let the clothes soak for a while, then gave it another spin. It’s kind of a workout, and if you spin for long enough, it’s like doing cardio. When you think they’re done, turn the knob on the bottom, and water flows out of the hose, which comes out from underneath. You can tuck it away when you’re not using it. Then, add a little bit more water to rinse. Spin again, open drain, and then spin like crazy to get all the water out. Just like the spin cycle on a regular washing machine.

I hung my clothes on one of those folding clothes dryer racks. Thankfully, I can set it up behind one of the RV slideouts so nobody else can see my laundry. The other cool thing about being in a toy hauler RV is I can put the rack back there in the garage to dry clothes even in the rain.

I wouldn’t say it was easier than washing and drying clothes in the regular laundry, but it did mean I could gently wash all my clothes and hang them to dry like I prefer to do anyway. I’ll probably still do most of Matt’s clothes, and of course the sheets and towels down there. But at least for my clothes, I’ll be saving a shit tonne of water. I only used a couple gallons of water to do a load. Apparently a regular machine can use 30 gallons of water for a load. That’s a crazy amount of water. I tried it out today in my tub, but I could also do it outside and use the grey water on my plants. So double green points. It also saves me some green. Doing laundry is expensive. It’s $1.25 a wash, and another $1.25 to dry. With this, I don’t even pay for electricity. Just the water I need to quench my thirst afterwards! (and the small amount of water for washing)

It’s probably not practical for large households, but if you’re like me, and doing the tiny living thing, or need something for camping, your holiday house, or the inevitable zombie apocalypse when we all have to go off grid, this seems like a pretty useful little gadget. It’s small enough for apartments and dorms, and probably even people fulltiming on boats. I’ll have to do laundry more often, instead of letting a whole pile of clothes build up, but that’s ok. I need to cull a bunch of my wardrobe anyway.

I know, I’m easily amused, but it’s always the small stuff that makes me happy.