Laser, You’re a Star: Our Audition for the Meow Mix Game Show

So, my cat and I auditioned for a game show Saturday.

I keep giving that opening, hoping it sounds strange and interesting only to realize that nothing sounds either strange or interesting, anymore.

Such is life in the new millennium.

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- video of me being a tool interviewed on WTSP, Tampa Bay’s 10 -

- click here for a story with a huge picture of Laser and a quote by moi –

(I dug through all the rules trying to see if there is any reason I shouldn’t post this but, 1) see above story and 2) read my account of why it doesn’t matter!)

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But we did – we auditioned for a game show … hear me out though before you go climbing through all the channels in the digital tier of your cable package searching for the Game Show Network.

We didn’t do very well.

Laser, as it turns out, isn’t an extrovert.  At all.  In fact, she’s a wee bit shy.

When I heard that auditions for a proposed game show where contestants are paired with their cat were coming to Tampa I knew right away I’d be attending with Laser.  I didn’t think past the actual auditioning and, until I was asked during our screen test what I’d do with a million dollars (a question for which I was stumped and gave some corny – but true – answer about helping cats), I didn’t think about any possible prizes.  Being a crazy cat lady, all I thought about was doing something cool with my cat.

We cat people don’t get to show off our beloveds beyond the confines of our own homes very often.  At least I don’t.  I’ve never thought of doing the show-cat thing nor have I ever had the patience to teach any of my babes to enjoy walking on a harness and a leash – although, like any cat-crazy, I do own those.  I was so excited that I had a reason to actually take my favorite feline and best buddy Laser out of the house that I never considered that she was possibly the wrong choice out the … however many … cats that I cohabit with.  As soon as everybody started showing off their Maine Coons (of which I had two sitting at home being all long-haired and lovely) and Ragdolls and Bengals and Abyssinians who all, of course, walked right out of their carriers to explore the lobby of the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay before setting up a game of kitty field hockey, I knew that if getting on a game show was the aim, I’d brought the wrong cat.

Laser and I do get each other – there’s no doubt about that.  My other cats, I love them dearly, but they are cats.  Laser is, as I’ve always said, a person’s soul trapped in a cats body – and she’s my best friend.

Hey, people say that crap about their dogs all the time! The precedent is therefore set and it’s not so strange, is it?  Think about it, dog-people!

Those shots you see on the video of Laser in her cage – that’s about as outgoing as she was all day.  She wasn’t difficult, scared or mean.  She was just extremely shy.  I pulled her out of the cage and sat her on my lap for the screen test and she was still there while I held her little paws but she didn’t climb up into my hair or knead on my leg.  She didn’t recite poetry or ride a unicycle.  She didn’t bat at the boom mic or smile at the panel of judges.  She just sat there and, in my poor little breaking heart, I knew that’s exactly what I should have expected.

There was a cat there who rides on a motorcycle with her owner!  I barely ever put Laser in my car – a car she’s RELATED TO by name!

I’ll admit it, though: I didn’t help much.  I came prepared for cat-Jeopardy! and everyone who knows me isn’t at all surprised by that.  I was ready to sit in front of a camera and be quizzed on cats in general – not the one beast I know the most about!  So when the nice looking gentleman behind the draped table asked me what strange things Laser does I had to mentally fumble for an answer.  I did do what any good stage trained girl without a script would do, though: I started talking.  None of it was interesting but instinct told me to make sure I didn’t appear to dry up.  What I was thinking was, “HELLO, she’s a CAT! She sleeps all day and sits under a sunny window in the afternoon while she licks her own butt. Then, exhausted from all the butt cleaning, she sleeps some more!”  I didn’t say that, though, as I wouldn’t want anyone to see how very rude I am in real life.  Instead I mentioned that she meows when I sneeze – which is true but not really all that interesting unless you see it and at that moment, I don’t believe Laser would have obliged.

Of course, now, as Laser is splayed across my chest clawing though my hair as if it’s going to drip milk for her, I can name about ten different strange things she does.

But what I said was true.  I wanted the experience with my cat, Laser, and  we’ve made a pretty neato memory.  As soon as we got the audition we were treated like friends of the crew.  The young, hipster guys travelling with the show were polite, kind and fun and Laser and I wanted to stay all day and play “Let’s Make a TV Show” with them.

Ok, I did.  Laser probably wanted to go lick her own butt somewhere.

So, my cat and I auditioned for a game show Saturday.  What did you and your cat do?


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At the Risk of Sounding Like a Teenaged Girl

I talked to Eddie Izzard – my all-time favorite performer – last night at Tampa Theatre.

OK, so by “talked to” I mean that I was able to ask him a question at one of his infamous Q&A sessions after the show – but still.

I have never been so completely star-struck. Actually, I’ve never before been at all star-struck. I’ve dealt with celebrities on and off for quite a while both in close partnerships and for brief dealings. It’s a necessary part of the life I chose for myself. Most of the people I’ve dealt with have been polite and personable but I’ve never been in awe of anyone – fame or none.  That is, until last night.

I even yelled back to him when he asked us all a question about what the name “Tampa” means.  I waited until everyone had finished screaming fallacies about cigars and strip clubs and the, from the third row I boomed … 

“Sticks of fire!”

I projected so well that I wish every past director and theatre teacher I’ve ever had was there to hear me.  Breath control exercises, my ass!

“Sticks of fire?” he repeated while pointing at me, before pulling out his iPhone to look it up on Wikipedia.  I got to provide a piece of the segue into the main part of his show.  I got to be “that one.”  I don’t think anything in the entire world could pull me down from my cloud!

During the Q&A I wasn’t polite enough to set him up for comedy – much to the chagrin of the 50 or so people packed into the lobby of Tampa Theatre last night. I asked him what I really wanted to know about – his dyslexia. It’s a subject that is so close to my heart and (conditions auto-immune aside) the one thing that helps shape everything I do so being able to ask him about it made an extremely special memory for me.

I attend an average of one major entertainment event per week (large venue – a ton more if you count small venue and local stuff – also, not counting work – I’m a very lucky girl).  No show – aside from shows I’ve toured with or performed in – has ever meant so much to me.  My jaw dropped farther, I laughed louder, I was more deeply intrigued, I thought more and I was put into an overall better frame of mind last night than I ever have been by any other performance.

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I’ve been both in a funk (for the last year, it seems) and pretty sick since last I wrote here. I received some questions about what I wrote about my health, medical tests, gastroparesis and the like and I do hope that I’m perking up enough to address those questions at the length I feel they deserve and to the best of my ability. I can’t find many personal accounts of people dealing with these same conditions and now I guess people are finding me when they perform a search. I’m more than willing to discuss my personal condition so feel free to drop a line. I’m no doctor but I can tell you what these things mean for me and I, as well as anyone, know what it’s like to make that personal connection concerning subjects that are usually written about in that sanitized medical jargon.

I really do hope to get to that soon.