Thursday, October 29, 2009
This week's Best Song of All Time of the Week is Liberian Girl by Michael Jackson.
I'm not going to talk about rekindling my love for MJ after his recent death. I'd rather share with you a recent conversation I had with Kristen.
We dogsat for our friend Liz last weekend and, while I love her to death, she spoils those dogs. We received our e-mail of instructions, which was 4 GODDAMN PAGES LONG. Not necessarily a big deal, but it caused me to recall my childhood, when my parents had babysitters for us.
"My parents never left this many instructions for our babysitters. It was basically like 'We rented Michael Jackson's Moonwalker...again. Just put it in, they'll watch it 4 or 5 times. There's money for pizza. Bye' "
The only time when this changed was when we got a Sega Genesis. Then it was "We rented Michael Jackson's Moonwalker. Just put it in and they'll play all night. There's money for pizza. Bye."
We're going to see the MJ documentary "This Is It" on Saturday. I'm really excited.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
When I was a Sophmore in high school, I used to hang out at this coffee shop called the Wired Frog. Once and a while I would see this improv group called Mr Roger's Sweatship (featuring my now good friend Joe Krause). They would do short form improv games, which I'd never seen before. I lost my damn mind for these guys, following them to 90% of their gigs, trying to learn the games by screwing around with them in my friend Marissa's front yard. (mind you I'm in high school. No wonder it took so long to kiss a girl).
A few years later, I'm in college studying acting. Being a bigger fellow, the roles weren't as plentiful for me. But, in my sophmore year, I discover that we have an improv troupe and that they are also offering a one time improv class with someone from the Detroit Second City tour co. This is where I discover iO and long form improv. Our text book was Truth in Comedy.
That summer my friend and future room mate, Mike Targus, goes to Chicago for the Summer Intensive at iO. I travel out there to see his final show, finally entering this "temple" of improv, as I believed it to be at the time. One day, I told him later, I'm going to be a performer here.
2 years ago I moved to Chicago and I started classes at iO about six months later. I've now finished and yesterday got word that I was being asked to join their newest Harold team. I did it. I'm a performer at iO. Who knows for how long, but I can't wait.
It's bittersweet though, because some very good friends of mine, people I love to play with and who really deserve to be on a team, did not make the cut. I don't know what to say to them. I equate it to being starving and having someone come up and tell you to stick with it, chin up, and keep trying until you get your food, all while eating ice cream in front of them.
To my new team, I'm so excited to get to work. To my friends who didn't make it, really, keep at it, you're incredibly talented, and you'll get yours soon.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
This week's winner is "A Little Respect" by Erasure.
This song holds many special places in my heart. I first became aware of it when watching what would become my favorite television show "Scrubs". The second episode "My Virus" features every single character having the song stuck in their head, because it spreads like a virus.
Then for our first Christmas, Kristen got me "The Innocents" as part of my gift. What had first been one of those hipster "ironic" appreciations for Erasure had become full blown love. I wore that album out (not literally because it was a CD).
My last band, The Bad Chemicals, even did a really fun cover of "A Little Respect" which quick became a fan favorite. I loved playing that cover more than I did some of our own songs. As we started writing more songs, covers got phased out though. It was too high for me to sing anyway.
Someone I know has had sex with Andy Bell of Erasure.
So as you can see, lots of personal attachment to this song.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
The new terminal at the Detroit airport is really nice. I never flew out of it before. It was nice to actually be able to go to a restaurant while waiting for my flight, even if it was a Ruby Tuesday.
While walking around the airport, I thought "wow, they even have a fancy house of mirrors". I later found out it's just a room with dimmed lights and comfy chairs where you can sit down and examine your life.
Monday, October 12, 2009
This weekend Kristen and I went home to Detroit for my grandfather's 90th birthday party.
I have to ask myself what my mom was thinking when she made her wine choice for the party.
It was really great to see all my friends (some of whom sacrificed major sleep to fit me into their schedules) but more importantly to see family that I rarely get to see (Mary Lou and Jerry, Russ and Jen, etc.) It was great for Kristen to get to meet those people she hadn't met as well.
The harsh reality of the weekend set in that my gran is not doing so well. I can't/don't want to elaborate beyond that, but she's not as sharp as she used to be that's for sure. Keep her in your thoughts for me.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
So it's become a bit of a trend on this blog for me to introduce a "feature" and then almost immediately neglect it completely. This one was no different. But, I really do like this feature, so I'm going to set a calendar reminder in my Google calendar to do it every week.
I'm not really sure I have anything to say about these songs. I don't remember what I had to say about Mariah. It's just a great damn song. What I do find interesting, as a tidbit, is that it was the first pop song to use the word "God" in the title. People found that really daring and controversial. If you look the song up in Wikipedia, there's pages of stuff about the composition and recording and it's all really interesting.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
On Sunday I did my last show at iO with my dear friends the Cordoroy Whales. They have one show left while I am out of town and I hope they knock it out of the park.
For those of you not acclimated to the Chicago Improv scene, I wanted to share something my friend wrote where he puts the relatively common experience of the new improvisor in Chicago in the terms of basketball. This is taken from his blog, but I can't find the address right now. When I do, he'll be linked because he's awesome. I present to you:
"Improvising A Full Court Press"
When pursuing leisure activities one has to consider several things. Do I have the time? Do I enjoy doing them? What am I getting out of it? I have been running these and many questions like them through my head the last few weeks. I partake in a certain activity that is a bit like rec league basketball only with more smokers. I am nearing the end of our season as it were and I am thinking that it may be time to hang up my sneakers and find a new game to play. I still love the watching the game but I have come to the realization that I may not be good enough to play at the level I want. How did this hoop dream start?
I started playing in the rec league because I was new in town and had always loved basketball. Sure, I had played a few pick up games from time to time growing up but never really in anything organized. At first I loved it. I was learning how to shoot and pass from some of the best people in town. I found out that over the course of the next year my progress would be monitored and if I was lucky at the end of it I might be asked to join one of the local minor league teams. At the start of the season this seemed so far away that it was something I couldn't comprehend. I would hear other people in the league talk about playing on T.V. someday. I would always laugh it off and tell them to worry about just going to class that week.
A few weeks in some of the other new kids asked me to join their team and I couldn't believe my luck. We had a great coach and had a great time together trying to figure out how to play. I was the worst player on the team but they kept me around anyways. In practice and games I would always find new ways to screw up as I stumbled up and down the court. I went to class and rehearsal every week. I tried to see as many games as I could and really dove into this whole world with as much time and passion as I could muster. During the winter I would bundle up and spend two hours a night watching all the better players scrimmage always with the hope that someday I would get to play in their game. I devoured every book and interview I could about the game hoping that each one would provide new insight into the process.
As the season progressed I was still having fun with my team but the mandated classes became less interesting. Most of the classes involved listening to someone else try to explain how to play hoop and watching other people play while you sat out and waited your turn. Listening to someone explain how they shoot a three is like someone explaining how they fuck. Sure it's useful but eventually you just need to go out and do it. All I wanted to do was go out and play. Three-fourths of the way through the season I new most of the flaws in my game. All I could do was think about what I was doing wrong and I found myself freezing up during games. I had a hit a wall and wasn't getting any better.
All the while my team and I were picking up games at smaller parks and had a great time playing together. Then our forward moved. Shortly after one of our guards started playing baseball and couldn't spend as much time with us. Then our center had to move away as well. Next thing I knew we lost another guard. Everyone had a great reason to leave, after all it was just a rec team. One night I looked around and I was standing in the gym shooting free throws with strangers. I may have been helping my game but the reason I fell in love with the game in the first place was to play with my friends.
The more I learned about the game the less I seemed to like it. People started talking about being scouted and making teams. For some it was the only conversation they could have. My enthusiasm for the process was dwindling as the whole thing began to feel like an obligation. More and more of my time and money was being siphoned off as I felt like I was getting less and less enjoyment from playing. I began to blame the other players for shortfalls in my own game. I started skipping class and practice because I felt like it was a waste of time.
I find myself with two months left in the season. Most everyone else seems to be worried about what their uniform looks like or which scout is watching them. I look around and have never felt more disconnected from the game. With eight more games left all I want is to be done with things and move on to something else. I still love it but I don't know if it's the game for me.
Over the course of the season I have learned how to play the game competently at the most basic level that one can. I can run up and down the floor without tripping (most of the time). From time to time I close my eyes, hope for the best, and am able to score a basket. But looking back at the season I wonder if maybe, just maybe, I should have picked a different game.
I'm participating in a 5K. I'm not running, just walking, but still that's a big deal for me. Kristen is running in the race too, but in a 15K. The training so far has not been too tough. The problem I'm facing now is getting out of the "I'm working out more, I can eat more" mentality. But on November 1st, I'll be able to say I can walk 3.1 miles in a certain amount of time.
My long term goal is the triathalon, but we'll see how that goes.
Anyhow, Kristen wrote on our chalkboard painted wall, "We can do it! 5K+15K" I decided to make a little change.
Monday, October 5, 2009
Sunday, October 4, 2009
I went out with some friends to celebrate my friend Meagan's birthday on Saturday. I always feel stupid when I hang out with the people I called friends in Detroit. I know we're all busy, but I feel like my primary focus when talking to those people that I never get to see is "Why don't we ever hang out?" I feel like I should drop it and just be thankful for the time I do get to spend with my friends.
I'd be really sick of me if I were them.