Sunday, June 24, 2007

Vidiot Savant

NOT a prostate exam
Hey, haven't tossed my voice into the void for a while. How's everyone?

Time for a big steamin' pile o' update. As you can see by the picture, I'm videoblogging now. Got me a Logitech vidcamera for notebooks and launched my face into YouTube. Here's the real deal if you want to watch a middle-aged white guy go off about stupidity (there's a thought). More of those to come, as it was actually fun.

Major DVD Purchase: The Twilight Zone: The Complete Definitive Collection landed in my mitts courtesy of Walmart.com. This set is great: all five seasons (on 28 disks) of the original show with tons of extras like interviews, commentaries, etc. If you're a fan of sci-fi, Rod Serling or the show, check it out (MSRP is $299.99US but Walmart.com has it for $169.88US and if you use their Site to Store option, no shipping charges - sweet deal). This is gonna take a good long time to get through and I'm lovin' every minute of it.

I'm about a week away from vacation in New Mexico with Becky and Gage. Lookin' forward to this, if we can find a place (or places) where we can just get up in those mountains and Forget Civilization Exists for a while.

Oh, and looks like I'll be embarking on another business venture: Karaoke Host. Met the guy who runs a lot of the shows around here and we signed contracts so pretty soon I'll be making (alleged) money for something I enjoy doing (twice in my lifetime? Be still my beating heart).

That's all I got for now. Hope to update on the road so cross yer fingers.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

And The Hunk O' Plastic Goes To...

I did WHAT to the award?
Okay, it's over. Had my day in the sun, howled at the moon and have a memento of a great show. The Odd Couple is a wonderful, funny piece of theater and I'm glad I did it. Even if I had not won the GEM Award for Best Featured Actor I had one of the best experiences in my life, on or offstage (Warning: lots of back-patting ahead).

Seldom do I get to work with such seasoned actors, ones which fit their part so well the whole cast works like a finely-tuned machine. Jon Haque, Rob May, Kevin Logan, Shawn Hicks, Joe Moore, Shawna Linck (my fellow GEM Award-winner) and Renee Pitts, pros all. This was truly an ensemble piece. Same with the crew: these ladies had the show down so well the production flowed like water, all led by the sure hand of Amy Ackerman, our great Stage Manager. I was happy and proud to work with every one of them.

Despite the great talent all of it would have been a mess had it not been for Don Taylor, Herr Director. The man has the best eye and ear for comedy I have seen, not to mention a real feel for the material, a sense of fun and a razor-sharp wit. I hope I get to do more stage work with him.

I got a great role, an award and a bunch of great friends to boot. Not bad.

I'll reflect back on this show, and the effect it had on my performance, later on...

Saturday, April 28, 2007

What 50 Looks Like

We'll have to do this again in 50...
Here's the look of a half-century of living. This was taken last night at Oldie's Blues Saloon with my wife and some of my friends, all of us (except for Becky) cast members of The Odd Couple. The folks are (l-r) my lovely wife Becky, Jon (Oscar), Yours Truly (Murray), Sean (Roy) and Rob (Felix). Great night, apple pie shooters, dancing and me getting loaded on Smirnoff Ice. What can I say? I'm a cheap drunk.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Many Happys Returned, or It Flipping Hurts

Dawg days indeed
Aaaaaaaand, we're back. Things keep on rollin' along here. Kind of gloomy outside, getiin' ready to rain (like we don't need it here). Got the show to do tonight and all. Life is adequate.

So, I turn 50. Feels like 49 only later. I had a lot of well-wishers online and off, got a nice card, an electric razor from Becky and I generally had a mellow time here at home. I don't have that Middle-Aged Blues I heard about, just same ol', same ol'. Becky says we'll do up a party right after the show finishes it's run (around first of May). Until then, time for some drinks after the show.

One gift I got is a copy of Not Just The Best Of The Larry Sanders Show, a 4-disc DVD set with 23 of the best shows along with lots of extras. Great set. I love this show but as I've been working my way through it, I'm getting this sense of sorrow. See, I love the satire of talk-shows and the entertainment business in general, but, as I'm going through the last few, it just kinda pains me to see this whole show get torn down by a bunch of network weasels with their own agendas. Yeah, I know it's reflecting the reality of it and yeah, I know it's just a show but I've come to care about the characters (flaws and all) and about the show itself. I guess that's a testament to Gary Shandling and all the other creative writers, actors and others who worked on it. It's just a show but the end is starting to feel like The Fall of The Roman Empire.

I may have to sell it after I'm done because it's just too much. Bravo to Gary and everyone else, but I don't think I can watch this again. So long Larry, Hank, Artie and all the rest. You're best as a memory, one of better times. One that I'll never forget.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

This In From Rumson Beach: Whale Of A Mess

No blubbering here
Got an email from my bud Dence McCloud from Rumson Beach, CA. Cool place, about 25 miles south of Santa Barbara. I spent a couple summers there during my young-adulthood and Dence was a college chum who, being moslty ho-daddy, decided to stay. He opened a 'dog stand (Dence's Dense Dogs), got married and settled down there.

Anyway, there was an emergency town meeting to decide what to do with the blue whale that beached itself and promptly died last week right in front of the shallow end of the beach. So they weren't overrun by newspeople and enviromentalists, the mayor had Hal Scrupio, town treasurer and owner of the Rumson Beach Gravel Company throw a couple tons of sand on top of it. Woulda been okay if local artist and sand sculptor Perry Funnel hadn't gotten "inspired" and sculpted it into the shape of a dead blue whale. That and the smell. Next thing you know they were hearing on the news about some kind of giant skunk stinking up PCH.

Ross Plunkett, who captains the live-bait boat Chum-Chum Cheree offered to haul it out to open water using his bilge pump as sort of a suction device, but before anyone could consider the merits of that move, the damn thing exploded. It happened at the Annual Chum Festival and Weenie Roast and, according to Dence, he was just finishing up cooking the last batch of Dense Dogs when there was a huge explosion and next thing it was raining whale parts. After convincing Ol' Ben Farragut it wasn't one of the Seven Plagues, Dence ran over to investigate. Seems that Frank Sawtelle and Gull Buckett got potted and decided to play Captain Ahab with a lit kelbasa on a skewer, which ignited the built-up methane inside the big guy.


No serious injuries,but three people were treated for blubber. Ross towed the rest of it out to sea the next morning, freeing Willy for good. Dence commemorated the incident by introducing the new Whale O' A Dog (It Expoldes With Flavor!). Consists of a kelbasa covered with hash, with a lit spear in the middle. Yummy.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Break An Egg

I want YOU to go get me some of those
Cadbury chocolate eggs!
Finished with Easter, approaching mid-April and time for me again. Jesus came out of the cave and saw his shadow so I guess that means baseball season starts. I'm sitting in the peace and quiet of the local library posting this, something which I wish I could've done a long time ago. Now with my new ally, an Averatec laptop I recently purchased off a friend, I'm mo-bile (emphasis on the bile). Finally, blogging done in a comfortable place away from home distractions.

This Thursday (the 12th), The Odd Couple opens at the Jewel Box Theatre, to mostly sold-out crowds. No pressure, right? To tell you the truth, not really, as we got a crackerjack cast who are pumped and ready to go. Of course, this doesn't mean there won't be butts in seats before opening night. Tonight, for instance, we have the GEM Awards (Jewel Box's Tonys) Nominating Committee watching and the next two nights we got the Shriners at the show. The director tells me Shriners are great audiences and always bring good food, but I hope they don't drive around in tiny cars in front of the box office before the show...


For me, the best part is, during the run I turn 50. Hence the laptop (early present). Who needs a pony?

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Thick As Sea-Poop

Thick as sea-poop
It's nice and quiet this morning. Good time for catch-up.

Just came off a rather persistent depression, black mood, what-have-you. Started around the first of the year and ended Wednesday. During that time I found everything uninteresting, not being motivated (more than usual) to accomplish anything and finding things I enjoy too much trouble. I didn't take my blood pressure meds and was just feeling generally lousy. My doctor was getting ready to prescribe pills for depression.

Then the thing that changed all that happened.

I had a colonoscopy.

It wasn't the most enjoyable experience, but seeing as I'm hitting 50 next month it's all part and parcel of the "make sure you don't have anything terminal" check-up that's supposed to happen about now. Believe it or not, the worst part was doing a clear liquid fast the day before while chugging a couple of bottles of chromium citrate to get me cleaned out reeeeal good. Now every time I see that particular shade of green I'll be reminded of my bathroom.

Anyway, the procedure was routine and I had some pretty good anesthetics (that stuff that makes you forget with a Demerol chaser). Now here's the good part: the next day, after all that stuff had worn off, I woke up feeling great. Alert and rested with a desire to Do Stuff. I haven't felt that way (or had that good a night's sleep) for a long time. I'm looking forward to doing things again, got back on the BP meds and I'm starting back on the diet/exercise thing Monday. I've returned to the living. Man, I love being 50!

I now plan on doing the fast/purge thing on a regular basis, probably once a month. I wanna stay this way.

So remember: sometimes life shoving a finger up your ass is a great motivator.

Friday, February 09, 2007

2006: A Beer And Review

Last time we saw me, I was recuperating from my California Trip, done with Getting My Kicks with wife and grandson in tow and letting the holidays wash over me like the wave at the beach that managed to knock down Gage while he wasn't looking (we still hear about it from him, bless his heart). Here, from the vantage-point of mid February, I can finally think clear enough on the last few months and look at what happened in my part of Okie City circa 2006.

Well, Christmas was simultaneously interesting and miserable. We spent it in Arkansas with the rest of Becky's family, at my brother-in-law Doug's new place. Beautiful home. The interesting part was Doug's new digs: a multi-room house on a sloping hill in the middle of Wal-Mart City. It was gratifying to see Gage playing with other kids and, since we brought my other grandson Gavin, everyone enjoyed taking care of the 9-month-old ball o' love.

The miserable part was that on Christmas Day I got one mother of a cold, one that lasted a good two-and-a-half weeks, temporarily robbed me of my voice and seriously jeopardized my ability to attend auditions for the Jewel Box Theatre's production of The Odd Couple (fear not, I went and was cast as Murray). I was running a high fever all afternoon and took to my bed once the road trip was over.

Well, that was then and this is now and Now I'm reflecting over the year with a faint smile upon my puss. The highlights of 2006 for me were (in no particular order), Gavin, my second grandson being born in March, my trip to the GAMA Trade Show in Vegas (and actually coming back $200.00 ahead), discovering LibriVox on the net, thus giving me another performing outlet and our trip to Long Beach with Gage. The low points: having to move almost immediately after I get back from Vegas, failing at my Weight Loss Vow (you heard it here first, folks), having to miss Con On The Cob in Kent,Ohio (something I'll make up for in 2007) and a minor bummer of buying the new Star Wars Original Trilogy release Best Buy boxed tin and trying to lie my way out of it to Becky (note to self: don' do dat again).

Another major event last year was my relinquishing (mid-December) of my duties at Renda Broadcasting. I told my supervisor that, after a certain date, she can use me as a fill-in, but don't feel obligated to schedule me hours. Last time I dropped in, I noticed they gave my mailbox to someone else. I guess that's it then.

I don't know how to classify that last one: it hurts a bit being out of radio, but the hours were getting impossible, seeing I was getting as little as 6 hours a week. I knew that would pick up when football and basketball started up, but Becky didn't like the fact I had weird hours that interfered with time off she wanted us to take. So it was with reluctance that I said farewell to radio. Good thing I got a stage show to do soon.

As last year, the DVDs I managed to pick up in 2006 (in no particular order - this is the part in the entry where I stare at my DVD collection and try to figure it out): the aforementioned Star Wars set, Hollywood's Legends of Horror box set, the two Boris Karloff sets (The Boris Karloff Collection and Boris Karloff: Icons of Horror Collection), Preston Sturges: The Filmmaker Collection, Red Green Stuffed And Mounted Six-Pack, Scrooge (finally), March of The Wooden Soldiers/Babes in Toyland, My Big Fat Greek Wedding (replacement copy), A Prarie Home Companion, The Triplets of Belleville, Police Squad! The Complete Series, The Maltese Falcon 3-disc Edition, Cars, Monty Python And The Holy Grail (double-dip to get the soundtrack CD), Back to The Future: The Complete Trilogy, Chronicles of Narnia, The Classic Sci-Fi Ultimate Collection, 14 Hours, Shock, Jim Henson's The Storyteller: The Definitive Collection, The Big Sleep, Corpse Bride, M: Criterion, Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow, Disney's Treasure Island, The Killers: Criterion, The Mummy Collector's Set, The Ed Wood Box, Unbreakable, The House On Telegraph Hill, Bluebeard, Pleasantville, The Return of The Pink Panther, The Pink Panther Collection, House of Strangers, The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, I Wake Up Screaming, Fallen Angel, The Third Man: Criterion, Polanski's Oliver Twist, The Aristocrats, The Buster Keaton Collection, Crumb, The Complete Mr. Arkadin: Criterion, Secondhand Lions, The Wolf Man: The Legacy Collection, Big Fish, Batman: Mask of The Phantasm, Where The Sidewalk Ends and Wallace & Gromit: Curse of The Were-Rabbit.

There y'are. Nary a clinker among 'em. Looking back, it seems that I did a lot of filling-in of the gaps, along with a headlong dive into the Film Noir genre. Well, Noir is a lot of fun and filling in collection gaps is a good sign that your collection is becoming lean and mean: no fat, no filler.

Looking ahead, 2007 has already started out on a good note, as I start rehearsals next month for a mid-April run of the show (this means no Vegas trip this year, hence the reason why I'm going to Con On The Cob in November). In the ensuing months my current projects are to do the show, get some employment and keep writing this-here blog. Hope you stick around. Interesting times ahead.