Mental Flotsam, Mental Jetsam

Because the only thing that beats going crazy is going crazy with somebody else

Friday, February 25, 2005

Actor's Nightmare

It's been a long time since I've had the actor's nightmare, but it was every bit as uncomfortable as the last time I had it.

You probably know the drill; you find yourself onstage with absolutely no idea of what your lines are. You're lucky if you know what play you're doing. For me, last night the show of choice was Proof. I was half way through Act one, Scene one. It was a complete debacle.

I did Proof about three months ago, now. Feels like less time has passed, and more. Andrea was a terrific co-star, but in my dreams last night she was as far up the creek as I was. We were doing the show again; in a new, smaller, uncomfortable space with strangers watching us from less than three feet away. I forgot my props. I forgot my lines. I couldn't focus to save my life. Andrea wasn't pleased, I wasn't pleased, the audience wasn't amused, Norm the director certainly wasn't happy. I couldn't blame him.

Just a mess over all. Just a mess. And the root of the anxiety no doubt stems from the fact that rehearsals for Irma Vep continue to roll along despite the fact that I don't feel prepared for 'em. I still need more time to drill lines into my head; it's a two-man show. Rehearsal tonight, rehearsal tomorrow.

Keep your fingers crossed. In the mean time, I'll keep drilling.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Weird Mood Today


I can't remember the last time I had so much going on at once. I'm in rehearsals for a two-man show, I'm putting the finishing touches on Tuxxer before I send him out into the world... I'm tired; which is pretty much the status quo for when it gets hectic.

Rehearsals at night, a full-time day job, finding time at the end of the day to work on the side-projects and spend time with Beth... it's a full plate to be sure.

Tonight, I have the night off from rehearsals. For this, I'm grateful. I don't really have much choice, but to use the time to run lines. They need it, badly. Beth asked me if I wanted to do something fun this weekend.

Finances being what they are (car repair bills, the court date on Tuesday), I said I didn't really think much of going out. Fun has become staying in and recuperating. It sounds like heaven, to me at least. I'm sure it's not the thrilling getaway others might plan for.

I love being busy. I truly do. There are worse things to be in this life than a workaholic. When I'm not onstage, I have to feel like I'm doing something, accomplishing something worthwhile; otherwise I feel like I'm just wasting time. With my newest undertaking, The Mystery of Irma Vep, that feeling has been thrown into question. I've been running myself ragged going back and forth between home and Herndon to rehearse. People said I was crazy for accepting a part that was that far away, I looked at them with some mild resentment (never liked being called crazy), and said it was worth it. It is. It still is. But I'd be lying if I said there haven't been moments of doubt.

I'm busy, yes. In that respect I feel fulfilled and content. But physically, it's taking its toll. I'm also not seeing as much of Beth as I did before the show. That right there is a contributor to my current mood, one of quiet introspection.

I found myself thinking about a letter an ex-girlfriend wrote me, shortly after we had broken up. In the email, she said that she could see me being a success in my chosen field. That I could expect to yield some good returns on the energy and the effort I put into my goals. She also said that I would end up alone for it. It stuck with me. Parting jab from an unhappy ex, or a more or less accurate forecast of things to come? I won't be the judge. Not today, anyway. Meh.

Monday, February 21, 2005

I've Seen Some Horrible Movies...


I was at a friend's house this past Saturday night; and what should come across the screen but a movie on Showtime: House of the Dead. I'm still trying to figure out the best way to scour every trace of this flick from my head. This steaming pile of dog poop is easily the worst movie I have seen all year. I'll even throw in 2004 to be on the safe side.

The only relief I feel in this entire experience is knowing I did not pay to see this movie. Had that been the case, I would have been compelled to burn the wallet that housed the money that paid for the ticket to this black hole of a movie.

Don't get me wrong. I love me a good zombie flick. Re: Dawn of the Dead (Yes, the remake). I've even enjoyed the occasional movie-made-from-a-video-game. I struggle to think of one at the moment, but still. This movie was crap, crap, crap.

What was so bad about it, you ask? I'll be too happy to go into detail. Let's start with the frills and work our way inward. It doesn't get more pointless than entirely pointless nudity. Even Friday the 13th movies had better context to have a woman sans top. There's a scene in this film (whose name I will not type again, for fear of infecting my fingers with its putrescence) which has a woman in a kitchen, cooking something topless. Just... whatever. "La la la, where'd I put that darn top? Oh well! Oh, hi person I've never met before!"

Club Dread wasn't this bad. Club Dread was occasionally funny. This movie didn't have that saving grace. Okay. Next; let's talk about the horrid overuse of bullet-time. And sporadic screenshots from the original game, which served absolutely no purpose to the flick whatsoever. The game itself is a first person shooter. That's all. Not really fodder for any good plot to start with.

I don't know how they managed to get him to do it (I'm betting on money), but the casting agent somehow managed to convince Jurgen Prochnow, of Das Boot notoriety, to play a salty sea captain in this dung hill of a flick. Ugh. The acting was bad. Really bad. Even for a no-plot waste of time like this, the acting was bad.

At least the actors (burning my fingers typing the word in reference to these cardboard cut-outs) had some great dialogue to work with. My favorite exchange is still:

Alicia: You did all this to become immortal. Why? Castillo: To live forever!

I'm not making this up. I wish I were. Still. Just... Agh. The other noteworthy moment, our heroes (ha) are down to three, making their way through a dark tunnel towards the beach (and hopeful salvation). The sadsack zombies begin coming out of the walls, and a girl armed with a machete says to her compatriots "Go on guys, I'll handle these." She should have said, "Go on guys, I'll handle these... by being delicious." She doesn't last ten seconds before the zombies obligingly eat her.

If you have the opportunity to see this m- mo- flick, turn it down. Don't watch it as a joke. Don't watch it for a laugh. Simply do not watch it. It transcends levels of crap not before spelunked my mortal movie-makers. There is no redeeming value to seeing it. Or speaking of it further, for that matter.

Moving on.

Getting Down To The Wire

It's almost here. The 100% complete dozen pages of Tuxxer-y goodness. I have the first page already, with a logo, title page, and the captions. My letterer, a fellow named Jaymes with his own website, has been very good about the whole thing. I can't wait to have them all in my hands...

I know I'm being a bit of a dork about the whole thing. But if anyone out there that's reading this has ever tried to create something important to them; a painting, a book, something tangible... This is a big step. The only thing left to do at that point is to attempt to publish it. I cannot wait. I just can't wait.

Friday, February 18, 2005

And The Week From Hell Continues

Wow. Just... wow.

As if my fantasmagoric week wasn't bad enough already; last night on the drive home from rehearsal in Herndon, I got pulled over by the police. For littering.

I now look forward to my COURT APPEARANCE. I asked the officer if there was some sort of fine I could pay instead (like your run of the mill speeding ticket). He said no, it was a class 3 misdemeanor.

This is just the week from hell. It truly is. This morning at work I found out that the limo I ordered to pick up a VP went to the wrong place. My head feels like it's gonna explode in a few hours. No one of these things is enough to constitute a 'worst day'. However, compiled into the Bruticus form of crap that's been going on for the last seven days, this is now the worst week.

I feel like I should get a cake or something to commemorate the occasion. Excuse me while I go throw up.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Not My Week. Not. My. Week.

The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune are currently kicking my butt. I may soon have problems sitting down.

If it's true that every avalanche begins with a single misplaced yodel or a clump of snow that's just too heavy, then consider this avalanche well under way. With me under it.

Sunday brought not-happy-news. Since my car cost me a grand, I've been struggling to make my payments on various things. UGH. I just found out the bank docked me $60 for less than $20's worth in over-draft fees, which is no-one's fault but mine, but still. It stings.

I made a cup of coffee this morning to find the cream was lumpy as it was being poured into my cup. Yuck.

I'm missing out on a golden opportunity to do some spokesperson work in DC for a large amount of money due to the fact that I'm already in a show that won't pay the tolls I spend just to get to rehearsals. Again; no one to blame but me. Blargh.

It just isn't my week, I've decided. See you on the other side of it. Urgh.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Just Making Sure I'm Still Crazy

Alright. I'm a writer. Not just this stuff, of course, or even Tuxxer, but I've written a few plays that people seem to have enjoyed reading/seeing performed.

A few years ago (Sophomore year of college, actually), I started working on a full-length play, involving the devil having his biography written by a mortal in exchange for a 'free' contract (i.e., she gets a wish without it costing her her soul). It seemed like a pretty good idea for a play at the time. I started working on it; and it was really coming along nicely. Act One practically wrote itself.

Then bad things started happening. My computer started to crash. I was getting more and more stressed. I was getting a very clear impression that God did not want me working on this script. So what did I do? I scrapped it. Pages of notes, the draft itself, every leaf of work that had gone into what could've been a decent play got deleted and/or thrown away.

About a year later, the idea hadn't left my head. I was still entertaining it. I thought to myself, why on earth would I have thought that God was against a play? It's just a script, for pete's sake, what's the harm? So, I re-drafted from memory most of my old notes, re-wrote the first act, and got to pretty much the exact same spot in the script as last time when once again my computer started to crash. And I had my car accident. The angels of paranoia once again whispered in my ear; "You shouldn't be writing this."

It's now 2005, a good four years since the idea for the plot occurred to me in the first place, and it's still just sitting in my head, not unlike a birthday present waiting to be opened. A friend even brought it up last weekend; out of the blue. "Did I ever finish that play?" he asked. Grumble, grumble, grumble.

Recently Scott Kurtz, creator of, raised an interesting point in a follow-up comment to an earlier comic strip of his. Paraphrasing, God knew he was going to write what he wrote in the first place, because all things come from him, including Scott's creativity. Right.

I'm not convinced. I'm certainly not as religious as I used to be, but I'm still a god-fearing Methodist. I talk to Him a few times a week, actually. He has yet to talk back, which is likely a good thing. Regardless: If the Almighty did supply the idea, why is it so bad to put it on paper? I don't think the play is heretical, it just raises a few interesting points.

I don't know. I haven't obsessed over it or anything, but I can still recall in pretty sharp detail the major points of the script. Picking it up for attempt #3 wouldn't be all that hard. Of course, I also can't help but look at it as a cosmic Strike Three. I've had my warnings, and so on.

Damn. It'd be a lot easier to disregard it if I could forget about it entirely (hasn't happened). Or if writing in general wasn't so important to me. If I get an idea, any kind of idea, I put it down on paper.

Blargh. Any thoughts? Comments? Ideas on where I can get a good straight jacket?

Not Important News, But It Made Me Happy Anyways

Those of you who know me well also now I'm a dork. Used to be a badge of shame, now I wear it with pride. I'm a dork. And that's fine.

A favorite show of mine is coming out on DVD in a few months, Scrubs. I love the show's sense of humor; and the lead character JD is hilarious. He's a dork, too. I feel for him.

And that's the news. A show's coming out for sale in May. It made me smile. What can I say? Call me materialistic, call me shallow, call me an even bigger dork than I have alread confessed to being; new DVD's = happy.

Very well, carry on. Nothing more to see here.

Just A Little Bit Creeeeeepy...

I had a vision yesterday, watching The (original) Stepford Wives with Beth. You all know what it’s about, and if you don’t, well, this isn’t going to make much sense. Early in the movie, Katharine Ross’ character hosts her husband’s ‘Men’s Association’ for a few hours as they talk about nothing. They’re really there to observe her and let mildly-creepy-artist-guy do his thing. Ross brought ‘em drinks and made sure everyone was comfortable, like a good hostess.

Through the entire scene, I couldn’t help but think of a fly that lived in her own house, and invited a group of spiders over for drinks. Smiling politely, one of the spiders just starts laying individual threads of silk across the fly where she’s sitting. Of course, each thread isn’t that strong. It’s only spider silk after all. And the fly, unused to the local customs, figures it’s just manners to let the spider go about his/her business. As the evening wears on, though, the individual threads start to add up; until the fly is completely covered under a huge blanket or canopy of the stuff, and she can’t move. Just for the sake of being polite.

At which point the spiders all do their collective thing. And they never stop smiling politely. I’m not saying it’s a pleasant image, but it was just one that occurred to me last night, and it stayed with me. Hooray for metaphors and so forth.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Phase Four: CLICK. Hoo-ha!

It's official; I have a letterer. He's good, he's flexible, he's cheap, and above all he is fast. Hoo-ha.

We should have the finished pages of Tuxxer by the end of the week. Then I print. Then I seek to publish. Freakin' shazam.

Couldn't be more excited. Simply could not.


Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Lent. Lent. Lent.

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. The 47 days (According to Leta, and who am I to disagree?) for which we give up something that stands in the way between us and God. It could be a vice, a habit, a particular crutch, something appropriate that isn't just a facet of your new diet.

I've given the matter a reasonable amount of thought. I can't give up coffee. I'm not strong enough, nor do I get enough sleep to get by without it. I can give up beer, though. Beer and alcohol in general. No more for Casey.

I do love beer. And I love me some whiskey. Which is why I'm forsaking 'em both and anything else that drips down from the tree of fermentation. Now, If Lent were in the warm-to-hot summer months, giving up ice-cold brew would be a much greater challenge, I assure you.

Anyway. There you have it. I wonder if rentals of 40 Days and 40 Nights will increase over the next few weeks. Just a thought.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

What Exactly Is The Big Deal?

I heard on the news this morning that another constitutional amendment is being put together regarding gay rights, trying (not for the first time, I believe) to define marriage as the union exclusively between a man and a woman.

I still can't pin down what the big deal is. What are the right wingers so terrified of? Having something in common with the homosexual community, namely the right to wed? Are they afraid that allowing marriage to include pairings of the same sex is going to somehow defile their own matrimonial ties? Maybe it's the fact that the majority of weddings take place in churches, largely in part to get the Church's acknowledgement of the marriage. If the church recognizes the union, than the church has to recognize the people being joined together. Oooh, a sticky wicket indeed.

Would it solve the problem if they all became Satanists? Or Agnostics or Atheists, and left God out of the equation altogether? Or would that not be good enough either?

Maybe it's the legal aspect of the whole thing. Perhaps the conservative types don't want their laws mingling with the laws of the gays. Weren't we supposed to learn to share in Elementary School?

Then there's the possibility that the conservatives don't want anyone horning in on their divorce action. One out of every Two marriages ends in divorce. One out of Two. If the homosexual community was able to legally embrace a stable, legal union that they had to struggle to establish in the first place (like they do now), they might actually be invested in working harder to make it last. That 50% ratio might go back down a bit. We certainly can't have that.

Of course, I'm not being entirely fair. I should make an attempt to see both sides of the issue. I'm a Libra, that's what we're good at. I think it's a classic case of "I don't understand it, so I'm afraid of it." Fear can be a good thing. It helps avoid some very real threats to health and safety. It can also be irrational.

I hate spiders. They creep me out, entirely. Hate 'em. But I've never seen a poisonous one, and I've never been bitten. Probably never will. But that fear is still there.

Still. This is the 21st Century, according to our calendar. Things that were considered amoral, illegal, and offenses-punishable-by-death a few hundred years ago are no longer accurate or in effect: Like eating meat every day of the week. Letting your wife go to work, or show her face in public. Watching your son bring home a girlfriend of a different race. Heavens forbid.

Like it or not, the gay community is real. They're human beings with the same right to privileges as everyone else. Regardless of who they decide to share affection with.

Deal with it.

Monday, February 07, 2005

A Fantastic Show

This weekend, I visited my old stomping grounds at Shenandoah University. I met up with some friends that I hadn't seen in a long time, which was great. I also watched the Senior Project of two friends of mine. Erin Leigh Bushko and Chris Spalding had their senior project this weekend, and it was fantastic.

'Rinn' has been a friend of mine since her freshman year at SU. I was a Junior. I still can't believe she's a Senior already. Chris is a fraternity brother of mine, and that's how I got to know him. This was only the second or third time I've seen him perform, and he blew me out of the water. Terrific stuff all around.

Way to go, guys. Top notch.

Sweet, Sweet Progress

Okay. As you hopefully already know, Tuxxer is more than just a website or two; it's also the title for the comic book I'm trying to publish. As of yesterday, I have all twelve pages colored. (Comics are usually 22 pages long, but I don't need more than a dozen to send as samples. Couldn't afford it anyway.)

I've screened some letterers, and I'm in the process of getting an email to the ones whose work I liked best. After they're done, and I have a logo to go with my comic, that's it. I'll be completely done, and nothing will be in the way of printing up the pages and submitting them to a comic house or two. Sweet, sweet progress... Shazam.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Kick Me Square In The Pants. It'll Hurt Less.

Hullo, all.

I did not have a good day, yesterday. No, not a good one. Not quite satisfying on the old day-o-meter, when it comes right down to it...

I got off work early, and decided now was as good a time as any to take my car in for an overdue oil change. The mechanic asked, "Anything else?" I asked him to take a look at the front left tire. It had been squeaking a bit.

A few hours later, I got the call: "Well, Kenny," (I hate being called Kenny) they began, "You need new brakes. New tires. New brake fluid. Alignment." Ker-CHING. Well, Ker-CHING for them, anyway.

I've been with these mechanics a long time. Last time I had my oil changed, they mentioned that I would need new tires sometime in the near future. They were right. The particular Ker-CHING involved this round was enough to put a serious damper on my extra-curricular plans for, well, a while. Casey's not going out to dinner again any time soon.

A feather in their caps, regardless of whether or not they have caps, the guys kept the shop open for me, for an extra half-hour, making sure my car was finished today. They said it would be done today, and they kept their word.

Later last night, I was driving out and about with my girlfriend, Beth. We went to pick up her repaired cell phone, and I thought a drive together would be a decent way to spend some time.

When my windshield wipers stopped working.

Mid-swipe, they just died on me. I got to the parking lot, left the car on, and fiddled with the wipers. They weren't frozen or stuck or anything. They'd just stopped working. The mechanism that turned the blades was still going, I could hear it in the car. But the wipers weren't responding. Something must have snapped in the mechanism, I don't know.

Something almost snapped in my head, too. It was too much for the same day. The SAME. DAY. My car is back at the shop. I left it there last night, after a quick stop at home to pick up Beth's car. I can't afford not to have working wipers, not with the amount of highway driving I'm doing these days. It's just-- Gah.

Feel free to deposit a good strong kick anywhere in the general pants area. It'd hurt a good deal less than the double-gun middle finger from the Fates. I'm just gonna go over here, go fetal for a little while, and think about what I've done. See you on the flipside.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

What Does Groundhog Day Mean To You?

Gutten tag!

Today, February 2nd, is Groundhog Day. Punxsutawney Phil (forgive an unsure typo) sticks his head out of his hole and determines whether or not we'll be seeing Spring anytime soon.

It makes for a relatively harmless "holiday", although I'd be hard-pressed to find anything holy about it. Does Groundhog Day do anything for ya? Huh? Does it?

I can almost see the old days, back before the noble Groundhog was tamed by the animal known as Man... The Groundhog strode the earth like a brown fuzzy god, not predicting the weather but in fact commanding it. The clouds would part, the sun would smile down warmly, and the ice would melt at the whim of the Groundhog... or not.

It could just be a good reason to watch one of Bill Murray's best movies. Made in 1992... what was it called again? Dang. It just left my brain. Oh! Ghostbusters! No. That's not the one...

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Things Are Going Well

Good morning!

I have to say, I'm really pleased with the way things are progressing at the moment, artistic-expression wise.

The Mystery of Irma Vep finished blocking a day early, so now we have tonight off. Heaven only knows what I'll do with the free time, but I'm grateful to have it. Bruce and Nano (Director and Co-Star, respectively) are making it just fun to do. And it's been just blocking so far!

My acting class is going smoothly, too. I signed up for a class that focusses on an actor's weaknesses; namely things I don't think I'm particularly good at. In my case, that's playing scary, intimidating guys. Frankly, I'm on the cuddly side. I've never been cast as the jerk, the brute, or the bad boyfriend. I'm doing a scene from Sweet Bird of Youth by Tennessee Williams, and I'm playing Chance. Just looking to broaden my horizons a bit, and we're off to a good start. The teacher said I did in fact scare her a bit last night (in doing the scene). Woo hoo!

Granted, the 'Woo hoo!' won't send kids hiding behind their parents, but it doesn't detract from my enthusiasm. Woo hoo, indeed.


Bunny Bunny

It's the first of the month--

For luck, comedienne Gilda Radner would always say "Bunny bunny" on the first day of the month. I certainly don't mind having something trivial in common with an incredible talent, a classy lady, and the first woman of Saturday Night Live.

Bunny bunny.