Mental Flotsam, Mental Jetsam

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

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

There’s No Place Like Home… Unless Some Jerk Steals Your Shoes

Grand Rapids is just a little less grand as of this weekend. Someone made off with Judy Garland’s famous Ruby Slippers, residing (until recently) within a glass case at the Children’s Discovery Museum in Minnesota.

While the Wicked Witch of the West was unable to so much as touch the precious shoes while they were on Dorothy’s feet, someone evidently had no problem sneaking in through a window and stealing them out right from beneath their glass case. The shoes were insured for a cool million dollars.

The scarlet sequined pair of shoes is one of only four in existence, and one of the most infamous pieces of paraphernalia in Hollywood history. One can only imagine what the diabolical thief is doing with them right now. Trying to accessorize? Wishing he or she were a size 5C? Making some six-year-old girl’s dream come true?

I don’t know. Truth be told I don’t have the foggiest.

It’s my *sincere* hope that whoever stole the ruby slippers feels a crisis of conscience and returns them, ASAP. They’re a part of film history and quite frankly, irreplaceable. Sort of. In the words of Indiana Jones… “It belongs in a museum!”

Monday, August 29, 2005

News From The Playwright!

Woot! Howard Community College is producing a staged reading of my comedy thriller, Dead & Breakfast! It’ll be read on a real stage on Sunday, October 9th. As Book of Days will be closing that afternoon, I’m doubtful I’ll manage to be in two places at once, but what can you do? MAN I wish I could be there.

D&B is just part of their Play Reading Series, which will go on for three weekends. D&B is the closing show! All the information so far can be found here. Please feel free to check it out. And if you’re nice, I might give you my comp tickets—since I won’t be able to use ‘em.

More details as they come together! Sweet…

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Heh. Snicker.

I don’t know what it is *exactly* about puns… It has the same appeal of really good subtext: Saying two things at once with the same set o’ words. It’s English Geek Joy. Economy of speech! Woot!

The best example I’ve seen of it the last few weeks? A Snickers commercial. An absolutely brilliant Snickers commercial. Several men in Hunter’s camouflage are quietly stalking the woods on an early morning. All of a sudden, they spot it: an amazing buck. I know jack about deer, so I’m not going to try to get overly detailed in describing Bambi’s dad, here. Still, a good-lookin’ animal.

The hunters ready themselves and begin chucking candy bars at the deer. Four or five full-grown men are throwing candy bars at a deer in the great outdoors. Classic. The deer, significantly alarmed by the hail of chocolate, peanuts and nougat (don’t forget the caramel), takes off. The hunters don’t quite know what to make of it, and look at each other. Then the punchline: “It’s only satisfying if you eat it.”

HAH. We’ve all heard that “Snickers really satisfies”. While simultaneously making a funny commercial, Snickers also manages to make a deer-friendly statement about hunters who kill a deer with no intention of enjoying Venison. It’s only satisfying if you eat it. Bwa ha ha ha.

Now, I don’t truck with hunting, myself. I got nothing against Bambi, and the last time I went fishing was over a decade ago (and we ate what we caught). Bwa hah.

Kudos, Snickers advertising people. Kudos.

A Malleable Soul

What kind of person are you? The short answer could be anything for a three-word sentence to a brief paragraph listing your attributes, your job, or your goals in life.

The long answer… not nearly so simple. Fact of the matter is, none of us are the same person, 24/7. Ain’t the case. We have different faces and moods for the various situations, social and otherwise; we come across daily. Sometimes (hopefully only sometimes), any one of those will bear almost no resemblance to another one in that same arena.

It’s 2:40 in the morning, right now. I can’t sleep because a) I woke up at an obscenely late hour today, b) there’s been an extra dollop or two of things on my mind of late, or c) I’m too bored to shut my eyes. All three apply, but feel free to take your pick and run with it. In any case; I get extra-thoughtful when the eyes aren’t shut this late, so accept the coffers of my late-night notions, or don’t.

It amazes me that we’re so… flexible, as human beings. The ‘hats’ we wear from one part of the day to the next really are completely different. Take me for example: At work, I barely say two words. I keep to myself (with a few exceptions), and that’s it. I get to rehearsal and it’s a completely different story. Good luck getting me to shut up.

It also varies depending on specifically who I’m around. There will always be that handful of people around whom I’m a deer caught in headlights. I have no idea what to say to them (most of ‘em are women, the rest are role models), and will just do my best not to sound like a moron and/or psychopath while in their company. Based on their expressions, I’m doing an okay job with that.

Being an actor… doesn’t help. Somewhere along the line I got better at slipping off my sense of self and into someone else’s skin for a few hours that after time passed; I forgot the real me. Not on a nightly basis, I mean almost in general. There was a time that I didn’t really know who the hell I was, but for the things I did. I was someone that cracked jokes, was shy around girls, and wasn’t that eager to talk about himself.

This much has changed: I still crack jokes, I’m certainly not shy around women, and (as I’ve been told by intelligent observers) I have difficulty in STOPPING talking about myself. [Once again, I give free license to whoever reads this; to verbally smack me one if I get carried away on the topic of yours truly. I’m an actor. It happens.] I also feel I have a much better idea of who I am. I’m Casey Jones.

Another setback to being in showbiz is that it does a phenomenal job of reinforcing negative behavior. Namely… showing off for attention’s sake. Making a show of trying to be witty, or funny, or entertaining. Being ‘on’ all the time isn’t good for anyone, to be or to watch. I learned that one the hard way. But being around my theatrical peers, I still feel and hear that instinct, that impulse. Some evenings it can be damn hard to ignore.

Then there are those who with little to no effort, remain constant. They *are* the same person regardless of the situation or the company. I think my brother is one of those people. My friend Leta is another. I can think of others. People that don’t worry or don’t need to think about who they are, they just know and they’re just themselves.

It’s not that I do worry about it… not anymore, anyway. But it does occasionally cross my mind. Maybe it’s an actor thing. Maybe it’s the reading too much into things. Maybe it’s just the fruit of an overactive imagination.

So I put it to you, from someone with too much thinking going on: Who are you, and when are you that person? How different are you from the person you are waiting in line at a coffee shop to the person you are around… co-workers? Around a boyfriend or girlfriend, a wife or a husband, a dear friend or a barely-forged acquaintance? I don’t know.

But I’d sure like to.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Ten Years of Friendship

It’s not as hard to believe as I’d hoped, but it’s been a full ten years since I started my sophomore year of High School. It was my first year at Sherwood High, as my family had moved over the summer.

I can clearly remember my first day at the school, about a week before classes actually started- it was for Pep Band. Not Marching Band, as we rarely marched, but Pep Band. That’s when I met Heather.

If memory serves, she was the first person I introduced myself to (always an extrovert). As of this week, we’ve been friends for an entire decade.

We were in the same group that went to Great Britain for Spring Break one year. She played flute in the pit orchestra for all the school musicals. We talked about all the fun things together(as well as all the serious stuff). We’ve always been there for each other, and I hope we always will be.

I got to watch Heather take up Fencing for the first time. She took to it like a shark to water, and now captains her Graduate school’s Fencing team. Outstanding. We recommend books to each other. She’s had a thing for Catwoman for as long as I’ve known her.

Roughly a year ago, I introduced her to a friend of mine, John. I’d never played matchmaker before, or since. Still, they hit it off and were thick as thieves… It eventually ended, but they’re talking to each other, and she knows she can be there for him.

My friendship with Heather also marks the longest relationship I’ve ever had with a woman. I’ve managed to *not* screw it up by remaining platonic, not that we’ve really had a choice in the matter. Does it count as an R-word? Absolutely. Aside from two teachers, she’s the only person from High School I’ve managed to keep in touch with, consistently. She’s a Constant in my equation.

Speaking of teachers: That would be Mr. and Mrs. Reier, teachers of English and Drama at Sherwood. Mr. Reier has since retired from teaching and become a Writing Test Specialist, a role that suits him admirably.

I remember the day I met him, first day of Sophomore classes. One problem—Mr. Reier taught *Senior* English. He came into the classroom, clapped his hands together, raring to go, and asked us “How’s it feel to be Seniors?” Sufficiently dumsquizzled, I stuttered, “Uh, I’ll tell you in two years.”

He looked at me as if I had spewed expletives at him. Turned out I had been assigned to the wrong Reier. Heh heh. Oops.

Then there’s Mrs. Reier. She’s something else. She begins her 29th year of teaching this year, and it is the perfect job for her.

I think the Reiers deserve their own entry, so I’ll be polishing one up for them in the near future. Still. Here’s to ya, Heather. Rock on.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Three Quartersh Of a Shentury

Some *good* news: Sean Connery is 75 years old today. In honor of his achievement (in… uh, not dying), the following will be presented in Sean-speak. Enjoy.

Mishter Connery hash enjoyed a long and varied career, shpanning in topic from Dishney mushicalsh to action filmsh to touching drama. Of courshe, the *quality* of hish work hash varied ash well, between the exhcellenshe that were mosht of hish Bond moviesh and Indiana Jonesh and the Lasht Crushade, to the dreck that wash that Avengersh movie and Entrapment. Eeesh.

One thing that hash remained a conshtant about Sean ish hish looksh. He’sh gotten older, make no mishtake, but to shay he’sh aged grashefully would be like shaying… the Shishtine Chapel shtill looksh pretty deshent. It’sh an undershtatement.

For the lasht sheveral yearsh, I’ve been working on impressionsh of varioush shelebritiesh. Sean’sh wash alwaysh eashy. Of courshe, I had to wait for my voishe to drop before it wash anywhere near accurate, but I wash eager. (Like I shaid, *sheveral* yearsh.)

Sean ish aware of the world around him, he’sh made charitable donationsh to Shcottish Charitiesh (to the tune of his entire Robin Hood: Prinshe of Thievesh and Diamondsh are Forever paychecksh.)

Even though it’sh hish birthday, I feel like we’re the onesh getting presentsh. The Man Who Would Be King. Highlander. Finding Forreshter. The Hunt For Red October. Enjoy.

Here’sh to you, Sean. Shlainte.

Monday, August 22, 2005

The Unmitigated Power of Chocolate

As you may know, it’s been a hard couple of days. Not that I’ve taken the brunt of it by any stretch of the imagination, but still not a vacation, either.

About an hour ago, I was struck by this… wave of sadness. Don’t know what specifically brought it on, no real catalyst, but something caused me to walk outside and just look around for a bit. It is an absolutely gorgeous day outside, warm and beautiful as if God were smiling down on each and every one of us. And it didn’t make me feel a scrap better. Unable to successfully vent these feelings, they internalized and made me pretty damn nauseous.

I returned to my desk, feeling like I was going to tip over and/or explode, wasn’t quite sure which. Until a voice called from within to take a sojourn to the vending machine.

I don’t really have much of a sweet tooth. I’m much more of a ‘let’s have big heaps of salt’ kinda guy. Still, this was an ache no mountain of sunflower seeds could soothe. I looked at the rows of confections and saw the answer in a goddamn Snickers bar.

And now I feel better. I am physically relieved, on some deep level. I can’t explain it, and I don’t think I want to. But there really is something to be said for chocolate. And nougat. And peanuts.

Don’t forget caramel. Happy 200th, people.

When Bruce Willis Movies Collide

You might very well end up with something like Die Hartigan. It's what happens when a divorcee cop with cut-up feet from walking on glass and a penchant for spouting catch-phrases is replaced with a 20-years-older seasoned officer of the law with an x-scar on his face and a heart condition. Or vice-versa.

Yep. In the vacuum of actual thought on the way to work this morning; it occurred to my brain that in his many years in Hollywood, Mr. Bruce Willis has played more than one police officer or similar keeper of the law. Specifically, Die Hard and Sin City. The fact that the title of one movie and his character’s name in another blended together seamlessly (another use for that word, I’m on a roll today) was too amusing to ignore.

… I just spent a good five minutes writing out a synopsis of what Hartigan would do in McClane’s place in Die Hard… and it wasn’t that funny. It’s too violent for an action-comedy and too light-hearted for a Frank Miller piece. I think that in favor of good taste we’ll leave it at a somewhat amusing title and move on from there onto other things. We good? Good.

Could have been worse. Could have been Hudson Hartigan.

And The World Continues To Turn

I’m feeling pretty darn good this morning. I managed to get to sleep at a semi-sane hour last night (as opposed to early this morning), and woke up surprisingly refreshed. It’s a new week.

It’s shaping up to be a busy one, too. Rehearsals for Book of Days are going to continue, I may hear from my Voice-Over costar on the furthering of that career, and there will be a funeral for John’s sister, Brittany. It’ll be sometime on Thursday, I don’t yet know when. Regardless, I know I’ll be there.

I woke up this morning, as I occasionally do, with an idea. Every step of the plot was worked out seemingly seamlessly (say that one five times fast). Of course, it was probably little more than a fading dream, because now I can’t remember a thing about it. Every last detail evaporated between the time I got out of bed and the minute I arrived at work. Damn.

We have photos tonight, for Book. I’ve got costume pieces waiting in the car like a doofus because I thought they were last Monday, and was too lazy to actually remove them from my car in the meantime. I *did* spend a good block of time on lines yesterday, so that’s good. We also have auditions for Compleat Wrks of Wllm Shkspr. (Not a horrendous string of typo's, that's the title.)

Oh: Behold, blog entry #198. You’re reading it, right now. The big #200 will be sometime this week. Hell, it might even be later today, depending. (I haven’t been the one keeping track, has. It tells me how many entries there are every time I log in. Nice feature!) Go figure.

More to follow. You can pretty much bet on it.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Well... Shit.

It’s been a long day. It’s been a really, really long day. That day is finally over. Even for Saturday. The good news is that at the end of it, I still have my brain between my ears and can watch some Shaun of the Dead. It’s a good flick. One of my favorites.

My friend’s sister passed away today. We spent the evening together; talking. Playing a video game. Drinking. More talking. A second friend joined us, it was the first time he’d seen her in months…

I don’t know what to think. My prayers are with his whole family. I can’t imagine what he’s going through. I know I’m going to do everything I can for him. And I can’t sleep. So the DVD player is on and I’m typing. And I got nothin’.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Taking a Moment

I just heard that Joe Ranft passed away as the result of a car crash. He was 45.

The name should sound familiar, Ranft was the head of the Story Department at Pixar. He was involved in various ways with Monsters, Inc., Toy Story 1 & 2, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and The Brave Little Toaster, among others. Over the years he acted as directing animator, title designer, storyboard supervisor, character designer, he even provided some voices on the projects he worked on (my favorites were that of Heimlich the Caterpillar in A Bug's Life, Jacques, the French shrimp from Finding Nemo, and Weezy the Penguin from Toy Story 2).

I'm writing this because each one of the movies I mentioned, as well as others that Joe Ranft contributed to, touched me. I *loved* these movies. My brother and I could watch Brave Little Toaster twice in one weekend, if the mood struck us. And now part of what made those stories excellent is gone.

Still: I respect the man. He went to work and did something really, really fun every day; and he did it well. I can't think of a better way to go through life than that. I don't know if he was married, or if he had any family, but my condolences go to them in their time of loss. It's tragic that he died so young, but at least he was doing what he wanted to do with his life. You can't ask for much more than that.

I Am SO Going To Kick The Sandman's Ass...

Urk. My first impulse this morning—was to wait for this afternoon. I didn’t want to crawl out of bed. But crawl I did, and here I sit, wondering why there was enough sand waiting for me at my desk to drop a rhino.

A grain will make you rub your eyes and stifle a yawn. A pinch will take out a small child. A handful can put a healthy adult out like a light, if he’s willing. Of course, you can fight your way through it (not indefinitely); but I don’t recommend it. Sooner or later, the Sandman always wins.

I just wish he would show up earlier in the evening than he does. The tardy jackass is throwing off my internal clock something fierce, and he’s making hasty deliveries the following morning?? SO not going to happen. I got standards, chief. I got plans, a day job, rehearsals, and a fairly full schedule of plays to attend.

So, in light of all this, and the guy’s incessant habit of showing up at completely inappropriate times… I am going to kick the Sandman’s ass. He’s had it coming for weeks now.

I thought I would start with some casual conversation (don’t worry, the Sandman doesn’t read blogs, he won’t see this coming) with the guy, keep him around for an extra minute. Ask him how the wife is doing, how his kids are. The second he decides to stay and chat, I’ll grab his stupid hood and jerk it down over his face. Sucker punch. Right jab. I’ll bring my knee up to his stomach and maybe run him into a wall.

After I hit him many, many times about the head; I’ll make an ironic gift of a pocket watch. I’ll tell him if he shows up late one more time, or tries to visit me at work, the number I did on him this time will seem like a light massage. Jerkass.

And one to grow on! WHAM!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

How Delightfully Weird

Every once in a while, you come across something strange and pointless enough to completely monopolize your attention. Seriously.

If you have ever had the morbid curiosity to wonder if a favorite actress of yours has died in film, then is the resource for you. I am not making this up. Someone took the time to catalogue the movie-deaths of a whole bunch of actresses. Possibly all of them.

The male actors have been cordoned to another page on the same website.

That's it. I got nothin'. I have no idea why this would interest anyone for more than five minutes, but there it is.

Have You Seen This?

I'll be the first to admit my eye is not a great one for appreciating artwork. The last time I visited a museum of modern art, I found only confusion on the canvases.

That aside, I want to draw your attention to the artwork of one James Jean. His work is... incredibly unique. I first encountered his work on the covers of one of my favorite comic books, Fables. He's illustrated every cover as well as the trade paper-backs.

Jean's eye for detail is remarkable. He finds a way to blend various forms, objects and characters into one another with such simple grace... sometimes into the bizarre. It's as if he took separate, defined objects and made them a part of the same jigsaw puzzle. He makes the pieces fit together in ways I've never seen before or since.

You have to see his work for yourself. So much expression goes into the faces he draws. So much... definition is in every line. To say nothing of his talents in color. I'm not doing it justice, just take my word for it and go check it out.

Yesterday In The Studio

I consider myself a fairly lucky guy. It’s been a good year, so far: I’ve had the chance to do some good work on stage, and that work has been recognized and appreciated. I put Tuxxer together and tried to see it published. While the results of those efforts were not positive, they were encouraging. I know some of what was done wrong, and what I need to fix for the next time.

What happened yesterday, however, was nothing short of winning-lottery-ticket lucky. I’ve wanted to be the voice of cartoon characters for years; it’s been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. Yesterday that dream came true. Unfortunately I’m contractually obligated to refrain from divulging specific details, but I’ll tell you as much as I can about the experience.

An educational cartoon for elementary schoolers, the program will be animated in the next few months. They provided miniature cardboard cutouts of the characters we were voice-acting yesterday. Seeing the bad guy on my music stand; I thought, “I’m providing the voice of this guy, me and no-one else. Hot damn.” The villain looks great. He even has henchmen and a sidekick. How cool is that?? My one regret is that we had to give back the cut-outs, or else I’d love to keep that guy on my desk.

At one point, I had to make him sound like he was struggling underwater. I’ve been doing the gurgly “Hello, Mr. Gepettoooooo!!!” for years, but they wanted the real thing. So, I recorded some tracks with a mouth full of water, spilling it all over myself as I kept my head up (so as not to spit all over the script). We had to do it a few times, we were laughing so hard.

The highlight of the day is a no-brainer: Towards the end of the session we were recording ‘filler’ sounds, including villainous laughter. I’ve got an evil laugh that people have been asking me not to do for years. They think it’s obnoxious. It is, a bit. It’s also fun as hell. Yesterday, in that booth, we recorded that exact laugh at various lengths for the cartoon. For the first time, it was actually appropriate to the situation. Rock. On.

My co-star is a SAG and AFTRA Union actress, she and I had a terrific time working together. We were each in separate sound booths, with the director, producer, and tech man in a studio control room. From time to time we got a little goofy, breaking into song or making snarky remarks to each other; still in character. They recorded *everything*. Maybe I’ll send out a Christmas e-card with the outtakes, who knows…

I’ve only been actively pursuing a Voice-Over career for the last six or seven months. I don’t know what I was waiting for, either. The time was definitely right, though. I’m making contacts, beginning to network, and I’ve started giving what few tips I know to others that are interested in the field. It’s pretty damn exciting.

I know exactly how lucky I am to have had this happen. I’m only 24 and in a few months; six episodes of a cartoon with my voices in it will be produced and released. I don't think I could ask for more. (Doesn't mean I won't be shooting for it, though...)

Sin City: Shakespearean Goodness

I’ve been aware of Frank Miller’s Sin City for years. But as a comic book, I could never get into it. Your first impression of a comic is always the artwork, before you read one caption or meet one character. What kept me from reading it is that I didn’t like the artwork. I still don’t.

It’s just a personal opinion; I’m not saying Miller’s artistic choices aren’t original or striking, they’re both. But his Black and White look on the page with no grade between light and shadow has always been so jarring I couldn’t past it. However: that same look that I don’t happen to enjoy on the printed page looks *fantastic* on the silver screen. I’m a firm believer that Film Noir has a greater appeal on the screen rather than the page, that’s why it’s called *Film* Noir. But I digress.

On the movie screen, and 100% faithfully interpreted by Director Robert Rodriguez, Sin City really shines. It’s on DVD as of yesterday (as well as the latest addition to my collection). Last night, watching what snippets of it I had time for, I noticed something for the first time: Sin City is crawling with Shakespearean thematic elements and characters.

The first one that caught my attention was Marv, from the segment The Hard Goodbye. He is determined to get revenge for a murdered lover, but given his mental condition he has strong doubts as to the identity of the killer. He knows who he suspects, but he needs to make absolutely certain first. Hamlet: The Great Dane was visited by the ghost of his murdered father who identified Uncle Claudius as his killer. Despite the spectral visit, Hamlet *still* needed to make sure by other means.

There is a great deal of violence in Miller's stories. The lion’s share of it is done in pursuit of revenge. Anyone up for Titus Andronicus? The eventually-loco general’s daughter is ravaged and maimed, and his sons are wrongly executed by the state. Marv cuts a bloody swath through Sin City in pursuit of Goldy’s killer, and wreaks a vengeance on the guilty party equal in mayhem to Titus, if not equal in style. Of course, as Marv puts it, “it’s pretty damn weird to eat people.”

Things have a way of falling to crap with breakneck speed in Sin City. In The Big Fat Kill, the protagonist Dwight’s life goes south for the same reason Romeo of Romeo & Juliet’s does: He kills the wrong guy. Not wrong as in “That wasn’t correct;” wrong as in “Given the consequences of that *particular* homicide, you should have given the matter more thought, genius.”

There are other examples I can make, but I don’t want to spoil the movie for you if you haven’t seen it, or the comics if you haven’t read them. Any more than I already have, at least. Movie news reports that Robert Rodriguez *is* planning to produce the other number of Sin City stories as films, in 2006 and 2008, respectively. I, for one, can’t wait.

Yea, verily.

News, News, & More News

Good Morning!

A lot of news on a lot of fronts, so we’ll start with family and friends:

My cousin Lindsay is joining the military. I was concerned at first, but she assures me that it’s the right move for her. This young woman has a gift for languages like she kissed the Rosetta Stone (if it worked like the Blarney Stone). She practically majored in them in High School, and given the training Uncle Sam will give her and the *place* she’ll be doing her learning, it will suit her like… a really good suit. (What do you want from metaphors? It’s early.)

Lindsay’s sister, Kristin, recently gave birth to a healthy baby girl. She is the first one out of our generation to turn her parents into grandparents, and I think she’s going to make a great mom. (Although she and her husband Keith were expecting a boy… had to trade in a lot of things in blue for their pink counterparts. Whoops!)

Please keep my friend John in your prayers. His sister is terminally ill, and she could pass on any time. He and his family can use all the support they can get, right now.

My brother Andy’s house was broken into a week ago—no one was hurt and only a few things were taken, thank God. The good news is Andy has learned from past experience and saw that the things that were taken were insured against theft. Except for the beer. I don’t think he insured the beer that was stolen out of the fridge, from which I hope the burglar gets a wicked hangover. Jackass.

Today is my Grandfather’s 86th birthday, and it’s his first as a Great-Grandfather. I think the new role will fit him well.

Okay: tune back in shortly for news on yesterday…

Friday, August 12, 2005

A Good Cause

Some friends of mine, in addition to a lot of other people, have rallied together to put on a fund-raiser called Broadway Lights Up The Night! A lot of talented people are involved in making the evening of music a success, and the money from every ticket sold is going to fight Leukemia and Lymphoma. It’s a great cause, and a lot of work has gone into setting everything up.

If you need another reason to go, my friend Nano is hosting the event. That alone ought to be motivation enough!

I can’t make it to the show tomorrow night, I’ve got conflicts. That didn’t stop me from making a donation, all the same. They're also holding a raffle with lots of really nice prizes (including WolfTrap and American Airline tickets!), so it'd definitely be worth your time. Any amount would be helpful, so please pitch in if you can.

Brand New Sh*t, Brand New Day

As I learned some time ago, any dramatic change is a stressor. Even change for the better. And it's been a change for the better.

My voice-over career is getting somewhere in a relatively short amount of time, and a personal dream is coming true for doing cartoon voices. The evil laughter I developed as a teenager is actually an asset. Who knew?

Meanwhile, at work, my supervisor has been nothing but understanding about this secondary career pursuit. Since my job is hardly a sizable cog in the industrial clock, the occasional half-day spent on my own will hardly keep it from ticking. Which is something I'm fine with, if the auditions keep rolling in...

A lot has been on my mind of late, and the written-down word seems as effective a medium as any. Someone may even read it!

I'm just... I'm at a loss for words. Aspects of my life are changing somewhat dramatically, and I'm left with this feeling of sheer disbelief. Good things are happening. Very good things.

Regardless, I continue to over-think, over-analyze, and scrutinize my every move. It's just how I operate. I don't know if I'd be feeling as good as I do if this Voice-Over job hadn't happened; and a mood based on accomplishment is the poster child of a fair weather friend.

Too much thinking, which is nothing at all new. However: I have new things to think about... and that makes all the difference in the world.


Thursday, August 11, 2005

Happy Birthday, Mr. Emperor

Good morning and a cheerful how-do-you-do, ladies and gentlemen. It’s the Emperor’s birthday today! Ian McDiarmid just turned 61.

I’m sure His Excellency has something fun planned to commemorate his birth, but what can you do for fun when you’ve already taken over the entire galaxy, closing your bone-pale hands on the freedom of billions of people?

Answer: Anything you freakin’ want.

Clips from last year’s birthday bash revealed the Dark Lord brought his cake to the table via the Force, then lit the candles on top with lighting from his fingers. Classy. Asking Vader if he wanted to try and blow them out wasn’t funny (or very nice), but since the man asking was the most powerful man in the universe, it got that nervous laugh people use when they don’t want to be next. I wonder what his wish was…

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Drum Roll, Please

Earlier this week and last, I alluded to an opportunity coming up. It was important enough to me that I didn’t want to jinx my chances by even mentioning it by name. Well… I don’t have to worry about that anymore.

Because I got it.

The Discovery Channel is hiring me to record some voices for an educational cartoon that will be produced sometime later this year. This... is a dream come true. I’ve always wanted to do cartoon voices, and now I’m going to be playing the villain of the show, the narrator, and a third character who is the target of the bad guy’s felonious deeds. We’re recording six episodes come Tuesday, in DC.

You may have noticed that I’m being less than forthcoming with the details about the project. Well, now that I have it I don’t want to shoot myself in the foot by blabbing too much before we even get to the recording studio, do I?

The studio that we’re working out of, Atlantic Studios, is just superb. They really make you feel at home, which just makes everything more pleasant in general. I actually ran in to a friend of mine from High School at the audition last week, which was a very welcome surprise. He was auditioning for another set of characters, so it wasn’t a conflict of interests to wish him luck. (Just kidding.) I don’t know if he was cast, but I’ll find out Tuesday!

Now, these episodes are going to be a direct-to-video set, for Elementary School Teachers to use. But there is a definite possibility that they could eventually end up on cable!

After it’s over, I’ll divulge as much as I can, or at least dish up a juicy story or something for your troubles. More to follow. I guarantee it.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Of Course You Realize, This Means War

I consider myself a tolerant guy. I’m all for equal rights; regardless of gender, race, religion, or sexuality. This good-natured spirit of harmony with most living things (spiders are gross) extends even to those of the mystical variety. You think I kid?

I met a leprechaun once. Little nipper had a twisted ankle and his pot o’ gold was just sitting there. Did I make off with it to suit myself? Nope. The wee (and we’re talking *wee*) guy was on hard times, so I thought, “I’ll let this one slide.” He tipped his tiny green bowler and vanished in a puff of green smoke before I realized the little bastard had stolen my wallet.

Went on a date with a Banshee… We stopped by a Wal-Mart so that I could pick up some earplugs, so as not to shatter my precious eardrums. She never called me back, and then two weeks later I caught her making out with a satyr. Semi-transparent floozy.

I once found a hollowed-out tree trunk occupied by a peck of pixies. I handed ‘em a butterscotch drop, and it was like I had delivered ambrosia from on high. Fun fact: Pixies metabolize sugar as an intoxicant. What the winged little darlings did after that is best left out of the realm of description (and Fantasia, for that matter).

With these and other supernatural beings, I have no real beef. The leprechaun needed the money, so I’m not going to hold a grudge on him for picking my pocket.

But I draw the line at desk gnomes.

Some little miscreant has been removing items from my desk, and I choose to blame the desk gnomes. I don’t think I’m out of line here; we’ve all seen the documentaries, the evening reports of their workplace shenanigans. Footage of people’s desks missing quasi-important papers, only to be found months later being used as nesting material for the pointy-hat-wearing sons of bitches.

They’re trying to see how far they can go… I’m onto their game. So far, it’s a post-it here, a list of names there. Most recently, their desktop kleptomania has gone so far as to include receipts. For this, their heads will roll. From my car’s rear-view mirror I’ll dangle their trophied hats, when I finally catch them in the act.

And I will. Oh yes, will I catch them. You just watch me.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Déjà vu? Don’t Mind If I Do!

It’s been an interesting few days, ladies and gentlemen. Lotsa thoughts bouncing around in my brain, some having zilch to do with any other thoughts in the same head. (I find it strange that ‘zilch’ is accepted by Word as a non-typo, but ‘bubkus’ is not. Hmm.)

There’s something I’m deliberately not mentioning, as I do not want to jinx my chances of doing/achieving/getting it. Being vague as humanly possible in order to keep myself off karma’s radar. I’ll hopefully be able to spill beans in the very near future.

Anyway. A friend of mine has been through the wringer these past… year. I was going to say ‘weeks’ or ‘months’, but in his words and I agree, this hasn’t been his year. A few ups, a lot of downs, and the man continues to persevere without flagging. John’s strength is like coal: It burns when it needs to, and under pressure all you’re going to find are diamonds. He *is* the man.

I visited him Friday night; in efforts to cheer him up I took over some beer and Red Vs. Blue, a web-series based on the Multi-player levels of Halo. For gamers like ourselves, it’s ****ing hilarious. Seemed to do the trick, as last night John was sharing the same movies with another friend of ours.

Saturday… Where to begin. My brother’s Ka-Pow-BQ was a big success, it was his third annual party for his website, It was held at the Old Town Firehouse Cue in Gaithersburg, and it was a hit. Good food, great company, and good times were had by all. My friends Albie and Ben were there. I was pretty much the only person they knew at the bash, but Albie wasted no time before chatting up the ladies.

Albie’s going on tour for nine months starring in Dracula and Taming of the Shrew, playing the Dark Prince himself and a supporting role in Shrew. He’s been practicing his Transylvanian accent, and it sounds good and creepy. His Count-ness and I were in The Foreigner last year at Theatre on the Hill, which is where we drove after Andy’s party. A friend of ours (and co-star in Albie’s upcoming season) was in a production of Compleat Wrks of Wllm Shkspr, and it was damn funny. One or two hecklers in the audience gave them a hard time (not me, I swear), but it bounced off them as if their jerkins were made of Teflon. It was beautiful.

Sunday was a day of mixed emotions. I’ve been writing short satirical essays and stories at, a tribute-site to The Thing. The shorts have gotten rave reviews from readers, and people have been asking if I’ve written anything book-sized. I haven’t. Not in years. I wrote a book in College, but it was just a Buffy Novel that’ll never see print. Besides the fact, my writing ‘voice’ has changed over the years (confidence helps).

Fact is I wouldn’t know where to begin. I *want* to write longer material, but I’ve had vampires on the brain for so long I really want to break away from the genre and try something else. In any case I can’t just decide ‘Hey, I’m gonna write a book. Come to me, plot! Come to me, characters!’ and sit back and watch it happen. Doesn’t work that way. Blargh.

I know what I’d *like* to write, the books of Chris Moore have been hugely entertaining to me these past weeks, not to mention inspirational. His style is approachable, funny, and seems very natural. But at the moment, between writing two plays (rapidly becoming one and another on the back burner) and starring in a third; I don’t have the time/energy/chutzpa required for the undertaking. (Chutzpa also recognized by Word. Hmm again.)

We’ll see. There’s a lot going on at the moment, which is the way I like things. More to follow, like always. More to follow.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Good Thing I'm Not Lactose Intolerant

Rehearsals have been going well for the Montgomery Playhouse’s upcoming production of Book of Days. Without giving anything away, the action revolves around the financial concerns of the local cheese plant. One character in particular waxes downright rhapsodically on the virtues of a well-aged cheddar. Provolone is also mentioned (not my favorite, but still good), as well as one or two others. I’ve been at rehearsals where the actor playing this character has displayed full enthusiasm about said fromage and it’s made me hungry for the real thing every time.

My mom just got back from spending a week in Paris, and could not stop raving about the cheese (to say nothing of the sights, the other cuisine, the overall atmosphere; but cheese was mentioned too). I want some. I want the real thing. I’ve never tried Stilton or Wensleydale or probably a dozen other cheeses that sounded at least halfway interesting (I *have* had Brie). I can thank Wallace & Gromit for a curiosity about those last two.

Where the heck would I find gourmet cheeses around here? I doubt my local grocer is gonna be able to satisfy the sudden craving, but that doesn’t mean I won’t look anyway. I wanna try ‘em. Maybe with a heady stout on hand or other beer that goes well with a sharp cheddar (Guinness does very well with it).

Great. Now I’m going to be stuck on cheese all day.

Monday, August 01, 2005

It's The First Of The Month

Bunny Bunny.