Mental Flotsam, Mental Jetsam

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

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Pay Some Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain

The Oscars are slowly but surely getting closer. We love to root for our favorites, and enjoy watching them celebrate their success. Something that steams my ham (I don’t know where I picked up that phrase, either)-- Andy Serkis’s performances as Gollum in the Lord of the Rings trilogy wasn’t even eligible. That doesn’t sit entirely right with me.

Yes, it’s been a good long while since Return of the King came out. No sense crying over spilt milk. But King Kong is still eligible for any and all nominations. I saw that movie tonight. It was a spectacle. What movies should be. And I swear, that thirty-foot-tall behemoth Kong had a soul. And Andy Serkis provided it.

I don’t want to belittle the work of the special effects minds behind the magic of King Kong. I don’t. We’ve never been closer to cinema magic thanks to their pioneering efforts. But the fact is, they didn’t just conjure the gorilla out of thin air. Something had to move for them to follow. Boiled down to the absolute simplest truth, they were tracing Serkis.

The man studied gorilla movement for months. He put on a suit similar to the one he wore for Gollum and, pardon the term, went apeshit. Here’s the thing. The Special Effects wizards will possibly get their recognition at the Oscars, but the man who put breath in that ape’s lungs and provided every twitch gets the shaft? I don’t think so.

To be fair, to be completely fair, I’m not campaigning that they just give him the Oscar. But at least give the man a freaking chance. Actors and actresses have won themselves a statue playing kings, paraplegics, transsexuals and the mentally challenged; is playing an animal that far a stretch? CGI representation is the prosthetic mask for the 21st Century. Sir Laurence Olivier put putty on his nose and a hunch on his back to adopt Richard III. Ralph Fiennes’s English Patient was buried under a tapestry of prosthetic makeup.

Andy Serkis has played misshapen freaks and kings of the jungle, and his make-up was nothing more than moving pixels of color and light.

That’s my argument, Oscar Judges. There it is, spoken plain as a dork can say it. And if that’s not good enough, if you can’t even bend the rules that you make up as you go along, then nominate Serkis for something else, okay? He also played Lumpy the Cook, on the S.S. Venture, in the same flick. One damned convincing cook, if you ask me.

Wink wink.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Our Own Algonquin Round Table

New York City. The Algonquin Hotel. Any given afternoon between 1919 and 1929: Actors, Critics, and other Witty Bastards sharp enough to hold their own in a conversation were to be found at the Algonquin Round Table in the afternoons.

For ten acerbic years, heavy thinkers met to be amused by one another’s company over long lunches and short attention spans. It’s been argued that the group (with a constantly rotating ‘membership’) helped define comedy for the next generation by shaping what was written in theirs. Oh yes: The group was filled with Writers, Editors, Newspaper men and women; who saw fit to publish the best quips, barbs, and anecdotes they heard at the Algonquin.

Eighty six years later, this is the closest comparison I can make to what Amanda and I got. If you’re not at that table; this is what it looks like, this is what it sounds like. We talk about our day. We talk about the interesting (and occasionally not so interesting) things going on with ourselves. And we tease each other mercilessly. And revel in it.

We mock. We poke. We prod. We laugh, sneer, blush, or roll our eyes and move on to the next round; glad and grateful to have a worthy adversary sitting across the table.

(The other thing I feel I need to mention: I used to suck at this. I took jokes the wrong way, and never dared to risk the same by tossing one back. I just didn’t get why people would deliberately tease a friend. I get it, now. I completely get it.)

The Simpsons encapsulated Wit with the following definition: “…nothing more than an incisive observation, humorously phrased and delivered with impeccable timing.” That’s what she and I have, and find that much easier; in one another’s company. We trade them like baseball cards, or launch them like shuriken. Take your pick.

Last night, she danced circles around me. She was in form, she had timing, she verbally ripped me a new one. Oh, I got in a few good jabs myself, but the night was definitely hers.

At one point, she really cut me to the quick. I took a butter knife off the table, pretended to pluck it from my ribs, and recognize her initials on the handle. “Is this yours? You want me to clean it off first, or keep it as is, for a trophy?” She just smiled and replied, “Keep it. I’ve got another one.”

She got me again, later on; and proved herself right. Dooooooh…

I look forward to our next run-in. There will be one. Oh yes, there will. In the mean time, I’ll have to sharpen my wits, make sure I’m primed and set for the next match.

Above, is a copy of The Vicious Circle, a tribute to the original Round Table elites, by Natalie Ascencios. Good company to keep, even eighty years too late.


Thursday, December 29, 2005

Okay, That's Just Creepy

J.K. Rowling fans of the world, rejoice. There are some very clever devils, out there. You can enjoy the folly of the young Ginny Weasley right from the safety of your keyboards.

Someone put Tom Riddle’s Diary online. You write to him, he writes you back. You ask him a question, he answers it, to the best of his ability. (I asked him who was President of the United States. He replied, “Bush.” I countered, which one? He answered, “The tall one, I think.” HAH.)

Never an e-basilisk fang around when you need one...

Need... Sunlight... Zzzzzz

I hope it’s the weather. Somethin’s got me feeling at half-power, and have been since yesterday. Coffee didn’t help, today. Even really good coffee. Twice. Rats!

Must… find… alternate power source. Solar power’s out with this doom-and-gloom overcast going on. Need a shot of adrenaline (or a shot of espresso!). Something with a bit more kick to get me going.

Off for seconds at Sonoma, tonight. Must see if they actually have Donkey on the menu, but I’m pretty sure the wildest fare they have is the Boar. Besides, if the adage ‘you are what you eat’ holds water, I don’t want to dine on Filet of Jackass. Not that being a boor or a bore are appealing alternatives. You just can’t trust those homonym meals. What’s the dumb boar know, anyway? It’s dead! Stupid entrée…

Anyway. Dinner. Sonoma. Good. Great. Super.

AH: Before I forget. I can think of a number of things I am looking forward to, in the New Year: Of the ones I wouldn’t be jinxing myself to mention, is the Voice-Over Class on Saturdays, at Baltimore University. See if I can’t pick up a few extra tricks of the trade, and hone those skills o’ mine… As to the rest; some are auditions, and the others are even less predictable. So I’m not about to count unhatched chickens.

Later, folks. Heck, I’ll be cosmopolitan about it: Ciao!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Updates, For All The Hip Cats In The Know

It’s been a busy few days… I’ll say that again. It’s been a busy few days.

Christmas Eve was sterling, until I got up to read scripture at my Dad’s church and began reading the wrong chapter. I get about four verses into some decidedly un-Christmasy text when I hear my dad sharply whisper, “Wrong! Chapter!”

Heh heh… Oops. I quickly rectified it and apologized to the congregation, who were more than forgiving. I mean, I was in church, what were they going to do, start throwing stones?

Christmas was good. Boxing Day, equally good. In the interim I’ve started more than one or two blog posts, only to throw ‘em away. My attention has been quite divided, lately.

I’ve finished the first draft of my first full-length screenplay. When I say first draft, I mean it. I’m already forecasting some sizeable revisions; to say nothing of triple-checking any format problems. But that can wait. For Two Weeks.

According to The Screenwriter’s Bible (still a great present a year later, Thank You Erin!), I cannot help but benefit from two weeks away from anything having to do with this lofty creation o’ mine, which works for me. I can use that time to relax, find other things to do. But no looking at it for two weeks? Don’t know if I’ll make it, but I’ll give it the old college try.

I’m reading Son of a Witch, the sequel to Wicked, by Gregory Widen. So far, so good. (Thank you, Heather!) I don’t think it’ll occupy me for a full fortnight, but there are other things I can read and work on, too.

Tomorrow, I’m off for a night on the town. The holiday madness has almost completely passed, and I’m looking forward to the genuine, relaxing down-time.

This time next week, I’ll be psyching myself up for my first (and hopefully not last) recording session with the books-on-tape company I mentioned. I did mention it, right? Yeah! I’m doing half a dozen voices in their latest serial. Some of ‘em even talk to each other, but I’m being spared the vocal stress by the power of crafty editing. I’m actually DOING it… which feels damn good.

Have a terrific day, folks. More to follow.

Sooner or later.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

The Problem With Holiday (And Other) Traditions

People can find the Holiday Season to be one of the most depressing times of the entire year. It’s not hard to see why.

Desires are never sharper, families are never fresher in our minds, and the inability to either get what we want; or see the people we love… can sour the experience like rancid milk in the perfect cup of coffee. We want things to be a certain way. When they’re not like that, disappointment is a bitch.

It doesn’t have to be.

In my opinion, traditions have far too much power. Too much heft, too much gravity, too much importance. You do something enough times, people as you why, you shrug and say “It’s Tradition.”

Don’t get me wrong, I have absolutely no beef with getting together as a family for the holidays. Far from it. Traditions have a damnable knack of sending us back in time; to the times that we first employed them. People that we had around then, aren’t around anymore.

We get subconsciously reminded of the way things should be and aren’t.

Know what I say? Tough shit.

I don’t need, in addition to everything else, a calendar day of the year to be set aside as an iron-clad occasion to see my loved ones. If I miss the mark, I miss the mark. I will strive to find, and I encourage you all to do likewise, to see them at other times of the year, for no good reason at all.

“What’s the occasion?” you ask. No occasion. Screw occasions. I don’t want or need one to see someone I usually see a handful of times a year, or only once or twice.

Yes, we have busy lives. Most of the people I care about have very full lives. My brother’s on that list. So are some very dear friends. And you know what? I’m making the time. So is my brother, and so are they. We make the time to see each other and I’m sick of the damned shadow that looms ahead of the Holidays, and glowers while its here.

I’m running out of traditions. Some are nowhere near as important as others. That’s fine. But in the last few years I’ve seen them picked off, one by one. Because we can’t keep to those commitments. It happens.

To hell with it. The only problem with traditions, really, is when you can’t fulfill them. So I say this: Fuck ‘em. Make up new ones. Create an excuse, if you need one, to talk to your friends from college or before. Make it happen. Don’t wait until Christmas to be the catalyst, it has enough on its plate already. Aside from the turkey.

Happy Holidays, folks. My best to you and yours.

You’ll be hearing from me.

Friday, December 23, 2005

'Tis The Season

As I have no reasonable predictions on when I’ll be near a keyboard in the next 72 hours, I think now’s as good at time as any to take stock. Cheers.

It has been one interesting year. Broke into voice-overs, and with the home-owners still out of town, I hope to make myself comfortable. Here’s hoping.

Did a fair amount of writing this year, finishing at least one script, a screenplay pilot for Scriptapalooza, and hopefully before year’s end, finishing the first draft of another. Add to that a fair amount of poetry (with a surge in productivity this last quarter; gee I wonder why).

Got my first taste of WATCH awards, to which I’m looking forward to next year (and will dress fancier for). Had the best time of my life on stage, so far, with Nano. Had equal amounts of fun in the booth creating the voice of my first cartoon villain.

Made a few new friends, kept a few great ones, and re-found some old ones. Laughed, cried, and gotten drunk with most of them, at one point or another. Not all at once, friend-wise or activity-wise. Just saying.

Honestly, I can’t tell you if I’ve changed much in the last 365, or stayed exactly the same. I feel no different. Just… further along. Slightly more accomplished. (The Ruby Griffiths certainly didn’t hurt.) Beyond that, I can’t rightly say.

Be well, folks. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and a Chipper Kwanzaa to all of you.

I'm outta here.

Great Night. Great.

On the drive home from work, I saw a pick-up truck on the curb, with a trailer attached, turned over. I stopped behind the accident, put on my blinkers, got out of the car and asked if there was anything I could do to help.

Someone had tried to pass them, far too closely. They were forced to steer into the curb, and the trailer (which was empty) took it too hard. And flipped. The jerk-asses that caused the accident drove off. Jerk-asses.

They had flagged down a tow truck, which was getting in place on the median to pull the trailer right-side up. I wasn’t able to do jack squat, but at least I stopped. Everyone else just bottle-necked, rubber-necked, and honked at the inconvenience. Like it was their fault. Merry Christmas. Sheesh.

Tonight, I had coffee with Heather. Haven’t seen her in months. We had a great time catching up, and she did something incredible. She helped me solve my ending. Just by talking.

I’ve been working on a screenplay for the last several weeks. Plot events at the end had not yet gelled for me (they needed to go in a certain order); and I’ve been trying not to over-think it. Just… waiting for it to hit me. And it hit me. Boy, did it hit me. And Heather was there to help it happen.

(Not to speak ill, overlook, or otherwise neglect the input and influence of other very important people who have helped keep this thing flowing over the weeks. Right place, right time.)

We talked it out, and thunder struck, and now it’s done. The last pieces are in place. And I can’t wait to get it all on freaking paper.

At coffee: Who should we run into but Tony, who we have not seen in years. Tony who I acted with in every show I did in High School. Marvelous to see him and catch up, got his info and we’ll be keeping in touch! Lookin’ forward to it. Woot.

Have a great night, folks. Ciao.

Weird Start To The Day

I dreamt I was in My Cousin Vinny. I was Vinny.

Did I look like Joe Pesci? Not sure. Did I talk like him? Oh yeah. Which was surreal.

Mind, I wouldn't mind going home to Marisa Tomei; but still. Having a dream where I'm a lawyer-- that's okay. I can deal with that. Having a dream where I'm that lawyer...


Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Got Any Spare Blankets?

Folks, the Internet really is a marvel. This proves that people are using the 'net for things besides sending each other funny video clips and pictures of their cat...

I received a request for help from out of the blue, from a small city in Russia-- a man named Valentin sent me the following:

"If you have any old used sleeping bag, warm blanket, warm clothes, portable heater, canned food, vitamins, water boiler, medicines against cold weather, any hygiene products, and could donate something to us, please write to my free e-mail address xxxxxxx and I will write you our home address where you can send it."

I don't think this is a scam. If it is, Valentin's sure got his sights aimed low; since he's not asking for money. Just the means to warm himself and his family since the powers that be shut off the gas for half of Kaluga. (And if you're wondering how he contacted me, he used the internet at his local library.)

I'm going to put together a care package and ship it as soon as I can. If anyone cares to make a donation of their own, just leave a comment here or email me, and I'll let you know how you can get in touch with Valentin for yourselves.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Ready... Aim...

Nothing gives my black, twisted heart such joy to harp on; like really stupid advertising. Really, really stupid advertising.

It’s been argued by my brother that even mentioning said commercial (or its kin in the halls of yee-gods-turn-it-off) is aiding in their goal: namely paying attention to their product. To which I say… don’t care. It’s still fun.

Today’s target? So glad you asked. The SUV commercial featuring “es-yu-vees”: Furry, uncontrollable behemoths that buck like broncos, with headlights for eyes. Any car commercial where they don’t actually show you the car they’re trying to sell you? Not a great opener.

Thanks to the powers that be of Boy Scouts, I’ve had the experience of going to an actual rodeo. For those dear readers who don’t know what they do to the bulls in order to make them so high-fallootin’ ornery… you don’t want to know. On their es-yu-vee counterparts, I can only say I feel sorry for their lug nuts.

As a consumer: Do you really want to compare your next car to some unsteerable monstrosity that will throw you off the first chance it gets? Can anyone tell me where they rate in the Safe Driver’s guide?

I know that somewhere out there; the marketing minds behind Barnyard Commandos must be shuddering at the sight of this ad. Do you remember Barnyard Commandos? The thrilling (to a ten year old) cartoon commercials showed various livestock kicking tail and taking names. We couldn’t wait to get our mitts on ‘em. The toys themselves were nothing more than plastic and rubber paperweights. No moving parts. No props or pieces to stick in their hands. Completely useless toys.

The reason I bring them up is because I’m afraid that, somewhere out there, there’s that gullible someone who is going to go to a dealership expecting to find that grunting, overbearing, giant-sized monster... besides the car salesman. And they will be sorely disappointed to find just a really big car. With bad gas mileage.

I think I’ve just about satisfied my quota of venom…

Have a lovely morning, folks.

Monday, December 19, 2005

No Small Amount Of Oddness

The West Wing is on Bravo. I love this show.

Aaron Sorkin's dialogue (when he still wrote the show, mind you) has a cadence all its own. It's something I admire, and have yet to attempt in my own work. Gotta learn to walk before you can... plaigiarize another writer's popular style. *Weak shrug*

In any case. It's the first time I've seen John Spencer on screen since he passed away. I can't look at him without thinking, "He's gone now. There's a finite supply of his work on film. That's all there is." It feels very odd. Jarring.

I'll get the same feeling, I'm sure; the next time I see any of Richard Pryor's stand-up material.


Am I being overly sentimental about two men that I've never met? Maybe. It's still... fresh in my mind.

I remember when John Candy and Chris Farley passed away. Phil Hartman, too. Other actors (and performers) have died, and it didn't leave me with this particular feeling. I don't like it.

Enough o' this. More to follow. On happier topics. Promise.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Bah! Bush-League!

A Christmas Carol had its final show, today. Not the greatest swansong of the year.

One thing in particular took the shine off the apple: Rude audience members.

Not very many. Less than a third, much less. But you only need one bad mushroom in the sauce to ruin a meal. Which, they did.

Three parties showed up late for the show, and noisily found their damned seats. A fourth, giving up in the dark, decided to sit in the center aisle.

While this would normally just be incredibly rude, it was also stupid: Scrooge and others use the aisle as an entrance in the show. They were shown to seats, but it was distracting.

It’s not a big theatre. Every clanging chair was noticeable, and with every untimely entrance, as the narrator; I just took a few more seconds of silence while they got settled. I was livid. (That means I was angry, if any of the schmucks in question happen to trip past this.)

I know I ought to… be more forgiving. 'Tis the season, and all. But they were really pushing my buttons, boy howdy.

Got me hulk-mad. I had no problem laying it on a little thick at the scary bits, in the first act.

If you do come to a show, please get there on time, if at all possible. If you’re late, quietly ask someone in the lobby when a good time to enter would be. Turn off your cell phones.

Kaplahr... Grah. Both Kaplahr & Grah. Sheesh.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

John Spencer: 1946-2005

John Spencer passed away earlier tonight, at the age of 58, of a heart attack.

I am a great fan of his work on The West Wing. I loved him in Forget Paris. He was one of the finest actors on the show. Not to mention my favorite actor in the line-up.

And he's gone.

He, like his famed character, was a confessed workaholic. And a recovering alcoholic. He made the character so damned believable. And he had warmth.

He will be missed.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Thanks For Bein' Born!

Today is the birthday of someone very special. Their musical talents have enthralled anyone in earshot. They’re that good. They take their music seriously, and it pays off.

A few words that can describe this person: Passionate. Dedicated & Determined. Fun at parties, and they look good with big hair. They’re not afraid of performing; point of fact they thrive in front of a crowd. Yes, ladies and gentlemen…

Happy Birthday, Beethoven!!

(Just kiddin’. Happy Birthday, McCall. I don’t think Mr. Cratchit could afford to get you anything, but we’ll see who else turns up, why not.)

Okay: I screwed up. McCall's birthday isn't until the 19th. I feel like a horse's ass. Which may be the best birthday present of all.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

If Only He'd Had A Band-Aid

Hot… Damn.

The audition went great. They “can definitely use me” in the new year. Outstanding. I’ll keep y’all posted.

OH: Got a crapload of gift-shopping done tonight. And they wrapped it right at the store. Saved me about an hour’s worth of grief. And tape. And wrapping paper.

I… don’t like wrapping presents. It comes from the not being very good at it. And I’d like the people who are going to open said presents not worry about… the paper-cuts. Jerry died from ‘em.

I miss Jerry. Brave little hemophiliac…

Okay. Moving on. One more weekend of Christmas Carol. About which I am psyched.

More to follow, people. Adios.

Wish Me Luck!

Today, dear readers, is hopefully going to be a very good day.

I’ve sent off new voice-demos for an animated PSA in Baltimore, and this afternoon I have auditions for a books-on-tape company in Bethesda. Cross your fingers! Unless, of course, you’re doing things with them... Like typing up a thesis. Or driving a car. Or rehabilitating people. Important stuff like that.

Please, please, please be careful on the roads today, people. I’ve heard forecasts of ice. Not good. Tires don’t respond so well in frictionless environments…

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

New Toyfare Magazine Hits The Shelves Today

As does my second printed article. Woot!

This makes two consecutive issues with work; both of mine, and my brother's! It's practically a Jones Bros. publication!


I Love PVP

I love

In addition to bringing the funny, which he does consistently, Scott Kurtz is incredibly gifted at making his characters human. Really, really human.

Take Jade, for example, why dontcha.

For the first time in history, Brent, the eternal Christmas-cynic, has deliberately gone out of his way to find the holiday spirit. Among his motivations to do so, is Jade.

Who consequently hates his enthusiasm. And so he backs off a bit to give her room.

Jade, like every other character in the strip, is far from perfect. But she knows when she's screwed up; by spurning Brent's efforts. And so she apologizes for it the best way she knows how.

Being really hot.

She shows up at a Santa-booth where Brent is working, wearing a Ho-Ho-Ho outfit (cough!) that will put some spring in his step. If you know what I mean. Of course you know what I mean. It's in the last paragraph. She's hot, he'll respond to that, she knows he'll respond to that. Problem essentially solved.

Which is why PVP rocks.

The Lion, The Wish, & The Wardrobe

Saw The Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe tonight with John. Wonderful flick. Wonderful. Vunderbar.

After which, we went out for beer. Beer good. John and I haven’t had a chance to hang out in over a month, and it was much needed. Stupid schedules and other obligations...

On the drive home (only had two beers, let’s relax people), I saw two shooting stars. Inside two minutes. Made the same wish twice. No, I’m not going to tell you what it was.

Sweet dreams, people.

More to follow.

Monday, December 12, 2005

A Word On My Song

I write. Frequently. It’s what I do.

A few years ago, I was having a minor identity crisis, trying to henpeck myself into one category or the other: Actor, or Writer. A friend of mine, Malinda, posed the question:

“Which do you do every day?”

That shut me up. As much devotion and energy as I put into my acting and otherwise performing, there are weeks and months that go by between performances, or rehearsals. I write daily, if not almost daily.

Sometimes it’s something short, frequently its in effort to add to something bigger…

When I write, I always put on one piece of music: Danse Macabre, by
Camille Saint-Saëns. I love this piece. I love it.

It’s relatively short (barely seven minutes), and goes on repeat play seamlessly, as its beginning and finish are both practically silent. It makes my ‘rhythm’ that much easier to find, and fall into. Not a literal typing pattern, but a great cadence across the keys nonetheless.

In a given day at the keys I will listen to it dozens of times. It fills the background silence, until I hardly notice it at all. If I stop typing, it’s there again.

OH: I’d be remiss if I failed to mention where I heard it for the first time: Appropriately, it was used in an episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. In Hush, the entire town had lost their ability to speak; and data-monger Giles had found some, well, data on the problem. He made a presentation of it on a projector, and used Danse Macabre as very appropriate background music.

It was love at first sound.

I think it’s an absolutely beautiful piece of music; and I have yet to get tired of it. So there’s that little piece of information for you.

At Which Point, The Universe Collapsed

Something fun happened this weekend:

The direct descendent of Charles Dickens came to see Vpstart Crow's A Christmas Carol. He told us he loved it!

Below, Gerald Charles Dickens and myself (the fake Charles Dickens) are shown close as humanly possible without actually touching. Because we've seen the Back To The Future series, and TimeCop, and lots of other movies where coming into contact with a version of yourself or your ancestor/descendant is just not a good idea...

Pardon the paleness, I was still in full stage make-up.

This is too cool not to share. Shazam.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Did I Mention It's Frustrating?

It's a momentum thing.

I'm stuck with this very strong feeling of needing to say something... while simultaneously having nothing to say.

How's that for a slice of fried gold.


I'm Not Feelin' It

It’s been a busy weekend.

Thursday, my car died. The alternator had broken, and the car was slowly taxing itself out on just the battery. I didn’t go to work on Friday, while I sat and waited to hear that the mechanics could fix up Claudia for the second time in a month’s time.

Saturday night, dear readers, at A Christmas Carol, we had in our audience none other than the great-great-grandson of Charles Dickens, Gerald Charles Dickens. He showed up in Victorian garb and told us he loved the show. He performs his own one-man show of the same. It was three kinds of surreal.

No more than 48 hours after my own car trouble, Amanda’s car went the big kaput. Coincidences, coincidences.

Overslept yesterday, and today likewise consisted of nothing but the show. Granted, my social life of late hasn’t provided much need to do anything outside showtimes two and three, so what the hell. And now I’m full-blown ticked.

My best, geographically-nearest friend now has five pets. Five. If I take two steps toward his house, my head would clog up and then explode. My best friend works two jobs and a full weekend rote, so my visits with him are fewer and farther between than I’d like.

My writing’s coming along. Didn’t get squat put on paper today or yesterday, but at least I’ve been asking myself the questions I need to that will further it along when I’m disposed to it.

Have a good night, all.


Richard Pryor passed away yesterday at the age of sixty-five.

He was a prolific comedian. With his raw material, he influenced more comics that followed than anyone else in his generation.

He raised the bar. And he set it very, very high.

He will be missed.

Blah, Blah, Blah...

I love comic books. I’m a confessed, established, confirmed comic book dork.

And I’m getting sick of the mainstream. Because they are hammering home that nothing lasts. Period.

Bucky? Captain America’s once long-deceased sidekick? Back from the dead. Jason Todd? Batman’s 2nd Robin blown to smithereens by the Joker (and beaten about the head with a crowbar): Back amongst the living. Sheesh.

Spider-Man just died. He had the bejeezus beaten out of him by also-recently-dead villain (Morlun), and flat-lined. Before this paragraph, if this were any frickin’ genre but comics, I might feel inclined to put a warning about a spoiler. Spider-Man is dead.

For about a week.

Nothing lasts in comics. At all. Nothing lasts. I can’t help feeling that in contemporary comics, they’re not telling stories so much as spreading rumors. The difference? Whatever they’re selling this month won’t matter four weeks from now. That’s the damn difference.

He’ll be back. Superman died. He got better. Batman’s spine was broken. He was back on his feet in less than a year. Green Lantern went crazy, murdered half his teammates before also dying (threw himself into the sun), and what a shocker, he’s back in the pink of condition.

I’m just sick of all these bloody wastes of time in print. What’s the point of picking up the issue if the story is not going to affect a damn thing? Stories are primarily about change. The characters are not quite the same at the finish, as when they started. That’s the effing point. Look at any title in Marvel or DC, and trust in the knowledge that anything you read this month isn’t going to matter a damn in a month.

There are exceptions. Thank goodness there are exceptions. Fables. Constantine. Y, The Last Man. All three are Vertigo titles. The characters in these have things happen to them (good and bad) that resonate. That have staying power.

I tried to publish a comic. I wrote it, produced it, tried to get it published. Didn’t work. That’s okay. Regardless, I made a promise to myself that if and when characters kicked the bucket were going to stay dead.

Eurgh. Whatever. Have a good ‘un.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Yep, Fair's Fair

And as such, dear readers, I feel obligated to report the bad as well.

I had my second panic attack in two weeks, yesterday. After a year and a half of… ‘clean living’? I hate these things.

Once again, no idea what set it off; I wasn’t doing anything stressful, or otherwise taxing. I was only sitting at my desk, at work, when all of a sudden my heart began quietly pounding, and felt a tightness in my chest like some fat guy was just sitting on me.

It lasted nearly an hour.

I tried controlled breathing, I tried thinking relaxed thoughts, stretching out, so forth. While it did help, ultimately there was nothing to do but (as always) ride it out.

I’m grateful that this one didn’t carry any actual panic with it. No fight or flight, just a 100% useless adrenaline dump. Last week I was overcome with the need to *get out* and so I did. I spent ten minutes finding my cool, standing outside in the cold. This was at a rehearsal for Christmas Carol, before we’d begun. That was ten minutes.

I can’t remember the last time it was so persistent. Not to mention long. They usually lasted no more than ten minutes or so, this one just wouldn’t quit. Ugh.

I hope you all have a good day. I’m fine, now, but yesterday afternoon was a completely different story.

Not that I let it interfere with movie night with Andy. Man’s got to have priorities.


Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Fair's Fair

Ladies and Gentlemen, I see it as only fair to parlay the good with the bad, and the bad with the good.

Today is one heaping, towering, pile of good. Start to finish, this is a dynamite day. Dynamite.

I’m writing. I’m making actual progress on my latest and it feels great.

The Discovery Education Cartoon has confirmed a second season, with more episodes. Production begins in January. My head just about exploded. I love doing voices, and now I can look forward to more time in the booth.

Tonight, my brother and I are having guy time over pizza, beer, and the Spider-Man movies. It does not get better than that. It just doesn’t.

* * *
A further word on last night: I had dinner with my friend Amanda. She metro’d up (as opposed to me metroing down), and we had Thai food, then hit the bookstore. No great extraordinary pastimes; just eating, talking, and lookin’ for books. And it was absolutely wonderful.

We push each other’s buttons. We poke. We prod. We match wits. We will, in proper conditions, roll down car windows on one another (or rather me to her) and threaten to jab a chop stick in the hand (her chopstick to my hand). When there’s someone around that can take that kind of abuse and give it right back… that’s someone you hang on to, I tell ya whut.

To cap off the evening, she discovered shortly after being dropped off at the Red Line that the tracks were iced over. All of ‘em. She called me, and I came and picked her up and drove her to her car. Her Knight in a Nissan. HAH. The blow to her ego at needing help was lessened (I hope) by the company she kept. Sure beats hailing a taxi. Yeesh.

I hope you all have a wonderful day. I’m having one. I must’ve done something really right… I don’t know what it could have been, but I’m thankful all the same.


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Completely Relaxed Sigh

Okay, seriously?

Best single cup of coffee in the history of caffeine, today. I’ve been running on one cup of joe today (granted, a big ‘un), and gotten through without collapsing from unconsciousness once! Most impressive after just four and a half hours o’ sleep.

Not looking to repeat the experience anytime soon, but still.

An absolutely, 100%, fan-freaking-tastic evening. Thank you.

Tomorrow (now technically today), I get to have dinner and movies with my brother at his place. The anticipation alone will get me through the whole day.

More to follow. Shazam.

The Things You Find On Craigslist

I saw this (under the ETC Category, God knows where else it would belong)... and chuckled. Then I got to the bottom and I laughed 'til I cried.

Sperm Donors Needed

Looking for a few good men! Seeking healthy college-educated men age 18-39 of all ethnic backgrounds. Donors earn approximately $150 per acceptable specimen. Program requires a six month commitment of weekly visits. Xxxxxxx Xxxxxxxx was established in 1986 to help infertile patients in the US and worldwide with anonymous donor semen. Donation hours are Monday - Friday from 6:30 - 1:30 PM.

Compensation: $150 per acceptable specimen.

This is a part-time job.

Harry Potter & It's About Freakin' Time!!

Oh. My. God.

Anyone that's a fan, go here. Anyone that hates the books, go here. (It's the same link, ladies and gents.) I laughed my head off.

Accio Head!


There's No Business Like Show-- Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Good morning, all you bright and shining faces.

I’m operating on about four and a half hours’ sleep! Hooray!

We wrapped shooting last night on MacGuffin, the student film at AU. It was a heck of a thing.

Playing the dirty cop to the hilt, and later informed I looked about as menacing as those vakokta Campbell’s Soup kids (THANKS, Steve), we shot the scenes where said cop pins the private eye to the wall and presses him to comply with our shady scheme. Mmm, Mmm, Good.

There were, naturally, delays. AU is close to an airport, and we had to stop every time a jet turbine could be heard in the background. It was cold as blue blazes outside and too warm inside to keep on the trench coats, so it was a constant on/off thing as we entered and left shoots.

This went on ‘til about 1:30 in the morning. We were, mercifully, shooting indoors once we hit the witching hour. At which point very sensitive motion detectors kept re-activating the lights in the whole building if someone was moving around in one of the classrooms. We had a handful of shots to get taken care of indoors, and the light issue cost us an hour.

(They captured on film one last unusable take, in which halfway to a door in a dim hallway, the lights spring on. I plummeted out of character, screamed in frustration, and proceeded to give the offensive light fixtures a double serving of the finger. Easter Egg, anyone?)

My costar, Steve, was kind enough to drive me to the metro. No; not the metro in DC where I had reached Tenleytown, the metro in Shady Grove. We had finished so late the Metro was closed. The good news is I saved six bucks on return fare & parking, and he and I got a chance to talk at length, as we drove through the falling snow.

Thank you, Steve.

I’m a wee bit tired. Didn’t get in until two, had a shower and collapsed into bed. Four and a half hours later, I fell out of bed and came slowly but surely to work. On time, thank God.

Will there be coffee on my desk, this morning? I think the more appropriate question is when will there not be coffee on my desk?

Hi Diddly Dee. The actor’s life for m-- **Face hits keyboard, forehead automatically narrates said collapse and sends to Blogger**

Monday, December 05, 2005

Still Dead, Marley? Yep. Just Checkin'.

A Christmas Carol opened this weekend at the Cramer Center. Good crowds abounding, with children squealing at the arrival of Marley’s Ghost.

Okay, on our actor playing Marley’s Ghost: Marcus rocks. I mean he freaking rocks. I get to see him lumber on to stage every show, chains rattling (where do you think the Hellraiser writer got the idea?), blue in the face, shocked white hair, powder flying off him with every thundering step—and then I turn tail and scoot out the door. Charles Dickens is too scared of his own figment to hang around.

And this is no slight old man, neither. Our Marley’s Ghost is a big, barrel-chested guy that looks like he could grab Scrooge by the jugular any time he wants to, and smack the curmudgeon right out of him.

And that’s before he even opens his mouth. At particular moments in his scene, when Scrooge gets lippy; Marcus lets loose with a howl that would send Banshees running back to primary school for another round of classes in Death-Wail 101. And he does this in front of children.

On any given night, if any one thing is a lock that will certainly cause people to jump out of their skins, it’s Marley’s Ghost. And it’s Marcus. Freaking Marcus.

Just wanted to put that out there.

You know what’s fun? Putting on a black robe the size of a king-sized bed sheet in the dark, attaching a microphone with a clothes pin and pressing a button the size of a tic-tac under the robe, putting on a hooded cowl that limits your vision to about 8 inches wide in front of you, and then crawling through pitch black curtains onto a bed. Without the full use of your hands, which are lost in the ever-sleeves of the costume. Trying not to trip over yourself. And being slow and creepy-like. In 60 seconds.

It’s like trying to wrestle a tar-baby.

I enjoy playing the Ghost of Christmas Future, but there are times I feel like such a boob. Honestly. There isn’t a blessed thing I can do about it. Just hope for the best and go all Ring-Wraithy. One of these days I fear I’m going to fall flat on my face either getting on or off that bed. It’ll be funny. I’ll laugh (later). But in that moment I’m going to be mortified. So here’s hoping that doesn’t happen.

We have two more weekends of this show, and I’m looking forward to it. Hope to see you there.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Decisions, Decisions

That’s life for ya.

Something has recently shown up on my horizons… that I am having a very, very hard time figuring out. It’s a choice to make, that has ramifications. It’s a big one.

You’ll have to forgive me for being vague. I can’t go into any great amount of detail, here. Certainly not yet. Let’s just leave it at an opportunity that’s mine to miss if I let it slip.

There’s nothing simple about it. Either way, I’d be sacrificing something, and change is never freakin’ easy.

No. I haven’t made my decision yet. But, on the wise advice of a friend, I’m going to try acting as if I already have, down both roads. See what it feels like.

More to follow. One way or the other, more to follow.


Friday, December 02, 2005

Great Day In The Mornin’

Hot damn. I feel good. I feel really good.

Last night’s final rehearsal for A Christmas Carol went well, with an audience in attendance no less. A few snafus, but nothing that shattered the spell we were weaving, I hope.

I. Love. Showbiz. Just in case there was some modicum of doubt on your part, about whether or not I was really enjoying myself when I hit the boards-- I love it. I love it when the audience is invisible in the dark, and the only thing you can hear is their collective breathing. Feeling their eyes on you. Outstanding.

That connection, that palpable channel right into them, is just… *shudders* It’s different from acting with a 4th wall; when it comes down, that’s the closest it gets to… something. Words fail me.

You’re not supposed to look at the audience. I mean, yes, face them, by all means, but to actually look at them is generally not the desired intent. Unless you’re narrating. Or unless you’ve been tugging at them all night for just the right moment to present itself. Or you’re ‘on the phone’ with no-one else to speak to.

I’m a junkie, I admit it. I’m a stage-junkie. And I do so love to get my fix.

Have a terrific morning, people. See you around.

Holy Crap, This Is Funny.

You need to check this out, right now.

It doesn't matter if you give half a rat's ass about Vin Diesel, Mr. T, or Chuck Norris.

But these facts about the three of them? I was laughing. Hard.

And not being selfish, I choose to share the joy with you.

So go already!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Well. *That* Sucked.

Last night, something happened to me for the first time in over a year and a half. (No, not that. Sheesh.)

I had a panic attack, while trying to get ready for A Christmas Carol. I’d been doing great for ages, when all of a sudden, around 7:15, I started feeling anxious. Like some unknown really bad thing was going to happen, about which I could do nothing. A few minutes later, I felt a tightness in my chest that didn’t belong, and the impulse to Get Out raced through my brain.

I stepped outside, tried to shake the nervous energy out through my hands, loosened my tie and tried to slow down my breathing. Not that it necessarily worked. It didn’t, point of fact. When one of those bastards hits, the only thing to do is find someplace quiet to ride out the unnecessary adrenaline dump.

McCall came outside to check on me, saying I hadn’t looked right. I thanked her for coming out. We talked for a few minutes, trying to take my mind off the involuntary skittishness. This, among other reasons, is why she rocks.

It’s a stress thing. It doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with immediate circumstances, and rarely does. I really doubt it was the case last night, as there’s little in Christmas Carol to be nervous about. Nevertheless, that’s when my body chose to enter ‘fight or flight’ mode, with no-one to punch and oh yeah, I can’t fly.

It subsided (as they usually do) after a few minutes, but the damage had been done: I was spent, and the show hadn’t even started yet. Certainly not my best night.

Looks like I’ve got some assessing to do. Figure out what the heck jump-started my ticker when it was already runnin’.

And if anyone can explain why my right eye-socket hurts, I’d be grateful.


It's The First Of The Month

Bunny Bunny.