Mental Flotsam, Mental Jetsam

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

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Winnie The Pooh, They Ain't

You know what are funny? Bears.

Bears are funny. Of course, they’re also 1500-lb Death Machines that are stronger and faster than you, not to mention hairier than even Robin Williams could ever hope to be.

And for some reason, the perfectly rational terror of these walking fuzzy wrecking balls of doom strikes people as hilarious. Go figure.

Sidebar? I think I know what happened in the whole evolution-thing. Those greedy sons of bitches wanted the whole package, so what’d they do? They took it. Bears… there’s no trusting ‘em.

In Line at Charles Darwin’s Booth For Evolutionary Attributes, A Natural Selection. The The raccoons just grabbed the last set of usable digits, and who shows up, but the freaking bears.

Grizzly Adams: Gimme strength.
Charles Darwin: One strength, there you are. Have a nice day.
GA: Nuh uh. Gimme size.
CD: I’m sorry, sir, but only one to a customer.
GA: Don’t care. I’m a bear. Gimme size.
CD: *sighs* Very well. You now have size and strength. Satisfied?
GA: Nuh uh. Gimme speed.
CD: Look. You can’t just take all the benefits. You have to leave some for the rest! There’s a line forming behind you, you know.
(GA slowly turns around, the assortment of beavers and chipmunks suddenly find the grass at their feet very interesting.)
GA: Don’t care. Gimme speed.
CD: I can’t! It’s just not feasible. You’re over half a ton! Each! You’d look ridiculous moving anything over 20 miles an hour!
GA: Don’t care. It’ll be funny. Gimme speed.
CD: You know what? Take it. Just take it. Would you please go?
GA: Nuh uh. Gimme Seals.
CD: -- What?
GA: I’m hungry. Gimme Seals.
CD: There aren’t any seals for thousands of miles! They live in the Arctic.
GA: Don’t care. Gimme the Arctic.
CD: HAH! Good luck. You’re covered in brown fur! The seals would spot you from a mile away.
GA: Huh. Gimme white fur.
CD: But--
GA: Gimme white fur.
CD: All of you?
GA: Nuh uh. Just the ones hungry for seals.
CD: There. Done. Please go away!
GA: Nuh-uh. Gimme disarming cuteness.
CD: What?
GA: Gimme disarming cuteness.
CD: You’re a BEAR. You’re huge, you could knock down a tree without breaking a sweat. There’s no way you could pull off being adorable.
GA: Sure I can. We’ll call ‘em Pandas.
CD: *blinks* This is ridiculous. I’m going back to my peas.
(Grizzly Adams proceeds to eat the booth.)

See? Greedy bastards, the lot of ‘em. And don’t let that hibernation thing fool you, okay? It’s just a ruse. Some of ‘em don’t even do it.

I think we’ve been wise, not to employ Bears in the workplace. I mean, their typing is atrocious! And not for nothing, they’re kinda pudgy. Or, at least they would be, if it weren’t all solid freaking muscle. Try squeezing past one of ‘em in the hallway? Good luck.

We had a guy at the office one time, named Wells. The guy hired a Grizzly Bear for his personal assistant. That lazy sack of fur didn’t do one scrap of work, spent all day on the phone making personal calls, and at the end of his first week, the Grizzly ripped Wells’s arm off. I don’t think I need to tell you that someone got escorted to the door that evening, boy howdy.

Bears. Steer clear, folks.

Make Some Time In March

I’m pleased to announce I’ve been cast in the Kensington Arts Theatre’s production of Assassins, running March 10th through April 1st. I’m playing Sam Byck, the man that tried to kill Richard Nixon with a 747.

It’s a good part with some great monologues and yes, folks, you can even hear me sing in this one. A feat not attempted on the public stage since High School.

I’m looking forward to it. Not only will I be working with Andrea again (!), but the show also stars someone I went to college with. Haven’t seen her in years, and then all of a sudden; BAM. There she was at auditions. I could hardly believe my eyes.

It should be a gas. I’ve never worked with the KAT before, and I’m always open to new experiences.

I even get to swear up a storm. In a Santa Suit. Good, good, good stuff.

More to follow, folks. Ciao, for now...

Monday, January 30, 2006

What You CAN Take With You

I saw a production of You Can’t Take It With You Saturday night, at the Alden Theatre. This was a play with which I was unfamiliar.

It’s definitely a character piece. The cast of a nearly twenty features a ditzy playwright, a dancer with two left feet (oblivious the fact, naturally), firework enthusiasts who nearly destroy the basement, and a son-in-law who may or may not be an accidental communist. The IQ of most characters in the show is… questionable, which made for some funny moments.

Bringing us back from the edge of the ludicrous are the only two sane people in the house-- Alice Sycamore and ‘Grandpa’ Vanderhof. (Everyone calls him Grandpa, regardless of blood-relations; he’s the pater familias if ever there was one.)

Plot-wise, the show left something to be desired. There’s only so many wacky characters you can take in the same show, and this one had an over-abundance. Sara Joy Lebowitz was charming as the talent-less dancer Essie, who demonstrated the one clear message I came away from the show with: You don’t have to be good at something to enjoy it whole-heartedly, nor do you have to like doing something to be good at it.

McCall Farrell did good work as Alice, helping to hold the family together despite their, ah, unique personalities; and she enjoyed some very real chemistry with on-stage fiancée Brian Doyle. They worked very well together.

I have to tip my hat, however, to Roy Potter, who played Grandpa. He was resolutely calm throughout the increasing madness of Act Two into Act Three, and his comic delivery was flawless. He got the biggest laughs out of me, that’s for sure. I can’t say that he stole the show, as it was clearly his to begin with. Everyone else kept making their entrances and exits, Grandpa was always there, in the eye of the storm.

I enjoyed it. There’s little point in recommending it, however, as it closed Saturday night to a packed house of satisfied customers. Well done, guys.

A Really Great Pen-- Came With A Free Meal

Yesterday, my best friend Chris turned 26. We celebrated in style. I mean, in freaking style. Pulled out all the stops.

After swinging by his house to pick up some cigars (hush, you in the peanut gallery) we went to one of his favorite restaurants: The Capital Grille. We arrived and found a great table. The place was hoppin’, for a Sunday night.

Pulled a pair of pints of Guinness, did the toast, sat back and waited as the greatest steaks known to man were brought forth. You think I’m kidding. Between the Guinness, the stogies, and the sirloin from Valhalla… Pedro and I were in sensory overload. It was glorious.

The Grille is not what I would call frugal. I had to make allowances, just now, to include the name of the restaurant and the word 'frugal' in the same sentence, okay? Totally worth it. We camped out there for a few hours, savoring every bite and the company, as well. When the check came, Pedro just started laughing. I looked at Chris, who joked, “Man these are nice pens. Oh! And they come with a free meal.”

We did split the check, but as it was his birthday I left the tip, and it was good one at that. The pens had the name of the restaurant on ‘em, so we figured it would be good to snag them and do a little advertising in the future, who knows.

We agreed on the spot that this should become a Birthday thing, albeit one making exceptions schedule-wise for family and loved ones. But we’ll definitely be going back. Not any time soon, mind you, but we’re definitely going back.

Next time, the tip’s on him.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Just WRONG On So Many Levels

WOW. That's all I can say. WOW.

The writers at the Onion have outdone themselves.

*Taps Head, No Ideas Come Out*

I appear to be in the thick of a nasty case of writer’s block. I hate the stuff. Hate, hate, hate it. The screenplay I’ve been working on for months, whose first draft went so swimmingly, has evidently dried up. I can’t put word one on paper.


The story has been bouncing around upstairs for quite some time. It was a solid idea, it just needed putting down on paper. Which I did. And I was pleased with it.

In reviewing the traits of what makes a quality story (The Screenwriters Bible continues to be worth its weight in gold); I found that it’s lacking in a few elements, so I went back to the drawing board.

I know what I want to change. I know what I want to retain. I know that certain events need to be re-sequenced. I’m even changing the ending. For the life of me, I cannot make it happen. I even attempt to muster the gray cells to tackle the issue, and my mental engine just quits.

Maybe my subconscious is trying to tell me something. Maybe I should keep a bit more of what I was planning to change, and look for other ways to make the alterations I’ve intended…

What’s the crucial revision? I need to make the protagonist more active, less passive. He needs to make certain events happen, not merely watch them occur and then react. The first idea I had toward that goal hasn’t resulted in so much as one typed page. So it’s safe to say that’s out.

Something’ll come to me, sooner or later.

I hope.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Now We're Cookin'!

Ladies n' Gentlemen, I give you:

Pardon The Dust, Genius At Work

Not talking about myself, here. Come on folks, I’m not that egotistical.

No, I’m referring to my brother. Andy. The freaking genius.

Yesterday included the latest in a very satisfying series of movie nights (Kneel before Zod), after which Andy helped me with… a certain project. I will be delighted to announce its unveiling later on, when appropriate; but for now let me just say… Damn. I mean, DAMN.

Think I'm exaggerating? defines the word genius as someone with 'a strong natural talent, aptitude, or inclination'.

My brother earned a Bachelor’s Degree in graphic design. I have the weakest possible grasp of HTML. Hell, it took David and Leta to educate me in the ways of putting together the listing you see to your right.

No no-- Andy's a freaking genius. What he put together last night, in practically no time at all, was a credit to his eye: Photography, design, elegance of layout. And it just looks cool.

I’m chomping at the bit to show you what it is, but good things come to those who wait. Both for you, and for me.

More to follow, folks. And it’s gonna be a gas.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


At the moment, I am less than thrilled with the services of a certain voice-over website.

I am not a happy panda.

I received an audition notice over a week ago, asking for a custom demo, using material from their own copy. That’s fine. The website in question has an online mp3 recorder that can save your demo and email it conveniently *cough!* to the potential client.

They haven’t been able to access it. I haven’t been able to access it. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I can open the proper demo request, stare right at the ‘Play’ button on the demo I recorded a week ago, and yes, folks, I can even click on it. Which I did.

Nothing happened.

Cut to yesterday. For what seems like the umpteenth time, the very patient client asks me to re-record the demo and email it to him directly. I emailed the website and asked them flat out to email me the mp3 recorded. Not a link, just the file. They have yet to get back to me. If they remained unable to send the sound file, I requested an explanation as to why not, and that an apology be issued to the client for wasting their time.

Still no word. You’d think with a bit of vitriol, a guy could get some results. But patience never was one of my virtues.

If I sound like I’m taking this a bit steeply, let me explain something about V.O.’s in general. Casting happens quickly. I’m not the only voice-artist the client was looking at, and in the week we lost due to technical difficulties, they would have been perfectly in their rights to go with someone else. You blink, and sometimes you miss it. I count myself lucky that the gentleman’s waited this long for results.

I emailed him a home-recorded WAV file this morning. I couldn’t do it from home, WAV files are big and I’m on dial-up. That may change in the near future.

Kaplahr. I’m shaking an angry finger at you, voice-website. Oh, yes.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Casey Jones... Voice Guy.

This Friday, it's shaping up that I'll have not one, but two sessions in the booth. Well. Booths.

The Cartoon has some pick-up work to do, and that afternoon I'm slated for some books-on-tape work in Bethesda. It'll be a full day of Voice-Over stuff.

Yee Gods. Yee Gods.

I'm not careful, people are gonna think I do this sorta thing all the time. Now there's a tragedy...

Don't Touch The Cake. No!! What Did I JUST Say?

Do you know what day it is? It’s Rutger Hauer’s birthday. He’s 62. Does he look 62? No. He looks about a decade younger n’ that. Do you know why? Because he’s Rutger Hauer.

I’ve loved watching the man work since Ladyhawke. That was the first movie of his that I saw, which firmly imprinted in the mind, “This man is a badass. This man could kill a guy and not break a sweat.” Okay, so I was five. My thoughts were probably closer to something like “I like this movie. That girl’s pretty. That skinny Ferris Bueller guy’s funny. I need to pee.” Something along those lines. Rutger Freaking Hauer!

There’s not an over-abundance of blonde-haired, blue-eyed actors in showbiz. We gotta look out for our own, ya know?

Blade Runner. Blind Fury. *groan* Buffy The Vampire Slayer. I think he can be forgiven for doing that movie, okay? Lay off him. He’ll kill you if you don’t give it a rest. I saw a guy this one time bring it up to Mr. Hauer, and he’s dead now. Seriously. Lay off.

Shit. Where was I? Ooh, right. Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. Sin City. Sin Freaking City. Batman Begins. All of these movies (previous paragraph included), Rutger’s roles have one thing in common: This is a man you do not mess with. It tends to end badly. Granted, it can be done, one can mess with him, it’s just not recommended. ‘Cause he’s Rutger Hauer.

Happy Birthday, sir. I’ll be going now. *walks away with spleen intact*

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Funny, What Occurs To You

We have a word for just about anything.

We have a word that captures, in just one word, just about everything you can wrap your brain around.

I was watching Training Day. Great movie. Great. Denzel earned his Oscar, boy howdy. I was watching Training Day, and he shouts “Boom!” to wake up his trainee. What pops in my head? Onomatopoeia: A word to describe a word that is also the sound it makes. ‘Boom.’ ‘Slam.’ ‘Zing.’ ‘Whoosh.’ So on.

We have a word for just about everything. The only example I can think of that doesn’t have its own word… is nothing good. If a woman loses her husband, she is a widow. If a child loses its parents, it is an orphan. What do you call a parent who has lost their child?

There is no word for it. There is no title for it. Smarter, wiser men than me have said, “It’s something so terrible, we can’t give it a name.” I’m paraphrasing.

Why is this on my mind? Couldn’t tell you. I don’t know. The penalty of having a mind that never stops.

It’s not even 11:30. I don’t know if I’m happy that it’s early yet, or just wishing that the time would pass faster. Go figure.

More to follow, folks. In the mean time, hug the dear ones you have near to you. Do us both the favor…


Best. Production. Ever.

I saw Rick in 2nd Flight’s production of Noises Off on Friday, at the Cramer Center.

You have to see this show. You really, really have to see this show. I’ve seen two other productions of Noises Off; once at the Olney Theatre, and the movie version starring Michael Caine. Both were damned funny. But they had nothin’ on 2nd Flight.

Rick played the resident straight-man, Frederick Fellows, an actor with certain problems regarding the play-within-the-play’s convoluted prop demands. The look of sheer befuddlement on his face is priceless. And it keeps popping up.

Robert Chaves acts as the play’s frustrated Director. Considering his very real consternation with incompetent actors, questionable plot and a techie who hasn’t slept in 48 hours; it’s a wonder he doesn’t have a heart attack. Maybe the character’s too busy sleeping with half the cast…

Everyone was just terrific in their roles. Erin Anderson did magnificent work as the dim-witted (and very attractive) nymphet, Brooke. She also spent half the show in nothing but lingerie. Yowza. Her onstage paramour, played by Dave McKendry, was wonderful to watch as his anger grew throughout the show.

The two fellows that stole the show, however… damn. I mean, damn. Mike Weinstein played the devoted and thick Technician, Tim. He was understated as he was hilarious. He got it exactly right. Matthew Randall played Selsdon, the, ah, ‘veteran’ actor of the cast. All right, fine, he was old. Randall himself is decades younger than the part; but between the painted wrinkles, the palsied tremors, and dear god the omni-present squint, Selsdon was perfect.

As a burglar, he spent a good portion of the show just trying to get his gloves on properly, a feat he never accomplished. The gloves clung to his mitts like Quasimodo’s tunic on a ten year-old: Lumpy and poorly filled. This was a personal choice of the actor, there’s no mention of the glove-difficulty in the script. And it was effing brilliant.

Noises Off requires a revolving set: We see Act One from the front of the House, Act Two is backstage, and Act Three is once more from the front. The Cramer Center doesn’t have a revolving stage. Between acts, a squad of techies stripped the stage completely. Every wall came down, every scrap of furniture was moved, revealing a skeleton of wooden doorframes. After the second act, everything was replaced or rotated appropriately, and the effect was nothing short of ingenious.

I’ve worked with Rick before. I knew he was funny. But I had no idea he could do physical comedy so well, too! In the second act, the backstage is in a frenzy. Selsdon continuously plods after a bottle of whiskey. Ti­­m is struggling to make sure the actors are in their proper places in time, sneaking off to buy flowers for all the wrong girls. Dave wants to kill Frederick because he thinks Fred slept with his girl. Plates of sardines as far as the eye can see. It was like watching ballet. One hilarious ballet.

The show only has one more weekend at the Cramer Center. I cannot recommend enough that you check it out for yourself, you will not be sorry.

Way to knock ‘em dead, Rick.

Friday, January 20, 2006

OH! One More Thing

At the restaurant: We’d been talking about the cartoon and other things we do in our spare time. The topic of different voices came up, Amanda mentioned the Australian.

God Bless The Australian. This is an accent I’ve used to fool natives (though I’ve yet to employ it onstage). It’s good.

Anyway: we were discussing the ‘effectiveness’ of the Aussie on the female ear. Rob looked dubious, so I demonstrated on our waitress, Claire. She’d heard my normal voice when I ordered dinner, asked for more water, so on. With my best Australian firmly in place, I asked her for a blank piece of paper. It was in my hand in three seconds, and she giggled. Like a school girl, she giggled. I thanked her, and she started off to check on her other patrons.

I looked to Rob, who couldn’t deny it had left an impression on her.

There was no point at all to this story, save to brag just a little bit and grin to myself.


"The Goo." The What? "The GOO."

Had dinner out with Amanda and Rob, last night. The restaurant in question was… discreet about its location. We tromped up and down 18th street before we found the place. Ridiculous. Every other restaurant in sight had neon lights, a nice marquee, or both. This place was practically invisible with its tiny print over poorly lit windows.

We missed our reservation by half an hour, a mishap that in no way affected our ability to find a table. Like I said, practically invisible.

It was good to finally meet Rob. We’d encountered each other once about three months ago, but the joint was hoppin’ and I could barely hear myself speak, let alone anyone else. (To their credit, it was at a restaurant one could actually find.)

There’s just something very amusing about getting well-educated people to say something silly. Amanda and Rob both earned Master’s degrees, so it was a double-scoop of “Ha ha, you just said Goo.” Or other equally funny-sounding words. I forget the specifics…

Rob was only too happy to tease us for enjoying wine, while he wistfully (yes, wistfully) went on about the tannins in his Miller Light. HAH.

Dinner was okay. I’m not going to give ‘em a glowing review; seeing as how A) there’s better Italian food that’s closer, and B) you’d need the damned Staff of Ra-with-Headpiece from Raiders of the Lost Ark to find the place. Sheesh.

All in all, it was a good night. And I didn’t even fall asleep on the Metro!

Have a good one, folks. More to follow.

Break A Leg, Rick!

For your consideration-- a night at the theatre in Manassas. The Cramer Center, point of fact. Noises Off! is being performed, starring my good friend (and fraternity brother) Rick Ingavo.

A word on Rick. He rocks. I mean he freaking rocks. My senior year in college, I was putting together an independent show on campus, and Rick was the first person I cast to join the madness. He took to the parts I put him in (and my direction) like a fish to water.

Noises Off! is a great slapstick comedy. Rick’s comic talent is the primary reason I cast him. He knows from funny.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that he’s my writing’s biggest fan. He’s read every script I’ve written in the last few years, and swears I’m a genius. Doesn’t hurt to hear that every once in a while…

I’m going to be there tomorrow to laugh my tail off, and see what he does with the role. Can’t wait, Rick. Can’t wait.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

A Malleable Idea

I have to say-- Being a writer (or attempting it) is a strange gig, some days.

I've been working on a screenplay for a few months now, the first draft of which flowed like you wouldn't believe. It took practically no time at all to write. Taking two weeks away from it and trying not to think of how to improve it was difficult. Difficult and damned helpful.

Since then, subjecting the script to the kind of scrutiny it deserves has been off-putting to say the least. It's mine. I wrote it. And in taking looks numbers two and three; certain elements and happenings of plot have been re-worked, re-sequenced, or altered completely.

I like that.

A writer isn't supposed to be married to an idea, it needs to be adaptable in order to survive from one draft to the next. While I'm nowhere near finished, the fact that major plot points could be replaced/etc. without grousing about it; that makes me feel good.

The important thing is the story. It needs to be able to stand on its own, and it needs to be trimmed for length. I'm confident it will get there, and retain what it needs to.

Enough out of me. Have a good night, folks.

Times like this I wish I could sleep at a more reasonable hour...

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Yes, I'm a Dork; No, I Don't Care

It was movie night tonight, for my brother and I. He's got the projector-screen thing going on. It is a thing of beauty.

Tonight, we watched the original Superman. Christopher Reeve. Marlon Brando. Gene Hackman. Margot Kidder. The first excellent comic book movie and still one of the absolute best.

I swear, I was 6 years old again. People talk about movie magic, and for the longest time I thought it meant special effects. Throw enough lightsabers and trolls and god knows what else up there and bam, epic. Right?


Movie Magic, the real thing? It doesn't happen on the screen. It happens to you. When you're not busy picking apart the plot, or wondering how certain actors got cast, and you just let yourself watch, and it's good? Even Super?

Abra Cadabra.

When I Am Old

My thanks to you for putting the bug in my ear about this--

When I am Old, I will wander the halls aimlessly, for hours. I will insist on carrying pictures of family with myself in the photos, in case my memory goes and I need proof we know each other. (That is actually something of a fear of mine, in the future: Losing my memory.)

When I am Old, I will wear whatever the hell I want. I will flirt shamelessly with nurses; unless my wife is around. Then I will flirt shamelessly with her. I will entertain other people's grandkids with silly voices, whatever's left to me in my sunset years.

When I am Old, if I happen to pass wind, I will shrug and say aloud, "Whattya want? I'm Old!" I will have dozens of stories about old performances and the like, for anyone who will listen.

When I am Old, I will say the most bizarre things (occasionally on purpose) and chalk it up to Alzheimers. "It keeps ya guessin'." I will have no shortage of cologne to cover up the old-people smell.

When I am Old, I will still have all of my hair, just like my granddad.

When I am Old, I will employ such words as “whippersnapper”, “young’n” and “crazy kids”.

On Wednesdays, I will be French. Or possibly Australian.

When I am Old, I will still have the fedora I have today. Let me go blind and deaf with arthritis in both hands… but Lord, please don't let me lose my sense of humor.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Corrections, Congratulations...

First off, let me amend that the WATCH nominations were not for 'Best' anything. The word used is ‘Outstanding’. Oops.

With that out of the way: Stan, for getting two nods in the same category of Sound? Damn, dude. You’re your own competition. HAH. Very richly deserved.

Andrea! Congratulations on the Outstanding Lead Actress Nod for Book of Days!

It still cracks me up that Mystery of Irma Vep got a nod for Hair Design… The wigs were a sight, that’s the only way I can put it. They were a sight. Way to go, Kat.

And Special Effects? John, Kevin? Does the turning-into-a-werewolf-onstage thing count? Or does Reston’s Beauty and the Beast nod in the same category trump that? HAH.

Congrats to Jane for her Cameo Nod for Gypsy!. Her dance routine brought new meaning to the name Madame Butterfly… (If you saw it, you know exactly what I’m talking about.)

I find it very funny that two actors were nominated for playing the same role; namely Banjo, in The Man Who Came To Dinner, at Rockville and Arlington, respectively. Will there be a trial-by-Banjo portion of the vote-tallying? The same goes for both ladies nominated for their work as Ida in Honk!, with the Reston and Port Tobacco theatres. Great stuff.

Congrats for the second year in a row to Maura! I saw her in Independence, and she was great. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed.

My favorite part, though? They list the part you’re nominated for, as an actor. In Nano’s, Michael’s, and my cases, there’s more than one character named for the nomination. I don’t know why that’s so funny, but it is.

I could not be prouder of the Elden Street Players. Twenty-Four nods all told, including three for Outstanding Play. All I can say is: Thank God Beauty and The Beast is a musical… if they make a sweep of it Nano and I still have a chance… I kid, I kid!

Best of luck, folks. Time to call it a night.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Talk About Your Ageless Stories

I just saw a commercial for The New World: The romance of John Smith and Pocahontas, coming soon to a theatre near you. Who's playing John Smith? Colin Freaking Farrell. HAH.

My first paying acting job was with Theatre IV, playing Mr. Smith in The True Story of Pocahontas. I'm full and well-acquainted with the history.

This cracks me up. I cannot describe how up this cracks me.

The untold love story between John Smith and Pocahontas? She was twelve, folks. Nothin' happened. Twelve.

I know it's fiction. I know it's an embellishment. But it still just... yeah. There that is.



Best Director. Best Sound. Best Hair (HAH!). Best Props. Best Special Effects. Best Actors. Best Show.

The grocery list of items you see above is the full roll of nominations garnered for Elden Street Theatre’s The Mystery of Irma Vep.

Damn. I mean, Hot Damn!

Nano and I were both nominated for Best Actor. The word I’m looking for is ‘outstanding’. Can’t wait to see what happens, in six weeks. Can’t wait.

And if you’re thinking to yourself, “Hey, Jerk! Who else got nominated? It isn’t all about you, you know!” Well, I don’t know yet. Nano told me what he could, but that’s all. The WATCH site will have the nominations listed later tonight, when a full report will be happily given.

But for right now? Hot Damn. Seriously.


Dum Dum De Dum, Dum Dum De Dum

The Voice-Over class yesterday was great. Just great. Ty Ford (man of TV, Film & Radio) was the guest-teacher on hand, and he certainly left an impression. The more I hear about the technique involved here, tricks of the trade and whatnot, the more I think “This is what I should be doing.” It’s a good feeling.

After the class, I made my way to College Park to attend the wedding of Andy and Andrea… Memorial Chapel is huge, and a beautiful setting for the occasion. Andrea looked regal, and I know I went misty at least once or twice. These are people I care about, and they’re happy. What could be better than that?

Ah, the reception: Between the two of them, the couple invited what seemed like half the local theatre community. In addition to the great food (and open bar with Maker’s Mark, thank you very much), swanky music, and dancing, there was some shoptalk. Funny old world… I was told some very nice things, and had some equally nice things to say to other people that I hadn’t seen since… well, shows that were over months ago at least. It was a terrific time.

Regarding the dancing: Being single and dateless (one not necessarily responsible for the other), I tripped a fandango with three wives (woops, make that four, Andrea’s hitched now) and four beautiful brunettes; all of which had promised or been promised a dance. And, I managed to look not-like-an-orangutan doing it. Honest!

Got compliments on my hair of all things, and was told I looked good; so that felt pretty damn good.

Tonight-- Tonight the WATCH Board announces their nominations. I’m lookin’ forward to it. That’s all I’m sayin’.

More to follow, folks.

To the bride and groom!

Friday, January 13, 2006

Bon Chance, Mon Frere

Tonight, my brother has his first professional gallery opening. The Petersburg Central Library is hosting an exhibit of his photography from all over Paris. Faces of France is going to be one dynamite display. I couldn’t be prouder.

Way to go, Andy.

Yesterday... Was A Day.

Yesterday… I’m having a difficult time believing that there were only 24 hours packed into what shall, for the next fourteen hours anyway, be referred to as… yesterday.

I got up, reasonably well-rested, and headed into DC to record voices for the educational cartoon. The powers that be were gracious enough to allow my brother into the studio for an hour or so; so he could see what it was all about. He had a great time, and I was grateful that he could see me ‘in my element’.

Speaking of in one’s element-- I also got the dime tour of Fairfax Hospital yesterday afternoon, from the only employee there I know. Amanda couldn’t take me anywhere restricted, naturally, but I did get to take it all in. This was her turf. It suited her very nicely.

How did I find the time, you ask? Easy: I took the whole day off from work for the Voice-Over gig, which ended with a few hours of daylight to spare. I’m pleased to report that in addition to the other four voices I do for the show, I got to tackle voice number five, or numéro cinq, as the case may be. *Insert French-sounding chortling here*

It was a full day in the booth. Which, for the record, could use a silent fan, or some AC or something. WHEW. Gets a bit warm in there!

I honestly don’t know what the heck is up with my inner clock. I’m alternately getting not enough sleep, or too much, whatever it is, I’m throwing myself off. Don’t like it. It culminated in my falling asleep on the Metro. I nodded off for about 15 minutes, which naturally meant I missed my transfer stop. KAPLAHR.

I added half an hour to my trip, and ended up being fifteen minutes late to that evening’s callbacks. This was neat: I get to the callbacks, and they’re JUST wrapping up teaching every one a 16-measure dance routine. I watch it… maybe three times, jumping right in and trying to pick up what I could.

I’m not a very good dancer. Words? Yes. Hands? Very nimble. Feet and legs? Nuh-uh. They then review us in lines of five, to observe. I get up for the second line of five, and the dance instructor asks me, “Do you need more time to watch?” I shook my head and answered, “I’m not going to get any better than I am.” Amusingly true.

You may have noticed I didn’t mention the name of the show I tried out for. Don’t wanna jinx myself. Needless to say, I sang better than I have in a while, and the readings went reasonably well too. We’ll know Sunday what the score is.

I finally arrive at home around 11:45, gratefully tired (like I said, haven’t been sleeping well). And I checked my email.

A friend of mine sent me some (frankly) shitty news. For what it's worth, I’m glad they did.

There’s no mood too good, no occasion for which storm clouds would be inappropriate. It happens; and I want my friends (all of them) to know that it’s okay to come to me with anything, anytime. I don’t shoot messengers.

Singing Telegrams are a different story, but that's neither here nor there.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Joke Is Dead, Long Live The Joke

It's been mentioned by a very smart person (oh, why beat around the damn bush: It's Samm) that the word Karma is spelled with K, not a C.

I know this. For the record, I was going for a pun-- as in this case, the cosmic wheel of retribution hit Pedro in his gasoline-fueled, explosion-propelled, motorized conveyance. His car.

Car-ma. Carma-- You know what? I should have used the dash. That might have made it clearer. Oh well, damn it, now it's too late.

That's the last time I use Homonym-based humor with you Philistines... sazza fragga freakin' lava no good ding dang so on killjoys...

'Brainiacs Seek New Round Table'

From the latest edition of Not-Gonna-Happen Weekly:

In the spirit of fostering lively discourse, a pair of local pretentious gits seek to further pad their own egos by surrounding themselves with kindred spirits.

Applicants interested in joining the Aught Six Round Table will be invited to candidly answer questions including the following:

“Can you wittily banter about anything and everything, including that of your chosen field for hours? Can you respond to queries with jest and wit? Can you take a joke? Can you, in fact, verbally lob ninja stars and surreptitiously plant dagger-sharp insults between the ribs of a fellow Round Tabler? Are you a smarty pants?”

In addition, a rigorous performance evaluation will be held; wherein applicants are brought various wines and cheeses that will likely be horrendous. Scores will be rated on A) the face made on first tasting, B) whether or not they can serve said cheese to others, and C) the quality of derisive comments made on the offending dairy.

Applicants wishing to bribe their way into the pair’s auspices are invited to try, although results are not guaranteed.

The duo will be in touch with any and all interested parties, regardless of results.

Ah, Sweet Carma

My best friend Pedro came out to see me at a poetry reading on Clarendon Boulevard, last night. After said event had wrapped up, we decided to find a place to purchase a pair of pints.

Pedro drives like a maniac. Don't get me wrong, he's a very good maniac, but a maniac. In finding a spot on the street, he came within inches of tapping the car before him. I jokingly braced myself for the collision, knowing it wasn't going to happen.

He glares at me.

"Come on, Casey," he starts, backing up and steering towards the curb, "I'm a professional. I know what I'm do--" *BDUMP*. He hit the curb.

I started laughing. I laughed right in his face. Pedro looked down at the steering wheel, mute with defeat. He couldn't. Say. A word. I continued laughing.

We got out of the car and headed for the pub, but not before I leaned on the car for half a minute, laughing so hard my eyes were starting to water.

"Shut up, Casey."

"Ummm, no. BAH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!"

There really is nothing quite laughing at your best friend. Oh sure, I'd have cross words with anyone else who tried to make fun of him, because damn it, he's mine.

Go find your own best friend with occasionally questionable depth perception! BAH!!

Last night was good. Last night was very good. And Pedro provided the icing on the cake.

Gracias, amigo. Heh heh heh...

Monday, January 09, 2006

Little Black Book

You know… I was gonna try and wrap this in some kind of pretty message, but words are failing me. I’ll just say it.

I got one hell of a Christmas present today. Amanda picked out an absolutely gorgeous leather-bound book for me. It fits in my pocket. It’s got my name embossed on the front cover. And it means I never have to scramble for paper to write down an idea again.

A year ago, I received a bevy of terrific Pilot pens in my stocking. I’m delighted to say I haven’t used them all up yet (although I can always use more); and one clips perfectly over the flap of this absolutely gorgeous envelope-wrapped leather-bound book.

I can’t say how much I appreciate thoughtful, wonderfully kick-ass gifts that feed my writing, make it that much easier-- like knowing I never have to scramble for paper to write down an idea again. (Yes, I’m hip to the fact that I’m repeating myself.)

She found it online, made by the fine craftsman at Aspinal of London. The reason I received it today was due to the fact that they had back-orders. (And they’re in London.) They had back-orders because the things they make are absolutely. Gorgeous.

I love it. Thank you, Amanda. Grazzi! Merci! Muchas Gracias!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

It's Just His *Thing*

Showbiz is, occasionally, a wonderful thing. I love it. Actors get typecast. Not all of ‘em, and not necessarily to their detriment, either. Take Jeffrey Tambor.

Okay-- Don’t take Mr. Tambor just yet. Typecast: To be pigeonholed. Seen frequently enough in a certain sort of role that the public eventually has difficulty seeing you in any other sort of role.

Now take Mr. Tambor. The man rocks. I’ve seen him in a number of roles, and one word keeps popping up in my mind: Media. Tambor plays men of the public like nobody’s business, and he’s been getting paid to do it for years.

Tonight, the Muppet’s Wizard of Oz was on, and not completely bereft of an inner eight-year-old, I tuned in. Jeffrey Tambor played the Wizard, a confessed sham. Even after the public admission, he worked the crowd (consisting of Beeker and Dr. Bunsen Honeydew) like a pro.

Has he been typecast? A bit. But it hasn’t been exclusive: he’s played plenty of characters that haven’t had a thing to do with media. But it’s something you know he can always go back to. It’s what he does best.

That’s a good thing to see.

Well, This Changes Things

I had my first class this weekend at Baltimore University.

It was an eye-opener. Gave me some perspective on the business.

I mentioned the Metro contest; something I was excited about entering... Something that as of Saturday, I can’t do.

Voice-work is a hard enough line of work to make it in, without businesses making it sound like a good idea to work for free. It undercuts what professionals are trying to do.

Does that sound like I’m calling myself a professional? Certainly not yet. But if I want to take it seriously, if I want to even think about joining them, I can’t go trying to do for free (like entering a contest) what they should be paying V.O. artists for.

Anyway. There that is.

More to follow, folks.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Off To Class

This morning, I’m off to Baltimore University for the first of four classes in Voice-Over technique. I’m prepped: Got directions, a notebook, a check for this week’s tuition, tape recorder, and a CD with the best samples of what I’ve done so far. So there’s that.

I think what I like most about the idea of this class is that I have no idea what to expect. I’ve been speaking in public for years, and modifying my voice into all sorts of crazy dialects and characters for just as long. By all standards, I’m damn good at both. And I want to get better.

I want to hone my timing. I want to know how to take one look at copy and know which words are going to require more punch. I want to rid myself of any ‘bad habits’ in the booth and be the absolute greatest threat to everyone else in the business that I can be.

That way, if and when I join the necessary unions and step up to the big leagues… well. I’d be able to take myself more seriously. And so will everyone else.

Pardon the term… but I really like the sound of that.

Friday, January 06, 2006

In The Studio. Oh wait, Studios. Hah! PLURAL!

Folks, it’s been a week. It’s been a very good week. And next week is looking even better.

I spent two hours in the booth yesterday, doing my first shift for a Books on Tape company in Bethesda; reading character voices. We hopped from one booth to the next (and from one serialized story to the next), and it was just terrific.

If that weren’t enough (and it is), next Thursday I’m headed back into DC to record round one of the second set of episodes for the cartoon. Can’t say much of anything, I’m afraid, but I will tell you this: The scripts are hilarious. This stuff is educational, and it’ll be enjoyable for the teachers, too. And I can’t get enough.

I know exactly how lucky I am, folks, to be able to do this. And I intend to savor every minute of it. Every last minute.

You better believe there’ll be more to follow.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

If I Could Write My Own Copy:

Ah. Good day, friends. In a hurry to get someplace in the DC area? Feel like traveling over forty miles an hour just beneath the earth’s crust? Then please: Do consider the Metro: Quick. Convenient. Affordable.

Pray, do be considerate of your fellow journeymen on the mildly subterranean trek ‘neath the Nation’s Capitol. Keep all hands, feet, and personal belongings well away from the doors, as the slightest obstruction may cause frustrating delays.

Godspeed, travelers. Godspeed.

Doors Closing.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

I Am SO Doing This:

The DC Metro, transit system near and dear to my heart, is holding a contest. Door Closing Voice 2006 is an opportunity to provide the recordings for the Metro for an entire year.

There’s no pay involved. No remuneration whatsoever, other than the opportunity to have thousands of people a day hear your voice. Over, and over, and over again. “Doors closing.” HAH.

I am so entering this contest. Results will be announced in February. BAM.

Who knows? This could be the kind of gig that… really opens doors.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Well, That's A Load Off

I jumped the gun. It was just a rumor, and one Spielberg's people wasted no time in de-bunking. Whew!

I'll confirm my sources for next time, folks. Sorry for the to-do.

A Spoonful Of Sugar Isn't Going To Help, Here

In what surely must be taken as a sign that the cinematic powers that be are deliberately trying to unlock the very gates of Hell, Steven Spielberg is remaking Mary Poppins.

Sweet Baby Jesus.

Are we so hard up for movie ideas that we have to exhaust the annals of bad 70’s television, or try to remake movies that really, really needn’t be touched?

Remakes: You’re either going to knock it out of the park, or take a 98 mile-an-hour fastball straight to the crotch. Let’s take a look, shall we?

MGM’s Wizard of Oz was the fifth incarnation of that title, in less than thirty full years. The Stepford Wives was a debacle. Planet of the Apes even moreso. The Mummy remake hopped genres, but was still enjoyable (and lucrative enough to garner a sequel and a spin-off). Gaslight was made twice in just four years, starring Ingrid Bergman and a young Angela Lansbury the second time around. It’s excellent. One of my favorites, 1974’s The Front Page, is a remake. So is The Thing. That one’s at the absolute top of the list.

But Mary Poppins? Mary Poppins?? No one could argue that they didn’t get it right the first time. There is literally nothing wrong with it. It’s movie magic, it’s uplifting, and it starred Julie Andrews. I don’t need to use adjectives to describe her. You know who I’m talking about. She’s Julie Andrews.

I never saw the remake of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Much as I love Steve Martin, The Pink Panther isn’t on my list to see, either. The originals were too good.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention King Kong. Peter Jackson did marvelous things with it, and remained faithful to the original movie by completely skipping the trip from Skull Island back to New York. And I loved it.

Hell: Mel Brooks took one of his best movies, The Producers, and put it on Broadway as a Musical. It SWEPT the Tony’s and is now back in theatres as the movie of the musical of the movie. Similar plans are in motion for Young Frankenstein.

There’s also something to be said for taking a new look at older material, and changing it enough that you’re not just rehashing greatness. Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead leaps to mind. What possessed Tom Stoppard to adapt Hamlet to his own devices? I don’t know. But I’m glad he did.

As for Poppins 2.0, I reserve judgment. I really don’t think Spielberg is going to do any great thing with it. He’s got some huge shoes to fill. I just hope he’s got his cup; because the words ‘Swing and a miss’ are rebounding through my mind.

Oh, God-- Nobody’s touching Casablanca, are they?

BLUE! You're Mah Boy! You're Mah Boy, Blue!!

Ladies and Gentlemen; A moment of silence for Patrick Crenshaw. The veteran actor passed away of natural causes, on December 28th.

Anyone that saw Old School will instantly recognize him as “Blue”, the eldest pledge member of the fraternity, who was longer in years than some of his brothers combined:
“Just ring the ****ing bell, you pansy.”

Crenshaw performed memorably in other movies over the years, several of which are near and dear to my heart: He played the elderly mail-sorter in The Hudsucker Proxy, and the singing Hobo on the train in Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. He also turned in a number of guest appearances on TV, including Dukes of Hazzard, Green Acres, Night Court, even Wonder Woman. He’s been playing old men since 1970.

There’s such a thing as taking a role and running with it; but we all know Patrick Crenshaw wasn’t running anywhere. He was too old. Still. He scored a spot into the brain, and anyone that’s seen his more prominent work is bound not to forget him.

I can see you, Blue. And you look glorious.

Not So Dire Straights

Tonight, I ventured for the first time into the world of Poker. My friend Bill invited me over to his place for a few rounds of a friendly game, and I had fun.

It’s something I’ve been interested in for a while now, but never really had an opportunity to play. The game was Texas Hold ‘Em. The balance o’ power shifted more than once, and thanks to a straight or two (nothing royal nor flush-y), I was able to stay in the game as long as I did.

Had a good time. A good, good time. Tomorrow for Movie Night, my brother and I have The Thing lined up, and if there’s time (which there probably will be), the original Superman. My Aunt Riggin went above and beyond the call of holiday duty and got me Superman I and II for Christmas. (III and IV need not be spoken of. If you’ve seen them, you know why. Ahem.)

Samm, my prayers are with you, and I’m glad to hear you’re okay.

The new year has begun, folks. Let’s make it a good one.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Def-Con FIVE

There are occasions when one is given to dread: The chips are down, and disaster looms like a 300-lb. lunch-lady; ready and willing to heap on your tray the Sloppy Joe of Doom. (Which comes with the French Fries of Certain Death, or the Vegetable Medley of Unending Torment.)

I sit, facing similar uneasiness, in a building in which there is absolutely. No. Coffee.

The Cafeteria is closed. The various shops of convenience about the building are all closed. The question, “Why are they closed when we still have to show up for work?” rings in my mind with the clarity of a caf-fiend staring down the oncoming tsunami of yawns and drowsiness. In addition to having no coffee (or in subtraction, as the case fits), I won’t be able to get any milk for my cereal.


There goes the planned breakfast and lunch. Oh, sure, I also have some fresh fruit and granola, but those aren’t going to get me through the whole day. Now I have to go out, for lunch. And spend money. The upside being, I’ve got that Starbucks gift card in my wallet… Mmm. Lunchtime Latte’.

I think I’ll live.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

It's The First Of The Month

Bunny, Bunny.