Thursday, June 28, 2007

Ratings

I found a website today that rates the content of your blog with the same rating system that movies use. I entered my blog and it returned a rating of PG. I was quite disappointed. My guess is that they missed this post entirely.

Online Dating

P.S. - If you want to post the image above on your blog, it comes with a stupid little ad for the dating site the blog rater is hosted on. You'll just have to go in and edit the HTML to take it out. Just delete everything after the first "

".

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Sickness

Being sick sucks. I've had a cold for the past few days and it has not been fun. Unfortunately, tonight is the last chance I'll have to get some good sleep so I'll be keeping this short. Tomorrow night I have Jerkology and on Friday morning I'll be flying out to Providence to perform in an improv festival. I'll be flying back on Sunday morning. Hopefully, I can kick this cold soon.

Off to bed.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Cubs Game

I went to the Cubs game last night. A friend of Dee's organized it for her birthday celebration. I haven't been feeling well, so I wasn't too excited to go to the game. Plus, I hate baseball.

Anyway, the Cubs jumped out to an early 4-1 lead in the first when someone hit a home run. They added a few more runs before Colorado tacked on a couple to make it 6-3. That's when I left. Like I said - I wasn't feeling well and I have a long week ahead of me so I wanted to get the hell out and try to get some sleep. Plus, the people around me were making it very hard for me to see the game. We were sitting on the far side of the aisle from home plate. Between the vendors constantly standing there and the people around me getting in the way because they came to socialize, I saw maybe two plays.

I'm not upset, though. I wouldn't have watched the damn game at all if I didn't have tickets, so I really didn't miss anything. Besides, it's baseball - Cubs baseball.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Jerkology #2

Last night was the second showing of Jerkology. Time Out Chicago was on hand to review the show, unfortunately Aaron was not there to perform so I had to fill in for him. I knew well beforehand that Aaron would be out of town, so we were able to plan for it.

I was feeling especially nervous for this show since I would have to try to match Aaron's hilarity for the reviewer. This meant that I was even more anxious and intolerable before the show than I was last week. Thankfully, the rest of the cast is a bunch of pros and handled it very well.

Once the show started, I settled down and fell right into performance mode. We nailed the opening scene and audience really seemed to get a kick out of our antics. In the next scene, I let my nerves show a little bit by botching a line, but Jason covered me and the scene was still just fine. After that the show just rolled along like it had the week before. The audience seemed to enjoy our jerkiness just enough to laugh at all the right places. Jason and Marty were especially good last night and the audience ate up any scene that they were in. I felt okay about my performance, but wished I had loosened up a bit.

In the end, I still felt like we had a good show. It wasn't quite as good as the opening show but I think it will be good enough to get us a decent review.

Jerkology
Thursdays @ 11pm - June 14-28, July 12-26
Stage Left Theater
$8 - BYOB

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Blackford County Writers

I may have mentioned earlier that my high school classmate, Ted Kluck, wrote a book about Mike Tyson called Facing Tyson: Fifteen Fighters, Fifteen Stories. It's a good read - even if you're not a boxing fan (which I'm not). If you're looking for something to read right now, pick it up.

I am currently in midst of reading another book written by another former Blackford County resident. It's called Coaching a Wing-T Based Multiple Offense. Granted, this book doesn't have the appeal that Ted's book does, but it is well written and in-depth in its explanation of the Wing-T offense and how to coach and teach it. That's not my point, anyway. The author of the book, Chuck Shroyer, was my Pee Wee Football coach. He was the man who taught me how to run the option and had enough confidence to let the 12 year-old version of me read the end and make my own decision on the keep or pitch. It was the first time he had let a Pee Wee quarterback do such a thing. A pretty proud moment for me. It was also the beginning of my love affair with the game of football.

Anyway, these are two guys that I grew up with and shared football fields with and they've each written a pretty impressive book.

Maybe I'll get my ass in gear and write one someday.

The Pros and Cons of Receiving the Complete DVD Series of the X-Files

Pros:
1) Shipping and handling is covered by the government. Don't ask.
2) No Steely Dan songs appear in any of the episodes.
3) The Smoking Man.

Cons:
1) Once people see it on your shelf, they'll ask to see your comic book collection.
2) You find out that "Mulder and Scully" is an anagram for "Lord Voldemort."
3) The Truth isn't out there.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Pros and Cons of Owning a VCR

Pros:
1) All of the slots on your TV console are full.
2) The flashing 12:00 functions as a night light for your living room.
2) You can watch "Time Bandits" anytime you want

Cons:
1) It still won't play Betamax.
2) You still can't set the time.
3) Your mom can still show the video of your date picking you up from the prom.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Pros and Cons of Taking a Pottery Class

Pros:
1) Pottery wheel.
2) You'll have plenty of excess ash trays.
3) 'Kiln' can be used as a euphemism for vagina.

Cons:
1) You'll be subjected to endless "Ghost" jokes.
2) Everything you make will look like the work of a 4th grader.
3) Your instructor will say things like, "Be one with the clay."

Long Weekend

Thursday night's opening of Jerkology was just the beginning of my weekend. After the show, I came home and finished packing a small bag for my weekend adventures. You see, Dee bought me tickets to the Wilco show at the Murat Theater in Indianapolis for Friday night. Isn't she sweet? Yes, she is. Since my brother lives in Indianapolis, we also invited him and his girlfriend to join us. Dee and I made it to Indy just in time to pick up Drew and meet his girlfriend at the theater.

We had pretty good seats near the back on the floor and got settled about five minutes before Wilco took the stage. It had been almost two years since I had seen Wilco play live, so I was excited to see them again - especially since they had just put out a new album. The new album (Sky Blue Sky) is pretty mellow, so I didn't quite know what to expect. They opened with "A Shot In the Arm" from one of their earlier albums and I knew that they still liked to make a little noise. They played a few mellow-ish tunes and then steadily turned up the energy throughout the show until they were flat-out rocking during "Spiders (Kidsmoke)" and "Outtasite (Outta Mind)" in the second encore. They finished up an hour and a half long set with "California Stars" and said goodnight. They managed to play every song that I had hoped to hear and even a couple that I had forgotten that I wanted to hear until they started playing them. There was also a cool moment during one of their new songs, "Shake It Off" where the audience would shout "Hoo!" after each chorus line. After the song Jeff Tweedy said, "Hoo! Hey, Indianapolis, you just invented that." and laughed. After a short pause he said - in jest, "I don't like it." I was a great show and I was singing Wilco songs all weekend. In fact, I even made a playlist on my iPod from the setlist from the show.

After the show, we went to the Ram Brewery to get a late-night snack. That place is slowly becoming an Indianapolis tradition for me. The last two times I have been to Indy, I've eaten there. The last time was on Super Bowl Sunday. We then went back to Drew's girlfriend's house and crashed for the night.

On Saturday, my parents drove down to Indy to have dinner with the four of us and then Dee and I followed them back to Hartford City. Dee and I dropped our stuff at my parents' house and crossed the back yard to visit my grandparents. We sat with them for a while and talked about the current Shuttle mission and speculated on when my uncle might get to go into space. I learned that my uncle could have been to space a few times already, but that he's holding out until he can get a spot in the driver's seat. Good for him.

Sunday morning, Dee and I had breakfast with my parents and packed our things to head back to Chicago. We went directly to her parents' house for a BBQ for Father's Day. We got to visit with the family and eat a hot dog or two and then Dee and I started to crash. Dee and I were both so tired that we left before they broke out the sundae bar.

Once we got home, we unpacked, threw some laundry in the washer and took a short nap on the couch. We then spent the rest of the evening going over my lines for Jerkology so I can fill in for Aaron this Thursday. Afterwards, I watched Entourage while Dee dozed on my shoulder and then we called it a night. I had no trouble falling asleep - rare for a Sunday - and slept like a rock.

It was a good weekend, but one filled with lots of driving and a lot of unfamiliar beds. It was good to finally get home and rest my head on my own pillow.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Jerkology Opening Night

If you've been following along at all, you know that last night was the opening night of my new sketch show, Jerkology. I spent most of the day going about my business and not worrying too much about it until after work. Once I was free of the shackles of my job, Jerkology began weighing heavy on my mind. At first I began worrying about all the logistical details of the show, so I sat down and reviewed the prop list and checked in on everyone who needed to bring any props to make sure they had what they needed. Then I checked my iPod to make sure I had the sound cues in the right order on my Jerkology playlist. I put a few final touches on the pre-show playlist and was set to go.


I packed up all my props and headed off to meet the cast at Pick Me Up Cafe for a quick read-through before the show. The read-through was a little rocky, but that can be expected in a loud and distraction filled cafe. Once we finally got into the theater, we ran a few of the more technical scenes, set the props and rearranged the stage. Luckily, the prime time show that is running has a very sparse set that works perfectly for Jerkology - we've got all the space we needed.


As show time approached I got more antsy and irritable thanks to my nerves. I decided to get the hell away from the cast and take my seat in the audience. My good friend (and outstanding pH member) Alaina chose to sit next to me - unfortunately for her. I spent the minutes leading up to the show wondering aloud if the show was ever going to start and unfairly calling people names. She did her best to try to calm me down, but eventually said, "I don't know how to help you." I couldn't be helped. I just needed the show to start.


Once the sizable crowd (around 20) got settled and the lights dropped to signal the beginning of the show, I began to calm down. All I had to do from this point on was watch and listen (mostly - you'll have to come see the show to see what else I do). As soon as the lights came up, I knew that this show was going to be better than any of the runs we had done in rehearsal. Everyone had turned it up a notch. They were all in performance mode and their energy was great. After the first two scenes, I knew that I was watching a good show. The audience was enjoying it and they really appreciated the monologues and some of the darker moments in the show (that worried me the most) got some of the biggest reactions of the night. The cast fed off of this and performed the hell out of the show.


Everything went about as perfectly as I could have hoped. The tech was right on and there was only one semi-slip of the lines, but it didn't hurt the scene at all. I will be making a few directorial changes before the next show, but they are fairly minor and have to do with pacing. I think it was a success as the audience walked away with a good feeling, but not before hanging around in the theater and chatting with the cast for a while - always a good sign. I have absolutely no idea what the reviewer thought because I had no idea which audience member she was, but I'm not worried about the review because people had fun and that's the whole point.

Jerkology
Thursdays @ 11pm - June 14-28, July 12-26
Stage Left Theater
$8 - BYOB

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Pros and Cons of Being a Shepherd

Pros:
1) Sheep are slow and therefore easy to wrangle. You'll hardly break a sweat.
2) You get to carry around a large hooked staff without having to take a vow of celibacy.
3) Your sweaters always smell farm fresh.

Cons:
1) The robes are often made from burlap. Welcome to Chafetown.
2) If a really bright star appears you have to follow it - and bring myrrh.
3) You're probably Scottish.

Bom Chicka Wah Wah

Axe Body Spray has a new set of TV ads based around the standard "Bom Chicka Wah Wah" riff often associated with porn. If you haven't seen them already, you can catch a few of them here, here and here. The commercials are somewhat clever and mildly amusing, but I don't use Axe and I don't ever intend to. I just can't get used to the idea of spraying glorified deodorant all over myself. I digress.

As part of their "Bom Chicka Wah Wah" (their spelling, not mine) promotion, they commissioned about five girls dressed in white tank tops, jeans shorts, work boots and hard hats to stand around a pickup truck parked at Monroe and Dearborn and shout "Bom Chicka Wah Wah" and various other catcalls at men passing by. The truck was adorned with the "Bom Chicka Wah Wah" logo - as were their hats. From what I could tell, they weren't giving out free samples of anything, they were just standing their shouting at all of the men that passed by. My co-worker and I were heckled by those girls as we walked by.

I was a little weirded out by the whole thing for a few seconds (all of you women out there are probably saying, "Now you know how it feels." For the record, I'm pretty sure I don't know how it feels since I most likely don't share the same sensitivities and vulnerabilities as a woman.) until I realized it was a just a promotional stunt - and a poorly executed one at that.

Here are a few of the many problems I found with this promotion:
1) It's not immediately obvious that these women are supposed to be at a construction site. They just seem like badly dressed women hanging out by the curb.

2) The women were shouting and calling at every man that walked by. The promotion is for Axe. You'd think they would have another station further down the street handing out samples and then the girls would only call out to them. The way they did it would make you think that no one needs Axe Body Spray. Which turns out to be exactly correct.

3) The women were not attractive. Guys will gravitate towards attractive women. There are no shortage of attractive women in Chicago. However, there may be a shortage of attractive women who are willing to hang out by the curb in revealing attire because they don't want to feel like prostitutes.

4) There were no signs anywhere indicating what the hell they were supposed to be selling. If you weren't familiar with the commercials - which I wasn't - you had to look it up. I did, but only because I wanted to make fun of it on my blog.

5) Axe is one of the stupidest products ever. The people who buy it are even stupider. On second thought, this campaign might work like a charm on their target audience.

Jerkology Rehearsal

On Monday we had our final rehearsal before the opening of the show. Everyone was there and I just wanted to do another full run-through of the show. I didn't want to overwork any of the scenes. I want the scenes to stay fresh and I don't want the cast to get in their heads about the work they're doing.

I ran "tech" by using my iPod speakers and flipping the light switch when necessary. Everything was pretty seamless and there were only a few missed lines in the entire show. The lines that were missed weren't even lines from the toughest scenes or monologues. They were minor hiccups in the scenes that likely wouldn't have been noticed by the audience.

The actors have done their part. Now let's just hope that I did mine. We're getting reviewed tomorrow which makes me a little more nervous, but I think we've got a good show. At this point there is nothing we can do but go out there and give it our best shot - which is exactly what we will do.

Jerkology
Thursdays @ 11pm - June 14-28, July 12-26
Stage Left Theater
$8 - BYOB

Friday, June 08, 2007

My Uncle, the Astronaut

If you log on to www.nasa.gov right now and click on the link in the bottom right hand corner for NASA TV, you can hear my uncle talking to the Space Shuttle Atlantis. Every now and then an announcer will come on and tell you who he is (Kevin Ford), but you'll know who he is when the folks in the Shuttle call him "Kevin" or "Houston."

If you missed him tonight, you can log on tomorrow (Saturday) at around 5pm and he'll be back again talking to the Shuttle and helping them solve any problems they might have.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Pros and Cons of Living in a Cave

Pros:
1) It technically qualifies you as a hermit. The tax benefits are astounding.
2) All you need to add a new room is water and a lot of time.
3) It's a great place to park your Batmobile.

Cons:
1) Most of your income will be spent on batteries for your flashlights. That's not deductible.
2) You'll have to explain the meaning of "spelunking" a lot.
3) Your little gay friend will constantly be stopping by to take you out to "fight crime."

Monday, June 04, 2007

Jerkology Rehearsal

Tonight we did our first full run-through - and the Artistic Director was there to see it. Everything went very well. He had a few technical questions for us and we answered them to his satisfaction. His biggest comment was that we needed to get the lines down. He was right, there were parts where the lines were a little rough. However, I'm not too worried about the lines that were missed because the people that missed their lines are the people who had them down last week. I think it was a function of people feeling comfortable last week and not brushing up on the lines before this rehearsal.

In all, I feel pretty good about the show after seeing it run all the way through for the first time. The show went more quickly than I had expected and I'm a little bit worried about the time. However, the show looked about like I expected it to look. The laugh-out-loud funny scenes were laugh-out-loud funny and the more clever scenes got the reaction I expected. After watching someone watch the show, I realized that Jerkology captures the range of my sense of humor very well. I suppose that shouldn't be a surprise since I wrote the whole damn thing. However, it caught me off guard. I wrote the sketches for the show over a period of about a year and a half and I never meant for the show to capture my sense of humor. It did.

Now I just have to hope that an audience (multiple audiences) will enjoy my sense of humor.

Friday, June 01, 2007

What a Day

Yesterday was a marathon of a day which means that I am a walking zombie today.

It began in the early hours of the morning yesterday. Dee and I ended our Wednesday by heading to bed around 10:30 pm. Near midnight, Dee woke me up to let me know that we had lost power. I got up and checked the breaker box, but everything looked okay. I heard some voices out in the courtyard and figured that others must be having similar problems. They were. Apparently, the power was out for a good number of blocks in our neighborhood. I figured that there was nothing left for me to do, so I went back to bed and tried to fall asleep without much luck. By the time I woke up in the morning, the power was restored and I was tired.

I made it to work and had the usual hectic, busy day. Tiring all by itself.

After work, I headed home and helped Dee clean up the place so that it would look nice for my parent's visit. We finished cleaning and got ready for dinner. Mom and Dad showed up and we went to an Italian place in my neighborhood for dinner. Good food, good company. After dinner we went back to my place and showed my parents around and chatted for a little bit. Unfortunately, we couldn't hang out for too long because I had to go to tech rehearsal for Jerkology.

I got to the theater on time and the whole cast was there - plus the tech guy. We went in and I started to get set up. Unfortunately, the y-splitter that we use to connect our iPods to the sound board was missing. That meant that we didn't have any way of playing the music we needed for the show - which was the whole point of showing up at the theater. After tearing the theater apart looking for the cord, I finally gave up and went to Walgreen's to pick up some cheap iPod speakers that we could use. By the time I got back, it was an hour after we were supposed to start. Luckily, the cast was patient with the issues and spent the time practicing their lines.

Once we finally got the music going, everything went very well. The cast new their lines - with a few exceptions - and we got a chance to try a few scenes with full props and they got even funnier. Because we started so late, we didn't get to run the whole show top to bottom, but we did the last half and all of the transitions and it went fairly smoothly. Luckily, there aren't a lot of weird transitions or complicated tech so we didn't have to spend a lot of time talking about how we get from scene to scene, it just came naturally to the cast.

By the time we had finished it was after 1am and I was dead on my feet. I got home around 1:30 and got ready for bed so that I could get up bright and early for work today. No surprise: I am completely exhausted and I'm looking forward to a nap and a long night of good sleep.