Monday, July 30, 2007

The Weekend

Another weekend with no shows to do. I beginning to wonder if I'm even in the cast anymore. I won't be doing shows next weekend, either. I have a wedding to go to. Hopefully I'll get to do a show or two in August. I'll keep you updated.


Friday night turned into another movie night in the Ford household. Dee and I were both pretty exhausted from the late night on Thursday due to Jerkology (okay, this is no longer a plug it's just simply fact - though it still feel pluggy, no?). We had a choice of The Godfather or Running With Scissors as those were the two Netflix movies we had at the time. Since neither of us had ever seen The Godfather and were feeling quite guilty about it, we decided to watch that. Actually, I decided to watch that while Dee fell asleep next to me on the couch. We both knew that going in.


Guess what? The Godfather is a damn good movie. After seeing it I felt even worse that I hadn't seen it. I've seen it now though, so I don't feel so bad about not having seen it. Of course, Dee can't really say that she's seen it even though she's kinda seen it. I'm sure she'll say she's seen it, though. It was really interesting to finally see all of the famous scenes that everyone talks about in context. I always knew that the horse head in the bed was from The Godfather, but had no idea how it would make any sense in the movie. However, it makes perfect sense now that I've seen the movie. All of those Sopranos references to the movie make a lot more sense now - including the final scene (which I loved by the way).


On Saturday, Dee and I slept in. Her Nana's birthday was on Thursday and the family had planned a small celebration for Saturday afternoon. We got ourselves cleaned up and headed out to her parents' place in the 'burbs. Unfortunately, the party was at her Nana's place. Once we figured that out we went there instead. We had some pizza, chatted with the family and ate a little bit of birthday cake. Nana is 83. She's a spunky little champ. I love her. We're best buddies.


Dee had a bachelorette party to attend in the evening and I was going to a going away party for my friend Jon, so we got home around 6pm and got ready for our little parties. Dee got ready for her party. I played Guitar Hero. Once Dee finished getting ready, I drove her down to the party and set out for my own party.


The going away party was also a Guitar Hero themed party as Jon is a huge Guitar Hero fan. He had the new Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s game. I have to say that I'm a little disappointed. There aren't any Def Leppard songs. C'mon people. There are also some other notable omissions, but I can't think of them now. Figure it out for yourself, go to the Wikipedia entry and check the songlist. Around 1am I was feeling a bit tired, so I bid Jon farewell and made my way back home. Dee and I had been exchanging texts throughout the night so I have some documentation of her getting more and more drunk. I decided to hit the sack around 2am and zonked out pretty quickly. I suddenly awoke at about 6:30am and realized that Dee was still not home. I checked my phone and noticed that I had a text from her at 3:10am that read, "Yes baza." I interpreted this to mean: "I'm lying in a ditch somewhere in case you want to get in touch with the authorities." I immediately called her. No answer. I called her again. No answer. I called a third time. No answer. Last try. She finally answered. She informed me that she managed to get really, really drunk and pass out at her friend's sister's place. She and her friend tried to call me, but I didn't answer. Wrong. My phone got no calls.

She decided to come home around 7am and she promptly crawled into bed and crashed for the rest of the day. As the day wore on, I decided to check my work email and discovered that I had received two voice mails on my work phone (we have a system at work that sends us an email when we get voice mails). Dee and her friend had called me, but at the wrong number. Drunk times is good times.

Thanks to her killer hangover, we put our TV shopping trip on hold and spent the day lounging around the house. In fact, I don't think Dee ever left the house yesterday. I went out only to get her cheeseburgers from McDonald's.

My weekends are so awesome.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Jerkology #6

Last night we performed the sixth and final Jerkology. We had our largest crowd yet as a big group of Dee's friends came, a smaller group of some of my friends from the train that I used to take to the 'burbs came and some other random folks filled the place out. I was excited because I knew it would be a kind crowd that would be ready to laugh. I just hoped that we wouldn't let them down.

As always, the show opened well - everyone loves a good dance number. Jason and Aaron did their best version of Vegas yet. They improvised quite a bit more and added some fun little bits. After that the show derailed a bit. Some lines got dropped in the cop scene though I think they covered fairly well. Tristan nailed her opening monologue - as always. The Deal or No Deal scene was okay - even though we had some technical difficulties getting the phone to ring. That was kind of the theme for the night.

After one of the earlier scenes, the music was turned up way too high and blasted everyone's eardrums and the transitions between the scenes were a bit too long again. It made for a show that never really found its rhythm and it showed in the performances. A couple of the scenes were more low-energy than I had hoped, but still got plenty of laughs from the audience.

In the end it was still a good show and the audience really seemed to enjoy it. That's what they told me on the way out, anyway. One of the audience members that I did not know actually thanked me on the way out. Pretty cool. It certainly wasn't the best show to close the run, but it still accomplished its goal.

Coming soon... Thoughts on the overall show, process and experience.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Weekend

This weekend I was not scheduled to perform in any shows, so I had all of my evenings free to do whatever I pleased. When Dee asked what we should to Friday night, I replied, "Sleep." The week had pretty much sapped all of my energy. On Wednesday, I woke up to discover that we no longer had hot water. After making a few phone calls, I discovered that the gas had been shut off to the hot water heater for our building. After a few more phone calls, I discovered that it wouldn't be turned back on until Friday afternoon. Because of this, I woke up early and went in to work to shower at the gym. Needless to say, I didn't get as much sleep as I had hoped. Especially since I got to bed late on Thursday after Jerkology. In summary, we stayed in and watched The Bourne Supremacy. It was good.

Saturday we woke up around 9am and decided to go play some tennis. Because we dallied around a bit, we didn't get to the tennis courts until about 11am but still managed to get in about two solid hours of good tennis. We hadn't played in about a year so we were pretty rusty at first. Eventually, we found our groove and managed to have a few pretty good rallies and I really started nailing my serve by the end. Of course, my shoulder and forearm are killing me now. I feel old.

Saturday evening we had tickets to 500 Clown Macbeth at the Steppenwolf. For some reason we thought the show started at 8pm when it actually started at 9pm. We were a bit early. Since we had time to kill, we strolled over to Borders. I was surprised to see a table piled with Harry Potter books. I expected the bookstores to be completely sold out, but there were still copies to be had. I did not buy a copy because I had one being delivered from Amazon.com. After browsing around the bookstore, we made our way back to the theater. I expected a crazy and physical show and that was exactly what we got. I knew I was going to like it right away when they entered from the rafters at the back of the theater. Most of the show was improvised, but they were definitely hitting their beats and kept moving the show along in an interesting way. It's hard to describe and I'll do it more justice when I write a review.

On Sunday I got a massage. It was my first massage in about six months and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I have some serious knots in my shoulders and she worked them over pretty good. I definitely felt more relaxed afterwards. After the massage, Dee and I went to Best Buy to check out some TVs. We didn't make a huge purchase, but we did by a 26" LG LCD to replace our TV in the bedroom. We love it and are excited to make the bigger purchase soon. We still have to do more shopping, though.

Sunday evening we went to The Spot to meet Molly and Tristan who were celebrating their birthdays. We went for a couple of drinks and headed back home to get a little shuteye. We got some, but not enough. We were both dragging today.

On that note, I'm off to bed.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Jerkology #5

Last night's show was easily the best show we've done so far. All of the scenes were the best we've ever done them or very near to the best we've done. There was a lot of improvisation in the scenes as everyone is very comfortable in their roles and adds really great stuff that only makes the scenes better.

We had a decent sized crowd that was loving the show from the very beginning. Jason and Aaron performed their opening scene, Vegas, differently than they ever had before and I loved it. So did the crowd. Instead of amping the energy up right away, they built it up a little more gradually. It really sucked everyone in. Marty and Jason really nailed their adopted scene and their tongue-twister scene.

One of Dee's friends said to me after the show, "That was great, but we wanted it to be longer." That's about the best compliment you can get. Always leave 'em wanting more.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Random Things

Jerkology rides again tonight. I expect it to go well again. Everyone should have all of their lines down by now, plus they should be excited to perform the last two shows of the run so the energy will be good.

I'm going to be in a meeting from 9-5 today. I'm not looking forward to it at all. We're doing the same thing again tomorrow. These next two days are going to drag.

Dee and I have started doing research on TVs. We've still got an old CRT as our main set and it's time to upgrade. I'm learning all about LCDs, Plasmas, HDTV, EDTV, 1080i and all that other good stuff. We're going to go look at some sets on Sunday.

Have a good day.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Review: Brokeback Mountain

Dee and I added Brokeback Mountain to our Netflix queue some time ago and it finally showed up at our home prior to the weekend. We decided to watch it on Monday night.

This is a movie that won all kinds of awards and accolades and was hailed as one of the greatest movies of 2006. I'm baffled. So is Dee. This movie took over two hours to relate a short story to us. A short story. The movie was anything but short. It was long and boring. I realize that this is the second movie review in a row that has complained about the length. You may think that I have problems with long movies. I don't. I like a nice long movie as much as any major movie buff. However, I do have a problem with movies that are longer than they need to be. This is one of those movies. We saw a whole lot of unnecessary family time with the the two main characters. We could get the gist of the situations with their families in a lot less time than they took. More than once Dee and I took a little time to talk about how long and boring the movie was - and we didn't miss a thing.

It's fairly obvious to me that this movie simply got the accolades it got because it was about gay cowboys. Otherwise, this movie isn't interesting at all. In fact, it's pretty much a retelling of the Romeo and Juliet story with cowboys and gay guys.

If you haven't seen it, you're not missing anything. No matter how much Hollywood tells you that you are.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Social Networking

Everyone has a MySpace page now (or Facebook or whatever other site). Even I have a MySpace page. However, I only have one because someone created one for me as a joke. They then turned the control over to me. Since that time, the page has not been updated. The only thing I ever log on to MySpace for is to reject all of the friend requests from the spammers. I would log on more often if I thought my MySpace page was actually useful for something.

What in the world would I possibly use MySpace for? If I want to get in touch with my friends, I have email. If I want to share my pictures, I have Picasa (or Flickr). If I want to blog, I have this site. I guess I can see how there might be some benefit to having everything all on one page, but MySpace does all of those things about half as good as any of the other sites. Plus, they manage to make it look crappy at the same time.

Maybe I'm old and out of touch. Okay, I'm definitely old and out of touch. I just don't see the benefits of maintaining and using my MySpace page. I don't need to rack up a bunch of friends for people to see. I know who my friends are - and most of them don't have MySpace pages. The ones that do have MySpace pages know that I don't see the point, so they don't even bother to contact me there. Or maybe they do. I don't check.

I just don't get it. I don't see how MySpace could possibly be helpful or useful or interesting in any way. If someone can give me a good reason why I should use MySpace, please post it in the comments.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Jerkology #4

As I wrote yesterday, I was confident that Jerkology would go well - and it did. We had another good crowd - somewhere around the 15 mark. Not too bad for 11pm on a Thursday night. Dee was responsible for about five of those people - including her pregnant friend Laura. What a trooper. My friend from work brought his girlfriend and another friend of his and we had about seven other random people who saw ads for the show online and decided to check it out.

From the very beginning the show had better energy than our last show and it made all the difference. The crowd was really into the opening dance scene and Aaron and Jason did a great job with their opening scene to keep the energy up. The monologues went over pretty well - I even heard some of the audience members commenting on how cool they were as the actors were performing them. Marty absolutely nailed his. He had the audience believing that he had completely forgotten his lines and I could see a few people tense up. Then he continued the monologue in such a way that you believed that he was making it up as he went along - which is the point. Fantastic. The Deal or No Deal scene was the tightest it has ever been and got a great reaction. It still needs a few small tweaks, but it's getting much better.

By the end, the audience was looking forward to what was coming next and really enjoyed Aaron, Marty and Tristan's stinky scene followed by Jason, Aaron and Tristan nailing the State School scene. When the final number started, some of the audience members were cheering the first few notes of the song out of recognition. They even laughed as the cast said, "Fuck you" to them. No small feat.

Jason, Marty, Aaron and Tristan really nailed it last night. It was fun to watch them again. I'm enjoying that the audience is finding humor in different things every time and that these guys are bringing something new to it with every performance. I can't wait to do it again next week.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

We're Back

After a week layoff, Jerkology is back for our final three shows of the run. We're meeting a little early to do a quick run-through of the lines so that we won't be rusty. A week off can do funny things to the memory - like make it worse.

I have every confidence that the show will go well tonight. We will have a good sized crowd and they will be ready to laugh. Dee has organized a group of her friends to come tonight. Most of her friends already think I'm funny. I'm hoping that will color their perception.

The Pros and Cons of Seeing Harry Potter on Opening Night

Pros:
1) Emma Watson is kinda hot now.
2) You're blog will be one of the first sites to have a review.
3) Expelliarmus!

Cons:
1) Everyone already know what happened because they read the book.
2) You have to deal with kids shouting, "Hey, you're standing on my robes."
3) Avada Kedavra!

Monday, July 09, 2007

The Pros and Cons of Shopping at Brooks Brothers

Pros:
1) The toughest decision you have to make is on which side you will part your hair.
2) You are an expert at folding pocket squares.
3) You'll probably be retiring soon.

Cons:
1) All of your ties are diagonally striped.
2) Your skinny, black-framed glasses aren't as comfortable as they are stylish.
3) Your wooden tennis racquet just doesn't have the same pop it used to.

Providence

As promised, some tales from the Providence Improv Festival that I attended on June 29 through July 1:

When we arrived at the Providence airport, Mauro - the guy in charge of the festival, met us at the baggage claim holding a little sign that read: "Providence Improv Festival." We had hoped that someone would be there holding a sign and we got our wish. Jason, Jon and I introduced ourselves to Mauro and he told us that we had to wait a few minutes to pick up Jill Bernard. Her plane arrived about ten minutes after ours.

We all packed into Mauro's CRV and he dropped us off at our hotels. The other three pHers were already in the hotel room, so we just had to check in at the desk and head upstairs. Mauro had placed us at a small hotel called the Dolce Villa in Providence's Little Italy. Our room was very nice and comfortably slept six. Plus, it had a full kitchen. Also, everything inside was white. Everything. White tile, white walls, white couch, white beds, white chairs, white cabinets - you get the drift. We briefly discussed how this room would make a great setting for a murder as the red spatters of blood would contrast nicely against the clean white.

Once I settled in, I took a much needed nap. I woke up in time to shower and grab dinner with the group at an Italian restaurant next door to the hotel. We had a pretty good meal and managed to entertain most of the wait staff as we ate.

After dinner we were off to our tech rehearsal at the Rite Theater. The Rite Theater was basically in a church basement, but still provided good seating and a cool set to play on. We had a tree we could climb and several doors we could enter through. Plus, the tree had a door built in. It was obviously built for something other than an improv show, but we made the best of it. We played around on the set while the tech guys figured out our intro music.

Once show time rolled around, we had a good sized crowd who seemed ready to have some fun. We each chose an audience member to play for and started doing our thing. The show started out fairly well and we were getting some good laughs, however I can't really comment much after that because I was the first one voted out. I guess my brand of humor doesn't play well in Providence. Oh, well. The audience seemed to really enjoy the show and we had more than a few people come up to us after the show and ask when we were playing again so that they could come see us.

We stuck around to see the group after us and then headed over to the theater where the after party would be. We watched a group from Boston and a harold team from New York before they rolled in the free pizza and beer. We wasted no time finding our share of the food and drink and began to mingle with the rest of the improvisers. Jason and Kayce knew all of the other Chicago people and they knew some of the other folks from other festivals so we got to know a lot of people pretty quickly. One young lady who had seen our show took a bit of a shine to Jon and they spent the evening sporadically flirting. Of course, we did plenty to egg him on and simultaneously give him a hard time.

Even though we managed to get good and drunk, we still found our way back to the hotel and crashed for the night. There were some rumors of various hook-ups involving Jon and Vinny, but I'm in no position to substantiate those rumors since I went straight to bed once the party at the theater bored me.

The next story will be more interesting, I promise.

Friday, July 06, 2007

The Pros and Cons of Being Beaten by a Lover

Pros:
1) No one ever has to ask you twice.
2) You probably have a lot of staircases in your home.
3) You always have freshly squeezed orange juice.

Cons:
1) It's hard to tell when the rough sex starts and the beating begins.
2) He wears rings.
3) You flinch when people hi-five you.

Review: Transformers

When I first saw the previews for Transformers, I never thought I'd be one of those people who went to see it on opening day. However, I happened to be doing absolutely nothing on Wednesday and a friend called to get some people together to see it.

I had no expectations for this movie and was hoping for the best. I did not get anything remotely close to that. The movie is two and a half hours long and it only needs to be about half that time. They spend way too much time at the top of the movie setting everything up and then spend even more time actually getting to the final climactic battle. At one point I found myself looking at my watch and thinking, "Wow, it's been an hour and fifteen minutes and we're nowhere near the end."

On the positive side, Shia LaBeouf does a great job. He's funny and charming and just cheesy enough. He saved this movie from completely sucking. The Transformers looked very cool and the explanation for why they turned into vehicles and such was pretty clever. There were even a few fun comedic moments with the Transformers. After that, the movie just dragged along.

The fight scenes were disappointing and followed the recent trend of showing all battles in super-close up so you had no idea what was going on and you didn't actually get to see any real fighting at all. Once they finally built up to the climax and we think we're going to have the final showdown, they suddenly decide to completely move locations for no logical reason. Maybe they wanted to put more civilians in danger. The movie ends predictably, but still leaves plenty of room for a sequel. On top of all that, the dialogue is terrible and cheesy.

I know you won't, but wait until this comes out on DVD.

Thank You, Keith Olbermann

Keith says it better than I ever could:



Thanks to the Angry White Guy for posting this.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Independence Day

It's the 4th of July and I hope that you are doing something fun to celebrate. While you celebrate by doing those things that are traditionally American - grilling meat and watching fireworks - take some time to think about the one thing that is most American - voting.

Happy Independence Day.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

My Television Debut

Okay, so it's only Metromix TV on CLTV, but here's a clip of a promo for pHamily the Musical with a tiny bit of commentary from me at the very end.

Update: You now have to scroll down in the box below the video and choose "pHamily the Musical."

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Providence

On Friday, I left early in the morning for Providence, Rhode Island. pH had been scheduled to perform that night and the next in the Providence Improv Festival. Five other pHers joined me for the trip. It was my first improv festival outside of Chicago since I went to the Toronto Improv Festival four years ago. We had a great time, and stories will follow once I get more sleep.