Saturday, December 30, 2006
Tonight he visited me in a dream.
In the dream I was with him as he passed, except we were nowhere near the cold Alaskan waters. He was lying on the floor of an unfamiliar kitchen and he was fortunate enough this time to slip away while the sun was still out. I was bringing him beers that were on the counter (only Aaron) and he turned to me and said, "You want to be a comedian, right?"
"Yeah," I answered him.
"Does it matter to you how big the venues are?"
"No," I answered without hesitation, "I just want to make people laugh."
Aaron smiled, and the dream disappeared.
But this isn't your average What Our Family Did or Year in Review. It's written in bullet form and each line begins "Number of...." Whether it's the number of airplanes they flew on, number of hours Justin stayed up before their flight to Europe, or number of concerts they had in the Dakotas in the last 8 years, their update always cracks me up and the Christmas season isn't complete until I've read - and laughed my head off at - the McBob Update.
If you've been in my house before you may have seen it on the fridge and wondered exactly what it was. Now you know. It stays up year-round so I can show off my funny San Francisco friends to all of my other friends who perhaps aren't as funny.
Yesterday I received this year's update. Now, 2007. Now you may begin.
Friday, December 29, 2006
My coffee maker broke tonight. That in itself sucks, especially since I got a bunch of coffee for Christmas.
I went to the coffee shop but it's closed due to "Winter Hours." IT'S 8:30 ON A *&^$# FRIDAY NIGHT, PEOPLE. What kind of sad excuse of a city am I living in when I can't get a *&@# cup of coffee after 8 on a $#@&* Friday &^#@* night?
I realize it's not the end of the world but can't a guy get a *$#@ coffee when he's feeling a little blue?
(More swear words and whining deleted due to Ed's better judgment)
When do the good guys catch a break? I'm tired
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Tonight I decided I was going to revisit them and re-read them in the order they were published. The books range from 1974 up to 1995 so I am curious to see how long it takes me as the list includes some real page turners including It (1089 pages), The Stand (1178 pages), and a few more that clock in at more than 700 pages.
Although King is often criticized as too schlocky (The Tommyknockers), too violent (most of his early works), or just plain evil I regret that there are some books out there most people don't know about that are amazing in story, character development, and - believe it or not - hope of the human spirit. I mean come on, this is the guy who brought us Stand By Me and Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption (which, of course, had the title shortened for the movie).
The first on my list is Carrie. I'm don't think this was his first book; I'm thinking maybe 'Salem's Lot gets that claim, but I'm not sure and besides, that one wasn't in the box. Since I've amazed myself and actually completed my goal of reading more books this year than I did last year I figure this is my reward.
Literature snobs, you have been duly warned.
Monday, December 25, 2006
Another cousin began to gush, saying "Oh, you always look so beautiful at Christmastime!" to which Glen promptly quipped, "Nice. So what are you saying about the rest of the year?"
"Well," I added, "Everyone knows in June she looks like hell."
Merry Christmas to everyone who only looks good during this festive time.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
I only had a five minute block and as I ran through my set at home I was way over five minutes, so I decided to cut the bits that worked really well last time and fly with all-new never-before-tested material. Another thing that had me a little nervous was the material I went with tonight was all one long joke. As opposed to telling a series of unrelated jokes like set-up/punchline, set-up/punchline over and over tonight's material was one big bit and if it wasn't going well in the beginning, I'd have a nice uphill climb for the remainder of my time. Sure, I could always bail out and use the jokes from last time around that I had in reserve, but I wanted to test out the new material as a whole set and see how it flew.
It was another big crowd, about 400 people, and I was the first up. Again. The emcee had a bit of a time warming up the crowd, and when he decided to hand it off to me, things weren't exactly cooking. I ran up on stage determined to see what kind of damage I could do.
And it went as smoothly as if I'd done it a million times before. I don't know if I could have planned it any better. The crowd was with me the whole time, laughing at all of the right places, and my payoff joke rocked them like I'd hoped it would. It was such a great feeling to be up there with stuff I was pretty sure was funny when I wrote it and to feel the laughter coming back at me to confirm maybe I was onto something. I even finished a little early (or maybe they gave me a little extra time...all I know is they weren't flashing the You Only Have A Minute Left light at me) so I managed to dovetail the end of my new set into a joke from the last time that went over well and again tonight it went gangbusters.
The only complaint I have is how fast the time goes. It felt like I was barely up there and I was done. It's a nice tidal wave of a rush that you wish would last just a little bit longer and I guess that's what keeps me coming back for more.
So, combined with my set from the last time around, I now have a good solid 8 or 9 minutes of material that has gotten a pretty good response and I feel comfy with.
At the end of this month I'll be in touch with Snickerz again to see about booking for January and will keep you posted. Right now, I feel good and that's a nice place to be. Anyone wanna come over and cuddle?
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
When I first saw the preview for this film, it was a little vague and I couldn't really tell what the film was about. I hope they did this on purpose because that approach was genius. I think it's pretty common knowledge that previews are guilty of giving away too much of a film's plot. I won't give you the title of the film in case you haven't seen it but a few years ago there was a movie out about a husband and wife who were experiencing a ghost in their house. The previews let you know it was the ghost of a girl the husband had an affair with once upon a time. As it turns out, most of the whole suspense of the film was trying to figure out who the ghost is. I know, it makes zero sense.
And for that very reason, I won't be telling you anything about the plot, storyline, or characters of Little Miss Sunshine. A lot of the fun was being surprised at what was around the next corner. There are a lot of films out there that made me happy when I watched (Talladega Nights, Borat) and I'm trying not to sound too cliche, but this film actually brought me joy. By the climax of the film I was laughing and having a great time and afterwards had to take five to think about what I'd just seen.
Little Miss Sunshine. For real. You won't be sorry. If you see it and for some reason don't like it, then please never speak to me again.
Sunday, December 17, 2006
On the way back from the movies (Charlotte's Web...it was OK for what it was. I've never seen the "classic" cartoon and I've never read the book, so it wasn't something I probably would ever have seen otherwise) we were riding in the car and I sneezed. About a minute later, Valencia sneezed. After a few moments, she sneezed again but the second sneeze was blatantly obvious and I called her on it ("You faker! That sneeze wasn't real! What a fakey-fakerton").
After some short ribbing about her fake sneeze, I declared we were going to have a contest to see who could do the funniest sneeze. It eventually got to the point where my sneezes were so outrageous I was screaming at the top of my lungs, honking the horn, and opening the sun roof. It was fun to make Valencia laugh so hard she was out of breath.
So yeah. I so won that. Not even close.
Monday, December 11, 2006
So as not to influence their responses, I didn't tell them what it was for, only that it would act as a creative "kick start" for me. Taking a page from a writing circle I was in while in Chicago, I would then take the four suggestions and somehow work them into a short story.
The first person to respond was dear Adi and she gave me the following:
Place: A park
Person: A shrink
Thing: A paper bag
Line: "I wish I knew why this was happening."
What follows is the story those items inspired. I'll be taking the rest of the suggestions in the order I received them and will post the stories here. Some of them will be good, and I am sure some of them won't. Hopefully you'll enjoy reading them regardless.
And now, the first in a new series of stories (rated PG for language):
I sat on the cement wall that surrounded the fountain in the middle of the park and looked for Amy. I'd never seen her in person before but believed I would recognize her from the picture she emailed me.
Had I really agreed to meet someone I met online? On MySpace, no less? It was only a few years ago when I would laugh behind the backs of people who told me they were going to hook up with someone they met online. It always seemed a little sad and desperate to me. What had happened in the lives of these people that made them so -- for lack of a better word -- pathetic?
But fast-forward three years where the idea is a little more commonplace and it doesn't seem so far-fetched. Funny how something like going through a divorce, partnered with not meeting any women, will change your perspective on things.
That's not to say I was completely sold on the idea; I still had some reservations about it all. Not because I was apprehensive Amy wouldn't look like her picture. Actually I was more afraid I wouldn't look like mine.
I'd hate for Amy to be in the embarrassingly awkward position where she shows up, sees me, and thinks Eh. That's him? If I knew he actually looked like that in person I'd have gone to Borders instead.
I'm not being hard on myself, just realistic. I see myself in the mirror every day and I know what I look like. There are a million guys out there better looking than me with cooler hair, nicer clothes, more money, and much better abs. And I'm totally fine with that. I just don't want to be one of those guys who's ugly and doesn't even know it. Just for the record, I don't think I'm ugly, but I'm also aware that most ugly people don't think they're ugly, either.
I tried to be fair to Amy when she asked if I had more pictures I could send her other than my generic MySpace icon. I tried to find the worst, most unflattering shot I had. No sense in trying to candy-coat anything. I attached the picture of me from the last 4th of July at the lake. My mouth is half-open and my eyes are half-closed. I figured if she still wanted to meet me after seeing a photo like that she's either legally blind or a lot less shallow than I rarely admit to myself that I am.
I'm not sure why I neglected to tell my shrink about any of this in our session this morning. Actually that's wrong. I do know why I didn't say anything. Because Dr. Vanderwilt, Dr. Beth Vanderwilt, is herself quite attractive and I was a little embarrassed to say anything about it.
I still don't know why I'm so influenced by what I think women whom I find appealing might think of me. I know there's no hope of anything ever happening beyond doctor/patient relationship with Dr. Vanderwilt but just in case the temperature in hell dips below 32 degrees Fahrenheit I want to have my bases covered. And no, this isn't the first time I've considered retaining a second shrink to discuss things I'm too intimidated to discuss with Dr. Vanderwilt.
Are all guys wired like this or am I just lucky?
As I pondered all of this, a cute blonde approached accompanied by one of those small dogs that are more suited for punting than they are for companionship. As she looked in my direction I tried to smile a smile that said I'm a nice guy, not some creepy loner hanging out in the park. It didn't help my cause when at that moment a paper bag being blown about by the wind found its way to me and wrapped itself around my face.
It startled me and I gasped, sucking part of the bag directly into my mouth, nearly suffocating me in the process. It made such perfect sense that this is how I would bite the big one. Killed by a stray bag the wind blew in my face while I tried to impress a pretty girl. As my little cousin would say, that would be so me.
Today however would prove to not be the day I was murdered by garbage. After struggling longer than it probably should have taken I managed to untangle the bag from around my head. The girl and her dog had already passed and to no surprise she was no longer looking in my direction.
I wadded the Burger King bag into a ball and tossed it into the trash can standing not five feet away. Or, more accurately, I threw it at the trash can. It bounced off the rim and fell to the ground. Not in any mood to be fined for littering (and I knew that's exactly what would happen if I did nothing) I rose from the park bench, walked over, picked up the bag, and prepared to drop it in the receptacle.
It was then that the bill caught my eye. There in the trash can was a crisp new twenty-dollar bill. Wow. Twenty bucks. Twenty free bucks. Just sitting there for the taking. All I had to do was take it.
I looked around. I scanned every face in the vicinity twice to make sure Amy wasn't one of them. Even worse than having a hot girl see you attacked by refuse is having your internet date see you digging through trash. I don't claim to know much about the opposite sex, but I do know that that would not make a favorable first impression.
But what about the others enjoying the park that day? What would they think if they saw me picking through the trash? And what would they think of Amy when they saw her meeting me? Would they feel sorry for her? Would they want to let her know that she's on a date with a guy who dumpster dives in broad daylight? Would my actions reflect poorly upon her? After considering these questions (and about thirty more) I came to the conclusion that I definitely wasn't going to tell Dr. Vanderwilt about this little inner monologue.
Once again I peeked into the trash can. The twenty was there, mocking me, daring me to pick it up. It was pinned between a newspaper and a coffee cup and there were no visible "garbage stains" on it.
And then I had a plan. If I had something I could throw away it would be easier to pull a little slight-of-hand and grab the money in the process. Or at least, it wouldn't be as blatantly obvious.
I looked around. How was it even possible that the park was this clean today? Surely the BK bag wasn't the last piece of stray refuse in the park but it seemed that was the case. I took a step and a leaf crunched beneath my foot.
A leaf! Would that work?
If I did it fast enough, maybe no one would see I was throwing away a leaf. Would someone perhaps think it was a piece of paper or some kind of fruit? But if they did indeed notice what it actually was, I would be The Guy Who Throws Away Individual Leaves. I wanted to be that guy about as much as I wanted to be The Guy Who Sweeps The Beach or The Guy Who Sprays Febreze On The Sidewalk.
The leaf idea was out and I decided to forego second guessing myself and just take a leap of faith. I walked directly beside the trash can, took a look to my left and then one to my right, and without looking shot my hand into the bin, grabbed the bill, and walked away.
After taking a few steps I looked down to see I was holding a Papa John's coupon.
I chuckled to myself. Although the mission itself was a failure, I now knew I could execute the actions. I was impressed with my speed, it was just my aim that needed work. But now I had something to throw away. It all comes around full circle, doesn't it?
I spun on my heels and returned to the trash can. As I prepared for my second attempt a man on a bicycle whizzed past like he was hot on Lance Armstrong's tail. He tossed a half-empty (or is it half-full) bottle of Gatorade into the garbage can. As it made contact, the cap on the bottle popped off and blue juice (fortified with electrolytes) shot out of the container and drenched the contents of the bin. And my pants.
I looked up at the cyclist and he was already long gone. I had lifted my hands out to my side as if to display the insanity of what had just happened for an audience of none. At least I was spared that small embarrassment of having anyone see what had just occurred.
And then I wished someone had witnessed it so they could testify that the growing wetness on my jeans was indeed a fruit drink, and not a more repulsive liquid. I rubbed the front of my pants with my hand as if that would make the stain disappear and was immediately crushed to feel how wet I had actually gotten. This wasn't going to dry any time soon, let alone by the time Amy and I met.
Perfect. "Hi, Amy, I'm Dan, and this is my awesome wet spot on my pants. Should we just end the date right now?"
But something told me that's not how it would go down. I had more faith in Amy than that. From our numerous conversations online I knew her to have a great sense of humor and this was a story she would get a kick out of. Probably even help me laugh at it as well.
Or at least I hoped that's how it would go down. In the back of my mind I knew there was always the possibility that she would meet me and immediately request a restraining order.
I looked at my watch and was glad I had shown up at the park early. I still had about 5 minutes before our actual meeting time. If I could make it to a nearby restroom and see about drying this off there might still be a chance I could come off as a regular non-mentally challenged person.
There was a Starbucks just up the block and I hurried over. I asked one of the employees where the restrooms were and was told they were outside, around the corner. She then asked if I had change on me, as it was a pay toilet and I would need a quarter to get in. I thanked her for the heads up and made my way outside.
I fished a quarter from my pocket and slipped it into the coin slot on the door. I opened it and immediately saw a homeless man inside, taking a nap. He heard the door open and scrambled to his feet.
"Oh, excuse me," he said, and hurriedly gathered the thin ratty blanket he was sleeping upon.
"No, excuse me," I replied, not meaning to intrude, "I won't be long."
"No problem, brother," he answered. There was a genuine likability about him and I truly felt for him.
He scurried out of the bathroom. I grabbed some paper towels from the dispenser and began to soak up the Gatorade as best I could. In my head I tried to picture the vagrant's life before today. Perhaps he had been in the stock market or used to be the CEO of a large company. He probably had a good life and did good things with his profits. He gave to charity. He loaned money to friends and family without asking for it back. He was a giver. But as we all know happens from time to time, bad things happen to good people (he was a good person, I could see that in his eyes) and he had a run of bad luck.
And now the only shelter he had was a pay toilet across the street from the park. I tried to put myself in his shoes, but can we honestly ever do that? Without actually going through what he went through is that even possible?
These were my thoughts as I finished drying myself off and made my way outside. I looked at the expansive park in front of me as I closed the door behind me. This is the first thing he sees when he goes out every day. I guess it could be worse.
I heard it before I saw where it was coming from. Surprised, I turned and saw the homeless man waiting by the bathroom door. He obviously wanted to get back to his nap and I had obviously locked him out of his house.
"Oh...sorry about that, I wasn't even thinking," I said.
"I was standing right here, you son of a bitch. What did you think I was waiting for?"
I dug my hands in my pockets to retrieve another quarter and already knew I wouldn't find one. It was just that kind of day.
"I'm really sorry. My mind was honestly somewhere else and didn't even realize--"
"Do you realize you're an asshole, you asshole?"
I came to the realization this guy probably wasn't really much of a giver before and the picture I had painted in my mind probably wasn't 100% dead-on.
"Look, I have a dollar if you want to get some change--"
"I don't want your money, you shitsuck, I want to get back in my damn house," he growled at me.
And then I said it before I even knew I was going to say it.
"What's a shitsuck?"
I wasn't being sarcastic, it was just an automatic response and a genuine query. I really didn't know what a shitsuck was; I'd never heard it before, and I'm always eager to learn something new.
That's not how this guy took it.
Instead, he punched me in the eye. Really hard. I didn't even see it coming. Not because he was that fast, but because I was looking around at the crowd that had started to gather to see the homeless man yelling at the shitsuck.
When he hit me, bright shapes shot in front of my eyes and I heard myself say "Gaaaa." I brought my left hand up to my eye as the Punching Hobo grabbed his blanket and stormed away. Did I really just get hit by a homeless man?
As he made his way around the corner the only thing I could think of to shout at him was, "I'm never giving to Comic Relief again!" I don't know why I said that as I had never given to Comic Relief previously.
The crowd began to disperse, except for one person. She hung around and watched me through her cool glasses that reminded me of Tina Fey. And I knew who it would be.
"Dan?" she asked.
I looked into her eyes and the pain immediately melted away. "Amy." I said. It wasn't a guess. I recognized her immediately.
"Did you just get into a fight with a bum?"
"I think I did. That was weird. I wish I knew why this was happening."
She took a step forward and lightly touched the bottom of my chin with her hand. "Oooh," she said looking at my face, "That's going to turn some really cool colors before the end of the week."
I was still a little dazed by the events. "I just evicted a homeless guy and he hit me. How random is that?"
"Was he eating a sandwich?" Amy asked.
"Now that's random," I replied, "No, he wasn't. Why do you ask?"
"You have mustard on your face."
I paused, thought for a second, and said, "I got hit in the face by a Burger King bag."
"Are your pants wet?"
"A biker hit me with Gatorade."
Amy tilted her head upward and laughed. As she did so I felt myself falling for her.
She reached out and placed her hand in mine, still smiling.
"Want to get something to eat?" I asked.
That day I was hit four times. Once by a paper bag. Once by a Gatorade bottle. Once by a bum. And once by a smile.
It was the best day ever.
Sunday, December 10, 2006
2006 – YEAR IN REVIEW
A Timeline by Ed Placencia
As the year began I was living in New York City. I was a regular performer at the National Comedy Theatre (which I will heretofore refer to as NCT) and the ink on my divorce papers still hadn’t dried. My first year as The Single Guy. Let’s do this.
January 1 I ring in the new year by performing at a special New Year’s show at the NCT. We had a blast and it was a great time.
January 12 My digital camera breaks. No one has seen a picture of me since.
January 31 At the NCT banquet in a weird moment of ironic foreshadowing I was awarded “Most likely to be available for 208 shows/year.”
February 19 A reporter from The Daily News does a story on the National Comedy Theatre. A lot of pictures are taken and the cast is saddened when the article comes out and they use a picture with none of us in it.
February 28 In a stunt of unparalleled proportions, JT and I went to pick up some used carpet to put in the green room of the NCT. Because we don’t have a vehicle, we carry this huge roll of carpeting. From the corner of 3rd & 11th to the theater at 36th & 9th we maneuvered through the busy streets of Manhattan and didn’t bump into anything. And we only stopped to rest once. How manly are we?
March 8 My good friends John and Lisa come up to visit from Pennsylvania. We checked out a Mountain Dew snowboarding ramp in the middle of Times Square and interview a ukulele expert at a music store for Lisa’s radio show, The Kids Cookie Break. So, it was a usual day for me.
April 2 Worked on the set of a new FOX show, The Wedding Album. It was slated to come out this year, but haven’t heard anything on it since.
April 10-13 For four days straight I work from 6:30pm to 5am as an extra on the set of August Rush, starring Robin Williams, Keri Russell, and Jonathan Rhys Myers. We spent four nights in the middle of Central Park pretending it wasn’t freezing cold as we watched a performance by a symphony. Right now it is slated to release in February 2007. If it’s anything like my last work as an extra, be sure to have your freeze frame remotes ready so you can see me.
April 22 My sister Jaime comes up for a visit and we see and do everything in Manhattan in a span of 7 hours. We are, in a word, amazing. And tired.
April 27 Fellow NCT comedian Virginia and I witness someone trying to base jump off of the Empire State Building. A crowd gathers. The jumper is arrested. Everyone seems slightly depressed they didn’t get to see someone splat.
April 30 Worked on the set of Without A Trace playing an FBI employee. The episode airs the following month and I was nowhere to be seen. So far, no proof of the fact I’ve ever done any extra work exists.
May 4 Realizing a lifelong dream, I get to attend a taping of The Late Show with David Letterman. Even though the guests are Rosie Perez and Danika Patrick I still manage to somehow enjoy the experience.
May 13 My final show at the NCT for 2006. I have 81 performances with them under my belt, and all of them were a blast. The rest of the gang is still there putting on great shows so if you’re in Manhattan, be sure to stop by and see a show.
May 14 Left NYC for Pennsylvania, where I will hang out for a week before my departure for Indiana. My buddy Ethan volunteers to drive me to PA and while there I stay with him and his wife Aubrey, and also with Jon & Lisa. I get a chance to connect with all of my dear friends from the radio station I worked at in Lancaster, WJTL. Good people. Good, good people.
May 21 Dad arrives in Pennsylvania with his truck and we load up the small amount of junk I have and head for Indiana.
June 2 Almost a year after doing extra work on The Break-Up with Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston, it is released in theaters. None of my scenes make the final cut. I am not disappointed as there’s always the DVD deleted scenes. And I got to roller blade behind Jennifer Aniston for half a day. And the check cleared.
June 4 Fifteen years after its first conception, my brother Ray and I begin production on the long-awaited sequel to Terocus. We film four episodes and post them all on YouTube. The internet community is collectively confused.
July 15 I film an entry for a contest NBC is having to make a promo for the TV show The Office with Ray, Piper, Dad, and cousin Rich. Even though we don’t win, we have fun filming it and putting it on YouTube to further confuse the internet people.
July 16 The Placencia family reunion. Or, The Largest Gathering Of Minorities In Indiana Since The Last Placencia Family Reunion.
August 3 I am legally a Hoosier again when I get my driver’s license. After finally making it through the DMV line, a week later my money clip is stolen and I have to go through all of it again.
September 30 The county fair comes to town and all of Indiana’s finest are in attendance. Mullets and poofy hairsprayed bangs abound. I get together with my friend Amy to hang out at the local coffee shop as they walk by and poke fun. Without recognizing him, I inadvertently end up making fun of my uncle.
October 14 I killed a bird with a ladder.
October 17 The Break-Up is released on DVD. Although the packaging boasts “17 extra minutes!” I still have not made the film. Nor did I make the deleted scenes. Even my deleted scenes were deleted. But still, at least I got to roller blade behind Jennifer Aniston for half a day.
November 1 Awarded “Boxer of the Month” for the month of October at the Dekalb County Boxing Club. I celebrate by not going down for the rest of the month.
November 9 Itching to get back into comedy, I perform stand-up in front of a crowd of about 350 people at Snickerz in Ft Wayne and it goes well and the crowd goes wild.
I’m working with Dad and still doing production for WJTL. I’ve been writing a lot of short stories recently and I’ll be back at Snickerz doing stand-up on December 21.It’s been a fun fun year and am eager to see what 2007 has in store.
To keep updated on what I’m doing, I keep a pretty consistent blog online. It’s the easiest way to see what I’m up to and going through. You can also visit that link to get all of the details on the highlights I mentioned above.
Goals for 2007:
*Return to NYC to perform again at NCT.
*Kiss a girl.
It’s my prediction that the first two goals will be the easiest to accomplish.
Thanks for reading. I look forward to hearing from you to find out how you’re doing.
Keep in touch!
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Not your first choice, huh? Well, until you've seen a movie where Santa is attacked by little green monsters and Do You Hear What I Hear becomes the chilling soundtrack to a woman stabbing a gremlin to death, then you haven't seen a good Christmas movie. The movie not only has jumps and surprises but a lot of good laughs as well. And if you take a good look you may recognize the town square. The film was shot on the Universal lot where they also shot Back to the Future. Between getting crashed into by a Delorean and blown to bits in Gremlins that movie theater on the set has seen some rough times indeed.
A Muppet Christmas Carol
I had to include one movie that's actually a Christmas movie. I was never a huge fan of this Dickens story in movie form until I saw this rendition. Maybe I'm prejudiced because I'm a huge Muppet fan, but maybe not since my favorite scene in the film contains no puppets whatsoever. Scrooge (played by Michael Caine) is with the Ghost of Christmas Past and sees himself as a young boy giving up the chance to have true love to focus on his career instead. It's a truly moving scene as his then-girlfriend sings a heartbreaking song. Complete with corny Muppet jokes and mayhem, this is one to check out this year and not necessarily just for kids.
I know! You forgot it took place at Christmas, didn't you? I don't need to write a paragraph on why it's cool. You've seen it. Probably a few times. But it's been a while since you've seen the original and it's time you checked it out again.
When Harry Met Sally
Not technically a Christmas movie but the climax takes place during the holiday season. The final scene takes place on New Year's Eve, so you might want to wait a couple of days after Christmas to really get into the spirit. Although it came out in 1988 it's still as cutting and fresh as always as the subject matter is one for the ages: Can guys and girls still be friends after being intimate? Billy Crystal at his hysterical best and Meg Ryan at her cutest. (For you kids today, she actually used to be attractive before she had plastic surgery and turned into The Joker.)
Here are the nomineees for Best Comedy Album:
"Blue Collar Comedy Tour - One For The Road" by Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall, Ron White, Larry the Cable Guy
"The Carnegie Hall Performance" by Lewis Black
"Life Is Worth Losing" by George Carlin
"Straight Outta Lynwood" by "Weird Al" Yankovic
"You Can't Fix Stupid" by Ron White
Just off the top of my head, I can think of three albums that deserved to be on this list and were overlooked for...well...I'm not sure what the reason could be. I submit Jim Gaffigan's "Beyond The Pale," Demetri Martin's "These Are Jokes," and George Lopez's "El Mas Chingon."
"But where would you put them?" I hear you ask, "There are only five nominations allowed."
Easy. Get rid of the two redneck albums and George Carlin's album.
Don't get me wrong; I love Carlin. I think he's extremely talented at what he does, but his new album didn't seem to grab me like some of his others have. I like his new album, just not enough to be on the Grammy list.
And don't get me started on the redneck albums. I loathe them. Loathe them. I'm not saying they aren't funny; There are some bits on there that make me smile but it's not a good raito. Kind of like a John Leguizamo album. As a whole it's enjoyable, but not really a laugh riot. You have to listen to 6 tracks to get one good laugh. With the redneck albums, they usually average about one laugh per album. I know they are very popular and this is just my opinon but I've never been able to get into Foxworthy, Engvall, White, or The Cable Guy. I think White does OK as part of the redneck gang but having his own CD is being a little too generous, I think.
Jim Gaffigan not being nominated is just proof that most award shows don't really know exactly what they're doiong, so they just go for what they think is popular. I defy you to listen to Gaffigan's new album and not be in tears before you're even halfway through. He even brings back his classic "Hot Pocket" but with added zings that add to an already beloved routine.
Maybe George Lopez didn't get nominated because his audience is seen as too specific: Latinos. You know, as opposed to the redneck gang, whom everyone loves. Especially Nascar fans. Lopez's look at growing up Latino wouldn't be nearly as funny if his observations weren't so dead-on.
And Demetri Martin's double-disc album/DVD is brilliance. He reminds me of Steven Wright wherein if you try to re-tell the joke to your friends they won't always get it because a lot of the comedy is in Wright's deadpan delivery. With Martin, without the random musical stylings in the background, it's a little hard to recapture the spirit behind jokes like "A burlap bag is the same as a musical. I wouldn't want to be in either." This CD is a Had-To-Be-There experience, but believe me, you'll be glad you were in on the joke.
So that's just my 2 cents. I know it won't affect anything and doesn't even matter at the end of the day, but just thought I'd spout off while I had a few extra minutes.
When all is said and done, I'm rooting for Al (but won't be upset a bit if Lewis Black wins; his work is brilliant. In fact, I predict Black will win this category). If Carlin wins, I won't mind. But if either redneck CD wins, I'm going to my local comedy club and burning a copy of Joe Dirt on DVD in protest.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
I'm a huge fan of SNL and will also be the first to admit they've had their fair share of crap seasons. But when it's on, it's on (and I believe this season they're back on big time).
Today I came home for lunch and turned on Comedy Central and decided to give MadTV a chance. After a half hour I then decided it's a horrible show. I didn't smile, smirk, or even think heh one single time. And the annoyingly obvious laugh track made it seem even less funny than it actually was.
I make this vow to you in the name of good taste: I will never watch MadTV again.
I've tried, MadTV. Too bad you didn't.
Monday, December 04, 2006
In New York City, everyone walks everywhere. There's a very small percentage of Manhattanites who have cars and since everything you need is within walking distance (or subway distance), having a car in the city isn't a real necessity. It's nothing to walk 10 or 15 blocks somewhere. Because there are so many people always walking around on the street one would never give it a second thought.
But here in Indiana (where walking 10 blocks seems ludicrous) if you see someone walking without an exercise track suit on, you think hey look at that homeless guy.
This blog brought to you by The People Who Talk Without Having A Point.
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Before I begin my brief tale let me start with a bit of necessary background. I live on an average street lined with houses, just two blocks from the main drag of this small town. There aren't a lot of lights on my street and the other night it was really foggy and it looked just like the poster for The Exorcist (not the new one, but the one back in the 70s).
So that's what my street looks like at night.
It was about 4:00 in the morning and I got up to go to the bathroom. Upon waking I heard a noise that sounded like rain on the rooftop. Or maybe snow--snow! The first major snowfall of the year, and I wanted to watch it. I don't know about you but I love watching it snow at night. It's just really pretty to me; it's similar to the kick I get out of watching it pouring rain.
So I look out my bedroom window and...nothing. It had rained but nothing was coming down at that time. And then this thought popped into my head--I don't know where it came from -- of what if there was a guy standing on the sidewalk across the street just looking up at my window.
And that's when it all started. Suddenly I was sure there was a guy standing across the street staring up at me. I scanned the sidewalk up and down and as I did, the fact that I couldn't find him began to freak me out a little more (it was 4 in the morning and I was still a little more than groggy). I was enjoying it, though...being scared is sort of fun. How else do you explain the appeal of haunted houses and horrible movies like The Ring?
In my mind's eye I could see the guy in his dark trenchcoat that was still wet from the rain. I couldn't make out his face because he stood in the shadows but I knew he was up to no good. And then the questions began.
What if he came up to my apartment? I don't have much in the way of furnishings, so what would I use as a weapon? I don't have a baseball bat or golf clubs. Is it possible to really swing an ironing board? What about my lamp? If I swung it too hard would it fall apart in the air before making contact with the intruder? I remember when I moved in here my dad gave me a box of old kitchen supplies and inside was a real life butcher's knife. It was huge. I remember thinking at the time What am I, in a horror film? Who actually has a knife like this in their kitchen? Well, where was that knife now? Under the sink? In a seldom-used drawer? And do I want to get close enough to this guy to be in stabbing range? What if he has special powers of some sort? And if he does, would an old rusty cleaver really do the trick? The only flashlight I have is down in the car. Where's my lighter-thing I use to light candles with?
I got even more freaked out.
Now for those of you who may be concerned about my mental state, fear not. Just as quickly as I brought this all about, like flicking a light switch I was able to turn it all off.
I then realized if I kept on this train of thought I wouldn't be able to get back to sleep. And no way was I going to lose valuable sleep. So I turned around and went back to bed. I was out in like 3 seconds.
Yes folks, a year after signing divorce papers this is how Ed entertains himself . Is it any wonder I'm single again?
Saturday, December 02, 2006
And you thought all I did was watch Comedy Central Presents reruns.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Last time was almost a full house, so reservations are highly recommended. The number to call is (260) 486-0216. Admission is $8 and there's a 2-item minimum per person.
Ok, I vowed to let you know the details of my next appearance doing stand-up and I feel like I've held up my end of the deal. Now get out there and have a great Thanksgiving!
Monday, November 20, 2006
Great. Now I have to start all over.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
BambamBAM. BambamBAM. BamBAMbambamBAM
Over and over again. And after a while, I was like Hey, I know that song.
BambamBAM. BambamBAM. BamBAMbambamBAM
So I put down my brush, walked down the hall, and happily said, "You're hammering "Jingle Bells"!"
He just looked at me like I was insane so I quietly turned, walked back down the hall, and continued painting.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
I was given five minutes and was first up to bat. Opening act. Yikes. In the five minutes I basically did 4 different premises. The first one went all right. It was a bit on a political ad Morgan Freeman did. The second one, about someone claiming separating kids by gender was racial discrimination, did OK and then took a big nosedive toward the end. For some reason I changed the ending of the joke on the spot and it was kind of like a football player bobbling the ball, trying to keep control, and eventually dropping it. I could feel everyone in the room being nervous for me and that in itself was cool. I felt like a Jedi.
I paused briefly and took a page from what I learned at the National Comedy Theatre in New York: Be cocky. Not an arrogant cocky but just an air of confidence. Freakin' own it. If you get up there and the audience can sense you're nervous or unsure of yourself, you're dead. But if you get up there and act cocky like you know what you're doing, let them know they can relax because you have everything under control, then it's a different ballgame. And I decided to get cocky. I came up with a joke about 45 minutes earlier at my apartment that I thought was pretty funny and decided to scrap my previously planned Joke #3 and go with my gut, grow a pair, and get cocky.
I delivered the joke like I knew it was funny. I knew it was going to be the best joke they ever heard. Even though I didn't. I hoped it was. I thought it was. But I had never told it to anyone, never ran it past anyone; I just had a feeling.
I am glad to report it killed. The contrast from the reaction to Joke #2 (uncomfortable silence) to Joke #3 (a room of 350 people suddenly bursting out into a huge laughter that made me pause for a short bit until it died down) was the coolest thing in the world.
Joke #4 was able to stay on that same level as #3 and I was glad to end my set on a very high note. Afterward some people told me they wished I had been able to go on longer and that's just how you want it. Leave 'em wanting more. So that was very cool indeed.
Of course, being the tortured artist I am, I have spent the majority of the couple of days replaying the joke that bombed instead of the ones that went well. I once heard a comedian (I forget who) say they might get 100 emails and 99 of them will be emails like "You're so funny, you're so awesome, great job" and 1 email will be "You suck." Even though that's only 1 of 100, the negative email is the one that will be remembered. And that's true for me. Weird, huh?
I bought one of those portable audio recorders to record my set so I could use it to review and tweak my performance. After the night I got in the car and was extremely annoyed to find it didn't record anything. Not a thing. Of course, it worked perfectly before the show and even afterward, but not during. I spent my drive home recording an incredibly insane message, yelling at the recorder. I was going to post it on my page for your enjoyment, but the feature to post audio has been removed. If you'd like to hear an audio clip of excerpts from that rant drop me a line and I'll email it to ya.
Of the few hundred people that were in attendance that night I figure about 35 of them were buddies of mine who came out, which was very cool indeed. Mom and Jeff brought like 10 of their friends, including expert photographer Michael Schnee. Dad and Patsy brought a few friends as well. Cousins Glen and Suzie were there, and Uncle Rick, Aunt Mary, and Aunt Emma. From the boxing club Jeremy, Dave, Jerry, Walker, and Kyle showed up. Even a couple of ladies from the local bank were there to cheer me on (come on, you can't get much more small-town than that, but dammit it was great to have them there). Rob and LeeAnne were there which was very cool indeed. I know LeeAnne mostly from MySpace and I think last night was only like the 2nd time we actually hung out (including the 4th of July when I ate a burger near her) so it was very encouraging to see them there. My brother Ray was able to leave an event in Auburn early in time to make it. That meant a lot as well, because he's the person who makes me laugh the most. It was nice to return the favor.
I called Snickerz the next day to book a time at the next available open mic. It's such a rush; the coolest high in the world. That was my largest audience to date and I had so much fun. I'll keep you posted and again, while I wait for the audio clip feature to come back, let me know if you want me to email you my angry rant at my audio recorder (which, for some reason, I chose to do entirely in an English accent).
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
75% OFF ALL HALLOWEEN MERCHANDISE
not including candy or costumes
Thursday, November 02, 2006
I knew IU's colors were red and white but had no idea what the OSU colors were and since I wasn't really rooting for either team I knew for certain I wasn't going to wear red or white so as not to offend the home team. I decided to wear a blue shirt that had yellow lettering on it.
Turns out OSU's colors are also red and white. And OSU's biggest rival is Michigan, whose colors are, of course, blue and yellow. I felt like a turd. I didn't want the entire campus to think I was a Michigan fan because
a) I wasn't trying to start anything up
b) I'm not a Michigan fan
c) Not only am I not a fan of the Michigan college team, I'm also not really a fan of the state of Michigan or the people who hail from there
Nikki gave me a buckeye necklace to wear at the game that would protect me from rabid fans who throw beer and stab with shivs. Kind of like wearing garlic to scare away the vampires. Looking back, I don't think I needed the necklace at all. I had a great time and although the fans were hyped and pumped they were also very polite to this obvious out-of-towner.
Some things were weird, of course. It was kind of like going to a new church for the first time. I didn't know when to stand, when to sit, when to yell, I didn't know any of the songs or the cheers, and I didn't know the appropriate attire.
It was a really fun day, though, and since then I've found myself checking OSU scores every now and then. Have I become an OSU fan? I don't know. But I'm definitely more of a fan than I was before.
Sunday, October 29, 2006
We were browsing through the T-Shirts With Funny Slogans section and came across a shirt that had the silhouette of a shapely woman pushing a baby stroller on the front. Across the bottom of the shirt it read got milf?
Mom pointed at it and laughed. I think she thought it was funny because "milk" was spelled wrong because she looked at it for a second, thought about it, and then admitted, "I don't get it."
In my head I was repeating over and over Please don't ask me what a MILF is please don't ask me what a MILF is please don't ask me what a MILF is.
And of course, it came. "What's MILF?"
Saturday, October 28, 2006. The day I told my mom about the word MILF.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
No it doesn't. In fact, it doesn't sound anything like racial discrimination. Who are these critics? I think these are the same people who, when approached by the guy with the new food idea consisting of two pieces of bread surrounding a ground beef patty, lettuce, tomato, and cheese said, "That sounds too much like pancakes."
Friday, October 13, 2006
TRUE STATEMENT: I killed a bird last night.
TRUE STATEMENT ADDENDUM #1: I did it on purpose.
TRUE STATEMENT ADDENDUM #2: I killed the bird with a 5-foot wooden stepladder.
I had just come from work and was still speckled with paint but our adventures began nonetheless. We ran down to the outskirts of Ft Wayne to go to the paint store and pick up some wallpaper. Whilst there we looked at a wallpaper book featuring Disney characters. From there we zipped back down to Auburn so I could swing by the house and get a change of clothes and then stop by the bank so I could get some money for the night's festivities. We saw my Aunt Mary, who works at the bank, and Valencia became a little shy as she talked to her on the bank's drive-thru intercom.
We then went back to V's home so she could get in a nap and I could get cleaned up while she snoozed. We got home about 4:30 and Ray had instructed me not to let her sleep past 5:30. V woke up a little after 5 and we were soon on our way to the mall in Ft Wayne.
We went in the entrance near the Red Robin restuarant and they had a costumed character of, well, a red robin hanging around inside so we went in so V could shake his hand. We then made our way into the main mall, where V advised me not to walk on the diamond-shaped pieces of tile on the floor. Just because.
We stopped at a bookstore so she could look at the Clifford books that were on display and then made our way to the Disney store where I was informed what Santa needed to get her and also what I needed to get her.
The next stop was Toys R Us and while there the store clerk told me how well-behaved V was. Since Ray and Piper weren't there to accept the compliment I took it for them. A Spongebob Squarepants costumed character showed up after a bit and I felt bad for the person inside the costume. V was the only kid in the store and she was more preoccupied with the Mr Microphone and the battery-operated stuffed pig that walks around on its own. I cheered for V to myself.
After 20 minutes we moved on to the huge two-story carousel in the mall where V was happy to ride the giraffe, even though it didn't go up and down. The carousel is in the middle of the food court and the Chick-Fil-A cow character was walking around. It was definitely the Night Of The Living Costume Characters.
Our next stop was Claire's, where I let V buy anything of her choosing. She opted for a keyring that had a little plastic bird on it. And when you squeezed the bird, sticky brown poop came out (although we aren't allowed to say "poop." You call them "stinkies').
Next up was The Princess Store which we kind of sped through. It was pink and fluffy and a little too gay for me.
As we left the mall we stopped in to grab a bite to eat at the Red Robin. The Bird Guy was gone but V at least got a balloon. We bundled back up and raced out to the car and from there we went to V's favorite store: Wal-Mart.
We looked at all the toys and walked through the Halloween aisle where she nervously laughed at all of the motion-activated talking skulls. As we left the aisle she confessed she was a little scared in the Halloween aisle. I told her it was just plastic with batteries that was acting silly and she agreed that the plastic was indeed silly.
We got her home at 9:00 on the dot. As we pulled in to her house she said, "I had fun today, Eddie" and it gave me the proverbial warm fuzzy feeling.
"I did too, V," I told her and then followed up with, "What was your favorite thing you did?"
She thought about it for no more than 2 seconds and said simply, "My nap."
*(Yes, for those of you who didn't know, back home in Indiana I am known as "Eddie." So shut up.)
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
On Thursday November 9 I'll be stepping into the figurative ring again. It's open mic night at Snickerz Comedy Bar in Ft Wayne and I have secured one of only 3 slots. I'm stoked to get back up there.
I like the way they do things at Snickerz. I'm actually surprised more clubs don't do it this way. At every other club I've been to, open mic night is open mic night. Come one, come all, step in line and take your turn at trying to get people to laugh for your 3-5 minutes. Unfortunately because it's amateur night most of the time the only other people in attendance at open mic night is the mass of other comics wanting to get up on stage. And sometimes that mass is only 10 people. Needless to say, it's usually a pretty rough crowd.
Here in Ft Wayne they take a different approach. Instead of bringing on any and everyone who shows up, they only let three people go. Those 3 people serve as opening comics for the main comics/headliners, who also appear that night. Because it's not strictly an open mic night, you tend to get a close-to-full house of people ready to laugh as an audience. So not too shabby.
I was trying to get an October slot at Snickerz and when I called in late September they told me to call back in October. Since the first of the month I've been playing phone tag back and forth and today got a message informing me the next available slot is November 9. I'll take it. No complaints.
I'd like to get back there as often as possible while I'm around to get some solid material to bring with me when I return to NYC (yes, I do plan on returning to the Big Apple) so I can hit the comedy clubs running (as well as return to improv at the beloved National Comedy Theatre).
So, if you're in the Ft Wayne area on the 9th of November, stop by. I'm sure I'll post something else as the date nears so keep your eyes peeled for more self-promoting blogs and bulletins.
That's just the way I roll.
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Saturday, September 30, 2006
When I was younger I used to love going to the fair and bumping into friends and family as I strolled the town square. Not anymore. Now that I'm older I realized that everyone comes out to the fair. Everyone. The kind of Hoosiers that most people out-of-state think of when they think of a Hoosier. I'm not quite sure where these people come from, as the other 51 weeks of the year they are mysteriously absent. Not that I'm complaining. I'm just not a fan of the hillbilly.
Recently Dad and I did some work for some friends of ours. We attended the same church with them before I moved away from Indiana in '92 and their daughter Amy was in the youth group with me. I had a chance to meet Amy for some coffee and catch up on the last 15 years.
We met at my favorite coffee shop in town, which is also her favorite, but that initially presented us with a problem. The cafe is located right in the middle of the town square where the fair is located and that meant we'd both have to traverse through the masses. We decided to brave the crowds if for no better reason than to make fun of the people walking by. If you know me you know that's definitely something I could be down with.
As Amy and I sat and commented on the passers-by (believe me, the fair attendees did not disappoint) we talked about old times and I even told her the story of my uncle on my mom's side who had a long history of disappearing for years at a time and one day popped up driving a semi with a roller coaster ride in tow. That's right. Uncle Kenny had become a carny. I don't know how long he..."carnied" because that same afternoon he showed up he disappeared again for another few years.
Amy didn't believe my uncle was a carny and I can't say that I blame her. Believe me, when he pulled up in that huge yellow semi and I heard my brother say in awesome wonder Uncle Kenny is a carny! none of us could believe it either.
About this time two men dressed from head to toe in I-Can't-Believe-It's-Not-Harley-Davidson black leather approached the coffee shop. Leather jackets, pants, and boots were part of the get-up as well as the obligatory red, white, and blue bandanas. One of the biker guys was holding a small pink stuffed monkey. And that's all I needed.
I began to go on about the dichotomy between the biker and the pink monkey and how I would never have chosen those two to go together. Remember in elementary school the paper your teacher gave you with pictures of different people (a policeman, a baker, a cowboy) on one side and various objects (a police car, a chef's hat, a cowboy hat) on the other and you had to draw a line connecting each character with their appropriate prop? Well, I would have never drawn a line from leather-clad motorcycle guy to pink stuffed monkey.
As fate would have it, the two old bikers decided to come in to the coffee shop. Amy and I had moved on to another subject by this time, but I couldn't help but notice out of the corner of my eye the Biker With Monkey lurking a little too close to me. He took a step toward me and I could feel him staring at us.
Why is this guy gonna ask us for money I thought to myself. That's what Amy and I get for dressing like normal regular people and having full sets of teeth.
"What's a character like you doing here?" I heard the biker say to me and was happy I spent what was left of my cash on my chocolate mocha. At least I wouldn't be lying when I told the guy I didn't have any money on me.
I turned and looked at the guy and then really looked at him and in that instant I knew I would be blogging about this event. There standing beside me, dressed in leather and clutching a pink stuffed monkey, was Uncle Kenny.
We talked briefly and I pointed out to him the amusing fact that he was dressed in black leather and holding a pink monkey (at least I said it to his face and wasn't two-faced about it, right?) and he got a good chuckle out of it. Afterward I told Amy I should have learned a lesson. There I was making fun of someone I thought was a complete stranger and it turned out to be my uncle. That should teach me not to judge people just by the way the look.
It should, but it probably won't.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
She didn't. Just because you watch a marathon of HGTV on Saturday doesn't necessarily mean you can run out and do the exact same thing on Monday.
This morning Dad was on the roof painting and I was on the porch. THE ASSISTANT was inside doing the only thing we would let her do in the house: Clean heating vent covers. I have banned her from touching another paint brush, roller, hammer, screwdriver, spackling knife, or drywall compound.
Dad finished what he was painting on the roof and tossed one of the dropcloths from the roof onto the ground before climbing down himself. A few minutes later THE ASSISTANT came out of the house and pointed behind me.
"Is that a tarp?" she asked.
I turned and looked where she was pointing and saw the gray square dropcloth in the yard. "Yeah. That's a tarp."
"Oh. I thought your dad fell off the roof." She began to laugh and giggle annoyingly. I think she was trying to be cute and/or charming, but she had all the style and finesse of a rusty bedspring one might find in an alley behind an abandoned army surplus store.
"Yeah that's not my dad. It's a tarp."
Let me just say, I can understand if you see something fly past the window out of the corner of your eye how you might think Dad fell off the roof. But to wait a few minutes, come outside, and then point at the tarp and try to differentiate between the two...well...that's just dumbness.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
You fill your page with so much crap it takes me 36 minutes to load the entire thing (and I have a cable connection). Did you know that in the time it takes your page to fully load 13 kids in Africa died from rickets and the ozone layer got smaller by .96%?
There are so many videos on YouTube that crack you up, you couldn't choose just one (they're all so funny!). So you uploaded 14 of them onto your page that will surely entertain everyone who decides to watch them all.
You feature music from 18 different bands. Conveniently, none of them are bands I have any interest in.
You have a background picture featuring colors that make it impossible to see and navigate my way around. But kudos for the image of a haggard fisherman aboard what I can only assume is a schooner made of cardboard. By moonlight.
You feature 6 different clever and witty little polls that give me even more insight on you that no one really cares about (My personal color; Which character from "The Jeffersons" am I; My mood rainbow; Which lunch meat are you?).
Splashed across the top of your page is "YOU GO GIRL" written in maroon glitter.
When I move my cursor around your page the images blur, or even more amazing, flip horizontally. It's like surfing the web with a hangover except without the trouble of getting drunk first.
You have all this and more on your MySpace page. I know this hurts to hear it, but someone had to say it. I hate your MySpace page, and so do your friends. It's not cute. It's not intriguing. It's not even entertaining. It hurts my eyes. Thank you for the headache and, as of last Tuesday, the epileptic fits.
Monday, September 04, 2006
Last night I went to drop off my rent and decided to drive instead of walk. I stuck my money clip in the little console between the driver and passenger seats and forgot to grab it when I returned. Of course, when I went out to get it this morning, it was gone.
How can I live in cities like LA, Chicago, and New York and never once meet any harm and then come to Auburn Indiana and get ripped off. I hope they tried to use the credit card because the card I had in there was no good. I had $14 cash, my membership card to a video store (I should call to make sure no one tries to rent anything) and Borders, my tip chart, and some other stuff that I guess wasn't too important (except my discount card I bought that gets me 3 cents off every gallon of gas I buy...crap!). The most annoying thing will be replacing my driver's license.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Hung out with Todd this afternoon. He dropped me off from work and decided to come in for a quick hang. Had some coffee. He told me his coffeemaker was busted and in a grand gesture of generosity I offered him mine. At first he refused but I insisted. I hardly ever use mine and it's a shame because it's one of those nice and nifty silver sleek models. I'm sure it cost a lot but I got it as a gift from my ex-wife's father so what do I care. I know Todd would put it to good use and otherwise it's just kind of going to waste. I told Todd he could pick it up later tonight; give me a chance to clean it up for him. He said he'd stop by around 10:00 after his softball game.
Found an unopened bag of coffee in the back of the cupboard. Figured I'd give it to Todd as an "enjoy your new coffeemaker" gift. I've had this brand before. It is, for lack of a better word, amazing. He'll be hooked.
Been thinking about that coffee ever since I found it. I would break into it, but it feels kind of cheesy to give him an already-opened bag of coffee. And if I do bust it open for just one or two cups, then that's just a waste of great coffee. Wish I'd found it a week ago.
The coffeemaker is all boxed up in its original packaging and the bag of coffee I found is sitting proudly on top of it. Even though it's never been opened I think I can smell it and it's driving me nuts. Pretty sure it's all in my head, though. You can't really smell an unopened, factory-sealed bag of coffee, can you?
I put the bag of coffee inside one of those huge Ziploc freezer bags to keep the aroma in. I'm sure it's just my mind playing tricks on me, but it seems to have helped. I don't smell the coffee anymore. I wonder if I opened the Ziploc in a few minutes if I'd be able to smell the coffee. That would definitely let me know if it was in my head or not. I'd just open the bag and take a little whiff. At least then I'd know if I was imagining it all. I probably sound like a mental patient right about now, but you'd know what I was talking about if you'd tasted this particular brand. The most amazing I've ever had.
I found it when I took a trip to New Orleans a few months ago. It was in a little cafe well off the beaten path. I'd actually stopped in to get directions back to my hotel and as soon as I walked in the front door the aroma of the coffee knocked me off my feet. They offered me a free sample and it was like everything in the world that is well and good in convenient hot beverage form. I ordered one large coffee, then another, and later walked out with six one-pound bags under my arm. I gave one to my brother, one to my dad, one to my in-laws, and kept the other three for myself. I thought I went through them amazingly fast but the fact that one of them escaped my eyes now makes sense. I knew there was no way I would have gone through three bags in two weeks. Two seems to make a little more sense. One bag left and it's all for my number one pal. Well, I guess enough time has passed. I'm gonna go check it out.
I shouldn't have opened the freezer bag. As soon as I slid that little red plastic tab to the right and undid the patented Ziploc seal the scent of the most amazing coffee in the world wafted out and filled the room. I know it's impossible but for a second I felt as if I could see the aroma, like in those old Pepe LePew cartoons.
The coffeemaker has been unpacked and I can hear the water percolating from here. As it runs through the coffee grounds, seeps through the filter, and drips into the pot the anticipation is killing me. I almost want to remove the pot and stick my head under there and let it brew straight into my mouth. But it would probably be too hot.
I'm an idiot. The coffee being too hot wasn't the main snag in what I now realize was probably my dumbest idea ever. As soon as I removed the coffee pot it flipped a trigger (or more precisely un-flipped it) and the water stopped brewing. Part of a safety precaution taken by the manufacturer to prevent spills, I'm sure. But all it did was stop me from tasting the caffeinated goodness. While my brain was processing all of this it failed to register the fact that the burner the pot sits on stays pretty intensely hot and I seared the crap out of my left ear. But in the long run it's a small price to pay for tasty coffee.
Coffee almost done. Ear still hurts.
Mmmmmmmmmm! I don't know what happened but somehow the coffee managed to be even better than I remembered. Be right back. Going to get another cup.
Second cup just as good. Maybe even a little better. Brewing another pot as I write this. I don't quite get it. It was always my understanding that after coffee beans are ground they lose their flavor. I read an article once that said you should never let coffee grounds go for longer than a week if you want maximum flavor. And that pre-ground stuff like Folgers grocery stores try to pass off as coffee is totally out of the question. But this particular coffee seems to have gotten better with age, like wine. I don't quite understand it but I'm definitely not complaining. I figure after this next pot I'll go ahead and give the rest of the coffee to Todd. Sure, it'll be an open bag of coffee but after he's -- Wait, coffee almost done. Be right back.
I wonder if it's possible to brew and drink the rest of this coffee tonight before I have to give up the coffeemaker. Well, I'm sure it's possible, I just wonder if I could handle that much goodness. What the heck. It's Friday. Let's turn this mother out.
Just finished the second pot and numero three has just started. Went to the bathroom and peed twice in less than ten minutes. My hands are shaking a bit but it's worth it. I should build something. Bring it on!
Third pot is finished and the fourth is almost done. Less than an hour before Todd gets here. How long will it take me to brew what's left? I figure I've still got about half the bag remaining. Talk about a race against the clock! This is like that old show "CHiPs!"
I just timed myself to see how fast I can say my ABCs. I wish I had a stopwatch so I could be more precise. I did it once in under three seconds but I think I forgot "F." And "R."
Burned my tongue. Badly. Trying to drink too fast. Didn't give a chance to cool down. I've single-handedly polished off four pots of coffee in about an hour and a half. I'm going to have to move faster than that if I want to finish it all off before Todd gets here. Anyhow, fourth pot is finished and number five will be here soon.
Went outside to see if I could run to the end of the block and make it back before the coffee was done. I did it!!
I poured the fifth pot of coffee out into six separate mugs so I could go ahead and start brewing the next batch. Put the oven on at 400 degrees so I could put the extra coffee in there to keep it warm but by the time I drank them all the oven wasn't even hot yet! Better go check to make sure I turned off the oven. Dumb oven!
It takes 16 somersaults to go from the kitchen to my bedroom.
Pot number six was just as good as numbers one through five. Fifteen minutes before that asshole gets here. I used the pillows from my bedroom and living room to make a giant padded area so I can bellyflop off the couch.
If I jump high enough I can almost touch the ceiling with my face!
Peed for two and a half minutes.
I heard some noise outside so I ran to the window to see what it was but I couldn't see anything so I ran into the other room but I still couldn't see anything so I went to the other room but I couldn't see anything so I went outside and ran around the block two times and the second time around I touched all the cars that were parked along the curb and someone yelled at me and I shook hands with a Mexican (two times!).
My phone rang and I could hear it but I couldn't find it. And I was like "Where are you, phone!" and my phone was like "Doot doodle-oodle doo!" and I was like "Am I getting warmer?" and my phone was like " Doodle-oot doo-doot!" and I was like "Come on just give me a hint!" and I was running everywhere and tore up my pillow fort trying to find it and went and checked in the oven and it's a good thing it wasn't there because it was still on and it kept ringing and I thought if I could match the pitch I could hone in on which direction it was coming from and I was humming and humming and then I was like "Wait, I'm not even humming my ringtone" and I was running all over and I realized I only have on one shoe and I was like "I ran around the block twice with just one shoe on? No wonder my foot hurts!" and then I found my phone and it was in my hand. But by then it wasn't ringing anymore and I tried to go through my missed calls but I got distracted when the coffeemaker beeped to let me know another pot (I lost count) was done and I started brewing another pot and had to pee again and I was peeing and drinking AT THE SAME TIME! Fluids were going in and out of my body simultaneously and is that even possible? Tried to take a picture with my phone to use as proof but then remembered my phone doesn't have a camera but I did manage to piss all over the phone in the process. Phone ringing again. Going to try to do a backflip.
Todd not coming over tonight. Said he'll pick up the coffeemaker Monday morning. Backflip unsuccessful.
Finished off the coffee!!! Peed four more times.
Peed again. Two more times. Went outside to look at the night and ended up chasing a bug. Must have been laughing really hard because my throat is sore. That bug was fast!
Tried to make a house of cards. Hands wayyyyy to jittery. Cooked pancakes instead but I'm not hungry. What if I made a house of pancakes????
Spent the last hour trying to make a house of pancakes. Stupid Bisquik assholes.
I ran to the mall!!! They were closed.
Dialed 911 to see if they were open. They were. Got scared and hung up. Phone ringing.
Was trying to wear all my ties at once. Someone rang doorbell. Looked out window and it was the cops! Turned out the lights and made sleeping noises to fool them. Handwriting is messy because I am writing in the dark. My ties are heavy!!
Cops were mad!! Got a ticket. Weren't impressed with my pancake house or my pillow fort. Said it was really hot and found out oven was still on. I tried to illustrate how I chased a bug but they thought I was trying to escape and they chased me down. Peed once. Told me to go to sleep and stop drinking coffee. No way!
Mall still closed. Forgot my wallet anyway. Never found my other shoe.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
And I was wrong.
It was a guy in a white button-up shirt just sitting there looking at me. Mind you, by this time he'd been there for about 45 minutes. I drove away and thought about circling the block so I could get behind him and take note of his license plate number.
But then I remembered I wasn't in an episode of 24 and went on to work.
Today I was in Garrett painting the front door trim of a house. I was painting, painting, painting away. I happened to turn around and there in the street parked in front of the house was a shiny silver Corvette. The driver was sitting there just staring at me. I looked at the guy and tried to figure out if maybe I knew him but he started up the sports car and zoomed away.
What the freak is going on?
Monday, August 21, 2006
I originally intended to do some writing while I was there, but by the time I got there it was only going to be open for another half hour so I didn't bring my notebooks in with me. When I got in and went to the front counter, I heard someone softly say, "Eddie." After my last coffee shop experience where my presence was announced at the top of one's lungs, this was a welcome change.
Inside were three girls from the youth group my cousins Jordan and Logan go to, so it was nice to see some friendly faces and say hello. And, I have to confess, the coffee at this place was much better than the other place. I'm not just saying that because I had a bad experience at the other shop. Ask my brother Ray. I had mentioned to him that the coffee at the other location wasn't as good even before The Incident.
BrewDaily's Cafe, where I went tonight, also has a much nicer vibe to it. I can definitely get some writing done there and I am looking forward to seeing what gets cranked out. Most people have coffee to wake them up but it has the opposite effect on me. My white mocha I had tonight was the very definition of relaxing.
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
I wonder if anyone left me any comments on MySpace!
I wonder if anyone has commented on any of my YouTube videos!
I wonder who's on Comedy Central Presents right now!
I wonder if I should make a smoothie!
I wonder if I should watch a movie!
I wonder who's on IM!
You get the picture. Nothing ever gets done. So I decided to head over to a little coffee shop I stumbled upon last week. The owner knows my brother Ray and the first time I was in he could see the family resemblance and asked how I was related to him.
So I made the short drive over, my trusty little notepad tucked away in my pocket. I ordered an iced coffee and made my way to an out-of-the-way table against the wall and with my back to the door so as to keep myself distraction-free. There were about 6 or 7 kids in there having a Bible study a couple of tables away. No big deal. Although they were carrying on a discussion, they were still mindful of their surroundings and spoke in hushed tones and soon they had faded into the background atmosphere.
At the table next to me were a couple of people playing chess and it didn't take long for me to delve into my notebook and totally forget where I was. I was frantically scribbling away in my book, the words pouring out of me. I was on a roll and it felt good.
Which is probably why I didn't notice the owner had come in. Suddenly his voice broke the calm serenity of the room and I heard his voice boom out, "Hey, do you know who that is?!!!"
All that was missing was the sound effect of a needle scratching across a record. The entire room came to a standstill and everyone; me, the Bible study kids, and the chess players stopped what we were doing and stared at this guy who was pointing me out to his (I assume) wife.
"That's Ray Placencia's brother!!" He continued to bellow out and I felt the focus of the room shift from him to me.
Bear in mind, I really don't like being the center of attention. You may find that hard to believe seeing as how I've spent so much time on the stage and trying to make people laugh (both on and offstage). People are always surprised when they hear I'm a shy person. But think about when you first met me. Chances are I didn't come across as "the funny guy." Maybe "the nice guy." But it usually takes me a while to warm up to people when I first meet them.
In the meantime, please don't shine the spotlight on me.
Especially when you're in a place that is relatively quiet and people are trying to hold a Bible study. Or play a game of chess. Or write.
I smiled at the guy's wife and sheepishly said, "Hello." And the room continued to stare at me. I don't know what she - or everyone else - expected me to do. Was I supposed to hop behind the piano and play a song or grab my foot and stretch it behind my head? This guy's wife was still staring at me and I just smiled and nodded. "How are you?" was all I managed to get out.
She smiled and then they walked away. And for those of you keeping score at home, everyone else was still looking at me. I focused my attention on my book and my writing - or at least pretended to - until everyone else went back to what they were doing before they were so rudely interrupted.
I gathered my papers, put them back in my book, slipped it into my back pocket, dropped my cup in the proper waste receptacle, left the building, and swore never to return.
Saturday, August 12, 2006
Zoinks, it was good. I'm not too humble to admit it.
Friday, August 11, 2006
But I don't know where that is.
I have a small apartment here in Auburn where I have my computer and a few random essentials. But when I think of the concept of home, I don't think of these bare white walls and matching Venetian blinds.
When I think of home I guess my first instinct is to think of Garrett, the city I grew up in and where the majority of my family is. But I don't know. Garrett doesn't feel like home, either. Kind of like an old pair of shoes that you loved, but are now a half-size too small. You want to wear them, you want to feel that comfortableness...but after some time, you're going to have to face the fact they just don't fit.
Other geographical places I think of when I think of home are California and New York. But I wonder if I only think of California so fondly because it's the first place I lived when I left home and did a lot of growing up and experiencing life there. I have some great, great memories there. The big city. A million opportunities. Meeting a great friend. Just having a great time.
But do memories alone make a home?
As much as I love New York, the main reason I think of it as home is because of the friends I have there from the National Comedy Theatre. I've never had such a huge circle of friends that consisted of so many genuinely wonderful people chasing the exact same dream as me (or something very close to it). The city has a lot to offer, but if my buddies all moved away, I know I probably wouldn't think of it as home. I don't think of New York as home. I think of the people there.
So perhaps home isn't a physical place but a state of mind. If that's the case, then Lancaster PA and Atlanta GA are homes. As a cities and places, I wasn't their biggest fan. But the people I met in those places are lifelong friends whom I adore and they made it into something like a home.
I'd like to be home. I want to be home. I just don't know how to get there or even where it is, for that matter. I've had this intense longing for a home for the past week or so and it's been a heavy load.
I remember reading interviews about the late singer Rich Mullins. A lot of his close friends said that just before he died in a tragic car accident, he was very restless, looking for a home...basically in a similar place I am right now.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying I think my time is almost up. I'm just saying someone else was seeking the same think I am seeking now, and I think he found it. The question of the hour is: