Sunday, March 26, 2006

Fair Warning

If you're going to walk through Times Square holding someone's hand, I guess that's OK.

If you're going to walk through Times Square holding someone's hand and take up the entire sidewalk during rush hour, that's annoying.

If you're going to walk through Times Square holding your spouse's hand who is holding your child's hand who is holding your cousin's hand who is holding their friend's hand and you're going to take up the entire sidewalk and refuse to step aside for the oncoming foot traffic, then someone is going to get a glare from me followed by the mean shoulder nudge as we pass.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Wow, suddenly I'm just full of blogs, ain't I?

I wanted to mention the Kids Cookie Break hosted by my dear friend Lisa Landis. If you're looking for something fun and new to listen to, Lisa hosts this kids show and is now available to listen online 24 hours a day! It's awesome!! And even though it's a show for kids, like most Pixar movies, you can enjoy it no matter what age you are. Lisa is an amazing host and it's no mystery how a brief once-a-week segment on her morning show turned into it's own weekly show and now an internet phenomenon.

So swing by the link above and listen. Your family might like what they hear. And hey, if you listen really closely, you might hear one of more than a few contributions by Yours Truly.

Til You Weep

When is the last time you actually laughed so hard, you cried? If it's been too long, then I highly suggest the podcasts by Ricky Gervais. For those of you who don't know, Gervais is the genius behind the original British version of "The Office" (as writer, producer, and star and also producer and sometimes-writer of the American version).

I was listening to the podcasts while at work and literally sat at my desk crying. I can't recommend this too highly.

Now stop reading this and go get your laugh on.

Long Time No Blog

Wow, I can't believe it's been so long (12 days) since my last blog. Time definitely can get away from you, can't it? I know the old adage of "out of sight, out of mind" can often be true and I didn't want you to think I haven't been up to anything. I guess I just haven't taken the time to document any of it. Here's a brief recap:

Meridith and Nathan visit
My dear friend Meridith and her boyfriend Nathan came up to visit from Columbus, Ohio. It's always good to see dear friends again and I was glad to have a chance to reconnect and catch up. It was Meridith's first time to NYC and I had fun showing her a small bit of the city.

Painting the Lava Lounge
Some of us at the National Comedy Theatre have really taken it under our wing as our fearless leader Kramer has been out of town. The green room down in the basement was just a big empty room and we've gotten carpeting, a sofa, a Playstation, and are in the processing of applying a new coat of paint. It's really bringing everything together and making it feel like a place we want to hang out and call our own. The enthusiasm has been infectious and nice to see everyone band together.

No Books For Me
I haven't read anything for some time. All of my free time at the library has been spent checking out comedy albums. I also got the film Continental Divide with John Belushi and Blair Brown. After reading the Belushi bio I wanted to check it out as it raved about his stellar performance in a serious role. I thought it was ok. Kinda bored with it, though. Just because someone isn't mugging for the camera, I don't think that makes them a dramatic genius. But that's just me. A cute film, just not a dramatic tour de force.

And I guess that's it.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

"The Ha-Ha"

Back in July I blogged about a little bookstore back in Indiana that was giving away free books; they were advance copies and I loaded up on a few of them and felt like a bandit. I just finished reading one of those books, The Ha-Ha by Dave King and let me tell you, I really feel like a bandit now.

This book was amazing. Incredible. And I've heard nothing about it at all. Pity, really.

Ha-Ha tells the story of Howard, a man who returned home from the Army scarred (literally and figuratively) and unable to speak, read, or write. Besides that, he is a man of "regular intelligence" who has carved out a regular routine in life...until his close friend and former love interest Sylvia goes into rehab and leaves him to care for her son Ryan while she is in recovery.

It's hard enough adapting to life with an 8-year-old boy; you can imagine how much harder it would be when you have no way of communicating with him except for gestures. With the help of his three roommates, Howard is more than willing to accept the task (mostly because he is still in love with Sylvia and despite his handicap, dreams of spending his life with her and Ryan).

What unfolds is a story that draws you in and has you rooting for Howard the entire time. You understand his wants, his longings, and his frustrations. His highs are invigorating and his heartbreaks are truly heartbreaking.

The time spent with Ryan changes the lives of everyone involved in a variety of ways and when I got to the end of the book, I was sad to have to say goodbye.

The Ha-Ha gets my highest recommendation. Check it out at a local library or bookstore near you. Thumbs up!

John, Lisa, Times Square, and Snowboarding

Yesterday I got to visit with my dear friends John and Lisa from Pennsylvania. They were up in New York City for a few days for their honeymoon and I was glad they etched out some time in their schedule for us to hook up!

Since I had to work that afternoon we met in Times Square. Lisa interviewed me for the radio/internet show she does, "The Kids Cookie Break" and told me about other interviews she'd gotten while she'd been in town.

In the middle of Times Square the Mountain Dew people had erected a huge snowboarding ramp with two individual lanes and complete with a huge truck blowing artificial snow on it. I'm not sure what the big event was for (we were told it wouldn't officially begin until 4:00) but it was pretty cool to see. You just never know what you're gonna see when you're walking down the street in this town!

John and Lisa both lived in New York many moons ago (Lisa had even worked at NBC for a short bit and had fun SNL stories to tell) so there was no pressure to show them all the cool stuff in town and impress them. Instead we just walked around and concentrated on catching up.

We grabbed some lunch at a great little French cafe (Maison was the name, I believe) and after that we made our way to Sam Ash Music stores so Lisa could get another disc for her recorder. While there she interviewed one of the employees about ukuleles and it was a great time.

Always good to see the Blowers!! Nothing like good friends and good conversation.

Tomorrow my dear friend Meridith is coming into town with her boyfriend Nate and I am looking forward to catching up with her (and meeting him)! This is the week of reconnecting! Yeeeeee!

Monday, March 06, 2006

Layer Cake

I've just finished reading a book that was recommended to me by my new friend from Down Under, the lovely Lena. Actually, she recommended the film to me. I went online to search for it at the New York Public Library and found it was a book first that had been made into a movie. I reserved them both, and the book is the first one that arrived.

Layer Cake by JJ Connolly is a fast and fun journey into the seedy underbelly of the crime syndicate in London. It's basically Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels meets Snatch meets Elmore Leonard (author of Get Shorty, Be Cool, and Out of Sight). In other words, it's a guy movie in book form. And I loved it.

It took me a bit to figure out some of the British slang (cozzer, apparently, is another word for a cop) but it didn't take long to get involved in the story of our unnamed hero who is twenty-nine years old and has decided to retire from a life of crime when he turns thirty. As is usually the case in such stories, it is much easier said than done. Connolly parades before us a long line of colorful characters, one more interesting and sneaky than the next.

When I had reached the third-to-last page, everything is pretty much wrapped up in a neat little bow....but a lot can happen in three pages. That's all I'm gonna say.

A fun read and highly recommended. Makes me wanna get in a car and drive really fast.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Remote Control

Last night was my first time performing at a remote show with the National Comedy Theatre. I rode along with JT, Amy, and Dan to East Brunswick, New Jersey to perform in the fancy schmancy Hilton Hotel for the New Jersey Association of Gifted Children or something like that.

We did a soundcheck in the ballroom where we would be performing and then they gave us directions to what they described as our "green room in a secured location." Or, what you and I would call a hotel room.

It was actually a very nice setup. They had taken out pretty much all of the furniture and instead brought in 4 tables and some chairs and set up them up around the room. They had also supplied a nice little craft services table with fruit and granola bars. It was pretty cool.

We were scheduled to perform for an hour and it went amazingly well. At first I wasn't sure how it would go, since about 3/4 of the people in attendance were kids but JT, who was running the show, did a really great job of keeping things under control (especially while getting suggestions from the crowd) and everyone seemed to have a great time.

The laughter kept coming at a steady rate and the hour flew by. Afterward we mingled for a bit and then got some free ice cream (we laughed at how, seeing it was a convention for gifted children and their families, they were offering free ice cream sundees).

We arrived back at the theater and hung out with the gang who performed at the theater for a few hours and all in all, it was a good night. I am scheduled to do another remote in a couple of weeks and am looking forward to that as well.

Good times.