Saturday, December 30, 2006

My Dream

In a couple of weeks it will be the 2-year anniversary of the death of a very close friend of mine. So much has happened since then, I find it hard to believe it's only been two years since he beat me Home.

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.

The McBob Family Update

Each holiday season I get a number of cards, photos, and newsletters from various friends I have made in my journeys. One I especially look forward to is the by-the-numbers year-in-review I get from Justin and Amy McRoberts (or, as they chose to call it this year, "El Ano En La Revision De La Familia De McBob 2006"). Finally. Something I can understand.

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

A Very Angry Un-Edlike Rant

All I want is a *&^%$# white mocha. Is that so much to ask for?

But no.

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

King Me

This week Dad informed me that he had a bunch of my old books stored away that I had left behind when I departed Indiana back in '92 to begin The Adventures of Ed. I dropped by a few days ago to pick up a box of old paperbacks that included most (but not quite all) of my Stephen King collection I had amassed over the years.

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

Only At Christmastime

Last night at the annual Placencia Christmas Eve gathering I was sitting on the couch with my cousins Glen and Rich. One of my little cousins, around 2 years old, entered dressed in her holiday best.

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

Snickerz: Another Review by Me

Tonight I returned to Snickerz Comedy Bar in Ft Wayne for the second time to perform stand-up at their open mic. Surprisingly (at least to me) in the few hours before the show I was more nervous this time around than I was last month. I had originally planned on bringing back a couple of the jokes I used last time that went over really well and mix them in with some newer stuff I wanted to try out.

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

It's Movies Like This One That Make Me Wanna Be In Movies

Little Miss Sunshine. I just saw it today. It's new on DVD this week and I can't stress enough how much you need to go out and see this film that got great reviews but was pretty much overlooked in the theaters. (And for all you macho guys out there, don't let the title dissuade you. Grow a pair and check it out.)

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

The Great Funniest Sneeze-Off Of '06

Last night my brother Ray and his wife Piper had a "date night" to celebrate Ray's birthday. I got to spend some time babysitting their daughter Valencia and, as always, we had fun.

On the way back from the movies (Charlotte's 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

THE BLIND DATE -- A Short Story

A couple of weeks ago I sent out some emails to a few random friends asking them to give me 4 things: a person, a place, an object, and a line of dialogue they made up themselves.

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):

Inspired by Adi Blotman

Elements: A Shrink. A Park. A paper bag. "I wish I knew why this was happening."

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.

"Hey asshole!!"

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.

"Love to."

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


It’s that time again to bore my friends and loved ones with a capsulated look at 2006. Enjoy. I’ll wake you when it’s over.

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.
*Visit London.
*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

Four Holiday Movie Suggestions

'Tis the season to sit back and watch your favorite holiday movies. But maybe you're a little tired of watching It's A Wonderful Life and The Grinch for the 38 billionth time. Please allow me to make a couple of suggestions that may not have been your first choice. So bump these to the top of your Netflix list, grab some cocoa, and enjoy.

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.

Die Hard
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.)

Grammy Reaction

As I am sure you know, the nominations for the 49th Annual Grammy Awards were announced today. I am sure everyone has their opinion on what should and shouldn't be nominated; I have mine on the only category I feel somewhat educated in.
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

Sarah Chalke Scrubs Into Engagement

Wow, what a bad week for Ed and The Women He Has No Chance With. First Eva Longoria, and now Scrubs's Sarah Chalke announces she's engaged. All right, Ms. Ryder, your turn. Might as well go for the trifecta.

It's Not Called "FunnyTV" For A Reason

I've never been able to get into MadTV. I've never been able to make it through a complete episode because every time it's on, I try to watch but always end up flipping the channel. Maybe everyone is just playing an elaborate trick on me, but a lot of my buddies rave about the show, go on and on about how crazy and hilarious it is. Some of them have even acted offended when I tell them I've never seen a whole show and a few have gone so far as to say it's better than Saturday Night Live.

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

Walking: Depends On How You Look At It

Funny how something as simple as walking can carry a different stigma depending on where you're at.

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

How To Scare Yourself

The other night I had a genuine scare, the kind where you're not just paranoid or suspicious but actually bordering on the brink of Zoinks, Scoob, let's get the freak out of here; the first time since...since...well I can't even remember when. And the best thing about it? It was all in my head. I don't know if it's proof of just how powerful our imaginations are or just that I'm going insane but either way, it was cool.

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.

Moving on.

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

Who, me?

A nice surprise for me this week. Last night at the boxing club I was named "Boxer of the Month" for October 2006 and even got a nifty trophy.

And you thought all I did was watch Comedy Central Presents reruns.