Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Death of a Killer

In April of 1984 my grandfather Juan Placencia was brutally murdered. Three boys attacked him at his home in the early hours of the morning. After stabbing him repeatedly they proceeded to rob him of $130 cash and a TV they later sold for 20 bucks. According to the testimony of his attackers, my grandfather spent the entire time pleading for his life.

One of the boys, who served as the "lookout", was sentenced to 10 years in prison and was released after two. The second boy, who did the actual robbing, was sentenced to 50 years and will be eligible for parole in (I believe) 2 years.

The man who did the actual stabbing, David Leon Woods, was sentenced to death and has spent the last 22 years appealing the verdict. This most recent time around Woods' attorney argued that it is illegal to execute someone who is mentally retarded in the state of Indiana and Woods has decided to claim he is mentally retarded. Woods also claimed that lethal injection is "cruel and unusual" punishment and should not be carried out.

You know what's cruel and unusual? Stabbing a man 22 times in the face, back, and neck. And pardon my political incorrectness, but your excuses are mentally retarded. You've spent the last 23 years trying to cheat death. And you barely gave my grandfather 20 minutes.

Naturally, a couple of days ago the Supreme Court denied Woods' appeal and their statements about him falsely claiming mental deficiency were almost humorous. This was his last chance to appeal. The Supreme Court has declared Woods be put to death before sunrise on May 4, 2007.

Ask everyone in my family how they feel about the judgment and you won't get any two identical answers. Some have forgiven. Some have publicly vowed never to forgive. Some have admitted my grandfather wasn't a perfect man. Others claim he was anything but.

Woods' death won't bring back Grandpa. I don't believe his death will make me feel any better. But I will be glad when all of this is over.

It's easy to cling to the past and cling to anger and hopefully the execution of David Woods will help some people loosen that grip. When you hold on so tightly to hate and revenge, you don't have any free hands to grasp for hope and peace of mind.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Big News

It's very rare you find a job you not only love doing, but also love the people you work with. It's also pretty rare to get a chance to do what you've always dreamed of and, again, love the people you get to do chase that dream with.

Even rarer than both of those situations, though, is getting the chance to do it again. Both of them.

I worked at WJTL in Lancaster PA for about three years and have stayed in touch with just about everyone there since I left back in '92. A lot of places claim to promote a family environment but very few deliver. JTL is one of those places and when I got a call from Fred, the station manager at WJTL a few weeks ago, I was more than a little excited. Fred told me about a position he felt would be right up my alley. In a nutshell, they are looking for someone to do audio production, video production, and helping with their website. Of course I was excited because all of those are things I love doing. I mean come on! Web, audio, and video? Count me in!! It wasn't 100% certain but Fred assured me it was 99% sure and would let me know as soon as everything was finalized.

Today Fred let me know. It's official and I'm officially stoked. I have been offered the job and I have accepted. I promised a friend of mine I would DJ her wedding here in Indiana so I will be leaving for Pennsylvania immediately afterward, putting me back in Amish paradise in mid-June.

I'm really excited not only to be doing what I love to do but also to be near some very dear friends whom I consider my family.

But wait! There's more!

If you've read my blogs you know I can't shut up about how much I loved being in New York City and performing at the National Comedy Theatre, an improv theater in Manhattan. It's a passion of mine I've chased for quite some time and the people there are very talented and dear to my heart. Well...Lancaster is only a 3-hour train ride away from New York City. Three hours!!! I have an iPod, so that's nothing..that's like 2 episodes of Saturday Night Live and a Ricky Gervais podcast!

That's right, baby! Not only will I be able to work at a place and with people I already know I love, but I'll be able to go up to New York on weekends and perform at a place and with people I already know I love.

Oh yea...and I'll only be about 45 minutes away from an IKEA.

Sometimes God is much better to me than I deserve.

Monday, March 26, 2007

A "Helpful" Rhyme

Today I drove past the fire department and they had a sign out front that read

I guess they're trying to be cute and rhyme and everything but I think an even more effective sign, and wiser advice, would be

I mean, otherwise it'd be like "I know my kitchen is engulfed in flames but you know what? There's really not much smoke. I think I'll stay put. Besides, I can't be bothered if the smoke isn't thick. I have laundry to fold."

Sunday, March 25, 2007

An Excuse for Pizza

The Papa John's delivery girl is cute. That's all.

I'm just saying.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

No, No, NO!!

When I woke up this morning, a fishing show was ending on ESPN. After the final credits rolled, a bumper came on proclaiming ESPN the "home of every sport." Um....


There are a lot of "sports" out there that really push using the term, but there is nothing you can say to convince me fishing is a sport. It's not. Fishing isn't a sport. In my book, in order for something to be a sport it must take a little bit of skill and sometimes even a little bit of sweat.

Sure, you don't sweat when you play darts, but it does require skill. You don't sweat in poker, but at least you're playing against someone else. In fishing, you have no opponent except whether or not a fish actually happens to swim by.

It's the only "sport" where it's not even guaranteed you'll play. There's no chance of me showing up at a golf course and being told there are no holes. I'll never spend an afternoon playing basketball and walk away frustrated because the hoops didn't decide to show up. If you can spend an entire day with no assurance you'll even get to do the activity, then it's not a sport. Fishing is a hobby, but it's not a sport any more than gardening or scrapbooking.

It comes down to this simple rule: It's not a sport if it can be done from a plastic chair with a built-in beer holder.

It just isn't.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Up with Whitey. And Men.

This blog may seem a little disjointed and for good reason. I am still in a state of shock and can't believe what I went through and witnessed last night. One of the only things worse than seeing a major injustice is the feeling of utter helplessness in knowing there is nothing you can do about it.

My dad, as some of you know, is a former boxer and Golden Gloves champion. He started boxing as a young teen and had his last fight in 1976. He has been a boxing coach ever since and all said has about 50 years experience in the arena. He has a real love for the sport, knows what it taught him in life, and when you see him working with kids you can tell how much he loves sharing that passion. Dad is a father figure to a lot of guys who grew up in less-than-stable households and because Dad let them know they can do anything they want if they put their mind to it, they grew up to achieve successes they may never have attained otherwise: Upstanding fathers and husbands. Lawyers with integrity. Exemplary political figures. Even a NASA engineer.

So last night when Dad and a fighter of his experienced an incredible amount of racism and prejudice while trying to be involved in a sport that has done so much to improve not only his life, but the lives of others, it really rocked his world. It was hard to watch.

Dad has been training a young female boxer named Jessica for a couple of years. Even before I moved back into the area I felt like I knew her whole history because many times when we would talk on the phone Dad would tell me about her and, not only was she a great athlete, but she was a great kid with a big heart. When I moved back into town last year and went down to the club for a few months to train I got to meet Jess and Dad was right. She's a great fighter, a really hard worker, and...well...just a good person. She's the kind of kid (I say kid, but she's a freshman in college) with such a sweet disposition you automatically want to take her under your wing and protect her like she was your little sister.

She works harder and is more dedicated than anyone, male or female, I've seen in a long time. Dad is hoping to get her accepted into the training for the female Olympic boxing team this summer. The hard thing about it, though, is the lack of female boxers in the area. They have a really hard time finding matches for her. It's really hard for Jess because she loves the sport so much yet is often met with frustration when she travels out of town to a fight only to find out her opponent didn't show up or had to back out for some other reason. It's not unlike that feeling of disappointment the Griswolds felt when their family drove across country to go to the Wally World theme park only to find out it was closed.

Dad got a call from a boxing guy in Michigan a few weeks ago who said he had someone who would box Jessica at an amateur show just outside Detroit. Dad and Jess were both very excited about it and when Dad asked if he could borrow my video camera to tape the fight for Jess I volunteered to go along and film. I had never seen Jess fight in an actual bout before and was excited to go along.

On the three-hour drive up there you could sense how excited Jess was. It'd been almost a year since she had a fight and she was chomping at the bit. When you haven't done something you love for so long, and then get an opportunity to do it again, the adrenaline rush leading up to the actual event is exhilarating and that's definitely where Jess was at.

The fight was being held at the GREAT OAKS COUNTRY CLUB in ROCHESTER, MICHIGAN. Let's all remember that name. The GREAT OAKS COUNTRY CLUB. Now you know where to send your letters.

We got there and were greeted by a friendly guy at the door, probably a high school or college student, and inside were two friendly girls about the same age who pointed us in the right direction. We got Jess weighed in and had about an hour and a half to spare. We asked what time we needed to be back as we wanted to go and grab a bite to eat and left to get some sustenance.

Upon returning to the GREAT OAKS COUNTRY CLUB we saw the parking lot was filled. They had signs up in the lobby advertising "Fight Night!" that included "amateur boxing, fine dining, and fine cigars." Tickets to this event, by the way, were $80 apiece. This is an amateur fight. None of the boxers or boxing clubs represented were getting paid. They were all there just to participate in a sport they loved. In fact, the only people who were probably getting any money were the people who brought the boxing ring. So the GREAT OAKS COUNTRY CLUB really got themselves a deal, to say the least.

Upon our return we met Rene, the guy who was promoting and putting together the fight. He seemed like a really nice guy despite looking a little frazzled. He showed us the waiting area, which was a small room off the main lobby. And when I say a small room, that's exactly what it is. Dad and Jess went down the hall so Jess could see the doctor for her pre-fight physical and I stayed behind with our stuff. I sort of drifted toward the wall in the lobby to be out of the way and Rene told me that GREAT OAKS COUNTRY CLUB wanted everyone inside the room; no one could be in the lobby. I didn't think anything of it, as I understood it to be a holding room for fighters and their coaches.

Inside the approximately 12' x 17' room were maybe 10 or 12 chairs and 50-60 people. There were boxers and coaches, yes, and there were also people who had come to watch their families fight, mostly wives and children. It was a unique atmosphere to say the least only because there were a lot of people in a very small room, a lot of boxers, but it was pretty quiet. Everyone was being very respectful of their surroundings, this wasn't a sweaty gym somewhere, and I was impressed to say the least.

One of the two double doors leading into the room was standing open and a few minutes after being in there a woman came to the room, glared at everyone inside and said (direct quote here), "You need to keep this door closed. We don't want our members to see you." Then she shut the door as if we were a bunch of kids who had been sent to our rooms and had been caught sneaking out. No, scratch that...she shut the door more like we were a bunch of people who weren't white and had trespassed onto the GREAT OAKS COUNTRY CLUB property.

You would think that when you live in a community so close to Detroit and want to have a boxing show, you're going to expect a few brown people to walk through your door. Of the people in the room, it was probably 10% white, 30% hispanic, and 60% black.

No one said anything. There was no call to riot, no questioning or backtalk. We all just accepted that those were the rules, weird as they may seem, and everyone went back to what they were doing, which was either talking quietly or putting on hand wraps. A few people came up to me, introduced themselves, and I got to meet some really nice folks. That's one thing about the boxing community. As violent as some people think it is as a sport, the people involved in it are some of the friendliest, most humble, and most polite people you'll ever meet.

Soon some people came in from out in the lobby, more than likely returning from seeing the doctor. The doors of the room are the kind that stay propped open automatically and have to be pulled shut and after a few minutes the door to the room was found open again. Not because someone defiantly opened the door, but because people were going in and out of it on their way to and from their physicals.

From outside I heard the Dragon Lady yelling at someone. "You have to get in the room!" There was a pause as whoever she was yelling at responded, but they were using a hushed tone and I couldn't hear what was said. Again the lady yelled, "Just get in the room!"

Soon after a young black man came into the room. He walked over to his friends and said "Did you hear her yell at me? I told her I was just coming back from the bathroom and she yelled at me to get back in the room." This guy didn't have any attitude at all in his voice, he was just talking to his friends like he was telling them what he had for breakfast.

I honestly couldn't believe what I was seeing. You always hear about discrimination at country clubs but I never really gave it much thought. I actually figured it was just people blowing things out of proportion and here I was, seeing it for myself.

A few minutes later the Dragon Lady returned to the room and yelled at no one, "I need you to keep this door closed! We don't want our members to see you people!" I remember finding it ironic that everyone talked to her in polite and hushed tones as if they were in a library, and she talked by yelling. And she worked for the GREAT OAKS COUNTRY CLUB. Shouldn't she be the polite one and the rest of us riff-raff be the ones who are loud and obnoxious?

Rene then entered the room and shut the door. He announced that no one was allowed to go in and watch the fights except for the fighters themselves and the coaches. No wives. No children. They were all to stay in the room. I could see the frustration on Rene's face as he said this; I've never gone to a boxing show where this has been the case. He explained this wasn't the rules of the boxing association but something the GREAT OAKS COUNTRY CLUB had just told him. He also expressed this was the last time he would be working with the GREAT OAKS COUNTRY CLUB in ROCHESTER, MICHIGAN.

You can imagine the disappointment in the room upon hearing this news. Not only could their wives and children not stand in the back of the event room and watch them fight, they had to stay in this cramped little space during the entire course of events. But no one said anything. No backtalk. No sass. No "are you kidding me's." I think everyone was slowly starting to accept that it was what it was.

Dad and Jess finally returned from the doctor and as Dad started to wrap Jess's hands and I filled him in on what had been going on. A few minutes before the fights were to begin Rene stepped in the room and called Dad's name. This is it! I thought to myself, Here we go! Then Rene said he wanted to talk to Dad and Jess. I waited back in the room.

A few minutes later Dad came in and said, "There's no fight." Everyone in the room froze and looked at Dad. I hadn't seen Dad ever look so defeated before in my life.

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"They aren't going to let Jess fight because they said it would offend their members."

I said it without even thinking. "Would it offend their members if I went out there and punched them in the neck?"

Dad grabbed his boxing duffel bag and coat. "They're not letting the girls fight because they said "They're girls.""

Dad said, "They won't even let us stay and watch the fights. We have to leave."

"Wow," I said, "I've never been kicked out of a country club before."

You could feel the disbelief and shock as it settled on everyone in the room. Jess came in the room and I could see she was trying hard not to cry. One of the other coaches said, "If they're not letting your girl fight, then none of my guys are fighting."

Another coach agreed. "They've treated everyone here really disrespectfully, and that's not right. If they're not going to let everyone fight, then none of my guys are fighting either." Boxers around the room began nodding their heads in silent agreement.

These things weren't said in a dramatic, loud, call-to-arms tone of voice. Despite what everyone had gone through and how everyone had been treated, everyone was still talking quietly and appropriately. I couldn't get over how impressed I was.

And what really impressed me was Rene's response. I expected, "Now, now, now, let's not get out of hand here, there's still going to be a show." Instead, Rene simply stated, "I know. If you want to leave, you can leave. Maybe we should all leave. I'll never work with these people again."

Dad, Jess, and I left but not before I caught a glimpse of a few guys taking off their wraps and shoes. I also remember seeing the young guy and girls who greeted us at the Country Club when we first arrived. They were still smiling, but their smiles were no longer genuine, as if they just realized exactly where they were working.

I wanted to stay behind to see what happened, to see how many people actually left, all three of us did, but we had a three-hour drive ahead of us and Dad wanted to get on the road.

In the truck I asked Dad what happened when he was called out of the room. Rene told Dad They're not going to let any girls fight. They said it would offend their members. Dad told me, "I couldn't believe he actually said that.It's so wrong."

While they were in the lobby talking to Rene one of the boxers came from the bathroom in his boxing trunks and shoes with no shirt what boxers wear. A man (the Dragon Lady's counterpart, I assume) yelled at the kid to "Get in the room! This is a family environment! There are children here!" (I pointed out to Dad that the only children I saw in the place were the kids of the boxers they had cooped up in the waiting room.)

Dad said he'd never seen Jess so angry before. Jess asked the man if he was the one that said she couldn't fight. The man said he was. Jess asked why and Dad said this guy got a look on his face like no woman had ever dared to ask him that question before. And that's probably true.

He told Jess, "Because you people won't keep that door closed, you're coming in and out, and it's chaos in here!"

"That's not my fault. Don't punish the girls for that."

The man walked up to Jess, pointed his finger in her face, and said, "It IS your fault."

"Why won't you let us box?" Jess pleaded again and his answer was cut and dry.

"Because you're girls."

He turned and stormed away and Jess called out after him, "Haven't you ever heard of women's boxing?"

I don't know what happened after we left the GREAT OAKS COUNTRY CLUB. In my mind I see all of the boxers refusing to stand for it and walking out. Their employees, offended by the bias they have observed, quit their jobs. The precious "members", who paid 80 bucks a ticket, demand their money back and the GREAT OAKS COUNTRY CLUB takes a big loss.

In reality, that's probably not what happened. I'm sure some of the boxers stayed behind. I'm sure there were some fights. Maybe not as many as they had planned on, but the people got their show and smoked their cigars. And I'm also pretty sure none of the members had any idea any of this occurred.

It's all about the Members, isn't it? Protect the members.

Dad was in a state of shock during the drive home. It broke my heart. And when I saw Jess in tears I could feel my heart bleed. All she could say over and over again was "I've never been told I couldn't do something because I was a girl." I told her it wasn't fair and they weren't right. It wasn't. And they weren't.

I'm not naive. I've been around the block a time or two. I know there is injustice in the world, much of it unprovoked and uncalled for. And I guess I've just learned to put up with it. But the first time someone is exposed to it, the first time they realize some stereotypes are actually witness the moment when someone's innocence is shattered...that hurts like nothing I've ever experienced.

Jess's voice trembled as she said it. "I hope that guy doesn't have any daughters. If he does, I feel really bad for them."

Dad and I did, too.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Recycled Paper

Yesterday Dad took me out for breakfast. When we came in we saw a lady there who said hello to us and she looked really familiar. I wanted to ask Dad who she was, but it's a small place and it was really quiet in there; she was sitting at the table right next to us. I grabbed a pen and scribbled on the paper placemat, "Who is she? Looks familiar."

I passed the pen to Dad and he jotted down the answer. I still didn't know who it was and I scribbled out our writings. We ate our breakfast without further incident and went on our way.

This morning we got together for breakfast again at the same place and grabbed the same table. We sat down, I looked at the table, and you guessed it: exact same placemat, as evidenced by our notations from yesterday.

I'm still not sure how to feel about this. The placemat wasn't dirty or anything but at the same was the same placemat. It made me wonder what else they might be recycling.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Kiss Me, Apparently I'm Irish

One of my stand-up jokes talks about my ethnicity and how people sometimes have a hard time guessing that I am Mexican, American Indian, German, and Dutch just by looking at me. Well, I can now add Irish to the list.

I actually found out a couple of months ago when Mom told me we have a big bunch of Irish ancestors on her side of the family. How did I not know this? Why did she wait until I was 36 years old to tell me? Why was this kept from me?

This explains so much: my love of Celtic music, my fondness for the guys in the bands The Electrics and Ceili Rain, the red hairs that pop up in my beard when I don't shave, and of course my horrible horrible binge drinking (as if the Mexican/American Indian/and German heritage didn't already explain that).

So Happy St. Patrick's Day, me!


There was a guy working at Gotee Records while I was there named Brewster and he's pretty much one of the coolest guys I know. You know the kind of person I'm talking about. As soon as you meet them you wish you were best friends so you could hang out all the time and just be around someone so cool.

Unfortunately, Brewster wasn't around very long after I got there and soon his adventures led him to Florida, so I never got to know him as well as I would have liked.

Thanks to the miracle of MySpace, I (and you) still have a chance to get to know him a little better. He's been writing some blogs lately that are, excuse me for gushing, pretty darn amazing. I've seen people cut and paste little inspirational tidbits here and there, but Brewster writes some things that really hit home and get you thinking. And then gets you to take action on those thoughts.

So find Brewster, take a look around, and subscribe to his blog. It'll be more than worth it.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Foiled Again!!!

I'm really getting a kick out of all of the extra work I did while in Chicago and New York City...and the fact that there's no proof of it.

The Break-Up: Two days in Chicago and my awesome roller blading scene was deleted. It was even deleted from the DVD's deleted scenes!! But like I've said before, I got to roller blade behind Jennifer Aniston, so there are no regrets.

Devil You Know: My role as the snooty matire'd who gives Lena Olin an angry look will very likely always remain a hidden treasure as it never went to theaters and I never heard anything about it since.

Without a Trace: I got to play an FBI employee fleeing from a building and after close examination of the episode, I was nowhere to be found.

And now another one to add to the list. I did work for a new FOX TV show called The Wedding Album about a wedding planner and his zany adventures. I believe I would have gotten some good "hey there he is" screen time but it seems FOX has gone with a different TV show about wedding planners, The Wedding Bells. Awesome.

There's only one left...a movie with Robin Williams called August Rush. I haven't seen any previews for it or heard any buzz yet, so I'll keep you posted. It's currently scheduled to come out in August. On the same weekend as the Bourne Identity sequel. So...good luck.

Who knows. If this doesn't work, I may have to jump back in and try it again. Don't think I won't, doggonit.

Ok, I found this website on August Rush. Apparently some guy who does special effects worked on the movie and he has a couple of clips on his website of the film and how he made it look like there were actually a lot more of us in Central Park than there was in reality. He has four scenes in his clip; I am somewhere in each of the first three, but it's impossible to find me. Hopefully when the final product comes out I will be ready for my close-up.

To watch the scenes click here. Once you're there, click on REEL in the top right-hand corner and then choose August Rush. If nothing else, it's kinda cool to see the before and after of the effects.

Monday, March 12, 2007

More Stuff for the Fridge about knocking one out of the park! A couple weeks ago I posted a blog about rearranging the stuff on my refrigerator and encouraged my buddies to feel free to send me something to add to the collection. My most recent addition comes from my pal Jen in Florida.

Along with a nice card explaining everything, she sent me some really cool custom-made magnets (one of them featured Chuck Norris telling me how awesome I am, one was a church sign advertising "Brother Ed" in concert, and my personal favorite was the one made up to look like a ticket stub to an Ed Placencia comedy concert (with fellow Hoosier Jim Gaffigan as my opening act)).

She also sent me a couple of pictures of her poodles. So now I have poodles on my refrigerator. Even though I'm not gay.

Jen is under the impression that I'm a Photoshop freak. Not sure why she thinks that, but whatever. She doesn't have Photoshop, so she printed pictures of me, cut my head off, and re-pasted them on various magazine photos with hilarious results.

Now my fridge looks even better than before! Thanks, Jen, for the great package and the big laughs! You rock!!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

In Support of My Non-Flakes

My friend Rachael recently posted a blog venting her frustration about her flaky friends...people who just kind of come and go and are there one minute and gone the next. Granted, she lives in Nashville and a lot of people there are part of the CCM music machine, so that's most of the problem right there. ;) I think we all have friends like that (I'm sure I've been that person more than once) but it made me even more grateful for my friends who have always been there.

Yesterday I spoke with Amy on the phone, one of the many talented people I worked with at the National Comedy Theatre in Manhattan. It'd been too long since we last talked and it was great to catch up with her. One of my favorite memories of New York is with Amy. We went to a karaoke bar one night where she entered the big contest and won first prize (an Easy button from Staples). After that we walked through Central Park, despite the fact it was too late to safely do so and then went to a Chinese restaurant. We talked about everything from parents to God and Jesus to relationships. It was one of those times that made you grateful for the people in your life.

Talking with Amy yesterday also reminded me of the rest of the NY gang. Usually when one moves away from somewhere you keep in touch with everyone for a certain amount of time and then that kind of wanes and you end up maybe hearing from one or two of them. Not so with my fellow improv-ers. Adi keeps me filled in on her voice-over work, Chris loves to leave me random video clips, I love hearing what JT is working on, Virginia lets me know how she's doing, Jeff keeps me in check, Jason keeps me laughing, Jacob shares his adventures, Paulie shares his passion for comedy...I'm going to stop listing individuals because I'm going to forget someone but you get the point.

I have one or two people from each city I've lived in that I still keep in touch with and still feel really close to, but New York definitely has the highest ratio. Weird.

And I can't think of my New York friends without thinking of my friends next door in Pennsylvania. I worked at WJTL there and can safely say I still hear from pretty much everyone on a regular basis. Fred, Stacey, John, Lisa, Ethan, Aubrey, Tim, Tom, Mel, and Jen to name a few. I don't deserve to be so lucky.

If you're a friend that doesn't live in one of those two places, don't think I'm saying I like my NY and PA friends more than's just funny to me that there's this huge block of people all within 3 hours of each other that I am still fortunate enough to hear from pretty regularly.

So although it does stink to think of friends that have gone missing or AWOL, it's more than comforting to be reminded of those who haven't.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Guys Night Out

It was a pretty good Saturday night. Dad and I went to watch the regional basketball championship and a couple of old friends of ours, Todd and Adam, came along for the ride.

I literally grew up with Todd and Adam. They lived across the street and for quite a few years mom babysat them in the summertime, so we have shared many an adventure. It was really fun to hang out with them and get the gang back together again. The only thing missing was Rayman.

Even though the team we were rooting for lost, we still had fun at the game griping about the refs and making fun of the other team's fans. Afterward we went out to eat and it was great to be together again making each other laugh. Good times, indeed, and warm fuzzies abound.

See? Not all of my blogs are whiny rants.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Man, I Stink

I'll preface this blog with the fact that I don't wear much cologne. I'm pretty sensitive to smells (especially cologne and cigarette smoke) and most cologne is just too strong for me. It tends to penetrate that spot right behind my eyeballs and makes me want to bleed out of the top of my head. I tell you that to tell you this:

Yesterday morning Dad and I went to do some work for this old guy named Benny who's known Dad for a long time. We weren't there long...just long enough to prime and paint a couple of patches in his living room. We got there a little before 9 and Benny informed us he had a dental appointment and retreated to his bedroom to get ready.

Apparently while he was in there he spilled a bottle of old-man cologne and then rolled around in it (I don't know what brand it was, but you know what I mean...that stuff old men love to wear that smells like they got a liter of it for 99 cents at CVS). It was horrible. Horrible. And when he came back out from his bedroom, it was worse. It filled the house and there was no escaping it. I could see the vapors rising off him like the heat on a highway on a hot summer day.

But I didn't say anything and just kept listening to my iPod and working away like a good little Doozer.

I was enjoying a nice remix of "Kung Fu Fighting" from a UK Now compilation when suddenly Benny steps right up beside me out of nowhere. While I'm working I only listen to my iPod with one ear bud and keep the volume very low so I can still hear what's going on around me, and this big doofus still managed to sneak up on me.

He said, "This is so all the ladies will attack you today" and the next thing I knew he was spritzing me with this horrendous cologne. He sprayed me three times, right in the middle of the chest, from only about an inch away. Then he started laughing his fat head off and I was instantly pissed. My day was ruined almost before I even knew what was happening.

Immediately my head started to throb. I just looked at him like "What the..." and he continued to laugh. He looked at Dad with a "Pretty good one, huh?" kind of look and I could tell Dad was on my side.

Fortunately, we were almost finished. I was wearing three layers at the time: a long-sleeved shirt, a t-shirt on top of that, and a hoodie sweatshirt on top of that. I started taking our stuff back outside to the truck and while I was out there, took off the hoodie and the t-shirt. I threw them in the back of the truck hoping the bitter 17-degree weather would help get rid of the smell. In the meantime, I still reeked. Despite the fact that I had on three shirts when I was maced, the bottom shirt was still wet from the spray (that's how close he sprayed me).

What the freak, dude? Why would you do that? And with something that smells like liquid angst? And I just did laundry!

After we were all finished working and I had taken everything outside to the truck Dad stayed and chatted with the guy for a few minutes. I stayed outside in the cold in the hopes of diluting the smell quickly. But no such luck.

When Dad came out he jokingly told me "You're riding in the back". I was glad to know that Dad also thought that guy had been pretty rude and he started getting a headache from the smell, too. So that was nice in a misery-loves-company kind of way. All the way home we hated on the guy and I called him bad names and Dad laughed.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Revenge (The Good Kind)

As faithful readers know, while I've been here in Indiana I've been getting back into stand-up. I did two open mics at a comedy club in Ft Wayne that went really well and I was pretty happy with the audience response.

Did you ever meet someone before and get that gut feeling of Wow, this guy hates me without any reason? That's what happened when I went to this club and started dealing with the Guy in Charge. From the get-go this guy treated me pretty rudely, but I kept on my Nice Guy Face. I am aware that in comedy there is a totem pole, and guys who come in doing open mic are at the lowest spot. I don't have a problem with that; I've always been more than willing to pay my dues. I just couldn't figure out why this guy loathed me so much.

I had gone back for the second time to perform open mic. There are usually only 3 open mic slots of 5 minutes each, but one guy didn't show up. So it was me and this other guy who was also there for his second time. The Guy in Charge took us aside before the show and told the other comic "You can have 6 minutes since there's only two of you tonight. How do you want me to introduce you? Do you have any special music?" Really falling all over the guy. Then the Guy in Charge turned to me and just said, "You're on first."

I wanted to ask if I could have an extra minute, too, or at least ask why only the other guy got more time since it's the second time for both of us but this is his club and I don't want to rock the boat. Just go along with it, pay my dues, and kill the crowd in five minutes.

The Guy in Charge is also the host of the show and he got up there and bombed. Big time. I felt bad...not necessarily because I was empathizing with him but because he wasn't really warming up the crowd. But it went well, surprisingly well, and I had fun.

And that's the last time they've had me there. I've called a few times to see about getting a slot again and the Guy in Charge has refused to take or return my calls. It's just kind of got me wondering because it was without provocation. Since the first time he met me he's been like that with me and I guess it's just one of those things I'll never understand.

I once read that "Success is the best revenge" and I can definitely see that. So that's my plan. How cool would it be to get to the point in my career where they are asking me to come and perform instead of the other way around; where it's not the case that I need them? I've made it up in my mind to find out just how cool that would be. Not so I can be mean back to him or do the whole "ha ha ha ha the tables have turned" speech to him...but just to know that I could. That'd be fun.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Too Much To Tell

I've had a busy past few days. The kind of busy where you do so much, there's too much to really tell. So, as Inigo Montoya said, "There is too much. Let me sum up."

The Belterra Casino in Southern Indiana rented the boxing ring from the boxing club Dad runs for a fight that aired on Showtime's "Friday Night Fights", so I rode down with Dad and another guy to help set up and take down the ring.

We left early Thursday morning, the fights were Friday night, and we took it down immediately afterward. We got done packing up the ring around 3:30am and left straight for home. I got back to my apartment around 9:30 Saturday morning.

My sleep schedule is still way off. Because the ring is basically a bunch of steel, I'm a little sore and achy from all of the lifting, pulling, dragging, and lugging.

I brought the notebook with me I always carry around in my back pocket and didn't find any good comedy bits per se, but did take notes on a couple of interesting anecdotes I witnessed:

*While dining in the buffet, I heard a man behind me exclaim "We're giving all our money to Iraq!!!" I turned to see who said it and sitting there was this hugely obese guy. Massive. And the first thought that popped into my head was No, you're giving all your money to Hostess.

* While in the same restaurant, I saw a morbidly obese woman (the casino was obviously full of giant people...that's what you get for opening a casino in redneck country) in a huge black and white leopard-print smock. She was eating cherry cheese cake. But not before drowning it in pepper. PEPPER. On her cheesecake. It made me shake my head.

* Because it was a Don King-sanctioned fight, there were a couple of overweight guys in bad white suits running around with Straight-from-the-Sopranos accents who loved letting people know they were from New Yawk. They loved trying to boss people around, and most people let them do it. After you set up the boxing ring, you tighten the ropes a bit and after a few hours you have to tighten them again. Knowing this, we don't tighten the ropes up as far as they can go when we first put up the ring. Mobster Wannabe #1 pulled on the ropes and started to complain they were too loose. "I work for Don King!!" he started to yell. And then he and the other Mobster Wannabe started yelling "We work for The King!! We work for The King!!" Excuse me, but there are only two people who can call themselves The King: Jesus and Elvis. Don King is not The King any more than Stephen King is. You work for the most crooked rat in the boxing business (and in my opinion, someone who dodged a murder sentence). That's not really anything to brag about. At least not if you want to impress me. In a nice bit of irony, though, I have turned their proud claim to fame into a different catchphrase of sorts. Now, when I see someone do something foolish, I shout, "I work for The King!!" Heads up, friends. You're going to hear it.

* One of the annoying things about going to boxing shows is the fact that every guy becomes a wizard of all things boxing and feels they must supply commentary to everyone around him during the fight. Hillbillies aren't good at it, as represented by this horribly mixed-up cliche one tried to get away with: "Boy, he's really clipping the sails out of him." Did he mean "he's really taking the wind out of his sails?" Or "clipping his wings?" I think what he meant to say was, "Boy, I really don't have any idea what I'm talking about."