Friday, September 28, 2007

A Kick in the Pants

About a week and a half ago Sarah was in town and I have yet to blog about it. Why? To tell you the truth it seems a little intimidating. Mostly because there's so much to write. We did so much, I experienced so much, I felt so much, I know that once I start writing it's going to be quite the tome and I haven't been able to bring myself to tackle the sequel to "War and Peace" (not that I see our relationship as "War and Peace", quite the opposite, but that's the longest book I could think of off-hand. Maybe I should have used "The Borthers Karamazov").

But I digress. Big time.

While Sarah was here we went up to New York City for the day. Her friend Courtney was going to be in town visiting from Scotland and so we hopped on a train and made the journey. We got off the train at Penn Station in the middle of Manhattan. Because we were only a couple of blocks from the improv theater I was part of while I lived in the city we decided to stop by the National Comedy Theatre as we made our way to Central Park and see if anybody was home.

I had so much fun performing at NCT and the people there are like family to me and, in many ways, they're like home. If you've read any of my old blogs you're used to me gushing about them. When I found I would be returning to Pennsylvania I was excited because I had visions in my head of returning to NYC on the weekends to perform.

It hasn't happened yet.

I'll try to explain why, but I'm not a Master Wordsmith so bear with me.

To be honest, I hadn't felt that tug, that pull, to  get back to the city. I just didn't have the motivation. And I think it's because of my job.

Nothing against my job and nothing against NCT, but I'm doing what I love to do at WJTL. I'm making movies. I'm filming, editing, tweaking, writing, storyboarding...I love it. And I think because I have that creative outlet I was missing that hunger to perform I might have if I had a run-of-the-mill 9 to 5 office job. Does that make sense? Because my creativity had an outlet, I never had a chance, I never built up that yearning, to perform.

Not that I didn't want to. I just didn't have that drive. I don't know if I'm correctly explaining myself or not, but I don't have the energy to go back and do it better.

But all that changed last week.

As soon as Sarah and I stepped in front of the theatre, it was back. I could feel the energy and the excitement,  and when I saw my friend JT inside it was a little overwhelming. I knew I had been away too long.

Kramer and Jeff were also there and the three of them were downstairs in the green room putting down new flooring. It immediately took me back to my time there, painting the green room, putting all this work into the theatre we loved so much and I missed it.

It was so good seeing those guys again, I wished I would have seen some of the rest of the gang too, and that fire is back. I can't wait to get back there.

And you know the best part of it? Sarah was happy to be there, too. After we left she was so excited for me. It was encouraging and such a great feeling (and quite frankly, a new feeling for me) to be with someone who was genuinely supportive and eager for me to get back there. Sarah told me she wants to go back soon, and often, so she can watch me in the shows.

I didn't have that support and encouragement in my last relationship. And now that I do, I can't believe I lasted as long as I did without it.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Books, books, books

My friend Trish gave me the heads up on a huge book sale going on this week and as someone who likes to read but doesn't like to spend a lot of money, I was really grateful. Twice a year the Lancaster library system holds this huge book sale to get some of the books off their shelves and raise some money at the same time. The sale has gotten so big they now have to hold it in a huge skating rink. It began yesterday morning at 9am. I got there about a quarter after the hour and COULDN'T BELIEVE how jam-packed it was. I had to park in the fourth overflow parking area. I was excited to see so many people there and at the same time really shocked at how many people there were.

The rink  was divided into two basic sections. In one half were the newer books (for 1-3 dollars apiece) and the other books were all a dollar each for hardcover and 50 cents for paperbacks. There were so many people there it was often times hard to move and, I'm sorry, the Amish guys in attendance gave me a really bad headache with their overpowering body odor. I'm not even trying to be funny. For real. They smelled really bad. So bad that I left earlier than I had intended. That's not right and the smell coming off of them was anything but godly. Come on, Amish. You ride in cars. You often use cell phones. You shop at Wal-Mart. Do you honestly think God's going to be upset if you grab some Speed Stick? (It's not like I'm asking you to undergo the Axe effect or anything)

I returned this afternoon for a bit and there were significantly fewer books. And also significantly fewer people. I was able to browse freely and a little more comfortably. Tomorrow (the last day of the sale) everything is half off but I don't think I'm going to brave the crowds again. I ended up spending about 20 bucks for 30 books so all in all I feel like I did well. I mostly bought some classics I never read but felt I probably should have (such as Melville, Haley, Shelley, Orwell, and Dumas).

 I've been seriously slacking off in my reading habits this year so far and this was just the jump start I needed to get my nose back in some books.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


I went to Costco today and I left the building a better man.

As I was pushing my cart through the warehouse's aisles, I of course made sure to swing by the DVD section. Not that I was looking for anything in specific but if you know me then you know I likes my DVDs. A few things caught my eye and a few were so interesting I had to pick them up and give them further examination (the first two seasons of "The Muppet Show" and the M. Night Shyamalan 2-pack). But it was very easy for me to put them back on the shelf and continue my shopping.

I'm going to be getting married soon and I need to be a little wiser with how I spend my money.

And then I saw it.

The Saturday Night Live 10-pack. That's right. Ten DVDs featuring the Best of Chris Farley, Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Will Ferrell, Christopher Walken, and--oh snap--Steve Martin. Depending on where you go, these DVDs are usually available for anywhere from $9.99 to $14.99 apiece. This convenient box set was selling for $47.

I mean come on, that's a great deal, right? I slowly put the DVDs back on the shelf and continued on my way.

And a few minutes later I returned. I slowed down to a crawl and did a drive-by second-looking. I didn't stop. I kept going.

I snaked in and out of the aisles until I was satisfied with the items in my cart and then made my way back to the DVD section for a third time. Again, my cart did not stop, but holy schnikeys I wanted to.

I made my way back to the front, paid, and made it out to the parking lot. I called Sarah immediately to brag about how strong I was.

Nice try, SNL. Close. Very close. But no cigar.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Sometimes I make myself laugh. I hope that doesn't sound cocky or anything. It's just that often times my mouth's filter isn't turned on and I say things that I don't know I'm going to say until they're said. Does that make any sense? Sometimes I'm embarrassed by what I say but more often that not it's pointless and trite and just kind of dissipates in the air like a barely noticeable scent wafting away. But whatever it is, it's always a surprise. I'm sure there's medication or some sort of self-discipline for this behavior but so far I've neglected to look further into it.

Today I was giving Ann a hard time in the office, mostly because she's fun to make laugh. I can see sometimes the determination in her face, having decided in her head that she's not going to laugh. And so of course, I have to make her laugh.

Today it took me a few minutes but I finally got a nice big laugh out of her and I felt I had accomplished something. And then I surprised myself. I proclaimed to Ann, loud enough for the others around to hear, "I'm just joking with you, Ann. I tease because I tolerate."

And then I laughed at myself.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Big Costco Blog

I know you were all waiting eagerly to hear about my adventures at Costco this evening (as promised in my previous blog). What sort of characters did I run into? What amusing anecdotes did I walk away with? What hidden gems did I discover at my local discount warehouse?

Well, I didn't go tonight. Sorry.

But I won't leave you empty-handed; that's not who I am. I wouldn't think of leaving you with nothing, and so I'll share this quick amusing story with you:

A couple of weeks ago Ann and I were going to HersheyPark for a WJTL event. On the way there we passed a gas station that had a huge sign advertising


Yea, I know. I think the word you're looking for is "Huh?"

Sorry for Slacking

Today one of my co-workers Ashlea asked if I'd posted any new blogs lately and I realized how horribly I've kept up with it. I felt bad that I had to tell her there was nothing new.

I gave her the address for my old blogs and suggested a few she might enjoy. I skimmed through them and actually enjoyed reading them. So much so that it inspired me to try to be a little better at writing. The operative word, of course, is try. I plan on going to Costco later today and if that doesn't give me fodder for a blog, I don't know what will.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


Steve Irwin, AKA The Crocodile Hunter, is dead!! My buddy Doney emailed me about this and I just saw a story on Headline News confirming it is true and not some vicious rumor. The Crocodile Hunter was killed earlier today while filming a documentary. He was murdered by a stingray. Not a crocodile. A stingray. The Crocodile Hunter was killed by a stingray. A friggin' stingray. That's like Hannibal Lecter being killed by stepping on a rusty nail.

That's a big blighter!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

The Story of Us Pt 4

In early May of 2007 I was in the coffee shop at my usual table, drinking my usual white chocolate mocha, and eating my usual turkey sandwich (with fruit cup) when I had an epiphany.

The Sundance Film Festival had posted all of the short film entries on their website for the world to see--and they were horrible. Films that were so obviously trying to be "arty" for the sake of "being arty". I figured I could make a crappy short film as well as the next guy and if I could make a somewhat decent short film, then maybe I'd have something.

Sarah was working at the coffee shop that day and had forgotten to put the cheese on my turkey sandwich. To be honest, I didn't even think about it--or even realize it--but she came out to where I was sitting and told me she suspected she forgot to add my slice of cheese.

I checked the sandwich and lo and behold she was right. I told her not to worry about it but she did, and was very adorable as she apologized for the oversight more than a few times.

It was at that moment I got the idea for my short film: A cute girl working at a coffee shop and a guy, not unlike myself, who's not very adept at talking to girls but wants very much to talk to her. Maybe he's there with a buddy of his, talking about how he wants to ask her out and his buddy who of course is much better at it and more confident is trying to show him the ropes.

I named the characters Ed and Paul (Paul, after my roommate in California who not only was very good with the fairer sex but also had a way of bringing home some of the hottest California girls you'd ever find). From there the script pretty much wrote itself.

I knew it would be easy to film and wondered if I'd be able to shoot it at the coffee shop. And for that matter I wondered if Sarah would be willing to play herself. That would be cool.

I went up to the counter for a refill of my coffee and mentioned to Sarah I had written a short film that revolves around a girl who works in a coffee shop and asked if she'd be up for playing the part. Of course, I didn't mention the part about her inspiring the whole thing...I didn't want to creep her out or anything.

I was very happy that not only did she agree to do it but also seemed very eager and excited about it. When I returned to my table and sat down again I realized I'd have to make a revision and change the main character from me to someone else. Mostly because I didn't want to freak her out that I was playing a character hitting on someone (her) 13 years younger than me. Sure, it was just a film, but I didn't want Sarah...or her sister...or her think I had less-than-innocent intentions. And I can honestly tell you my intentions were indeed very innocent. I don't know how believable that sounds now, especially since we have since gotten engaged, but believe me it's true. I had not ulterior motives. I just wanted Sarah to be in the film.

I quickly changed my character to "David". Granted, David is her brother and it sounds really weird to cast her brother as someone trying to ask her out but I mean come on, in the story they aren't related. And David has an innocent shyness about him I thought would translate well. He ended up doing a much better job than I ever could have done (I think I would have come across as goofy instead of shy) and he nailed the part brilliantly.

The only other guy I knew who was around their age and could play the confident, good-looking ladies man was Matt, who also hung hung around the coffee shop quite a bit. He is Ken's son, and--that's right--Sarah's step-brother. So yea, I totally made a film about a girl and cast her real-life brother and step-brother as the two guys vying for her attention. If you never met any of them in real-life you'd have no idea of the odd casting choice, but to our friends around town...I think it really confused some of them at first.

We filmed on May 18 and it turned out really well (you can see the film here). The three of them did a great job and to say I was impressed would be an extreme understatement. As we filmed I had Sarah behind the counter and asked her to perform basic actions that I could use as cutaway shots. Simple tasks like working the register, answering the phone, sweeping the floor, etc.

I can still remember reviewing the footage later that night. I was sitting at the kitchen table of my little upstairs apartment and as I watched Sarah, it really hit home: "This girl is beautiful."

I recall rewinding the tape and re-watching a few times. There she was doing everyday mundane tasks and I couldn't keep my eyes off her. I remembered how much fun I had working with her up close and wished I'd written a bigger part so I could work with her more. Her friendliness, her warm smile, her considerate spirit...those weren't things that were merely part of her at-work customer-service mode (not that I ever suspected they were)...but that's truly who she is as a person.

Looking back on it all now I realize that although I'd already known her for about nine months, I already knew how funny, kind, sweet, and beautiful she was...the night we shot that film is the night I fell for Sarah.