Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Year in Review (2009)

2009 - YEAR IN REVIEW


It’s time again for my look back at the goings-on of the past year. Feel free to read, skim for your name, or just find the bold links and click on them in the hopes you’ll find a video featuring  a midget dressed up as Michael Jackson and dancing in the NYC subway system…you might just find what you’re looking for.

JANUARY



  • January 4 - I auditioned for The Foreigner at the Fulton Opera House. I didn't get it or anything, but call me weird, I like auditioning. It's just another excuse for me to get strangers to laugh. On purpose.

  • January 11 - My pal John Allen was in town for a conference. I know John from my days working at Gotee Records in Nashville when I was in the Radio Promotions department and he was in Sales. Sarah and I met up with John in Hershey, PA. It was really nice to re-connect and introduce him to my better/crazier half.

  • January 17 - I went hiking with my friend John Blowers in the Pennsylvania mountains. Somewhere. I actually don't have any idea where we were, only about a half hour or so from Lancaster, so if he wanted to kill me and hide my body he very well could have. But he didn't. I guess that means John's my friend. :)



FEBRUARY



  • February 3 - Sarah and I watched the touring production of Avenue Q at the Hershey Theater. There's nothing quite as fun as introducing your wife to the world of foul-mouthed puppets. And Gary Coleman.

  • February 22




  • February 27






MARCH


  • March 17-24






APRIL



  • April 19 - My pal Mitch McVicker came to town and performed a concert at our church. Even better than watching him perform again was getting to catch up with a good friend.

  • April 24 - Sarah and I went to a Capital Lights concert with our travel buddies Alyssa and Ashlea. Weeks later, the band announced they are breaking up. Coincidence?



MAY



  • May 15 - Sarah and I traveled to New York City for the weekend. I rejoined my friends at the National Comedy Theater and jumped in the Friday night shows for a great night of improv. I am happy to report that JT, Chris, Paul, Dan, Cohen, Kevin, and Jason have not lost the funny.

  • May 16 - Sarah and I hit some NYC tourist spots and that night we were in the live studio audience for the season finale of Saturday Night Live. It was everything we dreamed and more.



JUNE



  • June 23 - I broke a molar eating an ice cream sandwich.



JULY



  • July 8 - After two weeks of temporary crowns, my molar was finally completely repaired.

  • July 17 - Sarah and I attended a barbecue at Dustin and Janelle's house. It was a great evening of friends and hangin' out, capped off by an amazing Roman candle fight between Jeremy and Dustin.

  • July 24-26 - Sarah and I returned to New York City and this time we brought our friends Ryan, Alyssa, and Ashlea with us. I performed at the National Comedy Theatre Friday and Saturday night and the rest of the time was spent giving them a whirlwind tour of the city.



AUGUST



  • August 8 - Sarah and I went to Nissley Vineyard (the place I proposed to her two years earlier) with friends to enjoy a nice evening in the countryside.

  • August 28 - Posted my 200th doodle.



SEPTEMBER



  • September 12 - Sarah and I saw Bill Cosby perform live at the American Music Theatre. Despite the fact that he looks older, he's still the same old Cos.

  • September 18 - I had a voiceover audition at Max Films. Nothing has come of it (at least not yet) but again, it was something fun to do on a weekday afternoon.



OCTOBER



  • October 1 - I hung my doodles at a local coffee shop, Square One, as part of their monthly rotation of local artists. The theme for the month was Halloween, so I displayed my collection of doodles of movie villains

  • October 3 - Sarah and I went to the New Holland Fair and were shocked to find they imported everyone who attends the county fair back home in Indiana to attend this one, too. Either that, or everyone who goes to fairs looks the same.

  • October 7 - After months of hunting, Sarah and I picked up our new car, a Ford Focus from Keller Brothers. If you're in the area, we highly recommend them!

  • October 26 - Married to Sarah for two years and she's still my bestest friend.

  • October 31 - At our Murder Mystery Party, everyone got dressed up in fancy clothes and we pretended we're a lot more civilized than we actually are.





DECEMBER



  • December 4 - We attended a surprise birthday party for our friend Alyssa. It was a successful covert surprise operation.

  • December 5 - My dear friend Nik (another Gotee Records survivor) is in town and Sarah and I get together with her for coffee. I probably sound like a broken record, but it's so nice to re-unite with old friends and catch up!

  • December 12 - My pal John had a poker night (guys' night out). We tried to keep it as manly as possible, considering the snacks consisted of deli meats, apple cider, and hummus.

  • December 24




  • December 26 - For the second year in a row, Sarah's sister and her family (The Tatmans) visited us for a week . We played games, watched movies, and hung around the house. Basically everything you WISH you did on vacation.



There's one highlight I didn't post because it happens every week: Sarah and I have some good friends over on Tuesday nights to watch Lost. Our usual gang of misfits includes some of our closest friends in Pennsylvania (Alyssa, Ashlea, Dustin, Janelle, Monica, Tammy, and Tyler). Sure, we're all fans of the show and enjoy the twists and turns, but most of all we love having an excuse to get together with good friends. In a time of virtual social networking, nothing compares with actually hanging out with others.

Thanks, everyone, for a great 2009. Preparing to enter 2010 is weird. 2010. It looks really super futuristic. If I don't have a flying car by 2015, I'm going to be mad.

Ed on iTunes

So, the post I wrote a little bit ago about being on the new album by children's artist Phredd...the one where I have a couple of songs on the project? Well, Phreddtastic is now available on iTunes and you can download us and put us in your iPod and listen on repeat for days on end.

Ya weirdo.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

What Happened to Aaron's Paperjack?

A few years ago a dear friend of mine named Aaron Marrs passed away. He was working on a crab-fishing boat in the Alaskan waters when their boat was lost at sea. Aaron was working to save money to finish a documentary he and the rest of the crew of Paperjack Films were trying to finish (Aaron was the only one from Paperjack Films on the boat that went down).

After Aaron passed away, a benefit concert was held in Nashville featuring artists like Bleach and Relient K. The money raised was given to Paperjack Films so they could afford to finish the film. Does anyone out there know whatever happened to the film and this company? The Paperjack Films website disappeared a couple of years ago with no sign of the finished film and no word on where they were in the process. Their last update to the site was when they asked people to come to the benefit concert and, after that...nada.

I'm not trying to ruffle any feathers, but would really like to rest easy knowing all of the money raised by this benefit concert was actually used for what it was advertised it would be used for. Obviously I don't know the details, but to someone on this side of things, it looks like they took the money and ran. I just want to know that isn't the case.

If anyone has any info that would shed any light, please comment.

Thanks!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Top 10 Comedy Albums of 2009

(*You can find my Comedy Reviews blog here.)


Top 10 Album lists are pretty popular but I'll be honest: I didn't listen to enough full albums this year to feel like I really knew what I was talking about. Being a radio guy, I guess I mostly listen to singles. If you want someone who is a real music head, then check out Brad's year-end best-of list. On the other hand, I did listen to my fair share of comedy albums. I didn't listen to everything that came out (as of this writing I still haven't heard the new George Lopez album and I avoid any CD by a member of the Blue Comedy Collar Tour like a Blue Collar Comedy Tour audience member avoids evolution) but I think I caught most everything else that came by. I'll include clips from the album when I can find them, so just in case you have kids...or office mates...nearby, you may wanna keep an eye on the volume. Most of them contain words that will get your mouth washed out with soap.

10. Stephen Lynch, 3 Balloons
Not my favorite Lynch album, but still worth a mention. I especially enjoyed "Fishin Hole" (Where everyone is a butthole) and "Dear Diary," a collection of "he didn't just say that, did he?" tributes to dead celebrities.


9. Greg Giraldo, Midlife Vices
Like most people, I became acquainted with Giraldo through his work on Comedy Central's Roasts. He's always teased as "the comic no one has heard of." Although this is funny because it's true, it shouldn't be the case.


8. Jon Lajoie, You Want Some of This
One of four comedians on this list that are comedic songwriters. I used to abhor musical comedians (besides Weird Al) but when they're funny, they're funny. LaJoie's CD not only celebrates the joy of just being a regular guy, but does it to a beat that would get spins on any Top 40 station.






7. Nick Swardson, Seriously, Who Farted?
Swardson, the guy who appears in every Comedy Central show ever, returns to what (I think) he does best. Goofy voices and uncomfortable situations.

6. Christopher Titus, Love is Evol
Released three days after Valentine's Day, the album is one long rant about someone facing the D-Word: Divorce. As someone who's been in each phase of this journey, it's as if someone took everything I didn't know how to say and said it better. And funnier. I don't know. Maybe I can just relate because I too once spent some time splitting up with a psycho.


5. Dane Cook, Isolated Incident
Dane Cook got so big so fast, it wasn't long before the backlash set in. At first he was the cool underground sensation and suddenly he became cool to hate. I don't get it. If someone's good, then they're good. I mean come on, how does he keep coming up with great material...and so much of it! Another double disc. This new collection shows he isn't just a jokey jokester, but he's an amazing storyteller.


4. "Weird Al" Yankovic, Internet Leaks
Someone who's been doing this as long as Al has shouldn't be on this list. Compared to everyone else on the list, Al's an old-timer. But his song "CNR" done in the style of the White Stripes and heralding the most surprising of heroes shows he's still got it.







3. The Lonely Island, Incredibad
My favorite songs on this CD are the ones I hadn't already seen on SNL. And this CD boasts the best line-up of guest vocalists on any album this year: T-Pain, Jack Black, Norah Jones, Justin Timberlake, Natalie Portman, and Julian Casablancas.








2. Patton Oswalt, My Weakness is Strong
There are some people that are just funny when they're angry, and Oswalt is one of them. His album starts off with this "I Hate" bit and only gets better.

1. Jim Gaffigan, King Baby
Just when you thought he'd never be able to top his own catch phrase ("Hot Pocket!") he does it with just one word: bacon.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Nope. I'm Not Hanging THAT In My House

There's not really a polite way to say this, so I'll just say it. If your Christmas card features photos of your children on the front, I'm just gonna throw it away.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for family photos and I don't mind a Christmas greeting with a shot of the whole gang. I will gladly hang that along with the other Christmas cards we've received. That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about the Christmas cards that only have kids on the front; two scamps in sweaters in front of yet another fireplace and I have no idea who they are.

Those are the cards I'm talking about. I won't hang them up for the same reason I don't cut out pictures of kids from magazines and hang them up in my house. I don't know those kids.

Last year we received like 10 cards that were basically photos of kids and every time we were asked, "Oh, who's that?" Sarah and I would just kinda look at each other and shrug our shoulders. We don't know these kids.

And this year, they're not taking up our wall space.

I'm not mad, I'm just saying.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Those Evil, Evil Christmas Carols

Yesterday an angry lady called the station with a complaint Or, in her words, her "annual complaint". Which means she complains about this annually. It seems we played "Walking in a Winter Wonderland," a song that clearly is not about Jesus.

Jesus chose to hang out with hookers and thieves instead of those who considered themselves "holy" and now I'm starting to see why. "Holy" people are a downer.

Are we as Christians no longer allowed to enjoy winter, snow, or songs about winter and snow because they don't have the word "Jesus" in them? Yikes. Forgive me for enjoying, you know, what God created (in this case, a winter wonderland).

Maybe it's just me, but it seems there are issues in the world that need our attention a lot more urgently than the fact that a Christian radio station played "Winter Wonderland" a few weeks before Christmas. You should definitely reconsider how you're expending your energy. In fact, I would hope to think that if you're going to accept the role as Super Christian and change the world and make it a better place, Christmas Carols would be at the bottom of your list. Or at least beneath things like starving children, struggling single parents, or disabled Vets who need a hand.

Or maybe I have it wrong. Maybe you've already single-handedly managed to solve all of those troubles that society faces and you have reached the bottom of your list and it's time to give the radio station what-for.

Oh, and did I mention the fact that when this Grinch (forgive my non-Biblical Christmas reference) called with her complaint, she started off the call by saying she doesn't celebrate Christmas? So we're horrible people for spreading Christmas cheer and in the meantime she's sitting pretty because she refuses to celebrate the birth of her Savior.

That makes sense.

I don't know. Am I off on this one? I just can't fathom a mindset where this [a Christmas carol] is an actual issue that needs so desperately to be addressed. I don't know who that lady is or if she'll ever read this but on the off-chance she does, I have a message for her:

I don't want to say it's people like you who give Christians a bad name, but it's people like you who give Christians a bad name.  It's time to unclench.

Say "Cheese!"

The gang at WJTL recently posed for our annual Christmas postcard. The pictures were taken by Brooke Courtney, a really talented photographer here in PA. Here are four of Brooke's favorite shots from the day.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

25 Years in 2-1/2 Minutes

Congratulations WJTL on 25 years! Here's a little video I put together encapsulating just a fraction of what's been going down.





Monday, December 07, 2009

The "How to Write A Hit Song" Jingo Jango

As I mentioned in a post last week, tomorrow is the release day of the new Phredd album, Phreddtastic. To help celebrate that fact, I thought I'd offer up a little insight as to how one of the songs, "Jingo Jango" came about. Instead of telling you how Phredd and I wrote the lyrics, I thought I'd show you by copying the emails we sent back and forth that birthed the song. And yes kids, this is how ALL professional songwriters write their songs.

EDDIE to FRED:

Fred,
Are you up for writing a jingle for WJTL's listen live feature, a la those annoying freecreditreport.com commercials? Kinda like the poor sap lost his radio or something and didn't have a way to listen but now he does. I am actually going to lip synch the song since, just like in the commercials, the guy "singing" the songs isn't the actual singer. Did you know that? He's a French actor. True story, dude.
No rush on this at all. At all.
Eddie


FRED to EDDIE:

I love it.  Let's do this...
Come up with a title and then let's write (email) lines back and forth to write the song.
So you send me the title, and then...
Let the fun begin.
Fred


EDDIE to FRED:

"The No-Radio-Needed Jingo Jango"


FRED to EDDIE:
Jingo Jango Who need 'da radio?



EDDIE to FRED:

I thought I did til my boombox broke


FRED to EDDIE:
Cruel old joke, when my boombox broke




EDDIE to FRED:

(Now) My boombox won't tune in any mo'


FRED to EDDIE:

OK, I went a little crazy.  Start the second verse. :>)



Hey Radio Man now there's a void

Yeah you succeeded

My life's destroyed

No Radio Needed

Chorus

No Radio Needed (Jingo Jango)

Yeah, you succedded (Jingo Jango)

Casey Kasem pleaded

Rick Dees conceded

All your fears are now exceeded

Jingo Jango No Radio Needed

EDDIE to FRED:

Dude you are SOO much better at this, lol. I'm still trying to get my last contribution to fit in the structure...
Jingo jango, don' need da radio


FRED to EDDIE:

Now I don't have a life soundtrack


EDDIE to FRED:

I need music back, no tunes is pretty wack


FRED to EDDIE:

Wackitta wacka whacky no sound


EDDIE to FRED:

But Internet Man do what you can
Your technology
Can musically span
This dilemma probably






FRED to EDDIE:
Bridge/Middle eight

So I'm singing Papa papa papa papa

momma momma momma momma

Papa papa papa papa

Hm, Daddy Momma turn the radio on!

(OK Eddie - Big 3rd verse.  this is where we hit the point of the song.  The big finish so to speak.  You start)




EDDIE to FRED:

Jingo Jango what's dis by da radio?


FRED to EDDIE:

Why, its my portal to the internets


EDDIE to FRED:

Now I gets no worries or frets


FRED to EDDIE:

Cause I can tune in 24/7  (or - Cause I can tune in all the time)  if you like that better


EDDIE to FRED:

Listen online man if you're out of range


FRED to EDDIE:

Hey, we be streamin'


EDDIE to FRED:

You ain't dreamin'


FRED to EDDIE:
Hey, You ain't dreamin'

We be streamin'


NO RADIO NEEDED

Eddie, I think its done. The only other addition might be to talk over the ending, like listen online at wjtl.com or "get better speakers" or "nice profile pic dude."




EDDIE to FRED:

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha sweet!! You are sooo much better at this than me. I gladly stand in your shadow!


FRED to EDDIE:

already got the tune in my head


A few days later, Fred sent me an actual song based on what we'd written. As someone with no songwriting talent, I was crazy impressed that Fred was able to take our random lines and work them into a musical structure. He tweaked some words here and there, cut and moved and re-worded and the rest...well, I'll say it. The rest is musical history.

Here's the music video, set to Fred's original rough mix:






Phreddtastic is available online at the WJTL music store and will also be available on iTunes in the near future. A free download of the first single, "Text the Cell" will be available online at the WJTL website from Tuesday Dec 8-Monday Dec 15.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Humor Makes Charity Way More Appealing

Sure, you can be a singer/songwriter and whine and moan about saving dogs from the dog pound and the SPCA  and make everyone sick of what used to be a kinda cool song (the truth hurts, Maclachlan)...or you can find a cause you believe in and make people actually want to hear more by being clever about it.

I salute you, Ben Stiller, on a job well done. After you've watched the videos, check out the site.




















Play It Again, Sam

I wrote a blog back in September about a fan letter I wrote to Sam Viviano. You're gonna wanna read that one before jumping into this one in order to grasp the awesomeness of this blog. It's right here. Don't worry, I'll wait.

OK...so here we go...

A couple weeks ago I got an email from WordPress letting me know I had a comment on that blog that needed approval. Of all the people who might comment on a blog about a fan letter I wrote to my favorite artist (and his reply back to me), I did not expect the comment to be from Sam Viviano himself. For real. The comment is there. Check it out. Not only did he stumble across my blog (I still wonder how he found it), but he also offered to replace the drawing he sent to me years ago that I eventually lost.

I emailed him back, thanking him for his comment and again thanking him for personally responding to his fan mail, unlike that robot Ricky Schroeder. (Yes, I also sent a fan letter to Ricky Schroeder, the then-star of NBC's Silver Spoons, back in the 80s. When I get an automated response in return and a black-and-white 5x7 picture with his autograph obviously stamped "Love, Ricky" I was a little less than enthused. And confused. I hadn't asked for a photo, much less one signed "Love.")

About a week after responding to Sam's blog comment, I received a manila envelope in the mail with a MAD Magazine address label on the front. It was two days before my birthday and a great way to kick off the weekend. Not only had Sam responded with yet another full-page handwritten letter but he also included another print of the very drawing he had sent to me nearly 20 years ago.

But wait, there's more! He also included two recent issues of MAD Magazine!

I mean seriously, how cool is this guy? He's someone with a lot more on his plate than me and still he goes out of his way to go above and beyond the call of duty for a complete stranger. I could learn something from this guy.

But first, I'm going to take a picture of myself with all the cool stuff he sent me. Pictures first, life lessons later.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

I Can't Laugh At This Guy

I've been in this situation many times myself.





Grammy Nominated TO THE GROUND

So the nominations for the Grammy Awards have been announced. I don't usually follow the rap category too closely but this year, one of them really sticks out. Guess who I'm rooting for?

Best Rap/Sung Collaboration
(For a Rap/Sung collaborative performance by artists who do not normally perform together. Singles or Tracks only.)

  • Ego| BeyoncĂ© & Kanye West

  • Knock You Down|Keri Hilson, Kanye West & Ne-Yo

  • Run This Town|Jay-Z, Rihanna & Kanye West

  • I'm On A Boat|The Lonely Island & T-Pain

  • Dead And Gone|T.I. & Justin Timberlake

Something New for the Resume

Tuesday Dec 8 2009 marks the day I will officially get to add a new section to my resume. That's right, suckas, I'm almost an actual singer/songwriter/recording artist. Almost.

Perhaps you've heard of Phredd, the crazy guy who writes goofy songs for kids like Awooga, Baby Bottle BoomerangIf Coffee Smells So Good Why Does It Taste So Bad, and My Mom is a Pirate. Well, not only is Phredd the mind behind those catchy tunes, but he also happens to be my boss. And I'll be honest: My boss is way cooler than your boss. Not only does he let me make crazy videos for work like this one






and this one,






but he also lets me appear on his forthcoming album, Phreddtastic.

That's right. Phreddtastic drops next week and I've got two songs on there and a co-writing credit on a third! I know, I know. That's just messed up. I'll explain:

Almost a year ago, I wanted to make a video for the station promoting the fact that you can listen online. I asked Fred if he would write a song, something light and catchy, in the same vein as those Free Credit Report ads. But of course, just like in the TV ads, the song would be lip-synched by a guy who didn't actually sing the song (in this case, me).

Fred came back to me with the idea that we co-write the song via email. I gave him the name of the song and he emailed back with the first line. And then I added the second line. And so on and so on. After we were finished, Fred tweaked it to make it fit the musical phrasing and then wrote the tune and melody. And then when Fred started working on his new album he decided to re-record the tune, Jingo Jango.

To tell you the truth, giving me a co-writing credit is really generous seeing how all I did was make up sentences that sort of rhymed with what Fred wrote. But it's a co-writing credit nonetheless and I'll take it. (By the way, you can see the original version of the song in the finished video here. I even let Fred appear as the guy singing backup vocals despite the fact he's actually singing everything and I appear nowhere in the audio track. Wasn't that nice of me?)







And then there're my other two songs on Phredd's new album. The first one actually shouldn't count. It's like 10 seconds long. I was working on a radio ad in Garage Band and heard a ukulele riff and of course, thought of Fred. So I started humming along and 30 seconds later Another Fred Song was born. I realize I'm not a singer, though, so instead of singing I just kind of talk to the rhythm in a sing-songy way like I'm Colin Mochrie in the hoedown game.

The other song I did...well...I'm gonna play that one down, too, because I didn't actually write the song. Fred did. I just Weird Al'd it. Fred had a song out a few years ago called Floating Zoo, where he went through the alphabet and named animals that were on Noah's Ark (armadillo, baboon, cougar, dingo, etc.).






Back in the year 2000, I was working on the air at the station and played Floating Zoo and I started singing "Scooby Doo" instead of the title phrase. What can I say? I've been listening to Weird Al since I was in Junior High School, 20 years of listening to parodies will have an effect on you. I started trying to come up with a word for each letter of the alphabet that correlated to the classic cartoon and after my shift I went into the production studio and recorded a really rough version of the song. Fast-forward nine years later to Fred asking me if I'd record an updated version for Phreddtastic.

I mean come on, if that's not flattering, then I don't know what is. You parody the guy's song and he turns around and asks you to record the parody for his album? That was cool.

Realizing I still can't sing, I decided to morph the song from a fun ukulele ditty to a mash-up of styles over which I do this weird pseudo-rap. It's hard to explain. You'll just have to hear it.

But don't pick up the album because of my little contribution. Pick it up because it's a fun listen and Phredd once again brings the fun for the whole family with a batch of tunes you'll be humming for hours. In a good way. I just wish you could hear the whole thing. And, whaddya know, starting Dec 8, 2009, you can. :)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

More Than Just a Pain in the Neck

After seeing where Barnes & Nobles filed books on children and getting pregnant, I knew it was a bookstore I could get along with.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Help Needed for Our Christmas Video!

As you may (or may not) know, Sarah and I have made it an annual tradition to make a video Christmas greeting each year (who can forget our "Feliz Navidad" or our amazing reading of "The Night Before Christmas").

Well, this year we turn to you for help. We would like you to send us your letters to Santa. They can be written by you or (if you have them) your kids, but be sure to let us know who it's from and what city you live in. Pass this along to friends if you'd like. There's no guarantee we'll use your letter(s) but we thought we'd throw this out there.

Leave your letters to Santa as a comment. We look forward to hearing from you! And so does Santa.

Looking Back at 38

My 39th birthday was last week. Sarah and I were walking down to get some coffee at Square One and she asked me what my highlights were of being 38. I thought about it, and thought I'd share some of those highlights here. At first glance, this may seem like just another Year in Review blog, but trust me, it's different. These are in no particular order, except in the order that they came into my brain.


COOL THINGS I DID WHEN I WAS 38




  1. Lost Nights
    Once a week Sarah and I get together and watch Lost with some friends. I know what you're saying: Who doesn't? But it's not just about gathering around the TV and watching a show. It's the whole "gathering with friends and watching a show" aspect about it that I love. Usually before or after the show we'll play games, eat whatever snacks we brought, or just hang out. And now that we've caught up on all of the Seasons and are eagerly awaiting the beginning of Season 6, we still get together once a week and....well we do whatever. Play games. Watch a movie. Eat snacks. Hang out. It's been a good excuse to get together and be with our pals on a regular basis.

  2. Dressing Up as Batman and The Joker
    Every year our friends John and Lisa hold an Oscar-viewing party. In the last couple of years they've encouraged everyone to dress up as a movie character and it's been a lot of fun. This year Sarah and I came as Batman and The Joker, and I gotta admit, we looked good. :)





  3. Jim Thorpe
    Sarah's birthday is only 3 days before mine so we get to celebrate together. Our friends Alyssa and Ashlea decided to treat us to a mystery trip. They gave us the date and time but kept the destination a secret. The only hint they gave us was the fact it was a couple of hours away. It turns out they took us to Jim Thorpe PA, a small town one of the TV travel programs listed as one of the Top 10 Towns in America. I think they were right to put this on the list.

  4. Live Shows
    When I was 38, I got to see a couple of live shows that came into town that were a lot of fun: the touring production of Avenue Q and Bill Cosby. If I don't come across as your average  musical-theatre kinda guy, I'm not. But Avenue Q isn't your average musical theatre production.





    And Bill Cosby. Well....he's just Bill Cosby. How can you not enjoy him?

  5. New York City
    Sarah and I were able to travel up to New York City twice. The first time we went up to see the Season 34 Finale of Saturday Night Live with Will Ferrell. To say it was a blast would be an understatement. The second time, we went up with our friends Ryan, Alyssa, and Ashlea and got to show them around the city. Both times I was able to jump in the shows at the National Comedy Theatre and improv it up with some of my old pals as well as perform with some new cast members whom I hadn't met. It was a great time. I heart New York.

  6. Ireland
    As anyone who's followed my blog knows, Sarah and I went to Ireland with Alyssa and Ashlea and it was incredible. I won't bore you with the details (again) but will post the recap of our trip here.





  7. Doodles at Square One
    I've been drawing doodles of people ever since I was in middle school. I haven't always kept up at it, but this past year I've been very proactive about keeping at it. I had a chance to display my art at our coffee house of choice here in Lancaster, Square One Coffee. For the month of October I displayed about 30 doodles, all in the theme of Halloween creepiness. You can see all of my doodles at my Facebook fan page.


So yea...38 wasn't too bad. Those were just a few of the things that jumped out at me. I'll include more in my annual End-of-the-Year update but Sarah was right. Thirty-eight was a good year. I think 39 is gonna be good, too. With someone as cool as Sarah by my side to walk with to the coffee shop, how can it not be?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sarah Said This

I started a new Twitter account today. Actually I re-activated the account I opened for like 10 minutes a few months ago. To be honest, I hate Twitter. I'm sorry, but I don't really care what you're doing every minute of the day. I'm glad that you're brushing your teeth, going to the store, or noticing a weird rock. I just don't want to know about it. And I could care even LESS about the band you're promoting. I'm your friend because I like and want to know about YOU, not hear commercials for your job.

That being said, I will admit to enjoying the rare Twitter accounts I am following, especially by the likes of Weird Al, Dane Cook, and Jim Gaffigan. They usually make me smile, and there's always time for a goofy laugh. In that same vein, I have decided to re-open my Twitter account to share with the world the wonderful words of my wife, Sarah. This account isn't about me, it's about the amazingly awesome things that come out of Sarah's mouth. They're spontaneous, off the cuff, and usually make me laugh out loud when she says them with complete conviction.

So if you wanna follow, that's cool. The Twitter account (username SarahSaidThis) can be found right here. If you don't want to and hate Twitter as much as I do, I totally understand.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day

Every year on Veterans Day, my Dad goes to a high school in Indiana and spends the day talking to history classes about his time in VietNam. I was able to go with him a few years ago and shoot some video of his talk. The following videos are taken from his talks he gave throughout the day and captures a little bit of his experience. Thanks Dad. Thanks to all the Veterans. We appreciate you.






















 

Monday, November 09, 2009

Help Needed for Our Christmas Video!

As you may (or may not) know, Sarah and I have made it an annual tradition to make a video Christmas greeting each year (who can forget our "Feliz Navidad" or our amazing reading of "The Night Before Christmas"). Well, this year we turn to you for help. We would like you to send us your letters to Santa. They can be written by you or (if you have them) your kids, but be sure to let us know who it's from and what city you live in. Pass this along to friends if you'd like. There's no guarantee we'll use your letter(s) but we thought we'd throw this out there. Send your letters to me at eplacencia@gmail.com and be sure to put LETTER TO SANTA in the subject line. Thanks! We look forward to hearing from you!

Ed & Sarah

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Re-Visiting Ireland 2

Four more shorts are up and running from our trip to Ireland. Enjoy!




















Thursday, October 22, 2009

Re-Visiting Ireland

Tonight I started going through my video footage from our Ireland trip earlier this year. I realized there was a lot I left out of the daily recaps we did, so I decided to post a series of shorter videos, highlighting some of the fun things we had to cut out of the original recaps.

Here are the first three. Enjoy!















Friday, October 16, 2009

Interviewing Katy Perry

Well...sort of. At the time she was like 16 years old and going by the name of Katy Hudson as a budding Christian singer. But you can catch a glimpse of her in this clip where she is joined by the Newsboys' Phil Joel and the duo V*Enna. She's almost unrecognizable with her blonde hair and tan beanie and not kissing a girl or waking up in Vegas, but there she is nonetheless. Enjoy!





Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Doodlin' Fan Letter

If I told you I spent a good portion of my youth reading MAD magazine , would you really be all that surprised? While most teenage boys were probably reading to snicker at the fart jokes, sexual innuendo, and the occasional cartoony glimpse of a breast, I found myself taken in by the artists who brought my favorite movie characters to life. I studied every panel, taking in every detail the artists buried inside.

I began to pride myself in the fact that I could identify the artist without reading the tagline, and if one of them had work that popped up in another magazine, I spotted them there, too. Forget Rodin, Picasso, Monet, Dali, and DaVinci. They didn't draw fun Moonlighting parodies and fill my head with countless random images like Sergio Aragones, Jack Davis, Bill Gaines, Don Martin, Antonio Prohias, and Mort Walker.

My favorite, though, was an illustrator named Sam Viviano.

vivianosam

I first became a fan of his when I was even younger and an avid reader of Dynamite magazine. It's been out of print for some time and for those who don't know, it was kind of like a cross between People and Disney's Magazine for ADD Tweens. Viviano was known for his crowd scenes, and I remember one particular two-page spread that featured Darth Vader, Valerie Bertinelli, E.T., and Indiana Jones.

As a kid I always enjoyed drawing and doodling, most of the time copying the cartoons I found in MAD and Cracked. But when I looked at the detail and attention in Vivano's art, that's what sold me. This guy was good. Take the above picture of Steven Spielberg. He didn't just draw a picture of Spielberg holding a letter but also added references to a bunch of the movies he was associated with: Gremlins, E.T., Hook, Saving Private Ryan, Close Encounters, Raiders, Jaws, Jurassic Park, 1941, Munich....you get the idea. (Of course, he could have been told to include those references but in my mind, it was all Sam's doing.)

Because I was operating under the belief that every dream I had could be attained by writing a letter, I decided to write my artistic hero. I was 14 years old. I don't remember exactly what I wrote in my fan letter, but I remember starting off by telling him I was his GREATEST and MOST DEVOTED fan. And then I continued by asking if he would draw a picture of Indy, Willie, and Short Round from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and send it to me. You know, because apparently I thought this poor guy had nothing better to do than draw pictures for kids - by request - and for free on top of that.

I sent off my letter and life went on. I wondered if he got it. I wondered if I would get an Indiana Jones cartoon. And then life went on some more and as the weeks turned to months, I forgot I had ever written the letter at all.

Until, one sunny day (I still remember it exactly. I was in the back yard trying to get up the nerve to try to teach myself how to do a backflip but I was too afraid of breaking my neck. Weird, huh? But that's what I was doing, I promise you) when my mom brought me an envelope I'd received in the mail. In the upper left hand corner it said "VIVIANO" and the postmark was from New York.

I then proceeded to freak the hell out.

Not only had he written me back ("A whole page! He wrote a whole page!!") but he also included an autographed reproduction of the cartoon I had seen in the pages of the magazine (the one with Indiana Jones). I put the cartoon on my wall and tucked the letter away for safe keeping.

He wrote me back. Sam Viviano actually took the time out of his schedule to write back. That was the coolest thing ever. It wasn't long after that I stopped copying other people's cartoons and started drawing my own. That was 1986.

It's 2009 and I'm still doodling. I'll be the first to admit my doodles are nowhere near the caliber of Sam Viviano (who, by the way, the internet tells me is now the art director at MAD), but doggone if I don't have fun drawing them, and really, that's kind of the point.

I'm sorry to say I don't know what happened to that cartoon he sent me.
Somewhere between middle school and 23 years later I misplaced it.

But this story's got a happy ending. For Christmas Mom made a photo album for each of her three kids, kind of chronicling our lives in pictures and achievement certificates and report cards. And there, nestled about halfway in, was this:

SAM VIVIANO


Pretty cool, huh?

**December 3, 2009: UPDATE! There's more to this story! Sam Viviano found my blog and left a comment (see below)!! To find out the rest of the story, CLICK HERE!

Friday, August 28, 2009

200

I posted my 200th doodle this week. That number sounds a lot bigger than it actually feels.

I had a contest on my fan page to see who could correctly identify the most doodles and the winner got doodled as their prize, so congrats to Janelle!

And, if you're in the Lancaster PA area, you can see my doodles in person all through the month of October at Square One Coffee for their spooky-themed month of art!

Good times indeed.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Glorious "Basterds"

Roger Ebert was right. One viewing isn't enough.

Sarah and I went to see the new Tarantino film Inglourious Basterds today and five hours later I'm still processing what I saw.

There's so much to say, so much to ponder, and I know I'll never word it correctly. I know myself well enough to know I'm not that good of a writer. So I'll just say this: Tarantino did it again. He's the master of making you wait. I know that sounds weird, but it's true. And he doesn't just make you wait; first he spoils the surprise by showing you all the cards, and then he makes you wait as you wonder what's going to happen next.

Pretty vague, I know, so I'll try to explain.

In any other movie, the hero would seem trapped when, all of a sudden, he surprises the audience by revealing the gun taped to his back he had been hiding all along, and he blows the bad guys away. Tarantino prefers a different route. Not only will he reveal the good guy has a hidden gun, he'll reveal the bad guy does, too. And then he'll fill the characters in as well.

Now everyone knows. You, me, and the people on the screen. The only surprise now is how everything is going to play out. And when. You know they're going to start shooting sometime....sometime...but the suspense comes in not knowing when it's going to happen. And you know how it's going to happen....or at least you think you do. And as you wait for it to begin to play out, you feel the suspense building to an incredible height.

Once in a while, what you think is going to happen actually does, and even when it does, it still takes you by surprise.

Take for example the scene in Pulp Fiction when Uma has OD'd and they need to inject her with a shot of adrenaline to get her heart beating again. The only hitch is they have to inject it through her sternum, and directly into her heart. As Eric Stoltz's character holds the needle above his head, waiting to plunge the needle into her chest....well....that's when it gets you.

You know what's coming; they just spent the last 5 minutes explaining it. And yet, when it finally happens...it still manages to take you by surprise.

Tarantino does the same thing with Inglourious Basterds. He lets you know what's going to happen and then makes you squirm while you wait to see it play out.

As we were leaving the theater, Sarah said, "You know how people tell you there are certain rules in movies that you have to follow when you make a movie. It's like Tarantino takes those rules and just breaks them."

Exactly.

Monday, July 27, 2009

When A Grown Man Cries

A couple of weeks ago I went with Fred, the station General Manager, to Teen Haven out in The Middle of Nowhere, PA to put together a video package. Teen Haven is a camp for kids who live in the inner city. It offers them a few days of escape and a chance to get away from what is very often a very rough home environment.

While we were there, we met the Camp Director, Vinny. At first I thought Vinny was a New York Italian, but as it turns out he's a Russian from Philadelphia. I wasn't even close. Vinny is one of those guys who has a million stories, each one of them more fun to listen to than the next. He's been working at the camp for 20+ years and it's obvious he has a heart for these kids the size of a Geno's Cheese Steak.

At one point in the interview, Vinny started telling us a story about a rough patch in his life and he became visibly moved as he retold the account. He's a great storyteller and it's hard not to get caught up in his words. This guy is a public speaker for a reason.

Not only did we speak with Vinny, but we also talked to campers and counselors (all of whom were once campers themselves). At the end of our time there, I had just over 50 minutes of footage to edit which is fine, except we try to keep the final run time of our videos to 5-7 minutes. As I uploaded the footage into the computer, I knew a lot of stuff was going to get left out that I really liked. But hey, what're ya gonna do. Thus is the plight of the editor.

When all was said and done, the final product came in at just over six minutes. I was happy with the way it turned out, but also mindful of what got cut. When you pore over footage it can be easy to lose perspective and know if what you kept tells a cohesive story. I thought it did. Or, more accurately, I hoped it did.

This morning Vinny was on the morning show with some other people from Teen Haven. Although the video had been up on YouTube for a couple of weeks, he hadn't yet seen the final segment. After he was on the air he came back to my office and asked if I would play it for him. I happily obliged. It was a little nerve-wracking watching it with him for the first time. I'll be honest, I wanted him to like it. I never want anyone to look bad (or think they do), especially if it's something I had a hand in putting together. I'm not gonna pretend I'm one of those people who says they don't care what the critics say. I care, and I want everyone to like what I put out there for them. I know that's never going to be the case, but I'm creative and that's what you get from us folk. Jerry Seinfeld put it best when he said he can perform comedy in front of ten thousand people and 9,999 people can be laughing hysterically at his comedy. After the show when he's alone in the dressing room, he said he's only going to remember that 1 person who didn't laugh. And I'm the same way. If I was a perfect Christian, I would only be concerned with what God thought of me, and not anyone else on Earth. But I'm not a perfect Christian. I'm just Ed and I gots flaws.

But I'm off-track a bit. Where was I? Oh yea. I wanted Vinny to like the video.

It begins and as he watches himself introducing the video, he chuckles a bit to himself. And then the kids come on and start telling their stories. And as Vinny watches, this tough Russian guy from Philadelphia starts to tear up. And the more the video plays, the more he wipes his eyes. By the end of the six minutes, his eyes are red, and whether it's from the tears or his big hands constantly wiping them away, I don't know.

The video went black and came to an end. Vinny turned to me and said, "We're all just pieces of the puzzle trying to work together for the greater good. You took our pieces and made them into a big picture, and I thank you."

It was so unexpected, I didn't know what to say. I paused and said, "I just tried to show what you're doing, Vinny. You're the one doing the work, not me."

"We're ALL doing the work," he said without hesitating. Vinny shook my hand and turned to leave. He stopped, looked back, and said, "Thanks again. I'll see ya later and if I don't, I'll see ya there. I love ya."

I'm glad I met Vinny.

Here's a glimpse of the guy. I hope you get something out of meeting him, too.





Friday, July 24, 2009

Can We Get A Volunteer From the Audience....

This is what I love about the internets. Sometimes you come across things you had no idea were there, and sometimes it's actually something that you're pleasantly surprised to stumble across (unlike the horrible midget dressed as Michael Jackson dancing in the subway fiasco).

This weekend I'm heading back up to New York to do some improv comedy at the National Comedy Theatre. I was there performing in May and in one of the games we asked for a volunteer from the audience. A bachelorette party had come to the show and the bride-to-be came up on stage to join in the fun. After we had thoroughly exhausted every hilarious opportunity, we thanked her, took a picture with her, and the show went on.

Today I was surfing NCT's website and came across their show blog, where they have been posting pictures of the volunteers who come on stage during the shows.I started laughing as soon as I saw the picture from that show and memories of me playing her airplane-pilot fiance came flooding back.  So enjoy this little blast from the past I didn't even know was out there.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Mario Kart Transcript

I was playing Mario Kart against other people online. Sarah was on her computer. When I finished playing, I found this IM from Sarah:

you are awesome and I love your cute head. and I decided that I am going to recite everything you say while playing Mario Kart: What the heck was that??............I haven't gotten one cube this whole game......ahhhh, no fair!.........nice try hickula!......pass me, please pass me.........quit picking mario circuits.....whos the ****** with the mustache choosing goldmine everytime?!?.........better not be mirrored..woohoo..........what the heck?!..oh, come on.......suck a freakin' monkey!........of course! dog gone it!

I have no further comment.

Our Murdering President

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is mad at President Obama because he killed a fly. They're all upset because he killed a fly. Don't believe me? Look it up. True story. They're angry because he killed a fly.

I find this ironic because this story proves that even after all these years, no one in PETA has a life.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Tony Deaf

Me: Is that a guy singing or a girl?

Sarah: Guy.

Me: Wow.

This conversation occurred tonight while the Tony Awards were on. I was not facing the TV. This conversation happened like 8 different times.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

A Polite Death to Paris

This weekend while watching the MTV Movie Awards with the gang, a commercial for Paris Hilton's show came on (I forget what it's called. My New BFF? More like WTF). As soon as Paris's big ugly head came on the screen, Sarah shouted, "Ugggggggggggghhhh! I just wish she'd DIE!!!"

The rest of us all looked at Sarah and smiled (perhaps because we were all thinking the same thing?). Sarah turned and saw us staring at her and immediately corrected herself.

"I mean...I wish she would accept Jesus..."

(beat)

"...and then die."

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Eminem Predicts the Future

2000: Eminem releases The Marshall Mathers LP. It contains the song "The Real Slim Shady" which includes the lyrics "My bum is on your lips. My bum is on your lips."

2009: Sacha Baron Cohen's Bruno makes it happen.

eminem

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Monday, May 18, 2009

Too Good to Recap

Sarah and I had a GREAT weekend this weekend...so good, in fact, that trying to sum up everything in a blog is somewhat intimidating because I know I won't do the weekend justice. So, rather than trying to capture the magic of the details in convenient paragraph form, I'll list off the highlights in even-more-convenient list form.

FRIDAY



  • 1:00 pm - Our friend Ashlea drops us off at the train station in Lancaster PA

  • 1:30 pm - The crowded train leaves for New York City

  • 2:00 pm - The guy sitting next to me gets off the train and Sarah and I are able to sit together

  • 5:30 pm - Sarah and I arrive in NYC's Penn Station on 34th Street. We make our way to the 1 subway train to go check in at our downtown hotel

  • 6:00 pm - We check in to the Marriott in the Wall Street District and drop off our bags in our 19th-floor room

  • 6:01 pm - We leave the room to head to the National Comedy Theatre

  • 6:02 pm - While swinging my backpack over my shoulder inside the elevator, it swipes the control panel and hits all the buttons. A fancy schmancy old white lady is not amused as we stop on every floor on the way down.

  • 6:30 pm - I am dismayed to find that the pizza shop on the corner of 36th and 8th is now a T-Mobile store

  • 6:35 pm - Sarah and I arrive at NCT. I am giddy with excitement to see the old gang again, including Adi, JT, Cohen, Kevin, Dan, and Paulie. I also meet Dave and Jen, cast members who joined after I left in 2006. After catching up and introducing everyone to Sarah, we head down to the green room to prepare for the first of two improvisational comedy shows of the night. Sarah and Adi find seats together and wait for the 7:30 show to begin.

  • 7:30 pm - The first show begins. I am billed as Ed "One Night Only" Placencia. Although I was initially nervous about not performing on the NCT stage in 2-1/2 years, once I'm up there with the gang, it's like no time has passed.

  • 9:45 pm - Second show of the evening and another good night of comedy has been thrown down.

  • 11:15 pm - After getting notes, chatting with Eric, who showed up during the 2nd show, and saying our (for now) goodbyes, Sarah and I head back to the hotel. We are bummed to find that all of the Starbucks we pass are closed. Come on, people, this is New York.

  • 11:45 pm - As we walk past construction outside our hotel, Sarah and I see New York rats. Instead of being grossed out, we chase them, giggling with glee.

  • 12:30 am - Part of an episode of "Ghost Hunters" is all we can watch before falling asleep


SATURDAY

  • 8:30 am - I sort of wake up. I watch an episode of "Ghost Hunters" and then go back to bed

  • 11:30 am - I wake up again

  • 12:00 pm - Sarah wakes up

  • 1:30 pm - We finally leave the hotel and take the 1 to 79th Street

  • 2:10 pm - We make it to the Museum of Natural History. After watching 5 minutes of a boring video on telescopes, we make our way to the 4th floor (where the dinosaurs are)

  • 3:40 pm - After only making it through two floors, so much education makes us tired, and we leave

  • 4:30 pm - Sarah and I walk down to Times Square. There's some sort of street fair going on, and we make our way to one of my old haunts, the Film Center Cafe. It's been redecorated and is no longer the cool, dark, pub-like vibe-y place but an upscale trendy place. The prices are still the same, so it's cool

  • 5:30 pm - Sarah and I head back to the hotel to take a nap before returning to Rockefeller Center later that night. On the way there, we see a midget dancing like Michael Jackson in the subway

  • 6:15 pm - We arrive back at the hotel and order coffee and dessert from room service.

  • 6:45 pm - Coffee, cheesecake, and chocolate cake all around!

  • 9:00 pm - We head down to Rockefeller Center to get in line for the taping of "Saturday Night Live"

  • 9:30 pm - We find our place in line and wait to be let in. The line is already much longer than we thought it might be. My email confirmation is traded for cool tickets with the date and the guests printed on them. I tell Sarah I hope we get to keep them (we don't)

  • 10:45pm - They begin seating us. We turn in our tickets and are given nifty wristbands. We head up to the 9th floor.

  • 10:50pm - We are seated in the balcony and are transfixed watching the SNL crew prep for the show. The SNL band plays some amazing music as people are seated

  • 11:00pm - Don Pardo greets us and introduces Jason Sudeikis, who entertains us with some goofy bits, basic rules of the road, and then introduces Kristen Wiig and Fred Armisen (on electric guitar). Kristen sings and, along with backup from the SNL band, we are treated to a great rendition of Blondie's "One Way or Another."

  • 11:30pm - The lights go down, Will Ferrell takes the stage, and the show is underway. It's the season finale (and Darrell Hammond's last show), a great show, Green Day sounds great, and surprise guests Tom Hanks, Anne Hathaway, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Paul Rudd, Norm MacDonald, and Artie Lang make for a fun night

  • 1:00 am - The show is over and the cast waves goodbye

  • 1:20 am - Will Ferrell takes the stage again and announces that if we wait around for 5 minutes, Green Day will play a couple more songs for us. The SNL cast gathers on the stage to listen

  • 1:25 am - Green Day plays the first of 2 bonus songs for us. They are accompanied through the duration of the second song by Will Ferrell on cowbell (naturally)

  • 1:45 am - On our way out, Amy Poehler sneaks past Sarah on her way down the hall. As she stops to talk to someone Sarah, only inches away from her and somewhat starstruck, can do nothing but stare at her and smile

  • 2:10 am - On the train ride back to the hotel, Sarah and I enjoy the "I'm Drunk On The Subway Show" as performed by a couple of wobbly-legged girls

  • 3:10 am - Nighty night


SUNDAY

  • 10:00 am - Sarah and I get up and around to make it out of the hotel by the 11am checkout time

  • 11:01 am - Sarah and I leave the hotel

  • 11:05 am - Sarah and I go to Starbucks for coffee and breakfast. It's swamped, so we leave

  • 11:06 am - Sarah and I go to the hotel restaurant for breakfast.

  • 11:07 am - After seeing that an omelette costs $21, Sarah and I sneak out and leave before they can even bring us water

  • 11:15 am - Sarah and I hop on the subway and head back toward midtown

  • 12:15 pm - Sarah and I have breakfast at the Westway Diner where an omelette costs what it should

  • 12:45 pm - We catch a showing of X-Men Origins: Wolverine at the AMC theater on 42nd Street

  • 3:00 pm - We walk around, take in the city, and waste time before our train leaves for back home

  • 4:45 pm - We board the train (seats together) and make our way back home

  • 9:20 pm - Our friend Alyssa picks us up from the train station and our amazing weekend has come to an end


Wow. Good times.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

An Open Letter to Lorne Michaels*

*or Marci Klein. If I get either one of you to look at this, that's cool.
**********

Hi. My name is Ed. I'll make this quick, I know you're busy.

Word on the street is, you should stop by the National Comedy Theatre this Friday, May 15 and check out one of the shows (one at 7:30, one at 9:45). There's a good group of people there you should see.

I'm not just saying that because I'll be up from Pennsylvania and appearing in the shows that night. I'm saying that because I'll be up from Pennsylvania appearing in the shows that night and I want you to hire me.

My wife and I have tickets to SNL on Saturday the 16th, so I'll be in the building to sign the papers. Funny how it all works out, huh?

Thanks! See you in a few days!

Sincerely,

Ed Placencia

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Faith in Motion

Tonight at Target a little girl who looked to be about 6 or 7 years old came zipping past me, running at top speed. As she approached an intersection of aisles, she stopped. Her mom tried to keep up, pushing a cart and yelling, "Faith! Faith! Slow down!"

At this Faith turned to her mom and simply said, "I can't."

And she took off running again as fast as she could.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Saget's Revenge

Last week I wrote a post in response to the fact that Bob Saget has a new sitcom coming out.

Apparently Bob's deal with the devil is even sneakier than I imagined.

Yesterday Sarah and I were at Target and we split up into our usual departments; she in the clothing section and I browsed through the media. They were having a sale on TV shows on DVD and I came across the first season of How I Met Your Mother for only 12 bucks. I'd never seen an episode but had heard pretty good things about it, not to mention the fact I'm a fan of co-stars Jason Segal (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Undeclared, Freaks and Geeks), Alyson Hannigan (American Pie), and Neil Patrick Harris (Doogie Howser, Harold & Kumer, and the incredible Dr. Horrible).

It's been a while since I was brave enough to buy a DVD without previously seeing it, but I figured at only 12 bucks I couldn't go wrong.

Fast-forward a few hours. Sarah and I pop in Disc 1 and the narration (oh, it's narrated?) begins. Sarah turns to me and says, "That sounds like Bob Saget."

She was right. Wait. Was she? I listened. It did sound like him. But then again...maybe not. I scrambled over to my computer and looked up the show on IMDb.

Yep. It's him. We watched two episodes (I still enjoyed them, despite Saget's presence) but ended  the night watching the first six episodes of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

But I still couldn't believe Bob Saget got past me like that. How did I not know that? How could no one tell me? Entertainment Weekly, you let me down. You always conveniently seem to leave out that little detail when you rave about the show.

You've won this round Saget, you fat-headed imp.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Who Asked for More Saget?

Last night I saw ads for a new sitcom starring Bob Saget.

Seriously, Earth, whatever it is I did wrong, I apologize. Just tell me what I did to deserve this.

saget

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Our Tour of Ireland

A very abbreviated look at our time in Ireland. Sites include the Adare Manor, the City of Adare, the Cliffs of Moher, The Burren, the Dingle Penninsula, the city of Dingle, Conor Pass, Bunratty Castle, Bunratty Village, Cobh, Pat Collins Bar and the Sean Collins & Sons Bar. Music by The Chieftains.





Happy April Fool's Day (from Google)

This morning when I logged in to my Gmail account, at the top of the page was a link touting a new feature. New Gmail Autopilot! it said in a bright yellow color. Upon clicking on the link, I was taken HERE.

I love it when corporations make me smile. Well done, Googles.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Thoughts on Ireland

Tonight while Sarah was at work teaching a class, I spent some time reflecting on our recent trip to Ireland. Just me, my music, and a sink full of dirty coffee mugs. I asked myself what I learned during my time in The Emerald Isle and gave it some deep thought. Here are some of the answers I found:

1. AMERICA HAS WAY TOO MANY BILLBOARDS
I actually didn't even pick up on this until I got back home and BAM, they really stood out. Those things are all over the place here - Buy This! Call This! Sign Up For This! Eat This! This Is Bigger And Better! After being away from the barrage of colors and exclamation points for a week, it's almost a little overwhelming coming back to it. Stop yelling at me, already.

2. I THOUGHT I KNEW WHAT GREEN WAS, BUT I DIDN'T
I'd heard Ireland was green. I'd seen photos and video. But I didn't realize just how green a landscape can be until I saw it first-hand. The green there is vibrant. It's beyond vibrant, it's Crayola green. You know the green green color in a box of crayons that kids color with? Grass can really be that Crayola green. As we rode back from the airport I couldn't help but notice that even grass that is green here looks kind of brown-ish in comparison.

3. STOP LOOKING TO BE ENTERTAINED
We were staying in a small town called Adare while we were there and frequented a couple of pubs, each owned and operated by a pair of brothers. The Pat Collins Bar and Restaurant and the Sean Collins & Sons Bar. I got to talk to Sean Collins a few times and during our last night in Ireland I talked about how much we'd enjoyed getting to know the people and finding out about them. "That's just the thing," Sean told me, "People come here looking to be entertained. Talk to people. Just go up to someone and start a conversation, that's what it's really about." I know it sounds cliche to encounter the friendly bartender who sprinkles life lessons, but just because it's cliche doesn't mean it's not true.

4. PEOPLE ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN THINGS
The people we encountered there really had their priorities straight. Relationships took precedence over materialistic ideals. It's not about who has the most things, it's making the most of the relationships you already have. Who cares if there's a crack in the living room wall, how are things between you and the guy next door? It's easy to be happy on a sunny day; can you find a reason to share a smile when it's raining outside? Street signs are hard to find; house numbers are almost non-existent.  That's because people know who you are and, as a result, they don't need numbers on a mailbox to find you. I just couldn't help but get the feeling that people matter.

5. I FORGOT HOW MUCH I ENJOYED THE SMALL THINGS
When we were hanging out in Dingle, a small seaside town, we started seeing a lot of people walking around enjoying ice cream cones and it made us crave them, too. We stopped in a small grocery store that was selling cones; a simple vanilla cone with a stick of chocolate stuck in the top. And it was delicious. Afterward, Ashlea pointed out that she'd forgotten how much she missed ice cream cones and I had to agree. Somehow society has managed to make something as simple as ice cream overly-complicated. Don't get me wrong, I love Maggie Moo's and their plethora of flavors to choose from and endless list of toppings, sauces, candies, nuts, and other goodies to mix in. But in the meantime I'd forgotten how good a simple plain ice cream cone can be.

So..there you go. Just a few thoughts I've taken away from our time in Ireland. I can probably be accused of over-romanticizing the whole thing and I'm probably guilty. What can I say? You can't travel to another country and not come away with an insight or two. And, from my brief experience, you can't travel to Ireland and not come away with a new outlook on life; One that looks for the upside of situations and puts up the "Lemonade for Sale" sign when life gives you lemons.

Ireland was good. Is good. I'd go back in a second. There's a familiar saying over there that's common to pubs: "The first time here you're a stranger. After that, you're family."

I like that.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Ireland Recap Finale - March 25 2009

Sarah, Alyssa, Ashlea and I present the final recap of our 2009 Ireland trip and present you with a task.





Monday, March 23, 2009

Ireland Recap - March 23 2009

Sarah, Alyssa, Ashlea and I re-visit our day in Adare and on the grounds of the world-famous Adare Manor.





Sunday, March 22, 2009

Ireland Recap - March 22 2009

Sarah, Alyssa, Ashlea and I talk about our day in Cobh, Cork, and speaking in accents.






Saturday, March 21, 2009

Ireland Recap - March 21 2009

Sarah, Ashlea, Alyssa and I travel to Bunratty Castle and end the day at Collin's pub in Adare.





Friday, March 20, 2009

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Welcome to Shamrock

Ashlea takes you on a tour of our villa at the Adare Manor Estate, which looks suspiciously like a Dharma Initiative village. With that in mind, welcome to the Shamrock Station #10.





Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Does Ireland Come With Sheets?

You know how you hang out with your friends and talk about all the cool places you want to visit together and how much fun it will be and "Oh man we so have to do that" and you all promise each other you'll do it "one day" and then nothing ever comes of it?

Well, Sarah and I are doing it and I'm crazy excited.

Tonight we leave for Ireland with our good friends, Alyssa and Ashlea, and we couldn't be more excited. We'll be staying in the city of Limerick and plan to spend most of the time exploring the southwestern part of the country while we're there. Our home base will be a villa at the Adare Manor Estate and Ashlea came into my office yesterday asking if they provided bed sheets.

It never occurred to me that they might not, and I almost laughed at the idea. But you know how it is once that seed of doubt gets planted.... You never know. It is another country and we shouldn't just assume they'll have the same amenities they have here in the States. And how bad would it be if we got there and it turned out they didn't.

Luckily, they have a US 800-number and I called and spoke to Mary. I didn't want to come out and just ask if they had bed sheets, so I tried to disguise it by making it seem like a ridiculous "for instance."

"I just wanted to make sure there wasn't something we should bring that we might not think of. You know, like bed sheets."

Mary the operator laughed at me. She didn't just chuckle or giggle or tee-hee. She full on laughed at me.

Next time, Ashlea calls.