Friday, May 30, 2008

Another nice internet time waster

Thanks, 'Zooks!

A short conversation about the new Indiana Jones movie

"That was brutal. What a stupid movie."

"I don't know. I enjoyed it. It was fun."

"It was stupid! A terrible chapter in the saga."

"It was exactly the same as the other movies: he's a guy who gets himself into and out of impossibly harrowing situations while competing against bad guys in a race to retrieve some mystical artifact that he either loses or gives away in the end."

"Yeah, ok, but a skull? Made out of crystal? Come on!"

"Well, is that any dumber than anything he chased after in the other movies? The first one was a box of dirt that made rodents uneasy and people's faces melt unless they didn't look at it. In the second one it was rocks that looked like baked potatoes."

"Yeah, and in 'The Last Crusade' it was the friggin' Holy Grail!"

"Right. Jesus's magic pimp chalice. Neat. You know who else made a movie about a quest for the Holy Grail? Monty Python."

"Don't even try to compare Indiana Jones to Monty Python. That movie had Sean Connery in it as Indy's dad. Any movie with the baddest James Bond ever is automatically above reproach or criticism of any kind."

"Except he wasn't James Bond. He was a fussy, absent-minded zealot whose biggest scene featured him chasing birds with an umbrella. By that definition, there are probably six guys in any city park right now that could be Indiana Jones' dad."

"So you're saying that this was a great movie?!?"

"I'm saying that none of the Indiana Jones movies are 'great' movies, but if you get a big bag of popcorn, sit back, relax and enjoy them for what they are, they're a lot of fun to watch. And that's great enough for me. That's all."

"I bet you said the same thing about the Star Wars prequels."

"No, those were stupid, terrible chapters in the saga."

Thursday, May 29, 2008

So apparently I have a Sam's membership

I was going through some mail the other day and I had a letter telling me my Sam's Wholesale Club membership was due to expire at the end of June.
I don't have a Sam's Club membership. I haven't even been inside of a Sam's Club in years, and that was with somebody who was a member. What gives?
So I took the letter to my local Sam's club warehouse, went to the customer service desk and said "What gives?". The guy behind the counter said "You have a Sam's Club membership. It's going to expire in about a month. Would you like to renew it now?" Hmm, just like the letter says, as though I'm a complete moron who has some limited ability to understand simple word and phrases but only if they're repeated very s-l-o-w-l-y. So I asked him what kind of membership I had and how could I have gotten one if I hadn't visited a Sam's Club within the last year, eh smart guy? He said, "It looks like it was a special promotional offer. You don't remember signing up for it?" At that point, something dimly flickered in the back of my brain and I did vaguely remember attending a volleyball tournament where I filled out some sheet on a guy's clipboard for some sort of giveaway. Could that have been it? "Yeah", he said, "in all likelihood, that was it." Ok, so maybe I am a complete moron. Who knows what else I've signed up for out there? I asked him what I needed to do, and asked him to explain it very s-l-o-w-l-y. He told me to pose for a picture on the ID card (that will be void in about a month) and I was all set. And he was right; I was all set about 45 seconds later and headed out to explore the wonder that is Sam's.
I know there are a lot of people out there who don't have wholesale club memberships, but have probably heard about them. If you're one of those people, you probably envision some kind of bulk shoppers paradise where goons at the door keep out the riff-raff while members, on the other hand, are greeted warmly and given white silk robes to wear so they can browse the aisles in regal, flowing comfort. You probably think there are mountains of MP 3players with long winding rivers of peel-and-eat shrimp. Motor oil, bacon, books-on-tape and #10 envelopes! All you want!! Giggling handmaidens lounge languidly around reflecting pools full of barbecued meatballs. They're there to help you find the frozen lasagna or push your Escalade-sized shopping cart for you or give you a pedicure. Shhh! Look over there and you'll see a unicorn frolicing near jars of mustard bigger than your home. Looking for "Iron Man" on DVD? Yes, it's still playing in theatres but you're a member! Robert Downey Jr. himself is here autographing copies. Enjoy, my friend! Flat screen televisions cost a quarter each, hot dogs and buns are available in the same quantities and you can get a new pair of glasses and a complete set of whitewalls in under 30 minutes. Well, I'm here to tell you it isn't exactly like that...but it's pretty damn close. I mean, you would not even believe how much kitty litter I got for less than $10.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

They fight like girls

The Tampa Bay Derby Darlins are at it again. Having captured the inaugural Florida State Championship in February, the Switchblade Sisters, Vicegrip Vixens and Cigar City Mafia have begun their regular season schedule. I've talked about my love for the roller derby and the Darlins here before but it bears repeating that the game we're talking about now is a modern, totally unrehearsed, all female reboot of the old classic and not just a campy rehash of silly, staged WWE style antics with pre-determined outcomes. ESPN has even offered a stamp of legitimacy with a feature story they ran a couple of weeks ago:

I attended a scrimmage last week and skater Gore Mae (you know, I'm not sure that's her real name but it's not like I've never had a girl I was talking to at a skating rink give me an alias) who taught me how serious these women are about the roller derby. For starters, new skaters participate in a mandatory eight week training camp before they're allowed to skate in a bout. Also, there are minimum performance standards that must be met before they're allowed to participate in competition. Wow, what sport wouldn't benefit from adopting that concept? And as mentioned previously, these are actual competitions with scores tallied and results tabulated. There is plenty of style but no style points. The games count and they're playing to win.
For fans, it's great because there's plenty of fast-paced action, the skaters are accessible (how many times have you been invited to hang out post game at The Hub with members of the Rays, Lightning or Buccaneers?) and tickets are affordable ($12 or less). Plus, don't let the risque flourishes scare you, it really is family friendly entertainment. What more can you want?
The Tampa Bay Derby Darlins next bout is Saturday, June 7th at Skateplex, 5311 East Busch Boulevard in Temple Terrace. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door. Go to for more info, including a complete schedule of upcoming bouts and other events.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

I know where the bay is. Where's the hockey?

Last night was game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Detroit Red Wings. As far as the local heroes go, the beloved Lightning were not a factor this year and didn't even make the playoffs. The Lightning's marketing department has devoted a great deal of effort to try to band the area as Hockey Bay USA. I don't know about that but we did win the cup in 2004 and have been pretty competetive for the last few seasons prior to this one during which fan support has been pretty good so I thought hockey had finally taken root here. Taking all those factors into consideration, when a companion and I found ourselves downtown, the very heart of Hockey Bay, last night, we couldn't imagine having trouble finding a place to watch the game...

  • First stop: Hattricks - I love Hattricks. It's one of my top ten favorite local places and Tampa's only real bar & restaurant for hockey fans. The problem is it's not a very large place and when it fills up, it's full. To the point where you literally can not move. Such was the case last night. We were disappointed but not terribly surprised, as anybody who wants to go out and watch hockey should make Hattricks their first (and probably, only) stop. We didn't want to deal with the mob scene so we moved on.
  • Second stop: Andreychuk's - The namesake tavern and eatery of former Lightning captain and future hall of famer Dave Andreychuk is directly across the street from the St. Pete Times Forum, home of the Lightning...and it was closed. That's right, a bar named after an all time hockey great across the street from the arena where he won a Stanley Cup himself four years ago, where incidentally an event with over 10,000 spectators in attendance (Alicia Keys in concert) was taking place, was CLOSED on a Saturday night when Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals was on. Go ahead and take a few minutes to let your mind stop boggling before we move on.
  • Third stop: The Hut - Next door to Andreychuk's is The Hut, which used to be known as Newk's until owner Jack Newkirk sold it a few years ago. Back then, this place was great. Wonderful atmosphere, really good food, fantastic service and lots of fun. Now, it isn't. There was no air conditioning, we were completely ignored by all waitstaff and every tv was tuned to some ultimate fighting pay per view thing. We were there about five minutes before we bailed.
  • Not a stop but we passed by, Hooters - Hooters was packed and I looked through the windows and didn't see the game on any of the tv's. Besides, you have to be in a certain mood to eat the food at Hooters, the kind of mood where you have zero regard for your cholesterol level whatsoever.
  • Fourth and final stop, Bennigan's - I've mentioned previously that I'm not a big fan of these kinds of places. But at least we finally found a place that served food and had the game on a tv. As in one, singular television out of about 20. But that was better than we'd found anywhere else so we took it. As we sat there eating dinner, we were both getting dripped on from the ceiling. There was no water hitting the table, meaning there were two leaks positioned perfectly to hit the diners on either side. The ceiling is about 20 feet high in there so the water had some velocity behind it and was making a big wet splash every time it hit us. I brought this to the attention of our waiter who laughed and said, "you should see the size of the puddle over there! That's where it really comes down." Not exactly the reaction I was expecting. I didn't know going in search of Hockey Bay USA would mean actually getting drenched in the process.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Hey everybody! Let's get college degrees!

Hope for dumb guys like me is finally here. Check out the email I got yesterday, completely unedited exactly as I received it:
----- Original Message -----
From: "Cuc Versie"
Sent: Tuesday, May 20, 2008 6:26 PM
Subject: No test, No class, buy yourself Bacheelor/MasteerMBA/Doctoraate dip1omas, VALID in all countries kux rsnw
Bacheelor, MasteerMBA, and Doctoraate diplomas available in the field of your choice that's right, you can even become a Doctor and receive all the benefits that comes with it! Our Diplomas/Certificates are recognised in most countries No required examination, tests, classes, books, or interviews. ** No one is turned down ** Confidentiality assured CALL US 24 HOURS A DAY, 7 DAYS A WEEK
This is really, really too good to be true. Which means that there is absolutely no possible downside! It doesn't say officially what institution this is but I'm pretty sure it's got to be Awesome University. Never mind the seemingly poor grammar, punctuation and syntax on display in the email. Nobody really even talks good English no more anyhow.Get with the times, man!
  • "...diplomas available in the field of your choice" Uh, there's no such thing as a degree in collecting vintage tin wind-up robots, Clark. Oh really, a-hole? Because the framed diploma hanging up there on my wall has a little something to say about that. Now get the hell out of my office!
  • " can even become a Doctor and receive all the benefits that comes with it!" Everybody knows doctors have it made. What do doctors even do? Nobody knows. But they get good parking places, weekdays off, free labcoats AND a license to fondle.
  • "Our Diplomas/Certificates are recognised in most countries" No problem. I only live in one of them.
  • "No required examination, tests, classes, books, or interviews." You know, that particular curriculum just happens to suit me and my lifestyle perfectly.
  • "No one is turned down" Here we have the all-American democratic cherry on top of the scholastic sundae with academia nuts. With very little effort whatsoever (which is my very favorite kind of effort), even I am able to meet this standard.
  • "CALL US 24 HOURS A DAY, 7 DAYS A WEEK" As if any one of the attributes listed above weren't enough, they have the same operating hours as your local 7-Eleven. Come!! ON!!!
Dean Versie, I will be in touch!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Yet another flea market story

I took today off to visit the Webster Westside Flea Market. Webster is a town about 50 miles north of Tampa that (as far as I could tell) consists of a flea market. Normally, taking a day off to drive for an hour to get to a flea market would not be worth the effort (well, taking the day off would be) but friends and other people I know had been there and were raving about how huge it is so I wanted to see it for myself. The reason I had to take the day off is because this particular flea market is only open on Mondays. I don't understand that but there are a lot of things I don't understand about it. It was crowded, so apparently it works. It just seems strange to only be open one day, and a weekday at that. Of course, to say a flea market seems strange is kind of like pointing out that ducks have feathers. Here are my observations from the day:

  • It really is a very, very big flea market. From the standpoint of sheer geography covered, it's huge. It's larger than many college campuses I've visited. I'm sure this says something about the state of the nation. I think more than half of the stalls were empty because tourist season is over but we were there for five hours and didn't even see everything. I guess during the season the place is just nuts.
  • I'm kicking myself for not bringing my camera because I saw a lot of Jim Crow-era artifacts that I can't share with you. Among the items I saw for sale were a sign that said "COLORED WAITING ROOM" and lots of knick-knacks depicting African Americans in a less than flattering light. But they weren't the only ones being disparaged. I also saw a postcard that showed a cartoon of a man in a kilt riding a horse, facing backwards watching the ground behind the horse with the caption "This Scotsman lost a dime in the feedbag". I would guess that at one time that postcard was available for sale at a place like Woolworth's. I guess racism used to be pretty hilarious back in the day.
  • We had lunch at a taco stand owned and operated by a family from Mexico. Mexican food prepared by people actually from Mexico is a lot different than what you get at Taco Bell. Taco Bell, as I've mentioned before, is really just one food item in a couple of different arrangements. It's meat, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and sour cream inside of something allegedly made from corn. Here's what happens when you return an incorrect order at Taco Bell: "Excuse me, I ordered the Chalupa. This is the Burrito Supreme."
    "Oh, sorry about that (fwip, fwap, fwip). Here you go."
    " just take the same food, re-fold it and put a different wrapper on it?"
    "Not as far as you know"

    I ordered enchiladas that came wrapped in banana leaves. Being the jive-ass honky that I am, I asked one of my companions if I was supposed to eat them in the banana leaves. "No, stupid", she replied. This is someone who routinely burns her own forehead with a curling iron but I'm the one who's stupid? Ok, whatever. They were delicious and far, far different than anything I've ever had from Taco Bell, with or without banana leaves.
  • As far as I can tell, as consumers we are all engaged in one massive game of Hot Potato where the goal is not to be the last person in America stuck with all the VHS tapes.
  • It's official: It is now 100% impossible to find a real treasure in baseball cards at a flea market. Stories of walking into one and finding a Willie Mays rookie card for a nickel can now be regarded as nothing more than ancient mythological folklore. Actually, that's probably been the case for more than a decade. I just refused to accept the inevitability of it until today. Sigh.
  • An observation from my companion: "When I get older, I'm going to hang out at the flea market and talk about guns and ammunition for hours and hours. Oh wait, no I'm not...because I don't have a penis!" She was right; there were a lot of vendors selling guns and ammo and a lot of guys hanging out talking about them. I'm more than a little gun-phobic so it doesn't appeal to me as a man whatsoever, but there definitely seemed to be something going on. If Freud visited a flea market, he'd probably have something to say about it.
  • I bought a solid brass old west style sheriff's badge for a dollar. When I asked the vendor if I was now fully authorized to uphold and enforce county laws, he replied "I don't give a damn what you do". I told him, "That's fine. If anybody's looking for me later, I'll be pulling over speeders."
  • Some guy was selling a "calliope" for $2500.00, claiming that was about 1/10th of what it was really worth. Gee, that's an awful lot of money for a CD player in a cabinet on a cart with some non-functional steam pipes affixed to it, isn't it? Oh, I guess you didn't think I saw the empty CD case labeled "Clown and Midway Calliope Music Vol. 1" sitting there. Dumbass.
  • One vendor told me he was selling stuff cheap because "I have that Italian disease, 'No-a funds-a'". Another, when asked where he was from, said "Greece. I'm a Greek god, not a goddamn Greek". Apparently, matters of racial diversity are presented openly, if not delicately, at the ol' flea market.
  • Speaking of penis (We were? Yes, briefly, earlier. Scroll back.), my companion found a VHS copy of "The Little Mermaid" with the infamous phallic cover art. While this find does have some pop cultural archaeological significance, she puts herself in danger of losing that game of Hot Potato I mentioned earlier. It's risky business, this flea marketing.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Life is good!

This is a beautiful time, people. Look around you! The air smells cleaner. Food tastes better. Orange juice is juicier and oranger. All because THE NEW YORK YANKEES ARE IN LAST PLACE! It is truly a Golden Age and we owe it to ourselves to celebrate.

This won't turn into another "Yankees Suck" blog. There are millions of those out there and I have nothing new to contribute. I'm just saying that the fundamentally evil entity that has done more to destroy baseball than Barry Bonds getting 4 to 1 odds from Pete Rose that he can't hit a home run with a bat made entirely out of trenbolone during a labor stoppage and the entitled front-runners who follow them are currently wallowing in shame and self-pity, which is just cause for all non-evil people to take the opportunity to break out in spontaneous dances of unbridled joy in public. That's all.

Go Rays!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Dig this heavy slice of 80's cheese

Coming to you straight from 1985, when the practice of cramming meaningless pop songs that have absolutely nothing to do with the plot of a movie into that movie's soundtrack was just starting to be recognized as a viable means of paying for houses, cars and cocaine in Hollywood...

This Billy Ocean song was featured in the film "The Jewel of the Nile" for some reason and features the stars, Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito pretending to sing backup. The most remarkable thing about this clip is that of those three, it's DeVito that has aged most gracefully

Thursday, May 15, 2008

How do I put this...

Many people think writing is difficult because they struggle with the use of words to express themselves. I often find speaking, or "mouth writing", difficult for the same reason.

Recently, friends of mine were affected by a fire. They're fine. But what was probably your initial, perfectly natural reaction ("Dear God, a fire!!" or "AIIIIIIEEEEE!!!") to that information is kind of what I'm talking about. This fire caused enough havoc to cause a social gathering to be postponed. Today, I found myself communicating with a mutual friend who hadn't heard about the postponement or the reason why it was necessary. My dilemma was how to discuss the subject without freaking them out:

  • "First of all, don't worry, everybody is fine..." Nope, that won't work.
  • "Well, did you see that fire on the news the other night?" Uh-uh
  • "There incident" Too vague, sure to induce panic
  • "There was a fire. So no party." Too blunt, and more than a tad insensitive to boot
  • "Since the dawn of time, man has struggled to control the power of flame. Many times, he has failed..." Too dramatic
  • "I guess if you think having a party is something that people who are putting their lives back together after a fire would enjoy..." Too passive aggressive
  • "Fire! Bad! Arrrghh!!" Too Frankenstein

Fortunately, there had been an email that explained the whole situation and this person hadn't seen it yet. So I was able to defer to that saying, "oh yeah, we're not getting together's all in the email." Whew! If that hadn't been the case, I still don't know how I would have gotten out of that one.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Ok, maybe I've found my next creative pursuit after all.

Recently I tagged along with some artsy-fartsy friends to this place. The way it works is you buy something, paint it, they do crazy stuff to it with an oven and some voodoo. One week later you come back and take it home. This is known as "ceramics". It's where coffee cups, doggie dishes, Christmas decorations and lawn gnomes come from. When I was a kid my mom, aunt and grandmother all did it but I never participated. However, it's apparent that I must be genetically inclined for ceramics mastery because VOILA!:
See, it's a bowl to eat cereal from. I like to eat cereal late at night so it's got a late night theme with a moon and stars and shit on it. Here's my special recipe for late night cereal...

1) Pour all ingredients together into cartoonishly enormous homemade purple ceramic bowl
2) Eat it (NOTE: I recommend using a spoon)

Feel free to print this out and stick it on your fridge. I promise I won't sue.

As you can plainly see, this is the perfect bowl for this special recipe! When I finish eating all the cereal, I'm rewarded with the clever play on words painted at the bottom and I go to bed with a chuckle. Is there a better way to go to bed at night? I submit to you that there is not!

If you don't have one (which you don't because I only made one) and want one (and honestly, how could you not at this point?), send me $37.50 and I will make one and send it to you. I will even personalize it at no extra charge!

Show's over, folks

"The Beverly Hillbillies" closed Saturday night with a near sellout. People in Plant City ate that show up! There was even fleeting talk about extending it a week, which was shot down when contractual hassles were considered. This is the second time I've been in a wildly successful (from a box office standpoint) show, the last being "Grease" at TheatreWorks in Sarasota, which ran for close to two months.
At any rate, between the show being done and Relay For Life on a low boil until next year, I find myself facing a void with no projects to work on.
So what's next? Well, I don't know. Writing is an ongoing project of course, and lately I'm getting some push to do something on a larger scale than anything I've done before, something commercial, and that's intriguing. Total devotion to writing does not stimulate a lot of social interaction. But depending on how I feel on a given day, that can either be a plus or a minus.
I know I don't want to do any acting in a show where I have a role as small as what I had in "Hillbillies", unless there are exceptional circumstances and it's closer to home than Plant City. PCE's next show is "Brigadoon", a musical set in a magical Scottish village. I could have auditioned for a larger role in that but I'm not interested.
I'd really like to work on shooting a few short films I have written but I don't know if I can get other key people together for that to happen.
So I don't know. If you have something for me to do, let me know, will ya?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Yet another Team Daddy-O Update

This past Wednesday, May 6th, was the 2008 Relay For Life wrap-up meeting and awards banquet. We were recognized as a Bronze team for raisng over $3000.00. We also finished second among new teams in spirit points and won the overall award for best banner (our snazzy retro logo featured on my two trophies here).
I think I've mentioned most of this already. What I have not mentioned previously is that we're raising the bar significantly and shooting for a goal of $10,000.00 next year. There's no real reason we can't do this. We have an entire year and we know what we're doing now.
So first of all, a sincere THANK YOU to all readers of this blog who contributed this year. I'll be counting on your help again in the future.
Starting now, actually. While we're not yet ready to collect money, we do have a brand spankin' new MySpace page where soon you will find photos, fundraising event updates and more. Please visit ...often!... and if you have a MySpace account, add us as a friend. You'll notice that we actually have a bonafide celebrity among our friends already; comedian and author Robert Schimmel who's performed on Letterman, Conan and the Tonight Show numerous times. The more we can get the word out by any means available, the more we can raise. Who knows, maybe $10,000.00 will prove to be a conservative goal.

Meme maybe?

Wikipedia says "A meme (pronounced /mɛmɛ/[citation needed], /miːm/[1] or /mɛm/[citation needed]) consists of any unit of cultural information, such as a practice or idea, that gets transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another." This applies to such so-called 'viral' internet phenomona as Chocolate Rain, LOLCATS, the Star Wars Kid and about a billion other things you can think of, including 98% of the content on YouTube. Recently I came across something that I think qualifies. Or at least deserves to. Or maybe it already does and I'm just late to the party (that wouldn't be a total shock).
At the Internet Movie Database, where you can find information on every film ever made or slated to be made, there are message boards where people post information, much of which is speculation about upcoming movies that is passed off as absolute fact from people who claim to have inside info. Of course, like just about every message board on the internet, it's totally unregulated and there is no way of determining who is or is not a credible source. In other words, virtually none of them are. The people who post information regarding the casting of Quentin Tarantino's World War II Drama "Inglorious Bastards" (currently listed as "Announced") seem to have a pretty good grasp on this and are taking it to the logical and ridiculous extreme, much to the annoyance of some who have no sense of humor. You can read the whole thing here (you'll need to register; it's free) but here are some highlights (it's all copy and paste; don't blame me for typos):

"Stephen Hawkins and Conan O'Brien confirmed. This is going to be one hell of a MOVIE!!!!!"

"You sap. That Hawkins thing was just a rumour. That was never going to happen. But former President Jimmy Carter has been confirmed, as has Cheeta the 75-year-old chimp from Tarzan. I can't wait."

"My brother is Tarantino's gardener, he told me Ronald McDonald and Corey Haim are attached."

"Denzel Washington is confirmed as one of the Nazi Generals.."

"I heard somwhere that Yao Ming is playing Adolf Hitler.... "

"Don't look now sports fans but none other than John Madden will be signing on to play Eleanor Roosevelt."

"Damn! I just got off the phone with the neighbour of the barber of the hair stylist of Johnny Knoxville and he told me Quentin Tarantino is going to play Tim Roth. He allso said The Rock was gonna play both Hitler ánd Roosevelt!!"

"None other than Scott Bakula is currently in talks with Quentin to play a sandwich."

"All the members of congress will play heroic soldiers getting slaughtered on the beaches of Normandy. 5000 Google employees will be Nazi extras."

"Optimus Prime will be playing Gen. George S. Patton. I smell oscar."

"Eddie Money, Hillary Duff, Larry Bud Melmon & Luke Wilson - all CONFIRMED! "

"Word has it, that.... Ann Coulter, and Condi Rice are to play, the time traveling duo of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. The pair are to be joined by Janet Reno, in the final bunker scene, for some hot Nazi lesbian three-way action. All this, before being mistakingly shot by; Joseph Mengele, Karl Brandt, and Eva Braun. Expertly played by, Jonathan Winters, Festus from Gunsmoke, and Shemp Howard respectively."

"And who is going to play the coveted role of a young, George Herbert Walker Bush? You guessed it, Frank Stallone."

"Dr. Phil announced this morning on "The Henry Rollins Show" that he will be playing a Native American version of Dolph Lundgren with T-Rex arms."

"Heard through the grapevine... Bruce Campbell to play a young Elvis leading the charge on the beaches of Normandy. Also, Larry the Cable Guy in talks to play Churchill, but may run into scheduling conflicts as "Witless Protection 2" is scheduled to shoot concurrently."

"OSCAR BUZZ!!!! Heard this might be the breakout role that Jimmy Fallon has been waiting for! Jimmy plays a man in the wheelchair that is only able to move his right foot. Comedy ensues, but you also feel for the guy. I can't wait!!!"

"Louis Gosset Jr, Bruce Willis, Gary Glitter, Tom from Myspace, David Duke and the Quaker Oats guy confirmed."

"You heard it here first gang, Corey Feldman and Corey Haim have been spotted having lunch with QT, word round the campfire is the two corey's will be playing Ben Affleck during the rousing Pearl Harbor scene."

"The starting defensive line for the 1976 chicago bears have all signed on to play FDR's legs."

"Hold on to your hats, sports fans. It has just been reported that Frank Caliendo's impression of Charles Barkley has been inked to play a Sherman tank."

"Shamu the killer whale's clone is currently in talks to make an appearance as Mussolini. Michael Bay recently announced that he will be directing the Transformers segment of the movie, featuring Optimus Prime as a Luftwaffe B-109 suicide plane and Shia Lebouf as a wisecracking Japanese school girl. "

"Just in: IMDB.COM confirmed. The website itself is going to be in this movie."

"All you guys are the dumbest mother ****ers ever. quentin literally CALLED me and told me that the role of Adolf Hitler was taken by Jessica Simpson"

"This is actually 100% true and confirmed from a highly reliable source: Morris Day and Jerome Benton have been cast. It's not been determined what parts they will play but they will perform "Jungle Love" and "The Bird" as they are legally required to do every time they appear in public together. They will also be barefoot."

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

When dummies collide

These two vehicles were involved in a minor accident this morning where North Ashley Drive and Tampa Street merge. "Minor accident" for the sake of this discussion is defined as one where A) nobody is injured and B) the automobiles involved can still be driven. "Discussion" in this case is defined as "me, ranting". As you can see, the drivers parked their cars right in the middle of the street, exactly where the accident occurred. They did not move their vehicles out of the way, probably under the belief that it's now a crime scene, the integrity of which must be preserved so that the police can determine who is at fault and administer justice accordingly.
Yeah. That isn't going to happen.
A mobile crime unit is not going to be dispatched to measure tire tracks. Witnesses are not going to be interrogated. A computer-generated animated model of the incident is not going to be produced and studied. Nothing is going to be looked at with a magnifying glass or picked up with tweezers and placed carefully in ziplock baggies to be analyzed in a lab.
What is going to happen is one cop will show up, determine who screwed up (because that's all that happened), write a ticket or two and, oh yeah, have the dumbasses move their cars out of the way so they don't cause more vehicles to collide and/or someone to get run over. Or for the sake of this discussion, a major accident.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Live from Plant City...

The show opened Friday night with much fanfare and little incident. I'm told that traditionally opening night is not a big draw in Plant City but there were about 120 people there. People actually had to be seated in the balcony. If Variety published a Plant City edition, this week's headline would say something like "Beverly 'Billies Boffo Box Office Bonanza!".
Show nights are completely different than rehearsals. You're doing the same material in the same place with the same people but it's amazing what a difference the addition of an audience makes.

Here's a time line of what took place before the curtain went up (note: we don't actually have a curtain).
5:30PM - A light (very light, as in downright "lite") dinner consisting of a crunchy granola bar and a green tea frappucino from Starbucks. Yes, Plant City has a Starbucks. This says something about modern society but I don't know what.
6:00PM - Arrival at the theatre. The reason I arrived at 6 was because it wasn't open earlier. I've mentioned before that I'm pretty obsessive compulsive about being early (being merely on-time is the province of the shiftless and lazy) and when I'm involved in something where I have excess nervous energy, like doing a show, I'm almost completely out of control. How bad is it? If the theatre had been open at noon, I'd have been there at noon. No exaggeration. That's how bad.
6:20PM - I am completely dressed in costume and have already checked all my props at least twice. For this show, that consists of a briefcase, a "contract" (for Jed to sign; I'm the lawyer who pays him for his "earl") and a working pen. I will check them again at least three more times before the show starts. Now is when I find a spot in the back of the theater to put on my iPod and zone out, watching the stage crew get ready and visualizing the performance in front of filled seats. Prince's N.E.W.S. album is perfect for this. I also read my lines again even though I know them by heart. This is probably as close as I come to any kind of zen, meditation or yoga exercises.
7:00PM - The house opens to the public at 7:15 so time to clear out (remember what I said before about being early?). I go backstage and hang out in the dressing room. There are volunteers running around all over the place, setting up concessions, the box office and assorted other tasks. After a month plus, it seems strange to see other people at work in the theatre. As a result, they feel like part of the show and outsiders at the same time.
7:20PM - It's highly unprofessional but I can not resist sneaking peaks from backstage and looking at people in the crowd. I will do this constantly between now and showtime.
7:50PM - Time for one last pep talk from the director. She thanks us for our hard work and assures us we will do a great job. Then we all hold hands and bow our heads in prayer...because you can never really trust what a director tells you. In our case, the prayer is led by one of the people in the cast who is an ordained minister. It's Tom Thoeni, the (male) actor playing Granny during the first two shows. I've had some surreal experiences in my life but being led in group prayer by an ordained minister in drag is probably somewhere in the top ten.
7:55 - We're all in our places waiting to make our entrances waiting for the dreaded curtain speech to end. The curtain speech is where someone stands out in front, welcoming the audience and issuing warnings regarding videotaping and flash photography. For actors, curtain speeches are an annoyance. Picture yourself in this situation:

Now picture the pilot pulling up short of the beach and taking the opportunity to drop a line over the side and do some fishing before taking care of business. That's an overly dramatic example but it's what it feels like to actors.
8:00PM - The house lights go down, the stage lights go up and the ball is rolling. No turning back now. This is where it finally becomes fun, although for some, I have no doubt it feels like that video clip above stretched out over the course of two plus hours. But for me, the night is a blur and it's over before I know it.

The next night was basically the same far as routines go, as will be the rest of the run, but it was an even better night for me because I had about a dozen loved ones in the audience who gave me an embarrassingly enthusiastic ovation during the curtain call. It was a very touching moment for me and made the whole experience worthwhile.

And for those who are unable to attend, or if you just want to treasure the magic forever and ever like a snowglobe, here's the whole show in snapshots. I'm keeping the hat.