Thursday, July 24, 2008

Spamarrested Development

If you read all of the Blog Shares last week, you might have picked mine out. As one of the few guys (I'm assuming here) who participate, it is tough to share my deep darks as:

1. Using male-specific words would reveal who I am.

2. Using female-specific words would cause someone to think I was one of the ladies.

3. Using non-gender-specific words would bring about a comedy we haven't seen since "Boys Don't Cry".

I wrote the spam responses. I've done it before on Galoot's Hoot Page and I'll take another shot at it here today.

  1. Describe Your Day - I slept in until 7:30 this morning. Took a shower. Walked the dog. The street cleaning truck was on our street. My son liked it a lot. I biked to work. A meeting this morning has been pushed back.
  2. PopeWatch: Fox News Personally Confirms Pope's Death - On his deathbed, he absolved the "Fair And Balanced" news corporation of all their sins. In response, they doctored photos of him and put them on the air.
  3. Vulcan! Quick! Go talk to him. Ask him to do that thing with the shoulder pinch. C'mon! He'll be gone in a few seconds. Do it! Shoot. He got on the bus. He's gone.
  4. Bodyguards Positioned Outside Jolie's Vagina - They sing "I Will Always Love You", barbershop quartet style every night when it goes to sleep. Sweet dreams little Love Pitt.
  5. Get An Instant Cut Off - No thanks. I wish I had more. Wait! Are we talking about something else?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Blog Share - Summer 2008

As part of Blog Share, I've hosted the following, anonymous post.

Do you ever feel like you've only been existing and not really living? That sounds like a cheesy advertisement for probiotic yogurt or something, but I really want to know. I feel like I've just been coasting through life for all of my adult existence and most of my teen years as well, like I've just been plodding along without any big dreams or goals. Like I haven't been looking to the left or right or even straight ahead, only down at my feet because maybe that way, it'll be safer. That way, I won't slip or step in something gross or crush anything with my huge feet. That way I won't get hurt or dirty; that way I won't step on anyones toes. I'm not sure how I became this way... I've been living trying to think of the point at which I stopped actively moving forward and let myself be carried by the impetus of all the steps I'd taken up to that point, but nothing is coming to mind. All I know is that for many years now I've been a shell of a person. No opinions, no ambitions, no initiative, no drive.

And while I don't want to become so driven that it becomes unhealthy, I want to stop being stagnant and neutral and boring. I don't want to be vanilla anymore; I want to be a genuine whole person, a person festooned with pink frosting and sprinkles, with a big fat Red Hot on the top. I want to be curry or a mezza platter or a tiramisu; something exciting and mysterious, delicious and tantalizing. I want to be irresistible and enchanting. I want to be a Van Gogh or an Andy Warhol.

I want to be holy. I want to run hard and run well. I want my life to sing of God's glory, and I want to his love to overflow from me all over the hurting people I see around me every day. I want to heal the nations; I want to weep with those who are weeping and laugh with the joyful.

I want to be a force that effects change in this world instead of sitting quietly, hating a situation but feeling powerless to to do anything about it. I want to dive in. I want to end up dirty and bleeding and sore and tired, armed with the knowledge that I meant something in this world, something more than a bunch of words on a web page, something more than this person I am now, who sits at home, afraid to enter in, watching life go by and whining about it. I want to give my all. I want to love people, not just the pretty people or the ones I'm related to, but real people with real problems. That bum who always hangs out at Starbucks-- the one who paces around yelling to himself; that woman at my church who is (remarkably) even more awkward than I am; my weirdo neighbors who blast their music far into the night, not caring that my open window is RIGHT THERE; the obnoxious, girl-crazy twerps who bug the girls I mentor-- all those people are hurt and wounded, just like me and you and everyone. I want to look at these people and feel my heart break over the man he could have been, the woman who is desperately lonely, the family who drowns their conflict and unhappiness in music, the uncertain adolescents acting out because they're uncomfortable in their own skin.

I want to be honest and real. I don't want to hide behind my insecurities anymore; I want people to know the real me, (metaphorical) warts and all. I want people to know the real me and I want to find out about the real you, to know and be known. I want to dream bigger and live louder than I ever have before. I want to stop hunching over because I am self-conscious about my body. I want to be free to dance and sing and skip and frolic without worrying if my shirt's creeping up or my pants are falling down or if my arms look fat. I want to twirl around like a little girl in a poofy dress, without caring who sees me.

I want to be who I was born to be. I want to be a woman-- full of piss and vinegar and sweetness and light and tenderness and fury and joy and anger and sadness and exhilaration. I want to be a woman who is passionately in love with Jesus. I want to be a woman is self-sufficient and independent, but who can accept help from others instead of trying to do it all myself and becoming jaded by life. I want to be a woman who is strong but not hard, gentle but not subdued, loud but not strident. I want to fall in love and I want to argue and I want to snuggle and wrestle and hug. I want to give foot rubs and Dutch ovens. I want to memorize scripture and I want to talk dirty to my husband. I want to teach my kids how to love Jesus and how to fart with their armpits and why the sky is blue.

I want to live fully, in whatever situation I find myself.

I want to LIVE.

Read the rest of the posts at these locations:

Vent Vox
Turn On The Stars
Trudie - Life After AC
Swimming With Sharks
Stefanie Says
Shhh! Librarian-In-Training
Sauntering Soul
Sass Attack
Reflections in the Snow Covered Hills
Red Red Whine
Our Simplicity
One New Duck
Oh My Seven
The Occasional Truth
No Lady
Nancy Pearl Wannabe
Muse On Vacation
Messing With Texas
Melliferous Pants
Live Work Dream
Just Below 63
Java Literally
Full of Snark
Face Down
Ex Everything
Everything I Like Causes Cancer
Did I Say That Outloud?
The Daily Tannenbaum
The Coconut Diaries
Bright Yellow World
Breath Smiles Tears
And You Know What Else
3 Carnations

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Let's Share

First, an a bit of an announcement. At some point tomorrow, I'll host a post by another writer as part of a Blog Share. This person will post anonymously as I will elsewhere. Please come back tomorrow to check it out.

On another note, my best college buddy, Steve (married to Tracy - see my blog links) has a new blog. A recent post of his led me to another web-acquaintance, Pete, who essentially posed the question, "What is the importance of an improv troupe name?". I think the name is pretty damn important. After dabbling in improv briefly ten years ago, and almost weekly from 2003 through 2007, my opinion on this matter has changed.

In 1998, I began working with Suzanne and Kim, formerly of Big Purse and Matching Shoes. Theirs had been an all-female troupe in South Florida that also did sketch comedy. The name was familiar in that area, which helped with recognition. It also was indicative of the gender of the performers. I never saw them perform, but I sure as hell knew who they were.

The three of us (along with Keven Scotti, who would soon depart) began some light improv rehearsals. I had no training up to this point and Keven had been in two troupes in our university. Once Keven had gone, the ladies and I began to develop a sketch-revue spoofing public television. It never got off the ground, but we did PR photos, a Second City training and more to prepare. We also agonized over a name for our trio. I threw out some suggestions which were not used, but I still love - Three-Tards, One With Sausage - Two Without. Both names reflected upon the group makeup, but were fairly offensive and somewhat obscure.

For a brief time, we adopted the name, Riding Chickens, which was apparently part of a joke about outlaws who traveled on poultry as opposed to horses. Another obscure reference and very silly. This name stuck for awhile, before we settled on Baker Act. I kind of liked this one. It had the word "act" in it, which implied performing. The name, Baker was open to interpretation as it could mean "we're cooking up some entertainment" or that we all assumed it as a surname. Like The Ramones. For obscure reference-lovers, a Baker Act was a Florida law which allowed families to admit relatives into mental institutions. Or something like that. Good enough.

After we all married (within two years of each other). We drifted away from each other and I moved up to Jamestown. After a year of living up here, several like-minded friends and I started an improv troupe. Our teacher and leader was Eric, who'd been performing with Comedy Sportz (good national recognition, name reflects nature of the show) in Buffalo. We were not an extension of them and needed our own name.

I wish I could remember all of the ones we brainstormed, but I can only come up with our first name and our lasting name. Our inaugural performance was under The Bonapartes. I may have come up with this one as it was a street I'd lived on in Long Island. It didn't last any longer than the first night. While it might have picked up recognition at some point, it wasn't indicative of anything we did in our shows and sounded more like a band name. Like The Ramones.

I don't know who came up with our final name, The Unexpected Guests, but this one stuck. Unexpected can relate to the nature of improv, while Guests could be the characters created at each performance. We like it. A lot. The group name has regional recognition, to the point where people screw it up (Uninvited Guests is the most common). Our audiences have also given us acronyms (T.U.G. and The UG). For me, the name works. What do you think?

For the record, I'm not crazy about names like Laugh Riot or Funny Is as Funny Does. I don't like punny names either. I'm not into performing in T-shirts with the name on it or bowling shirts. In TUG, we've adopted black shirts and denim. I love the Second City model of dress shirts and ties - more adaptable than you'd think.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Holiday Road

13 Things I've Learned On This Vacation...So Far (July 12 Edition)
  1. New York State residents are taking it up the hiney with gas prices.
  2. Skyline Chili and White Castle eaten at the same meal won't necessarily kill you.
  3. Using swim-time as leverage against childish misbehavior is effective.
  4. Chuck E. Cheese is where a kid can be a kid and adults can play games for a token apiece like the old days.
  5. A digitally animated film, projected by a digital projector makes for a very nice movie-going experience.
  6. There are good reasons why I don't have a video game system in my house.
  7. Cold Stone Creamery ice cream are okay by me.
  8. Lamb wrapped around an olive garnish tastes good.
  9. Illinois State residents are not taking it up the rear as much as NY Staters when it comes to gas prices.
  10. Two kids in a house is mildly amusing. Four kids in a house is full-blown entertainment.
  11. Togas can be made of just about any kind of material.
  12. Karaoke goes down better at a private party.
  13. Vodka drinks go down better with Karaoke.