Hap hap happy days.

I'm in SC visiting my family for Christmas. Expect updates after the Christmas Crazy winds down.

For the record, it's like 70 degrees out.



So I was pretty jazzed about my trip to Chattanooga and the ASU/UMass game. (in case you hadn't noticed).

Now I'm back in town, I've got my mind on Christmas, and I'm temping for the day to earn a little extra holiday cash. (That's what you do when you work from home and don't have much else to do on a particular day.)

I'm sitting at the desk of a UMass grad.

Hold on. Mild irony is on line two.


2 in the bag.

I just got back from Chattanooga, and boy, oh boy what a game! It was an awesome experience. On top of great football and AMAZING weather, I saw tons of old friends that I never get to see anymore. We tailgated for about 6 hours, which seems about right to me. You should have seen the stadium parking lot. UMass fans were scarce. It was like a home game. And we weren't the only fans to make the journey. Chattanooga seems pretty close to Boone, but in reality, it's about a 5 hour trek. Fans coming from places like Raleigh had about an 8 hour drive on their hands. There were lots of fans there, though, that I am sure traveled at least as far as we did to see this game.

We nailed it. The Mountaineers started out shaky, but corrected with the sort of precision and ease that makes ASU such an awesome team. That only underscores by faith in the talent of the team and the insight and skill of the coaching staff. UMass put up a solid fight. They are a good team with a lot of talent. The game was no walk in the park, but we just out-fought, outran, and out-played these guys.

Lets do the numbers, sports fans:

Miles from Chicago to Chattanooga to Chicago: 607 + 607= 1214
Hours in the car, round-trip: 9.5+9.5= 19
Motels stayed in: 2 (though since one of them was a Motel 6, maybe 7?)
Chick-fil-a or Bojangles restaurants in Chicago: 0
Percent chance that I would visit the south without eating at both of those joints: 0
Degrees outside: 68
Clouds in the sky: 1 (Maybe. All day.)
Approximate percentage of Finley Stadium's seats filled by ASU fans: 80-85
Total number of fans in the stands: 22,808
Number of DI-AA National Championships to have that many fans in attendance since the championship moved to Chattanooga in 1997: 0
Years Armanti Edwards has been alive: 18
Other 18-year-olds I know who can run or pass like he can: 0
Kevin Richardson's 2007 Rushing Yards: 1,676
Number of years Richardson has left at App: 1
Number of years Edwards has at App: 3
Times in the next 3 years I think we can rock this thing again, at minimum: 3
Points scored by Appalachian State: 28
Points scored by UMass: 17
How right Adam Witten was in guessing the score, by percent: 100
Riots started by UMass students in Amherst (story): 1
Riots started in Chattanooga or Boone by ASU fans: 0
National Championships won by App State in the past two years: 2
Rough percentage that amounts to: 100

How awesome this weekend has been for me, for the school, for the team, and for football, on a scale of 1-10: 11.

Go App. And then go again. Because that's what you do.



App State is headed to the Division 1-AA National Championship in Chattanooga, TN.

I am heading down to see the game. 600 miles. 9 and a half hours. Who cares?

My friend Shelby, a fellow Chicagoan and ASU alum got the tickets first thing Monday morning, which is fortunate. The initial ASU allotment of 7500 tickets sold out in the first part of the first day. The additional allotment of 950 tickets sold out in a little over 3 hours. Anyone who still wants tickets can jump on ebay and pay a hundred bucks a pop for them. Yikes.

I can't even tell you how pumped I am. Armanti Edwards? Kevin Richardson? Marques Murrell? Yes, please. These guys are playing some of the best ball out there.

I'll let you know how awesome it was when I return. My pick?

App State: Eleventy billion, six hundred million, four hundred thousand and four.
UMass: 6, scored during halftime while ASU was relaxing in the locker room listening to James Brown while Chancellor Peacock showed off his juggling accumen.



The 'blue screen of death', they call it. It's a lovely little device that lets you know your computer is a goner.

Why mention it? Because I was greeted by one when I turned on my computer Saturday.
I was on my way out of town, so I didn't think all that much of it. I figured that when I had time I could sit down and figure out what went wrong and how to fix it.

I get back Sunday night, go do my Fowler show (which was awesome this week, by the by), grab some beers with the cast, come home, and see that the BSOD remains. No time to worry about that. I get some rest.

I wake up Monday. Time to temp all day. I assemble furniture fresh out of the box from the Chinese factories for a furniture company sample show. Then I run some errands, have a Cowlick show, and head home.

Screen: Still blue and deathy.

No worries. I'm sleepy from a long day. Snore. Snore.

From 7:30 this morning until sometime after noon I try to figure out what's wrong and how to fix it. I get the standard Dell runaround and they pretty much tell me that I have to buy a new hard drive and start from scratch.

I say, how much will that cost? They say at least $150. I ask what the dimensions of the hard drive are so I can shop around. They won't tell me. The guy refuses.

Me: "You won't tell me what size hard drive my laptop requires?"
Him: "I told you, 40 gigabyte, 60 giga..."
Me: "No. I mean the dimensions. Inches."
Him: "I won't tell you that."

The guy then tries to tell me that only Dell hard drives will work in my laptop. Horsecrap. Dell doesn't even make hard drives, to my knowledge. They use Hitachi or Samsung or whatever parts like anyone else.

I tell him I want to speak to a supervisor.

He hangs up on me.

Eventually I get a guy who helps me partition, format, and reset my existing drive. Worked like a charm, but it wiped out all of my notes from Dallas, all of my old work emails, and anything else I forgot to back up on my existing hard drive.

Great. Square one. Still, at least it's a square.


So long, Dallas

Pleased to meetcha.


In the lobby of my hotel, there is a giant statue of a cowboy getting thrown from his horse.


Last night I wandered around downtown Dallas for no less than an hour, and not even convenience stores were open. I ended up eating chicken wings and drinking Budweiser at the bar of a Hooters.

It seems like everyone who works downtown, or at least in the vague vicinity of where I'm staying (though I walked around a lot. I must have covered a couple of miles, albeit in sort of a circular fashion) pretty much lives somewhere else.

There are also some abandoned buildings, like the Dallas Grand Hotel. That place is right frightening, but I didn't have my camera when I passed it.

There's a few examples of that kind of juxtaposition between the modern, shiny Dallas and the decrepit, aging Dallas. Right across from our hotel, which is deluxe and modern, is the boarded-up Dallas High School. No apparent attempt to redo or tear down the place. Just a boarded-up ghost of a building.


Timmy does Dallas.

I'm in Dallas for a telecom conference. Oh joy of all joys.

It's not a bad conference, as these sorts of things go. I just don't really like traveling for work. I barely know the coworker that I'm here with and the meetings are usually less than exciting. I don't really feel comfortable in the room where I'm staying, and most of the people at the conference are... well... not really my kind of people. They're generally either several decades older than me or super-slick sales types.

The part of Dallas we are in is so boring that listening to lectures on telecommunications is blisteringly attractive compared to tottering around the maze of homogenized office buildings and bar-grills. If I can find a grocery store or something of the sort, I'm going to buy a bag of cheetos and a sixer and hole up until my flight leaves on Thursday. I'd normally be more adventurous in a new city, but I am exhausted after spending all day talking and listening and standing and wearing uncomfortable shoes, and have a day full of the same crap tomorrow.

Some people live for this stuff. I just kinda want to go home.


Door County

It was rough, but I braved the snow, got free of Chicago, and am up in Door County for Cowlick's annual Christmas trip. Martin's parents have a place overlooking the bay, and there are hot tubs and saunas and all that good stuff. Tough life, I know.

On the way up, Scotty and I saw dozens of cars that had spun off of the road and were hanging out in ditches. There were a few close calls, but we made it.

Quick shout out to the world's drivers: If the roads suck, you're driving way too fast and cutting people off, and you haven't had an accident yet, it isn't because you're a great driver. It's because you are lucky. Slow down, moron.

Ahem. Sorry.

We had our secret santa last night. I got a nice flask, prefilled and everything. My gift? The biggest bottle of Maker's Mark I could find to the biggest Maker's Mark fan I know. Sense a trend? That's one of the things that Door County is always good for.

We played some games and went swimming. It's our third trip up, and the first since Sarah left for Boston. The first time we had an odd number. Weird.

That picture of Jason is from last year. I don't have my camera cable.




Thanksgiving, et. al.

Well, I hadn't planned on it, but I made my way down to South Carolina for Thanksgiving after all. It wasn't under the happiest of circumstances, so the whole trip was painted with a tinge of sadness, but my family is nothing if not 'game'. We roll with punches pretty well. Even punches straight to the jaw when we weren't paying attention.

I got my brakes fixed Monday and hit the road around two. The drive itself was more taxing than usual. My sleep from the night before lacked in quantity and quality. I listened to a couple of books on tape, ate at a Waffle House, and caught a few hours of snooze time at a rest stop in Tennessee. That all helped.

I pulled into my Mom's driveway around 7 am on Tuesday. Everyone was still in bed, but, as I found out later, had barely slept since Sunday. Everyone, that is, except for my sister-in-law Amber and this kid:

(That picture is NOT of Amber and Bailey. That's my brother Sam. He just has Farrah hair.) She made the long drive kind of ok. Over the next few days I ate, drank, laughed, and cried, all in complete and total excess. It was a sort of extra-gluttonous Thanksgiving.

We didn't do the traditional dinner at Grandmama's house like we usually do. It was too weird. There was one of those guestbooks on a stand in the entryway and people kept coming over and bringing food. Nothing says 'condolences' like pie says 'condolences'.

To be totally honest, my brothers and I kinda stuck around my mom's place to avoid the funereal feel of my Grandma's. Mom, Grandmama, and Uncle Harry all lived within about ten or fifteen minutes of eachother. We'd go and hang out with the larger family for a while, but then we'd have to come home, play with a baby and deep-fry turkey.

We fried two of them. We had a pot of 350 degree peanut oil on a cooker in our back yard, and cooked a couple of those suckers after we injected them with creole spice and cajun butter and rubbed them down with spices. It was our first and second tries, and we already have plans to do at least 3 for Christmas.

The funeral itself was on Friday. Gun salute. Bugle call. People were pretty stoic until then. We all kinda lost it when the rifles started going off and they folded up the flag. Even my Grandma. And she's made of die-cast metal.

I drove back up on Saturday. I went through the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. It was an extra 45 minutes to go that way, but when you're driving for 15 or 16 hours, that's a drop in the bucket. A few years ago we all took a trip to the Smokies with Uncle Harry and his daughter Jessica. It was on that trip that I fell in love with the mountains, and it was that love for the mountains that took me to App State, where I fell in love with improv, which brought me to Chicago. The trip to the Smokies was my Uncle Harry's idea.



I'm back from SC. I have lots to talk about, but no time to talk about it. I plan to post a full update tomorrow. Until then, enjoy this picture, which I like to call "Spaghetti Aftermath".


Uncle Harry.

I got a call last night from my brother letting me know that our Uncle Harry had passed away in his sleep. I'm heading down to South Carolina right now to be with my family. Uncle Harry was my mom's brother, and the second-youngest of nine. He was a career Army NCO who retired a couple of years ago. He was a bedrock-solid guy who never let my brothers or me get away with doing one bit less than our very best. He was 48 years old.

I don't really know what to say right now, and feel strange posting this on my blog. I guess not every post can be about what I did with my weekend or things that make me angry or how I feel about pudding.

I've got a 14 hour drive ahead of me. I just thought you guys would like to know what's up.

And for the record, I adore pudding. (Jokes? At a time like this? I hope Uncle Harry would find that funny. I generally hope Uncle Harry would approve of most things I have done and continue to do.)



Today is my brother Sam's birthday. He's 22. He's the second youngest of the Young boys (Jason 30, Me 24, Sam 22, Tommy 19). He's a music-lover, a smartass, a deep-down softie, a mathematical/scientific genius, a loyal friend,the self-proclaimed "Raddest Dude Alive", a kickass bass player, a hothead, and a generally great guy.

Sam and I were really close growing up, and grew apart a little after I went off to college. This summer, however, he moved up to Chicago with me, and for just under a month we lived together and drank lots of beer and worked together at a deli. It was a blast. We'd drink beer and watch Entourage. He got to see what this whole improv thing is about. It was some of the most fun I've had in Chicago.

I'm looking forward to seeing him and the rest of the family when I am home for Christmas.



Up in Chicago, I am about 850 miles from my family. We're a pretty tight family. Mom, Dad, my brothers Sam and Tommy, my sister-in-law Amber and my niece Bailey all live within a few miles of one another. Both of my remaining grandparents live there, too. Most of my aunts and uncles live in the Southeast as well. I am the lone midwesterner. However, the closest thing I have to a family is Cowlick.

Cowlick is the improv troupe that I got involved with a month after I moved up to Chicago. Man, what a great bunch. This picture was taken at a comedy festival in Chapel Hill, NC last February. With the exception of Sarah, who has moved to Boston, the group is still kicking. We rehearsed last night, which has been a relatively rare occasion recently. We're all so damned busy.

"Doing what?", you may ask. Well (clockwise from top-left), BJ has a wife, multiple homes, several real-estate jobs, and an enormous dog. Mary Beth works and spends time being adorable. Martin has school and work and lady-juggling to deal with. Sarah lives in Boston. Knauf is a man-about-town in the cafe/bistro circle and a semi-pro dancer. Scotty has a demanding job and a serious girlfriend. I do little. Shelby has a million projects, work, school, and a big, tall lover.

It's a whirlwind. Still, everytime we get together, I remember why I love these people so damned much. I also realize why it's sometimes tough for me to feel plugged-in to new groups that I become a part of up here. Right out of the gate I found a family-away-from-family. Hard to top that.



Yesterday, my car hit 100,000 miles.

My car could have driven around the Earth at the equator and not reached 100,000 miles. My car could have driven about 2/5 of the way to the moon and not hit 100,000 miles. In fact, if I were to grab a brand new car directly off of the assembly line and try to make its miles match my car's miles, I'd have to do nothing but drive for the next 75 days, and that's assuming I never stop and maintain an average speed of 55mph.

This is no huge deal. I guess odometers roll to six digits every day. I got the car in April, though, and put 14,000 of those miles on since then. That's a lot of driving. My family should move closer.

For those keeping track, though, KNOW that I saw my odo at 99,997 and proceeded to ignore traffic and wait for that puppy to roll over. I'm that kind of safe driver.

My old car had 200,000 miles on her before she fell apart. Poor car.

Here's a shot of that ol' beauty. I don't have any pictures of my new car. I don't know why I have pictures of this ol junker, either. Still, the way I figure it, you travel 200,000 miles and I'll put you in my blog, too.


Geez Louise.

It has been one serious weekend. Let's do the rundown:

High points: Kickass bluegrass show at the House of Blues.
Carrie and Chris's really nice wedding.
Doing my part in the creation of Zoran's latest epic film.
Having a Chicago-style pie with Jarman during his Albuquerque-Raleigh layover.
The discovery of Cajun Fried Potato Salad at Fatty's in Dekalb, IL.

Low points: The cold.
Rain storms.
Getting caught in both, simultaneously, without and umbrella or raincoat.
Finding that my car had been towed after walking through items A and B.
45 minute crosstown bus rides to retrieve aforementioned car.
$125 tow fees.

The upshot is that all of the low points occurred within about 4 hours. The rest of the weekend more than compensated.

And since in all the excitement, I failed to snap a single picture, you all get to look at a picture of me breakdancing. That should make your high point list.



My very first niece is walking. Look out, world.

Also, it's bittersweet concert day for me. I get to see Old Crow Medicine Show tonight at the House of Blues. That's exciting.

Also, Robert Randolph and the Family Band is playing a free, private show in the building I am currently temping in. One of the best slide steel players out there, and I'm covering phones while everyone else goes. A lot of them don't even know the band or seem to care about the show. Curses.



As we speak, I am sitting at the executive floor reception desk at a huge ad agency. Everyone on this floor has an assistant, so my job is to just sit here and screw around on the internet waiting for calls.

Not unlike what I'd be doing if I were at home right now.

It reminds me of my old insurance job, except for that the people are prettier. Oh, and all of the personal assistants look scared.



So I have a little bit of a problem. I'm kind of a roadtrip junkie. Everytime I get a little bit antsy, I think long and hard about throwing a tent in the back of my car and driving until it's warm enough outside to use it. Part of it has to do with being far from my family, and part of it has to do with honestly enjoying the trip. Under the right conditions, I have been known to tackle 15 hour non-stop drives all by myself. As long as I can pull some pitstops for caffeine fixes and have a good book on CD, the miles fly by.

I go more often than I should. I have to constantly think of reasons not to. I need to work. I have rehearsals. Gas is expensive. I just bought groceries.

Plus everytime I start waxing poetic about the road, I feel like i'm writing a sequel to Easy Rider. Wait, i'm not that good a writer. Smokey and the Bandit.


Go. Fight.

So I'm a long way from Appalachian State, but I still have a pretty large share of that ol' Mountaineer Pride. If you're one of the approximately 295,000,000 Americans who don't pay attention to college football played in a stadium that holds less than 80,000 people, you probably don't follow Div 1-AA ball. That's your loss. The level of competition is super high, with amazing ball being played all over the country. At the same time, the games are personal and relatively cozy without hoards of fairweather fans clogging the stands. The players seem to be in it for love of school and the game, as the chances of getting snatched up by the NFL is somewhat lower. It's just good ball played for fun by talented athletes.

Anyway, if you DO follow D 1-AA, you might be aware that the ASU Mountaineers are now 9-1 and ranked #1 in the entire Division. They put up 42 points this weekend. That's the 6th time this season they've scored over 40. They're now assured at least a share of the conference title, and have a strong shot at a 1 seed in the D 1-AA playoffs. (Playoffs! What fun! Beats the hell out of bowl games.)

Anyway. Many don't care. I'm excited.

Special Bonus Edition

Hey gang.

This weekend has been pretty busy, so I lapsed on bloggin. Cardinal sin. It's like working out. You start skipping a day here, a day there, and before you know it, you can't lift a bagel without getting winded. And then the bagel makes you fatter. Vicious cycle.

Plus I slept all day, so I'm wired even though I have an interview in the morning.

Therefore, I bring you an extra special bonus edition of the ol' bloggity blog, cleverly titled 'Special Bonus Edition'.

Part One: Job.

So Friday I took a step towards having a little more cash in hand as the holidays approach, and bills assure me that they take no holiday. I interviewed with a temp agency. My regular gigs pay the bills, but I have some free time and should be using it to get myself financially stable instead of using it to watch Judge Dredd. Again.
Straight temp work. They call in the late afternoon/ early morning hours and offer you short-term work and you accept or decline. The folks seemed nice enough, and apparently there's no taboo against saying no to a bad assignment. I'm not bad at the corporate thing. As my picture may indicate, however, it's not my favorite lifestyle...

I have an interview with another staffing firm tomorrow. No matter what, it'll just be temp work. None of this temp-to-hire crap. If I wanted a permanent, full-time crap job, i'd interview for one directly.

Part Two: Weekend

We had a ProNounced show at the Cornservatory. My roommate Andrea played. Jason Deux was there, along with the Beckmans and Shelby (who are all members of the usual ProNounced crowd). It was fun.
ProNounced is a group of ASU alumni who perform irregularly. That is, schedule-wise. Irregulary schedule-wise. Our performances aren't abnormal. Well, maybe somewhat.

Afterwards, we went to our favorite dive bar, Gio's, and sang karaoke. I opened the night with Wilson Phillips' "Hold On" and it was only uphill from there. I have a karaoke groupie, by the way. She really likes my signature number, which can only be described as the most stirring rendition of Enrique Iglesias's "Hero" that has ever been witnessed. I'll stop singing that one when it stops being awesome.

Beers were had. White Castle was eaten. We kept the party going until at least 5. That means that today, all I did was sleep, eat a sandwich and some Advil, watch TV and paint Care Bears watercolors.

For real.

Later I dropped by Charley's where I walked in on a majorly sweet game of 'Celebrities'. I got to see some great people, but had to leave to make a late-night rehearsal at Second City. After rehearsal, however, came back to Charley's and learned some sweet breakdancing moves from Charley's roommate Bobby. Want to see a slide show of the most awesome cartwheel in the world? Scroll down fast and it's like a movie.

It ain't easy being a b-boy. I need to get into better shape. Then I want to become a break dancer. Then I want to go camping. That's my to-do list. Hence my aversion to corporate America.

I'm so counterculture it hurts. Or maybe that's the muscle I pulled doing that sweet cartwheel. Which I totally did.



My financial status, as told through photographs of babies.

Today I got paid:

Then I spent a shocking amount of that newly earned money paying bills:

Man, a fresh paycheck has a way cuter metaphorical baby.


Taking your licks.

Monster Plantation rehearsed last night. We rehearse at the National Pastime Theatre, which is a really cool space. It's an old speakeasy, and there are more than a few stories about strange noises and sightings in the place, which is undeniably creepy and cool. The stage is set up for their current production, and as you can see, that makes the place even more eerie.

Parking is tough in the neighborhood, and public transportation is less-than-ideal, so there is a lot of lateness on our part. Our coach came up with a system for taking care of this. For every minute late we are, we have to do a push-up. Needless to say, I have done my share. On the other hand, I am terrible at working out and terrible at being on time, so maybe this is my key to fitness. If all of my employers and coaches instituted this policy, I'd be a beast of muscular glory. Or just prompt.



Halloween in 4th grade: Dress in costume. Trick or treat. Watch scary movies and eat candy until you feel like barfing.

Halloween as an adult: Dress in costume on the weekend before Halloween. Skip the middle man and buy the candy yourself. Watch scary movies and eat candy and drink beer until you feel like barfing.

Zoran had us over tonight for his annual Halloween bad movie festival. The titles included The Nun, Candy Stripers, and Puppet Master vs Demonic Toys. Work's had me a little stressed out the last few days, so this was a welcome diversion.



My brother Jason turned 30 on Saturday. That's a little weird for me. That makes 30 loom pretty large for me.

This picture was taken this summer when we were hanging out at my Dad's on a chilly night. You could see your breath in July in SC. Strange.
Dad had a bag of sweaters someone had given him. We each put on the ugliest one we could find. That evening is known as the Cosby Sweater Night.
(That does little to explain the pink koozie, but I'm doing what I can here, Jason.)

He's five and a half years older than me, so when I was little, the gap between us was huge. He was twice my size. I had just finished sixth grade when he graduated High School. We were family, but there was a little disconnect on the basis of proximity.
That changed when I was in college. Jason, who had taken some pretty serious time off, came to App and we lived together Junior and Senior year. It was a bit of a role-reversal. For the first time, I was the guy who knew my way around and could show him the ropes. It was pretty cool, actually.
We graduated three hours apart. I walked off the stage at the College of Arts and Sciences graduation, took of my cap and gown and handed it to him, and he used it to walk across the stage at the College of Music graduation.

Then I moved to Chicago and he moved to NYC.
Some of his best buddies are up there visiting for his big 3-0.

Me: Having fun with the boys?
Jason: I threw up on a cab.

We Young boys keep the party going long into adulthood.


P-A-R-T-Y? Because I gotta.

For the third year running, I spent the Saturday before Halloween at a gigantic loft party. One of the guys who lives there (and this place is enormous. They have a full size basketball hoop in the living room and more than enough space to use it.) is an improviser, and the party is generally filled with improv types and various others. The thing about doing Halloween with improvisers is that the whole ordeal is painfully clever. The more obscure the reference, the better. I was lazy and broke, so I put on a three piece suit that is way too small for me, slicked my hair, chomped a cigar and carried a pocketwatch, going as a 'Captain of Industry'. It worked. It was all in the delivery. But this was the funny thing:

Any Improviser: What are you?
Me: I'm a Captain of Industry!
Any Improviser: Ha! Funny.

Any random non-improv girl: What are you?
Me: I'm a Captain of Industry!
Any random non-improv girl: Are you Winston Churchill?
Me: (sigh) Yep. Winston Churchill.

I should have guessed hers. Sexy nurse/schoolgirl/teacher/witch/Rainbow Brite/stewardess/Strawberry Shortcake/vampire?
I could tell from the hat. And the hoochie clothes.
Halloween: The one day a year when any girl can be an absolute ho with impunity.

Except for Shelby. She's a dancing rhinoceros. Of course.



Today, Recess, which is the Playground Theatre's children's outreach group, performed at the Chicago Cultural Center for a cool little Halloween festival. We did three shows, alternating spots with a band that played 'Werewolves of London", the "Batman" theme, and other vaguely halloweeny songs. There was also a lady walking around with either a monkey or a parrot. She kept the other little guy in the green room. Here, Austin makes a friend. The monkey was pretty excellent. She was 5 months old and wore a diaper. She was trying all of her tricks to convince us to let her out of her cage, but we resisted. I think she would have gotten free and knocked over a 7-11 or something. Monkeys are shifty, dude.

The kids were cute. The shows were fun. I was told that there was a toddler dressed as Prince, complete with tiny purple suit, pomaded pompadour, and pencil-thin moustache. I miss all the good ones.


More doom and gloom.

Wow, I hate to be a downer. I really have been, lately. All the moping about the weather and the rained out baseball game and all that. The last few days, though.... have been pretty morbid.

There was the huge fire in the South Loop. For those of you outside of Chicago, this old building that must be ten stories tall and a hundred years old went up in smoke. It once (maybe even up until the fire) housed a company that advertised its 'Charcoal-Broiled Steaks' on a big sign in front of the building. Paging Ms. Morrisette. Irony on line two.

Then I was passing by a parking deck on Ontario St. in the Mag Mile, and there were cop cars around and lots of police tape. It seems a gentleman jumped off of the top floor. At least a good 8 stories.

Also, today on Lakeshore, I saw lots of firetrucks and divers and ambulances out by the lake in the area between Belmont and North. There aren't any beaches there. Just seawalls. The lake was cold and rough.

I was also told about a girl that was run over and killed by a truck right on Halsted, not too far from the Playground Theatre, where I perform. A friend of a friend held the girl's hand as she died.

I know this is all pretty morose, even for the week approaching Halloween. These are the wrong sorts of ghosts.



Three truths:

1) Rain delays blow.
2) Michael Rapaport should never get work.
3) My camera is pretty terrible at taking pictures of my TV.



I work part time for a test prep company. I teach classes, generally, but today I did a little marketing work. My job was to go down into the Loop and hand out fliers (flyers? Fliers? um... handbills) for a GMAT event at the U of Chicago Gleacher Center.

Let me just take a moment to say that if you are not an improviser or other type of performer, please understand that performers might be pretty good at public speaking. They might be decent at dressing up in a stupid costume and handing out candy. They might be good at a kid's birthday party or a haunted house. BUT! Just putting a kid on the corner with some fliers and saying "You're a performer! You'll be GREAT at handing out brightly colored pieces of paper to strangers who hate that you exist because all fliers are immediately useless trash by virtue of their mere existence" doesn't mean that all will go well.

Most guys like me got into performing as an outgrowth of inherent social awkwardness and vague insecurity. I can talk to large numbers of people because they can't reject me to my face in any individual way. I can even talk to people individually if I'm in costume or otherwise not myself. One on one personal contact? Less fun for this guy.

I was up a lot of the night working and battling a sinus headache, so I was hardly in top form. Still, Charley and I (Charley's a comedian too! You guys will be great at it!) did what we could, distributed the bulk of the fliers, and called it a day.

Turns out the fliers didn't have the location of the event on them. Or a phone number to find out the location of the event. I hope people listened to our half-hearted newsie-calls. Otherwise, they are wanderin'.


The deal.

Man, cats get the deal. It's a dog's life? Hope not. I feel kinda like this gal lately. As my previous posts imply, I fully blame the weather. Either way, I just sort of feel like napping. It's not to be.

It's a deadline week for me, but I have a real penchant for procrastination. To say the least. Working from home has actually helped me curb that instinct. I've had no choice. So I allow myself little diversions. A few minutes on the phone here. A few minutes to check email there. Some blog time. And then it's back to work.

Tonight might be a late one, but it will be a late one in my own home instead of a late one in a cubicle. I might even take the time to take a little nap of my own on my... purple couch. Yeah, blogosphere. My couch is purple. It has a matching chair, too. What can I say? I'm a Prince fan. A cheap, cheap Prince fan.



I really like the Fall. Crisp days. Pretty leaves. Football. Pumpkin spice. What's not to like?

And yet, it's hard for me to not feel a sort of ominous dread when fall rolls around. I know that winter is just around the corner. Being from the Carolinas, Chicago winters are foreign to me. Still, it isn't even the winters here that get me. It's the winters north of here. I have this perception of Wisconsin, Minnesota, and (even worse) Canada as being a sort of tundra that immediately frosts over and dooms all visitors as soon as November rolls around. Every time we get close to winter I feel like the family in The Shining, as if once the snow starts the phone lines go down and no one can hear us scream. On a certain level, I view news of approaching Arctic fronts as a tale of impending invasion, and my migratory instinct kicks in at full speed.

It's never the cold or the ice or the snow that gets me, though. It's the darkness. Between being pretty far north and being within an hour of the Central/Eastern timeline, these dark-by-five days are a killer. In the thick of it, we're talking about 9 or 10 hours of daylight (and if you think a guy who works from home won't sleep through at least 2 of them, think again).

Ah well. I'll just try to travel south when I can, take some Vitamin D, and bundle up. After all, winter here only lasts 9 months or so.



Fowler Family

Tonight I have rehearsal for one of my favorite shows. The Fowler Family Radio Hour Prime Time Television Christmas Spectacular is on the way, cats and kittens. The show is a ton of fun, and every single person on the cast is remarkably talented and a real pleasure to work with. I particularly like this photo because we all look batshit crazy.


Boy howdy.

Peaceful picture, no?

That's to counteract the fact that today I stood by as a big fifty-something year old Jewish deli owner got into a scuffle in the middle of Ontario Street in downtown Chicago, threatened to have a parking valet deported, screamed an impressive variety of mild ethnic slurs at full voice, and had to have a bistro chair removed from his hands (by me) before he used it to clobber the proprietor of a nail salon.

The altercation was over a parking space.

Parking's tight in the city, man.

Bit of insomnia

It's really late. I'm having trouble sleeping. Not generally. Just tonight. This is a picture of me and my buddy Charley. I spent a good bit of time tonight talking to old Charles about a number of things. He's a fellow southerner (Atlanta) and he and I went through classes together at iO, spent a little time on a doomed team there, and still perform together with an independent team. Like any good conversation, tonight's began with some recent troubles and ended with tales of fat men who could run surprisingly fast.

Here's to a good night's rest.



Tonight, a couple of members from Cowlick and I went out to a college in the suburbs to do an improv workshop. The college was a very small Christian school, and we were all a little nervous that we would say something terrible, so we spent most of the ride out to the school trying to think of what those things might be.
Example: "We need a suggestion of a fictional location. Like Mayberry. Or Heaven."
We managed to avoid such a gaffe. The workshop was, of course, tons of fun. It might have been neat to go to a school that size (which I haven't since elementary school) and know everyone. Then again, we did the workshop in the 'theatre', which is also the 'student union' and 'fellowship hall'. But hey. Beats most improv theatres.
This picture isn't from tonight, but since my camera is still MIA, it'll have to do. These are the right people, anyway.


Da Bears

I'm a Panthers fan first and foremost, but Damn, Chicago! Way to make a game of it.

On the road

I am back in Chicago now, but for a good two and a half weeks, I was on the road.

From Chicago I made my way down to Atlanta with Monster Plantation, an independent improv team that I play with and a group of fantastic guys. The team's namesake is an anachronistic little tunnel-of-love style boat ride at Six Flags Over Georgia, so we made the trek down there to ride the ride, eat fried food, and bond a little. We did a couple of shows at a pretty sweet space just off the Georgia Tech campus now occupied by a sort of improv/theatre/music venue/standup club collective. It used to be a church, and the sheer amount of square footage made me a little weak in the knees. Ah, possibilities.

From there, I went over to Shelby/Kings Mountain, NC where Hogwash, a children's improv group that I play with, performed for every single third grader in Cleveland County. It was a blast. We also went to the Cleveland County Fair. Holy lord. Pig Races. Deep-fried snickers/twinkies/oreos. Boiled Peanuts. Corn Dogs. It was pretty intense. We also enjoyed the last gasps of summer with a trip to a little private lake where we sipped our clandestine beers from nondescript plastic cups (LOVE those Southern blue laws), puffed cheap cigars and waded in the water.

From THERE, it was up to Boone, NC, home of my Alma Mater, Appalachian State University. In the above picture, we're knocking out some 'Redneck Horseshoes' (ask me about it some other time) and having a blast. I saw some old friends and enjoyed every minute of it. My favorite chicken wings. Table shuffleboard. Country Ham.

Then it was down to my hometown. I played with a baby and spent some time with my family. It was fantastic.

I hit the road, made my way back to Chicago, and slept a few hours in my bed before flying to NYC for a product launch we were covering for work. Free ticket. Three hours worth of work on the top of the Rockefeller Center. Lox bagels. Melon wrapped in prosciutto. Three days worth of time with my brother.

I lost my camera on the trip, so this picture from a friends camera will have to do for now. It was an amazing trip, but I am still trying to get used to being stationary. Or is it 'stationery'. Whichever one means that I am not letterhead.


Blooooooooogity blog blog.

Hey everybody. I decided to become an adult and start a blog that I can hopefully maintain with some regularity. I have problems with that. Regularity. Anyway, I thought that today's post could be a sort of prologue. Then I sorta drew a blank. So here's a picture of a baby driving a boat with her feet. Her name is Bailey. She is my only niece, and you will see kind of a lot of her. This picture is from July, and with the recent trend of Chicago weather, I could use a little mental summertime. So if you know me, hi. And if you don't... hi. I'm Tim. I ramble.