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.