Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Among my many tools at work is a highly-respected book of grade-specific lists of vocabulary words going year by year from second to sixth grade.
Words I was amused to find in the sixth grade list:
I may be 30, but I'm still immature. And I had to look up "quoit" even though it's a 6th grade word.
Monday, January 30, 2006
Tom, back from a trip to Florida with his wife and her family, took me out for a late birthday steak dinner.
Tom: How does it feel to be thirty?
Me: The same. I don't think about it. I guess I've noticed that I'm older than people.
Tom: I've started to notice that too.
I didn't order anything from the fancy dessert tray, but I did ask what the display ice cream sundae was made out of. Since I'd seen it sitting behind Tom's head for most of our meal, I assumed it wasn't made of real ice cream.
"Butter," the waitress said. "You can touch it if you want."
Tom ordered a key lime pie to go for Steph, who was at home eating macaroni and cheese and watching a made-for-tv movie about Flight 93 on 9/11.
Sunday, January 29, 2006
Happy Chinese New Year. Last night at the Whirled News Tonight show, our director, Chin, brought in some Chinese New Year's Eve snacks.
For years I lived under the incorrect assumption that I was born in the Year of the Dragon. 1976, Year of the Dragon. I didn't even know what that meant, character-wise, but dragons seem pretty cool, so I was pleased to have been born in the coolest of all years.
Not too long ago, though, I realized that my January birthday places me in the weird zone between the regular New Year and the Chinese New Year. So, although I was born in 1976, it was still Chinese-1975. 1975? The Year of the Rabbit.
Saturday, January 28, 2006
Finally talked to Julie today for the first time since Will was born.
"It's easier the second time around," she said. "You're just more confident. You know what you're doing. Plus, we have Tivo now, so that helps when you're up at 4 in the morning."
We talked about the similar age difference between Julie and I, and Will and Ty. I'm Ty. She's Will. Except that we're even closer, age-wise, a year and a half apart instead of just shy of two years apart.
I'm not sure yet when I'll get a chance to visit. Not for a while, probably. "It's okay," Julie said. "Mom's probably e-mailing you pictures daily. You won't miss a development."
Friday, January 27, 2006
Last night, went out for dinner and drinks with the guys to Glunz Bavarian Haus. The place was nearly empty, and for some reason the waitress put on a pink gorilla suit and ran around for a couple minutes. "She hasn't even been drinking," the bemused owner kept saying, bringing it up repeatedly throughout the night, long after the costume had been put away, "She hadn't even been drinking anything."
Hansen told us Vegas stories. "We saw Brian Urlacher playing craps. He had two women with him and was wearing this untucked silky shirt. On the back it had this giant wolf head, and underneath it... it said, 'wolf'."
Thursday, January 26, 2006
On my way to work this morning, I realized that I had left my cell phone at home. I don't think I'd ever done that before. I decided not to go back for it. Why bother? It did, occur to me, though, that coming home tonight would be the first time in years that I could relive the "I wonder if I've gotten any messages while I was out" experience.
Since I get very few phone calls during the day, I sent a bunch of e-mails out encouraging people to call and leave messages for me, that I wouldn't get until 6 or so. I had 12 messages when I got home.
Hansen: Call me right away. Meador needs a kidney and I need to talk to you in the next twenty minutes.
Martin (from Concept Album): You know, you can check voicemail messages remotely. Food for thought. Happy message day.
Hansen (again): Well, Meador's dead. Hope you're happy with yourself.
Shelly (from Otis): Shit, you're not there. Ah man, I had some really important questions for you. If you get this before 5, call me back, otherwise I'll just probably Google it. One, does everything in the world happen for a reason? I just didn't know. And two... oh, this I actually did want to know... do you think that not talking to people is a healthy thing? Do you think that it actually works out? 'Cause I don't think that, you know, you stop loving people, you just get over relationships. Isn't that just time? Or does not talking help? I think that's kind of assinine. But maybe it's healthy. Again, I'll probably ask somebody else if I don't hear from you by 5.
Josh: I don't really have anything to say since I'm so far away. I couldn't help myself so I went out and got that centaur tatttoo so I was glad to read that you're not getting it. And yes, I did get "POW" with it.
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
At rehearsal last night, my improv team, Otis, decided to take a new group picture so it would include the (somewhat) new memebers (like me). Instead of grabbing someone from a karate class to take the picture, we decided to use the reflective window to take a Friendster/MySpace-esque self-portrait.
[All this improv stuff might be confusing to some. James Jackson was my old improv team. Otis is my new improv team. The Backrow is my sketch group. Whirled News Tonight is a (long-running)improv show I'm in. Concept Album is another improv show I'm in (which we're relaunching again starting next Friday at midnight).
I'm very busy.
I still haven't talked to Julie since Will was born. But I did finally try calling her tonight, and left a message.]
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
The centaur-punching-an-asteroid tattoo debate continues to rage.
Trupe: It's a little too homoerotic. And too complicated. Having a tattoo of something doing something to something else is probably a mistake.
I drew this crude design of how the tattoo could work.
Young: I pictured a more 70s design.
Trupe: The trajectory is interesting. So the centaur is above the asteroid?
Monday, January 23, 2006
Drinks with the new writers.
We learn (among other things) that we all have the same middle name (Katherine) except for Chris (Solomon) and I (Paul).
Sunday, January 22, 2006
A few weeks ago I accidently left the oven on for... well... a long time. Stupid. But not as stupid as the time, years ago, that I thought there was a gas leak in my aparment. The stove always had a sort of bad smell and one day, coming home from work, I could smell it all the way at the front door.
My idea to test whether the aparment was filling with gas was to stand at the front door and light a lighter. Nothing. Take a step. Light the lighter. Nothing. Another step. Repeat until I had made it all the way to the stove.
I'm not sure what I thought would happen if there was a leak. The place would explode or it wouldn't explode, it's not like I could figure out where the edge of it was and somehow outrun a fireball.
Saturday, January 21, 2006
Friday, January 20, 2006
A lot of good reasons to celebrate. Shad's birthday (pictured). Also Beth and Meagen's birthdays (not pictured). And Shad's girlfriend Kate (pictured), who also used to be on the improv team James Jackson with Young and I, is in town. She's finished grad school in New York and is, at least temporarily, moving nearer Chicago. "We'll figure out where to go from there."
Shad seemed to have a good time but at one point confided, "There are a lot of people here, but since there are three birthdays going on... I don't know if anyone knows it's my birthday too."
Thursday, January 19, 2006
Went out to lunch with Hansen yesterday. We talked about his impending work-trip to Vegas (where he is right now) and the fact that he wants to get a second tattoo.
"I'm meeting with my guy this afternoon to go over some ideas."
[Later. Meador via e-mail: I want a centaur punching an asteroid. That's pretty much the perfect tattoo for me.]
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Today at work, Mary, one of the new writers, asked us (the other new writers) if it was weird that a guy who she used to date (and who, you never know, she may date again) sent her a link to all of his pictures on Flickr, including, many many pictures of him with ex-girlfriends.
We said, "I don't know. Let's see."
So we all took a look at his pictures, thousands of them, neatly categorized under things like "Baby/Childhood", "High School Days", "Cancun 1995", "IDs" and, of course, several ex-girlfriend sets.
We made fun of his soul patch, conceded that he was fit and agreed that Mary is more attractive than Jean, Lynn, Kimberly, Shadia and Chelsea.
"If I want to make out with someone," I joked, "I send them a link to a thousand pictures of myself."
"You're looking at your future, Mr. Blog," Lacy (another new writer) said.
File Under: "Co-Workers 2006"
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Young ordered and assembled a couch. It's a nice addition to the living room. I still mostly sit on the fold-out purple football chair, but I'm a creature of habit.
Trupe: I can't wait for Meador to drop a conch-mango fritter between the cushions of your new couch!
Monday, January 16, 2006
I heard two conflicting and totally arbitrary things about the weather today. The first was that someone had talked to someone who had seen on tv that this was it for winter in Chicago. That we've had the rough patch and that it's mostly just going to stay like this (40s) until spring. The second was that its going to snow tommorrow.
Sunday, January 15, 2006
Mom has been sending me pictures she's taken with her new digital camera of Will. I jokingly told her a few weeks ago that she should start a blog of her own with her new camera. She said she didn't know what she'd write, but I like the captions she puts at the bottom of each picture in these e-mails. They remind me a little of the ones Grandma Dottie wrote in "This Is My Book."
I especially like, "Ah, I could sleep all day... it's just the night..." It took me about half a day to realize it was a joke (babies don't sleep through the night), and not some strange cryptic message.
Mom also wrote, "while i was holding will, ty looked at his small hands and gave him a hug. let's hope that ty is as good a big brother as you were to julie. you were exceptionally good to julie when she was little. julie would probably appreciate an email or phone call from her big brother when your life isn't as hectic as this week has been."
Funny, I was upset with N for not contacting me on my birthday, but I still haven't called Julie about the birth of her second child.
Saturday, January 14, 2006
Someone farted in the greenroom before the Whirled News Tonight show. No one had any matches, but Jordan found a sparkler and lit it in hopes of clearing the air a bit.
Jordan: Come on, guys, it's a sparkler! Don't be so nervous. Little kids use these on the fourth of July.
[Jordan had just gotten back from a month working on a cruise ship as an improviser. "How was it?" I asked him. "Was it weird? Was it fun?"
"It was both," he said. "I spent Christmas with magicians, jugglers and a guy who climbs a ladder and tells jokes. Not even jokes, just references. He'd climb to the top of a ladder, balance up there and yell, 'Aflac!' That was his whole show. Huge laughs."]
Friday, January 13, 2006
Despite the fact that our lack of communication has largely proven to be a good idea, and despite the fact that when we were together, my birthday would always turn into an excuse to argue about "where things are going," I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed that I didn't hear from N on my birthday.
I didn't expect, or even want, a phone call, but a breif e-mail or text message would have been nice. I was there for her when she turned 30 (although, funny, I can't remember a single thing about it), it would've been nice for her to have at least acknowledged mine.
But now, a week later, there's no denying I won't hear from her.
Thursday, January 12, 2006
Opening night/closing night.
Our Sketchfest show went incredibly well. Packed house, huge laughs. In fact, we went over time due to laughing. Wait, did I say huge laughs? That's a gross thing to say. But, those laughs were pretty big.
Meanwhile, in Hometown Ohio, at the same time as the Backrow was getting into places behind the curtain and saying, "Five mintues, thank you," to the stage manager, my sister Julie gave birth to her second son, Will. A week premature, but he seems to be doing just fine.
All in all, a good day.
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Jellyvision (surprise, surprise).
My desk is right outside the president, Amanda's, office. Yesterday morning, when I came in to work she called me in and said, "So... what exactly are these wry observations about the kitchen?"
Somehow (has she been googling all the new writers?), she found this blog, likes this blog and is cool with this blog. So, now, I may from time to time talk a little about Jellyvision here, because it's a very cool place and it's where I spend most of my time.
Amanda: Sure, you can write stuff about Jellyvision. That's okay. Go ahead. You can't write about the project you're working on, of course. If you do... your first child... it's ours. But you know that. Other stuff is fine. What are you going to write? That I'm awesome?
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
Tonight, my sketch group, The Backrow, had a tech rehearsal for our Sketchfest show. Sketchfest is Chicago's big sketch comedy festival. Nick asked me to join The Backrow when they were putting together a show for the first Sketchfest, five years ago. This was shortly after I moved to Chicago the first time.
Anyway, now, many Sketchfests later, the Backrow is finally doing one of those Best Of shows that most sketch groups trot out way too often. After five years, it seemed like it would be nice to revisit some old material. Plus, with Nick married to Katie, Trupe married to Wonak, and Alex pregnant with twins... well, we're busy.
This is our "promotional photo." Two weeks ago, while rehearsing in a park district room, we asked a guy taking a karate class next door to take a picture of us huddled around a piano. The sheet music is the sketch 'The Shirt' written by Trupe.
If you'd like to check it out, we're performing this Thursday at 8 at the Theater Building on Belmont. We're in the South Theater, with Sketchcore.
There's no piano in the show.
Monday, January 09, 2006
Sunday, January 08, 2006
Oh, and yes, my birthday party, at Goldies, was a good time, thanks for asking.
Nick and Trupe brought this giant cookie with "ITS YOUR SPECIAL DAY" written on it. When I had moved back to Arizona, I'd made it a point to visit Chicago as often as I could. Friends would ask, "what do you want to do?" I didn't care. I was just happy to be back. And frankly, I'd rather not be in charge of picking what we do. "But it's your special day." I don't want it to be my special day. Someone else decide where we should get dinner. "Nope. It's your special day." Stop it with the special day.
Somehow, "it's your special day" has haunted me ever since. Whenever no one wants to make a decision, it's suddenly my special day.
I liked the giant cookie, not just because it was funny, but also because it made me think, happily, that January 6th might be my last "special" day. Maybe, after you turn thirty, "it's your special day" doesn't apply to you any more.
Then again, after you turn thrity, maybe being decisive isn't the worst thing a person could ask of you.
Saturday, January 07, 2006
I've heard from several people, that the day after your thirtieth birthday is actually the hard day. After the celebrating and general birthday-ness is over, you're still thrity, only not in a fun way.
And I guess it's sort of true for me. The day feels a bit anticlimatic, like the day after Christmas.
But how does it feel to be thrity? Pretty much the same. If anything is lost between 20 and 30, well, it was probably long gone before yesterday.
Friday, January 06, 2006
Thursday, January 05, 2006
A recent e-mail exchange about my birthday.
Young: How many people did you invite to your party. I want to be able to ballpark when I call Goldies today.
Me: I'm not sure how many I invited. I guess 50 or so through gmail. Maybe 10 more through yahoo.
Nick: Uh, what do you guys think the maximum safety capacity is at Goldies?
Trupe: Arnie said he wants it to be "sweaty like a Nelly video"...
Me: So... no one felt compelled to bring up these problems before I sent the e-mails out?
Hansen: Horrible of us, that's true -- if only you had ever been to Goldie's and knew its dimensions....
Trupe: Wait, I don't see the big deal... Sure it's small, but... We're only talking 3-4 hours. I think we'll be fine.
Hansen: 3-4 HOURS??!! I thought we were all downing a roasted scrotum, flipping the bird, and cruising -- and perhaps maybe flinging a gift card of some kind at Arnie on the way out?
Trupe: That's it. I called Goldie's. Everything is off and they are closing forever. Arnie, you will remain 29 forever!!!
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
The theme of John and Kerry's New Year's Eve party was The Joy of Six (for '06) and everyone was asked to bring a picture of themselves when they were six years old. I didn't bring a picture because I didn't think I had one here in Chicago.
Today I realized I was wrong. I have this picture, taken on my sixth birthday.
(Still, I wouldn't have been able to bring it in because it's laminated into a little book about me made by my late Grandma Dottie. It's called "This Is My Book." I guess it's a very early version of this blog, with pictures and captions. Grandma Dottie wrote the captions from my point of view. Things like, "I'm a good looking young lad," and, "It's hard to keep clean, even if it is Uncle Pat and Aunt Mary's wedding.")
I actually went on television a few days before my sixth birthday. A local show where kids sat on a throne and were interviewed about their birthday while they pulled a handful of pennies out a giant bag. Mom's face was broadcast in a little oval insert on the bottom right corner to show her reactions to the cute things I said. What I said was, "I'm having my birthday party in the basement. I wanted to have it at McDonalds but Mom said it was too expensive."
Mom's coworkers teased her about that for days, and set up a collection plate in the teachers' lounge. Collection plate or no, I did have my first birthday party in the basement, in front of the brick wall that Dad had just recently painted a more convincing shade of red.
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
I sent the following message out through the usual channels (e-mail, Friendster, etc):
The holidays are over, and you're all ready to rest for a bit. I understand and usually I feel the same way. I have one of those right-after-Christmas birthdays, and I've never done much to celebrate it. It mostly ends up an afterthought. But I'm turning 30 this year, which seems like, if not cause for celebration, then cause for drinking at the very least. So, for once I'm going to say, "Dammit, it's my birthday, and I'd love it if people would come out and be a part of it." I'll be at Goldies at about 10pm this Friday January 6 (otherwise known as the Epiphany, the Last Day of Christmas and Three Kings Day).
Please come. If you cannot come, please feel bad about not coming.
Invite whoever you want, unless you think I will hate them.
Gifts are encouraged.
[As a sidenote, Shaun, I'm sorry to hear that LA has defeated you. Yet another person returns to Arizona against their will.]
Monday, January 02, 2006
Looking forward, looking back. Spent some time going through my old college journals again.
This entry struck me as especially sad. It made me feel sorry for myself, but that myself, as if feeling sorry for a different person. I wish I could comfort college-me, let college-me know that it'll be okay. But I'd also like to yell at college-me too.
"And finally, if it always happens, how could it not somehow be my fault?"
It is your fault. Sorry. But it is. You were a heartbreak waiting to happen. Be a person.
Look, College-Me, it will get better. And then it'll get worse. And then it'll get better again. Etc. Here's the good news: you will be loved. Here's the bad news: being loved is hard too.
Sunday, January 01, 2006
Upon waking up, my first action of the new year was to accidently immolate a cup of instant noodles in the microwave. It's possible it wasn't my fault. I feel like I punched in the right amount of time (3:00 min), but the fact remains that there was acrid smoke pouring out of the microwave and the styrofoam cup had disappeared, leaving behind a blackened chunk of noodles and a paper lid.
A brand new year. The same old dumb mistakes.