Thursday, September 28, 2006

My Birfday Wishlist (Of Sorts)

As I approach my 30th birfday, I've been asked a number of times what I would like to have for my b-day. Here are a few ideas from the expensive to the "ARE YOU FOOKIN' INSANE!" expensive :

  • An inversion table
  • Cakewalk Sonar 6 Producer Full Version
  • Propellerhead Reason 3.0 Full Version
  • The Entire Collection of 'OZ' on DVD
  • Used PS2 video games (kinda in a sports game mood lately)
  • Yamaha O1X digital mixer
  • Die-cast model of the Nissan Murano
  • Cadbuy Roasted Almond Chocolate Bars
  • Survivorman, Season 1 on DVD
  • A MultiTool like a Swiss Army Knife that has the auto-woman feature
  • A Flat-Panel, large screen TV to mount on my wall in my living room
  • Gas-Powered barbeque/grill
  • Gifts certificates to Best Buy, Circuit City, MicroCenter, CompUSA, Guitar Center, Music123, Second City Training Center, Joel Hall Dance Studios, Urban Oasis Spa, PetSmart, Target, Home Depot, iTunes, Dick's Sports, Zanies
  • Cool art for my walls in my home
  • Cash (always works for me. Gots bills to pay!)
  • The original members of the Smashing Pumpkins getting back together and picking up where Machina II left off ,and of course, letting me play on the record.
  • Sweaters
  • Cool, original ties
  • Trumpet accessories (valve oil, slide grease, talent)
  • Microphones (SM57, MD421)
  • Used keyboards with MIDI capability
  • Digital camera accessories
  • Guitar strings (Martin Marquis Mediums for Acoustic, Regular Slinky 9's for electric)
  • Tablature books for Incubus, Smashing Pumpkins, Audioslave, Limp Bizkit, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Spin Doctors, Rage Against the Machine
  • Recording Magazines/books/cd's/DVDs
  • Print Ink for an HP Printer (15 black, 17 color)
  • Jill's massage table back in my house

  • Of course, none of the above is necessary. I've already received a couple of cards from people and that was good enough for me. Funny as how we get older, we want the intangeable items more than anything else like love, acceptance, and inner-peace to prevail over the newest, shiney Ferrari (although...I wouldn't mind having a Ferrari. )
    Currently listening :
    You'd Prefer an Astronaut
    By HUM
    Release date: By 11 April, 1995

    Wednesday, September 27, 2006

    Screetch-A-Leak

    Dang Screetch! Screetch a freak-a-leak! That's the last time I ask him for a high-five!
    Currently listening :
    Straight Outta Lynwood
    By Weird Al Yankovic
    Release date: By 26 September, 2006

    Note: This was originally posted on MySpace with comments at:
    http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&FriendID=16074757&blogMonth=9&blogDay=28&blogYear=2006

    Tuesday, September 26, 2006

    All Stiff And Nowhere To Go

    Last night during rehearsal I pushed the stretching of my neck a bit too far and heard a mutliple SCP (snack, crackle, pop) go off in the back of my head. Then a slight twinge of pain. I was like "Damn." We ended the rehearsal a bit early and my neck felt ok but not great. I got home and then my neck was in the throes of stiffness. I went to bed that way and had an interesting night of sleep.

    I noticed just how heavy my big head was and how important my scalene and trapezeus muscles are. I also noticed at what points I tense up my neck for no logical reason other than habit.

    I woke up this morning at 7 and stretched and moved my head and shoulders around to wake up these muscle and get blood moving into them. I feel a lot better, and am grateful for the opportunity to learn something new about my body.

    Currently reading :
    Berlitz French Phrase Book (Berlitz Phrase Books)
    By Berlitz Publishing
    Release date: By April, 2002

    Note: This was originally posted on MySpace with comments at:
    http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&FriendID=16074757&blogMonth=9&blogDay=26&blogYear=2006

    Sunday, September 24, 2006

    A Guys' Night Out

    I had been planning an excellent night out with a few of my closest friends and coworkers for a months for a night of wine, women, and wagering. The initial idea was to take a Friday off from work, have all of us jump into a party van where I'm the designated driver (what an honor bestowed upon by default!), and drive out to the boat and play a little with our cash. After a few hours of winning, we would head on over to a nice eating establishment either inside the casino or somewhere nearby like a steakhouse. Then we would head on over to the club and view the sights available to us. This, of course, was the plan about 3-4 months ago.

    The plan changed massively due to a number of factors:

    - Some guys didn't clear it with their wives/girlfriends, so, they punked out
    - Some people didn't really want to go and just said they wanted to to play along.
    - Some arse forgot about classes he had to attend right smack dab in the middle of party time, thuis, throwing off the whole schedule.

    So, the group of 11 dwindled down to 2 by the time I got on the road - my best friend and me .

    We headed on down to Indiana on Saturday to hit up Horseshoe Casino to play roullette and craps. We spent probably 3.5 hours playing these games and breaking about even. Whoah! BIG SPENDERS! The funny thing was that the boat wasn't packed at all for a Saturday. In fact, I saw a lot of cheaper craps table open than normal. Normally they have 4 $15 minimum tables and 2 $10 minimum tables but that night they had 4 $10 tables which was pretty fun to play. I ended up $40 in the hole while my buddy ended up busted. Yeah...so, that's about even. We had a good time conversing wiht our fellow gamblers. One dude was sweating bullets the entire time he played. I found out he was Russian and started hitting up with questions about Russia and the language. He, as nicely as possible, told me to fawk awf cuz he was $2K in the hole and had to concentrate on the game! Apparently perspiration and debt go hand in hand. I had a lot of fun at the table watching me go from $100 to $10 to $150 to $60. After my buddy went broke, we decided to head out and get some grub.

    We drove to the ends of the earth (read that as Munster, IN) to find a dang restraunt. I had asked the staff at the casino, "Where can two dashing young lads such as me and my friend here find a good eating establishment outside the casino?"

    "Chicago, " they all replied. Then they told me "You could go out about 25 minutes down 41 till you see a Bennigans."

    I was thinking to myself, "OK, you've got to be kidding me here. We're in a casino and the nearest eating establishment is 30 minutes in opposite directions? And they say casinos will attract local business to set up shop."

    We hopped into the MoMo and decided to find the Bennigans. So, we drove...and drove...and drove...and passed up the club on the way, which was a good thing because they only way I knew how to get there was via the Skyway...and drove....and drove...and drove...then I get a phone call from my personal GPS coordinator Jill-Jill (way better than Tom-Tom). Jill-Jill guided me to the local Bennigans, a good 30 minutes away. On the way there and back my friend and I discussed how social norms are made in regards to personal pulchritudeness, and whether or not that norm is really self-initiated or passively adopted by people as a result of social interaction, i.e., how does one determine they are ugly or beautiful, and does changing their appearance reflect the intention of someone's feel for change as a part of their own self-image or that they feel they do not live to some standard of beautiful and want to be accepted by others? Yes, I agree that this kind of conversation is typical on a guys' night out!

    We then headed over to the club not knowing if it was going to be wack or kickin'. Luckily, it was kickin'. Lots of people there and lots of beautiful ladies. So, we spent the remainder of the night checking out the scene and laughing at how uncomfortable men act when they aren't liqoured up trying to interact with girls. More comedy than you can shake a stick at.

    Overall, I had a lot of fun once we got to the casino. For the guys that punked out, you missed a great time!

    Currently listening :
    I'm N Luv (Wit a Stripper)
    By T-Pain
    Release date: By 08 August, 2006

    Wednesday, September 20, 2006

    Spotted Me At The Six

    Thanks to everyone who came out to the show tonight. It was a lot of fun and we had some really good scenes based on the audiences suggestions. For those of you who missed it, catch up and get your tickets to our Pimprov show on Friday!

    Currently listening :
    Apollo 18
    By They Might Be Giants
    Release date: By 24 March, 1992

    Note: this was originally posted on MySpace with comments at:
    http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&FriendID=16074757&blogMonth=9&blogDay=19&blogYear=2006

    Sunday, September 17, 2006

    It's About Damn Time!

    Finally! The sports world has woken up to something I have been stating for years. For a long time, people have been attending their favorite sports arena singing along to a little tune called "Rock N" Roll Part II" unbeknownst to them that it was written and performed by a convicted child pornographer named Gary Glitter. They would cheer along with every "Hey!" in the song and chug beers in between verses. The NFL has urged arenas to replace Rock n' Roll Part II with something else.

    I would ask some of the sports fans I know regarding their thoughts on Michael Jackson, who hasn't legally been convicted of any wrongdoings with a child, but in the court of public opinion, has been found guilty. I asked them if they agree with the hoopla radio stations had done about not playing MJ's records on the air since he got into legal trouble. They full heartedly agreed with the radio stations' decisions to do so. Then I asked them if they felt any music from someone either accused or convicted of child molestation should have their music heard from that point on. The concensus in almost every case was "No." Then I would start singing R&RP2 out of nowhere.

    They would start asking me, "What are you doing?" I'd continue singing it.

    "No really, man, why are you singing that song?" I'd get asked with stronger urgency. I would continue singing.

    Finally, we'd get to the chorus of the song and they would break down and join with the cermonious series of "Hey!"s in the song. I would immediately stop and state, "You know that the guy who wrote that song was harboring child pornography and is currently under trial in Vietnam for maybe having sex with underaged girls, right?" Typically, I get a look of shock and then of disbelief. I then ask them if R&RP2 should be banned. A majority of people tell me something to the effect of "Well, I mean, the song doesn't really have anything to do with the guy. It's been assosciated with baseball, football, and basketball games for so long."

    Interesting how the mind will justify things to get out of a conflicted state.

    Currently reading :
    Ask and It Is Given: Learning to Manifest Your Desires
    By Esther Hicks
    Release date: By 01 October, 2004

    Note: This was originally posted on MySpace with comments at:
    http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&FriendID=16074757&blogMonth=9&blogDay=18&blogYear=2006

    It's Back!

    It's back, y'all! The love for stand-up comedy is back! And the want to do it as well! I got pretty disillusioned with the scene in Chicago and I had been worried I kinda lost it due to the drama assosciated with it, but tonight at a party I went to, it came to me through the mystic and I ratted off all kinds of crazy jokes. It showed me how much in my head I was when I was nervous and how I felt funny afterwards. However, amongst a plethora of friends and no ones I knew, I was killing!

    I thank myself for taking the time off from everything new. My creative spark has arisen.

    Currently listening :
    Why Do They Rock So Hard
    By Reel Big Fish
    Release date: By 23 October, 2001

    Note: This was originally posted on MySpace with comments at:
    http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&FriendID=16074757&blogMonth=9&blogDay=15&blogYear=2006

    Wednesday, September 13, 2006

    It's Coming Around Again...Again

    Funny how I follow my own decision to take the month off from new stuff to enjoy myself and chill out and stuff just keeps getting stacked for the months afterwards!

    It looks like Salsation is going to be doing two improv shows next week. One at Spot 6 (9/20) and the other Second City's Donny's Skybox Theatre as part of Pimprov and Friends (9/22). I'm stoked for these because I do love improvising and both venues provide access to different types of people who want to see me perform. Salsation has also scored a recurring improv set at Spot 6 every third Thursday of the month starting in October. Also, we've got our first sketch gig at the Sulzer Regional Library in Logan Square on October 4th.

    I'm also looking into co-hosting a night of showcase improvisation every last Wednesday of each month starting in October, and even maybe co-hosting a weekly stand-up open mic on Thursdays at Spot 6. That's kinda nerve-racking but I'm putting together a team of individuals that will help with both.

    The PeepHole is looking at making a second run as well! The production is shopping dates and I'm hoping that we'll land dates to run from last November through early December. For everyone who came out to support the effort, once again, many thank yous! For those who didn't get a shot at the first run, you may get your shot soon.

    With all that said, I've got to plan my vacation. I've got 4 weeks worth and need to use it or lose it! As Iceberg Slim would say, "Pimpin' ain't easy..."

    Currently listening :
    Welcome to the Drama Club
    By Everclear
    Release date: By 12 September, 2006

    Note: This was originally posted on MySpace with comments at:
    http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&FriendID=16074757&blogMonth=9&blogDay=14&blogYear=2006

    Tuesday, September 12, 2006

    Where Am I Going?

    Per previous posts, I've stated I am taking a hiatus from taking on any new projects/efforts in the month of September to catch my breath, spend some time with my family, and kinda figure out what it is I want to do creatively. It's been difficult at times because downtime for me sometimes gets translated into "being lazy" instead of just enjoying the time off for what it is and not thinking beyond the moement. However, I have found a lot of enjoyment of being at home and staring into my dogs eyes for long moments, and telling her how much I love her and appreciate her in my life while I stroke my wife's long, flowy hair with my fingers lulling her to sleep

    Today I got asked about my music career at work by a good friend of mine. I didn't want to talk about it with him, but I did because I had to face up to how I feel inside about it. The reason why Courageous Rue hasn't done anything in such a long time besides record the occasional song here and there is that I'm holding onto the jaded feelings I have for the music scene ion general. The beautiful thing about the acting side of things is that I am not a producer nor a director, thus, do not have the responsiblity and the additional heartache of dealing with unlike minded people. I am just a supporting piece in the cast of many and am relegated to the whim of someone else's fancy. I get to contribute to it the best I can but I don't own the proverbial baby. Unlike in the music world, I am the cheif songwriter, producer, band leader, coordinator, arranger, promoter, singer, guitarist, etc. I have tried delegating some of these jobs to others but I can never seem to find like-minded individuals. I run into those who could care less about what is we're doing, frustrated with the lack of drawing huge crowds and making cash from the beginning, have drug problems or psychological problems, have unfounded judgements of my singing/songwriting capability (which I'm sensitive about), or are horrible entertainers. So, I end up getting frustrated and overwhelmed a lot by the thought of putting together another full-fledged band. I do want to play the open mics and find people by just playing these songs by myself on an acoustic guitar, but I have yet to commit to the idea. However, I do want to play music and write and record and tour a bit and do everything I've been wanking over this entire time. I keep holding onto the negative parts of being a msuician while not embracing the positive. It's something I've been struggling with on this one.

    So, if any of my readers would like to hang out and jam and write some songs for a while, I'd appreciate it!

    Currently listening :
    Murder 4 Hire
    By Body Count
    Release date: By 01 August, 2006

    Friday, September 8, 2006

    Symbols and Meanings

    Growing up in San Antonio, Texas, my favorite show as a kid for a long time was The Dukes of Hazzard. I remember playing with my toy car model of THE GENERAL LEE! and making that thing jump over all kinds of stuff like carpet runners, G.I. Joes, and occasionally my mothers foot as she was trying to cook something in the kitchen. I have a deep affinity for that car.

    As one may remember, the car a Dodge Charger with an orange base coat, a "01" racing letter ingon the sides, the doors were welded shut like a race car, "Gernal Lee" letttering on the roof surroung a Confederate Flag (CF). As a kid I didn't think anything of the CF because as far as I knew, it was just like the Ameican flag except a different design and it was on my favorite car - THE GENERAL LEE! Now that I am older and have had people attempt to institutionalize their own thoughts into me regarding the CF, I came to the conclusion that I still love my favorite car - THE GENERAL LEE! regardless of how much other people want to construct a deeper, racially fueled meaning into the CF being painted on the roof.

    This got me thinking of a few things. Symbols and meanings.



    The American flag. I'm expected in school to pledge allegiance to this.

    I Pledge Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty, and justice for all.

    All hell. So, the intent was that if I pledge allegiance to the flag I turn pledge allegiance to the Republic (notice, not a democracy)? So, if I burn the flag, I burn the Republic as well? If let the flag touch the ground, I let the Republic touch the ground? I can go to jail for that?! But...isn't it already on the ground? Ahhh...head hurts...ice cream headache-like!

    The point of the diatribe above is that I've never equated the two. I remember doing the pledge of allegiance as a formality to get on with the rest of my day at school, not as something I took to heart. I'd look around the room at times and see people with their hands over their hearts, mouthing the words in a very unfelt action, doing homework form the night before right before it's due, yawning or talking to their friends, or just doing nothing at all and stare straight into space. I concluded from years of institutionalized observation that most of us could care less about the American flag and its meaning.

    Is brandishing an American flag patriotic? Is it showing your love for a country? Is it representing yo' 'hood? If the answer is yes to all of that, then is it also representative of the person holding it? If one believes that bearing a certain flag marks you as a certain kind of person, could it be argued that the kind of person holding the flag exudes some kind of meaning into the flag as well? What does it mean when I'm holding an American flag versus and illegal immigrant? Or maybe a skinhead holding the flag? Or the President? Or Al Quaeda?

    When I see:


    I see history and childhood while others see racism and rednecks. I'm not offended when a flag is burned or sported. As much as I would like to say I'm beyond meanings with symbols, I get jarred a bit when I see a Nazi flag being flown and make my own conclusions. Even when I watch academics discussing Naziism and WWII in a museum of war relics, it still makes me wig out a bit. My "It's Just a Flag" argument is stopped dead in its tracks.

    Perhaps society can remember these items in their contexts and conjour meanings without bringing emotional baggage along in the future. It'll allow us to move on as a society. For example, I would venture most people are not offended by this:



    Currently listening :
    Ultimate Waylon Jennings
    By Waylon Jennings
    Release date: By 23 March, 2004

    Wednesday, September 6, 2006

    A Day In The Parking Lot

    After a fruitful day at work, I decided to head over to Rolling Stones in Norridge, IL to see a famous rockstar, one that I admire and respect. So, I got there around 4:45 for a 7-9 PM meet and greet. I had called the record store previously to see what the line looked like and they made it sound pretty grim. I jumped into the MoMo and headed on over from Schaumburg as quickly as possible. The entire time I was bracing myself for a line wrapped around the block for this guy, because surely there were legions of fans like myself waiting to see him.

    I got to the corner of Irving Park and Central and saw the record store...but no line. Weird. And I actually found parking right up front of the building. Weird. I parked the MoMo and stepped inside expecting to see the crazy queue, but to no avail. Weird Just saw some dudes walking around looking for records. Not weird. What gives?

    I non-chalantly walk up to the counter and ask the goth chick working it, "Where does the line for the signing start?"

    She looked at me as if I had just mispelled my own name on the SAT. "It's right out there," she nodded to the exit.

    I then said, "Ok" and proceeded out the door. Now I noticed the line. There were maybe 25 people in line sitting on the curb playing a lot of Metallica and Megadeth circa 1985! Excellent. I then spent the next 2 hours getting to know this kid Jim who was 23 but looked 16 and this other dorky kid named Alex along with two girls Liz and Jen. The first thing I noticed was the age of the people in line. The average age was 15, so, I got promoted to the oldest guy in line REALLY quickly . I watched them in awe as they acted like, well, 16 year olds. The whole time I was thinking, "Man, I'm glad I'm almost 30." They were loud, annoying, and a bit obnoxious...just like I did when I was 16. I would love to think that I was the epitome of coolness but I know that I was just as geeky as a lot of the kids in line. It was refreshing to know that I've kept a bit of that youthful spirit into my older years. It was also refreshing to know that I have a good sensibility (most of the time) as to when to play and when to chill.

    The line formed up and we got started a little bit after 7 PM. I got the new record, got it opened (only 1 item allowed to be signed), and a picture of the great man, Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave fame.



    They wouldn't allow me to take a picture with him, but I got to shake his hand and then left. The whole event took less than a minute, but the two hours leading up to it were a lot of fun!
    Currently listening :
    Revelations
    By Audioslave
    Release date: By 05 September, 2006

    Note: This was orignially posted on MySpace with comments at:
    http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&FriendID=16074757&blogMonth=9&blogDay=5&blogYear=2006

    Monday, September 4, 2006

    Crickey!

    I never thought I would live to see the day that Steve Irwin, The Crocodile Hunter, died doing what he loved. Ironically, he was killed by a stingray and not a crocodile.

    The most common phrase that came out of my mouth watching him be Steve was "Damn! That motherfawka is crazy!" As much as I said that, it was partially out of envy because he seemed limitless in his life's pursuits. Perhaps it's something I should model my life after. Good-bye Steve Irwin. We'll see you in the petting zoo in the sky!

    Currently watching :
    The Crocodile Hunter (Steve's Story/Most Dangerous Adventures/Greatest Crocodile Captures)
    Release date: By 20 June, 2000

    Note: This was originally posted on MySpace with comments at:
    http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&FriendID=16074757&blogMonth=9&blogDay=3&blogYear=2006

    Friday, September 1, 2006

    During The Downtime

    During my self-imposed time off from going buckwild creatively, I've been enjoying my time off by catching up with family and friends. I've also been sleeping a whole lot more. I can't seem to get enough lately. I'm averaging 10-12 hours a day of sleep (yep, that's sounds about normal) and slowly tapering off to 8 hours. Beofore I was averaging 4-6 hours and I could feel how detrimental to my health that was. I was eating and feeling like crap a lot of the time. I gained 10-15 lbs. and wanting to avoid mirrors at every given chance! LOL. So, this month I am working on getting to the gym, eating correctly, and sleeping regularly. I need to change my habits for October so I am in tip-top form for whatever may strike at the time.

    This month, my plan are:
    - To get in shape and lose 20 lbs.
    - Attend and participate my existing commitments with improvisation, plays, and rehearsals
    - Align what I want to do creatively.

    Regarding the second one, I've got musical improvsation, conservatory, Salsation improvisation and scripted rehearsals every week. I've also got gigs on Saturdays till Sept. 9th and on Sept. 20th. There's a rumor that the PeepHole may get a second 5 week run in Donny's Skybox due to the fact that it sold out completely very quickly. My guess is that it'll be in October. I have a couple of leads on two films that begin shooting in October as well. So, I am only going to plan on my existing commitments and not add more to my plate to keep myself from going crazy!

    Regarding the last one, I've been exploring many different entertainment avenues (music, singing, acting (scripted and unscripted), writing, directing, film editing, stand-up, and now hand-modeling) and feel like I'm wandering a bit. I plan to refocus what I want to explore even more deeply while feeling that I am keeping my options open :)

    I feel really blessed right now with everything going on. I am happy with what I've done and am excited with what I am going to do. I appreciate and love everyone who has been supportive in these efforts. Thank you!

    Currently listening :
    Revelations
    By Audioslave
    Release date: By 05 September, 2006

    Note: This was originally posted on MySpace with comments at:

    http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&FriendID=16074757&blogMonth=9&blogDay=1&blogYear=2006