Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The King of Kong

I've been reading articles on this documentary "King of Kong". It speaks near and dear to the classic gamer in me.



With that said, it makes me question what the hell we're doing as gamers. Why is the sun like kryptonite to gamers? When do girls (or boys) become more important than playing Paper Mario 18 hours a day? Are the lives of gamers interesting enough to make an entire movie out of them?

Apperently, yes. I am probably going to see it at Piper's Alley when it comes out. I'll be there as a man who grips the joystick with a fistful of quarters!
Currently listening :
Rage Against the Machine
By Rage Against the Machine
Release date: 10 November, 1992

Monday, May 28, 2007

GASP! COUGH! GAG! WoW!



Last night I went out with the cast of Gettin' Paid to Wells on Wells (WoW), an eating/drinking establishment directly across the street from Second City. I normally avoid going there when I am hungry, because I have yet to have a meal that goes well when I'm there. Yesterday was no different.

We elected to sit outside in their patio to people watch and enjoy the great summer weather. Along with a castmate, I order some real food trying something that I don't believe will give me heartburn nor will send me to the can 15 minutes immediately after I begin eating it . So, I ordered the Wells "Soon To Be Famous" Burger and and order of well-done fries. She orders a basket of fries and chicken fingers. So, we begin eating while discussing important matters like Conservatory ensemble politics, living in the city of Chicago, and whether or not half the women's breasts are real walking in and out of the bar.

After taking a bite of a french fry, she stops moving and a complete look of disgust on her face. She immediately takes a sip of her drink, and looks at me. She says, "Uhhg...that....french fry...tasted...like diarrhea." I was like, "Well, uhm that's weird. Maybe it was it mixed with your chicken strips or something." She was completely grossed out at this point. I then tried one of her french fries along with the ketchup it was in. It tasted fine. So, I told her to avoid the french fries and just go chicken strip crazy. The meal continued...

...until I bit into one of my own french fries. The taste of a barnyard-like smell covered my entire tongue and filled my nostrils with disgust! I immediately spat it out and rushed to take a swig of my drink. At this point, we had been rejoined by other castmastes who had ordered food and received it or had food on the way. In the middle of the ongoing conversation, I pointed at my french fry cohort and yelled, "OH MY GAWD! YOU ARE 100% RIGHT! I JUST GOT A FRENCH FRY THAT TASTED LIKE A BARNYARD!" Everyone stopped dead in their tracks at the table and I bust out laughing. I was gagging and exaggeratingly dry heaving at points. It takes a lot to gross me out when I'm eating (I've eaten a lot of gross things), but this actually psyched me out to the point I started questioning what else on my plate was contaminated by farm by-products. I had a complete burger sitting on my plate and it was unappetizing to look at, because I thought of the processing chain from the cow being born into a factory farm to the point it was cooked and served on my plate. At any given point crap could've been introduced into it. So, we all started second guessing our meals and contemplated trying to find another french fry to prove out point, however, none of us were brave enough to endure that taste. The waitress came over and asked how things were going. Boy, did we have fun telling her just what happened. She immediately takes out plates and rushes back inside.

We then begin to tell fawked up gross-out stories to see who can overcome this one. We were all ripping it up (once I found a roach swimming in the grease of a steak I was eating. I'm pretty sure that wasn't on the menu ) and having a great time. Eventually, she came back and apologized profusely and asked if we want something else. We picked some desserts figuring they were pre-made and would have the least amount of contact with humans (could the cooks have not washed their hands of relieving themselves? ) or barns. We then proceeded to hand for a couple more hours having a great time and drinking.

The girl ended up calling the manager that night (where the heck was he/she to let Mr. Ed poop on my food!) and comped us on our meals. Would've been nice to have the drinks comped, but, eh, it's cool.

So, to Mego and all the other WoW motherfawkers out there that choose it over Corcorans because they feel the service is better, FAWK WoW...for real, G! If I want to eat shit, I'll eat some of the stuff I've been shoveling .
Currently listening :
Serious Hits...Live!
By Phil Collins
Release date: 08 December, 1990

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Man, I Need Some Jenny Craig!

Here are some pictures from the closing night of Faceplant. I'm looking a bit puffy in these pics. I need to hit the weight pile and get all buff!


Currently listening :
Stone Cold Rhymin'
By Young MC
Release date: 20 February, 2001

Note: This was originally posted on MySpace with comments at:
http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=16074757&blogID=268199727&Mytoken=D5980888-BCF9-41EC-905EFE519103D2FB64546762

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Ars Artis Gratia

artifex sum cum plures somnis et admirationibus. heri agor ad spectacula duo. unus spectaculum ad theatrum erat et alter ad tabernum erat. multi aderant et spectaculo fructus sunt. cantus mirabiles meum cantare amo et plures scribere non expecto! hebdomas proxime veni!


Currently reading :
Cambridge Latin Course : Unit 2: Third Edition
By Ed Phinney; Patricia E Bell; North American Cambridge Classicals Project
Release date: 1988

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Learning The Ropes (Again)

Jumping head-first into stuff is something that oever time I've been learning how to do. The sensation of not having complete control over a situation is very daunting, because my first inclination is to attempt to protect myself from failure and the resultant humiliation of failure (which of course, all is in my head and isn't real). So, on those occasions where the risk was taken, things typicaly turn out for the better.

I am helping putting together a series of improv shows with a local ensemble so we can continue exploring all the stuff we've learned together. The ensemble is rather big in size, however, it works quite well together in taking care of each other on stage and off. The only thing that makes this task cumbersome at times are people's schedules and availability. It seems that at least half of the folks are in troupes of their own or have shows up the ying-yang (yes, the ying-yang), thus, trying to get a fix on how far this group is gonna go in the calendar year seems to be a shot in the dark. This, of course, piques my fear-o-meter up a bit.

After a few minutes of lamenting my thoughts, a friend of mine reminded me of some fantastic advise. It was to basically take the group dynamic and progress day by day. I have only control over my actions, wants, and needs, and it could be that everything works out perfectly or it doesn't. Accept it, Nelson. Pushing harder to solidify everything isn't going to make everyone happy in the long run since people will only put in as much as they'll get out of it, and there is no guarantee of success.

As I was reminded of this, I thought back to my days of being a rock band leader. This is exactly how I felt and moved when I would go through 13-15 drummers and bassists in a band's lifetime. My sense of commitment and wanting to succeed put me at odds with members in my group, because I felt they weren't doing their "fair" share. It made the whole situation uncomfortable for all and a lot of resentment went around which ultimately forced me to quit doing music for some time and work to get out of my head about a lot of my musicianship. When I got into acting, I promised I would take things in stride and enjoy every second of it. Looks like I forgot about that for a while.

I'm learning the ropes on how to put together a successful production. Just like in improv, make each moment wonderful, and when you have strung each one of those moments together, you have a wonderful result at the end.

Currently listening :
Zeitgeist
By Smashing Pumpkins
Release date: 10 July, 2007

Friday, May 18, 2007

Like A Spider, They Crawl On Back

My two American Idols Billy Corgan and Jimmy Chamberlain, collectively known as the Smashing Pumpkins, have released a full-version of their current radio single "Tarantula".


Tarantula - Smashing Pumpkins


Nice, rollicking type song. I like how it sounds like an extension of Zwan's grand choruses while retaining the specialness of the Pumpkins Wall-O'-Sound specialness. Jimmy, of course, is my man and he beats the skins fantastically in his groove-oriented way as usual.

However, I've gotta admit that I'm a bit disappointed in Billy's singing. Yes, I am aware that BC is not much of a singer and never really has been, but even I grow tired of that whine that became more prevalent post Siamese Dream/pre-MCIS. It was a sign to me that Billy just didn't really care about his own singing enough to try to mature more into his voice. That's what marked the end of the Pumpkins for me. Now that they're mounting a comeback, I expected a bit more out of his voice. I do hear the passion in this one track a la Zwan, but I am a little wary of the next song to be released. I reserve final judgement once I get the entire Zeitgeist record.

Any thoughts?
Currently listening :
Memorial
By Moonspell
Release date: 25 April, 2006

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Damn, I Miss This Thang

Last night I played the open mic at Quencher's Saloon for about half an hour. The first 15 minutes I repped My Warped Reality on guitar along with Sean. We played "Model Well", "Games of Life", "Our December", and "Equal to Us". For the second half, I pulled from the Courageous Rue catalog and played "Face First Into a Brickwall", "So Sorry", and the fan favorite "Hypocrite". We got all of this on tape and plan to post up mp-frees out there for your enjoyment.

The thing I noticed while up on stage was that I REALLY MISS PLAYING MUSIC AND HAVING A GOOD TIME PLAYING IT! It was awesome to just enjoy it for what it was - an open mic on a Monday night playing to 5-10 people who could probably care less what it was that I was doing at times but giving me props nonetheless. I liked putting my stand-up and improv skills to use by spouting off jokes between songs and even making up songs on the spot to the chagrin of the crowd. I miss making music with others and feeding off their energy and rawkin' the house. Then getting off stage and getting dap from folks. I am a singer and I am a musician!

To cement the feeling even more, I got an email from one of my musical heros that afternoon sharing some upcoming news and actually wanting to establish a solid communication path. I've been dreaming about that happening ever since I was 13, and it was nice it only took 17 years later to have it happen So, I took that excitement into the open mic and rawked it!

I think this is all good primer for my upcoming shows. Music has always been my first love so it's nice to be reveling in it right now.

Currently listening :
IV
By Veruca Salt
Release date: 12 September, 2006

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

Monday, May 14, 2007

Another Day, Another Flyer...

Here's a quick-and-dirty fler I created for my Level 5 pre-shows:



Wow. I have enough of them created for a mini-slide show!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

28 Treats Later

For my anniversary, my wife treated me to the ultimate date movie of 28 Weeks Later. I adored the first one and she knew I wanted to see the next one. So, of course, like any loving husband, I supported us going and seeing a bunch of crazy looking, rage filled, bleeding, running manics kill and attack everything in jolly, ole London, because we love each other and watching this film was the best way to celebrate it!

The best part of the 28 X Later (28XL) franchise is that continue exploiting the feeling of isolation. with wide-angled shot of the city, there is no one around. It's assumed that most people are dead, but yet you never know who can pop up and bite you. Seeing the area around Big Ben completely deserted is a feat in itself. I've been there personally and know how much activity is truly going on in London at all times of the day. I did noticed that did a lot of night time and very early morning shooting where the impact would be less to traffic. It's good enough for me since it kept that creepy "most of the population has died off" feeling. I feel this is the scariest part of the movie.

Infected folks running around are scary too when you don't have a weapon or you have to go into hand-to-hand combat with one of them knowing that any bodily fluid that gets into your system will make you infected. However, the true scary factor is the rage virus itself in my opinion. Do we already have biological weapons that can do this sitting in a fridge somewhere? Will it ever get released? Why on earth would we create such a vile thing?

There definitely is going to be a sequel. The film itself gave off the Superman Returns vibe - lots of backdrop information building to some kind of climax but leaving you wanting more. The last 28 seconds of the film show what we could expect to see in the future of the series (if you've read Jurassic Park, you know what happens next ).

Currently listening :
Carry On
By Chris Cornell
Release date: 05 June, 2007

Note: This was originally posted on MySpace with comments at:
http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=16074757&blogID=263773508&Mytoken=4B4A3240-683A-4019-91EE601247A3D7C862392367

Friday, May 11, 2007

One Year and Counting...

Today is my first year anniversary with my Mrs! I'm looking forward to many more years with her!

Ladies, I am working on my clone. He'll be in production this year. In the meantime, hit up my friend Bubba for some love and attention .

Currently listening :
Pocket Full of Kryptonite
By Spin Doctors
Release date: 27 August, 1991

Note: This was originally posted on MySpace with comments at:
http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=16074757&blogID=263522524&Mytoken=4B4A3240-683A-4019-91EE601247A3D7C862392367

Gettin' Paid!

Here's the show flyer I designed for Recapitulation's next show in two weeks!



Would love to see y'all there!
Currently listening :
Floored
By Sugar Ray
Release date: 24 June, 1997

Note: This was originally posted on MySpace with comments at:
http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=16074757&blogID=263520984&Mytoken=4B4A3240-683A-4019-91EE601247A3D7C862392367

Where's the Venom?

I saw Spiderman 3 yesterday afternoon in a theatre that sits 200 with other people (the way to watch a movie in my opinion ). I've been waiting to give myself up to the franchise. Maybe it's my sense of comic-book loyalty and knowledge or maybe the CGI-stuff turns me off a bit knowing it's not real (which admittedly is by far the smoothest, most realistic computer-generated motion I've seen in a live-action major movie film). The acting from the stars was really emotionally-based which tugged at my heart-strings at times, and made me have even more respect for each one of them playing characters I know very well. Overall, I liked the movie.

My only complaint was the back story and portrayal of Venom, who is my all-time favorite villain. Topher Grace kinda looks like Eddie Brock but is nowhere built like Eddie in the comic book. Eddie is a strong, square-faced mofo where as Topher is a skinny, lanky guy. I am not sure if they would've been able to cast a Brock look-alike (where as I feel they got Sandman's casting right on).

The back story as to how Brock ended up hating Spiderman/Peter Parker was changed I feel for simplicity's sake to arrive at the same conclusion: Brock goes to a church and bonds with the symbiote after Spiderman discards. However, the original storyline to me is a lot better.

What would've helped me really enjoy Venom on the big screen would've been knowing the psychological/emotional aspects of the symbiote itself. It "hates/loves" Spiderman in some ways and actually has preferences. The only reason it took to Brock was because he hated Spiderman as much as it did when it got rejected which layed the foundation for an awesome super-villain. I also felt the movie missed a cross-over spin-off opportunity with the Fantastic 4 franchise since Peter in the comic books consults with Dr. Reed about the symbiote and he relays to Peter what its weaknesses are vs. finding that out by accident in the film.

The result is still the same at the end of the movie, and it's incredibly difficult to stay loyal to every single detail put forth previously. Venom's back story in the film was more loyal to the comic books than Sandman's. We'll see if Carnage rears his head.


Currently listening :
The Final Countdown
By Europe
Release date: 28 August, 2001

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Let's Get Down To Bidnez

I need to have my own business that makes a profit. Work starts Monday.

Currently listening :
The Eminem Show
By Eminem
Release date: 26 May, 2002

Friday, May 4, 2007

Facsimile Discussions

Finally! Legislation is being put into place to help curb the disease of crappy tribute bands pilfering every major American city of fans that should be watching bands that play original music.

In my early 20's, I used to have a no-cover rule. My philosophy was, and in 90% of cases still is, "Why spend the time learning someone else's song when you can write one that's even better?" There are so many talented musicians out there that can make their mark with a little bit of original material!

For the remaining 10%, here's where I think it's okay to pull a few covers:

  1. You "originalize" the song and "make it your own". The band that does this to a great extent has been Smashing Pumpkins. They reinterpret their own radio hits into new arrangements, instrumentation, and melodies. I also like what Rage Against the Machine did with their "covers" record where they took the original lyrics and rewrote/remixed the underlying music to make something new.

  2. You cover it so well, it sounds like the original. When doing a cover, the public has heard that song 40,000 times, and have become accustomed to that version. If you can live up their expectations, by all means, cover it.

  3. You play b-side covers. In my teens, I was in one band that did that very well. We played a lot of alt-rock b-sides because we typically liked those better than the radio hits. Plus, it gives off the air you're doing something a bit more original

  4. You're playing at an open mic. Now, most people go to an open mic to hear original, folksy music. So, I like to throw in a cover to get people off their rockers . Yes, I can be a little mischievous at times...

  5. You want to get paid regularly playing music. Yes, I know, I am being a hypocrite for lambasting tribute bands who get paid well for their all-cover sets. I also know that unfortunately real live music in most cities doesn't go over well with paying audiences. Drunk yuppie mofos want to hear that great cover of Margaritaville or Jesse's Girl (pretty much go to any karaoke bar and see what songs drunk chicks scream for and pick those ) to sing along with. It packs the club when a band is playing it. So, sometimes artistic integrity has to be sacrificed on order to feed your face and avoid living under a bridge (no pun intended) .

I know regardless of what legislation goes into effect, tribute bands will continue. Wait...hold on...let me get my phone...
....
....
....
"...what? A Pumpkins tribute? Hmmm...sure...let me finish up this blog"
....
....
....
YOU HEARD NOTHING!
Currently listening :
A Gothic-Industrial Tribute to Smashing Pumpkins
By Various Artists
Release date: 23 January, 2001

Thursday, May 3, 2007

You know, like nunchuck skills, bowhunting skills, computer hacking skills...

Here's my latest stab at flexing my graphic design skills for theatre:


The show is being put up by the very talented actor/writer/director/producer Leslie Nesbit. Hopefully I earn a complimentary ticket out of this .
Currently listening :
Help! [UK]
By The Beatles
Release date: 17 October, 1990

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Let's Give 'Em Somethin' to Bark About

I took Lola Rose to the Montrose Dog Beach to let her run around like a crazed pup and get myself a bit of sun. I get there and there are all kinds of dogs there - big, small, fat, and skinny. Lola is about 25 lbs. so she's not huge but she's not scrawny either. Lola likes to play assertively with other dogs and makes a lot of noise while chasing them up and down the beach, but overall, she's gentle with most dogs. However, she likes to play with dogs smaller than her.

The problem with this is that for some strange reason, people bring toy/teacup dogs to the beach. The kind of people who own these dogs are to me a specific group of people. Typically, they are anal, high-strung folk who believe that they have a sense of specialness about them and their dog which in turn makes them incredibly over-protective of their dogs.

I would venture to say that at least half the dogs there don't get regular walks/runs, and that beach excursion is the first real outing they've had in a while. They are full of energy and spirit and want to play with everyone and everything. Lola darts for every toy dog out there and I have continuously keep herding her away to focus on something else. Lola sounds vicious sometimes but that's just how she plays. Toy dog owners get a horrified look on their face when our dogs start playing and immediately pick their dogs up, cradle them, and give me the "bad owner" look of disapproval. I look at them with a look that reads, "Don't bring a dog to the dog beach expecting everything to be prim and perfect. My dog is doing what dogs do. You're dog is gonna get jacked by some other dog that isn't as well behaved as Lola and you'll need to be prepared for that."

I still like going to the dog beach, because it's a lot of fun to go with Lola. If you own a toy dog and are super-protective of it, don't bring it. Walk the dog around on it's incredibly small leash and show it off like the trophy you made it out to be.
Currently listening :
The Best of Bonnie Raitt
By Bonnie Raitt
Release date: 30 September, 2003