Saturday, September 29, 2012

It's My Birthday! Do Me A Favor...

Today's my birthday. I get to be a young 36 years old.  I do like the fact that various social media forums remind people it's my birthday especially after my little experiment a couple of years ago on it.  I now take all well wishes as genuine so thank you all who have been wishing me a happy birthday via text, email, and online.  I'd like to take your well wish one step further this year.

As a present to me, I'd like you to take a little but of action.  If you can, please support my efforts with Salsation for my birthday today.  Do any of three things (or all of them :)):
  1. Attend our event Word Up! on October 6th @ 7:30 PM at Gorilla Tango Theatre (1919 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, Il, $10). I will be performing slam poetry for the first time and could really use the support that night with friendly faces in the crowd.
  2. If you can't attend #1, consider making  a small donation to Salsation via our website at (look on the right side for the Google donation cart).  We could use the money to keep the machine going :)  We're a 501c3 not-for-profit so your donation is tax-deductable.
  3. If #1 or #2 don't tickle your fancy, share the event online via Twitter and/or Facebook.  It will take you 10 seconds to do and I will again be eternally grateful for your second gift to me this day.
Thank you all for the warm thoughts and well wishes.  Love you all.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

QUESTION: What Is A "Waka Flocka"?


 As response to my previous blog, I was told in an email:

"I'm still trying to figure out what a 'Waka Flocka' is...I hope it's nothing that if I say it to my kids they'll say 'MOM!!!! You shouldn't be saying that in public!'"  - CZ

Well CZ, here's what I learned about Waka Flocka from the extensive research my assistants have performed.  The Waka Flocka is an endangered species protected by the federal government. There's only a couple left that I know of:
  • The Flame subspecies that we previous documented.
  • Wocka Fozzie Bear subspecies that's well known throughout the United States. This second kind can be quite hilarious at times to watch in its natural environment:

    It's apparent the Flocka is a genetic mutation from the Fozzie as he has the propensity to make me laugh.  
One uses a lot of slurring and profanity, the other uses a lot of puns and schtick to communicate. Either way, my life has been changed by the Wocka animal and I hope that each of you recognize that they are both to be treasured and respected like the American Bald Eagle  and the Texan Armadillo.

So CZ, thank you for bringing your concerns to me.  I hope I was able to arm you with enough knowledge that you can be in public situation with your family, and be able to talk and educate them about the Waka Flocka.

Friday, September 14, 2012

What Keeps Me Going

After a long day at work, rehearsal, or a show, I become a journeyman.  I get in my car and head home and turn on music that will soothe my soul.  More importantly, I want to soothe my mind because I use it a lot during my day.  

Take this song by Waka Flocka Flame - "No Hands".

Listen to the speak-and-spell level of the lyrics.  They're totally relatable to anyone who gets their world news from People magazine.  Notice how half the lyrics are omitted (or it's a clever way of including miming into the music video) as they are so fresh that they don't even need to use complete sentences to get in your face with things of social importance.   I can identify with things that make my life worth living - money, girls, dancing, making it rain...

The women in the video are their to show their support for equality and respect for women everywhere.  In fact, they are so moved so much by what this song is about, they dance all over the place.  You go gurlz!

Ultimately, I feel better after listening to this kind of music.  It makes me say, "Wow, if these guys can write, record, and promote this kind of music, I am doing just fine."


Friday, September 7, 2012

Yo Man...Bust Out Cho CRICKET!

I've developed a new slang term and want to document that I'm the 1st to use it this way.  How do I know I'm the first to use it like this?  Because I said so (and a cursory search in didn't produce any results)!

The term is "cricket".  Here's the defitinion:

Cricket /╦łkrikit/
  1. An insect (family Gryllidae) related to the grasshoppers. The male produces a characteristic rhythmical chirping sound. 
  2. An outdoor game played on a large grass field with ball, bats, and two wickets, between teams of eleven players.
  3. A low stool, typically with a rectangular or oval seat and four legs splayed out.

  4. A euphemism for a mobile phone regardless of brand, make, and model.  Phones that operate with Cricket Wireless typically are considered of cheap value as the carrier's service and features are limited in many areas across the nation.  The expectation is that any phone used with Cricket Wireless will not be able to perform whatever is asked of it (texting, phone calls, picture taking, GPS directions, web browsing, etc).

For example, let's say you're about to go to a show with your friends but don't know how to get there.  I would say, "Yo man...bust out cho CRICKET!  Getcho CRICKET and look up how to get there, man!"

This normally illicits one of two responses.
  1. "Uh, it's an iPhone/Android.  I don't have Cricket."
  2. Bust out with laughter because they get the joke.
The time it gets weird is when I say that to someone to be funny and they actually own a Cricket.  This is then followed by everyone else laughing at that person and the Cricket owner looking at me with a sad, pathetic face saying, "Yeah...I know...I need to get a real phone."

I am sure there are plenty of folks out there with Cricket phones who are perfectly happy with them.  Too bad.  The phrase will continue to be pushed!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Power Of Attraction Strikes Again!

My Saturday two weeks ago was intense!  If ever I was to enjoy the direct results of the Power of Attraction, it was that day.

Shouldn't You Be Doing Something?!
I had signed up for some auditions a week before to try to broaden my acting horizons a bit and try something new.  There were 3 auditions to choose from and I signed up for two that seemed like they'd be up my alley.

The day of the audition, I'm driving my kids over to a birthday party when *bam* I realized I had to get over to the northside of Chicago in two hours and wasn't at all prepared (thank gawd for Google Calendar).  I had also booked myself for later that night to jam with some friends in Lombard, IL.  I dropped the kids off at the birthday party and rushed back home to get dressed, put together some headshots and resumes, and get on my merry way to the city.

I knew that the Wifey had wanted to edit a bunch of photos she had taken from earlier photoshoots and needed to get them finished by the end of the weekend.  So, I decided that it would be unfair of my to leave her with the kids all day while I went off and enjoyed myself (man, there's just no nice way of saying that).  So, I volunteered to give my night of jamming with the guys to allow her to go off and begin editing what she needed.  When I offered it up, it just felt really good to do so for some reason so I held onto the feeling for as long as possible.

I got on the phone and called the jam ringleader and apologized for my flakiness, but needed to watch the little ones while Jill took care of business.  Not 5 minutes after that phone call, Wifey calls and tells me to go ahead and go to the jam as she had another commitment she had to attend with the kids later on that wouldn't let her do the editing she needed.   This super warm feeling came over me telling me, "Dude, you just made that happen!"  I thanked her profusely (while asking "Are you sure?" 45 times) and called homie back to tell him the jam was "tentatively" on.  I didn't want to commit again in the even I decided to dislodge something in the Universe to make me miss it.

Make Things Work For You!
I rushed back home, got dressed, printed out resumes, and got my headshots set up.  I zoomed to Chicago as quickly as possible.  Traffic was SUPER light, i.e., I got to the northside of Chicago from Indiana in less than an hour.  I had roughly 15 minutes before my first audition when I realized that the Chicago Air and Water Show was going on (you would think that the zooming planes overhead would've clued me in).  So, I dipped quickly into the adjacent parking garage to Second City Chicago and got to the audition on time.

I had two auditions.  The 1st one I read for went relatively well.  I got the chance to cold read the script.  Man...I forgot how hard it is to do that.  The monologue I read was nothing spectacular but I felt that the scene I did was pretty good and real.  The second audition again was done cold.  While reading the parts it was obvious to me that this play was not right for me.  I left the auditions feeling okay.  Luckily I had this jam sessino to look forward to so I concentrated on that.

As I was getting ready to leave to go grab some dinner, I went to pay for my parking and this number popped up on the screen:


SAY WHAT?!  I was there roughly 25 minute total!  There was no way I could've...

Then looked at the sign under this amount and it read:


Frak.  OK.  Well, I guess that's what I deserved for being in a rush.  I had some time to kill before my jam session so I decided to make that $45 work for me.  I lurked around the halls of the Second City, peeking into rooms, making phone calls from the lobby, and all around waiting for something cool to happen.  So, I sat down on the stairs outside the Training Center doors and just waited for something to happen.

Something Strange Happened On My Way To The Staircase...
About 15 minutes later, a guy opens a door, pokes his head out and sees me.  He walked up and says, "Hey. Are you a student here?"

"Not at all", I responded.

"Can you sing?", he asked.

I found the question completely left field but luckily for him I said, "Yes.  Of course!"

He then walked out of the room and up the stairs with a smile on his face.

"Do you want to audition for a musical?"

"Sure," I said without hesitation.

I was already dressed for auditions and had the skills they were looking for.  I ended up having a killer audition complete with a little showmanship on the guitar and in the scenes they had me read for.  It was magical.  I definitely got my $45 dollars worth that day.

After that, I decided to finally head over to Uncle Julio's Hacienda for dinner, but due to the insane amount of traffic as a result of the Air & Water Show, I decided to forgo trying to drive around for hours looking for parking.  Then I remembered that the other Julio's location was also in Lombard - minutes away from where I was going to jam.  I went west!

I got there in roughly 35-40 minutes and walked in just in time to see the floor manager coming up to the stand.  Luckily, I knew who she was as a result of my numerous years of going to the Chicago location.  We quickly played catch-up and then I got the cool honor of being her guest for the evening.  My meal was comped!  Could any more great things happen to me in this day?!  Hellz yez!

The Same Music Ain't Got The Same Soul...
After my excellent dinner and a few theatre related phone calls, I decided to head over to the jam spot.  Of course, my Cricket (my euphemism for "phone") started crapping out and forced me to restart it; thus, my GPS was out and I was left to my own devices (no pun intended) to get there.  I started driving and trusted I was in the vicinity of this guys house.  I started heading down this one road I had never been down and ultimately decided based on feeling to turn on another road to get me to another street I was familiar with.  As I drove down the road, i got this weird feeling I was really close.  As I came up to the stop sign, homeboy's house was right there!  HOLY SHITE!  That's some "Hand of Gawd" type shite.  We ended up having a ball playing 40-45 song that night.  It was totally fun and laid back.

I felt so blessed this whole day and KNOW that this philosophy works.  I'm going to cook up a blog posting discussing the Law of attraction within the context of particle physics (it will blow your mind).