Saturday, January 30, 2010

More on the “7 Things”

This appeared in my last post:

4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.
a. I’ve been inside of a professional wrestling ring.
b. I’ve inquired to become a justice of the peace.
c. I’ve performed stand-up comedy – 4 times.
d. I’ve proposed to Joan Jett live on the radio.
e. I was at Joey Ramone’s birthday party one year.
f. I’ve auditioned for Family Feud.
g. I once quit a new job after 2.5 hours of the first day.
I thought I would expand a little on each and tell you more about each, assuming they are actually interesting to you.

a. I’ve been inside of a professional wrestling ring.

When I was a senior in high school, they actually had professional wrestling come to my school and because I was a wrestling fanatic at the time, I signed on to “work” the event as, get this, staff security (to put that into perspective, think Uncle Frank on Jimmy Kimmel).
There were two pretty big names of that era there, Pedro Morales and Adrian Adonis. Arnold Skaaland, famous for being Bob Backlund’s manager was also in attendance but he was working in the background for the promoters.
At one point, I went into the dressing room for something and there was a larger group of wrestlers and suits (including Skaaland and a few other older folks) playing poker with wads of cash all over the table, Skaaland pulls his fat cigar out of his mouth, looks my way and says something like, “kid, it would be a good idea if you left this room now and didn’t come back in unless you want to…” I left not wanting to even hear the rest.
Anyway, when the wrestling event, which was fun, was over, a bunch of us worker bees got to play around in the ring so we did – yes, the mat has a giant compression spring at the bottom but if you hit it hard enough, it doesn’t feel nice.

b. I’ve inquired to become a justice of the peace.

Recently, the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of MA gave his blessing to all priests in the diocese to preside over same sex marriages. This cause another stir amongst some older and more conservative thinkers in the diocese. I am baffled why people would be opposed to such a thing and it occurred to me that maybe I can have some positive effect in some way.
I had recently learned of a friend of a friend who recently was marries to his same sex partner and because of their plight, he had decided to become a justice of the peace and offer services to any and all who wanted and promised to make available a safe, comforting and welcoming atmosphere where the ceremony would be the focus, not the gender or beliefs of the participants. I was inspired understanding that a wedding ceremony shouldn’t have boundaries other that those placed upon it by the participants. I want to be able to provide a safe haven as well, so that all who desire to be married can do so in an environment free from bias.
The process of becoming a justice of the peace here begins with an inquiry to the secretary of state (which I have done and am awaiting a response), having an application processed through the secretary of state and signed off on by at least five prominent members of the community in which you live, an opening must exist – there can be no more than one justice of the peace for each 5,000 residents of the town in which the applicant resides (I think I am okay on this), and then once the application is approved, an appointment to the position by the governor of the state (for a 7 year term). Wish me luck!

c. I’ve performed stand-up comedy – 4 times.

This didn’t start out as anything other than my pain in the ass friends being asshats. We were at an open mic night at Pips Comedy Club in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn and while we were laughing it up and getting hammered, the host calls out, “our next comic tonight is a young lad from East 28th street…” (I’m thinking, someone from my block is here?), “…let’s give it up for Chris, the Beaver (don’t ask), Da…(me).”
Almost instantly, my (former) friends are egging me on to get up to the mike and chanting my name and I ma cursing them out violently but in my liquid courage induced state, I said to each of them, “F&$K youse all, I am doing it!” I got up to the microphone and everything became surreal, like in slow motion I could hear every clap stop individually and the sound just drop out of the room. I began to stutter, not really sure of what I was going to say and then came out with a line that is as unoriginal as any, “hey, why do they call the Belt Parkway the Belt Parkway? Shouldn’t it be called the Belt Driveway?” (boos ensued). “I mean really, most of the time traffic on the Belt is so bad it may as well be the Belt Parking Lot…” (that was when actual food items began getting tossed to the stage) and do I leave? No, not yet! I know that I stammered out at least one more “joke”m the food thing became enough of an issue for management concern and I went back to my asshat friends and drank as much more as I could until passing out.
Sometime a day or two after, in a totally sober state while chatting with one of my asshat friends I actually said, “that was kind of fun, I’m going to actually prepare to do one intentionally.” My friend thought I was nuts but I did jus that, prepared what I thought would be minutes worth of material and a few months after the first debacle, I was back at Pips and was called on to the stage as “A brave soul looking for a second chance…” I might ahve heard something of a chuckle for a second but  I could have been mistaken. the thing is, there was no food being tossed this time and in my feeble brain, that means I had potential.
My third try was totally a result of the encouragement of my friend Jerry who, like me, loved comedy and the idea of creating it. We had even developed an idea for a cable access talk show format that I still think would be funny, but we never executed it. We were at a company holiday party and there was a general talent show portion. Jerry thought it would be funny for me to go on last and close the show kind of poking fun at the acts before me.
I studied each act and the two in particular that cracked me up were a trio of plus size ladies singing “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer” and then a dude dancing and lip syncing to a Prince song. So when I came out, I made some small talk about the event and the performers and then said I wanted to pay tribute to my two favorite acts by doing an impersonation of Prince singing Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.
I went all out with the drama, turning my back to the audience at first then the dramatic head spin, the Prince-ish smirk and facial gestures and then I began to belt out the song in as close to a Prince-like falsetto as possible shorlty after climbed onto the piano and began dry humping it in a Prince-ish way never stopping the song. The crowd went wild and were on their feet – hundreds of people, standing and howling with laughter because of something I did.
I learned a very valuable lesson just seconds later. Once you have a crowd where you want them, you must be able to keep them there or they will turn on you faster than you could possibly imagine. It was less than 30 seconds later every cheer became boo-ish and seconds later, I stammered my way from the stage not even sure if I completed the thought of the next joke; and yet, apparently I didn’t feel I was through even then.
I gave one more crack at an open mic night after putting some time into thinking about some material and while the reception wasn’t great, I actually got more of what could be considered laughter than completely negative response. That last attempt was in 1992 and while on many occasions I have put the pen to paper in hopes of putting together another set of material, I’ve yet to to brave it again…one day perhaps.
To Be Continued…

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Meme of Joy

1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award.
Joy, thank you for tagging me and know that you never have to be sorry for tagging me…X O X O.
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
KreativBloggerAward-277x30023. Link to the person who nominated you for this award.
The wonderful Joy at Babble On.
4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.
a. I’ve been inside of a professional wrestling ring.
b. I’ve inquired to become a justice of the peace.
c. I’ve performed stand-up comedy – 4 times.
d. I’ve proposed to Joan Jett live on the radio.
e. I was at Joey Ramone’s birthday party one year.
f. I’ve auditioned for Family Feud.
g. I once quit a new job after 2.5 hours of the first day.
5. Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers and post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
I like the word nominate better than tag. Of course, your choosing to do this is totally optional and while there are more than 7 bloggers whom I could easily nominate, I will simply pick them at random and ask that if you notice your blog not on this list, it does not mean I think any less of you – I love all of my blogger peeps.
a. Coming Home: A Journey Like No Other – I’ve had a crush on Essentially Me since day one and every time I read her words, I am more intrigued.
b. Radioactive Girl – Without a doubt the most courageous person I have ever met. If you strive to be a better person, nobody I know could be a better model than Tori.
c. & that's the way life goes – What a wonderfully unique woman whose tweets often get me through the day and whose blog is always a fun read.
d. Les Singes: The Life of Monkey Boy – Egan is one of the first people I met in Bloggerville. I have a great deal of respect for this man who I’ve learned a great deal from.
e. Skrinkering Hearts – Brookem is a fun gal who has no problem’s sharing her life in this community. I had the great privilege of meeting up with Brookem for lunch a while back – a terrific lady and a great blog writer.
f. Wishing for Fiction – I don’t always get the chance to read this blog but Sam Stecher is a gifted poet and wordsmith.
g. Midnight Feedings – Can’t link because it’s password protected. I have the privilege of being invited to read this blog written by a special lady.
6. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they have been nominated.
Great, now I have work to do!

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Awesomeness – Part 1 Pants on the Ground

My super talented pal Steve is part of a new project called “The Awesomeness”. In part 2 (coming later this weekend) I will post more links and information but for now, check out this neat cover version of “Pants on the Ground”.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Back to Work

Well, it was a nice run… Last Tuesday was the last day I was at work and since then, I’ve done a fair amount of preparing for the course I’ll be teaching starting Thursday evening, spent some time doing some work for church, watched some stuff on the tube/DVD player, read a book, listened to loads of tunes and podcasts and tweeted through a good portion of the Golden Globes.
And now, it’ll be back to the grind tomorrow as the Spring semester begins and the first week of semester insanity starts again. It’s that time where the grim realization that so many entering the community college experience aren’t actually ready to be there and then there are the pleasant surprises…
Regardless, I do actually look forward to getting back to business and I am actually looking forward to teaching in an actual classroom again after several semesters of teaching exclusively online (though I am not so happy that it will be on the Wellesley campus requiring a slightly longer commute but hey, it pays the bills).
Finally, my foot in mouth apology goes out to the dude from the show Dexter who was wearing a black hat on the Golden Globes last night. I went and called him a pretentious asshole for wearing the hat and of course he’s been battling cancer and covering his treatment ravaged skull…leave it to me to be an ass all by myself.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Compound Hurt

Seeing the images of devastation in Haiti over the last couple of days have had a profound effect on me. It’s so hard to comprehend these things. Why must so many people suffer so greatly? What is the message we are supposed to receive as we bear witness to such horror?
I’ve got a full plate of personal problems right now to keep me in all sorts of emotional pain; enough to want to be selfish and shut out the rest of the world…
However, I see those images of Haiti, I recall recent disasters throughout the world and here at home (Katrina’s wrath and 9/11 are still fresh in my mind, my heart, and my soul) and I almost want to give up on everything. Thankfully, my rational self and my faith (in God), along with the strength I get from the love of my family and friends gives me the will to hope, the ability to understand and feel compassion, and the desire to somehow help those in need.
I feel so much right now – I am so conflicted. My heart aches so badly for so many reasons and so much about the future is so unclear right now. I wish I could be hugging everyone I know and care about. I wish for all the people affected by the quake in Haiti, and all disasters and wars around the world whatever it is they need to find that ray of light, that glimmer of hope, the road to tomorrow.
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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Mother Nature Strikes Again

So once again mother nature rears her sometimes seemingly ugly head and we are left to figure out why.
My heart goes out to those affected by this disaster and while I am truly happy and inspired by the outpouring of those ready to pitch in and help it raises a question for me.
Why is everyone so quick to help in such dire situations but not in the nitty gritty of every day life? Why is it that we don’t see the current state of our nation as a disaster (I’ll say it, thanks to GWB)?
I will leave it there, not expecting an answer, only hoping to get people thinking. In the meantime, follow your hearts and do the right thing.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Looking Back: A Mix CD from 2001

In anticipation of one of our friends reunions, the one that was to take place in January of 2001, I decided to put together a music mix because those are the kinds of things you do in that situation.
I happened upon the particular mix while rummaging through my basement the other day and just listened to it in my car over the last couple of days – LOVED IT!
So, without further ado (was all that I wrote to this point ado?), here’s the mix and some commentary:
  1. I’m Not Feeling It Anymore – Van Morrison I went off the beaten path with this one but I happened to have heard it just before assembling the songs and I just couldn’t get the groove out of my head. I knew that everyone would recognize the performer but may not have been familiar with the performance and I felt compelled to share.
  2. Amen – Elton John and the Sounds of Blackness This is off the tribute to Curtis Mayfield and again was just so different and exciting. While we all love Elton this was something, for me at least, that was extra special at the time and I needed to share it.
  3. Lowdown – Boz Scaggs Silk Degrees is on of the five most important “albums” I have ever owned and I needed a Boz fix. This is a great tranition song in a mix as well (one that keeps the mix in mix).
  4. Money’s Too Tight To Mention – Simply Red Mick Hucknall is a brilliant vocalist whose name doesn’t get thrown around in that regard often enough. A little bit of “blue-eyed” soul never hurt a music mix and talk about a kicking rhythm.
  5. The Harder they Come – Jimmy Cliff While I firmly believe there is such a thing as too much reggae, I also believe there is such a thing as too little reggae. It could have been Marley but that was far more predictable than Cliff.
  6. Too Much For Me – Virgil Cain I spent alot of time with these guys and they are terrific. Mike Verge is a great songwriter and this is one of many great Virgil Cain songs I wanted to introduce to my friends. I also wanted to see in anyone stopped and said hey, wait a minute – who is this?
  7. Beautiful Girl – Pete Droge and the Sinners From the movie soundtrack “Beautiful Girls”, this songs is great and again was one I had heard just before making this mix and couldn’t resist including it here.
  8. Hey Jealousy – Gin Blossoms Even to this day I can’t hear this song enough. On 2001, it was still fairly fresh and was a tribute to the music of the time that was worth listening to.
  9. Fox On The Run – Sweet  If you are old enough to remember the song, you know why it’s here and if your not, well, you’re not.
  10. Rock Me Gently – Andy Kim I had recently got the Time/Life series “Sounds of the Seventies” and this one really made me feel nostalgic, so I added it for that reason – I knew it would get some interesting reaction but in the end, everyone would sing along.
  11. What Do All The People Know – The Monroes This song has always had an air of mystery surrounding it. The Monroes only release was an EP and it had been elusive almost since it was released. When I finally got the song on a compilation, I had to put it here.
  12. Pump It Up – Elvis Costello Every party compilation needs an Elvis tune; this one is no different.
  13. The Day He Didn’t Die – Might Mighty Bosstones A Boston based SKA band that has won me over so big and in my opinion, perfectly placed after an Elvis song.
  14. Looking for Clues – Robert Palmer I was flipping through my CD’s and this one actually fell off the shelf accidentally – when I saw it I thought, hey, yeah!
  15. I Was Wrong – Keb Mo’ I had seen him open for Bonnie Raitt and I wanted to get a bit of the blues on this thing.
  16. Landslide – Smashing Pumpkins I wanted to see my buddy Rob’s reaction, he’s the biggest Stevie Nicks fan I know. Also, I really loved this version.
  17. You're My Home – Billy Joel I wanted a Billy Joel song that almost no one would ever expect to hear but would loved having heard it when they did.
  18. Summer of Love – Jefferson Airplane Amazing song that just makes me feel good and reminds me of the wonderful friendships we all have.
  19. I Don’t Wanna Go Home – Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes It’s how I feel when we are all together and who cooler than Southside Johnny to close it out.
Noticeably missing – Bruce, but there was much Bruce to be heard that night.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet

hamlet
Congratulations to my enormously talented friend Erin on the release of her second book.
Erin, you are infinitely talented and have a heart bigger than what most would consider already big.
I look forward to reading this one and of course, stopping by a book signing for an autograph, a photo-op, and a hug.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Training Time

Today I received one of the best surprises in a while. It started a few weeks ago when I received an “invitation” to attend a Psychological First Aid” conference in early January. I had no idea why i received it, though it was misdirected, then declined the invite as pleasantly as possible.
Moments later, through a series of emails, I discover that the aforementioned “invitation” is closer to an order – I was “volunteered” as a participant by the CIO. So at this point I feel like I am stuck and pissed for being treated that way but I let it go.
Today was day one of the two day conference and I learn the following:
  1. It’s not a conference but a 13 hr course
  2. it was actually an honor to be selected
  3. it was freaking awesome and I can’t wait until tomorrow’s session.
Not sure I would have thought of myself as remotely qualified for crisis intervention but it turns out I have skill and have actually done some of this work. It really is incredible stuff and I am so happily surprised this turned out to be something so awesome.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Truffles of Chocolate-Take 3

I went to my friend LJ’s for Thanksgiving and contributed a chocolate cake with a decadent chocolate ganache topping. With the leftover ganache, I opted to take a crack at making truffles for the first time and was pleased with outcome.
Post Christmas, I took a stab at white chocolate truffles which was less successful, a bit of formulation issues, but while the consistency was off, the flavor was good – they took on the flavor of a good vanilla ice cream.
Today, I decided to hit whole foods for some good chocolate and went with a combination of bittersweet and semisweet at the recommendation of the Barefoot Contessa. the result, delicious; I even dresssed up a few with some coconut.
truffles

Saturday, January 02, 2010

In Like a Lion

So here we are on day 2 of the new year/decade and we are working an annoyance of a snow storm. I am still sore from moving snow – not that it was massive quantities (thus far), I decided to see how far I can get manually “shoveling” the stuff before calling on the assistance of my regretfully aging snow thrower.
After doing a lovely job on the sidewalk and entry to the driveway, I completed about half of my driveway before realizing I was bathing in sweat while it was about 15-20 degrees – clearly I was working. I decided it was time to bring out the machinery.
While the snow thrower achieved its apparent goal of letting me know that it wasn’t operating at 100%, it did assist in completing the job and as I said, I am still quite sore and that was about 12 hours ago.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
How’s this for an ambitious start of the year, I am 3/4 of the way through my first book (which I should be finished with tomorrow) and have already watched 3 movies. Actually, with the crappy weather and other circumstances, there hasn’t been much else to do.
Okay, you have yourself a pleasant one – catch ya on the next go ‘roound.

Friday, January 01, 2010

So It’s 2010…

Hello there new year, I know that you don’t know me yet and let’s face it, the way time moves, we don’t have long to become intimate. However, you should know that I won’t judge you by your predecessor, it wouldn’t be fair and besides, it kinda sucked.
I already know that part of you will bring on some challenges that will be difficult. However, I firmly believe that that even if I am not strong enough alone to make it over the hurdles, I have my faith, my family, and my friends – my true friends that will help me through and I know that in the end, it’s all going to work out for the best.
I have some hopes and I want you to know that I will work harder than ever to keep them clear and stay focused and not let doubt, fear, or sadness cloud what I feel and how I wish to feel it.
I know that on the horizon lies the music of my soul and before you and I must part, I will “dance, like nobody’s watching”.