Saturday, December 31, 2005

As I type this I am waiting for the last hours of 2005 to tick away. When New Years Rolls around I think we all tend to stop and take stock of the previous 365 and see how we did. I'll do that over the next few days as I re-read this years' blog entries to refresh my memory.

Right now the trailer seems emptier and more silent now that Johnny has gone back to his mother. After having him around 24/7 the leaving him behind seems harder to do.

He enjoyed both the original and musical versions of "The Producers" preferring the original. So much so he quoted from it while we were playing a video game. I love it when he does that! When he references something to where there's a deep rooted connection to me and it has made such an impression on him that he uses it off handedly.

Today we really didn't do much of anything. But then again, that's what most of our week was. Movies, games, DVD's, TV and just hanging out. Male bonding was the theme of the week and I believe it was successful for that alone.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Been having a fantastic vacation with my son. Started off yesterday watching the original "King Kong" before going to see the Peter Jackson version. It's no "Lord of the Rings" but it was good. It could have been shaved down by about 20 minutes easily and still been just as good. Does this man not know how to do a two hour movie any more?

Today "The Producers" came in the mail and he loved it. Tomorrow we go see the latest version of that in the theater. OK, I would have rather seen the stage production, but this will be close enough. I've been trying to get him to sit and was some classic flicks, either "Double Indemnity" or "His Gal Friday", but no luck yet. Heck, we still haven't gone through our annual Christmas tradition, "Christmas Vacation", so Fred Mac Murray may just have to wait.

We also did some male bonding while simply walking through the mall. It is still a time honored tradition for teenagers and I figured it would get us out of the house and away from the TV for a while. It was just good time spent together.

I took a little time away from him today to go see an orthopedic doctor. About a month ago I started having these odd pains in my right shoulder. It felt sometimes as if the bones in my shoulder were actually "catching" or grating against one another. This only happened a few times but it then developed into a constant dull pain; more of an annoyance than anything, but I wanted to get I checked out early. Dr. Phillips was a very genial and open man. They took x-rays and he explained all kinds of things about the joints involved and what might be the problem. The x-rays didn't show anything so we are waiting a while to see how thing develop over the next month before doing an MRI; which could show things not visible in the x-rays.

The one thing that did show in the x-ray which gave me a moment's pause was when Dr. Phillips spotted the noticeable beginnings of arthritis in my shoulder. There is a small, but noticeable, enlargement of the collar bone. This is very common and, according to Dr. Phillips, nothing to lose sleep over. Still, I was really hoping not to hear the word arthritis for a few more years.

My sisters are going to love this!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

All is right with the world. My son is here! And, oh, what an adventure getting him here.

First plan was, I was going to borrow a friend's car to go get him yesterday. That was fine until her car broke down Christmas Eve. Still, no biggie. Wore case scenario was I could go all the way down to get him via Tri-rail and the bus hopefully further proving my point that the commute would be no problem. Plans for this kept getting put off until this morning.

I got up bright and early and headed out on the 40 minuet ride to the train station. True to form Cameron, the van by name, started sputtering just as I pulled off the interstate. No problem I figured as it would have almost 6 hours to sit and relax.

Yeah, right!

Between being almost late for the train, the automated teller not working, not being able to get through to my son's house, having to get a friend back at work to call his house since I was completely unable to dial there directly, we did finally meet up. We filled the bus ride back with small talk and all kinds of catch up.

When we returned to West Palm Beach the van started right up. Phew! No problem, I thought. Until we headed out on the main road. With dozens and dozens of rush hour commuters behind me my van sputtered along at 20 miles and hour. I had placed a AAA call for a tow but was finally able to coax the van into keeping a good speed.

And just so you don't keep shaking your head at my "every car has a personality" theory. As the van was happily going along at the speed limit and not a single sputter or fart I decided to tell Johnny the story of my naming the van Cameron. (See 11/05/05 entry) Just as I finished the story, for no apparent reason, the van almost stalled in the middle of traffic.

"OK," my son said very sternly, "No more making fun of the van!"

With that the van sparked back to life and sped right back up to pace with the rest of traffic.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

It's the night before Christmas and something has just dawned on me. After hearing the Christmas song "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Tear" for the past 43 years there's something in the lyrics which totally perplexes me.

there'll be scary ghost stories and
tales of the glories of Christmases
long, long ago.

SCARY GHOST STORIES?! What kind of Christmas did Andy Williams have? With the single exception of "A Christmas Carol" I can not remember a single Christmas Ghost Story. When you think of the holiday season sitting around the campfire telling stories of the guy with the hook attacking young couples at Lover's Lane is not an image which springs to mind. Telling the story of the Three Wise Men did not involve holding a flashlight at your chin for dramatic effect.

Well, I hope you Christmas is completely devoid of ghosts, goblins and serial killers.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Today brought on of the best surprises I've had in a long while. As I sat at my desk a young man came up and said "Hello, remember me?" I looked at him and searched for something familiar. Thanks to my being in the company training video, I get people coming up to me all the time and I have no idea who they are.

"You might remember my mom, Darby". You could have knocked me over with a feather.

When I first moved down here I worked at a telemarketing boiler room which sold alarm systems and Darby was one of the first friends I made here. You can never explain how or why people click but we did. I spent hours with her and her family. I saw her through an ugly divorce. We spent hours on the phone together after I moved from that job to another but we remained friends. She has three children with whom I also bonded. The young man standing in front of me was her middle boy, Ben.

I took Ben out for his first time behind the wheel of a car. He had grown into a handsome young man, now 21. It had been 8 years since the last time I saw any of them.

Oh, what happened, you ask?

I had just lost my radio job in Vero Beach and with it a shared apartment with the boss' son. I had no money, no job and no place to live. Darby offered to take me in until I could get on my feet. It took me a month to find a job and then proceeded to try to save to move out on my own. Given I was just starting on a job, money was still tight. Money became an issue between us and she finally gave me an ultimatum. It was almost 8 years ago exactly that I moved from her place to a dive of a residence motel. I never heard anything more from Darby and I've been convinced that her anger hadn't subsided over the years. I tried once to get a note to her through a mutual friend but never heard back on it.

As Ben and I caught up on some of the basics he asked if I ever had thought about them. Every day on my way to work I would pass by the street which lead to the house she opened to me. As I passed by there I would always wonder where she was. As far as I knew, she was working in an insurance office. Each time I passed one anywhere in the area I would look through the window for her. If you've been reading this blog with any regularity you'll know how I like to try to hold onto friendships. This estrangement tore at me on a regular basis.

Now I have a chance to rekindle that friendship and I am overjoyed. I hugged Ben and gave him my phone number. He told Darby had tried to find me once but I had moved from that residence motel. Hearing that made me feel a little better.

I think I just got one of my favorite presents already this year.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

As I type this there is a small group of folks gathered in a theater in Orlando watching the finished version of "Runners".

Excuse me while I go kick my van!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The van still isn't running perfectly. I haven't gotten back in touch with the guy who did the repairs mostly because the thought of continuing to try to fix it simply depresses the hell out of me.

The van problems and money situation mean that I am bowing out of the premiere of "Runners" in Orlando tomorrow. The project should be posted online soon and I'll out a link up on here as soon as I can.

The highlight to this week has got to be my Santa calls. I have done almost a dozen calls and each one seems to get better and better.

Just tonight I had a wallop of a double header; a brother and sister team which both posed challenges.

The 9 year old boy was beginning to doubt. He has been hearing things in school and although he has recently watched "The Polar Express" is having some major problems believing in Santa. He is trying to hold on though. His grandmother, who arranged the call, told me about how he recently heard a sleigh bell and wondered if it might be Santa; in a reference to the movie. When I told him that what he heard was Santa he let out a rather loud gasp. If Santa was supplying this information unsolicited, it must really be him on the phone.

His younger sister also made for a great call. She is bilingual, being raised in a house which speaks Spanish as well as English. Her grandmother has been telling her that Santa's' elves, or el duendas, have been coming by each night to make sure she goes to bed on time. When I brought them up she squealed with delight that I, or rather Santa, knew all about them.

I also called a 4 year old who could not get over the fact that Santa knew the names of her pet cat and dog. She wanted to get some new pets for Christmas. Since they were not already on the list supplied by her Mom I told her that Stormy and Chad Lee were probably enough pets for her right now.

I had a 5 year old boy singing "Santa Claus" is coming to town and promises of milk and cookie from almost every one of the children I spoke with. Hearing the excitement in their voices is astounding. It brings me back to my childhood. I can clearly remember my astonishment at waking up Christmas morning to find the avalanche of toys Santa had brought while I was sleeping. I held on to my belief for a long time. There are these very embarrassing photos of my with the bearded guy at the old Ann & Hope Department store through what I can tell was well into double digit ages.

I receive the nicest thank you emails from the parents and I always respond telling them that "I was happy to be a part of something which will be a Christmas memory for both of you". For as clearly as I can, at this moment with crystal vision, recall the look and feel of every package I opened on a December 25th somewhere in the early 70's that these kids will always remember that one Christmas Santa took time out of his busy North Pole schedule to call them. While I can still remember the smell of that tree in my living room where my mother's rocking chair usually stood these kids will be able to tell you what presents Santa promised and delivered on one Christmas.

Friday, December 16, 2005

As if Tuesday wasn't enough!

My friend Jim, who had sold me the van, seemed to have come up with a fantastic resolution to all my problems. Well, it started that way. He has a friend at a junk yard who offered to replace the catylitic converter and radiator at almost no cost. Great words to hear two weeks before Christmas.

I was there bright and early to drop off the van and 7AM and had made arrangememnts with work for some time off. This is where we being to hit that whole “Best laid plans” area. It ended up by 11:30, with enough time for Jim to get to where he had to be for the day and when I was supposed to be back at work and the van still wasn’t ready. I decide to leave them to their work and I’d return to mine. The only bright side to the day was that the local bus service was running free for the holidays. I was saving a dollar!

Wait for it. You’ll soon see why this was a high point to the day.

I got back to work and waiting until 3PM to check on the progress. The guy there said he had discovered it was not the converter but the fuel pump. This was a part which had to be ordered. That, of course put it outside of the “almost no cost” department. That wasn’t, by itself, all bad. Then I called the bank’s automatic teller line to double check my balance and it told me I was overdrawn by over $500.

Hmmmm, let’s look at that calendar again! 12 days left!!!!!

What had happened was my other account had been overdrawn and they grabbed the money from my main account. On top of that they continued to let me use the one active account including getting cash out of it that very morning to cover the auto repairs. Wouldn’t it have made a little more sense to cut me off when it was already overdrawn instead of allowing me to dig myself in deeper? When I check it it the daybefore when I was planning these expenses, the money was there. And now…..BAM!

I’m weighing my options and how I can recover from this on time for Christmas. It will be a lean Christmas but I am trying to get through it without having to crawl to one of my sisters from some help. It’s been years since I had to do that and my pride is working very hard to keep me from groveling.

I finally picked the van up tonight and it is running better. I am going to take it on a test run over some distance and see what happens. Of course, I’ll keep it within the 90 mile AAA radius.

Just in case.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

It always comes in three’s

I brought my van into my friendly neighborhood garage for a diagnostic of it’s continuing problem. I didn’t hear from my mechanic through lunchtime and I held out hope he was working hard to find me the cheapest way out of my trouble as possible.

Tim, my mechanic is great. I was first hooked up with him about 6 years ago after being ripped off and over charged by almost every garage in every zip code within driving distance. For the longest time he would even take payments from me on repairs. His business grew too big to continue that practice he actually hated doing that to me because I was the only person who actually paid him on a regular basis. He has always been truthful and kept my budget in mind with every repair.

After know him for so many years I could tell in his voice, when he finally did call, that it was not going to be good news. The engine hesitation was being caused by a clogged catalytic converter. Basically, the converter was choking the air from the engine. It was sorta like I was having Axel Foley pulling the “banana in the tailpipe” trick on me every time I got in the van.

Price tag for the repair…..around $300.

He was also nice enough to also add he had spotted a small leak in the radiator, which would mean replacement of the entire radiator.

Price tag for the repair…..around $250.

Two months ago I had the water pump replaced.

Price tag for the repair…..around $220.

All this for a car which was sold to me for $500.

The van was put back together and I was advised how to baby it through the next few weeks until I could save up the money for the repairs. I figured I had to spend money on Christmas before I could pay for the repairs.

Then came the second moment on the day.

I stopped at the supermarket for some shopping and checked some collected Lotto tickets gathering dust in my wallet. They have this scanning device next to the Lotto machine where you can check your tickets without bothering the clerk. Great time saver but more often than not it announces, in bright red lettering for all to see, “NO WINNER. TRY AGAIN LOSER.” OK, so it doesn’t say “LOSER” but it might as well.

I passed each ticket through….NO WINNER… NO WINNER… NO WINNER…


That couldn’t be right. I tried again and it confirmed I had a match of some kind on that ticket. My eyes widened. It wasn’t the big Lotto ticket so I could start planning my vacation home on the Riveria. It was, however, one of the games which, if the pot were big enough, would take care of my current money problems. I nervously handed the ticket to the clerk and waited for the results as I tallied bills in my head.

“You won a free ticket!” she said as if I was not set for life.

“Yeah, thanks,” I said shoving the ticket in my wallet walking back to my van dripping green fluid in the parking lot.

Moment number three awaited me at home.

As I put away my groceries I noticed a house fly buzz by my head. No big deal I thought, as I had noticed one or two over the weekend. I’ll grab a newspaper and hunt him down later. I emptied another bag and was dive bombed again. This time I tracked the little intruder back into the living room where I now saw a scene from “The Amityville Horror”. These flies I had spotted a few days ago had invited in some friends and were now numbering over a dozen.

As I stood there staring in utter shock at this third blow with my frozen skillet heat-and-serve dinner thawing in my hand, the flies starting circling my head and I swear I could hear them laughing and mocking me.

Not my best day.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Let me rant about the San Francisco Police “party” videotape. If you haven’t been following he story, a video recently surfaced which was made by members of the SFPD supposedly for a party. In it were scenes rampant with racism and the objectification of women. People are all up in arms. The mayor is screaming for an investigation and the chief is looking into charges.

Give me a break!

This is a simple example of gallows humor. These are people who, day in and day out, deal with the all the problems in society the rest of us would like to forget even exists. These police offices put their lives on the line on a regular basis. They are in the midst of the worst mankind can be and are fighting to keep all that at bay. They see things that would make a regular person spend the rest of their lives in a padded room.

To keep themselves from ending up in that same padded room they have to vent. Thus comes gallows humor. I do it in my job; I can make some of the most hateful of senior citizen jokes after dealing with a problem customer. Does that mean I hate the elderly? No. My mother worked in the Special Education Department of Rhode Island College and would regularly come home with the nastiest and funniest joke about any number of mental and physical defects. Did that mean she had any less compassion for them? No. The same goes for these police officers.

Nurses probably have some wonderful jokes about their patients. These are the same patients whose butts they have to wipe. Don’t you think they deserve to balance work like that with a little levity? The person on the other end of the phone at your credit card company probably has a whole battery of jokes about you after you hang up the phone. They just listened to you rant and rave about how you know you sent in your payment before the deadline but they still responded courteously and professionally. Don’t you think they deserve to balance work like that with a little levity?

When I worked in the police department I did the same thing. When I worked in radio I made fun of the listeners with other jocks. When I worked for the local newspaper I made fun of the readers. Every profession is fertile ground for satire. It in no way diminishes those who do the work; it just makes the tedium or nastiness of the job easier to deal with.

One of the clips which is getting the most exposure is a SFPD officer running over a homeless person with their police cruiser. I’m sorry; it’s funny. Get over it.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

25 years ago. Not only is it amazing to stop and think that it was 25 years ago today that we lost John Lennon. It's amazing that it seems like yesterday.

Like many, I can remember exactly where I was when I got the news. We had our Christmas party for the campus radio station at Rhode Island College. It was held in the lounge in the Communications Department and at one point during the evening I had gone back to the studio to get more records to play. As I went through our library I pulled out "Double Fantasy". While I am a big Lennon fan, it just didn't seem the right kind of music for a party so I slipped it back. This was just around 10PM as John was returning to the Dakota.

I left the party soon after that and was at home watching Benny Hill when they interrupted the show with the news. I didn't leave the TV for hours after that. I was still watching when they made the announcement of his death and I continues to watch as the news turned into retrospectives. I can still feel the cold wind blowing down W72nd Street in Manhattan the day of the prayer vigil. I can still hear the complete silence that fell on the city. All crystal clear images as if they were this morning.

What would the last 25 years had been like if John had lived? Would there have finally been a reunion? What would Live Aid be like with him there? Would there have been as many tell all books from those surrounding the Beatles? And most importantly, what would the music had been like?

I now work with people who only know John Lennon as a name in a history book or a CD in their parent's music collection. My son knows his music because his father insists on taking a break from the thumping repetition of rap and wondering why his father still has a poster of this long haired Englishman hanging in his living room.

One of the reporters doing their retrospective this morning seemed to say it best. John was only human and he had his flaws. But he took his position in life and his talent to raise himself above what he was and to hold up a mirror to the rest of us urging to raise ourselves up as well. Can you ask any more of a person than that?

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Here is a look at my cubicle at work all decorated for Christmas with 300 flashing lights.

Even Wilford and my trash can got the holiday touch.

On the right side you can see SpongeBob and yours truly.

A total of 28 Santas crowd my desk.

And the competition.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Saturday was our company Christm....Oops! Sorry. In the world of corporate America there is no Christmas.

Saturday our company had their Holiday Party and I got a heaping helping of karma. This year's theme was "Fire and Ice". We were gathered under large tents set up in our parking lot. I give the catering company a lot of credit; the moment you walk inside the tents you have no idea you are surrounded by asphalt. There were stilt walkers and fire eaters greeting you as you walked in and then food, booze and music all over the place. A very good evening.

I spent a majority of the evening with my friends Tracy and Patrick camped out near the martini bar. These appletinis were poured down huge carved ice slides into your waiting glass. There were delicious and as the evening went on seemed to be made stronger and stronger. Since I was driving, I gave up early. Tracy and Patrick had other plans.

The evening included making drunken laps around the restaurant trying to "walk it off", one of them leaving a lovely puddle of dinner on the table, stopping every 500 yards driving them home...well, you get the idea.

I now understand why everyone else around me has such fun telling storied about me the morning after. All in all, it was a good party. The remainder of the weekend was uneventful. Back to work and back to the grind.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

So, it’s been a while. What’s new with you? Between work and being sick I’ve barely had time to even know what day it is. I hate it when it gets like that.

I work all day, including some overtime, and when I get home I am exhausted. I do some of the online stuff I have to (and even with that I’m behind a little), watch my Tivo’d General Hospital episode, have dinner and usually fall asleep in my recliner. I haven’t even talked with my son since just before Thanksgiving.

I have just finished decorating my cubicle at work. I’ll bring in my camera and take a photo, which I’ll post in a few days. I’ll get to decorating my trailer soon. It’s just that I spend more time here than I do at home so it seems natural to decorate here more than at home. I have a collection of 27 Santa figures and 300 flashing lights. The outside wall of my cubicle is wrapped in a Santa themed wrapping paper. Can you see the motif I’m going for here?

I have completely given up on the new series “Invasion”. It was, since the beginning, a poor rip-off of the classic “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”, but this week they “jumped the shark”. There is a sheriff deputy character who, up until this week’s episode, had lost an arm in the war. He is taken by the evil pods in the water and he returns with a new arm. That was bad enough, his boss, the apparent leader of the pod people, takes him into the everglades and hands him a chainsaw to chop off the new arm. The explanation the sheriff gives is that someone with a brand new arm is going to attract unwanted attention. I laughed out loud.

For you Star Trek geeks, I am dancing with joy over the news that Brannon Braga’s new show “Threshold” has been cancelled. A few weeks ago he sever ties with Paramount/Trek and now that his own project had bitten the dust we can hope for the day the Berman (the Anti-Christ of Trek) will be gone soon as well. If you’re a fan you’ll understand.

I am gearing up to do my Santa calls again this year. However, this year I am charging $5 per call. I didn’t set things up on the internet to do it for the general public but I should still make a few extra dollars with all the kids though work. It is such fun to hear the excitement in the kids’ voices. I’ll be reporting on those as the call s start rolling next week.

Well, there it is. A little rambling and pointless, I know; but that is how the last few weeks have been. Hopefully the holidays will start ramping up things for me to write about with a little more meat to them.

Friday, November 25, 2005

These off years of Thanksgiving are always the odd ones. John is spending the weekend with him mother. We only have two "official" ones where are mandated to be together. I have been pondering recently how things are going to change when he turns 18. So much of our time together is on a schedule and because it is "supposed to" be our weekends together. Families that have not gone through divorce never have to worry about that; you just always and simply spent time with your family. I am a little nervous as to whether or not it is going to make a difference to him when there is no longer a piece of paper saying when we have to be together.

Yes, I miss him. Can you tell?

I spent the day at friends and ate more than I should have and definitely more that my bypass stomach should have allowed me to. Before heading over to dinner I saw "Zathura". Not to bad.

Today was the rough one. My friend Rosa had her father pass away on Monday and today was the funeral. I ended up as a pall bearer. I was honored to be asked. I've been adopted by her family as a "little brother" so it seemed almost natural.

I had flashback to the two other times I've been a pall bearer. The first time, at age 17 for my friend Tony and then for my Uncle Eddie. Even prepared for it, being a pall bearer has to be the most nerve wracking thing for a person to do. Any insecurities about your ability to do the job nags at you the entire time.

"Don't let me hand slip! Don't let me hand slip! Don't let me hand slip!"

That's all you think the entire time. Then you are either straining from the weight or feeling guilty because it seems a if everyone else is carrying the load and all you're doing is holding on and looking like a token pall bearer but not really doing the job.

And each time I have been a pall bearer I have stepped on the back of the foot of the guy in front of me. Not enough to give his a flat foot but enough to make my blood preassure spike and a curtain of flop sweat drop down my back.

My funeral is going to be very different than most. There will be music, laughter and an open bar. As I was sitting in the dour and depressing funeral home I had the thought of checking to see if my old home town would allow a service right out on the beach near where I grew up. At the very least, the funeral procession will drive through Oakland Beach en rout to the cemetery as a final farewell. I also see being lowered into the ground to the strains of Norman Greenbaum's "Spirit in the Sky".

No reason why it should be depressing. Celebrate the life, not mourn it. Well, I've got time to worry about the details.

When I die and they lay me to rest
Gonna go to the place that's the best
When they lay me down to die
Goin' up to the spirit in the sky

Goin' up to the spirit in the sky - spirit in the sky
That's where I'm gonna go when I die - when I die
When I die and they lay me to rest
I'm gonna go to the place that's the best

Monday, November 21, 2005

Instead of being a part of making movies this weekend, I went to see a few of them.

To distract myself from the fact I wasn't in Orlando Saturday, I did a double feature. I started with "Walk the Line". The performances by both Phoenix and Witherspoon were exceptional but it was no "Ray" or "Coal Miner's Daughter". There was nothing in the story to raise it above more than a simple biopic which could have been a Movie of the Week. I won't be surprised to see Phoenix getting at least an Oscar nomination out of it.

"Chicken Little" was just plain disturbing. This film was aimed directly at young children yet delivers an storyline scarier than anything in today's horror movies. "Little" lives alone with his father. It is implied that the mother has passed away. After a piece of the sky falls on him Little's father has to deal with the public humiliation and does all he can to sweep it under the carpet and pretend it never happened. When it happens again the father stands in front of the entire town and denies his son. He bows and scrapes to public opinion against his only son. What could be more terrifying for a child? Well, then there's the whole "War of the Worlds" story line built to explain why the sky is falling. If I wanted to see that I would have waited for the Tom Cruise DVD. Oh, wait! THAT'S an ADULT movie. Children under 10 should be steered away from this movie. Technically, it was well done. The CGI was a blend of the full blown "Toy Story" style while keeping the flavor of a 2-D animated film. The absence of Pixar from Disney is blaring in this film.

With each proceeding "Harry Potter" film it become increasingly evident that you HAVE TO be a fan of the books to really enjoy the series. When I walked out of "Azkhaban" I turned to a friend and asked, "Is that it?" During this film I was lost and bored almost all the way through and I feel it's only going to get worse with each installment.

Don't get me wrong; it was made well. The effects were fantastic. The acting was great. These kids keep getting better with each installment. There was humor which worked when it was supposed to and the whole subtext about teens dealing with the opposite sex for the first time was poignant. But over all it was scenes of great adventure interspersed between long boring exposition.

At least, there's still "King Kong" and "The Producers" to look forward to.

Friday, November 18, 2005

I just wimped out on something which seems like such a natural and I'm trying to justify it as a "career decision". Saturday morning there is an open casting call for extras to be in the next two "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies. It would be two months of shooting in the Bahamas. I learned about it two days ago and have spent the past 48 hours mulling over all of the implications of the possibility of getting called to work as an extra.

To many people it seemed like a no-brainer. I look like a pirate. Acting is what I want to do. Two months of getting paid to work on a movie in the Bahamas. DUH! I had my eight year career on my job to consider. I had my relationship with my son to consider. I had potential voice work to consider. My brain really hurt.

Then it seemed as if the cards were being stacked against me by mere circumstance. All rental cars in town were taken. My only way of getting to Orlando and back was limited to Greyhound. That would mean trying to come up with something to do wandering the streets of Orlando overnight. Not a good plan.

I finally decided not to go because of the voice work. There are at least two projects which are probably going to start off in the next month or two. If I were in the Bahamas I wouldn't be available for them and the voice work is where I really want my future to be.

When these two movies come out you probably won't want to be in the same theater with me "That could have been me!" "I could have done that!" It won't be pretty. Hopefully, I'll be able to say all those things while as a gainfully employed voice actor.

Johnny Depp will just have to meet me some other way!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

I am so glad Elvis died young.

Last night there was a tribute to Johnny Cash on television. It featured a slew of country and pop stars in a concert of Cash's music with clips from the upcoming movie, "Walk the Line"; which I am dying to see. It was hosted by Joachaim Pheonix and Reese Witherspoon. OK, so it was a blatant plug for the movie, but the talent on the show was pretty cool. U2 performed and Kris Kristofferson performed "Sunday Morning Comin' Down" with the Foo Fighters. The act I was excited about seeing was a duet of Kid Rock and Jerry Lee Lewis.

Then I saw The Killer.

I thought I was looking at Jimmy Doohan again circa the last year of his life. While Lewis' playing was still there, he looked as if they had just rolled him out of the home for his weekend ride. He sat there, mostly immobile, with a strained and raspy voice. His eyes had that glossed over old-guy look to them. When you're used to seeing the stage explode with energy its hard to see him slumped over the keyboard straining to hit each note.

His hands still knew they way over the ivories. The music pounded as hard as ever. It was just very painful to watch. Then it dawned on me that he and Elvis were around the same age and I tried to imagine him if he were alive today.

Would he be playing the big rooms and still rocking like Jagger? Would he be retired and look a lot like Bruce Campbell in "Bubba Ho-tep"? Or would he have his own theater sandwiched between Yakoff Schmirnoff and Bobby Vinton in Branson? He may have been bloated and dazed most of the time near the end, but when he hit the stage he was still the King. "Better to burn out, than to fade away..." There does seem to be something to that.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Change really sucks!

As you may have read before on this blog, I do not deal well with change. For someone who has gone through massive change in the past 11 years that can really make for some tough times. A whole family of good friends just announced that they are making plan on moving by June.

“Just announced” is not really how to describe how they let the news out. Nagasaki was slightly more subtle. As sort of a side note to discussions last night during our chapter meeting about planning for next years’ Shore Leave, they off-handedly said, “We might not be here for that”. My friend Jim and I made exactly the same stunned “Whoa!” as the conversation quickly changed topic.

What is so fracking special about Tennessee? What is the special pull that is now dragging a second group of close friends away? I know they have their reasons and they all make perfect sense. But damn it, I love these people.

Hector has been open and friendly since the day we met. If I had to choose one word to describe Hector, it would be friendly. He will bend over backwards to help a friend and stand by a friendship with fierce loyalty. He has opened his home and heart to our club and made us all a part of his family.

Robert is amazing. If you were never told there were developmental issues with this young man I don’t think you’d ever know. He is the smartest and most intelligent kid his age I know other than my own son. He has amazed me on more than one occasion with his intellect. That’s not just brain power or school smarts I’m talking about but the way he thinks and how he approaches things.

When I first met Savannah she would barely make eye contact and now shares barbs and jokes with me like a pro. Her joy for life is unbounded. I’ve watched her grow into a fine young woman and I envy whatever guy she will marry. OK, I fear for him as well, but that’s his problem.

And then there’s Danette. Most of you who read this have never met her and she’s very hard to describe. We share the same twisted sense of humor. We have common experiences. We are months apart in age. I look upon her as the sister I should have had. My “real” sisters are years older than I am and we have vastly different points of view. We get each other. Danette would have been the sister I would have grown up with and shared secrets with. She would have been the sister I tortured at home and protected from other kids at school. As I write this it dawns on me that she has filled the void left by my sister Elaine who I haven’t talked with in almost 20 years. And now that void is going to be opened again.

And that sucks.

Yes, I’ve said that before about change and distant friends. I still see and talk with friends from back home on a regular basis and that is always good. My pal, Gary, moved away a few months ago but we still talk on a regular basis and it’s always as if we had just met for a movie the day before. But it’s not the same as having that person within walking distance. Crystal clear telephone lines, instant messaging, emails and once a year convention get togethers just don’t equal having those people right there in your life.

I have about six months to prepare to my friends moving. I hope for the best for them. I know we will continue to stay in touch and our friendships will remain as strong as they are now.

But it still sucks.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Another successful weekend at a convention. Or at least what I can remember of it!

There is promise of more voice work which might lead to bigger and better things and....there was this girl. But, more on that later.

We bolted up to Orlando the moment I got out of work Friday night. Thanks to the generosity of friends I was able to keep the weekend's expenses to a low by crashing in their room and borrowing an ID badge the few times I actually had to go into a function room. The usual crowd of friends were there which always makes the major reason I attend these things.

My friend Lee Stringer was there and we had the opportunity to talk shop. He is moving to Orlando to work at the DAVE school. While there, in addition to the student work he will have time to do some personal projects for which wants to use my voice. These "projects" are potential pitches for TV shows. The adrenaline rush I got as we talked was fantastic. There's supposed to be some actor's superstition about not talking about a part before you get it...FUCK THAT! I am so excited about the potential that seems laid out before me that I just want to scream!

While we were talking he made reference to me as "the talent". I told him that if I ever refer to myself as "the talent" that he has my express permission to hit me upside the head. There's a bit in the movie "Goundhog Day" where Bill Murray's character refers to himself like that in the most pompous way. I would never want to get like that. Now I have a failsafe!

Saturday night was, as always, the night for drunken debauchery and this weekend was no exception. Without John there as my "designated driver" I was free to get an inebriated as possible and I excelled. There were moments from the evening and complete conversations I had reported to me the next morning of which I have absolutely no memory. We had a ball!

The best part of this was dancing with a pretty young lady named Daphne. We had met earlier in the day playing a card game called Dalmuti. When I saw her at the dance the inhibition evaporating effects of the alcohol I had consumed allowed to go right up and ask her to dance.

I barely left the dance floor after that.

Well, let me correct that. I did leave the dance floor a few times, but I had to be told about those the next morning.

When I was sober and coherent the next morning Daphne and I exchanged email addresses and spent a few more hours playing Dalmuti. I am not blowing this episode out of proportion other than it was two people who met and spent come good time together. I will email her and hope that I will hear from her again. Maybe it an introduction that could someday grow to something else but for right now it's just two people who met and share an interest.

I'll bet you're all taking bets to see how long that self imposed restriction lasts!

As far as the stars at this show; while they weren't the reason I went I did end up see almost all of them at one moment or another. Jolene Blaylock, Ethan Phillips, Robert Beltran, Anthony Montgomery and all shared a passing hello. And then there was Linda Park. She is the ONLY reason I stayed with "Enterprise" all the way to the last episode. This girl is gorgeous! A friend was ill and not able to stand in line for her autograph and by pure luck I ended up being the one to take her place to get Linda's for her. My heart melted when after signing the photo those beautiful and wide eyes of her met mine. I said "Thank You", hoping it did not come out like babbling and drooling of some kind. I think I was successful.

I missed my son some something terrible this weekend and I'll probably post about those feelings tomorrow after I get a chance to talk with him. Right now I am still fighting the terrible fatigue that always follows a weekend like this.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

And the suckage continues.

Any plans to spend the weekend with my son have gone down the toilet. Plans were to go to a convention in Orlando. The details of getting him back and forth might have been a little tight but I was really hoping to have him join us. When I called to try to iron things out he informed me that he had plans on going to a pro football game with his aunt, uncle and other family members.

There is so much about this whole situation I want to talk over with him, but the aggravating thing is that I do not want to do so over the phone. He is old enough now where we can talk on a more mature level about the emotions involved in all of this and how this is more than just a weekend away for him. Maybe next weekend.

My only consolation is the major amount of alcohol which awaits me in Orlando. While not the best excuse in the world, it will take my mind off everything for a while.

The repairs on the van ended up topping off at $270 dollars. Thank God for pay day advances.

The other day I went up to the young lady at work and started the conversation by telling her we had an anniversary coming up. She got a strange look on her face as she tried to figure out what I meant.

"Well, it's been almost two months since I first asked you to dinner and we still haven't gone out!"

She laughed, she smiled.....but she failed to come up with a possible date.

Her birthday is coming up this weekend and my "sponsor" and a few other women I've talked with are all suggesting I play the hard to get angle right now. That I not get her a gift or even a card. I can be as desperate all I want in private but in no way should I let it show. I am at least looking forward to finding out exactly how old she is.

I know I am going to have a good time this weekend. Through the generosity of friends I won't have to pay for the hotel or to get into the show. There will be piles of free food and I haven't paid a dime for drinks at these things for the past year so I'm sure portions of the weekend will be missing from my memory once Monday morning comes. I'll try to keep notes and possibly an embarrassing photo or two.

Monday, November 07, 2005

This past weekend sucked and the suck-age has continued into this week.

The only good note so far is that my back is almost back to normal. Remember, this is "almost". I still have twinges of pain and spasm from time to time and all the damned darvocets are gone!!! I can at least move around and get my place back into to order for the first time since the hurricane.

And I had plenty of time to clean over the weekend because my van busted a hose from the radiator to the water pump and didn't move all weekend. To add insult to injury, I did get a ride into work this morning leaving my keys and AAA card in the van waiting for the tow truck to arrive. The park manager was more than willing to meet the tow truck when it arrived; so it seemed like a great plan. However, AAA didn't see it that way. Which means I have to try scheduling getting the van over to the garage and getting a ride to work all at the same time.

Oh, and did I mention a bit over $100 for the repair?!!!!

Add to that the continued problem with the fuel injection, I have come up with a name for my car. Cameron. This is in honor of the Alan Ruck character from "Ferris Beuller's Day Off". He is Ferris' good friend who sits in the car debating with himself whether or not to give in to Ferris and go to his house. Much in the same way Cameron hesitates so does this van when the fuel injection doesn't work right.

"I'll go. I'll go. I'll go. No."

That's exactly how the van sputters. You can almost hear the engine saying those exact words. I'm just hoping, much in the same way the character of Cameron comes to find himself by the end of the movie that Cameron the van will soon be firing on all cylinders.

But first, we get this radiator hose problem out of the way.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

A better life through chemicals! While my back is still bothering me, I did go to the doctor on Monday where he filled me up with muscle relaxants, anti-inflamatories and pain killers. I am still walking around slowly and hunched over. That should continue to get better over the next few days.

What really sucks about the whole thing is that I missed out on going to work in costume. All the money for a costume had to go to the office visit and medication. That means that next year will be even better. I finally have found a resource for doing a costume for the office I have always wanted to do. I'll keep you guessing until then.

The other disappointment is that tonight George Takei is performing with a symphony orchestra near Orlando. I so wanted to go not only to see him perform but to surprise him with my weight loss. He had I talk a couple of times during the year but it has been almost five years since I saw him face to face.

There has been a lot made in the media aver his "coming out" as a homosexual. Big whoop! To me, a person's preferences matter little to the kind of a person he is and George is one of the best I have ever met. While the stigma attached with being openly gay has diminished over the years, I still applaud him for going public. There are probably still, even in these "enlightened" times, those who feel they have to hide who they are. I hope George's example will prove that the days of fear are over.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Ben Franklin and Thomas Edison are my heroes!!!!!

Yes, I have electricity back! The power returned yesterday afternoon. The reason I haven't posted before now is that on Friday morning, as I was getting ready for work, I pulled a muscle in my back. Since then I have been surviving on ibuprofen, borrowed muscle relaxants and walking around like Quasimodo. My first hot shower yesterday certainly helped.

The worst part is that I am going to have to go out today and get whatever leftovers there are at the costume shop to wear something to work tomorrow. When you're the "Official Office Class Clown" certain things are expected from you. I'd hate to have to call out sick tomorrow.

So, off to a few more pain pills and a nap.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Here are my hurricane photos.

This is the damage to my trailer. No biggie.

This is the reason I have no power.

There are a number of gas stations with this problem.

Hard working employees. No power.

Improvisation goes a long way. At least the phones were still working.

My company provided hurricane supplies for its employees.

Getting loaded with ice and a lantern.
Showering has now become a religious experience. My cell phone alarm clock function wakes me just before the sun rises at 7AM. Still dark enough to need a flashlight to make it out to the TV in the living room. I’m not quite awake enough to focus completely on the screen, so it ends up acting more as a nightlight more than anything.

Still groggy enough not to completely remember how cold the water is going to be I turn the handle. My screams are so loud and high pitched that dogs for miles around howl back in response.

At least now I’m awake!

Supplies are still only limited to water and ice in the area. Luckily, my company hands out ice every day and I have running water. The lines are long though and with no power in many areas the lines at gas stations are also hours long. I was smart enough to fill up on Sunday, so I should have enough to last me through to Sunday, when supplies and working pumps should be plentiful.

I did stop in at Wal-Mat on the way into work this morning. No, that was not a typo. Apparently, the “R” on the Wal-Mart sign had been blown away during the storm. Yes, getting back to normal will take some time.

The young lady and I are talking almost every day; breaking the ice with hurricane small talk. My “sponsor” and I both agree that once all of the general hubbub is over from the storm it is also time for all of this coyness to end. She and I agree I should simply put my cards on the table and say, “OK, it’s been a month we’ve been dancing around this. I really do want to take you out. Before I develop a complex over this, why don’t we just pick a day and time.” Let’s see where the direct approach gets me!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

What a fun couple of days this has been! Have I told you lately? FLORIDA SUCKS!

The storm came in much stronger than we had anticipated and I am very glad I left my mobile home. Having the storm come through during the middle of the day made it more interesting to actually be able to watch but no less scary.

We had power at my friend Jason’s house until just about the time the eye of the storm came through the county. Luckily, I had my trusty battery operated TV to watch the progress. Squinting at the small black and white screen we were still able to make out the county lines and anticipate the winds and duration of the storm.

The back of the house was sheltered from most of the winds, so Jason removed one section of the hurricane shutters so we could watch the storm. Seeing the “storm surge” in his pool was slightly humorous as the water continuously spilled from the Jacuzzi into the rest of the pool and then constantly overflowing to the surrounding deck area.

The first half of the storm wasn’t all that bad, it wasn’t until the winds changed direction that all hell seemed to break loose. First the winds were coming from the east; bending trees and blowing debris between Jason’s house and the neighbor’s across the canal. Then, as if someone had flipped a switch turning on a much larger fan on the other side of the house, the winds plowed back in the opposite direction with immense strength. The trees, the canal and the neighbor’s house were obstructed in a sheet of wind, rain and debris which all screamed by in a gray/white blur.

Finally, by 3PM we were able to venture outside and survey the damage. The usual tree and light pole debris was scattered but there was no apparent damage to Jason’s house. We all piled in the van and went to check out my house. The anxiety built the closer we got to my neighborhood. One of my favorite restaurants in “downtown” Jensen Beach had its roof peeled back and the lack of traffic lights anywhere only served to heighten the tension as we got closer.

There it stood. Fleetwood deserves all the kudos for making such a strong building. The skirt was torn from around the bottom of the home, which makes me glad I wasn’t there for the storm. I’d been in the trailer during bad thunderstorms and felt the floor shake; I can only imagine the “E Ticket” ride Wilma must have been.

The door handle was snapped in two; from what the landlord told me, the result of a tree limb slamming into the door. Yes, I am glad I wasn’t there. There is also a 6-inch gash in the back door, also from some flying debris. Inside was still bone dry. There are a number of leaks from last year’s storms that I deal with whenever it rains, but they all seemed to have made it through without getting worse. I had expected to some home to a swamp, at the very least. While I had been hoping for some damage, it was a big relief to find everything intact.

I spent that night again at Jason’s. Work was very cryptic with its plans for work on Tuesday. We showed up to a building still in darkness. After a few hours of standing around doing nothing we were allowed to go home. A handful of us went out to one of the few restaurants open in the area for a nice hot lunch.

The “young lady” almost joined us but had repair and cleanup to do at home. I was able to have a few moments of catch up and idle chatter with her; we still seem to have that door open; although I will wait until normalcy returns next week sometime to ask again to set a time and place for “The Date”.

Right behind Wilma was a cold front, which has brought record low temperatures. This has been a welcome relief over the sweltering heat after last years’ storms. You can still walk around and work around the house without sweating to death. Hell, last year there were times you could be sitting still immobile and you still were sweating buckets. While most Floridians are walking around swathed in layers and layers, my still un-aclimatized body is enjoying the 50-67 degree weather.

Half of my trailer park has power while my side of the street remains dark. A neighbor has allowed me to run an extension cord so I can have TV and a light at night. A person must have their priorities!

Frustration is the word of the day around here. Prior to the storm Governor Bush was all over the media saying how there were loads and loads of water, ice and food stockpiled and waiting on trucks just chomping at the bit to be distributed. Then it took almost two days for the trucks to show up. Some only had water or ice. Where were the hundreds of thousands of MRE’s? One reason given was that there trucks, staged 5 hours away in Jacksonville, had stops to make along the way and then that refueling to make the remainder of the trip was a problem. While the snafu’s here pale in comparison to New Orleans, it seems that the state was not completely ready.

I will be posting photos when I have power back at home and can upload them to the blog. Also, posts will be sporadic as I am doing these when and where electricity and access is available.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

OK, OK. So, I might have been a little wrong. Hurricane Wilma is headed towards my neck of the woods as a strong category two or possible three. The bigger worry with this storm is tornados. Since I live in a a mobile home I have evacuated to my friend Jason's house. I tore down my electronics, wrapped them all and the furniture in plastic and headed out.

It's beer safe than sorry. My place has been through two strong storms last year but since there are a few leaks in the roof I feel better not being there. Maybe a little more damage will motivate me landlord to fix last year's damage.

I will post again as time and electricity allow.

Oh, by the way....FLORIDA SUCKS!!!!!!

Saturday, October 22, 2005

I didn't get the promotion at work and for some reason I'm bummed about it. You'd think that with all of the talk about my voice over work, the last thing I'd be worried about is a promotion at the office. Most of it does have to do with money but also I was hoping all of the good strokes I was getting from upper management had meant something.

I may be taking it a little more personally than I should considering there were twenty other people up for only three openings. There are bound to be more so I'll simply try again. It just threw me in a little funk that may take a day or two to get through.

If you're seeing all the news about Hurricane Wilma; don;t worry too much. By the time it gets here Monday it should be no more than a nasty rain storm. I can understand people being gun-shy given what we went through last year but it has gone a little overboard.

I seem to be surrounded by Chicken Littles. The worst, of course, is the media. And that's not just the local hacks. CNN is beating the alarm drums like clockwork and making it sound as if the three horses of the apocalypse are bringing this storm into town. And, just like last year, everyone and their brother turns into a meteorologist spouting phrases and technical terms they couldn't spell with gun held to their heads.

I am putting out the call to any readers in the Rhode Island and Massachusetts areas to come to the aid of a displaced swamp yankee and ship me a bootleg supply of newly brewed Narragansett Beer!!!!! This is a local icon which has returned to the shelves. When I turned 18 I had one month when I could legally drink before the drinking age raised to 21. My family was kind enough to make me a birthday cake with a beer can embedded in it with the greeting "Enjoy it while you can!" The beer they used...Gansett!

Please, please, please ship me some!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

While I am very secure in my sexuality, what I refer to as being a “devout heterosexual”, I will admit to a minor twinge of being uncomfortable with my Star Trek desk calendar. It’s a day-to-day calendar where you rip off each day as you go. Today’s if a scene from the original series, “Who Mourns for Adonis”. The calendar is propped up at an angle, looking almost like a framed picture; it almost appears as if I have a picture of a tall, good looking man in a dress sitting on my desk.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

I am now a paid actor!

I left work around noon and jumped in my rented Chevy Cobalt; nice car. It's amazing how much easier it is getting somewhere when you're in a car that actually runs! I stopped for lunch at the Sonic in St. Cloud. I just HAD to. I got up to Orlando about two hours early. I drove around finding the studio and getting the lay of the land' chances are I'll be spending lots of time in this next of the woods in the future.

Hmmm......two hours and time it kill. What ever would I do.....

So I sat in the House of Blues sipping the beer which was doing its job of "greasing the pipes". I had tried going to Universal's City Walk, since it was closer and I had never been there but those cheap bastards wanted $9 for parking. It could wait for another time. I'm sure I got some weird looks as I walked around Downtown Disney practicing my lines. Here was this long haired, bearded guy walking around muttering in a deep, gutteral Britich accent.

I made it to the studio on time just as the director drove up to the building. Five other actors showed up and we all lived the primal law of performing; hurry up and wait. Each actor had to go in to the recording studio and record each of his lines. Each time we did three takes of each line as the director, audio tech and two other students sat in the control room and judged our work. As each of the other actors took their turns I fought fatigue and the comfort of the couch in the lobby doing all I could to stay awake. I guess adrenalin takes you only so far.

Finally I was led into the small closet like studio. I was used to these surroundings from my days in radio but and the door closed behind me I felt a new push from my adrenal gland and a fleeting worry of just how good I was going to be rushed over me. I had never before even come close to suffering from stage fright, but for some reason, this was taking on a whole new dimension.

Was this really going to be a new step towards a new direction in my life?

Was I up to it?

I decided to put that out of my mind and focus on what I was there to do. "Suck it up", as we say in my family.

We ran through all of the lines for my character and I did feel as I was hitting on all cylinders. We even did some "outtakes" which should be hilarious. The director and I agreed that the character should be done with a British accent, but the producer wanted to hear the character with a plain, deep voice. We tried a few lines but the director cut me off saying that I had sold it so well with the accent that anything else just didn't work. He also had me do one other voice part which may or may not get used. Then he allowed me to do some other voices which he was going to forward to me for use in a demo reel for future work. He was also talking about using me for some upcoming projects for the school and the guy who ran the recording studio seemed impressed with my work.

This was so much different that any of my work in radio; even straight commercial work. All that work was either rambling to myself about music and reading off que cards or reading straight from advertising copy. This was acting. I was creating a character. There was a different thought process in place. When I was doing commercials, the emphasis was on getting the wording right and making sure the message of the ad was getting across. This time I was thinking about who I was and what I was doing in the scene. The beauty of this was I had the comic right there beside the script and could easily visualize what the character was doing.

There was one moment when I gave a line a certain read and the director asked me to do it differently. When I explained my motivation behind it, he stopped, looked at the comic and came back in total agreement with my take on the scene.

Damn it, I was creating! That was an unbelievable feeling.

We finished up about 10:30 and I hit the road for home. Fatigue set in again as the road seemed to float a little, so I stopped for a cat nap at one of the rest areas. It was on this ride home that I finally began to realize that I really had become an actor. I had just been paid professionally to do what I had always wanted to do. I've made some calls to AFTRA, the Union for TV and Radio Actors, to check into joining. I will savor the day I can meet up with my pal George Takei and shake hands with him as a colleague as well as a friend.

The target date for the project is the class graduation in December. I will post a link to the film when it is ready. For now it's back to my cubicle and hope for the promotion for which I interviewed a few days ago. At least, I still have that as the tried and true "something to fall back on" my mother always talked about.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Here we are at Scream Fest 2005 with Verne Troyer. We just HAD TO have our picture taken with Mini-me! The whole day was pretty good. It was no Shore Leave, mind you, but a fun way to spend the day.

John wasn't feeling all that well, so I wasn't too sure he'd be joining us even for the day let alone our first weekend in month. He gladly threw himself in the car and the two of us and my friend Jason headed off for the hotel. It was as we were waiting in line that he told us the ROTC story. Forget for a moment that this is probably the best story about my son so far; you should have seen the look in his eyes as he told the story. There was a gleam in his eyes and a shit eating grin on his face as he knew he would now be joining the same league as his father. He told the story perfectly. Inflections and timing were perfect. Somewhere, my father is laughing his ass off.

We walked around the dealers' room wishing I had more money. I had a chance to meet Franklin E. Wales; the author who had approached me about doing an audio book. He is self published so due to financial constraints that is on the back burner for a while. His book, "Booger", is available through Amazon. Give it a read, if you're into horror.

I had to snap a picture of Linda Blair for a friend of mine. She is a little bit of a thing but still a fine looking woman. John is very much into professional wrestling, (Genetics can't sure everything!) so we headed over to get a picture with George "The Animal" Steel. While trying to wade through the masses in walks Verne Troyer. Inspiration hit and I just had to get a photo with him.

I tried just getting away with snapping my own picture but he was the prefect salesman pointing out the photos he had there for autographs. I'm a soft touch, so I shelled out for one of him and Mike Meyers doing their rap song in the last Austin Powers movie. Hence, his sign flashing in out picture.

George Steele is a massive human being. A quiet and gentle person and definitely the performer. As soon as the camera was ready he instantly jumped into character and grabbed my son in a headlock for this photo.

Afterwards, he reached out to shake me hand. His easily wrapped around mine and made it disappear into the giant pad of meat he called a hand.

John and I had the chance to sit a talk some about his commuting for our weekends. He really hates the ride on his own. I tried stressing the fact that there are times when we have to do things we don't like in order to get something worth while. I'm not sure if it worked. I also went through, again, the economics and time factors involved in the commute. I can really understand his point of view. Believe me, I would love to be three minutes down the road from him so he could come and go at a moment's notice. We are going to try to find some possibilities for making things easier before his next visit.

On the way back Jason and I stopped and had dinner at a favorite pizza restaurant of his. His wife is currently mulling over an offer from a hospital in Georgia. I don;t know the official title of her job, but she does sonograms on infants and children. It is very specialized and pays extremely well. If he were to move I would miss him very much. I have known him for almost as long as I've been down here and have been spending lots of time with him recently. I got him his job in my office and he is the one who opened the door of the possibilities with the girl at work. We have a common love of movies and TV. He has a fantastic family espicially his daughter with whom I share a special bond; we have the same birthday. I would miss them all alot.

Change sucks!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

My son ROCKS!

Here is a scene from a recent ROTC class in which the instructor is teaching the different military rank and insignia.

He asks the class, "Does any one know what three up and three down means"?

Being MY son he raises his hand and answers, "End of an inning!"

That's my boy!

While he did not come for the entire weekend a friend of mine and I picked him up for the day and went to Screamfest, an annual horror convention. I'll have photos and more details tomorrow.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Tom Green has inspired me. While this may seem like a mutual admiration society between bloggers, I have mentioned his blog once or twice before and I am hooked. Before you go further please read his blog from October 12 entitled "People Who I Think Are Awesome". Follow this link.

Here is my list.

Wil Wheaton is awesome. He has made me laugh and cry. I might not always agree with his politics but he is always a good read.
Marlon Brando is awesome. Jack Lemmon is awesome. I will stop whatever it is I am doing to watch them work.
Freddie Mercury is awesome. Sinatra is awesome. Vivaldi is awesome; mostly because he was a left handed asthmatic just like me.
Weird Al Yankovich is awesome. Tom Arnold is awesome. Sam Kinison is awesome. David Letterman is awesome. Ernie Kovacs is awesome. Robin Williams is awesome. Jonathan Winters is awesome. Tim Conway is awesome. Their minds work on a different plane than the rest of us.
Harry Truman is awesome. Bobby Kennedy is awesome. Those who think they know me probably thought I'd say JFK instead. Jack was cool and all but he had Ted Sorenson. Bobby really felt what he was preaching about and made some of the most moving speeches of all time.
Daws Butler is awesome. Maurice LaMarche is awesome. Ernie Anderson is awesome. Google those names if you don't recognize them.
Wally Schirrah is awesome. Michael Palin is awesome. Jane Goodall is awesome. Anyone who wants to explore gets my vote.
OK. I'll give you one that I have to enter as a personal favorite and it's purely a guilty pleasure category.
My son is awesome.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

I GOT IT!!! I GOT IT!!!!

When I got home tonight there was a message from the director of the film for which I auditioned offering me a part in the film!!!!!!!! If I could do back flips, I'd be on my tenth by now!!!!!

I'm going to be Bennes; he's the big rock guy in the background. I originally did him with a very heavy British accent but the director came back and asked me to do it with just my regular voice. I'll see next week which way he has decided to go with it.

I am so psyched!

Recording day is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday. I will, as I did with the audition keep notes and try to convey as much of the process as I can. I also hope I can get across the excitement I'm feeling.

I've had radio jobs before and I've been on stage so performing really isn't something foreign to me. But if I had to pick the one dream job; this would be it. As a kid I watched all the cartoons but early on I keyed in on the voices I was hearing. I was probably the only 10 year old who knew who Daws Butler or Mel Blanc were. My fifth grade teacher was always impressed with the dead on Alfred Hitchcock impression I would do to entertain the class. At the same time there was mini-series on PBS about Leonardo DaVinci. While I was fascinated by DaVinci I was also smitten by the voice of the narrator. He is still working some 30 years later and I still get chills when I hear his voice.

And don't even get me started about Ernie Anderson. (He was the voice of the ABC network when "The Love Boat" and "Dynasty" were hot. If you heard the voice, you;' know!) With any luck, I'm finally following in their footsteps.

Let's see where it goes from here!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

A day of up and down on the new girl front. Today was her first day back to work from vacation. First thing this morning she came up to me and started a conversation, telling me all about her trip. I don't think I actually heard much of it over the pounding of blood rushing to my head. Needless to say, I took this as a good sign. I wasn't the one sniffing around trying hard not to look pathetic.

Then later in the afternoon, I attempted nailing down a date. I had caught her going out the door early and rushing to meet what sounded like one of a hundred different appointments listed through the weekend. I kept it light and it seems the door is definitely open for this date...just not sure when it's going to happen.

I have consulted with my "sponsor" and think we have a game plan. There is the fine line I have to walk between keeping the interest going and seeming needy.

Damn, I better make sure she never finds this blog!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

I think I aced the audition; although getting there was half the fun! But more on that in a minute.

Here is the project for which I auditioned. Runners There had been a steady stream of people all day long. It looked like a pictured any audition; a small waiting room filled with struggling actors muttering lines to themselves over and over again like crazed schizophrenics. I was called in and read a line for three of the characters; Cember, the three-eyed ET-like character, Bennes, the large rock creature and Roka, the turtle looking guy. I was free to do what ever I wanted for the voice as the director said he had no major preconceptions.

I did Cember as Peter Lorre style voice as a cross between the Ugarte character from "Casablanca" and Morocco Mole from the "Secret Squirrel" cartoons while trying hard not to sound like a bad Stimpy impression. I saw smiles on that one so I started off feeling good. Bennes was done as a rip off of Dim from "A Bug's Life" with a definite British accent. I hadn't planned on Roka at first, but the voice finally came to me this morning. Sheldon Leonard. He was a character actor who played lots of gangsters on Tv in the 60's and 70's with a thick New York accent. He was also a very successful TV producer. He is easily remembered as the man who ran Martini's Bar in "It's a Wonderful Life". After throwing George Bailey and Mr. Gower out the mocks them by hitting the cash register over and over saying "Look at me, I'm gibing out wings!". That smart alecky Brooklyn accent seemed perfect for the character.

The director asked me to read the Hamron character with a simple straight voice and to do Bennes without the accent. Since he came back to me with other ideas, to me, says he liked how I worked. I also was able to show I could take direction and was flexible. I got a very good "vibe" from how it went. My friend, Lee, is supposed to see if he can find out early and give me a heads up. Best part is, this may even be a paying job. At this point, as long as it covers a car rental back and forth, I'll be happy. It will be my foot in the door.

And I have a story to go along with it on how I got to the audition....

I now know exactly how far my van will go before the engine gives me trouble. I was stuck having to take the chance with the van because with it being a holiday weekend the two car rental places which will take my debit card are closed. I figured with some babying I would be able to make the trip. The van had other ideas. I took the tip in steps; stopping at two different service areas along the turnpike. When I made it into Kissimmee, a mere 30 minutes from the studios, the fuel injection system gave out and I lost all power. I called upon a friend of mine in the Orlando area who bailed me out by driving me to the studio and back.

Again, I though having sat for almost three hours would have been enough of a rest. Well, the van still had other plans. In the middle of nowhere it died out. I surrendered and called AAA. I left the house at 10:15AM and 14 hours later the tow truck pulled up in front of my trailer. To add insult to injury, we had to change tow drivers due to a change in shift and the other guy has my keys. Luckily, I had a backup set, but I may be out my South of the Border and Sonic Drive In keychains.

A sacrifice for my art!

As I stood in that recording studio I felt at home. It seemed the most normal and natural place for me to be. I remembered how much I loved doing this kind of work. I don't want to jinx this by getting into it too much at this point, but I am hoping this is the first step on getting back on a path I feel I should have been on years ago. From the moment I stepped on the stage at Gorton Junior High School as the front end of a horse named Gladys to the years on the radio, nothing has felt more right.

Sitting in a cubicle again tomorrow at work is going to feel very strange.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

John Lennon would have been 65 today.

Listen to one of his songs and imagine what we have missed out on.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Another quiet weekend here in the Garden of Eaton. I'm spending most of the time studying for my audition Monday. I haven't been this nervous in years. While acting is the way I wish my life had gone I've never really been on a real audition. A cattle call for extras more than once, but never a one on one audition.

The mini-series, "The Kennedys of Massachusetts" was filming in Newport and the call went out for extras. I jumped at the opportunity. I went down with a Polaroid "headshot" to fill out some paperwork with about a thousand other wannabe's. Simple procedure; fill out the paperwork, sign something and leave.

When more than a reasonable amount of time had gone by, and I was sure I wasn't going to be called, I got a call from the casting company. A very nice woman was calling to ask me to do something more than simply be an extra in the background. My heart began to beat faster. I was being asked to be Charles Durning's stand in. I would not be on camera but would get to watch Mr. Durning rehearse a scene and then, while he relaxed in his trailer lights and cameras would be set and I would be in his place...his stand in. It paid more money than being an extra so I opted for cash over my moment of "Oh, oh....that was me walking by."

At the time I was probably close to what I weigh now and nothing near my bypass surgery weight, but still "husky". The casting director put this in the most polite phrasing ever.

"Mr. Eaton, we want you to be Mr. Durning's stand in because you.....carry a certain girth."

I agreed to the job just on that.

It was a heady experience being on a real filming set. All the people. All the equipment. The Craft Services!!! And then I was called to "work". Hammersmith Farms was being used as the setting for Bobby Kennedy's wedding; historically inaccurate but OK. As I walked up to the set I was met by Mr. Durning.

"Call me, Charlie," he said holding out his hand.

I was in heaven. I had been a fan of his work for years and now I could call him "Charlie" because we were colleagues. And remember the casting director mentioning a "certain girth"? Well, Charlie had much more girth than I did. They say the camera adds 10 pounds; somehow it had been able to take it off in Charlie's case. He looked much heavier in person. I know, I know; people in glass houses....but, WOW!

I watched intently as Charlie ran through a scene for blocking. He went off to the comfort of his trailer and I recreated his every move for the lighting and camera crews. Time and again until everything was right, then Charlie and the others were brought back and the scene was filmed.

Then came a moment that still haunts me. They were filming a scene with Charlie as Honey Fitz and Steven Weber as John Kennedy in the garden to the back of Hannersmith. This was just outside the porch which had these huge sliding doors with thick lead glass panels.

Filming is a slow and tedious process, so as they went through a shot for the tenth time I leaned back against what I thought was the solid part of the porch. It turned out to be two of the sliding glass panels. As the heavy lead glass and their frames slammed together they made a thunderous clap of thunder. (Well, to my ears that's what it sounded like!)

The first set of eyes I saw make contact with mine were those of the director who's shot I had just ruined. And was it some hack director who had never done a film before? No, of course not. It was Lamont Johnson. This guy uses Emmys as doorstops. Check him out on the Internet Movie Database to see just how sure I was I'd never work in movies again!

Let's hope this foray into acting goes a little better.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Bull is gone.

Today an auto salvage wrecker came by and hauled away the car which has been there for me for the past five years. Along with it went memories of trips to Washington DC, North Carolina and all points throughout Florida. That van carried me out of the path of the hurricanes last year and was my haven from work for 10 minutes at a whack. And it was bought with inheritance money from my mother. So, it was a good thing I was not here to see it's lifeless hulk being dragged away.

At least I made $25 bucks on the deal. When I first called this salvage yard a week ago they cried over the cost of gasoline and that they couldn't pay me anything at all to haul it away. Since I needed to get rid of it I agreed. When I called them again today to pick it up the guy on the other end asked if they had offered anything for the car.

My momma didn't raise no fool......

"What do you want to give me for it?" I asked innocently.

Which is how I ended up with a check for $25 dollar waiting for me when I got home.

My new van, still yet un-named, is now in its proper parking spot. This car has yet to show its personality or inspire me for a name. I'll let you know when the muse speaks.

Monday, October 03, 2005

"Serenity" ROCKS!

If you watched the TV series or if you have no idea what it is....GO SEE IT. Action, adventure, great effects, great writing. There is so much to like in this flick. I am planning on seeing it again just to see all the little touches I missed the first time around in design and effects. What a fun time at this movies this is. I won't spoil it with giving away some of the surprises except to say that Joss Weedon took some chances few others would.

I also saw "A History of Violence" the same day. The best part of this film was the performances; in particular William Hurt. Hurt pulls off playing a east coast mobster so well you can forget he's from the mid-west somewhere. Ed Harris and Vigo Mortensen are also good but overall the premise was a little overdone and hard to swallow.

I have my first voice over audition coming up next Monday. My friend at the Dave School let me know of an open audition for a student film. I am studying the source material and trying to come up with just the right approach for this. I am torn between choosing a certain character and developing a voice as I would see him or just fold my voice as the director wants. I'll keep notes during the day to give you a detailed report on how the day goes.

Tom Green has got a killer website. His writing style is right up there with Wil Wheaton as he gives you an insight into the world of a borderline celebrity but sprinkles it with enough of his real life to let you in and see the real person underneath. I've been a Green fan since his MTV days with his guerilla style comedy but this site goes beyond that. Give him a try.

Friday, September 30, 2005

I have to admit to a guilty pleasure.

I enjoy feeding the birds.

OK....about a week ago I bought a loaf of bread. It wasn't the kind I usually buy to make this killer chicken sandwich of mine. Actually, it's my version of a sandwich from a local restaurant but mine is pretty darned close and loads cheaper, but I digress.....

I got this loaf of bread home and tried in with my killer chicken sandwich and it really sucked. I went to another grocery store and found the bread I wanted but my budget conscious mind could not simply throw away an entire loaf of bread. The sucky bread ruined my sandwich and left such a bad taste in my mouth that I could not imagine using it for anything else. Until I remembered the parking lot at work.

Because of the Florida heat I always park my car beneath the biggest shade tree in the lot. The parking lot is loaded with birds all day long. I'm no expert and couldn't tell one species from another; just a bunch of feathers. So I decided to bring the bread with me and pass it out to the indigent birds. After a couple of days of doing this I found I was enjoying sitting there watching them eat.

I would sit in the car and lower a window (haven't rolled a window down in years thanks to electronics!) and created a blind of sorts. I toss the food out and wait for the buffet line to form. With all of the activity and stress inside the building it is a nice change, even for 10 minutes, to sit and watch a simple creature gather food.

At times it seems as if they even stop, turn and look at me as if to say "Thanks". The greed of a sea gull is unending as they will chase off any other bird to keep as much for themselves as they can. That is until some big ass pigeon (OK, I know a few species by sight) fights them off by pecking at a tail feather or two.

Then the alarm from my cell phone will go off and remind me I have a plethora of geriatrics waiting to yell at me about not getting their medications on time and trying to pronounce the names of their pills like a drunk with a harelip.

A simple break in the day doing a simple thing I learned as a child makes the whole difference in the day. As I walk out to my car sitting under that shade tree I spot a bird or two hiding on a branch and I think I can sense they know it's feeding time and that they are looking forward to my break as much as I am with each step closer I get.

Hey, wait! What's that? There's BIRDSHIT all over my car!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

This is so humiliating. My 14-year-old son is probably smoother with women than I am. I had three different possibilities to break the ice and ask the dreaded “follow up question” today and blew it. She went home early from work before I could talk privately enough. My only consolation is that the odd look on her face every time I saw her was more the illness which made her leave early than it was to do with seeing me.

……or, at least I hope so!

Last night I attended a preview our company sponsored of a show put on by one of the local theatrical groups. One of the stars is a fellow employee. It was a fun evening of 30’s and 40’s swing and jazz. Just before the show one of the high mucky-mucks of our company got up and spoke. He ended up inviting me and about a half dozen others up to the stage as examples of the best our company has to offer. We are what I call “Company Poster Children”. Actually, it was nice to be singled out that way. He went on to talk about how our company does more than just sell medications a diabetic supplies but makes a difference in the lives of our customers. It’s nice to know someone at that level of management gets it.

Now, if my paycheck we affected by such a “title” it would be even nicer!

I have put my name in for a supervisory opening. It has been almost two years since I was actually in a full blown supervisory position. I still have the title and my pay hasn’t changed, it’s just that I have not been responsible for a team of employees; I’ve just been one of the troops. I feel I’m ready for it again and some of the office politics that put me in my present position have changed greatly. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Monday, September 26, 2005

One step closer.

I made my follow up conversation with the girl at work today and seemed to have pulled it off without looking like too much of a dork. At least I hope so.

I told her that she had missed a great dinner and the in my best self-deprecating mode I said, "I just wanted to make sure I wasn't hallucinating last week when you said you'd like to go out sometime anyway."

She smiled that beautiful smile, the one with her eyes, and said, "Yes".

My biggest worry is that I come off as a mix of stalker and the most needy person on the planet. Does everyone who dates go through this? How the hell do some people do this on a regular basis? I cannot imagine being on the regular dating scene. To have to take these kinds of chances over and over again. As someone who fancies himself an actor, I could find it easier to go through audition after audition over dating. In auditions your ability and talent is raked over the coals and called into question. This is personal!

Speaking of acting.....I wimped out on "Death of a Salesman"; auditons closed tonight and I went nowhere near the theater. Maybe next time.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Quiet weekend. Johnny has stayed home again this weekend. He is preparing for some mega-Sweet 16 party for someone in his ROTC class. They are all wearing their class A's and have rehearsals every Sunday. The time necessary for him to get back there by mass transit would mean his having to get up at 10 AM.

I am torn between letting him have the social interaction with no hassle from me and making a point about the obligation to our relationship. I want him to understand that at times you have to make sacrifices. Maybe it would mean his having to get up early but at times you have to do difficult things to get the important things in life done. His friendships and social life as a teenager are as important as our relationship.

I am, at the very least going to suck it up for the time being but have a conversation about this the next time he is here; which won;t be for another two or three weeks. SO you can look forward to two more weeks of my deep sighing and moaning. Ain't that what you come here for in the first place?

Speaking of which, I am a little over due in commenting on the counter at the bottom of this page. It recently rolled over the 1,000 hit mark. That impressed me. On average 10 people are looking at this blog an a daily basis. Makes me wish I had enough to write about every day.

When I once mentioned that I have a blog to someone they scoffed and said, "The most self indulgent thing on the internet!" Is he right? Do I feel what I am saying has relevance in other peoples' lives? Can my life really be that interesting to people?

I don't deny having a little bit of an ego. But, honestly, I have been writing this as a way of keeping distant friends up to date on what's happening. I write to vent. I write to work out feelings. I write to share. Keeping in mind that my life in no way can really be that interesting, try to write with a slant towards commenting on my own feelings and experiences in the bigger picture. I hope I am successful. I must be doing right since I keep getting hits. I have been surprised by some who have commented and even more by those who privately tell me they are regular readers. I appreciate each of you who stops by here to see what's going on in my crazy little corner of the universe.

Here's to another thousand hits!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Into the fray once more......

I actually got up the nerve to ask a girl out today. OK, so it took two days and someone yelling at me to finally motivate me, but I did it!

OK, so there is this very pretty young lady at work who caught my eye recently and through some investigating by a mutual friend I learned that she, while "having male friends", had no one serious in her life at the moment. This was a vast improvement over my last attempt.

So for the first day I mulled things over and slowly the anxiety began to creep up as I thought about actually asking her out. Then yesterday my investigative friend offered an opportunity. He and his wife invited me to have dinner at his house next Sunday evening. Perfect, I thought; a setting with a group of people and not as stressful for a first date as going out alone. This girl and I really don't know each other more than to pass each other around the office and maybe one or two simple chit chat like conversations. So, we starting at ground zero here.

That gave me all of today to let nervousness and anxiety ramp even higher. I fell back into my 14 year old frame of mind as I made a number of aborted attempts to walk up to her and start the ball rolling. I am surprised my sales director didn't say anything to me. He can look right down the aisle from his office to where I sit and I'm sure he would have noticed how many times I was out of my seat during the day. Bright side is that I got plenty of exercise doing laps around the sales floor.

My investigative friend claims it was only to get me to simply strike up an conversation and that he didn't expect me to actually come out and ask her but he gave me some paperwork to deliver to her "on my way back to my desk". wink - wink I started doing laps again, this time with the paperwork in my hands.

Finally, as I stood next to my desk doing an impersonation of Cameron from "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"....

"I'll go..I'll go..I'll go. No." supervisor came walking by.

I turned to her and said, "Call me a wimp!"

"You're a lousy little wimp!" she said with a mixture of bewilderment at the request and pure joy at calling me a lousy little wimp.

That was what I needed; someone other than the little voice inside my head telling me I was being ridiculous. Off I went. Right up to her and handed her the paperwork.

Dang! I hadn't been this close to her in a while. I was right, she is pretty.

I rattled off the bogus business reasons for my stopping by and without catching a breath ( as if I had any oxygen in my body at this point) I slid right into the invite. There was a momentary look of surprise on her face; sort of like when you open the prize at the bottom of a Cracker Jack and it some odd toy you've never seen before and you wonder, "What the hell is that?"

Game over, I thought.

Then she simply said, "Yes."

As we began to talk details of when and where, she remembered she did have something at that time. Undaunted, I offered that we could try some other time, maybe. There was no Cracker Jack look this time, and she dais "Sure".

So, while not completely a "yes" it is still not a "no". There is still some hope left. That was eight hours ago and I think the adrenalin has finally left my system.

More as this develops.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Yesterday was National Talk Like a Pirate Day and my throat still hurts. I made my way "Arrrghhhhh"-ing and "Aye-aye"-ing through the whole day. I even talked with customers on the telephone in the same gravely voice. Either they also knew it was National Talk Like a Pirate Day or they thought I was British!

Well, I've had my new van of a week and I think we have become friends. I have found just the right position for the seat. The air conditioner seems to reach just the right temperature a little faster and it handles easier and easier. I know it's more a matter of me getting more used to the vehicle but I have always felt cars have individual personalities.

Take my very first car, Harlan, for example. Yes, I name my cars. Harlan was much like I was at age 16; sporty, fast and messy. Oh, and energetic. This car was so energetic it actually jumped. I have been informed by my more mechanically inclined friends that a bad transmission made the car physically jump in place more than some metaphysical soul it might have had.

I still tend to believe Harlan had a personality.

My last van, The Bull, was moody; much like any ailing senior citizen. He performed better with praise. All he needed after 40 miles of driving was a nap; after which he would attack the highway like a geriatric racing for the dining hall on Salisbury Steak Night.

I have yet to name this car. I am waiting to see what personality emerges. I am also pondering "geeking my ride". This 1993 GMC Safari is all while. To my Trek fan mind it suspiciously resembles a shuttle craft. All that is missing is some lettering, hull numbers and a Starfleet logo on the back door.

My son will never want to ride in the same car with me again!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Last night I received a very dubious honor at a company party. This quarter's morale boosting theme has been Liberty High School. People brought in their graduation photos and they were plaster all around the buildings. Then the other day we received "school supplies; pens, pencils and rulers all emblazoned with the company logo. All of this culminating in last night's Sock Hop.

People showed up in 50's outfits. There were poodle skirts, capris, leather jackets and two Elvi. (That is the plural of Elvis, isn't it?) Class Superlatives were handed out. Best Dressed, Best Smile, Most Dependable. What a surprise it was when I won Class Clown. Actually, I won that category in all three buildings but they had to give one out to someone in each so I only won for my building.

I may not yet have the promotion I want, but I am being recognized for what I do best!

My son didn't come this weekend and the house seems extra quiet because of it. I know we can switch weekends and all that but I always look forward to our time together so much. I'm sure this will happen more and more as he get deeper into really being a teenager. I can only imagine what I'll be like after he's 18 and no longer "has to" visit.

I am currently mulling over auditioning for a local theater group's production of "Death of a Salesman". Daunting, I know, to choose something like Arthur Miller for a first time on the stage in a long time. I did do a reading theater a few years ago but that was with the script right in front of me. I honestly wonder if I could commit an entire two act play to memory when there are times I wonder why I walked from one room to the other or forget names of friends I've had for years. Can my 40-something brain actually do it?

Yes, Mr. Ego wants to try out for Willy Loman. I realize regional theater can be clique-ish and I've never worked with this particular troupe. I realize it's been 8 years since I was on a stage. I realize it's a big frickin' part. It would certainly be a test of any talent I might have.

Or might not have.

Auditions are next week; I'll let you know.