Friday, April 27, 2007

You know how good yesterday was?

Well, that day's over with apparently!

I got up early this morning to take care of two very important appointments. One was with the county over an old issue which was finally being put to rest and the other was for my double secret probation plans to which I've been alluding recently. Both of these appointments have been postponed for one reason or another; the one with the county being more pressing given the legalities involved.

So, I got in my car with plenty of time to be at the county office just as the doors open and headed off down the road. When I was no more than a mile away.....the engine began to sputter and the car stalled.

Right at an intersection at a red light with half a dozen cars behind me smack-dab in the height of rush hour. Unable to start the car I pushed it off the road, crossing another lane of busy traffic and sat there waiting for the aneurysm in my head to explode to put a perfect cap on the morning.

The car would not start but the clock was still running. The person in the county office had already given me a two day extension on this meeting because I had to wait for pay day so as I was walking back to my home I was hoping his good mood was continuing and he wouldn't laugh at the tried and true "My car broke down" line.

I was able to get a friend who lives nearby to help me out. I made it to the county office and the county representative didn't bat an eye that I was an hour later than I had promised. Images of me throttling him with pieces of my broken down car flashed through my head but I figured if he didn't mind that I should let it go as well.

My other appointment was also as understanding although I could hear a tone in his voice similar to what I expected at the county office. I'm sure this will be counted against me during our double secret probation discussions.

As typical of my luck, of course, the car breaks down on a Friday, which basically strands me until Monday when my local garage opens again. Yes, I do see the one silver lining in all of this; at least it didn't happen in Orlando!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Today was fantastic! Every time I'm in a recording studio like this I feel so at home. I got to Orlando in time to read through the script and get an idea of what character I was playing. His name is Hunter. Hunter is a Lieutenant leading a Marine style, Roughnecks kind of strike force fighting a bunch of evil nano-technology badies that take over the Earth. Oh, and his big, muscular, bald and black; something of a young Vingh Raimes.

Ron Tornnton showed up and we immedieatly jumped right into recording and had it done within 20 minuets. OK, so it's only a 7 minuet film, but this was quick and easy. I did seem to impress Ron with how quickly I took to the script and we worked back and forth easily.

The finished project is scheduled to be completed on June 15th. I can hardly wait to see it. After the recording session I went to the DAVE School and got to see some of the early CGI work being done on it and even saw what I am going to look like, I look pretty good as a brother!

I also took the opportunity to pick Ron's brain about getting into this voice acting thing seriously. He agreed that I do have a talent for it and that I could have good chances for getting work. He suggested some avenues I had not considered; specifically while still being in Florida. Moving to Los Angeles might have to be a possibility in the future; something I have considered and do have on the list of things to ponder. There is some more work to be done on this project and Ron might be able to get me more exposure doing other projects for the school itself and will be working up some industry contacts for me.

Today was everything I had been hoping it was going to be. Am I ready to pull up stakes and head of to Hollyweird? Am I practicing an acceptance speech for a Annie or Daytime Emmy? Well, OK....YES! But I am also trying to make small, measured and intelligent steps towards those dream moments. For now, I'll be happy being a big, bad ass Marine Lietuenant!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

No posts in a while only because not much has been going on. That is, until tomorrow.

I head up to Orlando tomorrow to record another voice over performance for the DAVE School. As mentioned before, this is my first time working for real-live Hollywood producer Ron Thornton. been trying my best to keep a professional demeanor when dealing with him but I do have to admit a race in the blood every time he calls and I hear him leaving a message. The last time I got to the phone he commented on how out of breath I sounded. I played it off as simply running for the phone. If he had only seen me jumping from my chair at this PC, almost stumbling out of the chair onto the floor and racing to the phone as fast as I could.

It's not just the geekieness of being in the same circle as this guy but what it is possibly going to mean for a possible voice acting career. The rest of the cast had recorded last week but Ron had not been able to contact me in time. I thought I had blown my very first chance to impress him with a certain level of professionalism. He was very gracious and has scheduled this session for me to come in alone and do my part. I have not seen a single page of the script and will be flying by the seat of my pants on this. I'm hoping this will be an exercise in improvisation and acting skills that will impress him.

This is feeling like one of those "fork in the road" moments. Where I stood 25 years ago and could have gone further with using my voice to make a career I seem to have it being presented to me again. There were reasons for my choice back then and I had my own perceptions of how my life should go. It has been a long and convoluted road since then and it seems to have circled back on itself and I find myself at that same fork in the road. The road I originally took didn't seem to be the right one. We'll see where this path leads this time around.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

This is going to be a positive post about my job!

Yes, it has been a while and I didn't want you to be shocked.

For almost a year I have been trying to get into the Corporate Training division. I have come sooooo close so many times that it has bordered on ridiculous. All of the other trainers have been rooting for me to get into that department as they see me as a perfect fit. Granted, those in that department are professional trainers with scads more education in "being" a trainer, but I am a performer and have felt I could perform well in this job. I have been with the company longer than most and could easily handle orientation classes. I have had almost every one of the trainers give me assistance and advice on the sly as I go for one interview after another but have never made it.

Recently, there were two more positions that opened and I immediately put in my transfer request and waited for an interview. Then, one after another, the positions were filled. Then, I got a notice that the department head still wanted an interview with me. I thought, maybe she was actually going to offer me a position right then and there, so I kept the appointment out of curiosity more than anything.

And I'm glad I did.

It quickly turned into a mentoring session in which she and my pal Jim, quite possibly the best trainer there, told me of another position available which they felt would be a perfect career path that could eventually lead to a training position. It was the first time in a long time that someone took the time to offer help to guide my "career" in the company. These people were taking an active and heartfelt interest in the 40 hours per week I was putting into the business other than how many times I picked up the phone. They were opening a door for me towards something which would benefit me and the company as well but, quite clearly, the emphasis was on me.

I cannot describe the feeling I came away with as I left that meeting. For months on end I was feeling like a drone in my company; a company I felt was becoming less and less the same place I had made my home over the past decade. I suddenly had back some of the passion and "at home" feeling I had enjoyed for so long. Before I left the building I had filled out the transfer paperwork for this other position. It will mean another cut in pay and I am already prepared for the idea of working a second job to keep my budget alive, but it will be worth it if it can make my working day something I can enjoy again.

Am I still looking at my voice over work? You bet yer ass! Do I have other irons in the fire? Oh, YES. But at least, now I will be able to be happy at my job like I have not been in a while. That feels nice.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Last week was a wonderful experience as I fought my way through a nasty stomach virus. On Tuesday morning I started feeling something in my stomach and went to the clinic my company provides. The nurse there said there was something going around in either a 24 hour or three week variety. Oh, good! Something to look forward to!

As the day wore on, it got worse. I tried taking a nap in my car during lunch but after lying there for only 5 minuets, I knew I had to go home. By 8 PM that night it had hit with full force. I'll save you all the gory details, but by the time I went back to work on Thursday I had lost 22 pounds! Most of that was lost in a seated position......'nuff said?

To add frustration to it all, when I finally was able to wake up on Wednesday, at around noon, I tried calling my supervisor at work and was greeted with a completely silent telephone; no dial tone. Luckily, I still had internet; so, I IM'd a co-worker to make the notification for me. Ah! The beauty of the 21st century! It turned out, when the service was finally restored on SUNDAY, that there was some damage to a cable a block and a half away from my place.

So, yes, it's been a fun week. I'm hoping things will be settling down to some normalcy after a weekend of more sleep as by body continues to recuperate. The one bright spot to this is that I am now in the lead in our "Biggest Loser" contest at work with losing those 22 pounds. There are a handful of us at work who have put money in a kitty and the person who loses the most get the cash. Not exactly the best way to lose the weight, but $200 is $200!!!!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

I have been wanting to say something about the whole Don Imus situation but every time I got something ready the situation kept changing. Simply, I think it can be summed up in one word:


Is what Imus said offensive? To some, apparently so. Is that he said wrong? To some, apparently so. But to cut off his career because of it is sooooo wrong. Yes, it touched a nerve. Is it at all possible that the discourse on the problem be better served with someone like Imus still standing there to bring attention to the problem better that shoveling him out the door because of petty economics and pressure from some social leaders who themselves have not have the cleanest of pasts when it come to sensitive public statements?

Is what Imus said about the Rutgers women any worse than what Rush Limbaugh has spewed out over the years? Why is there no clamor when he questions Barak Obama's ethnic purity? Why weren't women's groups looking to oust him when he called politically active women Femi-nazis? Why didn't the Jewish population cry out as well?

One of the Rutgers women said in their very powerful press conference that they were "not defined by such terms". Well, if you are not defined by such terms then what is the friggin' problem? If Don Imus offends you there is that little button that allows you to change the station.

And is there any integrity too CBS pulling the plug on his radio show? Only if they go after some of the rap and hip hop recording artists on some of their labels who put out what some may consider much more "offensive" material.

I am an Imus fan. I am hoping that, even though CBS dumped him, some other network is already knocking on his door. I was not listening last week when he uttered the words "nappy headed hos". So I cannot say if, in my opinion, it was either funny or offensive. He did accomplish getting the country to talk more about race relations. Did he go too far? Possibly. But so what. It's only words.

Lenny Bruce always said "it is the suppression of the word that gives it it's 'evil power'" and has no place in a free society.

George Carlin said, I get weary of this zero tolerance bullshit. It's annoying. To begin with, it's a fascist concept; it's what Hitler and Stalin practiced. It allows for no exceptions or compassion of any kind. But even more important, it doesn't solve anything. The use of such a slogan allows those using it to claim they're doing something about a problem when, in fact, nothing is being done at all and the problem is being ignored. It's a cosmetic solution designed to impress the simpletons. Whenever you hear the phrase 'zero tolerance', remember, someone is bullshitting you."

Monday, April 09, 2007

It's not often when someone gets one over on me but it did happen today. I returned from the better part of a week's vacation to find my desk like THIS:

The entire desk had been blanketed in confetti! Everywhere! Even my chair was covered! Hanging over it all was a sign saying "Welcome Back!" But then there was the punchline.

I knew immediately who had done it; more on that in a moment. I went about clearing off my chair and most of the desk top so I could get some semblance of work done. This took about 20 minuets. I went to put something in my file cabinet when I found that my entire cabinet had been replaced; the top drawer was filled with more confetti and a sign saying, "We Missed You!"

I can take as good as I give and I have to admire when a good one is pulled on me and this certainly was a good one. And it was all perpetrated by my friend, Crystal. This was payback for my April Fools Day attack on her desk the previous week in which I turned every photo and piece of paper on her desk upside down and rearranged some of the keys on her PC keyboard. This took planning and some effort and it certainly has to be admired for is simplicity and how the punchline of the cabinet didn't reveal itself right away.

In the words of Bugs Bunny, "Of course, you know, this means war!"