Thursday, December 30, 2004

Good Cheer

Had a great time tonight. Rufus, Ric and myself got together for a holiday drinkfest at the local Firkin pub and got a chance to shoot the sh*t about everything from Improv to Digital Cameras. Melanie also came along for the first half of our encounter, but then had to run away to work...'tis ok, it let us thespian types to chat about stuff.

The concept of the impending Improv troupe was the main reason I wanted to get together (ok ok, drinks and good friends were important too, but hey...), and I felt we came along way towards the first step...coming up with names. The name I came up with was good yet conservative. Ric, being the great ideas man that he is came up with some names which were more whimsical, yet perfect. I'm still going to be a grouch and keep things under wraps for now, at least until I can come up with different campaigns for each name - then we can all fight about which one works the best.

Geez. I'm now pretty freakin' tired, and have to work in the morning. Time to call it a day. Cheers!

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

The white trash in my blood will not keep me from becoming a doctor or a lawyer, but it will keep me from a good haircut and any sort of fashion sense.

Funny thing is, they didn't even ask if I ever lived in a trailer. I did at one point. Perhaps my score should be higher.

Stolen from Ric


I'm just catching up on all my e-mails now in my various accounts (don't ask), and have been reading the last weeks issues of The Writer's Almanac. found an interesting quote on the December 27th edition.

Charles Darwin wrote, "Probably all organic beings which have ever lived on this earth have descended from some one primordial form, into which life was first breathed. There is grandeur in this view of life that...from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved."

Most people with a serious theological background will try to explain to you that Evolutionism and Creationism are total opposites. But if you read his quote, what better concept of God creating life could you ever read? "...into which life was first breathed..." What a beautiful statement that is.

It makes me wonder about how closeminded some people can truly be.

Give If You Can

There are so many people writing about the horrible disaster that befell the countries surrounding the Indian Ocean. I have commented on other peoples blogs, and feel that's been my bit. I choose not to write about it any further, because no words would suffice to console the hearts of the survivors for their losses.

All I will say, is please give generously if you can. Contact your local Red Cross and donate what you can.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Happy Birthday Stan!

From The Writer's Almanac:

It's the birthday of comic book writer Stan Lee, (books by this author) born Stanley Martin Lieber in New York City (1922). He spent most of his childhood watching Errol Flynn movies and reading boys' adventure stories. He decided to be a writer at an early age, and won a writing contest sponsored by the New York Herald Tribune three weeks in a row.

He got a job just out of high school as a gopher for a publishing company called Timley Publications, which published comic books. At first he got people coffee, swept floors, and ran errands, but eventually he began to proofread, and then write the occasional script, because he said, "I knew the difference between a declarative sentence and a baseball bat."

When he began to write scripts regularly, he chose to write under a pseudonym. He said, "I felt that those simple little comic books weren't important enough to deserve my real name. I was saving that for the Great American novel that I hoped to write one day. So I just cut my first name [Stanley] in half and called myself 'Stan Lee'."

Lee was just eighteen years old when the editor of the publishing house quit, and he got the job as head editor and writer. It was supposed to be temporary, but he wound up staying for more than thirty years.

At first, Lee wrote comic books without taking them very seriously. He said, "I was the ultimate hack. I was probably the hackiest hack that ever lived. I wrote whatever they told me to write the way they told me to write it. It didn't matter: War stories, crime, Westerns, horror, humor; I wrote everything."

But in the 1960's, Stan Lee began to regret all the time he'd spent writing mindless entertainment, stories with hackneyed plots and bad dialogue. At parties, he was embarrassed to admit that he wrote for comic books. He told his wife that he was fed up and he was going to quit. She suggested that if he had nothing to lose, he should try creating a comic book he could be proud of, since it wouldn't matter if he got fired anyway.

He agreed, and decided that the most important thing lacking from comic books was complex characters. All the good guys were entirely good, and the bad guys entirely evil. Stan Lee said, "[I decided to create] the kind of characters I could personally relate to. They'd be flesh and blood...they'd be fallible and feisty, and—most important of all—inside their colorful, costumed booties they'd still have feet of clay."

Instead of creating just one new comic book series, Lee created more than half a dozen, including The Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk, the X-Men, Thor, Daredevil, and Dr. Strange. But his most successful character of all was The Amazing Spiderman, about an awkward teenager named Peter Parker who develops superpowers after being bitten by a radioactive spider. He was the first superhero to be filled with self-doubt, the first superhero to struggle with whether he wanted to be a superhero. Stan Lee's boss hated the idea, but the first issue featuring Spiderman sold every copy that was printed, and Spiderman went on to become one of the most popular superheroes ever invented.

Stan Lee said, "You ask the audience to suspend disbelief and accept that some idiot can climb on walls, but [then] you ask: What would life be like in the real world if there were such a character? Would he still have to worry about dandruff, about acne, about getting girlfriends, about keeping a job?"

I've always been a big Spider Man fan. Not just the movies and the old cartoons, but the comics as well. I haven't collected in quite a few years, but I still have many comics squirelled away, fighting Melanie on a regular basis to make sure she doesn't throw them out or give them away - because for some reason most females don't seem to understand the value in comic books. Spider Man appealed to me as he was the flawed superhero - one who was made to feel somewhat alone - exactly how I felt so many years ago....

Looking forward

In my last couple of days off, I've had the opportunity to see many movie trailers and book reports, and I have my current list of what I'm looking forwards to the most in 2005 on an entertainment front. (Don't ask me to compare any of these to the impending birth of my child, that won't warrant a response.)

  1. Sin City - (Movie) - April 2005

  2. Harry Potter & The Goblet Of Fire - (Movie) - November 2005

  3. Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince - (Book) - July 2005

  4. Batman Begins - (Movie) - June 2005

  5. The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy (Movie) - May 2005

  6. Star Wars III (Movie) - May 2005

  7. 24 (TV Series) - January 2005

  8. White Noise - (Movie) - January 2005 (two weeks!)

  9. The Lion, The With & The Wardrobe (Movie) - late 2005

  10. The Ring 2 - (Movie) - March 2005

Monday, December 27, 2004


Since starting to take the Second City courses, I have been so inspired to work towards the creation of a new Improv troupe. Now, I've had obsessions before, but something about this particular concept just pulls at me on a daily basis. Tonight I began my own part of the process. I created a name and a business card.

I'm going to be a tease and not provide that name yet. I have sent the info to a select group and am waiting on some feedback/criticisms/blows to the head from them before I move any further.

I once blew my chance to be part of what is now a fairly successful Improv troupe in the GTA. The director of that group and myself were fellow actors in a show in Newmarket, and he asked me to co-start the group. I at that time was reluctant to think this woud be viable and blew him off. Regretful decision.

This is my time to redeem that mistake. A lot of work is ahead, and I look forward to it. Hopefully I'll have some exciting news to share soon.

Friday, December 24, 2004

A Merry Christmas To All!

I wanted to draft a long e-mail to all of my friends and acquaintances this afternoon, but then my e-mail program broke in the most horrible way, and I was only able to fix it and retrieve all my messages a couple minutes ago. Now I'm too tired to think up anything too whitty and thought provoking. So, I'll spend my last bit of energy before Christmas and write here.

This has been a good year for me, and I have much to be thankful for. Of course, my marriage and the impending birth of our child has been the largest news of the year, but I have many other things to be thankful for. Starring in one production, having a pivotal role in a second, and then being cast to star in a third has been great, plus all of the commercials and rock videos and short films I have shot this year. With the acting industry in Ontario being in such a shambles I've done alright. Nothing too exciting yet, but I've had a lot of fun and that's really what matters in the end.

I have a new job to be thankful for. It's not quite what I expected and I don't love it...but it is acceptable for the time being. I do have a good team to work with, with a boss I like, so many of you would agree I should count my lucky stars for that.

My artwork fell away this year. I created four posters for theatre productions, but that's really it. I think it's due to I reached a threshold with what I know, and hate just plunking out the same old stuff. I need to learn some more techniques that will facinate me enough to get back into the groove. I'm thankful for the fact I have the ability to teach myself these things. I'll be even more thankful if I find the time to do it.

I'm thankful for the lovely martini set I just received for Christmas (Melanie's family are German, and they celebrate on Christmas Eve). I look forward to mixing drinks and kicking back with my friends, who I am extremely thankful to have in my life. Diane, Ric, Andrea, Ted, Greg, Joe, Quin-Chi just to name a few. Hope you all have a great Christmas!

That goes for you all. Please have a great day! I'll be back on the 26th to write some more. Cheers!

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Another Onion Flavoured Gift

From The Onion

Olive? Who's Olive?

You Are "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer"

Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer
Had a very shiny nose.
And if you ever saw him,
You would even say it glows.

For you, Christmas is a mix of tradition and fun.
You're not above strapping on a red blinking nose for a laugh.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

ahem..uh huh. And I'm sticking to that story...

You Were Nice This Year!

You're an uber-perfect person who is on the top of Santa's list.
You probably didn't even *think* any naughty thoughts this year.
Unless you're a Mormon, you've probably been a little too good.
Is that extra candy cane worth being a sweetheart for 365 days straight?


You Are Socks!

Cozy and warm... but easily lost.
You make a good puppet.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Thank you, Roger Karshner

As some of you know, I accepted the lead role in Theatre On Main's upcoming presentation of The Man With The Plastic Sandwich a little while ago, and now tonight I have my first readthrough. So, I said to myself - "Self, you should actually start reading that script a bit have 111E+52 lines to memorize so it's time to crack down." So, not wanting to neglect my own wishes, I picked up the script at lunch today and gave it a thorough examining. This time I picked up a bit more than my initial reading. I discovered where the title comes from (and I'm not telling!!! nyah nyah!), and really started to connect not just with my character, Walter, but with the three other characters in the show, Ellie, Haley and Lenore.

This show is hilarious. Hands down some of the best dialogue I've ever read or performed. But, like 'The Affections Of May', there is a real heart to this show that if done right (and it will, dammit!!!!!!) will draw tears like a late evening showing of Old Yeller.

This show is not new. It was written in 1978 by Roger Karshner, so some references are slightly dated. One of the costume choices scare me a bit (picture Herb Tarlick if you dare), but I guess I've had worse. Even if the director (My friend and the star of "The Affections of May", Colleen Sims) does decide to modernize the show by changing some references, I don't see the actual spirit of the show being jeopardized.

The pain my character is going through reminds me so much of what has happened to me and to friends of mine in the past and even in the now. The concept of losing your job and your place in the status quo, and feeling so lost and helpless fits this time period just as much as it did thirty years ago. I look forward to this show in so many ways, not the least of which is presenting it for my friends and family. I've said it before for previous performances, but this one is going to be my crowning achievement. I just know it.

UPDATE: 10:01pm

Just got back from the rehearsal. The cast is great. Erin and Marianne (who play Ellie and Lenore respectfully) are two actresses that I have previously worked with, and Bruce, who plays Haley has got a great sense of humour and presence that is going to be fun. Also, we all live fairly close together so we can get together for line readings without anybody having to drive forever to get to where they need to go. I am really looking forward to this show starting. Two weeks from now we begin rehearsals...woohoo!

We also discussed the time period, and collectively agreed that it should stay in the past. So, 1976 it is.

I also discovered there was an extra week. The original pamphlet I picked up at the theatre stated the show opened on February 24 and ran two weeks. It really opens on February 17, and runs three weeks. A nine show run is going to feel more fulfilling in comparison to the effort we put into it.

Friday, December 17, 2004 Connect or Not to Connect

Ever since the service reared its head a few years ago, I have had as much of my profile online as a free service would let me. I really don't get a lot from it, though have had at least one person from my past contact me using its Gold Membership.

Today while dreaming of drinking the nice bottle of Citra Sangiovese Terre Di Chieti Red Wine that I was given at our Departmental Christmas Lunch, I was browsing through the Classmates databases from the schools I attended and came across my ex-girlfriend from high school whom I had not really dispatched our relationship in a very positive way. My misbegotten arrogance got the best of me at the time, and I broke it off with her in a very regretful manner, mostly because she was fighting so hard to keep the relationship together which I found to be smothering. But another, much sillier reason for me is I had a taste of "popularity" for the first time in high school and became quite drunk with it. I thought I was some kind of Superfly all of a sudden and that all kinds of girls were clambering for my attention.

Yup, that's the bullshit delusional world I was in at the time.

Now that I have a way to reconnect to her, I'm debating as to whether I should get a Gold Membership so I could send her a note or not. For my own piece of mind, it would make me feel better to reach out to her and just say that I'm sorry for being such a dick...but I have to consider whether she would welcome such a thing being passed to her. Ah...much to decide.

Think I'm going to go home, and not drink this wine. Think I'll crack some ice that I just asked Melanie to make, pour myself a nice glass of Teacher's Highland Cream Scotch and contemplate the issue for a bit. Even if I don't make a decision tonight, at least I'll have enjoyed my Scotch!

Any takers on this issue? (not the Scotch bit, the other issue)

Slap Happy

I just got back from an eventful night. My friend Diane and I went to an improv night at Bad Dog Theatre, where we were thoroughly entertained by the headliners Slappy Happy Improvisational Theatre Company along with their special guests Tontos Nephews. Kerry Griffen of Slap Happy just happens to be our current instructor at Second City, so we thought it prudent that we not only support him, but make sure he really knows what he's talking about (just kidding Kerry if you read this!). He proved himself quite did the rest of the performers. By the intermission I was so inspired to set the foundations of my own troupe so I can grace the same stage with these may just happen pretty soon, or at least within the year. Maybe a specific Newmarket/Aurora team. I have three people already...I need a forth (Ric?).

Bad Dog Theatre is quite a different venue than the Second City mainstage. It is very small and intimate, so you are made to feel that much closer to the entertainers. Really close in fact as the front row, which we grabbed quickly, was only 4 feet from the stage. It also gives the feel of a "working mans" theatre. The set dressing is really ratty, and the stage is built from a bunch of risers that have obviously had many a set of feet pounding upon them over the years. None of this turned me off, because it actually fit quite well with the type of theatre we were seeing. Improv is normally quite quick and dirty...why can't the theatre be too?

The only unfortunate event of the night was on the way home. I dropped Diane off at her car at Woodbine and 7...but it was quite dead. Sounds like her starter motor was toast. So, after scratching my head for a few minutes I told Diane to call CAA and within 20 minutes we had a friendly tow-truck to drive her car home. So, I drove her home and then gladly headed back home in a rush (I really had to pee!!!) and here we are.

Adventures are a consistancy. It's just good to have good friends to share them with. I'm sure Diane feels the same.

Thursday, December 16, 2004


Your Christmas is Most Like: A Very Brady Christmas

For you, it's all about sharing times with family.
Even if you all get a bit cheesy at times.

{ACK!} Kill me, Quick!!!! The ghosts of bad nostalgia television are possessing me!!! There is no cure!!! {ACK!}

Sunday, December 12, 2004

ahem...La la la la...

Your Dominant Intelligence is Musical Intelligence

Every part of your life has a beat, and you're often tapping your fingers or toes.
You enjoy sounds of all types, but you also find sound can distract you at the wrong time.
You are probably a gifted musician of some sort - even if you haven't realized it.
Also a music lover, you tend to appreciate artists of all kinds.

You would make a great musician, disc jockey, singer, or composer.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Bring on the good news for once.

Does it strike anybody as sad when CNews, the parent company of The Toronto Sun, listed the following story as Weird News?

Debbie Peliti, an unemployed mother of six, found approximately $40,000 in a clear plastic bag literally lying on the street at Kingston Blvd and McCowan Rd. According to her, she didn't even think for a second of keeping the money, though obviously she could have used it. Instead, she followed her upbringing of honesty and respect for others, and turned the money into the local Toronto Dominion Bank, who eventually rewarded her with $2000.

Why exactly is this Weird News? Is it because there is a positive message being portrayed here, and the news media is slightly confused on how to deal with it? In these times of turmoil, with the Iraq War and Government Incompetance and really crappy television, there should be an outlet to show all the good news that occurs on a daily basis, but is generally hidden from the public because nobody can profit from it.

I have friends who are Manic Depressive, and I've seen an entire generation get more and more depressed every year because they feel that the world is for the most part just a great pile of crap. I feel this is largely due to just how much Bad News gets thrown at us from our televisions and newspapers and the radio. My wife won't even watch the news because of this's too depressing for her.

I applaud Ms. Peliti for her honesty, but am ashamed by how the media outlets have tried to work this into an entirely different feel. Instead of discussing how good her act was, and how society in general should follow her example, they do surveys on whether she should have kept the money and how chintzy the bank was to ONLY give her $2000. Last survey I heard had 2/3's keeping the cash. I changed the channel.

I mean, c' makes you want to throw up your hands, give up on society and move into a luddite commune.

Monday, December 06, 2004

A New Aquatic Habitat

A New Aquatic Habitat Posted by HelloHere's a shot of the new 29 gallon fish tank that I picked up to replace both my hex tank and my little 5 gallon. The reason I eliminated the hex was was we have been given new cabinets for our living room, and there just wasn't any more room for the tank. Because it used a powerhead and undergravel filter, it was also slightly more challenging for me to clean on a consistant basis...I would have to vacuum it very often, and because when on a stand it was almost as tall as I was I would have to hold the gravity vacuum at a weird angle which bothered my shoulder to no length.

Melanie originally wanted me to replace the 80 gallon tank I have along with the 35, but unless I could find somebody to take the 40 or so Texas Ciclids that roam that tank I was unwilling to minimize the amount of tank space that I talked into her the idea of replacing the 5 gallon in the bedroom with this tank, and she went along with it. Now that it is all set up with a cool backing (not shown in the picture) she's really happy with this choice.

In the tank I have the following range of creatures:

1 Placo (the one of the lower right corner (from the hex tank)
2 Orange Algae Eaters (from the 5 gallon)
2 3" Gourami's (new)
7 Fancy Guppies of multiple colours (new)
7 Blueberry Tetras (all but 1 is new)
5 Neon Tetras (new)
1 Scissortail Raspora (from the 5 gallon and my oldest fish)
3 Dwarf Frogs (new - and really cool!)

I find the Placo knocks plants and other items askew quite often, that's why you can see some floating objects at the top of the tank. I need to weigh them down a bit more so they stay put, or may pick up some different kinds of plastic plants with rock bottoms. I'll try different combinations as long as budget allows.

That's the cool thing about fish tanks. If you have the money...the sky is the limit as to what you can do.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Keepin' It Together

Bloody hell...having some serious problems keeping my eyes open over the last few hours. For two days now I've been in all day training for some software and methodology training at work. Now, I have been an advocate of extra training over the last while, however something just seems wrong to leave your house in the dark, sit and watch somebody drone on about technology for 8 hours and then leave for home in the dark.

Tonight I need to recharge my batteries quick as I have a Christmas Party to stop at for awhile. My agent, Sam, is throwing her party at the L'Arte Bar & Grille down on Dundas St W at 8pm. I was originally thinking of sitting here for awhile and write like a good little boy before heading down, but then my brain realized that I'll be asleep and drooling on my keyboard within 30 minutes if I don't start moving. I'll head down to Bloor St...find a good parking spot, do some shopping and use the streetcar. Hopefully I'll have something interesting to write about tomorrow.


Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Making excuses

My writing has been extremely limited lately due to mass exhaustion. I've been horribly busy with work so have not been posting much from there, and I find that when I get home I'm so tired that I just need to flake out on the couch. Even now, my bed is crying out to me but I thought it prudent that I force myself to post something so that people know I'm alive.

I'm preparing myself for some new adventures in writing for the next spurt of energy that I encounter. On my last trip to Theatrebooks, I picked up a couple items that sounded interesting. One was a book by Marsh Cassady called The Art of Story Telling, which is designed for stage work but which will also hopefully inspire some new writing. Also, just for fun, I picked up a cute novelty item called "The Writer's Block", which is literally that...a big block of pages with 786 different ideas on how to bypass that nasty scenarios of wanting to write but having a completely blank mind on where to start. Everything from pictures to suggestions like "Write in the nude" are present, and I may give it a swing (I promise I won't share with the world if I really did write naked - unless you really wanted to know or something... :) ).

December is going to be a busy month. I expect that I will begin rehearsals for my next show, The Man With The Plastic Sandwich in the middle of the month, and I also expect that I will be working some longer hours at work while we prepare for our first project UAT start date in January. I will endevour to get some interesting stuff in here at least three times a week though. No promises...I won't sign a blood pact or anything - but for my own well-being I'd like to thump some ideas out, and I value the opinions of those who do take the time to read my blog regularly (not many of you yet, but that's ok).

Out for now...Cheers!