Thursday, May 14, 2009

My Life: May 5-13

I know I said every three days I’d update, but there’s no way that that was going to happen since I last wrote. Too much going on, as you’ll soon see. And now, the updates:


Last Tuesday and Wednesday night I was asked to help cast Off Main Street Players’ children’s production of Charlotte’s Web since the two main people involved, Katrina and Lynne, had kids auditioning. I agreed, thinking it would be fun to revisit a show I once did (for The Artist’s Studio in 2004). I also thought it would be a challenge to cast a show knowing very few of the people auditioning. Could I do it based on talent alone? I was interested to see how it would go.

And then 80 kids showed up. For 30 roles.

Thank God they took headshots of everyone as they walked through the door, because I would have been lost if I had had to rely on my memory alone. It was daunting, to say the least. Katrina and I cast the show and then looked at the 40+ audition sheets of kids who would be turned down…and then we decided to do two full casts, meaning we had to start from scratch again. I was there until 2:30 in the morning on Wednesday (Thursday?) trying to figure out who would make a good Fern, Wilbur, Charlotte, fair judge, etc. We managed to put it all together well, I think.


And then I received a phone call. Since we had to split the casts, the show’s original assistant director was promoted to one of the director slots. (She’s now directing the “chickens” cast. Katrina, the show’s original sole director, is herding the “cows” cast.) I was then asked to assistant direct the show, because both of them are new directors and want my help with blocking, character, etc. At least that’s what they told me. I have some pretty major conflicts during their rehearsal process but they were fine with that. So now I’ll be assisting with 80 kids over the next six weeks. I’m reluctant, but I think it’ll work out fine. Then again, that’s a lot of noise I’m going to have to deal with.


Just to clarify that we’re not mocking kids by calling them “cows”: A lot of the kids, for whatever reason, specified on their audition form that they wanted to play a cow. Charlotte’s Web does not have a cow in it. I have no idea, either.


Jeff A. and I recorded our second episode of The Cinema Show, our podcast about movies, last Thursday night. It ran longer that the first one, so for all you people who thought we were too long-winded the first time, you better prepare yourselves now. We covered several topics, but the show was mainly a run-down of our favorite films of the 90s. It’s being mixed now and should be up within a week.


Friday night I saw my friend Samantha K. perform in her final high school Comedy Sportz competition. Added bonus: It was senior night, which really equated to Sam Night since she was the only senior on their team. Her team got her a bizarre Lion King book as well as Transformers stuff – Samantha is the world’s foremost female Transformers expert – during a pre-show ceremony. The match itself was pretty damn hilarious. A lot of talent was up there on that stage.

Everytime I see an improv performance I have to resist the urge to climb up there and start performing with them. Someday I’ll pursue improv classes. Someday.


Sunday was Mother’s Day, so, as any good son would do, I headed to my parent’s house to spend the day with my mother. A lot of Wii was played, a lot of homemade macaroni and cheese was eaten, and a lot of laughs were had. The whole fam damnily was there since Val and co. are now Hoosiers again. I’m pretty sure Mom enjoyed her day. The rest of us did.


I bought a new lawn mower Friday afternoon. After some initial trouble getting it into my car – it was a huge box for a tiny Jetta – I got it home, hooked it up and started mowing. Well, kind of. It’s an electric mower, the second one like that I have owned. The first one had a rechargeable battery. This one…doesn’t. I assumed it was a rechargeable so, when I went to mow the lawn, the only extension cord I could use was a small 20 footer. Only the portions around outside outlets are mowed right now, but the plan is to stop by Target before the weekend and pick up a longer one so I can finish the job.

The mower? It’s kick ass. Easily the best mower I’ve ever had. Now I just have to avoid electrocuting myself by running over the power cord and all will be fine.


I also bought a Lightscribe DVD burner last week on a whim. Lightscribe discs allow you to create your own face art for your CDs/DVDs, burning them into the disc with a laser. Kind of hard to explain, but it’s really cool. Now I just have to figure out how to copy DVDs and we’ll be in business.


Although he was probably best known for making Burt Reynolds laugh, it’s still sad to learn of Dom Deluise’s passing last week at the age of 75. Yeah, he relied too much on lazy comedy during the last 30 years of his career, but the man gets a pass from me due to his extremely funny work in Blazing Saddles. ("Not the face!") I also remember him fondly from The End, although I haven’t seen that film in ages. I’ll mostly remember him from his Ziploc commercials from the mid-80s. “So we have to say goodbye to the summer…”+


My friend Michelle Huff – who you may remember as my wife/assistant Vanna from the year Follies was a game show – gave birth to her third child last week, a boy. Noah Thomas Huff was born on May 6 at 7:51 a.m. in Danville. Welcome to the world, Noah.


Apparently, last week President Obama ordered a hamburger at a diner during a photo op and had the audacity to ask for some dijon mustard. Sean Hannity was quick to label him an out-of-touch liberal because of his choice of condiments. I think it’s kind of nice our president likes dijon mustard. It beats having a president who enjoys, say, torturing people and starting unnecessary wars.


Former golfer David Fehrety made the following comment in an article written for D Magazine last month: "From my own experience visiting the troops in the Middle East, I can tell you this, though: despite how the conflict has been portrayed by our glorious media, if you gave any U.S. soldier a gun with two bullets in it, and he found himself in an elevator with Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Osama bin Laden, there’s a good chance that Nancy Pelosi would get shot twice, and Harry Reid and bin Laden would be strangled to death.”

He also made the following statement about his politics: “As for me, my politics are somewhere in the middle—and then way outside both wings. I believe in the death penalty, especially for pro-lifers, child molesters, those opposed to gay marriage, and for stupid dancing in the end zone. I believe in the abolition of estate taxes and the Pickens Plan. I’d lower the legal drinking age and raise the driving age to 18 nationwide, make Kinky Friedman governor of Texas, and make all schools, public and private, start earlier with one hour of physical exercise.”

He’s taken a lot of flack for these statements and has been threatened with his job because of them. A lot of talking heads have jumped on this, claiming that it’s unfair, he’s a victim, blah blah blah. (With the underlying subtext being that Pelosi, Reid and pro-lifers should be killed, of course.) They also think the left has it out for him now, that we want to see him taken down. But here’s the thing: We left-leaning people believe in free speech. The right? Not so much. For proof of that, witness what happened to the Dixie Chicks when they exercised their right to free speech. ‘Nuff said.


I saw the new Star Trek movie this week and enjoyed it. Was it the second coming of Citizen Kane, which is what word of mouth would have you believe? No, no it’s not.

It is a fun little movie that plays around with the Star Trek characters a bit, but for every moment that works (everything Simon Pegg does as Scotty) there’s an equally painful moment that doesn’t (Chekov’s Russian accent isn’t understood by the computer, oh ha ha!). The film is very time-travel heavy which, like director J.J. Abrams’ series Lost, can feel like kind of a cheat. I did like the way the time-travel angle basically rewrote the rules of the series, meaning they can take the stories any direction they want now without feeling beholden to the past chronology, but it still felt too easy. And that opening prologue with lil’ Kirk stealing a car and driving like a madman while “Sabotage” plays on the soundtrack was awful. But the effects were good and the nods to the original series were fun, so I’d recommend it. It’s not a slam dunk like The Dark Knight was, but you could do a lot worse choosing a movie to see now.


The Lost finale did not disappoint. The final moment, with a nearly-dead Juliette banging on a bomb with a rock to make it explode, the screen going white when she did, was breathtaking. Seeing her fall down a well to her death was heartbreaking, especially since she’s one of my favorite characters. And seeing Bernard and Rose – and Vincent! – again made for a nice closure for their characters.

I wasn’t that crazy about the Jacob-heavy flashbacks, mainly because they weren’t that interesting nor were they that compelling. Actually, the whole Jacob angle of the show was disappointing. You spend five years waiting to meet the guy and he’s a wimpy dude who likes to weave? They could have done better. Of course, Ben kills him before we know much about him. That whole thing felt rushed to me, although I am intrigued by whether this ghost version of Locke is good or evil. Season six will hopefully flesh that out for me.

Also, where the fuck is Claire? She wanders off into the jungle at the end of season four, leaving her baby behind, and is never heard from again? What’s up with that?

So, there’s some updates. This was quick and easy to write, so I might pursue this angle from now on. We’ll see.

*This is an Austin Powers reference. You have to do the air quote thing with your hands to make it work.

+I looked for a Youtube clip of this, but it doesn't exist. I thought Youtube had everything?

Monday, May 04, 2009

This Is (Not) The End, Beautiful Friends

Note: This is not a farewell letter, although it reads like one.

As many of you know, this blog has been both a treasure and a curse to me. I’ve had fun posting my thoughts from time-to-time on a variety of topics and it’s been nice to have my own little corner of the Internet to call my own. But it’s also been a major pain in my ass. I think I’m down to about five regular readers, and I’m sure at least three of you get frustrated with me more often than not because of my blog outages. I do try to post on a regular basis, but life always gets in the way. It’s no secret to anyone who’s read this that since 2003 I’ve become extremely busy, more than I’ve ever been in my life. Theatre, to use one example, has become like a second career to me. Who knew when I auditioned for A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum in 2004 that within a short time span I would not only be in 20 shows but would also write and direct some as well? Had you said that to me after that first audition – one I thought I bombed, by the way – I would have laughed at you.

I’ve also recently begun a podcast called The Cinema Show with my friend Jeff Adkins that we’re trying to launch. (Note: Go here to download the first episode, or go to iTunes and search for “The Cinema Show”. We should pop up immediately and you can subscribe and/or download us from there.) We’re hoping it takes off, but, in order to make sure that happens, we’ll have to spend some time getting the word out about it. In other words, less time for blogging.

Other areas of my life have taken a toll on me as well. I recently closed a show and, while looking at stills that were taken at dress rehearsal, I became sick at my appearance. (Not literally, although I did gag a bit when I saw my pale white arms in that muscle shirt. Thank God that fit the character.) I haven’t been keeping up with a regular gym schedule for a few years now and all those off-and-on workouts have allowed me to put some weight back on. And while I’m nowhere near where I was at my heaviest – believe it or not, I would have to add 40 pounds to my frame to make that happen – a lot of the work I did in ’00 has been erased. So, in an effort to get back to where I want to be and finally get rid of all my fat completely, I’m going to hit the gym more often.

Here’s another project I’m thinking about: moving. I’m seriously contemplating leaving Indiana altogether and trying my hand at living in a big city somewhere, either Los Angeles, New York or D.C. I’m currently leaning towards L.A. because I would love to get some work in the film industry. (Behind the scenes, not on camera.) Also, the weather in NYC and DC is pretty similar to the weather here, one of the main reasons I want to leave. (I’m sick and tired of long winters.) Nothing much has been done with this project yet, but it is something I’m seriously considering.

My blog has also been supplanted by both Facebook and Twitter. The benefit of those two sites is that I can post quick Status Updates, alerting people to what I’m doing or have done recently without going into lengthy detail. I do this several times a day and it’s a great and easy way to let people know what I’m up to without having to write an essay to back it up. People have a love/hate relationship with these sites and while both of them have their limitations, I think they’re both great communication tools. I love reading all my friend’s updates online. It lets me know what they’re doing without the hassles of e-mail or calling them on the phone.

There’s also the matter of my new Wii. Post a blog update or knock over some virtual blocks? It’s a tough decision, and the latter usually wins.

So, as you can see, my life is kind of like my plate at Thanksgiving dinner: Overflowing with various items. I’m going to keep up with the blog, but only sporadically. I’m also going to change the feel of the writing a bit. Instead of lengthy posts on a certain topic, my plan is to do one big post that basically summarizes what I’ve been up to/thinking about over the past few days. Think of it as more in-depth status updates and not a journal-like feel, which is what the site has been up until now. I’d like to do one of these updates at least every three days, but, as we all know, that’s probably too ambitious for me. We’ll see.

Waye’s World is not dead, although if these new posts don’t take off, I will probably just go ahead and kill it. I’d rather have it resting peacefully in Internet heaven than sitting there, not being updated for months at a time. I will try my best to make sure the updates happen. Promise.