Saturday, February 27, 2010

Thrill Of Recidivism

After a period of pursuing other recreational endeavors, I got back to watching movies from the ever growing pile which has accumulated during that time. With a burgeoning real life in the works, there seems to be less and less time for my movie and tv watching, my reading and so forth. Reviews have proved unpopular with my most vocal readers, but suffice it to say that 'Bright Star' and 'Julie and Julia' were each fairly enjoyable.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Artifact From An Improv Show

An amazing guy drew the below sketch of me during the show tonight (as he did for others, I gather). I didn't necessarily feel great about my performance, but this really felt nice to get, although I suppose it's not an incredibly flattering likeness. It feels good that someone cared to do it.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Where was I?

As I noted in two exceedingly brief posts a number of days ago, there has been for me a bit of duress tied to my phone's effective demise (in that failure of the tracking ball rendered the phone mostly non-functional). For several days, my ability to communicate was badly hampered as I valiantly fought to save the trusty device which had served me so well since the days of my residency in Highland Park. Why did I do this? Not sentimentality, though the way I've spoken about it might lead you to think that.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

More Fallow

A raucous night out and more phone exploration, coupled with necessity of preparations for tomorrow's speech, oblige me to beg off for another day. A reckoning of my recent activities is coming, though!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My New Baby

I have acquired a new cell phone. It is likely that I will be using it heavily for the next two years at the very least. The circumstances making it necessary at this time have in a sense precluded me from writing, as is at the moment my exhaustive exploration of the phone's capacity. I'll have a complete report shortly.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Our Beloved Technology

It used to be the case that I knew a few phone numbers by heart. It was really only the most important ones which I called on a regular basis. Phones didn't hold numbers apart from the ones began to include a speed dial function, and I don't recall that we ever made use of such a thing in my household. There were, therefore, a few that I had memorized. The rest lay written by me in pencil and various hues of ink in a little brown book which remained at home to be retrieved when needed. This was not terribly often, as I was then no more fond of frequent phone conversations than I am now.

I feel a kind of nostalgia ( a word with an interesting lineage) for the phone which did nothing but make calls, and which in itself had no capacity to receive "voice mails". We had an answering machine which recorded messages on cassette tapes. I loved the little lighted numbers on the phone, and the noise they made. One can have that noise now, but it's an affectation, like a computer screen saver. I was just thinking about how you can't hear dial tone anymore. I miss that.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Games

For many people, including a great deal of those I know, the appeal of athletics (either the playing or watching thereof) is elusive. I don't claim to have any conclusive findings on why that is, but I do have some thoughts on the matter. Now, this does not regard those who enjoy some athletic disciplines but not others- who is not to be counted in that number? What interests me enough to attempt an understanding of is that person who either actively dislikes athletics or is apathetic towards them.

My ruminations first went towards youth and one's time in educational institutions. One might turn against sports or fail to be drawn into them due to the manner in which they were raised. If one is taught disinterest or dislike of the thing by the word or deed of their parents, I can imagine that attitude remaining for life. For me my fervent passions in this area of interest first sprung from my parents.

Heavy Is The Head That Wears One Of The Crowns

When one first enters into some organization or other entity, the first impulse is to appreciate it as it is. The second impulse, upon seeing its flaws, is to start pointing them out and saying someone should fix them. Some are content to just lob bricks in that manner, without taking the responsibility themselves. Why take that risk, particularly if you're in a lucrative and prominent position already (like tv and radio personalities in the realm of politics)? It's easier and more profitable to be irresponsible and, by turns, unkind and funny.

Slumming It In Improv

With the new year, there has been much tumult in my beloved community of improv comedy. I had been in it not much more than a year, and there had been plenty of changes during that time, but there seem to have been about as many more during the last month and a half. Teachers have been transferred, some classes added, and others moved in time and location. I think that it is in the service of good ultimately, though discomfort in the short term is unpleasant.

It's a little like my grandfather (a painter, tenured college professor and administrator) said in a local radio interview once about the nature of an education in the arts. As a degree is unnecessary to be an artist, the way to go is to seek out one's education from all manner of sources, many of which may involve no formal teacher or classroom at all. That's obviously not the way to go in order to practice medicine.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

No Contest

Most of the time, a Toastmaster's campaign to improve at public speaking keeps them within the confines of their own club. Indeed, one could remain in that realm throughout their time in the organization. To do so, however, would be to remain in a comfort zone where the last measure of progress can never happen. That's partly why I personally participate in every speaking contest that I can with gusto. The way it works is that each club tends hold its own contest to select contestants who will advance to the next level. From there, contestants are winnowed down as the contest progresses through several more rounds, culminating in a climactic round.

In my first contest, it went only as far as the Division level, which is not big enough that you end up sleeping in a hotel bed. It was a relatively modest competition containing an impromptu speaking contest as well as one for "Tall Tales". In that one, I won at the club level, but lost at the second round. I like to think that I had a fairly decent showing for my first try, and that I learned quite a bit. The final round, held at the Jon Lovitz Comedy Club in Universal City, was quite an experience, as is any event that you walk away from with a pineapple.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Best Things

When something is consistently free, people are said to respect it too little to appreciate it. If it's free, the reasoning goes, it must not be good enough to charge for. Therefore, why should one want it and get it? I don't think this always holds true, but often does (at least to some extent). Of course, people do value things for which they must pay, so long as the thing proves to be worth it.

Then there are the things which ordinarily cost something, are worth it, and on some rare and special occasion are made available for free. This is where one might expect to see the best and worst in humanity. A well known national diner chain famous for their breakfast offerings periodically makes their signature meal available for free periodically. Valued at something in the area of six dollars, this is something seemingly prone to provoking public disturbances.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The "Big Game".

Right on the heels of my Rocky Horror Picture Show exploits was the Super Bowl. It's identified in some advertising as "The Big Game" due to the litigious nature of the NFL, and this year pitted the New Orleans Saints against the Indianapolis Colts. The game was a good one; perhaps it wasn't one of the very best in history, but was worthy of being associated with the best in recent years. My Super Bowl experience was colored by the company I kept as I watched it: one more or less indifferent person from Louisiana and about fifteen rabid Hoosiers.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Rocky Horror Picture Show

For a long time, I have been a fan of the true cult classic film "Rocky Horror Picture Show". There was, when I was first of the appropriate age, no place to see the show in the way that one should: at a midnight theatrical screening with all the other fans and a live cast. At one time, one of Phoenix's theaters did run the film (and another may be showing it now, for all I know), but it ended some years ago. In Chicago, I believe it was running, but I did not seek it out and seemed to have no one to go with anyway. Finally, after having been in LA nearly three years, the opportunity arose and the time was right.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

My Thursday

Depending on public transportation leaves one vulnerable to periods of time during which free movement is not terribly realistic. I prefer not to submit to that, and so go out and about in the evening with the expectation that I'll figure something out on the way back. Even not being able to get back until morning is a sacrifice I'm prepared to make provided that it doesn't adversely impact the following day. Thursday was one of those nights when the trip home looked to be akin to the travails of Odysseus.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

My Itinerant Tribe

I was saying in regards to my activities yesterday (a jam-packed day which left no time or energy to write), that it seems like when you're young, it often happens that one friend or another is moving and needs help. The good part of that is that in one's 20s, there are relatively few possessions to uproot and transfer to the new place. It's even easier during college. I remember once moving from one dorm to another a few blocks away. I moved everything by myself in a cart with two or three trips. It took less time than I spent yesterday.

When one gets older, however, it seems to me that the moves among one's friends, family and acquaintances grow less frequent but more difficult. Happily, I'm still in that good "young moving" area. It's kind of a pleasant and festive vibe, and the camaraderie together with soda and two pizzas are compensation enough.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Woe Of Cooking

I find the exquisite art of preparing food to be most interesting. I take pains to make clear that it's not because I'm the least bit good at it; I enjoy the consumption of the result as much as anyone, but when it comes to the regrettably necessary preliminary step of making the meal, I am stimulated precisely because I'm exceptionally poor at it.

 Many of my failed meals are due to an inability to keep my mind and attention on the task at hand. Many pots of water have evaporated into the air atop an abandoned stove on my watch. As many pots containing both water and rice have met a grisly and untimely end in the same fashion.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Humbling Times and the Salve

This week, we got back to the Armando style of long form improvisation in class. It depends upon a monologist driving and inspiring the scenes. It's a fun and distinct form, and yet does not seem to have in it anything to be wary of when one returns to it after a break. It was surprising, then, that most of us fell victim to it in some fashion. Sometimes the fundamentals fall by the wayside as one tries to master the larger and more lofty elements. Perhaps that's it, or perhaps improv is not like a bicycle. In any case, it was as fun as ever regardless of momentarily prominent shortcomings.

Class was followed by another little party. They're multiplying, and may soon crowd out those endeavors that pay for them. It was fun anyway. My attempts at Pictionary drawings seem to be more fun than the competition itself. The night was capped by a triumphant viewing of a tv show on which a comrade had a silent but winning appearance. Good night.