Thursday, October 19, 2006


So it's been a week since I've posted a blog, and I'm saddened to report NOTHING interesting has happened. I'm in a lull. I hate that. I've got goals and aspirations I need to attain, damn it! I just feel so unenthusiastic lately. I need to pick up a bartending job a few nights a week, I think. Doing background work sucks the soul out of me. Don't get me wrong. I love hanging with my friends and all that, but it's getting me nowhere. I can't stomach being just one of the crowd in this business, and bartending will put me back in the swing of things. I've been a bit too introverted the past couple years, and it's just not me.

I tried getting in touch with an old friend from about 8 years ago, to no avail. I'm disappointed about that. Chris was the first friend I ever made in the entertainment business. When I knew him, he was breaking into stand-up comedy. We'd go to open mic night at The Stress Factory in New Brunswick on Wednesday nights. What a blast we'd have! Then afterwards we'd head over a few blocks down to this bar/tavern type place where they had 10 cent wings. OHHHHH BABY!! Fill your gut full of hot wings and a pint or two for about $10 including tip. Those were the days, I tell ya.

We met on the set of Conspiracy Theory back in 1998. Both of us being from New Jersey, we hit it off pretty well and he actually helped me out quite a bit in the beginning. He turned me on to an acting class taught by Joanna Beckson. She's taught and coached a few famous people and comes highly recommended. Her class changed my life, and, as soon as I can afford it, I'm going to get in touch with her about classes again. I'd done the first year Meisner technique and couldn't afford to go back, so I decided to move to Las Vegas and make a ton of money bartending, and then return to pursue my acting career.

Well, little did I know what hell and high water I'd need to go through just to be able to get a job out there. Between registering with the sheriff's department and the Health Department, and watching stupid assed high school type videos about the importance of washing your hands after you wipe your ass, I was $300 in the hole before I even got started. Not to mention that you have to be in the union to get a bartending job in a casino, and that there were already over 1100 union bartenders out of work before I even got there.

I probably should have looked into that before I left...

So with all that nonsense, the only job I could get was some data entry job that paid twice less than nothing. I couldn't pay the rent, so I decided I needed an education. I went to a computer technical school to scope it out, and found out the school I was interested in had a campus in my home town... *sigh*... so that was it.

"Fuck this!", I thought, "I'm going back home for an education!"

I headed back home to get an education. This also proved to be a bad decision. I settled my shit out there, and caught a plane home from Vegas roughly two weeks before September 11th, which completely fucked me up. I saw quite a few people I'd run into on a fairly regular basis who were now gone forever.

I slipped into a pretty bad depression. I still managed to graduate the computer tech school with a 4.0 gpa, because, depressed or not, I'm a smart motherfucker. Well the economy was well screwed by then with all the uncertainly, especially around here. The only jobs I could get were temporary, and even the nicest of offices were making me miserable. I was trying to get ahead in a business I never really wanted to be in, in the first place. All this bullshit to have something to fall back on when what I should have been doing was going for what I wanted and not giving myself the option to fail.

Well, the years went by and I recently came across Chris's business card in a desk drawer, and decided to look him up. Both numbers were answered by people who didn't know who he was. I can understand his "business" number, but his parent's home number was answered by strangers. I wonder what happened to him. It'd be a shame to lose touch forever. The last I spoke to him, he was planning on moving to Los Angeles with his brother and pursue his career in stand-up, and to get into writing. If only I could get in touch with his parents. I'm going to have to drive by his parents' house the next time I'm in the area, and check it out.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Amusing Anecdotes

The following are random and completely unrelated stories which, upon remembrance, have been making me chuckle all day today:

The Crazy kamikaze Dragon Fly

A few months ago, I decided to grab some Burger King for dinner. A bacon double cheese burger and onion rings are quite the fantastic meal. I'm not one for fast food, but you cannot deny the occasional orgasmic bliss that is the bacon double cheese burger.

It had just rained for what couldn't be more than a minute and a half. When the midday shower passed, all that was left was a steamy, muggy, mess. Disgruntled, I get into my car and zip across town to Burger King. A rather groovy tune is playing on the radio so I sit in the car till the end. Upon completion of said song, I get out of my car, close the door, and
WHAM! I am struck crossways in the right cheek by a kamikaze dragon fly... WTF!... He then buzzes around me and the car in a curious manner, as if I'm the one at fault. NO SIR! You are the one with wings, my friend. Two fucking pair, I might add. It is YOU who are in the wrong. You have your choice of altitude, while I am stuck with my feet firmly on hard earth. I don't know what I'd do if I had two sets of wings, but I assure you hanging around a Burger King parking lot would not be on the list, and neither would ramming myself head-first into someone else's face, I might add.....

The Seinfeld Date

Years ago, I meet this chick while bartending and ask her out. With a smile, she agrees and we make plans to go to Chili's and then back to my place to watch a movie. Conspiracy Theory as a matter of fact... my first background gig. It was a topic of conversation and she was interested in seeing it, which is bonus points if you know what I mean. Man oh man, was I ever in for it...

I size people up by what they present to me, and being a bartender for oh so many years, one tends to hone this ability quite acutely. I'm not one to judge people on what they have or don't have, but the term "rich-bitch" didn't invent itself. Little did I know what I was in store for.

I pick her up in the upper middle class section of her town. I walk up to her door and wait in her "foyer" while she gets her coat. She comes down the stairs and I get this overwhelming feeling like I'm being set up or something. As if I was discussed with someone else and lost the argument before I'd even rung her doorbell. I think nothing of it, as I am prone to feeling insecure about my lack of money and have been my entire life, but her posturing was doing nothing but exacerbating the situation. So, as I'm escorting her to the passenger side of my car, she notices through the hatchback of my Trans Am, that I have a baseball bat.

"Umm, what's the bat for?", she asks nervously with a look on her face as if she's just said goodbye to whomever she had for the last time.

"Uhhh, baseball, why?", I asked with a "How dim is she" feeling about her inquiry

Now, in all fairness it was the middle of winter, but come on... let's not be retarded. I'm not stupid. I know I'm being pegged as some thug, or some runner for the mob or whatever media driven stereotype I'm being sized up as.

"Well why do you need a baseball bat in the middle of winter?"

"There are batting cages, ya know" I said charmingly

And, by the way, the baseball bat was in there for MONTHS. I'd thrown it in there one day and it just gradually became its place. So she just stared at me blankly as if she expected to wake up the next morning with a horse's head on her pillow. Either that, or it was the paisley Smurfs leaping from my ears. So, filled to the brim with comfort and ease, we get into my car and head over to Chili's.

We hit Chili's and take a small booth in the smoking section. Now I'm no longer a smoker, but at the time I was a two pack a dayer at least, and if you're a smoker, I'd like to take the time to tell you that she's the type that holds her cigarette between the tips of her index and middle fingers and the first knuckles. I find this to be snobbish, but human foibles aside, when a woman holds a cigarette in her hand while she's complaining, it's just obnoxious. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
The waitress comes over to take our orders. She orders "just a salad", which makes my left eyebrow raise so high, Cap'n Crunch would've been impressed. That is a pet peeve of mine. Never the less, the waitress looks at me and I tell her I want a cheeseburger, medium rare, with mushrooms with fries on the side. I find that if you don't order a burger medium rare, it tends to get dried out. Once your food is cooked, they put it under heat lamps until your waiter/waitress can be bothered to go get it, and I don't eat hamburgers too often, so when I do, I like to enjoy what I have. I'm appreciative like that.

But anyway, my date (whose name escapes me, so let's call her Bitchface) looks at me like I just farted and says, "You're ordering meat?"

At this point I've had just about enough of her. I look her in the face and reply, "You got a problem with meat?"

"Urgh... yeah! It's unhealthy", she snorts... AS SHE LIGHTS UP A CIGARETTE!!

"I don't know," I say sarcastically, "I've yet to see a cow light up a cigarette after taking out of her leather cigarette pack holder" while taking a mouthful of beer and furiously fighting the obvious fat joke. She wasn't fat, but I've yet to meet a woman who'll agree with me about their own weight.

At this point, the waitress looks at me as if to say "Good fuckin luck, pal". Meanwhile, Bitchface is looking at me as if I'm obligated to change my order. I don't fucking think so...

"Anything else?" the waitress asks uncomfortably.

"Not for me, but I'm sure I'll need another beer soon enough." I say with a smartass smirk

The waitress looks at Bitchface and gets only a disgusted head shake in reply. She walks off leaving me with my lovely date who wastes no time rattling off reason upon reason (mostly political, mind you) why it's wrong to eat meat. I sit in silence for what seems like an eternity, nodding my head in, what seems to her to be, agreement. She finally finishes her rant and I say nothing... not a word

Being the type of person that she is, she finally snaps and says, "Well?"

I look her dead in the face and say, "I don't care" LOL

Well I thought she was going to catch a stroke right there in the middle of Chili's. Shortly after this, the waitress comes back with our orders and must have noticed a victorious look on my face, because she gave me what appeared to be an extra happy smile, not to mention it looked like I got more fries than I was supposed to... Let's hear it for passive aggressiveness, right? And whether it was because she was rooting for me inside her head, or if she was having a scream with the rest of the employees over this entire situation, I'll never know. But I don't care. You can't embarrass me. Had I barged in on a secret conversation about my table and the lunacy I was subjected to, I'd have laughed, too.

We finish our meal, I pay the bill, and we leave. Needless to say we don't go back to my apartment. I drive her miserable ass home at damn near the speed of light, and don't even waste my time walking her to the door. She says goodbye and, in an act of blatant transparency, thanks me for dinner. "Ah-huh" I mutter, and she closes the door behind her as she walks back towards her house. I tear off into the night, leaving her and my disgust in the distance, never hearing from her again.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Radio Man... FUCK YOU!!

So, Friday night, I'm watching the Yankee game (don't get me started) and I get a phone call from Amerifilms, at roughly 9pm, asking me if I can be in Manhattan by 1am for the new Will Smith movie 'I Am Legend'. She tells me she doesn't need me, just my car. They pay you for the car, and to have it washed, as they had to spray it down with some effects dust to make it look as if the car had been sitting on the street abandoned for over 5 years. Sure! Sweet!! I, of course, have to be there in case the car needs to me moved or whatever, not to mention I trust no one with my car, but that's' fine. They pay you for your time. I've stated before that I'm not into background work at all, but this was good for some pretty decent scratch. Just about triple what I'd get for walking back and forth over the same 12 square feet of movie set for 8-10 hours, not to mention I can wear whatever the hell I want.

All in all I ended up being on location for over 17 hours. It sounds a lot worse that it was. I actually had a great time, and got to see some friends I haven't seen all summer. It's been really slow. But on the upside, I didn't have to bring anything for wardrobe. Just me, the car, a book, and my pillow. I ended up sleeping in the car. And, by the way, if you ever have the opportunity to sleep in the driver's seat of a Hyundai Sonata, feel free to pass it up. You're not missing anything... Really... Honest Injun

So there I sat all night in my car waiting for the next morning. I slept a bit, and then I finally got up and got a bagel and a soda from the local bodega around 7:30-8am, and wandered a bit.... Talked to Mom on my cell for a short while, and then I met up with my friend Theresa who was also working the movie. I had talked to her on the phone earlier that night, but the production company had the cars split into two groups. I was over by Grand Central Station, and she was further west. She pulls up to the corner and I hop in. As luck would have it, there was a space open in front of my car, so I directed her there. We hung out for the majority of the day, mainly clowning with the rest of our friends, and bullshitting about the business. Good times...

Later on in the day, my friend Sam says, "Hey, Radio Man is here. I just saw him around the corner by Will Smith's trailer".

"Awesome", I said looking over at Theresa, "We'll have to go check it out"

Now, Radio Man is a bit of a New York celebrity amongst the TV/film industry, but more importantly, a bit of an eccentric. I've run into him on different sets here and there. Most recently on a Law & Order: Criminal Intent set. He's always struck me as a little "off", if you know what I mean. Not that it makes any difference, as there is no shortage of eccentricities in Manhattan, but that's the impression he gives me. He's met quite a few famous people though, and has had some lines, and even has his own web page here. In fact, rumor has it that Oprah Winfrey gave him a new bike. Which is pretty sweet, but I digress...

We head out around the corner towards craft services, and end up walking past him as he sat there on the ground with his portable radio around his neck as always. I looked at him and said "Hey, Radio Man... Howya doin?", to which he replied, "Go Fuck Yourself!!"... HA!!

Tell me that's not the greatest thing I've experienced in a month!!!

Theresa, who is walking next to me, pauses a second, then looks me dead in the face with her mouth literally gaped open, but by this time, my face is undoubtedly purple from an explosion of unbridled hysteria. She said, with a dumbfounded look on her face, "Did he just say that?"

"Oh yeah!!", I snorted, "You heard him right!"

So I'm laughing all the way to the corner, across Park Avenue, and into the Starbucks on the corner of 39th Street, and she's just going on and on about how unbelievable this whole thing is... I love my friends

We sat outside Starbucks on the corner bullshitting with some different friends, all of which insisted on hearing the story. We laughed and bullshitted some more about the business, and the union, and our strategies to success and whatnot, when all of a sudden Theresa says, "Hey, there goes radio man peddling away" as I watch him ride down 39th Street.

"Hey Radio Man!!!", I scream across all of New York.

"FUCK YOU!!" his voice echoed between the buildings, as we all fell over ourselves in hysterics. I love New York.

Good times... Good times!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Play Ball!

It's baseball playoff time. This is my time of year. It's a good year to be a Yankee fan, even though we lost today. Sometimes sports officials become in dire need of shock therapy, especially baseball umpires, and even though the strike zone changed like the integrity of a soap bubble on a windy day, it's no excuse for today's loss. A-Rod had a tremendous opportunity to earn his keep, but failed... AGAIN. I had a feeling we were going to lose after the game got rained out last night. Just one of those feelings, I guess. We never play well in unscheduled day games. It just throws off the whole rhythm. It happens. No biggie. We're not getting knocked out by Detroit. Never the less, when you're the highest paid player in the history of organized sports, you come through in the clutch when the bases are loaded... PERIOD... No excuses.

I'm glad we got Johnny Damon. He's the best addition we've made since Gary Sheffield. Thankfully Hideki Matsui is back to playing regularly. He really broke his wrist badly back in May. You could see on the footage how abrupt it was. They had pins in his wrist and all. He broke it in May but didn't come back till the last week in September and he's a professional athlete. I broke my wrist when I was a kid and I was throwing baseballs in under 6 weeks, and I was the fat kid. Still, it didn't look as bad as when Jeter dislocated his shoulder back in 2003. That was just flat out ugly. He turned purple...

Which brings me to the subject most pressing in my mind. I really hate the Fox network. Between their blatant news bias, their irresponsible local news coverage, and their hiring of ignorant baseball announcers, it really makes me sick. Their national news channel is nothing but republican propaganda, and their local news in the NYC metropolitan area is a tabloid show at best. They've taken every last shred of journalistic integrity and completely wiped their asses with it. But that doesn't bother me as much as it probably should. I just find my news elsewhere.

What really rubs my rhubarb is their baseball coverage. If I were grand emperor of planet earth, I would make it so that Joe Buck would be incessantly tortured 21 hours a day for the next 40 years. He announces both baseball and football, and they need to keep his ass at the football games. Football and baseball are two completely different sports (thank you George Carlin). It's non-stop action. As an announcer, all you have to do is turn your brain off and regurgitate what you see, and he's barely capable of even that. But when he covers baseball games, I wanna set my own hair on fire. He has absolutely NO insight on the game, and even less personality. That fake smile makes me want to knock his fucking teeth in. He's barely capable of regurgitating whatever irrelevant statistic the dipshits in the Fox booth can get their hands on. Which, by the way, are statistics no one gives a good god damn about. No one cares what highschool the rookie went to, outside of the 50 or so hometown "friends" who are watching. And not one single solitary soul gives a fiddler's fuck about what kind of pie is his favorite. It's fake sentiment masked quite poorly as an attempt to care about the average person. It's a marketing ploy used to generate revenue. It's fake, it's transparent, and it's fucking obscene. The network executives have absolutely no interest in the good of the game. Their only concern is how to market other people's passion for our nation's pastime in order to turn a quick and tidy profit. The fact that they chose Joe Buck to spearhead their baseball coverage is more than enough evidence of this. His lack of basic baseball knowledge, common sense, and his ignorance of which plays are important to the future of the ongoing game is sickening. And this plan of attack to market playoff sports is just flat out retarded, anyway. It's playoff sports, for crying out loud! People are going to watch no matter what you do. You couldn't piss away more time and money if you were hyping the second coming of Jesus Christ. In order to profit on sports, all you need to do is hire competent people. That's it...

A few years ago, before Fox had (in their own little moment of fucktardery) decided Buck was the best they could come up with, I used to dislike Tim McCarver's coverage because of his bias against the Yankees. You can't help which teams you like or don't like. You are who you are, and that's great. We need more individuality in society. But I believe, if you're a national baseball announcer, it's your job to look at both sides of the game equally. Obviously if you're employed to cover local teams, you're going to slide a bit more to whoever is paying you. You'd hardly employ a Mets fan to cover Braves games. It's just the way the world works. But these games, and the regular season Saturday games are covered coast to coast. It's your job to be magnanimous.

Tim McCarver just needs to grow a pair. He should fire whoever is in charge of his career and hire someone who can market his potential. I've had mixed feelings about his coverage of baseball throughout my life. I appreciate his playing career, and his knowledge of the game and its strategy, although I do find myself disagreeing with him often, but that's fine. He's a National League player, and I'm an American League fan. This the way it's supposed to be.

When I was a kid, Tim McCarver was covering the Mets, and even though I'm a Yankees fan, I'm also a fan of the sport of baseball. Don Mattingly will always be my favorite player, but it was great to watch players like Mike Schmidt, Gary Carter, and Ozzie Smith. So as I'd watch the Mets, I liked the way McCarver called the games. I learned about the game, and although he's no Mel Alan, or Phil Rizzuto, I appreciated hearing the point of view from a former player. He seemed to genuinely enjoy what he did. Well years go by and times change, and he resurfaced on the Fox network where he appeared reluctant to be there, almost as if he was screwed somewhere down the line by some other network or something. It's just the impression he gave me. He seemed unhappy when covering American League games, almost jealous when the Yankees won their 1996, 1998, 1999, and 2000 World Series championships, and to be perfectly honest, that really doesn't bother me. You can't help the way you feel. And as a lifelong Yankee fan, all you ever hear from the rest of the free world is how much the Yankees "suck". They "sucked" in the 80's when then didn't win ANYTHING, and they "sucked" in the late 90's when they won EVERYTHING. Now they "suck" because they have A-Rod, or Johnny Damon, or Jason Giambi, or whoever. Who cares? I'd just rather listen to someone who at least acts like he wants to be there, but what do I know?

Mr. McCarver needs someone who's willing to work with him, not some retard who's more impressed with the fact that he's announcing an important game than is actually motivated to do it. Not to mention Joe Buck has one of those hour-glass shaped midget heads, as if someone tied a belt around his head at the temples so the top of his skull would take on a mushroom effect.

Just give me a competent announcer when I have no other choice but to watch whatever horse's ass in a shirt and tie you can teach to hold a microphone. Where are the great announcers of today? Jon Miller, Bob Costas Jim Kaat, Vin Scully... These are great announcers. They have a command of the game, and the English language, I might add. Bob Uecker, who was a pretty bad catcher and an even worse hitter that played for the Braves, Phillies, and Cardinals, is a great announcer. He has knowledge of the game, and a personality that makes you want to hear what he has to say. Jack Buck (Joe's father), who announced for The Cardinals since before my parents were born, was one of the greatest announcers of all time. I realize the greats (Jack Buck, Howard Cosell, Mel Allen, etc.) are not only gone forever, but irreplaceable. We need someone who loves the sport they're announcing for. In my opinion, not as a Yankee fan, but as a fan of the sport of baseball, Bob Costas is the best man for the job. He's the only baseball fan in broadcasting who's not covering a game, and that's a crying shame. Someone hire him!

So there you have it. That's the problem with baseball. Joe Buck... lol... but not just Joe Buck. It's every empty head behind Joe Buck and every other announcer like him. I say it's about time for the pendulum to swing the other way