Actor Steven Seagal Not Dead. Also, Not An Actor.

You know how they say a key step to having a successful blog is to write haphazardly & on a catty-wompus schedule for several years, and then go COMPLETELY DARK for almost two years while you go off and actually live a more interesting life? And then when you come back to the blog you’ll try to write about the goings-on of the extended hiatus, but then you’ll sit down and have no clue where to start? And that this all makes your blog the Most Awesome Blog?

You know how they say that, right? They do. I heard ‘em. They talk loudly in small spaces.

It works just like in the movies. They do an amazing first run of something, then go completely silent with no rumblings of ever coming back … and then, when they surprise everyone with a sequel, it will be even more amaze-balls (to wit: Rush Hour 2, City Slickers 2, Look Who’s Talking Too, You’ve Got Mail (c’mon, that was basically Sleepless in Seattle 2: Sponsored by America OnLine)… but somehow the sequel ALSO makes the first one that much more enjoyable?

So… welcome to Most-Awesome-Blog: Back From Action And Back In Action!

… we’ll be right back, after we’ve written a decent treatment for what may sort of be good enough to at least be the first eleven minutes of the first act, including one exciting incident.

Let’s All Go To The Lobby!

Psssst… you just missed the exciting incident! Now it’s all just exposition & deep background! Hope those nine dollar Twizzlers were worth it!

As I was saying.

I spent 9 months in action, completing the exaggeratedly-named One-Year Program at the American Comedy Institute. Over the course of those 9 months, I finally did stand-up. Several times. I co-wrote & co-starred in a pilot for a web series. I co-wrote & produced a spec episode of a late night talk show. I performed in three scene nights & three improv shows, and a sketch comedy showcase. I learned audition techniques. I learned on-camera techniques for commercials. Oh… and did I mention that all of this took place outside the ol’ day job? and in New York City? while also still being a decent-but-with-room-for-improvement father to a five year old & husband to a three-peat entrepreneur?

In short, while the hiatus was long, it was nothing if not action-packed, and I’m certain this is the place to return to for an in-depth analysis. Like when Steven Seagal took a hiatus from being Buddhist – he made a shit-ton of amazing (for their time, for my adolescent perspective) action films with the perfect amount of gratuitous nudity, but when he was done, Buddhism was so glad to have him back. Buddhism was like, “Okay, did you get all that out of your system? I sure hope so because your pillow is getting cold & the monastery needs a good sweeping. Yes, yes, we all want to hear what you learned, but you’d better have a push-broom in your hand the whole time, Brother Ponytail!”

Over the next umpteen posts, I’ll try to explain the what & the how of all that action, as well as try to summarize it in some scholarly fashion so that my kids (both of them – R is due in Feb with a baby boy) can learn from it before my still-nascent-but-looming dementia robs them of the whole shebang.

But for now, let me leave you with this: I spent a year exploring various comedic pursuits, and while I still don’t know what the future ahead will look like, I do know that it’s highly unlikely that any one thing, role, or job is going to define that future. The number of people that can fill a lifetime being only one thing is ridiculously small… and the ones I’ve met that have relegated themselves to that goal are mysteriously unfulfilled and SHOCKINGLY UNINTERESTING.

Along the way I’ll try to weave in other source materials – as much content as I’ve created since my last post, I’ve also consumed a whole bunch – to fill in some holes & round out some analogies. In essence, then, the blog itself will cease to be ‘just’ a door found on your way down a rabbit hole, but it will become a rabbit hole itself.

… Okay, okay, I hear the pretense. I’m just saying there’s a shit-ton of stuff that I’m going to shoehorn into your peepers, so if you’re here with the expectation that this is the same blog it was two years ago, well, think again, Watson. More info, more insight, but still the perfect amount of 90s pop culture references and 80s-level gratuitous nudity.

Because boobs.

But up next will be a post on tonight’s show at the Schimmel. I will be in the audience. Will you?

The Universe is Expanding & All I Got Was This Lousy Haircut

Okay okay, catch your breath – I know it’s a shock that I’m FINALLY writing. It really shouldn’t be – I always wait months in between posts on a blog that I claim is updated “regularly.” It’s a simple formula really – surprised you haven’t figured that out yet. Hmph. I thought you were supposed to be a nerd.

I am currently undergoing many changes. So many changes in fact that it’s like puberty at 28, with less hair & more schadenfreude. Lest you stop recognizing me amongst all the other oh-so-recognizable Bay Area actor-comedian-blogger types, here’s the run-down of all the things that are in flux or that have just recently come out of flux, or that are about to change so rapidly that I’m just gonna call them “what the flux?!?”

But rest assured that none of these change the fundamentals of me. I’m still the only Bay Area actor-comedian-blogger type that can directly reference Freud & then a split sentence later obliquely reference Spielberg, whose name is of course German for “storied jew”, and bring that circle to a close.


Flux Element #1: I’m about to be a father. May 3rd is the official ETA, but any daughter of mine would totally wait 48 hours to join us on Cinco de Mayo & let the world enjoy all the pinata jokes. So let’s call Cinco de Mayo de Diez the day my life changes. FOREVER. And more than in the way everyone’s life changes everyday blah blah existential hooey blah. A FRIKKIN’ FATHER. Buckle up.

Flux Element #2: I’m way more productive these days… and my focus is somehow able to spread over multiple areas without stretching thin. Working, husbanding (not the animal kind), running, acting, prepping for Baby Girl Hansen, and let’s see what else OH YEAH being awesome. I’m like Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, without the accent, abs, orange skin, or pathetically under-developed vocabulary. Wait… so… the only thing left is the fact that he nicknamed himself “The Situation”. So I should mention that heretofore I shall be known as Brian “The Current-Set-Of-Circumstances” Hansen.

Flux Element #3: My nickname is Brian “The Current-Set-Of-Circumstances” Hansen.

Flux Element #4: There may be a marked shift in my creative efforts underway; I’ve been considering the ‘writing’ part of drama/comedy a lot more often. Aside from my ill-fated attempts at using the word schadenfreude in the world of blogs, I’m usually WAY more capable of being funny in writing than I am in person. As proof, here’s a recent email survey that a beloved friend & sometimes-mentor asked me to fill out about my thoughts on bilingual education, which is to be used for one of her MBA projects. Note my oh-so-effortless use of racial profiling, stereotypes, and things that could be offensive but aren’t because I’m Brian “The Current-Set-Of-Circumstances” Hansen. (Hmm… that’s getting annoying to type. Can I abbreviate that CSOC, pronounced “sea sock” or potentially “seize hawk”? Is that legal? Wait, what am I asking you for? I’m frikkin’ CSOC.)


(1) How old are your kids? Negative 2 months… she’s still baking.
(2) What language(s) do you speak at home with them? The only two I speak – English and Bad English.
(3) Do you have family members / an au pair / nanny who speak in a foreign language with them? @#$* no. Those people are @$&*ing expensive.
(4) Are you interested in your children being bilingual? Yes!
(5) If so, why? (And, if not, why not?) Because a) I truly believe learning two languages expands the mind’s ability to think critically and recognize patterns in analysis mode; and b) this world ain’t gettin’ any smaller, and it’s unrealistic to think that US hegemony will continue much longer – meaning English may soon pass out of the “major” tongues of business & political discourse; c) I want her to be able to order off the Five Dollar Menu when McDonald’s sells out to China and becomes McKimCheeWongHsuTsong.
(6) What products (if any) do you use for your children to learn another language? (Example – teaching materials used at home like workbooks and DVDs up to immersion school or special classes). None yet, other than my spotty understanding of Dora the Explorer’s teachings of Spanish culture (“Always abra la puerta when you go to the potty!”) and what I’ve learned from my disco lessons – disco’s totally a different vibe, sheila.
(7) How did you select which language to teach your child? I declared my Aladdin puppet the “Arabic & Middle Eastern tongue” representative, I threw Miss Piggy in the ring to represent Hebrew (I heart irony), and drew some slanty-eyes on a stress ball to represent China (the irony there is that the stress ball was made in Taiwan… HAH!); I threw all three into a death match together – Aladdin strapped dynamite to his own chest, ululated a little, and then threw himself on the the porcine princess with only a three-second fuse. The stress ball survived the explosion because it was bouncy.


See? Funny. And I came up with that in ten minutes (all except the ‘English & Bad English’, which is a credit to my man-crush Bruce Willis in ‘The Fifth Element’), much like I used to write my Movie Quote of the Week (MQotW) emails. More often than not, I can sit and make up funny stuff. I haven’t learned how to tell a funny story with plot points and characters to save my g-d life, but after talking to my screen-writing sister & her acting boyfriend, I’m convinced that’s a skill I can learn. So learning & honing that skill may soon come into laser focus for CSOC.

Flux Element #5: I’m back on the roads, running regularly & loving it. Several contributing factors, but I’d say the biggest one is that I finally bought into the idea that setting goals will create the motivation to accomplish them. In November, I set a goal to run 50 miles before Thanksgiving. I had 8 days. I did it. Then I kinda stopped – I recently realized it was because I had no goal. I also believe that actually publishing those goals outside of the whiteboard in my brain doubles down on that bet, so: last Monday I laid out an albeit ambitious but still realistic goal of running 200 miles before Tax Day. Two months to run two century bike races. It’s been a week and I’ve already logged 24.5 miles. Almost entirely on pace – would be AHEAD of the game if the weather had cooperated yesterday. That’s right. That’s how we do it… CSOC style.

Flux Element #6: I’m doing less. That’s right. LESS. I recently read & highly recommend the book “The Power of Less” by Dr. Leo Babauta. I’ll let you ferret it out for yourself, but my biggest take-away was the power of purposeful planning. So I now set up each work day with THREE (and only three) Most Important Tasks. I get those three things done at work, and everything else for the day is 100% gravy. I’ve also used it on the personal side of life, but with less success – because I always make extremely grand plans for all my free time, and can’t seem to limit my lists to only three things – but that’s mainly due to the fact that I haven’t really applied my ‘Set A Goal’ philosophy to most of my activities other than running. I’m not worried about claiming to do less at work – because my productivity has actually soared in the last month or so. I’m no longer overwhelmed, my sense of direction & motivation at work is no longer changing every day, and I get far more frequent doses of a sense of accomplishment – when none of those things were true, it frequently meant a frustrating & unrewarding day at the office. Yes, I still think there are other jobs that would be better for me out there, but at least my approach to THIS job is no longer a liability. That makes this job, ANY job, way more tolerable, because I’m no longer relying on other people to give me that sense of direction or that sense of accomplishment. Seriously. “The Power of Less.” Check that sh*t out. CSOC style.

… That’s six fluxes. That’ll do.

The Next Step!

I frikkin’ did it, people. I signed up for my first marathon.

Big Sur’s International Marathon was a reco from my friend Punchie, and was one of his first marathons. It’s a great scene, there’s plenty of fun friendly people, and it’s full of awesome views of the Monterey Bay / Big Sur area.

I have until April 27th to get my ass into gear to run my first 26.2. I know I’ve talked about this all before, and the idea of finishing in less than four hours or whatever. Well, that’s still a goal, and a great one, but honestly, I’ll consider it a successful first time out if I cross the finish line in less than 6 hours (a deadline I have to hit if I want to be counted among the official finishers).

Twenty six point two, kids. Where am I at now? Max I’ve ever gone is 11.2. And that was 6 months ago. I’m closer to 4-5 miles on a regular basis these days. But that’s why I have almost five months to put this thing together.

Stay tuned for Training Plans, Training Updates, Inspirational Words, and Photographic Evidence (meaning, you won’t just take my word for it – I’ll find some way to prove to you that I’ve done the distance/time that I’d put on the Plan on the day I was supposed to do it).

Now… my challenge to you, dear readers. Come out to visit & run this sh!t with me! Everything, including training for this thing, is more fun when you are doing it with support. We can even do it long-distance if we have to. If you’re in the Bay Area (which probably constitutes about 5 of my 10 regular readers but whatever) and we can put some miles behind us together, then let’s figure out a way to make it happen!

If you’re NOT in the Bay Area, the end of April’s a GREAT time to make a visit out to SF. Weather will be warmer here than most any other place in the country at that time, and it will be after rainy season but before foggy season! And if, y’know, you decide you can’t possibly train for this without my support and you wanna move out here, that’s something we can arrange too. No dream too big.

I’m not going into too much more here just yet, but let me just say that this will be one of the things that I actually DO in the year of ’08. There will be other things that I’ve said I’ve always wanted to do that I actually DO in 2008… and you’ll just have to stay tuned to find out what that means.

And yes, I do owe you an apology. I have NOT been keeping you abreast of life’s happenings, and I know how much you all like being breasts. I am sorry, but here’s the good news: I’m too busy with work, but am actually ENJOYING (at least a little bit) what I’m doing these days. There’s lots of big things happening in the ice cream world, and I’m involved in … wow, in almost all of them. I’d tell you more, but for fear of saying something I’m not supposed to say, I’ll just leave it with the fact that my job is busy for a reason.

As I move forward with training, I’ll either do a way better job of keeping Wyltie in the loop, or I’ll find some other vehicle through which you can keep tabs on my (or, better yet, OUR) progress towards twenty six point two.

But GET EXCITED PEOPLE! The Fat Kid’s gonna run a marathon! WOOHOOOOOO!

Puttin’ It Out There

Enough already with the waffling between fitness programs & nutritional vigilance. Here’s my frikkin’ FitDay journal.

You see me putting half a cheese pizza in there, or eating Slow Churned three or four times a day, call me on it. You see me NOT putting in my activities (either too lazy to input them or too lazy to even do them), then call me on it. Finally, if you have questions or want help doing this type of thing for yourself, ask. Happy to help. FitDay helped me get realistic about caloric intake and food composition, and then I was really able to change the way I thought about food.

It did more than just teach me what’s worse for me; I had a pretty good idea of what was bad & what was worse & what would ensure I’d hate myself for in the morning. What it did was show me that a handful of almonds is a decent snack but increase it to two or three handfuls, and, healthy fats aside, I might as well have eaten half a bag of Oreos. If you’re going to eat a lot of something, even a “healthier” something, it can still put a dent in your allowance. In order to eat more than a cup of something at one time is fat-free yogurt or cheese, some fruits, most vegetables, and popcorn with non-fat seasoning. Bet you didn’t know that. F you if you did, cuz you didn’t tell me before I got fat.

It also helps you keep tally on those little snacks, and on drinks/sodas/juices. A Pepsi & a small bag of pretzels is still a 425 calorie snack – 20% of what your intake should be. But spread those out, meaning a Pepsi in the morning and pretzels in the afternoon, and you probably wouldn’t even register them as things that you ate that day. That shit adds up!

But one of the most powerful things that I think this helps you to see is the TYPES of foods you’re eating when you think you’re doing yourself a favor by skipping meals. I was under the assumption that, if I just snack most of the morning and most of the afternoon, I would probably come out to about the same as if I had eaten a big cheeseburger and a small salad at Ruby Tuesday’s. Not even close to true; see the above pretzels & Pepsi example. Even a shitty Big Mac is only about a thousand calories; if you instead ate three bags of pretzels & had two Pepsis, you’re already at about 800 calories. Sure, you haven’t eaten a fat-encrusted unnatural “meat substance” dipped in “CHEESE” and special sauce, but you have consumed roughly the same amount of calories – and it was basically all sugar.

Carbohydrates are not evil, but if you’re skipping lunch because you’re too busy WORKING or just aren’t hungry, you’re not burning off whatever calories you’re taking in, and carbohydrates are short-term energy sources, but the body treats them all pretty much the same – they are quickly converted to fat, the body’s long-term storage unit, if they aren’t needed immediately. That is, if you’re not moving around and burning the 800 calories worth of pretzels & Pepsi, the sugar converts into fat because the body doesn’t need the calories yet. It’ll break down the fat when it has to, but until then it will insulate your body in case the food stops coming completely.

But you know what’s more easily broken down than fat? Protein. Also known as muscle. So you haven’t eaten a “fatty” lunch, but you’ve snacked and stayed sedentary. When you do finally run up the stairs because you’re late for a meeting or try to make it in the doors of the FedEx Kinko’s before the cute girl leaves for the day, your body will burn muscle because it’s already stored the carbs as fat, and muscle is more readily available than fat (assuming you’re not already in great shape in terms of metabolic efficiency.)

Have you done yourself a favor by skipping meals? HELL NO. Your body burns muscle instead of sugar or carbs when you finally do get active. You did eat 20% less calories, but you’ve basically just made them part of your spare tire collection & received no nutritional benefit whatsoever. (At least the “meat substance” would’ve had a solid 15 grams of protein to help protect/create muscle fibers.) And guess what? Know how you feel run-down and queasy because you didn’t eat lunch & just snacked? Yeah, that’s your body’s response to your blood sugar going through more peaks and valleys than Rosie O’Donnell, and it isn’t following the same natural wave it normally follows throughout the day. So what’s your body doing? It’s taking blood away from your head, pulling it into your stomach, and using the extra oxygen and heat to convert whatever sugar is in your system into fat for long-term storage, because you’re freaking it out and it’s going into scarcity mode.

Do this 80 times a year (every fourth or fifth day) without giving your body the nutrients it needs, you’ll put on 20 pounds, your libido will suffer, you won’t sleep as well, and you probably have skin problems. All because you thought having pretzels & soda instead of a Big Mac HAD to be better for you.

In general, this is still true – but only to a point. FitDay helps you find that point. That’s all I’m saying. In this huge rant, that’s all I’m trying to say. And I wish like hell I could find/be blessed with the business savvy to take their little model and blow it into a full-fledged Bob Green-endorsed accessory to 5-Factor Fitness.

Eff Oh Gee, Fog

I’m nearly worthless before 6:30am these days. Two days in a row of turning the 5:30am alarm off and getting out of bed only to realize I’m still asleep. As I fall to the floor, it isn’t until my head bounces elegantly off the carpet that I shouldn’t have gotten up in the first place. My only choice is to retreat clumsily back into bed, still wearing the gym clothes that I wore to make it “easier” to get up and go. Once here, I dream of lollipops and unicorns playing poker, until eventually the fog of sleep starts to clear and I find myself wading through the Bog o’ Guilt & Gluttony. I feel like complete A$$ for not getting up and making myself do what I need to do. And I then start to resent my wife AND our bed for being so damn warm and comfortable.

‘What the hell is his problem?’, you ask. Well I don’t KNOW dammit! If I knew, do you think I’d be here writing about it?!?! I’ve come up with SEVERAL theories though: Daylight Savings Time being in November still f-ing with me; still exhausted from Vegas; my body secretly wants me to go back to being the fat kid in sweatpants and cardigan sweaters; I’m depressed but about what I have no idea; I love sleeping like the fat kid loves cake; I’m not eating enough fried chicken. (Note on that last one: when I eat fried chicken, I rarely sleep through the night – I almost always have to drop the kids off at the pool around 4am – and it’s easy to stay up & get productive.)

So there are several options. So I’ll add a poll here to see what you, my readers, think.

OH, and then I saw a young filly on the train with a copy of Runner’s World sticking out of her larger-than-a-bread-basket handbag today. I took this as (insert deity of preference)’s way of telling me either that a) I should go back to RW for the inspiration to stay active; or b) that my current handbag is not nearly big enough; or c) only young fillies can call themselves young fillies. Bottom line, made me feel inadequate. (Surprise!)

So vote in the poll.

Meanwhile, we’re working on the Thank-You’s for the wedding attendees & gift givers. Now if you’re one of those people that tallies the days it takes to receive official Notice of Gratitude (NOG), keep in mind that we’re only at Day 13, NOT Day 16, as we were still in NJ sans cards for three days after the 13th. So trot over to your little NOG tally pad and erase three hash marks.

Don’t say hash marks.

Alright, that is all. Improv doesn’t start for a whole week. I need it. I’m near fiending for it. OH! speaking of Improv, the wyf and I went to the Improv at Harrah’s on Saturday night. Saw the guy who does the voice of Roger Rabbit do stand-up. Pretty awesome – he basically talked to half a dozen people in the audience, did a funny interview bit, then wove them all together in a song he improvised on the spot while playing the piano & harmonica. TOTALLY Improv’d it up, and he was damn funny (if a bit old-fashioned and dirty – he made the whole “vagina as a wind tunnel” joke about a woman who’d had 4 children – which is, y’know, not classy).


I’ll get back to the wedding stories soon. In the meantime, before I lose my inspiration, I want to tell you that I’ve decided that I’m going to run either a half-marathon or a full marathon in May 2008. I’ve even come up with my personal training plan to get me to that distance, without worrying about my pace, before May. First milestone: hit 45 miles total distance between this past Wednesday (10/17) and November 1st. Since Wednesday, I’ve already logged a little over 11 miles, which is super. While I’m in Vegas next week for the sales rally, I really shouldn’t have a problem fitting in 3 miles a day, and it’ll for sure be cheaper than gambling.

I wanted to put that milestone up here so you guys (all three of you) can keep me honest, and you can ask me how my training’s going, and I’ll be more motivated knowing that I have to report back to my blog if for some reason I don’t hit a goal. R’s a great accountability partner too, but there’s something about the faceless guilt that you, dear reader, can impose upon me that I want to avoid even more than the wrath of my wife (!).

So keep me honest, bitches! I have 5 months (plenty of time) to learn how to run 26.2 miles without dying. But I only have 11 days to run another 34 miles, and I plan to take tomorrow (Sunday 10/21) off so that I don’t go too crazy too quick.

In case you’re interested, I did 5.5 miles today, along this route. It was definitely one of the clearest Saturday morning runs I’ve ever experienced; you could see the bolts in the GGB from the Marina Green. AWESOME. Love this city.

I’ll let you know when I pick my race and hopefully figure out a pace / time goal. The way I’ve been going, it looks like it might take me over 4 hours to finish. But if I can manage to get in some speed work and pick up the pace a bit, I can MAYBE manage to break 3:30. We’ll see where I am after the honeymoon (we get back on Jan. 2nd). If I can finish a 10-miler in less than 90 minutes by then, I should be able to pace it up to 8 minute miles, getting me to a 3:30 finish for the 26.2. But we’ll see.

Get out of The Regal Beagle

I FINALLY got back on the horse of a morning workout after six days of not going to the gym, not even running hills – I was basically keeping calories around like they’re my friends. Totally fine to do, every once in a while, especially if you’re body’s telling you to take it easy. Mine wasn’t so much saying “Take it easy” as it was saying “Stay in bed and you won’t regret it.” Six days later, I regret it a little bit.

While out on my little jaunt this morning (ran from here down to the PoFA along Marina Green, then up the Lyon Street stairs & back over here on Pacific), I came upon an interestingly dressed person. He was wearing one of those rough velvet shirts in the color of butternut squash (or squtternutbosh) and matching denim jeans. (Meaning the denim shared the vegetarian hue.) And the guy had a paunch that looked like he had strapped half of a hollowed out watermelon around his midsection.

As I passed him on the street, given the mode of fashion & physical stature, I couldn’t help but joke (did I mention I’m funny) to myself: “Boy, Jack Tripper‘s really spending too much time at the Regal Beagle and not enough time clumsily riding his bike along the Venice Beach promenade. “

Aside from being, in my opinion, a hilarious callback, it also kinda proves out (not that I need the proof) that choosing NOT to be active, NOT to be out of bed before the sun is if that’s the only time I can get into the gym, is like simultaneously choosing to look like I’ve got Jell-O poured down my shirt. R & I have been making that choice a little too often lately, especially after I had a SOLID YEAR of at least 4 days a week of running or gymming or both.

So we’ve come up with an action plan: because it costs $96/month for our two memberships to Crunch, that’s roughly $2/viable gym day/person. So for every WEEKDAY between now and some deadline yet to be firmed up, whenever one of us chooses not to go to the gym, they put $2 in a jar. If you go to the gym, do a yoga class, or go for a decent-length run (at least 30 minutes outside with hills), your money stays in your pocket. If you get hyper about it & hit two sessions of respectable physical activity, then you actually get to take two dollars OUT of the jar.

Then, whence the deadline be upon us, we will run a 5K together (or just an over-and-back run on the GGB) and try to set a previously-determined PR. The person who meets or beats their goal gets to spend the money in the jar, preferably on something completely selfish, irrational & with a high boasting quotient.

Not a bad idea, no? I realize that this is not the world’s most perfect incentive program, so we’re open to suggestions on how to make it more painful to lose or more rewarding to win, or even to make it better at inducing us to get off our a$$es. Let us know if you have thoughts.

This gets me thinking about the 5-Factor Fitness thing I started in, um, March? It REALLY helped me get from feeling good to feeling great in like 3 months, and now I’ve slipped out of it a bit. Check it out online (I hate that it’s being marketed as the DIET, because it’s more than a fucking diet), but I’ll write more about it at another time. For now it’s time to get out & enjoy the afternoon. Love Saturdays.