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?

If Everyone Did What They Loved…

I’ve got like ten (!) things competing for my time at any one time: R, other friends, the blog, the job, physical activity, mental activity, de-stressing, future planning, financial decisions, and my share (small may it be) of doing wedding stuff. And that’s just the stuff I “have” to do. What about all the things I WANT to do? Learn to sail, ride a motorcycle, get a pilot’s license, skydiver’s license, be around dogs, help people in a meaningful way, entertain people, bring new things into the world and make it a more interesting place.

Am I the only one in this situation? EFF-EWE-SEE-KAY no I’m not. In fact, we’re (mostly) all in this situation because we’ve created all these different things that we can do, that interest us, that get us going, that make us whole. Why? BECAUSE WE ALL SPEND 40 HOURS (more than a third of our waking life) DOING SH!T THAT BORES US TO TEARS. Some are more bored than others, but there’s degrees to everything.

Because we’re so bored, we look for other avenues of getting excited, getting passionate, attaining some sense of fulfillment. And because we only have ~80 hours of “free time” left when we’re not getting beauty sleep, we feel the need to be on all the avenues as much as possible, as quickly as possible, and usually even be on more than one avenue at the same time. Think about it: we add functionality to technology so we can be less connected to our desks, but we end up standing in line at the coffee shop or riding the bus while thumbing some wallet-sized device into oblivion because we’re “wasting” time if we’re not multi-tasking.

I’m not arguing the impulse to be productive. That’s great, and that’s a wonderful input into this capitalistic machine that’s proven itself as the (mainly) self-sustaining model of an economy. But my question is this: would we all be JUST as productive, and perhaps even more so, if we JUST chose, for those 40 hours, to do the ONE thing that would fulfill us? We wouldn’t expend nearly as much energy trying to put ourselves into multiple efforts, and therefore we can be more productive at the singular effort.

So here’s the vicious part of the cycle. We get BORED doing the same thing (unless it’s THE thing, the one thing that Curly bestows upon Mitch during their cattle drive) BECAUSE there are so many options out there. AND because there are so many options out there (including new ones that we create everyday), we tend to think that spending most or all of our time doing any ONE thing is wasteful because WHAT IF we’ve chosen wrongly? What if the thing that we think will fulfill us DOESN’T? There’s no dress rehearsal to this life, so we’ve gotta make this one count, so dammit we have to make sure we find the right roles for us. In order to do so, we attempt to try them all & then pick one.

This kinda ties into an earlier post from this month about the fear of dying and the fear of being “not right.” After all, why else would we care about whether or not the one thing that we’ve chosen to do is the ‘best’ option?

But for shit’s sake, if you look at the rates at which we are DYING from stress-related diseases (indeed, I believe the vast majority of diseases are induced via some sort of stress), cancer, smoking, obesity… we’re so worried about finding the right thing that we’re not even paying attention to where we are right now. We are rowing faster and faster over that waterfall, trying to make sure we see every postcard-perfect snapshot along the way (so that people will see them and remember them & us fondly), and we rarely stop off to check one out or (heaven forbid) pick one spot, moor the canoe, and pop the cooler open.

The big deal here is this: we should all try to figure out one thing and make that our purpose, our goal. Capitalist or not, productive or destructive, trash or treasure, I really think we would all benefit from pulling out of the current, tying the boat up at a cozy spot, and having a beverage. And to Hades with dystopians who think we’d all choose to be loafers, that we’d all choose to be bacchanalian freaks. (These people know crap – they spend their time saying “Everyone, we’re going to hell in a handbasket, but if we did anything differently, it could get worse, so this is our best-case miserable scenario.” How’s that for a mindset?) I firmly believe we’d all be more EFFICIENT (meaning less effort for the same amount of productivity) if we all specialized in our thing. Competitive advantage or some other economic term applies.

And no, I haven’t figured out my one thing yet. For your sake, I hope it’s not this blog. “You are entering a world of pain, son.”


Not gonna spend a lot of time here today, because I’ve got lots to do and want to have a productive end to a relatively productive week. Some interesting things I’m doing:

1) scheduling (FINALLY) a dinner cruise that my parents got me for my birthday;
2) thinking about buying a condo (check it out) for a cool $975K – 3BR right on California street with a shared roof deck from which you can probably see the GGBridge.
3) wishing I had really rich relatives who would see “contributing” to our purchase of said condo as an “investment in our future” and would let us “pay them back” over our lifetime and then for our first wedding anniversary they’d just wipe the debt away & say “L’chaim!”
4) reading Impro by Keith Johnstone – if you’re at all into theater, drama, acting, teaching, improv or creative writing, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you check out this 40 year old piece of mastery;
5) trying to get back on & stay on the fitness train – I was dead asleep when the 5:25 alarm went off this morning, so I ended up putting on the gym garb and crawling right back into bed.

Fridays can be productive too, especially when you view them as the lead-in to your weekend instead of the last barrier keeping you from it. (It also helps when you have next to nothing planned for the weekend – you don’t have the pressure of trying to get everything done before some official type of fun begins, you just know that the weekend will be fun simply by virtue of being the weekend.)

More later, and yes, I do intend to continue to blog over the weekends. The traffic is starting to pick up a bit (at least since I started tracking it with that counter), so even though no one is COMMENTING (!) on anything, I know it’s getting read. Now if I could just stop obsessing about checking that little counter thing, my therapist would take me down in dosage.

Also Productive!

Already today you have:

1. scheduled the last dance lesson before the wedding.
2. called and confirmed that R’s wedding band & engagement ring are ready to be retrieved – and Bill says they look ‘wonderful.’
3. shopped for, customized & purchased gifts for your groomsmen.
4. scheduled with your new boss to have drinks some time next week so she can get to know you, and you can find out whether or not she gets that whole red-face thing that afflicts so many folks of Eastern descent.
5. blogged TWICE, even if the first was about how you can’t blog consistently, and the second one included a comment about the fact that you’ve already blogged twice today; you hope your not breaking some colloquial rule of the blogosphere.
6. used the word ‘blogosphere’ and then looked around to make sure no one you know saw it.
7. filed your IRS form to get your $41 refund back.
8. cleaned the kitchen up after making a mess at dinner last night.
9. emptied the dishwasher.
10. ran >2.5 miles with your future brother in law.
11. had breakfast with R & her father and brother.
12. took a nap. Wouldn’t others?

The kicker: It’s 11:05 IN THE A.M. as you post this. Well done.